Roasted Autumn Salad

HAPPY HUMP DAYYY! 

We're halfway there, don't give up on me yet! Does anyone else have any fun weekend plans coming up? We are heading up to Bend on Friday to have a cabin weekend with friends - SO EXCITED! Cozying up in the cutest cabin, cooking good food, drinking copious amounts of Shipyard Pumpkin Ale, roasting marshmallows by the fire, and hanging with great friends sounds like a perfect weekend to me. Plus! It's Friday the 13th in October...spoooky. 

If you're like us and going to be fueling your bodies with pumpkin beers and s'mores this weekend, then you probably will need a healthy, nutrient packed meal for tonight! Thomas and I have made this roasted autumn salad three weeks in a row now.

It's shockingly good for how simple it is. Roasted beets, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, onion, candied pecans, goat cheese, and a honey mustard dressing married together in perfect autumn matrimony. Are you picking up what I'm putting down here?

It's a lot of chop chop chopping, but once you pop it in the oven, you can go on your merry way and do whatever else you need to do while it's cooking. Prepare for roasted-smelly-goodness! 

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Autumn Roasted Salad 

Ingredients: 
- 2 sweet potatoes, diced into cubes
- 3 medium sized beets, peeled and diced into cubes
- 16 oz of Brussel sprouts, sliced in half
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 5 oz of candied pecans, 
- crumbled goat cheese
- olive oil for roasting
- salt & pepper for taste

Dressing
- mix equal parts of: 
dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, and honey. 
We usually only make a little of this, I would say 3 tablespoons of each, but if you want a jar to keep in your fridge, I would mix 1/3 cup dijon, 1/3 cup whole grain mustard, and 1/3 cup honey. 

What to do: 
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2) Spread the diced sweet potato, beets, brussels, and onions on baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until veggies are browned, stirring occasionally, about 25-30 minutes. 
3) Once the veggies are done, put into bowls and top with pecans, crumbled goat cheese, and drizzle with honey mustard. 

Roasted Zucchini Quinoa Burgers with Radicchio Slaw

It's Friday and I am dang happy about it. You in the same boat? Let's not kid ourselves, I'm ALWAYS excited about Friday's but this one seems particularly glorious. I feel like my days lately have been going by at the speed of light and I'm running a million miles a minute! It's great to be busy, but by the time the weekend rolls around I feel like Megan in the couch scene in Bridesmaids - which if you haven't seen put that on your to-do list for the weekend. 

Thomas and I look forward to what we're going to make every Friday and burgers are usually high-up on the list. I would usually be referring to  juicy, grease-dribbling-down-your-chin meaty kind of burgers - but not lately folks. While those hold a special spot in my heart, lately we've been trying veggie burgers. WAIT. Don't leave yet! I know that may not sound exciting for a Friday night meal, but I can assure you that these will make your meat loving souls feel a pitter patter. 

The roasted zucchini and quinoa patties that are crisp on the outside and delectably silky on the inside, combined with a tangy mustard sauce, radicchio slaw, and avocado piled high on a toasty bun. Burger bliss at it's finest. 

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Roasted Zucchini Quinoa Burgers with Radicchio Slaw


Ingredients: 
- 6 inch medium zucchini cut into chunks
- 3 cloves garlic, left whole
 - olive oil for drizzling
- kosher salt + pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (if you don't like anything smoky, add regular paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less depending on how spicy you want it
- 2 cups of cooked quinoa
- 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- 4 hamburger buns toasted

Radicchio Slaw
- 1 small head of radicchio, sliced into strips
- 1/2 tablespoon mayo
- 1/2 tablespoon sour cream
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 garlic clove minced
- salt to taste

Tangy mustard sauce
- 1/4 cup cup of yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup of grainy dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- salt to taste


What to do: 
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2) On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss together the zucchini and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, salt + pepper and toss well to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is softened and golden, making sure most of the moisture has been cooked out of the squash. Turn the squash around halfway throughout cooking.

3) Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool. Add the roasted squash and garlic along with the paprika, cayenne, quinoa, and panko and pulse to combine the mixture. 

4) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the zucchini mixture into 8-10 even size patties. The mixture will be sticky, but do your best to form the patties. Once all the patties have been formed, place them in the fridge to chill, at least one hour or up to 1 day.

5) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Once hot, add 2-3 patties at a time and cook until lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes, flip and cook another 5-8 minutes or until firm. Repeat wit the remaining patties. The burgers are delicate to be careful when you're flipping

6) Whisk together all the ingredients for the radicchio slaw, and gently combine with the sliced radicchio. 

7) Make the tangy mustard sauce by combining all the ingredients. 

7) to assemble the burgers, toast your buns, spread a layer of mustard sauce, top with patty, then layer with sliced avocado and radicchio slaw. 

 

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

It's October and I can hardly contain my excitement! My favorite month of the year by far. The combination of changing leaves, dropping temperatures, hearty soups, pumpkin beers, and Bette Midler's witchy self makes my heart oh-so-happy. My cooking agenda this month is filled with so many pumpkin recipes that it's going to be coming out of my ears. Another thing I love in the fall is butternut squash and these enchiladas are going to be on repeat in our household let me tell ya. 

These enchiladas are the ultimate fall comfort food that are quick enough to make on a Monday night, or perfect for Friday nights with a pitcher of sangria! I love the squash and black bean combo in these guys. And then drenching in homemade enchilada sauce? SO. MUCH. YES. 

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Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas 

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen


Ingredients
Enchiladas
- olive oil
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 jalapeno, diced ( leave the seeds if you want extra heat)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 - 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- salt & pepper to taste
- shredded cheese (Mexican blend, pepper jack, or whatever you prefer)
- corn tortillas
- homemade enchilada sauce (recipe below)
- cilantro and sour cream for serving 

Enchilada Sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth (Chicken broth is great too if you're not going vegetarian)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

What to do
1) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large oven-proof skillet. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno and cook 2-3 minutes until onions become translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add cubed squash, cumin and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is slightly tender, 10-15 minutes. You want the squash to be fork tender, but not so tender that it starts to fall apart and become mush.  Add in black beans and adjust seasoning to your liking. (Once the enchilada sauce is made, mix in 1 cup of sauce into squash mixture)

2) While the squash is cooking, make the enchilada sauce. Heat the canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. 
3) Add- in the flour and chili powder and stir.
4) Cook until the bright red color turns a bit brown while stirring.
5) In a small bowl mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the ingredients until it is fully blended. Add to your saucepan and whisk until fully mixed. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until thickened.
6) Assemble the enchiladas: Grease a large baking dish. Warm the corn tortillas for 20 seconds or so in the microwave to make them pliable. Place a large spoonful of the squash mixture in the middle of each corn tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, roll-up, and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Once all the tortillas are rolled, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top, shaking the baking dish to fill in all the spaces. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, and place under the broiler until the cheese is browned and bubbling. 

Top with cilantro, siracha, and sour cream! For this recipe, I blended sour cream, cilantro, avocado, salt and a little milk to make an avocado crema. 

Enjoy!

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado Cilantro Yogurt

That's right folks - I'm back with another vegetarian meal. Who am I?! I'm usually the person who wants meat with every meal, but lately I've found a new appreciation for turning a somewhat "boring" meal into something that's worthy to stand up to it's slow-roasted-meat contenders. 

Thomas and I are trying to eat hardly any meat through out the week and on the weekends we'll splurge a little. Last Saturday we made braised lamb ragu pasta - literally the mack daddy of all Fall/Winter comfort food.  Sorry for the meat tangent, that dish is coming to the blog soon - Right now we're talking SWEET POTATOES. 

I know, this could teeter on the boring side right? Not these babies! I was shocked how tasty they turned out! You know me, I love anything with curry and coconut milk. This meal is so easy, cheap, extremely filling, and mind-blowingly delicious for his simple it is. 

Honestly, you could be super lazy like me sometimes and pop your sweet potatoes in the microwave. Then it's literally done in less than 15 minutes or however long it takes your quinoa to cook. Weeknight meal certified 👌🏻

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Curried Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
+ Avocado cilantro Yogurt

Ingredients

- 4 sweet potatoes
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small jalapeño, deseeded and minced (for optional heat)
- 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 can coconut milk (1/4 cup reserved)
- 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Avocado Cilantro Yogurt
- 1 ripe avocado
- 5.3 oz (150g) container of plain greek yogurt
-1/4 cup coconut milk
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro
- olive oil for blending
- 1 teaspoon of salt - more to taste
 

What to do

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F (190°C) OR use the microwave!

2) Rinse and dry the sweet potatoes. With a fork, pierce the sweet potatoes all over; place on foil and bake until tender, 45-60 minutes. If you're going the microwave route (while is a lot quicker), pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, turning once halfway through. 

3) While the potatoes are baking, prep the filling.

4) Heat olive oil over medium heat in a sauce pot then add the jalapeño . Saute for one minute then add the minced garlic and the quinoa. Toast the quinoa for a minute or two and then add the curry powder and stir to coat.
5) Add the coconut milk keeping 1/4 reserved, and then add 1/4 cup of water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer covered for 15 minutes.
6) Stir in the chickpeas and remove from heat. 
7) Once the potatoes are out of the oven and cooled enough to handle, gently scoop out the soft  flesh of the sweet potatoes, trying to keep the skin intact. It’s ok if you don’t get it all out.
8) Add the potato flesh to the quinoa mixture and stir well to combined.
9) Spoon the quinoa mixture back into the potato skins until well stuffed and place back in the oven at 400 F for 10 minutes. You may have some filling left over, so either pile it high or save it for later!
10) In a small blender, blend together half the avocado, yogurt, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup cilantro, juice of 1/2 a lime, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest and a good pinch of salt. If the mixture is too thick, add in a little olive oil or water. Adjust the seasonings, lime juice, salt, cilantro to your liking. 
11) Serve potatoes with avocado cilantro sauce, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges. 

Enjoy! xo

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

I'm currently freaking out a just a tad. It's already the middle of September and it's 6 months until our wedding. How did this happen?! I feel like we got engaged YESTERDAY! I got so anxious last night thinking about the fact that I haven't booked hardly any vendors, that Thomas and I hunkered down with a bottle of wine and spent our Friday night scrolling through Pinterest, emailing vendors, figuring out seating arrangements, and looking at wedding shoe inspiration. Poor guy. He was a good sport and it's actually fun and so much easier to do together. 

With a little sleep and a good chunk of planning under our belts, I feel a lot better today. Which is why I'm spending my morning relaxing a bit and baking this amazing chocolate chip zucchini bread. One of my co-workers has a garden and I guess the zucchini is growing like crazy, so she gave me a bunch to take home!  Veggies mixed into something sweet...never did I think I would enjoy such a thing. BUT IT'S AMAZING. This bread is so moist, filled with chocolate in every bite, and is surprisingly healthy compared to other dessert breads!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

                                              Adapted from Joyful Healthy Eats
Ingredients: 
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup grated zucchini (about 1½ zucchinis)
- ¾ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
 

What to do:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Prepare a 8x4 loaf pan by greasing the bottom and sides (you can grease with coconut oil, butter, or PAM cooking spray) Lightly dust with flour and shake out excess flour.
3) In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Whisk together.
4) In a large bowl, add honey, unsweetened applesauce, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth.
5) Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until everything is combined.
6) Fold in the zucchini, chocolate chip, and walnuts. Add the batter to prepared loaf pan.
8) Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Honey Bourbon Blackberry Peach Galette

My most vivid blackberry picking memory was when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. We were at my Dad's farm in Georgia, in the dead middle of the summer. Temperatures I'm sure were in the triple digits with a humidity level that borderline reached sauna status. The chiggers are so bad that time of year that you have to wear jeans - but it doesn't really matter since they sneak up your pant leg anyway and make camp right behind your knees. Onward I waded into blackberry briars carrying my huge white bucket with my dad doing the same a few steps ahead of me. We picked and picked until our white buckets were brimming with juicy blackberries and our fingers and teeth were stained from stealing a few here and there. At the cabin that night we made the best blackberry cobbler. We sat and ate in pure blueberry bliss, chigger bites behind our knees and all. It's funny how some memories stay with you like that forever, when maybe at the time you didn't think it was particularly special. 

I haven't picked blackberries in that capacity since that day with my Dad, but I am always so compelled to buy them anytime I see a big carton at the farmer's market. A few weekends ago I bought a big batch along with some of the sweetest, juiciest peaches I have ever had. After snacking on the fruit a couple of days, I thought to myself, how could I make this peachy blackberry combo even better? BOURBON, that's how!

This was my first time making a galette and my crust turned out a little ugly, but you know what "Rustic" is the new term for ugly and I'm digging it. 

In all seriousness, galette's can be as uniformed or as rustic as you would like them to be. What matters is that buttery, flaky crust and the perfectly caramelized magic from oozing fruit juices. This is a perfect dessert to make transitioning from late summer to early Fall. And like I said, it has bourbon...enough said. 


Honey-Bourbon Blackberry Peach Galette 

Ingredients
For the crust: 
I  used Serious Eats flaky pie dough recipe! It's sooo good. However, any pie dough recipe will do. 

For the filling: Recipe adapted from Butterlust
-3 medium peaches, sliced
- 6 oz of blackberries
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
- 1 teaspoon honey mixed with 1 teaspoon bourbon, for brushing after baking

What to do
1) prepare the pie dough at least 2 hours ahead that way it has plenty of time to chill. 

2) In a large bowl, combine the peaches, blackberries, honey, bourbon, cinnamon, and vanilla. Carefully incorporate.

3) While still on the parchment, roll out the flaky pie dough into an approximately 10-inch circle. If the dough has become warm, place back into the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to re-chill.

4) Sprinkle the almond meal over the dough, leaving about 2 inches around the border. 

5) Arrange the peaches and blackberries on top of the almond meal, either in a uniform swirl shape or in a more "rustic" fashion. 

6) Fold the edges of the dough in over the fruit, pleating the edges as you work your way around to form a free-form tart that is roughly 9 inches in diameter.

7) While still on the parchment, place the galette onto a baking sheet and place into the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help the galette maintain its shape during baking. 

8) Once chilled, preheat the oven to 400F. Remove from the freezer, brush the edges with egg wash. 

9) Bake the galette for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack (just lift over the whole sheet of parchment). 

10) Once mostly cool, brush with the honey + bourbon mixture for a little extra spike. Serve warm or at room temperature either as is or with whipped cream or ice cream.

"Clean out your fridge" Frittata

Ever since we got back from Norway we've been go-go-go. At least that's what it feels like. We haven't had a routine the last month of consistently working out and eating healthy. It's the weekends that really get us. A day wine tasting turns into scarfing pizza down when we get home, or a day on the lake with friends turns into ordering pizza afterwards because we all don't want to cook. Somehow pizza is always involved, which isn't a bad thing on occasion but it's time to shape up my friends. We're t-minus 7 months until the wedding day and it's time to get it in gear! 

Lately during the we week we've been eating more vegetarian meals, sorta by accident! During the summer it's so much easier to eat dishes that are packed with veggies and bright seasonal produce. Unlike the winter, when all I want is slow braised meats and rib-sticking goodness. I never thought I would enjoy eating meatless meals as much as I do. 

Fritatta's are something we make often that usually turn out to be vegetarian! 

The reasons I love Frittata's: 
- quick and easy to make
- you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
- they're healthy and don't leave you feeling bloated
- and my favorite of all, YOU CAN PUT ANYTHING IN THEM! 

Whenever we need to use leftover veggies in our fridge a "fridge frittata" is our go-to. One of my favorite combinations is roasted onion, fennel, and sweet potato as the base and then throw in anything else we have in the fridge that would compliment that. In the pictures below we had roasted onion, fennel, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, sliced jalapeño and sautéed garlic kale. And then we topped it with goat cheese AND slices of Manchego. The recipe below is just a combination that I love but honestly, use whatever cheese you have in your fridge and toss any veggies in that need to be used up in your fridge. Just have fun with it!!

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"Clean out your fridge" Frittata


Ingredients
- Roasted Veggies
        - 1 onion, sliced or roughly chopped
        - Thinly sliced fennel
        - cherry tomatoes
        -  1 cubed sweet potato
        - 1-2 cubed zucchini
- Chopped kale (enough for 2 big handfuls) 
-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 eggs
- Goat Cheese (Anything works well, parmesan, manchego, or feta are all great)
- Salt & Pepper to taste

What to do
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2) Toss the sliced onions and fennel with olive oil and salt and pepper and place on a roasting sheet. 
3) on another sheet, toss the sweet potato and zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper
4) roast all of the veggies, tossing occasionally until everything turns golden. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan of sweet potatoes and zucchini about half-way through roasting. 
5) Once the veggies are out of the oven, heat a oven-proof skillet over medium heat on the stove.
6) Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and saute minced garlic and kale until slightly wilted. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and turn off heat. 
7) Whisk all 8 eggs in a large bowl. Pour eggs into skillet and incorporate with the kale mixture. add in your roasted veggies. If it seems like you have too many, just save them for later! 
8) Top the skillet with crumbled goat cheese or any other cheese you have available, 
9) Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted in the middle and come out clean. 

Enjoy!

 

Seared Salmon with Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

Do you ever have one of those days? That's rhetorical because I know you all do. The kind of day where nothing particularly bad happens, but somehow everything at work takes just a little bit longer, traffic is just is a little bit slower, and things just generally are slightly more annoying all day long. Then after work you circle your neighborhood for 35 solid minutes looking for a parking spot because of a Timber's game, and by the time you find one you then proceed to scrape a little paint off of your fender because you tried to squeeze into a spot with your SUV that was meant for a smart car....

Well, that was my day. 

We all have those days during the week occasionally, and something that gives me comfort is knowing that I can come home, hang out with Thomas, break open a bottle of wine, relax a little, and make a good meal together.

On hectic days when we don't want to spend much time in the kitchen, salmon is on the menu. It's our favorite - plus so quick and easy to make! Bake it, caramelize it, sear it - whatever your heart beckons. 

This meal is healthy, filling, easy-to-make, and freaking delicious. What more could you want?! I plan on posting a bunch of other salmon recipes that I love one day, but this one is the most basic of the basic and a staple that we cook in our house weekly! AND THE CREAMY LEMON DILL SAUCE??!!! It's lemony dill bliss that I cannot imagine living without.

For sides we always do roasted brussel sprouts, an arugula salad, or any other veggies that we have hanging out in our fridge. For the brussel sprouts in this recipe, trim the ends, slice them in half, toss on a sheet pan with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and roast on 350 degrees, tossing occasionally, until they are slightly tender with crispy edges.

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Seared Salmon with Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce 

Ingredients
Seared Salmon
- 1 large side of salmon, bones removed
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- salt & pepper to taste

Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

- 1/2 cup (64g) of sour cream or greek yogurt
- quarter of a lemon, juiced
- 1-2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt to taste

What to do: 
1) Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Sear your salmon skin-side down until the salmon is 2/3 of the way cooked. Flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. In it's last stages of cooking, throw your sliced lemon slices in the pan and let them brown on both sides. The salmon is done when it easily flakes off with a fork. Be careful not to overcook! 
2) While the salmon is searing, mix up your sauce. Combine the sour cream, lemon juice, fresh chopped dill, 1 clove of garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. Incorporate together and adjust the seasoning to your liking by either adding another clove of garlic, lemon juice, dill, or salt. 

Enjoy!

Cozy Cooking Engagement Shoot + 2 Easy Pizza Recipes

For our engagement shoot, I knew that I wanted to do what we love most - Cook together! Our own kitchen is way to small to move around and have a proper photoshoot, so we decided to rent an Airbnb. Luckily, I had met another blogger in Portland who owns a beautiful beach cottage on Olivia Beach in Lincoln City. It was the PERFECT setting. The kitchen has wonderful light flooding in, the beachy/rustic decor was exactly what style we wanted, and the cherry on top is the cottage is only a short walk to the beach. I loved that we were able to have a 2-for-1 photo session - First cooking pizza together and then heading out to the beach at sunset. Our photographer Sam from The Wild East, did so great at capturing sweet, natural moments between Thomas and I. 

Pizza is something that we love and is so easy to make! Plus, it looks great in pictures with bright vibrant tomatoes, basil, and all the toppings your little heart desires. To make it even easier for our photoshoot, we used Trader Joe's Pizza Dough. The dough is soft and easy to use, and tastes just as good as if you made the dough from scratch that day! On the first pizza, we smeared a layer of Trader Joe's Fig Butter , and then baked it with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. Once it was out of the oven we topped it with a little grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, and arugula! The second pizza, we did classic margherita with Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce,  juicy vine tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella. 

A cozy getaway on the beach, pizza, lots of wine, and amazing pictures to cherish forever? Definitely one of the most memorable nights in our books :) 

Scroll down for the recipes, and if you want to rent this amazing cottage on the Oregon Coast click here for the link!

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Proscitto & Fig Pizza with Arugula

Ingredients
- 1 package of Trader Joe's Pizza Dough
- 5-6 tablespoons of Trader Joe's Fig Butter (Any fig spread/jam will work)
- 12 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced or torn into pieces
-  6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
- grated parmesan cheese
- Arugula
- olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste

What to do
1) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
2) Take the pizza dough out of the bag and bring it to room temperature. Once it's at room temperature, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.
3) Spread pizza with a layer of fig butter, then top with mozzarella and prosciutto. 
4) Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until your crust is crispy and to your liking. 
5) once out of the oven, top the pizza with grated parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and arugula. 
6) Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Enjoy!

Classic Margherita Pizza

Ingredients
- 1 package of Trader Joe's Pizza Dough
- 5-6 tablespoons of Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce 
- 12 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced or torn into pieces
- Fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1-2 vine tomatoes, sliced
- Olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes to taste

What to do
1) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
2) Take the pizza dough out of the bag and bring it to room temperature. Once it's at room temperature, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.
3) Spread pizza with a layer of pizza sauce, then top with mozzarella, basil, and tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
4) Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until your crust is crispy and to your liking. Enjoy!


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7 Things You Must Do in Bergen, Norway

It was my second time in Bergen and I just can't get enough! With it's quaint colorful houses scattered along the harbor and up the hillside, picturesque views of the fjords in all directions, and it's impeccable seafood, Bergen is a place you don't want to miss. The weather is notoriously fickle and it rains on average at least 230 days out of the year - but no worries there. There's plenty of bars, cafés, and shops to pass the rainy days away.  

1. Take the Bergensbanen from Oslo to Bergen

Known as one of the greatest train journeys in the world, this is a trip you don't want to miss! Thomas' family and mine boarded the train in Oslo for a 6 hour journey over the mountains to Bergen. The views are absolutely incredible! We packed sandwiches for the ride, but they have a cafe onboard where you can get snacks and drinks. If you aren't starting your trip in Oslo, I would still recommend taking the train to Voss or Flam from Bergen. 

2. Take the Fløibanen funicular to see amazing views of the city

The first time Thomas and I went to Bergen we hiked to the top of Mount Fløyen, which takes about an hour up. This time we took the Fløibanen tram up to the top! Tickets are 90 NOK for adults and 40 NOK for children. The views of the city and the surrounding fjords are one-of-a-kind. This is definitely an absolute must-do when you're visiting Bergen!

3. Shop & Eat along Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen

Bryggen is a historic harbor district in Bergen, one of North Europe’s oldest port cities. The characteristic wooden houses are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The alleyways are scattered with amazing restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, boutiques, leather shops - You name it! It's definitely a spot to grab a unique hand-made gift. 

4. Walk along the Harbor

This is a no brainer! It's so nice to stroll along the Harbor and watch the boats coming in and out. 

5. Eat Fresh Seafood from the Fish Market

The fish market is one of Norway's most visited outdoor markets. Walking through the market is seafood lovers dream! Langoustine's, king crab, snow crab and fresh shrimp are all musts. Albeit the prices at the fish market are steep and probably double the price than what you would find in the grocery store - but it's all about the experience! My dad had never had king crab before, so we sat at the fish market looking out at the harbor and ate the most amazing king crabs. 

6. Grab a drink in Torgallmenningen City Square

Find a spot at one of the many places scattered along the square and grab a drink! There's always a lot going on, so it's fun to just sit and people watch. We had a couple strong Irish Coffee's ;)

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7. Find fresh fruits and vegetables at the "Farmer's Market"

During the summer months, they have an outside market with vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade sausage, jam, and cheeses. It's very close to the fish market, so if you're there during the warmer months you can't miss it!

How to spend a 20 hour layover in Reykjavik Iceland

I've been MIA the last week or so because we're on VACAY! Thomas and I are here for 2 1/2 weeks with a jam packed schedule of side trips, visiting with friends and family, and a wedding. Of course we're fitting a few naps and A LOT of good food into that schedule ;) On the 20th, my family landed in Oslo and we spent a week all together with Thomas' family. It was so amazing spending time with everyone - Sharing laughs, good food, and exploring Norway.

On our way to Europe, Thomas and I had a direct flight from Portland to Reykjavik Iceland. It was only a 7 hour flight which seemed so quick! It takes me longer to get to Florida from Portland which is crazy! We knew we wanted to explore Iceland a little bit, so we chose to do a 20 hour layover. To promote their routes from North America to Europe, Icelandair created a "stopover" campaign to tempt people to stay in Iceland for up to seven days and split the journey from North America to Europe (or vice versa) without paying any additional fares. How amazing is that?! Two vacations for the price of one - I'll take it! 

We wanted to get to Norway, so we didn't want to spend more than a day in Iceland, but I would love to go back one day to visit Lake Mývatn, go whale watching, explore Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and do the Golden Circle!

Here's our recommendations for visiting Reykjavik and what we did on our layover!

Arriving at Keflavik Airport // Keflavik airport is the largest airport in Iceland and the main hub for international transportation. When we landed it was gray and cold outside, and it was the middle of July! So you can imagine how cold it is during the winter season. We had a checked bag that stayed at the airport waiting to go to Norway and a carry-on backpack. If you're just doing a layover, I would recommend carrying a light backpack since you're going to be walking around all day. Definitely pack a rain jacket just in case!

Currency // Everywhere in Iceland takes credit cards, but it's fun to take out a little cash as well for small purchases! $1 dollar is roughly 100 Icelandic Króna's. 

Bus transportation // I didn't do my research on this part before the trip, so we ended up probably spending a lot more than necessary. We went to the ticket counter at the airport and bought all of our tickets for the day. Thomas and I paid around $140 dollars all together for bus transportation from Keflavik to Blue Lagoon, Blue Lagoon into the city center in Reykjavik, and Reykjavik back to the airport. Ridiculously expensive. It was still a lot cheaper than taking a taxi, but if I were you I would definitely check out a few websites and find the best prices. 

Blue Lagoon // We arrived in Iceland around 6 AM, and headed straight to the Blue Lagoon - One of the most visited attractions in Iceland. We booked our tickets ahead of time and I'm so thankful that we did because we found out that if you don't book ahead there's a good chance you won't get in at all. It was AMAZING to relax in the warm waters after a long flight. 

What you should know about the lagoon! 
1) It's situated on a lava field, but The lagoon is man-made and fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant - Which I wasn't aware of. I knew it was a man-made spa, but I wasn't expecting to see a factory close-by which ruins the ambiance a little. Don't get me wrong, it's still  a very cool experience! 
2) There's different packages to purchase, but I would recommend bringing your own towel and paying for the basic standard package (4800 ISK). You get your own locker and access to the Lagoon, saunas and showers. 
3) The geothermal water features three active ingredients: Silica, Algae & Minerals. All of which are amazing for your skin! The water has proved to help people with different skin problems such as psoriasis. You'll find as much free silica mud as you want located in convenient swim up buckets around the Lagoon! You'll see everyone swimming around with a mud mask on their face :) 
4) Alcohol is expensive. There's a great swim-up bar, but you're going to pay around 8.50 for a draft beer. I got a small bottle of prosecco and paid around $13.
5) Protect your hair from the silica! Especially if you're a blonde, the silica in the water can make your hair very brittle and cause breakage. To prevent that, wet your hair before you go in and lather on a coat of conditioner. If you don't do that it will be fine - your hair will just be extra crunchy once it dries. 

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Exploring Reykjavik

After swimming and relaxing in the Blue Lagoon for a couple hours, we headed into Reykjavik to do a little exploring!

Where to Eat

Thomas and I only ate at Sægreifinn and Betzu Pylsur, but I had an entire list of places I wanted to try! Here's the must-stop spots!

  • Sægreifinn: We were starving when we left Blue Lagoon, so our first stop was Sægrefinn for lobster soup and fresh fish skewers! I had read reviews that this "no frills" seafood spot had some of the best lobster soup and they were right! It's a small little shack on the water with limited seating. We picked fresh cod right out of the display case and had it grilled right  then and there, and we devoured two bowls of lobster soup. 
  • Bæjarins Betzu Pylsur: Translates as the "best hot dog in town". It's been open since 1937, and a fun fact I learned from Condé Nast is that seventy percent of the country's 300,000 residents have eaten at this hotdog stand! They are topped with raw white onions and crispy fried onions, ketchup, sweet brown mustard called pylsusinnep, and remoulade, a sauce made with mayo, capers, mustard, and herbs. There are variations, but you haven’t eaten a hot dog like an Icelander until you’ve had “one with everything.”
  • Kaloportid Flea Market: The best place to buy traditional Icelandic foods as well pastries and other good treats! The food vendors offer a ton of tasters as well!
  • Reykjavik Roasters: Rated the best coffee in Iceland and Its co-owners are internationally award-winning roasters.
  • Coocoo's Nest: Great weekend brunch menu where everything is made from scratch!
  • Gló: The best vegetarian restaurant in town.
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Where to grab a drink on your layover 

  • Kaldi Bar/Café: Cozy beer bar only featuring Icelandic microbrews 
  • Kex Hostel: An abandoned biscuit factory turned into a chic hostel, bar and eatery.
  • Snaps: This spot feels like a cozy greenhouse! Great for a beer break while you're out exploring. 
  • Tíu Dropar: A small basement bar on Reykjavik’s busy main shopping street Laugavegur.

Sites to explore

  • ‘Climb’ the tower of Hallgrimskirkja: One of the most iconic landmarks in Reykjavik. Head to the top of the church to get a picture of the city!
  • Explore the street art: In the past years Reykjavik has become famous for its colourful murals and graffiti
  • Hang out at Harpa: A modern concert hall down by the water
  • Go whale watching: If you have the time, take a whale watching excursion!