… shaking it off… and heading out in search of balance…

Archive for the ‘home improvement’ Category

pond scum

it’s that time of year!

it’s been beautiful in portland the last few days

(i’m sure even just mentioning this will cause the skies to darken, the clouds to roll in, and the rain to pour, but i digress)… so yesterday, after breakfast…

a fitnessista inspired egg puff on dave’s killer bread dressed by frank

we decided to uncover the scummy pond that’s been stagnate since winter and crank it up…

we discovered the koi are in fact still alive (minus ralphie, who i believe we lost to a predator of some sort before winter)… after a trip to the pond store, too much money spent on replacement parts, and lots of “help” by porter (interpretation: standing right next to us, chewing on pond parts, and splashing in water), we hooked it all back up…

we still have a lot of yard work to do (i have no idea why the previous owners kept a dirt outer ring of the yard), but i’m already excited with how it’s looking so early in the year!

the backyard is one of the big reasons i bought this house, and i can’t wait to be able to sit on the upper deck and have dinner overlooking the yard.

between our own yard work, swapping out guest room beds, helping nikki cut down five large bushes in front of her yard and digging out the remaining stumps *insert flexing of muscles and girl power here*… we were TIRED, and i needed a green monster

enjoyed on the upper deck with my best friend

(sporting the one ear back look… i wonder if this will become a trend like the one strap of the overalls unhooked???)

in the green monster:
1/2 c. almond milk
couple dollops 0% plain greek yogurt
2 c. organic baby spinach
frozen pineapple
frozen mango

i liked the hint of tangy that the greek yogurt gave the smoothie…

i won’t get sick of these any time soon

speaking of sick, anne is nursing a nasty cold (clearly she needs more green monsters), so i thought i’d make a veggified dinner for all of us.

i started with vegan stuffed mushrooms:

1 lb. large mushrooms
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 7oz. package firm tofu
8 sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt/pepper
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. dried breadcrumbs

remove stems from mushrooms and put the caps in a baking dish

preheat oven to 375

toss everything, including the mushroom stems, except the olive oil, parsley, breadcrumbs into food processor and chop/mix it all up


heat oil in skillet, and toss in the mixture for about 5 minutes or until tender, obviously making a big mess on your stove top… then mix in the parsley and breadcrumbs

stuff mushroom caps with mixture and shove into the oven for about 20 minutes or until browned on top

i’ve never made stuffed mushrooms without drenching them in cheese, but these were really good, and the tofu provided smoothness to the mixture. i would definitely make these again, and experiment with other ingredients like italian seasoning, or giving them an asian flare…

speaking of asian flare

no, not that kind

i also made a pretty good stir fry to round out the evening


today i’m hoping to tackle the yard a little more, hit the gym for an overdue elipticizer interval workout, maybe some weights if i’m feelin dangerous, and then get ready for the oscars.

what’s your favorite thing about your house/condo/apartment??
what’s the one thing you would love to have in your dream home??

my favorite parts of my house are the backyard, and the huge window in my living room that takes up one whole wall and looks out onto the upper deck and over the backyard. i always feel like i’m part of the outside.

i’ve always wanted a big home theater. i LOVE movies, and would love a big screen and big comfy couches or chairs to watch lots of movies in…

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spanish nights

heyyyyyyyyy!!

i love the “i’m so not impressed” look…

a couple weeks ago our friend JR was hiding out at our place while his wife studied for the bar exam (ughhhh those words still make me cringe!! BAR EXAM = HORRIBLE) anywayyyy… we all got caught up in watching a Throwdown, where Bobby took on the “Paella King of Northern California”

ever since… we have all been talking about getting together to make paella… so last night… we did it up spanish style!

Nikki and JR had been remodeling their kitchen, so i was excited to test it out now that the remodel is complete!

it’s such an amazing transformation, and it’s so THEM (interpretation: JR got a “pot filler” above the stove and nikki got completely organized shelves)

who wouldn’t want to cook in this kitchen!?!?

as soon as we walked in, JR got the sangria flowin…

we wanted to really do the paella fresh and from scratch.

while anne and JR got right to work…

nikki and i ran some errands in preparation for anne’s birthday party in less than TWO weeks! we have some big fun planned… but are keeping the details a secret. trust me though… it’s going to make for a killer post!

by the time we got back to the house, it was clear that anne and JR had been enjoying themselves…

but despite the sangria induced shenanigans… the spanish masterpiece was coming right along!

as they put on the finishing touches…

i tossed together a salad…

the paella was SO flavorful, and while i probably would have taken a shortcut, nikki and JR were so smart to get the fresh seafood!! it was hard work, but fun, yummy, and actually… such a pretty dish!!

it was a successful spanish night!!

do you try to buy fresh seafood or are you ok rolling with the frozen stuff?

and as for some trashy tv… bachelor thoughts? new bachelorette thoughts??

you saved my marriage!!

a lot of people don’t know that i moonlight as a superhero to marriages on the brink of disaster! last night, duty called!! my good friends nikki and jr have what i lovingly refer to as a “shit show” going on in their lives right now! jr just took on major responsibility at work, nikki is taking an incredibly stressful class, AND they are remodeling their kitchen!
no, i mean a SERIOUS remodel…

yesterday after talking to both parties about the fact that they had to put cabinets together so the contractor could install them, but they had just brought the cabinets home the night before, and if they aren’t done the contractor will fall behind schedule, and then, basically, the world ends… i realized that the bottom line is, they are both too stressed out to think rationally!

SO i told jr if he took me to see farley after work we would help him construct the cabinets.

i got to see my son for the first time since friday! he was doing pretty well, but i’m not gonna lie, the 12 staples down his back were a little hard to see.

(just a small photo… didn’t want to gross anyone out!)

and we went to work on the cabinets… apparently when you’re 6’10″… you work better lying down???

and a sample of the finished product…

this morning i was greeted at work by a beaming and more relaxed nikki, and a “thank you haiku” in which she expressed her gratitude, complimented my cabinet constructing skills AND informed me we saved her marriage. pretty good for one little haiku!

tonight there was less drama, and fewer heroics. however, we did have a pretty bomb ass dinner, so i figured i would share it with you!

we are french dip fans at this house… but i am less and less interested in any kind of red meat
so i haven’t had french dip for a while, but i have been craving it… DILEMMA!!

then it came to me… turkey dips??

so at the grocery store over the weekend anne helped me pick out an uncooked turkey breast (i wanted nothing to do with already cooked turkey, and especially not turkey “lunch meat”), but the only turkey breasts available were big hunks of skin on turkey breast.

ok, i realize i’m 29 and should be over it, but i’m not gonna lie, any skin on meat immediately activates my gag reflex upon me laying a hand on it, so a compromise was in order! as we’re standing over the turkey section in the grocery store i said, “OK, you skin it, i’ll do the rest”

right! DRAMA!

she agreed… so this morning before work, anne removed all the skin from the turkey breast, then we put that in the crock pot with the following additional ingredients:

– 1 jar peperoncini rings (peppercinis, banana peppers, whatev!!!)
– 1 packet dry italian dressing
– 2 packets dry au jus (we use lawry’s)
– we eyeball the water but basically until it comes about halfway up the slab of meat… less water obviously means stronger au jus, more water, weaker au jus… very scientific!!

we set the cock pot on low and headed out the door

on our way home form work the teen called and said the delicious smell coming from the crock pot was making it impossible for him to study for his finals. i have NO idea where he gets his dramatic side….???? wha? don’t look at me!!

when we walked in the door and lifted the lid…

the whole house smelled like french dip… it was intoxicating to some of us.

anne sliced up the turkey breast and put the slices back into the crock pot with the au jus and banana peppers.

jack tried to get someone to explain to him why we gave him a home haircut that resulted in a mullet…

while i made some salads

we toasted some whole wheat rolls, put a little horseradish on them, and served it with the salad and a toddler size serving of straight mashed potatoes

these little dippers are SO FREAKING GOOD!! i loved having the banana pepper rings in there so i can eat them on top of the sandwich.

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OH pardon me… i was wiping my drool off the keyboard!!

sometimes i forget how easy the crock pot can make my life… toss the goods into the crock in the morning, and when you get home… dinner is ready!?!?

do you use the crock pot? what’s your favorite crock pot recipe??

keeping ourselves busy

since we got the news about farley boy’s serious back injury, we’ve been trying to keep ourselves busy.

we’ve been entering to win a fun giveaway compliments of the fabulous GC

engaging in home improvement therapy…

(i think carpet is yucky, especially since we have pets, so when we bought this house and pulled up the carpet, for some reason, WHO KNOWS WHY, there is a section of the hardwoods that had been damaged with a paint sprayer!?!? your guess is as good as mine..)

working on our skills for puppy class…

munching on apples…

trying a little eggy twist on the beloved GDW spicy oats

sneaking greens into the teen’s smoothies…


then last night i headed south to spend some time with oregon’s cutest girls!!

i even caught a great little sunset on the way…

(not bad for photos taken with the iphone while i was driving)

i had already planned to spend saturday evening with the ladies of the pea household, and really, there are no better girls to be able to hang with when you’re feeling down!

i mean, who wouldn’t want to have dinner prepared by a maiden and a ballerina??

well, with a little help from mama pea…

and lulu chilled with a skinny cow…

these girls are SO cute, and i adore spending time with them… it was just what i needed last night.
THANKS PEA GIRLIES!!!

after a fun night, my morning continued with my first brunch food gasm!!

the teen was begging for real meat (*insert chest pounding and grunting*), so i promised breakfast sandwiches with meat


(everything is better with Tillamook Cheese)

i had help sampling the canadian bacon…

i love breakfast sandwiches, and this one was SUPA TASTY


the first bite of this sandwich i took, i actually said, outloud, “oh my gosh… YUMMM”
i checked with the boss, G$, and she confirmed… it’s a food gasm!!

so i guess, given the circumstances, it’s been a pretty good weekend.

in fact, it’s about to get even better….

football, blue moon, and a greexican (greek/mexican) snack plate that i hope would make the kick ass Snackface proud!!

FINALLY… THANK YOU SO MUCH for your encouraging/supportive words about farley!! we have definitely decided to get him the surgery, no matter what it takes… even if we have to start having blog bake sales and lemonade stands to raise the dough!!!

not built for speed

some people…

are not built for speed!

yesterday morning porter and i set out for a walk through gabriel park

i’d like to be able to say it was a nice bit of exercise, but with this person on board…

i’d say it’s more of a… meander!?!? it was still a good walk though, and we got home just in time to meet the plumber, who was a jerk and told us we needed all new pipes and good luck asking our home warranty to cover it.
ok then.. nice having you… BYE!

luckily my college friend ash came by shortly after that with her cute Cute CUTE daughter london!

london proceeded, at 18 months old, to operate my iPhone…

i mean, she was actually working the iPhone… london could unlock the phone, then she would open an application. ashlee would say, “close it” and london knew the button to hit to close the application she had open. then ashlee says, “where are the photos” and london scrolls over, and hits the icon for my photos! HILARIOUS!

seeing ash always makes me happy… and london is SO cute!! she pretty much has the blondest hair i’ve ever seen!

after they left anne and i made our way cleeeeeeear to the other side of portland to meet JR and Nikki at a local store to check out some flooring and tile for home projects.

JR was up to his usual antics…

we just looked around, no decisions were made. i do kind of think these bubble tiles would be fun for a backsplash though…


we also had to go to home depot and the grocery store, so we stopped by the house to scoop up fuzzy… home depot is good for socialization for the pup (he’s always a big hit!)

porter was super excited to ride in the car…

we cruised through uwajimaya (if you live in portland and don’t shop here, knock it off! go check it out!)

we decided to throw together an udon dinner

it was simple, but SO good

*udon noodles
*broccoli
*bean sprouts
*celery
*rock shrimp (uwajimaya has such good fresh seafood)
*sauce was really basic… miso paste mixed with a little water, tamari, garlic

we capped off the night with a movie and a little bottle of sparkling sake we also snagged at uwajimaya

if you live around here and haven’t yet discovered sake… knock it off!
make the trip to sake one in forest grove. they are SO nice, knowledgeable, and you’ll be surprised how good sake can be!

i’ll leave you with a little apology… for my craptastic photos as of late. as you may recall, my sister dumped an entire pomtini all over my little camera, and i’m still a little shy when it comes to hauling my bigger but superior camera around with me. after seeing the above display though, i promise to cut it out with the iPhone photos (at least for the most part)!!