Monday, August 31, 2009

A Few Favorite Cream Colored Ponies

The Norwegian Fjord is the ultimate cream colored pony with a hint of black in its mane and on its nose. Originally from Norway, it is said the Vikings used their small and sturdy size for mountainous regions and heavy work, like farming. They are very pretty and sweet horses, known for their mild temperament. They are usually pony sized (under 14.2 hands, or 58 inches (150 cm)) but are considered horses due to their breed registry. We recently saw them at the Norwegian Festival Parade in Ballard!
Mark Harvey took some very glamorous shots of Norwegian Fjords ponies.

Shetland ponies come in many colors, but some are cream colored or light tan. Shetlands are a maximum of 46 inches tall! They are also know for their sturdiness, traditionally used in coal mining particularly in their native England. Growing up, our neighbors had over a dozen cart trained Shetland ponies. My sisters and I all learned how to ride on a gentle Shetland pony named Sugar.
This is me learning how to drive a cart with Sugar, the pony!


Cute Dace Dress to Go with the Frye Boots

I just stumbled upon Dace and their beautiful clothes. I'm awe-struck by their equestrian and romantic advertisements. I love the fluidity of the horses and their Fall 2009 clothing line.

All photos courtesy of Dace.ca

Frye Boots

I'm enamored with these Carson cowboy boots by Frye. I'd like to work them into my fall wardrobe, but I think I'll wait until they go on sale. I have a pair of red cowboy boots from high school, but I'm used to wearing those around the farm and not work. Poo.

Favorite vacation spots in Hawaii

My husband and I were joking that it might be easier to go to Hawaii, than decide which family to spend Christmas with, this year. This is turn, made me think of all my fond Hawaiian memories. As a child, my parents would take us to Oahu. In high school, I was lucky to go to Maui twice with my zoology class. My husband and I went to Oahu in 2006 to visit a friend and in 2008 we went to Kauai for our honeymoon. Each island, that I've been to, is simply a paradise. With direct flights into Honolulu and Li'hue, it's only a 5 hour flight from Seattle, so why not visit these tropical islands?

Kauai has many amazing spots for snorkeling, eating, and just laying by the beach. My favorite snorkeling places in Kauai are Hideaways, Tunnels, and Ke'e. We had the best gelato in Poi'pu. We brought a few books so the beaches of Kapa'a near our hotel were perfect for reading in the sun.

The first full day we were in Kauai, we started easy snorkeling at Lydgate State Park. The cove is protected by a rock wall but the swell still breaks over the rocks and some fish get in.

We found Hideaways Beach a few days later. It is picturesque and probably the best snorkeling spot on the island. We went back to this beach several times, even though our hotel was at least 30-40 minutes away. We're probably biased but the whole North shore was pretty amazing for snorkeling and sunning. Hideaways is pretty secluded though and the coral was fantastic. The view from up above is gorgeous but walking down the the rickety staircase to the beach is a fun and beautiful experience too.


Tunnels should really be called Turtles Beach. There were so many there and at Ke'e just down the road. They were so peaceful and plentiful that we got tons of pictures of them.

Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon were great day excursions. We hiked a few trails in Waimea Canyon but due to the heat, we didn't do more than a mile or two. There's a reason Mark Twain once called it "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific". There were fortunately many view points and ledges with railings to get gorgeous photos. In my opinion, Napali Coast was best seen from the ocean. You can get the full appreciation of the 22 mile trail without suffering from heat stroke. The ocean spray was very refreshing too! We saw dolphins, turtles, and the fish seen while snorkeling were amazing. Captain Andy's is one of the many possible boat companies that you can take to tour the coast. If you're feeling adventurous, I recommend bringing lots of water, sunscreen, bug spray, and a well broken in pair of hiking boots before attempting the Napali Coast trail!



While there are many amazing places to eat in Kauai, I highly suggest, the King and I Thai in Kapa'a and ask for Porcupine shrimp! We also enjoyed Scotty's Beachside BBQ, right on the water. Our guidebook, Kauai Revealed, couldn't stop talking about it!


Next up: Oahu-North Shore, specifically Turtle Bay

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Ingrid Michaelson CD "Everybody"


I'm really enjoying Ingrid Michaelson's new CD, "Everybody". I would recommend listening to the title song, Everbody, Once was Love, and Maybe. She'll be in Seattle at Neumo's on October 12th.

It's a very chill album, more like her "Girls and Boys" album, than the more recent, "Be O.K.".

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A few favorite musicals

My husband and I watched Hamlet 2 last night and it made want to make a list of my favorite musicals.

From the 1940s
Sun Valley Serenade is my favorite childhood musical. It's stars the lovely Olympic skating star, Sonia Henie and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

The story is about a handsome piano player, played by John Payne, who sponsors a war refugee from Norway as a publicity stunt for his band. Expecting a small child, he's surprised to meet the gorgeous Karen, played by Sonia Henie, when she gets off the boat. She immediately sets her sites on him for marriage, but he's already interested in the lead singer of his band.

There are very cute songs such as the Kiss Polka, Moonlight Serenade, and Chattanooga Choo Choo. I would watch it all winter and pretend to be Sonia Henie on the ski slopes and ice rinks. When we went to Sun Valley, I was surprised to find the movie had it's own channel where it ran continuously!

1950s

Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor has some of my most favorite songs. Debbie Reynolds is adorable dancing and jumping out of a birthday cake in "All I Do Is Dream of You" and heart breaking in "You Are My Lucky Star". I love to watch Gene Kelly's flying feet and Donald O'Connor's comedy in "Moses Supposes" and "Good Morning" too.

High Society with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong is my favorite movie to watch when I'm in a bad mood. My best girlfriend and I would drink champagne and watch this movie after a long week of studying in college. Sadly, it's Grace Kelly's last feature film before retiring from acting. She and Bing Crosby have a beautiful duet called, "True Love" written by Cole Porter. Frank Sinatra is hilarious as a reporter singing "You're Sensational" to Grace Kelly and Louis Armstrong is a scene stealer with his witty one liners and amazing music.


Some Like It Hot stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as two musicians who witness a mob hit and go into hiding by joining an all-female band. It's my favorite Marilyn Monroe musical (although Gentlemen Prefer Blondes runs a close second). She has the most adorable lines like, "Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop". When Marilyn's character, Sugar, first appears on screen, Jack Lemmon's character says, "Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs." It won an Oscar in 1960 for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White and nominated for 6 other Academy awards!

We stopped at a Starbucks in West Seattle and it made me smile that this movie poster was on the wall.

1960s

The Sweet Charity soundtrack with Gwen Verdon was all I listened to my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to be in the musical in any part, so I knew all the songs by heart. My favorite songs are "I'm the Bravest Individual", "Baby Dream Your Dream", and " If My Friends Could See Me Now"!

I wish I could have seen the Christina Applegate 2005 revival. She sounds fantastic on that soundtrack too.

The Sound of Music is another one of my best loved and childhood favorite musicals. My mom would play the songs for us on the piano and we'd sing along. My favorite songs from Sound of Music are still "The Lonely Goatherd" and "My Favorite Things". As I kid, I would dance around the living room singing, "I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen" and "Do-Re-Me" frequently. Who didn't want Maria as their Governess growing up?

1970s

Grease is my favorite musical that I've ever acted in. My senior year of high school, I got to be Sandy in Grease! We did not do the 1978 movie version with the songs, "Hopelessly Devoted To You" or "You're the One That I Want", but instead the play version has cute songs like, "It's Raining On Prom Night", which Sandy got to sing and "These Magic Changes"! The Rydell Fight Song was pretty fun too.

Rodger's and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" is a classic musical with many pretty songs, like "In My Own Little Corner" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?". I was lucky enough to see it in Seattle in 2001 when Jamie-Lynn Sigler starred in the national tour of opposite Eartha Kitt. I had just played Sandy in Grease and I was so excited that Jamie-Lynn had played Sandy in high school too!

I had no idea that Cinderella was the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written for television. It aired in 1957 with Julie Andrews as Cinderella.

There are several Disney musicals and the Wizard of Oz that I love as well, but I'll save those for another posting!

Sherlock Holmes Pictures!



Who's excited to see Sherlock Holmes this winter? Rachel McAdams looks wonderful as always, too!

Sherlock Holmes Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

A few favorite vegetable recipes

I'm not a huge vegetable eater. Growing up and even into my freshman year of college, I avoided them or took very small portions. In fact, on our first date, my now husband teased me, "if you don't eat your veggies, you can't get dessert!" Little did I know how well he could cook vegetables, so now I actually enjoy them...occasionally.

Here's a few recipes that I make from the Everyday Food Magazine and Martha Stewart:

Steamed Eggplant with Peanuts and Scallions

Serves 4. Prep Time 10 minutes. Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Chinese, graffiti, or small Italian eggplants, quarter lengthwise and cut into 4 inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced [although I have substituted 1 cup of chopped cilantro]

1. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and oil. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, approximately 3 minutes.

2. Set a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water. Add eggplant, cover, and steam until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter and top with soy dressing, peanuts, and scallions. Serve warm.

per serving: 104 calories, 6 grams fat (0.8 grams saturated fat), 3.9 grams protein, 11 gram carbohydrates, 3.8 grams fiber



Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes

Prep Time 20 minutes. Total Time 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 zucchini (10 ounces), coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cups of a standard (12-cup) muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in nuts.
3. In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not overmix).
4. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
5. Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes out, right side up, and cool completely. 6. Meanwhile, make frosting. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread frosting on cupcakes. The frosted cupcakes are best eaten within 1 day.

I also enjoy fresh asparagus steamed for 3 minutes in the microwave and then sprinkling lemon pepper on top. It's super quick, easy, and yummy.

Star Wars Storm Trooper Hoodie Keeps You Warm While Making You Cool


Speaking of Star Wars, potential Halloween costume idea?

Star Wars Storm Trooper Hoodie Keeps You Warm While Making You Cool

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Daring Bakers Strut Their Strudels


Tartelette is my new favorite food blog!
Wow, I wish I had the skill and patience to make these Rhubarb Sorbet For Strudel Cups!

Daring Bakers Strut Their Strudels

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Photos courtesy of Tartelette

In addition to amazing recipes, Tartelette has amazing dessert photos! I love this picture of Berry Charlottes:

I'm in a cupcake mood this morning!

Ooo, Twitter just updated me that Trophy Cupcakes has yummy flavors today. The great flavors featured today are Carrot Walnut, Lemon Strawberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Triple Coconut. I'm really looking forward to the Hummingbird Cupcake tomorrow. It's a Banana Pineapple Coconut cake with Cream Cheese frosting. Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Hummingbird cupcakes. Check it out below!

Ingredients

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Dried Pineapple Flowers

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.with rack in center. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla, and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next. Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. Add to egg mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in flour mixture.
  4. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
By the way, Trophy Cupcakes has the coolest Star Wars cupcakes featured on their Facebook page:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More favorite burger places!



My co-workers and I ran across Skillet one day when walking in South Lake Union to the nearby Taco del Mar. We were pleasantly surprised by the delicious smells emanating from the bright, shiny, silver Airstream! We had all heard of the gourmet street food but had never experienced it. Since it's only in South Lake Union between 11-2pm on Wednesdays we had to wait 3 more weeks until we could actually taste the amazing gourmet burgers from Skillet. Last week, I had the burger with cambazola, arugula, and bacon jam, on a soft kaiser-like roll with hand cut french fries.

(Sidenote: I had never had cambazola cheese before so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Turns out, it's
a cheese made from cow's milk that is a combination of a French soft-ripened triple cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola.
It's patented by German company Champignon. In English-speaking countries, cambozola is often marketed as blue brie.)

In addition to burgers, they have other amazing gourmet combinations. One of my co-workers had the "Sammy", a fennel rolled pork sandwich with raspberry aioli and charred onions. We were in gourmet street food heaven. We want to go there every Wednesday, but unfortunately our work schedules don't always allow us! I'll have to go and stalk this "mobile joint" at the Queen Anne Farmer's Markets on Thursday evenings, or at a Mariner's game one night. Fortunately the website and twitter are updated frequently with all the locations!

Red Mill Burgers is another classic burger joint with fabulous food! The burgers are "Flame Broiled 1/4 lb. Fresh Beef Patties" and the chicken is "Flame Broiled, Lemon-Honey Marinated". The Red Mill fries are some of my favorites, only second to Red Robin. I love all the burgers especially with the caramelized red onions or with Walla Walla Sweet Onions when in season. The shakes are yummy too.

Maggie Bluff's is all about location for me. In the summer, there's a charming outside seating area overlooking downtown Seattle and the Elliott Bay Marina, and even inside the view is fantastic. We really enjoy going at Happy Hour because there are $4 drink specials and 50% off on appetizers. I recommend the Elliott Bay (Garlic) French Fries, the Blue Cheese burger and the Seattle Sundae!

The Jolly Roger Taproom has the best mini burgers in town, bar none (that I've tried so far!) It's located at the Maritime Pacific Brewing company in Ballard on NW Leary. I love the treasure map painted on the floor and the pirate flags around the bar. The Lil' Jolly burgers come in threes and with the most amazing sauces made with some of their own beers! There's Jolly Roger Habanero BBQ, Nightwatch Stone-ground Mustard, Smoked Tomato & Dill Aioli, or Chocolate Porter BBQ. Also, the menu recommends which Maritime Pacific beers pair best with each entree! I always get the Lil' Jolly Royals, mini burgers with smoked onions and American cheese.

I'm always excited to try new burger places, so please send me your suggestions!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My FAVORITE Burger Places in Seattle


My ultimate favorite burger is the Banzai burger at Red Robin. It's a beef patty with teriyaki sauce and pineapple. As mentioned in my Eastlake blog post, I tend to order the petite/kid size since they are sooo filling. The fries that come with it are pretty amazing too.

Lunchbox Laboratory is my new favorite burger place in Ballard at 7302 15th Ave NW. They have burgers so big they can feed three people easily. There are at least 7 different types of meat to choose from, plus more kinds coming soon to the menu, 10-15 cheese varieties, besides bacon there are 6 other toppings, and over 20 different mayonnaise, mustards, aioli and sauce options! I've only been there once so I can't pick a favorite burger yet. I must keep trying more of them before deciding! Here's an example of how great these burgers look:
(Sidenote: When searching on the internet for this restaurant, I also got a link to the Futurefarmers project site with a lunch box "prototype for a potentially distributed research tool that would be sent to schools such that young scientists could do primary screening of a collection of algae strains"! It's a very cool collaboration between the National Renewable Energy Lab and the Futurefarmers team, on display at the Museum of Modern Art.)

Photo courtsey of the Futurefarmers project site


More to come on my favorite burgers at:
Skillet
Red Mill
Maggie Bluffs
Jolly Roger

Monday, August 24, 2009

A few favorite pictures of my kitties, Lyra and Lily Thomas

Lyra, also known as Lulu, sitting on our dresser with the painting, "Wind In My Hair".

Lily Thomas and Lyra on the bed. Although they look like sisters, they were adopted from opposite ends of the country!

Lily Thomas, also know as Stinky or Squirrel Tail, out on the balcony.





We think Lyra is a Maine Coon Mix. She loves sitting under the Christmas tree in the winter.
Or stretching out in the summer.

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