Happy Valentine’s Day to us!

I hope you had a great weekend! I know I did! And how exciting… we have ANOTHER day off!

Selfie at the bottom of the Falls!

Selfie at the bottom of the Falls!

For Valentine’s Day, Brandon and I headed east of Megan’s Island to Snoqualmie Falls.

Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions. More than 1.5 million visitors come to the Falls every year. At the Falls, you will find a two-acre park, gift shop, observation deck, the Salish Lodge and the famous 270 foot waterfall.

It was beautiful this weekend and the scenery and fresh air were so nice! So nice that I got a little photo-happy. Enjoy!

Snoqualmie Falls from the main viewing platform

Snoqualmie Falls from the main viewing platform

Snoqualmie Falls from the bottom

Snoqualmie Falls from the bottom

The path to the lower viewing platform

The path to the lower viewing platform

The Snoqualmie River

The Snoqualmie River

My valentine, posing down by the river

My valentine, posing down by the river

Driving from Snoqualmie to North Bend

Driving from Snoqualmie to North Bend

We stopped by Scott’s Dairy Freeze after our trip to the Falls and kept it pretty low-key for dinner. (Don’t worry. We have some great meals from the Barefoot Contessa’s How easy is that? cookbook. Remember that New Year’s resolution we have?)

We did celebrate a few days early with these delectable pink Rice Krispie treats. They were so good and easy to make! And I can’t stop munching on the leftover SweetHearts!

Special Valentine's Day Rice Krispies treats

Special Valentine’s Day Rice Krispies treats

Our outdoor time didn’t stop there. With spring seemingly here (Punxsutawney Phil was WRONG!) we cleaned up the yard, washed the cars and explored Seattle and Megan’s Island. More on that later this week!

 

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Valentine’s Day desserts

GonePinning

I’ve been a bit preoccupied with my day job and Seattle’s run at the Super Bowl (here, here) so February sort of snuck up on me.

Luckily I still have a few days (eight to be exact) to get my “stuff” together and plan a special day for my one and only.

We’ll likely plan a fun adventure either around town or just out of town: think breakfast at the Market or a quick ferry ride west for some wine tasting or beach combing.

We’ll also likely plan a dinner at home. (We’re not much for the often jacked-up prices on Valentine’s Day…) And with dinner comes dessert. Here are some delicious-sounding desserts that would round out our (and your!) fancy dinner quite well!

Macarons

Brandon is getting better at macarons. Maybe we try these out? They're cute and delicious-looking!

Brandon is getting better at macarons. Maybe we try these out? They’re cute and delicious-looking!

More macarons

An even fancier macaron! These scream Valentine's Day!

An even fancier macaron! These scream Valentine’s Day!

Strawberry shortcake or these Puff Pastry with Sabayon Custard and Strawberries 

These are pretty fancy. I'd settle for these as strawberry shortcakes!

These are pretty fancy. I’d settle for these as strawberry shortcakes!

Champagne sorbet 

Champagne + sorbet = Yes, please!

Champagne + sorbet = Yes, please!

Conversation heart Rice Krispie treats (These would be perfect to bring to the office!)  

Rice Krispy treats with conversation hearts

Rice Krispie treats with conversation hearts

Perhaps a chocolate lava cake?! 

For any and every chocolate lover: lava cake!

For any and every chocolate lover: lava cake!

Happy Valentine’s Day prep to you! If you decide to make any of these, let me know about your experience!  

 

Super Super Bowl successes!

Using ideas featured in last week’s “super Super Bowl” posts (snacks and sips), the following ideas were inspired by Megan’s Island!

Football bean dip with sour cream laces!

Football bean dip with sour cream laces!

Skittles vodkas for the whole party!

Skittles vodkas for the whole party!

A homemade football bread bowl with kale dip!

A homemade football bread bowl with kale dip!

A big thank you to my readers for a) reading and b) sharing your works of art with me!

UPDATE: The kale and artichoke dip in the football bread bowl received rave reviews! Here it is for you to enjoy!  

 

 

Cookbook feasting {Weeks 1 and 2}

Our resolution to try out new cookbooks and recipes is off to a great start!

{Week 1} Pure Flavor

We kicked off this cookbook and recipe challenge with a cookbook by Kurt Beecher Dammeier, mastermind behind some of my favorite Seattle-area spots: Beecher’s Cheese, Pasta & Co., Bennett’s, and Liam’s. During the first week of the challenge I even stopped by Beecher’s (they give free cheese samples!) and Bennett’s (it’s VERY close to my house and has an excellent happy hour!).

We made the tomato-cheddar soup (p. 21) and were only somewhat impressed by it. It seemed to be way too watery and the “semi-hard cheese” that I used wasn’t right. This made far more than 4 servings and we put the leftovers in the freezer for another day.

Beecher's Tomato Soup

Beecher’s Tomato Soup

We also made the Bennett’s Cobb salad (p. 54). We opted for an apple cider vinegar salad dressing instead of the recommended lime jalapeno dressing and I think that was a misstep on our part. It was too sweet for the curried crab. Speaking of the crab, everything about it was wrong. We followed the recipe to a tee and it wasn’t good. The curry clashed with the crab and they all clashed with the capers. I would not recommend this recipe. We were able to add chicken instead of crab for our lunches the next day and it was far superior.

Bennett's Cobb Salad

Bennett’s Cobb Salad

Brandon also made an apple crisp for my “A” party for my Pretty Little LiArs pArty. It was delicious!

Other recipes that piqued our interest, but we didn’t have a chance to try out: Turkey meatloaf studded with cheese curds (p. 111), Citrus-herb-marinated turkey tenderloins (p. 112), Slow-cooked orange chili pork shoulder (p. 130), Pan-seared broccoli crowns (p. 145), Broiled sunchokes (p. 147), Brussels sprouts with garlic bread crumbs (p. 150), Roasted parsnip puree (p. 152), Braised kale gratin (p. 157), Chocolate truffle cookies (p. 175), Corn, tomato and avocado frittata (p. 212), Blueberry buckle (p. 222), House herbs (my favorite!) (p. 233), and Breadzels (p. 244).

{Week 2} Dishing up Washington

I found Dishing up Washington while browsing the cookbook section at the library. We found a ton of great recipes to try and ended up actually trying several of them:

The Fall sausage minestrone with mushrooms and squash (p. 34) was good, however, I just need to come to the realization that I don’t like soup. Especially minestrone. Brandon really enjoyed this dish, so if you’re a minestrone-lover, do try this recipe!

Fall minestrone soup

Fall minestrone soup

RN74 is a French restaurant in downtown Seattle, near the Pike Place Market. I’ve only been there for happy hour, and the food that I have had there was good. Expensive, but good. If you find yourself there, you should definitely get some of their seasonal beignets. If you don’t find yourself there, you can pretend you are by cooking up the RN74 beef bourguignon (p. 166). Reserve the whole day for staying near the oven as this recipe is pretty intensive, and know that it’s worth it.

RN74 Beef bourguignon

RN74 Beef bourguignon

Hot Cakes’ original s’more cookies (p. 230). Must I say more!? We didn’t smoke our chocolate chips, and the cookies turned out great! If you’re in Seattle, you should definitely stop by Hot Cakes! Their s’more cookies are great, but I prefer their boozy shakes and molten hot cakes!

Hot Cakes s'more cookies

Hot Cakes s’more cookies

Other recipes that looked good: Seattle Winter Market Salad (p. 60), El Gaucho’s mashed potatoes (p. 86), Camp fire grits (p. 91), Egyptian-inspired chickpeas and couscous (p. 108), Winter market comfort casserole (p. 130), Honey-glazed ham with apricots, caramelized oranges and cardamom (p. 148), Skagit River Ranch pot roast (p. 164), Northwest Wild Foods’ blackberry bars (p. 209), free-form pear crostata (p. 214), and pimped root vegetable hash (p. 242).

This week we’re cooking from Dr. Weil’s True Food. Spoiler alert: we have lots of kale meals planned!