Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Learn From My Mistake

Please, oh please, learn from my mistake.
On Saturday it was Ryan's cousin, Cresslyn's, birthday. She requested that I bring my Brussels Sprouts dish, but I had a very busy day planned. So, I decided to get everything going and put them in the crockpot in the morning so they would be ready and I wouldn't be scrambling at the end of the day.
There were 2 problems with this plan.
1. They got WAY too mushy for my taste. (I've done the crockpot thing before, but not for as long and not at home)
2. Our house and car still smells like a fart 3 days later.

The really bad thing is that while I was at a baby shower on Saturday afternoon, (and those yummy little morsels were working to permeate my house) we got a call that a realtor wanted to show our house on Sunday.
So, while we were at the birthday party, we left 3 fans on. The house still was hopelessly smelly when we got home (and lit some candles). On Sunday morning, I lit some more candles, it didn't work. So then I peeled an orange, put the peels in some water with some cinnamon and nutmeg and boiled it. That helped, and I can only hope that the orangey cidery smell stuck around at least through our showing, because the fart smell was back when we got home that evening. And although it is starting to fade, I can still smell it when I walk into the house.

But, don't let that scare you. When cooked as directed these are the most delicious side dish you might have ever had. And I've never had the smell stick around for DAYS like this. So it is a must try, as long as you don't crock-pot-it!
So please, even if you THINK you don't like brussels sprouts, give this a try. I thought I didn't like them 'till I made this recipe, but it is a highly requested recipe around our families.

Brussels Sprouts w/ Pancetta & Balsamic Vinegar
by Rachael Ray
*I follow this recipe pretty loosely because how do you measure in pints?

- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
- 6 slices pancetta (I just use an entire package of pancetta because I don't have any other recipes that call for it) (I've also used bacon several times instead of Pancetta)
- 1 large onion
- salt & pepper
- 3 pints brussels sprouts, cut in half (last time I used 3 pounds, probably way more than 3 pints)
- 1 cup chicken stock (I used 2 cups with the 3 pounds of sprouts)
- 1/2 c. aged balsamic vinegar (I used 1 cup with the 3 pounds of sprouts)

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat w/ 2 turns of the pan of olive oil, about 2 Tbsp. Add Pancetta and cook until crisp, about 4 min. Add the onion, and season w/ salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 min. Add the sprouts along with the chicken stock and the balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine and continue to cook for 10 -12 minutes or until the brusses sprouts are tender. (I have found that it takes much longer than this to get them tender, about a half an hour)

Despite my bad experience, I will be making this dish again, just never again in the crockpot. I've learned my lesson!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Keep Portland Weird

I've always hated that slogan.
For many reasons, but mostly for the plain and simple fact that Portland is, in fact, weird. Some call it eclectic and charming but for the most part, it fits the "weird" bill.
So, I thought I'd share the latest MAX story that Ryan had this morning. He has many, and I've been encouraging him to write them down, because most of them are pretty funny.
I got the following text from him at 7:14am this morning, and I quote:
"Holy Crap! There is a big ol' black lady on the train with no pants on! Seriously, just a shirt and socks with flip flops" "Ha ha, she's yelling at all the "white B******S who were shooting at her and made her run off without her pants"
Ok people, I know that on so many levels this is actually a pretty sad story. But, this woman literally had no bottoms on. Nothing. Bare bum hanging out in all it's glory. And by the time she got off, apparently she just got off like she had not a care in the world.
Oh, poor Ryan. The things he puts up with.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I think it's probably fair to say that I had a pretty sad week and weekend.

Let me start though by saying that I have a second family...what I mean by that is that there is another family that has taken me in as their own and I consider all of them to be my family. I went to school with Dave and then later became best friends with his sis Dana. Their little sis Jamie and cousins Angie, Amy and Brittany have all been like little sisters to me. Aunts, Uncles, Grandma and Grandpa...they are all mine too. In fact, they were nice enough to include me in a family trip to Orlando back in 1999...(thanks again Gramps and Gram)

So on Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from Dana. Uncle Bryan had passed away from a massive heart attack. He was only 47. He left his wife of 25 years, Cheryl and 3 girls Angie(23), Amy(18) and Brittany(15), and a whole entire extended family...just like that.

6 years ago, he had been given 3 months to live. Diagnosed with a cancer that surrounded his heart, the prognosis didn't look good at all. It was through this trial that Bryan surrendered his life to Jesus and became a Christian. Shortly thereafter, the Great Physician healed him of all the cancer, leaving doctors stunned. There was only One that could perform such a miracle.
And we had 6 more years with him after he had been given only 3 months.
I have been so thankful for that cancer this week, because if he hadn't had gone through that incredible trial I might not be able to so confidently say that I will see him again in heaven. That gave a silver lining to the sadness that his memorial service brought everyone.
The service started with a beautiful slideshow that Dave and his wife, Carolyn, made. And then his daughters all got up and each of them shared something that they had written about their dad. They displayed such courage to actually come up on the stage at such a heartwrenching time. I was so proud of them. After the girls read theirs, a note was read for Cheryl.
Then the thing that I had been praying for most of all... The pastor shared the gospel and left no room for excuses. I knew that there would be alot of people there that needed to hear that message. And there were. I believe that Bryan is leaving a legacy. He's up in heaven, no doubt fishing, and while he's having the time of his life up there, he's leaving a mark down here.

I'm not one for microphones, they scare me to death. They had an open mic to share memories about Bryan.
There are so many, but most of them involve camping at the Deschutes. Bryan was an avid fisherman and, early in the year, he would always start planning a fishing/camping trip to Deschutes State Park. I don't know exactly how many years they have been doing this, but it's been at least as long as I've known them...at least 16 years. We have so many memories from these camping trips.
One memory that just hit me was when someone caught a big salmon, I don't remember who, maybe me. And he was teasing me that I would have to clean it myself. I know that he didn't really intend on making me clean my own fish, he would have taken care of it for me. But, I'll never forget the look on his face when I got down in the water and cleaned that fish.

Bryan loved those girls and I remember him sincerely asking me to snitch on them if they ever got outta line in life.

He was always the one at family BBQ's getting the volleyball game going.

He always had a smile on his face and a hug for any of us.

When Dana and I would go downtown to cruise for guys, (oh it makes me roll my eyes to type that :) haha) Bryan would always tease us that we were going out "Buck Hunting".
Anyway, the family will just never be the same now without Bryan. Going to the Deschutes will just feel weird.
But I thank God for that cancer, and then for healing him...because we were given an extra 6 years with Bryan.
1998 Deschutes Camping Trip
1999 15th Wedding Anniversary
Aunt Cheryl, Uncle Bryan
Brittany & Amy
1999- Trip to Orlando
At Epcot center Dana & I showed Uncle Bryan where he could
find a cold one. Where else? Germany.

Orlando Trip 1999
Bryan and Angie

Deschutes camping trip 2000
Hanging out at "the island"

Bryan Lewis Hermansen
1961 - 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sneak Peek For Jackie!!

Oh my...this is my absolute favorite age to photograph. Not Mobile. Sitting up. Happy as can be.
Little Natalie is turning 7 months old tomorrow. She was sitting up and smiley. NOT telling me NO or running off. Sigh. I love this age!
Luke and Wyatt play really good together. So, while they played, Jackie and I played with Nat!:)

Anyway, I had a fun time this afternoon and thought I'd give Jackie a little sneak peek...

Here is a pic of the boys playing together...

and whoops, how'd this get in here? I took Luke's 6 month pictures too...