Advent Merriment, And The White Elephant

http://christopherflowers.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/130220_0203mohai.jpg
Photo Credit: Barbie Hull Photography http://christopherflowers.biz/tag/museum-of-history-and-industry/

One stormy night in early December Michael and I made our way down to South Lake Union to Museum of History and Industry for my company’s holiday party. The night started out with a storm that knocked out power in some area neighborhoods of Seattle and north. Getting there was a little bit of a challenge since we could not take I5 since it was all backed up. So down Aurora (SR99) we went, and it was smooth sailing from there.

The party was swinging by the time Michael and I walked through the door. There was signature drinks to be tasted and heavy hor d’oeurve to be sampled. I really like the lamb burger slider and the yummy lettuce wraps they had. I didn’t taste the signature drinks but I heard they were great. The three were Icicle Blue, Fireside and Holiday’rita. Around this time I realized how much of an introvert I really am. Large crowds of people bring this out not only in me, but in Michael as well. Having another introvert as a date becomes tricky since we both stand there like an island in the middle of the room unsure of ourselves.

After all the toasts were made, Michael and I made our way through the museum galleries to check out the history the building held. In the Klondike Exhibit Michael and I decided to see what our prospects were during the gold rush. Our results where night and day. Michael ended up with a person who mined $2,000 worth of gold, looses all of it in a night of gambling and then was jailed for jumping the man who won his gold. Not much of a luck strike! For me I got John Nordstrom and I went on to building a fortune off of the miners coming through and opening a shoes store that one day have a mark of fashion in the Pacific Northwest.

One gallery Michael really liked was the sports memorabilia on display. On display is the Seattle Super Sonics Basketball team’s NBA Champion trophy from 1979, along with the second base from the last Mariners game played in the Kingdome. The base on display has all the signatures from all the players on the team who played in the last game.  But it was the display with the Mariner game score book belong to Dave Niehaus that was the highlight of the evening. Niehaus would keep sore of every game the Mariners played in a spiral bound book while he was the announcer. Just seeing this made the night for the both of us.

Around 10:30pm we made our way to the door to go home and get ready for work the next day. As a small party favor, my company game each person a portable cellphone charger. The next day people who could not make it to the party the night before wanted one and the extra ones were gone by the end of the day.

A week later the research group I am a part of went out for our Holiday Group Lunch at Purple Cafe in downtown Seattle. All sixteen of us had a privet room reserved for our little late lunch around a long oak table surrounded by wine bottle from every wine region around the world.

We started off with three appetizers, the Baked Brie, Bruschetta, and Spicy Prawns with Shoestring frites. The Baked Brie and the Bruschetta where fabulous and there was more than enough of it for all sixteen of us. the Spicy Prawns had a kick of spiciness that after two I really couldn’t take the heat. Plus prawns have never been a favorite seafood of mine, so I rarely eat them. I will admit the prawns were meaty, and not those skimpy ones you sometimes find in the grocery store.

For an entrée I had the famous Classic Steak and Frites. Nine of us in the group all had this same dish and after thinking about it, I could have gotten away with having the Lamb Burger instead. Oh well. The steak was cooked medium-done, and the fries were nothing like a big fat greasy steak fries you get at some restaurants. To wash it down, a tall glass of squeezed lemonade.

For dessert, a Chocolate Truffle! I’m all for anything chocolate, and I don’t share my chocolate truffle with anyone. One of my co-works like to joke about bread pudding and why I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the texture is all. On the menu under cheese section there was a cheese called Humboldt Fog. Either it was a wine or lemonade talking but I thought it said Humboldt “Frog” instead of Fog. I bet you get the picture why I needed a double take on that.

After waddling-yes I did waddle a bit out around 3.45pm to catch the bus back home, I felt like I had a food baby and in a food coma at the same time. The bus ride home was very uncomfortable and for the rest of the night I didn’t even what to look at food since I was still digesting all the goodness of lunch.

Advent started off with a breakfast high on the sugar scale mix with some caffeine Some church mornings need a little more boost then others. Our church decide instead of a Christmas Nativity play this year, why not have all of us come together as one big congregation (we have two Sunday services) and celebrate the coming of Jesus’s birth.  The service and the party was one of the best the church as put on in recent, and I will say even better than last year’s Advent party.

The White Elephant part of the story happened on the same night as the Advent party. Started out with me picking up a fruit plate since the deli forgot to make my pin wheel sandwiches! Oh well, fruit is better for you. The “white elephant” for those who do not know is where you bring a gift that you already have (ex: box of cereal) and exchange it for another gift someone else brought. There are many variations to how it is played, but the version played was anyone can steal your gift from you at anytime. The gift I brought was a commercial pot holder that has been hanging around the apartment since I have a whole bunch already. The gift I ended up with was a Starbucks thermos that no one took from me! I’m happy.

After all, this is only the beginning of what merriment waits come by the end of this month and year! By the time I’m done, I will be needing to go on a detox diet for a while in January.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Advertisements

It’s All About That Feast Boss!

 Tonight starts the turkey gorging. Round one of four Thanksgivings starts right now. By the end of Thursday night I will be waddling like a turkey! Bring on the food!

feeling hungry (Facebook 11/23/14)
I’m stuffed! I cannot look at another turkey for a long time, and thanks to me having multiple eating feasts, I’m starting the holiday season off with a bang – oh I mean a full stomach. Four Thanksgivings all in a space of few days can make a girl think she does need those New Years resolutions at the beginning of next year. So feast your eyes on the text and pictures while I sit over here and digest all this food. 
Where It All Started!

Started out with a Thanksgiving theme Young Adults group potluck at a member’s house on the Sunday night before Thanksgiving. Each of us brought something for the potluck, and me being not so much into Thanksgiving,  brought the rolls. They were not even good ones (feel guilty). The turkey on the other hand was called the “miracle turkey” because the turkey was forgotten to  defrost overnight by a member. Prayers went up in church for the turkey to be thawed out and ready by 6:30pm that night. As you can tell, the turkey did thaw out and was cooked to perfection by 6:30pm.  After dinner there were games to be played to help digest for the dessert, pumpkin pie cake.

Tuesday was non Thanksgiving theme Thanksgiving. Is that a thing now? At work we all walked down to the “jungle” (what is known as the area where Amazon located, across Mercer street “the Amazon River.”) to get to Cactus a southwestern, Tex-Mex restaurant. I had one of their specials called the Brazed Tostada and it was good, but I recommend having a side salad since there is only three small tostada. Thank goodness the lunch was not overly filling since I had to walk a block to get back on the street car back to work.

12th Man Turkey Day!
Yep Feast Mode! Photo Credit Michael Carlin via Facebook

 Michael’s text to me about the turkey he was getting for our Thanksgiving feast:

Michael: “I have a 25.6 lbs. bird for delivery this afternoon/evening.

Me: OMGOODNESS!!!!! Did I read that right? That is one bada$$ bird!

Apparently I have never seen a 25.6 lbs turkey in my life and to me this is one turkey on steroids. Just getting into the fridge was an adventure in its self, with it being a big as our Maine Coon cat (Maddie is 10 pounds lighter than the bird!). This bird could feed the whole Seattle Seahawks team at the size it was! Somehow Mom and I had the turkey ready by 1pm without any problems. By the end of the lunch, the turkey still looked like we didn’t make a dent in it and will probably be eating turkey for the next three weeks!

IMG_0532[1]
Card game Pit.
After dinner we all gathered around the table to play a few games of Pit. Michael for a newbie played pretty well and won three game compared to my two wins. The game originally gets competitive among family was not competitive when Michael was playing. Thank goodness.

Around 5pm Michael and I headed over for our second turkey dinner with his side of the family (my fourth Thanksgiving). The beginning of the get together started out with the TV turned to the Seahawks vs. 49ers game. Everyone in the whole family was watching it or listening to it as the preparations for the dinner were being made. Half way through the dinner we all got the news that the Seahawks had one the game and put a whole new level of excitement to the festivities.  After dinner we all just hung out digesting enough to have pies for dessert.

So what happened after fourth Thanksgiving?…..

IMG_1138

Passed out from all the L-Tryptophan surging through our bodies from the turkey. Now on to figuring out how to make the turkey leftovers taste better.

I hoped everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I’m thankful for all who have been reading this blog over the past year or more.

 

Hike For The Oktoberfest Beer

Looking back on all the hikes I have done over the years and I can say I have hiked Wallace Falls in all seasons. Strange to think that it is the primary hike that I have done with others. This past March I hiked this very same trail with Megan for her college geography project. I have hiked it in the middle of winter with the rain pouring down, in the middle of a hot summer with lots of people crowding the trails, in the early spring with snow still on the ground and now early fall with all the trees peppered with fall blowing in the breeze. I think I need to find a new favorite hiking trail after this.

Our adventure started out with a detour that ended up taking us through the back country roads because as I found out last-minute SR-522 was closed for bridge construction. The drive ended up putting an extra thirty minutes to our already hour-long drive. Once we go there, there were lots of people starting out for the rail head in the parking lot and the weather looked like the rain was going to hold out. Another disappointment while hiking was the closed Rail Road Grade trail, so we had to hike the Woody Trail instead to get to the Upper Falls of Wallace Falls. The problems did not stop there, at the beginning of the hike my water bladder line leaked all over the front of my shirt resulting in me finishing the hike with my tank top (thank goodness for that!) and I started to over heat from all the exertion. Since hiking this trail many of times before, you would think I never have a problem. Wrong! Apparently the trail was more difficult this time around then the last three times. I felt half way through I was going to die from all the exertion I had to put forth to get over tree roots, and lift myself up to reach high steps on the stair parts of the hike. Michael realized how vertically challenged I am when it comes to certain heights and had to in the last bit of the hike hoist me up so I could get up the trail.

Apparently I have thought the Valley Over Look was the upper falls part of the hike. I was surprised to find that I had not made it to Upper Falls before. So we trudged up the steep switched backs to the Upper Falls area. When we got up to the falls, of my goodness! I have to say I missed out all those time when I didn’t make it up. The falls were beautiful!

The hike going down was not as bad except the last stretch where the stairs came back! But over all I’m glade I made it finally to Upper Falls of Wallace Falls.  Took us both 3 1/2 hours round a trip to hike the trail. I think next time I will aim to hike further up to Wallace Lake using the Rail Road Grade trail when it reopens again next summer. The trail is popular, but not as popular as Rattle Snake Ridge trail (believe me, people who have gone said it is very crowed in the day, and so go as early as possible for Rattle Snake!) and since it was free entry day for national and state parks, there were a little more people this time.

We hiked for the Oktoberfest beer. This means I made a hearty Oktoberfest Lager Stew for when we returned from our hike. I found this recipe on Pinterest and wanted to try my hand at cooking with beer again. Instead of celebrating Oktoberfest by getting massively sh*t faced to prove I can drink a Stein of beer like the Germans, I decided why not eat our beer? I think eating it is just as good as drinking it. The beer of choice I made it with: Pyramid Oktoberfest Autumn Lager. The end result was a hearty stew with Michael giving it a thumbs up for a repeat. I think I will make a hearty stew after each hike we take, since it seems to be a meal to replenish the soul and body. A little beer thrown into the mix wont hurt either.  I also made the night before another beer theme dish, Craft Beer Mac and Cheese.  The beer of choice: Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA Dry Hopped IPA.  I found the vanilla Greek yogurt to be a little more powerful in flavor. Took a lot of beer to mellow out the taste of vanilla. Overall the mac and cheese came out better than expected since I did not need to put milk in. A repeat dish again.

Earlier this week at work my company had a Oktoberfest party since the German Oktoberfest starts on 20th of September and goes to October 6th. While getting the party setup I kept having the Toaster Strudel commercial where the kid says “strudel” in a German accent  in my head. Didn’t help when people were saying Prost! all the time and clinking their beer bottles ( not German steins 😦 ) every time someone finished a round of the hot sauce challenge.

I know! What the heck is what you are thinking when seeing such a commercial like that! I tried and only got as far as the one after the Tabasco sauce before it was like eating gasoline and needing a snow cone. At least I can say I’ve tried it.

Overall hiked for the Oktoberfest beer, had a try at the hot sauce challenge, hiked five miles with nature and spent a wonderful time with my boyfriend while doing all of this. I believe this time was an unconventional Oktoberfest celebration weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Play Ball Boys! First Seattle Mariner Game

IMG_0958

Hard to believe being a born and raised Seattlelite that I have never been to a Mariners game. I have always wanted to go and experience what all the hype was about, but there was never anyone wanting to go or ever asked me. This changed when I was asked by Michael if I wanted to go to a game with him and his friends. Of course I jumped on it. The game I went to was the Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles. For some apparent reason I want to call Baltimore Orioles “Oreos’.” Yes I did receive dirty looks from a few Orioles fans when I accidentally called them Oreos’.

Our outing started with a trip to one of the many food trucks parked outside the ballpark. Between Nate and Michael this is what they both do when ever they go to a sports game. The food truck of choice was the El Camion for their huge burritos before the game dinner. The burrito was spicy and hot enough to make me not able to feel my lips after a few bites. Overall a great food truck to eat from. I unfortunately I did not sample the stadium food, especially the famous garlic fries that Nate told me is a right of passage for the first time you go to the game. After a while I think I could have lived without trying the fries since the smell after awhile started to become nauseating. I think I could pass on them, and go from something else next time.

Our seats were in the sunny outfield of the stadium in the lower half of the bottom deck. For the first three innings we were in the sunshine, which made it a little hard to see what was happening around the bases until it went behind the stadium. I will admit I have never been a huge baseball fan, and have found major league baseball to be boring (Little League has more excitement most of the time). Being between two baseball experts (both played baseball from little league through high school) made the game a little more exciting to hear with much crazy banter they both got into at times. Towards the later innings I started getting restless and may have started to drive Michael nuts with me asking when the 7th inning stretch was going to happen. Apparently in the middle of the seventh inning, stretching means to standup and sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame, then sit back down. Um that is not what I call a “stretch.” I think I will just chalk it up to me being a clueless baseball fan. Michael is slowly teaching me what I need to know about baseball, and other sports like golf (golf is even more boring then baseball!).

Lemonade with a whole lemon!
Lemonade with a whole lemon!

Towards the the eight inning I needed to have a lemonade. Lets say this was the only time I have ever witnessed how fast an exchange of goods can go. Within thirty seconds I had the lemonade guy give me my lemonade and my change in my hand. Nate and Michael commented on this, as they never seen anything like it before. This is the same lemonade sold at all the Sounders and Seahawks games and something I look forward to every time.

Unfortunately the Mariners lost the game when an umpire said one of the players did not have his foot on the base when the first base catcher caught the ball. This sent the whole Mainers fans in the stadium almost over the edge. At one point  a fly ball went into the stands in our section and a fan defiantly threw it back on to the field and that is when things started to be thrown on to the field. According to many fans, this rarely happens at the games because if you throw something on the field it is grounds of being kicked out or worse. At this time Michael and Nate wanted to leave before the fireworks started and to avoid a whole crowd of people leaving at the sometime. AS we were leaving it looked like people had the same idea as we did. There were crowds of people surging out of the stadium. From the backseat of the car I did see the fireworks as we left. Looked like any old fireworks display to seen at a fourth of July show. When Michael and I go home, we both were so tired from a very long and exciting day (or exciting for me mostly).

My first Mariner game was an expereince to check off my list of things I have done. I still am not sure if I want to go again. I think I would like to go to another game if the Mariners won a few more games. Will see what next year will bring.

Twenty Seven! Goal!

Ringing in my twenty-seventh birthday among crazy high-octane Sounders fans (and a very handsome guy I must say) was perfect! Both my boyfriend and I have birthdays around the same time (two weeks apart!) and I really wanted to go to  a game again with him. This time the match was between the Sounders and Real Salt Lake (Salt Lake City team).  Back in the end of February this year I bought tickets for this game when the single match tickets went on sale. I lucked out, really lucked out in finding two seats together for any of the games with really great seating. The real motivation behind getting tickets was to take my boyfriend to a game for his birthday, and when I saw there was a home game for the weekend before my birthday, oh man I went for it! I am a Sounders fan. Not as huge of a fan as my boyfriend, but a Sounders fan enough to have a scarf and a fan jersey. Now since meeting him, I have someone to go with!

But before I could take him to the game,I had to have him dress the part of a Sounders fan. I’m still amazed this guy never had a Sounders jersey to wear to the games. So being a good girlfriend and spoiling him, I bought him an authentic Sounder’s jersey like the ones the players wear. This is what his reaction was….

1534307_10204156873749056_2367033722388214908_n

But then again he knew he was getting one since he needed to try one on so I can get the size right.

Morning of May 31st rolled around, I was ready to put on my fan stuff and start acting like what the English fans do, but with a Seattle twist. Seattle is still in its high from the Seahawks winning the Super bowl early this year. Most fans of the Sounders are huge fans of the Seahawks (the colors are the same for both teams).  We don’t have a 12th Man for the team, but nothing less, still feel it in the stands.

photo 5

Salt Lake Real and Sounder’s match was one of intensity. Both teams rank in the top two spots in the league in the West and so this game was all about the rivalry. In the end the Sounder’s won 4-0, scoring four goals throughout the game. Michael was really getting into the game, and a few times got really heated with how the ref was calling out yellow cards at the Sounders players. Apparently this game had one of the most hated MLS ref in the USA calling all the shots in the game. By the end of the game it seemed that maybe he was not so bad, but still as Michael put it, he still not a great ref for Seattle games. The tickets to the game turned out to be in a great location, but I think next time I will try to get them in an area where people normally don’t stand and block your view when you are sitting down. I was a happy camper too with the weather being nice and a large fresh squeezed Lemonade with a whole lemon in it! I look forward to this every time I come to a game.

After the game we all met up to do mini golf at Interbay Golf Course. I have never been great at mini golf and hate to think how bad I would be at real golf. If I ever played a game of golf I would have to be the one driving the golf cart because I am bad at it. Around this time of day there was the Putting and Pints thing going where you can drink beer and play mini golf. By looking at all how smashed people were when we were playing, I know for a fact I would be really bad at playing mini golf. The point was to have fun, and so I had fun.  After a game of mini golf we all went to Red Mill Burgers to have dinner before going our separate ways.