Animating Life, the Laika Exhibit at Portland Art Museum

I’ve seen all the Laika movies – first Coraline, then ParaNorman, Boxtrolls, and finally the most recent (and my favorite), Kubo and the Two Strings. If you haven’t heard of Laika, they are a Portland stop-motion animation movie studio. Think of them like our local Pixar, bringing storytelling to the screen that appeals to adults and children. Recently the Portland Art Museum opened a special Laika exhibit Animating Life that showcases some of the behind the scenes of how Laika created those movies, and it’s worth a visit. The exhibit runs until May 20.
At the Laika exhibit at the Portland Art Museum, this display shows how Laika scaled the giant skeleton (here 18 feet, which is 1/5 scale of the 90 feet in human scale the monster is in the story) to the average height of the other characters Kubo (9.25 inches), Monkey (13 inches), Beetle (21 inches), and Hanzo Origami (2 inches). At the Laika exhibit at the Portland Art Museum, this display shows how Laika scaled the giant skeleton (here 18 feet, which is 1/5 scale of the 90 feet in human scale the monster is in the story) to the average height of the other characters Kubo (9.25 inches), Monkey (13 inches), Beetle (21 inches), and Hanzo Origami (2 inches).
Laika scaled the giant skeleton (here 18 feet, which is 1/5 scale of the 90 feet in human scale the monster is in the story) to the average height of the other characters Kubo (9.25 inches), Monkey (13 inches), Beetle (21 inches), and Hanzo Origami (2 inches). I am not to scale with the characters. 
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Merry Christmas! Santas and Cookies and Casseroles!

I want to wish a Portland Merry Christmas 2017 to everyone! If you’re in Portland, you know we got a surprise on Christmas Eve during the day in which we got snow! That snow stuck (along with icy rain layers) to make for a white Christmas, yay! I had purchased some Christmas flowers for myself and left it out for 5 minutes or so to get the contrast of the snowflakes.
Christmas flowers in the snow Christmas flowers in the snow

For fun, I just wanted to write a quick post on our plans this year. 2 years ago, F and I spent Christmas in Japan, and last year we spent it apart while I was in LA with my new 3 month old niece and family. This year both of us are staying in PDX, though it isn’t as fun as I hoped because he currently is sick and is congested and gross. Thankfully, I have Santa displays from town to keep me in a cheerful mood.

Here’s one from North Mississippi – Snowman vs Santa – which asks whether you are #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display
Snowman vs Santa - are you #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display Snowman vs Santa - are you #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display Snowman vs Santa - are you #TeamSnowman or #TeamSanta #illuminatedpdxmas2017 at the All American Holiday Window Display

Another Santa display this year was by Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Santa Clones. The Santa Clones have been around Portland for several years, where everyone doesn’t exactly disclose the address but you get hints at where they are, so it is a mini quest to find them.
The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017
The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017 The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017 The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017 The Santa Clones - a collection of Santa figure lights that appear with only hints to the location that you then have to find. #thesantaclones2017

Last year for the holidays I made a Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Egg and Cheese Casserole. You can find the recipe here, but here’s a picture just to get you in the mood – super easy to prep the night before if you want so you pop it in the oven and enjoy in your PJs all day. This year for New Year’s Day brunch I’m planning on making a Savory Shrimp and Oatmeal, lots of crispy bacon, and a Croissant Breakfast Casserole.
Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Egg and Cheese Casserole Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Egg and Cheese Casserole

For Christmas Day I’m all about Dorie Greenspan’s 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies which were super fast to make and only 3 ingredients – though I ran out of almonds so I also mixed in some chopped pecans so technically I guess my cookies were 4 ingredients. They are not the most beautiful cookies because of the dough being thin so they tend to be free-form shaped, and they are thin and crispy. I won’t reprint the recipe here, but I did link to it.
Easy Christmas Cookies - from Food 52 I followed the Dorie Greenspan's 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies recipe Easy Christmas Cookies - from Food 52 I followed the Dorie Greenspan's 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies recipe

My mother in law also sent us these amazing Juustoleipa (yoo-stoh-lay-paa), which means “Bread Cheese”, a buttery flavored baked cheese that has been produced in Finland and Sweden for over 200 years. And this adorable plate is from West Elm.
Juustoleipa (yoo-stoh-lay-paa) means Bread Cheese, a buttery flavored baked cheese that has been produced in Finland and Sweden for over 200 years. And this adorable plate is from West Elm Juustoleipa (yoo-stoh-lay-paa) means Bread Cheese, a buttery flavored baked cheese that has been produced in Finland and Sweden for over 200 years. And this adorable plate is from West Elm

What are you doing for Christmas and/or New Year’s?
Christmas Tree at Pioneer Square

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Lardo PDX Chefwich with XLB – Char Siu Reuben

I have given a lot of love to Lardo in the past, in particular their Chefwich series which spotlights a collaboration with a local chef with a portion of the sales going to a charity near and dear to that guest chef’s heart. For December, the chefwich spotlight is to XLB‘ s Jasper Shen + Laura Tran. Together, they created a Char Siu Reuben that stars roasted Chinese pork, spicy cabbage, Swiss, XLB secret sauce on griddled rye bread.
Lardo PDX and XLB Chefwich, the Char Siu Reuben with BBQ Chinese pork, spicy cabbage, Swiss, XLB secret sauce on griddled rye bread and benefiting Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) for the month of December 2017 Lardo PDX and XLB Chefwich, the Char Siu Reuben with BBQ Chinese pork, spicy cabbage, Swiss, XLB secret sauce on griddled rye bread and benefiting Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) for the month of December 2017

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Cookbook Gift Ideas from Local Female Portland Authors

Recently I highlighted some great food gift ideas created by women makers here in Portland. Today I wanted to highlight some awesome local female cookbook authors who recently have released cookbooks.

Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match

This cookbook Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match by Ivy Manning boasts 70 recipes that pairs together soups and breads. The book offers a lot of recipes, with inspirations from all over the world to really open new flavors in soup and bread combinations for your table. For instance, consider South Indian Sambar, or Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Soup, or Persian Yogurt, Lentil, and Bulgar Soup with Browned Herb Butter.

Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match by Ivy Manning Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match by Ivy Manning

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Recommendations for Local Food Gifts By Women

It’s already Thanksgiving week! This really marks that the holiday season is upon us. This year, I would like to share my recommendations for local food gifts – gifts that are edible that you can give to friends, family, co-workers that are edible and enjoyable for anyone. All of these items are also produced by local artisans, and on top of that these are all women owned businesses, so you are supporting female entrepreneurs. I was not sponsored by anyone I’m listing here  – I personally recommend all of these products in terms of deliciousness and want to share some amazing products by amazing women.

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