Sunday, October 28, 2012

mya-moe ukuleles

As you may recall, I arranged a shop tour at mya-moe ukuleles for Emil's birthday gift.  We traveled to White Salmon for the tour, and it was absolutely fantastic in many ways.

Gordon was so kind to spend time and walk us through the build process.  The workshop is thoughtfully organized, and I've never seen so many clamps in my life.  We asked lots of questions and admired the beautiful wood.  Seeing ukuleles in the different stages was really interesting.

They just launched their newly designed website today.  Check it out!

We're so thankful for Gordon and Char's time...what wonderful people!  I'm saving up for a mya-moe ukulele!

Other highlights on our trip:  A cute hotel in Hood River decked out in fall decor, delicious food, snowy passes, a visit to a music store in The Dalles, and a new amp added to our music collection.

Winter is here in the mountain pass.

View from the hotel room of Full Sail Brewery and the Columbia River.

Front porch of the Oak Street Hotel.

Wild turkey flock.  There are two flocks in White Salmon.

Red curry with pears, zucchini, cremini, and a cool yogurt sauce.

Alaskan cod with the best french fries EVER.

Curry artichoke dip.  Now you know why I have a gut bomb!
Darn!  I forgot to take a picture of Emil's new amp.  It will be used for checking sound from the ukes he makes.  We'll also use it for music nights at our house and the Tuesday night jams.  We tried it out last night with our iPod and "Surfin' USA" sounded great from it.

Time to detox from all the delicious food, bake goodies with the local fruit we bought, and belt out songs in the comfort of our living room!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Neighborhood Pumpkin Carving Gathering

We hosted the first annual neighborhood pumpkin carving gathering last night.  The invitation said Eat, Drink, and Carve!  Bring a pumpkin, knife, and libation of choice.

I supplied the munchies...wish I had a picture of the festive table and food.  Fruit, white bean dip with balsamic vinaigrette and veggies, roasted eggplant pizza, meatball sliders, deviled eggs with jalapenos, self-filled cupcakes, and miniature pumpkin whoopie pies.  Looking forward to leftovers all day today!

There was a prize for the best pumpkin, so bring on the competitive spirits!

Mary, Linda, Annie

Let the carving begin!

This pic is why I've never carved a pumpkin in my life.  Sticky and messy.

Emil set up buckets and two carving stations.

No peeking at my design!

A pic through the glass window.  Check out Lori's green veined pumpkin! 

Annie and Robert

Lori and me!  My design is a ukulele, of course.

Annie is an amazing artist and used marbles and intricate designs on her pumpkin.

Ick!  Get me a towel.
Thanks to Emil for setting up a nice place for the carving in his warm workshop.  After we noshed on food, we all crowded into the workshop with sharp knives, secretive designs, and bowls for pumpkin seeds.

Sorry we didn't take pics of the finished pumpkins.  It was getting late, and we were anxious to vote and award the prize.  It was a tie for Annie and Lori's pumpkins!

Our next gathering will be in December when we decorate the traffic roundabout.  Better start menu planning!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sparrow Bakery

Get off your duff and go over there right now!  I dragged Emil there early this morning after my friend told me about their amazing breakfast sammy.  Homemade croissant, aioli, organic greens, havarti cheese, and a perfectly poached egg.

Vegetarian option for me

Bacon option for Emil
Tasty Chai with nutmeg
It was a wonderful way to start a chilly day.  I foresee many trips to Sparrow Bakery in the future. 

Good News!  Tommy Boy is coming to visit in November!  What will we do when he's here?  Don't know I have a spreadsheet listed with all the yummy restaurants and breweries to hit up.  We'll hike up Pilot Butte, so we can hit Happy Hour every night.  It all evens out, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cookbook Lust

There are a few things in life I lust for.  If I listed them out here, I would be in a heap of trouble, so I'll just hit one of the highlights.  "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito is the ultimate cookbook.  Last fall, I borrowed it from the library, made lots of copies, and made the recipes over and over and over.

It's been on my mind lately, as I just baked off two loaves of their Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread for upcoming gatherings.  Freezes really well, so bake away!

Since I've been Christmas shopping for my family, I just happened to be on Amazon and this cookbook fell into my shopping cart.  It arrived today...I inhaled the new book smell, carefully opened it, and started reading.  I suspect there will be lots of baking in the coming weeks, as I try out every recipe.  You's just one of those books where all the recipes sound good and turn out great.  How often can you say that about a cookbook?

Happy Baking, Y'all!
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (one 15-ounce can) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-by-5-by-3 inch loaf pans, dust them with flour, and knock out the excess flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger (if using), baking soda, and salt.  In another large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and oil until combined. Add the sugar and whisk again. Whisk the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Add 2/3 cup room-temperature water and whisk until combined. With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

    Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Do not overmix. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Gently knock the bottom of the pans against the countertop to even out the batter. Use a spatula to smooth the tops. Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Invert the loaves onto wire racks and cool completely before serving.