Tuesday, October 29

On not caring.

Sometimes I get down on myself, and for really, really dumb reasons. I’m blessed to be part of two families that are filled with amazing people. They’re all well-traveled, intelligent, hilarious, in-the-know on everything, skilled in the kitchen, years ahead of trends and fads, super artistic, and really awesome go-getters. I lay in bed some nights thinking about how great all of them are and how much I want to be more like them. But some nights that leads to the inevitable checklist of all the things that I will never be able to do as well as they can. 

Add to that blogs and Instagram, with all of the amazing-ness of so many talented people on display - people I know well, and people I don't know at all. Most (ahem, SOME) days I am able to choose to be inspired rather than discouraged, and some (ahem, MOST) days it’s a slippery slope to comparison. Anyone with me on this? I think I’ve talked about this a few times on this blog. Obviously it’s something I am working on in my life. Anyone else? Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Last night was one of those slippery-slope nights. I knelt down to pray after about an hour of being down and frustrated with myself. Before I could even start praying the Lord seemed to say to me, “Let’s get something straight, Tally: Does any of that stuff matter? Are you going to take any of that with you when you’re done on this earth? Am I going to want to see your interior decorating skills? Is there going to be some kind of fashion show that I don’t know about? Will it matter how many pairs of jeans you have? Am I going to analyze your pie crust? Is there a qualifying marathon time? Do I care how many times you’ve been to Europe? Do I even care about that stuff? NO. So, get over it and focus your time and thoughts on what really matters, what I care about. Stop wasting all that energy on comparing and get doing my work!”

It seemed very strong, almost reprimanding, but very loving. What I love is that Heavenly Father knows not only what to say to us when we're discouraged, but he knows how to say it so that we'll listen and remember it.

Saturday, October 26

Beaver Lake

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We spent today in the mountains, trying to catch the last little bits of fall before the rain takes over for the next several months. After we had made our way into the Mount Baker National Forest the sun came out and we had blue sky for the entire afternoon. It was perfect. Taylor found us a great (and flat!) hike to Beaver Lake, which ended with some beautiful views of the Cascade Mountains. Have I mentioned how much we love the Northwest?

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Our attempt at a self-timer family picture.

Wednesday, October 16

A Delicious (and Sam-Approved) Green Smoothie.


We've jumped on the green smoothie train about 5 years after it passed by, but oh well. They're delicious! Why didn't I try them earlier? I figured green smoothies always required fancier ingredients that I didn't want to pay for, and then my friend Kristen hosted a girls night where we each brought ingredients to make our favorite smoothies, and she made this one. It was delicious - to the point that we've made this smoothie at least a dozen times in the past two months.

Here's the recipe for one big smoothie (Sam and I usually split this):

TWO handfuls of frozen mango (I have freakishly small hands, so that's about a cup - maybe one handful for some of you.)
ONE small handful of frozen pineapple (optional, but we like extra pineapple)
ONE massive handful of washed spinach (as much as you want, but be bold!)
ONE cup of pineapple juice (or more to taste) - we buy a pack of those little cans of Dole pineapple juice at WinCo - around $2.50 for 8 cans.
HALF a banana (or more if you like)
Coconut water (or regular water) if it needs more liquid for consistency.

Sam likes his quesadilla dipped in the smoothie, but to each his own.

Saturday, October 12

Snohomish + Stocker Farms

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This afternoon we drove up to Snohomish, a small town about 40 minutes north of Seattle. Snohomish is known as the "Antique Capital of the Northwest" and has a fun little historic district right off of the Snohomish River that has dozens of antique stores, a delicious pie bakery and lots of fun little shops. We were on a quest to find the perfect gifts for a couple of upcoming family birthdays and had a great time treasure hunting. Thankfully, The Man Who Hates Shopping was kind of getting into the antique stores due to his love for American Pickers

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This Vespa is Sam's size. Don't you think he needs it? Too bad it costs $700.

As fun as the historic district is, my favorite thing about Snohomish is driving through the Snohomish River Valley to get there. We took a couple of country roads on our way home, rolled the windows down, and saw fences decorated with pumpkins and beautiful old barns. The leaves are just starting to change here in the Northwest, and it's honestly my favorite thing. We tried taking pictures, but none of them did the scenery justice.

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On our way home we stopped at Stocker Farms to pick ourselves some pumpkins and load up on fresh apple cider. Sam went crazy, wandering around the pumpkins and trying to pick them all up (he's really into lifting heavy things right now - random).

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I'm telling you, the Northwest is the place to be in the fall with all of the apples, trees, lakes dotted with sailboats, and beautiful farm country. We feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful and diverse place.

Wednesday, October 9

Pantry at Delancey + Cookie Recipes

It started with a recipe for peanut butter cookies.

Molly and I tried the salted peanut butter cookie at Hot Cakes earlier this year, and fell in love. Salty peanut butter with chunks of Theo milk chocolate, a perfect balance of salty and sweet. Crisp, but chewy and cake-y. Hot Cakes actually specializes in little gooey-centered chocolate cakes in tiny mason jars that you can bake at home, but this cookie was epic. When my in-laws came to visit a few months later, they asked specifically to go to the "amazing cookie place" they had heard so much about (we went, and we bought every last salted peanut butter cookie they had).

I spent the ensuing months craving the cookie, but unable to justify driving over to Ballard and spending $3.50 on a cookie (oh my goodness, this cookie!). Blame the distance, but I blame the budget.


The cravings got worse and worse until, in desperation, I turned to the internet. And what do you know, I found the recipe online and IT WORKED. It was just as good as the original (which is rare, no?). Here's the recipe. Make it, and you'll thank me! We make the dough, bake a small batch, and then freeze individual cookie dough balls to use later. I think it tastes even better when baked from frozen. The famous Jacques Torres in NYC suggests making your cookie dough a day in advance to let the flavors develop. It works! If you haven't made Jacque Torres' chocolate chip cookies, that is also an epic recipe.

Back to the story, because this is already getting way too long.

My friend Cathrine is a fantastic baker and a cookie master, so I shared the cookie recipe with her. In the blog entry containing the cookie recipe it mentions The Pantry at Delancey, a darling cooking school in Seattle. Cathrine had taken a couple of cooking classes there, and quickly signed us up to take the homemade candy bar class.

So two Saturdays ago, Cathrine and I spent 4 hours in culinary heaven making homemade Twix, Snickers, Butterfinger, peppermint patties, and peanut-butter cups. All from scratch, and all delicious! We were surprised at how good they were! You know how you hear you can make something at home, but it's never as good as you want it to be? This was not the case.

The class was taught by Ashley Rodriguez, the blogger behind Not Without Salt. She taught us some great techniques for making a fool-proof caramel, something that had terrified me before (too many unsuccessful attempts), and even taught us how to make homemade nougat (flecked with vanilla bean, of course). 

We were divided into teams, and boy did we luck out with Team One. Oh, Team One. We were all a little too excited to be there, which made it so much fun as we caught ourselves audibly moaning together at the smell of caramel or writing down every detail about Valrhona chocolate varieties. I love being with other people who love talking about food as much as I do - we debated who makes the best kouign amann in Seattle, favorite food blogs, cookbook reviews, favorite restaurants, food gossip (what in the world am I saying?)... We talked nonstop for four hours and were good friends by the end of the class. I can't thank Cathrine enough for taking me with her to this class!


This place was my dream kitchen.

Cathrine cuts up our Twix bars in preparation for dipping them in milk chocolate.

The classes are all completely sold out, but we hope to take the croissant one next time (if we can get in, that is). Anyone want to join us?