Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trip to Maryhill Winery - September 2009

You can't ask for anything more beautiful than the view from Maryhill Winery.  It's absolutely breathtaking. I was lucky enough to spend Sunday and Monday at the winery, and love it each time I do.

Voodoo Donuts - The Best Deal in Portland

Whenever you ask someone what you should do in Portland, they almost always say 'Go to Voodoo Dounuts and get a ______.'  Typically Maple Bacon Bar fills in the blank, but it can be substituted with any of Voodoo's strangely named and strangely shaped (yet oh so delicious) donuts.

As I mentioned in my last post, we were in Portland last weekend for the Rouge Marathon, which Jon ran in on Sunday.  As the race was about a two hour drive from Portland, we were up and ready to go at 6:30 a.m., but apparently no one else in Portland was...not even Stumptown!  Thankfully, I remembered that Voodoo Donuts is located just a couple of blocks down and donut shops are always open early. So we took everyone's advice and wandered down the block.

What we found when we arrived made the entire trip worth it! It turns out in the morning at Voodoo Donuts, they have buckets of donuts from the day before, most of which aren't even 12 hours old.  And to make it even better, they sell these buckets (which contained somewhere around 40 donuts) for just $6!  That's typcially what you'd pay for two donuts.  So naturally, we bought a bucket! I have absolutely no quorums against buying 12 hour old donuts at a discount.

Not the best neighborhood, but no one dangerous wakes up before 9 a.m., right?

They were just as good as if they had been cooked that morning - I swear! So next time you are in Portland, I encourage you to take up a little bit early and head to Voodoo to score this amazing deal.  You'll have plently of donuts for yourself, your friends, and even of few of the dozens of transients you'll pass of the way back to your hotel.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rouge Half Marathon at Timothy Lake - Mt. Hood, OR

I will stop you now before you start thinking I am running this marathon. I can barely run around the block, let alone run 14 miles through the woods. Jon, however, is running this marathon as I write this post (I was going to look for a neaby trail and go for a short hike, but that didn't happen). I am extremely proud of him not only for his dedication to this race, but for the fact that he will accomplish this so early in this life. It's pretty cool in my book. He took off around 9:30 am with 400 other people and is estimating it will take him about two hours. So here I sit, anxiously awaiting his finish with all the other non-athletic people:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stumbling Goat Bistro - Not Just A Clever Name

I have been slightly obsessed with the Phinney Ridge neighborhood in Seattle as of late. There's just SO much going on in this undiscovered neighborhood. It all started when Jon and I walked from Northgate to the Woodland Park Zoo via Greenwood Ave (it took FOREVER). We saw all these adorable restaurants and bars that we had never been to. So, we've slowly been checking them out when we have spare time. Last night was happy hour at Stumbling Goat Bistro (which is from 4-6, despite their website saying it's from 5-7). The food was great (I had a herb corn rissoto - $5) and a drink called the Peach Cobbler, which made me realize where the name 'Stumbling Goat Bistro' came from. It was strong and oh so yummy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Problems with Blogger

I apologize to those of you who have tried to follow my blog as of late.  For some reason, it denies access to everyone (THIS IS SO FRUSTERATING) and I cannot get my Followers widget to work.  On top of it all, I would like to add Twitter to my blog, but that widget won’t work either.  There must be some sort of bug in my account, but I have searched and searched for the answer to no avail.  If anyone happens to know what is wrong, or can at least point me in the right direction of where to report this problem, I would really appreciate it.

So, until I can get my ‘follow’ feature working, I hope you just keep checking back J

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ronald McDonald House "All For Fall Benefit Bash"

Last night, Jen and I headed to the All For Fall Benefit Bash for the Ronald McDonald House of Seattle at Pacific Place and had an amazing time. It was an evening of shopping, wine and tasty tidbits...but I have to admit, we ended up spending most of our time chatting over wine and the yummy appetizers.

The All for Fall Benefit Bash, which takes place every year, was $25 per person to attend (all of which comes directly to RMHC) and included a glass of wine, hors d’ oeuvres from Il Fornaio, the chance to win fabulous door prizes, live jazz music, and shopping offers from Pacific Place merchants. As an added benefit, each guest also received a special gift box containing: $25 Pacific Place gift card; $25 United Colors of Benetton gift card; $25 Something Silver gift card; and $25 Twist gift card.

What a great deal!  Helping an amazing cause not only made me feel great, but also helped fun my holiday shopping. I encourage you to check in out next year!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recipe of the Day - Chicken, Red Grape & Pesto Pizza

Homemade pizza is a favorite in my household, especially since we discovered the variety of pre-made pizza dough available at Trader Joe’s (seriously…for $1.59, you can choose from regular, wheat or garlic herb. You can’t beat the price or the sanity I save by not attempting to make the dough on my own). That said, we’re pretty traditional when it comes to the type of pizza we make. Margarita and Italian Sausage are our normal fallbacks.
I recently bought my first issue of Cooking Light, which I’m pretty sure has changed my life forever. Not just because of the amazing pizza recipe that I am about to tell you about, but because it is full of practical inspiration. There are some many meals that sound just amazing and the best part is they all are made from things I most likely already have in the house (or can easily pick up on my next trip to the store). None of this buying yet another bottle of spice just to use a teaspoon and never look at it again. So they won and I bought a two-year subscription. Good job, Cooking Light. Back to the reason I’m writing this post…I love pesto in the most recent issue, they had a whole section on what you can make with pesto. I though “perfect!” because I typically buy a bottle of pesto, use it in one recipe, then by the time I go to use it again, it’s gone bad. Since Jon was looking over my shoulder as I flipped through the pages, we decided to give the Chicken, Red Grape & Pesto Pizza a try first.
One word. AMAZING. Who knew grapes and pesto would even taste good together. It was the right amount of spicy and sweet, while being really filling. I’ve included the recipe below for your reference – courtesy of Cooking Lightand encourage you to try it out:
1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated thin-crust pizza dough
Cooking spray
1/3 cup refrigerated pesto
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 ounces shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onions

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. On a lightly floured surface, pat dough into a 12-inch circle; gently place dough on a pizza pan coated with cooking spray. Spread pesto evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Arrange grapes evenly over dough; top evenly with chicken. Top with garlic and mozzarella; sprinkle with Romano and pepper. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with onions. Cut into 12 wedges.
Yum! Like I said, I love recipes that use things I have in the house, so we modified this a bit at our home. 

We chose a wheat dough from Trader Joe’s, replaced the rotisserie chicken breast with sundried tomato chicken sausage (Jon bought like a thousand of these things at Costco, so I’m trying to get rid of them in an efficient manner), and substituted grated Parmesan cheese for the Romano cheese. And yes, it was still amazing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Automate Your Life With Alice.com

I am all about saving time and money when possible. Whether it be clipping coupons, shopping around for deals or waiting until an item goes on sale, I'm currently doing it. If you're like me, you love the fact that your efforts save money, but hate the fact that it takes up more of your valuable time.

Well what if I told you that you could stop doing all of that, but still get the same result? I subscribe to the RSS feed for
Ramit Sethi's "I Will Teach Your How to Be Rich" blog (he also has an amazingly useful book that quickly rose to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list) and Ramit is a huge advocate of 'automating' your life. I recently received an email from him that talked about a new online tool called Alice.com.

Alice.com lets you set up automatic subscriptions and shipments for typical household items, such as toilet paper, shampoo, paper towls, toothpaste and more. Pretty much anything that you'd normally get at your local Target/drugstore/grocery store. Basically, search for your favorite shampoo, add it to your "shelf" and then set up how often you want it delivered to your house! I find this pretty exciting. You'll never have to think about it again or deal with your significant other "forgetting" to tell you that you're out of toliet paper. Plus, Alice.com offes free shipping and the same coupons that you would clip out of the Sunday paper.

As Ramit outlined, here are the basic benefits of using Alice.com:

  • Automatic: You don't have to think about buying household stuff ever again. You pick the products (search by room) and they get delivered to your house at regular intervals, which you specify.
  • Free Shipping: Never leave your house again to make basic household purchases. In the end, this saves time and the money you spend on gas.
  • Discounts: Automatic coupons mean you're getting the best prices, so you don't need to shop around.
Now it does take a bit of time to get everything set up, but once you do, you never have to think about it again. The thing I'm most excited about is all the money I'm going to save by not going to Target anymore. I swear everytime I step foot in there, I come out with five things I didn't go there for in the first place.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grilling in the City - A Bellevue Adventure

Apologizes for the hiatus. Work has been busy, to say the least. Either way, I'm back.

A couple weeks ago, I attend an event called "Grilling in the City" hosted by The Downtown Bellevue Network, 425 Magazine and Built Burger. The event invite mentioned free beer and free burgers, so naturally, Jon and I were there. Plus, I had heard about Built Burger and wanted to see what all the hype was about. Despite the drive getting to Bellevue from Fremont (see photo in post below), it was an amazing event to be at.

Photo courtesy of The Downtown Bellevue Network

The event was hosted on at the Bellevue Towers in their Urban Garden. Even without the event, this was a really cool space to see. But we quickly turned our attention to the crowd of people surrounding an array of yummy treats.

After grabbing a beer, we came upon a beautiful display from Trophy Cupcakes. I had a chance to chat quickly with Trophy Cupcake owner and founder Jennifer Shea (who is just darling) about the new store they are opening in The Braven, which opens this weekend, and how exciting it is to expand into the Eastside. I also let her know about my not-so-secret obsession for her Toasted Marshmallow cupcake (SERIOUSLY. You must try it. Anything involving chocolate and marshmallow fluff can't be bad.)

Photo courtesy of The Downtown Bellevue Network

Next on the list was Built Burger. Their website begs the question "What if you could cook a burger that stood on its own, sans bun, sans toppings - that would compel you to say - it's the best I have ever had?" And that's exactly what we experienced. With amazing flavors such as Brilliant Prosciutto, Stellar Short Rib, Pinnacle Bacon Bleu and Luxe Italian, there would never be a need for a bun! And toppings? Forget about it. Everything you need is in the burger itself.

Photo courtesy of The Downtown Bellevue Network

After tasting some of the best burgers I've ever had, I was completely surprised to find out that all the gourmet burgers from Built Burger are frozen! I would have never guessed or known had I not had the chance to chat with Rebecca and David Makuen, owners of Built Burger. After telling me a little about themselves (they met at Rolling Stone magazine and moved to Seattle from New York about four years ago - how cool is that), they explained how their company works. All burgers are handmade upon order, frozen, they shipped to the door step of people from all over the country. As a bonus for those of us who live in Seattle, they recently opened a store in Ballard, where you can order and pick up your frozen burgers (sorry, no cooked burgers at their shop...yet).

Photo courtesy of The Downtown Bellevue Network

All in all, a wonderful event and one I hope is a repeat for the future. In the mean time, I suggest you order up some of those amazing burgers for a end of the summer treat.