New Year, New Blog Post

It’s been almost a year since my last blog post. Ha ha! *cough* Sorry. That is going to change! The last year has been full of many changes. My computer died. I switched jobs and apartments. Went from regular internet access to buying coffee and borrowing a friends computer when I desperately needed to email anything longer than a paragraph. (Smart phones are only good for so much.) I just bought a new (refurbished) computer and my friend and I are sharing internet…one of the many perks of living next door to one of your best friends!

This year contained several other significant changes. Like I said, I changed jobs. I found my perfect play job! I get to cook at a place where I have the opportunity to spend my free time hiking during the summer and snowboarding or snowshoeing during the winter. Pretty much perfect! My co-workers aren’t half bad either. Actually, they’re pretty awesome πŸ™‚

Other changes… One of my best friends had a BABY and I moved next door to her and her adorable little son. It’s so much fun! Because my work takes me out of town all the time it is incredible to know I’m coming home to two people who are always excited to see me.

Work has been crazy busy this year and since two of my jobs take me out of town pretty often, I haven’t been able to make it to my home church regularly. That’s been the hardest part of my “perfect job”. Thankfully, when I’m traveling for my catering job, I am able to go to my parents church or some other church in the area where I’m working! I’m pretty sure I’ve been to my parents church more often during the last few months than I have to my own church. I’m extremely thankful for a church family that calls to check up on me when they haven’t seen me in a while! I’ll be there this Sunday!

Here’s to friends, and church family, and family family. Here’s to change, and new beginnings, and fresh starts. Here’s to a whole new year!

27th Birthday Blog Party!

It’s my birthday! Twenty-seven years ago today I was born in Portland Oregon to the best parents on earth!

Birthdays are interesting things. When I was younger I always thought I would wake up feeling different somehow… Older maybe. I always felt the same – although I usually felt pretty special πŸ™‚ My family has some great birthday traditions… When I was little we would wake up to a bedroom completely covered in crepe paper! We would have to climb out of it like a spy through laser beams or rip our way through in order to get to the door. As I got older my parents decided that toilet paper was cheaper, so from then on we just got our room “toilet-papered”. One year (when I was either 21 or 22) my dad called up my neighbors/good friends and (easily) talked them into toilet-papering my entire apartment! This year I won’t be waking up to a room strewn with toilet paper. I will instead be waking up at 5:00 am to go to work and cook for 10.5 hours. I’m not complaining. I’m grateful to have a job! I’ll be celebrating my birthday with my sisters on Sunday when we go camping! And next week I’ll be able to see my family and have a little family party…

With my brother at my birthday last year!

Another family tradition that we have is that the birthday person always gets to pick what they want to have for dinner. And when I was little we had “moneyΒ  cakes” that were just traditional style cakes with coins stuck in them! (Don’t worry, the coins were thoroughly washed.) We always got really excited if we got anything bigger then a penny πŸ™‚

This year I want to start a new tradition! I want to celebrate with all of you by hosting a little blog party/giveaway! I’m going to give away a gift box filled with stuff from a couple of my favorite local shops (spices, teas, possibly chocolate), simply because it’s my birthday! In order to be entered to receive this gift box of foodie goodies you need to leave me a comment telling me what your favorite birthday tradition is!

It would make my day if I got a whole bunch of comments – so spread the word!

Sunburns and Shade Fishing

I took a much needed trip to see the Fam for Memorial Day! Actually it was a total coincidence that I went over Memorial Day, I only had two nights off from the house and they happened to be Sunday/Monday.

Very little sleep and a long drive ahead. Yay!

Anyhoo – I left at 5:15am in a effort to make it to my destination in time for church. Perfect timing! It was so great to get out of town and see a different part of the state πŸ™‚ Doesn’t happen very often. Even though I wasn’t super thrilled to be up and driving at that early hour, I did get to see a beautiful sunrise!

I had a great visit πŸ™‚ Met new people at church. Made some great lemonade (see previous post). Walked a bunch on some all-around-town trails. Soaked up some SUN!!! Didn’t soak up as much sun as I wanted to – which is probably a good thing because I would have been buuuurnt πŸ˜‰

Had a picnic and went fishing with the family! I gave my littlest brother a real fishing pole for his 7th birthday (it’s better then mine is!), and he couldn’t wait to try it out. He got pretty good at his practice casting before we even got on the water! Even though we spent most of the day in the shade (in hopes that the fish would be there too) I still ended up pretty pink at the end of the day. O.K. by me! The rest of these pictures are of our fishing adventure. If you see a finger in the picture – it’s my Moms πŸ˜‰

First fish of the day and of Patrick’s life!!!

Biggest fish of the day!

Until next time. Keep fishing!

Basil Mint Lemonade – May Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

Exciting stuff! This month I actually GOT something from my newest foodie pen pal πŸ™‚ She sent me a recipe that she recently posted on her blog for Basil Mint Lemonade AND everything I would need to make it! Including a pitcher and two cups… sugar… lemons, basil, mint… Everything!

I waited until I went to visit my family and then made the lemonade for a nice Memorial Day treat πŸ™‚

I’ve included the original post from Smitten Foodie where you can find the recipe and a beautiful picture of her lemonade!

The following is “Lorna’s simplified version of how to make fantastic lemonade”. Enjoy!

First you need to wash and peel several lemons, trying very hard to only get the yellow part and none of the white.

To make the simple syrup combine the basil leaves, mint, lemon peel, sugar and water in a medium pan and bring to a simmer. Take the syrup off the heat and let it the flavors get all infused together for about an hour (or longer if you feel the need to take a Sunday afternoon nap).

My sister Abby was my assistant photographer/chef! She did a good job putting up with my bossiness in the kitchen. Actually – she does pretty well putting up with all of my bossiness πŸ™‚The next step in the lemonade adventure is to find a man with strong hands (aka Dad) or use a lemon juicer to squeeze all of the many lemons and limes needed for this refreshing drink!

Last but not least – combine all ingredients, add water and… Enjoy!

Thank you Connie for this fun package of goodies!

A few extra thoughts about this recipe:

We discovered the fact that the addition of the lemon/basil/mint simple syrup is an out-of-this-world addition to iced tea! Seriously – I think I like it better then the lemonade. The basil is what really does it. SO good.

That’s all!

(OOPS! Totally forgot to add info about the Foodie Pen Pal program! Be sure to go check out The Lean Green Bean and get all the details from Lindsay here —-> Foodie Pen Pals)

Dinner with the girls…

My family has scattered to the four corners of the earth. Well – more like the 2.5 corners of the earth. My brother got on a plane to Korea last week and most of my family moved to the middle of Washington on Sunday. It has been a tiring and emotional couple of weeks. I hate saying goodbye, however temporarily or short term. Thankfully two of my sisters are staying on this side of the state, and my best friend Ayla is sticking around for a little while.

One of our goals for the summer is to make dinner together once a week. It will be a challenge because we all have pretty different schedules – but we’ve already succeeded once! Last night we had the welcome addition of the youngest member of Hannah’s host family join us…

For dinner I made fresh gluten-free, corn-free pasta! Ayla actually did all of the hard work, she rolled it all out while I worked on the sauces.Β Gluten-free dough is much more delicate then regular dough but as long as you pay attention and work a little slower – there shouldn’t be any problems. The nice thing about it is even if it does fall apart you can just squish it back together and start over!

The recipe I used for this pasta is an adaptation of a recipe from the Gluten-Free Girl – Shauna Ahern.

Note: When working with gluten-free flours and adjusting recipes, it is important to use weight instead of volume to measure them. That is why I have the weight of each flour in this recipe. I also used only guar gum instead of a combination of guar and xanthan gum because xanthan gum is a byproduct of corn.

Homemade Gluten Free Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1.25oz amaranth flour
  • 1.25oz millet flour
  • 2.125oz potato starch
  • 2.5oz quinoa flour
  • 3 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk together in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, make a well in center and pour in the whisked eggs and egg yolks.
  3. Stir all ingredients together with a fork until mostly combined.
  4. Using your hands, knead remaining dry ingredients into the dough until it is completely incorporated. (You will know the dough is complete when it feels kind of like play-dough.)
  5. After making the dough – tear the dough into golf ball sized pieces, flatten with your hands and dust with a little millet or quinoa flour to limit the stickiness.
  6. Use either a pasta maker or a rolling pin to roll the dough into thin sheets. Roll each piece as thin as you can before it starts to tear.
  7. After rolling the dough out, use either a knife (or a pizza cutter) or the fettuccine setting on the pasta machine to cut each piece into ribbons of pasta.
  8. Toss the cut pasta with a little flour so that it won’t stick together when you are ready to cook it. Always cook pasta in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water. You want the pasta to be able to roll around freely and not stick to itself. Salt the water until it tastes like sea water. That gives your pasta extra flavor! This pasta is done cooking very quickly so you want to check it after it’s been cooking for just a few minutes. You don’t want it to be over cooked because it will just turn to mush. When done, drain it and add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking.

To top the pasta I made two different sauces. The red sauce was made with canned grape tomatoes, tomato paste, sauteed garlic and onions, white wine, spinach, diced zucchini and sea salt. Delish πŸ™‚ I also made a seafood sauce that used two cans each of Trader Joes crab and shrimp (including the juices), lots of butter with sauteed garlic, onions, leeks and mushrooms, as well as white wine and sea salt. At the very end I added half a pint of heavy cream and kept it on the heat just long enough to get hot.

Even Hannah liked this sauce and she doesn’t like seafood! We also sauteed some asparagus in butter and salt and ate that on the side.

All in all it was a great evening, especially because we were able to Skype with the family and get a tour of the new house!

I wonder what we’re having for dinner next week?

Moving…

Lot’s of moving happening this month. The biggest move of all involves my family – they are moving out of the area to be closer to my dad’s job. They will be gone by the middle of May 😦 I’m pretty sad about them moving – but I know it will be better for everyone to live in the same area. My dad won’t have to work away from the family anymore! Besides – my sister Rosie is staying here and my sister Hannah is staying for the summer!

The other move that’s taking place is… My blog is moving to WordPress! New style. New name. Excitement!

Celebrations

Once again I have fallen down on the blog writing job. Maybe this will cheer you up… A post – with pictures!

March 17th (Saint Patrick’s Day) was also my brother Kealen’s 16th birthday! In honor of this momentous occasion, we (the siblings) decided to continue our newly begun tradition and take the birthday boy out for a fancy dinner at a snazzy local restaurant. This tradition first started when Kealen, Noah, Rosie and I surprised Hannah for her 18th birthday by getting all dressed up and going out for an amazing meal… I think that may have been the first time we’d ever done something together, without the rest of the family or countless friends tagging along. In any case – we all agree that this is a tradition worthy of continuing! We also agree that it is just way to expensive to do for every birthday, so we’re limiting it to 16th, 18th and 30th birthdays (I had to talk them into that last one.)
These evenings have been full of silly conversations, delicious food (very important on a Farris outing) and for some odd reason – bathroom rating?

Kealen’s celebration took place at the little Prospect Street Cafe in downtown Bellingham.

Here are a few pictures to show you the fun we had, good food we ate and the following horrible games we bowled!

Happy birthday Kealen-boy!