Road tripping it – Day 1

28 May

Ashland Dogwood tree

Road Tripping Mount Shasta
Some of my readers may know that I recently signed on with a great company – Beau-coup.com. Because of this, my blogging has been on the back-burner for a little bit. But here’s an update on what I’ve been up to! 

Knowing the next several months settling into my new job would be busy, my husband and I jumped at the opportunity for a mini-road trip this April. With only a few days to plan, we decided to drive up through northern California and into Oregon.

My father and his wife had given us a National Parks Pass for my birthday last year. We’ve enjoyed using it locally for trips to Pinnacles and Muir Woods but our goal this time was to visit Crater Lake.

Other than making sure we visited Crater Lake, we let ourselves be spontaneous and just focused on enjoying the journey. And what a journey it was! In all, we covered 1,500 miles in just 4 days. The variety of climates, natural beauty, tasty food  and friendly people made this such a wonderful experience.

Day #1: California & Ashland, OR

Road Tripping Mount Shasta

We started out bright and early on a weekday morning, making the long trek through the central valley, up past Mount Shasta and finally into Oregon.

As a kid, I used to watch Mt. Shasta pass by on my way up to visit family in northern California. My Uncle owned a horse ranch with real draft horses. One thing we did this time (that I’ve never done before) was stop at Lake Shasta for a brief visit.

For the first time ever, we stopped at a local Shasta campground to spend a few minutes. I had never been so close to the lake before. The water was an iridescent, azure blue. Since it was a weekday, the campground was quiet, but there were dozens of woodpeckers in the trees and even a family with baby ducks.

Beth at Shasta

Once we’d had our fill of the Shasta campground (and vowed to return!), we trekked onward towards Northern Oregon. By the late afternoon, we pulled into Ashland, Oregon.

Goodbye Mt Shasta Mount Shasta in the rearview mirror.

We spent our first night in Ashland, Oregon. During my childhood, I’d visited Ashland practically every year to attend the Shakespeare Festival. If you’re planning a trip to Ashland, I’d definitely plan ahead to get tickets to a show. This time we didn’t have a chance, unfortunately.

However, we did spend a nice hour at Lithia Park, sitting by the burbling creek. What a relaxing place to unwind! Then I showed Jeremy around the theaters and downtown shops.

Staying in Ashland was also our first time using AirBnB. We found a lovely cottage for rent at a steal of a price! I felt very “with it”, booking our room via my iPhone.

Ashland Dogwood treePink Dogwoods were in bloom all over Oregon!

For dinner, we enjoyed eating at Lark’s Restaurant. Not a super trendy place – the furniture was a bit dated – but my husband practically licked his plate clean. He had the duck and I had a pork chop (unfortunately dry). [It's always risky ordering a pork chop, isn't it?]

The show-stopper was definitely their Chocolate cake with Salted Caramel Ice-Cream. It was MY turn to lick the plate. The ice cream was housemade and positively fantastic.

After a long day of driving, sightseeing and some great food, we were very ready to curl up for a good night’s sleep. Stay tuned for Road Tripping It – Day 2!

- Beth

 

Simple Orange Sugar Recipe

9 Apr

Sweet orange sugar

Citrus Sugar Recipe
A simple recipe for a lazy afternoon. This Orange Sugar is a great way to use the zest from your winter citrus fruit. Perfect in baked goods, tea and cocoa. You’ll find many uses for this versatile flavored sugar. [...]

Support Little Bee Pops!

5 Apr

Little Bee Pops Ninjaberry

I wanted to take a moment to get the word out for a food business in the Bay Area. Little Bee Pops, a local Popsicle business, is fundraising money via Kickstarter. Their fundraising campaign is almost over, and they haven’t met their fundraising goals yet. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising model, so they really need your help!

**Support Little Bee Pops**

Watch the Video

Fund their Kickstarter!

Little Bee Pops Kickstarter

Little Bee Pops

 

You can learn more about Little Bee Pops on their website. They’re local, make awesome food and really deserve your support. $5, $25 or $100 – whatever you can spare. You’ll get free popsicles (and other prizes). Plus you’ll be super cool for helping fund a local food startup business!

Update 4/6/13: Just doubled my pledge!  (I had an old Visa giftcard with some money on it, maybe you do too?)

Please consider donating!

- Beth

Retro Carrot Cake

24 Mar

Retro carrot cake partially devoured

Organic old fashion carrot cake

This Retro Carrot Cake is packed with spiced goodness and topped with a creamy cloud of *Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream.*
(say THAT 3 times fast!).

Out walking the dog, I landed a major garage sale find last weekend. I’m not usually one for garage sales but this one was special. It was the rare garage sale where older neighbors are moving and everything had to go. Amid the linens, cheese knives, smoker and copper pans I found a Cuisinart. Not just any Cuisinart, a vintage Cuisinart! [...]

5 ways to lower your “Foodprint” & save the world

13 Mar

Reduce your foodprint - apples on the ground
Reduce your foodprint - apples on the ground

Credit: ironypoisoning

The sad truth is that the U.S. tosses about 40% of the food we produce here. Both from a conservation and humanitarian angle, that’s unacceptable. As a chef and baker (and human being), I’m ALWAYS concerned with food waste. Here are my 5 tried-and-true tips to reduce your “foodprint.”

Let’s discuss simple solutions we can try as individuals to reduce our food waste. One that doesn’t require that we eschew all worldly possessions or live the life of a foraging nomad!

[...]

Sweet Orange Challah Bread

10 Mar

Orange Challah Bread Baked

Orange Challah Bread Recipe
Sweet, sweet Orange Challah Bread I love you.

This mildly sweet, eggy bread is simply delicious. It’s a fairly simple recipe that even beginners can conquer. Enjoy the loaves of bread as french toast, bread pudding or simply dipped in rich hot chocolate. [...]

Chocolate Banana Bonbons

4 Mar

Chocolate Banana Bonbons Close up

Chocolate Banana Bonbons Title

Health-conscious, vegan or even gluten-free? I’ve got the perfect dessert for you today. These elegant morsels are Chocolate Banana Bonbons, and you simply must try them.

Being a baker is dangerous. I no longer go out to eat dessert. I literally have everything on hand to make any dessert 24/7. And when I’m testing recipes, most of what I make is quickly consumed by me, my husband or close family. One way to avoid overeating is to have a healthy alternative on hand. And to send all the test goodies off to my husband’s poor coworkers. [...]

South Bay: 25 foods to eat before you die

26 Feb

Recently, I noticed a friend eating her way through San Francisco’s best dishes. And I thought, the South Bay needs a list! So here’s my contribution of the best 25 foods to eat before you die in the South Bay Area.

 South Bay: 25 foods to eat before you die

How many have you tried?

 49er Flapjacks at Original Pancake House in Los Altos, CA.

Almond Croissant

Credit: Darwin Bell

Almond Croissant at Mayfield Bakery in Palo Alto, CA.

Authentic Chicago Stuffed Pizza with honey drizzle at Patxi’s Pizza in Palo Alto, CA. [...]

Volume vs. Weight in Baking: How do you measure flour?

23 Feb

Measure flour and level.

Measure Flour Challenge

Scooping, spooning, leveling, sifting, tapping, weighing.
How do you measure flour and other baking ingredients? 

Do you ever have a recipe inexplicably fail? Or do you notice variations in how recipes turn out? Your method of measuring ingredients may be the reason. [...]

Martha Stewart’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

18 Feb

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Martha Stewart's Flourless Chocolate Cake

Looking for a simple crowd-pleasing cake? Have a gluten-free friend you’re entertaining? Try this rich Flourless Chocolate Cake from Martha Stewart!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with my new friend, Kristina. Being Sunday, we planned on maximizing relaxation. The game plan:

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