December 29, 2012

Coastal Crab Cakes

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent the Christmas weekend at my favorite spot on the Oregon coast: Cannon Beach. When it wasn't raining we wondered round the quaint town, drank coffee, ate goodies from the Cannon Beach Bakery, and admired Haystack Rock from the sand.

On Christmas Eve Eve we drove along 101 to Astoria and got ourselves some freshly caught (and boiled) crab. I wanted to make crab cakes from scratch and had a friend from the restaurant write me up a recipe.
They turned out to be more crab fritters than cakes- but that's just because I was impatient to eat them and made them thin. But seeing as I made them from scratch, I figure you can make them whatever size and thickness you want!

Here's what you need:
1-2 lbs of fresh Crab meat
1/2 bunch of Arugula (finely chopped)
1/3 bunch Parsley (finely chopped)
1/3 red onion (finely chopped)
1-2 cups grated Parmigiano reggiano
1-2 cups Panko or bread crumbs
2 eggs
Salt & pepper to taste

Here's what you do:
If you have a full crab like we did, start by cleaning it. Sometimes you can ask to have the crab cleaned (usually they offer anyways) from wherever you purchased it, or else if you get the crab from the grocery store, it most likely has already been cleaned.  

Next comes the fun part: getting out the meat! You can use nutcrackers if you don't have an actual Crab/Lobster set, or just use your handy-dandy hands!

Apron may be required!
Once you have your crab meat, be sure to squeeze out some of the liquid by placing the meat on a paper towel and patting it down thoroughly.

Next, add all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
Form the cakes into the desired size and coat the outside with additional Panko.
In a large skillet, add oil and heat pan. When it's hot enough, add the cakes and cook until golden brown.

Serve warm & enjoy!

We served our cakes with brown rice.
A perfectly delicious coastal meal in prime crabbing season!

December 10, 2012

5 Holiday To-Do's

Tis the Season to get out and soak up the holiday festivities!
Here are a list of 5 fabulous things to go check out or do this December around the Puget Sound:

1. Gingerbread Houses at the Sheraton Hotel, Seattle
  This year is the 20th Anniversary of the Gingerbread Houses and this year's theme is awesome. I won't ruin the fun, but it is definitely worth waiting in line for. Its a free event but if you donate money, all proceeds go to the JDRF foundation that researches the cure for type 1 diabetes. 

2. Christmas Tree's and Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle
   The Christmas tree's inside the fairmont are absolutely gorgeous. On the 3rd floor you can check out their Teddy Bear suite, it's a suite elaborately decorated for Christmas that houses tons of teddy's of all sizes.
3. Ice Skating, Bellevue Downtown Park
  Frozen on top of the Bellevue pond, this ice rink gets packed as Christmas time gets nearer. My advice, go before dinner at around 4 or 5 and bring a skating buddy with you!

4. Snowflake Lane, Downtown Bellevue
 A newer tradition on the Eastside, and happening every night at 7pm. This is a great little show that includes fun Christmas songs, drummer girls & drummer boys, and a flurry of fake snow. It lasts only about 10 to 12 minutes, but it's a ton of fun for everyone.

5. Sledding / Skiing/ Snowboarding, The Summit at Snoqualmie Pass
  Grab your ski's or your sled and get yourself up to the mountain! The best part of living on the Eastside? Snoqualmie Pass is only 40 minutes away! Since the Tubbing Park and Sledding Park was closed, B & I hiked a trail and built our own sled track. 

What are your favorite things to do during the holiday's? Let me know!

December 9, 2012

Contemporary Masquerade

Holiday parties are upon us.
Whether you're going to an Ugly Sweater party or a classy cocktail office party, you're usually guaranteed 2 things:
     1. Good company (or drinks...)
     2. Good stories to share the next day

I was invited to Sugar Mountains' holiday party as Jules plus one:
The theme was "Masquerade" and masks were required. Jules and I had a fun time picking out masks the weekend before, and when Tuesday night came along, we shimmied into our cocktail dresses & heels and headed into Seattle.
Jules & I chatted with her co-workers, played in front of the camera, and I even got my Tarot Cards read by the palm reader!

The first holiday party of the year was quite a success. The company & drinks were great, and the stories the next day were equally exciting!

December 2, 2012

Holiday Indulgence

The holiday's are here! Crank up the Christmas tunes and get those decorations out-- it's finally December! Every year I get a ton of my Christmas shopping done right after Thanksgiving. Then I'd travel back to school in Oregon and end up doing lots of last-minute shopping (tax free!) right before heading home before Christmas.

This year I'm pleased to say that I am officially done with ALL of my Christmas shopping 2 whole weeks before Christmas Eve!! 

This morning Mom & I went to one of the Nordstorm Private Holiday Parties.
It was a pretty self explanatory event: we walked around drinking Mimosa's & finding goodies to wrap for everyone on our list. I munched on petite crissont sandwiches and yogurt parfaits and ended up adding more things to my Wish List than I expected! 
Eastside mom's waiting in line
fur shawl
complementary gift wrapping
The Holiday Party was a "thank you" from the department store for their Level 2 and up card holders. It's a fabulous experience-- Nordstrom's is always well staffed and pampers their customers amaaaazingly. 

Want in? Go here to learn more about becoming a Nordys card holder! 
Happy Holiday Shopping! xx

November 25, 2012

Surprise Dessert Bread (Shhh...)

This recipe was sent via snail mail to me by my grandmother. She's been telling me about this "amazing dessert bread recipe" she came across and "was such a hit" with her dear friends down in Arizona that she encouraged me to test it out.

I was a little hesitant, for one reason and one reason only: the main ingredient.

BUT, after devouring and entire loaf basically to myself, I thought I'd share it with you.
Get ready to be surprised.
Here we go.

    4 eggs
    3 Cups all-purpose flour
    2 Cups white sugar
    1 Cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 Cup chopped walnuts
    and finally, the surprisingly secret ingredient: 1 (15 ounce) can of Pork & Beans

Yes, you read that correctly, I did say Pork & Beans.
Trust me, you'll be happily surprised.

Now, here's what to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease & flour 2 bread loaf pans [preferably 9x5x3 inches].
2. Puree the can of undrained Pork & Beans in a food processor.

3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, flour, sugar, salt, oil, cinnamon, vanilla extract, baking soda & baking powder. After its mixed well, gently fold in nuts & pureed Pork & Beans. Divide batter evenly into 2 pans.

4. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until the bread tests done with a skewer.

Your house will probably start to smell cinnamon-y and delicious after 25 min of baking. My parents (the guinea pig's in the taste-test) thought I was making pumpkin bread. It smell THAT good!

Trust me, this dessert bread is delicious. You can have it with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream or have it for breakfast with a little butter. Either way, you won't believe how amazing it is!


November 14, 2012

Pine State Infatuation

If you've been keeping up with the posts, or know me personally, you understand how much I love breakfast.  The last couple of times I've been down to Portland B took me to one of his favorite spots. I wasn't sure I was going to like it since I'm not much of a biscuit fan, but oh... these are no ordinary biscuits.  And Pine State Biscuits is no ordinary breakfast joint either.

Situated perfectly in the middle of Alberta in Northeast, this place is down right awesome.
There is always (and I literally mean always) a line out the door. You order your biscuit sandwich concoction and watch with anticipation as names are called and plates are placed on the bar top.

Eastsider Diaries, pine state biscuitsEastsider Diaries, pine state biscuits
B& I found seats right on the bar which was absolutely perfect. I watched, drooling, as the speedy cooks put together their mouthwatering biscuits....

Eastsider Diaries, pine state biscuits
We both ordered the Reggie Deluxe.
This has fried chicken, cheese, a fried egg, bacon and is topped with their creamy gravy.
And yes, it was delicious:

Eastsider Diaries, pine state biscuits
Eastsider Diaries, pine state biscuits
Eastsider Diaries, pine state biscuits

For more info on where you can get your own Reggie Deluxe go here and here!

November 12, 2012

Winter Is Coming...

Bootie-wearers unite! 
It's nearly winter and to any Pacific Northwesterner, we all know that fall & winter are fabulous.

Eastsider Diaries
Finally I get to take out those boots that have been hiding in their lonely shoebox and sport them with a lovely jacket or coat. Last weekend I was in Portland and fell head over heels (no pun intended) for these gorgeous Cole Haan booties:

Eastsider Diaries, Cole Haan, Bootie
With the week cold and dry, I had an excuse to wear my new favorite booties...

Eastsider Diaries
Eastsider Diaries
Eastsider Diaries
Eastsider Diaries, Booties, Cole Haan

You can find some similar here or here.

Booties: Cole Haan
Jeans: Burberry
Jacket: H&M
Scarf & gloves: Cashmere

And from the title of this post I'm sure you can tell I'm a Game of Thrones fan. If you're like me and desperately waiting for Season 3, watching this might make you feel a little better (or worse).