September was a wild month. Last month’s interview trip turned into a job offer … aaaaaaaand my husband and I decided to move to Hawaii!
Here are 10 things that made me happy in September.
1. The EMP – shows are so much cooler when they are at the Experience Music Project
2. Fashionable people who march to their own beat. Purple man-pris? Why, yes!
3. The Space Needle – my first trip up since toddlerhood
4. Free Starbucks at the “insider lounge” during Bumbershoot
5. A wonderful kitty who forgives his parents for making him go through surgery
6. Subtle reminders that you’ve made the right choice
7. Outdoor concerts with best friends – Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival
8. Cooking things that I grew
9. Painting and picking the perfect shade of white
10. La Isla Puerto Rican restaurant – nom!
Summer in Oregon – it’s where it’s at. Here are 10 things that made my month.
1. Bocce ball with friends
2. Fireworks over Oaks Park
3. Busting out the “stars and stripes” Converse All Stars for Independence Day
4. My garden finally growing!
5. Macarons (I know they were on my June favorites list too, but these are from Elephant’s Deli so not exactly the same thing)
6. Multnomah Falls
7. Farmers market season
8. Getting crafty with vintage buttons
9. Sailing on the Columbia River
10. Enjoying Waialua soda at a slightly cooler (and my favorite) beach – Oswald West
Here’s a quick weeknight meal. I took Martha’s quinoa, spinach and shiitake salad and mixed things up a bit by using arugula from my garden instead of the spinach. I also made it a little healthier and halved the recipe so it’s perfect for two people.
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and ground pepper
- 1/2 to 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 pound or large bunch of arugula
- 4 ounces feta cheese or chevre, crumbled
Combine vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Toss half of dressing with the prepared mushrooms. Then broil mushrooms until tender (about 15 minutes. Add quinoa to a pan with 1 1/2 cups of water and some salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Place arugula in bowl or large serving plate. Add mushrooms, quinoa and other half of dressing; toss. Top with feta or chevre.
Quinoa and mushrooms are a really good source of protein and this dish is so yummy! I think the extra spice from the arugula really kicks it up a notch.
I hosted a dinner party for six with this vegetarian Cinco de Mayo menu. Shamefully, I was too busy cooking to take photos of my food!
We started with a simple wild greens salad with a citrus vinaigrette dressing. Then I served two soups: creamy corn soup and vegetarian tortilla soup, with garnishes of tortilla strips, scallions, lime, avocado, green pepper, cilantro, pepper jack cheese and jalapeno. The corn soup is from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food cookbook and it was super runny! I’m not sure I’d make it again, but thankfully there was plenty of food to go around and great garnishes so no one seemed to notice. I don’t have a “go to” recipe for vegetarian tortilla soup since I usually use up what I happen to have, but sometimes I combine this one and this one.
I also made a “chicken” taco casserole, a special recipe from Mr. Comma Happy’s mom. It’s bad for you, but a crowd-pleaser. We had several drink choices, but I think Mexican Coke and Jarritos are the only ones worth mentioning. The perfect dessert for this menu is churros with chocolate dipping sauce (including a kick of paprika and red pepper).
Overall, a great dinner party and something I need to plan more often. Who can resist a themed dinner?
It’s time for another recap of things that made my month! Here are 10 things that made me happy in August:
1. Gladiolas: I’m the kind of girl who likes to buy her guy flowers. Yes, it’s kind of a gift for myself, but it makes the house seem cozy. He humors me. I picked up a 10-stem bunch of glads at Fred Meyer for $3.99! They were cheaper than the tie-dye daisies and lasted a couple of weeks.
3. Providence Bridge Pedal: When else can you pedal across the Marquam Bridge? There is nothing quite like pedaling your bicycle across a freeway bridge. Yes, it’s a leisurely bike ride with 18,000 of your closest friends … and it’s awesome!
4. Cole Haan ‘Air Nora’ slide: These feel a bit grannyish but are still cute “summer is not yet over” shoes. And I do love my Cole Haan Nike Airs.
5. Pine State Biscuits: Everyone raves about the Reggie, the Regina, or plain old biscuits and gravy, but seasonal berries are where it’s at! I just can’t condone collard greens at 8 a.m. (which is when you should arrive if you don’t want to stand in line), but fresh berries and whipped cream are perfect toppings for the perfect biscuit!
6. Eggplant: Both the color and the vegetable made me smile this month.
7. Oregon honey: Another Portland Farmer’s Market find. I’m not sure what made me happier, the honey sticks or the yellow “3 Bees” bucket. I’m craving both.
8. Avery NoteTabs for cookbooks: I saw an ad for these in the Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine and knew they would change my life. Proof that advertising works (only I thought they were a 3M post-it note product, so I suppose you could say I had a hard time with advertisement recall). Love them!
9. Lavender: Is it acceptable to have three items from the Farmer’s Market on my list? I put a bunch of fresh lavender in a wooden apple basket from Pottery Barn ($2.99 clearance item – score) and it smells as good as it looks… or looks at good as it smells.
10. Game storage: Finally, a place to keep extra games, and the (IKEA Dombas) wardrobe was only $99!