Foodie Fridays: My Birthday, Salt and Straw, Kugel!

I turned 31 last week, eek!  I’m trying to start my 31st birthday on a healthy kick. . . I am doing the C25K app with my mom three times a week and yoga an hour every day–feeling great!  I’m also trying to eliminate non-natural ingredients out of my beauty products and food-I’ll write more about that in a future post.

In the meantime, my birthday was a great time!  It was the first time in several years that I haven’t been working on my birthday–the life of a camp professional involves summer working :).  I started the day at my favorite massage place: Coldwater Creek Spa and had a 90 minute massage with scalp addition–heaven!  I had a $20 coupon for my birthday and they took that off the total of the treatment which was awesome!  Then I walked around the outdoor mall and went to The Loft where I had $15 to spend from a birthday coupon.  I found a cute shirt on the sales rack but it rang up full price.  The lady knew that I had found it on the clearance section so gave it to me for $15 which meant it was a free to me shirt!

Then I brought flowers to my mom, after all, she’s the one who did the hard work!  The biffle sent me flowers and balloons–non helium because I can’t stand those!

Birthday Balloons

The tradition in our house is either we pick a place to go eat or my mother will make dinner.  I decided since it had been years I wanted my mom to make me dinner.  So she made my favorite childhood dinner-one that I had for many birthdays: Marinated grilled salmon, sweet noodle kugel and salad with creamy french dressing (homemade).  Because the kugel is so amazing I am going to share the recipe at the end of the post.

Birthday DinnerSweet amazing food!

Then we went to Salt and Straw.  This is similar to Ample Creamery which I went to with the bestie in April or May.  We happened to get there right before the line was out the door and around the corner so we only waited about twenty minutes.  Well worth it!  Salt and Straw Ice Cream

I tried a bunch of them and they were great!  I tried the Pear and Blue Cheese and thought it was really good but wasn’t sure about a whole cup of it.  I ended up getting the Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and the Sea Salt Caramel.  I was not disappointed!

Salt and Straw

 

I loved the mugs!  The decor was very industrial which works for the neighborhood it was in.  I went with my mom, brother, grandmother and my Portland grandmother (not officially a grandmother but she has been since I was a year old!)

SaltStrawFam

My Portland grandma is on the top and my brother, mom and grandmother on the bottom.  She’s looking good for 90!

Now. . . kugel.  This recipe first came about at my Bat Mitzvah-the caterer made it for Saturday lunch and it has been a family favorite ever since.

Maxine’s Kugel

Ingredients:

4 eggs

8 ounces sour cream (I usually use non-fat)

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup margarine, melted

1 quart non-fat milk

6-7 ounces dry noodles

1/2 cup cornflakes

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions:  In 9×13 pan, place 6-7 ounces dry noodles.  Pour mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, sour cream and margarine and stir.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Mix cornflakes, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over kugel and bake one more hour.

That’s it!  Super easy and super tasty!  It works great with a bagel and lox brunch or as a side dish with fish, etc.

 

 

Pride and the Right to Marry

Danitpride

 

This is my little sister.  I blogged about her last month when I went to Los Angeles for her college graduation.  I think my sister is absolutely one of the bravest people I know.  She’s also just a pretty darned awesome person and I’m lucky to have her as my sister.

When she was a senior in high school she called me one night in November.  I was living in LA at the time working on a master’s degree.  It was about ten o’clock at night and I was watching television with the bestie who was my roommate then and my boyfriend at the time.

She was so excited to tell me. . . that she was gay.  My response?  Yeah, I know.  Very anticlimactic and she still tells people about that when she talks about it.  She was so excited that I was the first person in the family she was telling and then I totally stole her thunder.

In all honesty, I think I’d always sensed, from the time she was in kindergarten, that she was gay.  But it was never a big deal in my book.  I used to kid that there was something in the water in my elementary or middle school because I seriously knew about ten people who came out to me in high school, including a somewhat middle school boyfriend, womp womp.

My second year of college I met a guy in my Shakespeare class.  He and I instantly developed an amazing camaraderie and I was somewhat interested in him.  It turns out he was married.  Also, in the middle of the quarter, he turned up to class with a black eye.  I was shocked and asked him what had happened.  He had come out to his wife (mother of his twin boys) the night before.  This dear friend of mine shared with me a little bit of his story.  He had sensed in high school that he was gay, but being from a small town in the Northwest and from a Christian family, when he told his father about it, his father told him to forget about it.  He then became involved with the woman he ended up marrying.

He was a few years older than I and a returning college student.  He eventually came out to his family, moved out of the small town and into Portland where he began seeing men seriously.  In so many ways he was happy and true to himself.

In 2004, in the midst of the Bush/Kerry election, Oregon was also voting on same sex marriage.  I was in a Family and Human Services program at University of Oregon and the people in my cohort were from a variety of walks of lives.  There were several in my close group of friends who were in same sex relationships.  It was a devastating blow to so many people I cared about when same-sex marriage was knocked off the tables in Oregon.

Over the last nearly decade I have watched as several different states have legalized gay marriage.  I have also watched as many states stood firmly against it.  The votes that took place yesterday in the Supreme Court: knocking down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

“Although Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy. He was supported by four more liberal colleagues: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. (link).

The second was the Supreme Court dismissing the appeal for Proposition 8 in California.  This basically says that “private parties do not have any “standing” to defend California’s voter-approved ballot measure banning gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock” (link)

I think my cousin’s Facebook status said it best: Sasha looked at me like I was crazy when I explained why I was watching tv this morning. “But Johnny and Collette’s mommies are already married and equal.” I started to explain and then stopped: her world won’t include gay marriage. It’ll just be marriage.

Sasha is three years old right now and I hope that she will see the day when everyone, including her amazing cousin Danit and all my wonderful friends who are in same sex relationships can marry legally just like myself and other heterosexual couples.

I am so excited about these huge accomplishments in the U.S. justice system and can’t wait to see where they go.  

 

From East to West with a dad and a cat

I have been back in Oregon two weeks tomorrow and I’m adjusting back into what life is here.  I’m sorry I’ve been somewhat absent.

So on June 1st I left New York and began driving to Portland.  Let me start by saying that my father is absolutely amazing.  With less than a month notice, he booked a flight, a car and took time off work to drive with me from Brooklyn to Portland.  It took five days and we hauled butt!

Here are some pics of our trip and the highlights:

Goodbye New York

 

Driving from Brooklyn through Manhattan–it was a good three year run!

Traffic Jam in New Jersey

 

Not a great start–three miles in 2.5 hours–a horrible accident in New Jersey.

Amish in Ohio

 

A horse and buggy in Ohio.

Dinner in Wisconsin

Dinner in Wisconsin

the one big city we drove through in the entire country--Chicago

the one big city we drove through in the entire country–Chicago

The Cat in Minnesota

The Cat in Minnesota

Driving Dad

Driving Dad

A Bull

A Bull

 

Me and my cute hat

Me and my cute hat

Dad's favorite restaurant

Dad’s favorite restaurant

Dad in South Dakota

Dad in South Dakota

Exit to Wall Drugs

Exit to Wall Drugs

Me at Wall Drugs

Me at Wall Drugs

Dad at Mount Rushmore

Dad at Mount Rushmore

Beautiful Mount Rushmore

Beautiful Mount Rushmore

Father and Daughter at Rushmore

Father and Daughter at Rushmore

Cutie Kitty
Cutie Kitty
Wyoming Breakfast

Wyoming Breakfast

Pistol Wall

Pistol Wall

Pistol Pete's

Pistol Pete’s

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, Montana

Tri Cities

Tri Cities

First sign to Portland!

First sign to Portland!

Beautiful Mount Hood

Beautiful Mount Hood

Initially I was slightly nervous about traveling over 3,200 miles in a vehicle with 7 boxes, 5 suitcases, 6 pictures, a cat and my father but I was pleasantly surprised.  My father was an amazing travel partner (even if he did only let me drive two hours the entire trip!)

Driving is also a super unique way of seeing the country-one that I never realized how much fun it is.  I will definitely always remember this time with my dad as a truly special time and I really will always appreciate what he did to help me!

Breakdown of the trip according to my father’s facebook page:

Day 1: Brooklyn, New York – Cranberry, Pennsylvania (420 miles)
• States: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
• 2 ½ hour delay in NJ due to traffic accident

Day 2: Cranberry, Pennsylvania – Tomah, Wisconsin (695 miles)
• States: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin
• Some traffic jamming in Chicago

Day 3: Tomah, Wisconsin – Gillette, Wyoming (895 miles)
• States: Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming
• Wall Drugs, Mt. Rushmore

Day 4: Gillette, Wyoming – Richland, Washington (946 miles)
• States: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington

Day 5: Richland, Washington – Beaverton, Oregon (244 miles)
• States: Washington, Oregon
• Lunch w/Nora & Danit

Thanks, dad for being an awesome dad!!!!

 

Flying Out West

So generally speaking I like to do a Foodie Friday post on Friday but this is a special occasion!  My baby sister is graduating college this weekend!  I am the oldest of three kids and my sister is the baby of the family, we have a brother in the middle-three years younger than me and five years older than my sister.  I’m sure I’ll write more about the rest of my family later but today I’m going to write about my sister!

Danit is eight years younger than me and has always been one of my favorite people in the world!  I remember the moment my parents told me they were having another child and I remember when she was born and every moment in between!  I know I have pictures from when we were younger but at the moment they are in boxes and scattered all around so instead I have pictures from probably the last ten years or so.

Danit and Rachel

The weekend of Danit’s Bat Mitzvah-nine and a half years ago.

Although it’s been about ten years since we’ve lived in the same city at the same time, we still talk on the phone and text every single day.  We did spend three summers at camp together, two of which sharing a room-now that is an experience!  But I think we made a pretty good team!

Danit and Rachel

The picture on the top left is us at the Oregon Coast in 2005 I believe.  Below that is Hanukkah 2005 and below that is my college graduation tea party in 2006.  The top right is Danit’s visit to New York in 2010 when we did a tour of the village and were outside Murray’s Cheese.  The bottom picture is from a family cruise in 2006 (and we are soon to be going on another one!)

Danit and Rachel 2

Top left is us at camp one summer, top right is at Avenue Q in 2010 in New York.  Bottom left is me and her at my MAeD ceremony–same school she’s graduating from!  And the bottom right is us on the family cruise at the safety drill.

She is graduating with her BA in Psychology and planning to stay in LA for the next exciting venture.  Right now she’s very interested in stage management and has been working on a lot of plays in the area.  I am super proud of her and so honored to call her not only my little sister but one of my closest friends!

I will definitely post about the weekend next week but for now, I am flying out west!