Lovely beginning to Fall

We had a lovely relaxing! fall weekend.
We started off with a rainy bike ride to catch the Old Crow Medicine Show. This show was so well put together, serious entertainment! They had harmonica battles, epic whistling, fiddle dancing, clogging, the main singer was so on it and his pants had rhinestones :) We capped off the night pulling our friend Liz out of bed to grab a drink with us.

Saturday we took naps! Grabbed sandwiches and chilled at a brewery. Rock climbed a bit that night and met up with a friend for a quick drink.

Sunday I headed to the market to hang out with my friends parents who are visiting, we did some chores, rode our bikes to Fremont for some reubens, read on our "porch" (sidewalk), and played some Settlers of Catan.

I really really love the first rainy weekend, granted it still had plenty of sun, but I love the guilt-free weekend where you can watch movies, drink multiple cups of coffee and walk around in overalls and a scarf!


Chanterelle Sage Focaccia Bread

I knew I couldn't stay away from the chanterelles :)

I love making Focaccia bread! I love letting it rise into a fluffy pillow and then dimpling it with my fingertips, but this one was even better! I got to push beautiful mushrooms into the pillow & watch the dough rise around them. The texture this bread created was amazing and kept better overnight than most of the ones I have made before.

Chanterelle Sage Focaccia Bread:
inspired by this recipe

1 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup flour

1   in a small bowl stir together yeast and water until dissolved
2   then stir in the flour
3   cover with plastic wrap and set in warm dry place to rise for 45minutes-1hour, until it about doubles in size
(you can turn your oven on its lowest temp and then turn it off and place bowl inside)

3-4 small Yukon gold potatoes (8 oz)
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
3 tbs olive oil
3/4 cup flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (or white wheat flour)
2 tsp sea salt
olive oil for drizzling
2 tbs sage; chopped
15-20 wild mushrooms (chanterelle, oyster & such)
coarse sea salt

1    while the sponge is rising boil the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, 8-10 minutes
2    peel the skin off the potatoes, mash them, and push through a sieve or potato ricer(not as hard as it sounds, but it would also be okay if you just mash them very well)
3    let potatoes cool
4    in a small bowl mix yeast and water together and let sit until foamy, 3-5 minutes
5    in a large bowl add sponge, olive oil, potatoes, flour, yeast & water mixture, and salt
6    mix together until all are incorporated
7    then, using the dough hook, knead the dough on medium speed for 7-10 minutes, beware it's a sticky dough, the dough should come together and slap the sides of the bowl when it is finished
8    cover with plastic wrap and place in warm dry place for 1 1/2 hours
9    place parchment paper on baking sheet and sprinkle with flour
10  turn dough out onto paper and shape into a rectangle, sprinkle the top with flour and pull/form the dough until it is about as large as your baking sheet
11  cover with a towel and let rise 45minutes-1hour
12  preheat oven to 425 degrees F and mix chopped sage, about 2 tbs of olive oil in a small bowl
13  cut the stems off the mushrooms and pour olive oil/sage mixture into the bowl and coat mushrooms
14  uncover the dough and using your fingertips press dimples evenly over the dough
15  then press mushrooms into some of the dimples, finally drizzle remaining olive oil/sage over the dough, you may need to add a little more oil drizzle overtop
16   sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake for 20-25 minutes

note: if you're eating it that day- no problem, but if you're making it for the next day try this:
1 when it comes out of the oven let cool for 10-15 minutes
2 place a towel over the focaccia, and leave it on the baking sheet
3  wrap towel, bread, and baking sheet in plastic wrap
4  when you go to serve it preheat oven to 350 degrees F and finish them off with a few minutes, 3-5, in the oven
this trick will insure your bread won't be to dry


Mountains, Cake, Celebration!

We got to celebrate two lovely friends this weekend! They had a property with 3 swanky houses out in Leavenworth the party took place on. It was on the Wenatchee river with salmon jumping from the water, a nice big hot tub, and full of lots of good people.
And they asked me to make their wedding cake, which was a huge honor & I was shocked for at least a few months after she asked me! So I spent Thursday night hand grating 60 carrots, making runs for more eggs mid batter and knocking out 3-12" and 3-9" layers of carrot cake. On Friday we drove out and I iced the mountain cake and topped off the peaks with some glitter (we were in the mountains and they also got engaged on a mountain hike, so cute) Then on Saturday I, very very nervously assembled the cream cheese frosted cake outside atop a cute bed of ferns and greenery from the site. And I LOVE IT! I think it turned out beautifully and I'm so thankful that they gave me freedom and trust to just go with it. Plus I have to say it turned out to taste quite yummy. I was thinking I was done with carrot cake forever but after eating it, I may cave and make it again :)

 As for the rest of the wedding- it was touching, beautiful, full of the people they love (we all made the food the night before, set up the venue and it all felt full of people that love them hanging out and chopping and flower arranging all Friday) Ashley was stunning!!! Adam looked so fly in his navy suit and we danced the night away!

my little helper, Adam's niece

jumping in the river


Chanterelle Gnocchi

I've finally snagged some time to cook homemade dinner the past few nights! The night before I made cast iron salmon, mixed mashed potatoes with jalapeno & cheese, and green beans from my bosses garden. We felt so fancy, our meals are almost always a one skillet affair.

Then last night I wanted to use the adorable chanterelle mushrooms I'd picked up! They're in all the stores right now and I had to snag some. I wanted a dish that showcased them but also would take almost no time. This one fit the bill!

Chanterelle Gnocchi:

gnocchi for 2 (trader joe's has the best!)
12-15 chanterelle mushrooms
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
shallot; sliced
1/2 jalapeno; minced
salt to taste
pepper to taste
asiago cheese; grated

1   boil a pot of water
2   heat skillet and melt butter with olive oil
3   sauté shallots and jalapenos for 2-3 minutes
4   then add in mushrooms for 6-7 minutes
5   boil gnocchi until it floats 2-3 minutes
6   place gnocchi on plates and top with mushroom mixture
7   top with salt and pepper and some cheese

So simple, but so so so very good!


Bachelorette Weekend

This past weekend we got to celebrate a friend getting married. There were 5 of us and we headed out to Mt. Index and hung out in the world's cutest cabin owned by an adorable woman named Moon who uses words like 'divine' in everyday speech.

We rode motorcycles (first time for me ever!), jumped in cold water, swung on a children's playset, drew tattoos on Ashley, made so much food I was impressed we consumed it all, took shots of gin (don't ever recommend it), wrote haikus, drank coffee in a garden, spent hours in a hot tub, and much more.

I didn't know the other girls very well but they were lovely and made me feel involved and a part of it all which I truly appreciate! Also we all got covered in glitter from the tutu she wore around all weekend :) My favorite was the tutu on the motorcycle!!!

Sparing all of us a picture of our bathing suits but only group pic on my phone :)
Can't wait to celebrate their wedding this weekend! Send prayers my way she's trusting me to make her wedding cake- I'm more than a little nervous!!!


Tomyhoi Peak

The next morning we woke up and Joshua realized we were surrounded by perfectly ripe huckleberries! We all spent the morning popping them into our mouths and oatmeal and we all managed to forage enough to take home a whole pot full. This high up the huckleberries stems were only a few inches tall. You only noticed the ground was covered in the indigo berries when you bent down and looked across. It was honestly the perfect way to spend the morning munching and hollering to everyone when you found a jackpot of berries. The dog, Sugar, also got in on it, she would find a good spot and just bite 'em right off (we were impressed)
After our berry filled morning we headed to the adjacent trial Tomyhoi that winds up past Yellow Aster Butte from yesterday. We climbed up the very tall hill in the photo above, picking more berries (at eye level it was so steep)  as we hiked up. We traversed across some cool rocky ridges and did a little scrambling down and back up. Everytime we looked up or looked back we saw a few more mountain peaks than last time. Their snowcovered caps became more visible the higher we got and it was really a wonderful hike with nothing but more peak surprises everytime we headed upward.
At the top we did a little more hula hooping, threw some rocks, had lunch, played in the snow, and hiked back down. Back at our camp a few of us ran into the water while others dipped in their toes. Then we packed up camp and walked back out.

This is a hike we've been waiting to backpack for 2 years and it didn't disappoint. The pace, the view, the light, the sunset, the stars, the huckleberries- we decided it gets to keep its spot at the top of the Elrod's favorite hikes list!



Our favorite Butte

Yellow Aster Butte has still held as our number one favorite hike since we did it 2 years ago. Partially for sentimentality, but also because the up close 360 mountain views it holds are truly awe-inspiring. Our friends decided to join us and brought along a dog they were dog-sitting (ideal situation!) The sun was hot and bright all weekend casting different shadows and revealing different peaks as the day came and went.


We hiked all the way in and set up our tents in the meadowy area then hauled dinner up to the high point of the butte to watch the sun set, hula hoop, and cook up some food. The sunset was truly beautiful and the haze of colors swept all the way around where we stood casting pinks and purples onto the peaks.

Up next foraging and some more steep hiking...


A little ladies night

A friend and coworker Camila was nice enough to have a bunch of girls from work over to her apartment the other evening. We had a little ladies night complete with mimosas and punch with champagne. She decked her awesome apartment out with tables of tiered bruschetta, strawberries, and dips. I brought a few galettes full of Italian plums from a coworker's plum tree and we had ourselves a great time.

The weather warmed up at night and we all hung out on the little balcony, testing it's weight limit. We gossiped a little, and mostly just had a lovely summer evening. It's great to be reminded the people you work with are real people, and fabulous funny beautiful people at that!

photo by Camila
 such an adorable set up!!!
photo by Camila


Cookies n' Cream


With my sister visiting I knew I wanted to make something she'd love. But I also wanted her to try all the food Seattle has to offer. Therefore I decided upon some ice cream to snack on when they arrived off their plane. It turned out tasty and felt like childhood. We all had a big bowl of ice cream together to ring in their arrival to our apartment and rest before going out to eat some more :)

I used a Jeni's Ice cream base and then added my choice of flavorings to it-

Cookies n' Cream Ice Cream:

2 cups milk
4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs cream cheese; room temperature
 1 package of oreos; crushed into bits

1     mix 2 tbs milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl
2     in another medium bowl mix the cream cheese and salt together until well combined
3     in a medium pan mix the milk, cream, and sugar
4     bring to a boil, boil for 4 minutes, stir frequently
5     remove from heat and mix in the cornstarch mixture
6     put back on heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute, stir frequently
7     pour ice cream base into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, make sure the plastic
       wrap is touching the mixture so that a skin doesn't form
8     put in refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours, or overnight
9     then prepare ice cream to manufacturer's instructions
10   when it is almost finished dump in the oreo bits saving about 1/2 cup of them, mix until
       they are well incorporated
11   place in a well-sealed container top with remaining oreo bits and store in freezer,
       best within a week and a half