Just dropping by

I’m back from my one week hiatus. Testing, grading and report cards pulled me under, and I’m only resurfacing because I had a 4-day weekend and was able to catch my breath. Technically, it was only a 3-day weekend, but I took today off to recover from 16 hours on the road/work on lesson plans/prep for conferences.

Thursday evening the hubs and I drove to Yakima to pick up my brother, Jake. Friday morning we kept moving south, and wound up in Albany, Oregon to visit my grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin.

We made a brief stop in my favorite tourist town, Hood River, for lunch.

Full Sail Pub has sound reducing tiles on the floor…I totally need those for my classroom!

…hold on to that feelin’…

Once we arrived in Albany, we spent a whirlwind 40 hours catching up, eating delicious food and checking out the Albany Carousel Museum. The Albany Carousel is a community wide project where volunteers are helping to build an amazing carousel. I first learned about the project during my masters program, where I watched a video for a civics class. (when I can find the link to the free curriculum I’ll update y’all!)

The volunteers were very informative and didn’t mind answering our questions.

Did you know that the decorated side of the animal is called the “romance side?” I didn’t until Saturday.

The hubs is checking out my newest addition to his honey-do list: a shelf to hold the kitchen aid that comes out of the cupboard. I want my aunt and uncle’s kitchen!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake (I’m still full)

Me, Grandma, Grandpa & Jake

Meal Plan Monday is postponed until tomorrow…possibly next week.

What did you do for the long weekend?

WIAW, Portlandia style

It’s another traveling edition of WIAW!


My (seriously long) road trip route during the first two weeks of August had a brief pit stop in Portland, OR.


While there, the hubs and I spent a whirlwind 36 hours touring the cities breweries and restaurants.

My best friend Jessica served as our tour guide.

Our first destination was Deschutes Brewery, located in the Pearl District. Jess is a server there, so we wanted to see her when we arrived after an 11 hour journey from Napa, CA.

Portabella sandwich w/arugula, some sort of cheese and sweet potato fries on the side
(for some reason, this isn’t on their online menu, so I have no idea what the cheese is. But on closer inspection, I realize I totally missed the Beer-a-Misu, which is a real shame because I love Obsidian Stout, and Tiramisu is my fav dessert).

On our way back to our hotel, we swung by the famous Voodoo Doughnut, to pick up some sugar energy to hoof it across the bridge.

I selected the Berry Miami Vice.

It was insanely delicious. And calories don’t count after Midnight, right?

The next morning, Jessica took us to Tasty n Sons, an organic and seasonal restaurant that serves brunch every morning of the week. We started off with Erin’s Sweet Biscuits with fresh berries.

Happiness on a plate.

Jess and I each ordered the Moroccan Chicken Hash with Harissa Cream and an over easy egg.

I ate the entire thing. I refrained from licking my plate, even though I wanted to.

After a touristy stop at the International Rose Test Garden,

we hit HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery) to taste some brews.

I recommend the Survival Stout.

Then we ventured to Laurelwood Brewery, where we were able to take a tour and learn all about the beer making process. The hubs is a home-brewer, so he already knew a lot of the information, but it was all new to me! Jess is friends with the beer chemist, (fun job, eh?), and he let us add the hops!

Which I thought was really cool, until I realized we were just doing his job for him 😉

While at Laurelwood, we decided to split their chickpea fries, (which I plan to recreate asap), with tzatziki sauce and some sort of spicy aoili.

Again, not on their online menu, so I can’t give specifics. What is it with my choices not being on online menus?

On the walk to our next location, I spotted this awesome advertisement.

That location was the Hair of the Dog Brewery, a few blocks from our hotel. This was, hands down, my favorite beer of the day. Jess and I split some nibbles.

Sidenote, how cute are their tasting glasses? We split 4 of these little guys.

Caprese Salad

Who goes to a bar and orders only veggies? This girl.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find their beer outside of the brewery itself, as they have a limited bottle production. I highly suggest you stop by for a beer and a bite the next time you’re in Portland.

And finally, a little dinner was necessary. A few blocks down the road we found Bunc Sandwiches, a bar serving up amazingly delicious sandwiches.

I ordered the roast beef with horseradish, caramelized onions and cheddar, and a side of summer squash soup instead of the kettle chips.

Holy yum.

I’m still dreaming about that sandwich.

We rolled our full bellies back to our hotel, and were luckily not hit by a biker.

I’m already planning my next trip to Portland, where the dream of the 90’s is still alive.

Have you ever been to Portland? If yes, what is your “must-do” while there?

As a kid, my favorite thing to do was to visit OMSI. But as an adult, my favorite thing to do is to EAT! Portland is home to fabulous restaurants and food trucks 🙂

I didn’t die, promise.

It’s been two weeks since I last posted, which is a major blogger faux pas. Sorry about that bloggettes. I’ll (try to) never let that happen again. I fully intended to blog my two week road trip adventures, but my computer was not cooperating with me. But I’m back, and my camera is full of photos waiting to be unleashed.

Until I get everything sorted out, my house cleaned and my laundry washed, here is a sneak peak at the first few days of our adventure: Spokane to San Diego in 21 hours.

Planning (writers workshop) and snacking…

Fanciest McDonalds ever! We stopped north of Salt Lake City to use their restroom and were confused by the somewhat upscale decor.

Yeah, that is a waterfall…

Eating our first dinner at The Fez

Not to be confused with this Fez:

We stayed in Mesquite, NV the first night. In case you’re wondering, it is a 15 hour jaunt from Spokane. We left at 3:15 a.m. and arrived 17 and a half hours later, tired and ready to attack the penny slots.

The next day we arrived in San Diego, and spent a few days catching up with friends and family.

Lily, me and Erica

Sara, her cute new addition Reade, and me

Tim’s cousin getting married (the reason for our SD adventure)

Sisters-in-law Theresa and Melanie w/me

Yeah, Theresa totally wore white to the wedding. We didn’t let it slip 😉

I promise to be back with more later. If anyone would like to volunteer to attack my laundry, feel free to stop by.

Traveling to Yakima, WIAW style

While in Yakima, I sun bathed,

and burned myself.

I also enjoyed lots of delicious food. I’m going rogue for WIAW this week, offering up a travel edition, yet again. Only this time I didn’t document everything I ate, as four and a half days of eats was way too much to put in one post. Would you continue reading? Yeah, I wouldn’t either.

When I was in high school there were only 4 options for dining out: Red Robin, Olive Garden, Zesta Cucina, and Mexican food, (including tons of taco trucks). Applebee’s didn’t show up to the dining scene until I was in college. It was insanely exciting.

I’m happy to report that Yakima now has a lot more to offer these days. When I arrived Friday evening, my family and I hit up the new(ish) restaurant Creekside West.
You know you’re in Yakima when the entry way is lined with wine and the wine booklet is so thick the grommets holding it together fall off…

We split an order of sweet potato fries to start, which were served with an amazing aioli concoction: garlic and saffron. Mmmmhmmmm

My dad and I both ordered the rock crab cakes, with both the garlic saffron aioli and a tomato relish. The relish was not up my alley, it was too sweet and to tomato-pasty.

I also had a few bites of my mom’s ahi. Mmmm, perfectly pink.

And maybe a few of Libb’s beer battered fries…

The next morning, and each morning that followed, I enjoyed deck dining, fresh fruit, and raw cold oats.

Fun fact: my mom is a potter, (and I keep trying to get her to sell her stuff on etsy, hint hint again mom). Her best friend, Trudy, is also a potter. Each Christmas and birthday they exchange unique, fun or pretty mugs or bowls. I wish I had the cupboard space to hold the massive amount of fun mugs my mom has. Trudy actually hangs hers from the exposed beams in her kitchen. If I had a low enough ceilings I might do something like that.

Saturday night I taught my mom how to make quinoa, as I whipped up a Mexican(ish) quinoa salad (recipe tomorrow) to pair with grilled chicken marinated in my favorite dressing/marinade.

Sunday night I had a craving for real Mexican food, so we decided to go to El Mirador for dinner. I was in heaven when my tortillas arrived.

mmmm, I’m drooling just looking at this picture…

I ordered something new: pollo a la parrilla. I ususally order fajitas or arroz con pollo. I was quite pleased with my choice, and will have the hubs re-create it for me on the grill sometime soon.

On my final night in town, Libb (I guess I should call him Jake now, hmm?), grilled up some burgers.

Bachelor and Zoe waited expectantly.

They were denied.

With my burger, I enjoyed some watermelon, corn on the cob, a salad and some Jones of Washington Viognier.

Dogs, again, drooled and begged,

but, again, were denied. I love Bachelor’s expression, he reminds me of the talking dog:

What is your must-eat while in your hometown?

Mine is Mexican food. Yakima has a very large Hispanic population, therefore we have real Mexican food. Spokane’s idea of Mexican food is Azteca. While I enjoyed the occasional Taco Tuesday in college, Azteca isn’t really Mexican food.

Greetings from Yakima


Hey y’all, I’m in Yakima visiting my parents and brother, (Libb moved out, but it’s kind of a long story), as I avoid the Hoopfest crowds in Spokane and the Ironman crowds in Coeur d’Alene. It is blazing hot here, and I’m trying to get a little color on my pasty legs.

I’m enjoying the gym right outside my bedroom,

playing fetch with Zoe,

and Bachelor,

and alfresco dining with a Valley view.

(Mt. Rainier & Cascade peaks)

(Mt. Adams)

(cows next door)


Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

WIAW: travel edition – Winthrop, WA

How is it already the first Wednesday of Summer Break? And why do I have only 2 weeks left until Summer School starts? Waaaa 😦


Yesterday I accomplished very little in terms of planning, but it took me forever and felt like a lot at the time. I made my first day power point and my very first Edublog! I’m teaching a Film as Lit class, and am creating my curriculum on my own. Luckily I’ve found quite a few great sources to guide me. Since I know there are quite a few teachers who read this blog, here are some of my favorites:

Other than planning, (I even went into school on Monday, the first Monday of Summer Break…who does that!?!), I’ve attempted to stay on top of my fitness goals…


I have a confession to make: I hate warm weather running. I know that most runners love 70 degree weather, but I am not one of those people. My body does not regulate its temperature well, and my athsma kicks in big time. My favorite running temps are the 40’s, in a tank top. I know, I’m crazy. I guess it was a good thing we had such a long winter this year. It allowed me the ability to discover that I love running.  But the past two weeks….meh, I didn’t run once! In case you weren’t aware, not running is counterproductive to my half-marathon training plan.

So Monday morning I laced up my runners and met my friend, Rhonda, and her running buddy, for a long run. Around mile 3 I had to peel off. My inhaler was doing nothing for me. So I took two more puffs and glanced down. The inhaler was empty. Oi. I had my prescription refilled, but I thought I still had 20 or so puffs left. I looked something like this:


It took me an hour and a half to run 7 miles. I was pathetic. I was (still am, actually) so sore afterward! Why, why, why did I do that to myself? I have 2 1/2 weeks until half-marathon day, and I really need to get my bootay in gear. Help motivate me!


And now what you’ve all been waiting for (ha), my foodie recap from our trip to Winthrop, WA, WIAW style.

We hit the road as soon as I got off work on Thursday. I was starving. The hubs was starving. On road trips I generally pack a cooler full of healthy snacks: sandwiches, apples, baby carrots w/hummus, waters, etc. The last week of school was crazy, however, and I didn’t have time to run to the store to get snacks to pack. The hubs couldn’t drive either (due to his knee situation), so we hit Jack’n’the Box a half hour into our trip.

So. Gross.

I’ve broken up with fast food after this trip. So has the hubs. We both got so sick afterward. I even ordered a “sandwich,” or as close to a sandwich as you can order at the Box.


That night I couldn’t eat much, as my stomach was yelling at me, so I ordered a salad and cup of soup from room service. Scratch that, I tried to order room service, but I called at 8:31 p.m. and room services ended at 8:30 p.m. The hubs walked downstairs to the restaurant and ordered food to go, and one of the servers kindly brought our food up to the room. My soup and salad combo, however, cost $17, so this was the last meal we ate at Sun Mountain Lodge.

Seeing as I am cheap frugal conscious of my bank account, the next morning I cobbled together a breakfast of a nanner that happened to be in my purse and half a cliff bar that mysteriously appeared. After hitting the lodge gym, and working out with the deer,

the hubs and I hit “downtown” Winthrop to grab lunch and explore. Winthrop is a cute, touristy, old West town near the Canadian boarder. It is adorable, and caters to foodies like myself.

Our first stop: The Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

I was very impressed with their menu. Lots of organic ingredients, lots of fresh veggies, and they support local farms. (This is something that I found to be quite common in Winthrop). We opted to sit outside, on the fabulous riverside deck.

We were both excited by the large selection of small batch brews. The hubs selected the multi-award winning Ruud Awakening IPA, and I enjoyed an honorable mention Uncle Big’s Brown.

I couldn’t decide what to eat, I wanted everything! It was a touch choice between the summer salad, portabella veggie wrap (which came with baby carrots and ranch instead of fries!), grilled veggie sandwich and the black bean burger. Ultimately, I opted to go with the black bean burger, as I was starving. I intended to order baby carrots and ranch, instead of the housemade fries, but I forgot. I wasn’t disappointed when the crispy goodies arrived, however.

The hubs ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which I stole a few bits of. ‘Twas tender and perfectly pulled pork, and this is coming from a gal who hates BBQ sauce and usually steers clear of pork.

After lunch we explored the town, hit the small grocery store for some essentials, and stopped by the Rocking Horse Bakery for some fresh bread.


Just like The Old Schoolhouse Brewery, the Rocking Horse Bakery supports local businesses, including Blue Bird Grain Farms wheat for their bread, Backcounty Coffee Roasters for their coffee, and Thompson Custom Meats for their sandwiches. Right up my alley, and something Foodbeat NW readers will appreciate! (my contributor bio is up – check it out!)

I also swung by the grocery store for some apples, nanners and Luna bars. Cheap hotel room eats for this gal!

Friday evening we attended the Bankruptcy Bar Association banquet. I neglected to bring my camera, however, but the food was pretty tasty. I enjoyed chicken in a dijon sauce, spring mix salad, lots of veggies and a crumbly (in a good way) corn muffin. Dessert, however, was the star of the evening: berry crumble with whip cream. Mmmmmm, happy Leila.

The next morning I made a pot of nasty hotel room coffee, and inhaled some of my Rocking Horse Bakery bread.

Oh my goodness, this bread is the bee’s knees! I was so sad to discover the bread options rotate daily, I wanted to buy multiple loaves to freeze on our way out of town.

After a quick lodge exercise room workout while the hubs was at his conference, I picked up an iced vanilla latte, dry blood orange soda, and quinoa tabouleh from a coffee shop, that I cannot remember the name of. It is across the street from The Old Schoolhouse Brewery, however, if you happen to be in Winthrop and want a cafe treat or two. They have lots of healthy and organic options to tempt your taste buds.

After grabbing our car snacks, we set out for a scenic drive on the famous North Cascades Highway…

north cascad hwy

and I realized tabouleh was a terrible car snack, as I could only eat it when we stopped at scenic points. Sigh.

The weather was not cooperating with our drive, but I did manage to snap a few pictures.

After our rainy drive, the hubs and I got back into town and intended to try something new, but wound up back at The Old Schoolhouse Brewery. It was just too good! We decided we couldn’t leave Winthrop without tasting multiple brews, so we ordered a sampler tray complete with the Hooligan Stout, ESB, Rendevous  Porter, Backcountry Coffee Stout and the Imperial IPA.

The beers paired well with some No Cheese Left Behind Nachos.

I also ordered their summer salad to go, and dove into it an hour later back at the lodge. The salad was composed of organic baby greens, avocado, craisins, mandarin oranges, blue cheese and candied pecans.

The salad itself was okay, but the coconut curry dressing was out of this world delicious! I attempted to recreate it yesterday, and then I realized I was out of coconut milk. So I created a creamy curry dressing instead. Recipe will debut tomorrow 🙂

On our way out of town the next morning we stopped back at The Rocking Horse Bakery to grab coffee and sandwiches to eat on the road. We attempted to try a delicatessen, but it was closed. I wasn’t upset about having to go back to The Rocking Horse though, no worries 😉 The hubs enjoyed a turkey sammie on their flax bread, and I had their caprese.

The caprese was your standard mozz, tomato, basil action, but it also included an amazing basil aioli and red onions. I was quite the happy camper. My eyes, however, were not. I forgot my contacts on the trip, and had to purchase some awesomely 90’s clip on sunglasses that were way too big for my frames.

I have so many pictures to share, but WordPress hates me right now. I’ve been tackling this post since 7 a.m. Seriously.

Where is your favorite close-by weekend vacation destination?

Greetings from Winthrop

I’m thoroughly enjoying my R&R at the Sun Mountain Lodge. The hubs is spending his mornings at a legal conference, and I am not doing anything that requires too much brain power.

This means I am working out with the deer,

catching up on my to-read list,


and exploring Winthrop.

There wasn’t anyone around to take a photo of both of us 😦

The internet connection is rather shoddy, so I’m going to cut this short. I’ll be doing a Winthrop foodie recap later in the week, most likely WIAW style. Cheers!


Do you have any fun weekend plans?