Update: Urban Balcony Garden

It has been almost three months since we planted our balcony garden and everything is growing pretty well so far. Even in spite of the constant digging by the squirrels.

The Early Girl tomatoes are doing remarkably well and we have already harvested at least 10 pieces of fruit from just one plant. Not only that, but this variety is expected to produce sweet fruit until frost; late October.

The pear tomatoes came in a little later than the Early Girls, but this little plant is now taller than I am. I counted 35 tomatoes on this plant the other day and we’ve eaten two so far. They seem to take a little longer to fully ripen.

These are a few of our first tomatoes and let me tell you….they were SO good! There’s nothing like a home-grown tomato!

Although we planted an entire packet of arugula seeds, this is all the arugula that came up. I blame the squirrels. Not even enough to make one salad. *sigh* I’m going to try and plant these again soon, but start them indoors instead.

Our eggplant finally flowered. Well, one lonely flower, but it’s a flower! The birds got to this one early, but it’s getting quite big now. I can’t wait to make an eggplant parmesan with this!

Remember the squirrels and how they were digging up everything? Well, the digging has slowed a bit and I recently noticed some sprouting of unknown plants in a few potted plants. So I pulled one out and it turned out to be a peanut plant. A PEANUT PLANT!!! I was so tickled to find this! I believe the squirrels planted a peanut and the peanut grew into this plant here. Note, it’s in the same pot as my eggplant. So I stuck the plant back in the soil to see how many peanuts we can harvest at the end of the summer.

The French lavender is now four times its original size. Still no flowers, but it smells amazing! Note, the peanut plant on the left side of the French lavender as well. Sneaky little squirrels at it again.

I didn’t bother taking any photos of the poblano pepper, sage, basil, or mint. Mostly because they weren’t as exciting to photograph. Needless to say, they’re doing better than expected. The mint, however, is growing out of control. We can’t eat it or give it away fast enough. The poblano pepper plant has plenty of flowers, but no fruit yet. YET!

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for further garden updates as Autumn approaches…

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Recipe: Almond Florentine Cookies w/ Gluten-Free Alternative

The Whole Foods near my home sells these delightfully tasty little treats, but the price is one arm and one leg for a package of 7. So for my dear friend Kirsten’s birthday, I decided to take a stab at making these at home and they turned out perfectly and they were a huge hit! I made another batch of gluten-free cookies with a combination of almonds and hazel nuts as well.

The orange zest really makes this recipe!

    Ingredients
    1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces)
    3 tbs all-purpose flour or rice flour
    Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
    1/4 tsp fine salt
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 tbs heavy cream
    2 tbs light corn syrup
    5 tbs unsalted butter
    1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1-2 tsp almond extract

    Chocolate Topping, optional:
    2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.

Put the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, 30 minutes.

Scoop rounded teaspoons (for 3-inch cookies) or rounded tablespoons (for 6-inch cookies) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 to 4 inches between each cookie, as they will spread throughout the baking process.

Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 10 to 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve.

We rolled our cookies around chop sticks to give them this look. To do this, you’ll want to roll them when they’re still fairly hot. Otherwise, they will set and you will not be able to roll them without cracking the cookie.

Optional chocolate topping:
Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very low simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, about 1 to 2 minutes more.)

For sandwiches: Drop about 1/2 teaspoon chocolate onto on the flat side of half of the cookies and press together with remaining halves. Return to rack and let chocolate set.

For chocolate decor: Drizzle melted chocolate over Florentines as desired. Set aside at room temperature until chocolate is set.

Storage Tips: Store baked cookies carefully, separated by parchment or waxed paper, in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. Florentines are best stored separated from moist cookies and cakes.

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Otis, the Sun Bathing Cat


Our cat, Otis (aka Odie), is one of a kind. He’s super cuddly, very social, and has a sweet stache. His favorite time of the year is summer. During the summer, the door to the balcony is often open and allows him to go out and sun bathe while bird watching and enjoying the balcony garden.

Isn’t he sweet?

Bird watching


Cat napping

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Urban Balcony Garden


I’d say without hesitation that I do not posses a green thumb. In the past, I’ve always chosen house plants that were considered low maintenance, but still managed to kill them. Over the last few years, I’ve grown various organic herbs during the summer months; mint, basil, oregano, and parsley. I’ve never really experienced difficulties in growing herbs, as they’re quite easy to take care of. I also really love the convenience of having fresh herbs available anytime for adding to recipes. On a similar note, I’ve always been really intimidated to grow vegetables, due to the lack of space/yard and horticultural experience. This summer’s going to be different though. I’m making the most of my very large, sun lit balcony, by occupying this space with various pots of herbs, vegetables, and house plants.

Attempting to grow organic veggies is way outside of my norm and experience level in the home gardening arena. But let me tell you…I’m ecstatic!!! So far I’ve planted poblano peppers, eggplants, early girl tomatoes, pear tomatoes, arugula, grapefruit mint, sage, french lavender, and basil.

Arugula sprouts


Poblano peppers, early girl tomatoes, French lavender


Look at the tomatoes! The little specks are cayenne pepper to keep the squirrels away. It didn't work. *sigh*


Grapefruit mint - smells just like a mojito


Sage

Most everything is going well and the plants are growing better than I ever expected. Not too many problems really, but just a few minor annoyances. One being the very hungry, nosy, and ridiculously large squirrels in my neighborhood. Not only are they eating and digging up my plants, but they leave gifts for me. They’ll place peanut shells into the holes that they’ve dug up, as well as strategically leaving half nibbled tomatoes from other gardens on the ledge of my balcony. I’d like to think that’s their way of paying me back for all the trouble they’ve caused, but I question their intentions. Thanks, but no thanks! At any rate, I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with these varmints! I’ve tried sprinkling cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and even bar soap around the perimeter of my balcony, yet they continue to be destructive. Along with these methods, many articles on the internet advise the presence of predator urine to deter squirrels. Specifically fox urine. The thought of using urine kind of grosses me out, but I’m willing to try it at this point, but I still haven’t decided whether or not I’ll purchase any.

The below photo was to be the future home of a small bed of arugula, but as you can see, nothing has sprouted and there are several signs of digging as well. There’s still plenty of time to plant more arugula seeds. I think I’ll keep the box indoors until the plants are large enough to place outdoors. So yeah, I think I’ll try that method in the next week or so.

I’m really happy to see that all the plants are doing surprisingly well for the most part. I’ll post more photos of my balcony garden as the plants bear fruit in the months to come.

Happy gardening!

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Recipe: Jjajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles)

Let me introduce you to jjajangmyeon. Pronounced [Ja, or, Cha} [Jang] [Myun, or Myeon].

Wikipedia describes it as “Jajangmyeon (also spelled jjajangmyeon; 자장면; 짜장면) is a popular Korean dish, derived from the Chinese dish zha jiang mian. It consists of wheat noodles topped with a thick sauce made of chunjang (a salty black soybean paste), diced meat and vegetables, and sometimes also seafood. Jajang (also spelled jjajang), the name of the sauce, is the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese characters 炸醬, which literally means “fried sauce.” Myeon (also spelled myun) means “noodle”.”

Jjajangmyeon is everyone’s favorite food in Korea. This dish reminds me of my childhood, and Korean soap operas. Why soap operas you ask? Because whenever I happen to catch one (it’s rare here in the States) everyone on those shows are always chowing down on giant bowls of jjajanmyeon goodness. And for some reason, I always think “why aren’t their faces covered in brown sauce???” and “dang, I want that!!!”. Jjajangmyeon was originally a Chinese dish, but Korea has really made it their own for over 100 years. In fact, you can find it in nearly every Chinese restaurant in Korea (basically a Korean restaurant that is referred to as Chinese). Call a restaurant nearby and they’ll deliver a fresh bowl of jjajangmyeon, along with various pickled veggies (kimchee, radish, etc.) to accompany the dish, in a tin box, to your door, within 30 minutes. Sweet, right? Seriously, this is my favorite Korean dish! When visiting Korea last year, my aunt asked if there was a dish I had to eat while in Korea and I requested jjajangmyeon, of course!

So last night, I made this dish, at Josh’s request, and finally had a chance to take photos for the blog. It’s not as easy as it seems to snap photos while preparing a meal.

Here’s how you can make this easy and delicious meal in your home.

Jal-mogo-saeyo (“happy eating”)!

    Ingredients
    1 package Korean fresh or dried vermicelli noodles
    5 tbs Korean black bean paste
    1/2 lbs pork belly – diced medium
    1 large yellow or white onion – diced large
    2 carrots – diced medium
    1 small potato – diced medium
    1 small sweet potato or yam – diced medium
    1 medium zucchini – diced medium
    2 large cloves of garlic – minced
    1 sprig of green onion – thinly sliced
    1/2 cup cucumber – julienned
    1 tbs sesame oil
    2-3 tbs potato starch
    1 tbs sugar
    Salt to taste

    Note: you can use any combination of vegetables for this dish, as well as omitting the pork.

    Makes 4 servings

I used a 5.5 quart dutch oven, but you can use a stock pot or large sauce pan if you don’t have a dutch oven. Cook the pork over medium-low heat until it becomes golden brown in color and a bit crispy. Remove all fat from the pork and set aside or discard.The next step is to add in your vegetables, but you have to add the vegetables in phases because they all have different cooking variances. Whereas, if you throw everything in the pot at once, you may end up with under cooked onions and potatoes and over cooked zucchini. Also, you’ll want to add enough water to cover the vegetables to activate the cooking process without using cooking oil. Add the white/yellow onions, carrots, and garlic to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until onions and carrots are cooked half way to tender, stirring occasionally. Then add in the potatoes and sweet potatoes and cook until these are nearly tender. Lastly, add the zucchini to the mixture.While the veggies continue to simmer, bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil and cook your noodles. I prefer to use fresh noodles. They cook faster and honestly, they taste better and have a wonderfully chewy texture.Now back to the veggie mixture. At this point, all the vegetables should be cooked, but not over cooked to the point they’re “melting”. Stir in the black bean paste and sesame oil until evenly distributed throughout. Now taste test the sauce and add the sugar and salt to your preference. You wont need a lot of salt, as the black bean paste is plenty salty already. Once the contents of the pot are seasoned to your desired liking, mix a cup of cold water with the potato starch and add this liquid to thicken the pot. You may also use cornstarch, but I find that the potato starch tends to hold up better. Your sauce should be thick enough to where it wouldn’t sink to the bottom of the bowl when ladled over the noodles.You have just made jjajang! Now once the noodles are done cooking, per the instructions on the package, drain and rinse them in cold water for a few seconds (only a few seconds or the noodles will get too cold). The cold rinse process makes the noodles nice and chewy. Now assemble; noodles in a large bowl, topped with jjajang, then garnished with green onions and cucumbers. There you have it folks, jjajangmyeon!

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A Stroll Through Capital Hill

Spring has sprung and we’re approaching the summer months very quickly here in Denver. Josh and I decided one gorgeous Spring day to take a stroll through the neighborhood and take some photos along the way. We try to take advantage of the weather whenever we can by walking around outside, which is quite often. There are numerous restaurants, clubs, bars, stores, and concert venues, which make living in Capitol Hill very appealing and convenient for getting around.

Just a mile from Downtown, the Capitol Hill neighborhood is a well-established, developed, residential neighborhood, with some of the oldest single-family homes in the city. Capitol Hill is Denver’s most densely populated neighborhood. It was once the home of Denver’s elite and origination of American Foursquare architecture. Today it consists of historic mansions, apartments and condo buildings. The area is strongly influenced by its proximity to the Colorado State Capitol (hence the name of the neighborhood).

Capitol Hill is one of the most cosmopolitan neighborhoods in Denver, well-known as a haven for artists and bohemians, as well as a “hipster” neighborhood. Colfax Avenue has a reputation for a wild nightlife with two concert venues, The Fillmore and The Ogden, and numerous late-night bars, coffee shops, restaurants, stores and clubs on the street.
The affordability, urban character and eclectic architecture made the area appealing to young bohemians, artists, and musicians (Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were former neighborhood residents), which has led to a gradual gentrification that reached its height during the 2000s. The rents in the neighborhood have increased significantly over the past decade, and many of the cheap apartments in the area have been converted into more expensive condominiums.
Playboy magazine once labeled Colfax as “the longest wickedest street in America.

This photo is of the Stoiber-Reed-Humphreys Mansion (a.k.a. Stoiberhof). Located at 1022 Humboldt Street. It was designated by the National Register of Historic Places as a landmark on December 29, 1978. It is one of only five existing homes in Denver of this grand size and quality. The house is notable for its majestic scale, exterior and interior. The old mansion is structured on the western end of Cheesman Park and this area of Denver, Colorado is said to be haunted according to several writings.

Original owner, Ed Stoiber died in 1906 and his late wife, Lena Stoiber, married Hugh R. Rood, a wealthy businessman from Seattle in 1909. Hugh Rood died during a return trip from Europe in 1912 in the sinking of the Titanic.

The Doud House; most noted for various events connected with Mamie and President Eisenhower. Mamie Eisenhower lived in this house from 1906 until 1916, as her parents, John and Elivera Doud, were the original owners of the home. The Eisenhowers were married in the first floor music room on July 1, 1916. Their son, John Eisenhower was born in Denver on August 3, 1922, while Mamie was living in the house. The Eisenhowers vacationed many times and stayed with their in-laws, so along with Lowry Air Force Base the house came to be known as the Summer White House. President Eisenhower had his heart attack in the house on September 23, 1955, and he was treated at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

As mentioned above, Capital Hill is home to many Denver artists. This scarecrow was found on a street corner near an alley-way.

B-cycles, a bike share program in Denver that started last year. It’s really great to see all the red bikes out again now that spring has arrived.

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We love our neighborhood! To view the full album of photos taken around Capital Hill, click here.

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ÜberChic Nail Boutique – NOW OPEN!

My dear friend BK’s Eco-conscious nail salon, ÜberChic Nail Boutique is now open for business! I went for a visit this past weekend and was delightfully surprised with how her idea for this venue came together. This charming salon is located on the main street of historic Edgewater, CO, near Sloan’s Lake, and just a few miles from downtown Denver.

Lounge in style while you wait

ÜberChic is, dare I say it, ÜberChic in so many ways! You will be welcomed with friendly, warm personalities and the ambiance and decor is inviting, stylish, and modern with a feminine touch. Most importantly, as mentioned earlier, ÜberChic is an Eco-conscious boutique offering the latest in all-natural, organic, vegan or non-toxic products for manicures/pedicures, facials, and waxing services. You can be assured to feel at home in this wonderfully elegant boutique knowing that you’re doing the Earth some good, while pampering yourself because, lets face it, we all deserve some pampering now and again!

Relax in these stylish and comfortable leather arm chairs while receiving an Organic Zen Pedicure

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Even the menu of services is ÜberChic

Nails

Organic Maniküre & Pediküre

Pamper those dry Colorado nails with this all-natural classic. Start out with a stress-relieving soak, followed by nail shaping and cuticle care. Enjoy a revitalizing massage with hydrating body lotion and finish with Zoya nail polish of your choice. Fabulous for hand and sole!

* Pedis include callus filing

  • Maniküre $18
  • Pediküre  $30
  • Combo     $40 Opening Special

Organic Zen Maniküre & Pediküre

A blissful experience for those who can spare more time to sit down, relax, breathe and indulge in über-pamper. Start with soaking your toes in stress-relieving batherapy salts (anti-bacterial soak for manis), followed by nail shaping and cuticle care. Then get your circulation going and skin exfoliated with an aromatic sugar scrub. A hot towel will get your skin prepped for an extended massage with hydrating body lotion. Top it up with Zoya polish of your choice. Everything Zen?

* Pedis include callus filing

  • Zen Maniküre  $28
  • Zen Pediküre   $40
  • Zen Combo      $60 Opening Special

Specialty Nails

Gel Nails (Shellac/Gelish): Gel nails are the new fab in the industry, a hybrid between gel and polish and made to last up to 3 weeks. They are applied just like regular polish and soak off easily with acetone without damaging your real nails. For those who are tough on their nails or those who just like to go longer between polishes.

Minx: The latest hype in celebrity and fashion. Minx nails have been spotted on the red carpet, catwalks and magazines. The hip Minx designs attach to you nails like stickers and harden under a heat source. An easy-to-apply, chemical-free alternative to polish.

  • Shellac/Gelish Maniküre  $20 Opening Special
  • Minx Nails  $50

Gentlemen’s Prim and Proper

Lads, neat hands and feet are part of a well groomed appearance may it be for a job interview, the crucial first impression or for the ladies! The P & P includes a stress relieving soak, followed by nail shaping and cuticle care. Rough callus will be treated with callus remover and callus filing. Finish with a soothing massage and unscented, hydrating body lotion. A nail buff is optional.

    • Gentleman’s Maniküre   $15
    • Gentlemans Pediküre     $28
    • Gentleman’s Combo       $40

Petite Patooties

Our products are non-toxic and safe for your little sweethearts to enjoy, too!

    • Mini-Maniküre   $10
    • Mini-Pediküre    $20
    • Mini-Combo      $25

Added Services

    • French Polish   $7
    • Nail Art             $5 for 2 nails or $10 for 10 nails
    • Polish change   $10

      Manicure station

Facials

Essential Facial

This replenishing 30-minute facial provides you with all the essentials for better looking skin that feels refreshed and revitalized.

Signature Facial

A luxurious 60-minute skin pamper that combines all the essential treatments with a soothing massage and skin serums customized to your individual skin needs.

    • Essential Facial 30min    $30
    • Signature Facial 60min   $55

Waxing

    • Eyebrow     $15
    • Lip               $10
    • Chin            $10
    • Underarm  $20
    • Bikini          $30
    • Brazilian     $50
    • Leg Full      $45
    • Leg Half      $30
    • Arm Full     $35
    • Arm Half    $25
    • Back            $35

Group bookings

Yes, we can accommodate your bridal shower, wedding preparation or other group booking. Please call us on  303.462.2442 or e-mail us at  info@uberchicboutique.com for more information.

Gift certificates

Gift certificates are available for any amount or for any pre-paid service.

Current Deals

Mother’s Day Specials

Valid from May 6th-8th

Buy any facial/waxing/nail service (including mani/pedi combinations) and get any service of equal or lower value for your Mother at 50% off.

Offer not valid for gift certificates. Both services must be performed in the same visit.

Opening Specials

Valid from the 23rd April until our Grand Opening on the 14th May.

  • Organic Mani & Pedi Combo for $40 ($48 value)
  • Organic Zen Mani & Pedi Combo for $60 ($68 value)
  • Shellac/Gelish UV Gel Manicure for $20 ($35 value)

Ongoing offers

Happy Hour

Every Monday-Friday from 1pm-3pm.

10% off any services.

Green discounts

Help us reduce our carbon footprint and get rewarded for it!

  • Car-free Discount: Walk, bike or scooter down to our salon and receive $2 off any service.
  • FlipFlop Discount: Bring your own sandals/flip flops for pedicures and receive $1 off any pedicure service.

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Address

5701 W. 25th Ave., Unit B
Edgewater, CO 80214
303.462.CHIC
303-462-2442
info@uberchicboutique.com
www.uberchicboutique.com

Opening Hours

Monday through Saturday 10am – 7pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm

The information and photos in this blog post are courtesy of ÜberChic Nail Boutique.

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San Francisco & The Wine Country

Living in Denver makes traveling to the West Coast very easy. With that in mind, we recently spent a long weekend visiting San Francisco and the California wine country. A lot was packed into our agenda for the short jaunt to California, but we had so much fun during our four days there. Here’s a recap:

Day 1- We arrived in the city quite early in the day so we decided to unload our luggage and cab it to Fisherman’s Wharf. As I stood on the edge of the sidewalk with the palm of my hand pointed outward toward the ground, a taxi raced over towards us to take us to where ever our hearts desired. Taxi Cab Rule #1 – I was told to be more aggressive when flagging down a taxi next time. I.e. Wave your hands in the air wildly as if you’re swatting a bug away. Apparently, I was too passive. Taxi Cab Rule #2 – Hold on tight! The driver was speed crazy in an awesome way because he got us to the pier faster than we expected. Sadly or not so sadly, that was our first and only cab ride in San Francisco. We ate seafood (of course!) at Fisherman’s Wharf and watched the sea lions sunbathe on Pier 39, then walked over to and all around Chinatown, then back to our hotel.

View of Alcatraz from Fisherman's Wharf

Classic cable cars

Sea lions on Pier 39

Sea lions on Pier 39

Day 2- We walked to Chinatown that morning for our Dim Sum Crawl Day. We ate small plates here and there throughout the day. Spent half the day in Chinatown, then waltz over to the Russian Hill neighborhood for a slice of pizza and beers. Afterward, we walked all the way from Russian Hill to Japan Center where we found ourselves in a store dedicated to Japanese anime gifts and books. Our last meal of the day was fresh homemade ramen. Oh how I miss that ramen! I think we at 6 small meals that day. It was epic and we were stuffed!

One of many streets in Chinatown

Dim sum crawl stop #1 - Bao (pork and veggie steamed buns) and green tea

Lion dance performers heading to their next destination

Dim sum crawl stop #2 - BBQ roast pork and Peking duck

The infamous Lombard Street - between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets is known as the crookedest street in the world

View from the bottom and the top of the crooked point of Lombard Street

View from the bottom and the top of the crooked point of Lombard Street

Indeed, Tom, some view indeed.

The pagoda at Japan Center - Sorry, I was so consumed with eating my ramen, that I forgot to take a photo of our ramen.

Day 3- Grabbed our rental car, which by the way, totally sucked. That thing was a boat without power! At any rate, we were on our way up to the wine country. However, before leaving the city, we couldn’t resist driving by the Full House house. You know, the 90′s sitcom, Full House. Sing along with me, “What ever happened to predictability. The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV. Everywhere you look, everywhere you go (there’s a heart). There’s a heart, a hand to hold onto…”. You. Are. Welcome. Anyway, we went completely out of our way to see this house. Said hello to the house, took a quick photo in the rain, and off we were. What can I say? We’re crazy like that.

Here it is, the mythical Full House house. It's the cream and red house; fourth from the left.

Thick fog over the Golden Gate Bridge

An hour and a half later, we made it out of the fog and into the wine country. From there, we drank, and ate, and visited several wineries, but mostly drank. It was pretty much awesome!

St. Clement Vineyards

St. Clement Vineyards

Orange trees at St. Clement

Napa Valley

Beringer Vineyards

Day 4- We drove through the countryside to the Pacific Coast Highway and up to Tomales Bay Oyster Company for some fresh shucked oysters. They were the best I’ve ever had! Not to mention the bargain price of $1/oyster. Can’t beat that!

These were the "small" variety at Tomales Bay

Finally hit the coast-line. That was an amazing drive back to San Francisco! I highly recommend it!

Trails leading down to the water - Photo taken off PCH1

Then we finished the trip with a stop to the Muir Woods National Monument to get a close and personal look at the majestic redwoods before flying home that day.

Redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument

Here's my boyfriend, Josh, standing in front of a redwood to demonstrate how large these trees really are. Just think, this was one of the small trees.

What a great trip! We had a lot of fun during those four days and look forward to going back to the northwest soon!

To see the full album of photos from this trip, click here.

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New Music Video: Wye Oak – Fish

I was privileged to see Wye Oak perform with Shearwater at The Walnut Room here in Denver last May. Artists Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, backup vocals) and Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars) are the duo who make up Wye Oak. Wye Oak is an indie folk rock band from Baltimore, Maryland. While Jenn sings lead vocals and plays electric or acoustic guitar, Andy Stack plays both drums and keyboards; playing the drums with his feet and right hand, and the bass line with his left hand. Andy looks stupid good when he’s jammin’ more than one instrument at a time and it’s definitely something you have to see for yourself to believe it can be done well. Ugh, I could have sworn that I took photos at that show, as it’s so unlike me not to have, but unfortunately, I am unable to locate them to share. Sorry, but if/when I find them, I will most certainly post.

Moving on…

Wye Oak’s new album, Civilian, is really good and is on heavy rotation on my iPhone these days. Their newest music video for the song, Fish, is a collaboration between Wye Oak and artist Katherine Fahey and photographer Michael O’Leary. Katherine Fahey created paper cuts to illustrate the song and Michael O’Leary was the photography and cinematography genius to put it all together. The result is a beautiful pairing of music and art that is absolutely worth pulling out your headphones to listen and see. Paper cuts, who would have thunk it?

Check out behind the scenes photos of the video shoot right here.

The photo and video from this blog post are courtesy of Merge Records.

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Fresh Homemade Gnocchi

Alright, I apologize for my previous post. It was gross and I’ll try not to do that again. To make it up to you, I’ll show you how to make fresh gnocchi at home. It’s very easy and once you try this at home, you’ll never purchase the packaged gnocchi ever again.

Basically, for those of you unaware, gnocchi is a potato dumpling pasta. Italians have been making and eating gnocchi pasta for over 2,000 years. The recipe below isn’t exact, but if you can remember equal parts potato to flour, then you’ll be set. I used all-purpose flour in this recipe, but you can also use semolina.

    Ingredients
    1 part mashed or riced cooked russet potatoes
    1 part all-purpose flour
    Salt to taste
    Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Add the potatoes to the pot of boiling water and cook until they are soft all the way through and strain. Let the cooked potatoes sit to cool.

    Once the potatoes have cooled, either mash or rice the potatoes and remove all visible lumps. Add the flour and salt to the bowl of mashed potatoes. Knead the mixture into smooth, manageable dough. Divide the gnocchi dough into six balls and shape them into thin rolls. Add flour as needed for rolling. Cut 1-inch pieces from each roll of dough. You can then roll the gnocchi pieces with your finger over the reverse side of a fork to give it “gnocchi lines”. This step isn’t necessary if you want to save time, but if you’re adding this pasta to a thin sauce, the lines will assist the sauce to cling to the pasta a bit better. Bring a pot of salted water to a roaring boil and drop in your gnocchi. Turn the heat down and boil the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes or until they rise to the water surface.
    Toss them immediately with your favorite sauce. Any uncooked gnocchi can be stored frozen for future use.

    I made a simple marina sauce with tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, fennel seeds, and salt and pepper. Topped the sish off with fresh grated parmigiano reggiano. Oh, I added chili flakes as well.

Mmmm, delicious pillows of savory goodness! I think I’ll make a butternut squash variation next, with a sage butter sauce. Mmm…

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