Welcome to the Northwest

Gorgious overflowing hanging flower pots lined the the streets of Olympia

Northwest is of course know for it’s cloudy wet weather, but while packing for my two week visit to Washington, I still could not help but through a few sundresses into my suitcase, hoping to bring a bit of Colorado warmth and sun with me.  Getting off the plane a few hours later I stepped into the grey and chilly pacific air,  immediately regretted not packing more jeans and sweaters.

Fast forward to the next morning and a window filled blue sky reflecting off the glassy surface of the Puget Sound, and not a cloud in sight.  On the horizon, where grey usually backdrops the skyline, the Olympic Mountain Range presented itself clearly and magnificently in contrast to the sparkling sound.

Good-bye sweat pants, hello denim mini dress.

My mom and I wanted to take full advantage of the beautiful weather so we headed to Olympia for lunch, a bit of shopping and a visit to the city’s large Farmer’s Market.    It was a fun afternoon of ducking in and out of cute boutiques and funky gift shops.   My favorite and the first place to catch our eye was Sweet Life Boutique . Not only were their racks filled with delicious colors and textures from brands such as Free People and Wild Fox, but they were having their annual summer blowout sale, which translated to 60% off the entire store!   Talk about a fashion jackpot!  For a steal, I left with new treasures that I can’t wait to work into my wardrobe!

After the perfect lunch at an rustic cafe (mmm roasted tomatoes, with spicy greens, balsamic vinaigrette and chévre cheese on THE most wonderful baguette) we hit the farmers market which offered vibrant bouquets of wild flowers, rows of potted herbs, baskets and barrels filled peaches, apricots and famous rainier cherries, and live bluegrass music.

perfectly delightful apricots and peaches

I love the simplicity of this sign tucked back in the branches of a sunlit tree

RVCA Dress, Piacere Di Piu Vest, Vintage Jewelry, New! Sweet Life Hat, Target Sunglasses, Coach Purse

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Moving Forward

Persistence Pays Off

Art found here

After finishing my last class a little over a month ago I delighted in the thought of having my schedule open up.   I anticipated that without school to bog me down I’d find plenty of time for reading, art, cooking, yoga, and writing, here on this blog.  While I have found moments to break away from the daily grind to doodle or whip up a quick delicious dinner, this plethora of free time I expected still some how managed to be filled, slipping away.  And I’m not going to make any excuses, getting in the habit of this blog thing is a bit tricky for me, someone who’s daily schedule is often improvised around an untidy  work schedule, is difficult.  Blogging has yet to become part of my routine, but like reluctantly getting back onto the treadmill, embarrassed and a bit apologetic towards it for your absents, you just have to keep stepping on until it feels right and your back in shape. So….I’m back. Oh and I’m on vacation.  I’ll be in Tacoma Washington for the next twelve days with my parents, which means great food, day trips to the coast and into the city, and plenty of that free time I’ve been waiting for.   I am going to use these next two weeks, away from all other daily obligations back in Colorado, to practice the art, and routine of blogging.

Summer Farmer’s Market

Trips to the farmer’s market  always lead to inspired dishes.  While perusing the booths I tend to find myself overwhelmed by carrots, chard, cherries, onions of various types, peas, parsnips, herbs, and the list goes on.  Where to start, and what do I want to make!?  Always so many choices, and, because of a busy schedule, I’m wary of over doing it and finding my crisper a bit on the wilty side come next Saturday.  So, I attempt to find two or three ingredients I find particularly vibrant and fresh.   Today every farmer’s table offered bunches of colorful beets.  Bulbous bouquets of bright oranges and yellows tied together with the deep purples and pinkish reds attracted my eye, and at 3$ a bunch, they became the center piece of my shopping trip.

I also discovered a new summer staple to my Satuday morning farmer’s market trips, scape.  These delish little guys are the green tops of garlic bulbs, and like green onions, they have a more mild flavor than its more popular bottom half.

Before purchasing both ingredients I spent a few minutes talking with the farmers.  Beets are more familiar to most in the canned jellied form, including my boyfriend, so my interest in making dinner from the vegetable resulted in a twisted face from him.  A little persuasion, and a few cooking tips from a local grower and we were both sold.  As garlic lovers the scapes were an obvious choice however without a friendly sellers advice and sampling, they would still remain a mystery to us.  Point, talking with the local growers is the best way to get the most out of any farmers market trip, so speak up, ask questions!

Here is how I used my fresh rainbow beets and curly scape.

Roasted Rainbow Beet, Scape, & Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients:

1 bunch rainbow beets (5)

1 bunch scape (12-15 stems)

3 small golden potatoes

1 large sweet potato

handful of fresh rosemary (1/4 cup)

olive oil for drizzling (4 tblsp)

salt, pepper

(I used golden potatoes left over in my pantry because I was trying to expand the dish for a larger group, & because they need to be used.  Leave out or put in! It’s up to you.  Lots can be added (or subtracted) from this dish, thats the fun of it!

Set oven at 350.

Clean all veggies really well. I don’t peel my potatoes and beets if I can help it in order to get the most nutrients and vitamins out of them.

Dice beets, potatoes, and scapes then arrange on a baking sheet. (for quicker clean up cover with tin foil)

Sprinkle with rosemary generously

Drizzle with olive oil. Salt & Pepper.

Put in oven for about 55 minutes or until desired tenderness of beets is achieved.

Remove from oven & cool.

I also made a light yogurt and lemony vinaigrette using fat free plain greek yogurt, 1/2 a lemon, red wine vinegar, and fresh parsley, all whisked together then tossed with the salad.

diced,sliced, and ready for the oven

Morning Cruise

At the beginning of the summer I bought a vintage Shwin three speed, a gift to myself for finishing finals.  After a quick tune up and a adding a front basket for carrying groceries and goodies, I felt ready to spend my summer peddling my way around town.  Fort Collins of course makes it very easy to get around, even if you’re new to the rules of the road like I am, and after two months of forgoing my gas guzzling jeep for a quick cycle to work or the store, I feel greener and more fit!  Plus in such a bike friendly town I feel like I’ve been missing out on so much offered through the experience of traveling on two wheels.  Last Friday my boyfriend and I packed up a quick, cool lunch, slathered on the sunscreen, saddled up on our rides and headed out to enjoy a few miles the Poudre River Trail.

The ride there and back was about 2 hours, plus a thirty minutes for a picnic break. We were in no rush though, so this section of trail could be finished much faster if needed.