Our backyard plans

While there’s still a lot of our house that I have yet to share with you all (you know, projects are taking longer to complete than I thought…) I do want to share some ideas that we’ve come up with to transform our backyard into a fun outdoor space come this spring and summer. Armed with my dad’s knowledge of building and construction and our determination to create the perfect environment for relaxation and the ultimate hangout for us and our friends – here are our plans for our backyard:
Because I’m a very visual person and wanted to see how everything could fit together, I drew up some plans. I might not be the best at drawing in Photoshop, but you get the point.
I can’t wait for the weather to start shaping up so we can get to work on our backyard.

our love story

It started back in 2005
We hadn’t crossed paths yet and we wouldn’t for another 3 years,
but this is where our love story began…
We were both working for the same company.
We sat three desks away from each other.
Almost a year went by.
I’m sure during that year we walked past each other in the hall,
maybe even got coffee (hot chocolate for me) at the same time.
I know that we attended some of the same meetings.
But out of over 100+ employees,
his face and his name was one of the few that I didn’t recognize and vice versa.
I should also mention that we lived three houses away from each other, too. 
Three seems to be our magic number
We sat three desks aways from each other
We lived three houses away from each other
We *finally* met three years after working together
We met at a holiday party
(for the company that we worked at in 2005. It’s 2008 now.)
Neither of us worked there at this point,
but we both went to the party with other friends that still worked there.
A group of people went over to Luke’s apartment downtown before the holiday party.
This is when I officially met Luke.
We didn’t pay any attention to each other at first.
He was playing video games,
and I was chatting with his roommate to see if we knew anyone in common
that worked for the Mariners or the Sonics,
since he spent some time working in professional sports in Seattle.
I was working for the Seattle Mariners at this time
The night progressed and after many drinks, some bites of food
and a lot of dancing at the company holiday party,
we found ourselves talking to each other.
We ended up hanging out the rest of the evening,

when the party moved over to the bars, we went together.
When the party moved over to their apartment, I, too attended.

We all stayed up until 6am dancing in the living room, watched the sun rise and the snow fall.
He drove me to my friends house and we exchanged numbers.

From that moment on I knew that there was something that I liked about him.
I learned that he was from Chicago and I liked that about him.
I learned that we had both worked for a few professional sports teams
(him: Bulls and Blazers; me: Blazers, Sun sand Mariners)
I liked that about him and us as well.
We seemed to have a lot in common right from the start.
And the fact that we both obviously love to have a good time.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and before we knew it, we were each taking turns driving up to Seattle and down to Portland to spend time with each other nearly every other weekend. We formed a very close friendship from the beginning that naturally turned into a relationship.

When we got tired of the drive back and forth from Seattle and Portland (which was often)
we’d plan trips a d meet up in different cities.
Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami…

When we got tired of the drive and meeting separately on trips that we’d rather be traveling together on, I moved back down to Portland.

Since we’ve both been in the same city,

we bought our first house and got our first puppy together here in Portland. We couldn’t be happier with how our life is turning out and we’re so happy that we get to share it together.

And that is all. For now.

Dinner @ Nostrana

Last Friday night Luke and I went out on a spontaneous date night. When he got home from work, we looked at each other and said “let’s go out!” We had both been wanting to try Nostrana for quite a while, so tonight seemed like the perfect night to do so. Nostrana is small and cozy Italian restaurant in SE Portland; the name literally translates to mean “ours”. The food is simple, fresh and all around delicious. We knew this place was popular, but didn’t realize that meant reservations extremely recommended, if not, required. We ended up having about a 20 minute wait and then we were seated at the pizza counter. In all honesty, I love these settings the best. You get to watch the pizza dough being tossed in the air and thrown in the piping hot pizza oven. I always love seeing how everything comes together in a restaurant, so the pizza counter was perfect for us.

Luke’s Whiskey drink and my Amber beer.
Fresh baked bread with the most yummy & fruity olive oil.
Cheese and crackers
Rigatoni Bolognese: beef and pork ragu, parmigiano
  Capellini: With Marcella’s № 3 tomato butter sauce
Is your mouth watering yet? Our food ended up being a-m-a-z-i-n-g, so fresh and delicious. Next time we go back we’re trying the pizza. If you’re in the Portland area, I would highly recommend trying out Nostrana! Your taste buds will thank you.

Valentines Day Recipe: Flour-less Chocolate Cake

With Valentines Day coming up next week, I wanted to share a recipe for the perfect chocolate cake to make for someone you love. This is probably the most delicious chocolate cake that I have ever tasted My sister and I attended our first cooking class last week, where we learned to make this yummy treat. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Chocolate Cake
1 cup melted butter (diced)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 TBS espresso powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (could substitute hazelnuts)
(Directions: Place butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt over simmering water. After melted, mix in the espresso powder, cocoa powder, eggs, sugar and walnuts. Pour in a buttered springform pan. Bake for 50 minutes at 325 F.)

Ganache Topping:
6oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 TBS butter
(Directions: Place chocolate in a bowl. Combine cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and stir until smooth.)

Berry Topping:
3 cups frozen berries (we used boysenberries)
2/3 cup sugar
(Directions: Combine in a saucepan and cook until boiling. Puree and strain.)


Serves 10

(Recipe from Caprial + John’s cooking class)