Sunday, April 30, 2006

About the Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies is my favorite cookie recipe right now! They're chewy, have big chunks of chocolate and are very spicy & ginger-y. I like to use Baker's semi-sweet chocolate squares for the chocolate ingredient. Yesterday I used a flat bar Ghiradelli, so the chocolate chunks were a little smaller -- not my preference. Either way, they're pretty tasty stuff. I'll leave the nutritional profile up to your imagination, but keep in mind that they have ginger in them (good for tummy aches & may provide antioxidant benefits).
Oh yeah, I actually finished sewing something on Wednesday! Another yoga mat bag. I'm mostly satisfied with it, except I want to reverse the cargo pocket and make it a Lefty, and figure out a way to keep the bottom section from bunching when I'm carrying it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

4. Heat oven to 325°. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Tell me about the time you almost got arrested...

Hey, I almost forgot my wild Wednesday from 3 weeks ago. BBC was invited to play a little role on a P-land morning show, Good Day Oregon. So a bunch of crrrazy moms and us instructors went to the Oregon Zoo @ 5:30 am to be filmed working out during the live show. We did squats, triceps, biceps, lunges, and push-ups in front of the Polar Bears, otters, Sea Lions, and Starfish (and a bunch of old people watching TV - & hopefully some moms too). It was pretty fun, but lasted forever -- I had hurry to make it to class @ PSU. I hopped on the Max light rail at the Zoo station and rode downtown to class. On the way there, I realized I'd forgotten my wallet (Uh-oh, no public transportation pass, no cash, etc.). I made it to class on time after catching a bus for the rest of the trip.
After class, it was back to the zoo to pick up my car & go home. I was tired from all that smiling, working out, and bus catching. So, guess what? After I got back on the Max, the fare checker came on board to make sure everyone had a valid fare (they use the honor system, mostly). I, of course, knew I was screwed, but decided to pretend that I had just realized that I didn't have my fare/pass with me. "Oh! I guess I forgot my wallet - so I can't show you my pass," or something like that.
Well, I was surprised that little guy didn't lead me out of the train by my collar or my ear! Standing on the sidewalk between the busy eastbound & westbound tracks, I got the 3rd degree. He was an old pro. "What's your name? How do you spell that? What's your DOB? How old are you? How do you spell your name? What's your birthday again?" Man, I'm glad I didn't have to lie about that stuff!
Anyway, since I didn't have my wallet, I didn't have an ID either. Mr. Fare Checker, who is used to people lying to him, of course, says that he's gonna have to get a police officer down there to "verify my identification." And if the officer couldn't, then I might just have to go to jail. OhmyGod!
Yeah, well, I didn't even have to cry or anything. I was so pathetically honest that he had no choice but to believe me. I got a warning ticket. I guess instead of a fine, my payback was that I had to walk up the hill back to the Zoo -- took me an hour. I counted that as my run.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Double D in Portland

Last Friday, we had a couple of friends from Mississippi come up for a visit. It was great to see Dan and Dominic a little over a year after we moved up North. While they were in town we hit all the major Portland sights. The first two pics were taken at Multnomah Falls (and yes, it really is that green there). We hiked a loop that was about six miles. The only downer was that we hit by a few rain showers. But hey, without the rain it would not look the way it does.

On a day where Anne had to do her school thing, Dan, Dom and myself headed out to Cannon Beach. On the way back we stopped at Saddle Mtn. and hiked on up. Its about 3 miles to the top and I think we got an elevation gain of about 1800 feet. It was pretty amazing. The views were great and despite the occasional light rain, we got some great views. The trail was not for the faint of heart though. It was slick and pretty narrow and steep in parts. Just check out the sign. I guess we are all now experienced hikers.... I really do wonder though how they get all the railing and trail material up there. There is no way they hike it all in. I'd have to say a helecopter was involved.

After all those days of hiking we usually took part in another one of Portland's offerings, brew pubs. I think we got to 3 of them, Tugboat, Rock Bottom and McMenamin's Kennedy School. Now if I can only get them back up here for the Brewers Festival. I have heard rumors that another friend from the South, Jay will be heading up this way. That's a future entry though...

Spring Break, Pt. 2

Wow, how behind we are...I guess Anne is pretty busy now that spring break is over, so I'll do a couple of postings. After Dad and Grandma left, we headed out to Sunriver for a weekend of skiing at MountBachelor. We got to hang out over the weekend with our neighbor Sarah and a few friends. We got a really nice rental house complete with a hot tub. On Friday night we got some snow which helped out the conditions on Saturday. Mt. Bachelor is much better than Mt. Hood as far as skiing goes. The snow is much drier and easier to ski on. Needless to say, Anne had a much more enjoyable time skiing than when we went to Mt. Hood. I managed not to poke any more ski poles in my face and even managed not to fall at all. No pictures for fear of breaking our camera, so you'll have to take our word that it was a great day. We finished the weekend off by going to Bend for dinner at a brew pub. Really good food and beer. What could be better?

We left Sunriver on Sunday and headed back to Portland. Sarah convinced us to make a stop at Smith Rock (a little north of Bend for a quick afternoon hike. We climbed to the top, enjoyed the amazing view of the Sisters (more of the Cascades) and headed down. I must say though that Anne gets pretty nervous any where near an edge as you can see in the picture... We even got to see a few people doing some climbing. It was a great trip. It's really amazing to see how diverse Oregon really is depending on which side of the Cascades you are on.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Spring Break Report

Ew! Sorry everybody's had an extreme close-up of my face for the last 15 days. I had #32 pulled, by the way. My mouth is finally back to normal, after getting my 'stitch abscess' taken care of on Wed. (3 words you never want to hear your doctor say: "Ooooo, that's interesting.") -- but that's another story.

So I spent the first part of my Spring Break week wallowing around being a baby when Paul was around, and digging in the dirt & shopping when he wasn't. That was pretty fun.

Then on Tuesday evening Paul's Dad John & Grandma Ellen came to visit. John was on his Spring Break too, yee-haw! They drove all the way up from Paradise, CA, which is near Chico. That night we took them to the Kennedy School, and we only had to wait 30 minutes for a table. Everybody enjoyed their meal; Paul's dad got ribs. He prefers the goop on the side. I remember at Paul's graduation dinner he had ribs, and maybe a couple other times too. MY new standard is Bread Pudding, which I ended up having in lieu of my noodle dish. (the little pieces of noodle & veggies kept floating into the 'danger zone,' and I wasn't allowed to fish them out with my tongue yet. It was rough eating.) Thankfully, John let me get dessert even though I hadn't finished my dinner. It was sooo good -thanks for dinner (dessert)!
On Wednesday, we got up, hung out, and then headed over to Ellen's friend Lila's house. They've been friends for about 60 years! They talked about their families, trips they'd taken together, and Lila played one of her two grand pianos for us. She can rock & roll! Ellen treated us to lunch, and then we visited a little longer before taking off toward home. There we had another great meal (if I don't say so). Having family visit was an excellent excuse to grill a huge salmon & make one of our favorite salads (thanks Jeanette). Stuffed again. The next morning everybody took off early: Paul to work @ 5:50 & our visitors to home @ 6:30. Early birds! We had a nice time visiting, even though it was a short one.