Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Bom dia! Good morning! We're back in the States, and I miss Brasil already. I miss the strong coffee, the friends we made, the temperature, and the sound of the Atlantic Ocean. I also miss our wacky attempts at Portuguese. The mister and I agreed to keep trying it at home; so far it's hi and thank you that have survived. I'm still trying to Facebook in Portuguese on wedding picture comments...

Anyway, we came home to three HUGE (that's GRANDE) zucchini.
zucchini cupcake yumminess

 Cupcakes it is, with caramel frosting. I will post the recipe soon, but here are a few pictures. The finished, frosted product will be pictured shortly, but I've got another batch to get going. Chat you soon!



Thursday, September 27, 2012

muito bem

tonight we had dinner in Brazil. we shared our evening and conversation in English, Portuguese, and Spanish (spoken by a Polish girl and two Armenians) and somehow we all made it. My little brother is getting married on Saturday; my soon-to-be sister-in-law is the sweetest, most beautiful girl, and is from Santos, in São Paulo, Brazil. We arrived yesterday and have been amazed.

One thing that's been so terrific is that we are in a part of the country that the rest of the traveling world hasn't quite caught onto yet. There isn't loads to do and see in the tourist sense, and that's been the best part. it's been fun to see and do as the brazilians do, not as visitors do. It has always amazed me what tourists demand and "need" for their vacations to be just right. so much for VACATing your everyday... I like a neat, unique, and/or historical spot--don't get me wrong--but I also like to see a place as it is seen by the people who know real life there.

anyway, we went to the bar on the corner last night, about a hundred feet from our hotel, and had a caipirinha and chicken and watched the Santos Futbol Club defeat Chile on television with about seven other patrons. It was cool.

This morning we got up and, upon arriving in the lobby for a coffee, met my brother and two groomsmen--fresh from a week in Rio--and mom and stepdad on their way on from the airport. We dragged them to the beach for a look and then to a pizza place where we had pizza calabresa (sausage) and pizza quiejo (cheese). There were Brahma cervejas for the fellas and mom and I had Guarana, a soda from the famous Amazon berry. Then we had terrific doces (desserts) from the canfeteria joinville and left them to nap while rob and I walked along the beach and checked out the mall. Then we got ready and met everyone for dinner.

We had caipirinhas and amazing beef dinners, and the conversation was fantastic. It was so amazing to chat with people I'd never met, and most of whom didn't speak the same language. I mean, it's about a one to one ratio of English to Portuguese at this table. Somehow, though, it all works out. There is enough friendship and family to figure it all out, and at some point laughter and smiles bring it all together anyway. Rosetta Stone helps, but in the end if you just try what you know and learn from the people around you it works.

I am so excited to have a sister-in-law, and to see my brother so happy. This is going to be a beautiful week (and then some).

boa noite,


Friday, September 21, 2012

Wrapping up summer

On this last day of my favorite season I found myself with some extra time to hang out in the garden and enjoy what is probably one of only a handful of warm evenings left. This week has been unusually busy and I've been sending myself off to dreamland each night with the frantic thought that I have no idea how our veggies are doing. Ack!!! It has been quite chilly here overnight, and I've been afraid to see how they've fared... Turns out all is well, and I have healthy zucchini which makes me happy. There are two big ones, and THIRTEEN total! I saw the two last weekend, but suddenly eleven more have joined the crew. Okay, I'll take it! I find that being in the garden is such a relief. It is one of the only-THE only?-things I do that absolutely frees me from my own head. I love it.

Meanwhile, tonight I ended up prepping and freezing a bunch of stuff! Some of it was homegrown and some of it was grocery store fare that never made it into its intended recipes...

Pictures tomorrow, but I made pickles, cut up rhubarb for a future pie, and made dinner with some tiny tomatoes; there was also puréed watermelon for soon-to-be-sorbet and puréed kiwi that I saved from near rotting stage.

I feel accomplished, and have the Killers station on Pandora to thank. Also I'd like to thank my new iPad for making music and recipes a breeze. Now if I could just figure out how to write a blog post on it... We'll see how this one turns out.

Still a PC gal,


PS  i just broke down and turned on the real computer and want to add photos.  here you go!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dragging My Heels

hello, and happy sunday!  as i write, the sounds of a football game on television are filling the background, and the signs of an impending autumn are showing up one by one.  i love summer.  i want summer to last longer.  i will miss summer.  i am, indeed, digging in my heels and trying to prolong the arrival of the next season.  this is the shortest summer i have ever experienced--out here it's over before you know it.  Orion arrived in the morning sky about a month ago and i balked at the idea of my warm, long days coming to their inevitable end.  i want my garden and the summery flowers in their blue and yellow pots to keep on keeping on.  i want my trips to the mountains to be green hikes and magpies, full aspens, and dirt trails.  i am was not ready for the summer to end.

i have found myself easing up a bit in the last few days.  crispy blue skies and chilly mornings are helping me, as are productive school days and a few recent gatherings with friends.  i think a bag full of apples from Christina's tree and a dinner last tuesday have sparked the fall cravings.  a friend of ours had somehow acquired a huge turkey breast and wanted to cook for us, so he and his roommate made an amazing dinner of roasted turkey and garlic & cheese mashed skin-on potatoes (yay, Idaho!).  not to be too ahead of things, they were sure to include fresh corn on the cob to keep things a good mix of soon-to-be-gone summer and almost-here autumn.  it was quite a great preview of what's sitting on the horizon, but the kicker was an AMAZING wine our friend Becci brought over.  she's just returned from her annual vineyard visits in Oregon and arrived with two reds that just about have me sold on the next season.  some years there's a sip of red that just makes me sigh and want to sit outside and enjoy a cool evening by a fire with friends or with my Mister under a blanket and stars.  that sip of a big, nice red wine after months of white wine & summer ales alongside the bright, fresh farmer's market fare of summertime just changes things.  i had that sip last tuesday.  the vineyard was Palotai and it was called "Bull's Blood."  yeah, i know, but it was really, really nice.  it made me want fall.

and then there was apple pie.  i'm so annoyed with myself because i did not take any pictures of the process.  this is mostly because i was multitasking like crazy and was just that at the moment--crazy!  it's also partly because i realized the pictures of the peach pie from last fall are not entirely appetizing.  i'm still working on getting photos to do their subjects justice.  that's a whole other project!  anyway, i am very proud of this pie. i had my doubts, but went with it and was so happy with the outcome.  it got good reviews (and was brought up twice the next night when we were all out downtown) and have filed it away into the Make Again pile.  i had a bunch of apples from the same garden as last year's peaches and it was time to do something with them.  they were sour as could be, so i was unsure of how they'd work in a pie, but i looked into it anyway.  i googled about pie with sour apples and came up with an interesting one.  it had a super fun secret ingredient:  chili powder!  i did a recipe mash up with my old standby and her recipe and adored the result.  i will be making this pie again.  and again and again.  mostly i just followed her apple cutting steps and used her idea of adding heat by using the chili powder, but i will go back and do another with the citrus.    the whole thing just sounds bizarre, but i'm willing to give it a whirl.  i used my crust--just a bottom, no top--and the filling recipe from last fall's pie post.  i used vegetable oil this time instead of olive, and added a light dusting of chili powder before i stirred it all together.  meanwhile, did i just make a topless pie?  scandalous.

and finally, the week ended with a farewell dinner for a friend at Jaker's, a local steakhouse that is really good.  coffee rubbed tri tip?!  yes please!!!  another night with great company and wonderful food, and three bottles of red (there were eleven of us!).  i tried a glass of a great blend called Cashmere Cline that was really great, then had a glass of Idaho's own Pend d'Oreille, a fall-is-here-break-out-the-long-sleeves cabernet.  SO good.

wherever you are, and whatever the weather or season, i hope you're having a great time and enjoying your days.  hopefully i'll still be coat-free by next posting.

not missing air conditioning,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Let's Roll

It's been a few weeks (as usual), but we've been busy!  I've started a new teaching job (JOY!) and we've been squeezing every last bit out of our summer as August & September fly by and October closes in more quickly than we'd like.  But more on that later...

This morning I wanted to remember for a moment the surreal, unbelievable, tragic, bright blue Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.  Has it been eleven years?  It is amazing to me that the babies of that year are in middle school.  The middle schoolers are in (or done with!) college.  The high school students of that year have now been on the battlefields for years.   I realized this morning that my 27 year old neighbor who is a US Marine was just driving when this attack occurred.  It feels, though, like it was the proverbial "yesterday."  I suspect it will always feel like such a short time ago.  

As I watch the events unfold again on television, I remember clearly and precisely what I was doing as every moment occurred.  I remember what I was hearing, where I was standing, who I was talking to, and the cup of coffee that went cold in my hand, unfinished--the cup of coffee I was purchasing at Winks Market in Kitty Hawk, NC, as the first plane struck.  I thank God I wasn't standing there, in the midst of it all.  I cannot imagine what those people remember and how it must have felt to watch that scene unfold AS IT HAPPENED.  Secretary Panetta just mentioned in his terrific and heartfelt speech in front of the Pentagon, "the smell of the rubble" and how those present would never forget it.  I cannot imagine.  

Say a prayer today for those lost and those who fought, saved, and cleaned up the mess.  Pray for those families who lost, who continue to grieve, and for the people who lead us then and who lead us today. Pray for those who hate us and want to destroy what we have; ask that they see the true God and the true meaning of faith and what it means to be human.  

Have a good day, and remember the good things!

God bless America!

from the land of the free & the brave,

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

and i, i took the path bears traveled by...

hello!  hope everyone's had a fun few weeks.  we've been some hiking fools these last two weekends, and it has been super exciting.  what a beautiful place this Wild West is!  who knew?  yes, i'd always imagined the beauty of The West, but i've always been quite smitten with the ocean.  the Rockies and the Tetons and the rest of the gang are closing in fast on my old friend, the Atlantic.  while that beautiful, peaceful, curling and tumbling ocean will always be a favorite, it has a new roommate in the top slot.  i mean, this is hard to beat.  

two weekends ago we hiked Table Mountain, which put us up at 11,000 feet, and a mile away from Grand Teton.  I've been on the other side of this picture, and seen it up close, but always by car, or a short walk from a parking lot.  This was way different, and I'm so grateful to have been part of such adventure.  We hiked one of two routes to this point--"the steep one"--and it was challenging.  the aspen groves and wildflower meadows are such a great distraction!  the other route is called Huckleberry Canyon and i vote we go that way next time (i'm hoping there actually are huckleberries there).  the steep routes are always worse coming back down.  my knees and ankles protest vehemently!  

anyway, we're hiking up 

and up 

and up, 

a total of about three miles with an altitude gain of just over 3,000 feet, and we come to this:

i know that big old Grand is right over there.  so we make our way  s l o w l y  towards the "table" of Table Mountain (see?) and we're almost there.  once you get to the last part, all you can see is the wall in front of your face.  

you are al. most. there. 

then you take that last step up and -BAM- you see this!

i will never get tired of looking at this.  want to know something cool?  i can see that tall one--Grand Teton--from my neighborhood.  one state over.  120 miles away.  yes.  i love it here.  

but that was so last week.  THIS week we hiked a very long, very exhausting (okay, i was exhausted before i started) but beautiful trail towards Moose Lake along Moose Creek with a stop for lunch at Moose Falls.  

yes, we saw a moose.    
see her?

 she saw us, too, and i was kind of scared, but all is well (i wish moose were as friendly and goofy as they looked.  they're so not).  

there were some cool sights and a 
gorgeous view of the waterfall. 
i mean, we're standing on the edge 
of the canyon, in front of the falls, 
and it's just amazing.  

we had lunch here, at the 6.1 mile mark, then decided to go on further to Moose Lake.  about a mile later we all ultimately decided to turn around (thank you!), but not before we saw what i've been waiting and waiting to see.  

we're going along the trail, all eight of us, and i see meadow to the right, meeting up with a few bushes and the tree line, and green grass and rocks stretching to the left and beyond, up a hillside.  i'm in the back, where i usually am on the trail, and we see the other six of our group stop ahead.  what do they see?  why are they stopped?  they turn and look at us, pointing to the right.  they whisper something.  "WHAT?" i whisper back.  duh.  whispering on the trail.  this can only mean...

...yep, it is.  my first on-the-trail out-of-the-car BEAR.  eeeeeeeee!!!!!
we watched it for a bit, then realized how small it was and got a little nervous about a momma being around, so we headed on for a little while. 

we finally turned around when i announced my exhaustion and apprehension about going along to the end.  you know that voice that just says you need to rethink things?  the one that tells you, out of nowhere, what to do (or not do)?  yeah, always listen to it.  when we got in the car at the end and drove away, we looked back on black skies and a rainy haze.  the thunder started about a 1/2 mile from the end of the trail.  i am so glad we turned back when we did.  around the same time the thunder started, though, so did the wild raspberry bushes.  i got one ripe one and a huckleberry.  between that and the bear sighting, my day was perfect.  

this place is so full of beautiful scenery and amazing things to do, i am always looking forward to the next adventure.  two of my good friends are coming to visit next week and we're off to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  we're camping in Yellowstone.  wish us luck!  

till next time.  

happy trails,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Busy Afternoons

look at these!  i got a text yesterday morning from my friend Christina (remember Christina with the peach trees?) asking if i wanted to come over and pick raspberries later in the afternoon.  are you kidding?  YES!  see, raspberries are one of those foods i'd consider a weakness.  i must have them.  and they're worse than potato chips--i am not eating just one.  put them with some chocolate concoction and i'm done.  frozen with tequila and lime juice?  um, yes please.  plain and simple, off the bush in the backyard?  that works just as well.  so i went and i got a quart.  that was all i had time for.  i had to be off to make an early dinner so we could meet some friends downtown later.  i would have stayed for hours.  i would've scored some rhubarb, too, but i forgot about it and forgot to take it home.  i was so excited about my berries i got a little tunnel visioned...  oops.  i'm perusing Pinterest for some recipes; in the meantime they are freezing in their single layer on a wax-papered cookie sheet (will Pinterest never stop providing me with terrific hints and ideas?).  what shall i make?  freezer jam?  sorbet?  this summery cocktail?  hmmm.  i'll let you know what happens.  i've been invited back for when the rest are ready to be picked.  i cannot wait!

then this afternoon, i got some stuff done!  i'm feeling very motivated lately--it's so exciting.  my house is clean, things are getting sewn, the grass is mowed, garden weeded, laundry done AND put away, and i made my nephew his birthday present.  oh, and i went and picked up three old windows i found on craigslist for $5 each.  woot!  

i made little D this super cute thing i saw on Pinterest (it never ends!).  it's a Super Hero Fort Kit and it is too fun.  it originally came from meg + andy and i knew instantly i had to make it for him.  this blog has loads of cool things and i appreciate the idea for this kit.  i sewed a D on the front, and am calling it an Instant Fort, but the super hero idea is so cute.  his brother is the one into super heroes, so i thought i'd make it something else for him.  i also added a Where's Waldo book (he's not a reader just yet), some gummy bears and chocolate milk straws.  you've gotta have something to do in the fort!  it turned out okay.  i like her bag and sewing skills better, but it's not bad for my first one.  i need to figure out the drawstring concept.  the inside is what counts, right?  it was fun to make, and i hope fun to get.  maybe he'll let me play in it when i see him next.  

i'm pretty happy about getting two (late) birthday presents done in the same week.  uh, not to mention two blog posts in a row.  wowzuh.  hopefully i can keep up this momentum.  

holding down the fort,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

it's not too late (is it?)...

good morning.  so seven months have passed since my last post.  HUGE surprise.  lots and lots of activity, exploring, and travel have happened.  i feel like g&m is always in the back of my head, no matter what we're up to, so i haven't entirely neglected my duties.  okay, i have.    those pictures i take "so i can put 'em on the blog" still haven't made it here, and i haven't posted a single word.  but here i am, and i've got loads to chat about.  

i did organize my kitchen and i am proud of that.  after pictures?  none.  mostly i'm afraid if i put after pictures, i'll never keep up my newly organized kitchen space.  well, it was new in january, when i posted about it.  and y'all can forget about the hall closet.   it's finally warm and if i don't have to open it for a scarf or a coat, i ain't opening it.  let's worry about that in the fall, shall we?  i only open it to get out the vacuum, and as long as that fits in there, i'm satisfied.  

in the meantime, there's been two batches of homebrew, a handmade apron,  guinness cake, a garden, travel back to the east coast, a rain-and-snow-filled hike & camping trip, a rafting trip down the Salmon River, a visit to Yellowstone & the Tetons, so much beautiful Idaho scenery, and a ridiculously full "Things to Do" board on pinterest (so many, many ideas!).  i will get on top of all that soon, but i must show you what i did on monday.  

i found an adorable skirt on made, and HAD to try it.  it looked easy enough, and i need easy to get started.  if you haven't noticed by now, i find it extremely hard to start anything.  if i don't start it, i can't fail it.  i have got to end this thought process.  anyway, the little skirts she made are super cute, so i gave it a whirl.  i made three.  woo hooooo!  

my first one!
 i started it sunday, and after completely finishing it,

 i realized i stacked it inside out...
fixed it in the morning, and was motivated to keep on sewing! 

the second skirt--double stitching on the hem!

i'm so proud of this stiching!
bias tape is not my friend, but i won this battle!

they're bouncy and cute, and i hope they fit my little niece.  i can't wait to send them to her.   

till next time,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

i resolve to...

hello hello, and happy 2012!  all the best to you; may your year be fruitful, fun, and healthy.  

i was just trying to come up with a better post title, and started thinking about the word "resolve."  i'm taking it apart and making it work for me.  this year i will again try to solve my problems.  shall i call them shortcomings?  issues?  things i wish i did better?  the prefix re- means again.  solve again.  tell me you've never made the same resolution two years in a row.  

every year i say i'm going to run more, organize better and sort out my world, be on time (HA!), and get myself together.  i'll be less scared of myself, i'll practice what i preach, finish what i started.  i'll do more.  this year i added Blog More.  i'll put that under finish what i started, but call it continue what i started.  

in 2012 i'm also going to make my YMCA membership worth it, get out of the house sooner, and finish the "organizing" i started in my new house.  today it starts with the kitchen and the hall closets.  there, now it's in stone.  i said it so i have to do it.  i'm going to try to post before and after pictures.  okay, that's in stone to.  i will post before & afters.  with my new camera my Mr. bought me for Christmas.  sweet!

hopefully my trying the same solutions again this year will be successful.  here's to resolutions!