3.29.2012

makin sushi



Our friends Liz & Daniel had us over on Monday to make sushi! Josh and I have never done this before. I must admit I was nervous, sushi making is something I have admired but never quite understood. But of course they were amazing teachers!

They had an amazing spread of veggies, smoked salmon, sauces, crab stuff and more! Plus they have the cutest dishes to put everything in which I swear somehow makes it better :)




The most interesting part was probably making the rice by waving a cardboard box at the rice while someone pours in sauce stuff while someone mixes it all in. It has something to do with the vinegar evaporating and what not. But we worked for our food! :) But the rice rolled up very nicely so something must have worked.

 

Overall we had a bunch of laughs, played some speed scrabble, ate so so much sushi, and finished it off with pink cake. It was really nice to start our week out doing something with friends, kind of gives you a good get-up-and-go attitude for the week!

3.28.2012

think pink

I"ve been really wanting to make a champagne cake with a mixed berry frosting so this Sunday I went for it.
And it was tasty- not an overwhelming champagne taste but it was a really moist tasty cake and the frosting is finger-licking worthy. Plus the whole cake was pink. I used a pink champagne and then added a small dab of pink food coloring to the cake and I was shocked when it baked up to a cotton candy pink! The frosting was naturally colored by the mixed berries but the colors were so close that it was kind of a cool surprise when I cut into it.






We also wathced Funny Face (a 1956 musical with Audrey Hepburn in it) and the first song in the movie is think pink where they all deck out in the same color as my cake so it was pretty fun!




image from here




Champagne Cake Recipe:

This cake recipe I made was my base and then I excluded the vanilla/almond extract and substituted the 1 1/2 cups of milk for champagne.
I also put in a drop of pink food coloring- which went a really long way
and I used a pink champagne, you should use a sweet champagne


For the Mixed Berry Frosting:

1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries; unthawed and softened over the stove
1  1/2 cup of butter
4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2 cups of champagne boiled down to 2 tbs.
pinch of salt


1   throw all the ingredients in and mix
2   creates a really great pink frosting
     that easy!

It didn't have a very strong champagne taste but it was really light and fluffy and tasted pretty darn good!


3.27.2012

the weekend relaxed

a little art thingy I made for Joshua for Valentine's day. It was the song we did our first dance to.

The weekend started early for us- Thursday. (kind of, we still worked Friday) I met up with Jessica at a bar to watch teh UC basketball game and then our boys met us for tapas and some good food and then we all went to see the opening night Hunger Games movie. It was a really long full day but so so much fun!



I won the flower raffle from work, you call in to reception to win the flowers that were at the front desk that week. YAY! So I brought them home and put them into my bottles. Since Joshua wasn't home yet and I got bored I also allowed them to have a photoshoot, yes I know I'm lame.





I found the recipe on rockstar diaries for puffed pancakes and thought that they looked like the perfect breakfast for a Sunday. I whipped some up for us before church. They are like a cross between pancake and french toast so I guess it could be a compromise :) But it was nice to wake up early enough before chuch that we could enjoy the morning sunshine and coffee together.








And we still haven't finished our taxes or done our laundry... probably because we took a 3 hour nap   oops :)

3.26.2012

the weekend adventure


Our friend's Alex & Rachel asked us to go snow shoeing with them this weekend. Since it's our new favorite thing to do of course we said yes! It was very different from last time. The day was gorgeous- sunshine the whole way and we did a lot more trekking up hill. We walked about 4.5-5ish miles too.



It was a total blast and it was so fun to go on an adventure double date with them. The whole hike was so beautiful! Only downside was I lost my glasses, Joshua found them on the hike back down but one of the snowmobile's had run over them :(



We finished up the hike with putting on dry clothes, drinking some hot chocolate, giant chocolate chip cookies, and jamming to some tunes!




They had us over their place and we had dinner together. They have also recently married and transplanted from the midwest so we have a lot in common and it as just really fun to hang out and have community with them all day. Definately an amazing friendship that God has blessed us with!


3.22.2012

Handwritten

Ever since moving out here Joshua and I have talked a lot about friends and how to keep in touch. It is really hard, a 3 hour time difference really works against us as does needing to relax when we walk in the door not instantly be on the phone.
But I finally think we are getting better at it. Joshua plays minecraft with some of his best friends and they talk the whole time they play and it's a really creative fun way to keep in touch.
For me I've found that when I don't have time for the phone I love sending letters and postcards. Sometimes I just thought of that friend that day and want them to know I'm thinking of them and sometimes I write whole letters or make and send cards. The phone isn't always an option but I don't want them to think I don't have time for them in my life so snail mail is the way I try to do that.


all of the letters/cards/postcards our friends and family have sent us since we've been out here


I have a friend Lauren though who I've known since freshmen year of high school. She stayed at my house one weekend for a student council conference my school was hosting and we've kept in touch ever since. We wrote each other elaborate letters full of stickers and drawings and photos to secrets, pain, and goofy stuff. She snuck out and drove hours with her friend to visit me one weekend in high school and we both went to UC together for a little bit. Then in the middle of college we lost touch a bit. But when I packing and sorting the stuff at my parent's house to move out to Seattle I found a giant stack of her letters and lo and behold that same month she had found mine too. She sent me a letter and we picked it right back up.

She has been an amazing friend from afar. She has never judged me but instead encouraged me, let me whine, listened to boring relationship problems and made me laugh when I really needed it. Her letters seem to come at the exact right time. They are always colorful and at the bottom she always leaves a line to the postperson telling them to have a good day.
I wish she was closer, I wish we could have lunch, but I really think this beautiful relationship we still have and have been able to carry on through letters is what made me ever think to send mail to my friends in the first place.

I really hope everyone has a Lauren and I hope I'm as good back to her as she is to me.
And I will always be grateful for her teaching me how amazing and powerful a handwritten letter from the heart can be!

some of Lauren's letters (well the covers of them)

3.21.2012

the Hubs

When I told Joshua over gchat that I was going to have to work late tonight this was his response:

Okay... I will pick us up/make dinner!
AND I CAN PICK YOU UP IF YOU WANT!!!
And I will get you flowers.
And kisses.
And a movie if you want a movie do you want a movie Mrs. Wife?



After a really long stressful day this really made me smile, what made me keep smiling is that I know he actually meant it.

And then this morning he had to wake up pretty early to get in early to work and when I finally woke up he had made my lunch and set it up so I could find it.

I'm not amazing at being selfless and thinking of my husband before myself but I'm learning as I go but when he pulls things like this I can't help but feel truly blessed. We're learning together and I'm so thankful that he's being patient about it :)


P.S  I have a guest post over at Nicole's Reserved are the Depths of my Heart that talks a little bit about our wedding.     Go check it out & Enjoy!

3.20.2012

Dried Cranberry and Walnut Muffins

During our relaxy weekend I of course had to do some baking! So I decided to make something we could take for breakfast this week.




I warn you that these are dense muffins, not bad dense just not super airy.
I could tell from the batter this was going to be the case, it was between brownie and dough consitency instead of runny like muffin mixes from the bag are. But we were really happy with them anyway and accidentally devoured 2 of them right out of the oven! :)

I mixed/ made up this recipe so it may be one that I play with to make even better. We'll see

Dried Cranberry Walnut Muffins

3/4 cup walnut pieces
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup butter; melted
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar

for the crumb top:
2 tbs flour
1/3 cup paked brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs butter
preheat oven to 375

1   in a large bowl mix the flour, soda, powder, and salt
2   in another bowl mix extract, butter, milk, oil, egg and sugar, whisk together
3   pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just incorporated
4   stir in the dried cranberries and walnuts
5   place the mixture into muffin cups (I just made mine out of squares of parchement paper)
6   then mix the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and cut in the butter to
     create a cornmeal-like texture
7   sprinke the crumbs onto the top of the muffins
8   bake in oven for 18-25 minutes
9   remove from muffin tray to cool, store in a dry container once they are cooled

3.19.2012

Eggplant Zucchini Lasagna

I've been dying to make a lasagna and finally got around to rallying all the ingredients last week. We also to it for lunches to help with our sandwich-hating dilema.



But first a little weekend update:

We had a really relaxing weekend to make up for the adventure and activity filled weekend we previoulsy had with our Cincy friend's visit.

We watched the 4 Ohio teams dominate in the NCAA!!! So cool!
Went running around Greenlake (we fit it in between the rain-sleet-snow-sleet-snow-rain-rain sequence Seattle had on Saturday)
We went to a St. Patty's Day birthday celebration (of course at an Irish bar) for one of our friends)
And we had our friend's Jessica and Kenneth over for dinner and some awesome quality hang out time.

Side note on the rain- it hasn't really bugged Joshua and I too much. Most of the time we just flip up our hoods and go outside anyways, but it has been pretty hard rain lately and now I'm really dying for some sunshine! When I talked to my mom Saturday and was talking about the weather sequence mentioned above she said something to the tune of : Sorry your weather is so bad, this morning I made myself a waffle and sat on the porch in shorts enjoying the sunshine

Dang it Madre- now I'm jealous!!!

video



Ok now for the lasagna:

1 eggplant; sliced into 1/4" slices
1 zucchini; sliced into 1/4" slices
1 carton of mushrooms; sliced
2 cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 red onion; diced
3 cloves of garlic; diced
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
S&P to taste
12 lasagna noodles ( I accidentally bought the ready to bake but I recommend the ones you boil first)
12 oz ricotta cheese
8-10 oz mozzarella cheese
preheat oven to 375 degrees F

1     in a large saucpan saute the onion and mushrooms
2     add in the mushrooms and cook until done 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic
3     pour in the 2 cans of tomatoes, flakes, and S&P, boil for 5 mintues
4     grease a lasagna pan and add a 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture to the
       bottom and spread around
5     lay 4 noodles on top of the sauce
6     then put 1/2 of the remaining sauce on top of the noodles (keep 1 cup left over)
7     cover it with the eggplant and zucchini
8     put 1/2 of ricotta cheese in between
9     repeat 5-8
10   cover with 4 more noodles and put on the remaining 1 cup of sauce
11   top with slices of mozzarella
12   cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes
13   then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the
       cheese on top is all melted and begins to brown

This video should help :)
Plus I was just having fun with my hand held trigger and tripod Joshua got me for Christmas

Chick Pea Salad

Hubs and I are getting really REALLY tired of sandwiches again so I took inspiration from a dish one of our friends brought to small group and tried to make something easy and healthy.





It ended up being really delicious and Josh asked if we could make it again this week.

Chick Pea Salad:

2 cans Chick Peas/Garbonzo beans; drained and rinsed
1 red pepper; diced
1/2-1 red onion; diced (based on preference)
2 stalks of celery & leaves; diced
about 10-15 kalamata olives; diced
1 jalapeno; minced
2 cloves of garlic; minced and smashed (can just use the back of a spoon to make it more like a paste)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp S&P
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup cilantro (I used 3 trader joe's frozen cilantro cubes)

1   mix all the veggies, beans and spices together in a large bowl
2   in a small bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, and cilantro and whisk together
3   pour the oil into the veggie mix and stir well

makes about 6 side servings for lunches
or 3-4 whole lunches

store in the refrigerator, should be good for about a week

Enjoy- it's has bunches of good protein in it!

3.16.2012

Katy & Nate Weekend Take Over part 2

We all went snowshoeing! in Snoqualmie Pass. It was about an hour drive (I know that's it!)
We wanted to show Katy & Nate the other amazingness that is living in Seattle and that is all the outdoors things that you can get to so quickly and are beyond anything I've ever seen before. Our friends Liz and Daniel also joined us so we went out and had an adventure day. About 1/2 way through hiking some other experty snow shoers told us that the part we just passed through (with all the now piled way up the mountains looming on either side of us with no trees around was looking possibly avalanchy! AH so we didn't go to much further but overall it was a lot of fun. Very wet! But luckily the hiking part kept us so warm we just kept shedding layers. Joshua and I have really been wanting to do this and we're so excited we got to do it with them!




Hey Cincy- no fake snow here, just insane piles of real fluffy genuine snow everywhere!


We kept crossing over a river/stream thing the whole time on these snow bridges. It was quite fantastic. The boys liked to teeter near the edges, luckily everyone stayed mostly on top of the snow


Getting close to the avalanchy looking part



This is what the boys did just about the whole time- eat snow


Our expedition party! There was some walked in trails but we made sure to venture off and make a few of our own


Katy my lady- Yeah uh huh (Katy Perry song, sorry)


This is where we stopped, there was a really steep hill. Some of us went part of the way up




Check out Nate sliding down the hilll in the background


Nate and Daniel threw off their snow shoes and just slide back down


We found a waterfall!



Ha when Katy slide down her pants turned the snow blue!! She left her mark on the mountain!


That is how tall the snow was on either side of the truck as we drove up! Yeah kind of freaky but mostly EPIC. It was truly an amazing experience and so so cool to go out and do with them here!

When we got home we took a family nap in the living room (Cute I know!) and then went out...


We hit up Dick's Burgers for dinner, you can't eat in it's a walk up place. We've heard everyone in Seattle goes, so we played along. Katy's face is due to the fact that we had to eat smashed in the back because it was raining...



We went to Seattle Murphys!!! Played some darts- shocker!!...


Then hit up a taco truck on the way home...


Then played the wii dance game...


got some noise complaints (oops) and finally went to bed
Yeah it was a full day!!



Sunday we really wanted to take them to some of the parks and such so we tried 3 times they were all cold and all windy and rainy- so alas we gave up. But we did pack some mimosas in Katy's nalgene bottle which helped :)


We stuffed our faces at brunch at Portage Bay Cafe. We all got the same thing- the one with hashbrowns, eggs, sausage/bacon, and french toast + trip to the toppings bar TOPPINGS BAR!! It had gigantic bowls of fruit, whipped cream, and syrup and you could pile on as much as you wanted!!! Needless to say we didn't eat again for awhile!


We went to Ballard and walked around a bit but ended up back at home where Katy and I build a euchre fort! It was as amazing as it sounds! Plus hopefully it muffled our laughs a little to help with not irritating the neighbors.


Katy's Kindle set the mood for us dominating the boys!



We hit up Blue C Sushi which has sushi on a conveyor belt for dinner. Alas they were closing early than it said online so we mostly had to order off the menu. Katy was busy gawking at what was left going around :)


The night ended with pumpkin s'mores and champage!


We are so thankful for Katy & Nate and they way they show they love us. We will never forget their trip out here and it was really something we've been needing. Overall it was a relaxing weekend with 2 people we love A LOT! Couldn't have asked for more!!