Foraging for the sake of ice cream

In spring the pines get bright green spruce tips that grow out of their ends. You can see them in the first few photos. Turns out they are edible! I wouldn't recommend just popping them in your mouth, they taste bright and bitter with pine notes. But if you use them in something they are subtle and fun. I really enjoy foraging and so I grabbed up a bunch of the little guys to try to make something out of. I made a simple syrup with some and then recently made some into an ice cream.
I started with meringues and some roasted rhubarb and then I topped it all off with some spruce tip ice cream. The colors together are fabulous!!

3/4 cup spruce tips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks (use the whites for meringues!)
1/2 cup cane sugar
pinch of salt

1   in a small saucepan heat, on low, cream, milk, sugar, salt, egg yolks. Stir constantly so you don't cook the eggs. When the mixture is hot and the sugar is melted (but not simmering or boiling) remove from heat and let cool to room temperature
2   toss the spruce tips into a food processor and chop well.
3   when mixture is cool add into blender along with spruce tips, blend well.
4   pour mixture into ice cream maker and process for as long as your ice cream maker says
5   transfer to a container and freeze

Cincy hang : the zoo

While we were home in Cincy we took a trip to the zoo with Joshua's mom. It threatened to rain all day and we had a minor downpour for a few minutes but it cooled it down and was lovely. I had us all moving fast at the start to catch the 3 Malayan tiger cubs out on display. One of them was attacking a plant and bothering her sisters, super cute. Then I rushed them to the hippo exhibit because I was dying to see baby hippo Fiona, sadly she was not out that day. But the new hippo exhibit was still really fun to see. I love hippos, I still have a stuffed animal hippo from when I was born.

We got to see Bibi and Henry yawn, swim into the water, bobble around, I love it so much I made them go back a second time later. Next up the third priority of the zoo- Dippin dots ice cream, a zoo staple.

Since it was cloudy that day and not too hot all the animals were out wandering around. The baby giraffes were adorable. The monkeys were swinging around. The flamingos were goofy. The bears were swimming. It was a pretty darn good zoo trip.


Kayaks in the wild

Two weekends ago we took our kayaks to Cooper Lake. It was so much smoother than paddling around with big boats constantly passing you. Nice to just coast, stop and lay in the sun when it peaked out, expend less energy to stay straight. There were even the 4 Brother's mountains standing at the end of the lake for us to check out.

We paddled around for about 2 hours, drove a bit then stopped by some more water to read, stopped again in Roselyn to grab some bbq for dinner, then Joshua re-taught me to drive Richard! I drove for about 45 minutes. I think I may finally have it figured out!


All the yellow flowers

Over Memorial Day weekend we snuck off to the mountains. We headed east toward Wenatchee and backpacked near the Dead Horse lake. Joshua found this hike and it didn't seem many people backpacked it, he was right! We had the whole ridge to ourselves that night.

He found the hike because he was searching for the ever elusive yellow flowers we love. They are in dryer areas, only around for about 3 weeks, and it's never the same 3 weeks. I'm so so glad he found this hike. It was absolutely bursting with flowers. There were yellow, purple, white, other yellow, red. The hike was very mild and only steep toward the very end so we took a long time winding up and ogling the landscape. Joshua kept taking photos of the flowers and James and I were teasing him : portrait of flowers #53, and I'll call this one portrait of flowers #54. But I couldn't blame him they were so magnificent.

We got up to the ridge pretty early in the day so we laid around in the sun, took more flower photos, snacked, waited until magic hour and took more flower photos. Finally at sunset we watched the colors fly over the sky and fade behind the mountains. We made a nice fire and had dinner. That night it was also very warm out so we could sleep in our tent without the rainfly. This meant that we could stare up from our sleeping mats at the stars all night.

The next day we slowly meandered down from the ridge and I had them helping me pick spruce tips. I later turned them into spruce tip ice cream :) Love foraging and free stuff!

Then we headed back to Ballard, had pizza on the dock with friends, headed up to another friends to drink wine and sit in the hot tub. Woohoo 3 day weekends that are hot and full of sunshine!


We bought Kayaks!

Because we needed just one more outdoor activity we bought some beat up kayaks on Craigslist. We got a good deal and they are little 10' kayaks that easily fit into Richard, the truck. On Saturday we finally got to take them out onto Lake Washington.

Now I convinced Joshua to buy these because
1. I swore they would fit strapped to our stairs and wouldn't look that bad.
2. We can walk 1/4 mile to a dock from our place carrying them so he wouldn't have to drive

Somehow my logic worked and he totally let me get them. I convinced him in 3 days, which I'm very proud of.

This weekend in Seattle was stunning. 80 degrees, sunny, warm wind. Glorious. We walked the kayaks down without to much trouble and hit the water. Being that these are about 6' shorter than any other kayaks we've used we spent quite a bit of time spinning in circles and trying to figure out how to steer. We made a little progress. Then we kayaked out under the Ballard and Fremont bridges, to Gasworks park, and took in a view of the city from the water. Overall we kayaked 7 miles! And then carried the kayaks back. Obviously we took naps after that but it was amazing and I can't wait to do it all summer!

Lucky Charms Marshmallow Cake

Last week we had a little birthday party for me. 29! We had some friends over, played records, made pizza, ordered extra pizza, ate cake, played salad bowl game. It was exactly what I wanted and I'm so thankful for everyone that came.

Joshua made me a vanilla cake and we covered it in white chocolate ganache frosting and then covered it in lucky charms marshmallows!!! Then I made a few white chocolate, sprinkles, and marshmallow shards and of course added a few pocky sticks. The cake was so tasty!

Also since Joshua was making the cake I wanted to make it an easy one. This definitely fit the bill. He was even surprised how fast it was to make. I'd make this one again. It's a bit dense and holds it's moisture.

photo by Megan

photo by Megan
Vanilla cake:
recipe from here

1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup water

1   preheat oven 350 degrees F and line 2- 8" cake pans with parchment
2   in large bowl mix sugar, flour, soda, powder and salt
3   in another large bowl beat together eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla
4   pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix only until incorporated
5   pour in the boiling water and stir in
6   pour batter into the 2 cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes.

White Chocolate ganache frosting:

3 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter; room temp
4 cups powdered sugar

1   heat the heavy cream until boiling
2   remove from heat and stir in white chocolate chips
3   cover with lid and let sit 5 minutes
4   stir chocolate mixture until smooth and set aside to cool to room temp
5   beat butter until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes
6   beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time
7   once white chocolate has cooled beat in white chocolate
8   ice the cake


Curious George Cake

Had the pleasure of making a very cool little boy both of his birthday cakes. This year we went with a yellow cake slathered in chocolate frosting. Characters scare me a bit so I took to the laser cutter to help me out with Curious George riding a bike. Hope he had a fabulous birthday.


Backpacking season begins

Kicked off backpacking season this past weekend. Our traditional 6 mile Teanaway Ridge hike had the added benefit of our friend Jessica on it. We headed out of work early on Friday to get on the trail. The sun was out, the mountains were out, and no one else was there-great kick off trip.

Once we had our tents set up we built a fire, ate some mac and cheese, cookies, and sipped on wine. The sunset up here is my favorite, it slowly drips below the mountain range streaking the whole sky with beautiful color. Luckily the clouds stayed away long enough for us to watch it.

Next morning we packed up and hiked out past tons of dayhikers heading up. (loved feeling like I had a secret having gotten to witness the sunset behind the mountains not just the sunshine on them) We also kicked off the burgers and milkshake season on our drive home.

The rest of the weekend Joshua and I spent lots of time sitting on the dock, drinking thai iced teas, coffees, eating pizza. Walked around Ballard in the sunshine, played games, and worked on some cakes. The sunshine has me feeling good!