Chipotle Cashew Cream Dressing

March 25th, 2015

Since society (and the fact that I possess a basic sense of shame) prohibits me from eating Qdoba taco salads for every single meal, I’m trying to at least make my food at home reminiscent of that glorious bowl of goodness. First step: making a copycat creamy chipotle sauce. I prefer to use nuts instead of dairy, so mine is cashew-based. It obviously doesn’t taste quite like the original, but it’s smoky and smooth, and it’s good enough that I keep making it several times a week.

Chipotle Cashew Cream Sauce

Chipotle Cashew Cream Dressing:

  • 1 cup soaked cashews (I usually soak them for an hour or so, anything more would require actual planning.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (If, like me, you can’t have gluten, read the labels carefully on these.)
  • 1 fire-roasted red pepper
  • a handful cilantro
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 ts cumin
  • 1 ts salt
  • Put all ingredients into a powerful blender – we have a Blendtec, which is amazing – and blend until smooth.

    Get in mah belly

    My current favorite use for the dressing is to make a gigantic salad with a mix of raw (romaine, shredded cabbage, spring onions, cilantro) and roasted (asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms) vegetables, topped with some sort of protein (usually beans, because they’re the best) and, of course, chipotle dressing. Om nom nom.

    Even more Chipotle Cashew Cream Sauce

    Spring fever

    March 23rd, 2015

    Honestly, it’s felt (and looked) like spring since around New Year’s, but now it’s officially here – huzzah!

    Trillium

    Every year I get all giddy and excited when I spot my first woodland spring flowers of the season. We found – or, rather, our noses led us to – skunk cabbage on Cougar Mountain in February, and yesterday the Redmond Watershed Preserve was flush with trillium. Aaah! I can feel that spring fever bubbling inside, and I’m getting all excited about the outdoors and mountains again. Hiking! Gardening! Mushrooming!

    Skunk Cabbage Watershed

    Speaking of fever, our little walk in the woods yesterday was just what the doctor ordered. Nora has a cold and was finally able to take a good, long nap out there on trail, and JK and I are just getting over our colds, so we could sniff in all that fresh air that smelled like spring rain and all things green (and skunk cabbage).

    Happy baby

    Poor little Sniffles McGee is still all coughs and sneezes, but hopefully the rain will let up today so I can take her out for a walk. Keeping her upright in a carrier might help drain that little snot faucet, plus I can’t think of a better distraction for her than being outside and inspecting all the new signs of spring on the Powerline Trail.

    The beginnings of a baby album

    March 13th, 2015

    I’m finally getting started on a baby album for Nora! Except that it’s really for me…and since most of the photos and happenings are being documented in photo books, I’m free to be all sorts of self-indulgent and just scrapbook exactly what I want to in this album.

    It’s also a great place to store all the actual scraps, like the prettified, non-official birth certificate we got at the hospital, ultrasound photos, and the chart from Nora’s first week of life where we noted every single feeding and diaper change (looking at that thing now, I understand why I can’t remember much from those zombie newborn weeks).

    Baby album, opening page

    I finally got the birth story written down! I’ve never made a layout with quite this much writing on it before, but then again, it wasn’t your ordinary day. The tab with the little camera on it can be pulled to reveal the more, uhm, private photos from that whole experience.

    On the night you were born

    I’ve been hoarding baby scrapbook products for years, but apparently I’m sticking to my old flower tricks on these. Oh well. The text on this one is from what JK calls his Nora song, Light by Sleeping at Last.

    Our Nora

    …and that page functions as a sort-of-two-pager with this one, where I gush about this amazing little lady of ours. I’m guessing that will be the main theme of this album – gushing. Because come on, she’s the best.

    Such a happy day

    Now I remember…

    March 10th, 2015

    …why we never hike to Rattlesnake Ledge during the day anymore. TNAB? Yes. Dawn Patrol? Yes. Stopping by on a Rattlesnake Mountain traverse? Yes. In the middle of the day on a sunny weekend? No. No no no. Just no.

    All of Puget Sound came out to the Ledge

    Even though this was a weekend in February, not July, all of Puget Sound was there to enjoy the weather and the views. That’s the thing, Rattlesnake is popular for a reason – it’s a very easy trail with a huge payoff. And who am I to complain about the fact that this many people are out enjoying the trails? Especially when so many of those hikers are kids.

    Baby's first Rattlesnake

    It’s a good thing our little kid loves people-watching (and that I don’t mind nursing in public). We ended up having a really great lunch break up there on the ledge, marinating in vitamin D and endorphins.

    Happy hiker

    I love, love, love this stage of babydom. Gone are the days filled with endless hours of inconsolable crying – now we have a happy, smiling, laughing little nugget who is not yet mobile enough to wreak havoc around the house (or on precipitous mountain ledges).

    Family squishy

    There’s not much point to this blog post except to say that a) we survived the March of Thousands to Rattlesnake Ledge and b) hell yeah, life is good.

    A rare moment of solitude on the trail

    Rattlesnake Ledge | 4 miles | 1200 feet elevation gain –

    Pappa, this lake smells like goose poop

    She fits right in

    February 25th, 2015

    One of the good things about being an introverted hermit homebody is that I don’t feel like I had to give up on a lot of stuff when I had a baby. We don’t eat out much (uhm, picking up Qdoba doesn’t count), nor do we like to go out and party. (Okay, so introverted, homebody, and just plain old.)

    I was discussing this with JK last weekend and came to the conclusion that the only things I really miss about my old life are: 1) sleeping in when I need to and 2) being able to run the downhills on hikes. Not exactly a huge sacrifice to make in exchange for a life shared with the cutest little Nora in the world, eh?

    There are polar bears on Mount Rainier?

    Not only that, but most things are just more fun with Nora along. Even little things like going to the grocery store (or Qdoba!) is a little adventure when seen through her eyes.

    Where are Nora's snowshoes?

    We’re at a stage now where it’s really easy to take Nora hiking, so we’ve been able to keep that important part of our family life going, too. One of our traditions is to go to Paradise at least once every winter, and this year was no exception. There’s hardly any snow at all in Washington this year, but Paradise has a modest cover – enough for lil’ Norbert to go on her first snowshoeing trip.

    Nora's first snowshoe trip

    After feeling the biting wind in the parking lot, we bundled Nora up in wool jammies, leg warmers, and her polar bear suit. It turned out to be a little too warm – the wind died down quickly and I stripped down to a t-shirt by the end of the day myself. Nora’s layering is the most frustrating part of our baby hikes so far. This time we had the added challenge of sun protection, since we were in high-elevation sunshine with added reflection from the snow. We brought a sun hat, sunglasses, and mineral sunscreen.

    JK gets a chance to try out pregnancy

    Luckily, she stayed tucked inside the Ergo, happily asnooze and out of the sun, while we hiked. She woke up just as we reached Glacier Vista, where set up a little lunch station in a spot of shade from a swaddle blanket attached to our hiking poles.

    Lunch break

    We had to take her out for a quick photo shoot though, because ehrmagerd, cute little yeti cub with a majestic backdrop!

    *raspberries* Here comes the Noradactyl!

    In addition to my Loo with a View: Scenic Shitters of Washington album, which celebrates the many beautiful privies on our hiking trails, I should make a collection of my favorite al fresco nursing spots. This one takes the cake so far.

    <3

    We had time for a surprisingly long and luxurious lunch break, enjoying the views, listening to rock fall on the Nisqually, watching skiers zooming down Pan Face and little ant hikers snailing their way up to Camp Muir, and playing airplane and blowing raspberries at Nora. She truly seems to love being outside – I’m sure all babies do – which warms my heart to no end.

    Flying yeti cub

    After a while, we realized we had to start hiking back in order to make it home before Nora’s bedtime. The timing would be perfect: she could take a peaceful nap in the car, wake up and play for a little while at home, then go to sleep, dreaming of snow and big marshmallow mountains. Well, that nap never happened… Let me add one more point to the list of things I miss: 3) peaceful, non-eardrum shattering car rides. That thing people say about babies magically being soothed in cars? Lies, all lies!! But those car rides are still oh so worth it for a day like this.

    Perfect day to blow off work

    Glacier Vista | 3 miles | 700 feet elevation gain –

    Nora & mamma

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