Monday, November 29, 2010

A Pre-Turkey Day Surprise! Part 2

Date: November 22, 2010
Location: Granite NW, Silverdale

Its 6am, I can just barely hear Chad getting ready for work and coming in to kiss me goodbye, then I quickly fall back to sleep.

Aw crap. Chad is taking a shower! I asked him to wake me up before I take a shower! Its SOOOO loud... wait a minute..... Chad went to work..... THAT'S RIGHT! MY PARENTS ARE HERE!

Today is a special day - AJ is going to teach me to make pie crust - something I have been wanting for years. And my Dad, well, he's going to go run some errands - for me, of course :)

I can now make an amazing pie crust! (Thanksgiving will soon prove this even further) And while Dad was gone he bought Chad and Me a new room heater! I'm pretty sure we almost froze him and AJ out of the house while they were here.

   When we woke up.    When my parents left.

Oh, and did I mention the snow...? The ever worsening snow. The snow that supposedly here on the Kitsap Peninsula is a rarity, and never sticks if it does happen!? YOU KNOW! THE SNOW!!! The ever worsening storm?

It started out pretty light, almost pretty, if you like that kind of thing. It was so light though that Dad ran those errands in the Toyota hybrid - so no big thing. By the time he came home, it was getting thicker, but still no worries - but its time to bring out Da Pinky (my Jeep). Then after a quick trip to the mall for a walk and some lunch, then a scavenger hunt at Barns & Noble, we were happy we were in a 4x4. THEN just a short 30 minutes later - off to buy CHAINS! Never sticks.... right.....

It starts to get pretty scary. We live at the top of a hill, but in a low spot on it, so we are surrounded by hills.... kinda weird I understand, but at this point even more inconvenient. The snow and ice cover gets so bad that the decision is made - the parents are leaving early. They have to catch a flight the next day. Sucks cause Chad was just getting off work (and really early at that) and later that evening we were all going to go to Seattle to have dinner with my visiting cousin.... see! SEE! Snow = no good.

So they leave. My wonderful surprise officially over. And luckily they make it to the airport.... 4 1/2 hours later.... for a drive that should take about an hour....

Chad showed up soon after they leave. He happens to like the snow... heck he chose to live in it before this! Crazy... We decided since its about 4 inches thick we should see if the pets are on my side or his. Come to find out Milli LOVES THE SNOW! She was SO cute - she would find a mound and bite it. When Chad came in with some stuck to his boots, she'd follow him around a eat it! Joule on the other hand, I doubt he's ever thought we were so annoying....

We thew him into the perfectly smooth snow... he just stood there....
 Then we let Milli out... and she either 
ate or stepped on ever square inch of the smooth prettiness...

Remember these happy faces. Trust me.
Well that was fun! Wait.... what was that??

Flicker. Flicker. Then..... silence.

The power is out.

And it doesn't come back on......

To be continued....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Pre-Turkey Day Surprise!

Well hello there my long lost friends - I know, as far as a blog updater, I suck. But that is because I didn't want to bore you with post after post of "Life is uneventful" "ohhh, maybe tomorrow something will happen" "nope, sorry, nothing today." See how nice I am.

However! This past week has been TOTALLY different! In fact this past week has been the most AMAZING week of my life so far in Washington. Mind you I said amazing - as in I was occasionally amazed that Chad and I survived, while other times I thought I'd faint with happiness.

This post will be a multi-parter, so stay tuned.

Date: November 20th, 2010
Location: Snoqualmie Pass, on our way to Aunt Ellen's house

Aunt Ellen and I had talked at Robin's wedding about Chad and I going to visit the weekend before Thanksgiving. She happens to live in Kennewick, only 4 short hours away. Sweet! Mini-vacation!

Driving, driving, driving... awww crap.... there's snow.... but not too much. That's good. Makes for some pretty scenery.

Driving, driving, driving - We're here! Least I think we are... its been almost 10 years since I've been here. Oh well. Lets knock on the door.


Yup. How freaking awesome is that? Aunt Ellen set up the whole surprise! Not only are they here, planning to cook an amazing feast, but they are also going to follow us home, to our house, the next day! It was the first, best and most real surprise of my whole life. I've never felt so special before.

As I had hoped, the trip turned into the perfect mini vacation. We all went to a cute little craft bizarre, Dad made an amazing prime rib feast we all got to play a game. I got to meet my "new" cousin-in-law, and her little one. Then the next day have a great breakfast with the whole family, cousins and all (barring my uncle, he had to work). It was great.

Then... it started... the drive... On our way back through the pass the snow had just gotten worse. Soo much worse. Luckily, Chad and I had chains.. but Dad and AJ were driving a hybrid toyota or something.... aka a NON-snow mobile. It ended up being a long drive home and didn't give us much to look forward to as far as the weather at home.... But we made it! AJ and Dad were at our home, meeting our new little addition, Milli. I was a happy camper! Regardless of the worsening weather outside.

Useful information:
If you need to know the pass conditions in Washington, just check out:

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trails of Slime, Everywhere!

One evening, very soon after we moved here, Chad and I were walking along Clear Creek Trail. We had done it a few times by this point - so it was nothing special... or so we thought!

Chad was looking around, I was looking at the ground, and all the sudden I got really angry - angry at all those dog owners who refuse to pick up after their dogs! What the heck! Leaving gooey poops right in the middle of the path! What is wrong with people!!

Then Chad looked down. He didn't see any poops - he saw HUGE SLUGS!

 Tell me that doesn't look like a poop!

These things were entire inches long! Almost an inch thick! Some green-ish, some brown, some with stripes. The biggest, most awesome slugs I have ever seen!

So that's when the obsession started - I needed to know what it was called, why it was so big, where they are usually found. This is what my research uncovered:

  * Its a Banana Slug - Ariolimax columbiana - named after a compound of two Greek-derived words for slugs

  * They grow up to 6 - 8 inches long, variable in color from yellow to drab green-brown, some with darker spots.

  * Like snails, they have two tentacles on their head, which tapers to a long body and pointed tail.

  *This species, the Olympic species occupies forests from western Oregon north to southwestern Alaska.

  * They live in damp, lowland forests.

  * They eat a variety of plant and animal foods: lichens, leaves (including those of poison oak), mushrooms, animal carcasses and droppings.

HOW COOL IS THAT!? Though... apparently I am the only one who thinks this around here... Most people hate them... BUT! There has to be, at least, a small constituent of slug lovers - because at this little store on the Bremerton  pier they sell little glass banana slug figurines (though... they are probably for tourists...)! Awwww, I love this place.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

-JUMP- *Splash* .giggle.

Puddles!!! Puddles, puddles, everywhere!

And to deal with them - I got rain boots - bonafide galoshes!

So, other than stomping around in puddles, I got the boots for another reason - I have recently become involved with a local wetland restoration project (I'll explain it another day - once I know more about it). These pictures are of the boots' maiden voyage!

Notice you can't see my toes - boots, well justified.
These are the boots after 3 hours in the mud/puddles-
not bad.
This may not seem like a blog worthy topic - but believe you me, it is. Just think about it - I have never had a reason to buy a pair of rain boots! This is a part of the culture up here - I literally haven't met a single person up here who doesn't own a pair!

So cheers to assimilation of the local culture - and galoshes! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy 235th!!

Last night, Chad and I helped celebrate the United States Marine Corp.'s 235th birthday!

Every year, each unit celebrates by throwing a formal ball. This year, though smaller and slightly less glitzy than the last one we attended, was no different. Think prom for Marines and their wives/girlfriends - a great excuse for everyone to dress up, and have a night out.

Just two of the great Marines present!
And their beautiful dates!
This year the event was held on Bangor, in the base ballroom. There were probably 250 people in attendance - about half of Chad's unit and their dates. See, since on Bangor Naval Base the Marines are responsible for protecting/securing everything - this unit throws two balls about two weeks apart. That way half the people can be on duty, while the other half can have the night off to party.

The night went on as expected - social hour followed by the opening ceremony: introductions, bringing in the colors/flags, a show by the Silent Drill Platoon (synchronized rifle tricks), the bringing in of the cake - with the customary passing of the pieces between the oldest and youngest Marines present, then a speech by the guest speaker. The guest speaker was a current, active General, he talked about each and every fight the Marines have been a part of, then went on to say that the force expands and contracts as necessary.... I really didn't think it was an appropriate time for a talk like that.... but he apparently did, and who can argue with a General. Then it was time for dinner.

And that was it. We didn't stay for the dancing portion - all of Chad's co-workers and friends had left right after dinner, so the evenings energy quickly deflated for us. All in all, I worked longer on my dress, hair and make-up, then we ended up staying at the ball.

I am hoping that next year the ball will be in town, somewhere with better food and where the guys can let loose a little more. But it was fun. A great excuse to get dressed up with my gorgeous husband, in his most classy uniform, and have a good night out.

Happy Birthday USMC! I thank you for everything you are and have done.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Making the best of it. Today that is.

Well.... Halloween is over. Thanksgiving still has quite a bit of time before its here....

Life is back to normal... Chad goes to work every morning. I go to the gym, clean and make dinner.... Same ole, same ole.... not that I'm complaining, just saying....

So how about a recipe, for a change. Here is a glimpse into my life. This is one of my tried and true recipes. I've made every element separately and together - and each one more than once.

Pesto Calzone


Pizza dough/crust:
    * 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
    * 3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
    * 2 cups bread flour (or All-Purpose)
    * 2 tablespoons olive oil
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 2 teaspoons white sugar
    (or you can just use store bought...)

    * 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (or up to
       half flat leaf parsley)
    * 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    * 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    * 1/3 cup pine nuts
    * 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced (can be
    * Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
       (or, again, you can just use store bought...)

    * 1 egg
    * 2 cups Mozzarella (+/- depending on your taste)
    * Whatever veggies and meats you like - we used
      basil, tomato, artichoke hearts and broccoli

1. Make pizza dough. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed (can use dough hook). Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

2. Make pesto - you'll only need about half this recipe for one calzone. In a food processor (or blender) combine the basil (and parsley) in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Then slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3. Preheat oven to 350 with a pan or pizza stone in it. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Once rolled out, to about 13 inches, only put toppings on half the dough - to an inch from the edge. Start with pesto, then pile the rest on (putting the cheese in the middle of everything works best). Beat an egg in a bowl. Brush egg onto that inch of crust. Fold other half over and fold/pinch/smoosh to seal the top to the bottom. Brush egg over top. Cut 3-4 inch long slits in top. Bake at 350, on hot pan, for 25ish minutes.

4. Once golden brown, slice it up and eat it. Delicious.

You could probably do a normal ole pizza sauce with this recipe too. That's what we always use to make pizza, using this same crust recipe (without the egg wash). Just make sure its not super liquid-y. And cooking these things on hot pans is the key to nicely cooked crust. Its all trial and error.

So there you have it. One of my recipes. Maybe I'll put one up here once in a while.