Friday, May 22, 2015

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabins

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

We recently stayed at a cabin in Ike Kinswa State Park and I must say we were very pleased with it as well as the overall experience! Overall the cabin way exceeded our expectations. We thought a cabin would be a one room with beds but this was like a lodge. It had a bedroom and a living room with dining table and chairs; and a futon. So awesome! This is especially useful if you go in the rainy season. You can eat the meals inside if it’s raining! The cabins are also equipped with heaters so once again the perfect place to go during wet and cold weather! Oh and the porch! Did I tell you how much I loved the porch! It was so much fun sitting on the porch!

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

The bedroom had a bunk bed with a queen bed and a twin bed.

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

As you can see from the photo below, there’s a view of the lake from the site. The lake shore is not accessible from the site. You need to go on a trail. Nevertheless, it just feels so good to sit out there and just look at the lake!

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

Here are a few photos of the lake mayfield from the trail. The trail is quite short and easy. There are more than one access points from the trail to the lake shore. Basically if you think you can access the lake shore from the trail at any point, then you can!

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin, Lake Mayfield

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin, Lake Mayfield

Oh and I must mention that the cabins have their own restroom and showers. There were two restrooms and two showers. We stayed at cabin C3 and the restrooms were pretty close from there – close enough to not be a trouble Smile. The showers were out of order but the restrooms were really fancy by camping standards (at least I thought so). Very clean and air cooled. It could be because the campground was not yet crowded.

Overall we would highly recommend staying at one of these cabins! Well of course our expectations were low and we were blown away but now that you know what to expect you may not be so. Even then I think it would be quite enjoyable!

Ike Kinswa State Park
873 Highway 122
Silver Lake, WA 98585
Ph: 360-983-3402

Camping reservations can be made online.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Quinoa enchilada bake

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Do you go to costco? If you do, has it ever happened to you that you see a good deal for 5 lb quinoa and even though there are just two of you, you think “wow so much healthy food for so little”. Then you pick the bag of quinoa and put it in your cart, patting your back. Saving those few dollars made you forget that you don’t even like quinoa that much! Well it’s happened to me.

The good thing is that quinoa is has long staying power. So after sitting in our pantry for a months and months I finally decided to give this recipe a try.

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Let me tell you not only does it look delicious, it is! It was yummy and healthy – there are very few dishes that we can put in this category!

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I slightly adapted the recipe to what I had on hand and the quantity I had on hand. That is why for some ingredients you would not see a specific quantity just a range. I would encourage you too to use what you have on hand or what you like. We really like stir-fried green pepper, onions and serrano pepper. So that is what I added to the recipe. Use as much or as little cheese as you want.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 8-10 oz enchilada sauce
  • 10 slices serrano pepper 
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup black beans, boiled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1 tbsp for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  • Stir fry onion, green pepper and serrano pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8x8 or 2 quart baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, onion-pepper mixture, black beans, 2 tbsp cilantro, cumin; season with salt to taste.
  • Stir in half of each of the cheese.
  • Spread quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and cheeses have melted, about 15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with avocado, tomato and cilantro.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Almond Biscotti

 

Almond biscotti

Biscottis are everybody’s favorite at our home! Even my mom and dad loved biscotti when they were visiting us! So it’s an obvious choice to bake when I feel like baking any sort of cookies. This is the second time I tried this recipe. The first time I did, it got such rave reviews and was over in no time. I couldn’t even take any photos. So this time hubby took the photos as soon as they were out of the oven {he’s so cute!}.

Almond biscotti

The texture, the crispness – everything is just perfect! I wanted to dip some of them in chocolate but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Almond biscotti

The recipe is from my favorite source – King Arthur Flour.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup chopped roasted almonds (the recipe suggests using 2 cups but I found 1 cup to be plentiful. You can use raw almonds too, since I only had roasted at home I used them)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line one large (about 18" x 13") baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. If you bake often and don’t have a silpat, I would highly recommend one!
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. At low speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until smooth; the dough will be sticky. Add chopped almonds and mix.
  4. Plop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide it in half, and shape it into two 9 1/2" x 2" logs, about 3/4" tall. Straighten the logs, and smooth their tops and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here.
  5. Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven.
  6. Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the logs, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti much easier. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  7. Wait 5 minutes, then use a sharp chef's knife or serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti. As you're slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they'll topple over during their second bake.
  8. Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They'll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they'll continue to dry out as they cool.
  9. Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Store airtight at room temperature; they'll stay good for weeks.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Everything I never told you

Author: Celeste Ng

everythingINeverToldYou

This was quite an engrossing novel! If life didn’t come in the way I would’ve finished it one seating! It was kind of like a suspense novel…

The book is about a mixed race family back in the 60s – a white wife and a chinese husband; and their three kids. Of which, the eldest Lydia is the apple of their eye and for some reason both the parents look up to her to fulfill their dreams or rather the dreams that they couldn’t fulfill on their own. Her mother had wanted to be a doctor but somehow ended up getting married, having three kids and becoming a housewife. This would pinch her every single day of her life. So she decided that she would not let her daughter fall into this trap and have her become a doctor. Her father on the other hand, being a chinese at a time when there were hardly any and more like none in small towns, wanted nothing more than to blend with everybody. To be just like everybody else. So this is what he wanted for her daughter to become – to blend in. In their race, both the parents hardly cared or worried about the other two kids. One day Lydia’s body was found beside the lake. Nobody knew what and how it came to be there. And this is what kept me gripped to the end of the novel. Although I was kind of disappointed with the end.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Artisan Bread in 5

Many of you must have heard of the bestseller bread book “Artisan bread in five minutes”. I thought of giving it’s basic recipe a try and boy was I pleased with the results!

newartisanbread

This is how my bread looked:

artisan bread in 5

I couldn’t believe that we baked it at home!

artisan bread in 5

Doesn’t it look gorgeous? Ready to be devoured?

artisan bread in 5

I followed the basic recipe as outlined here except that I increased the rising time before baking to around 90 minutes. For baking I used a baking stone and preheated the oven for 30 minutes at the minimum, as suggested. Also I used a parchment paper to make it easy to slide the shaped dough into the oven and after around 20 minutes removed it (again suggested in the recipe).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cleaning hood microwave filters

Till I came across this post I had no idea that microwave vents needed to be cleaned! Oh and especially after all the cooking we do, it certainly should be. We tried out the method outlined in the post and it works like magic! literally!

Here’s how our filters looked before cleaning:

cleaning microwave filters

and after cleaning:

 

cleaning microwave filters

Can you imagine?!?! The way to clean is pretty simple! Boil a big pot of water (pot should be big enough that you can put your filters in it). Once the water boils, add half a cup of baking soda (yes the elixir!). Then insert your filters. You’ll see grease and dirt getting off right away! Let the filters be in the pot till they’re clean and then just rinse!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Its time to plant!

Once again its that time of the year when activity in the garden begins!

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I too these photos 1-2 weeks back when we cleaned up the bed to get it ready for spring plantation. Oh I should’ve taken the before photo! The beds look so good now – am so proud of them! Smile

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We got a staple gun this year and stapled the chicken wire as well as the weed barrier to the raised bed. The beds look so neat and tidy after that! {pat our backs}

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The two little plants that you see are basil and lavender. With some regret I need to report that the basil is probably not going to make it Sad smile After we planted there’ve been plenty of nights where the temperature dropped a little below 40F and I thought that wasn’t much to worry about; but I guess that took a toll on the basil. I’ve never had luck with basil. This is probably the 3rd year but somehow I don’t lose hope with it. I know hot peppers won’t do well in our climate and probably the same is true for basil but I think I chose to live in denial. When I see Lidia (from Lidia’s Kitchen) pluck fresh basil from her herb garden I want to do exactly that. I guess that’s what keeps up the hope Smile Maybe this is the last chance basil gets! Enough about basil. Let’s talk about other veggies. We also planted a little strawberry plant; then spinach, radish and coriander – all from seeds. Finally some 80 onion bulbs! Yeah we don’t know what we’ll do with them Embarrassed smile So stay tuned and I’ll post a new photo in a few weeks with the updates!