A Quick Step in New Mexico

I live in a beautiful place. This, I know.

Sometimes, it’s nice to get out there an see other beautiful places- so when I had the opportunity to join my aunt for an outing to New Mexico for a quick there and back, I couldn’t say no.

We spend time in Albuquerque and Sante Fe and wished we had more time to explore more of the wilds in the area. Nevertheless, we spent as much time enjoying the New Mexican lifestyle as possible.

We visited the Petroglyph National Monument before heading up to Sante Fe.  It was a beautiful early winter weekend with plenty of sunshine. These PNW girls were in desperate need of some Vitamin D, albeit a crisp day.

The food was great, art game was strong, and I had to resist every urge to buy turquoise and leather everything. Next time, it is out to venture in the mountains and hot springs.

NM-1 NM-2 NM-3 NM-4 NM-5 NM-6 NM-7 NM-8 NM-9

 

Saturday Routine

I’ve been in a rainy rut the last few days- our house got “the bug” that has plagued so many people this winter.  It was strong enough to knock this normally energetic spark plug right out.  I have had many afternoons of cozy clothes and tea to try to kick it back into gear.  Now that I’m on the up (I think), I’m taking the time to slow down a little in the mornings on the weekend. Today was french press coffee at the table and browsing cook books from my Grandma.  I’ve decided on a bean soup of some sort. Time for some good, warm food, and the mellow show with dogs at my feet.  The world will be out there for me to take on next week- I am calling it a home bound weekend this weekend.

Coffee shareabitoflove1 Coffee shareabitoflove2 Coffee shareabitoflove3

The Market

I had a birthday this week. A pretty significant one in fact. Another year passing is another year of adventures and memories.  A group of my favorite people (including a surprise appearance of the natural ginger) joined in the celebration and we spent some time downtown. A night of food, drinks, laughter and salsa music made it a birthday well spent. With everyone coming in from everywhere, we seemed to find ourselves at Pike Place Market  more than a few times. Is it the food? Or the atmosphere? My Secret answer? Mini Donuts from The Daily Dozen

Market6

Market1 Market2 Market3 Market4 Market5

 

 

 

 

Cast Iron Apple Crisp

I’ve officially given in to autumn!  It has been such an unbelievably beautiful summer in the PNW, it is hard to think we have to trade it all in for our  grey and rainy usual. Today was sunny and crisp, so I thought I would honor the idea of autumn with a fresh apple crisp. I recently stopped by one of my favorite produce stands in Yakima Valley- Imperial’s Garden to pick up a few fall items this week and stumbled upon some lovely left alone apples for pennies on the dollar. They were just asking to be made into a delicious treat.

Cast Iron Apple Crisp1

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Cast Iron Skillet

For Filling:

  • 6 medium apples (peeled, cored, sliced)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon salt

For Topping:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter (cold/firm)
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in skillet on medium low on cook top, adding sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, & salt. Once combined, add apples and allow to cook on medium for about 8 minutes or until apples show signs of softening.

Mix together topping ingredients using a food processor or a knife.  Take skillet off cook top, sprinkle topping mix evenly over the apple mix.

Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold- preferably with a caramel sauce or vanilla ice cream.

Cast Iron Apple Crisp2 Cast Iron Apple Crisp3 Cast Iron Apple Crisp4 Cast Iron Apple Crisp5

 

 

Plum Fresh

Or should it be more appropriate to call it “Fresh Plum” today?share a bit of love DIY Plum Sauce1

I obtained a large basket of perfectly ripened Italian Plums this week from a colleague. To avoid the inevitable fruit flies that have run havoc around my kitchen this summer, I opted to make plum sauce.

Plum jam was really on my mind, but then I realized I was plum (ha!) out of my main canning staples. Enter Plum Sauce.  It just sounds decadent over vanilla ice cream, cheesecake, scones, goat cheese toast, or even as a glaze on a slow roasted turkey breast- doesn’t it?

Here is what is needed:

  • 4 cups of washed & halved Italian Plums
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon/lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice

In a large non reactive sauce pan, pour plums, sugar, spices and lemon juice. Simmer on low-medium for about an hour and a half while stopping to stir and to make sure the mixture doesn’t over boil.  220 (f) degrees should probably do the trick.  Your house will smell amazing. Meanwhile, prepare your jars for canning.  While the jars are still hot, spoon the sauce into each jar, and process using a water bath. Lick the delicious leftovers off the spoon and swoon at the late summer taste of beautiful Italian Plums.

share a bit of love DIY Plum Sauce2 share a bit of love DIY Plum Sauce3 share a bit of love DIY Plum Sauce4

Fresh Eggs

We have this saying around our house that has us always in project mode- “why not?”.

We’ve had this corner of our suburban yard that has long housed a large purple rhododendron that was adored by me and despised by the Handsome. An agreement was made that it could be removed upon the addition of something really cool that doesn’t require pulling weeds.  Enter the chicken coop. (Why not? Remember?)

Crafted with our own four hands and a bunch of amazing reclaimed fence materials, in three (maybe 4) weeks after work and on weekends, we made this little gem.  It houses nesting boxes for three chickens, a roosting ladder, a window, garden space, and a small, self-contained chicken run. A friend had more than her share of mature hens and was happy to re-home three lovely ladies.  I will be introducing them in the future, one by one, as they allow me to hold and take their photo.

After getting them settled last night, we woke up to a beautiful brown egg this morning, only to be followed by two more by noon. We can’t wait to see how we do on the daily with this backyard flock, but if the eggs keep looking this beautiful, I think we will all get along just fine. Why not?

FreshEggs2 FreshEggs3 FreshEggs1 FreshEggs4 FreshEggs5

 

In the Garden

I have this little piece of paradise. It happens to be in my very own backyard. It is so peaceful and calm- in the middle of the Suburban west. Slug destruction aside, this is a quiet little delicious sanctuary that I take pride in every time I clip a leaf of kale for salad or pull a carrot fresh from the soil.

Garden1 Garden2 Garden5 Garden3 Garden7 Garden4 Garden8 Gardne6 Garden9