Sunday, June 22, 2014

Spring Sampler Block #9 - Rambler

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. The weather here was phenomenal, and I got to spend the last few days playing a National Mother/Daughter tennis tournament with my Mom! We got taken to school a bit, but it is always a good time, and a huge privilege for me to be able to play with my mom. Some day in the future we won't be able to do this anymore, and that will make me really sad. So although we didn't win, I am super proud of her!

I also managed to get some sewing done this weekend: block #9 of the Spring Sampler quilt from Cora's Quilts. This block is called "Rambler" and has a few more flying geese to play with!

I got some more of those pinks in that I love, and just look how all the blocks have come together!

Now I just need to sew another 4 blocks, turn them on point, put the sashing in, baste, quilt, bind... and we're done! :) I can't wait to show you my progress in the next week or so!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Paleo Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Happy Friday, everyone! The sun is out here and it has been a beautiful couple of days in the Pacific Northwest. I haven't been spending as much time in the kitchen as I normally do because I have been out enjoying this wonderful weather, but I do have a recipe that I want to share with you that will allow you to get it in the oven, and then go sit outside in the sun until it is done! Wear sunscreen, of course. I highly encourage practicing safe sun-bathing.

So this recipe is a little spicy, from the serrano peppers, and a little sweet from the tomatoes and basil, and the combination is really nice... a traditional Italian flavor with a little kick at the end! This recipe is easy, comes together quickly, and the toughest part is tearing basil leaves. What more can you ask for? 

Paleo Sweet and Spicy Chicken


Chicken thighs (8 equals about 2 lbs or so)
1 Pint of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
2 Serrano Chilies, sliced
Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the chicken thighs in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the tomatoes in an around them. Sprinkle the sliced chilies over the top of the chicken thighs. Tear up the basil leaves and sprinkle over the top. Drizzle the olive oil over everything, and think add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 425 degrees.

The chilies and basil leaves turn dark, but the flavor is fantastic, so make sure you get plenty on your plate! This recipe could easily be adapted for a foil packet on the grill, or even in the crockpot. And I am sure you can experiment with the chilies for different flavors. For those of you who can eat cheese, this would be amazing with some whole milk mozzarella melted on it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spring Sampler Block #8

I am happy to share my bright new block for the Spring Sampler quilt-along with Cora's Quilts this week. It is the perfect week for a happy new block because it is really grey and crappy outside. Sorry, Mother Nature, but I calls it like I sees it. Grey. And Crappy.

  But see... here is a bright and happy quilt block to make the day seem less grey.

And I found a wrinkle in my makeshift design wall that needs ironing... I suppose I should take the design wall off the wall before attempting to iron that one out? The block isn't laying quite straight on the wall because of that pesky wrinkle. Sorry.

But here is the crew: all 8 blocks so far. One more to go to finish the wall-hanging size. But I am going for the bigger version, so I will be making some more blocks. Repeats of a couple of them using different fabrics... should be really pretty! Stay tuned for block 9... it should be coming out next week!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Annual Stephanie Inn Trip

Every year our group of ladies heads for Cannon Beach to spend a few days at Stephanie Inn , walking on the beach, eating amazing food, and enjoying all the things that the Stephanie Inn has to offer.

We always start out our trip with a little wine tasting:

 Our first stop was Duck Pond Cellars. Look at those ladies (Mom, Penny and Donna) with their matching shirts!

Mom and Penny at LaChini winery.

Cheers, from Stoller Vineyards! This place was pretty cool... the tasting room is 100% self-sufficient, with a large array of solar panels, a green roof, and some water catchment. Anything they don't use in the tasting room, they send to the actual winery, so it is about 30% sustainable.

Donna hears no evil, Penny sees no evil, and I speak no evil. Really. I swear. :)

Once we are done enjoying the fruits of Oregon wine country (literally!), we continue on to Stephanie Inn. It is located on Cannon Beach. And I mean, right on the beach. 

This is the view from the balcony of our room.

We like to take walks on the beach, and we can walk all the way into downtown Cannon Beach from Stephanie Inn on the beach. We don't see a single road until we hit downtown.

The weather was perfect while we were there. It was about 60 to 65 degrees, a couple of hours of sun in the afternoons, and no rain. The mist kept rising up off the ocean and I liked the way it made Haystack Rock look like it was floating.

Haystack Rock
Now isn't this the life?
We also like to make sure that we get some good food while we are there, and that is not hard to do at the Stephanie Inn! Even with my food allergies, they were able to make sure that we all got some amazing food and drink. We dressed up for dinner one night, and it was fantastic!




The whole gang!
We started with salads:

Now I will be honest and say I am not normally a huge fan of salads. They tend to get a bit boring for me, especially since I don't get cheese, or dressing, or croutons, or any of the fun stuff. But this was a truly incredible salad. The onions on top were dredged in rice flour and then fried. It had lime oil on it... it was fantastic!

 I didn't get the scallop starter because of my shellfish allergy, but as you can see, it was pretty fantastic looking!

The soup was a roasted tomato with fresh basil and gorgonzola cream. I didn't get that either, but at least I got to smell it!

For the main course, we had the marinated rack of lamb. It was served with creamy polenta, roasted beets, braised greens, and garlic Dijon reduction sauce.

My plate had fingerling potatoes in place of the polenta due to my dairy allergy.

For dessert, they served me the most wonderful fresh berries!

The other ladies got a Lemon Swedish Cream, that was silky vanilla bean almond custard swirled with lemon curd, shortbread cookie, and fresh berries.

Doesn't that look great?!?

The following day we decided that we really needed to work off that dinner, so we went for a hike out at Hug Point State Park. This park is actually more beach, but it has some really interesting features. It has caves, a waterfall, part of the original stagecoach trail, and they also happened to be filming a pilot for a TV show on Vikings while we were there. So I got some random photos of the set and vikings.

When the tide is in, there are parts of the beach that are completely covered in water, and these large caves have formed. They have some amazing colors inside!

 The viking set was right over by two caves I wanted to visit, and the large waterfall, so we had to steer clear of that area, but I still got some pictures.

Random viking... wonder if he is someone famous?

 The viking set was actually pretty neat, and it was kind of fun to watch them film for a bit.
This is one of the caves that has formed from the water coming in at high tide.

 We needed to pose in front of it because it was cool. You know how these things are.

This is the old stagecoach road I mentioned earlier. As you walk along it, you can still see the areas where the wheel had grooved ruts into the rock. This section is also covered completely in water when the tide is high, so you have to time this hike a little carefully!

This old stagecoach road actually joins the two beaches together, but make sure you watch the tide table, you don't want to get stuck on the side that is nowhere near your car!

As you can see, we made it back just in time. The tide was just starting to come in, and already it was getting to the point where you needed to wade to make it on to the trail. This is a great picture, though, because you can see those ruts I was talking about.

This has to be the saddest looking wheel I have ever seen. But at least all that sea life now have a lovely home!

This guy was stalking me, so I took a picture to have in case I needed to identify him in a line-up at a later point.

And it's these ladies again. The "see no evil" one is peeking. I wonder what that means?!?

When we came back from our walk, the cast and crew were at lunch so I got a better shot of the waterfall.
Hug Point State Park is a neat little place if you get the chance to visit. It is about 3 miles south of Tolovana Park and Cannon Beach on Highway 101.

Hope you enjoyed our trip... I know we did!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Paleo Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole

So the other day I asked Mike what he would like for dinner. He said "A casserole. With chicken." Well that one got me thinking. See, I am used to the type of casseroles that I have had for the last 30-something years of my life: pasta, cheese, cream of chicken soup... all those things that I can't eat anymore. So this request was a little bit of a challenge. What could I make that satisfied Mike's desire for a casserole with chicken, was within my dietary requirements, and tasted good enough for Mike to eat, even without cheese?

I went on an explore of the interwebs and picked up a couple of ideas. The one I decided on was from, and she called it Paleo Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole.

Here is her photo:
pumpkin casserole

I apologize for not having photos of my own... I was skeptical that Mike would eat this, but not only did he eat it, he actually said he liked it! I think this recipe would also be really good with a richer meat like lamb, if you wanted to try that. I did make a couple of changes from the original, because that is how I insist on doing things, so my recipe is below:

Paleo Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole 
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch cubes (you could also use shredded or ground chicken for this, or even ground lamb or other game-y meat would taste good)
  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 can canned coconut milk (I used about 2/3 of the can for this recipe. If you use the whole can, the sauce is a little runny, but it still tastes great!)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop the cauliflower and put it in a baking dish, tossed with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Then cut your spaghetti squash in half, using a spoon to scoop out the seeds and extra threads, and set it face down on a baking pan. I used my silpat for this, it is perfect! Add the cauliflower and spaghetti squash to the oven, side by side if possible, to roast for around 25 minutes. (Depending how big your spaghetti squash is, the cauliflower made roast a little quicker, but mine cooked at the same time) You will know your spaghetti squash is cooked when you can poke the outside skin and it gives a bit.
While the squash and cauliflower are cooking, it’s time to cook up your chicken. Use a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add olive oil to it and once the olive oil is starting to get hot, add the minced garlic. Once the garlic begins to smell, add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes or so.
Add your chopped chicken to the cooking onions, cover and let steam for around 5 minutes. Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the can of pumpkin, the coconut milk, and spices directly to the pan. Mix until well combined. Taste to see if you need any more spices or salt.
Once the squash and cauliflower is done cooking, and the chicken mixture is heated up, de-thread the spaghetti squash with a fork, running the fork the opposite way of the threads. Add your spaghetti squash threads, roasted cauliflower, and chicken saucey mixture to a 9×11 glass baking dish and add dish to the oven under the broiler. Cook for about 5 minutes, getting a little dark on the top.
Remove from oven and let sit for about 5-10 minutes to help the sauce thicken up. 
Then, as she says on, " the crap of that deliciousness".

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spring Sampler Block #7 - Friendship Quilt

Hello everyone! I am sharing block number 7 from the Cora's Quilts Spring Sampler quilt-along this week.

This block comes together pretty quickly, and I really like how the different colors are bringing all the blocks together.

Here are the seven blocks together so far. Two to go for the wall-hanging size. I think I am going to be an over-achiever, though, and go for the lap size, so I am going to get to make extras of some of these blocks. I think block seven will be one of them. And probably blocks 5 and 6, too. I think I will use different fabrics in them, though, so it doesn't look like I have repeats. This is going to be way too much fun!

I hope at least some of you are following along!

And for those peeps that like recipes - stay tuned! I have a paleo casserole coming your way, and Mikey liked it! I also have a post about the annual jaunt to Cannon Beach and the stay at Stephanie Inn, so I will "talk" to you all soon!