New changes

Hello! Is anyone still here? I promise I’m still alive and doing well. I’ve had some major life changes happen though in the past year, and all this is cause for a new blog. I promise I will continue posting delicious recipes and photos of all my travels. Please follow my new blog as I adjust from a Seattle girl to a Montana lady!

Gina’s Adventures

Thank you for following me all these years!!!

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Weekend Review

It still counts as a weekend review even if we’re closer to the following weekend, right? This is what happens with 3 day weekends.

This past weekend we went to California to visit Dan’s parents, take in some sunshine and get much needed R&R. We spent Saturday on the beautiful Catalina Island. The weather said it was going to be 60s, so we dressed for 60s. It ended up being sunny and 70s, so I was dying in my jeans and button down. I won’t complain about the sunshine though! I was overdressed the whole weekend and had to buy flip flops in Huntington Beach so my feet could breathe. We went down to Newport Beach on Saturday and Sunday and ate our way down the beach. Which then required a run on the sand to counter-act the calories. I haven’t ran in months and thought I could go on a nice, easy beach run with Dan and his brother. It ended up being a grueling 5 miles and made the burger I ate after it worth it. It was such a great trip to California, especially since I had never been to Catalina or Newport Beach!

Catalina Island

Coming up on Catalina Island

Catalina Island

Reminds me of the French Riveria.

Catalina Island

Beautiful blue water.

Catalina Island

Seriously, so beautiful.

Catalina Island

Also, I love my new camera!

Catalina Island

Lucky seagull gets to live here.

Huntington Beach

Macadamia nut creme brulee for Dan’s birthday at Huntington Beach!

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Filed under Traveling, Weekend

Friday Treats

Dan has been harassing me for cookies (when doesn’t he harass me for cookies?). But given it’s been awhile since I’ve baked, and especially because the house smells like dog now and I want to mask the smell, I agreed to make chocolate chip cookies for him. I looked through my Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2010 cookbook and found a recipe for “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies.” Of course I needed to try these, and of course the baking was not without disaster. Somehow the bag of chocolate chips was missing (Dan claims innocence, I call shenanigans) so I had to rummage around the cabinets until I remember my friend had given me sample Godiva Pearl tins and figured these would be an acceptable substitution. They were, except I had about half the amount I needed. Probably better though, these cookies are so buttery and rich, I don’t think I needed the extra calories! These cookies were a bit unconventional, but they really were pretty much perfect chocolate chip cookies. They were chewy and buttery, all around amazing. Here is my rendition of “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg plus 1 large yoke
  • 3 tins Godiva Pearls (or 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips)
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Who needs chocolate chips when you have Godiva Pearls?

Heat oven to 375 degrees and adjust the rack to the middle position and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. Melt 10 tablespoons of butter into a skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, continuously swirling in the pan. Remove the butter from the pan and peat into a heatproof bowl. Add in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and mix until it is melted. Add white and brown sugars, salt and vanilla to the butter and whisk until it’s all mixed together.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
I’ve never seen cookie batter so soupy before….

Add eggs and whisk until the mixture is smooth with no lumps for about 30 seconds. Wait for 3 minutes then repeat whisking for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mmmm… Cookie dough soup
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
The third round…

Add in flour mixture with a spatula or spoon until it’s just combined.

Perfect chocolate chip cookies
This is starting to look more like cookie dough…

Add in chocolate and mix together lightly.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Add the blueberries- I mean chocolate pearls

Create dough balls of about 3 tablespoons each and place on cookie sheet. There’ll be 12-16 dough balls. Leave at least two inches between the balls. Put into oven for about 14 minutes until the edges are brown. Take out of the oven and cool in the sheet for a couple minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Space out your cookies more than this…

I did not space out my cookies enough. And you can see how my cookies turned out in the photo below. I was out of time and cookie sheets so I made 12 dough balls and shoved them all on one sheet. The outcome wasn’t that pretty but was still delicious!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Somewhat) Perfect Chocolate Chip Cook

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Filed under Baking, Cookies, Friday Treat, Recipes

Weekend Review

Can you believe it’s already Monday morning? Last I checked it was Friday at 4:59 PM and I couldn’t wait for the weekend to start. The weekend went by so fast, I had to take a moment and remember what I had done. I got a much needed haircut Friday night (good bye split ends and overgrown bangs!)  and Dan and I had an impromptu date night with Fred that included watching the Mariner’s blow their game against the Cleveland Indians at Norms, moving to Fremont Brewing for a beer and spending time with other dog owners, dogs, and telling people to not get drunk and go to the local shelter (yes, I did this before I got Fred, but not, this was not when I got Fred. I will say, Fred appeared in our household a week after this trip though…). We ended the night at our favorite bar, the Nickerson Street Saloon where we chatted with our favorite bartender, then home for the evening.

We helped friends move on Saturday, and I ate the biggest lunch ever at Azteca. We celebrated a friend’s birthday on Saturday night (thanks again, Kristin for having everyone watch the Sounders game at Norms so Fred could come out!) Dan took Fred home after the Sounders beat Dallas 4-2 and we partied for the first time in months! (I love Fred, but he’s killing my social life!) I even got the birthday girl to make last call at the Ballroom and get in one dance before they shut the bar down. Sunday was spent recovering and trying to maneuver Fred through the University District Street Fair. Everyone loved him, and all he wanted to do was eat food off the ground.

Dan and I snuck in another date to Flying Fish where our favorite bartender was finishing up the last of his 3 shifts there and we indulged in delicious seafood. The tuna tartare and steamed mussels were amazing. And here we are again at Monday morning. We leave for LA on Friday so I’m counting the hours, but I’m sure they’ll pass by slowly!

 

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Filed under Fred Astaire, Seattle Sounders, Weekend

Roast Beef Sandwiches

For Easter, (I told you I was way behind on posting…) my mom made roast beef. She sent home half of it with us, and we decided to make roast beef sandwiches with it. It was amazing and a fun way to add some variety to our lives as we never make sandwiches for dinner. Also, my mom bought me a mandolin at the Korean market and I was probably more excited than I should have been to use it for the first time.

My new, just washed mandolin!

Roast Beef Sandwiches

  • 1/3lb sliced roast beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms sliced
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the mushrooms and onions.

Look at the nice, even slices! Isn’t the mandolin awesome?

Heat butter in a skillet, add the mushrooms and onion until sauteed. Cut open the ciabatta bread and lay the roast beef across the bottom half of the bread.

Toast for about 8 minutes or until the meat is heated. Add the provolone cheese to the top half of the bread and put it back into the oven until the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Take out of the oven, put the sauteed mushrooms and onions on top of the meat.

Mmmmmm

Put the halves together, cut, serve and enjoy! I think a dijonaise would’ve been great on this, but Dan is picky about his mustard….

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Filed under Beef, Bread, Recipes, Sandwiches

Puppies are hard work…

Hi again! I know, it’s been awhile. It’s been many meals, Meatless Mondays, Friday treats and weekends in between since we’ve seen each other last. Did you know raising a puppy was difficult? I assumed it would be hard, I did not assume that it would take up every single breath of my day and sometimes at 3am. Also, when your dog gets Giardia (intestinal parasite) he cannot play with other dogs. This means double the work of exercising and wearing him out, and not just taking him to puppy playtime for 45 minutes and letting him get it all out there. Fred, you really need to learn to not eat other dogs poo. That’s gross. And gets you sick. And makes me angry and exhausted. Please take note of this.

Oh hi, Fred. Are you sleepy? Maybe it’s because you refuse to lay down for a nap.

Here’s a preview of my day: Wake up, take Fred out of his crate (Dan takes him out when he gets up, then puts him back in the crate with a Kong while he’s getting ready), turn on my computer,  try to get Fred to stop barking, turn on TV to the Today show, get coffee, pet Fred and get him to try and eat his breakfast, check emails, do some training with Fred, take Fred out, start work, tell Fred to stop barking and distract him with Kong/bully stick/bone/toy, work, put Fred in crate because he won’t be still and trying to trick me into taking him outside by ringing the potty bell, conference call, give Fred lunch and take him out for a long walk, let him run around the house for a bit, put him back in crate, work, take Fred to puppy playtime in hopes of running his energy out, come home, finish up work I was unable to do while dealing with Fred, dinner, play and do training with Fred until he starts getting barky and cranky and then I know it’s his bedtime.

And that, is just a normal day in the life for this fat kid.

Monday was our 2 month anniversary together. We went from this:

Fred the first night we got him. Around 6 weeks old.

And now….

Fred at 14 weeks… So cute and so innocent… If only all day was like this…

I got him a new bed in hopes he would lay down next to me while I work and chill. It worked yesterday. Today not so much as Fred is now in his crate napping since he won’t nap outside of his crate 90% of the time and will just run around like a madman until we put him in there. I’m hoping he learns to nap on the bed. Especially because I need more of this in my life.

Love this mutt.

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Filed under Fred Astaire

Meatless Monday

We had friends come over last weekend and I made vegetarian lasagna. It was so delicious, I made it again this past weekend for just the two of us! It was relatively easy to make and oh, so delicious. The first time I used no boil noodles, and the second time I used regular lasagna noodles. I have to say the no boil noodles were better for the lasagna as it was less watery. Also, I forgot to put in the egg second time – also made it watery. I also don’t think there is a problem substituting frozen spinach for fresh. Whatever you have on hand works!

As per usual, I forgot something – the much needed egg – so my friend brought one over and we had dinner an hour after we had planned. While waiting for the lasagna to cook we played some Apples to Apples and drank wine. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday evening.

Vegetarian Lasagna *Inspired from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 package no boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can (28 oz) Trader Joe’s marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil spinach in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Take out, chop and dry on paper towels.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook mushrooms,  onion and garlic until onions are tender.

Vegetarian Lasagna

Mushroom, onion, garlic mix

Vegetarian Lasagna

Mmmmm… Sauteed veggies

In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, spinach, salt, oregano, basil, pepper, and egg in a bowl. Add cooled mushroom mixture. Mix together with a spatula.

Vegetarian Lasagna

Cheese mix

Vegetarian Lasagna

Mmmm sauteed veggies and cheese

Lay lasagna noodles in bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread one third of the cheese/spinach mixture over noodles. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese on top. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce over cheese. Repeat layering 2 times.

Vegetarian Lasagna

Layering

Vegetarian Lasagna

Tomato sauce layer

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

Vegetarian lasagna

Mmmmm lasagna

Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf french bread
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut open french loaf. Drizzle on olive oil. Cut garlic cloves in halves and rub on the bread. Chop the garlic cloves and spread on the bread. Put each half of the loaf in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and enjoy!

Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread

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Filed under Meatless Monday, Pasta, Recipes, Weekend