Welcome, again.

Friends and Family,

It seems unreal that I haven’t written a blog post in 1.5 years. But it also makes sense. During that time I got my first job, became a wife (celebrated 1 year together yesterday!), and moved, not once, but twice.

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If you looked back 6 months earlier you could include an additional move, graduating from graduate school, and getting engaged to the mix. All in all, it has been a beautiful and crazy 1.5 + years.

We are now settling into our new community and home and it felt appropriate to start blogging again.  The blog will take on a different feel – less recipes, more life.  I am moving the blog in this direction because 1) I have opted out of Facebook (more on this another time) and would like a way to update our family near and far 2) I share my life with another person which means less time in the kitchen and more time adventuring.  If you would like an update every time I post a new blog, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Follow”.  You can also following me on Twitter, although I doubt I will be as active there!

What We’ve Been Up to Lately

Settling in!

Our house is starting to feel like home.  We are exploring our community and have gone on many adventures near it.  One of my favorite adventures we have had was during an unusual 12 inches of snow!  We put on our snow shoes and did a two hour trot through the river front park near our house!

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Tending a garden.

Our house has plenty of space for a wonderful garden.  We are growing eggplant, a couple variety of summer squash, red and jalapeno peppers, lots of herbs, several varieties of tomatoes and beans, spinach (which just bolted this week), kale, and delicata squash.  Not only are we growing our own food we continue to participate in a CSA and have been getting fruit during its peak and freezing, drying, and turning it into fruit leathers.

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Enjoying each others company.

We have had so much fun spending time together.  Whether it is walking around the park in our neighborhood, going to our gym together, or spending the day at a nearby state park, we have been exploring.    I don’t see our explorations ending any time soon – my anniversary gift from the hubby was a 2 year unlimited state park pass and several maps and books about everything Oregon and our community has to offer!  Most recently we visited Willamette Mission State Park which had incredible history, a ferry across the river,  and the largest cotton wood in the United States.

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Looking forward to sharing our life with you again.

 

xo

Jessi

 

Zucchini Nachos

Hi There.

Happy Saturday!  We have spent our Saturday running (ran 7 miles Friday morning, 5 miles Friday evening, and 6 miles this morning.  Insert {exhausted}!), going to the farmers market, picking produce from our garden, and hooking up an upright freezer that we scored for a very reasonable price. 

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Our first tomato harvest about 1 week ago. This week there was lots more of everything, including basil, and 3 huge buttercup squash (a winter squash variety). It won’t be long before we have eggplant, jalapeno, and red peppers!

I am sure I have said this before, but I am going to say it again.  We have had SOOO much zucchini.  I have shredded and froze it, grilled it, dehydrated it into chips, and made these AMAZING nachos! 

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we ate **TWO** platters this size

A couple Sunday’s ago, Jake and I were feeling pretty burnt out on our Zult’s meal plan but were also exhausted from busy weekend and didn’t want to do much cooking.  We had zucchini and  tomato’s a-plenty and decided this recipe would be the perfect low maintenance meal we were looking for.

Jake was a little skeptical at first but after the first bite he was sold. I mean, we ate TWO PLATTERS of these babies! Thanks to Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe inspiration.

Zucchini Nachos (served two but we were ravenous!)

6 Zucchini

Cheddar Cheese

Olive oil

1 can black beans

1 pint cherry tomato

Green Onion

Smoked salt (or regular salt)

  1. Slice zucchini into at least 1/4 inch thick slices (we found the thicker the better!)
  2. Brush slices with a small amount of olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked salt
  3. Grill on the barbie flipping once (I think we flipped at about the 5 minute mark – you don’t want them too soft).
  4. Once zucchini is grilled put them on the platters and immediately top with shredded cheddar cheese. Layer zucchini, cheese, zucchini, cheese if needed.
  5. Top with toppings of your choice – we choose cherry tomato, black beans, green onion, and greek yogurt.  Options are endless – chicken, avocado, ground beef, refried beans, chili’s, pickled jalapeno…

We served ours with a side of cherry’s and Juanita’s chips (our fav) but, honestly, I maybe ate two of them. 

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

It’s hot here!  Ninety degree days are lovely, in my opinion, and absolutely justify a cold a creamy treat.  And birthdays.  Birthdays definitely justify treats.

This last weekend just happened to be 90+ degrees outside and my father-in-laws birthday so I couldn’t resist making something absolutely delicious.  Not to mention my mother-in-law requested it and if I remember any piece of advise from bridal shower/bachelorette party days it was to always appease your mother-in-law right?! If that means making ice cream, I am set!IMG_0872I used Bon Appetite’s true vanilla ice cream recipe with my own twist and it turned out even better than I expected.  This makes a small batch so if you are servings more than 4, I would suggest doubling it.

Vanilla Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Makes about 3.5 cups

1 cup whole milk

1.5 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 pinch kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

5 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1 large bar Ghirardelli 60% Cacao (or other dark chocolate bar of your choice

  1. Combine cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean, add pod.  Bring mixture to just a simmer (a good rule of thumb is just when bubbles start to form around the outer edge of the pan), stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until pale (this takes longer than you think – at least 2 minutes).  Gradually mix in 1/2 cup warm cream mixture to the egg mixture.  Whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream mixture  and cook over medium heat until thick.  Stir constantly during this time.  Cream should be thick enough that when you lift up a wooden spoon, the mixture will coat it rather than slide off.
  3. Place custard in a refrigerator safe container and let sit over night (or until completely cooled 4-6 hours).
  4. Once cool, pour custard in your ice cream (don’t forget to remove the vanilla bean!) and churn per manufacturers directions (mine took about 20 minutes).
  5. While ice cream is churning break up chocolate bar into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each 20 seconds, until chocolate is melted.
  6. 3-5 minutes before ice cream is done churning slowly poor in melted chocolate and allow to churn for 1-2 minutes longer.
  7. Store ice cream in a freezer safe container.

You can eat the ice cream right away when it is finished for a soft serve style ice cream or place in the freezer for a couple hours for a more solid ice cream.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetNom, nom, nom!  Enjoy!

Training!

The word above essentially sums up what we have been up to the last two weeks, which is why Jake looks like this:

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We are competing in Hood to Coast in 27 days.  Eeee!  Hood to Coast is a relay running race that starts at Mt. Hood and goes all the way out to Seaside, Oregon for a total of 199 miles.  We have 12 people on our team and over ~24 hours each of us will run 3 legs.  My three legs will total 20 miles and Jake’s will total about 16.  If you are interested in learning more about this race, I highly suggest the documentary.  It is the only movie I have seen in the theater by myself.

I don’t know that you can ever be fully prepared for H2C but we are doing our best.  This Friday we ran 5.4 miles in the morning, 4 miles after work (in 85 degrees!), and 8 miles Saturday morning (in addition to 2 days of weight lifting and a 5 mile run on Monday).  Needless to say, tomorrow will likely be spent laying in the sun!

Last weekend, we ventured to Timothy Lake.  Jake’s extended family has a big camping trip every year and it was fun to hang out with the “older” generation. 

IMG_0005It is beautiful there and we did some fishing, hiking, and watched helicopters pick up buckets of water to fight the forest fire nearby.  Oregon is burning up… and it is only July!

ZULTS UPDATE

Things are going really well!  Eating the same thing every day isn’t as monotonous as I thought.  And boy do we have a lot of time in the evenings since we do all our food prep on the weekend.  This last week we had buckwheat pancakes and eggs, curry chicken salad, and spaghetti and meatballs in addition to cuc’s from the garden and trail mix.  We have participated in all the challenges so far and are really enjoying getting to know our teammates.

Because we are not drinking as much beer (wow, we were drinking a lot of beer!), we have both been looking for beverage alternatives.  We tapped out 3 of the 4 pony kegs in our kegarator (not on our own of course!!) so we decided to fill one up with water and carbonate it.  SO. GOOD.  Whats not to love about sparkling water on tap!?  We have been adding lemon or lime for flavor which is incredibly refreshing on thes hotter days.

OTHER ADVENTURES

  • We took a shooting class to learn how to use a handgun.  Let’s just say we “killed” it!

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  • Preserving food like it’s my job – zucchini chips anyone!?
  • Prepping for my first fall term as an instructor at University of Portland
  • Playing with my new iPad Mini :D otherwise known as re-discovered my love for candy crush!!
  • Attended the Salem Bite+Brew – we tried about 8 tasters and actually weren’t impressed by any of them.  Too many heavy beers on a warm day IMO.
  • Trying to keep our house clean while still having fun.  Anyone have any tips for this!?  I can’t seem to keep up!
  • Making ice cream for my father-in-laws birthday.  Soooo… good.  Recipe will be on the blog sometime this week! :)

Happy Weekend Y’all!

Jessi

 

Zults!

Jake and I are doing something a little crazy.

IMG_0865We go to this great gym about twice per week for a class called Group Power.  It is a weight lifting class and we have actually enjoyed getting up at 4:45 a.m. to make it there by 5:15.  We have come to know many of the people in our class and we all hold each other accountable, which makes it even more fun.

A couple of weeks ago our instructor started talking about a fun competition the gym was holding called “Zults”. I **love** competition and was total on board.  Unlike most things in my life, I failed at getting the details of said competition and today we are beginning a 6 week journey that we were not entirely expecting!

See, we had envisioned working out in our team of 4, encouraging each other, and doing team competitions.  One minor detail we missed was the daunting nutrition plan.  Being a dietitian, you would think I would be all over it, but, truthfully, I like to eat what I want, when I want to.  Not only that but cooking and planning meals so is enjoyable for me.  I like to do that stuff for fun {nerd alert}.

It’s not that I won’t be cooking but the plan tells us exactly what to eat and you essentially eat the same thing every day ALL. WEEK. LONG.  Dying already!

I plan to update you weekly with how things are going.  Today is day 1…5 hours in and feeling grand!

What we are eating this week:

  • Zucchini egg scramble (I made them into egg cups for quick mornings) **Thank goodness zucchini was in the meal plan… our garden is going crazy!Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.01.49 AM
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (I also made BBQ’d Tofu for some variety)
  • Tostada’s with ground turkey (plan to use black beans and ground beef as a substitute a couple days this week
  • And your typical snacks, snacks snacks!

What else happened over the last week?

  • We did a Farm to Fork dinner at EZ Orchards for an anniversary celebration
  • Spent all day Sunday on the couch watching soccer after our trip to go to the coast was shut down by thunder, lightning, and rain.  It was a thunder storm for literally 6 hours!
  • We went for a 5 mile run (which turned into 4 mile run because we walked and talked the first mile) in Minto Brown park
  • We got a lot of blueberries from our CSA for freezing.  Smoothies all winter! :)

Have a great week y’all!