alittlek’s space

Let’s Go, Blazers!
February 27, 2011, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Life, Misc.

The Belgian and Dutch contingent joined forces again to rock the Rose Garden arena. We cheered on our local Trailblazers to victory, and saw history in the making.

The last nail-biting seconds led to the necessary 3 pointer that tied the game and sent us into overtime. Five minutes of back and forth action finished with an intense 1-point win over the Denver Nuggets, 107-106. Thanks to the overtime, we also topped the 100 point mark, which means we all walked home with a free chalupa from taco bell. Or well, a coupon for a free chalupa…

But that’s not all – the halftime entertainment included a member from the audience throwing a ball from half court, in hopes to win a Toyota Tundra. We were already fairly amused from him just launching that ball into the void, but then to our amazement….. swoOooOOosh. The ball didn’t even touch the backboard. After a second of silent disbelief, the crowd erupts into cheer. Screaming, fist-pumping, and jumping up and down. Who knows…maybe even a high five to a stranger or two. The stunned winner also begins jumping up and down, and hugging the mascot. To be a part of, what was probably, one of the best moments of that guy’s life was magical.

Dank je voor een geweldige en spannende avond. Volgende keer zullen we in Antwerpen samenkomen om het Belgische team te steunen.

My Last Year as a 20-Something Year-Old
May 23, 2010, 6:10 am
Filed under: Life, Misc.

To commemorate my last year as a 20-something year-old (yes, I REPEAT: 20-something year-old)….I am embarking on a new and challenging project:

Take two photos each day – one “daily” and one diptych – and upload them to my flickr set. There’s no limit to what I can capture, but the photos must be horizontal. At year’s end, I will create a book and all of my many fans can buy one :)

So far the project as been going well. 11 days down; 354 to go. And today I made a big step in purchasing a fast shutter fixed angle lens.

*crunchy* speculaas pasta is lekkerder!
May 17, 2010, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Belgium, Food

One of my very first posts was about this delectable speculaas (speculoos) spread recently invented in Belgium. And amazingly, that post remains my most-viewed yet. So for those fans out there who can’t get enough of the spreadable goodness… I have good news. No, I have great news. You now have a choice. That’s right. CHOICE.

Would you like creamy, or crunchy, today?

Crunchy please! Oh, could you ever have imagined anything more delectable than a creamy spreadable cookie out of jar? Then how about one with little bits of cookie in it? Well, now you’ve got it.

The unfortunate thing (for me) is that, unlike the creamy version, nor our local Dutch store carries it. Thankfully, a friend who recently moved to Belgium sensed my urgency. When Nilam came stateside a couple months ago, she mailed me a jar of crunchy. I’m so indebted.

Gasp! The jar is almost empty. But luckily, family is visiting in June. And even better, I’m going to Belgium in August! So I should be in good shape for at least another year.

Birthday Bash
May 14, 2010, 4:03 am
Filed under: Life

May 12th was my birthday, and a grand day it was. It started off with a bang with breakfast at Pine State Biscuits. Best chicken biscuit in town! I went there last year on my birthday, so maybe it’s becoming a ritual… Tune in next year to see if that’s so!

Next, I went to PSU for corporate finance. I gotta say that I was really excited for it… Ha! excited because I had brought cupcakes! Nico and I made devil’s food cupcakes with a cream cheese icing the night before. And I just bought a cake decorating set and was anxious to play with frosting designs. They turned out great!

After class, and a stimulating marketing meeting, I met Nico for dinner at Habibi – a Lebanese restaurant downtown. Stuffed, we waddled down to the waterfront, under highways, across trolley tracks and made our way to…

…Dah, dah, DAH! Cirque du Soleil!

We saw Kooza and it was AWESOME! We had the best seats too. We sat in the second level section, but the first row…so all the characters were running around in front of us. There was a “bad dog” character, and he ran by, turned around, stuck his face right into mine and barked! Really loud! I screamed. And everyone laughed. A couple minutes later I was distracted and looking to my right…when I turned back around, the dog was right there, and he BARKED! I screamed again, and of course, everyone laughed. It was a really fun evening.

Baby Laura’s Blanket
May 9, 2010, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Life, Misc.

I think it’s time to get a sewing machine of my own. Amazingly, a friend has been willing to lend me his – but after accomplishing several crafty projects recently and really enjoying the fruits of my labor, I’ll keep my eyes open for a good deal.

My latest project was quilting a baby blanket for friends, Marian and Thomas, and their wonderful new addition, Baby Laura. Of course, when I first purchased the materials I didn’t know the sex of the baby, so I went with a fairly neutral look. I think, however, that despite the bright reds, blues, and greens, it is fairly feminine. Maybe it’s the pink strawberries? In the end, it turned out just perfect!

For the front, I sewed the patches together and then settled on a soft, velvety, bright red for the back. In fact, it was Nico that picked it out…all on his own! One day after work he stopped by JoAnn’s Fabrics and skimmed the shelves for the perfect color and fabric. Armed with a good sense of fashion and his cell phone, he did it! I was so impressed.

Baby Laura was born on April 21st at 3:06pm. She weighed in at 8lbs, 15ozs – the same weight I was! She’s sweet and adorable and I hope she loves her new blanket and will have many wonderful memories with it.

Country Rhubarb Cake
April 12, 2010, 2:34 am
Filed under: Food

Nico and I hosted friends for dinner on Saturday, and our day of preparation involved Nico making dessert: Rhubarb Cake! To me, it’s more like a pie but with lots of crust. Although I really can’t claim any credit for this delicious endeavor – I did suggest adding lemon zest to both the crust and filling (which he did). I bet that was the key ;)

Leaders of Tomorrow
April 6, 2010, 2:21 am
Filed under: Grad School

I was asked by the fine folks at Portland State to partake in a photoshoot promoting women MBAs. What? Have my photo taken by a professional photographer, and it potentially used as promotional material? Yes, please!

The shoot was not on campus, yet instead at Portland’s newest urban plaza. Director Park, previously used for surface parking, now features a glass canopy, outdoor seating cafe, and water fountain. Several of us showed up and obeyed the commands of the photographer for two hours. And what a blustery day it was! Thank goodness I had a hair clip, because otherwise it would have looked like a fashion touch with a wind machine gone bad. Of the hundreds of photos taken that day, the one selected to be used in the April 9th issue of Portland Business Journal is shown above. Awesome!

A Bridal “High Tea”
March 31, 2010, 5:15 am
Filed under: Life

I was in Virginia last weekend for one last hoorah before the BIG day. My parents and I knocked down one task after another and we’re in pretty good shape for the wedding! Decisions about rings, ceremony music, invitations, bridesmaids’ gifts, and hair-dos were made. Check, check, check, and….. check.

The highlight of the visit, however, was a beautiful bridal shower that the lovely ladies of Kingspoint threw in my honor. Linda, Chrissy, and Barbara came up with the unique idea to have high tea – and it was fabulous! The table was adorned with sandwiches, scones, and little deviled eggs (eggs from my parent’s Belgian D’Uccles!). And of course, a variety of teas served in a variety of unique teacups.

Every guest shared recipes with me, and all on matching “A” stationary. It’s like having a whole cookbook of foolproof recipes, and from people I know! The gals also presented me with cookware: All Clad skillet, Le Creuset dutch oven, Le Creuset panini press, and a gorgeous Emile Henry pie plate. Amazingly, I managed to carry everything back with me to Portland. It’s time to do some serious damage in the kitchen, I think.

Good food, good cheer, good friends. Thank you!

January 31, 2010, 7:46 pm
Filed under: Food

The same night of our cooking party, Jeff also taught us to make buckeyes. But the better version of buckeye… meaning they’re made of peanut butter and chocolate!

Huge smiley face insert [HERE]

The trick to this one is having a tempering machine. The unfortunate part is that tempering machines are ridiculously expensive! You can easily drop a thousand bucks for the darn thing. You can add wax to the chocolate though, to help solidify it, but the idea of consuming wax kinda weirds me out. I know, I know…I’m sure I consume worse things, but whoever said “ignorance is bliss” was very, very wise.

January 23, 2010, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Food

Mmm….Homemade German pretzels. My friend, Jeff, is a cook-a-holic and when he posted on Facebook a photo of freshly-baked, perfectly-formed, mouth-watering pretzels, I made it pretty clear that I wanted a cooking lesson – and soon! One night, Jeff came through on his promise, and we had a cooking party. Nico was there too (well, come on…who do you think is *really* going to be making the pretzels?) and Julia. And being that she’s full-blown German, accent and everything, it only added to the authenticity ;)

The recipe is fool-proof but the trick is lye – a chemical that, if swallowed, CALL poison control. And it’s recommended to wear goggles and protective clothing while handling it. Seriously, who came up with this? Was a German chemist making pretzels and at the same time experimenting in his basement, and then lo-and-behold accidentally discovered the trick to perfectly browning them? So weird… But so delicious.

Jeff hooked me up with some lye, so Nico and I could start making them ourselves. The same day I got the lye we made pretzels, and they turned out so well! But after posting a photo to Facebook, I got myself in a bit of trouble. Too many requests to bring samples to class! It resulted in some very disappointed classmates the next day. Oops….

I’ll just have to co-host a pretzel-making party with Jeff – and soon!