Michael

4th Wedding Anniversary

Hey, wow! Where did the time go? It feels like just yesterday Michael and I were saying “I do.”

It really is hard to believe it’s already been four years married. I swear, having a baby/toddler just sucks the brain cells out of your head. 😉 It must be from that first year of sleep deprivation! It feels like a blur right now and it’s probably a good thing we make an effort to get away for our anniversary!

Wedding Anniversary – 1, at Crater Lake

Wedding Anniversary – 2 , at Feast eating Franklin’s BBQ!

Wedding Anniversary – 3, at Edgefield 

This year we wanted to go to Vegas for the weekend but the planning didn’t quite work out and so we looked for something different to do in Oregon. We found a loft to rent out past Hillsboro on the way to the beach. It was all we needed: a cute space in the country with a hot tub!

Life is pretty busy these days and there’s been a lot of stress and changes in our lives this year. When we talked about our plans for our weekend getaway, Michael said the sweetest thing: “If you want to just hole up in the loft and stay in bed watching netflix and eating Haagen Daz all weekend we can.” LOL! I have to admit, that did sound pretty good….

So Friday my parents drove down to babysit Logan for the weekend and we took off for our weekend getaway. The loft was cute, up on Bald Peak, with amazing views.

We were surrounded by farms, fields, vineyards and huge houses. We saw one house that was humongous and had an indoor pool and gym overlooking the above view. Amazing!

For dinner we went to Ridgewalker Brewing in Forest Grove. Neither of us have ever been to Forest Grove. It had a cute little downtown area. Ridgewalker seemed to be the place to be on a Friday night.

They had my Boneyard RPM on tap so we got one of those and shared the hushpuppies before dinner. They were fantastic! Perfectly crunchy and had good flavor. I ordered the BLT with a side of brussels sprouts instead of fries. The BLT was nothing amazing but the sprouts were great.

Michael got a corndog. 😉 He said it was great. The fries were really good (I might have had a few of Michael’s). After dinner we headed back to the loft. Lots of winding roads and cool old barns like this one:

We spent some time in the hot tub, which felt amazing and so relaxing. The owners had fairy lights nearby and there was a nice view from the hot tub. And we both had the most amazing night of sleep and SLEPT IN UNTIL 9AM!!!! Holy moly!

On Saturday we had a quickie breakfast and then drove out to the Tillamook Forest to go for a hike. The hike we did was at the Summit Trailhead.

We did the Gales Creek Trail because of all the hikes I found, it was the closest to where we were staying (and it was still about a 45 minute drive). It was a nice, quiet hike without a lot of people. It started with a fairly steep downhill hike.

There were parts of the trail that were a bit muddy and I slipped but then it leveled out a little bit and was kind of flat.

It was a really pretty trail and once you got further down, you couldn’t hear the highway at all, just the sound of the recent raindrops falling from the trees.

We saw a bunch of cute little lizards on the trail, too! No doubt they were heading back to the creek.

Because we got such a late start to the day and because the trail was so steep going down, we decided not to venture too far on the hike since it was going to be all uphill on the way back.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Smokin’ Weekend

Over the weekend we got to try out our new Traeger smoker!

Saturday

We had another couple over for dinner to have ribs. Michael started the ribs at about noon and then we ate at 7-ish.

Michael has been really good at BBQing ribs, it’s one of his specialties, but smoking them for several hours first made them out of this world!

He used a combination of a BBQ seasoning rub and a recipe that the Traeger book recommended (honey, mustard, brown sugar) and then for the last hour of the cooking he added the BBQ sauce.

The ribs were absolutely perfect! The meat fell off the bone. The flavors were so rich and smokey. It was like nothing we’d ever had before. Smoking the ribs was sooo good.

Michael said next time he does ribs he’d do the timing a little different. I think he was saying it was a 3-2-1 process where you smoke them for 3 hours then cook them in foil for 2 hours then the last hour is cooking uncovered on the grill and using BBQ sauce. He said he wanted to play with the time a little bit next time.

Our friends brought a delicious Asian-inspired cucumber salad. The cucumbers were from her garden. The salad was really tasty and went so well with the ribs.

Sunday

Michael bought a giant hunk of brisket at Costco and started the Traeger at 7am. He followed the recipe in the Traeger book for the first time. A few years ago I bought him Franklin’s BBQ book so I think he’ll use that in the future, too.

This was definitely an all day process and he said he should have started it a bit earlier in the morning.

I picked the first batch of jalapenos from the garden and Michael pickled a bunch and then saved a few and made poppers as an appetizer. SO TASTY!

Michael’s mom and stepdad, sister and friend Jeremy came over to be guinea pigs for the first ever brisket.

Once the brisket was done, we wrapped it in foil to rest for almost an hour.

More wine:

And the unveiling!

Michael’s mom made potato salad from scratch and Michael’s sister made a delicious salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It was all really tasty and went perfectly with the meat.

For a first attempt, the brisket was really, really good. There were a few tough pieces but for the most part it was great! The flavor was outstanding. We are all super excited to try again!