Day to Day Life: Weeks 3+4

A glimpse at the last couple weeks:

Winter skies around here never need any filters or editing…
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We went up to Portland for a USA Water Polo camp. Vincent was selected as one of the two goalies to represent the Pacific Northwest Team!
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His girlfriend, Izzy, also participated in the camp. They were funny/fun to travel with.
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Guess who else got to go on the trip… and got snuck into the hotel stealthily in my camera bag…
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Lunch before heading back to Ashland included a stop at the Tidbit food cart pod. My lunch included shoyu ramen with added karaage from Hapa PDX. SO GOOD!
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Izzy went with a turkey/bacon/cheddar waffle sandwich from Smaaken Waffles, Vincent opted for a burrito and my husband got a veggie black eyed pea burger with BBQ sauce from Earth Burgers, which was possibly one of the tallest veggie burgers I’ve ever seen.
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My girl.
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Pizza night… yep, still a favorite night of the week.
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Despite what Words with Friends says, this isn’t a new habit nor a new game to be playing…
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Cookie surprise for one of my husband’s classes…
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I must be getting old because I thoroughly got excited about getting new bed sheets.
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Some days you just need a one eyed ginger.
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HOMEWORK TIMEEEE.
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Our electricity was out for nearly 4 1/2 hours one day, but since we have a gas stove and not an electric one, lunch consisted of stove-toast and a hard boiled egg.
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Lap Chicken.
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Last minute enchiladas one night for dinner…
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I love this sculpin.
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Lots of handsome skies these days!
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This pasta
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Silas had to write an opinionated paper one day. Upon helping him, making him write legibly and neatly, and making sure his spelling was correct, he informed me, “Julie, you would be a bad bad teacher!” Bwahaha. “Because you’re strict!”
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Blackened tofu experiment…
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I told my husband, “I think I make my favorite veggie burger.” His response? “You make my favorite lots of things!”
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Creamy risotto tonight with veggie bacon, mushrooms and peas!
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Saturday Sites: Week Four

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  1. These food-related Instagram accounts make me HUNGRY. But the images are also gorgeous.

  2. These words pulled me right in.

  3. I noticed Meyer lemons in the grocery store… ’tis the season! Let’s celebrate with CREAM PUFFS.

  4. One word: poonado.

  5. This makes me feel so tiny in the very best ways.

  6. This is my new favorite map.

  7. Genetics are CRAZY.

  8. Let’s enjoy this bread together.

  9. It’s settled. Seattle will be on the list of places to go this summer. ;)

  10. 15 honest questions the person you marry should be able to answer.

  11. Mary Oliver has been a long-time favorite of mine. This article is lovely.

  12. The most disproportional map of favorite foods, state-by-state.

  13. I really love this little series of photographs.

  14. Since this is a healthier alternative to a milkshake… I can drink a few? With the bourbon of course.

  15. These words carry some of my biggest fears and break my heart open.

  16. THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD.

  17. I’ve always loved optical illusions!

  18. This post and the accompanying photos.

  19. Posing with statues. So good.

  20. I love pasta so very much.

  21. This makes me giggle.

  22. The truth about our smiles. (A good health-related read.)

  23. These words as a reminder.

Gemelli with a Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

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I was going to tell you how I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week and a half now.  I was planning to let you know I haven’t disappeared, my blog isn’t at some official standstill. I thought about bringing up how many times I’ve sat down to write these words, only to fall asleep halfway through, or find myself needing to be in fifteen other places simultaneously. Maybe I should mention we took a super last minute trip to Portland last week with Vincent and his girlfriend, who participated in the USA Olympic Development Program for water polo. I brought work along on the trip, but didn’t touch any of it for three days straight. (I did eat some good food though… and more doughnuts than necessary.)

It seems my to-do list is never complete and constantly growing. On one hand, I don’t mind. I function better as a person when I have things to do. Cooking hasn’t taken some back-burner position (nor has the food consumption around here), but the photographing appears to be an afterthought once dinner has already been demolished. It’s okay. I’ll get back into the swing of things eventually. Bear with me; there is good food to be had… I promise.

Let’s eat more pasta in 2015. No shame in the pasta game around these parts! I do want to explore sauces and noodles in combinations that have nothing to do with marinara or pesto sauce. The following recipe was a leap in that direction and warmly welcomed here.

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Gemelli with a Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

Serves 6-8 folks.

Ingredients:
1 pound dried gemelli pasta
8-19 large crimini mushrooms, diced bite-size
8 strips of tempeh bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 large cipollini onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8.5 ounces sundried tomatoes (oil packed)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

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Directions:

Cook the pasta to al dente, in generously salted water according to the package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of the salted cooking water after the pasta has cooked through.

Heat the tablespoon of oil in a medium-large skillet. Cook the tempeh bacon until golden brown on each side. Drain excess oil on a paper towel, then dice into bite-size pieces. Set aside until needed.

In the same skillet you cooked the tempeh, add the 4 tablespoons of butter. Melt over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and cook, until tender and semi-translucent (4-6 minutes). Add the garlic, thyme and sundried tomatoes. Cook for an additional minute, before adding in the heavy whipping cream. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce begins to thicken slightly (10 minutes or so). Stir in the parmesan cheese, then taste and add pepper and salt to your liking. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat.

Increase the heat to medium high and cook the pasta in the sauce for about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle the parsley on top then serve immediately.

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Coconut Laced Jam Thumbprint Cookies

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We are nearly halfway through January… is it okay to be talking about cookies? Too soon? (It’s never too soon for cookies!) Around Christmas, one day I decided baking giant heaps of various cookies was completely necessary (must have been that crazy-brain-thing that happens around the holidays). I made the go-to Christmas cookie: plain sugar cookies to be frosted and decorated with the kids, chocolate crinkle cookies, soft chewy ginger cookies, chocolate chip cookies with hazelnuts, chocolate and peanut butter chips… and the following thumbprint cookies.

Hands down, these were probably the favorite among both my husband and myself. They’re slightly delicate, but don’t lack flavor even in their light texture. The jam is important here; make sure to use something you like. That’s pretty open-ended, but intentionally so. You can even mix it up and use various jams (whoaaa!). These are great cookies for any time of the year and certainly don’t need to be saved for the holidays!

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Coconut Laced Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Very lightly modified from Kayley at The Kitchen McCabe.

Yields two dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened (14 tablespoons)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3-4 tablespoons of jam (I used a homemade lavender grape jelly)
2-3 ounces white chocolate

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Directions:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes at medium speed).

Whisk together the flour and cornstarch in another bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter and slowly mix until combined. Add the almond and vanilla extracts, then mix until just combined. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll the dough in the coconut flakes.

Place each coconut rolled dough ball about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each dough ball slightly, pressing the center of each ball down with your thumb to make a small well. Spoon about a half teaspoon of jam in each indentation.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the coconut is just slightly toasted. Remove the pans from the oven, but let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack to finish cooling.

While the cookies are cooling, melt the white chocolate in a double broiler. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the tops of the cookies (a piping bag with an attached fine tip works well for this). If you refrigerate the cookies for 15-20 minutes, the chocolate should fully set, although the cookies won’t need to be refrigerated after the chocolate has set.

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Day to Day Life: Weeks 1 + 2

I hope your year is off to a good start! Here is a peek at the last couple weeks around here:

These waffles!IMG_7855

This is the saddest tree ever. While trying to take down 9 foot tree by myself, I decided it may be easier to just chop it up, limb by limb…
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A New Year’s message brought to you by Silas Henry.

Family Scrabble night!
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My favorite little Chicken accessory.
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We rearranged nearly our entire downstairs… I like the openness that our kitchen currently has.
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Veggie pepperonis getting spiced up for pizza making.
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P I Z Z A N I G H T .
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Old dogs, cold dogs!
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Homemade pad thai with tofu one night…
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Lunch date with this guy.
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Note to self, pay attention when your phone is set to Celsius instead of Farenheit so you don’t freak out first thing in the morning about “how cold it is.”
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An adventure with my buddy Janet.
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More adventure time pictures…
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We stopped at Sammich after our hike/walk. I got the “Michael,” one of their specials that day. It was an Italian roll filled with slow cooked pulled BBQ beef smothered with house BBQ sauce, then topped with slaw… and it was damn delicious!
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Homemade Cheez It crackers one day!
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YES.
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Vincent’s girlfriend, Izzy, went to France over winter break and brought back some raclette cheese (and chocolate!). We enjoyed the cheese over boiled potatoes one evening.
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Lunch for this girl one day… Sautéed kale, spinach and chard with feta cheese and eggs. So good.
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Vincent had a dude-sleepover… breakfast the next morning consisted of black pepper cheddar biscuits and gravy.
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Silas had his first ‘real’ basketball game this weekend.
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A red coconut curry with tofu and vegetables one night, which was a winner all the way around.
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