homemade naan & tikka masala.

Making bread is a whole adventure in itself… and during these quarantine days, food adventures at home works for us! Hope everyone is staying safe and staying sane. 💙

I used to be really intimidated by baking and bread making in general, but I’m starting to warm up to it. There is something so gratifying about it and Michael freaking loves it, too! I’ll take it. I love when I can get him in the kitchen with me to play around with new recipes. He kind of geeks out on yeast and bread and all the different types of flour and their protein content… I could go on, but you get the point hahah.

Anyway… if ya’ll are cooking at home and are craving indian food, you have to try these recipes! They’re sooo good.

Tikka Masala recipe – I did adjust a few things for my own taste, but overall, it’s an amazing recipe.

Naan recipe – we didn’t make the garlic butter. Half Baked Harvest is seriously my favorite food person/blogger ever.

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Dipping fresh, pillowy naan into a sauce is so darn good. 
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Spices I used from the top to bottom: Garam Masala, Hot Curry, Coriander, Tumeric, & Cumin. Also crushed up whole Cardamon pods and black peppercorns.

Not gonna lie, combining my love for food and photography has been bringing me so much joy these days. I haven’t been this excited about something in awhile. It’s been funny though because I’ve been cooking a lot, which leads to a lot of leftovers. But we’ve been doing some porch front or garage deliveries for some friends (gotta keep that social distancing up!) I know it’s silly… but it makes me so ridiculously happy to share!

 

Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it. Julia Child

horseshoe bend & antelope canyon.

There’s not a whole lot of adventuring going on these days, so here’s a few throwbacks from a summer road trip to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Arizona!

In a previous post, I wrote about our separate (and totally different) road trips that we took across the country when we moved from Texas to Oregon. These two stops were some of my favorites. So much so that I sometimes bring up to him how much I want to move to Arizona or Utah for a little bit. Maybe one day!

 

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

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I walked around this place for hours. It was so beautiful.
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Stayed for a dreamy desert sunset. 💛
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Love seeing all the layers.
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I never ever imagined having the opportunity to do this trip by myself, and I am so freaking happy I was able to. 💛💛

 

 

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

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The trucks you ride in on to get to this place.
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There’s a lot more people than I expected!
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Compared to the outside temperatures of over 100 degrees, it was so cool and refreshing in these slot canyons.
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Do you see the bear?!?

On the tour to get to Antelope, I sat next to this beautiful family. They noticed I was alone and was so incredibly friendly by sticking by my side during this adventure. Very grateful my paths temporarily crossed with these folks. I think I even still have the daughter’s phone number somewhere. Anyway, thanks to these three for their kindness and the memories.

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They also took a few photos of me! Hahah

 

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. Alan Alda

overlooking the oregon coast.

This weekend, we decided to just go outdoors to get away from the craziness that’s happening in the city and to try to distance us from other people.

We hiked Neahkahnie Mountain and ended the evening with a stunning sunset at Cannon Beach. We did this hike when we first moved here and it was amazing to come back. The view from Neahkahnie is absolutely breathtaking! It’s a little rocky at the top, so if you go, watch your step. Once you find a spot to sit, all you have to do is enjoy the view. 💙

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The hike up to the top!
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Stopping to look at these heart-shaped leaves!
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These were the leaves I was looking at. 💚

 

Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon Coast

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We made it to the top!
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Loveeeee this view. So peaceful to watch the waves from above.
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Magical.

 

Cannon Beach, Oregon

This is such a classic spot in Oregon. As touristy as it can be, it’s such an amazing spot to visit and spend the evening. Last night was an example of how beautiful it is there. The pinks, purples, blues, yellows, and oranges in the sunset were a sight to see.

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Sometimes you just gotta be a tourist in your own state.

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I see a lot of people being like, “I would survive the coronavirus. I’m taking my chances.”

The way I see it is yeah, I’d survive it. But I might carry it to someone who wouldn’t. And that, folks, is the problem.

There’s a lot of hysteria going on right now regarding coronavirus, which is understandable to some degree. Michael and I both work in healthcare, and I work directly with immuno-compromised cancer patients. It’s definitely weighing heavy on my mind that even though I have a very small chance of becoming severely ill from this, I could potentially carry the virus to my patients. Michael and I are trying to distance ourselves from people as much as we can. The temporary sacrifice is worth it, especially if it can help in anyway.

I’m hoping people are staying safe, being smart, and thinking practically in the next few weeks as it this unfolds even more. 💙

cozy thai red curry ramen.

I haven’t shared a recipe on here before… but this was too freaking delicious to not share!

Oh my goodness, you guys. When I made this, Michael and I were looking forward to dinner every single night we had this.

A warm, cozy bowl of rich red curry broth with fresh noodles and roasted peanuts??! Sign. Me. Up. Michael hates mushrooms, but any time I can sneak them into a meal without him really noticing is a win for me!

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Ever since we built this little food photography studio in our home, it’s been so much fun shooting what I’m making!

I am pretty sure the biggest way I show my love is by cooking and feeding others. I’m not sure why, but I feel so much happiness from sharing any sweet treats or meals that I make. And I don’t think I ever stop thinking about what to cook next and who I’m going to share my leftovers with.

Cheers to always eating good with even better company surrounding you. ❤️

Anyway, here’s this yummy recipe!

Continue reading “cozy thai red curry ramen.”

portland cherry blossoms.

Michael & I could sit on a park bench and stare up at these beautiful trees and flowers for hours.

The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. Homaro Cantu

These days, the sun is staying up a little more in the evenings, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and there’s less rain in the forecast. Just those little things make us pretty darn happy as the season is changing. The end of winter is sort of near and we are ready for it.

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When cherry blossoms bloom here, you can find me and my nifty fifty running around.

glass gardens by chihuly.

As much as we love disconnecting from everyday life to find ourselves adventuring in the outdoors, we also really enjoy simple dates within the city.

Through all of high school and early college, I was either painting or playing the piano. I love the arts and any chance we get to visit a museum, we gotta do it! In Seattle, there’s the Chihuly glass and garden exhibit that is… mind-blowing. All of the unique blown glass pieces are illuminated to show off the most vibrant colors. Your jaw will drop from how incredibly beautiful it is.

Take a peek below!

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This little room with the ceiling of glass pieces and the light coming through them was my favorite!!! There are benches in here so you can sit back and just get lost in the view.

Also, the Native American blanket wall (first photo) you get to see when you enter the exhibit is incredible.

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They almost look like enormous clam shells.
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He got close, but he didn’t touch!!

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Michael takes so many candid photos hahah
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Hello, space needle!

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Also, this is just us enjoying ourselves on a rooftop after our date. 💙

Whether the glass is half empty or half full, you have the power to fill it up. Matshona Dhliwayo

mesmerized by mountains.

Sometimes words aren’t enough.

Sometimes it’s just the two of us in a mutual awestruck silence taking in how extraordinary Mount Hood really is.

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I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’ Sylvia Plath

 

Tamanawas Falls, Mount Hood

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Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson

lunar new year.

Happy Tết!

Growing up, my mom was always someone who celebrated certain holidays with so much enthusiasm and love, especially around Vietnamese new year! She would spruce up the home with bright red and gold decorations and there would always be so much  delicious food.

I don’t do nearly as much celebrating as my family would do, but I definitely had to make some of my favorite dishes for us. My mom is incredibly (and hilariously) superstitious. Without fail, my mom always messages me to eat my black eyed peas for the new year. Well, I’ve never missed a year without eating them, so I’m not going to start now!

Black-eyed peas swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity. The mustard greens symbolize money. The pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion. The eggs symbolize fertility and a big healthy family.

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Thịt kho trứng | Vietnamese braised short ribs with eggs.

This traditional Vietnamese dish is simply cozy and comforting.

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With a side of rice and some pickled mustard greens.
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Chè đậu trắng | Sweet rice pudding with black-eyed peas and a coconut sauce.

 

Behind the Scenes

This is a little side project I’ve been working on with Michael. We’ve both always loved taking photos of our adventures, but lately I’ve been more interested in shooting … food! I love to cook, so I figured why not combine the two things?

We got some walnut wood and Michael cut them up for me in two feet long pieces. I sanded them down. We stained them. He created a base. And I found some fabric to create a few backdrops! It was so much fun, and I am so excited to see what happens!

 

May the new year bring in your life joys that never fade, hopes that never die, and strength that never weakens.

exploring outside portland.

Psst! We are going to let you in on a little secret of ours…

 

When we have friends or family visit us from out of town, we have probably taken almost all of them (if the weather behaved) to these easy-to-visit-but-absolutely-stunning sights along the Columbia River Gorge. I mean.. how could we not?! The drive is less than an hour away from Portland. Even after visiting several times, we still aren’t tired of these views.

Michael and I both grew up in Texas, so we used to joke around about how when we would see a small stream on a hike back then, we would be so excited. Nowadays, we are constantly blown away by the mountains, the waterfalls, the rivers, the trees and everything else we get to see in the pacific northwest.

Here’s our little tour. 😊

 

Latourell Falls

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We loveeeee how moody the pnw can be. Look at all of the beautiful fog hugging the trees.
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This waterfall is gorgeous with the columnar basalt rock formations behind. It is amazing.
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It’s a big plus when you get to stand behind the falls!
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Latourell from afar.

 

Columbia River Gorge

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The drive along the gorge that separates Washington state and Oregon is breathtaking.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

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Michael climbed that big ol’ rock to get a close up view of these falls!

 

Multnomah Falls

If you visit Portland and don’t visit these falls, did you even come visit?!

Yes – it gets crowded. Probably the busiest tourist spot in Oregon, but worth a visit. She’s just so picturesque.

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Rowena Crest Viewpoint

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Driving further east along the gorge, you can stop aside to see this winding road!

 

Hood River, Oregon

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You have to stop in Hood River, Oregon for mountain views, local beer or wine, and delicious food. It’s a must! Also… if you see salmon on the menu, order it. 

 

I’ve posted this quote before, but it’s a personal favorite. 💙

Here in the corner attic of America, two hours’ drive from a rain forest, a desert, a foreign country, an empty island, a hidden fjord, a raging river, a glacier, and a volcano is a place where the inhabitants sense they can do no better, nor do they want to. Timothy Egan

koosah & sahalie falls.

I think we are going to go out on a limb and say… these are our favorite waterfalls in Oregon!

These two nearby waterfalls are incredibly easy to access and you will leave feeling like you were just in a scene straight out of a pacific northwest postcard. It’s incredibly beautiful. When you go, definitely wear waterproof everything and bring extra microfibers because your camera will get wet.

We also included a couple of photographs to compare the falls between the spring and fall season. 💙

 

Koosah Falls, Oregon

Behind the scenes of photographing the falls!
Spring | The falls are so full and powerful this time of year.
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Fall | It’s so different compared to the spring season. Look closely, there’s Michael!
Feeling refreshed being so close!

 

Sahalie Falls, Oregon

Michael was SOAKED after this!! It was a huge sacrifice for the photo, but there really is nothing like a good waterfall shower.
Happy dance because who wouldn’t when you’re surrounded by the amazing outdoors?

 

Detroit Lake, Oregon

This was a little pitstop we had on our road trip. It was a beautiful lake.

If you look closely, there’s a stranger at the edge of the water. So happy we captured him in time before he walked away.

To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring —
these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
John Burroughs

evenings with mt. rainier.

ft. three different lakes

Mount Rainier National Park might be the most visited place we’ve been to since moving to the pacific northwest, and we already can’t wait to go back.

Even though we live in Oregon, we tend to gravitate more towards Washington for hiking and adventures. There is SO many hikes we want to do, but finding the time to roadtrip up there has been tricky due to work / school.

Below are some photos from one of our favorite visits up there. 😊

Snow Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

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Look at how crystal clear that water is!! 💙

Continue reading “evenings with mt. rainier.”

the ocean’s magic.

There is just something mysteriously magical about the ocean. Maybe it’s all of the brilliant shades of blues it can be, or maybe it’s the unpredictability of its storms, or even all of the life that is teeming underneath the surface. Whatever it is, whenever we visit the coast, there’s a sense of awe that just takes over us.

Continue reading “the ocean’s magic.”

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