I Met P-Dub!!!
Yes! It was an exciting evening, and I should have warn my tennis shoes.....we were in line for SO long! This is my friend Julie and I waiting to hear The Pioneer Woman speak...like my double chin?
My daughter is also a fan. Here she is with her bestie waiting....
Ree had a lovely power point presentation. She shared with us how she got started and even sang a funny little tune for Charlie, her beloved Basset Hound....It was too funny!
We arrived at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park about 5 pm. This photo was taken close to 9 pm...poor Ree, she had a long night. Some other friends waited until almost midnight to greet her! My husband said, "I can't believe you're standing right next to her!" SO exciting! I had the camera on the wrong setting...but I messed with enough to make it ok...
Here is my friend Tammy with Ree. I think they both look so pretty in this shot....Such a big day!
And my friend Julie. Looking so happy. It was great to meet her and she lived up to my expectations. She is funny and quirky in person just like she comes across on her blog. AND she was born in January of 1969, I was born in December of 1969....maybe that's why I dig her we just "get" eachother....Ha!
This last weekend my husband and I got to have a little getaway. We went to Leavenworth and had a great time. We left just about lunch time and had to stop at Old School BBQ in Sultan. I had seen it on Evening Magazine and decided it was a must try.
This is Old School BBQ. Believe me, I was a little skeptical at first....the owners are from Texas and are very friendly and helpful.
If you choose, you can eat lunch in here. We opted to take ours on the road. I think it's cute how it says lunch room, must be the teacher in me...
This is where the magic happens. They use mesquite wood to smoke the meat. The flavor it imparts is amazing!
This here is the beef brisket. My husband was over the moon for this sandwich. He couldn't believe they had been there for five years and this is the first time we'd visited. He pretty much talked all weekend about how great this sandwich was. Honestly, we both agree that this was the best food we ate all weekend AND it was only five minutes from the house. Needless to say we have plans to return soon. Very soon..
This was the view from our room at night. The lights were on and it was a lovely sight.
We got a sampler pack of these chocolates.....none of them made it home with us....we were able to choose which chocolates went in our box which was fun.
Schocolat, has a chocolatier on site to craft these amazing goodies. Their sales staff is quite good at what they do....like having us share one that was filled with creamy coffee goodness....they are the chocolates that look like the coffee beans....amazing!
We also went wine tasting at Kestrel. I just love their wines. They have a Cabernet that I tried and liked at Costco right now...The tasting room is lovely and they had live music while we were there. I didn't have my camera with me though....they also waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle, a nice gesture in my opinion. We also went to Icicle Brewing Company for beer tasting; we've got to be fair. We are not big fans of light beer and that was pretty much what they had to offer. Their growler jugs are way cool though. Probably some German name for them that I don't know about but there wasn't anything we liked well enough to fill one. I think the brewery is pretty new. I did like that you could sit outside around a gas fire and have a beer. That was cool.
The highlight of the trip was getting to go cross country skiing. We hadn't done that for at least 5 years and it is something we both enjoy.
There is an 8K route along the river that is groomed. It is mostly flat and quite popular. Cross country is a great workout. The trick is for me is getting just the right amount of attire on.
We rented our skis in town at the sporting goods store. They were friendly and helpful.
We then drove over to where you ski. It's called the Icicle River Ski & Snowshoe Trail. It is at the west end of town near the Sleeping Lady Resort. I had never driven off the main drag in Leavenworth so it was fun to see some new areas.
My husband was doing the skate thing. I think this shot is funny 'cuz it kinda looks like he's gonna fall....he didn't though...no one was injured or harmed in the taking of these photos.
This was our lunch spot. We packed one and ate it at the halfway mark. Peanut butter and jelly; it was great.
The view from the valley on our cross country return journey. I just love the outdoors!
I got to go to Napa Valley over Thanksgiving weekend. I had never been before....The vineyards are GORGEOUS this time of year! I want to go back already......
First stop was the bank....I thought this flower sculpture was adorable. I'd like one in my yard please. My mom liked it too....
Our first stop was Bouchon bakery. We beat the line, thankfully....it is a cute little place with lots of goodies to choose from....
We choose a few....a bacon cheddar scone, our favorite, blueberry muffin, coffee cake, a currant scone, and a Nutter Butter type cookie, we had that later in the evening.
Everybody enjoying the goodies outside on a crisp fall day. Let's call this the "before...."
This is the after.....everything was delicious!
My sister, having been to Napa before, had some things she wanted to show us. One being The French Laundry a world renowned restaurant....
The restaurant looks adorable, maybe for my 50th I'll have dinner there.....
Of course the restaurant has it's own gardens right across the street where it gets much of it's greens and veggies. Oh what a view!
Such good little photo takers aren't they? Our next stop, after visiting Napa Style, Michael Chiarello's shop, was a cute little grocery store called the Oakville Grocer. Inside they have all sorts of delectible things to have along your wine tasting adventure. We picked up some bread and triple cream brie that was AMAZING!
Silverado was our first wine stop. It overlooks the valley and is just beautiful. This is my sister's favorite winery. I picked up a Sangiovese, that should be lovely to enjoy later.
My folks out on the deck enjoying the view.
The view of the valley. Personally, I think this is the best time to go to Napa! Look at all the colors! I would guess in the summer it would just be green AND full of people!
Peju winery was our next stop. It is a smaller, family owned winery in Napa. Most of their wine goes out through the doors or their wine club. My friend from the gym, Melissa, suggested we visit. The wines were lovely, I picked up a Merlot. The other thing I liked about this winery is that if you bought a bottle of wine, they waived your tasting fee. Good deal to me.
We wandered through the town of St. Helena and looked in some of the shops. This tree was in front of a church. Gorgeous! The town was cute, the shops were fun. Wishing I would have bought some olive oil in one....there's always next time....
Our next stop was lunch....Gotts roadside. This place is all outside and the line is LONG. BUT.....
THIS is what we got...sweet potato fries and regular fries....
A couple of regular cheeseburgers.....my stomach is growling now....the buns were amazing and so were the burgers...
We also got the blue cheese burger, I love blue cheese on my burger. This one did not disappoint.
And of course what is a burger and fries without a vanilla bean milkshake?? Everthing here was delicious. We enjoyed every bite.
Napa was lovely, I can't wait to go back!
NewHalem Camping Trip:
We just returned from a great couple of days in the wilderness. Our family along with some terrific friends went to the NewHalem campground off the North Cascade Hwy. My husband and I had visited the area about 10 years ago and thought it was just gorgeous so we decided to take the family back. It was a great time and beautiful place.
The first day we hiked down to Ross dam. It was a quick easy hike for our kids. The breeze on the dam was invigorating, and looking down from way up there was.....WOW! Oh my! This is my son and his buddy enjoying the view.
We ate lunch on the dam and this was the view....not bad if you ask me. It's August here in Seattle and still there is snow in the mountains. You could also see Ross Lake from the dam. Another neat place we'd like to visit.
After our hike we headed to Diablo Lake area. This lake has water that is Emerald green and FREEZING cold. We hung out by the river where my son had the time of his life. He LOVES time in the wild. Kids don't mind the ice cold water as much as we adults do. I think he actually went totally under in this river, just to prove his point....
On our way back to the campground we investigated this waterfall. The kids enjoyed climbing up there and I must say it was quite refreshing to be that close and get a little spray.
Breakfast of champions.....Lucky Charms of course!
Favorite past time while camping.....cruising the hood of course!
The hubby and I enjoying our morning granola. We had quite the smoky fires this time; but we think it helped keep the bugs at bay....well kind of....
Our friend Josh made homemade donuts when he took his boys backpacking over night. They looked like fun so I decided to give it a whirl on our trip. The main ingredients: canola oil, reftrigerator biscut dough, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and white sugar.
My hubby brought his backpacking stove for this one. You can see he's got a little help while lighting the stove.
I busted out my girl scout mess kit to heat the oil in.
This is me slicing up the dough. we decided to go with donut holes in order to serve the most people. We found in the end that the smaller bits of dough cooked the best. Josh gave them the name popcorn donuts, I like it!
This is the cinnamon sugar waiting for a nice hot donut to coat!
We also used powdered sugar. I believe the cinnamon sugar won for best donut hole though.
Tthe little bits of goodness frying up in the pan...
I dropped them in
Flipped them over once. Then scooped them out with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.
My sous chef, Tammy, rolled them around in the sugars of choice.
Here are the little balls of goodness. Popcorn donuts are born! The kids absolutely loved them; couldn't get enough of them. The adults enjoyed them too. They would totally be a fun slumber party food; where your could actually regulate the temperature of the oil. It's supposed to be 350 degrees.....I would defintely try it again.
I think this picture is funny because it looks like I'm doing absolutely nothing but drinking my coffee! Julie looks like she is having a good time flipping the donuts. She was assisting at this point because I was informed by my husband that I needed to make the donut pieces smaller.
Cheers to donuts!!
Our final day led us to explore the waterfalls in the town of NewHalem. This is the suspension bridge to cross over to the waterfalls.
All our sweet kids up in the tree. They've been friends since birth. Such neat relationships they have.
Boy ain't she pretty? Tammy looks great, note to self, bring a hat that covers your hair!!
On the way home we stopped at Rasar campground. There we found a GREAT place to hang out by the river. The water was also WAY more tolerable. I went in as did my man. It was nice to rinse some of the grim off before continuing on the drive home. The kids had a blast playing in the river....
And eating more healthy snacks of course!
You can see our bike in the background we road them down from the parking lot. It was a nice little ride. Rasar is definitely a place I would like to visit again with the family. Lots more to explore there!
Cheers to Ashland!
We went to Ashland last week in celebration of my sister's 40th birthday. My sister was an English teacher before kids came along, so seeing a little Shakespeare was right up her alley. My mom, Aunt Donna, sister, and I had a fun girls weekend. We enjoyed great food, lots of treats, and plenty of good wine. This is a toast to us! We stayed at a place called Terra Cottage Inn, we found it on http://www.vrbo.com/ an excellent resource for vacations by the way.
The place was incredible. It had a well stocked kitchen with everything you need to make meals, including some spices! This is the kitchen.
This is one of the art pieces hanging in the living area. The owners of the place are both artists. Mark paints, and teaches art at the High School. Elizabeth does pottery. All of the plates you see in the photos are made by her. I came home with a few other pieces made by her, SO fun to have little mementos of our time there.
This little bit is what sold me on the place! It's an outdoor cooking space again fully stocked with whatever you need! My sister is watching over the chicken we are cooking for dinner.
Chicken on the grill! Yum!
Aunt Donna, mom, & Trish enjoying a little wine before dinner our first night.
We sauteed up some Lacinto Kale for dinner with shallot and olive oil. It was good.
Here was night one's dessert. We all shared, coconut cream tart, lemon tart, and dark chocolate salted caramel truffles....Oh MY! The treats came from Mix Sweet Shop, we'd definitely recommend them.
Here are the little gems all sliced up so we can devour them. The lemon tart was amazing. I had never had a lemon tart before, can you believe it? We all decided the "meringue" on top was more like marshmallow, but I did not complain. The coconut cream tart was OK, I'm not a big coconut fan so it was just OK, like I didn't finish it. Now lets talk about that truffle there in the back. WOW! is all I got to say. We went back for those...twice! Yum!
This is the outdoor theater before the show. It was a glorious night! You could see all the stars up overhead when it got dark. It was cold and I did not come prepared for cold. My sister I think has a pretty funny picture of my actual get up by the end of the night....a girls got to do what a girls got to do....
Here are Trish and I before the show. The nice gentleman behind us took the photo. Two things I learned to take note of if you ever attend the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR. 1. Get the blanket before the show if there is a chance it is going to be chilly or bring your own. 2. Don't leave your seat to try and get a blanket after the show has started. Especially if you have great seats like we did, close to the stage in the center....because you won't get back to your seat until intermission. I was seated again but more in the back. They do try and communicate this to you before the show but it was said in such silly flowery language, I did not get it.....Love's Labor's Lost was excellent. Totally funny and even if you don't get every word you still get the gist through the actors. Oh also, we thought the best synopsis of the play was actually in the playbill not the one you pay $10 for....We also saw To Kill A Mockingbird. It was poignant, dramatic and beautifully acted. Trish and I sat in the front row!! Amazing!
My sister did up this broccoli slaw salad with chicken and pear for lunch one day. We had it along with some of the no-knead cheese bread I brought along. I will share that recipe soon. The little Terra Cota house in the background was also made by Elizabeth.
Here are the lovely ladies enjoying lunch on the patio. So fun! Here too is where my sister said, "Wow, we sure aren't having a hard time getting through a bottle of wine this week!" Such over achievers we are!
Now we are on to a little "research" for our men. This is a tasting from Standing Stone Brewing Company. Isn't the little tray of beers cute? We thought so. Everybody tried them and then purchased our favorite for my man!
Such a variety of flavor and color. The last and darkest beer here included some mocha espresso from Noble coffee, a local coffee house, it smelled and tasted of coffee. That was my mom's favorite. We came home with the Double Pilsner IPA. I think it's the fourth one down in the tray. We also got an appetizer of deep fried brussel sprouts! They were good and came with this basil aioli that was to die for. I don't know why I didn't take a photo of them though....
This is the margarita from the little Mexican place we went to. We were warned the margarita's were quite potent there. Pretty much tequila and lime juice.....we added Splenda! Because we are not hard core tequila lovers....wouldn't order one again.
The guacamole at this place was great! We thought it was cute how they brought it out with all the chips stuck in it. We liked all the tacos we had, carne asada, carnitas, and grilled fish. We also liked their chicken tamale. Rice and beans were good too. Aunt Donna and mom enjoyed the flan too. Trish ordered a posole that was not great, too heavy on the Adobo chiles in that one. The restaurant was called Agave and it was on Main Street. It was good enough to go again but next time we'd order a beer...
Two other places we ate were Morning Glory and Brothers. We had lunch at Morning Glory, it was delicious. My sister and I split a sandwich as did my mom and aunt. They also got a cup of soup each which was really good. Something with Ginger in it....Morning Glory is a cute place with fun tables and paint on the walls. In hind sight I wish we would have tried breakfast there....next time I guess. We went for breakfast at Brothers our last morning. The place was cute, it has a little upstairs loft type area for seating as well as main floor seating. My mom enjoyed the cranberry orange scone. I thought it was OK. The service there was slow and the food only average in my opinion. They didn't seem very able to handle a crowd, which I was surprised by. I'd think it would be busy often in Ashland and old hat for the servers. My sister and I split an omelette and I can't remember what my mom and Donna got. I'd give it a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10....
We went to Lopez Island this last weekend and had a great time! The weather was amazing and the company fabulous. We went to do a bike ride called the Tour de Lopez, it's about a 30 mile ride around the island and ends with a fantastic lunch provided by The Bay Cafe. The last time we attempted this ride we didn't make it to the end. It was my first "road" ride and I wasted more energy on freaking out about the "bumpy" road than I did actually doing the ride. By the time we got back to the village, I ate my lunch and passed out on the lawn with exhaustion.... WOW what a difference a couple of years makes. This time the ride was a breeze and I hardly noticed the bumps. Lopez is a beautiful Island with all kinds of livestock. You experience rolling hills, green meadows, and the Sound all in one ride. I highly recommend it.
This is the MacKaye Harbor Inn where we stayed. See the room in the upper right corner? That was ours. We had a little balcony. It was a lovely place with a great location right on the water. It was great to wake up to that view each morning. Their breakfast was OK but they could do a little better. They need to add some type of egg, other than hard boiled, to their breakfast. And they aren't coffee drinkers so the coffee wasn't great. The owners are lovely, and the room was great. We'd stay there again.
Go ahead and say it, you know you want to....You mess with the bull.....you get the horns or..... BEFORE
AFTER! This was dinner our first night there. We ate at Bucky's, a little burger joint. My clothes smelled of Bucky's the rest of the trip.....the food was OK not great not terrible. My favorite thing was the Ranch dressing I dipped my fries in, yes, I do that on occasion, it had a little dill in it. I'm going to add a little dill to my Ranch at home. The service we had at Bucky's wasn't good either, the lady did NOT want to be there that evening, or maybe she was overwhelmed with all us cyclists invading the place.
This is Holly B's bakery, we tried several goodies from here, raspberry rugelach,cappuccino bars, croissants with ham & Gruyere, and french bread. We enjoyed each item and I also bought her cookbook so I hope to try many of her goodies and share with you how they turn out. I've already tried her blueberry muffins and they were excellent.
Oh yes, the bike ride. We went to Lopez to do a bike ride, it was about 28 miles....my man only made it about 20 minutes before the whole back end of his bike started falling apart! Derailer off, chain broken, a big mess! He had to walk the mile back to town and wait for us to return. Bummer for him, he missed out on a great ride....
Here is the gang enjoying the halfway mark. SO glad our friends were there to ride. Otherwise I would have been alone....man am I short or what???
Post ride lunch! It was a gorgeous day and a great ride. I clearly enjoyed myself.....
Our post ride lunch.....pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, pea & corn salad, pasta salad, & some cookies....the cookie winner was....
The peanut butter cookie....chewy and delicious. The whole lunch was terrific!
Now we move on to dinner.....we had dinner at the Bay Cafe. It was fabulous! This is my dinner, halibut with a yummy salsa, grilled asparagus and carrots, and a risotto cake that was to die for!
My man ordered a flat iron steak with chimichurri, garlic mashed potatoes, and the same veggies. It too was delicious, and I can't wait to try a chimichurri myself!
The DESSERTS! We chose, a peanut butter & chocolate, mango cheesecake with a raspberry sauce, and a bit of heaven chocolate diddy.....I bet you can't guess which one was my favorite....Oh MY!
A gorgeous sunset to end a fabulous day!