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Posts tagged ‘Methow Valley’

PHOTO FRIDAY

 

During the hot summer months here in the Methow Valley we make it a priority to carve out time at the end of the day, for a cooling dip in the river and seek out friends, who are never too far away,  to enjoy a relaxing evening where we share a meal and catch up.

Golden Hour

 

 

We were doing just that very thing when the light turned golden, a photographer’s dream time of day, and my husband E.A caught the glowing fence line a few feet away. A true sign of a dedicated photographer is that, they are willing to leave a cold beer and fresh appetizers for one and two that they have their camera at the ready, always. For that, I am grateful and I continue to learn.

We wish you a wonderful weekend full of fun and laughter especially to all those wonderful Dads out there!

 

Rachelle K. Weymuller head shot

Rachelle @caramelizelife.com

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Keeping My 2015 Resolutions, How About You?

Did you make a new year’s resolution for 2015? I did. And I’m sticking to them. Yes; them. I made more than one resolution and so far it’s going great! The Doriesta’s must have made a few too or either that, or they figured many of us would be deciding after the holidays we could use a healthy recipe to nourish and energize us into keeping our resolutions.

So as you may have guessed, I am focusing on eating smarter. I think I eat fairly healthy already but I know I could eat smarter. Over time my habit of skipping breakfast and having just a coffee has worn it’s way into my daily routine but then I forget to get a good breakfast going until that crazy clock tells me it’s lunch. In our family we use the term ‘HANGRY’ that I now see popping up on t-shirts and posters so maybe we’re not alone. Do you know anyone who gets HANGRY?

Maybe Dorie does because she has come up with a fantastic and healthy way to keep the “Hangries” at bay with her Granola Energy Bars. Dorie, my family will be writing you a personal thank you card for this one.

These granola energy bars, take no time to make and if stored properly will keep for a week (if not eaten before).  Dorie suggests to cut them up into bite sized pieces and serve them with tea (maybe a way to keep the Hangries in us, civilized). I chose to cut them a little larger and store them in a glass container so I could grab and go. Unfortunately, I didn’t cut them soon enough and could have used them on my ski this morning. At the 8k mark I was sloooowwwig down just as my good friend and I were talking about kids eating habits and helping them to make good choices. Old habits die hard and I had to confess that I hadn’t eaten a fantastic breakfast this morning…hence my slower pace. What a good friend I had who, waited for me and gave me a scolding in a motherly way of course- thanks Stew!

 

Run Boris Run- The B Dog skiing Big Valley Ranch - Methow Trails

Run Boris Run

We know who did eat his breakfast and then slyly got another family member to feed him a second. Dog wisdom, Maybe I should follow Boris’s lead.

Dorie’s bars are pretty close to making granola but instead of spreading out the ingredients on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet, she instructs to firmly press the granola into a parchment lined pan and then bake it.

I absolutely loved the parchment idea because once the bars had cooled I just popped the whole thing cleanly out of the casserole dish. This was an added bonus since we are still without hot water (long story but the short version is no boiler= not hot h2o) and our “Glamping” is going on week two. Maybe I’ll write about that another time, there are a few gems to tell for sure.

 

Caramelize Life makes Granola Energy Bars with Tuesdays with Dorie

Just out of the oven!

Once out of the dish the bars were ready to be cut. At the time I chose the usual long slices but now that I think about it I could have pulled out my sweet cookie cutters and made some fun shapes. If you have a little one at home they would probably really enjoy a specialized energy bar in their lunch. I wonder if my tween and teen would? Maybe I’ll have to test it out… next time. I do plan to put these into my repertoire since they were super quick and easy to make and the ingredient list can be varied to whatever you might have on hand in the pantry. Keeping with the ratio of two cups oats : two cups of your favorite; seeds, nuts,dried fruits and sweets(chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, crystallized ginger,etc) then a binder of brown rice syrup, honey or maple syrup and butter. If you are dying to know the full recipe check out page 238-239 in Baking Chez Moi. 

 

Granola Energy Bars- Tuesdays With Dorie and Caramelizelife

Yum!

 

Tuesdays with Dorie Greenspan and Baking Chez Moi is an open group dedicated to baking through Dorie’s latest books. To see more of the groups experiences with the Granola Energy Bars click on the link.

 

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

 

Chicken Breasts Diable

Celebrating life, community and new experiences.

Double Digits! WP 2013

We celebrated my youngest’s birthday when she rolled into proud double digits. It is our family tradition to honor a new year with a special dinner.  The previous year she choose Lamb with her family-famous quote “Lamb is my cake” when asked what she desired for dinner. This time she chose her favorite steamed beets with melted chèvre and being a member to the French Friday’s with Dorie I decided to try a new recipe from her most loved cookbook Around My French Table – Chicken Breasts Diable.

continue reading!

Turning Lemons into…

 

It seems as though the downpour of the four letter word, the one starting with the 18th letter of the alphabet, the one that rhymes with pain and shall never, in a ski town, be spoken out-loud during the winter has arrived, unceremoniously and uninvited. Our little mountain valley is begrudgingly receiving copious amounts of this four letter word. It would have been very welcome this past July when we were on fire. However, when given buckets of  **** in December, it has us all out doing our special chicken dances in the snow…or what’s left of it anyway.

 

First, we need to get our yodels fine tuned so we can wake up Ullr and remind him he’s slacking on the job. Next, we need to find whatever social media scheduling app Boreas is using to remind her that she is, after all, in the snow business and that, yes, we need more snow. Ullr, please blow this tropical pineapple express outta here. Heck, one of my children even double checked to make sure our rain stick was placed in the freezer for the winter just to seal the deal.
Rain Stick in the Freezer

In the winter we are a ski town and with that comes the need for snow. This summer we were metaphorically dealt lemons and I watched our community make lemonade by the helicopter load. Yesterday, it felt like lemons were falling from the sky in so many ways. That snow we depend upon, was being washed away by the ****. When the snow arrived unannounced in November we were thankful. Thankful to have a starting base for our skis to slide upon. However, with its über heavy, moisture laden load, the storm also took out beautiful old trees and in turn, our power. Again, like before, I was hearing from those who lost everything this summer, comments like “fitting we are having thanksgiving by candle light”. By now, one has to begin wondering “how much lemonade we can consume here in our little valley?” As I gaze out my windows, another damp gray day is holding on like a soaked towel that fell in the pool. The fact that it’s so very close to being winter, I’ve decided to make limoncello instead. Maybe Ullr will swing by for a nip!

 

Lemoncello

 

 

 

We formally invite Khione, goddess of snow, to join us for the holidays. We’ll set up the guest room and she can stay until March.

The Little Things In Life Are The Best

planet earth

What do these things have in common?

bubbles

Many thoughts come to mind…

Old Friend

A Dear Old Friend…

Mud Season tennis

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and maybe you’ll go on a walk with a dear old friend.

Rachelle@ Caramelize Life

“making life a little sweeter through, food, travel and community”

Bruschetta In Eleven Minutes Tops!

Bruschetta landscape

A favorite in our home because we love Italian food anything, it’s healthy and a snap to make.

Bruschetta in the making

When my daughter was four she came in from munching sweet cherry tomatoes and basil in the garden and exclaimed ” We have a grocery store in our backyard!”  Then she asked…”can we grow a mozzarella plant?” She asked the proper question; can we? If only that were possible. “I wish we could.” was my answer. However, these questions did open the door to researching how mozzarella is made, and where it comes from. I’ve not yet ventured to make it myself, but I hear Mozzarella is pretty easy to produce, so I’ll have to try it and get back to you about that.

Until then, here’s our favorite bruschetta recipe:

Bruschetta

1 Local baguette sliced (I love the Mazama Store’s because it has a wee bit of salt on top)
2-3 Red, preferably heirloom, garden tomatoes (however with snow still on the ground, organic vine-ripened tomatoes have the most flavor)
15 Basil leaves or as many as you have slices of bread
Fresh mozzarella (you can find the pre-sliced kind at some stores) to top the slices of bread
salt for sprinkling
Olive oil (Italian) to drizzle
Balsamic Vinegar (aged has a sweeter flavor, but any will do) to drizzle

Bruschetta olive oil drip drop bottle

Action:

1. Toast the slices of bread, or if you have time put them over the grill or gas burner, to toast
2. Add sliced mozzarella
3. Add Basil face up to catch some of the oil and balsamic drizzle
4. Add sliced tomatoes to each
5. Sprinkle with salt
6. Drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Bruschetta Ready To Eat!

Buon Appetito!

* Thank you to Diane, Geof, Linda, Marc, Hannah and Eva for patiently waiting to devour these tasty bites while E.A did his photo dance to capture the bruschetta when freshest.

Head Shot RachelleRachelle @ Caramelize Life

“making life a little sweeter, through food, travel and community”

Potato Leek Soup

Today I sat down to write but found myself procrastinating by looking through my iPhoto library reminiscing about an Ireland trip we took a few years back. This trip ranks high in my all time favorites. We shared it with family and good friends, where we traveled through rolling fields following rainbows start to end, finding our Irish luck in the form of sunshine mid March.

That year my husband turned forty ceremoniously on St. Patrick‘s Day. We learned about falconry, bog ponies, and I found one of my favorite cookbooks The Forgotten Skills of Cooking. We enjoyed our share of Guinness and sampled potato leek soup along the way.

My littlest, is a connoisseur of potato leek soup, she has a discerning palate for the tastiest homegrown potato. She is also privy to the whole process, kudos to Tess Hoke, founder of Local 98856 and the Methow Valley Community School Locavores lunch program where she learned the garden to table journey.

Years later and I am still trying to perfect that tasty soup and win her nod. Until tonight, when I received that approvingly tilt of her towhead and a unanimous two thumbs up from the rest of my family. Nothing feels so good as a warmed bowl of soup steaming with flavor, a local brewed beer in a handcrafted glass to finish off the evening.

Close Up Potato Leek Soup 2/1/13 WP

Potato Leek Soup (serves 6 but I usually double it for left overs and lunch boxes)
[inspired and introduced to me from “around my french table”  and Stew Dietz Event Planning and Catering]

What you will need:

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 large organic onions chopped
2 organic garlic cloves, germ removed and crushed
Salt, freshly ground white pepper
3 organic leeks white parts only spit lengthwise and chopped thinly
2 large organic russet potatoes peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon dried thyme or a few fresh sprigs
1 teaspoon dried sage or a couple fresh leaves
4 cups homemade vegetable stock (we have a mixture of folks around our table so I play it safe and go veggie most of the time but any stock or water will work).
1 cup whole milk
2 cups half and half (you can omit this and use water, or any combination of dairy just remember it will be lighter).
4-5 croutons per serving

What to do with your scrumptious ingredients:

melt the butter adding onion until coated then add in garlic, salt and pepper, cover and cook until onions are soft 6 minutes or so (making sure not to burn them)
Add leeks, potatoes, thyme, sage, stock and dairy
bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until potatoes and leeks are soft

Serve in warmed bowls topped with croutons

Options:

let soup cool and puree into a thick and creamy soup, then warm and serve
top with cheese or add some colorful chives
serve cold and top with pear or apple

Funny little fact:
In the nineteenth century potatoes were accused of leading housewives astray due to the fact that potatoes required so little time and effort to prepare that it left female hands idle and primed to do the Devil’s work. [good thing I’m too busy for any of that! ;-)]
~Rebecca Rupp

Bain sult as do bhéile! (enjoy your meal)

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @caramelize life

“making life a little sweeter through food, travel and community”

History Question… Do You Know What This Structure Is?

We have a mystery, well not really because we know what this structure was used for, but we are wondering how many of you know its history?
Something fun to ponder over the weekend…

Photo Friday 3/8/13 History Question

leave a comment if you would like a hint…

Have a wonderful weekend!

Head Shot Rachelle  Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life

“Making life sweeter through food, travel and community”

It’s A Comfort-Food-Farro Kind Of Day

Spring is here, no wait… it’s not, oh here it comes… Nope. Now it’s snowing. Don’t get me wrong:

I LOVE SNOW.

But I can see grass now. It’s over, I can’t go back, I’ve gone and done it. The potting shed is clean and the seeds are calling my name.

RKW_4449 Seeds
Ok, so it’s mud season; the fifth season (right after Winter; just before Spring)  Mud season is when we are thankful for all wheel drive and a high clearance vehicle, when I get to be a little crazy at the wheel, just to get up the mile long road we call a “driveway.” Mud season is when the dogs’ paws are caked with the newly emerged earth and their fur becomes the transporter for all that was outside to now reside inside. My neighbor tells me “You’re out numbered” (kids, dogs, cats, bird, bunny, chickens… oh and our exchange student’s fish-Fishy (guess who’s fish it will be in July?)) she advises to “Just let go.”

I think it will be my new mantra.

RKWeymuller Mud Season

This morning I practiced that mantra and put on slippers (dirt goes unnoticed better that way) and made emmer pancakes; a little comfort food for a cold damp day. I was surprised by the fact that breakfast, from egg-crackin’ to clean-up, took little more than 20 minutes. The aroma wafting from the griddle pulled my little sleepy heads out from under their covers and had them at the kitchen bar in no time. I had that Proud Mama moment of knowing that I’m providing a healthy, beginning of the day meal (that they will actually eat) for my active kids. Hopefully they’ll be satisfied until lunch.

Oh! Lunch! I plan the day from one meal to the next. Last night I tried something new; the farro boldly went where only basmati rice had been before…the rice maker. Yup, hoping it would transform our long stove top cooking times to that of a care free slow cooker experience. I am happy to report:  <<genius!>>  It worked! And today I have fresh farro for lunch, via my rice maker.  (Enter celebratory music and little happy dance that you really don’t want in your head).

RKW_4493 Farro, Goat Cheese, Kate and tomat salad

Spinach and Blue Bird Grain Farro Salad:
serves 2 for lunch

1 cup farro
3 cups washed baby organic spinach
A handful of sweet cheery tomatoes halved
1/4 cup goat cheese(Sunny Pine Farm)
dash of lemon pepper
pinch of salt

Stove top method:  Add the Farro to a medium pot with 3 cups or so of water and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer for 45-50 minutes.When farro grains are plump, soft and still chewy remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Or
Rice Maker method: I use a 1 cup grain to 1 cup liquid and set it to gaba (longer time but great for more nutrients) brown rice mode. But follow your rice makers directions for brown rice.

~Saute baby spinach with a little water and a dash of lemon pepper and a pinch of salt, until it wilts then remove from heat
~fill warmed bowl with farro
~crumble goat cheese onto the farro
~top with wilted baby spinach and halved tomatoes

Enjoy!

Head Shot Rachelle  Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
“Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

Methow River Steelhead

It’s true, today March 1st is the opening day for anglers on the Methow River.

Weymuller Photography-fishing

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“making life sweeter through food, travel and community”

 

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