Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Punched in the Face

This pretty much sums up how I feel. 

The pain comes with a consistent bloody nose, but this sinus surgery was hardly nothing compared to wisdom teeth coming out!  All went well and I have good company in Ross. This will be so worth it next week! 

Random thoughts:
 I've been craving string cheese like no other. 

Ross has been wonderful and is taking really good care me and brings me all the string cheese I want. 

The surgical team were all very kind, and I felt very well taken care of. After the surgery they had an all natural real fruit popsicle for me, and one of the nurses even called me this morning to check in and see how I was doing. Way to go Bellingham ENT

I am glad that I can be on the computer and blog and read. It makes me feel for productive. 

And finally - I am so grateful for the love, prayers and support from family and friends! It's so comforting to know that there are people out there praying for me despite this being a simple and relatively routine surgery. Thank you! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Bummer

What?!?!? What is that - a bird, a plane, no - a bus! 

WTF! End of Summer Guide! Already?

It feels like summer finally came to Bellingham just at the beginning of this month, and now everyone is talking about the end of summer, the beginning of school, fall, pumpkins (which I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited about pumpkins), and I am so not ready for it! 

I've finally been able to enjoy summer favorites - like a Caprese salad. 

Fresh tomatoes and basil from our CSA box, slices of fresh Mozzarella, a little pepper and some balsamic vinaigrette. Such an incredible combination of flavors that just sing in my mouth! I love it. 

We also had a re-run of the Spiral Garden Pesto Pasta - incredible. Every time. 

And my own tomatoes are starting to ripen! 

I'm so happy =) I ate one yesterday - so sweet, so good. Sun kissed. 

My early girls are getting a little color too! I suppose that's the bummer about the end of summer - all the wonderful things that we've been waiting to come out of the garden are finally here, and even though I am enjoying them to the fullest it is bittersweet. Harvest means that summer is nearly over, preparations for the winter must begin. I would totally be at the Farmers Market buying up mounds of tomatoes and such to can, but since we're moving in December after I graduate (we're not sure where yet exactly, but stay tuned!) I don't want to bother canning. It just doesn't seem worth the effort if we won't use it all. 

Another bummer: Today (Tuesday the 30th) I am having surgery. I might have mentioned once, or twice, or quite often about how I was sick all spring with a chronic sinus infection. It was terrible - I never had any energy, I couldn't breathe, and I even gained some weight from not being able to be as active as I like to be. I've lost some of it over the summer, but not all of it. And this also means that I will probably not be feeling like doing much of anything for our first wedding anniversary on Labor Day. =( 

Nasal Polyps - Source

In the spring I was referred to a specialist and we decided that a good option for me would be to have a simple sinus surgery to remove the nasal polyps that have formed since they are blocking a significant portion of the airflow to my nasal passages, and also to correct my deviated septum. (The other option would be steroid nasal sprays and a lifetime of medication management - and I am not the biggest fan of taking medicine for the long term, or steroids, so I decided fixing it now would hopefully prevent problems in the future.) This picture is a little creepy, and totally creeps Ross out (more reason to post it!) but this is what it looks like:

Unfortunately nasal polyps may happen again, but my doctor is going to try to do as much as possible to open up my sinuses to help me breathe and make it so that when I do get colds in the future there will be room for swelling and for the infection to drain out as opposed to getting stuck in there for months on end. I'm nervous, but I've heard from many people that it is so worth it to be able to breathe and to get over colds easier. And Ross will be there with me the whole time, and that is very comforting. Let's just say I'm excited for two weeks from now. And maybe I'll learn to love winter and spring if I'm not sick throughout the season! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zucchini Pancakes

Even though I really do enjoy French Toast, I am much more of a savory breakfast person. I have been loving the zucchinis from our CSA box because then I get to make one of my most favorite things - zucchini pancakes!!! 

And I love anything I can douse with Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce, so it's a win-win. 

Zucchini Pancakes 
3-5 Zucchinni and/or yellow squash 
1/4 onion grated or finely chopped
2-3 eggs 
1-2 tsp minced garlic 
Salt & Pepper 
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese 

This recipe is not strict - I probably change it a bit everytime I make them. I just use what I have and adjust the seasonings/garlic/cheese accordingly. Also consider what things you would like to top with - hot sauce, sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, per your preference. Ross really likes them with sour cream. 

Grate the zucchinis and place them in a bowl. I think some people drain/strain some excess liquid off at this point, but I don't. It's a hassle and a mess, so I just go for it. 

Gross Packers colors. 

Add in the eggs. 

And the rest of the ingredients. 

Then scoop the mixture onto your hot, lightly oiled griddle. I usually have the griddle set to 350F and cook them on each side for 3-4 minutes. 

They will sizzle like bacon, and fill the kitchen with a great smell. 

Lovely and lightly browned on both sides.

The cheese is really the key I think - it makes them all gooey inside. 

What's your favorite way to eat a zucchini? 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hittin' the Road

This morning (and last night, since Ross had to work the early shift this morning) we had to say goodbye to two of our very good friends - Lauren and Chris. 

We are going to miss our rock climbing buddies so so much

Lauren is moving back to DC with her family and Chris is hitting the road to go on a band tour with Tom Evanchuck and the Old Money. Who knows - maybe they will make it big?!?!? 

A huge congratulations to Lauren who successfully defended her thesis on Friday and is now officially a Master! She'll formally graduate with her Masters in Geography with me in December, but from a distance.

We went to the Copper Hog to celebrate! 

LOVE Brown Ales. 

And the next night we continued to celebrate with a Big Mama Margarita from Jalapenos. Holy Mole these things knock you on your ass! They are so strong - 32oz for $6.50 and that's more than all you need for the night. =) 

And now Lauren and Chris have hit the road and are on a cross-country adventure. They are planning stops at Glacier, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Chicago, Cleveland and then to DC. But their first stop was my house for breakfast!!!! 

I decided to slice up the brioche and get my French Toast on! 

So simple - a beaten egg, some cinnamon, and homemade bread! LOVE our griddle. 

Because of the braid these were more like french toast sticks in a way - and they were a treat! 

So delicious slathered in REAL maple syrup. I don't mess around. 

Farewell to Chris and Lauren - safe travels. We will hopefully catch up with them in November when the band is going to be playing in Seattle! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Knowing that I am soon going to be working as a baker got me all excited - so I whipped open my favorite bread book and found a recipe that I hadn't tried before. 

Brioche, pronounced bree -osh, is a sweet bread made with eggs and butter. And it's heavenly. 

Traditionally it is baked in fluted pans, but as I didn't have any I went with a fancy way of forming bread that I thought would turn out well - braids. And it was a success!  

Makes 2 loaves - you can easily halve or double this recipe. 
3/4 cups warm water 
3/4 Tbsp yeast (1 packet) 
3/4 Tbsp salt 
4 eggs, beaten 
1/4 cup honey 
3/4 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour 
Egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 Tbsp water) 

Mix together the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter in a bowl. Then mix in the flour without kneading (or use a stand mixer with a dough hook). Cover and leave to rise for 2 hours in a warm place. Then chill the dough in the refrigerator for anywhere between 3 hour to 5 days. (Beyond 5 days you can freeze the dough to use later). 

When you are ready to bake dust a surface generously with flour, and then divide this dough into six even apple-sized pieces.  

Flour your hands and roll the dough into long cylinders. 

If they don't cooperate set the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes, and try again. 

Once you have three strands of dough, you can braid! 

Here's a trick I learned - start in the middle and braid toward the ends. 

Then flip the dough over - and continue braiding to the other end. 

Then you have a beautifully braided dough loaf waiting to become bread. Repeat. 

Place them on a cookie sheet or pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal and leave to rest for an hour. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Right before baking brush the dough with an egg wash or - if you are like me and ran out of eggs - a little rice milk will do. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, and soon your kitchen will be filled with glory. 

Oh. My. Goodness. 

Eat as soon as its cool enough - alone, with coffee or tea, with honey drizzled on top - it's incredible! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bounty of the Season

Ross and I just got back from a few days in Las Vegas with his family - it was a great time! I'll have to share some pictures once I get them from my Father-in-law (he's a professional photographer, so I slacked while he was around...) Did I mention that I got to eat at In-N-Out!!!! I was so happy. 

The first thing we had to do when we got back was run up and grab our produce box from Cedarville Farm - and you sure can tell that we are getting to the height of the season! 

Look at all those colors! Tomatoes, basil, zucchini, a bell pepper, artichoke, lettuce, green and yellow romano beans, an onion (and a big one at that!), carrots, basil, and golden beets. Ah the blessings of summer. 

Ross and I tried preparing an artichoke once before... and it failed miserable. I'm excited to try again

Then perhaps we'll make a Caprese salad and some zucchini pancakes...

I'm thinking about some sauted romano beans... 

But since we were starving when we got home and in no mood to wait - we went for a salad. Chopped lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and bell pepper sprinkled with feta cheese and vegetarian bacon bits. It was fresh, local, organic, and delicious! 

Now I've got to finish unpacking, do some laundry, and get my food worker's card FOR MY NEW JOB!!!!!! I am going to be a seasonal baker this fall at BelleWood Acres! Back in the winter I toured their farm with my Agroecology class from Western and talked with Dorie about working there during harvest season, and here we are. I'm really excited, and it will be perfect for the fall while I am finishing my project for grad school.