summer summer summer

bad me – I have been away so long. Summer has arrived and has been keeping me so busy. Here are some quick hi-lites to get us up to date – then I promise to be here more often.

Our local pizza place started serving brunch a few weeks ago – we went – it was not bad. unfortunately they stopped this weekend as they were not getting the traffic they needed. But I thought I would show the pictures anyway and if you are a Pizza lover like I am you need to try All Purpose Pizza here on Jackson St. Everything is made from scratch and their sourdough crust makes me oh so happy!!

A couple of our best friends had their commitment ceremony and I baked all the deserts for their reception. This included some amazing lemon bars. I had never made lemon bars from scratch so this was a fun endeavor. I hand squeezed all the lemons and added plenty of zest. The first batch could have cooked a few minutes more – but was set enough to be cut. Overall they turned out great and were the first thing to go.

I also made a lovely 3 layer coconut cake – this was my trial run on an amazing cake I am planning on serving at our wedding reception. I don’t have any finished pictures of it – but I had a major issue with the cake itself and had to re-bake the morning of the event. Here are a couple pictures of my disaster – first time anything like this has happened to me. It all turned out great – but I was worried for a moment.

And on that note – I say good day to you all!!

sparkly thank you tags

My friend June is having her 40th birthday and to celebrate is having a few friends over for snacks and drinks. I love June a lot – she is an amazing woman. And 40 is a big deal so I wanted to do something a little special and decided to put together a little thank you gift for the ladies coming over.

I decided to do a lemon sugar cookie and wrap them in a little bag with ribbon and a pretty tag – I love tags and anytime I am selling or giving goods I ask Mr Ramon to print me some tags. With spring/summer finally trying to come to Seattle I thought that a nice robins egg blue would be so pretty.

These are the tags we printed –

Now I know that Martha Stewart does a real good job marketing her products – and making a pretty penny off them – but sometimes I get sucked in. And this glitter was the perfect color. Of course this “glitter glue” is just glue – but I needed some anyway since mine has all dried up.

I punched a hole for the ribbon to go through then made a little border of glue and then added the glitter to it – once it dried I blew off the excess.

Here they are all drying.

I filled my bags with cookies and tied the ribbon on and added the tag – and voila!!

Sparrow Bakery – Bend, Oregon

Mr Ramon and I took a long weekend to go to Bend, Oregon. This is where I grew up through the age of 14. We all moved to southern California then – but my mom and her husband moved back to Bend two years ago. They have 3/4 of an acre in unincorporated Bend – fully fenced the pups could run safely in their own personal dog park.

I love visiting Bend – so much of it is the same from my childhood and so much is new and bigger. It has a small town feel and nature is so close at hand. Mr Ramon spent the weekend golfing, fishing and eating. I spent time with mom antiquing, completing decorating projects and eating.

I wanted to find a great bakery while I was there and share it with all of you. Sparrow is a hidden gem in Bend. The cafe is only part of the picture – Micah the owners passion lies with bread – and about a year ago he opened Bread LaVoy on 3rd street in an old donut shop that I remember fondly as a child. His bread is mostly wholesaled – but at the 3rd street location you can pick up a fresh loaf.

The four of us had a great lunch at Sparrow.  I loved the building immediately with its old brick and charming decor.

I had heard about their hand folded croissants – and had to try them. I am not a huge croissant fan as they seem airy and flakey and a bit boring. These were amazing – heavy and loaded with butter – perfectly crisp and browned on the outside with a moist and chewy center with layer and layers of dough.

My mom and her husband had the soup de jour which was cream of mushroom. They shared the croissant.

Mr Ramon had the Sparrow version of a Monte Cristo sandwich and I had the tuna melt – both yummy!

Here are some other goodies from their case – they all look amazing.

If you find yourself visiting or driving through Bend – stop by Sparrow – you won’t be sorry!!

Sitka & Spruce

Mr Ramon took me to lunch today to the new Sitka & Spruce in the Melrose Building on Capitol Hill. Matt Dillon’s new space is lovely – open and clean with vintage school chairs and an amazing long butcher block table off of the center island that has 12 seats communal style.

We shared a few plates and I took some pictures of them all – so amazing.  I really recommend that you stop by for a bite sometime.

The seating

Mr Ramon gets ready for a great meal!

First course – spring vegetables in a light vinaigrette

Scallops with sorrel sauce on toasted bread

Dessert rhubarb with creme fraiche and a cookie

Mr Ramon finishes up with coffee

Cardamon Citrus Coffee Cake

Leave it to me to post about coffee cake right after a post about working out! Well I can say I did not have any of this coffee cake – but that it was well received by those who did partake.

I am generally in love with coffee cake – I love all kinds – and baking in a bundt pan gives me an extra thrill. All those cute little ridges and whole in the center – so pretty.

This recipe popped up on google at the Goodlife Eats blog. I love the idea of cardamon but had never used it before. So on my day off Monday I got around to making it. My house smelled amazing – cardamon and citrus – a great combo.

Hope you enjoy it.

Cardamon Citrus Coffee Cake

• 3 cup flour

• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• zest of 1/2 large orange

• 3/4 cup butter, softened

• 1/2 a vanilla bean split open and seeded or 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

• 3 eggs

• 1 1/2 c sour cream

Filling

• zest of 1/2 large orange

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a bundt cake pan.

Prepare the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 the orange zest and cardamom; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom; set aside.

In a small food processor, combine the sugars and the orange zest. Pulse several times until the zest is finely chopped and sugar is fragrant. Alternatively, you can place the sugars in a bowl with the zest and rub it with your fingers.

Using an electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla bean and eggs, beat on medium for 2 minutes, scraping bowl periodically. Beat 1/4 of the flour mixture and sour cream at a time alternately into sugar mixture on low speed till blended. Spread half of batter into pan. Sprinkle filling mixture on top. Add the remaining batter and carefully spread (it may help to spray a spatula with PAM).

Bake for 40 50 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan to wire rack, cool.

i got a Bobble

So I have been working my butt off at the gym these last couple of weeks. Mr Ramon knows how important it is that I get in shape before the wedding – so he offered to get me my gym membership and a trainer to whip me in shape. So nice of him and I totally appreciate it.

I generally cannot stand to exercise. And sitting at the store this last year took a heavy toll on my health and weight. So I am in need of a overhall.  To say that I am actually enjoying it surprises me – but I think that carving out this little piece of me time makes me feel so good – and getting this body moving has made me feel so much better.

Last week while my trainer was torturing me I almost passed out or threw up. I knew that I had not had enough water the day before and that I needed to start taking water to the gym with me. This leads me to the Bobble.

Mr Ramon and I popped into The Container Store and I immediately saw this big display of all sorts of water bottles. People in the pacific northwest are all about their fancy water bottles.

I ended up getting this very cool bottle called the Bobble. It was $9.95, is made in the USA of recycled materials, has a squeeze top so you can use it hands free, is free of BPA and the best part is that it has a carbon filter.  So as you drink you filter your water. Awesome for me as my drinkning water is heavy on the chlorine. This little filter will work for 2 months or 40 gallons of water. The refills are $7.95, so you are looking at $4 a month for filtered water and no bottles to throw away.

It came in pink and green and black – which was what I chose of course. I took it to the gym with me today and it performed very well!!

location and date set

Exciting news on the wedding planning timeline. We have a venue and a date set. Yippee!!!

We decided on a friday night event – we have people coming in from out of town and this allows us to spend saturday with them before they go home. So January 28th it is!!

We had two great locations in mind. We did not have a lot of choices as we had some unusual needs for our event. First no way am I getting married in a hotel – 1. way to expensive and 2. not really my style. So we were looking for something that met our “theme” of rustic glamour (more on that later), would let us party late, have both the ceremony and the reception, central to Seattle, let me bring in my own deserts and meet our non existent budget!

We first looked at the Engine Room in Georgetown. Amazing old space – the look and feel we wanted with a 24 hr. rental period giving us lots of time and amazing owners to work with. I was sure this was it – and then we started talking about all the work it would take to decorate the space. How many friends we would have to enlist, how many ladders we would need and how cleaning all that up early the next morning does not sound like fun.

So on the hunt again – Mr. Ramon suggested I look at Sole Repair in Capitol Hill. We have been to several events there – but I have never looked at it from my own event perspective. We met with Grace the event coordinator to look at the space. Seeing it empty allowed me to visualize my event and it seemed so much more do able when it came to decorations. They have a great bar staff that will do a wine tasting with us and Grace was very flexible with the items I am bringing in and when they can be picked up etc. I love that there is a loft area where we can have soft seating and that the entire space is re – used and recycled – giving it that rustic urban look we are going for.

So now that we have put a stake in the ground – Mr. Ramon and I are meeting this Friday to put together a timeline and some deliverables so we can move forward!! So exciting!!