Thursday, June 3, 2010


Dear readers,

As most of you well know, I was recently kidnapped in London and held hostage for an e-mail ransom. The result of this adventure was the unfortunate deletion of my old e-mail addresses,, the one tied to this blog, being one of them.

Though I transferred administrator privileges over before I deleted that google account, unfortunately, it appears that it has messed things up over here at Portlandiaquill as well (not the hacker, just the loss of the account).

We have many wonderful things to share - including a marching marmot, and pictures and stories from our trip out to Grand Teton National Park.

In the days to come, keep an eye out for more information - I'll be migrating the blog to another location, and hopefully will be able to retain a similar web address.

Thanks for your patience - hopefully we'll be back on-line before anyone really notices. :)

Love, Ariel

Thursday, May 27, 2010

E-mail account compromised.

I hate to annoy you with this e-mail, but my old hotmail account has been hacked/compromised. If you receive an e-mail from please delete it and block that address.
I've tried to get into it to shut it down, but I've been locked out. I will continue working with hotmail to try to have it deleted, but I'm not sure how far I can get with it.
I don't believe that Gmail has been impacted, but I am going to be shutting this account down as well, just to be safe.
To contact me going forward, please send e-mails to:
What a pain.
Thanks for understanding.

Best wishes to all,
Ariel Varland (Holman)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Changes in the air.

This morning (and days prior) the river was steaming downtown. Big billowy clouds of steam rolling off the water.
A small sign of things to come. Today the temperature didn't drop below zero. Tonight the snow moves in. We can use the blanket, I think.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Last night was bell-clear. The cold settles everything out of the air. It's as if the night holds its breath, waiting for morning.
Dawn rises a soft pink. Small clouds hang low, puffs of frozen breath snagged in the trees.
We wake slowly, the sun itself finding it difficult to rise this crisp, cold morning.


Last night was bell-clear. The cold settles everything out of the air. It's as if the night holds its breath, waiting for morning.
Dawn rises a soft pink. Small clouds hang low, puffs of frozen breath snagged in the trees.
We wake slowly, the sun itself finding it difficult to rise this crisp, cold morning.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Little things.

We squabbled a little last night over whether it was a good idea for Charlie to ride his bike to work tomorrow (a couple inches of snow on the ground, slick roads, cold temps). I made him promise to ride his bike on the sidewalk if he did (no shoulder or room for cars to manuver around him was my thinking...). He reluctantly agreed.
Then the temperature dropped to -4 this morning. He was pleased to have a ride to work, I think (he certainly didn't argue!).

Likes and Dislikes.

Things that I do like:
Cubes of Cotija Cheese in my Tortilla soup. They are squeaky like cheese curds and salty like love.
Very cold glasses of water. Even when it's cold out.
4 degrees below zero. The absense of degrees. The twinge of an "event" that goes along with those days, and seperates them from the ho-hum. Sub item: squeaky snow.
Honey crisp apples. They are always crisp!
Falling asleep on the couch.
Things that I don't like:
Being pressured into adopting Christmas into my heart prematurely for the season. I will get there in my own good time.
People who lack a sense of boundaries, or, (equally) those who have a very different perception of where those boundaries should be drawn.
Cleaning the bathroom.
Scraping the frost off the windshield in the morning.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Si se puede!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hot, but not like burn-down-the-neighborhood hot.

So, if you're following things on Twitter, you know that I made some outstanding brownies yesterday. I've been on a roll when it comes to cooking this weekend, in fact.

But as good as everything has been, these brownies take the cake.

I got the recipe from my new favorite cooking blog, SmittenKitchen.

What makes them so good? The slow, subtle chipotle burn.

These aren't your average bake-sale brownies. Spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and chipotle, they are complex, rich, and delicious. And I'm not really a huge brownie fan.

Here's a link to the recipe. I'd hoard it all to myself, but it's already on the internet, so it's not much of a secret:

I promise that they're awesome, that you may want a glass of milk or scoop of vanilla ice cream nearby when you eat them, and that they weren't the cause of all this last night.

In other cooking news, I've been creative in the kitchen this weekend.
On Friday night, I threw together a really flavorful and easy corn and black bean salad/salsa (see description and ingredients below) which we had with cornbread for dinner. It was so good, we finished it off Saturday night on some awesome chipotle-lime chicken tacos.

Then, last night, knowing Charlie isn't a huge cheesy-foods fan, I devised a simple recipe for Spinach, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan raviolis. Holy YUM.

Without further delay, here are the basics:

Sweet corn and black bean salad:

(Note: in the photo above, I'd cooked the beans a little on the long side, so they disintegrated a little. It was still delicious, though not as picturesque as I'd like. This was also after we'd devoured half the bowl. I figured I'd better get a shot before it was all gone!)

2 cobs of fresh, sweet corn (not frozen corn, it just doesn't cut it)
1 can black beans
1/2 C diced tomatoes
Chipotle chile powder, blended chilies in adobro sauce, or a chipotle sauce of some sort
1/4 C of your favorite salsa (I had Mrs. Renfro's mild salsa on hand, can use fresh tomatoes instead)
about 1/2- 1/3 C minced yellow onion (use red onion if yellow is too strong, can add more or less depending on personal tastes)
1/4-1/3 C mined cilantro (again, adjust to your personal taste)
1 diced medium red bell pepper
1 diced medium avocado
Juice from 1/2 a large lime

Boil corn on cob for just the briefest amount of time--enough to slightly heat through. Remove corn from heat, and let cool.

Meanwhile, heat beans in saucepan over medium heat with diced tomatoes, chipotle, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Add Chipotle according to your heat preference.

When beans are warmed, and flavors are all mixy and tasty, remove from heat.

Cut corn kernels from cobs.

Combine all ingredients except lime in large mixing bowl. Squeeze lime over the top. Refrigerate to cool, or serve warm.

We ate this with cornbread and a simple green salad, and it was AMAZING.

If you're nice, I'll post the ravioli recipe later. :)