Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the goose loves the first bbq of the summer

Wednesdays can be tough. You're far enough away from last weekend to remember the freedom you enjoyed, but not close enough to next weekend to get excited about the freedom it will bring. Wednesday is just an awkward weekday, really.

But sometimes you had a memorable weekend and you force yourself to continue bathing in it's glorious sunshine-y goodness, even though it's practically long gone. Here's one such example.

On Sunday afternoon, we had our good friends Dane and Danielle over for some BBQ action. We hadn't seen them for quite awhile so it was great to catch up and even better to throw some good ole meat on the bbq. I even went the extra mile and put a tablecloth on the freshly-wiped table.
We munched on Juanitas (the best tortilla chip known to man) and lime-garlic salsa, a cousin of the tasty mango-peach salsa from Fred Meyer, and drank a few beers.

A few days ago, Billy was showing disdain for a certain brand of microbrew, and I suggested that maybe he's unfairly biased against certain brands, and therefore will disklike whatever he tastes from that brand. I challenged his beer tastebuds to a blind tasting, where I include some of his famous brand biases, to verifiy the quality of his tongue and determine whether or not his bias is rooted in fact or belief.

Since the challenge included 6 different IPAs, I figured it'd be better to do when there's reinforcement for drinking up the beers once tasting was over. Luckily, Dane and Dani were up for joining in, so Dane blind tasted with Billy and Dani helped me officiate.
As it turns out, Billy's #2 favorite beer was from a brand he doesn't enjoy. So ha! But at the same time, tasting six different IPAs all at once is somewhat overwhelming, so maybe his taste buds were having trouble keeping up. In the end, they matched two bottle caps with the right beers, and their clear favorite was an IPA I picked up from a new brand - Uinta from Utah, I think. We'll have to get more of those.
Then we moved onto the good stuff - grillin' meat.
Dane and Dani brought over burgers and skewered shrimp, and it was all SO GOOD.
And the grill is working great - thanks, Mom & Dad & Billy's Dad!
We were so into the food that no photos were taken of our plate-fulls, but let me assure you we ate plenty. Along with the shrimp and burgers, we had grilled veggies that Dani brought and a greek pasta salad that I made. De-lish.

Oh and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Nothing says summer like strawberries and homemade whipped cream. And nothing says fun like whipped cream with creme de menthe liquor.

Thanks, Dane and Dani, for enjoying a super-relaxing and fun bbq with us, and for welcoming summer with us. If only summer wasn't already over. But for now, I'll revel in the memory.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the goose loves tuesday's ten (#9)


Can you believe it's Tuesday already?! These weeks have been flying by. I also apologize for giving you nothing each week but a pretty awesome weekly Tuesday post. I'm going to work on forcing myself into other "themed" weekly posts (on different days) so that you get more stuff to read. Because you definitely just sit here waiting for another post all week - what else would you do?

Sunny weekends have turned into a recent trend around here, and I'm 100% A-O-K with that. Except that still only getting two days of sun for every 5+ days of rain is still not enough. Or it's still enough for us Vitamin-D-deprived Portlanders to go crazy at the sight of sun. It's really a problem, though - we see the sun and we force ourselves outside. Or we feel guilty for being inside. Or I we get very overwhelmed about wanting to do everything within one weekend to enjoy the sun, and only having 48 hours (or less, really, because I do sleep) to do it all. Sunshine can be quite the burden! I'm working on letting go and just doing what I can.

 1. On Saturday, I took Bentley to the dogpark to
a) work towards Goal #17 and
b) meet 50 other beagles.
Okay well we didn't actually meet 50, but probably close to 20! The Portland Beagle Meet-Up Group met at our regular dogpark at noon on Saturday, so we figured it'd be a good time to meet a bunch of other crazy cute Bentley-types. We showed up closer to 1pm though, so we probably missed the full crowd. We saw a ton of beagles, but Bentley is still the cutest. And doesn't have the worst bark. Look at that happy puppy face. He loves sunshine too. See all that dirt on his tongue?
He also found a cow weimaraner to graze with. We love those dogs - maybe we'll get a weimaraner brother or sister for Bentley one day....  
Oh and that spot smelled really good, so he had to roll his whole body in it. Several times. For several minutes each. 

 2. We took advantage of the sun and hung our laundry outside. We fit a whole load (minus socks and undies) on this little clotheshorse and our main line. 
We were just finishing hanging the last shirt on the line, which is tied between the fence (as shown) and our back door lamp-thing, when the lamp popped out of the side of the house. Everything stayed intact within itself, but is only connected to the house by a dangling wire now. Oops. (I'm pretty sure the landlords don't read my blog... for good reason...). So we screwed a 5" screw into the house, and now the line hangs on that. For now. 
(P.S. Mom - I taught Billy some awesome clothes-hanging techniques that I learned from being your slave helping you hang clothes for all those years... like how to be economical with your line space and your clothespins. He suggested I write a manual. I think I'll leave that to you, though.) 

3. I love my boys. But they take some weird pictures. And only sometimes do I suggest the poses. 
This one is called "Best Friends - 8th Grade Photo-Shoot Style" (back to back). 

 4. On a Friday night, the last thing Billy and I want to do is cook. But going out isn't always friendly on our strict-paying-down-the-loans-like-crazy budget. So this past Friday we found a happy middle ground. We walked to New Seasons, picked out crab bites, fresh pasta, lemon-artichoke sauce, and beer, and walked out for under $20. (Would have been cheaper if Billy wasn't a fancy-beer-snob).
  The only way we could have done dinner this cheap at a restaurant is without alcohol (or with PBR), and even then it would have been tight. And these things took about 10 minutes to whip up, so easy on the cooking and cleaning. Eating leftover bean soup probably would have been cheaper, but this rocked. 
The final product: 

5. On Saturday morning, I did feel like cooking. I whipped up the blueberry streusel muffins from the super awesome cookbook Peas and Thank You.
 Yes, it certainly does say meatless on there. And there certainly are a bunch of vegetarian and vegan recipes. And we are neither. But all of the recipes are delicious (I'm actually guessing here, I haven't made my way through it all) and it's by a (local!) blogger named Sarah. Check the blog out.

Mmmmm. These barely made it to Sunday morning. 

 6. Billy and I went to the dentist on Monday morning. Yeah, as if Mondays weren't bad enough, we decided to torture ourselves with the dentist as well. More like the dentist doing the torturing... I mean look at all of those evil pain-inducing tools. Unfortunately we didn't come out cavity free. Billy had 2, and I had, well, more than 2. The good news? I still have wisdom teeth! Nope, that's actually not good news either. The dentist will make plenty of money off us this year.

7. Back to the sunny weekend. Bentley had fun playing with his reflection and sitting on the been-up-for-nine-months-and-they-still-aren't-hemmed curtains.

8. Here's a good teaser for you! We think that it's finally done snowing in Portland, so we're slowly sashaying into gardening season. How can we call ourselves true Portlanders if we don't grow our own Italian parsley and jalapenos and stuff? So we pulled out the lumber we bought a few weeks ago and started construction. And yes, somebody needs a pedicure. Real bad. 

 9. After spending all remaining sunlight hours building, we whipped up some chicken salad for dinner out of the Cooks Illustrated magazine. Classic and simple, but super tasty. And leftovers. Yay! 

 10. But of all my ten ramblings, this one is the best!
Happy Birthday Jackie!!
Hope 25 is the best year yet, and here's to 75+ more!!

Til next week, or until Friday's Four. Or Saturday's Seven. Or some other clever weekly post title I come up with to get me to blog more...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the goose loves tuesday's ten (#8)

Big news, friends! This week's episode of Tuesday's Ten is actually on time! It's Tuesday! Hooray!

And the ten for this week is super fun and exciting. It all makes me smile. Big smiles. And maybe you'll smile too. Or maybe you won't give a &%^* about the little things that make me super happy. Either way, I encourage you to read the whole thing.

1. I bought my first item from Pick Your Plum (which is generally like Groupon for crafts)! Most times, the items are a little weird (like satin rompers for kids, which is today's "steal"... Dad - you probably dont't even know what a romper is). But about a week ago, the daily deal was 10 spools of thread for $7 plus $3 shipping - so basically $1/spool. And these spools are at least as big as my normal ones, if not bigger, which I pay at least $3 for each spool. And these colors are pretty unique. And they showed up super fast. So I'm in love.

2. My sister went down to CA last week, and then came to Portland, so she provided delivery service between my parents and me! In the bag of goodies, along with easter-y cupcake tins and a scarf, was a bag full of delicious Slovenian honey cookies. I'm not even going to attempt the spelling of those. They may look a little strange, but believe me - they're delicious. And they taste like home. And childhood. Each bite is like eating a mouthful of young and carefree. The best part? Billy doesn't like them (something about them not having enough sugar and fat), so more for me! Unfortunately, there's only one left now. Pretty sure I ate over half the bag right when these showed up, before I took this photo.

3. Lots of blathering so far - I'll keep this one short. Here was dinner Saturday night - grilled chicken with a peruvian rub from Bobby Flay's Grill It book (its rubbed, not burnt), along with grilled garlic bread and a tangy mustard sauce. Mmm. Time out while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

4. On Saturday, we also Redbox-ed for the first time! Even my parents got into the redbox thing before we did. Haha. Go Mom & Dad!
We walked down to Fred Meyer with the dog and picked up Midnight in Paris, with Owen Wilson and my ultimate girl-crush, Rachel McAdams. Oh, and written/directed by Woody Allen. The movie was good, but not Billy's style - he fell asleep within minutes. My parents would like it. I was in love with the 20's music.

5. We actually enjoyed some sun this weekend! Unfortunately, it's long gone now. But I'll include the obligatory dog-as-a-cat-in-the-sun photos. But look at that adorable face. How do you not take 30 photos of that?
Then he gave into the sleepy sun.

6. I went to a Tupperware party (yes, they still have those!) last week at Caryn's house. It was good hang-out time with her, Carolyn, and Caryn's adorable baby Brennan. Even Billy got in on the baby action when he came to pick me up. Notice the uneasy look on Billy's face, and how he can't even put his hands on the baby. We'll have to work on that one.

7. The best part of the Tupperware party? Buying these babies!
Yes, that's 8 gorgeous pieces of purple and blue flowered tupperware goodness. For a steal, too. I literally actually felt like I was stealing. At the party, I saw these purple ones in the catalogue, and fell in love (duh). Erin, the awesome tupperware goddess, had the same purple ones in her stash at home, brand new!! So she gave me a wicked-good deal. Eight pieces of the best-looking tupperware ever, for $30. YES. That's less than $4/piece for you math whizzes. And this stuff is dishwasher AND microwave proof - none of those plastic poisons. Did I mention they're gorgeous? At least 5 of the pieces are going to store my flour/sugar/cornmeal type things - I'll replace the old ziploc-types that I've had for years. YES.

8. We're moving though our meal plan pretty well - already cooked the potato curry (it was decent), and here's our white bean and ham soup. Still on the list? Chicken salad sandwiches and whore pasta.

9. My mom loved the picture I sent her (via Monika's phone) of me at work last week, so here's another one for you, Mom. Don't my glasses make me look nerdy awesome? Sorry about the bright fuzzy light. It's jsut the awesome flourescents in my cube.

10. And the best for last. Remember when I made a Vegas Showdog bowtie (#4) and then I took pictures of Bentley in the bowtie (also #4)? Well I promised you it was all for a good cause. And here it is!
I'm the captain for one of the PGE teams at the Heart Walk, and this is my team recruitment strategy! Who could turn down that face? You can join my team, the Hearty Hearts (yes, I'm currently accepting suggestions for a cooler team name), and donate lots of moolah. For every team member that joins and donates at least $10, Billy and I will throw in $10. But if you donate $50, we're still only putting in $10 on your behalf. But you'll get an extra big hug from me and a kiss lick from Bentley for donating more!

If you love supporting me can't say no to my dog but aren't in Portland, you can donate anyway. I'll walk for you. If you are in Portland, the walk is on May 19th and begins at 10am. It's an easy three-mile loop around the waterfront (from the Hawthorne Bridge to the Steel Bridge and back around). It'll be awesome. AND for you Portland residents, Billy and I will be hosting a heart-healthy BBQ post-walk. And it will be cooler than grilled-tofu-in-kale-wraps. So join me!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

the goose loves easter

Now that it's been a week since Easter, it's probably a good time for a short recap, right?

When we were little, Easter was a big deal. We had the dresses, the white tights, the white shoes, the coloring of eggs, and the Easter baskets with candy. Lots of candy. And then a whole week off of school.

These days, in our inbetweener years (we aren't kids, and we don't have any kids), Easter is less of a big deal. We don't even get Good Friday off of work. Heathens.

But we did a little celebrating anyway, starting with a few cards for family. My parents got the one that says "Isn't God Amazing?" on front. :) 

 And I took this opportunity to use the free dog-themed address labels I got in the mail. I should probably send the Guide Dogs for the Blind some money now... 

 And we got a lovely egg-shaped card from Holly and Daryl, Billy's aunt and uncle! They're super sweet. 

As we did last year, we drove up to Seattle on Friday night and came back on Sunday afternoon. Once Billy returned from his drum competition in Canada, we cooked up an Easter feast. We picked out the smallest ham we could find, which turned out to be 8.5lbs for four of us - not too bad. 
And some candy, of course. Not exactly the spread from our youth, but we're also not quite burning off the sugar and fat like we could in our younger days. :)
 We made deviled eggs, too. Yummm.
 Along with our eggs and ham, we had asparagus, scallopped potatoes, and rolls.
Here's the whole spread.

On Monday (back in Portland), we decided to have some fun family time and throw Bentley an easter egg hunt. Yes, for the dog. Here's all the eggs (24 of them!), each filled with a dog treat or a few pieces of kibble.
We "hid" them around the house in fairly obvious places, all at dog-height. 

 Two made it into Moose's orifices.
 And one in the couch.
 Oh and one in SharkBait's chewed-up head cavity. 

 As you probably guessed, Bentley didn't really get it. For being a beagle with a "super" nose, he's not really good at smelling out treats. We pointed the first few out to him, and made a big deal of giving him the treat in the eggs he found, but he didn't get the idea of looking for more eggs.

Like at this point. He had just found the egg in SharkBait, but couldn't find the purple egg literally in front of his nose. He's waiting for me to help him. 
 And when I don't point it out, he gives up. 
Look Ma, no hands paws!
This one, though, he got. Look at that blur heading toward the egg! 
 He eventually found all of them, even though he spent most of the time going back to the places he already found eggs, expecting new ones to pop up there, I guess! 
Egg hunts are probably more fun with kids. And chocolate. But that'll have to wait a few more years, still.