Montana Road Trip

March 29, 2011

We took a short trip to Montana this past week to catch up with some college friends. My best friend from college and her husband just had a baby 4 months ago and I had to meet her. Ellie is adorable, and has the chubbiest little legs and feet you’ve ever seen. Wait… before I start gushing let me back up. It all started in Whitefish, MT which is about a 9 hour drive from Seattle. Sean’s college buddy Jason is a chef at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake. We stayed there for a few nights to see him and have some amazing food. He is super talented and loves to cook as much as I love to eat. I love these visits. We arrived at the lodge just in time for dinner and J started sending us plates of food. Mushroom soup/bruschetta with goat cheese, his famous ribs that inspired my Polynesian rib off recipe for 2010, Amazing Salmon sashimi and more.  It was so good. Check it out:

Mushroom soup and Bruschetta with Goat Cheese

M'mmmm mushrooms

Ribs

The rib recipe inspiration for Rib Off 2010

Whitefish, MT

A beautiful day for a hike with J's dogs

J's dogs on a short hike

It was great to see Jason and spend some time in Whitefish. The lodge is beautiful, and the town is really quaint. Next stop Seeley Lake, MT.

N + T= Ellie and let me tell you she is the happiest baby I’ve ever met. She was a little unsure of me at first, but once she warmed up to me (and discovered that I would let her chew on my fingers), I was done for. I didn’t want to put her down. It is so amazing to see one of your friends become a first time parent. I am so proud of them. They made it look so easy. Ellie is a lucky girl. I am looking forward to our next visit.  Check out these chubby little baby legs!!!

E standing up

Little E in her PJ's

Num Num Num

Nibbling on my finger

OH… and take a look at these amazing photographs by Adele Enersen. N & T showed us these pictures on our visit with them. Adele is from Helsinki, Finland. She takes these photographs while her daughter Mila naps. So creative!

It was a great trip and we had so much fun catching up with friends. We got back just in time for a dinner party with a group of friends at the Corson Building. Post coming soon…

hori hori dig dig!

I met a girlfriend for mani/pedi’s last weekend and we walked around the Ballard Farmer’s Market afterward. It was a beautiful sunny day here in Seattle. Spring is (or was) in the air. It is cold (we’ve had snow the past few days); but seeing tulips and daffodils at the Market gives me hope that Spring is on the way. This is what we wade through 8 months of cold/rain for. Spring and Summer in the PNW is glorious. I am really looking forward to it.

Ballard Farmers Market Tulips

Ballard Farmers Market

Honoring my Dutch roots with Tulips

Tulips at the Market

Tulips at the Ballard Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hori hori dig dig!

Crafting a Jewelry Board

January 9, 2011

This has been driving me crazy. There is a little nook between the bathroom and the closet with a built-in dresser. Take a look at what was my less than organized clutter of nail polish, makeup, jewelry and other miscellaneous girl business. I wanted to find a way to organize my jewelry so it was easy to find.

less than organized

a hot mess

My friend M turned me on to ReadyMade magazine . L.O.V.E! In a recent issue I saw an article featuring a jewelry designer who had hung her jewelry on a vertical surface covered in burlap. I liked the look of it and wanted to recreate it in my nook. Then, while shopping at Anthro, I saw the bin of knobs/hooks/drawer pulls and decided to use those to hang my earrings and necklaces from the board. I love these:

Anthropologie knobs and drawer pulls

Anthropologie knobs and drawer pulls

I went to the local lumber store to start the project. 15 minutes later I had the plywood I needed cut to size and my hardware threads cut down by an inch. One of the lumber guys even carried my 15″ x 25″ plywood piece to my car. It doesn’t weigh more than 2 pounds total.  Cute. Total charge for the board: $6.95. Nice.

I laid out the knobs and drawer pulls where I wanted them, then drilled the holes. I bought some batting at JoAnn Fabric, and a thin rubber doormat at Home Depot to glue on top of the board. If I need to pin additional pieces on the board later I wanted to have a substantial backing so the pins would hold.

Asssembling the Jewelry Board

Laying it out

Side note: staple guns are fun. I bought one for this project.

Stapling the Burlap to the Jewelry Board

Attaching the burlap

The finished product:

The final jewelry board

My jewelry board!

The final jewelry board on the wall and a new mirror.  I love it. It always feels better to clean things up. Happy New Year to me! Now if I can just keep it clean…

The finished jewelry board

That's better...

jewelry board and Velocity design ceramic organizer

Jewelry board and Velocity ceramic organizer

Earrings organized on drawer pulls

Earrings on drawer pulls

hori hori dig dig!

Oh for pete’s sake… yes, I am writing about Thanksgiving, because I can’t write about Christmas until I’ve covered Thanksgiving. It was so fun! Since living in Seattle my girlfriends and I have gotten together for Orphan’s Thanksgiving almost every year and we gather a group of people who don’t have other plans. Sean and I hosted this year and had 14 guests. Everyone brought a favorite holiday dish and somehow (my memory is a bit fuzzy here) we ended up with more wine than we started with. It pays to host the party! My favorite dish: cheesy onions. Do you want to know what’s in it? No, you don’t. Really. Trust me though, its delicious.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about Thanksgiving. The most important lesson has been to always make the “stick it” rolls ahead of time. It takes an entire day to make these rolls, but they’re a special treat once a year. Especially when you get to dip them in cheesy onions. The other lesson is to drink wine while cooking. That way you don’t get too stressed about having enough food or whether or not it will all turn out.

My friend Kelli came early and decorated the tables. She also put together this cute menu. We had a great time and I am very thankful for my friends. The evening ended with The Go-go’s channel streaming on Pandora and a spontaneous dance party in the kitchen. Totally normal.

Thanksgiving Menu by Kelli

Cranberry, Pear & Ginger Relish

Sean's Turkey

Bevy Bar

Thanksgiving Table dressed by Kelli

The famous homemade "stick it" rolls

Apple tart, pear tart, pumpkin bourbon cheesecake, pumpkin spice cake

Giving Thanks around the Table a la Kelli

The gang

The buffet

Cheers!

I was told to look somber like a proper pilgrim...

Post dinner dance party in the kitchen

Sheesh… it is about time I posted my San Juan Island blog post! 

Before the end of Summer Sean and I decided to explore the San Juan Islands. Sean’s parents were kind enough to let us borrow their boat for the week. His Dad took us out the week before to show us how to use the GPS/Depth Finder and other misc… man gadgets. We reviewed the maps and planned the ports we wanted to stay in. The next week we left from the marina in La Conner and made our way north. We slept onboard in a different port each night. Most days we had picnic lunches while buoyed off an island near the border between the Canadian Gulf Islands and the U.S. San Juan Islands. We took naps in the sun, read and sat on the dock overlooking the islands with a bottle of wine and a blanket. It was perfect.

I was the navigator (and driver depending on the day). I did not, however, dock the boat. Ever. I’m scared of accidentally hitting the throttle the wrong direction! My other duty was to continuously yell “I’m on a boat!” It never got old, at least for me.

Me at the helm

Check out all of my photos here.

Here is our itinerary:

Day 1) La Conner to Deer Harbor (Orcas Island)

I didn’t realize how close the islands were together. It took less than 2 hours to get out to Deer Harbor from La Conner. This ended up being one of our favorite stops. We walked 1/4 mile up the road from the marina to have dinner at the Deer Harbor Restaurant overlooking the harbor. It was beautiful. They also had a latte stand. Enough said.

Day 2) Deer Harbor (Orcas Island) to Stuart Island for lunch and a hike then to Snug Harbor (San Juan Island)

We left Deer Harbor after a lazy morning and a breaky sandwich from the marina store and headed to Stuart Island for lunch and a hike. There is a state marine park on Stuart Island in Reid Harbor and from there you can hike 2.5 miles to past the old schoolhouse to Turn Point lookout. Stuart is the westernmost island in San Juans. We weren’t really prepared for hiking. We both wore flip-flops. It was a pretty hilly hike actually, but the payoff was an amazing view at the Turn Point lighthouse. Oh, and then there was the seal that looked up at me with a salmon in his mouth just as I looked over the cliff. So cool! We left Stuart late in the afternoon and headed to Roche Harbor & Snug Harbor. Roche was beautiful and they had a few restaurants so we stayed for dinner before heading to Snug Harbor to sleep. We got to Snug Harbor and it was tiny. There is only 1 shower/bathroom and it wasn’t very nice. Okay, it was pretty gross. Snug was my least favorite marina, but the harbor was pretty.

Seal with a Salmon at Turn Point Lighthouse. So cute!

View into Canada from Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island

Day 3) Snug Harbor/Roche Harbor (San Juan Island) to Sucia Island for lunch then to Friday Harbor (San Juan Island)

We woke up in Snug and decided to head back to Roche Harbor for breakfast and showers. Every marina we stayed at (with the exception of Snug) had pay showers. Most of them were $1 for about 5 minutes.  Roche had cute stores, a few bocce ball courts, and the old Lime Mines. We went up to Sucia Island for lunch and decided to tie off to a buoy in Ewing Cove. It was gorgeous. Sucia is one of the northernmost islands in the San Juans, just a little southeast of Patos Island. After lunch we headed to Friday Harbor for the night. We got there in time for a cocktail before dinner and then we walked around the town. We asked a local about a great place for dinner with locally grown/organic ingredients. They told us about Backdoor kitchen. We walked around the property, which is off the beaten track and it was beautiful. The menu looked amazing, but they were closed, unfortunately, so we couldn’t try it. Next time! If you go, you’ll have to tell me how it is.

Roche Harbor

Sean in Friday Harbor

Day 4) Friday Harbor (San Juan Island) to Jones Island for lunch then to West Sound (Orcas Island)

Friday Harbor was beautiful, but I was excited to head out to Jones Island to relax and have some lunch. Jones Island was my favorite lunch spot. We tied up to a buoy in the bay and took a nap in the sun. There is something about sleeping on a boat. It is like getting rocked to sleep. We watched a group of Kayakers explore the island and noticed lots of jellyfish coming in with high tide. When the sun started to head toward evening we got on our way to West Sound. West Sound is another small marina like Deer Harbor. We had an amazing dinner overlooking the harbor just up the street at The Kingfish Inn. There isn’t much to do in West Sound, so we set up our camping chairs at the end of our dock, grabbed a few blankets, opened a bottle of wine and watched the sun set. Awesome.

View from the Kingfish Restaurant

Day 5) West Sound (Orcas Island) to Rosario Resort/Spa (Orcas Island)

The morning was cold and cloudy. West Sound, while it was my favorite stop, did not have coffee. So needless to say we left pretty early and headed to Rosario Resort. I’d driven by Rosario when I first moved to Seattle. I went camping in Moran State Park. From Mt. Constitution lookout you can see all of the surrounding islands. It is breathtaking. Rosario Resort has changed hands a time or two since then. The restaurant at Rosario is called the Quilted Pig. The food was pretty good, but the view was the best part of the meal. Most of the ports you pay about $1/foot for moorage at the marina and then pay to use the showers. At Rosario you pay per foot for moorage and then $20 or so to use the property. We were able to use the spa pool and hot tub, or either of the outdoor pools and any of the showers. The facilities were by far the best. Since it was cold, we spent most of the afternoon in the lodge in front of the fireplace reading our books on large comfy couches. I know I keep saying this, but it was so relaxing.

Spa pool at Rosario

Day 6) Rosario Resort/Spa (Orcas Island) to Olga (Orcas Island) then home to La Conner

We woke up in Rosario and I was so sore from sleeping in a cramped space. I told Sean I didn’t think I could sleep on the boat for another night. We had already gone to all the ports on our list, so we decided to head home a day early. On our way back we stopped at Olga. Olga is so flippin’ cute. Not only is long dock into the bay picturesque with starfish in the water and an amazing view of the islands, but the tiny little town is super charming. The store right in town at the top of the dock has closed, but if you walk down the road a bit the Olga store/cafe’ is still open. They sell a large variety of arts/crafts from local artists and have a nice cafe’. Walking back to the dock I didn’t want to leave to go home. It was really pretty and peaceful. When we got back to La Conner, we had fresh crab for dinner with Sean’s parents in Anacortes. Yum.

View from dock in Olga

Fresh crab for dinner in Anacortes

It was a fantastic trip. Next summer, we want to explore the Canadian Gulf Islands, north of the San Juans. I can’t wait.

hori hori dig dig!

I was feeling like a hearty Fall dish tonight. I stumbled across a recipe for Vegetable “Bolognese” and was excited to use fresh veggies. You don’t even miss the meat. Put carrots, red pepper, shallots and celery in a Cuisinart and pulse. Then throw it in the pan with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Saute until cooked through and then add chopped fresh mushrooms (I didn’t want to bother with dried Porcini mushrooms so I used fresh chanterelle), red wine and a little tomato paste. Mix in the Pappardelle noodles and throw a little Parmigiano-Reggiano and you’re done. Yum. I’ll have leftovers for a few days!

The light in the sky is changing and there is a slight chill in the air. I like to call it pre-Fall. Since we had such a late start to Summer, I feel weird admitting that I am excited for the change of season. Growing up in Michigan I experienced 4 very distinct seasons. Here in Seattle we have basically 2 seasons and the cold/grey season is the longest. So why am I feeling just a little excited?! Maybe because I get to pull my Hunter boots out of the closet. And my basket of scarves. I love them.

It’s been a while since my last garden update. I am happy to report nothing has died! In fact it seems that the plants are quite happy right where they are getting loads of sunshine and plenty of water.

I’ll hopefully get to make a few jars of pasta sauce with the tomatoes. I usually make a chunky tomato sauce with loads of garlic, shallots and white wine. The Cucumbers are basically just a method of transportation for hummus. I also like them in salad. If we get enough of them, I may try my hand at pickling. Finding a pickling recipe for Lemon Cucumbers has been tough. I may just try a few recipes and see what works best. Brussels Sprouts just seem like a Fall dish. Sautéed with onion and sometimes a little bacon. Just for fun. They are comfort food. I didn’t realize I liked them until 4 or 5 years ago when I was living in Portland and made them as a side dish for Thanksgiving. I don’t remember having them often growing up in Michigan, or maybe like most kids, I turned up my nose when they made an appearance. I’m a big fan now.

It has been amazing to watch the tomatoes. I can’t believe how quickly they grow! This is a Speckled Roman variety tomato plant, and while it looks a little worse for wear, it seems happy and the tomatoes are getting bigger by the day. They look a bit like swollen peppers.

The Lemon Cucumber plant is my favorite. I love how it filled out and is creeping slowly and looking for a place to climb. The flowers that become the cucumber are pretty and it’s fun to watch the transformation.

The other morning while watering the plants I thought this little guy was getting trapped between the pot and vine, so I tried to move it gently but it came off. I think it is a little young yet, but I may try it this afternoon with some hummus. M’mmmm…

The Brussels! I started with 4 plants and 1 was losing the battle so I pulled it from the pot. I think this pot is a little small for 3, but we’ll see what happens. I have to do some research on how to maintain these as the sprouts grow. They are forming veeeerrrryyyy slowly in the armpit of each stem/leaf, but I heard somewhere that you have to snap off the bottom leaf to promote growth. I’m not convinced that I didn’t dream that, so I want to be sure. If you have advice I’d love to hear it!

Now I feel a bit more confident with my gardening skills. I’ve heard a rumor we might get a new P-Patch in Ballard, so I have to try to get my name on the list for a plot. Stay tuned…

We just got back from our San Juan boating trip. I’ll share the details soon. It was so relaxing.

hori hori dig dig!