July 29, 2005

FIT B4 40...

...will no longer be referenced here. If you are interested, just go to just keep driving for the updates.

July 26, 2005

...LIKE AFRICA HOT...

It's hot. I've just returned from a walk up to Broadway and back with Sally. We were really hoofing it too. We stopped briefly at Starbucks for an iced latee for Sally. But then headed right back to work. It was a good walk and I'm relaxed. Just biding my time until I leave here today and walk home with Erin.

FIT B4 40 AND CHEESE MAKING

Please see today's entry at just keep driving.

July 25, 2005

WEEKENDS ARE THE BEST!!

Friday we went for drinks at The Rosebud with Sian. She bought us a couple cocktails for our birthdays. I also received a fabulous Kiss CD containing 40 rock and roll classics. Growing up my fave bands were Kiss and the BeeGees. I can't explain it, just believe it. Julie received a cool book of poker games. Oddly, strip poker was not included. We'll have to improvise.

For a bite to eat after drinks we heaeded to
The Moonlight Cafe. For years I've been driving past this place thinking it was some seedy karaoke lounge. They do have karaoke some nights but I had no idea the food was so fabulous and the place was so completely inviting. Julie recently read the article in the Evergreen Monthly (click on Moonlight Café link) so we were intrigued. Two full menus, one for meat eaters and one vegan, leave one's mouth watering. We ordered three vegan dishes and shared. Everything was great. the eggplant hotpot with tofu and onions, the chicken curry, and a beef dish with broccoli and carrots. All vegan and all delicious. We can't wait to go back.

Saturday we rose early. Sally came over and we all piled in the Geicomobile for a ride out to
Olallie State Park, about 40 miles from our place. We trekked almost four miles along the Iron Horse Trail and ate some thimbleberries. The weather was perfect and the trail pretty quiet until we headed back to the car. We then headed to Big John's PFI. Sally was on the hunt for a sun-dried tomato sauce from Sacla, an Italian brand of pasta sauce. She didn't find it but I found it on the web. Sorry, Sally, no Sacla products in Washington. But you can purchase them online at My Brands Inc.

Julie and I brought home a whole bunch of goodies for a Mediterranean feast, a belated birthday dinner of sorts. For Julie's birthday we went out to eat. For my birthday I wanted a Mediterranean finger food feast. Our feast included cappacolla, soprasotta, white asparagus spears, stuffed grape leaves, bread, dry salami, roasted red peppers, dried figs, Trader Joe’s Pinjur sauce, smoked mussels, smoked trout, olive mix, artichoke hearts, chevre, a gorgonzola cdheddar mix, and a guyere cheese. It's my favorite way to eat and I didn't want to go to a restaurant. I prefer eating on our deck in shorts, barefoot if I like, listening to the radio. It was delicious. There is plenty left over and we had a scaled down version for supper tonight. Still remaining items will be made into whole wheat pita pizzas this week.

For cheese making update please see today's date's entry and two pics at
just keep driving.




Outta my way... Posted by Picasa
Sunday morning we got a late start. By the time we ate breakfast and left the house it was 10 o'clock. That's pretty late for us. Walked to Fuel way down on 19th for coffee. It opened in March and we kind of forgot about it. We have recently rediscovered it and really like it. While sipping the blissful lattes, we scribbled our game plan for the remainder of the day. Always so much to do.

In the garden we lament the loss of a tub of potatoes. We lost the plant to blight but I found plenty of small potatoes in the depths of the dirt. The remaining two potato plants are doing ok, but do have the blight to a ceratin degree. The potatoes I managed to salvage from the dead plant range in size from as big as an extra large egg to as samll as a pea. All sizes will taste delicious once tossed with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven.

We ate the first green beans of the year. The plants have grown up the side of the house about 9 feet. Also enjoyed more broiled zucchini. Planted some various green and red lettuce starts that I've been growing inside. Actually have three tomatoes ripening. Things kind of got off to a slow start with our crazy weather. I have no idea if things will catch up. But I'm looking forward to planting plenty of fall harvest goodies and growing some things year rowund in the cold frame.





The eyes have it...(you know, you try to come up with captions for all these pictures) Posted by Picasa

Spuds not duds Posted by Picasa
Yard work included Julie trimming the snot out of the foliage in front of the house. She really gave it the once over (and the twice and thrice over). Her legs are scraped up from the blackberry and wild rose thorns. I painted the compost bin door with a bright, funky sun. Wonder what the neighbors will think. I hope they think it looks better than an old piece of naked plywood. Cuz that’s what I think.

Snip, snip, snip... Posted by Picasa

July 21, 2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!



Originally uploaded by sissalice.
Birthdays should last at least a week.
Birthdays are the best. Even though we can't deny that we are officially older, birthdays are often a day on which we can expect to be spoiled. And that's fun regardless of your age. When I arrived at work my cube was decorated and there were chocolate covered espresso beans and gummy worms waiting for me. After I returned from getting coffee with Erin and Andrea, there was a cake at my desk. I knew it was going to be a good day.

Sally visited and brought with her a homemade gift certificate for bubble tea, complete with bubbles cut out of construction paper. Ingenious. For lunch, Andrea and Erin and I got our grub on at Todai. I tried to photograph the birthday sushi but realized that I had failed to replace the memory card in the camera. No matter.

After work Julie picked me up and we went for a bubble tea at Chatterbox, a friendly place not too far from our house. While waiting at the counter for the drinks to be made, the lady asked if I liked the flowers sitting there. I hadn't noticed them at all which is pretty strange. I usually notice everything, especially great smelling flowers. I remarked how pretty they were and she suggested that I smell them too. OK. Yep, they smelled great. "Smells like someone's birthday," she indicated with a coy look. I looked at her, then looked at Julie. Julie looked like she was in on something with the bubble tea lady. Huh? Wait a minute, what's going on here? Why do you two look so guilty of something? Sure enough, the flowers were for me. I had been lured to the bubble tea place in order to receive my birthday flowers!

Once home and relaxing on the deck, I opened my presents: A Lucinda WIlliams CD - World Without Tears, three great books right up my alley -
Falling Off The Map: Some Lonely Places of the World by Pico Iyer; Turkish Reflections: Biography of a Place by Mary Lee Settle; and 1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky, one of my favorite authors. He is also the author of Salt: A World History, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, and The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation. I loved all of them. So I am very excited about reading all of these books. Between these and the last batch I picked up from Half Price Books, I am set for the next few months. Oh, I can't forget the other present from Julie, the Sharpie Mini markers. I should explain that I have an unnatural affection for Sharpie Markers. I don't sniff them, relax. But I love the fine points that come in all the great colors. I don't use them all that much but I love having them. So when the mini versions came out I had to really control myself. But Julie knew it was one of the few things I wanted just because so she got them. I'm going to hang them from my backpack or something. But I will use them!

I received separate serenades from Sally and Donna at work, my mom and Stephanie, and Nana and Papa Guy. I received voice mail from my dad, twice. An email from Diane and one from Val who is currently somewhere in the Ionian Sea. I spoke with Mary and with Iva. And I am told that I have packages coming from Mary, my mom and Steph, and Diane. The celebration continues!



FIT B4 40

See just keep driving.

July 18, 2005

Another fun but busy weekend in the 'hood. Friday night we treated ourselves to dinner at Tutta Bella. We shared the Tutta Bella Mista salad and then finished off a Campania and a Quattro Stagioni pizza. The nice thing about Neopolitan pizza is that it's smaller and thinner than the average pizza. You can still indulge without feeling like a blimp when you walk out of the place. But we were plenty full. No room for dessert.

Saturday morning we met Sally at the University District Farmer's Market and bought plenty of good stuff. Orange and golden carrots, purple heirloom tomatoes, blueberries, Rainier cherries, tiny purple and white striped eggplants and more. The blueberries lasted about two hours after we got them home. The weather was good. Is Summer finally here? I'm afraid to ask. After the market we walked down to Cafe Allegro where Sally treated us to delicious lattes.

Art at Cafe Allegro Posted by Picasa

LOBSTER MOBSTER

Once home I attacked the yard and the alley with the weed whacker and resowed some seeds. J did the standard grocery shopping. For dinner she prepared a lobster atop a bed of mango and cucumber salsa, roasted sweet potatoes and a tossed salad. She picked up the lobster at Mutual Fish Company, practically a Seattle fish institution. We often buy fish here. She asked the fishmonger dude to kill the thing. But a few hours later when she removed the creature from the fridge, it was very much alive. Shame on Mutual Fish. But J did the deed herself for the first time. I had trouble watching so I walked away. She cut it in half, basted it in an herb butter and grilled it. It was certainly tasty enough but we both agreed that it was too much trouble to eat and you really pay for alot of crap you can't use. We're glad we did it but next time would prefer crab.

Ingredients for grub Posted by Picasa

Julie's first kill Posted by Picasa

BETTER VEGGIE GARDENER

Update to just keep driving. Good, clean fun.
For grub J made a pork roast. Damn tasty. Earlier in the day I experimented with a whole wheat bread recipe I found at Bob's Red Mill. I followed the directions but it came out a little heavy. No matter. It smelled and tasted very good. I'm going to try again next weekend but alter a couple of things.

July 10, 2005

DAY OF REST?

Sunday we accomplished quite a number of projects. I worked in the yard resowing seeds and scheming up ways to keep Henry out of the garden. Often after I resow seeds, he's in there christening the area. He likes the newly moistened, dark, smelly compost. I noticed he had done this to a new carrot patch when the seeds sprouted all in the same area, as if they had been pushed into a little carrot seed hill. A dead give away. I resowed the seeds again and then used string and thin green garden stakes to make a carrot patch cage. So far so good. Did the same with an area in which I am experimenting with carrots, beets, radishes and beans.

Meanwhile, Julie tackled our toilet. It's guts were old and in need of replacement. She went back to Greenwood Hardware because the folks are friendly and knowledgeable. She came home with all the right pieces and set to work. She's amazing. Within an hour and a half we had a new flusher.

First you spread out all the pieces parts and read some stuff...



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

...and tighten the doo-hicky in here...



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

...then you just twist something back here and...



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

...it's finished and flushable!



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

SHRIMP SOUP IS GOOD FOOD

To feed our hard-working souls I made a huge batch of cold shrimp soup. This is a gazpacho-like dish introduced to us by Martin, an ex-boyfriend of neighbor Gary. Martin (pronounced Mar-teen but I don't have a way to add an accent mark) is a Mexican heavy metal musician who is also a Thai food chef. To look at him, you instantly see the heavy metal part, what with his long hair, tatoos, and mostly black wardrobe. The chef talents we delightfully discovered bit by bit.

The original recipe calls for Clamato, a V-8 type juice that has a slight clam taste. I opted to substitute and here's why: Clamato is pretty expensive, ringing in at over five bucks for less than a gallon. But the primary reason was that the third ingredient listed on the label is high fructose corn syrup! The absolute worst form of sugar - unfortunately found in way too many products. So I moved on to V-8. V-8 was slightly cheaper for the same sized bottle since it was currently on sale. "Sugar" was listed as an ingredient but much further down the list. Then I went to Trader Joe's and inspected their Garden Patch vegetable juice. Not only is the most economical, at only $2.49 for a whole gallon, it doesn't contain any sugar! The label indicates all sorts of vegetable products and by products but no syrups, sugar, or "oses." Available in regular and low sodium, it was the obvious healthy choice of the three contenders. It also tastes very good.

So here is how I throw together the cold shrimp soup. First, there are no measured amounts of anything. I took a big pot and added ingredients until the pot looked full, looked inviting, looked like each ladle dip would pull up a good variety of ingredients. It's definitely a make as you go dish.

* 2 64 oz. bottles of Trader Joe's Garden Patch (1 regular, 1 low sodium)
* Ketchup. This is where you get your sugar. But I used only about 1/2 cup for the whole pot. I happened to use Trader Joe's Organic Ketchup.
* About 4 avacados, on the small side, diced.
* 3 tomatoes, diced. I removed most of the seeds and guts.
* 1 red onion, diced but not too small
* 1 hot pepper of your choice minced. I had a jalapeno that had ripened to red. I seeded and de-veined it.
* Fresh cilantro, chopped.
* Hot sauce of your choice.
* Coarse salt to taste.
* Fish sauce to taste. I added this for saltiness and for a slight fish flavor since I didn't use Clamato and I didn't cook my own shrimp.
* Shrimp. Like I said, I didn't cook my own. I was trying to save time and see if I could also save money. I definitely saved both and, frankly, Julie and I felt the soup was no worse for it. Maybe next time on a less busy day, I'll boil my own shrimp as I have in the past. Then I'll toss in some of the water for flavor.
* Lastly, I added corn this time. Next time, I'll add roasted corn! Even better.
It's best when it chills overnight.

Mmmmmm, bread.

I also whipped up a small, flat rosemary and sage bread. Just 2 cups all purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour. We are gradually eliminating the white flour from the abode and this was a very tasty way to do it. I ground course sea salt, dried sage and dried rosemary with the mortar and pestle and added it to the dough and on top before baking. Very aromatic. Not necessarily the perfect compliment to the shrimp soup but I had a taste for it.

Rosemary and sage bread



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

July 09, 2005

BEANS, GREENS, AND SCENES

Today we were out and about on an urban adventure that evolved as the day passed. The original plan was simply to drive to the Greenwood Post Office and from there walk to do a couple of errands. This turned into trying a new coffee place about which we recently read, walking to the errands and then walking way over to another neighborhood to try a new place for lunch. All of this was accomplished except for the new lunch place. We learned while walking that the place no longer serves lunch. No matter, we were not that far from a tried and true Thai joint and the lunch was absolutely delicious PLUS we used our Entertainment Book coupon. So we got a long walk, sunshine on our faces, and cheap eats. And found some new scenes to share with you.

Our first stop was the
Green Bean Coffee House located at 85th and Greenwood. This is a recently opened non-profit organization that encourages community and giving to charities. Every month half of whatever has accumulated in the tip jar is donated to a local organization. In May, they donated $800 to a group I can't recall. In June $700 went to the Boys and Girls Club. This month's tips will go to Mary's Place, a shelter for women and children. The Green Bean also wants to support and encourage the surrounding community to be a part of the scene by offering a Greenwood Neighbors Discount for folks living in the Greewood/Phinney area. Get a discount every visit with proof of address in either of these two neighborhoods. Although we do not live in this area, we each received a buy-one-get-one coupon for a future visit because we were brand new customers. Following are a few shots of our visit. We liked it. We'll be back.There are also open mic events, live music dates and story times for kids. The Green Bean also sells fair trade art and crafts from around the world.


Originally uploaded by sissalice.



Originally uploaded by sissalice.



Originally uploaded by sissalice.



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

Another neighborhood cat.


DSCF0799
Originally uploaded by sissalice.

BUILDING ART


BUILDING ART
Originally uploaded by sissalice.
I've passed this store dozens of times on Greenwood Ave. and finally today there was sun on it to make for a decent photo. Can't remember the name of the store. More interested in the mural.


Originally uploaded by sissalice.



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

ALWAYS FINDING URBAN GROWTH

We discovered the Greenwood P-Patch by accident. It's a great garden space that is obviously well tended by its gardeners. There is a considerable difference between my photo taken today and the 1997 photo on the website of the front of the P-Patch. Much growth has taken place.

GREENWOOD P-PATCH


GREENWOOD P-PATCH
Originally uploaded by sissalice.



Originally uploaded by sissalice.



Originally uploaded by sissalice.

SAKYA MONASTERY OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM

I wonder if many folks know that there is a Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the heart of greenwood. The Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism is located on the conrer lot of a residential street. The monastery is open to the public for a wide variety of meditation sessions, education, spiritual blessings and prayer. Outside the monastery is a circle of prayer wheels and a large stupa. It's the white bell-shaped figure with the golden pillar on it. From this stupa information website I learned that the Tibetan word for a stupa is "Chorten," which means "the basis of offering." This word I am familiar with but was unaware of what one actually looked like. The website goes on to explain that the stupa, or "Spiritual Monument," represents the "Buddha's body, his speech and his mind, but most especially his mind and every part shows the path to Enlightenment."

Sakya Monastery


BUDDIST TEMPLE
Originally uploaded by sissalice.



Originally uploaded by sissalice.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that these prayer wheels, when turned clockwise, "radiate an incalculable amount of peace, kindness, and relief from misery for all beings." 


Originally uploaded by sissalice.

CATS MAKE BAD DRUNKS


CATS MAKE BAD DRUNKS
Originally uploaded by sissalice.

July 06, 2005


Cats make bad laptops.  Posted by Picasa

July 04, 2005

HOME AGAIN, HOME AGAIN

We are finally back from our vacation! On the one hand, it's good to be home. On the other, it was fun to be on vacation. The stories and photos from the trip are in the works. I've got to have some film developed and do some research on identifying some things I photographed. Give me two weeks. It's a large amount of info. But the July special edition of BO-BUTT BEACON will be released before my birthday on July 20.

We returned yestreday at around 5:30. Today we worked on the house and I opened up a can of whoop-ass on the yard. Nothing perished thanks to Dianna's watering. But it's amazing how fast things grow when you aren't looking. When you're home every day watching the garden grow is like watching water boil. But leave for 10 days and all hell breaks loose. I harvested zucchini, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, a cucumber, arugula, red and green lettuce, and spinach. Tonight we are enjoying carrots, onions, and zucchini along with our sole and pasta. I also ran the weed whacker, raked, weeded, staked, watered, and resowed various vegetables. Julie did laundry, dishes, ran to the store and made a delicious lunch of tuna on ciabatta with a side of baked beans.

It's hot here today and I'm just back from shower number 2. And I smell delicious thanks to some of the products I picked up at Lush in Portland. More on that later. And I will work this week on getting the vacation blog together.

Today's harvest


Today's harvest
Originally uploaded by sissalice.