Sunday, November 20, 2011

Flowers, 1 week later...

Still beautiful! Just a small bouquet now.

We got the orange vase for our wedding.


It's that time...

Cranberry time. Every year for the past 6 years I've made this cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving--always a double batch because it's so good. We aren't big holiday people--most years it's just me and a few family members (this year husband and parents most likely!). Very relaxed. Still have to have the proper cranberry, though!

The recipe I use is this one from Williams-Sonoma, originally recommended to me by a friend in 2005. It's the best! Sometimes I use mandarines instead of the orange if they are available (this year we went with local oranges and apples from Apple Hill). 

I didn't can the sauce, but am storing it in jars in the fridge. So pretty!

By the way, I got a tiny bit of fame in the November issue of Sunset Magazine, because I commented on their Facebook page about this sauce and they printed my comment in their magazine (p. 10 bottom left corner).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce--best ever
From Williams-Sonoma

1/2 Orange
2 cups water
1 tart apple
3 cups cranberries
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Juice the orange (set aside juice), then use a paring knife to cut the white pith away from the orange peel. Discard the pith, and chop the orange portion of the peel into very small pieces. Place the peel into a small pot with the water, bring to a boil over high head, then cook for 10 minutes.

Chop the apple, place in a medium saucepan. Add the cranberries, orange juice, cooked peel, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Let cool, and store in the fridge for several days, or freeze. Bring to room temp before serving. Makes ~3-4 cups.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

October Sierra Romps

After the early October storm we had, Adam, the dogs, and I went up to South Lake Tahoe for a weekend.

It was cold! And snowy!

Saturday we were at Echo lake.

We even got out the doggles!

After our Echo Lake snow hike (we just did an out-and-back from the Echo Lake trailhead..didn't go that far due to increasingly deep snow), we drove down to Hope Valley to camp in our usual spot. That night it got down to 28 degrees! In the morning we were treated to beautiful frosty sagebrush view. 
My favorite. 

How good weekends end: sleepy dogs in the van!

(Way) belated halloween post

We don't usually dress up for Halloween...but this year we did some last minute dog humiliation!!

Check out Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf Dressed Up As Grandma.

They didn't mind we switched their sexes (assuming big bad wolf is male..).  Dude makes such a cute Red Riding Hood (though he is hard to capture in all of his awkward glory..). We won "best group" at our dog agility class Halloween Party!

Been busy

We've been really busy lately, and don't see anything changing soon. But, we did end up staying home this weekend and I stopped by the farmer's market yesterday morning and found these flowers--couldn't pass them up.

Have a good week-

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy husband

Adam got a draw knife.

Using it looks like this:

And this:

He's taking the huge log (previously referenced here) and smoothing it out to make a bench. The garage smells wonderful because the log is cedar.

Adam just came in and said that using the draw knife was *totally awesome*, and I asked if I need to find him more logs and he said yes! Win! We'll end up with a whole house full of woodsy furniture.

Bench trial--a success. Spencer agrees.

And I just like this photo because Spenc's head is the only thing moving. :)

Food Lately

Been a little busy around time for blogging!

But, we have been eating well.

Definitely snacking well! Adam made Chex Mix...recipe from his brain. 

I made granola, which is actually more like crunchy toasted oats (not very sweet), recipe here. This stuff is perfect to add to plain low fat greek yogurt with a dollop of jam. 

And, I made more meatballs! These are not cheese stuffed ones (like I made before) but they are my own creation based off of the cheese stuffed ones (very similar but I used shredded mozzarella instead of romano mixed in with the beef). I used four and half pounds of beef for these! We've got a bunch in the fridge and lots more in the freezer. 

And Adam made chicken noodle soup from scratch! (Even made his own stock!) Very good. Chickens were on sale so we've actually got a whole chicken in the slow cooker now to make more stock (and more shredded chicken!). 

FYI: That's not actually canned, we just use jars for leftovers sometimes. 
Tonight I made tasty (but not very photogenic) grilled cheese sandwiches to eat with pears and soup leftovers. I had two ends of bread left so I made sandwiches on both cornmeal bread and sweet white bread with cheddar and swiss. Ya!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fig delight

Figs, fresh from the tree.




Crispy. Sweet. Salty.

e a t.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nutella and meatballs...

Over the weekend we got inspired....we made our own Nutella!
We started by toasting the hazelnuts (350 degrees, about 10-12 minutes) and
then removing their skins by rubbing them in a textured towel.
Then, we processed the nuts alone for about 7 minutes, until they started to form a paste.
We added some cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
After processing that, we added a little canola oil until the texture became more spreadable.
This is the finished product!
We both agree that ours is MUCH less sweet than store bought Nutella. And, we like ours best off of a spoon--not on toast; the flavor is not strong enough to hold up with bread, crackers or cookies. In comparison, regular Nutella tastes sickly sweet, so sweet it hurts my teeth!

After our Nutella adventure, I made these:

They are actually mozzarella stuffed meatballs and we ate them as mini-hamburgers (recommend hearty dinner rolls for buns). They were a total hit--amazing!! I got the recipe here and we highly recommend them!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mt. Rose Weekend: Cooking

A week ago we went up to Tahoe for the weekend. We drove up to Auburn and ran and biked in the ravine, and then drove up the hill Saturday evening. We drove on Highway 267 and, just after Brockway Summit, turned off the highway and drove out the (paved!) road to Watson Lake. We found the small (free!) campground and parked the van, and then went on a short hike to the summit of Mt. Watson. The campground is totally rustic (parking spaces and fire rings but nothing else), but it was quiet and scenic, and we liked it. 

Then, we cooked! 

We baked bread in the dutch oven. I had pre-made the dough in the bread machine. 

We drank tea, and made a chicken pot pie filling to eat with our freshly baked bread.

For dessert, I went all out and made blondies (read: butter, brown sugar, a little flour), with three kinds of chips: mini semi-sweet and regular size dark chocolate, and peanut butter. Yes!

The next morning...

We drove up Mt. Rose and Adam and Brian mountain biked, and I hiked with the dogs on the Tahoe Rim Trail. We saw two deer! Big ones. And some great views: 

I loved the meadow near where we parked.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Again, with the leaf on the face. This one wins because you can see her teeth. 

Highway 88-Kirkwood, Lake Margaret, Meiss Trailhead

So, a few weeks back we did a fun weekend of hiking around Highway 88 near Kirkwood.

We only had the phone with us for pictures this whole weekend...I apologize...
This is on the hike out to Lake Margaret.
On Saturday, we met up with a friend of mine and hiked all over the actual Kirkwood Ski area (looking for a lost ski...don't ask..! :) ). That was fun (TONS of ski run flowers!) and we probably did maybe 5 miles there. That same afternoon, we went just a tiny bit farther up Highway 88 to the Lake Margaret trailhead. Our hiking book said this was a pretty easy 5 mile round trip hike, so we decided it would be a good finish to our day.

Lake Margaret (sorry for the lack of lake pictures, you'll have to imagine here!) is a very pretty small lake, and the hike isn't easy (more like a solid moderate) but it also isn't terribly long. There are a few campsites around the lake so it could even be an easy overnight backpacking trip (even good with small kids!). I went for a swim--it was PERFECT! A lovely way to end the day.

Meiss hike flowers
The next day, we went even farther up Highway 88 to the Meiss Trailhead and hiked out to Meiss Lake. This was an absolutely stunning hike. The flowers were in full bloom, the weather was perfect, there was still snow on the surrounding mountains...really it was amazing. During the hike we kept having to yell out, "SO PRETTY!! PRETTY!" Of course, we still only had the phone with us to take pictures (so this post really is lame...telling about pretty things and illustrating them with crummy phone pictures....).

Our destination is in the background, Meiss Lake. The dogs LOVED this wet meadow!
Everyone relaxing at the lake.
Hiking out...picturesque!
Highly recommended hikes, particularly in the height of flower season! Meiss trailhead also looks like a fantastic place to go snowshoeing--we will definitely check it out this winter!

Winner for best action shot: