Simple Cobb Salad

Mondays are for hitting the reset button. We try and keep weekends as balanced as possible, but more often than not ice-cream gets consumed, bottles of wine get drank, and sometimes you just have to say eff-it and eat that bowl of pasta. "Sunday Scaries" may be a real thing, but I still get a satisfying feeling on Sunday nights when I pack my bag for Pure Barre on Monday morning at 6 AM, get a healthy lunch ready for the next day, and know that I am going to reset and get ready for the week! 

Keeping homemade dressing in the fridge is a lifesaver for work because I can throw a salad together quickly the night before. If you haven't made your own salad dressing before then I would definitely get on board! Have you looked at how much sugar and weird ingredients are on the back of those store bought salad dressing bottles?! Not only that, the taste will be SO much better as well. 

One of my favorite simple salads to make for lunch or dinner is a cobb. I know there's a lot of  argument as to what goes into a cobb but "our version" includes tomatoes, bacon, jammy eggs, blue cheese (if we have it on hand), and a good creamy homemade lemon parmesan dressing. I caught myself licking the spatula after making this dressing the other night...it's that good. I'm talking about being "healthy" but this dressing has mayo in it blah blah blah. #balance

ALSO, we just bought a salad spinner from IKEA for like 6 bucks and it is the BEST THING EVER. No more drying off lettuce with paper towels or watered down dressing!! I always thought it was a useless kitchen tool, but it's awesome! Plus you can use it as a crisper in the fridge for your lettuce!

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Simple Cobb Salad

Ingredients

- Butter lettuce or any lettuce that you like
- boiled eggs - I like 1 per person for this salad
- crispy bacon - 2-3 pieces for person
- Sliced cherry tomatoes - a handful per person
- Parmesan for topping
- Blue cheese or gorgonzola (if you have it on hand, if not it's great without as well!)

Creamy Lemon-Parmesan Dressing

- 1/2 cup of mayo
-  1 lemon - squeezed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- milk to thin (add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency that you like)

What to do

  1. Heat a skillet on medium -hight heat and fry your bacon until crispy. Set on paper towels to drain. 

  2. while the bacon is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Place eggs gently into boiling water and set timer to 6.5 minutes. We like our eggs with a jammy yolk but if you want yours hard boiled than set your timer for 8 minutes. 

  3. While the eggs are boiling, wash and spin dry your lettuce, and slice your tomatoes. 

  4. To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a blender or mason jar and blend (or shake vigorously). I usually make a double batch of this and store it in the fridge for throughout the week. 

Enjoy!

The Ultimate Summer Craft Beer Guide

In my last years of college I was a bartender at World of Beer in Gainesville and it was a job that I am so happy that I had! I know a college kid who gets to pour beer and sip on tasters throughout their shift  would of course be happy to have that kind of job, but it was so much more than that! For one thing, working there introduced me to a world outside of Mich Ultra's and Guinness. But don't get me wrong, I still love Mich Ultra for a hot day on the lake or beach. Is that just a southern thing? We went to Austin for a Bachelorette party a few weeks back and hardly anyone from Oregon had had a Mich Ultra besides me!  ALSO FUN FACT: I used to think Guinness was SOO heavy but it actually only has 15 calories more than a Bud Light! 

Before starting at World of Beer we had to take a test in "beer school" and I always tell people I studied harder for that test than any other exam in college! I don't know if that's sad or glorious, but regardless it's fun knowledge to have nonetheless! I used to be so involved in the craft beer "world"  that I knew about any special releases and every sought after brew region to region. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest which is one of the greatest regions for craft beer in America, and sadly I choose Pino Noir over a brewski most of the time these days. My metabolism can't quite handle the Double IPA's and the Belgium Triples I use to throw down often - but that doesn't mean I still don't appreciate them from time to time! 

In the winter I am a Porter and Imperial Stout lady, but in the summer I want something light and refreshing! This past weekend we attended the Portland Craft Beer Festival which was walking distance from our apartment and it was spectacular! With 65+ breweries there we tried so many incredible beers, but my favorite of the day was the blueberry muffin sour ale from Great Notion! It wasn't sweet but it still reminded me of a fresh baked blueberry muffin and was so refreshing for a hot day! Thanks to one of the Festivals sponsors, Bridgeport Brewing, there was an awesome flower wall to promote their seasonal Rosé IPA!

Here is a guide to summer craft beer styles as well as my favorites in each region! I have to be real though and since I am a Florida/Oregon girl all of the South and West beers will be from there ;) Cheers ya'll!

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Pilsners & American Lagers

These are going to be your lightest beers that are crisp and highly carbonated. The alcohol content is only going to go up to about 5.5% so this is your best beer to drink at the summit after a long hike or on the lake wake-boarding. 

South- Gainesville, FL:  An ode to my homeland and alma mater: Swamphead - Loggerhead Lager 
Northeast- Brooklyn, NYBrooklyn Lager- definitely a pizza or burger beer!
Midwest- Kalamazoo, MI: Bell's Lager of the Lake's - Never been to the Great Lakes but excited to drink this on one of them the day that I do!
West- Portland, OR: Deschutes Pacific Wonderland - It makes it that much better when the brewery is in your neighborhood!

 

Sour Ales 

Tart and sour but often refreshing in the summer! Some common styles are Gose, Lambics, and American sours. 

South - Dunedin, FL:  7venth Sun "It Puts the Cucumber on it's skin or it gets the Gose again"
Northeast - Brooklyn, NY:  Evil Twin Mission Gose - Started in Denmark, now in NY
Midwest - Minneapolis, MN: Surly Inside the Upside Down - Imperial Sour...9%...tryyy ittt
West - Portland, OR: 10 Barrel Cucumber Crush - My go-to for a hot day

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IPA's

IPA's are the top selling craft beer selling around the country and is the most entered category in the Great American Beer Festival. Sometimes IPA's can be too hoppy for me in the summer, but there's a ton of sessionable IPA's to choose from!

South - Tampa, FL:  Cigar City Jai Lai - A Floridan favorite
Northeast - Warren, VT - Lawson's Super Session #2
Midwest - Chicago, IL: Vallejo IPA - tropical and summery but packs a punch at 6.7%
West - Portland, OR: Bridgeport Rosé IPA- #Roséallday


Summer Wheats

The beer that will get you through the summer heat - think Blue Moon! A way to recognize them is their cloudier appearance. 

South: Tampa, FL: Cigar City Florida Cracker - Another one of my summer faves
Northeast: Cooperstown, NY - Brewery Ommegang Witte Wheat
Midwest: Kalamazoo, MI: Bell's Oberon - Not summer without this one!
West: Portland, OR: Widmer Hefe - Would this post really be worthy without this classic??

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The Best Meal in Ubud

I know... we've been back from our honeymoon for 3 months and I am JUST getting around to talking about the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud. Our last and favorite stop on the 'moon. As I started writing our travel guide to Ubud, I felt that this particular restaurant deserved a post of its own! If you want to have your socks knocked off from an unexpected meal in Ubud, then look no further than Laramona. We had been in Ubud for 5 days and our last night we stumbled upon this little gem and it was too good not to share with you. We had great food throughout our stay don't get me wrong - I still dream about the black pumpkin ravioli with truffle oil from Kismet, the soy-braised wagyu at Bridges, or the the best slice of margarita pizza worthy of an Italian pizzeria at warung Città Ovest, but nothing compared to this quirky, innovative, secluded gem. 

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First off, you have to order the red sangria our of a glass jar. With a ladle to serve yourself into teacups I might add. So good - and oddly satisfying to drink booze out of a teacup! Pinkies up of course. They also have fun cocktails with names like Limp Biscus and the Rum DMC. 

I have to mention, the restaurant doesn't have A/C so it was really warm in there - but they have fans going and I promise it's worth it! A group of girls walked in as we were eating and immediately left because they said it was too hot - they don't know what they missed!  Just cool off with more Sangria, eh?! Especially in April, Bali is very hot with high humidity so I lived in lightweight clothing while we were there. I love airy jumpsuits and rompers for warm weather - plus they aren't constrictive so you can eat more... :) My favorite one I'm wearing during our dinner is BCBG from a few years ago, but I linked a similar one below!

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With quirky artwork all of the walls and a mix of great records on rotation playing in the background this place screams character and above all, they crank out DELICIOUS food!

What we had:
- Blue cheese mushroom bruschetta - one of the best starters I've had, EVER. 
- Seaweed tempura crisps with salsa
- Grilled chorizo
- Risotto de Tokio- Mushroom risotto with more truffle oil. YESSS
- And the dish of all dishes, the LARAMONA Platter. A glorious spread of miso hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, roasted garlic,  olives &  feta, and so many other yummy things all slopped up with fried bread. 

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Hats off to these guys!! I hope you go see them if you're ever in Ubud!

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Open-Faced Shrimp Sandwiches

On one of our very first dates Thomas took the top piece of bread off of his sandwich and I thought it was a little weird. Who is this guy who eats his sandwich that way?! :)  Being from the South I suppose, I had never been exposed to the idea of an open-faced sandwich. Sure, I've had slices of baguette or crostini's with toppings as appetizers, but I had never willingly left off that extra piece of carby deliciousness. However, now it's my preferred way of sandwich eating because A) it looks cuter  B) I can pile on even more yummy toppings and C) if I only eat one piece of bread with each sandwich that means I can just eat sandwiches more often right?!

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When I first went to Norway with Thomas, we took a weekend trip to Copenhagen and tried delicious Smørrebrød at Aamanns and I quickly joined the open-faced sandwich train. (Also, this is so creepy, as I was writing this Phil In Somebody Feed Phil walked into Aamanns in the episode we're watching! How random is that?!) Anywho, once we returned to Norway from Copenhagan, Thomas' family made delicious shrimp sandwich's and there was no turning back! The shrimp have the heads on and they are the sweetest shrimp I have ever eaten! Don't get grossed out k, but the ONLY way to eat these shrimp is to tear the head off and suck the salty delicious juice out. You won't be allowed to sit at our table unless you eat them this way... ;) 

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Since we can't find shrimp like this easily at our local grocery stores, we use the little guys below and they are good as well! In Norway these beauties normally consist of a white piece of bread, a generous pile of shrimp, a hearty squeeze of Mills Majones (why isn't all mayo in squeeze tubes), a drizzle of lemon juice, with a sprinkle of fresh dill on top.

For one of our favorite Sunday lunches to date, we used Ken's Artisan Bakery country blonde bread, made a garlicky aioli, and added lettuce and radishes! This is such a great lunch to make on a summer day with a ice cold glass of white wine. Perfection.

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Open-Faced Shrimp Sandwiches

ingredients 

Sandwich
- Fresh peel and eat shrimp, or whichever kind of shrimp you prefer. 
- sliced crusty white bread
- thinly sliced radishes
- butter lettuce
- Lemon wedges
- Fresh dill

Aioli
 - 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- ¼ teaspoon (or more) coarse kosher salt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

What to do

  1. To make Aioli - Mash garlic and ¼ tsp. salt in a small bowl until a paste forms. Whisk in mayonnaise, oil, and lemon juice. Season with additional salt if needed. 
  2. Layer a slice of bread with a smear of aioli, then lettuce, a generous pile of shrimp, a squeeze of lemon juice, and top with sliced radish and fresh dill. 

And of course, give yourself a full glass of white wine to wash it all down! :) 

Enjoy!

Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

The annual tart has arrived!! I love that it's become a tradition of ours to make a strawberry tart around this time every year. The first one wasn't so pretty, but it kick-started the tradition. Then last year we made these strawberry panna cotta tarts which had remained one of my favorite treats to this day - BUT today's recipe really takes the "tart"... Badum-tishh. 

Berry tart with lemon mascarpone cream. Let me try that again, Oregon strawberry and marionberry tart with airy lemon curd mascarpone cream. I mean how much more dreamy could it get?! First off, have you ever made lemon curd? At first I thought that it was a waste of time and how good could it really be,  I WAS SO WRONG. It is SO worth the extra steps and it's pure lemony bliss. I'm going to start putting it on everything - seriously. I want to make crepes and pancakes just so I can coat them in lemon curd. Secondly, how have I never put mascarpone and whipped cream together before?! Brilliant! And lastly, and most importantly, is the berries. Oregon berries are in a caliber of their own. They are so sweet and delicious that I struggle getting a carton full because I eat every other one that I pick. It's one of my favorite day dates of the year when Thomas and I go to pick berries - it's almost as fun as our apple picking adventures in the fall.

To save time, you could always buy lemon curd at the grocery store and pre-made crust. However, this homemade lemon curd and this sugar cookie like tart crust in this recipe gives it some extra pizzazz. I hope this little tart of mine makes it to some of your 4th of July festivities!! 

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Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients

Crust
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
¾ cup whipping cream
- 1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 1 heaping tablespoon powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup lemon curd, store bought, or I used this recipe
- mixed berries for topping
- lemon zest and powdered sugar for garnish

What to do

  1. To prepare the crust, whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, using a standing mixer or electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed until just incorporated, being careful to not over mix. Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9 inch tart pan. I also have mini tart pans I use often! 
  3. Once the dough has chilled, press the dough into the tart pan and up the sides. Use a knife to score the edges and make them even at the top. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to lightly brown. If it has puffed up a little during baking, just gently press it down when you remove from oven. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Next if you're making the lemon curd, make it while the crust is baking that way it has time to cool. 
  5. Then to make the filling, whip the cream on high with a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Add the softened mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar and beat to mix well. Fold in the lemon curd with a wooden spoon.
  6. Fill crust with filling, top with berries, a little lemon zest, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar

Enjoy!

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

Meatballs. Lamb meatballs to be exact and they are magical-spherical-bombs of greatness and are what date night dreams are made of. I've said this many times before, but what I look forward to most when Friday or Saturday night rolls around is hanging with Thomas in the kitchen, cooking a delicious meal, popping open a bottle of Trader Joes' finest, or two to be exact, and spending a date night "in". Just the two of us.

To be honest, some of those Friday "date nights" turn into us eating dinner on the couch and me falling asleep at 9:30 right as we are starting to watch a movie. I know, I HATE when someone falls asleep during a movie that I am excited to watch yet I am the biggest culprit of it. But other date nights, like this past weekend when we whipped up these meatballs, we spent the night talking until the wee hours of the morning - laughing, reminiscing, and spending quality time together being totally disconnected. 

Maybe we were so utterly blissful because we had just eaten the most incredible lamb meatballs of our lives. To be honest, I'm not a huge meatball fan usually. They are good -  but I would rather have a hearty bolognese sauce instead. But lamb meatballs? That's a different story. The combination of the spicy lamb, cool greek yogurt, spattered with a sweet mint raisin pesto is beyond words. This meal is so easy to put together, looks fancy enough for date night, and will no-doubt have you going back for seconds. I have been wanting to make these from bon appétit since the recipe was published in December, so I can't believe we just got around to making them. This recipe should 100% be on your menu for this weekend!

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Spicy Lamb Meatballs with mint raisin pesto

Ingredients 

- 1 large egg
- ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, plus 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
- 2 Tbsp. plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 2 garlic cloves, divided
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 2 cups mint leaves
- 3 Tbsp. golden raisins
- Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (for serving)

what to do 

  1. Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Combine egg, panko, cumin, red pepper flakes, turmeric, finely chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Finely grate 1 garlic clove into bowl. Add lamb and mix with your hands until evenly distributed. 
  2. Gently roll lamb mixture into 1½"-diameter balls (about the size of a golf ball; you should have about 20). Place on a rimmed baking sheet, spacing evenly apart. Bake meatballs until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, purée mint, raisins, parsley leaves with tender stems, remaining garlic clove, remaining ½ cup oil, and a big pinch of salt in a blender until smooth. Taste pesto; season with more salt if needed.
  4. Spread yogurt over plates and divide pesto and meatballs on top.
  5. Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Meatballs can be formed 2 months ahead; freeze on baking sheet until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen.

Strawberry Basil Moscow Mules

How is it Friday already?! I'm not complaining by any means, but the weeks have been going by lightening fast. I am sorry I have been slightly neglectful on here lately - but I am determined to stop being a lazy ass and start posting for you guys again at least 4-5 times a week! I am finishing You are a Badass and I am so inspired to stop wasting my time and start pursuing this little blog of mine at full speed ahead! You heard it here...no slacking from me now! 🙃 

Anywho- IT'S FRIDAY AND I'M SO EXCITED. Sleeping in on Saturday morning has never sounded so good as it does right now. This weekend we are going to be low-key since we are both going to bachelor/bachelorette parties next weekend! Two of our closest friends are getting married and next Thursday all us girls are headed to Austin for the bachelorette and the boys are heading to Lake Billychinook for the bachelor party on a house boat! Should be a very eventful weekend to say the least. 

Being in weekend mode, I wanted to share one of my favorite cocktails! A Moscow mule recipe is one that I love pulling out whether it's a relaxed night at home with Thomas or if I'm hanging with the girls - like next weekend in Austin! They are quick to make, easy to drink, and you can change out the fruit with the seasons! Since strawberry season is in full-swing right now, I wanted to combine their luscious sweetness with one of my favorite herbs - basil. The two together is so delicious, and combining those flavors with Fever-Tree's Ginger Beer makes it even more of a winner. Fever Tree is my absolute favorite since it's not too sweet and has the most incredible ginger flavor!

I hope you all have a great weekend! Take a breather, relax, soak up some vitamin D, and make a Moscow mule for good measure! 😀

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Strawberry Basil Moscow Mule

Ingredients per drink

- 3-4 medium ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered (plus extra for garnish)
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
- 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, agave, or honey if you want it slightly sweeter
- 2-3 ounces of Vodka
- juice from 1 lime
- crushed ice
- 2-3 ounce chilled ginger beer

what to do

  1. Place strawberries, basil, lime juice, and sugar (if using) in copper mug and muddle by using a muddler or the bottom of a wooden spoon to smash the berries and basil together for 1- 2 minutes, until juices are fully released and you have a good mash. Pour in vodka. 
  2. Stir and then fill mug about 3/4 of the way full with crushed ice and top off with chilled ginger beer.  Stir again with a spoon and garnish with a fresh strawberry and basil leaf. Enjoy!

Weekly Crumbs Vol. 3

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Normally this post is usually light-hearted, but this past week has been particularly somber with the deaths of two people I have idolized in my adulthood. From Kate Spade's evolutionary groundbreaking career to Anthony's ability to transcend and captivate an audience to follow his travels around the world, but of them are inspirations to me in more ways than one. From the outside, they both had made their dreams come true and were living these incredible lives, but in reality you never know what people are going through and the struggles they are facing.

The way I try to live my life and the way I hope that you live yours is to always be kind, be open to the world, and remember how much power you have to make a difference in someone's life however big or small. 

"As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt." - Anthony

Fall off the bone Korean Spareribs with Kimchi Coleslaw

Grill season is here!! Summertime is the best when the sun is out until late into the evening, you're hanging out with friends in the backyard, and you're cooking up a storm on the grill with a drink in hand! 

Sadly in our current apartment we don't have a space to keep our own grill, so we often go over to friends houses to grill out. However the good news is that you don't have to have a grill to make amazing ribs - which is one of our favorite things to make in the summer! The way my mom has always done ribs is to slowly bake them in the oven until they are falling off the bone, and that's how I make my ribs! 

Over the last year or so I have been introduced to different Korean ingredients and I am obsessed with the flavors! For these Korean spareribs the base of the bbq sauce is Gochujang - a Korean chili paste which is one of the backbone ingredients to Korean cooking. And then there's Kimchi! The bubbly fizzy fermented wonderment is horrendous to some people, but I can't get enough of it! Kimchi essentially means "salted vegetables" and you can pretty much 'Kimchi' anything, however the traditional and most common Kimchi is made out of napa cabbage and typically seasoned with a coarsely ground red pepper known as gochugaru, plus garlic, ginger, and some kind of fermented or fresh seafood. I buy the Seoul Kimchi from our local Fred Meyer and it's the absolute best. The kimchi dressing I made for this slaw is a perfect companion to these melt in your mouth Korean spareribs! I adapted these recipes from bon appétit's grilling issue! Definitely give them a try!

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Fall-off the Bone Korean Spareibs with Kimchi slaw

ingredients

Ribs
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp. gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) 
- 1 can of chipotle chiles in adobo (less if you don't want as much heat) 
- rack of pork spareribs (about 4 lb.)

Spicy Kimchi Slaw
8 scallions
- 1/2 cup kimchi, plus 1 tbsp. juice from jar
- 2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Sriracha
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 small head of napa cabbage
- 1 6" piece daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 2 cups store bought shredded carrots
- salt for seasoning
- toasted sesame seeds and cilantro for serving

What to do

  1. Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Whisk vinegar, brown sugar, gochujang, and adobo in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved. Transfer half of sauce to a small bowl and set aside for serving.

  2. Season ribs all over with salt and pepper. Place rack on a double layer of foil and wrap up. Set on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until very tender but not falling apart, 2½–3 hours. The last 30 minutes of cooking remove top foil, baste generously with bbq sauce and let continue baking. Remove from oven, baste with more sauce and serve extra gochujang bbq sauce for serving. 

  3. The last 30 minutes of the ribs cooking, make your Spicy Kimchi Slaw. Remove dark green tops from scallions and thinly slice; set aside. Blend scallion bulbs, kimchi, kimchi juice, vinegar, Sriracha, fish sauce, and sesame oil in a blender until smooth. With motor running, very slowly stream in vegetable oil; blend until dressing is thick and airy. Set aside.

  4. Tear off leaves from cabbage until you get down to the crunchy white part. Rip outer leaves into 2" pieces. Thinly slice core crosswise until you have about 6 cups; reserve remaining cabbage for another use. Toss in a large bowl with daikon, carrots, and reserved scallion tops. Season with salt; pour reserved dressing over. Toss to coat, transfer to a platter, and top with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Travel Guide to Nusa Islands: Lembongan, Ceningan, Penida

When we began planning for our honeymoon, Thomas had first said that we should stay in one place the whole two weeks. Although it sounds nice to not move around much and be able to fully enjoy our stay, I knew we would become restless in only one place. So I suggested that we stay in three different spots in Bali and I am so happy we did! We loved being able to check out different areas in Indonesia, and trust me, staying 5 days in each place is plenty if you're planning a two week honeymoon! If you didn't check out our first stop in Bali, you can read our travel guide to Seminyak here

Our second stop on our honeymoon was Nusa Lembongan - A quaint little surfer's paradise off the coast of the main island of Bali. After our amazing, yet busy, stay in Seminyak we knew we wanted a more mellow vibe. We stayed in Nusa Lembongan all 5 days of our stay, and took day trips to Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. 

To get to Lembongan from the main island, we booked a Rocky Fast Cruise boat from Sanur. The boats run in intervals throughout the day and it takes around 30 minutes to get to Lembongan. The ticket costs around $35 per person round-trip!

Continue reading for where to stay, what to do , and where to eat in the Nusa Islands!


Where to Stay

We used Airbnb for our stay in Nusa Lembongan! As you can see below, it's hard to go wrong with a beautiful view like that! We went with a private villa with a huge infinity pool looking out at the ocean. It would have been such a wonderful villa, however there was construction going on next door and the jackhammering was so loud that we had to switch to a new villa after staying there only one night. Luckily the property management company we had booked through made arrangements for us. The 2nd villa had an even more incredible sunset view plus an air conditioned bedroom, which the first one didn't so that was an added bonus!

Some things to note on accommodation in Bali - 
- You can get a homestay for as little as $10 a night and splurge up into the thousands per night. Bali is extremely affordable if you want it to be. Being that it was our honeymoon, we did splurge a little and each place we stayed in was around $200 a night. However $200 a night gets you a private villa and infinity pool, staff that helps you with transportation, cleans and makes your bed daily, and makes you a delicious breakfast every morning! 
-A lot of times in open air villas there could be mosquitos. Most places will come in and spray for you daily, but if not, make sure you use the mosquito nets over your bed and keep mosquito repellant handy.

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What to Do in Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida 

 

We booked a motorbike for $5 dollars a day when we were in Lembongan which made It so easy to explore the island. We did day trips to Ceningan which is the smaller island in between Lembongan and Penida, which is easily accessible by motorbike and crossing the Yellow Bridge. To get to Penida, you take a 10 minute boat ride from the Yellow Bridge for around $10 a person and can rent a motorbike when you land on Penida island. 

Lembongan

  1.  Devil's Tears - This was one of the coolest things to see! The water gets sucked into the rocky cliff before exploding back out - aka Devil's tears. The spray of water also creates a beautiful rainbow a lot of times! 
  2. Dream Beach - A beautiful white sand beach we came across. Unfortunately the current had brought a lot of trash from surrounding areas which is so sad, but other than that it was a beautiful beach. 
  3. Sandy Bay Beach - Our 2nd villa we stayed at was on Sandy Bay Beach! Very quiet and not a lot of people. You can hang out at the pool at Sandy Bay Beach Club and have access to food and drinks all day.
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Ceningan

Ceningan was my favorite little island and the smallest of the three! It's great to take the yellow bridge over for the day and explore! I loved seeing the seaweed farms among the crystal blue water, and the cute boats floating along the shore.

  1. Blue Lagoon - This spot was on my bucket list! The lagoon is a rocky cliff surrounded by the most beautiful turquoise blue water. 
  2. Mahana Point Cliff Jump - We stumbled upon this gem right after leaving the blue lagoon and I'm so happy we did! We jumped off a 10m diving board into crystal blue water. To be honest it was a little scary because you have to swim around the side of the cliff to get to the ladder, but it's perfectly safe. See the video of us jumping below! 
  3. Secret Beach - This is a picturesque beach we relaxed on for several hours after our cliff jumping adventure. There's a little bar/restaurant nearby if you want a cold beer or snack!
                                                                  

                                                                

                                                                       

                                                                     

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Penida

  1. Be warned - Penida is awesome however it is a really large island and the least populated and the roads are really bad and bumpy. If you're riding a motorbike, then be prepared to be riding for a couple hours visiting all the sites and for a super sore ass the next day lol. 
  2. Kelingking 'T-Rex'  was the main thing I wanted to see on our day trip to Penida and was well worth the trek! Try and get there as early as possible, as this has become a very popular tourist spot and it really started getting crowded as we were leaving around 11 o'clock
  3. Monkey watching - Our first monkey sightings on the trip were at Kelingking and it was so cool! 
  4. Angel's Billabong - We didn't take much pictures here because by the time we got there it was so incredibly crowded. It's an incredible crystal clear tide pool in between two cliffs that leads into the ocean. 
  5. Marvel at the incredible Temples - Take some time to walk among the beautiful temples scattered among all of the islands. The architecture is amazing!
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Where to Eat

Everywhere we ate was on Lembongan since we wanted to stay close to our villa! A majority of the restaurants provide a free shuttle for transportation, which we used since we would have a couple of drinks at dinner and didn't want to drive the motorbike. Unlike the main island of Bali, the Nusa islands don't have as many great restaurants, however we found a few gems that we really enjoyed! Here are our recommendations: 

  1. Tropical Juice Corner - Right by our villa was a cute smoothie bowl stand called Tropical Juice Corner. The owner was such a nice man! We drank delicious fresh juices, milkshakes out of fresh coconut, and delicious smoothie bowls
  2. Tropical Burger - If you're feeling a burger then this is the spot to go on the island! Thomas got a classic and I got one topped with pulled pork, both were good yet expensive for Bali standards. 
  3. Bali Eco Deli - If you're looking for a chill place to read or do some work, eat a delicious healthy meal, and sip on some amazing fresh juices than this is your spot! I loved the vibe of this place - You leave your shoes off on the outside of the restaurant! We got a really good chicken pad Thai and green curry dish and two different juices to try.
  4. Pa Pa Tarros - This was our favorite! It was a little Thai place right on the side of the road near our villa. The food was incredible and the cheapest meal we had our entire honeymoon. It was around $14 dollars for a glass of wine, a beer, appetizers, and two huge entrees! The crack and slurp chicken noodles are incredible
  5. The Sandy Bay Beach Club - This restaurant and bar has the most incredible view of the ocean and sunset. It is pretty pricey and the food is mediocre at best, but definitely come here for a drink at sunset. The margarita's were really good! 
  6. Oishii - On our last night we went to Oishii for sushi! Very reasonably priced and the rolls were great! The Balinese family that runs the place is so kind and they are really working hard to make it a success which makes it even better to eat somewhere like that!

I can't wait for us to go back someday! Please comment below if you want any additional recommendations or questions when planning your trip!

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Norwegian Gas-Station Bratwurst

I'm very much a fall/winter gal. I'm a sucker for big sweaters and cozy scarves. I love curling up with hot chocolate or a belly-warming Old Fashioned, cooking up a pot of stew on a cold night and settling in for a movie or good book - That is my happy place. But that is a fairly recent development since moving to Portland where it's generally chilly 8 or 9 months out of the year. My OG happy place and when I feel most at "home" is when the sun is beating down, the smell of sunscreen and BBQ in the air, and there's an ocean or lake somewhere near by with preferably a boat ready to go for a spin. One of the biggest things I miss about living in Florida is being able to strike up the grill on any given day and have friends and family over for a BBQ and "lake day". 

That's why I am SO excited for Memorial Weekend kicking off on Friday! Thomas and I are heading down to Central Oregon to Lake Billy Chinook with four other couples for a fun-filled weekend of camping, boating, cooking over campfires, drinking good ol' Coors Light and Jack Daniels out of red solo cups, and undoubtedly lots of laughs and great memories.  We did the same thing last year with the same group and I'm so happy it's becoming a tradition! 

Since hotdogs and brats are definitely on most people's menu's for Memorial Weekend, I wanted to share one of my favorite ways to eat a hotdog now - Norwegian style! In Norway it's called "pølse i lompe" which you can get EVERYWHERE! My favorite is in the Norwegian gas stations - not kidding! The hotdogs are served in a flat potato bread (lompe) and you can eat it plain or top it with potato salad (yum), or shrimp salad (gross), and lots of yummy condiments like crunchy fried onions! Ever since Thomas introduced me to this, my favorite combo is with potato salad, crunchy onions, and sweet mustard. SO GOOD. We even served this at our wedding for our late night snack!! 

I somewhat "Americanized" this beloved Norwegian junk-food by using Bratwurst (which I guess is actually German?) and hoagie rolls! I love the combination of the hot brat right off the grill with the cold potato salad, sweet/tangy mustard, and the texture of the fried onions. Give it a try, you won't regret it! I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend and stay safe!

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Norwegian Gas-Station Bratwurst

Ingredients
- Bratwurst or hotdogs
- Hoagie rolls, Hawaiian hotdog buns, or Norwegian Lompe if you want the traditional way! 
- Crispy fried onions (such as French's
- Potato salad (homemade like this recipe from the Kitchn, or store bought is usually good from the deli section!). 
- Dijon mustard or stone-ground mustard
- honey

What to do 

  1. First things first, grill your brats. I use Char-broil's method! They should be grilled slowly over medium-low heat (between 300 and 350°F) for the best results. It should take about 20 minutes to hit your desired internal temperature of 160°F. That should take about 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the brats. Remember to turn them often so each side gets caramelized. Trying to rush the process by using high heat is a cardinal sin in the bratwurst world. Too much heat is going to char the outside and cause the casing to split open, which will allow the juices to spill out.
  2. Once your brats are off the grill, lightly toast your buns. You don't want them to crunchy, just get them warm and slightly golden . 
  3. Next assemble! Top your bratwurst with potato salad, crispy onions, and sweet mustard. 

Enjoy!

Spring Veggie Mini Quiches

Happy almost momma's day to all the wonderful momma's out there! Sadly, I won't be with my mom this year since we took off so much time for the wedding, but if I were home I would definitely treat her with these spring veggie mini quiches for brunch! For starters, how freaking cute are they?! Everything tastes better when it's mini in my opinion. These guys are loaded with all kinds of spring veggies. Walking around Portland I have been so inspired lately -The farmer's markets are bursting with beautiful fruits and veggies and everything is so vibrant right now. I wanted peas, scallions, spring mushrooms, radish's and fresh herbs to be the highlight of these. What better vessel for all of this spring egg-y deliciousness than a flaky buttery crust! These are super easy to make, especially if you use store bought pie dough, and you can even make them ahead of time to make preparing brunch a breeze. And of course, don't forget the mimosa's! All the mom's out there deserve a little R&R 🥂 

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Spring Veggie Mini Quiches

Ingredients

- 6 mini pie pans (or tartlet pans, but you might have some extra egg mixture leftover)
- 1 (14.1 ounce) package of refrigerated pie dough (we use Trader Joe's!) 
- 1 bunch of scallions chopped, reserving some of the green tops for garnish
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 8 oz of mushrooms (any variation you prefer!) 
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk or half and half
- Garnishes: Fresh parsley, chopped scallion tops, thinly sliced radishes, and snap peas (quickly blanched and sliced exposing the inner peas)  

what to do

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. First rub a little butter on each pie or tart pan that you're using. Then, rolling our your thawed pie crust, lay your pie pan or tart form down and cut around it leaving a little extra room. Flip over and press the dough evenly around the pan, and crimping along the sides as you go. 

  3. Place all of the quiche crusts on a large baking sheet and bake the crust in the preheated oven until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes or so and then remove them from the oven. The tops will continue baking after you pour the eggs in, so don't let them get too dark! 

  4. Heat a skillet over medium- high heat until hot before adding in mushrooms. Let them cook down until seared and brown all over before seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove mushrooms from the pan onto a plate. In the same skillet sauté the scallions in a tablespoon of olive oil for a minute over medium heat before adding 2 cloves of minced garlic. Remove from heat. 

  5. Whisk all 6 eggs and milk in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper before gently mixing in the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Turn down oven to 350 degrees. Pour egg mixture into pre-baked quiche crusts and continue baking until egg mixture is set, about 10-15 minutes. 

  6. While the mini-quiches are baking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Quickly blanch the snap peas for 1-minute and then move them into a bowl of ice water. Gently halve the peas with a paring knife once they are cool to expose the inner peas. Drizzle them with a little olive oil. 

  7. Remove the quiches from the oven and garnish with fresh parsley, green scallion tops, thinly sliced radishes, and the halved snap peas. 

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Seminyak Travel Guide

I don't know about you, but one thing that I love almost as much as food is traveling. So imagine getting to eat your way through a new country and experiencing a whole new culture with the person you love the most?! BEST. THING. EVER. 

We returned to Portland a few weeks ago after our two week honeymoon in Bali and I am in total bliss. This was my first time going to Indonesia, and to an Asian country in general, and it's everything I hoped it would be and more. Our first stop on our Indonesian adventure was Seminyak. On the west coast of Bali, Seminyak is all about fun in the sun – and delicious food of course. I'm sure my happiness arriving in Seminyak was largely due to being in newlywed bliss, but I LOVED everything about the city from the beginning. The hustle and bustle of the motor bikes zooming by, the smell of satay cooking on a coconut husk coal bbq, being greeted with kindness everywhere we went by the Balinese, and retreating to our incredible villa after a long day of exploring. If this place wasn't on your radar, it should definitely be now. Read on for  my guide to this incredible town! 


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where to stay

We loved our stay at The One Boutique Villa. Everything about it was simply perfect. From the moment we walked down a lush green path to our own private villa complete with a huge swimming pool - I was smitten. The mornings were bliss sitting in the outdoor seating and kitchen area listening to the birds chirp while sipping our coffee. The staff cooked an incredible complimentary breakfast every morning, both Indonesian and western fare, accompanied by fresh tropical juices. It was definitely very hot and humid when we were there, so after a long day of exploring out and about it was so nice to dive into the pool or cool off in the air-conditioned bedroom. And don't even get me started on the bathroom! Right outside our bedroom you walked out into this little tropical oasis where we had a huge tub and outdoor shower. I want an outdoor bathroom in our house someday after experiencing that! And the cherry on the cake was that all of the staff at the villa were some of the nicest people we've ever met! We told them we can't wait to come back on our 10-year wedding anniversary :) 
I would definitely suggest The One, but we saw many other beautiful villa's on tripadvisor and Airbnb. Just make sure you read the reviews first! 

         complimentary breakfast at our villa

       complimentary breakfast at our villa

     so in love with the outdoor bathroom and tub

   so in love with the outdoor bathroom and tub


Where to eat & drink

Okay, so you had to know we were going to stake out the best spots in Bali didntcha? There are SO many great spots to try, but here are our highlights and recommendations! 

Cafe Organic - This a very popular and trendy spot in Seminyak -I normally like to find the hidden gems, but Cafe Organic is still a a great spot to grab a really fresh breakfast or lunch and a cup of coffee. I loved the herby feta toast!

Bo & Bun - Our first night in Seminyak we went to Bo & Bun - a Vietnamese spot with a fun and buzzy atmosphere. We tossed back $2 Bintang's and lychee martinis and chowed down on sticky pork ribs, Vietnamese salad topped with crispy pork belly bites, and our first bowl of 'crack & slurp' noodles which were literally crack. Recipe recreation coming soon!

Shelter Cafe/Nalu Bowls - This was our favorite spot in Seminyak! We originally went to try the Nalu smoothie bowls, but then we discovered that Shelter Cafe was a cozy restaurant perched on top of Nalu, so we got smoothie bowls AND great food. YOU MUST get the "shades of shelter" platter to share. It's a harmonious assortment of hummus, dips, whips, and other yummies to snack on. We also got the "big burger" and a smoothie bowl to share. You can't go wrong with anything here - and all of the plants and decor are the best. 

Ling Ling's - LL's is kind of a quirky asian fusion spot but I enjoyed it! It's a fun place to grab happy hour and sit at their patio out back. The Korean bulgogi tacos are delish and I was a fan of the chicken Bahn mi sandwich, Thomas not so much. By the time we got to Ling Ling's on this particular day, we had been motorbiking in the sun for so long that I practically held the Bintang to my forehead before guzzling it and I think anything would have tasted good - but Ling Ling's still makes the list regardless!

Warung Eny's - If you're looking for authentic Indonesian food then this is your spot. From inside the restaurant you can see the open kitchen with all of the fresh vegetables piled high, and you can watch the Eny family prepare your meal in front of you. We got the whole red snapper that is grilled on the coconut husk bbq, giant grilled prawns, Tum Ball which is spiced pork steamed in banana leaves, and Nasi Campur which is a bunch of small dishes served with rice on a platter. 

Potato Head Beach Club - If you want to splurge a little and have some fun in the sun on the beach then Potato Head is your place. The beach front spot was walking distance from our villa, so before we could check in on our first day we lounged on day beds soaking up the sun sipping spicy mango cocktails. The perfect start to our honeymoon. I loved the fresh ceviche, lobster roll, and romaine salad. 

Bambu - Authentic Indonesian food with a gourmet twist! If you're wanting a romantic restaurant in a fine dining setting then I would go to Bambu! I loved the outdoor setting, and when you walk through the entrance you have to walk across floating steps across a beautiful pond littered with candles. We had the huge tiger prawns, crispy soft shell crab, lamb curry, and seafood noodle soup. 

                                                               Breakfast at Cafe Organic

                                                             Breakfast at Cafe Organic

  Bo & Bun - The dish closest in this picture is      'Crack & Slurp' noodles. SO GOOD .

Bo & Bun - The dish closest in this picture is      'Crack & Slurp' noodles. SO GOOD.

            Whole red snapper at Warung Eny's

          Whole red snapper at Warung Eny's

                                                       'Shades of Shelter' Platter at Shelter Cafe

                                                     'Shades of Shelter' Platter at Shelter Cafe

             Seafood noodle soup at Bambu

           Seafood noodle soup at Bambu

   The family cooking us dinner at Warung Eny's

 The family cooking us dinner at Warung Eny's

                                                              Happy hour and Ling Ling's

                                                            Happy hour and Ling Ling's

          Ceviche, lobster roll, and Caesar salad with fried anchovies at Potato Head Beach Club

        Ceviche, lobster roll, and Caesar salad with fried anchovies at Potato Head Beach Club


What to Do in Seminyak

 First things first, rent a motorbike!

It costs less that $5 dollars a day to rent a motorbike in Bali. I was a little confused with the conversion from rupiah's to dollars at first, but 100,000 rupiah's is roughly $7 dollars, so that's a good way to quickly calculate in your head. Driving a motorbike is pretty hectic in the city because there's so many people on bikes AND you're driving on the opposite side of the road.  Because we wanted to easily get around and take multiple day trips, a motorbike was a good fit for us, but taxi's are a great option as well. If you go the taxi route use Blue Bird. They have a meter and they won't try and scam you. 

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Take day trips 

I loved taking off on our bike and not really knowing what we would discover. We spent one day driving through rice fields, down alley ways, and winding through the roads surrounding Seminyak. We hung out in Canggu, which is a small village about 20 minutes north of Seminyak where we stumbled across the cutest cafes and shops. We popped into Sunny Cafe, a cozy spot with a vintage feel. I loved the vintage balinese pictures hanging on the wall and the record player playing classic tunes. 

My favorite day trip was when we drove over an hour on our bike to Jimbaran and found a secret beach where we soaked up the sun and swam in crystal blue water.  

                       cute street in Canggu

                     cute street in Canggu

                                   Sunny Cafe

                                 Sunny Cafe

                                                                 beautiful beach in Jimbaran

                                                               beautiful beach in Jimbaran

          lookout point at Balangan Beach

        lookout point at Balangan Beach

                              Balangan Beach

                            Balangan Beach

Nourish your body

On every corner in Bali, there's a spot to grab an incredible smoothie bowl, fresh pressed juice or freshly cracked coconut to drink. It's good to indulge on vacation, but in Bali I felt perfectly balanced because of all the healthy fruits and veggies. 

                                                        

                                                      

  Fresh beet and green goddess mocktails at Potato Head Beach Club

Fresh beet and green goddess mocktails at Potato Head Beach Club

                 young coconut at Shelter Cafe

               young coconut at Shelter Cafe

Go shopping! 

If you love finding a good bargain that you're going to love Bali. You can definitely negotiate a good deal with the vendors and boutique owners. They are always going to shoot high, so don't say yes at the first price! We got these incredible set of three handmade wooden bowls, a ceramic coffee serving set and multiple other things for our kitchen. I love buying things like that when we're traveling because now every time we use it we'll remember our trip! 

Eat local food

My favorite thing about traveling to a new place is trying the local cuisine. Yes, Bali has amazing cafes and western fare, but it's way more fun to try a dish that you have no idea what it's going to taste like! Try the nasi goreng or mei goreng which is fried rice or noodles, babi guling which is slow roasted pig, or nasi campur which is an assortment of small dishes surrounding rice. 

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Most importantly, enjoy yourself!

Seminyak is an incredible city. I am so happy we chose it as our first stop on our honeymoon and we will most definitely return someday. Please write a comment if there's anything else you're curious about when staying in Seminyak and I would be happy to help! I can't wait to share our next stops, the Nusa islands and Ubud with you! 


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