Thursday, June 30, 2011

Methven Family Vineyards - 2006 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

One of the perks...perhaps the only where I live is that I can drive for about 60 seconds and be in the middle of wine country...basically my backyard is wine country...I just have to look beyond a few rooftops.  

Last spring My Lover and I were out on a Sunday afternoon frolicking our way through the wine country when we stumbled upon Methven Family Vineyards.  What a pleasant surprise!  The tasting room is gorgeous with a large floor to ceiling wooden bar and a beautifully sanded & lacquered wood felt like my kind of place.

We tasted the wines and enjoyed each of them for their own distinct offerings, bought a few bottles and bid the winery goodbye.  As I walked out the door I took in the beautiful scenery before me and vowed it would only be 'goodbye for now', I was smitten.

This past weekend I returned to this vineyard knowing its beautiful scenery, quiet atmosphere and delightful wines would be the perfect pairing to a girls afternoon out.  And it was...

2006 Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley

From the Winery:
This wine was crafted from new estate vines and older vines from Elton Vineyards.  Wonderfully complex aromas of root beer, pine pitch, and vanilla vaporize out of the glass.  The mouth-feel is velvety and supple, with flavors of currant jam and cassis.  White-pepper and alcohol add a thrilling finish to the wine, making this a powerful, full bodied food wine.

Carol's Thoughts:
Yep, they got that one right! 

I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle of wine.  The flavor lingers in your mouth long after it is in your tummy, making you think...Mmmmm...Heaven!  

What is even better...every single wine I have tasted has been remarkable in its own right.  There wasn't one I disliked.

If you are lucky enough to live in my neck of the woods, this is a must visit winery.  You will not be disappointed.  If you don't live with Pinot Noir country in your can order off their website and bring a little heaven to your home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Potato Salad

Summer food would not be complete without some sort of potato, macaroni or pasta salad.  Over the Father's Day weekend I had a craving for a good potato salad and the best recipe I know is my Mom's.  It is a staple in our mama makes it, my brother makes it, my sister-in-law makes cannot be beat!

I have to admit, when I first tried this recipe out I altered a few of the ingredients, but the potato salad was not nearly as in a 'Mom, you were right' moment I decided to go back to the original...if it ain't broke no use trying to fix it!

So here it goes...

Potato Salad

Ingredients: Potatoes, Hard Boiled Eggs, Mayo, Mustard, Sour Cream, Sweet Pickles, Sweet Pickle Juice (secret ingredient), Celery, Green Onions, Garlic Powder, Celery Seed, Salt & Pepper.

Now you must know that exact ingredients are not necessary here, but I will try to give you my best estimate.

Chop the Sweet Pickles, Green Onion & Celery.
I probably used 4-5 sweet pickles, 3-4 green onion and 2 stalks of celery.

Note: Don't be tempted to substitute dill pickles here, it won't turn out the same, Trust Me...I have already made this folly!

Boil the Eggs.
I know everybody has their own way of hard boiling eggs, but here is how I do it:  Place eggs in cold water, bring to boil, turn temp down so eggs gently boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain, fill pan with cold water and lots of  ice to cool eggs ASAP.
Chop the Eggs.  You want them to be large chunks.  I cut in half one way, turn & cut in half again and then cut into about 4-5 sections.

Note: I use equal part eggs to potatoes...8 potatoes = 8 eggs

Yukon or White Potatoes are best because they are creamy...
But I have been known to use Russets from time to time, just beware they may make for a grainier potato salad - a little more rustic if you will.
Boil potatoes in their skins until you can easily insert and remove a knife. 
Drain & Let Cool.
Peel potatoes and dice into small chunks.

Put all chopped items into a LARGE bowl - larger than the salad will be, you are going to need lots of stirring room...

Next you want a huge dollop, I love that word...dollop, dollop, dollop...
Eh, hem...yes a big dollop of Mayo and Sour Cream (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups each).  

I'll let you in on a little secret here...the equal parts mayo & sour cream are purely to mess with my see, I am not a fan of mayo so I trick myself by adding the sour cream so as I eat it I tell myself the white stuff is the sour cream, not the is the method to my madness,'C' in my crazy, the 'L' in my loony...but it works!

Now, add approx 1/2 cup Classic Yellow Mustard...I love mustard, I think it should be a staple in any good Americans diet.

Now for the 'Secret Ingredient'...pour some sweet pickle juice into the mixture.  Maybe about 1/4-1/3 cup. 

Mix it all up, add more or any of the above if you feel you need to - whatever floats your crazy train!

Add Onion Powder - about 1/2 -1 tsp - I just cover the top with a nice dusting...
Do me a favor?  If you you decide to take pictures of yourself making potato your nails first, it will look better and you won't berate yourself when you are reviewing.  Thank you.

Sprinkle Celery Seed over the top, probably equal to 1/4 tsp.
Do me another favor?   Wash the salad goo off your hands before they get photographed, you will be so much happier with the results.  I promise.

Add Salt - start with 1 tsp...but you will definitely need to add more at the end.
Do me one last favor?  If your daughter is taking your photos, instruct her to focus on the food so your arm and hand does not become front and center!

Liberally dust the salad with Pepper.  I probably did this twice.  
Now taste, does it need more salt, mustard, onion powder...God forbid, mayo???

Serve alongside BBQ or eat by itself.  It will be creamy and crunchy and oh so delicious!

No more store bought potato salad, no more being afraid if what you are about to put in your mouth will be good, bad or ugly.  This potato salad will be the crisp and cool side dish you have been dreaming of...or maybe I am the only one who dreams of potato salad???  If so, it is because...yes, it's that good!

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Kind of Perfect Day

Yesterday I went to Methven Vineyards with my longtime friends Erin, Elissa & Tracy.  It was the perfect day.  The scenery was beautiful, the wine was delectable and the company was, as always, thoroughly enjoyable, laughable, quirky and just plain perfectly fun!

30+ years of Friendship!
Carol, Elissa, Tracy & Erin

We get together for each of our birthdays to celebrate...I am #3 in the lineup to turn 37...thank you to the two who come before me and prepare the make it look so good I don't mind getting older!

So for my birthday we went wine suits soothes makes me turns my teeth purple...  

My Lover and I had been to Methven Family Vineyards once before.  I fell in love with the wine, the patio and the view when we were deciding where we would to celebrate ME, I suggested this little winery.  

We thoroughly enjoyed the wine...which I will review for you all very soon!

We Laughed!

We Made Memories to talk about when we are 'older'.

Elissa dared me to ask them to play Yukon music...
I accepted...
They obliged...
It was actually really great music for an afternoon of friends, wine & scenery...
Fun Fact: Elissa Lover plays the bass on this CD...

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day!  Thank you my dear friends for making me feel so special, loved & relaxed!  If friends are our soul mates, then you are mine!  I love you all!

Note: Thank you to Erin for the these photos...will you please take all my photos for me? 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear 36...

Dear 36 Year Old Self:

This year you set out to accomplish a goal and succeeded.  A goal that your 6yr, 16yr, and 26yr old self would never have tried.  Running.  I am proud of you for working hard and sticking with it even when it was dark outside, cold, wet and even painful.  You didn't give up.  You impress me.

This year you were stunned by the news that someone you love has cancer and is fighting for her life.  This was the most difficult part of your 36th year, it is painful, confusing and emotional.  During this time you have reflected on some very serious questions of your faith and your beliefs.  You have probably prayed more this last year than you have in the past five years combined, don't stop.

Your children turned 8, 9 and 13 this year.  How did that happen?  Weren't they just born yesterday?  Parenting certainly presents it's challenges, but have great kids.  Not sure how you got so lucky...I would have thought you had a lot of 'what goes around comes around' coming your way...

You celebrated your 15th wedding anniversary.  I remember when you used to count the weeks and months... 15yrs is only a fraction in the grand scheme.  While you may have made some questionable decisions and acted in ridiculousness ways when you were 20/21 years old, this was not one of sure picked a great guy.  A more devoted husband and father would be hard to find.

You got more gray hair this year...not loving that at all!  I could try and give you a pep talk about how it shows more wisdom, embrace it because you earned them...but the fact is, it just sucks...

One more thing...36 is that last year you consider 'mid' 30's' Goodbye Mid 30's, I will miss you...

Watch out 37...Here I Come!


Friday, June 24, 2011

10 Funny Things

I have been writing down things that get said around my house that make me laugh out loud, belly laugh, just plain laugh or chuckle. 

It has taken me awhile to compile the list - not for lack of material, but because of another little problem I have...  When I gave birth to my Live-Ins, my memory must have felt betrayed because it left me.  My memory and I were really good friends at one time, but I don't remember when that was...

Anyways, back to the writing things down...what was I saying???  Oh yes, the things that make me laugh...
  1. One school morning I was out of bread and lunch meat to make lunches, but I did have hoagies and pepperoni.  So I improvised and made Live-In #1 a pepperoni sandwich on a hoagie roll.  When Live-In #1 got home from school she announced that when she opened her lunch she told her fiends "My mom must have been on a crazy pill this morning".  Good news, she loved the sandwich...
  2. Same story from above with a slight tweak...Lover saw me making this sandwich and said "What are you trying to do, kill her?"  Bad news, she didn't get this sandwich again...
  3. At a discussion about which of my Live-Ins would one day have children and which were going to remain childless because they will be too busy on the red carpet...Live-In #3 says very seriously "I think I will have three of my childs name might be Damon".  I don't know where this came from or that he had given it that much thought...
  4. Live-In #2 had to stay home from school one day because I suspected he had an eye infection.  So on the way home from the doctor he announces to me "It looks like I have a villain eye...but instead of a green eye like the guy in Bolt (the movie), I have an evil red eye" I need to say anything more here?
  5. One afternoon I took my kids to lunch at a BBQ joint.  My kids had the regular chicken fingers...but not me...we were at a BBQ and I love me some pulled pork.  I  ordered a pulled pork sandwich and wolfed it down in seconds.  Live-In #3 said to me "You ate that sandwich FAST Mommy" to which I replied "I take my pork sandwich seriously!" at this all three Live-In's went into a belly laugh and declared I needed to say that on my here you have it.
  6. Randomly Live-In #2 announces to me "I think I know why sharks are mean" oh really...why? "they don't get any sleep"...seems logical to me!
  7. We have established that Live-In #1 is claustrophobic...but she also told me that "she was so scared to come out the normal way that she 'did her business'"...lovely, looks to me like my daughter may have gotten some of her crassness from me.  She should use that on here Dad, he just loves it!
  8. One day or maybe everyday...Live-In #1 was arguing with me...did you know she is always right, never wrong and practically perfect in every way?  No? Well I don't buy it either so I told her "If you want to argue, go find an app for that".  I don't think I impressed her but I enjoyed my own laugh.
  9. Live-In #2 must have been studying animals in school because one day he came home and announced to me "I have a cat temperature"...ok, he hooked of course I asked him why and his reply..."Because a cat temperature is between 98 and 102 and I have a 98 point something".  Hmmm, I wonder if he will let me pet him and all him George...
  10. The other night we were out on our back patio when we all smelled skunk...the kids thought maybe we should go in, they didn't want to get sprayed, but after assuring them they were going to be ok, they settled in and my baby (Live-In #3) came over to sit next to me cause he knows mama will keep him safe...but then he starts passing gas and I say 'Ewww, go sit back in your own chair' to which he replies "I'm trying to lay out the gas so the skunk knows we are here"...can't fault that logic, but I still made him go sit in his own chair.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day

I do realize it's Tuesday after Father's Day, but in the words of a friend... 'Everyday Should Be Father's Day.'  Yes, the friend is a man, but I'm going with it today because it suits my purpose.

For Father's Day this year I BBQ'd six whole chickens (yes I did it, I can be savvy that way...this is also the reason the dark meat wasn't all the way cooked on a few of them) - ok, I'll be honest...actually I did five and Lover did one.

I had to share my handiwork!

We have a 'off again/on again' tradition for Father's Day...a BBQ.  I thought it was a pretty regular thing, but when I went looking for pictures I found there was one year we went to my parents house instead of hosting and last year we flew the coop (pun intended) and were enjoying Shasta Lake and the warm California sunshine instead.

This year I don't think Shasta Lake is warm enough to thaw me out from winter or dry me up from spring so we stayed home and invited our regulars and a few newbies!

Father's Day 2011

A fine looking crew of people...we are missing seven others who had already left by this point...bellies full of smoked chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, watermelon, & corn on the cob.  Mmm, Mmm, Mmm...

Every year we do this BBQ we take a picture.  It has been fun to look back at Father's Days past to see how the kids grow...

Father's Day 2008

Father's Day 2007

Father's Day 2006

Happy Father's Day to My Lover & My Dad...I hope you both enjoyed your day!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

All Stars

Live-In #2 made the All Star Team this year!  Mama is so proud.  In honor of my All Star - today I am posting photos of his five year baseball career!

2007 T-Ball  - Mudcats

#1 is my baby!

Daddy showing him how it's done...

2008 T-Ball - Aeros

A 'Hi Mom' moment...

2009 AA Baseball - Sidewinders

Looking Good!

2010 AA Baseball - Sea Dogs

Now THAT is a Profile!!

2011 AAA Baseball - Braves

Ready to take off...


A Winning Smile!  

Congratulations to my baby for making the 2011 9/10 All Star Team!!!  
I love you and am so proud of you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brotherly Love

As I wrote my Crazy Hair Post I got to thinking that I am really lucky that my boys actually like each other.

Most of the time....

They never have a problem sharing...
And if you believe that - I have a bridge to sell you...

Live-In #2 often has his arms around Live-In #3
Probably so when I turn my back he will have the upper hand in any shenanigans...

I am sure Live-In #3 is not screaming at me that he is done with pictures already...
And can't you tell Live-In #2 does like to be my model...

I am sure the fact that Santa Claus was coming to town didn't have anything to do with their cooperation for this photo!

My Boys - They do love each other!
I am a lucky Mother!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I had a ball Friday, Saturday and Sunday...but it's all over now and it sure is Monday!

After a weekend filled with sun, baseball, sun, baseball, sun and oh yes baseball...I must be feeling a little put out that it is now Monday...

It was another one of those mornings where I literally had to peel myself off my soft sheets so I could stumble downstairs with my eyes still closed to make myself breakfast because my stomach was yelling at me that my dinner last night (chips, salsa & strawberries) was unacceptable.

Once this was all said and done it was time to head out to take Live-In #1 to school.  As I turned the key I heard beeping reminding me for the 4 millionth time that I was low on gas tank could not be ignored any longer.  So after dropping off my precious #1 child I stopped by the gas station, thinking it wouldn't take long as only 2 of the 12 pumps were in use.  I parked, dutifully turned off my engine and waited......and waited....and waited...and waited....and waited....(many more 'waited' are warranted here but I don't want you to begin feeling the emotions that were evoked in me this morning).

I finally located the gas station attendant - he was refueling a couple commercial vehicles and writing stuff down on a clip board, but at least I knew he saw me.  So I continued to be patient and wait.  Meantime, three more vehicles pulled into the gas station and waited.  After close to10 minutes of waiting, the commercial trucks finally pulled away and I thought 'Ok, my turn'...

Nope!  The gas station attendant proceeded to the 4th arrival and then the 3rd arrival.  By this point my blood was boiling, my hair was standing on end like I had just touched an electrical outlet and my head was spinning uncontrollably.  So as he approached the 2nd arrival, ignoring me altogether, I snapped - no longer was my hair standing on had turned to snakes...I was Medusa!!  Live-In #2 & Live-In #3 sank down in their seats trying not to be seen as I exited my vehicle an began yelling at the idiot gas station attendant.  I am sure if he knew Medusa had been waiting on him he would have come to see me first, but he was in his own little idiot world.  He must not have understood the seriousness of the situation at hand because he gave me a shrug and said 'sorry' in a NOT sorry voice.

Since I floated into the gas station on a fume, I had no choice but to get some gas from the I got $5, which is barely over a gallon, and went on my merry way.  I will NEVER buy gas at that Shell gas station again, not because I don't want them to recognize me as Medusa (I would do it again, only next time I'd want a bat) it is the principal.  He messed with the wrong girl...or maybe the wrong girl on Monday.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Suns a Coming...

The town I live in is buzzing today...the sun has made an appearance and rumors are flying that the temperature gage may exceed 80 degrees!!  This is big news given the weather conditions of the past year.  BIG indeed!

At my house we aren't sure how to take the news - it feels too good to be true...  Is the weather man teasing us?  Is it possible?  Do we really get to take our toys out and play?  Really???  I'll say it again...Really???

Because if it's true, this is the sight you will see outside my house tomorrow...

Followed promptly by Dinner & Drinks on the River!

Oh how I hope the weather man doesn't screw it up this time!!  

Enjoy the weekend!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Goodbye May

My Life - May 2011
  1. Live-In #1's turned 13!  I can't believe my baby is a teenager!!
  2. Completed my 1st 1/2 Marathon - running the whole way!
  3. Celebrated Mother's Day and Live-In #1's birthday on the same day.
  4. Live-In #1' was in a play 'Check Please'.  She is so talented!
  5. Went on another field trip with Live-In #3 - we were rained on but we had fun!
  6. Planted my first vegetable garden!
  7. Began getting my summer tan on! If the sun won't cooperate I will take matters into my own hands...
  8. Live-In #2 introduced me to Sealants...
  9. Took off an a weekend getaway for Memorial Day
  10. Bought myself a new purse & shoes...this is big for me...I tend to wear the same shoes and use the same purse for years on end...  No shoe/purse fetish here...or is there???
Such is a month in the course of my lifetime. I wouldn't trade a day.  Happy to be the Lover of My Lover and the Mother of my Live-Ins.

Memorial Day Weekend Trivia - Part II

For Memorial Day my family and I went with friends to Central Oregon where we encountered, indulged in and endured the following:

1.  Pole Hanging Contest - I feel you must have some pictures to go with this...
Live-In #3 beat everyone with over 8 minutes!

2.  Horses - right next door to our vacation rental were horses.  The girls had so much fun feeding them, petting them and driving them out of their minds!  There was even a baby w/ is's mama!

3.  Rainbow Trout - the boys went fishing and caught fish...Mama Don't Do Trout so we are giving them to grandparents who for some reason like to eat the God awful fish!
Lover & Live-In #3 caught the only fish on the 1st day

4.  Snow - yes it's true.  Not only through the mountain pass, but we watched it accumulate outside our vacation house! On May 28th & 29th we enjoyed endured snow and the frozen temperatures that came with it!  It felt like the middle of winter rather than the cusp of summer!
The Mountain Pass

Right outside our door

5.  Sunshine - at least that is what I think it reminded us that spring was if fact somewhere out there...

6.  A  Double Bed - I have two things to say about this...1st - Thank God I don't sleep on one of these anymore!  2nd - I LOVE MY OWN BED!!!

7.  Martinis - a weekend getaway wouldn't be complete without a martini in hand!  We enjoyed Strawberry Lemonade Martinis and experimented with a Coconut Cream Pie Martini - recipe to follow at a later date!

8.  Strawberry Shortcake - yes my friend made homemade strawberry shortcake and I pronounced 'It Was Good'.

9.  Turquoise Purse - this also requires a picture...
Not my only bargain for the weekend, but probably the most fun!

10.  Odd Shaped Eyebrows - I wish I had a picture for you - but apparently some of the young people of Central Oregon have a fascination with freaky eyebrows.  One woman had completely waxed her eyebrows off and then drew on new eyebrows at least 1-2" above her brow line - oh did I mention it had to have been with a jumbo crayon??  Then one man had waxed his eyebrows into triangles that abruptly went out into a thin line...  Made for some interesting conversation and laughs!

So our weekend didn't include any dolphins, sandy beaches, slushys, bikinis or fruit bats (the last one is compliments of live-in #2), but we had fun with friends and will be talking about this Memorial Day for years to come!