April 30, 2011

A Grad Grills

I'm in Alaska this weekend for Chuck's college graduation! The big day is tomorrow and since there's a dinner party planned for Orso's (a swanky restaurant downtown) we decided to stay home tonight and grill some chicken! So delicious.

This is our ghetto way of starting a fire:
This is me almost lighting myself on fire (check the awesome face I'm making):
The lemon pepper and teriyaki chicken breasts:
The final dinner plate consisted of half an everything bagel with a little cheddar cheese and some shredded chicken, brown rice, and a spinach salad. Great easy homemade dinner!
Chuck and I have literally spent the entire day doing nothing...together. I'm only here for two days so we are cramming as much "we" time in as we can. This boy definitely loves meat:
Tomorrow is the big day! I can't believe this little Thai nugget is going to be a college graduate!

April 28, 2011

KP Getting Worked Up: Exhibit A

Chuck is the calm, cool, collected one.
He has the incredible ability to just let things go and not internalize them.
I admire this about him because I am not like this.
In fact, I'm quite the opposite.
I get worked up about a myriad of things. And I can't let them go until I've worried about them sufficiently.

  • First there was Alaskan aerial wolf hunting (The injustice!)
  • Then the Iraq War (Netflix is responsible for that one).
  • I spent my high school days convinced that human nature was centered around greed ( I was quite the little misanthrope).
  • I constantly complain about Chuck's lack of recycling (It's in my blood! My mom was part of the group that created the Oregon recycling program).
  • A few months ago I watched "The Cove" on netflix and could only talk about dolphins for about a week.

I'm also one of those people that has a hard time keeping their mouth shut. Some people can nod and smile at deranged comments, holding in their actual feelings. I am not like this. My face gives away everything I'm feeling, and more likely than not, this look will be followed by a verbal declaration of how I feel. This is probably not a good characteristic.

My most recent obsession is Africa.
Apparently I'm capable of getting worked up about the plight of an entire continent. I'm taking Politics of Africa, a 400 graduate level class. This probably wasn't the smartest class choice for a sophomore, but oh well. I just finished taking my first test. It wasn't so much a test as it was regurgitating everything we've learned in the class so far into three essays. Now, I'm regurgitating it again to you!

The corruption by African "Big Man" leaders and tyrants is astounding to me. Since African states gained independence from colonial rule, African leaders are responsible for stealing at least $140 Billion in aid. Billion with a B. That is beyond comprehension. African people are living in squalor, dying from famine and preventable and treatable diseases. Yet their leaders buy fleets of Mercedes Benzes, jets that no one can afford to fly on, and dozens of private estates in the South of France.
Imagine that the leader of your country spent $22 million dollars on his own coronation as "emperor," fed innocent civilians to the lions and crocodiles he kept in his private zoo, and had cannibalistic tendencies. Well if you were from the Central African Republic, that would be a reality! Enter Bokassa, the craziest of them all:
The next time I hear someone complain about the "Ineffectual American Democracy" I'm going to try my hardest to channel Chuck, shrug my shoulders, and just walk away. After all, legislative gridlock is better than being fed to a crocodile.

April 24, 2011

Easter Sabotage

I am so full. This whole Easter thing is killing my diet.
I love ice cream. I love dessert. I love pie.
I am an intelligent, rational, aware human being. I know that I should eat fewer sugars. I know it. But, without fail, the after dinner urge for a "little something sweet" always takes control of my brain.

So, in an attempt to be healthier (and to dull my addiction for dessert) I resolved to cut myself off from sweets of any kind for 7 whole days. I've read about other people trying to wean themselves off sugar completely (not possible for muah) and they all say the cravings in the first week or two are killer. Needless to say, I was going into this experiment with the expectation of torture.

I made it five whole days without eating any kind of dessert/refined sugar treat. Then my mom/church sent me a big box of easter candy. I gave most of it away to my dorm friends, promising to limit myself to one piece of candy a day for an after dinner treat.

This was all I kept for myself out of a big flat rate box:
Then my grandma sent me chocolate chip cookies. It's sabotage I tell you!
I should have thought about the Easter Holiday before I planned this little experiment. I fully intend to try it again because it (surprisingly) wasn't that bad. I thought that I was going to be having withdrawals after the first night, but that wasn't the case. Thinking that the "ritual" aspect of eating something sweet after dinner may have been partially to blame, I allowed myself to eat something after dinner, just not something processed or high in refined sugar; a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter, yogurt, or fresh fruit. I also started drinking English Breakfast Tea at night, and it really seemed to curb my cravings.

April 23, 2011

Let the Cooking Begin!

Why not start off the list with some Thai-Infused Chicken Fried Rice!
This idea came to mind from going out to eat at a popular lunch spot. In Anchorage, there are contemporary Asian markets called "Sagaya." Inside they have various choices in Asian foods and cookware. Aside from that, you will most likely see me there eating from their food line. They have a good selection of entrees and side dishes. The main staple you receive is either steamed rice, fried rice, or noodles. I tend to go with the fried rice, which I really like; however, I know I can make it better at home.

Using a combination of random assorted vegetables, chicken, rice, with various sauces and spices, a masterpiece is born. First, lets begin with the Thai infusion. This flavor comes from the Thai chili peppers (roasted, dried, or normal). With a similar flavor, it can also be interchanged with Fried Chili Paste (a Korean paste I believe).

Preparation time: 30-45 minutes
Feeds approx. 4 people (a family!)

This recipe is not final and can be changed in accordance to your liking.

  • Big Wok or Wide Frying Pan (cover top is also useful, but not required)
  • Rice Cooker or you can cook rice in a pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Mortar or Knife (for crushing/dicing chili peppers)

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 4-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1-3 eggs
  • 4 cups of assorted vegetables
    • This could be anything you want! peas, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, onions, water chestnuts, squash, green beans, etc...
  • 2-4 oz. of oil (any really, but i prefer olive oil. Sometimes I switch it up with sesame oil)
  • 3-5 Thai peppers or 1 Tbs of fried chili paste
  • 3-4 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 3-5 Tbs of soy sauce
Cooking Instructions:

First, you need to get your rice cooking. I prefer brown rice in this meal, because it is a bit harder and chewier. While white rice tends to become mushy, depending on how you cooked it. Put 2 oz. of oil in the wok, place it on the stove set to medium-high heat (7 of 9), with the 4 cups of vegetables placed in it. Cover those veggies and let them cook, stirring them around every minute or two.

While those are cooking, cut up the chicken and dice the garlic cloves. I suggest cutting the chicken into thin slices, you generally get some chicken in each bite this way. If the veggies were frozen, 10 minutes of cooking should do; otherwise, 5-7 minutes will do. Once you are done cooking the veggies, put them in a separate bowl and set them aside.

Now lets get that Thai infusion started! Get those chili peppers and grind/pound them in a mortar. If you do not have a mortar, just finely finely dice them up. If you decide to use fried chili paste, just get that 1 Tsp and you are good to go!

Put another 2 oz. of oil in the wok, same heat, and add in the diced garlic and chicken slices. Fry these up until they start turning a very light shade of brown. Continue cooking them, but add in the Thai chili peppers/fried chili sauce. Mix it around real good, or else there will be one bite in there with an explosive kick! After mixing, Add in 1-3 eggs, I suggest 2. These eggs can either be beaten before hand or you can just mix it in the wok with the chicken. Once the eggs are solidified, add in those veggies you set aside!

By this time, your rice should be done (brown rice should take a little bit longer). If it isn't finished, just set the wok on low, (1 or 2) and let it keep warm until the rice is finished. Once it is finished, turn the heat back up to medium-high and add in at least 3 cups of rice or more. Mix this around really well to balance out the rice. Once everything is balanced, disperse at least 3 Tbs of soy sauce among this delicious mixture. If you want a stronger soy/saltier taste, add in more soy sauce. If you want a sweeter taste, add in some sugar!
Let that soy sauce soak into everything while stirring for a minute or two and you are done.

I hope you enjoy your meal of Thai-Infused Chicken Fried Rice!

April 22, 2011

...And the Livin' Easy

Summer is officially here in downtown Portland. It was warm by the PSU campus, but it is straight up HOT downtown. I'm sitting in Pioneer Square with just a tank top. I had to take off my shoes and roll my pant legs up! I'm from Alaska, I'm not acclimated to this heat! My free hot starbucks coffee in honor of Earth Day probably didn't help my internal temperature, but I'm fairly certain passing up free coffee is a sin. 

Pioneer Square, although one of Portland's best known tourist destinations is also one of the coolest places in downtown. It's a large open courtyard with free wifi (which I'm using now) food vendors, coffee, public transit and shopping surrounding it.
There is always something happening, and it's a pretty sure-fire place to get in some good people watching. 
On another note, I apologize for the somewhat crappy photos, these were taken with photobooth on my macbook. Currently, my camera is stuck in Alaska. Mega sadface. I promise my photography is much better than this! You can see some of my real photos under the "Portland" page.

Now, if you'll excuse me, some too-expensive-for-my-college-budget-but-I-don't-care clothing needs to get bought. Mommy sent me an easter basket and this was in it. <3 mamma.

La Primera Vez

So this is it.
My first blog post ever. 
It's after midnight and I have untouched Spanish homework. 
It's all about priorities right? 
Chuck and I are currently in different states. He's about a week away from graduating college, and I'm not quite half-way through the last term of my sophomore year at Portland State. All things considered, I'm super stoked because I will be flying up to Alaska for Chuck's graduation! Yay! It's only 2 1/2 days, but when you go for months without seeing the other person, you'll take what you can get!
It seems like EONS ago that I graduated high school. So precious!

I'm pretty sure my graduation stole is the only thing I've ever ironed...
I haven't seen Chucky in about a month. I saw him (briefly) in between flights to and from Alaska and Hawaii during spring break. That's right, I went to Hawaii! Sadly, Chuck wasn't invited. It was a purely family vacation. Here's my older brother, myself, and my Dad in Maui (Mom is snapping the pic) on my 20th birthday. 

Hawaii is everything people claim that it is. Really, it is that beautiful. 

My advanced Spanish grammar book is glaring at me; neglected. Once we figure out exactly what we're doing with this blog, things will be more organized. Until next time!