Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Macaroons

A holiday favorite! The maraschino cherries give the macaroons a festive look and this year I added some white chocolate chips because I didn't have enough semi-sweet and they were delicious!


1/2 c. chopped maraschino cherries
2 eggs
1/8 t salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 t vanilla
1/3 c. flour
2 c. flaked coconut
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Extract as much juice as possible from the chopped cherries ( I use a strainer and spoon and then paper towels)

2. Grease baking sheets (they are pretty sticky if you skip this step) and preheat oven to 325 degrees

3. Beat eggs and salt until light

4. Beating constantly @ medium speed add sugar 1/4 c. at a time, beating well in between additions

5. Beat until thick, pale ribbons form (around 5-10 min)...gets a little exhausting!

6. Fold in vanilla, flour, coconut, chocolate chips and cherries!

7. Bake 15-19 minutes or until golden brown, cool on racks

I like them a few minutes after they come out of the oven, but they'll keep fresh for a few days or you can freeze them for later. Watch out...they go fast!

Calico Beans

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This recipe is full of beany goodness! Be careful not to over-indulge! You can make it in a crockpot or over the stove. I brought it as a side to a family Christmas party, and left the hamburger out to make it a little lighter.


1 large can of Pork and Beans (32oz)
1 can of kidney beans (16oz)
1 can of lima or butter beans (16oz) - I prefer butter
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 lb hamburger
1/4 lb bacon

Brown hamburger, bacon and onion
Drain grease
Add beans (drained with little juice)
Add the rest
Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours or in crockpot

Callahan, Walker, Hoogestraat Christmas

We had a fun get-together this year for Christmas at Patty's house. We stepped it up a notch and had some ice breaker like games. The first was having to guess what was written on a piece of paper on your back by asking yes or no questions. Of course, all the questions were "farm related." I had the hardest time guessing "electric fence." I guess I'm a city-slicker. There was a coloring contest as well. Jennie won with a psychedelic coloring scheme...not sure what her farm was growing! I brought Calico Beans and made Cherry Chocolate Coconut Macaroons. I'll post both recipes in another post. Some highlights - playing Hoity Toity (and losing...again), making my cookies, seeing some old pictures of Grandma and Grandpa that Kara had used in a scrapbook, watching the dogs entertain us all with their wrestling, playing apples to apples, staying late to talk with Patty, Kara and Kelson. It's too bad we don't have more get-togethers...they sure are fun.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Gift - Summer Tote Bag

I made a simple tote bag for my Mom and Kendra this year. I hadn't sewn a bag before, but found this pattern simple and easy to follow. The bag is perfect for carrying school papers or groceries and I like it because you can wear it on your shoulder or you can carry it in your hand and it doesn't brush the ground. Lucky for me I had time to make them during the snow days before we left for California! Of course, I chose bright summery prints...thinking it would be a great bag to take to the beach! I made the two simultaneously and it took me only a few hours (and I'm pretty slow!). I think to improve the bag for carrying groceries I would make that base a bit wider and add something to maintain its shape. If you're interested in making one for yourself, I found the tutorial at the Sew, Mama, Sew blog (one of my favorites!). I'm already dreaming of warm summer days...rain, rain go away!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Slideshow

"Our Deepest Fear"

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others

I heard a modified version of this passage again today when watching Akeelah and the Bee (a rental from the library, which I highly recommend!)

Memorable quotes for
Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Akeelah: [quoting Marianne Williamson] Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Dr. Larabee: Does that mean anything to you?
Akeelah: I don't know.
Dr. Larabee: It's written in plain English. What does it mean?
Akeelah: That I'm not supposed to be afraid?
Dr. Larabee: Afraid of what?
Akeelah: Afraid of... me?

This quote always seems to get under my skin. I hear its truth, but am unable to respond to it. Fear has always been my greatest enemy.

A little more information:

Our Deepest Fear Is Not That We Are Inadequate...
This widely acclaimed poem is actually not a poem at all, but an excerpt from A Return To Love, a book by motivational speaker and author Marianne Williamson. The passage has such inspirational power that it is now a stand-alone mantra for a generation of exceptional individuals who wish to motivate themselves and others to live up to their fullest potential.

The words "deepest" is often replaced with "greatest" in reprints of the passage, although the original uses "deepest", as seen below. "Our Deepest Fear", as it is best known, is a cultural phenomenon as it is quickly becoming one of today's most well known sagacious quotes from an author who is still living.

Merry Christmas!

A Walker/Hoogestraat Christmas get-together. We had fun sipping lattes and eating delicious desserts!
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Friday, December 26, 2008


Luke and Kendra gave me the gift of Italian cooking this Christmas - A cookbook by Giada de Laurentiis, called Giada's Kitchen. Her style is described as "Italy meets California," which in my opinion, you can't go wrong there. Immediately upon opening the book, I came across a recipe for Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellinis, which sounds like the perfect addition to the holiday table. I was particularly drawn to the recipe because they contain Prosecco, a light Italian sparkling wine that I remebering enjoying with Emily at a quaint wine bar in Venice. Lucky for us Red Apple was open and so my dad and I were able to pick up almost all of the ingredients! Unfortunately, they didn't have any mint or pomegranate seeds to use as garnish. We made it work though and the drink was delicious (Kendra and I loved it at least!) and it looked beautiful on the holiday table!

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

This was one of the books I checked out from the library to read over break and I have to say, it is filled with interesting information about what happens when you donate your body to science after you die. Each chapter is on a different topic, so I've been skipping around in the book, reading the parts that interest me. The chapter I found most fascinating was the one where they studied the decomposing cadavers to find information about the rate of decomposition to use for forensic investigations. However, I don't find it interesting enough to work in the field for a living.

The whole book got me thinking about what happens to our bodies when we die. I knew that we decompose, but I really hadn't ever considered how that happened. The book reminded me of all the bacteria living on and in us and as soon as we die, we can't keep their populations in check and our tissues become the ultimate feeding ground.

It is a catchy book written for anyone interested in learning about the life of a cadaver...I recommend it (as long as you don't have a queasy stomach!)

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:

An oddly compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers--some willingly, some unwittingly--have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way. In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries--from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting. In her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

More details
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
By Mary Roach
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2003
ISBN 0393050939, 9780393050936
303 pages

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

3 Snow Days and a Trip to LA

LA Trip

Click on picture to view album

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Seattle has been a Winter Wonderland the past week and I have reaped the benefits! School was cancelled Wednesday through Friday last week so I am now in the middle of a two and a half week break...although we will have to make-up the days feels great right now to have a bit of extra time off before Christmas. Of course, I made pancakes one morning to share with my roommates and took walks in the snow. It also gave me time to finish making Christmas presents and pack for LA.

Luke, Kendra and I left Friday afternoon to spend the weekend in LA with my Mom and Dad. My Dad was helping out at a basketball tournament in Anaheim and so we flew down to meet them. I was a little sad to leave the snow, but didn't mind the sun and mid-60's temperature! We went to Universal Studios on Saturday and Disneyland on Sunday. I wasn't that excited to do the theme park thing until I got there! Disneyland really is a magical place, especially at Christmas when everything is decorated. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of the castle at night or the fireworks because the camera batteries died. sad. Space Mountain was scary...and made me a bit dizzy, but so worth it! Splash Mountain was wet. I was in the front and I got soaked down to the undies...we had to go back to the hotel and was that bad! Universal was great too...the theme was we saw some Who's and the Simpson's ride was pretty much amazing. We also went to a Waterworld show...where they acted out part of the movie. It was incredible! A plane crashed, people jumped off tall buildings into the water, jet skis were all over the place and there was fire! Hollywood is pretty cool.

All was well, until our flight was cancelled Monday due to snow at SeaTac. We weren't able to get on any flights over the next two days so we decided to road trip it in the rented mini-van. Dad and Luke drove the entire way, Kendra called her mom for road updates and hotel information, Mom and I sang Christmas songs in the back and I ate absurd amounts of candy! We stopped at In-N-Out for dinner and stayed the night in the Relax old 50's motel in Yreka! All in all it was quite an adventure and besides ice on the road in Salem it was pretty smooth sailing. Oh, except for the part when I got home first, followed by Mom and Kendra and we had to shovel out the driveway so we could get three cars in! The girls did most of the work before Luke and Dad showed up! (I think they planned that out purposefully!) I'm just so thankful to be home for Christmas. It was a crazy adventure, but one I would do again!

LA Slideshow

House Elves!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

You definitely need to check this out and send to friends and family!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Drop Box

Click on the above picture to view the entire album

Looking back through the pictures of delicious food causes me to consider how fortunate I am. I have a wonderful family, a warm home, good food, a wii to play on with my grandma! and so much more. There is so much to be thankful for, even if the economy isn't what we hope for. My favorite thanksgiving memories are making a new bacon/apple stuffing, eating Wanda's amazing cranberry salad, spedning time in the kitchen with my mom, cow racing against my grandma on the Wii, making fresh air-popped popcorn to watch elf with Kara, Kelson and Patty, and drinking lattes with Dave and Pam. What a wonderful holiday to spend with family!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Sunday is designated dress making day. My mom and I are the official dressmakers. I picked out the pattern and fabric and she is lending her sewing expertise...translating the sewing terminology, sewing the difficult seams, and double checking all my work. good would probably be a disaster without her, or it would never get done!

The dress is for a project runway party. A friend invited me to join a group of women who like to sew and want to try something new. The deal is you are supposed to make a dress...making your own pattern and using material you don't usually use. Well, since I am new to sewing (I just received my first machine last Christmas) and haven't made an actual article of clothing before, I figured I could bend the rules.

So, I recruited the help of Vogue (by using one a pattern) and my mother. Hopefully, with the two of them, I'll make it work.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a spooky pumpkin

Yes...I cheated...I used a template!

Jen didn't like the blood and guts

Ta-da! the final outcome!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jennie's Birthday!

We went to out to celebrate Jennie's birthday at Etta's down in Pike Place. The food was delicious! We had steamed crab as an appetizer and then I had a heriloom tomato salad and dessert...mmm...huckleberry crisp! We didn't pick any up in Packwood this year, so it was the perfect ending (to summer)! We walked around a bit after and Chris and Jennie posed as the perfect, newly engaged couple.

Fancy Free Flare

My housemates and I came up with a schedule for weekly house chores. One of the jobs is called fancy free flare and basically it is something fun to spice up the week a little bit. We've had fresh flowers, yummy treats from whole foods, ice cream and zucchini bread...we really love our desserts! I made zucchini bread from the zucchini from mom's garden! mmmm! it was so delicious.

Mermaid Quilt

Today was the first day of my quilting class! I had so much fun picking out fabric and sewing simple straight stich seams...and cutting with my special rotary cutter. 4 hours went by so fast! I am going to learn 12 different styles of blocks and piece them all together at the end of the class. I just finished the rail fence, 9 block, and log cabin. I have one more to finish as homework this week. It is my first real quilt on my mom and I made one (well, she mostly made it) for Christmas one year!

Rail Fence

Log Cabin

9 Block

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Rachel's Shower

We celebrated Rachel's soon to be marriage at my house in August. It was so fun hosting the event! I made delicous food (seafood skewers, homemade salsa, fruit salad, sticky rice balls, teriyaki chicken) and drinks (mango martinis) and a beautiful barbie bride cake with the help of my roommate Alicia. The bridesmaids put together a slideshow and videotaped Mike's answers to some fun questions and then quizzed Rachel during the was fun having Mike there (even if it was a video). I'm so excited for Rach and her new stage in life!

All the necessary ingredients...and two AMAZING bakers!

What a beautiful bride!

from the garden...

This summer I attempted to grow some vegetables. I don't own my own place yet, so I decided to grow in pots in the front yard where sun shines most of the day. I planted zucchini, cucumber, tomato and basil. I have enjoyed the baby cucumbers and zucchinis this summer but no tomatoes! I think it was too cold this spring...there are a lot of green ones, but no red. I did however get this enormous...and delicious zucchini this last week! mmmm good!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Green bug in the VW

yes...ironic I know, but there was a green bug in the green bug today

September Dinner

Tonight I got together and made dinner with my friend Emily. We ate butternut squash risotto (which is appropriate for fall), roasted potatoes, and cantalope. The butternut squash recipe was given to me with arborio rice from my cousin John and his wife as a wedding favor. It was absolutely delicious...warms the soul on a chilly September afternoon. Just as we were finishing our dinner, the doorbell rang and I caught a glimpse of my friend's husband running from the porch. We ran to the door and were delighted to find a box of cupcakes for us to share. Yay, for thoughtful husbands!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dwight Schrute's Centathlon

DMB '08

I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing Dave at the was so amazing! Jennie and I got tickets the day before and headed out to see them Friday night. I was blown away by the scenery...the music...the huge video screens that projected the band...and of course the people! The stars were pretty picture perfect as well. I am definitely going to make the concert a new tradition!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hiking on Mt. Rainier

Here are some pictures from my most recent trip!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Solstice Day Parade

Today I went with my roommates Sarah and Riley to the crazy liberal Solstice Day parade down in the center of the universe...Fremont! I tried to go last year, but the parking situation was so frustrating Sarah and I drove away without seeing one nude bicyclist! I wasn't planning on going this year either...but Sarah and Riley said they were going so I figured as long as I didn't have to drive it would be okay. We didn't drive far before we were forced to park and then
trekked the next 15 or so blocks on foot. The parade had already started, but we walked ahead of it to meet Nick and some of his we ended up seeing the beginning! It was fun to watch from the sidelines and see all of the crazy costumes, floats and people! There were so many interesting people so different from me....I have to say though I was a bit jealous to not be a part of it in some way.

They all looked like they were having so much fun....even the zombies who don't eat brains!

Although....I wouldn't have wanted to be a part of the "hug" group...they dressed in red and all valentiney and hugged everyone in sight! I hid in the back so I wouldn't be attacked!

More pictures here!

Summer Class

So I am taking a class this summer through Montana State University and it is about learning how to use web tools in your classroom. I'm really excited about the things that I am learning and I think it is interesting the way the class is run. It is all online and we have readings and videos to watch and then we respond by posting on our blogs which are all connected in a group. I've never been in a classs like this before where I am assessed on my written responses to things. It's kind of fun! This last week we looked at using blogs and wikis in the classroom and now we are setting up our own personal learning networks. pretty fun stuff...reminded me that I have this blog and so I am once again motivated to try to keep up on it!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rachel Engaged!

My best friend from all of life...Rachel Robinson is engaged! She will soon be married to Mike Marlatt...September 6th to be exact and I am so blessed to be a part of the wedding! We always joke around about being friends from the womb...even though rach was born 7 months after me! From packwood trips where we traded candy and stashed it in our drawers...hung upside down with red hots in our mouths...eavesdropped on leah and her friends talking about farts that smell like trips to the mall, hanging out in the backyard, games of settlers of catan, and now living near each other in greenlake with walks, coffee, and boot camp! The memories go on and on and there are so many more we are dreaming about! I can't wait to celebrate with her and Mike on their special day...and in all the planning this summer! Thanks for your love and friendship Rach!


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