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:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wisconsin Trip!

We had a wonderful vacation in Wisconsin! 
It started out with visiting our family--we have an ADORABLE niece and nephew! We enjoyed visiting with everyone and cooking dinner and making dessert! That was definitely the relaxing part of the trip. We then got on our bikes and made our way north. Some highlights:

Tiny turtle!
Totally retro motel--LOVED IT. At Minacqua. 

Out to dinner in Minacqua.
Hiking and camping at Copper Falls State Park--gorgeous!
Relaxing by the fire.
After the bike ride, we ended up at Lake Namekagon to visit some friends. This place is quintessential northern Wisconsin lakefront property. Loved it! 
Pontoon boat ride!

Definitely miss Wisconsin already. We will be going back next year in October, so I can see the fall colors. September weather was definitely perfect for us!

Some more wedding pics!

I picked out a few more wedding pictures from our picnic style wedding we had in June (three months married this weekend!).

Check out a few bonus photos here:

My personal favorite:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back from vacation...

We are back from a wonderful week in Wisconsin! I'll post some pictures from that trip later. Right now, we are trying to eat healthy--while on vacation we definitely indulged on a daily basis.

So--Sunday afternoon after we got home, I made:

Salads for lunches for a couple of days...

And Monday, at work, I picked:

Which will become canned fig jam, and I'm thinking even a fancy fig appetizer! More to come this week.