Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Next Chapter

Wow, it has been over six months since I posted on here. I am sad that I didn’t make myself log on and write an entry because I really love blogging and the blogging community. Oh well, life got hectic and that is just how it goes sometimes.

So, what have I been up to? Well, the hubby and I both finished our undergraduate degrees in December. It felt so good to turn in my last final that I started tearing up. Some tears were out of sadness because I was closing a very exciting chapter in my life, others were from happiness and knowing that I wouldn’t have to stress over exams or homework anymore.





Since then we’ve been traveling and deciding what to do next. Yesterday we went for a walk through E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area and talked about everything that is coming up for us and the changes and challenges we’ll face together.

It didn’t take too long (considering the economy) for Matt to get a job. We found out in mid-February that he landed an archaeology position in Montana. This is a huge deal for me because I’ve always lived within a 30 mile radius. I look forward to our upcoming adventure and experiencing a different part of American culture. Right now the challenge is finding a place to live there. It must be pet friendly because I couldn’t stand to leave Miss Dax behind, and we need a month-to-month lease because….. 

Shortly after we found out about the job in Montana, we learned we’d be heading back home in September so Matt can attend Graduate School. We received lots of BIG news within a few weeks. My mind is still trying to take it all in. We’re very excited though and are incredibly THANKFUL for all these amazing opportunities. 


So, what about me and my plans? I think I’ll return to the blogging world and share that with you as I figure it all out. Whatever it may be, I’ll have my camera in tow and be tapping into my creativity.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pieces of Me - Day 3 and 4

Whoops! I miss posting my pictures yesterday. I am currently split between two households while I house/dog sit. Two of the images are not from my home but they are from a place I frequently stay, so they are a part of me and and my life.

What else have I been doing with my time? Relaxing in a beautiful garden and bird watching! Not that I know how to identify all of the birds I'm seeing, but I do love seeing them fly around enjoying the summer as much as I am. Hummingbirds are some of my favorite with their tiny little bodies and amazingly fast wings. They are so humbling to watch.




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pieces of Me - Day 2

Hello! What a gorgeous day it is! I'm sure enjoying these sunny August mornings :)

I am back for day two of Pieces of Me for Beyond Layers. Our words for today are "your breakfast" and "the mailbox."

I usually have a bowl of yogurt with an apple or banana for breakfast. But it is summer right now, which means BERRIES and other sweet, FRESH produce. All the yummy goodies I've picked up at the farmers market and u-pick farms have been going into light, healthy, flavorful smoothies that help me start of the day with lots of energy.






 Do you make smoothies? If not, give it a shot! It is almost impossible to mess up. My sister-in-law and I have discovered that just about all your fruits and veggies taste fabulous mixed up together in a blender. The one above is a blend of apples, blueberries, mango, and fresh OJ.


As for my mailbox... Well, today isn't "Go to the mailbox" day so instead you are getting a picture of a box that came in the mail. Close enough, right?

This box has the clips for our kayak/bike rack in it. My hubby was very excited to see this thing in the mail. He will probably use a knife though and spare his teeth ;)
 



Now I am going to give myself a break from the computer and rotate between drawing and chores.

Hope you all have a blissful day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pieces of Me

Hello, blogging world! Long time no see! It has been ages since I have been on here or participated in Beyond Layers. Part of me is sad about that but then I think of all the amazing adventures I've been on recently and I don't feel so bummed anymore. I will share all of that with you over the next few weeks (I've got TONS of pictures).

In the meantime, I am STOKED to get back into Beyond Layers! While camping this weekend I really started missing all the little assignments and knew this was the week to get back into the swing of things. I was so excited to see this week's project from Kim K. in my mailbox this morning because it is the perfect way to return to my blog.

This week is a mini scavenger hunt showing the little pieces of us we might normally overlook. I am really looking forward to this assignment because I think it will help slow me down a bit so that I appreciate the little blessings in my life. Today's words are "fav chair" and "on your feet."

My favorite chair... Stressless by Ekornes. Pure heaven! My back sure has missed this thing and is happy to be home and able to relax in it again! It makes for such a cozy place to read, relax, draw, and daydream.


On my feet? The colorful polish from my besties rainbow inspired wedding and my cat, Dax. She is almost always right by my feet (unless I am sleeping... then she is at my head).


Here is another one of Dax just because I love her and she is adorable!


What are the pieces that make up your life?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Grain-Free Carrot Cake



As spring came around, we had a nice, long stretch of warm sunny days here in the northwest. The hubby and I planted a garden, uncovered our patio furniture, and drank homemade lemonade. The sunshine had me all geared up for light, citrus inspired summer desserts.

Then reality hit. I live in Oregon... where it rains... until July. As the gray clouds rolled back over the Willamette Valley and provided my newly planted flowers and vegetable starts with a nice watering, I lost all interest in cool, fruity desserts.

I really wanted to bake! But what? hmmm.....

I realized I had never baked my own carrot cake and decided it was time to try. Carrot cake seemed like it would be great grain-free and provide a little comfort food as we wait for the sunshine to return.

After looking over several basic carrot cake recipes I decided to use the recipe from James Beard's American Cookery as the skeleton for my grain-free version. The first time I attempt to convert flour based recipes to grain-free, the final product is usually not quite right and takes a bit more tweaking. After letting the cake cool for a few minutes I sneaked a bite...

Me: "Yum. Hun, come try a bite and let me know what you think."

Hubby: "Thats good!" after another bite a grin crept across his face (and this is a man with as many facial expressions as Arnold Swartzenager in the Terminator), "I think this is the best cake you've ever made!"

*Cheers*


                    Grain-free Carrot Cake



Ingredients

Cake:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp grated orange peel
5 medium cage-free eggs
1 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Frosting:

4 cups yogurt made from half and half and strained 12 hours (or cream cheese)
1/4-1/3 cup honey
1 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla



Directions

In a large bowl, cream the butter and coconut sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the honey and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the spices and orange peel. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the carrot. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Fold into the wet ingredients until just blended.

Pour into two greased and parchment lined 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 F for approximately 25 minutes. Because of the honey, this cake (and other cake recipes on my blog) won't pass the traditional "toothpick test" or spring back when lightly touched. Watch for the cake to look set in the middle and not move when you tilt the pan. It should be slightly sticky, but not wet or runny. Cool in pans for about 15 minutes then very carefully transfer to cooling racks.

Beat the strained yogurt, honey, orange peel, and vanilla. Frost cake once it has completely cooled. Store in the refrigerator.


I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we have! Feel free to add in chopped walnuts or raisins. You could also make cupcakes instead of round cakes, especially if you are just getting used to grain-free and processed sugar-free baking.


Thanks for stopping by!

Allison


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Seattle to San Jose

Boy, let me tell ya... I have been BUSY over the last six weeks! I have traveled up and down 1000 miles of the west coast and loved every minute of it! Not only did I visit familiar places and people I love, but I got to meet new people, check out new places, AND knock two activities off my Bucket List! A big THANK YOU to my amazing in-laws for helping me live it up :)

Ever since I made my Bucket List in March, I have been anxious to start doing all the fun things I put on it. I think it was quite fitting that the first place I went to was the Monterey Bay Aquarium (my focus at OSU has been marine fisheries). Here on the west coast it is THE aquarium to go to.

There are mesmerizing jellyfish (which are not really a fish but cnidarians). I could have watched them all day.


The ocean's trusty steed - the seahorse!


And colorful coral reef fishes. These guys sure made me wish I was back on Maui spending my days snorkeling.


I was in heaven :) My husband? Well... he needs to invest in some shades.... I promise, he does have eyes!



Two days later we headed to Santa Cruz where I got to ride the closest thing to a roller coaster I could go on without making my back go out. Hurray for the good ol' Pirate Ship :-)


The drive back to Oregon was long but relaxing... And I finally got to visit the mysterious state of Jefferson ;)


What will get crossed off the Bucket List next? Not sure. I do know I'll have a great time experiencing it though!

Cheers!

Allison

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tulip Mania


Do you love tulips? I sure do! All the colorful patterns on velvety soft petals. Here in Oregon we have the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm's Tulip Fest. The festival is a celebration of tulips that runs the month of April. Along with endless rows of blooms, there are activities for the kids, food, drinks, and even a zip line!

I had not been to the fest for years so I was very excited to see that the one weekend I was actually spending in Oregon this month was going to be warm and sunny. My sister-in-law and her fiance drove me and the hubby there this morning and we all had a great time browsing the flowers and enjoying the sun.










Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

Allison