Quinoa Chocolate Protein Bars + weekend

Since I'm far to lazy to measure out my quinoa before I cook it I always make way too much. Saving it is fine but it starts to stick together if you don't have enough veggies or sauce to store it with so one night I decided to find a better use for the extras. They turned out quite tasty and quite good for you.

I decided to try and make them into bars so I started googling and found out that was a thing.
So here they are:

1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup almonds; roughly chopped
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil; melted
1/3 cup honey
3 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1    in a bowl mix together quinoa, oats, almonds, flax seed and salt
2    stir in the coconut oil and honey
3    then fold in the chocolate chips and cocoa powder
4    cut parchment paper to cover the bottom of an 8x8 dish with a decent amount overhanging the edges
5    lightly spray it and then dump in the quinoa mixture
6    spread evenly in dish and cover top with overhanging parchment paper
7    then press down the quinoa mixture firmly
8    place in fridge for a few hours
9    then cut into bars and eat 'em up
can be stored in fridge for up to a week, covered

That's it, quick and easy way to not waste, my inability to measure quinoa, mistakes.

Also this past weekend we had a dinner date of face size pizza slices and olives :) Joshua is still on an olive kick from Turkey. Then we headed to a small place and went dancing. I love love dates with this man!

 He also cooked up some tasty carne asada this weekend!


Rattlesnake ledge with Friends

This Saturday we went hiking with some good friends. I work with Camila and her finace Joaquim was visiting. We hiked Rattlesnake ledge, which we had hiked before when my sister was visiting. This time though instead of sun we had the good ol Seattle rain. Didn't damper the fun though and we hiked up the first 2 miles so fast because we were talking so much that we barely realized we were at the to.

The hike has 3 lookout peaks and as you head to each one when you look back you can see the lake + the outlook you were at previously. It was fun to be able to look back over at them all. For awhile the 3rd one evaded us and we way overhiked trying to find it. So we kind of gave up and ate tons of gummi bears instead but on the way back down Joshua spotted it :)
Second Peak Lookout

Third Peak Lookout (you can see the other two have people on them)

Our awesome hiking group
goofy out take :)

my good lookin scruffy hubs
Joaquim was the most daring out of all of us, he took to hanging out over ledges

Awesome day! We even ran into some friends from our small group on the trail.
That happens more than I'd ever imagine! We ended a great Saturday with some
other good friends drinking $4 margaritas and being goofy.


Spicy Soba Noodles

Getting international over here.
Our friends make some really amazing international food they've taught us how to make sushi, spring rolls, and always have the best cool asian sauces to dip things in. I've been wanting to try making it more but it is a territory I know nothing about, so I started with noodles, I feel safe with noodles.
It turned out quite delicious.

Spicy Soba Noodles:
derived from this recipe

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tbs brown sugar

4 tbs pine nuts; toasted
(you can easily toast them in a dry pan over the stove for a few minutes)
2 tsp sesame seed oil
4 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic; minced
1 tbs ginger; minced
1- 1 1/2 lb cabbage; shredded
handful of leeks; chopped
soba noodles (for 4 people)
1 1/2 cups frozen edamame

1    in a small saucepan mix together sauce ingredients, keep on heat until brown
      sugar has dissolved, set aside
2    in a pan heat the oils until sizzling, add in garlic and ginger, saute for about 30 seconds
3    add in cabbage and leeks, stir a few times and keep on heat for about 6 minutes
4    start boiling a pot of water then add in noodles and edamame
5    pour sauce into cabbage and simmer for 2 minutes
6    place noodles with edamame on plates and spoon heaps of cabbage mixture overtop
7    top with toasted pine nuts


Pistachio Gelato- Dreaming of Italy

We're still dreaming of Italy and of pistachio gelato! So I made us our own batch of it to delve into while we flip through our photos. Not as good but a fantastic substitute!

Pistachio Paste:
8 oz shelled pistachios
1 cup sugar
2 tsp olive oil
3-4 drops almond extract
pinch of salt
9-10 tbs water

1   bring a small saucepan of water to a boil
2   place pistachios in to blanch them for 1-1 1/2 mintues
3   strain them and then start taking the skins off the pistachios
(took me about an hour, just jammed to some music, kind of theraputic)
4    place pistachios, sugar, olive oil, salt, and 1 tbs water into food processor
5    mix until desired consistency then add almond extract and pulse again
6    pour in 1 tbs at a time until it is a paste consistency

(You will only use about 1/2 the paste you make the rest can make another batch of gelato, spread on toast, I'm going to make a buttercream frosting with some)

Gelato Base:
from here

2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs cornstarch

1    mix 1/4 cup milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry, set aside
2    in a saucepan bring milk and sugar almost to a boil
3    when it is about to boil whisk in the slurry
4    let it simmer for 3 minutes
5    remove from heat and pour into a bowl
6    cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight

Pistachio Gelato:

Gelato Base
Scant 1 cup of Pistachio paste
few drops of lemon juice

1   mix together chilled gelato base, pistachio paste, and lemon juice
2   follow ice cream makers instructions
3   place in freezer to firm up for a few hours

eat it and pretend you're back in Italy :)


Homeade Pesto

After coming back from Italy there have been a few times while editing photos that I wasn't quite ready to give it all up. During one of those moments I was remembering having the amazing pesto dishes in Cinque Terre . So I set off to making it for dinner to help that I'm now back in America so so far away from their tasty pesto.

 2 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup parmesan
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts, toasted
pinch of sea salt
3 tbs olive oil

1   throw it all in a food processor & blend
2   store in an airtight jar

Fastest dinner I've ever made!

We had it over little twirly noodles that looked like the ones in Italy, I even found some that were made in Italy :) I also made some french bread loaves.

Also I have to show you the BLTA- Bacon Lettuce(Arugula) Heirloom Tomato Avocado sandwiches we had for lunch. So pretty and so good.


This is cheesecake heaven - Yogurt Rosewater Cheesecake

I like cheesecake but I've never loved it. It seems a little heavy and I've always imagined it should feel like a cloud in your mouth and that you should never feel bad after eating it. This cheesecake is my heaven cheesecake!

 Also it didn't crack and the top was totally smooth, I was so giddy!

I bought rosewater a few months ago but hadn't found anything to do with it and this was a perfect way to kick off my infatuation with it. I was impressed by how little it took for it to have an impact in the flavor. Now I want to make happy spring rosewater cookies and citrus and rosewater hot buns, mmmm

based off of this recipe

1 cup hazelnuts; lightly toasted
3 tbs raw sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1   pour hazelnuts, sugar and flour into a food processor and crunch it all up unitl it is a mealy texture
2   pour in the coconut oil and pulse it all together
3   lightly grease a springform pan and push the crust dough evenly along the bottom
4   refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour

1 package cream cheese, 8 oz.
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs honey
1 container plain greek yogurt, 5-6 oz
1 tsp rosewater
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 eggs, room temp

1    preheat oven to 320 degrees F
2    beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and honey together, about 3 minutes
3    beat in the yogurt, rosewater, lemon juice, vanilla unitl smooth
4    beat in the eggs 1 at a time
5    then beat entire mixture for a few minutes
6    pour on top of chilled crust
7    put water into another cake pan, about 1/2" and place in bottom rack in oven
      to prevent cheesecake from cracking
8    bake for 55-60 minutes
9    refrigerate, uncovered, for a minimum of 6 hours, best if overnight

3/4 cup heavy cream
a few drops of rosewater
a few drops of almond flavoring

handful of sweet dark cherries

1    whisk the heavy cream until it is light and fluffy
2    whisk in the rosewater and almond
3    top slices of cheesecake with a dollop of whipped cream and some cherries

Joshua made an amazing lunch for us that Sunday too, look how awesome it all looks. He impressed me!

Our friends helped us enjoy it and one helped us figure out we could call it a parfait and then eat as much of it as we wanted because parfaits are good for you  :)

We spend the evening throwing frisbees and footballs and eating cheesecake in the park as the sun went down. It was a fantastic way to end the weekend!


Trip to Rome

Ah Rome! We stayed here the longest- 3 days. It was so neat  you'd be just walking to your hotel, turn the corner, and BAM Trevi Fountain, a few blocks more, O look you accidentally ran into the Pantheon. Every few corners had some other really cool old thing. It was the most rewarding kind of accidental scavenger hunt.

Beware this is a long one :)

First we hit the Pantheon because we were dying to get inside. Ah it's so beautiful. The oculus is totally mesmerizing too.

We then headed down the road to the Colosseum but first stopped at the Victory Monument, which is gigantic. It's a newer building but still quite impressive.

You could take a tiny elevator to the top of it which gave a great 360 view of Rome. It was fun to start off with it because we could see everywhere we'd be going.

We then headed back down the road toward the colosseum & stopped to pose at some ancient ruines.

We got lucky and the line wasn't very long so we just waited it out for tickets right away. Inside we imagined how it all would have looked and how they sealed it tight enough to have water battles. It was cool to be in a place like this, sad so much of it was in ruins though. We could walk up the stairs to the second level which gave a really great overall view of the arena.

the Arch of Constantine

We meandered through the Palantine and ruins of temples, basilicas, and the Roman Forum after that. Mostly we couldn't figure out what any of the ruines used to be but we had fun making up stories and putting on pretentious voices like we knew what it used to be. They had tours which I'm sure would have been super informative but we know ourselves well enough to know we aren't patient enough for that, plus we had more fun walking around and kissing behind ruines anyway.

Trevi Fountain
We spent a morning here while I wrote down our travels of the day before
in a journal and then we both made wishes and threw in euros

Wandered back through Piazza Navona which has some Bernini fountains and lots of restaurants. Then we went to Campo de Fiori which is filled with market stalls during the day and then bars at night.

We stayed in an apartment which was really nice. We had a couch a fluffy bed and table. It had really great light and made our stay in Rome feel much cozier. Had the best late afternoon naps here.

After a nap we woke up craving tiramisu so hubs googled it and found there was a great place near the Spanish Steps so we took it to go and enjoyed it amoung the tourists. Ah if only I could eat tiramisu regularly, so darn good.

Then we walked along the water under old dropping trees, crossed over to visit a few buildings like the Castel Sant' Angelo, grabbed an espresso.

We found a random stray cat hideout amoung some old ruines, ha can't believe that there are ancient roman ruines all over. Starving we headed to the Il Ghetto for some Pita Shwarma and fried artichoke. Wow! These were so so good, plus it was a really fun atmosphere in the restaurant.

We loved all the cities we visited best and night and that definately held true in Rome. Everything was lit up and romantic, it made it feel more surreal and special to stop back at all these places mostly alone.

Spanish steps

We dressed up cute one night and went to have dinner at a fancy place in the Piazza Navona. We had Caico e pepe, roman meatballs and sweet wine. The best part was we could spend the whole dinner outside with Bernini's fountains because there was a cute fire column next to us.


Trevi Fountain
 You can tell we were getting tired because our photos dropped off significantly the last day we were in Rome. But we still had a really great day, it was sunny and slow. We stopped off and had wine, pasta, caprese at a restaurant right next to the Pantheon (we kept laughing because it was crazy that we could just do that). We found a cute leather shop and bought some gifts for our family, ate our last pistachio gelatos and took a visit to the Vatican! So cool it's a different country. We sent our families postcards from inside, we thought it was cool. The stamps were the pope, well the old pope.

We walked through a bunch of small museums and sculptures. We made it to the Raphael rooms which were really beautiful and cool to see so close up. Sadly no photos were allowed in the Sistene Chapel but we did spend quite a bit of time in it.

Next up St. Peter's Basilica, which is so so big. It was so impressive and grandiose, and free which was awesome too.

We spent the rest of our day soaking in sunshine and meandering back via a large park. Ended in Campo de Fiori with negronis and one last tiramisu next to a fire. The plane ride back was long and jet lag was enduring but the trip was amazing. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to go on a trip like these. We'll truly hold all our memories closely.

Thanks for letting me share it all.

Check out the earlier parts of our trip:
 Istanbul Pt 1 Pt 2  :  Venice  :  Cinque Terre  :  Florence