What a crazy few weeks…

Fans, I’m very sorry for my absentee-ism with blogging lately. Not only have I been pretty busy, but I’ve discovered another obsession: Game of Thrones. So, with all of my free time, I find myself glued to the TV, unable to multitask and write a gem for you to read. I know you’ve missed me. I’m sorry!

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. What have we done? Let me tell you!

We went raspberry picking

We picked a whopping 13 lbs of berries (and finished them in one week! A new record!) I’m working on a post all about our picking experience. In the meantime, head on down to Harvold Farms while it’s still raspberry season. Blueberry season also just kicked off, if they are your berry of choice. Our favorite spot to pick blueberries is Bybee Farms in North Bend. It’s worth the drive!

2013-7-30 Rasberries

2013-7-30 PizzaWe made pizzas … and finished the pizza oven plans

The oven planning has been daunting, so we put it off and opted instead to try out some pizza dough, sauce and topping recipes!

Our pizza gorging re-inspired us and we finished the plans for the wood-fired oven. Next step: ordering the supplies and getting our mortar on. We’ve got to do quite a bit of the work before the weather Seattle is famous for is upon us. So, it’s time to get this show on the road.

I’ve been really busy with my other job: Little Britches Bakery

2013-7-30 LBB

Something amazing has happened and my side biz, Little Britches Bakery (non-edible baby gifts) has taken off! We had a crazy amount of orders in the past couple of weeks and even did an interview with the Mercer Island Reporter on the royal baby. (Mercer Island = Megan’s Island)  I’ll post the article once it’s published, but here’s a sneak peak at the scene. Also? We’re giving away the royal diaper cake “fit for a king.” If this is something you’re interested in, enter to win via the giveaway button on the Little Britches Bakery Facebook page.

We had our house painted

2013-7-30 Painting2

It took Cesar, our painter, 10 hours a day for five days. I’m so, so, so glad that we opted to hire someone to paint it as opposed to taking on that task ourselves. It would’ve taken us so much longer.  We did pre-paint each individual piece of siding before it went up but now the house has a final, professional coat.  Related, I did have the ‘opportunity’ to paint some siding inside the house. After some very precarious ladder maneuvers, “the inside is outside” theme of our entry way has an updated look.  I’m glad I never have to paint siding again (or at least in the near future…)!  

Re-did the foyer

More painting! I painted the indoor siding (it’s a unique house) and the door and moved around some furniture that we already had. I have one more project to start and finish and then the new foyer will be ready to share.

2013-7-30 Painting

Those are the highlights and what a few weeks it’s been!  After a ladies weekend in Walla Walla this weekend, I’ll be back to blogging more regularly. Thanks for being a loyal reader and let me know what fun projects you’ve been up to in the comments below!

{Wine Wednesday} Summer Sizzle!

WineWednesday

Wine Wednesday is BACK! And this week I’ve got a fun event to tell you about: Summer Sizzle in Woodinville!

Delicious, delicious  Barking Frog

Delicious, delicious Barking Frog

Join Pondera, Davenport and Des Voigne Cellars on Saturday, July 27 from noon – 5 p.m. for an afternoon filled with fun, food and fermented beverages at their annual summer block party.

 Your $25 event ticket will pay for…

  • One food ticket for gourmet eats from The Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen
  • 10 wine tasting tickets for your choice of wines from all three wineries.

See you there?

Library love on Megan’s Island!

2013-7-Library2If you’re a regular reader, you’re very familiar with my healthy addiction to spray paint, cats and all things wine. I wanted to let you in with another addiction I have: the library.

I’ve always been a library user, in fact, I’ve managed to keep my same library card for the past 25+ years! Here it is. What great penmanship, right?

Anyway, my library use comes in spurts and lately I’ve been on quite a kick. Of course I use the library for the typical fiction and non-fiction books, but recently I thought to expand my search a little bit: movies, CDs and COOKBOOKS! I also have been a big fan of checking out business, marketing and branding books for my small business, Little Britches Bakery.

2013-7-Library1My latest series of library holds focuses on party planning, cookbooks involving wine and books having to do with pizza, all things pizza. We’re still in the process of designing our backyard pizza oven but I’m researching dough and sauce recipes and topping ideas now.

I’m planning on reviewing my library finds for you in the upcoming weeks.

Happy reading to you and I’d love to hear your library stories and favorite books!

(Just as I was writing this I got an email from the library. I have Beasts of the Southern Wild waiting for me!)

Gone Pinning: Raspberries!

GonePinning

Last year's crop

Last year’s crop

Brandon and I have big plans of enjoying summer and raspberry picking this weekend. The raspberry season just opened up on July 5 and we’re going to head down to Harvold Farms, the u-pick spot we visited last year. In just 30 minutes we were able to pick 6.5 lbs of berries. (And that’s with the ‘one in my bucket, one in my mouth’ technique!)

In anticipation of having that many (or more!) raspberries again, I dedicated some quality time to picking out some really tasty raspberry recipes for our anticipated bounty.

Without further ado, here are the best of the best raspberry recipes that the internet has to offer…

How to freeze raspberries: We'll probably need this!

How to freeze raspberries: We’ll probably need this!

Lemon ricotta pancakes with lemon curd and fresh raspberries

Lemon ricotta pancakes with lemon curd and fresh raspberries

Raspberry fruit leather

Raspberry fruit leather

And then I discovered the Driscoll’s recipe database. O-M-G were there some delicious-looking recipes! I was so gaga for them that Brandon laughed at me. Seriously. Lucky for him, I’m totally going to make these! Find all of the Driscoll’s raspberry recipes here. They also have an extensive database for strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Raspberry Chambord Dream

Raspberry Chambord Dream

Pink Raspberry Ombre Cake

Pink Raspberry Ombre Cake

This is one that I started really drooling over:

Warm raspberry brie

Warm raspberry brie

Caribbean shrimp rasberry avocado salad

Caribbean shrimp raspberry avocado salad

Bourbon Raspberry Rub Steak with Raspberry Mango Salsa

Bourbon Raspberry Rub Steak with Raspberry Mango Salsa

Please report back if you make any of these recipes yourself.  Enjoy!

{Wine Wednesday} Wine + popcorn

WineWednesday

These are a few of my favorite things: wine and popcorn. Imagine my surprise when my dear friend sent this article to me: “Entrepreneurs launch popcorn infused with wine” from the Daily Mail.

Pinot Noir Chocolate Drizzle and Sauvignon Blanc Kettle wine popcorn

Pinot Noir Chocolate Drizzle and Sauvignon Blanc Kettle wine popcorn

From the article: ‘The lemony Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Lemon is bright and zesty, bursting with flavour and pairing beautifully with the wine, while the indulgent Kim Crawford Pinot Noir Chocolate Drizzle uses the classic pairing of wine with chocolate to harness the wine’s flavours into an indulgent treat.”

A one-gallon tin retails at $35, which is a little rich for my blood. I looked on Pinterest for directions to make wine popcorn myself, and unfortunately my search came up with nothing. I think I’ll stick to making my own popcorn and pairing it with wine, rather than eating a combination of the two.

Speaking of popcorn, do you pop your own? We do. Brandon and I got this stove-top popcorn popper for our wedding and we LOVE it. If you love popcorn, you definitely need this! Along with some white truffle oil sea salt, our favorite toppings. A popper like this makes popping popcorn really fun,  is healthier, saves money in the long run, and allows you make the fun flavors you want.  When was the last time that you saw truffle popcorn in a microwave pack?

Happy Wine Wednesday! Celebrate with some popcorn and wine — paired!

What’s for dinner? Farro Greek salad with tempeh

Tonight we had a delicious meatless dinner: farro Greek salad with tempeh. I have a minor obsession with photographing my dinner and I received a request for the recipe. So, here it is!

Tempeh farro Greek salad

I wasn’t able to find a specific recipe to make my own, so I adapted a few different ones.

First, I cut the tempeh into small cubes. Oftentimes I just stop here and heat the tempeh up a bit, but today, I branched out. I found this Greek Salad Tempeh Wrap recipe so I decided to try out her tempeh technique: place the cut tempeh in a frying pan with a tablespoon of  extra virgin olive oil. My tempeh browned a lot faster than the Curvy Carrot’s did. I regularly turned my cubes as they were browning. Once they were browned all over, I added one cup of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice and reduced the heat to medium. Stir occasionally and let all of the water mixture get absorbed (about 10 minutes). Turn off the tempeh and let it cool.

While the tempeh is simmering, put on a pot of water for the farro. Bring it to a boil and cook the farro for 10-12 minutes, until it’s ‘al dente.’

While all that is going on on the stove top, start cutting your other ingredients: cherry tomatoes (I used five orange heirloom mini tomatoes), cucumbers (my preference is Persian cucumbers, I used four tonight), thinly slice half of a small red onion and 1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives and roasted garlic.

The final step: some flavoring. I use the Pioneer Woman’s Greek salad dressing, but add lemon juice and oregano and omit the cut olives.

Brandon isn’t a big olive or feta cheese fan, so rather than buying individual containers of olives and feta, I use the QFC olive bar. I fill up the smallest container in thirds: a third marinated feta, a third roasted garlic and a third pitted kalamata olives.

Where does one find tempeh? Lots of places, it turns out. I buy mine from the refrigerator section at Trader Joe’s for about $2 per package. We’re typically able to get 4 servings out of each package.

What’s my favorite farro? Trader Joe’s again! They sell 10-minute packages of Farro, Bulgur and Barley in the rice section and I absolutely love them. It’s cheap too, like $2 and each container has a generous four servings as a main course.

Happy cooking and enjoy this meatless meal! (Or vegan if you’re like Brandon and don’t add the feta!)

Our adventures in cooking (& ravioli recipe!)

What a week it’s been! I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday weekend, like we did.

It’s time to get back to blogging about one of my most favorite adventures: cooking.

2013-6-donutsI grew up watching my parents cook and sneaking tastes here and there but never really had much opportunity to cook for myself. During college I lived in a sorority and when my meals weren’t cooked by our chef, they were provided by Pizza Ragazzi. Everyone was so worried about me cooking for myself that my college boyfriend even got me a cookbook when I graduated: “Help! My apartment has a kitchen!”  Thankfully I was able to soak up a lot more than everyone thought while I was watching cooking happen and fared pretty well for myself. Since then I’ve become quite the chef and married quite the chef, making dinner at our house a delicious production.

Over the years I’ve had some fun with my cooking. In 2011, I took a photo of my dinner each night and posted it to Facebook. This was two-fold. My day job deals with social media and this helped me familiarize myself with their ongoing changes, and it helped me eat more well-balanced dinners. I was amazed how critical my friends are of my meals and by how much pizza we ate over the year.

In 2012, we chose an ingredient each week to ‘feature’ in our meals. It was surprisingly fun and challenging and I discovered some great recipe databases. What is my most favorite database? Williams-Sonoma, hands down. We had at least one Williams-Sonoma-inspired meal each week and only came across two so-so recipes. I highly recommend you check it out! Our other favorites include: Cooking Light, Smitten Kitchen, Whole Foods and PCC.

Our most adventurous meals seem to involve pasta. We received the Kitchen Aid pasta attachments for the wedding and we love making pasta from scratch. (We recently even made some gluten free pasta that I’ll share soon…) We’ve made black-pepper fettuccine, beet lasagna (with pink noodles!) and our most favorite: pear, prosciutto and pecorino ravioli.  Since it is our favorite, here are instructions on how to make it.  If this is your first time making ravioli, be sure to give yourself all afternoon to complete.

2013-6-ravioli

Here is our Pear, Prosciutto and Pecorino ravioli recipe: (adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

Filling

  • 1 lb. Bartlett pears chunks (slightly under-ripe, we kept the skins on)
  • 8 oz. Pecorino Toscano cheese
  • 10 slices of prosciutto
  • 1/2 c. rosemary pecorino
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend into small chopped chunks. Strain this mix to remove any excess water.

Pasta (also from Williams-Sonoma! Who would’ve guessed!?)

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. water, plus more as needed

Follow the Williams-Sonoma recipe. We simplify it a bit: mix them all together and then let them sit for 20 minutes. Add extra water if necessary. Then run it through the Kitchen Aid roller attachment, getting it down to 4 or 5, thin, but not too thin.

Raviolis

Take the rolled out pasta and plunk down a spoonful of the filling. Each ravioli will be about two inches across. We put down about four plunks of filling across the pasta sheet and then folded the other side over on to the filling (example in above photo). We then wetted the edges (like glue) and used a fork to crimp them together. Continue until all of the filling and pasta are used up.

Put on a pot of water to boil. Also brown 3 tablespoons of butter in a little fry pan. Simmer this until while the raviolis cook.

Once the raviolis are done, throw them in a pot of boiling water for three minutes — just long enough to melt the cheese and cook the pasta. Coat the raviolis in the browned butter and serve! Keep doing this in batches until the raviolis are complete. Add delicious optional toppings of toasted hazelnuts or parsley to add to it! And enjoy!!

Check back here often for more recipes!