Jan 282012
 

The week before last, the Seattle area was greeted with a record breaking snowfall. This meant no school and no work.

We. Were. Stuck.

Snow in Seattle, 2012

But that was okay. Actually, it was good!

It is times like this when the best memories are made, I think. B and I went through scrapbooks and photos rekindling our memories of the past. We played board games and we baked bread.

Oh the bread. It was delicious.

Today I sit in my Airstream as I type this. The snow is gone and B is back in school. But I still have that bread we baked.  It is a buckwheat loaf with seeds and honey.  If you like a heavy, dense type of bread that is full of natural earthy flavors, this is the recipe for you.  It freezes very well and when you toast it the flavors deepen, the outside becomes crunchy and the inside is nice and soft.  Did I mentioned how delicious it was?  You can find the recipe here if you like.

I’m enjoying my lunch this afternoon in my Airstream. It is our bread with a salty ricotta and pepper spread topped with crunchy radishes, green onions, grape tomatoes and some watercress which is nice and peppery. I have drizzled just a tiny bit of olive oil ontop with some crunchy sea salt. I can eat this every day.

I am also in my Airstream because I am planning. I am planning in my mind about our upcoming ski trip hubby, B and I are going on. I have never been on a “cat” skiing adventure before.  As I go through the pictures of hubby’s last ski trip I begin to get excited.  Our trip will be a rather lengthy one and I am thinking on how to pack everything, deciding on our meals and putting them into my recipe book and generally making sure we have everything we need. I am a little overwhelmed and think that a list is in order. But not just any list, but rather an on-line list of sorts that I can share with you on how I prepare for these trips of ours. Packing, organizing, planning. Things like that.

In the meantime, I would like to share with you two great articles about Airstreaming and skiing as well as advice about towing in the snow.  These articles are not only a joy to read, but are full of invaluable information.    These articles come from the Airstreamer newsletter.  If you have not yet read it, here is the link.

Also in this newsletter is an article about me and my book. It was my very first interview. I was SO nervous. But I was also SO very, very honored.

As the next few weeks evolve I hope that you will join me in my journey as I get the Airstream ready for our big trip.  I am really excited about it.

Ricotta Spread with Crunchy Veggies

And that ricotta spread?  It was so easy to put together.  Simply take some low fat ricotta and put it in a bowl, mix in (to taste) your salt and plenty of pepper along with a dash of olive oil.  Mix well and spread on your bread of choice and top with whatever veggies you have on hand.  Today I had crispy radishes, grape tomatoes, green onions and watercress.  Finish with a dash of olive oil and crunchy sea salt.  Have you ever tasted Maldon’s sea salt? It’s my favorite salt for finishing :)

Jan 242012
 

Over the last week or so I have been going through all of my photos I have taken over the last year. It has really been such fun going through those photos and reflecting back with hubby and B on all of the places we have visited in 2011. Actually, it is really amazing to us everything that we were able to do considering I recently returned back to corporate America so my vacation time wasn’t as much as I would have liked. Nonetheless, we made it happen and we enjoyed every minute of our travels.  We are looking forward to many more trips to come in 2012 along with the new friends we will make.

Alpental Ski Resort Area

Alpental Ski Area, WA State

Here we are along the Oregon coast — the views were spectacular and we were really excited to see all of the surfers at Pacific Beach

Surfing in Pacific Beach along the Oregon Coast

As we continue along the Oregon coast, we are amazed at the dramatic beauty of the ocean with the huge rocks in the distance.

The Oregon Coast

Taking a cruise through Seaside, OR.  This was a fun town!  We stopped at an arcade and hubby and B played some table hockey.

Seaside Oregon 2011

Tofino, BC.  This camp spot was beautiful.  We were right on the beach and experienced very strong storms with clear skies the next morning.

MacKenzie Beach in Tofino, BC

We did some fishing in Tofino and met some great friends and family of Lance who runs Lance’s Sportsfishing Adventures. They brought back some of the most beautiful seafood I have ever seen and I cooked up a feast for them. We all had such a fun time.

New Friends and Lance's Sportsfishing Adventures in Tofino

We will never forget the wildlife we saw on our cruise with Captain Mike of Browning Pass Charters in Tofino, BC.

Cruising for Wildlife in Tofino - Browning Pass Charters

Back on the mainland, we did some fly fishing with Troutwater Fly Fishing along the Yakima river here in Washington State.

Troutwater Fly Fishing on the Yakima River in Washington State

Golfing at SunCountry was such a pleasure.  This is truly a hidden gem and the RV spots are huge and full service.

SunCountry Golf in Washington State

Chuckwagon rides at Suncadia’s harvest festival was a treat for B as well as visiting the neighbor’s horses in Roslyn, WA

A Chuckwagon Ride, Some Cute Horses and our Lot in Roslyn, WA

Heading up to our favorite islands — the San Juan Islands, Orcas to be exact we are very, very excited!  Especially for me since this is the mecca of farm lands.  Of course eggs were on my mind!

Orcas Island, Farms and a very special Giving Tree

Hope everyone is off to a great start to 2012!

Jan 162012
 

In order to view the epicurean and outdoor adventures these beautiful islands have to offer, please click on the “Enlarge Map” links below.

We love the San Juan Islands.   I will be populating this map with the places J5MM has visited and truly enjoyed so that one day, should you ever decide to come for a visit — you’ll know exactly where to go!

Please feel free to explore the interactive map below by clicking on the callouts to discover more about these wonderful destinations.

ORCAS ISLAND - ENLARGE MAP


View Larger Map

 

SAN JUAN ISLAND - ENLARGE MAP


View Larger Map

 

LOPEZ ISLAND - ENLARGE MAP


View Larger Map

Below you will find links to some stories of our outdoor and epicurean adventures on the islands.  These are our personal, heart-felt stories and will show you just how beautiful the islands truly are.

Doe Bay Resort, Orcas Island

The Outlook Inn and Orcas Homegrown Market, Orcas Island

Crabbing Season, Orcas Island

Odlin County Park, Lopez Island

Shark Reef Sanctuary, Lopez Island

. . . and many, many more

    Jan 132012
     

    I have some exciting news to share.  For me, this is very, very special and makes me so happy.

    I am now, so honored, to be a part of the Williams-Sonoma authorship on their wonderful blog called “The Blender.”  My very first post was published yesterday.  I worked very hard on it.  Picking the right words, taking the right pictures and putting it all together.   It is a very special post to me.  It is a post about discovering your local farm and a recipe of baked eggs with the most incredible crispy potato cakes.

    If you have been following my blog here at J5MM, you know my passion for fresh, organic eggs and how nice it is to support your local farmer.  I do hope you have a moment to check out my very first post.  It is with the utmost honor that I provide this link below for you.  I hope you enjoy it!

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

    Discover Your Local Farm:  Baked Eggs with Crispy Potato Cakes

    A link to Williams-Sonoma's Blog called The Blender

    Jan 062012
     

    Could you guess how much we love the islands?  Somehow we are always drawn back here.  What a better place for us to ring in the New Year than to return back to peaceful Orcas Island which is the biggest of all the San Juan Islands here in Washington State.  Peace, after all, is what we were after.

    We mixed it up a bit this year, a few nights in our Airstream and a couple of nights at The Outlook Inn.  On one of our many strolls through Eastsound, I would always remind hubby how much I would love to stay at The Outlook Inn.  If the New Leaf Cafe (The Outlook Inn’s cafe) was amazing as it was, surely The Outlook Inn would be just as superb.  Hubby knew that, so he and B surprised me.   I was very excited!

    Our room was completely charming, quiet and had the most incredible view from the balcony.   A kitchenette, charming bathroom complete with jetted tub, heated floors and towel warmers.  All of their personal care products come from New Zealand and contain Manuka Honey, my latest obsession.  Coincidence?

    Our New Years Eve Room at The Outlook Inn on Orcas Island

    Upon waking the next morning and feeling very refreshed (the bed and fluffy duvet and pillows were so comfy), we took a trip to the beach where B could beachcomb and  search for baby dungeness crabs (and gently set free of course) and hubby and I could enjoy a quiet and peaceful day.  It was a chilly clear day with the most amazing crisp salt air.  We felt so good.  So refreshed!

    Beachcombing on Orcas Island

    Since the New Leaf Cafe is closed until February, we brought along our “Airstream Look-a-Like,” portable COBB grill to prepare our New Year’s Eve celebratory dinner.  A simple feast of a seafood medley using just a few ingredients so the true flavors of the seafood would shine.

    Catch and Release Crabs at Crescent Beach, Orcas Island

    I knew that Kyle at Orcas Homegrown Market would have an incredible selection of seafood.  Clams, oysters and endless varieties of salmon.  We chose a beautiful fillet of king for our feast that evening.  We picked up our seafood and headed back to the Inn.  The holiday lights that adorned the shops and boutiques in town were sparkling so beautifully on this chilly night in town.

    Fresh Seafood from the Orcas Island Home Grown Market

    Back at The Outlook Inn, I brought all of our ingredients straight to the picnic table perched atop a grassy hill with the most peaceful view.  As I began to prepare our dinner, hubby and B headed down to the seashore to explore but not before declaring “we are so hungry!” to me.  No worries, this was such a quick and easy meal to prepare.  We would be enjoying our meal in no time.

    I could see B turning over rocks searching for his baby crabs as I went along preparing dinner . . .

    Seafood Medley at the Outlook Inn, Orcas Island, WA

    A seafood medley was in store for us.

    Salmon fillets:  with spinach, tomatoes, beans and Parmesan cheese baked “en papillote” style (fancy French term for baked in a pouch).  Put your “en papillote’s,” on a hot grill, covered and cook for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove from your grill and set aside (they will continue cooking).  You may choose to add salt, but we did not as the sauce (below) was an incredible accompaniment to the salmon.

    Clams and oysters in a garlic, butter and white wine sauce:  melt a stick of salted-butter in a shallow pan on your grill, add sliced garlic (to your taste) and then add your clams and drape your oysters along the edges of the pan.  I used about two pounds of clams and six medium sized oysters.  Cover and cook for 2 minutes — some clams will be open and some will not  — add a splash of wine and continue cooking for another few minutes until clams are all open (discard the ones that don’t open).  Use a butter knife to pry the oysters open (which will not be opened — stubborn they are!)

    Sprinkle your clams and oysters with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread (I forgot to buy bread — oh how heavenly it would have been to soak up all the juices).

    Bon appetit :)

    Bon Voyage and a Happy 2012 to you :)

    Bon Voyage and a Happy 2012 to You!