Happy 1st Anniversary

Happy 1st Anniversary to my best friend and partner in crime. The past year has flown by and I can’t wait for the fun adventures to come. Temporarily moving to England is one hell of a way to kick off our second year together! I love you completely and I am so happy to always have you by my side.

I never get sick of looking at our wedding photos thanks to Larry and Tabitha Sherrell. Not only are they wonderful people, but their combined talent is incredible and such a gift. We look forward to years of memorable events to share with Larry and Tab.

David

Our Handsome Groomsmen

The Beautiful Bridesmaids

1939 Cadalliac

Grampa. Cool dude at a young 94 years old.

My Father-in-law and the fire truck

Our place "cards" and favors: our own spice blend

Our Chalkboard Menu

Centerpiece

My Daddy and I

David and his sister Lisa

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Crispy Kale

I’ve heard many people say they don’t know what to do with the Kale that they receive from their CSA crate. Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables out there, even more so than spinach! Here’s my recipe to use up that Kale in your fridge, or entice you to grab it at the farmer’s market or grocery store. I usually serve this as a side dish, but sometimes I eat the whole bunch with a sweet potato for dinner.

Crispy Kale

  • 1 bunch Curly/Scots or Lacinato Kale, chopped into 1 inch pieces, stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Real Maple Syrup (put away the Aunt Jemima’s please)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chopped kale onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and the maple syrup all over the kale and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Massage the ingredients into the kale (Awkward I know, but it’s an important step).  Arrange the kale into a single layer and put it into the oven for 10 minutes until the kale’s curly ends are crispy. Bite into it and enjoy the crunch. If you are using Lacinato kale, it won’t be as crispy, but it will taste just as delicious. 

Eat, Float, Drink (and don’t drown)

We’ve had such a sporadic summer and whenever we do catch a glimpse of great weather, everyone rushes out to enjoy it before you blink and it disappears. Luckily for us, summer came back just in time for the annual float party on Anderson Island with our good friends from Flying Fish Restaurant. My best friend Shane is a bartender at Flying Fish and he and his partner George have a beautiful island home which is a 3 minute walk to the lake.

The sun was shining, ferries rolled in, floats got blown up, and the feast picnic got unpacked. The quality and amount of food wasn’t surprising for a bunch of hospitality people. Unfortunately, photographing the food took a backseat because there was a beautiful six month old among us. Poppy was absolutely adorable and a joy to be around. The day was spent catching up and laughing with friends while enjoying delicious food and bottles of exceptional Rose.

Milo enjoying the water

Sitting on the Dock of the Lake

Poppy & Her Melon

Shane & I without a care in the world

Poppy

Bye Bye Party Float

West Coast Whale Watching

Since I moved here in 2008, a Pacific Ocean whale watch has been on my to-do list. I’ve always loved North Atlantic whale watches and my family and I have been going on them since I was young, usually embarking from the beautiful port of Gloucester, Massachusetts. After three years, we finally got our act together and planned a trip with our very good friends Vinny and Kelly. Actually, I planned the trip and it was a surprise for everyone else. Each month, one of us is in charge of planning a surprise adventure for the other three people. August was my month.

We woke up early, too early in Vinny’s case (until I put a homemade english muffin breakfast sandwich in front of his face) and headed up north to Anacortes, WA which is an hour and a half drive from Seattle. Kelly and I had planned a picnic ahead of time to make sure we were well fed over the 5 hour whale watch.

The boat headed out into Canadian waters to find the J and K pods. We hunkered down with our windbreakers, sunglasses, binoculars and cameras for the trek out to the Orcas. After an hour and a half boat ride and a cell phone message that we were in Canadian waters, the whales were spotted.

Orca Whales

Seals

What I didn’t know about Orca whale watches was since they are endangered, each boat has to be 200 yards or feet (I forget) away from them and can only spend one hour with them. Had I known that, I probably wouldn’t have booked a five-hour whale watch but everyone was really happy just being on a boat with the wind in our hair and salt water spray on our face. After we spent our time with the whales, we headed inside to have lunch. I was so happy we packed a picnic, it was definitely the way to go. When I had called ahead to ask if they had food onboard, they answered that there was a caterer and everyone is encouraged to buy food from them unless there were dietary restrictions. I decided my dietary restriction was being a food snob and I wasn’t confident about their food options. Turns out my instincts were correct. Their “caterer” offered hot dogs, chili, chili cheese dogs and a rubbery deli sandwich. We began to unpack our picnic and heads started to turn as the cutting board and chef’s knife was unpacked. There was a large group of Spaniards sitting across from us and I could tell from their looks that they were jealous. I wanted to say, “See? Americans can be classy. Take that Europeans”. David had made homemade Gravlax in Boston, so we brought that along with spicy mustard and matzo crackers. We may have looked a tad silly whipping out a portable kitchen on a whale watch, but we ate much better than anyone on the boat so who cares? Kelly brought delicious cheese and crackers and Vinny brought whipped cream (for our coffee and fresh fruit) that he ended up squirting all over the cooler “by accident” :). I brought cantaloupe, blueberries, homemade hummus (made by David), pita bread, and chocolate zucchini muffins.

We decided to take the scenic route home down Whidbey Island, through Deception Pass and to the Clinton ferry to Mukilteo, WA to join our friends Jeri and Dan for dinner at Amici Bistro. It was a long day surrounded by breathtaking views, beautiful animals, great friends and lots of laughter.

David & His Gravlax

Right before we heaaded out to sea

Deception Pass

B.L.T Gripes

I’m astonished that eateries are able to screw up BLT’s, especially in the summertime. I’m not saying every BLT needs to be mind-blowing, but all of them should be decent. For lunch today, I had the worst sandwich, nevermind the worst BLT. I meandered into a deli near our condo which usually has OK sandwiches, but nothing like the deli’s back in Boston (Sorry Seattle). Recently, the only things I feel like eating are fresh vegetables, so I ordered a veggie sandwich with a pinch of pork, a BLT. Apparently that was a bad choice. The bread was soft and soggy. The tiny amount of lettuce was old and limp. The tomatoes were tasteless and unripe (its September, how’s that possible?). The Bacon? Worst ever. Fatty, undercooked, over-peppered and smelled like…well, not bacon. I took a bite, hated it and took off most of the bacon. The next few bites were barely tolerable. The sandwich left a bad taste in my mouth and in order to make up for that, we made BLT’s for dinner. I had to redeem my taste buds and adjust the unappealing image in my head. I’m glad I did too. The heirloom cherry tomatoes were sweet and the purple bibb lettuce from the market had the perfect crunch.

Here are my rules for BLT (David will tell you differently):

  • Toasted Bread
  • Crisp Lettuce (and a decent amount at that)
  • RIPE Tomatoes (either really thinly sliced or a big fat slice)
  • CRISP Bacon
  • Mayonnaise (anyone that tells you Mustard or otherwise is just a sinner)
  • An acceptable addition – Avocado (Californian BLT)

I don’t think that’s a lot to ask, do you? The BLT is beautiful, simple and understated. Give the sandwich a little credit and take a minute to do it properly, especially if you’re going to charge money for it.

My B.L.T