Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hello Portland

Living in Oregon is... different.  It's wet.  It's green.  There are colorful people.  Everyone bikes everywhere.  There's public transportation (like.. real public transportation.  Not just the piddly buses in Reno).

Now that have permanently moved to Portland, I thought I would share some interesting factoids!
  • Did you know that it's legal to be naked in public?  Yup.  In fact, it is celebrated by a naked Bike Ride.  Nothing screams FREEDOM to me like plopping your bare naked booty on a cold hard bike seat to glorify why we cherish underwear and pants.  Hello Burning Man???
  • Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states without self-serve gas stations.  
  • The state fish is the Chinook Salmon
  • Portland is known as the City of Roses
  • The Columbia River Gorge is considered to be the best place in the world for wind surfing
  • Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state
  • Portland was almost named "Boston, Oregon."  It was named by the flip of a coin by its two original settlers, Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove.  Lovejoy wanted to name the new settlement after his hometown of Boston and Pettygrove wanted to name it after his hometown of Portland, Maine.
  • There is no sales tax
  •  The Portland metro area is the largest craft brewing market in the US
  • On the East side of the river, 20 blocks is almost always one (1) mile
  • Oregon hosts FIVE beer festivals throughout the year, including the largest craft beer festival in North America (The Oregon Brewer's Festival).

Source 1
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Source 4

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rain Rain Go Away

Yesterday when I woke up, the sky in Portland was clear and there was SUN!  Hello holy sun!

**Note to self:  Bring umbrella or rain jacket, regardless.

Sure enough by the afternoon, the skies were cloudy and the streets were wet.  Of course.  Portland rain is misty.  It's not like 2-inches-per-year rain in Reno (when it rains, it pours).  Either way, I'm still anxious for the sun to be permanent, so I researched Portland weather trends.



Needless to say, I'm anxious for May! 

Best Birthday Ever

As Ashley Turney put it, "Welcome to the next 'box' on the age survey!"

It's a big birthday, but I didn't have a big celebration.  I'm in Portland with new people, new places, and a broken appendix! 

That didn't stop boyfriend from making sure we celebrated my birthday together.  While he wasn't supposed to get me a birthday gift (due to my super awesome Thule roof rack Valentines Day gift!!), he started off the morning with a bag full of goodies.

And let me tell you about this bag full of goodies.

  • First of all, the bag was adorable.  My Aunt Peggy would be proud.  And it would match my bathroom PERFECTLY.  Too stinkin' cute.
  • Second - MYTHOS Climbing Shoes!  My current climbing shoes suck.  They hurt.  Granted I have janky feet, but these shoes don't help.  When I slipped my ultra-wide foot into a pair of Mythos for the first time, it felt like butter.  (I'm sure if you put butter on your feet, this is what it would feel like)
  • I also got 2 books - Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest and Wow Guides - North Cascades.  I lovelove hot springs, and I can pick out hikes in the cascades that aren't "I want to die and never hike again" hikes :-)
  • And he got me a cute little green butterfly bookmark from Powell's books. 

We then went to a doctor appointment for my appendix, and got a TB test for my new jobby.  After, we went to Ready, Paint, Fire! to paint pottery which was super fun!  We were supposed to go to dinner afterward, but I was so pooped from walking everywhere and such a long day (thank you, appendicitis) that we came home and crashed.

But it was a great day!  I wouldn't have had it any other way :-)

Thank you EVERYONE for all of the birthday wishes!!  I am so luck to have such good friends and family!

Monday, February 20, 2012


One thing I consistently make is quiche.  My mom always brought quiches to family Christmas, so when our family dynamics changed a bit and I became old enough to cook, I was dubbed the new quiche-bringer.  My mom taught me her recipe, in which I imitated, however throughout my years as the quiche-bringer I have developed my own sort of "recipe" that consistently turns out AMAZINGLY yummy!

One thing my mom did was put the cheese on top of the quiche and bake it to a goldeny crisp on top.  The baked cheese was amazing, however I found that it left sort of a "mush" consistency right between the cheese and the egg mixture.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I don't do "mush."  I don't eat mashed potatoes (mushy), yogurt (mushy), oatmeal (mushy), anything mushy.  Another thing about putting the cheese on top was sometimes the cheese would cook perfectly to it's goldeny crispy color, however the egg below it was still complete liquid!  We can't have a slimy/uncooked quiche.

So I had to think of a new alternative, which was mix the cheese in the egg mixture as most recipes call for.

So below is my adapted quiche recipe that I have developed throughout years of trial and error:

Ashley's Quiche
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 Pie Crust (I use the Pillsbury pie crust that can be found in the refrigerated section.  You could also make your own pie crust easily as well if you have the extra time.)
  • 1/3 cup milk (I just eyeball it, but if I had to guess, I'd say about 1/4 to 1/3 cup milk.  Just enough to avoid having to use a 7th egg but not make it slimy)
  • Half Package Frozen Spinach - thawed and drained
  • Half Package Turkey Bacon (or normal bacon)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Mushrooms (again - I eyeball it, use as much or little as you like)
  • Handful of shredded pepper jack cheese 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
 **Additional ideas:  sauteed onions, sausage, Canadian bacon/Ham, asparagus, bell peppers, etc)

As you'll notice, everything is a "half" of a package - it's a lot more convenient to make 2 quiches at once unless you want left over ingredients.  

The above ingredients I use to taste.  If I'm making it for someone who LOVES bacon and hates spinach, I omit the spinach and use a lot of bacon.  You can really play with the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350.  While a pan on the stove is warming up (medium heat), begin chopping the bacon.  I like using turkey bacon, but that's a "me" thing.  After bacon is chopped, cook bacon.  While bacon is cooking, chop the mushrooms (if the mushrooms are small, no chopping is needed).  Remove the cooked bacon from the pan.  Add olive oil (and let it heat up).  After it is heated, add chopped mushrooms and saute.  When mushrooms are almost done, add the spinach (this helps to remove any excess water to avoid slimy quiche).  While olive oil is heating, whisk the eggs into a medium-large bowl.  Add milk.  Add bacon, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese to the eggs.  Mold the pie crust into a pie dish.  Add egg mixture to the pie dish.  Bake for 40-50 minutes.  I usually tell when it is done by inserting a fork and slightly pulling apart - if there's no liquid then VOILA!  Quiche!

Quiche with a lot of spinach (1/2 package)

Quiche with a lot of bacon and handful of fresh spinach

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Home Made Chicken Noodle Soup

With my recent hospital visit, my current diet is vanilla.  No seeds/nuts/skins.  Also, nothing heavy since my stomach might not be able to handle the grease.

So Aaron and I decided to make some home made chicken noodle soup!

I found the recipe from AllRecipes called Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup, so we tried it out.

Here was our version:

Chicken Noodle Soup

3 boxes of broth (2 chicken, 1 vegetable)
1 package of chopped chicken tenders (roughly 8 tenders) - uncooked
1/2 chopped onion
1 "bunch" of carrots (about 2 cups)
1 cup of celery (celery isn't Aaron's favorite, so we cut back)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (next time I will increase to 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (next time I will increase to 1 teaspoon)
2 cups of cooked whole grain pasta shells
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion, celery, and carrots in butter until just tender, 5 minutes. Pour in chicken and vegetable broths and stir in raw chopped chicken, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving.  Cook pasta on the side.  Add cooked pasta to a bowl, and pour soup over pasta (I like this because I don't like mushy noodles). 

Hospital, Cobra, Appendix

When I quit my job to move to Portland, one thing my family members kept pressing was health insurance.  My new job starts March 12, so from the end of February until I begin my new job, I would not have health insurance.  Regardless of the EXTREMELY steep monthly premium, I elected to utilize Cobra health insurance to continue having the coverage.

And thank goodness I did.

This past week was not expected.  I began having a weird stomach pain, in which everyone told me it was probably "gas."  But then the next day the same sharp gas pain was in the same spot.  And the next day.  And the next day. 

I finally decided to go to ER.  What better way to get to know a new city than to visit their hospital, right?


While most appendectomies can have you in-and-out of the hospital within 1-2 days, I remained for 5 days.  I have 4 battle wounds (incisions)!  And although this was just 7 days ago, I am still recovering and my battle wounds are still healing.

I received flowers from several people - and THANK YOU ALL! 

The staff at Providence Medical Center was amazing, and really ensured that I was never in any pain.   What a way to start living in a new city.  For now, I just can't wait to be 100% again.