Monday, August 31, 2009

Kitchen Musings

The problem with being on a stay-cation is that SSG has time to ruminate over her kitchen. More specifically ... all of the things that annoy her about her kitchen.

Today she even made a list.

It literally was titled "Things About My Kitchen That Annoy Me."

There are lots of them.

The complete lack of storage.
The clutter.
The utter lack of style.

SSG wants to be calmed and soothed. But she also would like to be inspired and welcomed.


So she's been looking around for inspiration.

And kind of liked what these two rooms have goin' on.

Especially since SSG currently has two gallons of Restoration Hardware's "Latte" paint that have been sitting in her garage unopened for um ... four years.

I KNOW! I KNOW! SSG has a hard time deciding on things. But they'll still be totally good, right?

So anyhoo ... SSG woke up and was thinking about her kitchen.
Then went to the dentist and was thinking about her kitchen.
Then came home and stood in her kitchen thinking about her kitchen.

And finally screamed.

And then went and saw the movie Julie & Julia.

Where for a couple of blissful hours she enjoyed thinking about someone else's kitchen.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vacation Weekend

Can SSG just say ...

She LOVES vacations.

Friday morning Fisher and I each threw a bag in the car--mine filled with nightcreams and jammies, hers filled with tennis balls and cookies. We headed up to Seattle to visit the Bobs.

We made a quick stop on the way. And if you were judging by Fisher's reaction you would have thought we had landed at our final destination. She was SO excited. Like perked up ears, tongue hanging out of her mouth, tail wagging couldn't wait to get out of the car excited. Like the whole place was built with cookies and tennis balls excited.

It was a rest stop.

Off Interstate 5.

The reason for the trip was the John Legend & India Arie concert at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. And SSG has decided ...

Best concert venue EVER.

Because you can bring in this ...

And buy lots of this ...

It was Fisher's first road trip and so she was a little confused when we came back to the house and I said "ready to go night night?" She went to the front door like "Okayz! We go homez nowz?"

Saturday we hit up SSG's favorite breakfast spot on the PLANET. SSG has been coming to this place ever since she lived in Seattle which was ... oh mah lawd ... twelve years ago. Everyone knows when we come to Seattle, we go to The Maltby Cafe.

Their eggs are the whitest of white with thick orange yolks and they make the best homemade biscuits and strawberry jam. It also doesn't hurt that they bring out mochas topped with thick whipped cream ... and are only too happy to make them a double if you maybe had too much wine the night before. Oh yes, and their homemade cinnamon rolls could feed a small country.

There's a cute little antique place across the parking lot with some great stuff ...

And isn't this espresso stand SO CUTE?! Is it weird that occasionally SSG thinks about working in a drive thru espresso stand and chatting with customers every morning?

Would you come by and visit if she worked here?

Eventually we had to leave Seattle and bomb back down I-5 to make it to Predo's Jimmy's huge birthday bash.

A twee bit late.


They were just putting all the food away when SSG arrived. As things were getting packed up and put in the fridge, SSG was taking them out of the fridge and putting them on a plate. Best party guest ever.

But she did make in time to sing "Happy Birthday" to the birthday boy ... not once, but twice. After the party wound down a few people stayed behind to hang out around a table on the deck, drink and suck helium out of balloons gracing Jimmy with a Chipmunks rendition of the birthday song.

SSG about fell out of her chair when Predo starting rapping a Public Enemy song after sucking an entire balloon full of helium.

SSG was a bad blogger and didn't take any pictures except for this one ...

A tupperware container of birthday cake and a red boa.

Which actually sums up a night at Predo & Jimmy's perfectly.

Tomorrow is Monday!!

And SSG has it off!!

In case you hadn't heard.

SSG is on VACAY!

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Day of Vacation

I woke up this morning dreaming of Paris.

In my dream I had just spent the weekend there and had come home in order to take classes with a woman who was going to teach me how to make bread.


Are dreams of a girl on vacation.

And I like it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A (Sometimes!) Kind of Day

Oh My. We're onto the bullets ...

  • I am down to ONE functioning bra internets. This also may be a direct correlation to how many brain cells SSG has left.
  • I WAS on a 3 bra rotation, 5 if you count the two umm ... racy ones (shhhh). I felt the telltale stabbing of a broken underwire TWICE this week and have a WAR WOUND to prove it. No Predo, you can't see it. (Okay, maybe just a little peek on Saturday.)
  • As of 2 (hopefully!) p.m. tomorrow, SSG will OFFICIALLY be on vacay through LABOR DAY. Can SSG get a what what?!
  • That big deal of SSG's that was supposed to be finished uh ... hmmm ... was it about a month ago now? Yeah, it's still not finalized. Please take a moment to pray for SSG's deal to be wrapped up tomorrow. (And WELL before 2 p.m!)
  • A new guy started at SSG's work and has been hangin' with the lunch posse this week. Today SSG mentioned that she recently turned 35 and he yelled "WHAT?! You'd never be able to tell." SSG was flattered ... and then immediately offended.
  • But then one of her other coworkers said "I seriously thought you were 25 when I first started."
  • And then SSG yelled at all of them "DUDES! THIRTY FIVE IS NOT OLD! But thank you. Wait, is it my maturity level that made you think I was 25?"
  • ALLEGEDLY it isn't.
  • I have a new neighbor. Or my next door neighbor has a new girlfriend. Anyhoo, she LOVES Fisher. And talks to her repeatedly. Which makes Fisher bark. But also makes Fisher look for her ... by sitting out on the back deck and occasionally barking hoping this chick will come out and tell her how cute she is. Which would be ADORABLE. If it weren't SO ANNOYING.
  • SSG was given a necklace this week. An um ... blingy necklace. An um ... not really SSG's style kind of necklace (SSG isn't very blingy). It was so enormous that the following are actual comments she received just by taking it out of the box "Um, WHAT IS THAT?" "Hey, is that the bathing suit top from last years Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover?" "I'm guessing whoever gave you that doesn't like you very much."
  • Granted SSG works with dudes, but even my lady friends that work at the Starbucks downstairs saw Work BFF helping me untangle this um ... necklace/bathing suit top/bedazzzled t-shirt in the lobby of our building and asked us "what in the HELL were you guys holding up out there?" Which made Work BFF laugh so hard he couldn't talk.
Come on SERENDIPITOUS part of SSG's name, she knows you're out there somewhere ...

Monday, August 24, 2009

The $40 Foodie

Hello Lovlies!

Thanks AGAIN for putting up with me and my absence. Two more weeks (ish) and things will be back to normal. SSG promises. Until then, things will be kind of scattered. Just like SSG.

So! This weekend I got sucked into a book thanks to Digs. The book is called Shutter Island and it was GOOD. And creepy. And worth checking out once fall comes to the rest of the country ... it's already starting to come to Portland. Finish up your summer beach reads but definitely put this one on your list for those early dark nights when you want to cuddle up in front of the fireplace and get sucked into a page turner. Just keep your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/half golden retriever-half cattle dog handy to cling onto during the scary parts.

This is SSG's measly grocery haul this week. It came to $29.64. This week is kind of short because I head up to Seattle on Friday and have Jimmy's birthday (Predo's Jimmy) on Saturday.

Zee menu is as follows ...

Sunday - Spaghetti & Meatballs
Monday - Egg Salad Sandwiches & Carrot Slaw
Tuesday - Chicken Enchiladas (from the freezer)
Wednesday - Spinach Salad with warm bacon dressing
Thursday - Chicken Tagine (from the freezer)

You might notice that uh ... about 1/2 of SSG's grocery budget was spent on caffeine and sugar. And you can bet she needs EVERY ounce of both of those things to see her through the next four days at work.
Funny side note ... SSG doesn't drink too much soda but every once and a while she gets a HANKERING (yeah, she said it) for a Coke. So she was just looking for a can. But they don't sell Cokes by the single can anymore. So she was just going to buy a small bottle. But they don't sell single small bottles anymore. You can only buy a liter. But it was $1.50. And TWO liters was $1.05. Ummm ... can someone please explain this to SSG? And would you like a glass of Coke while you do? She has some to spare.

The spaghetti and meatballs SSG made last night required simmering. And stirring. And lots of simmering and stirring. But she had company the whole time ...

U drop someting for meez maybeez? i yikez sum saus. And cookeez.

And CHECK OUT SSG's new purchase that also kept her company in the kitchen last night ...

Isn't it CUTE?! It was the last one in the store and I swear a lady was following me around just hoping I'd set it down.

As. IF.

SSG almost brought it upstairs so she could wake up next to it.

Did YOU buy anything fun and frivolous this weekend?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moo Shu Pork Recipe

For my last couple of years at San Diego State University (go Aztecs!) I lived in a little three bedroom house on 63rd Street with Spleen and Digs. Our house was so close to campus that one night Digs walked into a coffee shop to study with Spleen, set her backpack on the table and fell into a chair right before our cat walked in behind her as if he owned the place.

It was on 63rd Street that I was introduced to hoisin sauce. The thick and sticky sauce is made primarily from a combination of soybeans, vinegar, sugar and chilies and has a savory and sweet balance that make it right up SSG's alley. SSG digs on complexity. When it comes to food. Everything else she likes as easy and uncomplicated as possible.

So hoisin sauce was a staple around the 63rd Street casa, stirred into broccoli beef, poured over chicken and vegetable stir fry and even occasionally licked directly off the spoon by yours truly.

SSG hadn't cooked with hoisin sauce for a LONG time but was transported right back to college when she tasted a bit of this recipe. It's from the September issue of Family Circle magazine and cooks in the slow cooker. Or as Digs and I say "you can CROCK it." The trick is to save some of the sauce for the very end of the cooking time. It brightens up the flavor and I'd even venture a guess that leaving some of the coleslaw mix to stir in right before serving would lend itself well to a satisfying crunch.

Satisfying, tasty and simple. Just like life on 63rd Street.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Got Nothin

So SSG is working on a new project, one she hopes to be able to share with you in the next few weeks but it seems to be sucking up ALL of her creative momentum.

And so SSG has nothing. Isn't that AWESOME?

I have been staring at the computer screen for the last 1/2 hour and still. NOTHING. So I figured I'd share that with you!

Oh yes and these things ...

  • It is going to be in the mid 90's for the next two days. But after ONE HUNDRED AND SIX DEGREE TEMPS and no AC for a week? SSG's like a war veteran. She's all "Eh. No biggie."
  • SSG is currently addicted to House Hunters. Like a-ddic-TED. Like 3 episodes a night addicted. Luckily that couple in Paris bought the same apartment that SSG was yelling at them to buy or there would have been some WORDS exchanged. A one way exchange. But whatever.
  • And why do they call them "apartments" in Paris despite the fact that you buy them? I suppose Paris Condo doesn't have the same ring to it.
  • SSG's 401k plan statements get filed in a folder that says "Paris Apartment." No lie. SSG figures it's much easier to save for a Paris Apartment than a tax code. WHERE'S THE IMAGINATION RETIREMENT PLANS? SSG asks you. Perhaps she could help you with yo marketing.
  • The Moo Shoo pork I made on Sunday was good! I will post the recipe. I'd do it now, but that would mean I'd have to walk downstairs to the kitchen and well ... that would take some effort.
  • Despite the Moo Shoo pork being good, it wasn't WOW worthy. And SSG wonders if she will ever be wowed by food again. Perhaps she needs to have a chat with her taste buds.
  • Predo's Jimmy makes wow worthy food all the time. SSG tries to watch him in the kitchen, but he moves quick. And SSG is usually focused. On her cocktail.
  • Speaking of Predo & Jimmy, they totally doorbell ditched me on my birthday and left behind a fun basket of goodies which was MUCH NICER than the times I used to doorbell ditch as a kid.
  • Spleen and Digs were super sneaky and found out my favorite Portland breakfast spot and made it possible for me to head over there for breakie. My favorite meal of the day. Aside from happy hour, of course.
  • I go on vacation starting August 27th at 4:00 p.m. (maybe earlier if I can swing it). So if I have any readers left, that's only EIGHT MORE WORKING DAYS.
  • And don't think ah don't remind Work BFF of that. Daily.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh Mah Lawsy

Oh hello!

Did ah like forget ah gots a blaaaawwwg or what?! Good lawd, last week was crazy!

Between my ginormous deal at work, hot Predo's birthday, my birthday and a party in the swank Pearl District last night. This girl has been. On. The. MOVE. And if you know nothing else about SSG, you know that she likes to move as little as possible.

Even Fisher stared up at me from the front seat of the car one night, curled up in a ball, as if to say "Can I just sleep HERE. You don't need me to like get out or something do you?"

So how are YOU lovlies?! I promise to come around and visit and see what all you've been up to!

But for now, The $40 Foodie for the week!

Grand total: $34.33 ($5.67 under budget + $4.04 under budget for the month = $9.71 under budget)

Target: $8.27
Albertsons: $26.06

Dinners for the week:
Sunday - Slow Cooked Moo Shu Pork with rice
Monday - Breakfast for dinner (eggs, potatoes, fruit & toast)
Tuesday - Roast chicken, salad & pesto potato salad
Wednesday - Chicken enchiladas and salad
Thursday - (From the freezer) Chicken Tangine, carrot slaw and rice

Some of you might be thinking "that's a lot of chicken and yet I don't see any chicken in the photo." Well aren't you smart!

My plan is to stop and buy a rotisserie chicken on Tuesday night. I also need to pick up some mushrooms--I find that they don't stay fresh in my refrigerator for more than a day or two. So the $9 that I'm over will go to those two items. Chicken is on sale this week for $1.99 a pound, so if I get ambitious I miiiight just cook up a pound of chicken on my own and forgo the rotisserie but it's supposed to be 95 degrees this week so uh ... I'll let you guess what will probably end up happening!

A few of you asked about the black bean burgers I mentioned last week. Here is the recipe, I just substituted the black beans for the butter beans.

I found them just okay--nothing to be wowed over ... although is it possible to be wowed over a black bean burger? Perhaps my expectations are too high. I did find them kicked up a notch by this pesto ...

This is the recipe I used, substituting the pine nuts for walnuts because um ... I'm cheap and I had them on hand.

This pesto is good, but REALLY thick. Spleen has one that's a lot thinner, so I'll try and see if she can give it to me. Again. SSG miiiight have asked for it once or twice before but never remember where she puts it. Perhaps our little Spleen will take pity on us.

This week should be a lot quieter, so I should be back in action. I've missed it around here!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Menu for the Week

  • Breakfasts will be a fruit, yogurt, muffin, egg, toast combo. Whatever sounds good each morning.
  • Lunches are usually leftovers from the night before.
  • Dinners for the week are as follows:

Sunday - Pasta with slow cooked meat sauce
Monday - Breakfast for dinner (bacon, eggs, potatoes & fruit)
Tuesday - Black Bean burgers with carrot slaw
Wednesday - Pasta with homemade pesto and salad
Thursday - Grilled turkey and avocado sandwiches with salad

After getting some feedback, I'll be doing a weekly round up, probably on Fridays of what my favorites for the week were. I'll either provide a link to the recipe or use my mad photo skillz to show you what I've been eating ... though I don't know that my photography will necessarily entice you!

Have any recipes to share? Send them to

Have great Sundays!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The $40 Foodie & Why I Went to Starbucks Against My Will

So I didn't intend to go to Starbucks this morning. I had just finished a perfectly good cup of coffee at home. But then I got on the road to head to the grocery store. And then I miiiiiight have cut a police car off.

But didn't notice until it was following me. Closely.


SSG started to sweat a little. And decided to make the next right hand turn. She signaled WELL BEFORE she started to turn.

And then the cop turned behind her.


So SSG decided to pull into a parking lot.

And then the cop turned into the parking lot.

And then SSG wondered what the heeeeellll she was going to do once in the aforementioned parking lot.

And that's when she spied a Starbucks. Which um, shocker ... but brilliant! SSG would go to Starbucks.

So she pulled into a parking spot.

And the the cop pulled into a parking space next to SSG.


SSG decided to go ahead and play dumb. So she didn't make eye contact, hopped out of her car, slammed the door, then jogged across the parking lot and stood in line at Starbucks and was going "Lalalala, just waitin' in line at Starbucks (whistles) nothing to see here! NO I do NOT have cops following me! Why would you think such a thing? GAH."

And then the cops came into Starbucks.

And SSG wondered if they could pull her over in LINE. In front of EVERYONE. And if her jogging across the parking lot would have been seen as evading arrest
Or if there was some statute of limitations that prevented SSG from getting a ticket once she ordered an iced Americano.

So she ordered an iced Americano.

And then the cops ordered coffees.

And that's when SSG realized.


And SSG wonders if her brain formulated that whole experience just to justify getting this:

So anyhoo! How were your mornings?

What you came here for the $40 Foodie? Okay.

Grocery tally ...

Trader Joe's: $42.98
Albertson's: $11.20

Think SSG's over budget? Think again! Total for the week is $54.18, combine that with last week's groceries and my accidental Starbucks run ($1.90) I'm still under my $80 budget by $4.03. Woot woot!

And confession ... I did buy this ... but that's included in the Albertson's total.

SSG's a sucker for 20 Style Rules & Tricks to Sparkling Eyes. She'll let you know if she learns anything ...

So THIS is going in an envelope to pull from next time SSG needs to make a clean getaway ... from her overactive imagination.

(Menu will be up tomorrow.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What Do You Wonder Wednesday

Hello Pretties! I'm taking a few reader questions a week and posting them here in case you're wondering about the same things. Have a question? E-mail me at the longest e-mail addy ever: My password is just as long. No one said SSG's e-mail isn't PRO-TEC-TED.

Are you doing the $40 Foodie this week?

This little experiment has BY FAR gotten more attention than SSG was expecting which was a pleasant surprise. So THANK YOU for your interest. SSG thrives on encouragement and would absolutely jump off a cliff if all of her friends did and told her they thought she could do it brilliantly.

Oh. But that's not what you asked, is it?

I did go to the grocery store this week and bought $19.89 worth of groceries. I neglected to take a picture because a lot of what I intended to make last week just didn't happen. Between the heat wave and the angels that are known as Predo & Jimmy who donated a bunch of leftovers to their little SSG, I didn't do a whole lot of cooking last week. So I'm essentially making all of the recipes I posted last week, this week.

So long story short (too late). The usual $40 Foodie will be back up this coming Saturday.

Can you post the recipes you make?

I've gone back and forth about posting the recipes. Only because I have really only been WOWED by one thing I've made so far. Like said out loud "OH.MAH.GAH." after my first bite. And I feel like you guys deserve the wow. But if I told you that the WOW came from a carrot salad, I thought you guys might be all "Seriously? Where is the butter?" Although I did make a really good blueberry coffee cake that might also be wow worthy. And that had butter.


You tell me. Do you guys want the recipes if I've never tried them? Or do you want my favorites at the end of the week? I'm here for you. Help me help you. And what if we don't have the same taste in food? Can we still be friends?

Because okay ... confession. Is there anything more disappointing than when you read a cookbook or blog or watch a person on TV and they're SO excited about the food they just made that it inspires you to make it? And then you take a bite and just go "eh." SSG dies a little bit inside when that happens. But that might just be SSG.

What will always put you in a good mood?

I love this question! I've compiled a list of my Top 10 for you!

  • A great baseball game where the Padres win
  • White dishes
  • Dahlias
  • Cheesy rap (ie. Hammertime, Baby Got Back, You Can't Touch This, etc.)
  • Sitting around a candlelit dinner table with friends
  • Fisher's face
  • A recipe turning out better than I had hoped
  • Sunny Saturday mornings
  • The bittersweet sadness of finishing a book or a movie that I just don't want to end
  • Driving through the country--open spaces, empty roads and homemade farm stands
I think my shoulders just came away from my ears a bit.


Monday, August 3, 2009

How to Have a Garage Sale

1) Acknowledge that not only have you never had a garage sale but that you've also never been to one.
2) Tell everyone you know you're participating in your neighborhood garage sale.
3) Don't listen when they tell you not to.
4) Think that the garage sale starts at 8 a.m.
5) Don't panic when you discover it really starts at 7 a.m.
6) Okay, panic a little when you look at the clock and it's already 6:45 a.m.
7) Instead of putting out your wares, SHOWER. Because you probably won't be getting dirty. Or sweaty. And people who want to pay $1.00 for a box of paperback books will probably care what you smell like.
8) Open your garage door at 7:05 a.m. Expecting to see CAR LOADS of people.
9) Look up and down the street for the car loads of people. Then start looking just for people.
10) Go back upstairs and Google to make sure you have the day right.
11) Go back downstairs and start setting up your stuff.
12) Pass a dog looking longingly at her leash.
13) Wonder if you should scrap the garage sale and instead keep everything you're selling.
14) Think otherwise when you come across a calendar from 2004.
15) Mark it at $0.50.
16) Rationalize that someone might want it for the pictures.
17) Assuming someone knows about this garage sale.
18) Perk up when you hear a car.
19) Slump over when they whiz right by.
20) Start sweeping the garage floor.
21) Perk up when you hear a motorcycle.
22) Wonder if you should be concerned he's aiming at your garage looking as though he has no intent of stopping.
23) Worry when it looks like he might run over your $10 Dirt Devil.
24) Consider hitting him with your Target broom if he comes any closer.
25) Watch as he backs his motorcycle out of your driveway after giving your stuff a once over.
27) Think that maybe he wasn't the target demographic for your $3 DVD of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
28) Continue sweeping the garage.
29) Perk up when you see a car stop.
30) Answer yes when the lady who you think might be the lady who works at the salad bar in the lobby of your office building asks if you're having a garage sale.
31) Don't say: "No, I typically put my belongings out on my driveway with price tags every Saturday morning with no actual intent on selling them." Even though it's what you really want to.
32) Go from sweeping the garage to spray painting a chair.
33) Wonder if you should cover up the items you're selling so they don't turn "pistachio."
34) Decide against it when you realize someone else will own them soon.
35) Almost cover a customer in spray paint.
37) Collect $2.
38) Continue spray painting.
39) Sit down and make a list of everything you want to do in your house. Room by room. In detail.
40) Call your sister.
41) Leave a really long message.
42) Contemplate begging her to call you back so you don't die of boredom.
43) Look at your watch.
44) Realize you've made $2 in two hours.
45) Look at the list of desired home improvements and realize the paper you wrote them on probably cost more than $2.
46) Dump everything you're selling into a box.
47) Label it Salvation Army
48) Grab your dog and go for a walk
49) Greet your neighbors enthusiastically.
50) Buy a white pitcher for $2 and a lamp for your office for $3.
51) Realize you're probably the only person EVER who has had a net loss at her own garage sale.
52) Promise yourself that you'll never have a garage sale again.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I love the word cattywompus.

Though fun to say, the reaction on peoples faces after it comes out of my mouth is almost more fun.


This last week made SSG feel v.v. cattywompus.

I knew going into it that it was not going to be a normal week. Record high heat (the last time Portland got to 106 degrees was like 50 years ago), my lack of air conditioning at home and the STRETCH that I knew I had ahead of me made me mentally prepare myself for such savage conditions.

SSG can TOLERATE high temps for a couple of days in a row. Portland cools off at night, so I open up every window in my house, plop myself in front of a fan with something cold to drink and I can stay pretty comfortable. Before I go to work, I close everything up and during the day it stays about 15 degrees cooler than however hot it is outside.

Which is nice.

Except when it's 106 degrees outside.

My place? A balmy 90 degrees. Even at 11 p.m.

SSG was craaaaaaaanky.

I escaped on a couple of occasions over to the oasis that is Predo and Jimmy's refrigerated basement and left feeling refreshed and with enough leftovers to allow me to freeze the bulk of the groceries I purchased last week and only have to go to the store for a few items today. WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT THOSE TWO?! I shudder just thinking about it. Not only did they keep me on my budget, they kept me from sweating my skin off.


We're back(ish) to normal. It's only going to be 90 degrees today. The tenth (I think?) day in a row over 90 degree temps. And can I just tell you I LOVE that Portlanders are as annoyed as I am about this business.

We don't do heat well. And it's nice being around mah peeps. Growing up in San Diego where it is frequently warm and sunny is not the spot for a fair skinned delicate indoor flower like myself. SSG is like an orchid.

So my friends the Bobs are coming through town this afternoon on their way back home to Seattle. I have a massage scheduled at noon and am just heading downstairs to put my Cuban Ropa Vieja into the slow cooker for dinner.

Cool Sunday mornings, how I've missed you.