Anders and I had such a good time at last year's garden show that we decided to go again this year. If you are even remotely into gardens and landscaping, you should check this show out. Beware, though, it does make you a bit itchy for springtime.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
Saturday, February 23, 2013
The Pike Place Fish Cookbook is set to launch March 7th, and Anders had his first radio interview about it on Seattle Kitchen today. You can listen to the full interview here. Anders' interview starts around 08:30. He does a great job, and I even get a shout out. Woo woo! We are so excited for the launch!
Friday, February 22, 2013
Anders and I both love Instagram, but we definitely have different styles. Anders has a real knack for tweaking the photos until they come out very dramatic (just look at those clouds!). I have no idea how he does it, but I thought I would share some of the shots he took in Peru.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Anders and I travel a lot abroad and with that comes the issue of drinking water. In most of the countries we visit, it isn't safe to drink the water, and since I don't know exactly which countries it is safe, we just stick with the don't-drink-it-ever rule thus resulting in the purchase of many (wasteful) bottles of water. However, before we left for Peru, I purchased the CamelBak All Clear water bottle, and it filters water for me using UV light. Stream water! Tap water! You name it water! It's so simple. All you have to do is fill the bottle from the tap or stream or well, push a little button on the top to power the UV light and shake for 60 seconds. The water is fine to drink after that (you can read the more specific details here). Easy!
This is probably my new favorite toy ever. Although please note that it doesn't actually change the taste of the water. Therefore, tap water still tastes like tap water. I personally didn't have a problem with it, but it freaked Anders out.
This is me filtering water in the middle-of-nowhere, Peru.
Monday, February 18, 2013
After hiking the Inca Trail, we needed a bit of a break, so we headed to the beach town of Mancora, Peru. Mancora is a tiny town that's mostly for people wanting to surf. There are a few restaurants and beach shops sprinkled in the dusty downtown, but mostly it's a sleepy little place with not a lot of action. This suited us just fine! We spent a lot of time hanging at our awesome hotel (Claro De Luna). They have a pool and are located right on the beach, so we spent our days playing in the water, eating at their amazing, on-site restaurant and just relaxing after our hike. We did go fishing one day, and instead of the fancy fishing trip we are used to, we went with a local on his personal boat who spoke no English. Talk about a local experience. We did catch fish, though, which our hotel was nice enough to turn into ceviche.
(can you find the wild iguana?!?!)
Friday, February 15, 2013
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Hope you had a nice day yesterday. We had a very low key Valentine's night. Since we just got back from Peru, we decided to stay in and make dinner at home. However, I didn't want it to be just another night in, so we spiced it up a bit with a new, homemade pasta dish, champagne and Tim Tams (Australia's favorite cookie!) for dessert.
Here is the pasta we made. It came from Sunset magazine and it was delicious!
Dungeness Crab and Garlicky Yogurt Pasta
2 cups of labneh or plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt (we used the yogurt)
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 garlic gloves, crushed with 1/4 tsp. salt in a mortar and pestle
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. dried pappardelle pasta or 1 1/4 lbs. fresh fettuccine
1 pinch saffron threads
1/4 cup butter
3/4 lb. shelled cooked Dungeness crab
1/2 cup loosely packed small fresh dill sprigs
About 2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or ground ancho chile
1. Combine labneh (or yogurt), lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and oil in microwave-safe bowl cup. Set aside.
2. Cook pasta as package directs.
3. Meanwhile, pulverize saffron with a mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 cup hot pasta water and loosen saffron bits. Pour into a small saucepan, add butter, and heat until simmering; keep hot. Microwave labneh-lemon mixture until hot but not boiling, 1 minute. Rinse crab with hot water in a strainer to warm.
4. Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss with saffron butter. Add labneh mixture, crab, half of dill, and a little Aleppo pepper and toss very loosely to mix slightly. Pour into a warm rimmed bowl. Sprinkle with remaining dill and a little more Aleppo pepper. Serve with more Aleppo pepper on the table.
Meanwhile, have you guys heard about Vine? The newest social media app? It's an app where you can make short, little looping videos. I signed up for it, and I made my first video on Valentine's Day. Honestly, I'm not sure if I have time to really keep up with ANOTHER social media site, but it was fun to make. We'll see how it goes. You can see my first video here.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Our friend, Sam, dared us to make him a video of us doing jumping jacks in Peru's high elevation, so we did it at the top of Dead Woman's pass. What's not shown is the massive headache I had for two hours after we made this video. You win, Sam!
Monday, February 11, 2013
More stories and photos from our time on the Inca Trail (part one here).
Our homes each night. We slept in sleeping bags on the ground, but they were warm and cozy. Behind the sleeping tents is our dinner tent where we would have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our porters would set it up at each resting point along the trail.
All along the trail to Machu Piccu are other Inca sites. Most of them are considered check points. They were used as places for travelers to stop and rest and spend the night on their way to Machu Picchu. The Incas wanted to know who was coming and going at all times. Here we take a rest on one of the Inca walls made of rocks and mortar.
Anders and I with the Andes as our backdrop.
Stairs, stairs so many stairs. We climbed up and down stairs for days and days. On the third day, we started heading into the Amazon jungle and everything became very lush and green. We are getting closer to Machu Picchu!
At the end of day 3, we made it to one of my favorite Inca sites called Winay Wayna. It had the best view of the Urubamba River, and it had a ton of terraces that went like steps down the side of the mountain. These terraces were used for farming, but what I loved about the Incas is that they respected the earth and built all of their sites around the shape of the mountain.
Tears of joy! After a 3:30am wake up call, we made it to Machu Picchu! This picture was taken from the sungate. It was a foggy morning, but every so often the clouds would clear and you would get a shot of the famous site.
Happy to finally be here! It's the largest and most impressive Inca site yet.
Llamas at Machu Picchu. They are one of the Inca's most important animals. They were used for food and sacrifice.
If a building was important or religious, the Inca's made it out of stones instead of rocks and mortar. It could take a few weeks to make just one of these stones, and they fit together so tightly that they wouldn't fall apart in an earthquake.
The Incas were so advanced for their time. They built these terrace for farming, and they had an irrigation system for watering the terraces. The system was so well made that it works even today. There is still running water at Machu Picchu! They planned for erosion, built their sites around the land and had everything perfectly placed to follow the solstices. I learned so much on our trek and have such a respect for these people and this time. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who is physically able to make it, and if you want to learn more about the Incas and Machu Picchu, I recommend the New York Time's Best Seller Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. It has all the information you could ever want and more!
Up next, photos from our time at the beach!
Sunday, February 10, 2013
We survived! We made it through the four day trek to Machu Picchu and the two weeks in Peru. It was wonderful. Not sure where to even begin explaining about the trek. It was the hardest, most thrilling, emotional, physical, four days of my life, but I would do it again in a second. I had trained hard for the trek, but nothing quite compares you for just exactly how hard it is. We trekked for four days, 28 miles, climbed two mountain passes and slept in a tent on the ground every night. We used Peru Treks to guide us, and I would recommend this company to anyone. We had two guides that made sure you made it through each day and never made you feel like it was a race. In fact, they promoted going slow. Little by little is what we were told, which is great because that's what I needed! We also had 20 porters with our group, and I have so much for respect for these native mountain men. They carried everything we needed for the trek...food, water, tents, dishes. Their packs were so heavy yet they bypassed us all on the hike. By the time our group finished huffing and puffing for hours, we would arrive at a fully set up camp site with hot soup and tea waiting for us. How did they do it? We would start out every morning ahead of them, and they would pack up and still zip past us on the trail. Amazing.
Here are some pictures and stories from the trek!
We arrived in Cusco two days early in order to acclimate to the altitude. Altitude sickness is no joke and taken very seriously here. The minute you stepped off the plane, you could tell why. The smallest little movement made you winded. We celebrated the start of our trip with local Cusquena beers at our hotel.
This is our entire group at the start of the trek (which is why we look so clean and happy! ha!). There were 16 of us total plus 2 guides and 20 porters. We were together for four days and spent a lot of time walking and eating together, so we got to know a lot of these nice people. Most were on extended holidays through South America.
The amazing porters with their loads. My pack was SO heavy that I could barely stand it on the first day. On day 2 and 3, I hired a local man to carry my pack for me. This is a way for the locals to make some money, and it also saved my life! Win/win.
Anders rolls some coca leaves. You could buy bags of these leaves in Cusco and on the trail. Coca is used by the natives to combat all types of illness...headaches, altitude sickness, tooth aches, stomach aches etc. because they are loaded with vitamins and minerals. You chew them the same way you would tobacco; by putting them in the side of your mouth and sucking/chewing on the leaves. You swallow your saliva but not the leaves. Coca leaves are one of the many ingredients in cocaine, so not only are they illegal in the US, but they also made your mouth go a bit numb. They worked, though!
Resting and taking in the view. We all had walking sticks and they were life savers on the trek.
Most days we had tea time, which involved hot water and coca leaves plus snacks such as popcorn, cookies or these cheese sandwiches. Our porters loved to carb-load us!
Although this picture is foggy, you can see down the long valley. We climbed for 6-7 hours this day. We reached an elevation of 13,779 feet to the top of a mountain called "Dead Woman's Pass." It was the hardest day physically by far. After making it to the top, we still had to hike 2 hours downhill, which is equally as hard. We are so happy to be at the top in this picture!
The long road to Machu Picchu
Back with more soon!