Apr 242014
 

Springtime In The Forest via J5MM.com

This forest, right behind my house is a very special place for me.  For almost 15 years I’ve been retreating to mothers nature’s magical playground to think, clear my mind and take in the fresh air.

There is no time better in my opinion, to hike these woods than in the Springtime.  Little flower buds are popping out of woody dangly branches, the curly fiddleheads of the fern plant begin to slowly emerge and colorful flower blossoms seem to bend your way as you walk by so you can admire their beauty.

Oliver and I set off on a hike the morning before Easter to experience all the beauty that lay in these woods.  As we hiked along, I thought about Easter dinner the following evening.  The Bennett family was coming over and I always love to cook for them.

Today would be a test run of some of the appetizer and side dishes I had in mind to serve and I could hardly wait to get started.  Practice menu runs for me not only give me peace of mind the following day when cooking, it also gives me the opportunity to fine tune and perfect any given recipe. Continue reading »

Mar 032014
 

Schweitzer Mountain Resort Guided Snowshoeing Hikes

Snowshoeing was big for me at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.  Did you know?  Schweitzer is the largest resort in Idaho and Washington with 2900 acres of amazing terrain and renowned tree skiing located in the rugged Selkirk Mountains.  It was in these these mountains where I enjoyed many days of snowshoeing enjoying the peacefulness of nature while getting a great workout. If you love to ski but are looking to switch up your days with another winter sport, snowshoeing here at Schweitzer Mountain Resort is truly a once in a lifetime experience.  On guided tours you meet at the Information Center which is next to the Selkirk Lodge, get your gear and head out with your group up the chairlift and begin your hike.  Want to go at it alone or with a group?  No problem — enjoy the great trail system where you can hike  to your hearts content.  Just make sure to fuel up with a hearty breakfast that will keep you going all morning long before you head out ♥

Guided Snowshoe Hike and Fondue Dinner at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Idaho via J5MM.com

Continue reading »

Feb 072014
 

Black Truffled Deviled Eggs

It happened just days before Christmas of 2013.

I was perusing the isles of my favorite Asian grocery store when I took a double take.  There in front of me, all lined up in a row were tiny individual packages of black truffles.

“Black Truffles?  Really?” I thought to myself.  I could hardly believe my eyes. Continue reading »

Oct 232013
 

A Fall Harvest in Roslyn, Washington with our Airstream trailer

There is something about the Fall season that simply warms my heart and gets me thinking about the cooler weather ahead.

Our Airstream, which currently happily waits for us on our piece of property in Eastern Washington sits amongst heirloom apple and plum trees surrounded by this new season.

And it never fails — with the abundance of those late summer fruits — apples and plums — that I’m continually tempted into my silver kitchen to cook . . .

. . . and to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of corporate America.

For me, this is my refuge. Continue reading »

Jun 132013
 

Airstream trailer road trip and glamping around the Olympic National Park

Map of Port Townsend Fort Worden

It was our last night glamping with our Airstream at Fort Worden State Park.  Around 2 am we awoke to winds howling and rain pouring down.   I’m glad we were smart and put the awning up before going to bed.  Have you ever had to put your awning up in the middle of the night because of strong winds and heavy rain?  Not a pleasant experience, that’s for sure.

Stormy night at Fort Worden

While the boys slept in, I took Oliver for a walk up to Fort Worden to get an up close and personal look at the historic buildings and also get a feel for where the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman,” was filmed.  I also thought about those crepes I would make for the boys when they woke up . . . Continue reading »

Jun 112013
 

Airstream trailer road trip and glamping around the Olympic National Park

Map of Port Townsend Fort Worden

It was day three of our Olympic Peninsula Loop which meant, two more days before returning back to reality of corporate America (insert sad face).   We enjoyed a breakfast of chocolate croissants, coffee and hot cocoa. With maps spread out over our morning table we began analyzing how our day would be spent.

“Can we go to the beach mommy?” B asks me pointing to Rialto Beach on the map . . .

Hubby and I looked at each other — “Yes! Let’s do that.”

And off we went . . .

Continue reading »

May 092013
 

Last year, this time we were returning from Oregon’s high desert making a stop along its majestic coastline on this beach called Tierra Del Mar.  It is a trip that is still very vivid in our minds . . .

Airstream on the Beach

When you spend time in Oregon you begin to realize just how incredible it really is here in all that it has to offer. Dramatic coastlines, high deserts, state parks galore and so much more.

A couple more places to visit were on our agenda and then our trip would come to a close. On this day we stopped at one of our favorite places to be with our Airstream.

Right next to the sea.

Hubby and B started exploring and I started preparing lunch for us.  Continue reading »

Apr 072013
 

Today was a rainy (and chilly) day in Seattle.  Shocking, I know :)

With the sound of the heavy raindrops outside, I always get the urge to bake and today was the perfect day!  I’ve been inspired now for quite some time to bake since our recent trip to McCall, Idaho.   During our trip I met many people who raved over “Stacey Cakes,” which is a sweet little bakery run by Stacey Kucy.  I couldn’t visit because I became sick but she was so thoughtful to send me some goodies in the mail wishing me well because she heard just how badly I wanted to visit.

Continue reading »

Jun 252012
 

“Did you know you would be spending over six hours on Yellow Island Monica?” asked Phil.

“Why yes!”

(he smiled and looked very surprised)

Who is Phil you ask?

Well, to me, he is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. Ever.

You see, Phil lives here on Yellow Island which is one of many islands here in the San Juan Islands.  He lives in a cottage, by the sea, that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. He has lived here for not one, not two – but 14 years and he helps take care of Yellow Island for the Nature Conservancy.

“It’s just the seals and I,” he tells me when I mention to him how wonderful it must be to live here.

Of course he has a boat to reach Orcas Island but just for a moment, try and imagine his life here as I take you through my day on Yellow Island.

Skipper Ward Fay of Northwest Classic Day Sailing brought me to Yellow Island so I could photograph the wooden sailboat race that had its course plotted around the island of which hubby and little B were participating in.  Access here is via boat (there are no docks) or kayak. 

Prior to the race, Skipper Ward took us on a beautiful cruise in the San Juan Islands aboard “Aura.”  He showed us many breathtaking places and even let B take the helm.  Oh the thrill B had knowing that “Aura’s” destination was completely in his little hands.

I spent my day on Yellow Island photographing the boats as they sailed by and taking in the stunning landscape of this magical island.

When my day was over and we arrived back at the Airstream I couldn’t stop thinking of all the beautiful colors of the wild flowers that surrounded me during my stay on Yellow Island. With inspiration from those colors I put together a colorful salad and baked a cherry clafoutis for dinner.

Classic Northwest Daysailing
~Skipper Ward and B

Aura
~ Aura and Skipper Ward well on their way . . .


~ Just one of many pathways to serenity you will find here on Yellow Island

Yellow Island, WA State


~beautiful wooden kayaks on the shore of Yellow Island


~ Kayakers paddling past Yellow Island


~ Phil’s Cabin


~ Fava beans from the Orcas Island farmer’s market

view of Yellow Island from the top of Turtleback Mtn, Orcas Island
~ Yellow Island as seen from the top of Turtleback Mtn., Orcas Island, WA


~ Yellow Island as seen from the water

~ Cherry Clafoutis fresh out of my Airstream oven


~Beautiful “Aura”


~ Phil waving good-bye :)

It was the perfect ending to a day that I am certain I will never forget.

Thank you Skipper Ward Fay for the incredible day!  Not only did we enjoy viewing the islands through a different perspective, I was able to enjoy my day on Yellow Island.

You can find the Clafoutis recipe here and as for the salad?  I used Tom Thumb lettuce that I grew in my home garden, watercress, quickly blanched fava beans, sliced red onions and grape tomatoes. The magic happens with the basil oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Basil oil is simple — just a handful of b
asil and 1/2 cup of olive oil and give it a whir in your blender. Don’t forget to add some salt and voila — you have a delicious oil you can use on anything from salads to soups or mix in with sour cream for a delicious dip.

Bon appetit!