Friday, February 29, 2008

Not As Dumb As I Look

The date on my RSVP cards is March 1st.

I am still sending out invitations.

Sorry... I intended to have them out by Valentine's Day and it just didn't happen.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How To Fake A Meatloaf

I am a vegetarian. By choice and because I was raised as one.

Meatloaf has always sounded good to me so tonight I googled "Morning Star crumbles vegetarian meatloaf" and came up with a few recipes. I printed them out, read them, and then did my own thing.

Keep in mind that measurements are all approximate, I didn't actually measure anything.

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 large white onion, diced
celery salt
garlic powder
1 & 1/2 packages of Morning Star Farms burger crumbles
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon basil flakes
1 cup bread crumbs (I didn't have quite a cup so I added about 1/4 cup of crushed cheese crackers)
2 eggs
1 cup fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup ketchup

Set oven to 350 Bake.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine olive oil and onion. Sprinkle with celery salt. Saute for about a minute and add fresh mushrooms.

In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, basil flakes and parsley flakes.

As mushrooms begin to soften, add burger crumbles and keep stirring to thaw crumbles. Once crumbles are thaw and mixture is fully mixed, remove from heat and add bread crumb mixture. Add eggs one at a time and stir in. Add ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle with garlic powder (about a 1/2 teaspoon).

Spray a 9x9 baking pan and press mixture into it. Bake for about an hour.

Very tasty with A-1.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Last Little Bits and Pieces

We only have a few things left in the kitchen at the condo and then it's CLEAN time.

I'm looking very much forward to being able to focus all my energy (ha ha ha) on the new house instead of splitting it between the house and the condo (and the wedding and the refinance, and doing my taxes and and and and).

I need to go to the post office tomorrow and trade a bunch of 26 cent stamps for some 41 cent stamps. Apparently I miscalculated the size of my outer envelopes and the RSVP cards.

The skunk has taken up residency behind the washing machine. At night she is coming out and helping unpack boxes and trash cans.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

This Week with Chef Jenny...

A Blue Cheese Cheesecake, a Field Greens salad and a Blueberry & Sour Cream Cheesecake.

The Blue Cheesecake is from the Diane Mott Davidson Book Dark Tort. If you are into murder mysteries and food at all, you should pick up these books. The writing isn't superb, but definitely good enough for entertainment.

Here's the Blue Cheesecake recipe:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
24oz cream cheese, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
6oz blue cheese (preferably Danish), crumbled and chopped
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 small scallion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter a 10-inch spring-form pan. Place an 11 x 16 disposable aluminum roasting pan onto a rimmed cookie sheet.

Melt the butter over low heat and cook the shallot, stirring occasionally, until it is limp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it is very smooth. Add the eggs and beat until they are well blended into the cream cheese, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the blue cheese and cream and beat over low speed until the mixture is well blended (it will be lumpy).

Using a large wooden spoon, force the mixture through a wire strainer to remove the lumps. (This takes a strong arm and some time, usually about 7 to 10 minutes.) Blend the shallot and scallion into the smooth mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Place the springform pan inside the roasting pan with very hot water until the water comes halfway up the outside of the springform pan. Gripping the sides of the cookie sheet, carefully place the roasting pan with the springform pan inside it into the oven. Immediately close the oven door.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cheesecake has puffed, the top is golden brown, and the center is set. Remove from the oven and set the springform pan on a cooling rack. Run a knife around the inside rim of the sprinform pan's collar to loosen any of the cheesecake that may have stuck. Carefully remove the collar.

Cool for about 10 minutes, if you are serving the cheesecake hot. (It will sink slightly as it cools.) The cheesecake may also be served at room temperature or chilled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Makes 8 large servings.

We did this with no mixer, no roasting pan, no cookie sheet, no wooden spoon, no wire strainer, and an oven that runs about 25 degrees hot.

It's very tasty. Very light consistency. Reminds me very much of a quiche.

We're still waiting on the dessert cheesecake... the egg whites are taking their time becoming stiff.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Be Confusing.

One of my favorite things about Scott is that he is just as silly as I am, if not more so.

Butterneck Toad is my recent nickname for him, but I love the way it rolls off my tongue. It's not meant in any kind of negative way, it's just a random smattering of words squished together.

We have a lot of nicknames in our house. Buster (the Boxer dog) goes by Buster, Buddy, Buddins, Buddins McPhee, B-Dizzle and "Brown Thing".

Stinkerbell (the skunk) goes by Stinkerbell, Stinkbug, Buglet, Tinker, and Stinker-Pie.

Chou (the Ragdoll cat) goes by Chou, Chowder Bisque, Chowder Biscuit, Biscuit, The Biscuit, and Bisky.

Maui (the Siamese cat) goes by Maui, Maui Biscuits, Baby Bisk, and Meowey.

Minx (the black domestic female cat) goes by Minx, Minxie, Minx-Pie, and Pie Pie.

Interestingly, Pie Pie is also something Scott calls me. I've also been known to call Scott "Biscuit", Inky, and Picklewing.

Chaos Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning Scott exchanges keys with the previous tenants of our new house. We will start moving tomorrow night.

We haven't done any packing since the day before Valentine's Day. We're only moving about a quarter-mile away, but it's still going to be a pain.

In some ways moving across the country was easier than this will be because this time we have to take everything with us and when I moved from Washington I just left a bunch of my crap in my house to be stored long-term.

My first goal once we're moved in is to try and de-nocturnalize the skunk. I don't think she's getting enough attention solely because she is awake while we're asleep.

Monday, February 11, 2008

How Do I Hate Moving? Let Me Count The Ways...

I've moved too much. I'm sure there are military brats that would say I have hardly moved at all compared to their cross-country childhoods, but as I am faced with packing up all my crap again, I'm inspired to count just how many times I've moved from one house to another.

I was born in Seattle, Washington. As far as I know we only lived in one house in Seattle after I was born, and then moved to:

1. Sylmar, California. My parents decided to move out of LA when they learned that a clerk at a grocery store they frequented had been hacked to death in the store with a hatchet taken from a camping display. Gross, right?
2. Mollala, Oregon to stay with my maternal Grandparents until we found a house in
3. Oregon City, Oregon. This is the first house I have actual memories of. Very vague memories.
4. Portland, Oregon. We lived in a Victorian house in the Hawthorne district on Yamhill street. My parents bought this house with the idea of fixing it up, but didn't realize how much that would take. We had two cats at this house: Mocha and Smudgie. One Saturday morning on the way to church my mom accidentally stepped on Mocha who was hidden in the shadows of the stair landing. Mom was wearing heels and Mocha was wearing claws. He showed Mom's calf his claws.
5. Portland, Oregon. We moved into a house on Clinton street. I had the chicken-pox at this house while I was six. I also had a neighbor friend named Jennifer who had red hair.
6. Portland, Oregon (Officially unincorporated Multnomah County at the time...). I started elementary school in Second Grade right as we moved onto a culdesac on 174th. This is the first house I actually remember the full address of. We had two cats, Scamperoo and Twerp. We lived here until the middle of Seventh Grade when we moved again to...
7. Portland, Oregon. SE Halsey Street. This house is no longer standing because it was on land that was re-zoned commercial. While we were in this house I had my first boyfriend. His name was Nathan and I got nauseous every time he sat down next to me. I also got my first dog while living at this house - a puppy from the pound. We named him Huey.
8. Days Creek, Oregon. I went to boarding school for all four years of high-school. The summer after my freshman year I lived for a few months with my aunt and uncle in
9. Mt. Shasta, California. This is where I crashed my mountain bike.
10. Days Creek, Oregon. Back to school for my sophomore year, and I stayed at the school and worked during the summers between my sophomore and junior year and my junior and senior year. One of these summers my parents moved to another house in
11. Portland, Oregon. A little tiny house. A house that is also no longer standing because it was plowed under and had apartments built over the top. I lived at this house during the summer after my senior year of high school and then I went to college in
12. College Place, Washington. I lived in an apartment in the attic of my aunt's house. This is where I lived when I became engaged (the first time). I only lasted at this college for a quarter and moved back to the tiny house in
13. Portland Oregon. Not long after my return, my parents divorced (I was 19 at the time). My mom and I stayed in the tiny house and my dad found a house a few miles away. I spent much of the next two years staying at friends houses, especially during the summer of 1996 when I worked at a daycamp. In 1998 I moved to
14. Vancouver, Washington to live in my boyfriend's parents extra bedroom. Of course, he lived there too. Convenient. During this time I was engaged for the second time (the engagement lasted about two weeks). I moved into his brother and sister-in-law's extra bedroom in 1999 during one of our many breakups and then moved from there to my mom's new house in
15. Portland, Oregon for a few months. Then I got engaged and married (to a whole 'nother random guy) and moved to
16. Moyie Springs, Idaho. We lived in a tiny chalet for about 2.5 months. I was miserable and so was our marriage. We adopted a cat named Crispin who I consider to be my life-saver. We moved then to
17. Hermiston, Oregon for three weeks and lived in a trailer on my in-law's property while we waited for our apartment in
18. College Place, Washington to open up. Our marriage ended in practicality very shortly after this move and I moved with Crispin to my first apartment of my very own in
19. Vancouver, Washington. I was proud of my first pad, it even had a fireplace. I purchased furniture from a friend for $5 a piece (he was taking it to the dump anyway). I also bought another cat - a kitten I dubbed Minx. I also got back together with the boyfriend from location 14. We moved together to a bigger apartment in
20. Vancouver, Washington in the Fisher's Landing neighborhood. We also gained a roomate, Chris. Chris brought along his baby alligator named Moose, a corn snake, a tarantula, a leopard gecko and a snake-head fish. I retaliated by purchasing what was supposed to be a siamese-mix kitten we named Chou. Crispin passed away trying to cross a busy street, so we got yet another kitten (a real siamese this time) named Maui. We had great neighbors here that became life-long friends, but ultimately needed more room. We moved about a half mile away to a townhouse in
21. Vancouver, Washington in a complex called "The Springs". We lived here until Old Boyfriend and I broke up, he and Animal Guy moved out and got their own place. I lived alone for a couple of months, then my mom lived with me for three months while she was looking for a new house, and then she moved out and my friend Andy moved in. Andy and I lived together in the townhouse for about 10 months and then purchased a house together in
22. Vancouver, Washington. Then I went to Vegas and met Scott. I got to spend all of six months in my very first house and then packed Minx, Chou and Maui in the Honda and moved to
23. Key West, Florida. We've been here for 17 months and are moving into a house nearby.
I think that's a lot of times to pack up your stuff. I'm tired of packing and I've hardly started!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Absence Excused?

Sorry for my absence, in the last week my In-laws came and went and we decided to move. No, we didn't move this week, we just decided to.

The three of you that read my blog may remember this. The friends in the house ended up staying and breaking up, getting back together, breaking up, and then getting engaged this last Christmas. They got married yesterday and are moving to DC for real this time on the 19th.

Sooo... we'll be starting moving in to the house on the 20th. This is, of course, in the middle of trying to get married in April. I'm making our invitations by hand, which is involving a lot of cutting things out and putting them together, etc.

I'm also refinancing my house in Washington. I'm really excited about this for several reasons. Firstly because when we bought the house we financed 100% of it and had a first and second mortgage. The first mortgage is at 6.9% and the second is at 11.25%. We're rolling it all into one mortgage at 6.875% and the payment is going to be about $250 less than the total of the 1st and 2nd payments. The other reason I'm ecstatic about the refinance is that I HATE my current mortgage company.

I really don't hate many things or people. I don't believe in holding on to anger and hate because it will ultimately make me an angry and hateful person. But Option One Mortgage Corporation sucks big time. I worked in the real estate industry for about 8 years before moving to Key West, and am familiar with many different mortgage companies and programs. On the closing end I was a big fan of OOMC, there loans were very easy to close and their funding department was very easy to work with. Their "Customer Service" however, leaves MUCH to be desired. Moving to Key West was complicated in the home-ownership category. I didn't want to sell the house, so I managed to find a couple of renters.

With landladyship comes the assumption that there will be a late rent paid once in awhile. In the 2+ years that we've owned the house, I ended up making my mortgage payment on the 16th ONE TIME. That was in February 2007. In the year since, beginning on the first of the month, I get at least 3 phone calls a DAY from OOMC "reminding" me that my payment is due on the first and late after the 15th. EVERY DAY. And then when I try to tell these people I am well aware and remind them that I have made every payment since February 2007 well before the 15th, it turns out I'm talking to someone in India that doesn't have any control over ANYTHING.

Needless to say I am totally sick of the harassment. This is why I'm willing to deal with the stress of refinancing my house from across the country at the same time I'm getting married.

Today is my one day off until next weekend, and I'm going to try to do some packing and cleaning and invitation-ing. As soon as I'm done watching Rock of Love 2.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Up at 6:30am this time... thanks to a small black and white furry thing scurrying under the bed. I managed to catch her and have her snuggle for a bit but then she wanted to investigate the rest of the bed which is usually for the purpose of finding a place to poop.

I'm going back to bed.