Wednesday, July 20, 2011

There are too beaches in Seattle...

Handsome Stranger and I went to Seattle last weekend, and despite the horror of the big city, terrible traffic (FULL of Washington drivers - I think they do their driver's training on Mario Kart), and having to walk hills in the city that I SWEAR should require caribiners, nut tools and quickdraws, we actually had a great time.

In the frenzy of trying to do every single tourist thing possible in 3 days, we wore ourselves's been 3 full days since we returned, and I am still exhausted. We blended in well with the other dorks taking pictures, running red lights (sheesh, why do you have to put them on the side like that?), and doing little jigs while waiting in line to pee because we never quite got the "Large Masses of Humanity and Only So Many Public Toilets" concept. And there were special moments - like when some lady cut me off as we were about to sit on a bench to share a croissant because she was going to sit there with the rest of her party who were still a half block away. I told her "Well, I'm sitting here too", so she ate her ice cream standing up and telling her family how rude I was. I did not tell her that someone should slap her momma for not teaching her manners, but I did say that we were there first, and there was still plenty of room for her. I guess her ass needed a zip code of it's own...but it wasn't as big as her mouth. I know, I'm terrible....just don't try to steal my bench and you'll be fine.

Sunday we vacated our hotel, then drove south to the Boeing Air was far more interesting than I imagined. My gramps used to work for Boeing, I think something to do with graphic art which was probably pretty boring, but they had some really amazing exhibits. My dad was a huge fan of airplanes, especially war birds, and if he never made it up there, he really missed out. I think his love for them was passed on, just a little, because that was my favorite part of the museum - those planes were just magnificent. There was a hot air balloon basket they mounted on a tiny platform that hung over a ledge....scary as hell, but I went on it and had HS take my picture. He was horrified....and rightly so - if you moved the whole thing bounced like a diving board. Which is why I went on only live once, and I get a lot of joy out of freaking HS out from time to time...I just hope I never have to tell him I'm pregnant again because I'm pretty sure this time it will kill him.

So just in case you wondered, here are my top 10 favorite things about Seattle:

  1. If you are overwhelmed at the enormity of the city and what the hell you’re supposed to do next and burst into tears at Pike and 2nd, passersby would surely put money in your cup even if it still has coffee in it.
  2. Leaving EMP. (I want my 18 dollars back, Paul Allen)
  3. 2 words. GUM WALL.
  4. The old lady with the Australian accent at The Bite who teased Handsome Stranger for switching seats with me because “he doesn’t like me” (I actually didn’t want to suffer through his “eating elbow” in my face). When she got up to leave, I told HS she didn’t like us and made her giggle.
  5. The nutty older gentleman street “performer” with two cats wearing sweaters.
  6. The view of Seattle from Elliott Bay.
  7. The butterfly habitat in the Science Center….one landed right on my chest, so I know they like things that are SWEET.
  8. The mentally challenged panhandler who asked through a mouthful of smokehouse almonds if we could spare some change – I gave him a dollar and he shouted after us as we crossed the street “God Bless you!!”….he made me not mind so much that I had to climb back up the hill.
  9. Two blocks later as we climbed a heinous hill while gasping and laughing about not making it, the random stranger who smiled and said “God Bless you both!” as he walked by.
  10. That we do not live there.
So this weekend it's Son #2's birthday, and I asked him what he wanted to do for dinner on his special day. I know better than to ask this, because I'm fairly certain (see "bet money on it" in the dictionary) that he will ask me to make Chinese food....which is precisely what he said. I used to make a New Year's Eve feast for my family every year, but it's a lot of work, and I am trying to cut back on stuff like egg rolls, fried rice and pork dumplings - the egg foo yung is probably the best option other than a dry fried veggie stir fry, which nobody really wants. So I am going to make as much as I can in a more thoughtful and healthy style....I will have to fry some egg rolls, but I hear that you can actually bake them to get a non-greasy crispness, you can use ground chicken in the dumplings (yup, I DO make my own potstickers...I am magic that way), and I can try to use less oil in the fried rice....but we'll see. I made the following offering tonight, and just might make it again on Friday....the birthday boy proclaimed it "freakin delicious" even though it was full of veggies and very little fat. I'm getting very sneaky in my old age....

Garlic Pork & Green Beans

I made this up today because I got 5 lbs. of romano beans from my sister-in-law's farm, and am concentrating on veggie dishes this week to make up for my indiscretions in Seattle last week. And it's actually not bad for you at all - I'm starting to get the hang of making stuff that tastes like it's bad for you but does not leave a puddle of oil on the bottom of your plate when you're I need to work on lowering the sodium. Oh salt, how I love thee....

2 lbs green beans, washed, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2" to 1" lengths
10 oz. pork loin, trimmed of all visible fat, and cut into strips
5-7 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large onion, cut in half, then in strips from end to end
8 large mushrooms, washed and sliced medium thick
1 can water chestnuts
2 tsp. oil
1 T. dark soy sauce
1 T. rice wine
1/4 C. oyster sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. msg
White pepper to taste (mine is about 1/4 tsp)

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam or olive oil, spread out green beans, then spray again. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt, then put in the oven and roast until they still have a little bite....sort of semi-tender. Remove from pan to stop cooking and set aside.

While beans are roasting, slice the pork loin chops in half (like butterflying but all the way through), or you can buy the extra thin sliced ones. Cut in matchstick style pieces, then put in bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the dark soy and rice wine, stir in. Let marinate while you prep veggies.

When beans are done and veggies prepped, heat a large skillet or wok and add 1 tsp. of oil. Add garlic, then immediately throw in pork and separate into one layer, stir fry until no longer pink, then dump in the beans and stir to coat and mix. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add 1 tsp. of oil to pan again and bring to smoking point. Throw in garlic, onion and mushrooms and start stir frying - when the onions start to get a little soft, add the water chestnuts and stir fry another minute or so until they're heated through. Dump in the beans/pork mixture, then add 2 more tsp. of dark soy, the oyster sauce, sugar and white pepper, and continue to stir fry until well coated and there is no excess sauce in bottom of pan. Adjust seasoning to taste, then serve over brown rice for an extra healthy meal that will fill you up, then empty you out the next day. I love brown rice...I use brown jasmine I found in bulk, and it's almost as soft as white but way better for you. And I think I have the cooking method down pat now - 3 cups water to 1 cup rice and a pinch of salt, bring to boil, cover and simmer until it's done....probly 30 minutes.

I divided this into 3 servings, and each was 5 points plus. 1 cup of brown rice brings that to 10 total, and it tasted like if I can get graham crackers to taste like Oreo's I can quit my job and hire someone to do all my prep work. Oh YEAH....

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