Sunday, January 29, 2012

Voodoo

Today Paul and I had big plans. We were going to attend the Oregon Truffle Festival held in Eugene this year. Red Wagon Creamery was going to be there with a honey hazelnut truffle hot fudge sundae. This, honestly, was the main reason I wanted to go. But before we paid for our tickets, we took a peek inside. It was a small venue crowded full of older couples in fancy clothes. It wasn't really our scene, so we went to Voodoo Doughnuts instead. 


While Paul and I were eating and hanging out with the Ken Kesey statue, we were approached by a man who wanted to borrow one of our phones. We politely told him no and he began to walk away. But then he came back! He had a vaguely Scottish accent and he told us several stories of how his father owns all of the markets in the world and how it would blow our mind. Maybe he thought that was unrealistic, because as he walked away he said that he really only controlled 80% of the world. 


It was cloudy and cold and we encountered several Eugene crazies while walking around downtown. Maybe normal people stay inside on days like today. Now it is raining and we are stuck doing homework that we avoided yesterday while it was still merry and bright. While I didn't get to pet any truffle pigs and didn't get to eat a hot fudge truffle sundae today, we did get some doughnuts out of the deal, so it wasn't so bad after all. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Red Wagon Creamery


The sun has been smiling all today. I'm used to Oregon winter days where it's sunny yet deceivingly cold. This was not one of those days, because today I went outside without a jacket. I went outside without a jacket and then ate ice cream. This doesn't happen to me; I am always cold.

Paul sometimes even calls me "Cold-ilocks." 


Seeing as it has been so delightfully warm, Paul took me out to ice cream. Every Friday and Saturday, Red Wagon Creamery, sets up a booth in a cafe only a block away from our house. It's run by an adorable family and they were so nice, they even gave use a coupon for next time. And believe me, there will be a next time. We are going to make this our weekend tradition. I plan to go there so often that they will be practically forced to give me a job over the summer.


We got two giant scoops of ice cream. One was a coffee flavor made with coffee from our favorite cafe, The Wandering Goat, which was appropriately named Frozen Goat. The other flavor we had was caramel. I have had caramel ice cream before, even salted caramel. But this was in its own universe. This was smoked and salted caramel ice cream with huge chunky ribbons of soft caramel running through it. I've seen a quote floating around the internet that says "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Well, that's a big fat lie. Skinny doesn't taste as good as this. 
   

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thunder Egg


Our landlord has chickens in her backyard, so we always have access to fresh eggs. I will never go back to normal eggs. Not only do I know that these come from happy chickens, but they taste like butter. You can't really beat that. Today we got thunder eggs. They are huge, verging on tennis ball sized. They are huge to the point that the egg carton won't even close. 

  
It may seem silly to get excited over eggs, but this made my day. Giant eggs from happy, happy chickens make me anxious to have a backyard of my own. Paul and I fried two of these eggs this morning and put them on leftover African peanut stew for breakfast. We have no real plans for today other than watching Lost and maybe making more pumpkin pie. I am a lucky lady.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pumpkin Pie


Yesterday felt like Spring. It had warm, clear skies, and it was not wet. In addition to staying dry, we got a pumpkin. Living in little hippie Eugene, Paul has had the opportunity to take a class called Urban Farm. Part of the deal is that all the food the farm produces goes to the students. So yesterday surprised us with a giant slice of pumpkin. And we were so so excited. Because pumpkin means pumpkin pie.


We roasted it in the oven all afternoon with butter and brown sugar. And it smelled like heaven. This past fall we never actually made pumpkin pie. We perfected pumpkin cheesecake, but never the real deal. I have also never made pumpkin pie from scratch with a real pumpkin before, so this was a treat.


We ate it for breakfast this morning. Paul said it was the best pumpkin pie he has ever tasted. It is light in color and beyond fluffy. We did have a few minor mishaps along the way, though. We underestimated how watery the filling would be before it was baked. We overfilled the crust until it actually flowed over the edge of the pan. Then we tried to pick it up to put in the oven and more spilled out, all over my phone. We finally got it safely to the oven, but when I went to check on it 15 minutes later, I was under the impression that it would finally be more solid. It was not. A large wave splashed over the pan and onto the oven floor sizzling and smoking when I yanked the oven shelf out to check on it. So the moral of the story is to give the pie filling some credit, and just leave it alone. Once it cools, you can eat it and you will be so happy that you will forget about how it spilled all over your kitchen floor.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dr. Seuss Malted Cookies


Despite our smiles in these pictures, today was miserable. It rained the entire day. In Oregon it always "rains" but it really just sprinkles. Today was real-life rain. And I was very wet. 


But luckily for me, my amazing aunt posted these divine looking cookies this morning on her blog. So all day, although I was very wet, I knew I could forward to baking these tonight. 


And then a miracle occurred. As soon as Paul and I stepped outside to run to the grocery store to get the Whoppers, it stopped raining! I celebrated this with several silly pictures and life was restored once again.


These cookies are thin and chewy and crispy and taste like everything good in the world. When they were stacked, Paul thought they looked like tree trunks right out of a Dr. Seuss book. I will have to work hard to make these cookies last more than a day or two. It's quite the dilemma actually: Paul and I could eat them all now and be happy forever, or we could eat just a few now and have some more tomorrow. However our bellies tonight might not want to share with our bellies tomorrow. I guess it's a good problem to have. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Home Slice

Today, despite a short rain storm or two, was actually really lovely. The wind nipped at us a little bit, but the sun was shining and I am grateful for that. 



Paul and I would love to open a restaurant someday; Paul thinks Home Slice would be a clever (and hopefully not cheesy) name for a future restaurant. Keep in mind, that this would probably have to serve a lot of pies. Luckily we have perfected Banoffee Pie, but one of our other favorites is Cornmato Pie. It is a savory pie with a biscuit crust and a corn, tomato, and cheese filling. It's to die for. I made it for my family on Thanksgiving, and Paul and I make it quite often here in Eugene. I found the recipe through The Oregonian here.


After we made dinner, I did the dishes, and Paul and I sang ourselves through the entire Mumford and Sons album. I am a little hoarse, but very happy and my belly is thoroughly satisfied. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rainy Days

We have been having some crazy torrential rains that have kept me indoors and not blogging this week. It has been rather terrible, wet, and not my favorite weather to bike to school in. Paul and I have been watching lots of Lost (I know I'm eons behind), making some of our favorite foods, and generally just being homebodies. We did make some delicious cupcakes yesterday. I call them Nutmeg-fetti Cupcakes with Honey Peanut Glaze.  


I got the basic recipe from here and put my own little twist on it. I used brown sugar instead of white, because it tastes better. I added nutmeg to the batter, and used hazelnut milk instead of normal milk. For the frosting I mixed honey, peanut butter, powdered sugar and hazelnut milk together until it looked like pecan pie filling (dark, glossy, and a little transparent). Paul didn't think they were very pretty cupcakes at first, and admittedly they do have a dull exterior. But then you bite in and see the sprinkles, and nobody can resist that!



As I was taking pictures of my cupcakes, I saw these paintings Paul and I did, and thought I would share them, too. One night last year, I had some extra little canvases hanging around, and Paul and I decided to paint each other. Pretty good likenesses, huh? We have them leaning against the window frame in the dining room and they protect us from any crazies walking around the streets of downtown Eugene (at least, that's what I keep telling myself). 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow Flurry


There must have been some magic in the air last night. It snowed, and it stuck! Grinning from ear to ear, Paul and I bundled up and ran outside at eight o'clock this morning to play. Paul even brought his unicycle along because where we live, a snow-unicycle combination can only happen about once a year! We didn't throw any snowballs; there wasn't enough snow. So we danced. Because what else are you going to do with a quarter inch of goodness that only lasts for an hour or two?





The snow is melting already, but we had our fun. Paul is practically dragging me to go get hot chocolate with him, so we will see what else this magical day has in store for us.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blood Lust


I like pink foods. They make me happy because I have such a hard time believing they actually exist in real life. Blood oranges are nature's shy little surprises. They look like innocent clementines but they have some shockingly unnatural magenta flesh!

  
I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, and I knew I had to try them. Paul and I had some fun with blood oranges and baked these scones together on this chilly morning. It even snowed for a bit, and by snowed I mean it the Oregonian way: some white stuff fell from the sky for a few minutes and made a couple of melted puddles and everyone got really excited and wondered whether school would be cancelled a few days from now. 


We may have sacrificed a few blood oranges in our lust for warm scones on a snowy Sunday morning, but it was worth it. May they rest in peace.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Banoffee Pie


The last few days have been a little crazy with the first week of school, but Paul and I have dealt with the stress through excessive grocery shopping and Neutral Milk Hotel. And tonight we made Banoffee Pie. Banana Toffee Pie. Pie full of Sin. 


The first step to Banoffee Pie is to make a graham cracker crust. Just puree some graham crackers, enough melted butter to make it the consistency of wet sand, and a little cinnamon.    


This is the step where I improvised from all of the recipes I have seen on the internet. I decided to make a Nutella ganache to put at the bottom of the crust, really in an effort to keep the crust intact, but also because Nutella is delicious with bananas. I just heated fairly equal parts butter, cream, chocolate chips, and Nutella over low heat until it came together. Perhaps Banoffee Pie purists would skip this step, but I'm not one who cares much for convention. 


Next slice 3 bananas on top. Easy peasy.


Next is the most time consuming step, but it literally requires no skill, so don't worry. Buy one can of sweetened condensed milk. Boil some water in a pot. Place the can in the boiling water, making sure the water covers the top of the can (which should be easy as these cans are generally short and fat), then boil for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Take the can out of the water, let it cool a bit before opening, and dump it on top of those bananas! The condensed milk will have magically turned into sweet and dark caramel-toffee!


Lastly just whip some cream, slap it on, and maybe throw some sprinkles too just for kicks. That might sound violent but show your pie who's boss! Let it chill out in the fridge for an hour or two and then eat it!

Right now, our pie is setting in the fridge, and Paul is making sea salt caramels. He said if he were to write a book on the subject it would be entitled, "I Did it, but the Kitchen is Sticky."



Monday, January 9, 2012

Balloon Ascension Day

I've got these friends. Their names are Muhammad and Leanne. Leanne is practically an Olympic skier and Muhammad really loves apple juice. According to Muhammad's calendar, today was Balloon Ascension Day. Seeing as any holiday is a reason to celebrate, Paul, Muhammad, Leanne, and I decided to make a double date out of it. Also in addition to it being the first day back to school, our water heater was fixed today. So life is good and Balloon Ascension Day definitively happened. We got our balloons from Hirons, this crazy five and dime everything shop next to Leanne's apartment. That place made me hyperventilate slightly the first time I went in, but now I'm a seasoned pro and we went straight to the back to get the balloons.    


We all wrote little messages and our phone numbers on our balloons. We're hoping someone finds one and gives us a call. Paul and I have had great luck with this. Two summers ago we let a balloon go in Portland and two hours later we get a call from a little old lady in Washington who found it on her doorstep. True story. It was a wonderful day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Terrible Awful


Here I am, in all my glory. No makeup. No shower for days. You might ask yourself why this young lady hasn't showered since Tuesday and has allowed herself to be photographed practically crying from the agony of it all. I will tell you. This is our sixth day without a working water heater, and it's January. Cold, cold water. The electricians and plumbers are stumped. This means no showers and no clean dishes So here I am: bare faced and cold on my way to the record store to return an unsatisfactory The Cure album.


Although it wasn't totally a terrible awful day. It was brisk and sunny outside and Paul made me some glorious cauliflower pasta. And in exchange for The Cure record, I got The Bangles and Cher. Paul doesn't believe me yet, but Cher is awesome, and I won't hear otherwise.


The highlight of today, though, was a nice warm shower. It was at the Student Rec locker room and not at home, but it was wonderful nonetheless.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Picnic

Although it was rather chilly today, Paul and I walked to a local park to have a board game picnic. Armed with a blanket, a deck of cards, and Mastermind, we settled down and played. I won Mastermind, although Paul would argue that he never had the proper chance to win. After eating at the local diner, Dickie Joe's, we went to see Martha Marcy May Marlene. It was a little crazy, a little dark, and required some Googling (yes, that's a verb) to decipher the ending, but it was nice outing and January has been treating us well.

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You


My name is Noelle. This is Paul. We go together well. We are coming up on our second year together. It was one of those best friends from the start kind of things. We ate lunch together on the first day of high school. Fast forward to our senior year and we were still eating lunch together, but then we started writing letters to each other. Hundreds of them. Passing them to each other between classes, dropping them at each other's houses after school. I think we gradually accepted (after five months of letters, mind you) that we were more than friends, and probably always were. Now we are practically twenty and living together in a little blue house while we attend the University of Oregon. Isn't life grand?