Camp & Climb

We went climbing at our favorite spot this past weekend. The weather was sunny but not too hot, we had a good size group of 7, started the day with a McDonalds sausage biscuit- all the ingredients for a fabulous day. The climbing here is amazing and Joshua & I got in quite a few leads on routes. I finally feel like I'm confident enough leading 5.8 routes to start trying something a little more out of my comfort zone.

That night we all stuck around and camped. We took a beer break by the lake and made a fire with giant stumps and one guy even brought guns to shoot. Had a good ol redneck time. They all went climbing again the next day and we had to head back for a prior obligation. Everytime I go I think I fall a little more in love with climbing. The pace, people, views so darn good.


Asparagus pasta with Ricotta & Snap Peas


It's hot here. To hot to cook, also I'm feeling lazy in the cooking realm lately too. I found this little gem and it took about 15 minutes to prepare. It was delicious and nice because you don't have to even worry about keeping everything warm as it's meant to be room temp. Joshua loved it as well so win! I also love a good dish with lots of bright fresh color.

Asparagus pasta with Ricotta & Snap Peas:
2 cups  pasta
1 tbs olive oil
handful of fresh basil leaves; finely chopped
1 lemon; zest & juiced
pinch of salt & pepper
bundle of asparagus; cut off woody end ends)
large handful of sugar snap peas; slice longways
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1    bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and put pack in pot. Toss pasta with olive oil and add in chopped basil, lemon zest, half of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
2   in a cast iron pan cook the asparagus over high heat, turn over to get all sides lightly charred and tender.
3   serve pasta and top with charred asparagus and sliced snap peas. Finish off with a few generous dollops of ricotta. (it is meant to be served room temp or cold)


Out of Town Backpackers

Two weekends ago some friends from Michigan, who used to live in Seattle, came out to visit. They hopped off the plane and headed straight to the mountains with us. We hiked up, set up camp, then hiked to the false peak to watch the sunset. Caught the sunset just at the right time to watch the sky transform into bubblegum clouds and see the sun rays bouncing off the opposite peaks while lighting others on fire. Then we sat around a fire until the rain forced us all into bed.

The next day we ditched the trail for a harder, rockier, more uncertain route to get to the top of Teanaway Peak. It pushed us right over the top of all the other mountains blocking our 360 view. The day was sunny and visibility was great. Turned out this peak was definitely the right way to go, it was really beautiful up there. We then packed up, headed out, and finished off the backpacking adventure  by stuffing ourselves with jalapeno burgers, fries, and milkshakes from a rural roadside shack.


Inspired by a Donut

Ever since we were in Vancouver and had the Earl Grey Donut with Black Currant I've been dreaming of it. I'd already planned on making an earl grey cake next and the market near us so happened to be selling pints of black currants- Fate! This cake was delicious. The color and flavor of the berries was so lovely and the earl grey cake just took cake to another level. I had a lot of fun drizzling the pattern onto the cake, I'll have to try this again with other summer berry flavors!

Earl Grey Cake:
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tbs earl grey tea
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp ground earl grey tea (grind with a mortal and pestle)
12 tbs butter; room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

1   preheat oven to 350 degrees F and then butter and flour 2 - 8" cake pans
2   over medium heat bring the milk to a gentle boil and add in the 1 1/2 tbs tea, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 7-10 more minutes. Strain out earl grey tea and set the infused milk aside
3   in a bowl mix flour, powder, salt, sugar, ground tea.
4   beat in butter, vanilla, and infused milk only until ingredients are incorporated
5   then beat in eggs until incorporated
6   distribute batter between the cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, a toothpick should come out clean. Set cakes aside to cool

Earl Grey Tea & Lavender Frosting:

1 1/2 cup butter; room temp
6 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp earl grey ; ground 
1 tsp lavender buds ; ground
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp almond extract
4-6 tbs milk

1   beat butter until light and fluffy
2   slowly beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time
3   add in milk 1 tbs at a time until it reaches desired consistency
4   add in earl grey, lavender, and extracts and beat well

Black Currant Glaze & Filling:
1 pint black currants
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs water
1/2-1 cup powdered sugar
1   place all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil
2   lower the heat and put on a lid, cook until the berries burst - about 7 minutes
3   remove from heat and push them through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds, stems and skins
4   let cool and then mix in 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Continue adding powdered sugar until it is of desired consistency, you want to be able to pipe it onto the cake

I also filled the inside layer of the cake with the glaze

America Day

We had our own parade!
Saturday morning we all got up at 5:30 am and set out for the Olympic Peninsula. 12 hours later we made it to the trailhead. One could say we made a lot of pit stops- breakfast,fireworks, gas, lunch, Walmart, permits. But we did eventually make it! There were 6 of us all outfitted with American flags that hit the coast trail and hiked in 7 miles. We naively assumed a flat beach hike was in store for us, instead it was over 1,500 ft elevation gain through a forest between the beach parts. It was so steep there were ropes to help you get up the muddy steep faces. We also had to watch the tide schedule which we'd never done before. I really enjoyed the whole thing, even if I was super tired.
We had a huge, HUGE beach fire that night and passed around some whiskey. The next morning we all woke up to blue skies and fluffy white waves.

Since we decided to do an out and back, versus a thru hike, we had all day on the beach. Naturally we made up a game using the only resources around us- sticks and rocks. I think it was called Jerkin the Gherkin. It started out more like bowling with rocks thrown at sticks stuck in the sand and evolved into a triangle game with partners. The scones (rocks) are thrown at either teams thrickets (sticks) - Prince Albert is the center thricket and the other two are something like thrumpet and scrumpet. Why we went English on 4th of July I have no idea. Then in the middle of the triangle is the Gherkin. If all your thrickets are knocked down you can throw one scone at the Gherkin, if you knock it down you may put two of your thrickets back up. This game was amazing! All the people walking by us seemed to think we were nuts though. Also my right arm really hurt the next day from throwing rocks for hours.

That evening we hiked the unweilding forested portion again to a  beach where we had to camp out at because the tide was too high to carry on. Next morning we all hiked out and stopped in Port Angeles for a greasy breakfast where one of the guys ordered pancakes for the table (genius!) It was so much food but seeing that we'd been eating dehydrated dinners we all over ate big time, worth it! We spent 4th of July the way I believe it was meant to be spent and met some really great people too!