Archive for the 'summer' Category

04
Sep
10

Girls just wanna see 80’s icons

  

Yeah, that’s Cyndi Lauper.  Yeah, we got to see her on September 1, 2010.  And, yeah, she can still rock the house.  Well, in this case, she rocked the Oregon Zoo here in Portland.  My only regret is that I never saw her perform live during the 80’s.  But I’m really glad I got to see her this week.  The fact that she is 7 months older than me and bouncing around like a little kid up on that stage was totally inspiring.  Her most recent song styling is the blues, and baby, she can sing the blues.  I believe she can sing anything.  Her range is phenomenal.  A couple times she apologised to the elephants (the open lawn amphitheater was near the elephant habitat) because she would hit these amazing notes and hold ’em for a crazy long time.  

She still uses some of her old moves from the 80's

We were camped a bit far from the stage, but thanks to Katie and her trusty Nikon D70s and a fancy pants zoom lens, she was able to capture some pretty good shots of the diva.  Actually, it was probably a blessing that we were a bit farther away with our camera.  There was one woman who actually caught the rath of Ms. Cyndi Lauper.  Apparently the woman was videoing the show instead of appreciating the fact that she had a perfect spot to watch all of the action live, up close and personal.  Cyndi wasn’t havin’ it.  She told the woman to get the camera out of her face.  She told her that she was up there singing for her and that she should have the courtesy to watch and enjoy the show, because she was there now.   Later, I guess the woman continued to tape, because Cyndi looked at her in disgust again and said “You’re really pissing me off, girly!”  Tell her how you really feel, Cyndi.  

As I mentioned, the venue was an amphitheater lawn affair.  That means people drag blankets, lawn chairs and food to these concerts.  Thankfully the zoo allows outside food.  The only thing you are forced to purchase (besides the tickets to the show) are beverages.  I saw A LOT of wine bottles being purchased.  And, the sight of A LOT of staggering zombies at the end of the night tells us that the zoo made A LOT of money off the sale of booze and semi expensive concert tickets.  

Of course, Vampire Gran dragged a blanket, lawn chairs and food for the evening.  Our picnic consisted of Spicy Veggie “Chicken” Wraps, watermelon cubes, grapes, bagel chips, hummus and Molasses Ginger cookies.  I had left over ingredients so I made the wraps again for dinner last night.  Here’s how I made ’em: 

First I make a sauce using equal portions of frozen orange juice concentrate and Veganaise.  Then add habenero powder to your desired heat preference. 

three ingredients, could not be easier

 

mix it up, there's your sauce

I sauteed Trader Joe’s chickenless strips with garlic and onion powder, dried oregano, kosher salt and cracked pepper. 

tastes just like.........

Then I mixed it with the sauce to keep it moist. 

The strips soak up more flavor and keeps it from drying out

While the strips are soaking, I thinly sliced some green cabbage, julianned red and yellow bells pepper, small diced some red onion and rough chopped cilantro.  Mix it all together ala salad. 

Ooooo, purty!

Then, in individual shallow bowls, I prepared the innards for these spicy wraps.  I made two wraps hence I used two bowls. 

almost ready to toss

You could actually serve this as a salad at this point.  I tossed it, then added cubed avocado. 

this is making me hungry

Ok, now heat up a wrap on a griddle or wide saute pan.  I used Trader Joe’s 100% whole wheat wraps – mighty good.  Heat until soft and pliable. 

Nice and pliable? Lets get ready to wrap it up!

Now we're cookin'

Mound the filling in the center of the wrap…… 

Step 2....

Fold the bottom up and away from you, sorta burrito style, but only the bottom gets folded. 

Almost done

Fold one side over and then tightly roll until the whole shebang is encased with the top open, showing off the delicious, mouth-watering contents.  This may take some practice, but if you are familiar with making burritos, you will have no problem. 

Mmmmmm.......wanna bite?

Nice!

Oh, brain fart!  I forgot one very important SPICY ingredient.  Jalapenos.  You can use fresh or jarred.  I opted for the jarred in this case.  We do like our food spicy and hot, so I get a little heavy handed sometimes. 

Now we're talkin' spicy

Right, now wrap that all up again.  These wraps make great road food.  Since we didn’t want to haul an ice chest to the zoo, I just wrapped them in plastic wrap and popped ’em into my backpack along with all the other food.  If you’re not going to devour them within, say an hour and a half, I would keep ’em cool in the refrigerator or an ice chest. 

I mentioned Molasses Ginger cookies up there, didn’t I?  These are, hands down, my favorite cookie.  But, guess what?  I’m gonna leave you hanging like a season finale.  And I, like Cyndi Lauper and her band here, am going to take a bow and hopefully leave you wanting more.  Good Night!!!!!! 

 

 

THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!!!!!!

25
Aug
10

Sometimes life just gets in the way

It’s good to be loved.  It’s good to know that people not only read the words I write in this blog, but actually enjoy and learn from them.  Feeling blessed is only the beginning of the gratitude I have for all of you who come to Vampire Gran’s Kitchen.  Thank you all for your kind comments, especially the funny ones!   

 I’ve been getting a lot of “What’s ups?” from many of you.  Some via email and comments here, and some walking down  aisle  1 at work.  Thank you, Cat, for scolding me ever so nicely!   

So, what is up?  Well, summer time for one thing.  I made a conscious decision to enjoy the hot weather this year.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I am not a big fan of hot weather.  That’s why I moved to Portland, after all, for the most-of-the-year cooler weather.  But this year I have been determined to like the summer heat.  Fortunately, we have only had maybe three days this year that reached 100 degrees.  Thank you, Universe, for your support.  This has been a glorious summer, weatherwise.   

We’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors.  Running the streets of downtown Portland, leisurely walks along the Willamette, enjoying street fairs and just hanging out in our park like back yard.  And, I have been working in the garden – a lot.   

It's gotten crazy big since the last time I posted about it

In fact, I think the last time I wrote about the garden I was harvesting beets.  Those are long gone.  I also harvested shelling peas, lettuce and broccoli.   

Here are some of the lovely peas from the garden

I have a whole new crop rotation happening now.  I planted five hot pepper plants, jalapeno, hot cherry, Serrano, Thai and something our neighbor gave us.   

Hot Cherry pepper - it will turn red when it is ready

Thai chili - will also turn ready when it is good n' hot

Pepper from the neighbor - he says it's mild, not sure what kind it is

I work in a nice grocery store where we are well taken care of.  One of the perks we receive is free food and plants!  I spent some time checking out the back lot every day in search of homeless plants that needed some TLC.  I rescued a scraggly tomatillo plant and it blossomed into this:   

Now, what am I gonna do with all of these tomatillos?

All of my tomato plants were freebies, too.  Three from my neighbor and three from work.   

I can always use tomatoes

There's a nice big 'un

Every garden has to have one - the obligatory zucchini plant

The final garden picture is the butternut squash plant.  I am in awe of how one tiny plant can take over the entire garden, if I let it.  The garden expert neighbor told me I could cut it back and it would still live and produce.  Thank god, cause I thought it was gonna attach itself to everything, including me if I didn’t move fast enough!   

Hard to believe that is one plant

Ok, I lied.  Here are two more shots because these squash are so photogenic.   

Look how pretty that guy is. And there are those grabby tendrils, just poising itself to latch onto anything in its path

Another thing we have been having fun with is dinner and a movie al fresco.  We set up the computer on the patio, haul our dinner out and presto – instant good time.  

Yeah, I look like crap. It's hot, what do you expect?

What’s the pink stuff on our plate?  Beautiful candy stripe beets.  So good.  

Steamed golden and candy stripe beets tossed with orange muscat vinegar, kosher salt and cracked pepper served on a bed of steamed beet greens

So many more things have been going on this summer, but I think this post has gone on long enough.  I will be participating in the Blog Challenge on Foodbuzz so there will definitely be more to share with you as that progresses.  The work on my self published cook book  continues and looks like I am  about a quarter of the way done with that.  So much to look forward to.  So enjoying this journey called life.




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