Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall Pumpkin Casserole


For breakfast, I tend to make one thing (a lot) and then eat it until I'm quite tired of it.  Most recently that has been my homemade granola with yogurt.  I just finished up my last batch, so I was looking for something new to try for this week.

I hadn't made my Pineapple oatmeal bake in a long time, so I thought I'd try to do a fall variation on that.  This is what I came up with and I have to admit, it's quite good.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 of a 15oz can of 100% pumpkin (save the other half in the fridge for the next time you make this, which will be later this week because this is good!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal (NOT the instant kind)
  • 15oz can of lightly sweetened or unsweetened pears, reserve the juice
I mixed up everything except for the fruit and oatmeal using my hand mixer.  Chop up the pears into nice bite size chunks and then stir in the oatmeal and pear chunks into the mix.

Spray a 9x9 glass pan with cooking spray and pour into the pan.

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.


I keep this in the fridge and cut out a piece each morning.  It microwaves well and makes a quick breakfast.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Seattle, Part Two

I'm still recapping my family's recent trip to Seattle. If you missed the first post, it can be found here.

Loved this mural? paiting?  It was on the side of a building. This was taken out of a car, so it's not the best, but you get the idea. I love both of their expressions.


On Wednesday, we went to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard locks. Here's their link. Basically, it's where the fresh lake waters of Lake Washington and Lake Union meet up with the salt water of the Puget Sound.

The Sound is lower than the lake, so boats have to be raised or lowered, depending on which way they are going. There are also salmon ladders there to assist the salmon in their migration. The salmon attract sea lions, and we saw one on both sides of the locks. They were hard to photograph, the little stinkers didn't want to stay still, but I got this one picture of one.


Here's mom and Bailey. To their right you can see the locks where the boats are raised or lowered.


We went underground to see the salmon going up the ladders (basically a raised area to help them go up into the lake water). They have viewing windows where you can watch them swim. This guy was going the wrong way, but they would swim back and forth and eventually go the right way.

I like how the girl seems to be having a conversation with the salmon.  "Other way, dude!"  Or maybe, "hmmm, your so tasty!"


Here's the original building on site at the locks.


The grounds surrounding the locks are quite beautiful and they have tons of flowers, which I love.



Here's another example of the flowers that I have fallen in love with. After I posted my last blog entry, a couple of people told my mom what these flowers were called. She knew what they were as well, but I typically post very late at night and I didn't call to ask her what they were prior to me posting.  However, I now know what these flowers are.

So, here's another picture of the fuschia flower. Isn't it beautiful?


And try to find the spider in this picture.


Sorry, I don't like spiders, but I was testing myself to see if I could take a picture of one. 


Wednesday night we had the best dinner of fresh grilled salmon at Ruth and Robert's house. They have such a lovely house and yard. Their backyard is so lush and green, and we picked blackberries right off the vine - YUM!

Our daily routine was that we'd get up and walk over to the Starbucks for breakfast. Our hotel was connected to several different mall areas via second floor walkways. This Dale Chihuly piece greated us each day.  I love glass, so I really enjoyed seeing it each day.


I don't have any pictures from Thursday.

Why, you ask?

Well, because we had toured so much we were just exhausted. We found a spa across the street from our hotel and we spent the day there.


On Friday, our last day in Seattle, we did a Duck Tour. We weren't quite sure what to expect, but it was so much fun. I think a big part of it was that we had a fantastic driver who was so funny. Here's Bailey, Mom and me before we take off. (Don't we look refreshed and relaxed?  That's the spa, ya'll!)

Oh, and please notice Bailey's shirt.  Rominal had gotten it for her from Microsoft.  She loves it.


Side note, have you seen the Discovery Channel show, Deadliest Catch? It's about Alaskan crab fishermen and the struggles they endure to get crabs.  Ha!  Let's change that last sentence to say, "the struggles they endure to catch crabs. 

Anyway, Bailey and I were super excited to see the boat, the Wizard from the show. Apparently it was there getting some repairs done.   It was much smaller than I expected.


So, at this point in the tour, our tour bus becomes a tour boat. I'm not kidding here, it's a little scary at first.

Turns out the thing can float. Whew!


Remember the movie, "Sleepless in Seattle?" Well, here's the house boat from that movie. It's the one on the left closest to the boats.


It was a beautiful day and there was a class of people learning to kayak out on the water.

(Ok, truth here.  I wanted to say, "a class of kayakers" but spell check didn't recognize kayakers and I don't trust myself enough to just go with it so I just changed my wording to say a "people learning to kayak."  I frequently do that.  I'm a terible really bad speller.)


After the duck tour, we took the monorail to the closest bus station. The monorail was built for the World's fair in 1962. It actually doesn't go very far, but it was good to say that we rode it.


Saturday morning we got up really early for our pickup at 6:30am to head back to Dallas. It was a fantastic trip.

We loved Seattle. DSC_0124

Sunday, September 2, 2012


We had the opportunity to go to Seattle recently.  Rominal had to go for a Microsoft conference and Bailey, Mom and I decided we had to tag along.  We had never been to that part of the country and it was beautiful.

We landed around 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon. We dropped our stuff at the hotel and then took a taxi to the Space Needle. This fountain was very close to the needle and it was fun to watch the people playing in the water. I could have stayed here a lot longer.  It was the perfect spot to do some people watching.


Hello Space Needle!


We decided since this was a once in a lifetime type activity, we would have dinner in the Space Needle restaurant. It revolves around so that you get 360' views of Seattle and the surrounding area.  The meal wasn't cheap, but it was actually quite good.

Here's Bailey and Rominal enjoying the ride.


The next day Rominal went off to work, and Mom, Bailey and I went to play. We took a ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island so that we could spend some time walking around in Bainbridge. Mostly I just wanted to be on the ferry. I loved it.

Here's Mom and Bailey as we depart Seattle.


And here's me and Bailey. Notice the jackets - it was chilly in the wind. And yes, I loved the temperature too!


We had a few followers on the ferry. Here's one of them.



I don't know what these flowers are, but I'm in love with them. We saw several different color combinations throughout the week and they were stunning.


This little rock guy was among some other rock sculptures on Bainbridge Island. I liked him the best though.



I should say that these pictures are all straight out of the camera. I don't have photoshop or any editing software.

I can hear Rominal saying to me, that we do have some kind of program that edits pictures, but I haven't learned it (or even opened it) yet.

So, the picture below is not the best, but it is a picture of Mount Raineer Rainier in the background. It looks like clouds and it is hard to believe that it is so large. It doesn't look real, but I was told that is an actual thing and not some computer generated image.   Pretend this picture has been edited and you can really see the mountain please.  Thank you.


And here's Seattle as we traveled back from Bainbridge Island. Monday was a very good day, and we walked a ton!

Oh, I should say, we were staying in Bellevue, which is about 45 minutes outside of Seattle. Each day we planned to take the bus into Seattle and tour there. Bailey became our tour guide. She figured out which bus we needed to be on and where we needed to transfer, etc. She did a fantastic job and we didn't get lost once. I was so proud of her.

Here's something we found pretty cool. This is a large transfer station under downtown Seattle. What I though was so neat was that light rail trains would come through on the tracks you can see in the ground and then would leave through the tunnels you see in the background.  Here's a light rail train.


And here's a bus about to go through the tunnels - just like the trains. So, even though we were on a bus, we traveled through the tunnels as well.

Yes, I know, I'm a bit of a geek, but I just thought that was very smart. We just don't have anything that cool in Dallas.

The next day we met up my sister, Ruth. First we did some volunteer work at the YouthCare in downtown Seattle. We helped prepare food and then serve it to homeless youth. It was very rewarding and I'm so glad we did this.

I didn't take any pictures while we were here, but Bailey took this picture of me using her cell phone.  I really enjoyed cooking on this huge cooktop.


After this, Ruth took us to lunch and then to the Pike Place Market.

I was blown away by all of the flowers. These bouquets of flowers were $5-$10 each! We'd pay so much more for less quality in Dallas.

The smell was fantastic.


I don't know the signficance this pig has, but I love pigs, so I had to take a picture of it.


Here's mom, Ruth and Bailey. We are waiting for the fish throwers to toss a fish. We got there in the afternoon, so not a lot of fish tossing was going on, but we saw a couple fly through the air.


It's hard to see, but there's a fish in the picture below.

Well, correction, there are lots of fish in the picture below, but one is in the air. He's near the neon sign that says, "Sound View Cafe."

In addition to flowers and fish, you could get fruits and veggies here. Bailey got a hoodie here as well.

Last picture for now. I took this while in the backseat of Ruth's car. I just thought it was neat.

I'll post more pictures later. Still basking in the memory of a fantastic trip.