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Seattle on Foot: Fremont

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Another part of Patrick and Smitha’s itinerary included a walking tour of some of the other neighborhoods in Seattle. I was definitely game to join them for that because my experience outside of the downtown/Queen Anne area is pretty limited. Plus, I had been wanting to see the Fremont troll since we moved here.

Our firsts top was Waiting for the Interurban, which residents frequently dress up. I have no pictures, but that’s alright – the sculpture had no fun accessories that day.

Next up was the highlight of the tour: The Fremont Troll. To find the troll, hike up Troll Avenue and you’ll find him lurking beneath the Aurora Bridge.

We all took turns climbing on him for various photo ops and then went on our way. We got about 2 blocks away and Pat and I convinced ourselves we needed to go back for one specific photo opportunity: nose picking. My fam is super classy like that.

More meandering, including a stop at Pie, where we got to sample the gluten free huevos rancheros pie and the apple pie. I love these tiny pies and I plan on dragging Brent back soon!

More sights to see. When Pat initially mentioned seeing the Fremont Rocket, I had no idea what he was talking about. It was pretty damn random, but that’s kind of Fremont in a nutshell.

We also saw the Lenin statue.

Apparently they put lights and a star on his head for Christmas. We’ll have to go back and check that out in December.

The other highlight of the tour was stopping at Theo Chocolate. We were hoping to take the factory tour, but it was sold out. We consoled ourselves by sampling nearly every type of chocolate they produce. Seriously, if you’re ever near Fremont, I would hit up the Theo Chocolate factory and store front. I have already informed Brent we have to go back to take the tour.

To complete the tour, we needed to check out the dinosaur topiaries. Fun story: we were all looking in the guidebook figuring out where to look for the dinosaurs when a nice gentleman asked us what we were looking for. We said “the dinosaurs” and he pointed 8 feet away from us. I think the fact we didn’t know we were staring right at them gives you a clue as to the disappointment we felt. This was definitely the dud of the tour.

As you can see, one of them is still missing his ivy head. After stopping for a beer and some frites at Brouwer’s, we headed to Capitol Hill to see the Jimi Hendrix statue and St. Mark’s Cathedral.

There’s been talk of relocating the Hendrix statue and I can see why. It’s in a bizarre location on the sidewalk in front of an art supply store. We also stopped to take advantage of happy hour at Quinn’s. Love that place. We had such beautiful weather and it was a really fun day. It definitely inspired me to get Brent and I out and about exploring more of this awesome city.

 

 

I Have Been Busy

Very busy! In the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone to The Rally to Restore Sanity in DC…

where I found the long-lost twin of Jerry Garcia…

and dressed as a double rainbow with my best friend.

That wasn’t enough traveling for me, so I also headed to Chicago to pick up my mom so that we could roadtrip to Wisconsin to see family. I hadn’t seen my aunt Sherry and cousins in 5 years!!

It was such a great visit, and definitely worth the 16 total hours of driving.

This past Sunday, Brent and I headed to Kalamazoo, MI on another mini roadtrip for All Stouts’ Day at Bell’s Brewery. I love stouts! The Double Cream Stout was definitely my favorite.

I’m finally back home now, and easing myself back into my routine of blog-reading, cooking and , oh yeah, studying – 4.5 more weeks!

Brent is on me again to cut down our eating out budget, an idea that my waistline can certainly agree with, so I’ve made the effort to cook at home this week. Tonight’s meal was the first “new to me” thing I’ve made this week. I tried the Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh from 101 Cookbooks, which I saw on (never home)maker last week.

I forgot the lime and cilantro because Brent and I were too hungry by then, but both would have been very good I’m sure. My only note on this recipe was that it took me 20-30 minutes for the sauce to reduce down to a “thick glaze,” but it worked well nonetheless. Tempeh is one of those foods I don’t eat or make frequently and I’m still on the fence about whether or not I like it. I found it super filling though! I ate 3/4 of mine and Brent finished the rest.

Have I mentioned that I finally bought a rice cooker a few weeks ago? I freaking love that gadget! So worth it. 🙂

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

I had my Med-Surg Nursing final this morning, and most people might assume I spent the weekend studiously reviewing, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I drove to Chicago and drank wine and baked cookies with the women of my family, as we do every year. I appreciate traditions like this so much more as an adult. I’ve realized not every family is as close as ours, and how lucky I am to have mine. Of course, when I was a teenager, I hated my mother for “forcing” me to go to things like this, which is how my sister currently feels. I hope she had fun anyway.

As usual with my family, sometimes words can’t adequately describe the events, so this will probably just be a picture-heavy post.

Mom and Me

Mom and Me

Sarah just found out some people don't love fatimins (fried dough coated in powdered sugar)

The fatimins out of the fryer and ready to be coated

Cousin Amy coating the fatimins

Aunt Kathy, after mom got a littl frisky with the flour

Umm... mom with the rolling pin. Not sure what else to say.

After a long 12 hours of baking

After the "adults" passed out for the evening, Sarah and I made sugar cookies

Although we were impressed with our decorating skills, the actual cookies were rock hard and inedible

And after all that cookie-baking and family bonding, I’m definitely in the holiday spirit. All that stands between me and holiday break is a final head to toe assessment and one more final. Woo! I’m already looking forward to holiday parties and spending time with friends! We also booked a trip to Seattle in January! We’re spending a few days in Seattle and taking a day trip to Portland as part of our “Where do we want to live next?” quest. Any suggestions? Where should we go? What should we eat?

This week, along with finishing school, I’ll be making truffles and baking pies for the family Christmas party. Be back soon with real food!

Thanksgiving 2009

I had a wonderful (and much needed!) Thanksgiving break. We hosted my mom, dad, brother, and sister along with Brent’s parents for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve hosted holidays before, and usually I make all the dinner, but buy the pies from a store. For shame, I know. This year I was determined to make a truly from-scratch dinner, complete with homemade pies.

I had Wednesday off from school so I spent all day baking and doing other prep work for the meal. I’ll share the final products with you at the end of this post. We had to have dinner before dessert. 🙂

My family drove in Thursday morning, so I needed to have something available for them to munch on soon after they arrived because we weren’t scheduled to eat until late afternoon. Along with some chips and crackers, I made a simple appetizer of Cranberry Brie. I scooped about 1/3 cup of homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, orange juice and sugar boiled together) onto an 8oz wheel of brie and baked at 350 for 10 minutes.

I enjoyed it, although I’m a fan of anything cranberry related. My dad liked it as well. My mom refused to eat it and my younger sister claimed she hates cheese (who is this girl?).

Meanwhile the turkey was in the oven. We had a huge one this year and we had some serious problems getting it all cooked, but it turned out well in the end. Brent found a recipe that he wanted me to use this year: Twin Oaks Roast Turkey with Anchovies. Anchovies! You better believe I had to hide that little secret ingredient from my mother. She’s very suspicious when I do the cooking, and when my brother Matt called to say hello to everyone, I heard her complaining about “all that seasoning” that I put on the turkey. Little did she know, haha. She managed to eat it without any complaints though.

I didn’t get a picture of each dish, but here’s my plate: Clockwise from top – mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives, roast turkey with cranberry sauce, green beans and walnuts with lemon vinaigrette, Caesar salad with homemade dressing, Sausage and Herb Stuffing from the Barefoot Contessa (I added an additional 1/2 cup of fresh sage, rosemary and thyme).

I thought everything turned out wonderful. The stuffing and mashed potatoes seemed to be especially popular. My family didn’t love the green beans because they found them “too crunchy” and not cooked enough, but I enjoyed them.

For dessert I wanted to do the traditional apple and pumpkin pies, but with a slight twist, so I made Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie and Pumpkin Eggnog Pie. I used this all butter flaky pie dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen for the crusts. I don’t have a pastry cutter, so I used my Kitchen Aid mixer (even though Deb says not to) and mine still turned out flaky and perfect. My kitchen was a MESS by Wednesday evening!

I made the apple pie first. I followed the recipe exactly, except for the “caramel ice cream topping.” For that I just made a homemade caramel sauce on the stove top using heavy cream, butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract.

Brent’s comments on the pie: “This is really good, but I wish you made the whole pie out of topping.” There are actually apples under there, I promise. Up next was the pumpkin eggnog pie. This was super simple. Mix the filling and dump it in the pie shell. Bake.

I loved this pumpkin pie! (I also happen to be a huge eggnog fan). I would definitely say the pies were the hit of the meal. My mother (who may be a bit difficult to please) could not stop talking about how much she loved the apple pie and the pumpkin was equally popular. I would recommend either or both if you’re looking for a holiday pie.

I’m feeling a bit exhausted now (my family will do that to you), but come back tomorrow for an exciting giveaway involving my one of my favorite food groups: Cheese!

It’s been a crazy week

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Wow. I really wasn’t expecting the first week of school to be so crazy. That, combined with the fact our house is going on the market this week, has kept me insanely busy.

Lots of cleaning and reading, in addition to very little interesting cooking hasn’t inspired any blog posts, but I’ll try anyway.

Last weekend I went to visit my family for an extended family reunion. It was nice to see everyone, especially my brother Matt who was on leave from the army.We finally got a photo of my family all together. My mom has been trying to get one of all of us for over a year now.

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IMG_0262Monday, my first day of school was a full day and I didn’t feel much like cooking so I dug into the freezer for some black bean burgers and homemade bagel buns. Brent made some cabbage-carrot slaw and we had some corn on the cob as well.

IMG_0264We had some realtor meetings along with some other boring meals throughout the week, but tonight I finally actually prepared something that took more than 5 minutes. I made Spinach and Artichoke Tortellini Casserole, which Brent and I both thoroughly enjoyed. It included a lot of my favorite ingredients.

Before baking:

IMG_0269I made a few minor changes to the recipe: 2% milk in place of cream, veggie broth in place of the chicken broth, and I was out of breadcrumbs so I just sprinkled a bit of Parm on the top. I would say the recipe made closer to 6 servings, rather than the 4 indicated. I put the casserole into two small baking pans, baked one and froze the other.

Served, along with some roasted green beans:

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m going to watch some Gossip Girl and relax. Hopefully it won’t take me another 10 days to post!

Colorado Recap Day 2

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Friday was jam-packed. We woke up early again, had some breakfast, packed a lunch and set off toward Colorado Springs to visit Garden of the Gods state park. We spent a few hours there, hiking about 5 miles worth of trails. Everything was gorgeous.

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IMG_0134Nothing like a giant rock formation to make you realize how small you really are, huh?

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It was so much hotter and more desert-like than I was expecting. We even saw cacti growing.

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IMG_0142I thought this particular rock formation looked kind of like a caveman’s head. Maybe the heat was making me delirious.

IMG_0145It is explicitly stated that you should not attempt to climb the rocks. I never had much respect for authority — anytime I came to the rocks I felt compelled to climb, which wasn’t that difficult.

IMG_0147I was much less graceful on the way down. I referred to this particular move as “scuttling.”

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Brent, in front of the “Siamese Twins.” He’s a stud, and he knows it.

After all of this hard (and sweaty!) work on the trails, we decided we were in need of (what else) a beer! We popped into Trinity Brewing Company, which we passed on the way to the park. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I immediately fell in love with this place. Tons of local beer on tap and a delicious sounding menu.

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I wish I had been hungrier because I would have loved to try the Vegan Buffalo Wings or Tempeh Sliders. Everything on the menu sounded amazing.We ended up just ordering a round of beers and some Belgian Fries.

Ohmigod the fries!! I nearly died. Ah-May-Zing! They were thin and crispy and served with the tangiest, most intense beer mustard ever. I thought things couldn’t be any better and THEN… we tried the homemade ketchup! I actually embarrassed myself by telling the waitress (very inarticulately) how much I loved the ketchup. Brent and I kept trying to figure out what was in it. It was sweet but with spices too. After careful consideration, and a lot of licking it off my fingers, I’m pretty sure there was cloves in it.

IMG_0163Brent and I both really enjoyed our visit to Trinity and I wanted to tell anyone who would listen about this life-changing ketchup. To fully make you understand how in love with this condiment I was, I should explain I hate ketchup. We are probably the only people I know who have absolutely no ketchup in our fridge. It’s just not my thing, but now I want to make my own.

After the excitement of the afternoon, I didn’t think we’d end up doing anything exciting on Friday night, but after some internet browsing, we decided to go out for dinner and drinks at Jonesy’s EatBar. My food blogging skills were not up to par on this occasion because I didn’t get a picture of any of our food. Jon, Brent and I shared a split order of french fries, which Jonesy’s is famous for. We had half Macaroni & Cheese fries and half Truffle fries. The Mac & Cheese fries were pretty average. Nothing amazing. The truffle fries were the single best food I remember eating. Ever. In my life. Totally replaced the afternoon’s ketchup experience as “The best food Eva!” I also tried the Ahi Tuna Sliders, which were decent, but who could care about tuna sliders after those fries?

And of course there was beer, all of it brewed in Colorado.

Round 1:

IMG_0176I had some Left Hand Juju Ginger Brew, Jon had some Great Divide Samurai Rice Ale (he minored in Japanese and is obsessed with all things Japan), and Brent had some Bristols Red Rocket Pale Ale. All were enjoyed by their respective drinkers.

Round 2:

IMG_0177Mine was Bristols Laughing Lab Scottish Style Ale, Jon had Odell 90 Shilling Ale, and Brent had Oskar Blues Old Chub Scottish Style Ale. Mine was decent, but I really loved the Old Chub.We also played a lot of Uno while at Jonesy’s, but we left after 2 rounds of drinks because the waitress was giving us the vibe that we were not cool enough to be there.

So we took off, went back to Jon’s and I crashed hard. Sorry for the super long post, but it was a super long day. See you later for Day 3!

Colorado Recap Day 1

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I’m finally back on Indiana soil (Boo!!) after the best vacation ever, or at least the best in recent memory. We had such a good time and I took way too many pictures so I thought I’d break up the recap into four parts. My family has friends near Denver, so I spent a lot of summer vacations there growing up, but Brent had never been so I was excited to show him how gorgeous it is.

By the time we arrived and got back to Jon’s apartment at 10pm Wednesday night, I crashed hard, so our first day was Thursday. I was up and ready to go by 6:45 thanks to the time change and east-facing window I slept next to. Brent and I headed out for a 4 mile run, which was way more scenic than our normal running routes. That is my favorite part about Colorado — all the running and biking paths. It’s the most pedestrian friendly state I’ve ever been to.

After our run, we went grocery shopping! Because we had access to Jon’s kitchen, I wanted to cook at least half of our meals, and I really wanted a reason to go to Whole Foods. After groceries, we drove around waiting for Jon to get off work and ended up exploring some of downtown Denver. All of this was just passing time until the real highlight of the day: BEER!

My absolute favorite beer is Fat Tire Amber Ale by the New Belgium Brewing Company, so when we decided to visit Jon, I begged Brent to drive the hour+ to Fort Collins to visit the brewery. I love their beer and I love their employee-owned, slow-growth, sustainable philosophy. We had a tour on Thursday afternoon at 4pm.

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We drank lots of beer and learned the history of the company and well as some of their guiding principles. Then we drank more beer. (the beer drinking was one of the themes of this vacation).

IMG_0078Jon looks a little boozy in this photo, but this is actually the first tasting beer of the afternoon.

IMG_0085I was a bad touree because I kind of zoned out during some of the technical stuff, like what goes on in these three huge mixers.

IMG_0095Hideous photo, I know. There was a huge twirly slide near the end of the tour. Of course I felt compelled to go down. I slid much faster than I expected and felt quite woozy after the fact. Luckily Brent was able to capture the moment.

IMG_0096The selection of beers in the tasting room. We tried all of them but my favorite by far was the Dandelion Ale, which uses dandelion greens to get the bitterness traditionally imparted by hops. I was so in love with this beer, I bought a growler to take home with us.

IMG_0098We hung out in the tasting room for a while and then finally headed home, beer in hand. The brewery tour was so much fun, and I was so excited to try some of their smaller batch brews which aren’t available near us. The rest of day one was spent drinking some of our purchases, making some spaghetti with marinara, and then crashing hard at the end of the night (another theme of the vacation).