This here is one well-traveled little girl.
At the end of May, Cassidy was digging her toes in the sand of the Pacific Coast with her Grampa and Gramma.
Soon after discovering that our girl is a beach bunny who loves to crawl the beach, eating sand and knocking over sand castles like a little Baby-zilla, it was time to say goodbye to Oregon and the people we love there.
After the car was packed and the goodbyes said, we three climbed aboard our trusty Camry, buckled ourselves in, and settled in for an epic 6-day car trip from the Pacific Northwest to the extreme Southeast. As always Cassidy was a sweet gem of a baby. She played endlessly with the same tired toys, took her naps with her poor little head drooped to the side, and only started to yowl when her energetic little self just couldn’t handle the confinement and solitude any longer. Along the trip we got into a groove of traveling and learned that a few long stops during the day helped Cassidy retain her sanity (and thus we kept ours).
In taking a southern route from Oregon to Florida, we were able to see some friends we wouldn’t have otherwise seen before we left for Asia, we were able to avoid traveling I-80 (we’ve just done it so much now that it’s become a little boring to us), and we were able to make a stop in at the Grand Canyon. Since being married, David and I have been blessed to be able to witness so many amazing sights- natural and man made, and the Grand Canyon is now added to that number. It was breathtakingly gorgeous and we stared in awe at the Mighty craftsmanship we saw there.
The Canyon stretched on beyond our line of vision and astounded us by its size and majesty. Cassidy was not particularly taken with the views, but she did thoroughly enjoy the break from her carseat and having a lot of railings to pull herself up on and walk along (however, at our dizzying height, I kept my arms around her- much to her disgust).
Almost a week after leaving the West Coast, we rolled into Florida and arrived at my parents house. As we got close, I almost felt like “The Final Countdown” should be playing as we made our ‘victory lap’ into town. Poor Cassidy sat in the backseat with the most dejected look on her face. I’m sure she thought that she would spend the rest of her days stuck in that seat. When we pulled up to my parents house and got out of our messy, stinky, tired car, I fought the urge to kiss the ground. We had made it!
And so it is, that after two crazy weeks (with a first birthday thrown in the middle- more on that later), Cassidy was eating and throwing sand from the Atlantic beaches in Florida with her Nana and Papa!
This post was planned and prepped months ago. The pictures were taken in an apartment we will never again live in. It is funny how quickly our little apartment in Tennessee became home. It was the first place we have lived as a married couple with our own full bathroom in the apartment. I guess it is the little things, huh? We did feel pretty spoiled with two full bathrooms. But, I digress. This is supposed to be a recipe post and I am nattering on about bathrooms.
Several years ago some friends of mine gave me a Thai and Southeast Asian cookbook. This is no minor league book. The first 25 pages read more like an encyclopedia than a cookbook. They describe every type of rice you have heard of and several you haven’t. They describe every ingredient found in the recipes and many of the uses of the ingredient. Very few of the recipes call for prepared substances or packaged goods. Recipes are made as much from scratch as is generally possible. I love it. I learned to actually cook, rather than combining and heating a few pre-prepared packages. It also gives you the freedom to alter recipes. If you were to look at the cookbook now, you would see my chicken scratch on my favorite recipes suggesting alterations that would take the dish from good to great.
One of the complications I ran into as I braved my first few dishes I realized it would take more than a good wok and a skillful hand with a sharp knife. Each recipe called for one or more ingredients I had either never heard of or had no idea how to find. The local supermarket didn’t carry fresh lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves or fresh galangal. It took some research and some driving to find specialized Asian Supermarkets. After some time I was able to build up my stock of hard to find items. Unfortunately, now that we are on the road so much, I had to give away those items to someone else who would appreciate them.
After all that, I present to you one of my favorites. It is a curry called Beef Rendang.
Start with a good cut of beef. Cut it into 3/4″ cubes.
Next I give you the ingredients. From left to right we have 2 cans of coconut milk (I know it says coconut cream. I had pulled the wrong can out. I used 2 cans of coconut milk.) Next we have a good quality dark soy sauce, powdered turmeric, powdered galangal, potatoes hiding in the back, cumin, lemongrass, coriander, and 2 onions. In the front we have tamarind paste, fresh ginger, and kaffir lime leaves.
Make the curry paste with the onions, 1 1/2″ of ginger, 1 tsp of turmeric, 1tsp of galangal, 1tsp of cumin, and 1 tsp of coriander with your handy mortar and pestle.
Mix the curry paste in with the meat and let it sit for 30-45 minutes. Put the 2 cans of coconut milk in your wok and bring it to a low boil.
When it has started boiling, add the meat mixture. Prepare the lemongrass by cutting off the dry parts and crush the moist parts with something hard. Add it to the wok with the kaffir lime leaves chopped small.
Cue the waiting. We usually allow it to simmer for about 2 hours. Make sure you stir it from time to time to keep it from burning. After two hours, peel and cut the potatoes into 3/4″ cubes and add them to the wok. Simmer it all for about 40 minutes, then remove the lemongrass stalks and serve over rice. It is a pretty delicious meal. I enjoy having some Sambal Oelek chili paste to bring the perfect amount of heat.
It doesn’t necessarily look appetizing, but it is melt in your mouth goodness. Enjoy
Cassidy has sure loved having grandparents around to dote on her day and night. Each smile, giggle, and new achievement has been praised and exclaimed over. I’m not sure what we are going to do with our little girl when she has to get used to just have boring ol’ Daddy and Mommy around. I must say that I love seeing people, especially Cassidy’s grandparents, loving on my precious girl and enjoying her sweet personality. And it doesn’t hurt that on a few early mornings, David and I have been able to deliver Cassidy to her Gramma and Grampa so we could get a few more minutes of sleep.
We’ve been taking plenty of pictures to document each fun memory.
Chatting about driftwood, tide pools, and sweet nothings while taking a break from the wind at the coast.
I had to add this picture because- well, seriously… it’s just hilarious. Like grandfather, like granddaughter.
Well, we are well over due for some posts since a lot has been happening. Since a pictures says 1,000 words, we’ll start things off with some pictures of us hanging out in the backyard here in Oregon, taking advantage of some good lighting.
Here’s a slideshow of the pictorial gems we got when we tried to get a passport photo of Cassidy. In the end the friendly post office passport lady rejected our best effort, so we ended up having to pay for the passport photo anyway, but at least we tried, right?
After looking at all these pictures we could only say, “Oh, Cassidy.”
Well, we are at it again. The sorting happened. The packing happened. And now we are moved out of our sweet little apartment in TN and on the road again. The first leg of our epic “3 corners of the country” tour found us heading out of the lovely spring weather, warming temps, and white blossoming trees and traveling north to Wisconsin. This week the weather has been more cold, more wet, and more dreary than our whole winter in Tennessee, but I am fighting the urge to mope and trying to remember Wisconsin also produces delightfully warm and sun soaked summers and deliciously crisp and golden autumns. Unfortunately we will be long gone before the Wisconsin weather shapes up. For now we are looking outside at the misty weather and reminding ourselves that April showers bring May flowers.
So, we’re in Wisconsin. Despite the rain and chill, we’ve found plenty to keep ourselves busy with, while trying to keep it easy enough so we don’t overload ourselves. There has been family and friends to visit, sorting and storing of belongings to deal with, paperwork for visas to figure out, and list of assorted tasks to accomplish… not to mention Cassidy. Our little girl is quite mobile enough to keep us on our toes at all times and tire us out before the day is done. She has the cutest smile and the sweetest little developing personality, though, so what’s a little fatigue at the end of the day, right?
So, we’ve been gone for a little while. I would apologize, but life has been rushing by, and I’m sure you understand. A lot has been happening. Too much to really talk about here and now. I will try to update here a little more regularly again, but until I get my thoughts gathered about me, I’ll leave you with a quiche post. This quiche post really has nothing to do with anything except that I discovered a quiche recipe that is both pretty easy and completely delicious. And I discovered that I have a husband who really would follow through with his declaration that he could eat quiche everyday. We have eaten A LOT of this quiche this winter.
*On a side note: This quiche is by no means a light dish. I’m talking bacon, eggs, and evaporated milk. So let’s just dispel any of those thoughts right away. There will be a place and time for healthy eating, but bacon will soon be a thing of our past, so for now we are going a little hog wild to get it all our of our systems.
I now give to you… “Vegetable Quiche” -which is the official name of this recipe, but since I add bacon I suppose I should change the name. Maybe later. For now we’ll call it Vegetable Quiche and feel healthier for it.
Bacon is the beginning of all good things, right? So let’s start by frying up a little bacon.
While the bacon is frying up, chop about a 1/4 cup of green pepper…
And a 1/4 cup of onion.
Now the recipe I use calls for the onion and pepper to be fried until tender in some oil. I find it easier and tastier (although much more unhealthy) to just use the leftover bacon grease to fry the veggies in. My reasons for using the bacon grease are as follows, 1. it is just easier to use grease that is already in the pan than cleaning the grease out and putting oil in, and 2. For some reason I feel like I’m in “Little House on the Prairie” when I’m using bacon grease in food. Doesn’t it just sound so ‘home on the range’?
Now comes the dairy.
In a bowl, stir together a half can of cream of mushroom soup, a half can of evaporated milk, and 3 eggs- along with a tablespoon of flour.
Next up comes a little layering. In a deep-dish pie shell, layer the torn bacon and some mushrooms.
The name of the game is to make this quiche easy, so I’m using canned mushrooms (which we typically keep on hand because David and I are both mushroom fiends). Using a frozen pie shell is pretty much the reason I don’t mind making this quiche so much. If I had to make dough, roll it out, and try to get it into the pie dish, quiche would probably be a once-a-year thing.
Ok, so the bacon and mushrooms are in the bottom of the pie shell, now we are going to sprinkle a cup of shredded cheese on top of that.
Finally, we stir the sauteed peppers and onions into the egg/milk/soup mixture and pour it over everything else in the shell.
Pop the whole thing in the oven at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.
While the quiche is cooking, take some time to play with the adorable baby. This step is of the utmost importance. We can’t take for granted these precious baby days. At the time of this picture, Cass was getting so close to crawling for real, and she is just the smiley-est and giggle-iest baby you could ever meet.
Ding! -goes the timer (which David sets for me because I can’t be bothered to figure out how to set the timer myself).
Dinner is served. It’s one of those comfort foods that is just perfect for a chilly evening (since we rarely eat these kinds of breakfast foods for breakfast)
One afternoon free from obligations
sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures
my favorite little girl and my best big guy
a wonderful, memory-filled walk in the park together
*Life is rough when Mommy won’t let you eat grass and then doesn’t seem bothered by your heartbreak
*All better now.