2016.

january

we went on a beautiful wintry hike to heather lake.

we went to cabo san lucas!

i went night skiing for the first time.

i made some "fancy" citrus & herb ice cubes ;)  these were featured on the feedfeed's community cooking site in the herbs & spices feed. 

 

february

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barely caught a couple of gorgeous sunsets at the end of the workday near our house. i live for the days when it is not dark out at 5pm.

i baked up a lot of bready goods. 

pete and i went on a fun valentine's day bus camping trip on whidbey island.

 

march

spring came early and it was freaking beautiful.

i discovered the most delicious fluffy chocolate marshmallow filled donut at general porpoise donuts in capitol hill.

i attempted my very first lemon meringue pie from scratch for my dad's birthday. the pie turned out tasty & scrumptious, but looked hideous and you won't find it on this blog. i'm always bummed when recipes don't work out on my first try (especially when i take all the process photos expecting the food to turn out just right)...but it's all just part of the learning process. i'm getting better at accepting that and attempting recipes again instead of turning my back on them forever. anyhow, i'm excited to create some successful meringue magic. 

my company spent several days shooting at snoqualmie pass in the remaining winter's snow for our winter 2017 print piece. these shoots are really fun and a lot of work with a lot of moving parts. its definitely cool to see the images from this project out in the wild, and in print!

during our big shoot, i took this photo on my moment macro lens and it is now featured on the product page for this arc'teryx jacket. 

 

april

we visited pete's fam on lopez island. love that fairy tale house.

spring was GORGEOUS!!! and this photo above was reposted by DESIGN SPONGE on instagram. i about lost my damn mind! that was reallyyyy something.

i carried on my merry ice cube making way and came up with these coffee & coconut cream ice cubes. this recipe was also featured on the feedfeed's cooking site in the caffeinated beverages feed. 

may

i tried my hand at various fruit-as-roses.

pete and i went backpacking in the rain at goat lake.

fun summertimes began to commence. pete and i set out on our volkswagen road trip to utah!

this photo below of our happy cheddar bus in moab was shot with my moment wide lens for iphone, and was reposted on moment's instagram account.

made delicious homemade tzatziki. this image above was reposted by food should taste good on instagram.

june

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evening bike rides and picnics are what life is all about :)

evo's annual employee retreat was one to remember. the theme was high school cliques and my marketing team was the marching band. so many laughs and hilarious videos taken that i still laugh wildly at today. 

we had oodles of back porch barbecues and gatherings and rode bikes to our beloved marination ma kai. pete bought a ukulele and we started learning lots from cynthia lin on youtube. she's amaaazing. and cool. pete got another uke for christmas and is still really into it. i think my uke talents peaked at 'three little birds.'

^^^ neighborhood summer solstice partay on the hill. except that durn cloud covered the sunset. we still had a fun picnic. so crazy that this is at like 9:40pm.... ah! can't wait!

lopez island again for the 4th of july! always a grand ol' time!

oregon kriekfest & camping near hood river! 

lake union boat party for piper's birthday!

ADELE!!!!!!!!!! she is just amazing. 

 

august

ohhhh summer night grillin' at its best. i LOVEEEE this time of year.

more fun summer nights!! above is a crazy nicoise salad made by our friend jeff. what a delight!

pete and i spent a lazy summer afternoon on the patio of the bar on lopez island just drinking beer and chatting it up with all the yocals that came and went. such a fun day.

our obsession with locals flip flops is still v strong. we re-upped on our supply on our trip to hawaii this fall :)

pizza & pals. ❤️

^^^ ashleigh's birthday/crab made of bread bash at birch bay!

more grillin' and chillin' and dining al fresco.

lake days.

sounders game!

pete demolished the last 15 feet or so of our very long driveway and we are expanding our backyard! it's not done yet, but the yard is twice the width now. 👍

september

i concocted this mess of chocolate and mallows and s'mores ice cream in a skillet. this image was also shared on instagram by lodge cast iron.

september = sportzball.

so much sports ball..

pete and i went to his friend julie's amazing hindi wedding at the four seasons.

outdoor hall & oates concert with friends!

 

october

pete & i took a fun day trip to vashon island.

halloweener!

 

november

we visited friends in the bay area for the UW vs. Cal game. such a fun weekend!!!

in n' out treat before we headed back to seattle.

fall four square games at work. just like the good ol days.

pete and i celebrated 8 years together! 😘

^^^ my cutie uncle transported his wine to thanksgiving dinner in a laundry basket. 😂

rainy thanksgiving cocktails with my bestie!

pete & i got the perfect tree from our local produce stand before i left for nyc.

 

december

snow in seattle! only an inch or so. but we still went sledding and made a snowman, haha.

my friend whitney and i went back to new york city! i just love that place! seeing it during the holidays was a dream come true. full post on that trip still to come..

^^^at pete's company holiday party.

^^^ i spent my first christmas ever with peter and his family, which is kinda crazy! we'd just never been in the same place on christmas day before this one...so it was pretty fantastic to be with him. i loved it.

saw a cool harry potter themed gingerbread exhibit at the sheraton hotel in seattle.

celebrated my 29th birthday and rung (rang? ruhuuung?) in the new year with friends at a beautiful airbnb on vashon island! i loved pete's adorable surprise birthday waffle breakfast he made for me.❤️

2016 was pretty good to me and i'm so grateful & thankful to lead this privileged life with amazing people around me. it was a rough, at times horrifying, year in this country and around the world.  i will continue to be positive and appreciate every good thing in my life, which i'm fortunate enough to do every single day.

in this online space, i can only hope that any little thing i've shared on this blog may encourage or teach or inspire somebody in some small way, and make their day just a little bit brighter. 

 

xoxo

qp

pesto!

look, a green thing! haven't seen many of them around these parts throughout the entire month of december...woopsies.

happy new year!!!! time to put some colors back into our bodies that aren't white, brown, or yellow...amiriiiite?? 

it's 2017! can you even believe that noise?????! seems like such a futuristic number, but here we are.

pesto is one of those things that i never store bought again after i learned how to make it myself. it's easy. you just probably need to have a food processor. i haven't tried it in a blender...but i don't see why that wouldn't work, too. feel free to report back with any findings.

i like to toss the garlic cloves in a hot pan with a tiny bit of olive oil for a few minutes...just to cut that sTrOnG garlicky bite. if ya catch my drift. fresh garlic works perfectly, too. but its a pesky lingerer. and with 3 cloves swimming around in this cup o sauce...that's a high level of linger. 

i make my pesto with both basil and arugula as the greenery. pesto is normally made with all basil, but somehow i do not *love* basil. i have a leaf of it with mozzarella & tomato and i'm like, "okay, cool, basil." i totally get that its a delicious, fresh, herbaceous, & fragrant flavor - i'm just not over the moon for the basil. so i like to use half basil and half arugula.

i learned the arugula pesto method from jessica of how sweet it is  - who has given me tons and tons and tons of inspiration and confidence in the kitchen since i started following/obsessing over her blog the last several years. by the way, her pesto parmesan scone recipe in that link above are amazing and i've made them many times. a crowd pleaser!!

her arugula pesto idea also eventually led me to try making pesto with any ol' greens i had laying around, which was silly. i've tried it with mixed greens, spinach and kale and that was all wrongo. you need something bitter and with a bite! i feel like the arugula is bitter with a sharp, peppery taste, and the basil is fragrant and herbal. mix those together and you've got a lovely balance of flavors. then come the parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil to make the pesto complete!

just a note that i ended up freezing my basil and thawed it when i was ready to use it for this recipe. it worked out just as well! if you're planning to make fresh pesto, buy basil like 4 seconds before you're ready. it goes bad in the blink of an eye! and by that i mean like 3 days.

anyhoo! its delicious! flavorful! herbaceous! with a bite! sometimes..too much bite. adding just a tad of white or red wine vinegar cuts that sharp taste and balances it all out. 

throw it on a pasta! gnocci! a pizza! quinoa! vegetables! crackers! with beans! i dunno, maybe not beans, but maybe so beans! pesto is primo for versatility. just try it on everythaaang. 

Homemade Pesto

Yields about 1 cup pesto sauce

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basil 
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated or in chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, + 1-2 TB if necessary
  • 1/2 tsp. white vinegar or red wine vinegar (optional)

Instructions-

Add all ingredients to a food processor and run until everything is incorporated and a pesto sauce forms. Add 1 - 2 TB extra of olive oil if the sauce seems too thick. 

Optionally, add 1/2 tsp. of white vinegar or red wine vinegar to take away a bit of the bitter arugula bite.

Store in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 7-10 days.

 

qp

classic tea cakes, two ways.

christmas time is just not complete without these cookies.  if you feel you don't have time to bake cookies, these are super easy, simple & delicious, and feel just like christmas to me.

i made this batch two ways. half are plain tea cakes and the other half have mini chocolate chips added.

i grew up on the plain tea cakes during the holidays, so as much as i do love me some chocolate chips, i'm a bit of a purist with these little cakes. 

the plain & simple cakes are such a nostalgic treat for me that i always only have around christmas time. the chocolate chippers are like a completely different cookie in my mind. somehow that makes sense to me. maybe i'm just a kooky cookie lady.

my family always called these cookies "butter balls," which does not sound very glamorous or sophisticated, but is exactly what they are...balls of butter.  i think they have a zillion names like russian tea cakes or mexican wedding cakes. i guess calling it a "tea cake" makes you feel like a little less of a santyclaus glutton than calling it a "butter ball."

make sure to cool the cookies all the way through after baking or the powdered sugar gets all sticky. i set mine outside for a little bit so they'd cool faster...but was eXtReMeLy paranoid that a squirrel or crow were going to divebomb down and gobble em up. 

that was a very stressful 5 minutes. but quite the timesaver!

oh yummmmmm. 

buttery soft melty pillows of crisp & fresh simple coooookie gooodnessssssss. also, i am a walnut lover. i know lots of people are haters, so leave em out if you dislike. i just think they make these cookies worth whiiiiile. and add chocolate chips to half of the dough, if you like. 

because variety packs make life worth livin'.

Classic Tea Cakes, Two Ways

Makes 24 cookies

Time: 30-45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 TB. powdered sugar
  • 2 TB. milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
  • for coating: 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream the butter well. Slowly add flour and mix on medium high between additions until a dough forms. Add the extracts, salt, 3 TB. powdered sugar, and milk. Mix until ingredients are just combined. Add the chopped walnuts and mix again.

If desired, scoop half of the dough into a separate bowl. Add chocolate chips to the dough in the original mixing bowl and stir just until combined. The second bowl will be for plain tea cakes.

Roll the dough into small balls (smaller than a golf ball). You want to roll them tightly so they do not crumble after baking. Place cookie dough balls on a baking sheet.

Bake for 13 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool completely (I set mine outside for about 5 minutes to speed up the cooling process). You want them to be all the way cool before rolling them in powdered sugar or it will melt and be sticky.

After the cookies are cool, roll each cookie in powdered sugar until it is coated. You can also add the powdered sugar to a small paper lunch bag and shake the cookies individually in the bag until coated.

Store in airtight containers lined with parchment. Share with friends & fam! These make excellent gifts in a cute holiday cookie tin! 😊

ho ho ho eat that butter ball, yo.

 

 

qp