Woodinville Whiskey Maple Syrup Granola (and This Weeks Eats 8.31.14)

While talking with a friend over dinner a few weeks ago, I mentioned how my husband loves the whiskey from our local distillery Woodinville Whiskey.  Not being much into whiskey myself, she said that she had a fabulous recipe for granola with the maple syrup they age in the leftover barrels.  

I had my husband procure the elixir on his next visit and promptly made a few batches (and tweaks), so here's my take.  And, really, if you can get your hands on this syrup - I HIGHLY recommend it.  Sometimes I'll do half the aged syrup and half agave, just to extend the life of this rather expensive treat.  It's great on it's own, over yogurt or, if you're not into dairy, this whipped coconut cream from Shutterbean is AMAZING.  Thanks for the inspiration Karin and Karen!

Woodinville Whiskey Maple Syrup Granola

2 Cups Rolled Oats (I like Trader Joe's Multigrain Hot Cereal)
3/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Shelled Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1/2 Cup Woodinville Whiskey Maple Syrup (or other awesome syrup, agave nectar, etc)
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  In a small saucepan, mix syrup, butter, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.  Hear over low heat until butter melts.  Whisk to blend, then pour over oat mixture and stir until it is well coated with syrup mixture.

Spread onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Stir and rotate pan, bake for an additional 10 minutes, checking every few minutes, until golden brown.

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


A Few of My Favorite Things (and June Julep Review)

Because I just talked foodstuffs on Monday, I thought I'd share a few other favorites lately.   And, yes, my JUNE Julep polish! My how the time has flown since I did a Favorite Things update.  And I have since foregone the Julep subscription; I just don't need THAT MUCH nail polish.  But, I went out with some great colors: 

Bergen, cool blue grey with a little shimmer
Colette, a dark violet with a little shimmer
Also, I got a lot of compliments on the polish I wore during Bird Camp, if you are so inclined it was Julep's 'Monaco' from the March collection.

Ah, just a few more days until school starts!  Summer has gone pretty quickly and smoothly this year.  I'm really thankful that I decided to implement a suuuuuper simple chore chart back in June that I can easily transition to the school year.  At first, I thought that I'd make some sort of Word doc and then remembered there's Pinterest - where you can find free downloads for pretty much everything.  Why reinvent the wheel?  I LOVE these charts that I found from The Gilded Pear.  

I don't have any hard and fast rule about screen time in our house.  Some days it's hours, some days it's not even a minute (I loved this post from Pile of Babies on the matter).  However, adding a bit of structure into the summer with the chores made it easier to say, "OK, we've spent most of the day outside, and now your chores are done - you can play with your Kindle/watch tv/play with the computer."  Highly recommend for those that are just easing into the whole chores/allowance thing like we are.  I like that it has an 'earn extra money' category, as well as an 'I can be kind and respectful' section to give them a warning if they're not toeing that line.  Right now it's 3 frown-y faces in that section and we deduct a dollar from the two dollars a week.

Oh happy day, the new Oiselle capris are on the website now!  Run, don't walk to get your hands on them - they are ridiculously awesome.  The 'off the grid' knickers are so comfortable and flattering with a wide waistband, plus they have the most awesome pattern.  
Party pants!
I went with the most neutral black/grey during our team pre-shop and loooove them.  But, after seeing the other more colorful versions on everyone at Bird Camp, I promptly ordered the Bergen and am anxiously awaiting their arrival, along with the long awaited knicker version of the Go Joggings.  YES.  

There are certain songs that seem meant for summer.  I'll listen to Vampire Weekend all year long, but I feel that their music is best suited for long summer nights.  My favorite summer song has crossed over to my running playlist from the non-running, it's THAT GOOD.  If you haven't listened to Thunder Clatter by Wild Cub yet, treat your ears to this oh so fantastic song.  I'm happy just thinking about it.

I'm also loving Waves by Mr. Probz, also a great chill out song, but there are a lot of good remixes out there that can translate to my running playlist.

I must admit that I learned of the awesome duo Chromeo via Yo Gabba Gabba (Nice n' Clean is a good lesson for all), and Jealous is a fantastic summer jam.  


Birdcamp Food, a Trip to Costco and This Weeks Eats 8.24.14

It's been two weeks since I've posted This Weeks Eats, and I'm making up for it with a LOT to say on the subject of food favorites.  One of the most amazing parts of Bird Camp was the food, and I'm not even talking about the lovely lunches and dinners we were treated to around town.  As I mentioned, we were given tons of great stuff to stock the pantry in our condos, as well as a table of stuff for us to take as needed from the conference center.  Our intrepid leaders bought out Costco just before we all descended upon Bend, and now I have a whole new list of must-haves from one of my favorite shopping destinations!  

First of all, did you know that they carry Nuun at Costco now!?  One thing I didn't have to tote along with me to Bend was my dwindling supply of tasty electrolytes.  And it will be a while before my stash gets low again with this awesome new development!

I have never purchased Dave's Killer Bread from Costco because my kids are hooked on San Juan's 9 Grain Organic bread.  HOWEVER.  I brought home the small amount of Dave's Great Seed that was leftover (the one in the yellow bag pictured above) and, lo, they liked it!  This Costco trip I'm trying the Blues Bread.

A few things we became addicted to at camp are a wee bit harder to find, but worth the search.  We were SO SPOILED having Brew Dr. Kombucha on tap at all times.

I've tasted Kombucha before, but it either a) had little things floating in it, or b) had to be mixed with lemonade for it to be AT ALL palatable it was so vinegary.  Brew Dr. Kombucha fits into NEITHER of these categories - so freaking good.  Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I'm lucky enough to be able to pick it up at my local Safeway!

Also local to the Pacific Northwest, Wild Friends nut butters are ridiculously good.  I've tried the Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter before and we had the Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter in our condo and it is my new favorite.  

Perfect way to add some easy caffeine to your morning!  If you're in my neck of the woods, they have most flavors AND the single serve packets at Haagen stores.

Okay, I'm hungry now.  Perfect time to put the menu together:
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


This One Time, At Bird Camp

The only way I'll be able to summarize all of last week is to break it down in a series of statements, American Pie style.  This one time at Bird Camp...

We talked and laughed for six straight hours on the drive to Bend, OR.  Women are good at that.

Nolana, Morena, Portia and Me
We picked up awesome bags of swag and there were boxes upon boxes of food for us to bring to our condos. SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD (which I will talk more about on next week's menu plan post).

We all felt like we knew each other already, even if we hadn't met in real life.  Thank you Twitter!

We were inspired by our fellow teammates, and amazing speakers we were so lucky to have in attendance.

Linsey Corbin, who just set the record for fastest Ironman by an American female!
Stephanie Howe this year's Western States champ!

Jay Dicharry, legendary PT and author of Anatomy for Runners
And of course, our very own Kate Grace, Lauren Fleshman and Kara Goucher (via Skype) - pictured with the aforementioned Stephanie Howe
We were asked a LOT of questions when we showed up to a local race with more than 90 of our teammates - my roommate claimed that she was asked how many camp counselors we had.  Uhhhhh...

We ran at nearly 4,000 feet elevation - which, for many of us, was HARD, yo. (Having unlimited Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale post race made up for it.)

We were blown away by the beauty of Smith Rock.  I need to go back there ASAP.

Monkey Face

I miss hiking...
We sat by a pool without having to keep children from drowning! So relaxing!

Actually not a beer - I may now be addicted to Kombucha...
We stretched and meditated with Jasyoga - and I didn't have to drive to Seattle from the Eastside to do so!

We were led in campfire songs by Lauren Fleshman, like whoa.

We ran the river trail along the Deschutes, which was right behind our resort.

We shopped and imbibed as much as possible in town.  Bend is adorable.

We ate our last dinner together alfresco at sunset, which included amazing street tacos and doughnuts for dessert! 

Me and one of my roommies, Raine who I got to spend the most time with - love her!
We witnessed the hilarity when 100 women descend upon a cute little bar, in a little town, with a little dance floor.  I was cry laughing at many points during this trip, but mostly on this night.

Yes, this was the most bare bones post ever, but it would really take way too long to go into every wonderful detail of this amazing trip.  Many times I found myself saying that it's a lot like Ragnar, but with a little more sleep and a lot more showers: bonding, running, great times and so many inside jokes (Sir, this bus is on fire! & She's living her best life!).  I'm so thankful to Oiselle for the years of camaraderie and to Sally, Sarah, Kristin, Katie the Little Wing gals and everyone at The Nest that made this all possible.  We made memories that will last a lifetime.  We were 'living our best life' last week, that is for sure.  I already miss you Bend, and can't wait to see you again...


Books I Read in July 2014

Yep, I'm talking books and not recipes today.  There's no real menu planning going on since I'm only home for TWO DAYS this week.  AAAAAAAAAAH!  I'm having palpitations I'm so excited for the big Oiselle team retreat to Bend, OR.  I realized that I haven't updated my books yet from July, so here goes:

One Plus One

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

This was a really quick read - Moyes still has a knack for making me turn the pages, laugh out loud and swoon. But this romance felt familiar/formulaic, like I'd read a similar story or seen a movie just like it, or something... The plot didn't seem wholly original, but it had great characters and substance.  I will always read her books.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I think this might be my favorite book of the year so far.  I LOVED the Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks and Lockhart's new book has certainly been getting a lot of buzz. Liars plops you right down into summertime on Cape Cod - it is one of the best atmospheric novels I've ever read, I could almost smell the sea air and taste the food prepared by this wealthy family's staff. It's also haunting, unsettling, and highly suspenseful. What DID happen that summer they were all fifteen? We the readers come to some horrendous realizations along with the main character, Cady, as she struggles to overcome her amnesia from an accident that year. I wasn't expecting a major twist at the end and my hand literally flew to my mouth as I was reading. Crazy good, and I feel like this one will stick with me for awhile.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I was on a bit of a roll in July, as this novel is competing pretty closely with We Were Liars as my favorite book of the year so far.  There's sort of a 'Butterfly Effect' theme going on, with all these seemingly small choices that the characters make that end up making a huge impact on their lives and the life of A.J.  I'm also partial to stories that take place in bookstores or that revolve around characters that are also book lovers.  This was just wonderful, sweet, surprising, hilarious, heartbreaking while being uplifting and inspiring.  LOVED.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I was really looking forward to this one, as I thought I could identify with the protagonist the most of all Rowell's characters: a married mom of two small kids.  Alas, I'm no Georgie (well, I do tend toward the social anxiety that comes off as suuuuper chatty - I've got that trait down) and I really couldn't relate to her marriage.  The way she emotes, though, always gets me.  She EXCELS at writing romantic language without being cloying.  I just got a little exhausted being inside Georgie's head for the whole novel and felt like it could have been whittled down to a short story.  But, as with Jojo Moyes, I will always buy Rowell's books.


August Goals and Ways to Support Every Mother Counts

First of, a check in on July Goals:

Continue with 100 Happy Days pics.

This has become quite the habit!  I'm pretty sure I've been consistent since May 1st, and should hit 100 by Friday.  I did register at 100 Happy Days.  I wonder if I'll get some notification when I've hit 100...  Either way, I have a new goal for August while I finish out this challenge.

Finish the run streak.

Not only have I finished, but I've kept going!  I'm on day 73!  I've used Charity Miles for every single run except for the two days of running Ragnar (because I wasn't getting a signal on my runs and I didn't want to kill my battery).  Part of me is thinking maaaaybe I could shoot for a year.  Another part of me is thinking that it might get a lot harder in the winter with inevitable bad weather and illness.  For now, I'm going to keep it up as long as I feel good.

Have a blast at Ragnar and make sure my family is 100% healthy before I leave!

Eat some sort of frozen treat with the kids once a week.

Total gimme. My favorites are the fruit bars they sell in the SUP shack at our local beach. 

Not freak out about turning 40...

August Goals:
  • As I said before, I'm going to finish up the 100 happy days challenge, but I've started using the one second a day app to make monthly videos and it's already really fun.  I'm excited to share my first one next month!
  • Continue with the run streak.
  • Run smart in Bend and don't overdo it just because I'll be surrounded by a bunch of fasties.  We are all doing a local 5K during our running retreat (amongst A LOT of other running/hiking) and I started thinking about time goals and decided that I just want to run for beer.  I have another 5K a few weeks later, the Women of Wonder at Greenlake, and I'll save any goal setting for that race.
  • Get school supplies - eeeeep!
  • And last, but not least, I added an August goal that I've already checked off my list - but sometimes you have to put something on a list just to cross it off, am I right?  Making a donation to my teammate Paulette's Every Mother Counts NYC Marathon fundraising goal was definitely on my to-do list for awhile and I've checked it off the list this month.  
It will be the third time that I've supported a friend running for the cause.  If you'd also like to support Every Mother Counts (which you can read more about here - really if you are a mother or know a mother, it's a very worthwhile cause), you should hop on over to Paulette's fundraising page!  OR run charity miles, which I think I've explained enough about here.  OR buy awesome Oiselle duds! OR go buy the beautiful Stella and Dot 'Enlighten Bracelet' from my cousin's page!

Seeing Every Mile, Every Mother made me recount my own not so easy births.  I had preeclampsia symptoms with both kids, and eclampsia by the time I checked into the hospital with both.  It was terribly frustrating to be a person with normally low blood pressure, only to have it skyrocket when pregnant.  I am so grateful that I had the care available to me so that my babies and I were safe and healthy.  All women should have the care they need.  That the film was introduced by Sally and Christy Turlington Burns herself was pretty awesome.  

She is even more ridiculously beautiful in person (even in a non-air conditioned Seattle summer event), and it's obvious that she is on the inside, too.


This Weeks Eats 8.3.14

Every year on my birthday, we usually try a new restaurant.  Last year was a nice night out, but just okay.  I did look into going to Canlis this year, but there were no reservations available online even six week out!  If you watched Top Chef Seattle, it was featured in the episode where the contestants try to replicate the restaurant's classic dishes that have been on the menu since they opened in the 1950s.  I probably could have picked up the phone and called, but I took it as a sign that we should just go with Daniel's Broiler, always our favorite.  

A 'French Horn' martini, it was lovely.

We always request a booth that faces West, looking toward Lake Washington, Seattle and the Olympic Mountains.  

Maybe we'll venture into new territory on our anniversary in September, maybe...

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!