Thursday, August 21, 2014

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Tacoma, Washington is home to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.  The last time I visited I was twelve and have always remembered it fondly.  I checked it out again yesterday because I couldn't wait to see the polar bears.  But sadly they were nowhere to be seen.  Also, most of the animals were so far away I could hardly see them.  There was one elephant hanging out and one tiger.  I think I saw a monkey swinging from a tree.  Point is, I was pretty disappointed.  I liked the sharks though, the sharks where cool.  Aren't they though, from the other side of the glass and not with them in the water? The aquarium part was pretty small but I managed to get some nice shots of the shrimp, starfish, and seahorses.  If I would have checked out the zoo's website, I would have known that the polar bears are hanging out at 11:30 and could have planned accordingly.  So, sorry no polar bear photos.  Those will have to wait. 


For more info on Point Defiance Zoo, you can click here.







Monday, August 18, 2014

Macrina Bakery

A delicious afternoon treat can be found at Sodo's Macrina Bakery.  I tried a nectarine upside down cake that was unique.  The dessert hit the spot for me and the punch of flavor from the nectarine was refreshing.  The cake part was moist and light.  My husband ate an apple turnover that was better than any turnover we've had before.  Macrina had quite a selection of gorgeous pastries to choose from.  The space was also nice with high ceilings, lots of natural light from the windows and a friendly staff.  The bakery was busy for a Monday afternoon.  The secret must be out on where to get pastries in Seattle. 




Macrina Bakery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 14, 2014

French Toast with Fresh Huckleberries

Remember how I mentioned I brought back a huge container of huckleberries from my trip to Montana?  Well we're still making our way through it and enjoying every last berry.  So in addition to the huckleberry muffins I baked, I made buttermilk pancakes and French toast using the delicious huckleberries.  And that was just this week.  Plus I baked some homemade brownies the other night.  My excuse for all the baking?  All the nursing I'm doing with my twins and I'm burning like, a zillion calories.  Still, after I wean them I may need to go on a cleanse or try Veganism.  Right, I love Oreos and Pepperoni Pizza too much.  So back to the French toast.  I used to dislike it because of the eggs.  As a kid I wasn't an egg fan.  Now I don't mind them so much and they are a great source of protein.  See?  I could never go vegan.  This French toast tasted awesome because of the hucks and the warm maple syrup.  I finally figured out that I'm supposed to warm the syrup up.  I mean, who wants cold syrup on anything?  So the berries tasted so good on the warm French toast with the syrupy goodness.  I hope your breakfasts have been as tasty as mine this week!


     French Toast                        

2 eggs                                                                     

3/4 cup milk                                                    


1 t. vanilla extract                                                                               


2 slices of bread
fresh berries and syrup                                                                          



Friday, August 8, 2014

Huckleberry Nut Muffins

Huckleberries are a hot commodity in Montana.  If you want to buy some they can cost up to $65 per gallon.  Luckily for me my dad loves to pick them and he sent us back to Seattle with a whole container of em'.  We've been putting the berries on our cereal and vanilla yogurt but I wanted to bake something.  There's nothing better than huckleberry pies, cakes and muffins especially enjoyed warm out of the oven.  So I whipped together some muffins today and who are we kidding?  Homemade muffins are so worth the extra effort.  These muffins have always been a family favorite and they have a delicious walnut and brown sugar topping, too.  The huckleberries really shine in this recipe.  I know what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow. 


Huckleberry Nut Muffins

From Taste of Home

Ingredients

1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
 1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. fresh huckleberries
1/2c. chopped walnuts

For the topping:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 t. ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.  Combine oil, egg, buttermilk and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in huckleberries and walnuts.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.  Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over muffins.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until muffins test done.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Yield: about 10 muffins.




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Marination Mai Kai

There's a sweet spot for Hawaiian food on Alki Beach and I got to check it out.  Marination Mai Kai serves up some delicious Kahlua Pork Sliders and authentic shaved ice with ice cream.  I was stuffed to the gills.  Plus the view of the Seattle skyline wasn't bad either.  They have a full bar and make some mean Mai Tai's- aptly named a Mai Kai which means along, on or near the sea.  I got a few pork sliders, which were the best ever, plus some Spam Macaroni Salad.  My husband ate the Fish and Chips with hand cut fries which were spot on.  We started with some Hawaiian Strawberry Shaved Ice with vanilla ice cream because we're cool like that and life is short.  Not really, it just came out before our hot food.  It actually paired well with my Mai Tai, sliders and Macaroni.  That's some tasty stuff. 















Marination Ma Kai on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Esther and Kevin: A rustic Oregon Wedding to remember

My husbands' cousin Esther got married this past weekend in beautiful, rustic Lebanon, Oregon.  The wedding was held at Three Strands Farm.   I love weddings.  From the music to the sweet moments of the I do's being exchanged, from the family and friends gathered around and watching the bride and groom dance for the first time as husband and wife.  I love the wedding cake and I love how each wedding is just so different and unique from every other one.  The venue had a ton of gorgeous trees  and lanterns hanging from them.  Dinner was a Pasta Bar and for dessert a Dessert Bar with cupcakes, rice crispies with frosting, wedding cake and kettle corn.  I was in dessert heaven.  They even had a S'mores Bar set up with a bonfire to roast your own marshmallows.  Such fun and perfect for a summer wedding!  What a special wedding for an even more special couple.  Congratulations Esther and Kevin! 











Monday, August 4, 2014

Montana 2014

This is where my story began.  This place will always be home. 
Columbia Falls, Montana

I dreamed up the quote above about a week before our road trip back home.  It was a whole three years since my last visit to big sky country and I was looking forward to being back.  I missed the mountains, the lakes and the huge looming night sky, filled with stars.  I missed my Grandma and I couldn't wait to give her a sweet, tender hug and introduce my sons to her.  The trip back home would be our first as a family. 


My expectations were a little high however and I didn't expect just how hard it would be to travel with two ten month old babies.  What normally took nine hours for my husband and I took twelve with our twins.  But this being a photography blog and not a parenting blog I will omit the negative and showcase the good.  We had an amazing time catching up with relatives and they adored my boys.  We ate so much good food with family and that made it taste even better.  Montana's scenery didn't let us down either.  From beautiful Lake McDonald in Glacier Park, the views of Columbia Mountain from my parent's house, the sunsets, Big Mountain in Whitefish and campfires under the starry night, it was all good. 


Our first day there my mom held a breakfast for all our relatives.  There was almost thirty people at my parents' house and the food was delicious.  She made quiches, huckleberry scones, coffee cake and fruit parfaits.  A nice start to our week and a great way to see everyone right away.

We also had a picnic at Apgar in Glacier National Park. I love the views of Lake McDonald and the mountains. 

My uncle makes this fudge sauce that is legendary.  Like the stuff from your dreams.  It's that tasty.  He made a batch and let me tell you, it didn't go to waste.  The whole family adores it and nobody stopped after one serving, that's for sure.  My dad makes homemade vanilla ice cream for it, too.  So good. 

We went to Glacier Park another day, too and hiked the Trail of the Cedars with my dad.  The whole walk had a boardwalk so it was perfect for our stroller and the boys could go too. 

We had a bonfire and made s'mores one night.  Gotta love s'mores and looking at the stars.  Summer doesn't get any better than that.  I even saw some constellations. 

My husband and I took the babies and did some lunch and shopping in Whitefish.  We ate at the Shooter Café on Main St.  I ate the best Jalapeño Poppers ever.  They were deep fried with bacon, cheddar cheese and came with a raspberry jam and ranch for dipping.  I will return some day to get more. 

I've always loved the view of Big Mountain from downtown Whitefish.  Now called Whitefish Mountain Resort, it has incredible skiing in the winter and lots of summer activities this times of year.

My dad loves to pick huckleberries and I love to eat them.  I picked a ton and sent me home with some.  I was happy. 

Blueberry Lemon Pie from Montana Coffee Traders.  The piece was huge and I took it home.  I may have had some with ice cream later. 

Broasted Chicken, Fry Bread and French Fries from the Back Room in Columbia Falls.  This is our favorite place to eat and we crave it for years until we eat it again.  It didn't disappoint. 

We saw many gorgeous sunsets.  What a wonderful trip back home to Montana.