We skied on a Real Mountain

My parents were here visiting this weekend and they had suggested skiing. Joshua and I agreed but were secretly terrified and didn't really want to go, he's only skied once before and I haven't gone much more than that and DEFINATLEY never on a MOUNTAIN. (We went to Crystal Mountain) But we put on our brave faces and went. On our drive out there it was rainy and gray skied but once we were near the mountains the sky turned blue and the sun was shining. This definatley lifted my mood at least if I was tumbling down a mountain all day it would be in the sun.

But our parents were right, we had a great time and it wasn't as scary as we'd thought. Joshua took to it really quickly while I made lots of long slow cuts on my first few runs. But by the end we were zooming down some blue ones. (harder than Cincinnati blue ones) It was so pretty and we got to eat lunch at one of the places on top of the mountain, instead of at the bottom of the runs. There was so much snow that it covered most of it's windows. Near the end it started to heavily! snow so we wrapped up our adventure with some fresh powder to ski on.
And with my dad's beard freezing over, hehe

A blast!
When we left Joshua and I decided we would even like to go again.

Which is good because everyone out here seems to ski, some even go every weekend. crazy folks.

*some photos by my madre


Italian Wedding Soup


A good one

We had a really great weekend. We have been feeling a little out of sorts after we got back from visiting in Cincinnati, but this weekend we felt normal again and we had a very full awesome weekend that helped with that.

On Friday we got a new table, one that isn't bar height yay! Friday night we went over to one of Joshua's coworkers place to play Settlers and drink growlers.
It was one of those nights where you just feel like yourself and don't have to filter or restrain we were just goofy and had a great time.

Saturday we had brunch in Capitol Hill, got our hair cut, picked up a new dresser, went to his work and made the frame for the calendar I designed, and went to a housewarming party. One of the housewarming parties that ends with dubstep playing loudly, kegs, and moonwalking.

Sunday we reorganized a lot of stuff and pulled out a bunch of stuff to donate, ate pumpkin pancakes, listened to some good sermons, went on a run in the sunshine- SUNSHINE, and had dinner in Queen Anne with some good friends.

And now we're tired and almost ended up being late to work :)
So worth it though, we really needed a full Seattle weekend to get us back into things and feeling good about where we are and why we want to be here.


Homeade Hummus, 2 ways

I like hummus, but now I love it because when you make it yourself you can add in extra olives or make a batch with absolutely anything I want.
Plus I swear it tastes better because I made it from scratch ;)

But did you know Tahini is stocked by the peanut butter? I looked in 3 stores by the spices and finally realized I didn't really know what it was- it's ground sesame seeds into a paste. Who knew?

Artichoke Heart Hummus:

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 can artichoke hearts
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice

1   throw it all into a food processor, blend it all together- HUMMUS

Kalamata Olives:

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
10-15 kalamata olives
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice

1   throw it all into a food processor, blend it all together- HUMMUS

see how easy flavor variety is- so exciting!


I went there- Kale Smoothie

I know I know EEEWWWW.
But I had some leftover kale so I thought I'd be all Northwesty and give it a try for breakfast one morning.
Turning on the blender in the morning made me feel like a go-getter- in movies and such all the athletes and pretty people always make shakes after working our and such, I channeled them to get past the fact that I was going to drink a smoothie with kale in it.

It actually turned out really good. Also liked that I could drink my breakfast while getting ready for work. Smoothies always put me off, they use so much fruit for so little yeild and I just don't understand. But this one, I can get behind. I like that is uses only frozen fruit which is much easier to have on hand.

 I may even take a cue from my friend Jessica who always used to make a batch of them and freeze them. By the time she got to school they were ready to drink. She always swore it was so so easy and for the first time I believe her.

so here it is a kale berry smoothie for 1

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 banana (I used a frozen one)
1/2 cup frozen berries (I used blueberries)
1/2 cup kale
1 tbs ground flax seed (optional)

1   throw it all in a blender and blend it!
then be afraid to try it because it has kale in it but drink it anyway and actually truly enjoy it

ah 1 step another reason I'm now on the smoothie for breakfast train, easier than instant oatmeal.

Still can't believe how much I loved this, and no you can't really taste the kale, but you get all it's benefits :)
Also much less likely to buy a vanilla latte in the morning because I already drank something

my eyes are opened world


Afghan Restaurant Mmmm + Sunshine

Hubs took me out on a date night to a restaurant he'd been wanting to try out- Kabul. It was Afghanistan cuisine, and beyond delicious. Kind of like a mix of Indian and Mediterranean. 
The restaurant owner kept coming by and chatting with us and making suggestions. It was a great experience and I can't wait to go back.

 We dressed up cute too.  Joshua wore his bowtie :)

 The rest of Saturday was used up drinking tea and coffee, eating biscuits, hanging out and playing cards in a bar with friends and soaking in the unusual January sunshine antiquing

 ooo and we got the best burgers from a shack. Ah yummy

 Sunday we got to spend time celebrating one of our friends birthday. They showed us how to make spring rolls. It was full of good quality time!


Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta

I'm having far too much fun with Rhonda. Her and I are bonding big time. It's not the season for pesto but hey I just now got a food processor so I was definatley going to make it anyway.

I try to make something for lunches that is actually good, like not a sandwich for a few days a week. This was a great one to put in containers and throw in the freezer for next week.

serves 4

9 roma tomatoes; halved
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a few tbs for drizzling
1/3 cup almonds; toasted
2 cloves garlic
1 cup basil; tightly packed
1 tbs chia seeds (optional, for protein)
cooked pasta

preheat oven to 400 degrees F
1     place almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 6-9 mintues, remove from oven
2     place halved tomatoes on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and bake 1 hour
3     using the food processor finely chop the almonds, take out and set aside
4     then chop the garlic in the food processor and then add in the basil, and chop
5     add in 1/4 cup oil, chia seeds, and 1 1/2 cups of roma tomatoes (about 7 halves)
6     process it until smooth and then pulse in the almonds, and season with about 1/4
       tsp salt and a few good grinds of pepper
7     serve over pasta of your choice, chop remaining tomatoes and place over top
       and add some basil for garnish


Fried "Rice"- it's Cauliflower!

I love Chinese food, but it always makes me feel icky after I eat it. So I found a recipe for Cauliflower "rice" and was extremely intrigued. So much so that I went home that night and made it.
Joshua saw that I was using cauliflower again and at first complained, and said why not real rice THEN! oh then he tried it and was in love with it. He actually said he liked it better with the cauliflower "rice" than with real. It as awesome because it stuck to all the tofu and veggies and kept the whole dish combined really well instead of seperating, also it was so fluffy, ah it's love. Plus it meant our meal was made entirely of veggies, except the tofu. Also no waiting for a rice cooker to finally finish up!

serves 2, but a whole cauilflower will make enough "rice" for 4 so you can just double everything below
1-2 tbs coconut oil
1/2 package of extra firm tofu, cubed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 medium onion
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cauliflower rice (see #3)
1 egg
handful green onions, diced
1-2 tbs soy sauce
few tbs of cashews, crunched up

1   heat oil in a skillet and brown both sides of the tofu, you may need to add more oil as you go
2   once tofu is browned (which happens quickly in a cast iron pan) saute garlic,
     onion, carrots, zucchini until they are tender, but not limp 6-8 minutes, add in salt
3   in a food processor chop the cauliflower until it resembles a rice like texture and set aside
4   make room in the skillet for the egg to touch the bottom, crack it in and with a spatula mix it in
5   add in the green onion, and cook until egg is done
6   then add in the "rice" and a tbs or 2 of soy sauce and cook 3-6 minutes, stirring frequently
     so as to cook all the cauliflower
7   serve with cashews dashed on top

Promise this one is going to surprise you!

Pumpkin Chili

I told the hubs I wanted to make chili he said okay, but you have to put pumpkin in it
And voila a mostly healthy delicious pumpkin chili was born

few tbs olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
4-5 carrrots; peeled and chopped
1 medium white onion; chopped
1 green pepper; chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 cup kale; chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup water
1 can pumpkin
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cans black beans; drained and rinsed
chives for sprinkling on top

1     heat oil in a large skillet and brown the carrots, onion, pepper, and garlic
2     once cooked 5-7 minutes, add in the turkey and brown
3     meanwhile in a large pot mix the kale, tomatoes with juice, water, pumpkin, and spices
4     add in the turkey and veggies mixture to the pot, bring to a boil
5     add in the beans and reduce heat to medium-low
6     cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes
7     serve with chopped chives on top

Super super good!


Tapas kind of date night

We bought dates awhile ago and needed to use them but I also got a blender/food processor (her name is Rhonda) from Joshua for Christmas that I really wanted to use so we just made it a random tapas dinner kind of night.

Although none of it really went together we still had a good time with it.

Hubs was in charge of the drinks and made cactus pear syrup gin drinks.
and I was in charge of the food

which was bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese
5 pieces of bacon; halved crosswise
10 roasted almonds
10 dates; pitted and sliced down one side
about 1/4 cup goat cheese

1     preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2     stuff each date with an almond and goat cheese, pinch closed as best you can
3     wrap each in a 1/2 strip of bacon and place each on baking sheet seam side down
4     place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until bacon is crispy
(at about 10 minutes I drained the bacon fat that had liquified off so that they weren't sitting in it)
5     let cool a little before you serve them, and stick each one with a toothpick, makes them easier to eat

and since it was date night in I made the toothpicks fancy with a little washi tape fringe and my new plates :)
them make me smile

introducing Rhonda!

also I've always wanted to make this but never could until my Christmas present-
Cauliflower soup
from here

hubs claims he doesn't like cauliflower but he has been coming around so I decided to give it a go.
Now it's not a main course just an appetizer that goes well with some good homeade bread to dip it in
which unfortunately as not done cooking until after we finished the soup :)

serves 6

3 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion; chopped
1 head of cauliflower; seperated into florets
salt to taste
5 1/2 cups water; divided

garnish with pepper
a drizzle of good oil, we used shitake mushroom oil YUM
and a few chives

1     in a pot heat the oil and add in the onion
2     heat on low for 15 minutes, don't let the onion brown
3     add in the florets, salt and 1/2 cup water and cover pot
4     turn heat up to medium and stew for 15-20 minutes
5     add 4 1/2 cups of hot water to the soup (I preheated my water in the tea kettle)
6     bring to a low simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered
7     then in 2 batches puree the soup in a blender (it is a beautifully pure white color, Love)
8     return the soup to the pot and let sit for 20 minutes to thicken
9     then stir in another 1/2 cup of water and warm the soup back up
10   serve and garnish with oil, pepper, and chives

it was quite a bit of work for such a simple looking soup but I also thought it turned out really pure and delicious, just light and smooth
and Joshua liked it, yay

Then instead of our bread for dessert friends stopped by with their bread and cheese so we all joined in the tapas dessert portion together :)
It rocked.


Cactus Pear Syrup

There was a mexican restaurant in Cincinnati called Cactus Pear that had Margharita Mondays- and the best one was the cactus pear one- plus it was always a really festive bright hot pink. I was always curious how realistic that coloring was and if it was enhanced in any way.

And then! (exciting I know) I was at Whole Foods the other day and saw cactus pears! So I bought some for fun and decided to make a drink syrup out of them.

(also called prickly pear or tuna fruit)

I was really excited to slice into them,

How to cut a cactus pear:
Peel off the outside, luckily they sold them already post needles on the skin, then cut it in half, the core is the part you actually use/eat, so pull off the other thicker outside of the fruit

then cut up the fruit into cubes

Cactus Pear Syrup:

3 cactus pears; peeled and chopped
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 lemon

1   in a saucepan heat the cactus pear, sugar, and water until boiling
2   then let it simmer for 8-12 minutes
3   remove from heat and squeeze in the lemon, this helps preserve it
4   run the syrup through a fine mesh sieve- they have TONS of tiny seeds
     in them you'll want to get out
5   put in a bottle and keep in the fridge to enjoy

We put it in pineapple juice and it was mouth-wateringly good!
& I'm happy to report it is naturally that amazing hot pink color!