Thursday, April 12, 2012

Butter Cake. Enough Said.

Do you have a weird store in your community? You know a store that has foods from all around the world? Or they specialize in one weird item, like say, black licorice? I'm sure you do, and I'm sure its an Asian grocery store - which aren't bad, but nothing compared to mine.

Poulsbo has been - should I say blessed? - with a unique enterprise - and its called Marina Market.

This store is awesome. From the front you'd think they sold fishing rods and bait, maybe a few canned beers - its totally unassuming. But once you walk inside you eyes can do nothing but light up. The front counter alone is covered with interesting, almost gimmicky candies and toys - like bacon shaped bandaids and face sized lollypops. Then, as you look farther back you can just barely see an entire isle of licorice - yes, an entire isle dedicated to black licorice from around he world. As you're glace wanders even further back, your eyes will feast upon a selection of beer, unrivaled by any other local store. And we're not talking Budweiser here, we're talking some of the best, borderline rare brews from all over the world. At this point you just need to walk around. Your eyes will be tired from focusing in on the greatness.

Marina Market is a mostly a grocery store, but they carry a little of everything. As you walk around  you'll notice something, a theme of sorts... take for example the isle where you would find cup-o-noodles. Yeah, you'll probably find a good ole regular chicken cup-o-noodle, but it will be surrounded by much more exotic fares like the Thai rice noodle equivalent and instant Indian curry and borscht soup mix and a Swedish blueberry soup so on and so forth. Down other isles you will see packages with no English on them what so ever. In the freezer you will find, not one, but two kinds of lutefisk frozen dinners. They also carry a bunch of gluten free products and souvenirs.

There is definetely a theme - I'd say a global one - from local to each corner of the world. Every isle holds something new and awesome, but the section I have fallen in love with, is the Dutch dessert isle...

Walking down that isle, is like floating on a cloud... that's been smeared in butter. My first wandering, brought me to an almond filled butter cake. It had no label on it, no expiration date, and it was just a round, flat pie looking thing wrapped in cellophane. When the owner saw me looking at it his eyes lit up, and he told me to hold on. Minutes later I was feasting on a sample cake. Only minutes after that I was buying one for myself.

Chad and I finished it in about 3 days. The taste was addictive, a soft but dense cake that screamed butter and almond extract, and it basically melted in your mouth, similar to the way shortbread does. It was amazing.

That next week I stopped back into the store. I had to find the owner and ask him what he recommended for our next treat - but I wanted it to be similarly delicious, he steered me towards the almond butter cake cookies. They were almost as delicious, but had the added benefit of being portable.

A few weeks later I got a text message from the owner simply stating that - they got the boxed butter cake mix in. I was there within a week buying one.

I made it this past Monday night - and after strict rationing, there is one piece left - and I may, or may not share it with Chad.

This cake was better than the initial cake I ate there. It lacks the almond flavor, but makes up for in fresh, dense, buttery goodness. I think I might just add a teaspoon of almond extract next time I make it. Why not, right? And it was so easy to make. And soooo, sooo easy to eat.

Just to let you know, Marina Market has an awesome website: and they ship just about anywhere (including their beer). You - have - to get one of these cake mixes. You have to. Its my new comfort food. Its my new obsession. I may just make one big enough to sleep in.

Just in case you couldn't find it in the vast expanse of goodies on the website, here is the Boter Koeh link, with the English directions on it: and just to let you know, 7 ounces of butter is just shy of two sticks! And according to the other owner of the store, the cake is even better if you use imported butter! Its less watery than our, apparently lame, butter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Idaho!! No U-da-ho! Part 3 (Last Part)

Finally, the last day with my momma had arrived. We'd been running our little butts off having the best time ever! It was finally time for mom and me to chill - and to do this we had to get rid of the boys.

We sent them golfing. Enough said.

This is the only picture Chad took. They each hit their ball and they landed right next to each other.
While they were gone, mom and me just putts around the house. I made her do a workout video. She showed me how to crochet - correctly. It was really nice.

When the guys got home, we made homemade flour tortillas - and by we - I mean mom pointed at stuff and talked while Chad and I did all the work!

It was such grueling work that drinks were in order - so we made margaritas - for everyone! Even Grammie, who showed up a little later for dinner.


We ate tacos, laughed, talked, watched a movie then passed out. It was just like being home again. Just like it should be. I couldn't think of a better way to end our visit.

We left mom's the next morning, and headed out to our last stop - my Uncle Scott's house.

I hadn't seen my uncle in over two years and Chad had never met him - so this was a visit long overdue. When we got to his house, we hugged, smiled and he made us a wonderful breakfast. Later that afternoon, we piled in his truck (with Milli) and he took us on a tour of his work (a big dairy in the outskirts of Mountain Home) and showed us his favorite fishing holes. It was a beautiful day - and the company only made it better.

 He knew everything about every inch of the dairy.

 This made me happy :)

Unfortunately, this leg of our trip was short, we had to head home that afternoon, so Uncle Scott brought us back to his house and loaded us up with some goodies - the best of which were a couple packs of frozen Croppie - a tiny fish. This was his favorite fish and he had caught and filleted these in the previous years and was nice enough to share with us. (When we got home we made both fish taco's and chippino with one of the packs! DELICIOUS!)

And that was it. It was over... time to return to the boring reality of home... Oh well, at least we always have a reason to go back! Thank you to everyone who helped make this trip to Idaho the best ever!

And if you've never been to Idaho - I really do recommend it. Especially in the spring and fall - I joked often about it maybe not being the best place throughout this blog, but honestly its pretty darn great. Definitely worth the trip!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Idaho!! No U-da-ho! Part 2

So, you'd think after a long day in Hailey, then the next day would have to be much more chill. Um NO! Not for this family! Not this weekend!

We were out of the house by 8:30am. It was a race to the Farmhouse - a basque restaurant out in the middle of fricken nowhere... literally. This was Chad's requested destination. We'd been there before, and he was hooked.

That's a loaf of Basque bread!

Just look at that loaf of bread! That is totally indicative of the portion sizes you should expect. Plates the size of manhole covers, totally hidden by food.

After our mammoth breakfast, we were off to Twin Falls, Idaho. I knew we had some errands to run there, but what I did not expect to see was an AMAZING waterfall! Oh my goodness, there are actually falls in Twin Falls - who knew?! Right in the middle of what feels like a desert. Luckily, my mom did.

Shoshone Falls was the destination, but on the way there we stopped for a view of the gorge. Think the Grand Canyon, only smaller, like a Big Canyon or Large Canyon. It was really pretty - but it was nothing compared to Shoshone right up the road.


After we regained the ability to speak (due to the loss of words at the falls) we were off again - this time to the "Toilet Bowl." It is found in another gorge, south of Twin Falls (I'd say half way between Mountain Home and Twin Falls, more or less), and it... was slightly underwhelming...

Conditions were not ideal..

Devil's Wash Bowl (the Toilet Bowl's official name), is a water feature found in the the bottom of a large gorge - apparently when conditions are just right there is a swirly thing that goes on, and it kind of looks like a toilet flushing. Unfortunately... the conditions were NOT ideal... and It kind of looked like some water in a canyon - it was beautiful scenery, but I think my mom was pretty disappointed.

Next stop - Miracle Hot Springs! Going there was Chad's other request. Idaho has some great hot spring activity, and Miracle contains them perfectly. Private rooms. Large public, hot, swimming pools. A resident alligator. Oh, and did I mention this day was the prettiest day ever? Yup, I spent over an hour (after an hour long soak) just sleeping in the sun. I'm thinking I was a bit Vitamin D deprived...

 Soaking up some sun!

 The resident alligator. Mom reminded me I'd first seen this guy when he was only a couple feet long.

Sounds like the perfect day, no? Well, no. Unbeknownst to any of us, it wasn't finished yet. On the way back home, mom remembered there was a winery!

Welcome to Carmela Vineyards - Glenns Ferry's only winery. It was great! The lady helping us was super excited to tell us everything about the wines. She let us taste every one of her 15 or so offerings, giving us the history or story behind each one. Come to find out, Idaho is a relatively prolific grape grower. Their wine culture is still young, but its pretty fun. I'm not going to lie, these are "the people's wine." Not hoity-toity, nose in the air wines. They had one named Giggles and another one called Wine-rita  (a very margarita flavored wine). Carmela's wines were definitely accessible, and made to be enjoyed by all - most of them were good, some of them not so much, but none of them so complex that the average Joe couldn't enjoy. I really liked this about the.

Mom was our DD but I convinced her to try a couple of the wines :)

Ok, finally, back home for dinner and some butt-to-couch time. Holy goodness, what an awesome day. Like, wow.

But the funny thing, there are still more amazing times to come!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Idaho!! No U-da-ho! Part 1

Did you know Idaho can be an actual destination for a vacation?! As in, someone would be inclined to plan a trip there, without being forced or having to visit family??

Well, come to find out, it totally is.

It started with a visit to my mom and Jack's house. Chad and I do this about once a year, take a nice drive out to Mountain Home, Idaho, and have a nice relaxing, long weekend with my family. We thought this time would be like all the others - boy, were we wrong.

The trip there - totally average. We packed up our stuff and the dog, and were on our way by 2:30pm. No traffic, random annoying snow storm, junk food and coffee. You know the typical 10 hour road trip. We got there and were greeted by my mom and Jack - they stayed up till 1am just to see us.

The next day, we had decided to keep it mellow. We were all tired - so it seemed a fitting day to lounge around the house... that lasted till 11am... I was restless... but then, via a random set of events, we found ourselves on the way to Hailey, ID (think a little town, 45 minutes south of Sun Valley).

The drive to Hailey was really pretty.
See, come to find out, my dad has a friend out there who owns a restaurant. He'd never been there, so, we decided we'd go check it out. Dad called them up, and made us reservations for 5pm - so our plan was to drive to Sun Valley for the afternoon, then back for dinner....

But... three-quarters of the way through Hailey... we found a brewery. Sun Valley Brewery to be exact. The trip stopped there. And a sampler was had by all.

I made mom try them all. And it was a good thing, cause she ended up liking the one she thought she'd hate.
The beer was good, brewed on site. They had a large selection, and I would say half of them were solidly good. Another quarter of them were maybe a little weird, an aquired taste kind of thing. While two of them, just not great. But see, that's the cool thing about a sampler at brewery in the middle of nowhere, you get to try everything, and choose your favorites. The gem was and unexpected one - it was the Cranky uber IPA. It was super flavorful, fruity, with a strong but totally smooth hop.

After a stroll around the little town (to walk off the buzz of course) we found daVinci's - where we had our dinner reservations. We were greeted by two of the most amazingly wonderful men - both knew who I was as soon as I walked up (apparently I look a bit like my dad) and they treated us like family. The restaurant was cute - the room was made in such a way that there wasn't a 90 degree angle to be found - which just added to the home-y feel. The food - was off the charts great. I got the special - a handmade, hand-rolled pasta. It was spectacular. Mom had some fettucini alfredo - which was so fresh, so real, and just divine.

Needless to say, the two hour drive to Hailey was well worth it.

So, you might think the story stops here. I mean, one great day in Idaho may seem like all they have to offer. Oh, how wrong you'd be, but this is getting long, so I'll have to write about the rest in the next post.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter Bunny Day!

Just wanted to pop on and tell everyone a big ole happy easter bunny day!

I hope yours was as good as ours was! We started off with an egg hunt, easter baskets and delicious brunch with our WA family Ash and K!

He was SOO excited when he found one!
 Happy Easter Bunny Day!!

We walked into the house and Kaleb walked right up to me "Tara! The easter bunny got you a basket too!"
Then, I went out and worked with the KAA on our Adopt-A-Trail trail!

Then off on a long hike with my honey.

And lastly, Chad and I are ending the day with a bbq... this is exactly how spring should be everyday!!