Seven Days Photo Challenge, with a twist 📸😉, Day 4

The lovely Dominique at 3C Style has nominated/tagged me in a photo challenge. And, we all know how I can’t say no to a challenge😉

Apparently the rules are: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

No Explanations!! Ok, I will let this one speak for itself, but will include the color version and ask for feedback. I am taking a photo class and am looking to improve 😊

Today I would like to nominate/tag Lisa from lismorepaperco. I know she has some gorgeous shots to share😉

Advertisements

Holiday Cocktail: The Hot Apple Pie

IMG_4032

A couple weeks ago, the hubby and I went to happy hour at a local restaurant. I had a drink called a hot apple pie. It had spiced cider, orange infused vodka and butterscotch schnapps! A very sweet drink but so good on a cold, rainy night 🙂

Then, a few days ago, my daughter told me that her boyfriend really wanted hot apple cider. I saw my opportunity to recreate (or at least attempt to) the hot apple pie.

I decided to use my crock pot, since I was also making a beef bourguigon in my dutch oven, and I wanted extra!

I combined allspice, cloves and nutmeg in a coffee filter (I was out of cheesecloth) and tied it with cooking twine. The sachet was added to 1 gallon of apple cider along with cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange and lemon slices.

 

I set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours and let the flavors steep into the cider.

IMG_4020

IMG_4021

IMG_4029

By now the house was smelling wonderful! The spiced cider was delicious on its own, and even better with a few embellishments!

IMG_2597

I did not have orange infused vodka, but used my vanilla flavored one instead. I added 1 oz. of each of the vodka and “Buttershots” (which is the butterscotch schnapps).

 

IMG_4032

 

IMG_4033

 

IMG_2604

I was quite happy with the end result! I do recommend this one 🙂

 

Hot Apple Pie Cocktail

  • Servings: 10 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Take your spiced apple cider to the next level with this sophisticated and elegant cocktail, perfect for the holidays!

Credit: Invisible-no-more.com

Ingredients

-1 gallon apple cider, filtered or unfiltered

-1/2 cup brown sugar

-2 Teaspoons whole allspice

-3 Teaspoons whole cloves

-2 dashes of grated nutmeg

-4 cinnamon sticks

-4 star anise

-2 oranges, 1 cut into half and the other sliced

-1 lemon, cut into slices

-1 oz. Vanilla infused vodka, or orange infused vodka

-1 oz. Butterscotch schnapps

 

Directions

  1. Add the 1 gallon of cider and brown sugar to a crockpot and stir to mix.
  2. In a coffee filter or cheesecloth, place the allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Carefully fold up the coffee filter, making sure none of the spices can fall out. Tie up with butcher’s twine and place into the cider.
  3. Slice an orange in half and place sliced side down into the cider, along with the additional orange and lemon slices. Add in the cinnamon sticks and star anise.
  4. Cover and heat on low for several hours before guests arrive, or can be heated on high for an hour or two until it’s hot enough and then turn the heat down to low.Keep spice bag and orange halves in the cider the entire time.
  5.  Add the liquors to a glass and fill with the hot spiced mixture.

SaveSave

Black & White & Color, Photo Challenge

Last night we went to a Meet Up Tucson group. The goal was to meet some of our new neighbors and, finally, start getting to know some people locally. We met up with the “off the couch gang” at a Zona 78, an Italian restaurant. I had this raspberry martini (to start!)

It was delicious and the company was great, we really did have a fun time! I got to thinking this morning about using the drink for this challenge, but wanted to take it a little further with some animation, so which do you prefer:

 

 

export copy

The color version of the raspberry martini with bubbles

or

export

The black and white version with bubbles

Grab your camera or phone and join Linda from Everyone Else has the best titles and Take the “Black and White and Color” photo challenge!

Road Trip, First Stop: Eugene, Oregon

export-1

We are heading back to Tucson for a month of sun and our next half marathon. This time we are driving down with a very full car. Our goal is to bring a few things, ok a lot of things, from our house in Washington and we want to have our own car while we are in Arizona.

You might be wondering why we stopped in Oregon on the first leg of the drive, since Eugene is only about 5 hours from Redmond, Washington. This is a legitimate question as we have 20 more hours to go! We stayed overnight in Eugene because my husband has a presentation at the local office this morning.

We have never been to Eugene before. We have spent a lot of time in Portland over the years. Our daughter was a competitive gymnast and son was a competitive rock climber, so they both had many meets or competitions all around Oregon. Eugene is beautiful! Perhaps it is just the fact that our hotel is along the Willamette River, or that fall leaves make every place pretty. Either way, we are impressed!

After 5 hours in the car we were eager to stretch our legs. We started out for walk along the river path.

img_0724

img_0725

img_0722

It was a sunny day here, which makes everything better!

img_0738

I just love this bridge with the clouds behind it

img_0739

All of Oregon is biking and walking friendly. This is just one of many pathways used by numerous pedestrians 

img_0740

img_0737

Near this bridge is McMenamins Restaurant. We had never heard of this chain before, but they are all over the Oregon area, there is even near us in Bothell, Washington which we will have to visit when we get back. This chain also includes hotels, breweries, and wineries as well as the restaurants. Ours was specifically McMenamins North Bank Restaurant. We weren’t sure what to expect but what a pleasant surprise!

It was set right on the shore of the Willamette River, with an incredible view! It must be truly stunning in the summer!

img_0728

img_0726

We made it in time for happy hour, of course 🙂 So, I started with a blueberry infused vodka cocktail and the hubby went with a craft beer of some sort (mine was so tasty I forgot what he had!)

img_0731

We were starving, so I went with the goat cheese, pesto and sun dried tomato torta. This came with four perfectly toasted crostini and balsamic vinegar- I loved this!

img_0732

My entree was the salmon topped with coffee-bacon jam! Unique and delicious!

img_0733

By now we were getting quite full so I chose to drink my dessert! I had this seasonal pumpkin infused cocktail. It was like a pumpkin milkshake. Just amazing!

img_0734

We ended the evening strolling back along the river to our hotel. I took one last shot of the sunset. There were quite a few clouds, but it was pretty nonetheless!

export-1

Today we have 10 hours in the car to Fresno California-wish us luck!

 

Hiking, Sailing and Drinking our way through Kauai

This was our first trip to Kauai. We have been lucky enough to visit Maui many times when our kids were young. Hawaii in general is a great spot to take young kids with the beaches, the ocean, swimming pools… its just so casual and fun for the whole family. This time it was just the two of us and we decided to do some serious exploring.

Of course we were treated to some of the Hawaiian Island iconic images right away!

What is with the feral chicken population? They are pretty aggressive pan handlers!

 

We first arrived just in time to check out the sunset and plan our first hike for the following day.

IMG_0116

We got a fairly early start, thanks to the three hour time difference, and drove an hour to Waimea and Kokee State Park where the trail head for the Canyon Trail begins. This hike is not too strenuous (~3miles round trip) and ends at the Waipoo falls. The canyon itself if quite impressive! The colors are vibrant and there was some serious depth to the canyon.

IMG_0146

A scenic overlook before the hike 

 

IMG_0147

IMG_0172

IMG_0174

IMG_0173

IMG_0185

IMG_0186

I just love the color of this volcanic, red clay

IMG_0202

Waipoo falls marks the end and turn around point of this hike.

IMG_0189

IMG_0190

IMG_0195

IMG_0196

It took us an hour and half to hike down and 45 minutes to make our way back up! Not too bad. We made our way back to the Sheraton Resort, where we stayed for the 5 night vacation, cleaned up and headed out to the Beach House Restaurant for a very  nice dinner!

IMG_0210

The Beach House version of a Mai Tai

IMG_0214

My hubby loves his Manhattans!

 

IMG_0255

After the drinks and appetizer we enjoyed a delicious dinner! Of course we were also treated to a glorious Hawaiian sunset!

IMG_0253

IMG_0240

IMG_0248

The next morning we relaxed by the beach for awhile.

 

We had a sunset dinner cruise scheduled for the evening so we set out for Blue Dolphin Charters to meet our boat. This was a 4 hour cruise that took us past the north shore area of  Na Pali coast.

IMG_0298

We had beautiful weather (to start with anyway!)

 

IMG_0302

The colors were impressive to say the least! Notice those clouds moving in!

IMG_0305

 

IMG_0308

 

IMG_0311

 

IMG_0314

The prehistoric look of the rock was stunning, there is no question as to why so many movies are filmed here. Of course there was a sunset!

IMG_0356

Despite the light rain, and the not so light seasickness experienced by some on the cruise, it was another great day in paradise!

The next day was the big test! We planned to hike the Kalalau trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls. This was going to be an all day affair to remember!!

We drove an hour and half north to Kee beach to pick up the trail head.

This hike was going to take the majority of the day. 8 miles round trip! The first 2 miles would lead us to a Hanakapi’ai beach. This portion of the hike was not too bad and we were rewarded with this view!

IMG_0410

IMG_0413

IMG_0414

the view from the beach back toward the hills

There were quite a few folks at this point, and many stayed here to play in the surf, have lunch and then return to the trail head. We decided to push on the next two miles to the waterfall. These next 2 miles were tougher, steeper and slippery from the periodic rainfall. It was slow going, but the scenery was spectacular. My favorite portion of this trail was the bamboo forest.

 

IMG_0436

 

IMG_0438

IMG_0440

IMG_0443

After a couple tough hours we were rewarded with this! Hanakāpīʻai falls is ~300 feet long, and worth the hike!

IMG_0419

IMG_0424

IMG_0423

There were people everywhere, even though it looks like we were alone in my pictures. Many were swimming in the water and playing in the falls. It looked so refreshing but we did not want to hike back the 4 miles with wet feet. We stayed a little while, but knowing how difficult the terrain was, we started back soon after seeing the falls. We definitely wanted to get back to the car before dark or, more likely, before the afternoon showers!

We were really wiped out after that hike! Our feet, legs, knees, ankles…you get the idea! All we had the energy for was dinner! We got back, cleaned up and went to Keoki’s Paradise for dinner and more drinks! I really liked this spot, and the live music helped relax us after a really busy day.

 

IMG_0451

135A776C-51D8-4335-B73D-82C11C0DC9D1

This brings us to the final day, where we just wanted to stroll along the beach and take in the beautiful sites one last time.

IMG_0128

IMG_0111

IMG_0112

IMG_0379

IMG_0393

IMG_0402

IMG_0403

We spent time at the ocean, by the pool and lounging around in a cabana, hiding from the heat.

IMG_0474

IMG_0475

We truly loved Kauai and recommend all the restaurants and hikes in this post. We will be back!

IMG_0489