Friday, November 30, 2007

Our holiday decor

Oh listen to all of you clamboring to see my light up tree from yesterday's post. Blah blah blah. I've uploaded photos of our holiday decor here at this website. You'll have to comb through all of the submissions to find us.* And no, that's not us at the RV park in a golfcart towing an inflatable Santa behind us. Those clever inflatable afficianados!

*If you're reading this and actually don't catch the sarcasm, you don't read my blog enough. But do take in the "wonderful" submissions at this website. From the families who have their own Christmas blogs, to the song about Christmas with a capital C, to the realization that most people who go this hardcore about lights are also into model trains, it's a real eye opener into an amazing world. Wow. Double wow. Tis the season!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Honey it's cold outside

rosehips and birds at christmastime
Snow landed in Portland's west hills last night. Seems early this year. Bbbbrrrrr. Our out of town guests arrive today, and we're just about set. Holiday decorations this year include birds and nature. The Christmas bulb doesn't seem to be growing too quickly. Hmmm. But my new tree? I'm just like a 9-year-old girl again, giddy about the pretty lights.

Last year at the after-Christmas sales, my tree was half price. I stood there and stared at her box for a long time. Wistfully. And asking myself if I really want her. I do, I do, I do. But is she, well, kinda tacky? Oh no, not this one. I had seen her in someone's yard last holiday season, and been mesmerized. 6 feet tall, white, with blue and white lights that slowly turn from blue, to white. A glowing. Mmmmmmm. Kind of like fiber optic lights. Mmmmm. And then I drifted back to my childhood, laying under our Christmas tree, and the mysterious fiber optic lights. Like tufts of glowing grass, their little dots of light at the tips glowed at me, and I was in love.

And so it was with this tree. AdRi asked me if I was sure I really wanted it. Oh yes oh yes oh yes I do. Off it went, stacked somewhere into our basement, stashed during our remodel of last year. Unearthed las week, it was as if Christmas had come early.

She's all set up out there on our front porch. She's an outdoor gal. But we can clearly see her from inside. And all those who pass by the house can too. For safety sake, she's tied up with a bike lock to the front porch railing. (I remember too clearly the year our washbucket of poinsettias was stolen from that front porch, and no one is getting my Christmas tree this year.)

Birds and rose hips and my light-up Christmas tree. Now if you see fiber optic lights somewhere, you let me know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What donkeys and penis enlargement spam and the bible have in common

I've discovered where all of that fascinating writing for penis enlargement e mails in your spam folders stems from. Haven't you seen that stuff and just cringed? Like, I hope someone doesn't walk up right now and see me with this horrific stuff on the screen? It's horrific, I know. I'm tempted to repeat some of it right here and now but I don't really need to. You know what I mean.

Today I read the 9 Most Badass Bible Verses. I know it's just like me to be catching up on my bible reading. Makes me want to get out my Jesus jammies (with footies!) and curl up with the big book. But there's that part there, Ezekiel 23:19-20:
Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lvoers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
Don't tell me that doesn't sound like one of those naughty mc-nasties in your spam folders.

Penis enlargement spam? Blame it on the bible.

Newsflash! The hot new holiday toy to give your kids this year? Roadkill!

Here you go Jimmy, meet Twitch the Raccoon. His guts and blood squish out, but you can stuff it back in! Oh roadkill. Why didn't we think of this earlier? Does it qualify as supporting homemade?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Having a homemade holiday?

I Took The Handmade Pledge!
Keep your dollars close to home this holiday and buy homemade. I know I know. I've often been the person who says "oh I could make that" but then I never had the time. I was just way too busy. But others are out there (hello!), especially available on-line and by fantastic artists right here in Portland, making some really incredible handmade stuff. You can even make a pledge to buy and give handmade this holiday season. How cool is that?

As you know from yesterday's muy exciting post, I've been getting a bit crafty myself. Luckily, most of our family and friends who are receiving our gifts this year don't read this blog, but I've been sewing and stitching like a fiend. Take for example, these very fun kitchen towels, featuring muy guapo Mexican wrestlers...
Lucha Libre!
Lucha Libre Face off!
#1 Lucha Libre

These would look great on a men's apron, so if you're interested in an apron for a guy in your life, yes, I do make them. Blue and white gingham, embroidery on the front, a little jean pockets goin' on. Hot. Just let me know.

And a big shout out to Rozanne today, who was my very first Etsy customer. Yeah! Thank you Rozanne! Look at the sweet little number she bought...
Calorie Counter Apron

Yeah for keepin' it handmade. I know I have very little desire to spend the next month in the malls. And fortunately, you don't have to. Here's to the holidays.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Introducing Lelo in Nopo: Homemade

How does the feminist agenda and aprons go together? I'm not sure. When I figure all of that out I'll write about it here. But in the meantime, I'm offering up my new little venture....muy caliente aprons to protect your clothes while you work and play. And homemade here in North Portland, some with retro trim. Take back the apron, people, and if you're going to wear one, at least have it be as good looking as these. Hell, I'd go out in public with one of these on. Oh wait, I do!
Frida Kahlo Apron
If you'd like to buy one, or give one as a gift, visit me at my brand new shop at Etsy. If you live in North Portland, I'll waive the mailing fee and deliver in person, if you like. These make great gifts and I've already sold some to friends. Others have received them as gifts from me. Here's your chance to check off some needs on your giftlist. I'll stop with the sales copywriting now.

And I know. Can you believe it? I can sew. There's one thing I never blogged to you about!

Apron projects

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oregon raspberry ginger bundt cake: an easy Sunday morning experiment

Guests arrive this week, and we're all aflutter cleaning and decorating for the holidays. So early for us, but hey, Christmas is coming early this year so we're diving right in.

I've been testdriving some recipes, and woke up this morning with an itch to bake a little somethin' somethin'. Twitter revealed another blogger with a hankerin' for ginger poundcake, and I remembered having a nice stash of fresh ginger going unused in the fridge.

So after googling and notetaking, and some substitutions, it was all about an Oregon Raspberry Ginger Bundt Cake. Remember the raspberries from this summer? Thanks to the stash in our freezer, they were put to work.
frozen raspberries and chopped ginger
Oregon Raspberry Ginger Bundt Cake
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup butter (softened)
4 eggs
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP freshly grated ginger
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups raspberries

Prehead oven to 350 degrees. Spray bundt pan with non stick spray.

Combine the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well. Beat in ginger. In medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients, and along with the buttermilk, alternately add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir in raspberries. Pour batter into pan and bake for about one hour. When toothpick comes out clean, cake is done. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
the makings of an oregon raspberry ginger bundt cake
While cake is cooling, combine 3/4 cup water, 1 cup raspberries and 1 cup sugar in sauce pan, over medium heat. Bring to boil, and then simmer until syrup begins to form.

Invert cake onto plate (and keep fingers crossed that it doesn't stick). Drizzle over top, while cake is still warm and can soak in the syrup, the raspberry syrup. I only used about half of the mixture, and am saving the rest for other uses this week.
oregon raspberry ginger bundt cake
Here's to a great week...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I've got projects up the wazzoo

I've been upping my craftiness quotient, and I believe I'm reaching the pinnacle. I can't show you everything, but I'm launching an exciting venture soon. Have to get back to the projects, but here's some secret previews for you...
Preview of project 3
Preview of project
Preview of project 2

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's the holidays: get your drink on

hot spiced cranberry punch
I like seasonal drinks: muddled fresh raspberries and vanilla vodka with spritzer and topped with some mint from the garden was a good one this summer. (The basil with strawberry wasn't quite as good, but it sure did make for some fun photos.) Yesterday we test drove a hot rum punch that I'll be making again for get-togethers and special occassions. It calls for an ingredient I have never purchased before (jellied cranberry sauce) and we had as much fun getting it out of the can and admiring its weirdness, as we did drinking the end product.
can o'  jell
Slashfood did a great series this past week, and somewhere in there I found the recipe for hot spiced cranberry punch. It makes the house smell delicious, and it's pretty tasty.
Hot Spiced Cranberry Punch
  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cans jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2 cups light rum
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg


Bring sugar, 1 cup water, salt, and spices to a boil.

Mash cranberry sauce with a fork.

Add remaining water to cranberry sauce and beat with a rotary beater until smooth.

Add cranberry liquid and pineapple juice to hot spiced syrup and heat to a boil.

Add rum.

Serve hot with cinnamon stick stirrers.

Makes approximately 20 5-oz. servings.

Today we are working outside, taking Wink for a long walk, and getting some of the holiday decor up. I know it's early, but this year, it's just how we roll. Now go make some punch and get your holiday cheer on. Salud!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Twas the night before Thanksgiving....

...and I've sent my partner to the grocery store. Lord knows I don't want to go. So if you're at Interstate New Seasons Wednesday night around 8:30pm and you see a very good looking Latina who answers to AdRi wondering the aisles seeking things like allspice berries, leeks and sage, give her a high five. At the last minute I decided we needed to have stuffing tomorrow. "It's Thanksgiving!" Leek, allspice berry stuffing, and anyway, she forgot to figure out ahead of time how she was going to cook the turkey. The answer? Sage. And that means sage gravy. Oh sweet jesus.

I will never go to a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving if I can help it. No sirreeeee. My mother once sent me there to retrieve cranberries. I was in college and home for the holiday. I think I ran into people I knew. ***shudders*** And I think the line was 45 minutes, to buy 2 bags of cranberries. It was a slice of hell. Never. Again.

So tonight? I've made the pumpkin cheesecake, the Famous Holiday Cheese Salad, and roasted several heads of garlic (some for freezing, some for use in potatoes tomorrow). The Famous Holiday Cheese Salad you ask? Oh, that along with green jello salad, frog eye salad and raspberry frost salad are sending the Lelo in Nopo statcounter into a frenzy this time of year. Evidently, lots of home cooks are seeking some last minute advice (many are in Utah), and thanks to Google, are landing here at Lelo in Nopo. If you are new to this blog, I do highly recommend these posts for some enjoyable reading and history.

But if you think our current holiday celebrations are only full of jello and whip cream, I'm afraid you may be wrong. We'll be having turkey with sage, mashed potatoes with rosemary and roasted garlic, spinach and leek gratin, the last minute addition of leek alspice berry paprika stuffing (call me crazy!), the famous holiday cheese salad-because-I-cannot-help-myself it is Thanksgiving people!, and a pumpkin cheesecake. Oh, and did I mention the cranberry rum punch?

But all of this will only happen after we deliver a whole lot of meals to homebound seniors. Are you not sure about that elderly neighbor down the street who you never see? This is the perfect time to take the step to knock on the door and introduce yourself, offer some pumpkin pie, and say hello. Do it. Use the holiday as the excuse to just do it now. And really, isn't that the real spirit of the season? You'll feel good, they'll feel good, it's Thanksgiving.

Gobble! Gobble!

Quit *#&@ing Around

Are you at work today? Are you ***really*** working? Don't lie. Here's a link for you: something for you to do to keep productive. Or, perhaps you're reading this from a relatives home in which you will be sequestered over the coming few days. Just think how popular this could make you with the kids.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Design sensibilities

1970s flashback
Today the 1970s flashed before me. I looked down and there it was. Orange. Cork. Clogs. Denim. All I needed to complete the scene was some pecky cedar on the walls and HR Puffinstuff playing in the background. Don't tell me you haven't seen pecky cedar before. Oy. It was all over our Southern California suburban ranch. Must go find pictures....

Monday, November 19, 2007

As daylight shortens...

Days are getting shorter as we head towards December 21st. Today the sun rose at 7:14 am, and it set at 4:36 pm. Speaking with my brother in Austin today, realized his day was going dark at the same time ours was in Portland. But he's several hours ahead of us. Ouch.

The rain has been unrelenting, and Wink doesn't even want to go out in it. For a brief moment the rain paused today, and out we went for a walk around the soggy, squishy wet neighborhood.

The towels are stationed at both doors, ready to towel off a wet dog prior to re-entry into the house. The raincoats are hung in the basement landing. Shoes come off and slippers go on. We're back into the routines of wet Northwest winters.

It's snowing in the mountains. I hope we get some snow in Portland this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Here come the Bushtits!

My favorite Portland tree produces this
This afternoon the bushtits flew in as they're like to do: in mass. Even in the rain. They descend out of nowhere and they flit from shrub to vine to tree. And this time of year they're in love with my favorite Portland tree, as are many other birds right now. The Harlequin Glory Bower Clerodendrum trichotomum, known as the peanut tree to us, because its leaves smell like peanut butter. The photo above is what it's currently covered in, those crazy turquoise berries surrounded by fushia petals. I know it doesn't look real, but it is. Isn't it crazy beautiful?

A long time ago we lived in a rental house in Sellwood. And this tree grew there, right outside the living room window. I gardened there, and carefully planted around the tree. We loved the tree. One Monday morning after a weekend away, I opened the living room blinds and discovered the tree had been cut down, and the stump that was left had been crossed several times with a chainsaw. Whoever had removed my favorite tree had worked to make sure it wouldn't grow back. I was devastated. I cried. Upon visiting the landlord, she said the guy she had hired must have cut down the wrong tree. And so he had. We vowed to have one of these trees one day in a house of our own, and so it was a sign that we had found the right house when we came upon this house, and in the back side yard, a small baby Clerodendrum was growing. We ended up moving it that first year, and today, it's the star of the garden. 25-30 feet tall, it's grown larger than we had thought, but it's still a superstar.

The bushtits approve, too. (I know you want to say bushtit out loud. Go on. Say it. It's a great name, isn't it? Bushtit. Bushtit. Bushtit.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Today was a good day

Had a wonderful conversation with my favorite ten-year-old (it involved a quiz on text messaging), and tonight at dinner, I was carded. Oh, sweet jesus thank you. That totally made my day.

Here's a side view of yesterday's overhead photo of the giant bulb. I'm planting 12 smaller ones tomorrow. I anticipate in a little over a month the house will be filled with the scent of fresh blooming flowers. Sweet.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Life cycle ends, life cycle begins

rose hips

With the windstorm of last week taking out our fence, we had to cut down and back everything growing along it. Including the roses. Of course AdRi knew to save me the rose hips. I was going to leave them out for the birds, but they're so pretty I thought I'd bring them in for awhile and enjoy their orangeness at this orange time of year.
Growing the Christmas bulb. All tucked in its terrarium with stones and moss and everything. I love growing bulbs inside. It just needs a tiny little turtle in there, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 15, 2007


A local aggregator listed this blog as a "photoblog." I thought that was interesting. Not all of my posts have photos, but that's cool. It's also not a cooking blog. Even though I write about that a lot, lately. It's not a GLBTQ blog, because I don't really write about GLBTQ issues all the time. It's certainly not a political blog, though I do throw in a few good ones every once in awhile, when I get my panties in a bunch or there's a local political issue I'm involved in or closely related to. About a year ago, for 6 months or so, it was a home renovation blog, documenting the trials and tribulations of living in a house that's being majorly renovated. I guess if you really ask the question, it's just a personal blog, part therapy, part world views, part middle-aged-woman-making her-way (cue the Mary Tyler Moore theme song now). Oh, here's a new one. I'm a part of the Dogs in Cute Clothes network on Ning. Oh yes I am. How would you label this blog?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The funny thing about me and photography

Still life with passion
I've incorporated photography into my professional life. I often take photos for projects I'm working on, or have been hired specifically for photography. You see a lot of my exploration here on Lelo in Nopo. A lot of what you see is just documentation of my life, things I see, how I live, people and things I love, places I go. It's just a little glimpse, actually. My recent explorations into macro photography and the lensbaby are good exercises to get me more comfortable breaking out of the mold with my photos. Change it up some. I've been a mentor to a young girl in a photography program, and I've worked with lots of professional photographers, all over the country. On set, from afar, and everything in between. I often develop photography guidelines for clients. Photography, therefore, is a big part of my life, really.

But you want to know a secret? This is a big one. You ready? I failed photography in college. And it was a requirement of my degree. I know, can you believe it?

I had major issues in my photography class. Growing up, there was major tension in my family around cameras. Dad would get the camera out, mom would get tense, we'd have to pose for what seemed like hours while dad set up the equipment and got the timer set. We'd take the photo, tension mounted, arguments erupted, and total breakdowns ensued. Looking at the multiple photos from these shoots you can see red eyes, smiles through clenched teeth, body language that says "get me the hell out of here." I think through the years, I was trained to See Camera. Get Upset.

When it came to my photography class, I couldn't get through it. I didn't want to go to class. I didn't want to participate. I didn't want to hold the camera. I tried two times, and couldn't get through the class.

Until a friend helped me out, and became my coach. Getting me comfortable, gently, with the camera. Not overwhelming me with the technical aspects, but using it as a creative outlet. It was a nontraditional way of learning photography, and I took to it.

I eventually passed the photography requirement for my degree, and ended up specializing in video production. But my issues with the still camera stayed with me for sometime. Through my exploration over the past 3 years with digital cameras, I think I've gotten over it all, but it's funny how those things can stay with you. And it's funny how those issues I had, kept me from something I love today. I can't imagine not taking photos now. It's part of me. It reflects me. And that's the wonder of photography, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How I got out of jury duty

And look at what I found in my kitchen this morning
Look what I found in my kitchen this morning
Yikes. I know. I do it too. Everytime I see this I jump back and remember whoa. My other half is a cop. Today I think it came in handy.

Today I fulfilled my civic duty and reported for jury duty. Sat in a packed room of all kinds of peeps. Didn't get called. Phew. Didn't get called. Phew. Didn't get called. Phew. Then I got called. Oh man. Sat through interviews and gettin' to know yas. Most people answered question #10, do you have any acquaintances that are correctional officers, with NO. Me? Sheesh. I live with a police officer. I have family and friends that are police officers. I hear myself say that and think, who the heck am I? I have been anti-cop and anti-gun most of my life. But life comes at you in mysterious ways.

And so, I'm happy to say, I did not get picked. For once in my life, to not get picked for this team, is good. I have plenty o' things to keep me busy the rest of the week. Hopefully I won't run into any more guns in my kitchen.

P.S. Extra plus bonus for having jury duty: thanks to the miracles of Twitter, connected with and had a lovely lunch with Brett. Love it when that happens. :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stormwatch! Winds whip North Portland!

Windstorm damage
Yes, that photo shows the destruction of our beautiful, custom cedar fence. Sigh. I haven't had the TV on today but I know if I did, there'd be poor reporters out on street corners yelling through the wind and rain reporting Live! Live! Live from Windstorm November 2007! (or whatever catchy name they give it) But still, the wind was pretty bad here in North Portland, enough to take this whole thing out. I'm not too happy. If anyone knows a wonderful handyman or someone you'd refer to remove those panels, fix the posts and reuse what we've got, let me know.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chasing brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts before
I've had a hankerin' for brussel sprouts. This love o' the brussel has come on with the weather change and I've made them a few times this season. Super simple to make, and super fresh and in season right now. You can simply steam them and serve with a little butter and some herbs, or just squeeze a lemon on them. You can halve them and roast them in the oven with lemon peel, garlic and some olive oil, then toss with fresh parmesan. Or even the way I made them this week, sauted and carmelized with brown sugar. (Do check out that link: lots of fun food photos and cooking going on there at Tracy's place, and she's doing NaBloPoMo)
Brussel sprouts after
I'd do the recipe again, probably a little less of the brown sugar. Really good brussel sprouts just don't need a whole lot of dress up, especially if they're fresh and local.
Oh, and kudos to Jess! She made Lelo's Autumn Risotto—vegan style....mmmmmmm. Yeah Jess!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A different kind of food post

If you're making plans, lists, and gathering recipes for Thanksgiving, here's one to add: Donate a dinner to Loaves & Fishes. Loaves & Fishes delivers meals to thousands of homebound seniors in the Portland area, often offering the only social interaction to isolated seniors during their day. This Thanksgiving so many of us will gather with friends, family and loved ones and eat amazing food, but so many of our neighbors will not. You can easily donate a dinner at any New Seasons stores, along with Thriftway and others listed on that link I gave you there above, make a donation on-line, or get involved and volunteer with a fantastic organization.

I've mentioned our 94-year-old neighbor we befriended this summer. We recently took him to a Spaghetti Feed at our local Loaves & Fishes center, and it was just a great way to get out, interact with other seniors, and have a nutritious hot meal. And we had fun, too. Chatting with him we learn so much about a life lived through different eras, his children, spouses, and the death of the love of his life several years back. It was a great night out (we were home by 6:30pm!) and I saw first hand the awesome volunteers and staff who make nights like that happen.

This Thanksgiving AdRi and I will be delivering meals to seniors, and while they've filled all of the delivery positions for the day, you can easily donate a meal when you're buying the makings for your own Thanksgiving, make an end-of-the-year donation on-line (tax deductible!) or become a volunteer for other times of the year. And if you have a senior living alone in your neighborhood, like many of us here in North Portland do, get to know them and make a friend. Our lives are richer because of them.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

When life is lived in color

hot red fall in portland
Color evokes emotion and memories. It can evoke a scent even without the presence of scent there. How do you see color in your daily life? Do you see patterns and repetition of it during certain times of the year? Do you wear red all year long or only in December? What about orange?

I've been cooking with orange....what with sweet potatoes and butternut squash, pumpkin bread. Orange is so indicitive of fall, lighting up the trees and the sky and the ground with orange, red and pink swaths of bold color. It's warm, when the days and nights are getting colder. It's in warm plaids and tangerine fleece, and evidently, it's also in mango pudding.
Fall color + Mango pudding = visual poetry
And mango pudding steams. Pretty.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

**True** environmental responsibility? Uh, Fred Meyer, I invite you to step up to the plate.

It's been interesting watching the grocers get on the environmental bandwagon and encouraging the use of reusable bags. I'm pretty good at bringing my own bags, most of the time, especially with the help of a lovely gift from RSG on her last trip to Mexico. She brought me two of those awesome Mexican market bags with Frida Kahlo screen printed on them. Everytime I bring them to the market with me the checkers get chatty, especially at New Seasons. "Ooh, I love this bag" and "I love Frida Kahlo" blah blah blah. It's fun, actually, and the bags hold a ton more than most plastic bags.

So back to the topic at hand. Last Sunday you may have seen the promotional insert in Sunday's paper from Fred Meyer. They were specifically promoting using their reusable bags, and the importance of reducing the amount of plastic bags they use. It was probably the most visible and specific messaging I had seen from them about doing so. This weeks in-store promotion includes free reusable Fred Meyer branded bags with purchases of XX amount. Cool, huh?

Hhahhahahahhahaha. AdRi went to the store today and returned with several of the reusable bags. And inside them? Items bagged in the plastic bags. She said she actually had to stop the checker from putting her items in the plastic bags and then in the reusable ones. This coming after catching the checker originally putting the reusable bags INSIDE plastic bags like they were products she was purchasing, and, well, they needed to be bagged! Oh dear.

Last time I blogged about Fred Meyer and their little bagging problems, my statcounter showed their parent company visited my blog. (Everyone wave here at Kroger's: Hi Kroger's!!!!) So since they're apparently listening, I have a little advice for you. Come on, lean in. I won't even charge you for this. Kudos on your work to reduce your environmental footprint and to encourage your customers to do so as well. But if you're going to really make this policy stick? Start with thorough training of your staff. And once you all get it down? Then sing its praises in your marketing materials. Because then I'll really believe you mean it. Right now? It's just a little greenwashed.

Portlanders love their bikes...

...but let's hope not quite this much. Back away from the bike, mister, and put it back in yer pants. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Question: What's better than pictures of dogs in clothes?

Answer: Pictures of dogs in clothes with Santa! Oh you know it. If you're in the Portland area, you can get a photo of your pet, Santa, and yourself at Fred Meyers over the next two weekends. Alas, no North Portland Fred Meyers, but there are plenty of others. And the best part? It's a fundraiser for the Oregon Humane Society. $20 and you're set. If any of you see me and Wink getting our picture taken, I'll donate another $20 to the Humane Society. Any bloggers and their dogs interested in meeting up, let me know. I'm all over this!
Details: The Oregon Humane Society’s annual Santa Paws pet portrait event comes to town on the weekends of November 10-11 and 17-18 at eight local Fred Meyer stores.

Get keepsake pictures of your pet with Santa, and help animals in need!

What Santa Will Give to You: You'll get two 5 x 7 professional quality portraits of your pet with Santa (family members are invited to sit along with their pets), a compact disc with a copy of your portrait, and the the opportunity to order more copies for yourself or for use as holiday greeting cards. All this for just $20, with the proceeds benefiting the animals at OHS.

When & Where to Meet Santa: November 10 - 11 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Fred Meyer Garden Centers located in the Gateway, Gresham, Hollywood, and Johnson Creek stores

November 17-18 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Fred Meyer Garden Centers located in the Oregon City, Raleigh Hills, Tualatin, and Walker Road stores.

Where Do I Pickup My Pictures? Your pictures will be available for pickup one week after they were taken. To get your pictures, go to the photo department at the same Fred Meyer store where your pictures were taken.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Autumn meals: the perfect risotto

autumn light
Autumn means the return of comfort foods. And in our house that means root vegetables—carrots, turnips, parsnips and others like brussel sprouts...I've been doing some experimenting with sweet potatoes. (The bonus is they're a vegetable high in Vitamins A, C and B6.) An easy way to cook them is peeling and slicing into matchsticks (think fries here), tossing with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasting them at 450 for 20-30 minutes. Check them to make sure they're not sticking to the pan and turn them once, and then when you take them out of the oven, toss them in a bowl with a handful of freshly snipped herbs, especially parsley. Mmmmmm.

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the recent exploration I've been doing in perfecting risotto, and a delightful autumn meal that included using apples from our Drawer o' Apples (thank you Hood River!). See drawer here (they should last a while in that external walled drawer: keep fingers crossed):
a drawer full of apples
Trying to diversify our mainly chicken, ground turkey and vegetarian meals, I've wandered into the pork tenderloin arena. And evidently apples and pork go well together. So we tried this recipe, and I have to give it a thumbs up. Fairly simple, super tasty. The roasted apples and onions make the dish. But it's what we paired it with that made it The Meal, and that's risotto.
sweet potato and onion
I've been experimenting with several risotto recipes, and we've tweaked and combined some to the point that it's oh sweet jesus, real good. So you know about risotto, right? Every time we make it we yell a la Chef Gordon Ramsey "You call this risotto, you donkey!" and then we have another glass of wine. (If you don't know what that's in reference to I'm not going to explain it.) Risotto requires some attention and a lot of stirring, but it's quickly becoming a seasonal favorite, and it's fun to experiment. The original inspiration recipes are here and here, but I think ours is the best.

LeLo's Favorite Autumnal Risotto
1 T olive oil
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 sweet potatoes (peeled and diced into 1/4-1/2 inch size pieces)
1 large onion chopped (I love those sweet onions)
2 cups arborio rice
3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (save 1 teaspoon to top the plates)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bag of baby spinach (4-6 oz)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Gorgonzola crumbled cheese

In a large pot, bring the broth to boil, cover and reduce heat to low or simmering. Put it on the back burner.

In heavy large saute pan, heat the oil and saute the onion and sweet potato for 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked. Add the rosemary, stir, then add rice. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine, simmer until evaporated. Now begin to ladle in the chicken stock, 1-2 ladles at a time. Stirring constantly, add more stock as it evaporates. This should take about 20 minutes, until you are done adding the stock and the risotto is creamy in consistency. Taste it to make sure there's not a "bite" to the rice and that it is smooth. Stir in the spinach, cream and Gorgonzola cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan and extra rosemary as it's served.

And there you have it. The Perfect Autumn Meal.
pork with apples, risotto with sweet potato spinach, rosemary and gorgonzola

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sluttifying Halloween

I promise this is the last post I'll make this year about Halloween. I just have to get this off my chest.
What is with Halloween costumes becoming sexy and slutty? Seriously. The naughty devil girl or sexy maid or fill in the blank. We get a lot of teenagers and tweensters trick or treating. Some with costumes, some without. Or questionable. I ask them all, "What are you?" urging them to at least come up with something to earn their sugar. They are good sports and offer up something. This year we had a "gangsta" and I thought I don't know if I'd be flashin' colors in this neighborhood little one. But a few years back two preteen girls, with a lot of makeup and very little clothing, showed up at the door. When asked what they were, they replied in unison, "We're hos!" Awwww man. What the hell. So on that note, I leave you with this fantastic link to Jill Sobule's song about slutty costumes. Halloween is not an excuse to be a ho.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Someone's jealous.

Poor poor Gus. He wants fun clothes to wear too. Alas, he only has utilitarian wear. Poor thing. Perhaps he needs to visit one of our favorite places on the web. I think he might like some warm PJs. See? Doesn't he look comfy?

Oh St Johns how I love thee as you grow: Atomic Daylight

Atomic Daylight owner
Oh to think you can buy gifts and cool clothes and such in St Johns now. Jaime, pictured above, has opened Atomic Daylight, located in a sweet little space right across the street from Legong Gelato and the theater in downtown St Johns. I happened in by chance not too long ago, chatted with Jaime a bit and checked out her refurbished line of clothing. With an eye for good graphics, she takes retro kids t-shirts and turns them into grown-up clothes. You have to see it to fully understand. It's very cool. And, word is she's having a sale November 9-11th with one of a kind tops and new designs going for $25. New on her shelf are handmade cable knit gloves and some cool vintage dresses.

Atomic Daylight is at 8711 N. Lombard

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dia de los Muertos: Bienvenidos

Are you celebrating? Leaving out some water to quench the thirst of loved ones who have passed and are making their way back from the dead to celebrate Dia de los Muertos?

We have been enjoying some lovely Pan de Muerte sent to us from a mexican bakery in California via our connection in Cape Verde. MMmmmmm. Has anyone seen this for sale in the Portland area?

In case you missed last years podcast on Day of the Dead, submitted by yours truly and the lovely AdRi, here is a link for you to that. Oh podcasts. We haven't done one in such a long time. With Nablopomo here, I foresee that possibility. Speaking of, thank you for the requests this month! I'll definitely be posting more about North Portland and if I get up the gumption, answer some of those pesky personal questions put out there, too. Maybe.

This lovely post by another Oregon blogger tells about the history of Day of the Dead. And with that, I leave you with another favorite photo of the altars in Tlaquepaque we visited in Mexico on our last trip down south....
Altar with flower petal carpet

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My dog will be giving autographs from 3-4pm and photos until 4:15pm

Wink makes The Oregonian/OregonLive website
Yes, that is Wink on the homepage of OregonLive/The Oregonian last night. I need to remember to enter these in contests, we do have a legacy of winning, remember?