Joshua Party

Joshua's birthday was low key and turned out to be a truly fabulous time. We hung out in a brewery with a lot of our friends in a cozy room covered in paneled wood. We had his favorite pizza, Ballard pizza, delivered even though we probably could have walked to get it faster, where's the fun in that? Shared some pitchers and ate some cake with bacon in it, win! Best of all Joshua had a really great time, thanks to all for making it so!!!

To the cake- I saw this cake on a blog and was dying to try it, luckily it was Joshua's birthday and his birthday cake is always up for my experimenting. The cake was so fluffy and light, the almond paste made it sweet and the cardamom bacon cut the sweetness delightfully and then who doesn't love a ton of whiskey ganache (answer no one)

Almond cake with cardamom rubbed bacon and whiskey ganache:

10 slices thick cut bacon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
8 oz almond paste
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1    preheat oven to 400 degrees F and mix together cardamom and brown sugar in a bowl
2    gently dredge bacon on both sides through the mixture
3    cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil and place on a lower rack and then place bacon slices on rack above baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes on one side, flip and bake until done - about 7 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool then chop bacon slices into pieces
4    preheat oven to 350 degrees F and flour 2-8" cake pans
5    combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl
6    in another bowl beat almond paste for a few minutes, then beat in egg YOLKS, once well mixed beat in vanilla
7    in another whisk beat egg whites and pinch of salt until it forms soft peaks, then slowly whisk in sugar and whisk until they form stiff peaks
8    then fold egg whites into the almond paste mixture, then fold in the flour mixture, and finally fold in the bacon pieces
9    pour half the batter in each cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, a toothpick should come out clean

Whiskey Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz dark chocolate
3 tbs whiskey

1    fill a small saucepan with a little water and then place a small pot in it
2    place cream, chocolate and whiskey in pot and melt it all together over medium heat
3    once it is all melted together remove from heat and let sit until cool, about an hour
4    then once cool whip it all up so it's fluffy and spread onto cake layers


Joshua is 27!

It's official, no longer can he toe the line and say mid-20's he's a late-20's man! This week we've taken turns being sick and worked a lot of overtime so it came up quickly, but we're excited to celebrate tonight which includes a bacon cake with whiskey ganache!

This man, I know I'm swayed, but he really is amazing. He's my adventurer who wants to get up at 4 am on Saturday to drive 3 hours to hike all day, he's my goofy man who somersaults into bed and insists on giving me piggyback rides around our own apartment, he's my soul who listens even when I want to be the one to talk all night, he's my partner that is up for all my random ideas and whims, he's my treasure that loves me with no rules or boundaries and never lets me feel like he isn't thinking of me.

Happy Birthday my Joshua and cheers to 27, may your adventures exceed all your expectations. I'm so blessed to get to be a part of them all!


Heart Shaped Food Dinner

Quite randomly I came home Friday suddenly afflicted with some silly cold. Hubs asked what I wanted for dinner and when I said burger he lovingly went on a run to find me one. Then most of Saturday/Valentine's Day I was useless. Although we did get to watch a giant chunk of Elementary season 2 while I huddled under blankets. By Sunday I was feeling more uppity so we cooked our Valentine's Day dinner a day late, which really was just dinner with more red things and dough shaped into a heart because why not!

We started off with the fanciest cocktail we've ever constructed at home. And it was so delicious! It was fun to sip it and try to detect all the flavors and to have the rose water syrup linger on your tongue. Adding the sparkling water was perfect to give it a little fizz but also make it a larger drink without adding more alcohol. Here it is, make it!

Rose Grapefruit Cocktail:

First you have to make rose simple syrup and this can be kept in the fridge for a week. You can also use the extra rose water syrup to add a 1 to 3 of sparkling water.
1 1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup rose water
3 tbs lime juice

1   bring water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stir occasionally
2   add in rose water and lime juice and simmer for 10 more minutes, stir occasionally
3   remove from heat and let cool before using in drink, store in fridge

for the drink:
1.5 oz gin
.75 oz rose syrup
.75 oz grapefruit juice
.25 oz lemon juice
2 dashes of peach bitters
cardamom pod
sparkling water

1   in a shaker lightly muddle the cardamom pod
2   add in gin, rose syrup, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, peach bitters and a few cubes of ice
3   shake and strain over ice
4   add in sparkling water and finish with a twisted lemon peel

I wanted to make pizza (because we love it almost as much as we love one another) but I wanted a little spin on it so I made my charred pepper sauce as the base. This sauce is so versatile and really quite easy to make. Now a huge hit on pizza in our opinions! Then we layered on 3 types of mushrooms (decadence!), crumbled spicy sausage, sprinkled on some goat cheese and grated pecorino. Wowza this pizza should be sold somewhere! Best combo ever I now believe!

We also had a mixed greens strawberry salad with cranberry mustard dressing which was very adorable and very tasty. I've listed it out below.

Mixed Greens Strawberry Salad with Cranberry Mustard Dressing:

5-6 cups mixed greens
8-10 strawberries, cut off greens and slice
4 radishes; sliced

Homemade Granola Croutons:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pistachios
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
1/4 cup olive oil

1   preheat oven to 350 degrees F and mix all ingredients in a bowl
2   spread out mixture on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes
3   let clusters cool before putting on salad

Cranberry Mustard Dressing:

3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs cranberry mustard
1 1/2 tsp honey
a little salt and pepper

1   mix all ingredients together well in small bowl and drizzle over salad


Happy Valentine's Day!


I was very popular at work yesterday :) I  always leave my team valentine's day cards (this year they were mad libs!) But this year I also made a bunch of adorable heart shaped champagne meringues with grapefruit buttercream. I can't say how sorry I am you didn't get one. The kicked all conversation hearts butts, except the break up ones because they are hilarious.

These little cuties were quite simple to make and I made the meringues a few days in advance so they didn't require much of my time.

Hope you have a conversation heart and red jellybean filled day :)

Champagne meringues filled with grapefruit buttercream:

1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp white wine vinegar
6 egg whites
 few pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 drops of champagne flavoring
(I used cinnamon heart candies on the tops of some of them for fun)

 preheat oven to 275 degrees F

1    Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

2    In a small bowl mix together vanilla and vinegar and set aside.

3    In a large bowl add egg whites and a pinch of salt. Using a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until the form soft peaks.

4    Then slowly add in the cornstarch and sugar. Once incorporated beat on medium-high for 2 about 2 minutes.

5   Add in the vanilla/vinegar mixture and whip on medium-high until the mixture is glossy and can form peaks. Then beat in the champagne flavoring. Scoop the meringue into a large pastry bag with a medium size circle tip.

6   Pipe the meringue into hearts on the baking sheet. Remember the meringue will show your movements when creating the heart so try to make them with as little extra movements as possible. Also they don't puff up and run into each other so you can place them quite close on the baking sheet. Lastly attempt to make the approximately the same size :) Mine were around 1.5"

7   Once your two trays are full pop them in the oven for 15 minutes. Lay out other tray-sized pieces of parchment and pipe out hearts with your remaining meringue.

8    After 15 minutes reduce the oven to 250 degrees F and don't open the oven at all. Bake for 45-50 minutes. You don't want them to be brown you just want them to easily peel off the parchment paper and to not have any stickiness on the back of them. You can watch them pretty easily if you just turn the light on in your oven. With 3 minutes left turn the oven back up to 275 degrees F

 9   Remove the sheets and swap out the parchment paper of hearts for some uncooked ones and repeat baking method until the are all baked.

10   If you want to store them for later shake a little cornstarch at the bottom of your container and line with parchment paper (keeps them from getting soggy) Once the meringues are all cooled layer them in the container and seal it. Keep it in a cool, dry area.

Grapefruit buttercream:

1 grapefruit
8 tbs butter (1 stick)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 cups powdered sugar
2 drops of red food coloring

1   Squeeze the grapefruit to extract all it's juice, sieve out the pulp and seed. Place the juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the grapefruit juice to 1/4 cup juice. Remove from heat and let cool.

2   Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Then beat in the vanilla and slowly the powdered sugar.

3    Then beat in on high the cooled grapefruit juice for a few minutes. If your consistency is too runny add a few more tbs of powdered sugar until you are happy with the consistency. Then beat in the red food coloring

4    Place the frosting in a pastry bag and pipe onto half of the meringue hearts. Top each one with another heart and if you're feeling up for it sprinkle on some colored sugar on the edges.

Serve to your Valentine, or half your office :)

Gah Prettiest Pasta ever made

Look at this stuff! I want to hang it as a permanent curtain! With the light behind it the herbs look so scrumptious!

Our friend Kristen's husband is away for work so I snatched her for a night of just the two of us making pasta. We had a really great time once we finally figured out how to make it. The kitchen was devastatingly covered in flour and pasta was hanging to dry at head height (dangerous) we forgot to laminate one sheet of pasta together before cutting it into spaghetti so we ran each piece through again individually, and we ate heaps of perfect beautiful pasta. The herbs made the dough smell so good while rolling the sheets out and I think we swooned every time we cut them into pretty little noodles (while simultaneously dropping some on the floor)


We had many lessons learned which I will let you in on here for a more seamless herb laminated pasta experience than we had.

herb laminated pasta:

6 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
4 1/2 cups flour
bundle of herbs (we used cilantro and parsley)
small bowl of water

1  In a large bowl add in eggs, yolks, salt, olive oil, and flour. Using a dough hook slowly mix the ingredients together. Once they are incorporated bring the mixer up to medium low and knead the dough until smooth, 6-8 minutes. Then break into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and let sit in fridge for 20-40 minutes.

2    Pull one dough ball out of the fridge and break in half again. Shape one ball into a rectangle with your hands and cover the other one back up with the plastic wrap and set aside.

3    Roll your dough through your pasta maker starting at setting 6 all the way down to setting 1. If it seems to be sticking rub some flour on the sheet

4    Lay your pasta sheet on the table (we had to drape some over the chair but that's okay because you only need to work on half of it) You will be folding the dough over the length of itself so very lightly brush a small amount of water with a pastry brush onto half of the dough. Don't sprinkle water over with your fingers or you will create water pockets that will explode flour water out when your run it through the pasta maker again (we know)

5   Break the leaves of the herbs off of the stems, you don't want stems in the dough because when you roll it through again it will create a break in the dough and shorten your noodles. Lay the herb leaves all over the half of the dough you brushed with water, Then lay the other half of the dough over that to create a sandwich of the herbs. Lightly pat down the dough so they two layers stick to one another.

6    First change your pasta maker to a 3! then run your dough through. Run it through again at a 2. Then lay the dough down and lightly rub on flour, flip over and do the same to the other side so it won't stick in the machine. (If you don't have a pasta cutting attachment you can just cut the noodles with a pizza cutter) Run the dough through the pasta cutter attachment for linguine.

7   Then hang your noodles to dry, I used a dowel rod rubbed with olive oil but you can also use hangers.

8   Repeat with the other half of the dough and the other dough ball in the fridge.

9   Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Test with one noodle first to ensure that they are dry enough to hold together in the water, it is best to start with the noodles you made first. Boil a batch of the noodles for 2-3 minutes, until al dente

10   We topped ours with browned butter sauce with minced garlic (brown about 5 tbs of butter and then add 2 minced garlic cloves. Pour some sauce onto the noodles and throw in a few mozzarella balls and some fresh cracked pepper!


Date Night Redo

 This last Friday we had reservations at a nice place and got dressed up to start with drinks and yam fries at another place while waiting. We never made it to the fancy restaurant though because instead we ended up fighting the entire night and eating a piece of pizza for dinner. We weren't being nice to each other even a little bit. Eventually as the night wore on we made up and talked through it all. Woke up in the middle of the night and talked through it some more and woke up the next day to the versions of ourselves we actually do like. But our first purposeful date night in awhile sucked...

So on Saturday we spontaneously ended up on another one. We split a burger, played tons of skeeball (don't worry I kicked his butt at it), tried a "left shark shot" (from the Katy Perry halftime show (we thought it sounded fun)- they were very disgusting!) I'm glad we were able to give it another shot. I'm sad we ruined the first one but I love that we went out again and had a really fun night. It was what we had craved and makes me love our relationship a little more. Shooting for getting it right on our first shot the next time ;)


Also we went back to the place we started our fight at for brunch because a place that serves the best chicken and waffles needs redemption!


Weekend Happenings

This weekend we crafted a bunch of homebrewed beer. We were able to bottle and cap our Oberon clone and then on Sunday we went ahead and brewed the IPA Joshua got from some of my siblings for Christmas. We're love sharing our beer and bringing it along places so it will be fun to have 2 different choices! I never thought I'd enjoy brewing beer but I've really gotten into. Granted I don't understand all the mechanics of why we put in hops when we do but I'm learning. Joshua though he's the pro, I make sure we're not hungry and flip the records.

I have to lay down towels because someone (Joshua!) gets water everywhere
We've also been rope climbing about twice a week with some friends and we're loving it! I love that it's social, not constantly moving like running, and so satisfying to make it to the top of that wall. We've both definitely improved a lot but also we're a lot more willing to try a route and fail which means sometimes you totally get a move you didn't think you would. Looking forward to hopefully giving outdoor climbing a try this year! And since we were waiting for laundry and already went rock climbing I was able to talk Joshua into not splitting our gelato (me: pistachio and fig, him: tiramisu and fig)


Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms over Seared Polenta Patties

I've had quinoa polenta sitting in our pantry thing for awhile now and I saw a recipe in one of my cookbooks that inspired the dish above. I've been trying to open my cookbooks more recently, and it has been really fun. Even though I rarely follow one all the way through they inspire me A LOT, plus pretty pictures make me want to cook. This one was a winner, so so delicious!

6-8 mini Portobello mushrooms; cut in half
1 tsp thyme; roughly chopped
2 tbs parsley; roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 package polenta (I used a quinoa polenta); cut into 1/4" slices
10-12 Brussels sprouts; pull the leaves off
2 handfuls of microgreen sprouts
1/4 cup shaved pecorino cheese

1    marinate the mushrooms with the thyme, parsley, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and vegetable stock for 1 hour or up to overnight in the fridge
2    put some oil into a pan and turn it on medium heat. Add in the polenta slices (about 4 at a time) Cook until lightly browned on one side and flip them over (about 2-3 minutes on each side)
3    while the polenta is cooking heat the mushrooms in a pan and sauté until soft (6-7 minutes)
4    once the mushrooms and polenta are almost done put a little oil in a pan on medium-high and toss in the Brussels sprout leaves, toast them for a few minutes so they're not raw and remove from heat
5    plate some microgreen sprouts on the bottom of each plate to serve as the bed, then layer on 3-4 polenta slices, top with mushrooms and drizzle on some sauce, sprinkle on a handful of toasted Brussels sprout leaves and finish with some cheese


Mario Kart Supersized

This past weekend we went out to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday party and race (I think they're called) go karts. I decided to just watch, I've never enjoyed driving. It was fun to watch them run into each other and get stuck. Joshua spun out a few times and took out a bunch of people. The last race was serious business though, a banana trophy was at stake. Awesomely the birthday boy won! There's something I love about hanging outside when it's chilly.
Then we headed to a bar to have some amazing nachos and pitchers and then we met up later and biked over to another bar where arm wrestling ensued as well as many many orders of tater tots. Oh these tater tots were addicting!

On Sunday we headed to a bar to meet up with some friends to watch the Superbowl. I wore the only Seahawks gear I own - socks that I won at the Christmas white elephant gift exchange. Can't lie we were mostly there for the Katy Perry halftime show which we shamelessly sang and danced to. We ended up having a great time and since our friend's had gotten there at 11 they had seats we got to all share. And then that last play happened and it all went downhill, so we took our Seattle native friend out for another beer and pizza.