Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Cheesemonger's Table

We were reading about The Cheesemonger's Table in an Everett Herald article a few weeks ago.  It sounded AMAZING!!
Cow Whimsy - moo
I'm a little bit of a cheese freak, and a Macaroni and Cheese connoisseur.  This place promised both!  What more could you want from life? 

Erik ordered this magnificent rueben sandwich.  (The Famous Turkey Reuben - Zoe’s Turkey, Swiss, slaw & thousand island on rye.)

It's served with popcorn!  How odd, you say?  No, no, my friend!  How DELICIOUS!   The popcorn is tossed with Truffle Oil and tastes phenomenal!  YUM.

If you know me, I'm always on the hunt for a decent mac 'n cheese.  So many nights I just need my mac!  But nobody seems to make a good one, and Blue Box is hardly a substitute.

Ahhhh... Cheesemonger's Mac and Cheese (Ethan Stowell’s bronze cut pasta with the Cheesemonger’s special 3-cheese sauce and breadcrumbs)... you did not disappoint!  I have a new, local favorite!  I'd say it's definitely not a "Soul Food" mac 'n cheese.  Definitely fanchy schmancy mac, but oh so so so so very good!  Two thumbs up.

We also wanted to share a Meat and Cheese plate, since this is what they're known for.  A helpful employee asked a few questions when we came through the door to determine what types of cheeses we'd like to try.  We picked the International Cheese Plate - USA version.  

The employee convinced Erik to try a new kind of goat cheese.  (Erik gags on the goat.)  I loved it!!  Erik says it still tasted "goaty" but "less goaty than the goat we had in Paris".  LOL!  I would say it tasted more like a Romano cheese.  Very yummy!

We also tried a rich blue cheese and a white cheddar.  Rounding out the plate was some Finnochiona salami (Yum!  Had this at Salumi too and loved it!  The Finocchiona here was more mellow with less of a bite.), some fig spread and a baguette.
Sneaky Roof Cows
All in all, a REALLY great time.  We can't wait to come back with friends some time soon.  If you're in Edmonds, WA, don't miss The Cheesemonger's Table.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just a Little Treat

Menchie's, a cute frozen yogurt chain, has a shop near us.  We popped in the other day for a little treat.  Erik's absolute favorite is the Dole Whip.  Yes!  They carry the same frozen yogurt we thought was only available at Disneyland (and Walt Disney World)!!!!  Awesome, right?!  :)

I like Dole Whips, but my favorites tend toward sweeter flavors.  On this trip, I had White Chocolate Raspberry, Red Velvet Cake and Oreo Cookie!  Yum!



Monday, January 28, 2013

Nessie, my Beloved

This is Nessie.  She is one of our my favorite wedding gifts.  Well, let's be clear.  She's one of MY favorites, but since she keeps me sane, she is also Erik's favorite by default.  Right?  :)

I started drinking Lattes in high school.  I remember the very first espresso stand in Everett.  It opened in early 90s on Evergreen Way:  Bean Me Up Espresso.  Hehe.  They're still in business today.  

Ever since my first latte, I've been a huge espresso fan.  We've had several espresso machines over the years, but none worked as well, or made as good coffee as Nessie.  Nessie is a Nespresso Citiz with Milk.  And she is FABULOUS!

Nessie is a capsule-based espresso machine.  Nespresso sells their capsules exclusively online.  That's the one drawback-- if you run out, it takes at least 1-2 working days to get more capsules.  We haven't run out yet! 

My daily espresso routine looks like this:

* 2 capsules "Roma" blend espresso
* 2 tablespoons sugar free Vanilla flavor from Starbucks
* 1/2 cup milk

Nessie's little milk canister sits to the side and whirrrrs happily in the background as it heats up my milk.

I love being able to quickly prepare my own Skinny Vanilla Lattes in minutes, from my own home.  So far, we've had her 2 1/2 years and she's still going strong!  Best espresso machine ever!



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthy Provolone Omelette with Tasty Bacon

Even though we're eating right and getting exercise, it's still important to have something that tastes decadently yummy from time to time.  We came up with this simple and delicious weekend breakfast treat:  Bacon and Provolone Omelette - Light and Yummy!  The whole plate is under 310 calories and so, so, so good.  Seriously, I think this is the best omelette I've ever had.  Ever.

This is what you'll need to make it:

* 4 Slices of Low Fat Turkey Bacon
* 3 Egg Whites
* 2 Slices of Reduced Fat Provolone Cheese
* A sprinkle of salt

Heat stove to medium.  Spray two small pans with Pam or other fat free cooking spray.

Add Turkey Bacon to first pan and cook until crispy.

Separate egg yolks from whites.  Discard yolks.  Whisk egg whites.  Then pour egg whites into second frying pan.  Cook on medium heat until eggs are solid.

Add two slices of provolone cheese.  Fold omelette in half (or thirds, depending on your preference).  Add a sprinkle of salt on top.

The heat of the egg will melt the provolone.  When you cut into the omelette, the cheese will ooze out all thick and gooey!  YUM!!



Friday, January 25, 2013

Resolution Numero Dos

I'm not one to just come out with all my New Year's Resolutions at one time.  (The first one was way back here.)  I feel like, if you put it all out there, you're just going to jinx yourself.  So I hold these things a little closer to the vest, until I can really get in there and get them done.

Since my 2nd Resolution is coming along, it's time to share!

2012 New Year's Resolution #2:  Start Exercising Again!!

We started this week.  Monday was Zumba.  Tuesday was an hour long, brisk walk (Erik came along).  Wednesday was Zumba again, and so was Thursday.

Seriously, y'all.  Zumba is kicking my butt.  But I'm not giving up!!  Exercise is a requirement!  At least five days a week for now.

Guess what they don't tell you about working out though?  You get to buy cute new clothes!!  This is my new "Hypotamoose"  (Hahaha, that still makes me laugh!) shirt.  Totally awesome, amiright?  Love it!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Murder She Wrote: Nailed!

So, I'm a little bit of a Murder She Wrote freak.  Save the jokes.  I've already heard them all.  :P  Our friend Jason, who was also our roommate at the time, was the king of barbs.

Me:  (Minding my own business, watching a sweet J.B. Fletcher episode)
Jason:  Did you age 60 years while I was at work?

Har har har.  Yuk yuk yuk.  Funny guy.

I like a good mystery.  What can I say?  My two earliest mystery-loving memories involve my mom and my sister.  

I remember being sick, staying home from school.  I was too old for the kiddie shows, but too young for soaps.  My mom flicked on PBS and said, "You'll like this.  It's like Encyclopedia Brown."

It was Miss Marple and I was hooked!  I loved her accent and her Britishness.  She was great!

Then a year or two later, I was visiting my sister.  She had hired me to do some housekeeping work for her. I was supposed to be dusting, but I was overcome with allergies and lying on the couch.  She flicked on the tv.  "You'll like this.  It's like Nancy Drew."

It was Perry Mason, and I was hooked again!  I love crime shows and mysteries!  Over the years, I added Murder She Wrote, Columbo, Law & Order, and Criminal Minds to my list of favorites.

When DVD collections became available, Erik and Santa Claus filled our library with every episode of Murder She Wrote and Columbo (even the made for tv movies).

I like to watch them while I'm doing something else because they're so easy to follow, you don't really have to completely focus to understand what's happening in any given episode.

Last week, I had a Murder She Wrote DVD playing while I was sorting clothes to donate to Goodwill.  I happened to look up and saw this:

"Interesting," I thought, "who knew one 'different color' nail was popular in the 90s too!  Haha, I guess it really is true that there's nothing new under the sun.  Next thing you know, we'll be wearing Hammer pants again.  Hahaha..."

Yeah, well, turns out J.B. Fletcher is more "with it" than I am.  She took the one mis-matched nail and realized it was a clue to... the murderer!  (Not just a fashion statement, as I'd assumed.)

Yep, turns out "Crazy Nails" here was painting her claws in the dark while she waited for the victim to show up so she could kill him.  She didn't realize the bottle she was using to touch up her nails was actually Pink, instead of her usual Red.  Oh you silly, criminals!  You can't get anything past J.B.!

I think this might be my favorite episode, just because of the nail polish thing!  Hehe!



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yummy Green Smoothies

I was really, really into Green Smoothies a few years ago, but haven't had one in forever.  I thought it would be fun to start making them again.

Today, I'm making a Strawberry-Banana-Blueberry Green Smoothie.  This is what you will need:

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Protein Powder (to make it more filling)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 banana 
A handful of blueberries
A handful of strawberries

Slice the strawberries and banana.  Set them to the side.

Scoop the protein powder into your blender.  (I use a Magic Bullet).  Add the water and spinach.  Blend until combined.

Add the strawberries, bananas and blueberries to the blender.  Blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass, add a cute garnish, and enjoy!

Mix and match with all sorts of different flavors!  Almost everything tastes fantastic!  You can't taste the spinach at all -- only the fruit!  So good!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Organize and Store It!

Last week was great, organizationally!  I had the week off from work and finally had a chance to sort and store all the Christmas clearance decorations.

Sheila was, clearly, unimpressed with my ribbon stash.  One of my favorite parts of organizing is that it seems to draw the dogs.  They love to stretch out across whatever you're trying to do on the living room floor.  Thanks, puppies!  So helpful!  ;)

On the couch, Rusty dreamt of one day becoming a professional figure skater.  (Or so we imagine.)

But meanwhile, I was sorting and shelving all these great finds for next year.  We have one closet in the house dedicated to Christmas stuff.  Basically, I just pack it from floor to ceiling from January to November.  When the Christmas season rolls around, I drag everything out and go through.  Finding a dedicated spot for Christmas stuff is a great way to keep it out of the way, but handy when you need it.



Monday, January 21, 2013

Trophy Cupcakes

There are plenty of cupcake shops in Seattle, but one of them is head and shoulders above the rest:  Trophy Cupcakes.  Not only are their shops adorable, they make the BEST cupcakes around.

Our favorite Trophy location is in Wallingford.  It's right up the road from Dick's and an easy stop for dessert on your way to or from Seattle.

On this stop, Erik got Thin Mint (left) and I got Salted Caramel (right).  Both outstandingly delicious!  Yum!



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Strolling Pioneer Square

After our yummy sandwiches at Salumi, we decided to take a stroll around Pioneer Square.  It's been years since Erik and I just walked around this part of the city.

The Smith Tower peeks out from behind these buildings.  It seems very sneaky in this shot.  Like it's following us, but trying to remain inconspicuous.  Veeeeeeery tricky, Smith Tower, very tricky.

The Seattle Fire Department Headquarters building is now a Fire Museum, with lots of antique gear and equipment.  The Chief and his staff still work here, but the current engine and ladder companies 
    have moved to a new, modern building a few blocks away.

I love this alley with its series of fire escapes.  It reminds me of NYC and the neighborhood I stayed in on my first trip to the city.
I find, that in my love of pawn shops, I do a lot of "convincing" friends and family that pawn shops are not the skeevy, dank old spaces of yore.  Erik and I popped into Barney's Loans and were treated to... a skeevy, dank old space of yore.  LOL!  Very old school pawn shop feel.  The one cool thing -- they did have quite a few Masonic, Scottish Rite, and Eastern Star rings.  You don't see a lot of those in suburban pawn shops.

Raccoon street art.

Tour group in a Pioneer Square alley.

Before we had to head back to the car, we hit Fireworks, one of our favorite local stores.  They have a little location in Pioneer Square that we always have to visit before leaving.  Then it was back to the car and off we went!



Saturday, January 19, 2013

Salumi - A Local Favorite

Finally!  Erik and I finally got a chance to visit Salumi yesterday!  Woohoo!!  :)  You'll have to forgive me if I'm ridiculously excited about this.  We've been trying to visit for about 5 years and just never got around to it.

Salumi Artisan Cured Meats is located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle.  It is owned and operated by Mario Batali's parents. 

We've tried (unsuccesffully) to visit for years.  We'd heard of it, locally, from friends and co-workers, but really didn't understand the lore until Anthony Bourdain featured Salumi on his show No Reservations.  Once we made the decision that we HAD to go, it was a matter of timing.  At lunch time, there's always a line around the block, and they aren't open for dinner.  We had to wait until we had the day off work to make the pilgrimage.

It was about 35 degrees outside.  We stood in line for close to an hour, but finally, once we got inside, we were treated to delicious aromas of spicy, cured meat.  I skipped breakfast, so when we hit the doors and warm interior, my mouth was watering.  Mmmm...

The menu is simple.  You pick your bread (they have two types).  You pick your salami.  You say, "yay" or "nay" on the onions and peppers.  That's it!  Then they hand over a spicy, cured meat sandwich for your enjoyment.

Erik got the Salumi Salami.  He went simple.  Mozzarella cheese, no peppers, no onions.  The Salumi Salami is a spicy, winter salami.  Our sandwich maker gave me a little taste of the salami -- yum!  Spicy and so flavorful!

I got the Finnochiona Salami Sandwich on Guiseppe bread with house made Mozzarella cheese.  The Finnochiona features fennel.  (I love fennel!)  It has a sweeter flavor with a zing of spice at the end of the bite.  Really, really yummy!

During our visit, the clientele was about 50/50 locals to tourists.  Ahead of us in line were Italians, Canadians, and Scandinavians.  Behind us were local kids, visiting with their friends from Orlando.  

I can't believe it took us so long to go!  We really want to go back again soon with friends.  It would be fun to share a salami and cheese plate with the group.  Can't wait!



Friday, January 18, 2013

A Trip to the Library

It's so nice to have the week off from work.  Yesterday, Erik and I headed to the library to renew our library cards and browse around.

Two of my favorite things about our library are the coffee house, and the used books for sale in the entry area. Some of my favorite books as a kid came from the used book sale.  

I bought Cheaper By the Dozen for 10 cents when I was a kid.  One of my all time favorite books.  I can still name all 12 kids.  Shall I demonstrate?  :)

  1. Anne, 
  2. Mary
  3. Ernestine
  4. Martha
  5. Lillian
  6. Jane
  7. Frank
  8. Bill
  9. Fred
  10. Dan
  11. Jack
  12. Bob
I can sing the alphabet backwards too.  A woman of many talents.  ;)

I've been wanting start training Rusty in agility, which was one of the main reasons for this trip.  Once I started browsing through the agility books, that seemed a bit much for the moment, so I just picked up a few trick training books instead.

Rusty's a little complicated.  We can't do clicker training with him because of his deafness.  I've tried substituting a pocket flash light for the 'click' sound, but I can't flash the light consistently enough to teach him.  Shoveling treats into his mouth and flashing a quick 'thumbs up' seems to be the most effective method I've found so far.

The library came through for us today.  We left with four new books and lots of new training ideas for Mr. Rusty Roo.  I can't wait to get started!



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Breathe New Life Into Old Luggage

If you're like me, you have a nice set of luggage with plenty of life left in it... it just doesn't look new and shiny anymore!  

For work, I take a lot of short flights.  I try to always take a carry-on, so I don't have to check luggage.  This works fine, until you get on a Big Bopper/Buddy Holly puddle jumper prop plane.  They take your bag at the gate and check it anyway, since there's no room onboard for even the smallest carry-ons.

Since having my pretty lime green luggage hijacked in this way over the past five years, it's gotten a little, well... let's be honest:  It looks GROSS.

I didn't know what to do about my dirty luggage, so I consulted The Peas.  The Peas are an online community of (mostly) women who know everything about everything.  I got lots of suggestions, but the one that seemed the most promising was "try an upholstery cleaner".

We hit Walmart last weekend and picked up a can of Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner.  I was dubious as to whether this was actually going to work, but figured it couldn't look any worse!  So why not!

I seriously spent all of 5 minutes and this is what I got in return:

It's a MIRACLE!!!  It looks brand new.  BRAND. NEW.  I was absolutely stunned.  This was probably the easiest thing I've ever hand cleaned, and the results are amazing!!  I believe the can cost $3.78.  Worth every penny!