Week 08 – Congrats Jesse & Raquel

#52 Congrats Jesse & Raquel

21 February 2016 // Portland, Oregon

So, Sunday night was pretty fun.

A huge congrats to Jesse and Raquel for getting engaged over the weekend.

Super excited for the two of you and glad I was able to make it to celebrate with y’all.

#53 Warm Up Run

22 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Getting back into the swing of things, which includes race training. Got a good amount of sun this morning so I tried to redeem oversleeping by getting in a good run.

According to MapMyRun, it was a REALLY good run. 4 miles at a 9:09 minute pace. I’m skeptical, but nothing like running with this app in an area with no phone reception to boost your confidence.

Also, today is the day my nephew turns six. Hope you like Settlers of Catan Junior, Simoncello!

#54 Bran Nue Dae

23 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Chasing off the back end of February with a taste of summer in the winter.

Sausage meatballs in a yogurt sauce plus garlic knots for dinner and a movie I’ve looked for for six years after I thought that it looked kinda fun.

If you’re into brightly colored musicals featuring Aboriginal Australians in the late sixties, it was fun. A whole lot of fun.

#55 Home Roast

24 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Decided to dabble in a world where I would be a total newcomer… the world of at-home coffee roasting. I have a few friends who swear by various methods and refuse to go back to buying roasted beans. If that’s the case, I figured it was worth trying at least once.

I was told that a stove-top popcorn maker would work adequately. I didn’t have much luck finding one, though. I did find an air pressure popcorn maker, though, so I split the difference, roasting half of my green beans in the popcorn maker, and the other half in a cast iron skillet… yes this does work, but your fire alarm will freak the freak out.

We roasted up some beans from a Costa Rican estate. I’m currently drinking some coffee that resulted from the experiment, meaning that it was a success and that I plan on doing it again sometime in the near future… whenever a new roast is needed.

#56 The Vintage

25 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Yesterday was a good one. A solid 4.5 mile run and then the evening introduced me to one of Eugene’s more underspoken places to eat.

On the outside, it’s easily mistakable as some guy’s house. Even on the inside it kind of just looks like a house.

I was highly recommended getting a burger although the shoestring fries outshined their partner. Best thing though are their infused liquors- a peach infused bourbon made for a good base to a ginger fizz.

#57 At Home Espresso

26 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

After getting a little off-schedule due to travel and the ups and downs of life, I’m now starting to get back on track with my 52 items-to-master cooking challenge.

This newest attempt wasn’t so much a recipe as it was a hands-on lesson on how to use a fancy but complicated wedding present we received, a Delonghi at home espresso maker. Plus I got to try this thing out using home roasted coffee beans, so that’s a double treat!

I don’t think you could even call it a recipe really, but I posted a post on my blog with all the steps and fun facts about espresso. Did you know that my Grandma is a few decades older than the entire idea of espresso? You do now.

When I first gave this a shot, I read a guide from Blue Bottle Coffee that began with this analogy:

“To us, skimping on an espresso machine and expecting delicious shots is similar to skydiving with a threadbare parachute – you can certainly risk it, but we can’t guarantee exquisite (or even safe) results.”

Obviously, those guys take this a lot more seriously than I do. Comically, they immediately followed it up with this statement:

Espresso is a finicky beast and deserves the proper equipment. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t nail a perfect shot right off the bat; it takes time and practice to dial in well.

“Well, the “if at first you don’t succeed” attitude wouldn’t apply so well to skydiving, but whatever. I agree with that approach a little bit more readily. Generally, the more times you do something, the more natural it gets. Although I was pretty happy about how my results turned out this time, I look forward to trying this out more often experimenting with other fun espresso drinks.”

#58 Puppy Nesting

27 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Deanna and I spent our weekend nesting and getting our house ready for the dog we’d like to adopt very, very soon.

Also, I learned what Bret Michaels has been up to since Rock of Love. Glad that he’s been keeping himself busy.

In the meantime, we’ve been debating names and want your input. We won’t necessarily go with the majority vote, but perhaps some of you will give us good feedback. If the shelter dog we’ve been eyeballing doesn’t get reclaimed by the end of the week, one of these names will go to a golden colored medium sized lab mix.

No offense to all the owners of Spots and Codys and Milos out there, but I’m not one for overused dog names. Here’s a chance to inject a family member’s title with some personal meaning in a way that you can’t quite get away with when its for a kid.

Here we go, our name finalists are:

Beignet – to celebrate our New Orleans honeymoon and the wonderful Café du Monde

Timber – In honor of the MLS champion Portland Timbers, #rctid baby, but also because #istandwithkesha y’know

Jozi – Because South Africa has my heart and Cape Town isn’t a very good doggy name.