We didn't do much this weekend because I ended up getting a bad summer cold! It turned out to be a blessing though because we got to rest and not feel bad about it. We took lazy walks to get pastries and coffee, long grocery store trips, Joshua helped a friend move, I made chili, took naps, got in a lot of reading, and grilled out and ate on the porch in the sunshine. A lazy weekend but a beautiful one!

On Saturday night though we did go meet up with friends. We had a lovely slow dinner that fed us in so many ways. But the interesting part is Joshua ate RAW oysters. He was quite hesitant and I stood my ground but he gave in and actually tried them. He even enjoyed them. Being that he enjoyed them I said I might try one, ONE, next time, we'll see though knowing me I'll probably chicken out.

giant tubs of fresh oysters!!!

blurry photo of lovely friends
But it was a fun night, we met a few new people and learned a little about wine and just enjoyed the company!

O and we went sailing during the week with some friends and the moon was beautiful! The summer here has been such a treat! Sometimes it's awesome that everyone feels bad wasting any good weather so there's always something to do, But also it can be exhausting haha. Sailing was a great mix.


Drinking Shrubs


I went to a restaurant in downtown for a happy hour last week and had drinking vinegar (shrubs) for the first time. Mind blown! It was the most refreshing beverage I've ever tasted. The whole table loved them. Shrubs are usually fruit infused vinegars that we then had topped off with sparkling water. I would drink this over soda anyday. The depth of flavor is so much richer and drinking vinegar offers a lot of health benefits instead of negative ones.

You can read more about shrubs and their history here

after that I had to run home and make some that week, it seemed like the perfect drink to come home to after work, it is! (you could also throw a tbs or 2 of alcohol in them for after dinner porch sitting)

I love the idea of playing with the variations of additives to deepen the flavors as well such as:
blueberry and lemon
rhubarb and rose or lavendar
strawberry and balsamic
fig and persimmon
blackberry, rosemary, balsamic

I started off using apple cider vinegar with strawberries and apricots and ginger for my first one!
(note the ginger didn't break down and leave much flavor but the apricot was very apparent and a really great flavor!)

All it takes is:

2 cups vinegar: pick apple cider vinegar white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar
or mix a few together

2 cup berries

1 1/2 cup sugar

1   let berries and sugar sit in a bowl for about an hour
2   mash/stir them up a bit and let continue to break down for another hour
3   mash them up one last time and pour in the vinegar
4   then stir together and cover with plastic wrap
5   let sit for 3-4 days and stir 1-2 times a day
6   strain out the berries really well and you could can it or just store it in a jar and use it in the next few weeks. canning can be a great option to get the summer berry flavors in the fall and winter months
7   if not canning store it in the refrigerator so it will last longer


add in 1 part shrub to 3-4 parts sparkling water or club soda and enjoy

seriously SO SO addicting!


A Mid Summer Night's Dream

One of my favorite summer traditions is going to Shakespeare in the Park. I love how all they have are a small handful of props and actors that can then transport you entirely into the play. The actors in Greenstage are always excellent and I was a little weary it wouldn't top the Taming of the Shrew we saw last year, but they delivered. We were laughing out loud and getting sucked into the Shakespeare vernacular. I love the simplicity of the environment but the passion with which it is performed. I also love that Joshua really gets into it too, never thought I'd be lucky enough to land a guy that is willing to try new things and experience art with me the way he does.

the fairies :)

We biked up to the park and feasted on chocolate, cherries and coffee laying on a picnic blanket while the sun set and the story unfolded- it was bliss.

Also earlier in that day I did my second training ride. Hubs took me on a 32 mile ride and we rode around Mercer Island. It was great practice for me to learn how to use my gears better.

Hubs crossing the bridge from Mercer Island
you can see the long bridge in the background


Mountains, Dogs, & Pizza

We went hiking with our friends, the Aaron's, this Sunday. They brought along their dog Maya, which was a good thing because everyone on this hike had a dog. So Maya made sure we fit in and looked cool. It's the buggiest hike I've been on so far, but it's just that time of year. The top opened up to mountain views including Glacier Mountain which was clear and beautiful. Then we spent the hike back down chatting and enjoying the company.

Finished off the day with Diamond Knot Pizza and napping in the car ride home.
A feel good Sunday that makes you wish even more that Monday would never come.

Maya rode in the back of the truck the whole way :)


Taco Truck Date Night

We haven't had much time for date nights recently so this Friday we squeezed one in before we went over to a friends to play games. It was a simple stop at a taco truck but it was exactly what we needed. A little time to reflect on our week and stuff our faces with tacos and tamales.

Plus we had a great mural tipping his hat to us while we ate on the back of Richard.
(also for all those wondering I managed to eat it without getting anything on my pants, maybe a first)

On Drinking

My friend Camila and I have been known to go grab a quick glass of wine after work early in the week to catch up. Usually we don't want to stop talking so in order to lengthen our time we order more glasses of wine. - Now we've added going to a workout class every week and get dinner and a glass of wine after. She recently told me about aperitifs which are pretty fantastic. They would help us be able to keep hanging out and ordering drinks without going home a little tipsy every Monday :) because we just want to talk a little longer.

Aperitifs are a range of drinks with a type of lighter alcohol that can help awaken senses before a meal and then there are a family of drinks that build upon it in alcohol content and complexity

Having had lots of negronis in Italy she was telling me about how a negroni was part of a campari aperitif.

Now I'm excited to start ordering some of its other lighter variations!!!! I like having wine at a weekend lunch sometimes but these seem so much more refreshing! Plus hubs has become very good at making them at home :)

Campari & Soda:
2 parts campari
1 part soda water
-to have before the meal

Campari Orange:
3 parts orange juice
1 part campari
(you can also add soda water to this)

1 oz campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
finish off with soda water

1 part gin
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part campari
-to have after the meal

Campari is a bitter liquor, it took me a few sips before I loved it. There is also Aperol which is like a sister to Campari but is flavored a bit sweeter so if the bitterness is throwing you off start out trying them with Aperol.
There are also apertifs that use sweet vermouth as the base too, which is a little like wine.

I'd never heard of drink aperitifs so I thought I'd share :) I am never good at knowing what to pick when I want to try something new and I'm looking forward to trying these instead of only the few heavier cocktail names I've happened to memorized.


into Kale

I tried to plant kale in my garden this year, but little green caterpillar things ate it all. I tried beer n caps and pulling them off regularly but in the end the victory was theirs. So for awhile I forgot about kale, I had a lot of snacks planned while I was growing it but since forgot about them. Seeing this recipe post the other day put my mind back onto kale and so I went out and bought a few bunches.

I dislike kale uncooked in salads, ick not my thing. But I love it in soups and I plan on adding it to my smoothies in the morning (instead of spinach)

But last night I made some kale chips to go along with portobello burgers and they were perfect! They took me no time to make but look o so pretty, and even a little fancy.

kale chips:

1 bunch of kale; washed and totally dry
1 tbs of olive oil (I put 3/4 olive oil & 1/4 sesame seed oil)
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame seeds
few twists of fresh ground pepper

preheat oven 350 degrees F

1   tear kale up into about 2-3" pieces
2   mix oil, sauce, and seeds into a large bowl
3   mix kale around in the oil, hands work best
4   spread the kale out in a single layer along a baking sheet or two
5   bake for 5-8 minutes
Note: I found the outside chips to cook faster so I pulled those out at
          about 5-6 minutes and moved the others to the edges so they
          were all nice and crunchy
     Also make sure you watch them carefully, it's good if some are a
          little burnt but you won't want the whole batch that way


Cookie Season

For some reason this summer I keep craving cookies. I keep having cookie ideas pop up in my head and they won't get out until I go home and bake them. I've already made 3 different types of chocolate chip cookies this summer!

These 2 are some of my a favorites and their flavor combos make my tastebuds happy. I love bringing a batch of fresh cookies camping or over to a friends house in the summer. For some reason it goes well with the season in my mind.

I took these guys camping with us this weekend:

Lavender Oat White Chocolate cookies
These are amazing because they aren't too sweet but have a really delicate flavor and a great cookie texture! I love them so much I made another batch after I tried one. (also work great as camping breakfast- I counted the oats :)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar; packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lavender; lightly ground (mortar & pestle)
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

preheat oven 350 degrees F
1    beat butter and sugar together
2    beat in egg, vanilla and lavender
3    in another bowl mix together oats, flour, and powder
4    slowly mix flour mixture into butter mixture, mix only until combined
5    hand stir in white chocolate
6    use a heaping tbs of dough to make each cookie on baking sheet
7    lightly press each cookie dough down so they're a little flat on top
8    bake 10-15 minutes

 Hazelnut Wheat Chocolate Chip cookies:
beware this one makes a lot o cookies but you won't regret it

1 1/2 cups butter; room temp
1 cup brown sugar; packed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups white wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
 3/4 cup hazelnuts; roughly chopped
8 oz chocolate; I like to mix different kinds and cut them roughly from bars

preheat oven 350 degrees F
1    beat butter and sugar together
2    beat in eggs and vanilla
3    in another bowl mix together flour, powder, soda and salt
4    slowly mix flour mixture into butter mixture, mix only until combined
5    hand stir in hazelnuts and white chocolate chips
6    use a heaping tbs of dough to make each cookie on baking sheet
7    lightly press each cookie dough down so they're a little flat on top
8    bake 12-17 minutes


Co-worker Camping

This is all of us! (stupid camera made our group photo out of focus) So excited that the boys all coordinated to make this happen. The hiking was amazing but the hanging out post hiking was also fantastic. One couple made us all fire cooked dinner on Saturday as well as many other treats others contributed such as roasted peppers and potatoes, corn, bacon popcorn and more!

Then we spent the night around the fire hanging out, passing around beers, singing loudly and incorrectly while the guitar was played, cuddled with the doggie, listened to some poetry, learned glowing hand dancing, and ate more food than any of us needed to. Ah that night made me happy Joshua really has been blessed with some awesome coworkers who also have awesome other halves.

Side note: I'm very tired of hiking and having sandwiches for lunch so I made quinoa ahead of time and then chopped up a bunch of veggies to make a salad and it was our favorite hiking lunch to date. It was a hard hike too and all it kept us full and gave us plenty of energy. I recommend it!
Lots of variation options but here's what we did:

store in cooler:
1 cup quinoa (cooked ahead of time)
chickpeas (cooked ahead of time)
ear of corn (cooked ahead of time or on fire night before)

not in cooler:
cherry tomatoes
garlic clove
avocado (we would have put it in but Joshua rolled it down the mountain :) glad it was the avocado and not him though!)

for the dressing:
2 limes; juiced
few tbs of olive oil
few shakes of salt and pepper
few shakes of red chili flakes


Epic Co-worker Hiking


This weekend we went on a camping trip with a slew of Joshua's co-workers. We headed up to the North Cascades and went on an amazing hike together. It was about 9 miles but with an insane elevation gain. Luckily one of the guys owns scads of ski poles and ice picks so we were all equipped to cross the snowy slopes.

The views of all the mountains were unreal. Also the hike lead to Hidden Lake which was covered in snow, but you could see hints of it's delicious blueness through some patches. All the snow made Joshua and I a little nervous but the brave and more seasoned hikers pulled us through. Plus the promise of more mountains continued to entice.
The top of the tallest part showing in this photo there is a tiny shack - and that's what we hiked to. I was very weary we would never make it, but alas we finally did.
We had to scurry over rocks to get to the little house at the top. Once we finally made it to the summit (I'm calling it summit we were totally at the top) we lounged around for a bit while some of the guys busted out a map and found the names of all the mountains we could see.

It was stunning and sunny and full of good friends. All wins on this hike. Plus on the way back down we were all feeling a bit more brave and were sliding down the snow and jumping over the rocks. Very fun!

Next up our camping portion...