Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Because I Don't Have Enough Things to Feed

I just made a sourdough starter. I'm using this technique with a few modifications- namely, I only used 1 cup of water and 1 cup of (whole wheat flour) due to the size of my jar, and I added a handful of blueberries for their yeast. I'd say they were Maine blueberries but I'd be lying- the box says they were grown in New Jersey. I did buy them in a grocery store in Maine at least!

Anyway, here's a lovely picture of my starter. I think I'm going to name her Maude.

In other news, my weekend of camping was absolutely perfect. It was much cooler in Acadia National Park (I'm sure being in a well ventilated tent in a shady campground had something to do with that as well) and we were very happy with the Seawall campsite in general. You hike in up to 300 ft. to get to your campsite- which is far enough in that you don't feel like you're sleeping in a parking lot. The sites are close together, but wooded enough that you feel like you have a little bit of privacy. The facilities are clean and although there aren't showers, there are plenty of bathrooms and plenty of running water.

We ate ridiculously well on this trip- we had steaks planned for dinner the first night and impulsively stopped at the Trenton Lobster Pound on the way in and picked up a lobster to have Surf and Turf for dinner. Dessert, of course, was s'mores. Breakfast the next morning was bacon, eggs, and leftover steak. Lunch and dinner on Saturday were pretty unremarkable camping fare, but for dessert I stuffed bananas with chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallows, wrapped them in tin-foil and set them in the coals for 5 minutes. The result was delicious, messy, and decadent!

We did a few short hikes that didn't make up for the delicious calories we consumed but did provide us with some amazing views. All and all it was great to spend some time relaxing and enjoying being outside! These pictures are of Dr. Hubby on the Wonderland Trail which takes you down to a granite rock lined shore, and of me on the Ocean Path which winds along seacliffs overlooking the ocean.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Clearly someone up there is having a good chuckle at my expense.

I spent the week working in New Orleans where it was consistently cooler than Portland, Me. The weather was heinous- 100% humidity and flash floods (literally) but still. I also got to see my parents, my coworkers (who I really do miss) and my friend Steph. Meals included an awesome dinner made by my boss and his wife (goat cheese brie, pate, salad, shrimp and artichoke pasta, and berry cobbler), Squeal, Drago's, China Rose (ask for the chinese menu), Horinoya, and Rio Mar ( with Steph, where I found the best wine ever.)

While I was gone, my single glorious strawberry ripened and was devoured by Dr. Hubby who said it was "super yummy and sweet." Fortunately, I have 6 itsy bitsy strawberries growing to replace it. :)

This weekend we are going camping in Acadia National Park. It's a bit further north and should be slightly cooler at least.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stocking Up

Spending lots of time at home has afforded me the opportunity to tackled several multi-hour projects. The result is that my freezer is quickly filling up! So far I've made veggie broth, mushroom broth (just the water I was soaking some dried morels in, but it's very flavorful) and chicken stock. I have plans to make bone broth next since I don't go more than a couple weeks without roasting a chicken.
I've also realized that when you live in a place that doesn't have year round 100% humidity, bread dries up instead of getting moldy within a day or two. As a result, I know have at least a year's supply of bread crumbs as well.
Of course the catch is that I need to actually use all this stuff before I completely fill up my freezer!
Still, it feels good to be a little less wasteful.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Like Lambs to the Slaughter

Against my better judgement, I decided to go ahead and get plants for all of the pots on my porch. I mean, they were just sitting there, full of dirt, judging me for wasting them. What else could I do?
I decided that I'd only grow things that I could attempt to eat or at least season food with (if they live long enough) so at first I tried to grow some basil from seeds I literally got off the back of a triscuits box. Of course that didn't work at all so today I went to the Farmer's Market and bought lavender, rosemary, and strawberries. I also um...foraged.... some mint that was growing beside my driveway. In all fairness I'm 90% sure it wasn't being intentionally cultivated at this point (I puled it up from a 3" edge of dirt between the driveway and the house next door so I think it had basically migrated there from their planter) and 100% sure that it will grow back 2-fold b/c I haven't met a mint plant that isn't hell bent on world domination. I can't even kill mint. (I say that now!)

This was a housewarming gift. The only reason it's still alive is I don't touch it. (Although I did move it outside so it could get some sun today- so it's days may be numbered!)

Rosemary. Most people grow so much rosemary that they can't use it all. In the past mine has lasted up to a week.

Lavender. You can't grow lavender in the south because it's too hot, so I'm really hoping that my lavender will actually grow because I love the stuff. Best smell on the planet!

The nice farmer at the Farmer's Market told me I can grow strawberries in a regular pot if I pinch off the creepers that grow. We'll see if it works!

Mint #1. He's way too big for this pot so we'll see what happens. He'll probably eat me a la Little Shop of Horrors in a couple of weeks.

Mint #2 is more pot plant sized- for now at least.

All together now. You can't see it but over by the rosemary in the far left of this picture there's a wooden rocking chair.

Friday, July 8, 2011


It just hit me that since I'm going to New York for my 30th birthday, I need to figure out what on earth I'm going to wear!
I always feel very intimidated when I pack for Europe because I don't want to look too much like a touristy American and I feel a similar sense of intimidation regarding NYC. I definitely don't want to look like a bumpkin!
We're going to be there for 2 nights/3 days in mid-August. What should I wear? I'm thinking casual-ish dresses with sandals would be comfortable during the day and not to hot and then maybe a couple of nicer dresses with heels for dinner...

Any advice?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Welcome to the first in a series of posts about my honeymoon (that I should have gotten around to writing like 2 months ago- whoops!). We spent 2.5 weeks traveling around Spain via train and bus and visted Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada, Alicante, Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid.

We landed in Madrid on the first day of our honeymoon and spent the first day traveling to Cordoba and exploring the city. Cordoba is known for its Mezquita (a mosque that was later turned into a Catholic Cathedral) and La Juderia (a historic Jewish neighborhood full of winding cobblestone streets). Unfortunately due to Semana Santa (Holy Week) festivities we were unable to go inside the Mezquita. Instead we wandered around the city taking pictures, watched part of the Semana Santa procession in the courtyard of the Mezquita, and ate a delicious huntsman's paella which featured, as I recall, what was probably lamb or goat, asparagus, and white beans in saffron flavored rice.

Staying up for dinner, which is famously late (like 10 or 11) in Spain was a battle against jet lag, and after dinner we opted not to partake of the famed Spanish night life. The next morning we woke up early and caught a bus to Sevilla where we would experience Semana Santa in all it's glory.

It also has some lovely plazas- this one would have been more lively had it not just stopped raining

A bridge leading across the river to the other side of town, I love how old the supports look. (P.S. get used to this rain jacket- I'm wearing it in 90% of my pictures.)

Looking across the river, the skyline looks positively medieval...except for the crane on the far right, that is.

Outside the Mezquita- one of the wider streets. Cars also would barrel down paths I would generously describe as a "narrow sidewalk."

Enjoy the contrast between Arabian design and Christian Iconography

What I've been up to

Oh my gosh, it's been nearly a month since I've written! I've been busy settling in and enjoying Portland, but of course that means I've been putting off blogging for far too long.

Our drive up to Portland was exhausting but went really well, in that everything made it up in 1 piece and we didn't have any significant Penske-truck-pulling-a-trailer mishaps, but Dr. Hubby swears that he will never drive a moving truck again!

Our apartment is wonderful and nearly done- once I hang up our pictures and figure out where to store the colony of computer related cords living in the corner of our front room I'll post a bunch of pictures. :) I love it because we actually managed to avoid cramming every inch of it with furniture. Having a bit of space makes it feel very peaceful. That being said, we still feel like we have too much stuff and took another car load of things to goodwill once we got here. I also love our location- Munjoy Hill feels a lot like the Marigny in New Orleans and we are close to the water, a gorgeous park, tons of restaurants, a coffee shop, and a gourmet/healthy food market.

Portland is amazing. Living here right now really does feel like being on vacation. My "office" is a sunroom that had a great view of Casco Bay and I walk my dogs in the Eastern Promenade (a big park leading down to the bay) every day. I've taken them down to the beach a few times but they are horrified by the fact that the water moves! They really love being in the park though and when it's not crowded we take them off their leashes and let them run back and forth between us. Bernie, lazy creature that he is, kind of gamely trots along until he gets too tired, but Hereaux SPRINTS with this big doggie grin on his face. He is in doggie heaven here!

Eastern Promenade after a rain

The happiest I've ever seen my dogs

I've found a lot of things I love about Portland already- The weather, of course, is perfect. I've also joined a yoga studio that I really love, I run a weekly 5K race (and have plans to run many more races), I've gone to to Farmer's Market and tried every strange veggie I found (fiddleheads! kohlrabi! salad greens with edible flowers! garlic scapes!), I've done a First Friday Art Walk, I watched the 4th of July Fireworks over the Prom from my porch, I've eaten at a lot of great restaurants, and I've cooked some pretty good meals here as well. And of course, the only pictures I've taken have been of dogs and food. :)

Fiddleheads! (and grilled chicken)

Periwinkles- aka snails! I basically pulled these out of a tide pool and boiled them- they were tasted like clams!

Speaking of clams- this guy was the size of my palm. Divine paired with fresh bread from the Standard Baking Co.

I also really like how environmentally friendly Portland is. Gone are the days of having to drive to find a place to recycle (and only being able to recycle newspapers). We have free curbside recycling and we definitely generate more recycling than actual trash because they take everything. It's awesome. Less awesome is having to pay $1 per special trash bag to get rid of our trash, but in all honesty, I appreciate the incentive to not just throw away stuff. Because we are total cheapos, we've also started a compost bin (despite the fact that I have a black thumb and kill every plant I try to grow) and I have been saving a bag of veggie scraps in the freezer for stock. I actually made my first veggie stock on Monday and plan to make chicken stock from the bones of last night's roast chicken tomorrow.

Working at home is going pretty well- I've been able to meet or exceed all of my deadlines so far and I really enjoy wearing yoga pants all the time, eating omelets whenever I want to, and painting my nails unprofessional colors. :) It can feel a little isolating but I'm making a point to actually leave the house every day (and walking the dogs doesn't count) which helps me feel more connected to the outside world.

In the next few weeks I'm looking forward to camping in Acadia National Park (Dr. Hubby talked me into getting us new tent and me a sleeping bag), running more races, going to the Farmer's Market more regularly (I've missed the past 2 weeks), doing a walking tour of the Hidden Gardens of Munjoy Hill, and taking a trip back to New Orleans for work (I need my boudin fix!). I'll also be going to D.C. soon to visit friends, and will be celebrating my 30th birthday in NYC with my inlaws since my brother-in-law is turning 3o three days after I do!

There are a lot of things I want to do but don't have concrete plans for too- trail running, getting out on the water (be it in a kayak, paddle board or real boat, I'm not picky!), skiing and snowshoeing this winter, and making friends and workout buddies.

Overall, I miss my family and friends but am incredibly thrilled to finally living in Portland. I still walk around and think to myself- I can't believe I actually live here. :) So far, the adventure is going well!