Tuesday, September 29, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 1: Nik's B-day!

First off, Happy VeganMoFo! This is my second year doing it, and I'm *super*excited! I've been keeping a running list of all the things that I want to do/make/try for a few weeks now, and I hope to stick to it. Gotta shoot high! I'm going to try something new this year, and along with photos, I'm also going to be doing little illustrations to go with each post. I felt bad last year, going all foodie and neglecting all the arty people who don't read my blog to know what I ate for dinner. So! Best of both worlds it will be! Plus, a drawing a day has been something I have been wanting to do and this is the perfect opportunity. I might be crazy, but we shall see!

Finally, it was Nik's birthday last week! It was on a Wednesday (boooorrrrinnnng), so I made a super-tasty dinner and CAKE to celebrate! Dinner was grilled portobello sammiches (with veganaise), mashed taters, and some steamed corn-off-the-cob. The big chunks, like this one, are the best! A little earth balance, salt, and pepper, and it is the best thing about summer. I have a whole gallon bag of corn frozen in my freezer, so I won't get all sad on Thanksgiving or when all I get in my december CSA is potatoes, onions, and winter squash. The CAKE is a Butterfinger cake! I can never find Chick-O-Stick's around me (I suppose if I hunt hard enough I could, but not when I generally browse the drugstore or grocery store candy sections), but I happened upon them at a gas station rest stop somewhere in Oregon on my vacation a few weeks ago. Heck yeah! I bought a bunch of them knowing exactly what I'd use them for. I used the vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and just added 2 packages of ground up Chick-O-Stick's to the batter (I reserved some to sprinkle between layers and on top.) I also threw a handful of shredded coconut into the batter, for giggles. Made the peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache for the layers and topping. Unbelievable! Especially the next day, after it had gotten a little firmer in the fridge. Yum yum yum.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Portland-Part 2-The sights

Pretty roses, found while walking around the lovely SE section. I also really enjoyed walking around near Mount Tabor. Million dollar homes everywhere and so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

Hoyt Arboretium. I went here last time I was in Portland, and I had to come back. Such a beautiful and quiet place to hike around in. There was a mysterious electric guitar coming from the middle of the forest (??? It doesn't make sense to me either!), but Nik and I couldn't locate it. Weird!

We drove to Cannon Beach on sunday! I thought it would be a scenic drive, but it turns out to be kind of a sad one, with all the deforestation everywhere. The coast, however, was quite lovely. It was chilly, but I had to take off my socks and shoes and walk along the shore. It's just one of those things that you have to do (Nik didn't believe me). It was such a nice beach and the water was sparkling and so clear. High tide was coming in, but in such a peculiar way. Very irregular, and taking quite a few people by surprise who were laying out on blankets! I would love to come back there or to other nearby areas along the coast on a hot summer day and stay for a couple days.


Random parade at a street fair in Alberta!

Okay, so the 24-hour Church of Elvis was NOT at all what I was expecting. I thought it might be a store or a kitsch gallery of some sort, but this was literally all it was. And of course I was a sucker and put a quarter in, to see what would happen. There was a long-winded story about how it was going to take my picture and send it to Elvis, but then it said it was having technical difficulty and Elvis would have to get back to me. Haha, you can also get married there by the king, for an additional 50cents.

Being goofy and killing time before our flight, in Pioneer Square:

Portland-Part 01-The food

Hello! I'm back from my lovely vacation in Portland, Oregon! Actually, I got back super-early tuesday morning (red-eye flight, UGH), but I spent all day tuesday sleeping off those pesky timezones and just being generally lazy. Lots of fun was had; good food, good laughs, and pretty surroundings. Hooray! My camera sucks in low-light situations, so unfortunately there aren't any photographic evidence of a few tasty dinners that I had at Portobello Vegan Trattoria and The Farm. You'll just have to take my word for how yummy they were. Here's part one, the food pics, kinda out of order.

Doughnut from Voodoo Doughnut's traveling food cart! I happened upon them at a random Alberta street fair on saturday.

Vegan french toast from Juniors! Deeeelicious! It was pretty awesome going to a diner and being able to order french toast.

An average tofu scramble from Bijou Cafe.

A lovely glass of sangria from The Farm Cafe. This was the best dinner I had all weekend! Such a great restaurant, with the best atmosphere. It isn't strictly vegan, or vegetarian even, but they sure did the veggie options well. Nik and I shared a hummus platter appetizer and I had the Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushrooms Marsala as my entree. Mixed berries with vegan vanilla ice cream for dessert.

We drove to Cannon Beach on sunday and ate an adorable little cafe by the shore, called Sweet Basil's Cafe. I had the Portobello panini. Hit the spot after walking on the beach all day!

Lunch at Paradox! I had the mushroom veggie burger with sweet potato fries. I can't resist sweet potato fries. If they're on the menu, I'm ordering them.

Soft serve from Blossoming Lotus. It was Mexican hot chocolate, but they had another name for it that I can't remember right now. It was okay, but not as good as I remember their soft serves being.

Nik got the tofu avocado sammich and he was pretty mehh on it.

I got the raw pizza which I loovvvvvve. Have to eat it carefully, or everything falls off, but so yummy.

We chilled out at Deschutes Brewery for a bit on monday with some light food and their beer sampler. My faves were the Miss Spelt and the Ivana Weiss. Nik and I are total lightweights. Chips and salsa for food.

Elephant ear from the saturday market! Marionberry jam and powdered sugar as a topping. Sooo yummy. It's from one of the food vendors there, and if you ask for it with no butter, it's vegan. Hooray for sweets for breakfast!

Homegrown smoker cart. I have to say I was a tad disappointed in this. I was really looking forward to this all-vegan smoker cart, but everything just had a strange taste to it, due to the smoker. I got the chronic tempeh ribz and soy curls, with mac no cheese, beans, and cornbread as sides. The sides were amaaaaaaaaazing and I would go back just for those. Nik got a field roast chorizo and he felt the same way as I did about the smoked taste.

And last but not least, a cinnabon from Sweetpea!! This was the first place I went friday morning and it did not disappoint. Yum yum, I need to make some cinnabons soon.

I also went to Portobello Vegan Trattoria, but didn't get any pictures. This was on the top of my list for places to go, and it did disappoint a little. I thought it has real potential to be totally awesome, but everything just ended up lacking a little. Nik and I went a little crazy with the appetizers, ordering the pickle plate AND the cheese plate. Cheese plate was super-yummy and I would order that again, but the pickle plate was pretty bland and everything seemed to be pickled in the same brine (and what is UP with pickle plates never having any actual cucumber pickles on them?! I've never had one that did!). I got the Potato Gnocchetti with a Basil-Hazelnut Pesto for an entree, while Nik got the Manicotti. Both were yummy, but I thought the "Gnocchetti" were too large and thus a little bland, and Nik thought his needed to sit under the broiler for a good five minutes for ultimate yummy cheeziness. Calzones for dessert were the best part!! Sooo full.

More non-food pictures tomorrow! Hope everyone is lovely!

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Friends Forever" Series-Massive shop update

Hello! Hope everyone's weekend was fun and fantastical! I kept it on the slow side with movies and yummy food (and True Blood finale!) Nik and I have started watching Lost in the last month or so, and are towards the end of season 2. So many unexpected twists! (Yeah, I'm slow sometimes on watching things that most people have been crazy over for years) Gearing up for my Portland vacation next weekend.

AND! I finally got everything photographed and listed this weekend for my latest series and for a massive shop update to my Etsy shop.

These are original paintings from a very special project of mine, entitled "Friends Forever." I created this series after feeling those frustrated and sad feelings from trying to keep in touch with good friends that I have made over the years. You finish school, you move to a new city or country even, and time and life makes it harder to keep in touch. I wanted to create a series that celebrates old friends, from grade school through college and through the last 8 years of my life after college. Hooray friends!

Watercolor and acrylic on gesso on a cradled pine board.
Size: 6 8/10" x 4 8/10" x 1 6/10"

"You're the One"
"Those Were the Days"

"Who Likes to Tea Party?!"

"Secret Handshakes"

"Class Reunion"

"Hello Over There!"

"Gossip Time"

"I Got Your Back"

"Ghost Stories"

"Friendship Bracelet No.1"

"Friendship Bracelet No.2"

"Owl Tell You"

Aaaand, I used all of these paintings to create my 2010 wall calendar:

Phew, mega-long post. Thanks for looking and reading if you got this far! <3