Dreamy Chicken Salad

Sometimes I crave chicken salad like mad, and it’s amazing how a few basic ingredients come together to satisfy my craving in the most undisappointing way! Naturally, I tend to add or subtract ingredients depending on what I have on hand, but the other day I wrote down what I put into a particularly awesome batch of chicken salad. Pretty much all of these ingredients are optional (except maybe the chicken :)), and there’s a lot of flexibility on how much you use of each ingredient.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cooked chopped or shredded chicken breast (I often cook it in the crock pot with a bit of seasoning)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 T chopped almonds
1 T capers
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Mix everything together and serve on lettuce, bread, crackers, or whatever the heck you want. This recipe will serve 2-3. Man.. just writing up this post is making me crave it so much! Maybe I’ll have to fix some soon. It’s SO GOOD.

Project 52 (31)

I’m another week behind on the project, but I don’t care too much. The world will keep spinning even if it takes me more than a year to complete 52 weekly photos.


These Cormorants have been hanging out in the same tree for the past couple of days. Sometimes they fly off and circle around, but then they are back.


Bonus bird photo!

Have a great week!

Thankful Thursday

This week I’ve been thinking about some of the recent good things, and I knew I should’ve written them down but I just kept thinking I’d surely remember. (How dumb am I?) And now, of course, I can’t remember. Hopefully they’ll come to me as I compile this list.

1. My immersion hand blender. I love that thing! I got it for Christmas and have used it so much.

2. Friends who drive me to and from the airport. It seems like I often have an upcoming flight and I’m needing yet another ride. Even when the times are incredibly inconvenient, my friends are always so willing to help me out. They never complain or seem put out–they even say they enjoy it! (It’s over an hour to get there, so it’s not a quick trip.) I have a handful of people I can ask so that there is always someone available, and they have saved me the money of parking my car at the airport, and the extra time it takes to park and catch the shuttle. THANK YOU, FRIENDS! And I owe some of you an email about who “won” the upcoming rides. 😀

3. It’s getting lighter later. It seemed like the dark drives home from work were very few this year, even though I know it’s about the same every year. But now it is still a little light when I drive home, and it really makes a big difference in my mood as I leave work.

4. No cavities! I had a dentist appointment after not having one for two years (hey, I don’t have dental insurance!). I was certain I’d need some dental work, but I’m apparently not as knowledgeable about teeth as my dentist!

5. My cross street is open again. Over the summer, the main road I take out of my neighborhood was closed for two months while they rebuilt a bridge. Every day I felt annoyed to have to take the more complicated route, and I was so glad when it was finished! Then, last week during the flooding, it was closed again due to the creek that likes to overflow. It was only closed about a week, but I missed it and was very glad when it was open again.

6. Words With Friends. Have I already mentioned this in Thankful Thursday? If so, oh well. I really enjoy having a game I can play with several friends. It’s just a little way to connect and exercise the brain, but it’s very entertaining. My mom and I play, and I like that we have regular contact through a game that she taught me years ago (in the form of Scrabble, of course). (If any of you want to play WWF with me, I’d love to play! My username is GreengatePhoto.)

7. Tax season. I know that it won’t always be a time I welcome with open arms, but for now it means a refund! I’m anxiously awaiting my W-2s. And a sub-thankful: my life is simple enough that doing my taxes very manageable. I don’t own a home and I’m unmarried and childless, so it’s all pretty straightforward.

8. Comments on my blog. Thanks, all of you who comment! I love it, and I’m sorry I’m not very quick to respond. I’ll try to do better.

That’s all I have. There’s no rule that I have to do 10.

What’s something good from your past week or so?

Winter so far

It’s been a little while since I posted. It’s not that I don’t have some material lined up, I just haven’t felt very up to it, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s just January demotivating me. Anyway, I think now would be a good time for a little catching up. Here’s what’s going on with me.


One of my resolutions for the new year was to bake bread with yeast, because I never had. Check!




It finally snowed, but it didn’t stay long. It wasn’t quite as wonderland-pretty as it has been in the past, so the few photos I have aren’t all that enchanting.


Meanwhile, I made some delicious potatoes au gratin where I cut some of the potatoes into stars with a cookie cutter. Food cuteness!


Then the temps warmed up like 20 degrees one day, and it was pouring rain and melting snow, which meant flooding all over Salem.


That lake out there is not normally there.


Nor is this one. Lots of creeks and rivers overflowed into surrounding areas. It didn’t affect me except an alternate route to and from work, but some people’s homes were flooded in Salem and especially Turner (nearby).

Between the weather news, I’ve been prepping for some upcoming travels. I can’t remember if I already mentioned that I’m photographing a friend’s wedding next month. She’s in Colorado Springs, so after that I’ll take a short flight to Albuquerque to visit my sisters and their families for a few days. I finally got all my plane tickets worked out and I’m starting to get pretty excited. I was just texting my niece L about it. Yay!

I’m also nervous, because I want to do a good job with the wedding photography. (As usual, I think my hopes and expectations on myself are beyond where they should be.) I only have two weddings under my belt, so I’m going to make plenty of mistakes and probably miss some important shots. However, I have been saying that I would be open to doing a wedding here and there for the right person, and Holly is definitely the right person. I’m very honored that she and her fiance want me to take their pictures! I’m praying for decent weather and that everything goes smoothly.

Okay, that’s enough. If you read this far, thank you. 🙂 I really appreciate all my blog followers!

Project 52 (30)


Some geese came and landed on the lake when it was semi-frozen. It was thin ice, so they kept stomping through it and then wanting out again. (Sorry to those of you who have already seen these pictures.)


Photography: Light Painting

A friend reminded me about this technique that I’d read about but never tried. Too often I put off fun experiments with lame excuses, so the other night I just went for it based on my memory of reading an article about it several months ago. My results aren’t fabulous, but you get the idea. Below are instructions on how you can do something similar (and likely much better).

SETUP

1. Grab a flashlight. I tried it with a keychain version and a large Maglite, because those are the only flashlights I have.

2. Set up your camera with remote on a tripod or shelf of some sort. Or if you’re like me, a bistro chair topped with a concordance, parallel Bible, and a Harry and David box.

3. You can do this trick without a remote if you set your camera to 30-second exposures on a timer and keep your “paintings” in that time slot (pretty easy to do). In fact, it might even work better to not bother with the remote.

4. Your camera’s aperture and ISO settings need to be ones that don’t allow much light in. I put mine on f/16 with 100 ISO.

5. My shutter speed was set to BULB for the remote, but without a remote you can put it on whatever’s slowest (likely 30 seconds).

6. Clear a space and make it very dark. After the obvious steps, like waiting until night time, closing all blinds from outdoor lighting and turning off all lights in my home, I draped a blanket over my TV and electronics so their little lights wouldn’t interfere with my artistic magic.

7. Put your camera on the timer setting. (On my camera it did this automatically on the Remote setting.)

LIGHT PAINTING
(Not to be confused with painting light, which is Thomas Kinkade’s job.)

So here’s how I did it with my wired remote. I walked over with the flashlight on and flipped the remote into the locked position to keep the shutter open indefinitely. Because of the timer setting, it didn’t open the shutter for a few seconds, so I quickly walked back into place and turned out my flashlight. After I heard the shutter open, I proceeded to turn on my flashlight, aim it at the camera, and draw whatever I wanted. Then I turned out the flashlight when I was done, walked over and switched the remote to close the shutter.


It’s harder than I thought it would be. Apparently I’m not much on air-drawing. I kept moving the flashlight too high, so you can see my pictures are cut off.


Clearly I’m very spiritual. (Well, maybe not so clearly–that says “God,” but all messily and cut off.)

NOTES

If you write something, it will turn out backwards in the resulting photo, so you can just reverse it in a photo editing program. Or you can try to write backwards, if you’re that talented.


I found the key chain light gave a nice, fine line, but it was almost too fine. Also, I obviously tried writing my name a few times, but it wasn’t turning out all that nicely.


I remembered someone mentioning a way to color the light by putting a cloth over it. The large Maglite was bright enough that it needed to be toned down anyway, so I first used a green washcloth and held it over the light. Later I tried a multi-colored sock, which was a better idea. It stayed on the flashlight better, and created more interesting colors. Notice there’s both purple and green on some of these.


(I started blanking on words to try.)

Also–and I don’t know if this made a difference–I dressed in dark clothing while I did this. I didn’t want to show up in the pictures, and figured the fewer reflective surfaces, the better. My face wasn’t covered, though, and you can’t see any indication of me, so that’s why I don’t know if it mattered.

So…does that make sense? Feel free to ask questions in the comments. 🙂 No guarantee I can be any clearer, though. There are other tutorials out there that do a better job, I’m sure. Google them.


This is a sad-looking heart. Wow.

Pinteresting

I’ve been using Pinterest more lately, and thought I’d share a few of the clever and funny things I’ve come across. There’s lots of stuff to pin (recipes, craft ideas, fashion, tips/hints, etc.), but these are some instantly entertaining things I have on my “Clever-adorable-awesome-funny” board. (I’m really good at naming boards.)


I’m an introvert!


Mine was!


Hi, Lori!


Hi, R!


Yes, I do have two Lionel Richie references. My friend and I often joke about the head sculpture from the Hello video.

Have a good week!

Project 52 (27-29)

Hey, I should post my Project 52 photos!


Week 27: This is my mom’s cook book. It’s in lovely condition! I remember using this when I was a kid and just learning to bake. It has lots of good recipes from her mom or my dad’s mom.. I don’t really know where they all came from.


Week 28: A killdeer distracting me from my mission to get heron photos.


Week 29: The moon’s reflection tonight.


BONUS: If you’re curious, here’s what it looked like in the sky.


UNRELATED: Here’s a sunrise from the other day.

Bye!

Crab Bisque


I wanted to mention a recipe that my dad tried on Christmas Eve-Eve. It was sooooo delicious. You might even be able to substitute something other than crab if you don’t like it or it’s too pricy.

When I think of bisque, I think of something very pureed, and I typically don’t go for that kind of soup. This is still hearty with pieces of potatoes and crab, like a good clam chowder, so I liked it a lot.

My dad used some American cheese slices because he couldn’t find the Velveeta at the store. I know it sounds weird, but I think it just helps with the texture of the soup. It did not taste cheesy.

Anyway, here’s where he got the recipe: Winning Crab Bisque

I’ll paste it down here, too, in case something happens to the page I linked you to.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup reduced-fat margarine
4 cups diced peeled potatoes
2 cups fat-free milk
4 cups fat-free half-and-half
10 ounces reduced-fat process cheese (Velveeta), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can (1 pound) crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute the onions, celery, green pepper and garlic in margarine until tender. Reduce heat to medium; add the potatoes and milk. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender, stirring occasionally.

Remove 1-1/2 cups of the potato mixture; mash and return to the pan. Reduce heat to low. Stir in half-and-half and process cheese. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add the crab, salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts).

Christmas vacation pictures

Hi there. Happy New Year! That exclamation point is really fake, because let’s just put it this way: today was not an exclamation point kind of day. But now it’s my favorite time (evenings at home) and everything is going to be okay. 🙂 <–Also somewhat fake.

I spent New Year’s Eve with friends. I happened to take only one photo with my cell phone, and it’s definitely not worth sharing. I guess I wasn’t feeling the whole photography thing that night, but it’s nice to put the camera aside sometimes. I enjoyed playing games and hanging out with awesome girls. The evening seemed to go pretty quickly. One minute we’re playing Balderdash, then suddenly it was time to watch Lady Gaga in Times Square and toast in the new year over peach sparkling cider.

But enough about that. I actually have some Christmas photos to show you. Nothing amazing. I kind of forgot them. I also owe this blog my Project 52 photos, but that’ll be later.





My mom set out this picture in the guest room for when I arrived. 😛 She’s funny. As you can read, it’s a picture I made when I was 10, and because my name was on it, it made it safely home after a dramatic kidnapping. Man, that would’ve made an awesome episode of COPS!


This was hilarious–these finches were drinking from my mom’s hummingbird feeders!


My mom and I took a drive near the Sutter Buttes to get some pictures. It was a really nice evening and great weather for December.




At sunset everything was vibrant.

I forgot to share a recipe here, but maybe I’ll link you to a few recipes in a later post. Ooooooooooooooooooookay bye.