Sunday, August 29, 2010

Seattle Pike Street

One of Seattle's big touresty hot spots is the downtown Pike Street Market. It's a multi-level street that has vendors selling everything under the sun, plus the big attraction of the fish market. You may have seen it on TV where people are yelling orders and the guys behind the counter are throwing fish around. We got there too late to see all that, but just as we were walking onto the street, I noticed a hat store and I insisted on going in because no one should evvvvvvver pass up an opportunity to play in a hat store.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vacation - Seattle (The Space Needle)

When we finally made it to the Space Needle (we parked roughly 73 blocks away from it) I noticed right away that the line was backed up all the way to Tacoma. We showed up the one day of the entire year that entrance was free. Lucky for us we saved about $100 but we also had to wait in line for an hour and a half to get in, along with every screaming child within a 300 mile radius.

But it was worth it.

I had only been inside it one other time 14 years ago. Seattle is overcast or rainy 90% of the time, so we could not have been there at a more perfect time. We had a clear view of Mt Rainier.

Check out these two.

They couldn't keep their hand off each other. Jim and Alan are quite the pair when they're together. More on that a different day.

Coming up later - Fun at Pike Street Market


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vacation Details - Day 2 and 3

The overeating on our vacation started early. We started the day at IHOP before Jim's 7 hour "4 hour drive" landed us in Port Angeles, WA. I will admit that me, mom and Abbs probably slowed the drive down with the multiple reststops. Not our fault. Everyone knows females have smaller bladders.

Port Angeles is where Jimbo lived prior to moving to Missouri and meeting Moi. Because of that, he was like a built in guidebook and knew the best place to eat. When you are on the coast you pretty much have to eat seafood. It's like a rule so we ate a lot of it.

The next morning we boarded the ferry to cross the Straight of Juan De Fuca to get to Canada. It was very, very windy and chilly.

Then when we got to Canada, we ran into Queen Elizabeth.

At a wax museum I mean. I realize how incredibly nerdy it sounds to say that we visited a museum on our vacation, but it was cool. Maybe just a tad nerdy. It did have a "chamber of torture" that showed all different forms of medieval torturing. It was funny to hear Abbey tell her Daddy on the phone about it. Abbey might have learned a lot of things she was better off without knowing on this trip. Oh well, she can't be innocent forever.

I find Victoria utterly charming. It is a British Colony so when you're walking around you hear people talking with English accents. I'm a sucker for romanticism and Victoria exudes it everywhere.

The Empress is the most amazing hotel ever. More castle like than any hotel I've ever stayed in. I dream of having high tea there someday, but at $75 per person, it will have to wait a little while. Someday though.
Pardon my bizarre facial expression in the next picture. My mother wanted a pic of the enormous hydrangea in relation to a human and I was being a bit of a smartalic. The flowers around this city are crazy huge. Almost cartoon like. Being in Victoria feels a little like the Truman Show. It's almost so perfect it feels fake. But I loooooooove it there.
Tomorrow: Day 4 - Seattle


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vacation Video

Over the next few days I will recap our vacation into Seattle and Victoria, BC Canada, but for now, here is a video of the journey. So much fun!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients for cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla yogurt
3 extra large eggs (room temp)
1 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup canola oil

Ingredients for glaze:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.

In another bowl mix eggs, sugar, yogurt and lemon zest. I used low fat yogurt to try to save a few calories.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Whisk in half the oil, then the other half. Keep stirring, stirring, stirring until all the oil is well incorporated.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 1o minutes then remove from pan.

In a saucepan, bring the sugar and lemon juice to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is disolved. pour over the cake. I strongly suggest you do this over the sink or you will have a sticky mess.

As with most pound cakes, you should make this at least one day before you serve it so that it has time to get perfectly moist.

The Fam loved this. The guys each ate 3 slices, my mom asked for the recipe, and Jim said it was the best pound cake he'd had. You should make this one.


Vacation Day 1: Family Arrival

Today my Mom, her husband Alan, and my adorable niece Abbey flew in from Missouri to stay with us for a week.

I love all my nieces and nephews, but this beautiful little angel is the one I think is most like her Aunt G.

We ate a ridiculous mountain of shrimp for dinner then topped it off with a lemon pound cake. After dinner we sat and listened to Big Jim tell stories of his bear hunting days in Alaska.

Somehow our conversation turned to music and Alan mentioned, with emphatic enthusiasm, that he just bought a Keytar. You remember Keytars, right?

So, this is how I think Alan must dress on his days off...

Being music minded at this point, we headed to the piano for the duet of all duets.

We are currently waiting for Justin Bieber's agent to contact us for a contract, but we are available upon request for weddings and bar mitzvahs.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Confessions of Quirky Quirks

It's been a while since I tossed my pride aside and Confessed some of my more embarrassing moments or traits. Over a year in fact. So here are a few Angie quirks that may not have any reasoning behind them, but they make me me.

1. When I write out a grocery list it has to be perfect. If I don't like the way I wrote something I will rewrite the entire list. Jim knows this and is always adding things in his own handwriting which drives me crazy, but I refuse to let myself rewrite it at that point because somehow I think that would make me weird.

2. If I get a coffee at Starbucks or the gas station or somewhere with to-go cups, I refuse to drink out of it until the hole lines up with the logo. It's the first thing I check.

3. I cannot look at anyone with bushy eyebrows because it makes my eyes water.

4. I love tomatoes and eat them almost every day, or at least several times a week, but chop them up and add them to other ingredients and I'm suddenly repulsed.

5. I say people's names excessively when I talk to them. And a lot of the time it's the first and last name together. I didn't really notice it until several years ago an employee said "you say my name a lot" and I was kind of like "really?" and she said yes then someone else confirmed. But I don't care. I like names.

6. I wouldn't really label myself as a clean freak, but I absolutely won't cook anything until I clean the stovetop.

7. I sometimes base my day's decisions on what my morning horoscope or tarot card reading said. It's the first thing I do in the morning.

8. I have issues with spending money. The other day I labored over a $6 t-shirt. I walked to the store in the mall intending to purchase one. Decided against it. Walked almost all the way back to my car before deciding, yes, I do really want it, and walking all the way back to purchase.

9. I'm a winker. I don't know how this happened or where it started but it's there. And I'm certain I don't even realize it half the time, but when I do I'm usually embarrassed afterwards. Like when I was recently introduced to a young, male employee of a sister-store. Hi, I'm Angie. {wink} Welcome to the company. {wink} Geez.

10. I still hold my breath when I drive by a graveyard because it's something I was told to do when I was young and I just never stopped.

11. Touching food is no problem for me, I can even de-gut a raw chicken without a thought, but once the food has been eaten off a plate, that plate disgusts me and I will only touch the edges. If any of my fingers or thumbs touch leftover food I want to gag, even if it's my own plate.

12. I smile when I watch TV. Like the whole time I'm watching TV. A big crazy-person smile. I have to keep water handy because my mouth dries out.

Trust me, there's more crazy where that came from but I don't want to scare you away. Feel free to list some of your own quirks so I feel better about myself.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Creamy Tomato Penne with Grilled Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Grill seasoning
Penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne

That sounds like a lot of ingredients but this was a cinch to make. Really.

Pound chicken out to an even thickness to ensure even cooking. Season both sides of chicken liberally with a grill seasoning. I used McCormick Grillmates Garlic and Onion Medley, but really any would do. Heat a grill pan over medium heat or grill outside until just done, about 5-6 minutes per side. Set aside to cool a little before you cut it.

While the chicken is cooking, heat some water for the pasta, mince the garlic and chop the herbs.

In a saute pan, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes making sure the garlic doesn't brown too much. Add the chicken broth. I always make my broth with bouillon because it's a fraction of the price and lasts forever.

Continue cooking the broth over medium heat until it reduces by half. It should be thick and will not immediately run back together when seperated by a spoon.

Add the tomato sauce, cream and herbs. Bring to a simmer and add the cooked pasta. Top with the grilled chicken.

Insanely good stuff and I don't think there is any way you can mess this up.


Shooting Expedition

A few days ago we decided to go target and trap shooting. Our friend Sean knows someone with some acreage up in the mountains, away from civilization and gun restrictions, so we packed up and drove an hour or so out of the city. The property was straight up hill from the road. Straight. Up. There was no way to drive it so we all grabbed as much as we could carry and started hiking. Sean is one of those people that is just always full of energy, so while the rest of us stopped for breaks, we sent Sean ahead to look for a clearing. We had a very nice view.

The Jims got us all set up and ready to go. I don't know what we were shooting exactly. Two pistols and two shotguns, that's all I know for certain. That and one of the guns was kind of powerful because I had a nice bruise on my shoulder the next day.

Aimee is not a big fan of shooting. It took a lot of peer pressure, but we finally got her to shoot each pistol once. Here is Aimee immediately before, and immediately after shooting. You can obviously tell she's having the time of her life.

The boys sharing a private bonding moment.


But the most important thing to note about our shooting expedition is that, while not the most consistant shooter, I still reign supreme as the best bullseye.
Not that I'm competitive or anything.