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Archive for November, 2008

Weekend in Portland…

Brian and I headed down to Portland this past weekend for some relaxation and shopping. We hadn’t really planned on doing a lot of shopping but it turned out that way. We got almost all of our Christmas shopping done on this trip which is a great feat! We’ve never been done that early before so it feels good. We had an early start on Saturday morning, we didn’t want to run into traffic so we left the house by 7:30am. The ride down was good, or so I heard since I fell asleep right when we hit the freeway…i happen to fall asleep easily and quickly in moving vehicles.

We made pretty good time, got to the Portland area shortly before 10am…just in time for breakfast! So Brian wakes me up and I start looking for a place to eat. I have researched a bit before the trip and people recommended this little place called Kenny & Zukes, people say they have really good french toast and I happen to love french toast! I punch the name into Brian’s cool new G1 phone and got directions to the restaurant. It was pretty easy to get to so and we found the place with no problems at all. We found a parking spot a couple of blocks from the restaurant and walked up….boy it was cold that morning! I started shaking and my teeth were chattering nonstop…i couldn’t wait to get inside the warm restaurant! Kenny & Zuke’s was just a normal looking diner, nothing fancy, right on the corner with big windows so you can see the whole restaurant. Luckily we got there early and there wasn’t much of a wait and we sat down right away. I was so cold I needed some coffee right away to warm up…decaf please since i’ve kicked my caffeine habit…or so I thought!

Breakfast time!

Breakfast time!

I didn’t even have to look at the menu cuz I knew I wanted the french toast already. So we order, Brian gets eggs and bacon with potatoes…I get the french toast made with challah bread…mmmmmm. Our order came and my plate had 4 ginormous pieces of toast with maple syrup…I immediately dig in. It was so yummy! It was just how I liked it….so soft and not too eggy. I managed to eat 3 pieces and gave the last one to Brian. He gobbled it right up.

So my caffeine kick…I had ordered decaf and the waitress brings me decaf.  Throughout breakfast, she was refilling my cup with coffee.  Now I assumed she knew it was decaf so I didn’t bother asking her about it.  Then towards the end, I noticed she was refilling another table with a different coffee carafe than she did mine, that one had an orange ring around the lid.  Hmmmm…that made me wonder…she refilled my coffee and others with a normal looking black carafe.  That’s when I figured she probably just gave me regular instead of decaf.  Crap, there goes my caffeine kick.  Oh well.  It wasn’t as if I wanted to kick my caffeine habit, it wasn’t even bad to start with.

It was too early to check into our hotel so we decided to head down to the Pearl District to walk around and do some window shopping.  We found a parking spot fairly quickly since it was still early and most of the stores don’t open until 11am.  We wondered around up and down the streets and checked out the stores.  The neighborhood was really cute.  I wouldn’t mind living there…I’m sure it’s pretty expensive though.  We checked out a few stores like Shoefly, Anthropologie, Adidas, etc.  We have never been to the Pearl District before so it was a good experience for us.  Luckily, the weather was cooperating that day and it was nice and sunny out.  As we were walking to the car, we saw a cute little cupcake shop called Cupcake Jones.  So we checked it out and bought a couple of mini cupcakes, the Pearl Cupcake, which was vanilla based and chocolate mint.  I found the cupcakes to be a bit dry…I wasn’t too impressed with it.

Cute little cupcake shop but the cupcakes are kinda dry

Cute little cupcake shop but the cupcakes are kinda dry

By the time we were done with the Pearl District, it was almost time to check in.  We got a great deal on Priceline and got a hotel at the Hilton Portland and Executive Towers.  Checkin was pretty quick and easy so we got our room and dropped our stuff off.  We head over to the Pioneer Place to do some more shopping.  For a saturday, the mall wasn’t too crowded, there was a fair amount of people but I guess the majority haven’t started their holiday shopping yet.

Brian's hunting for wabbits

Brian's hunting for wabbits

Our hotel for the weekend

Our hotel for the weekend

After a couple of hours at the mall, we head down to Woodburn, the factory stores that’s about half an hour from Portland.  We had heard from a coworker who just came back from there and said it was a good place to go for christmas shopping so we decided to check it out.  There were a few good stores there, the Nike Outlet, Le Creuset, Puma, Adidas and a ton of other stores.  That day we got there, they were doing the christmas tree lighting and fake snow.  We didn’t actually see the lighting of the tree but we did experience the fake snow.  It was actually just bubbles…the kids there loved it though.

Christmas tree at Woodburn

Christmas tree at Woodburn

We were getting pretty tired and hungry at this point and our list was pretty much done so we headed back up to Portland for some dinner.  What sounds good after a long day of shopping???  Italian!  I was craving some pasta and what better to refuel my body than to carbo load…ahhh…i feel like I’m preparing for a marathon…only backwards…hehehe.  We found a cute little italian place called Mama Mia’s in the waterfront district.  The restaurant was well packed for a saturday but we were still able to get a table for two right away.  I ordered the pasta with Grandma’s Special “Gravy” and Brian ordered the night’s special, lasagna.  Dinner came really quick, it was literally came 5 minutes after we ordered…we wondered if we got someone else’s order instead…oh well!  Dinner was yummy, we were full but ordered dessert anyway since I always have room for dessert!  I had the tiramisu and Brian had blackberry and raspberry sorbet….mmmm…my tummy was happy.

Mama Mia Restaurant

We were pretty tired after dinner so we headed back to the hotel and crashed for the night.  The bed was really comfortable and so were the pillows.  Brian kept trying to sleep on my pillows even though he had 3 of his own…he is known as a pillow thief in our household.

We decided to sleep in a bit the next morning but still ended up waking up at 9am…if you know me, you know that’s not sleeping in!  We head down to Starbucks for my daily fix…which is now a SF hazelnut steamed milk…mmmm…I’m glad i’m not lactose intolerant.

Not the fanciest Starbucks but it'll do...

Not the fanciest Starbucks but it'll do

After our steamed milk and hot cider fix, we walked over to nike town across the street and checked out the store.  It was huge!  I can’t say that I’ve been to the one here in Seattle but I hear they’re about the same size.  We didn’t get anything but the store was cool to look at.

It was time to check out so we got our car and went back to Pioneer Place to do some more shopping…we had a couple more things to pick up and then we were done.  I had wanted to pick up the Jason Mraz cd but we couldn’t find a music store around Pioneer Place.  We tried looking for a bit but then just gave up and decided to head to lunch at Joe’s Crabshack.  A little more about that later…so, on the way up to Joe’s, I remembered there was a Target on the way there that I can stop by to pick up the CD.  So we took a detour and went for the Target.  As we pulled into the Jantzen Shopping Center, we saw that there was a Circuit City and Best Buy there so we pulled into the store.  No luck at Circuit City…so we went to Best Buy instead.  The layout of the store was weird…it was different than all the stores here.  I didn’t like the store much, it just didn’t feel right.  Anyway, so we got our cd, finally!  yay!  It’s a great CD by the way.

So back to Joe’s Crabshack…Brian’s been talking about this place ever since we decided to go down to Portland.  He loves eating crabs…so of course we had to stop by for lunch before leaving!  We got there around 3pm so it wasn’t busy at all and we were able to get a table.  We ordered our crabfeast and had a great lunch.  We also saw a bit of the Seahawks game as well while eating lunch.  The place reminded me of the Crab Pot here in Seattle.  The crab was decent, nothing spectacular…hehehe…just crabs.

Joe's Crabshack

So that was our little weekend trip in Portland!  It was a fun getaway and tax free shopping, can’t top that!  =)

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Melting Moments…

Melting Moments (Snowballs)…

Melting Moments

I was in the mood for cupcakes one night since I saw a box of cake mix in the cupboard.  I wanted to find a good frosting for the cupcake so I surfed the net for some ideas.  I remembered making a frosting for a cake last summer that was really good so I looked through my bookmarks to find it.  I came across the Joy of Baking website and was just browsing thru the many yummy recipes.  As I was browsing, I came across these cookies that look like Russian Tea Cookies but a little different.  They were called Melting Moments.  Something about them just made me want to make them right away..it could’ve been the picture.  So anyway, I just had to make them.  I’ve never really done a shortbread type cookie before so this is my first time!

The recipe had the measurements in both weight and regular meansurements.  I decided to go with the weight measurements because I had a food scale and didn’t feel like using measurement cups.  I think I like the weight measure better, seems more accurate and much quicker and less cleaning!

I didn’t have any unsalted butter so I just used regular salted butter.  It still came out pretty good but I think with unsalted butter it would’ve been perfect.  Also, I didn’t quite follow the directions when rolling the cookie in powdered sugar.  I just sifted it directly onto the cookie.  I managed to get about 33 cookies out of the batch, not quite 3 dozens but i had some uneven pieces so I think 3 dozen is about right.  Mmmmmm…they are rich and buttery and they do melt in your mouth!  Enjoy!

Melting Moments (Snowballs) from Joy of Baking

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (60 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping:

1 cup (110 grams) powdered (confectioners) sugar, sifted

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

When dough is firm, form into 1 inch (2.54 cm) balls and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 12 – 14 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, line another baking pan or tray with parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle about half of the confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar onto the bottom of the pan and then place the slightly cooled cookies on top of the sugar. Put the remaining sugar in a fine strainer or sieve and then sprinkle the tops of the cookies (or you can just roll the cookies in the sugar).

These cookies store very well. Place in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper and they will keep a couple of weeks.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

dscn0946

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Moving Teeth…

I guess they say pain is a good thing…that means my teeth are moving! Yay for moving teeth, boo for the pain it causes! It’s more of a soreness then pain i guess…but it does make it uncomfortable to eat. Everytime I accidentally push my front teeth, they hurt. Oy, I guess that just means it’s doing it’s thing. The holes in my mouth are getting better…i just wish they would close up so that I don’t have to squirt it anymore.

So over the weekend I was running around different stores looking for wax to put on my braces…who knew they were so hard to find! The wires are starting to stick out so it’s been irritating my cheeks. The wax really does help…so after going thru several stores, I finally found some at Walgreens. So I bought all 6 that they had out…that should last me a week!

It seems like the soreness comes in phases…i’ll be fine for a couple of weeks and then it’ll start to hurt for a week. I’m hoping it gets better by Turkey Day cuz I want to eat!

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All is well…

I went in for my follow up appointment with the oral surgeon today…it really took less than 5 minutes. I sat in the chair, he came in, took a syringe, cleaned out the holes, told me to swallow each time and that was it! He said I was healing nicely and everything looked good. Great! Now, on to the business part. As some of you may already know by reading my previous posts, there was a mix up at the office. Instead of just having 4 of my bicuspids extracted, all 8 was pulled out. This would’ve cost me over $2K when I had only estimated about $900 for the whole thing. So of course I was mad and I wouldn’t have paid him more than I was estimated. So I went in there, ready to battle with him if I needed to. Turns out I didn’t…he understood that there was a miscommunication and he was willing to just let me pay what I was going to pay. So it all worked out in the end! As a bonus, the wisdom teeth extractions won’t even be counted towards my yearly allowance for 2009 so now I have more to spend on my teeth next year! Woohoo! Not that I plan on doing anything more to it! But it’s good to know that they were willing to fix their screwup and not screw me over. I am happy now.

My mouth is getting much better. It’s not as sore anymore and I’m pain free. I can finally eat now! Yay!

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