Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Simplicity — Blackberry Galette

After savoring my first Blackberry Galette at The Breadboard Bakery, I went online to see if I could find a recipe.  I found this article and recipe on and can't wait to give it a try.

Blackberry Galette 2

I’m not much of a summer cook. I like to cook the foods of cooler weather — spicy gingerbreads, hearty stews, root vegetables that stick to your ribs. Summer, at least in Los Angeles, is really to hot to do this type of cooking, and those foods are literally the last food on earth you feel like eating. It doesn’t help that in the summertime I can live on Bacon and Tomato sandwiches and corn on the cob, which, while providing an entirely balanced diet (what? That’s what I’ve had for dinner for the past 4 nights in a row!), is not so much the stuff of food blogs.

The problem, of course, is that summertime is when my local farmer’s market offers its greatest bounty. I am confronted with weekly heaps of Gaviota strawberries, Blenheim apricots, Elephant Heart plums, and the biggest, fattest blackberries you’ve ever seen. And while I do LOVE fruit (and my love cannot hold a candle to that of my husband and my child) sometimes I am compelled to buy more fresh fruit than even our family can eat. And so I am forced to cook, even in the summer.

This blackberry galette is unfussy enough to suit even my summer doldrums, however. The crust is across between a crust and a shortbread, with some sturdiness that helps contain the juice (galettes do not lend themselves well to the world’s most flaky piecrust — more on that later). Furthermore, it’s easy to roll out, and can be rolled directly on the (parchment lined) cookie sheet. Just plop in your blackberries, fold up the sides, brush the whole thing with cream and sprinkle with sugar and bake.

The result may even be worth turning the oven on.
Blackberry Galette 1
Blackberry Galette
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz flour
1 oz sugar
1 pint blackberries
1/3 c. cream
1/4 c. turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine cream cheese, flour and sugar until thoroughly combined, form into a ball, and roll out directly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet until slightly less than 1/4 inch thick.

Place blackberries in center of crust, fold up edges. Brush entire tart with cream and sprinkle with

Combine all ingredients, form into a ball, and roll into a thin crust directly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place blackberries in center of crust, fold up edges of crust. Brush entire tart with cream and sprinkle with turbinado. Bake 30-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

Read more:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Accidental eats?

Saturday morning, there was just one thing I was determined to get done.  It was time to take the bottles and cans into Roth's to get reimbursed for that extra cash we pay at the register.  Pop and beer used to be a rarity at our home--when the girls were growing up.  Not true anymore!  All three of us make an effort to keep beverages rotating in our little outdoor fridge.

Our bottle and can organization system consists of :
1) The cardboard cases the beer comes home from the store in.
 2) A plastic receptacle, manufactured to be a diaper pail.
3) A 30 gallon , plastic garbage can with a lid.

The bottles, once emptied, go back into the cardboard box, and pop cans are tossed into the diaper pail.  When the pail is full, the cans are transferred to the garbage can.  Once the garbage can is full,  we know it's time to take the empties back to the store.

Wow, that didn't take long to transform aluminum and glass into paper receipts!  Our reward?  A drive to Falls City to check out The Breadboard Bakery.  I've been a fan of their bread since I first tried it at Salem Saturday Market.  (No favorites. I like Cascade's, too)  Falls City is situated to the west of both Monmouth and Dallas.  It has the feeling of a place that people live in to escape the intimacy of life on a small city lot.  No one to scold you for collecting too many derelict vehicles or growing dandelions around your house.  Plus, there are no traffic lights or even lines painted down the center of the city streets to tell you when and where to go. Yeah, I can see the attraction.  It's how I spent the first 20 years of my life.

It wasn't hard to find The Breadboard Bakery.  Especially since I'd checked out Nate Rafn's Living Culture video (embedded below) and the bakery's website.  The town is small, and once you know what the building looks like there's no doubt.  We decided on a loaf of Apple/Cranberry Ciabatta and shared a ham and cheese on a baguette.  But the best part?  We also shared a blackberry galette with whipped cream--flaky crust and berries with just enough sugar to really taste those berries.  Delicious!
Eating outside at one of their tables was nice, too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Wonderful Life

I do have it pretty good, but the title refers to a website, not me personally.
I don't remember how I stumbled upon the site, but once I did I signed up and began planning.  Fran was less than thrilled.
"Hey!  I'm doing it with YOU in mind!", I explained.
Didn't help.  Not at all.
You may be wondering--what is this site?
A funeral planning website (you know you want to click here for link).
As odd as it may sound to others, ever since I heard Pat Humphries sing, "Swimming to the Other Side", on NPR in 2002, I knew I wanted to share it with others at my funeral.  So stirring, so universal, I love it.
And that's why I was happy to find "My Wonderful Life", to make an attempt to make it happen.
Because nothing is for sure.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Almost time

Yup, almost time for the big change.
The schedule change, the brain change . . .
. . . stop!  You're killing me!
No, not really.  I'm ready this year.  Probably for the first time in all these years.  It's not that I WANT to go back.  I'm just ready--not remorseful or sad.

I have to admit, there are things I'll miss:
leisurely lunches
sleeping in
taking my time doing chores
all day to think and prep for dinner
being able to check Twitter and email whenever I want
running errands in the morning
Almost there . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random musings . . .

Yup, that's pretty random (the guinea pig, silly).  It's amazing what you can find with Google images.  :)

Things I've discovered lately:
1)  It can be more fun to write a negative review than a positive one and now I must resist the urge to begin dragging N to places I know are iffy.

2)  Reading the instructions for the proper use of your electric toothbrush can give you better results.  Only took me 12 years or so and a new toothbrush to discover that one.

3)  I can be pretty compulsive when I find a book I enjoy.  I went to Reader's Guide and bought 3 more books by Chris Bohjalian and I haven't even finished the current book.

How do I brush with a power toothbrush?

Step One:
 Guide the brushhead slowly from tooth to tooth, following the curve of the gum and the shape of each tooth.

 Hold the brushhead in place for a few seconds before moving on to the next tooth.

Step Two:
 Don't forget to reach all areas, including the inner and chewing surfaces, and behind your back teeth.

Step Three:
 Direct the brushhead along the gumline. It isn't necessary to press hard or scrub. Simply let the brush do all the work

Monday, August 23, 2010

Morning Entertainment . . .

Yes, Statcounter, I'm talking about you.
There are times when I feel like a stat stalker, but to be perfectly honest (and their outage this morning is what brought this to my attention) I'm probably more of a stat addict.
Yes, it's true.
I'm squirming a little in my chair as I write this. And yes, I know that while I'm checking on the comings and goings of others that Statcounter is watching me.
I hadn't really thought about it until I began to notice their ads that used to hold no interest for me, suddenly began to reflect my recent product searches.
The nerve! How dare they!
Privacy isn't what the internet is all about. Makes me glad we keep our security software up to date. Even though they're probably collecting information about us, too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Reading

This past week a fellow Salemite asked area Twitterers (Tweeps) what good books they had read this summer.  I hadn't spent time thinking about the titles I've been digesting--until that moment.  I haven't read as many as my first empty nest summer, but it's close, very close.

The list:
Margaret Atwood, Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus,
     (interesting, but not sure I'd recommend it unless you're an Atwood fan)
Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle: A Memoir,
     (very good and amazing it's someone's life story)
Jeannette Walls, Half-Broke Horses,
     (good, but not as good as Glass Castle)
Rick Moody, The Ice Storm
     (very good. interesting look into 60"s/70's family life)
Sarah Addison Allen, The Girl Who Chased The Moon
     (if you're in the mood for something light, a tiny bit sappy and slightly predictable.)
Chris Bohjalian ,The Law of Similars
     (what I'm currently devouring and plan on buying other books by this author.)

What are you reading?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ice Cream dessert

I was recently served this tasty dessert at a friend's house.  If she hadn't told me the recipe basics, I would've thought she'd worked for hours putting each layer of ingredients together.  She said that she drizzled coffee liqueur between each layer.  Opens up the possibility for other experimentation, doesn't it?

recipe image
Submitted By: Jody Koerber
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 15 Minutes
Servings: 12

"No one will believe this awesome dessert is just dressed-up ice cream sandwiches. 'For my son's birthday party, I decorated it with race cars and checkered flags because he's a big racing fan,' recalls Jody Koerber of Caledonia, Wisconsin. 'It was a huge success!'"
19 ice cream sandwiches
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped
topping, thawed
1 (12 ounce) jar hot fudge ice cream
1 cup salted peanuts
1.Cut one ice cream sandwich in half. Place one whole and one half sandwich along a short side of an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. pan. Arrange eight sandwiches in opposite direction in the pan. Spread with half of the whipped topping. Spoon fudge topping by teaspoonfuls onto whipped topping. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup peanuts. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping and peanuts (pan will be full).
2.Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2010 Allrecipes.comPrinted from 8/19/2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Doodle lately?

I'd never heard of before, until N told me that it's a good meeting planning tool that he's used at work.  I can recommend it, BUT be aware--their site seems to be overwhelmed at times.  I hope they have plans to beef it up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Movie date

Wow! Two movies in two weeks!
It's been at least 3 years since N and I accomplished that feat!
I have to admit, though, I'm concerned about losing our other date night--the dining in a restaurant thing. Since N works so late, we're not able to combine the two.
Huh, guess I'll have to put on the old thinking cap.  Another opportunity to get out and about and stay out of the rut we make when we stay home, is important to take advantage of.
We went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night.  Fran was all over those 3 page turning novels and trying to pass the fever on to everyone else she came in contact with.  It didn't hurt that hair cutting Karyn told me it was a must see.
She was right, it's an edge of the seat, watch K yelp and jump out of her seat movie.
I hear that on Friday the second movie begins at Salem Cinema.  Guess what's next on our movie queue?  No, not Netflix!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chipotle Chicken Thighs

After hearing Lynne Rossetto Kasper talk about this recipe on Splendid Table, I had to make it for dinner. The thighs turned out succulent with a kick. Definitely a keeper!

Pete's Favorite Summer Barbecue Wet Rub

From Soaked Slathered & Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill by Elizabeth Karmel (Wiley). Copyright 2009, Elizabeth Karmel.

It wouldn't be a summer barbecue at my friend Pete Savely's house without my Chipotle Chicken Thighs recipe. Every year he hosts a big bash and grills up about 50 thighs-all marinated in the cool-with-a-kick mayonnaise-chipotle mixture that I learned was the secret to the Oaxacan (Mexican) chicken that is frequently made for velas (festivals) and special events.

Good for Seasoning: Chicken pieces, duck breast; pork tenderloin; whole fish, thick fish steaks; doubles as a dip for hot wings or shrimp, and a spread for chicken, burgers, and hot dogs

{printable recipe}
Makes 2 to 3 cups

One 7-ounce can chipotle chilies in adobo
1 white onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, preferably Morton
2 to 3 cups mayonnaise
In a blender, mix the chipotles and adobo sauce, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Add the salt. Transfer to a large nonreactive bowl. Mix in 2 cups of the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more mayonnaise if it is too hot. Coat food and marinate for 2 to 4 hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. The rub will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Grilling Method: Indirect/Medium Heat

1 recipe Pete's Favorite Summer Barbecue Wet Rub
8 chicken thighs, or 2 chickens cut into pieces
1 lime, quartered
1. Put the rub into a large bowl and add the chicken pieces. Cover and marinate for 2 to 4 hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally.

2. Build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place the pieces, bone side down, in the center of the cooking grate. You do not need to turn the chicken pieces while they cook.

3. Grill-roast until the thigh meat registers 180°F and the breast meat near the bone registers 165°F (if you cut up chickens). If you don't have a meat thermometer, cook until it is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear when pierced. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with the lime wedges.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To tat or not to tat

I'll blame it on a recent post on Keith's blog, Can Opener Boy, but I'm thinking about a second tattoo.  Probably nothing as meaningful as my last, unless I'm struck by an idea.
I'm not even sure where yet.  Although I do like the tats I've seen around ankles.  They'd definitely have to duct tape my jerky leg down for that!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hairy progress

Ever since I spotted a women rocking a hairstyle I coveted (and wished I'd had the guts to get a photograph of) at The Bite and Brew, I've been scanning the web for an image of anything even the tiniest bit close.  I found a couple that were similar, but not close enough to really get the point across to hairstylist Karyn.  But I printed them out and took them along to my Thursday appointment anyway.

Lucky for me, she was running late.  So I had ample opportunity to leaf through her hair style magazines.  Still nothing.  Sure it wouldn't lead to anything, I presented her with my two printed pictures.  Keep in mind, that after several months of growing out, she's given me the style I'd been shooting for.  She asked me if maybe I wanted to skip my appointment to continue growing it out.  I knew the answer to that!  When my thick wavy hair gets to a certain point, my head begins to sprout "wings".  Wings of hair on the sides of my head.  Not a good look--even in the 70's or 80's.

Then an idea popped into Karyn's head and she reached for a little photo album where she keeps hairstyles clipped out of magazines.
"How about this one?", she asked.  Although, it wasn't like that coveted head I wished I'd photographed, there were some similarities and I was ready for a change without losing the softer look I wanted.  The photo was of Meg Ryan, with one of her less super short tousled looks.  Karyn began to perform her magic and when she was finished,  I realized that she had known better all along.  I'm glad I followed my impulse and trusted her with my hair.
Now . . . . if I could have her face . . . .  ;>)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A letter to a congressman

On July 26th, I wrote here about my decision to take action regarding Fran's student loans.  We had been struggling for months to make any kind of progress and were beyond frustrated trying to trudge and slog through the red tape barriers that were continually knocking us down.  First we learned that there's a 3 year limit on loans being deferred.  Then she was told that her diagnosis of "chronic pain" was not an accepted condition for the next step of getting deferred due to disability.  I feel I need to state, if N and I weren't still paying off our own portion from both daughters, we'd find a way to take over her loans.
Yesterday, we learned that thanks to Kurt Schrader's aide, Jon Pugsley, her situation is well on it's way to being solved.  John responded immediately to my first online contact, sent forms for us to fill and told us what information he needed to take action on Fran's behalf.  He stayed in contact every step of the way, to keep us in the loop.  Even though we still need to wait for one more step, having this nagging issue tended to is an enormous relief.
An advocate in the world of red tape is a wonderful thing to have.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movie a week

That's the kind of evening I could easily find a slot for every week--a leisurely get together about 30 minutes before the movie starts, chuckling together during the film and a little tweeting afterwards.

Cyrus gave us the impression of being hilarious, and while there were many laughs sprinkled throughout, it was more of a cautionary relationship tale with a happy ending.  My favorite part, were the characters and how they came off together on screen.  All of the characters (with one exception) were likable, real people.

I characterize a good movie as one that holds my attention throughout and never makes me say, "um, riiiight! as if that would ever happen!".  The story has to hold me and this one did.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Signs of August

No, not an over abundance of tomatoes or zucchini--remember our yard still has a lot of shade.

What I'm talking about is the reminder I received this AM.  Jon packed his bags and pointed his car towards Ashland.  {sigh}  We always enjoy having him around.  He has a way of keeping us all centered.
What's beckoning Jon down that road?  He's a high school band teacher and it's time to start contacting students and preparing for the school year.  Plus, (I'm guessing here) it's probably time for some kind of band camp.

Thanks for your company, Jonathon!  And for the help in the kitchen!
Hopefully, we'll see you soon!  Very soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Too Tense to Write?

Seems I've been neglecting my blog the past couple of days.  No particular reason, but I'm guessing it has to do with the waiting.
Waiting for results from Fran's procedure to "kill those nerves".  N read that it can take up to 2 weeks, which would explain why Dr. Chen scheduled her follow-up appointment near the end of the month (Ps. Dr Chen failed and did not try again. Thank goodness for Dr Fiks).

The exciting news is that Lise is in her own place with Bri now.  She never really spread out and "lived" here this last time.  I don't know if she was worried about infringing on our world, or what, but I wish she believed us when we tell her we like the mingling of lives while we're under the same roof.

Mmmm, I smell breakfast!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Almost, but not quite

Whenever I talk to James of Wandering Aengus, I hear promising bits of news regarding possible brew pubs coming soon to Salem.  Last night, after hearing him talk about some exciting late summer/early autumn events, I made the leap and blurted, "you know what I'd love to see here in town? A new brew pub with lots of windows on the waterfront, with a nice, big balcony/deck overlooking the Willamette.".  He had a "then you're going to like what I have to say" look on his face, but he didn't get a chance to speak.  A representative from Rogue Brewery, cut into the conversation to tell me that they now have a tasting room open in Independence and there are plans in the works to open one of their brew pubs on site.  James interjected that they're going to continue to hear from Salemites, "we want it HERE".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Movie A Week at Salem Cinema

Before Fran's situation began and our nest was newly empty, N and I were well on our way to enjoying trying out a new tradition of  "a movie a week" and having a blast.  Suddenly I felt younger--it took me back to our dating days.  Fran's right, we need to regroup and head down that road again.  I've missed it.  How about you, N?
Click here to find out about Salemite Tweet-ups at the cinema.

August 3, 2010

Dear patrons, friends, movie lovers and fans of Salem Cinema;

Independent movie theaters, especially those like Salem Cinema specializing in art, foreign and independent film, are on the endangered species list. We do not have corporate money to see us through hard times and there is no fall back, other than to rely upon those who most appreciate our contributions to the communities that we enrich. We are a dying breed; Salem Cinema is not immune and, in fact, is currently at risk. The economic downturn could not have come at a more inopportune time than it you recall, my beautiful new theater, built as much upon your wishes as my dreams, opened just 6 months after the great Wall Street collapse.

The film industry is down in general this summer, a time that film exhibitors like myself usually count on to see us through the slower months to come, and unfortunately once we lose that momentum it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain enough cash flow to cover our ever increasing cost of operation. The large chains compensate, in part, by continuing to raise prices. I, however, understand that the continuing sluggish economy has affected each and everyone of us and have not raised my prices in nearly 3 years. I have assumed that by showing you that I care about your pocket books that you, in turn, would continue to find value and worth in supporting Salem Cinema.

Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case of late and it is with much sadness in my heart that I reach out to you, my loyal supporters, and ask that you step forward and become Salem Cinema's guardians and emissaries. I am struggling. I know you love my theater, I know you appreciate my film selections but if Salem Cinema's destiny is not to be the same as that of our once beloved Jackson's Bookstore I need to see you more often.

Last Friday, after a conversation following the movie, one of my wonderful patrons posted the following on his blog. His loyalty not only brought tears to my eyes but made me realize that I could not have said it better myself. Please read what John, who now will always have a special place in my heart, had to say. I hope that you, too, will take this to heart and share it with others:

A Movie a Week: Expand Your World and Maintain Salem's Best Cultural Feature

You already know that I love what I do. We both know you love movies and the magical escape they offer. Only with your contributions and support will I make through this crisis and be allowed to continue to enhance to your life one captivating movie moment after the next. I need you now more than ever.

Gratefully Yours,
Salem Cinema | 1127 Broadway NE | Salem | OR | 97301

Salem Cinema | 1127 Broadway NE | Salem | OR | 97301

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sleep is not within my grasp, might as well post

It's a rare night when every single trick on my getting to sleep list fail me.
Unfortunately it's one of those rare nights.
So here I am, sleepless in Salem.
When I began to imagine horrible, frightening things, I knew I needed a change in scenery. Not just for my sake, but N's and the pups', as well. Hi living room. :>P

Jonathon's dad drove up from Roseburg to spend the day. He and J spent the first half of his stay playing golf west of town. When they were finished, it was my turn to catch up a bit with Randy. We haven't had as many opportunities to spend time with J's family since Fran's been laid up. I miss that.

So we chatted the late afternoon away and moved our chairs to wherever the shade urged us to go.

And now? Now my brain is racing and my body is following right along.
I'll be right here sleep, whenever you're ready.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


These overcast days that start off cool and end up warm and humid always catch me off guard. Since Fran has been back home with us, I haven't been as vigilant with my summertime cooling regimen. She's in the living room (the area with the most ventilation) and ends up freezing on the nights when the temps drop. So, this evening after our dog walk, I'm rather limp and damp. Of course, that might have been due to cooking both the potatoes and carrots on the stove-top. :>.
What did you do this weekend? We had a good time working and playing down at The Bite. Although, today (Sunday) we never did make it down there. We planned on it, but (unplanned) things got in the way. I decided it would be good to take advantage of having Jonathon here to help N with the planned cabinet/shelves in the utility room. It was a good thought, but until they actually had the lumber in the driveway, the reality of the utility room's size wasn't clear.
Plan B?
To help out with plan B, I should empty out the current cabinet in the utility room. Probably a big load of stuff I haven't touched in 2 years.