adventure, Oregon, Portland, roadtrip, travel, Uncategorized

Portland, Oregon

The other part of my and Tyler’s trip that I wanted to highlight was our last stop in Portland, OR.

Now, we didn’t do as much in Portland as we did in Seattle, since we were only there for an evening, but after we’d spent the evening there, I wish we could have explore Portland more!

We dined on seafood that night. We’d missed our seafood in Seattle and I’d been looking to have some before we returned to land-locked, seafood-lacking Utah. Luckily, we found this fantastic little place called The Fishwife. It had a quaint, old-style, hole-in-the-wall kind of feel, and it was delicious. Here’s me, enjoying my seafood combo basket.

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After dinner, we headed to Powell’s City of Books, and it was quite actually heaven on Earth. Powell’s is the LARGEST bookstore in the WORLD. Do you know how exciting this is to a huge book nerd like me?! SO exciting!!! The store occupies it’s own city block, is four stories high, and consists of NINE color coded rooms that house different types of books.

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Don’t worry, they have maps if you get lost. I totally needed one, but is there a better place to be lost than among shelves of books? Two hours here was nowhere near long enough for me; I could have wandered and read for days.

Our only other Portland excursion was to Voodoo Doughnut, of course. But listen up! This is very important. There are two locations in Portland. While maybe it’s worth it you to go to the FIRST location, I would highly recommend going to the second instead. We tried the first, which is located in busy downtown and doesn’t have its own parking lot, but does have millions of people in line out the door. Ty and I didn’t want to fight the mob and wanted to pay for parking even less, so we checked out Voodoo Doughnut TOO (Two), which was only about five minutes away. It wasn’t quite as downtown, had LOTS of parking, and very few people inside. Much better!

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We got the Voodoo Doll doughnut, the Bacon Maple Bar (my favorite), the Pot Hole Doughnut (an explosion of peanut butter and oreos), and the Lemon Chiffon crueller…all delicious 🙂

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Like I said, I would have loved to explore Portland more. We were sad to leave, but we had a great time!

 

activities, adventure, Family, fun, Seattle, Summer, travel, Uncategorized, Washington, zoo

Seattle, Washington

Two weeks ago today, right now, I was on top of the Space Needle in Seattle. I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks!

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Tyler and I took our 1 year anniversary/Tyler’s graduation trip to the Pacific Northwest. We left the day after his graduation and one day before our anniversary. We were gone for 9 days. It was a BLAST. We started in Seattle.

We arrived to Seattle Sunday night, May 8, to our little “Cabin in the City” we found via Airbnb, which I’m just going to pitch for right now. Use Airbnb on your trips, guys. Our little rental was a cabin behind someone’s home, and it was so cute and cozy and the renters were so nice and helpful.

The next day, May 9, was our first anniversary!!!!! I can’t hardly believe we’ve been married a year! Then again, I also can’t believe it’s only been a year. Regardless, it’s been the best year 🙂

We breakfasted at Beth’s Cafe, as featured on Man v. Food for their ENORMOUS omelettes. It was delicious. They serve mounding plates of food and bottomless hash browns…need I say more?!

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Our first day in Seattle was our “Animal Day.” We hit up the Woodland Park Zoo first, which we enjoyed not only for some unique and/or endangered animals (ocelots, red pandas, golden lion tamarins, etc), but also I loved the vegetation they used to plan the park! We spent 3 and 1/2 hours exploring the park before heading over to the waterfront to give the Seattle Aquarium a visit.

The Seattle Aquarium is a little small, but very cool! Mine personal favorite part was the harbor seals. We got there around 2 in time to see the keepers feed them and they had the seals do some tricks. We also had a lot of fun with the touch pools, the underwater dome, and the jellyfish ring.

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We ended our day at Pike’s Place Market. Can’t do a Seattle trip and not give Pike’s Place a visit! Because it was our anniversary, Tyler bought me one of those big, lovely bouquets of flowers. So pretty.

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We also found this most delicious bakery called Piroshky Piroshky, and couldn’t ignore the mouthwatering smells and line of people pouring out the door. I think I could’ve eaten every single thing they were selling. (Pro Tip: in the afternoons, I think around 4, they have “happy hour” where all their pastries go on sale for 3 dollars each!).

All in all, despite our difficulty navigating the completely nonsensical streets of Seattle, it was a great first day (and a great anniversary 🙂 )

Our second day was (mostly) centered around the Space Needle. We started with the EMP Center (Experience Music Project), which Tyler really wanted to go to but I wasn’t too enthused about. Except it turned out to be really cool! Easily the best part was the three “genre” exhibits: sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Each exhibit was uniquely designed to fit the theme. For example, the sci-fi exhibit felt like we were on a spaceship and the fantasy one featured castle-like and forest features. We had a ton of fun exploring everything and, of course, jamming on the instruments on the top floor in one of the recording rooms.

Next we visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Absolutely beautiful! Also, definitely talk to the curators standing around! Tyler asked one of them a question and we learned A LOT about the exhibits because of it. But really, the glass is just stunning, and my pictures do it no justice.

And then, of course, we paid the top of the Space Needle a visit. It was an (unseasonably) beautiful day, which is perfect for being atop the Needle. You could see Mt. Ranier!

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I thought it was a great idea, too, that they had binoculars and telescopes up top as well.

Our last Seattle venture was to tour University of Washington’s campus. I have a friend who is a student there, so it was REALLY fun to see her and she gave us a tour of campus and escorted us to THE pizza place for thin crust pizza lovers, Mod Pizza. My pizza had ricotta cheese and asparagus (among other things) on it, and I felt very fancy (haha).

UW’s big draw (at least for the geeks among us, like me) is what they call their “Harry Potter Study Room,” which is a GIANT hall that literally looks like the Great Hall. I mean, how cool is this?!

And thus concludes our Seattle trip! But not the end of our week-long trip. Oh no. We visited my old hometown of Tumwater/Tenino near Olympia, and then Ocean Shores. Then Olympic National Forest. And then Portland.

breakfast, cinnamon, granola, honey, nuts, oatmeal, Uncategorized

Homemade Granola

Granola’s expensive, am I right? But so yummy. And pretty healthy, which is good for me, because I’m doing a “no sugar” thing until our road trip to WASHINGTON STATE in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. I’m so excited.

Anyways…back to granola. Bet you didn’t know how easy it is to make!

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You will need:

  • 2 C rolled oats (NOT instant)
  • 1 C nuts, seeds, and/or coconut (“add-ins”)
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1/4 C oil (I used a blend of coconut and olive, but any will work)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Opt: chocolate chips, dried fruit

Combine your oats and add-ins. Whisk your oil and honey together. Pour over oat mix. Add the vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Mix all together until evenly coated ( I find it easiest to use my hands!)

Spread evenly on a greased cookie sheet. Place in oven at 300 degrees. Stir your granola every ten minutes or so to cook evenly. Once you’ve reached your desired crunchiness, remove from oven. If you want, add your dried fruit at this point. (Hold off on the chocolate chips until granola has cooled).

And that’s it! Enjoy in milk, over yogurt, or by the handful!

Uncategorized

Strawberries and Cream Cake

This cake means I’m ready for summer.

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You will need…

  • Boxed vanilla cake mix (I used Pillsbury)
  • Ingredients as requested to make your cake mix

For the frosting (which is really the star of this cake)

  • 2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 C powdered sugar, divided
  • 5 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lbs diced strawberries

Mix your cake according to directions. Split evenly between 2 round pans. Allow cake to cool (about 10 mins) after removing from the oven, then carefully remove the cake from the pans. Place in fridge for about a half hour to continue cooling.

Meanwhile, while your cake is cooling, it’s time to whip up your frosting! Beat the cream until soft peaks form and add 1/3 C powdered sugar. Beat until nearly stiff (if you don’t beat the cream long enough, your frosting will be too runny!)

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add the other 1/3 C powdered sugar and your vanilla, then stir in your strawberries. Now fold the whipped cream and cream cheese mixtures together. Once your cake is cool, it’s time to frost.

If your cakes have mounded during cooking, level the one you’ll use for the base by slicing off the very top. Spread a third of the frosting on top of your base. Place next layer on and cover the entire cake!

For some pro cake-building tips, I HIGHLY recommend this page: How to Build a Layered Cake.

baking, bread, dough, Uncategorized, yeast

Homemade Bread

It’s been a looooooong time since I’ve been able to post! All my time lately has been taken up by classes, moving, and this adorable face.

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Isn’t she cute?! Maizy the goldendoodle is the newest addition to our little family, and we adore her. BUT she sure does need a lot of attention!

WHEN I do happen to find some spare time, I’m still baking and cooking away. My weekly ritual since Christmas has been to bake a loaf of bread, because over the holidays in some weird kind of resolution, I decided that I’m going one of those people who makes everything from scratch, starting with my bread. In the last 4 months, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

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I’ve dabbled with a couple of old favorite bread recipes before I found the perfect blend of ingredients to make a fairly healthy and DELICIOUS loaf of soft bread. Nothing tastes better than a slice of warm bread from the oven.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 C warm water
  • 1/2 Tbls yeast
  • 1/4 Tbls salt
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • 2 C wheat flour
  • 2 C white flour

Mix your water and yeast. Allow to become foamy.

Combine everything except 1 cup of each flour in large mixing bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, add the rest of the flour.

Knead well on floured surface. Form a loaf and place in a greased bread pan. Cover with a towel and let raise for at least a half hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 mins. Allow bread to sit in plan for another 15 minutes before removing and enjoying a slice…or two…or more…

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cake, Chocolate, Desserts, ice cream, Uncategorized

Molten Lava Cakes

Wow! It has been WAY too long since my last post. Can I blame it on being back in school?

Well, last weekend was Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been a fan of the holiday UNTIL last year, when my TYLER, my best friend, proposed! The day after, that is. Getting engaged on Valentine’s Day is SO cliche 😉

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ANYWAYS…we kept Valentine’s Day low-key this year. It was Sunday, after all. Slept in, made pink heart pancakes, went to church, and made a fancy dinner afterwards. I was in charge of dessert, and I just HAD to go with these chocolate lava cakes from The Domestic Rebel, who has WAY better pics than I do . (I wasn’t planning on blogging this, but it was so delicious and split open so nicely, I just HAD to.)

They were SO good! Especially with the ice cream and homemade hot fudge 🙂 And super easy! These little individual cakes are sure to impress.

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You will need:

  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbs flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • OPT: Ice cream and fudge for garnish

Melt chocolate and butter for 1 min until butter is melted and chocolate can be whisked into a smooth substance.

Add powdered sugar, eggs, yolks, and vanilla, stirring to combine. Then add flour and salt.

Pour batter evenly into 4 liberally greased ramekins. Bake on 425 degrees for 13-15 mins, until edges are firm and center is soft. Let cake stand for a couple minutes before carefully tipping upside-down onto a plate. Top with ice cream and fudge if desired. Serve immediately!