2.20.2017

Cold Weather Hobbies: Weaving and Plant Hoarding + Soups

Pin It
It is fun having weather. I know not everyone is into rainy days, random snow days, or temperatures below 60 degrees. But, I am. After living in dry and oppressively hot Southern California, the Pacific Northwest has been a welcome change. Everything is so green and fresh and mossy. I'm into it. And, I'm also into the nesting that comes with this weather. 

I've been filling our home with lots of plants, because we currently don't have a garden, and have a lot more square feet than we know what to do with. I've been slowly learning about plant care, and trying to figure out how to rid my house of annoying gnats that seem to love my plants more than I do. And I love them A LOT.

Also, I asked for a lap loom for Christmas, and have taken up weaving. I've been wanting to learn weaving for sometime, but between working, cooking, and laying on the couch, it's been hard to carve out time for a new hobby. But since the kid sleeps early, and there's not much to do except hang out by the fireplace, I figured this might be a good time to learn something new.
I've taught myself by watching YouTube videos, and mostly freestyling, because I don't have the skills or discipline yet for intricate and structured designs. And maybe I never will. But, it's been fun to work on wall hangings for friends and family and ship them off weekly. In a good week, I can get a couple done. Now I just need a small fund to cover my supplies and shipping expenses. Etsy?

Trying to grow a few herbs indoors. Because of the freezing temperatures and all. 
I love these windows in our bedroom. Perfect for collecting plants. 
Little guy loves to spend quality time in our bed post baths, acting like a monkey and hiding under the covers. 
Since it's been a while, like a long while, since I posted actual recipes, I thought I'd share one for a hot and sour soup I recently made in like 20 minutes. Who knew it was so easy? 

I've also been making lots of miso and udon soups with whatever we happen to have in the fridge or freezer. This often includes peas, corn, tofu, cabbage, and sometimes even crab. Because after having crab a couple of times, Viggo is under the impression it's an everyday staple. 
There's been a handful of really nice days. And that usually means park time. Park time with his pal Juni is Viggo's favorite, especially when he lounges and let's her pull him around in her wagon. 
Viggo has been really excited about all the holidays this year, including Valentine's Day. He made grams for his buddies at daycare, one for Juni and one for himself. 
And we made our first visit to Mt. Hood, where we hung out at the fancy Timberline lodge and sled for a good 10 minutes before it got really cold and snowy. 

Hot & Sour Soup

4 cups chicken broth
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained and thinly sliced
8 ounces firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chili sauce, such as sambal oelek or sriracha
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch mixed into 2 tablespoons cold water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon white pepper (or black pepper)
4 green onions, sliced

Bring the broth, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, garlic, ginger, vinegars, chili sauce, soy sauce and sugar to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix in the cornstarch and water mixture and simmer until the soup thickens a bit, about 2 minutes.

Slowly pour in the eggs in a thin stream while stirring the soup.

Mix in the sesame oil, white pepper and green onions, remove from heat.

You can also add pork or chicken for a meat version. 

2.10.2017

Winter in Oregon

Pin It
We've seen a lot of snow this winter, which has been fun, especially all the no-work snow days. But we are told this is not common for this part of Oregon, so we've been savoring each one. 

Since my posting is really off, and apparently seasonal, here's a quick snapshot of our winter, in photos. 
Above, Viggo builds a snowman. He calls all snowmen Frosty. And below he's taking in the view at White Rose Winery.
We've been eating a lot of comfort food. This means big bowls of soup, roast chicken and pot pies made with leftover chicken.
After the holidays, we took a trip to Corvallis and the coast. We stayed at an old granary on the river, visited the aquarium, and spent a night right on the beach.

We learned Viggo loves crab, along with salmon caviar. We bought him a small jar as a Christmas present. 
 
  We've also been going on local adventures around Cannon Beach and our many nearby parks.
 
And entertaining friends, like these out of towners, who spent the weekend with us freezing. Sigh, Southern Californians.