Saturday, August 21, 2010

Travel Travel and more Traveling!

So I LOVE our location here in Washington because we can get to so many places in such a short time! We are about 3 hours south of Vancouver, BC and 2 hours north of Portland...

We booked a weekend trip to Portland next weekend! Tom and Amanda are driving up from Denver and will meet us in Portland on Sunday then they are coming up to stay with us on Wednesday! We can't wait to see them!

I also booked a trip today to WHISTLER BC! I have heard it is such a cool town up in the mountains we are excited to spend a week there in October! Whistler is about 5 hours north set in a valley of some beautiful mountains where the 2010 Olympics were held! We got a loft room that sleeps 6 and had a sauna in the upstairs bathroom so hopefully we will get some people to go with us!

I want to see all that we can while we are up here...we have done a lot but have not even made a dent in all we want to do!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I have started cooking a lot more since we moved out here! I wanted to share a few of my new favorite recipes!

Gnocchi served with a Bacon & Peas CreBoldam Sauce -
I had never had gnocchi till I moved out here, we sell it at World Market and we love it now!


Salt & pepper to taste

Prep the Ingredients

and slice the onion into rings and separate them. Mince the garlic and cut the bacon lengthwise and then into 1-½ strips. Thaw the peas anyway you like and grate the Parmesan.
Assemble the rest of the ingredients and you are ready to go.
How to Make at Home

Start by heating up a large pot of water for cooking the gnocchi. You don’t want the sauce ready and have to wait for the gnocchi to cook although they don’t take but 2 minutes to cook.

Heat your sauté pan over medium-high heat to get it hot. Add the oil and butter to the pan and when the butter is melted and hot, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.

Add the bacon and cook for 3 – 4 minutes until the bacon doesn’t have that white fatty look any more. You don’t want the bacon crisp, just cook through. The down side of using bacon over Pancetta is the bacon takes longer to cook but if that’s what you have available, what the heck.

Add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan, stirring up any of the bacon bits that may be sticking to the pan. Add the cream and then the peas. Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes and you will notice the sauce start to thicken.

Right after you add the cream you want to start cooking the gnocchi. They only take 2 –3 minutes to cook but by the time you cook and drain them the sauce will be finished. You will know when the gnocchi are done because they float to the top of the water.

Add the drained gnocchi to the sauce along with the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Give it a gentle stir and cook to warm up and incorporate the sauce with the gnocchi.

Creamy Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
2¾ hours

Yummy!! Free up your oven and cook this classic dish in your crock pot! I made this is my taller older, 4 qt. crock pot rather than my new larger oval shaped one that tends to run hot. This could also be baked in the oven if necessary.
1 lb
4 tablespoons
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use combination of freshly shredded medium cheddar and extra sharp cheddar)
10 1/2 ounces cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
12 ounces
evaporated milk
1/4 cup
sour cream
eggs, beaten (optional)
1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon

Cook macaroni 4-6 minutes, keeping macaroni very al dente. Drain. Toss hot pasta with butter.
In a greased crock pot, add cheese, soup, milk, sour cream, eggs, salt, pepper and mustard powder. Mix to combine.
Add pasta to crock pot. Stir to combine well. Cook on low 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Careful because when I cooked mine 30 min too long, it started to become grainy!).

What a fun weekend!

It was nice and hot in Washington this weekend so we took advantage! We took our friends to the airport Friday and then on the way back we took the scenic route on the way home and fell in love with Des Monies, WA - The waterfront is so pretty!
Saturday we got up early and headed west to the Olympic National Rainforest - We went to Lake Quinault and did some hiking and lots of driving! We saw the worlds largest Spruce tree and one of the largest Oak trees!
Worlds largest Spruce Tree (above)

Oak Tree and inside the tree! (below)

Then we headed another 15 miles west to the coast! We started at Moclips beach and headed south hitting all the beaches on the way down...Pacific beach was our favorite! You can drive on all the beaches here in Washington so we would drive on the highway till we saw a sign for "beach access" then we would cut over to the beach and head south on it!