The Story of How We Met

April 13, 2018

In March 2016 I was in my final semester of Massage Therapy school in Fort Collins, CO. I wore my hair big, my jeans ripped, and a general attitude of “I’ve got this all figured out.” (Sure, Savannah, sure). I’d been single for three years which was one of the best, and trying, things to ever happen to me. It gave me a chance to develop some standards for myself and for potential partners.

One of my good friends Renee was seeing a guy named Chris who played guitar in a local, Fort Collins band. She invited me to open mike night at Avogadro’s Number where he would be playing on a Friday night. So we went and ended up at a table with a random assortment of Fort Collins, Bluegrass musicians who all knew each other. After Chris’s set, we moved to the pool tables where I spotted a guy leaning up against the edge of a booth talking to Chris. He was wearing a light wash pair of Levi’s, an unbuttoned, long-sleeved plaid shirt over a graphic T, and had a shock of curly, dark brown hair peeking out the back of a grey, beanie cap that came down almost to his eyebrows.He had dark brown eyes, a strong jaw, was clean shaven and had this grin on his face like he was causing trouble. I believe exactly what went through my mind right then was “He’s cute and the clothes need some work.”

He turned out to be neighbors with another member of the band and was doing photography as a hobby. So he’d come to the local shows and shoot pics for the band, usually in exchange for free admission. His name was Tony and I now know he was out with his camera trying to break out of his habitual, homebody habits of cleaning and hanging out with his dogs. (Spoiler alert ladies, he’s taken!).

he played a game of pool with me, Renee, and one of her musician friends named Miles. Our game came to an end and another group of guys wanted to play. Tony and Chris agreed to play them with stakes of “Losers have to crawl under the pool table.” It seems odd but actually, it’s the perfect wager. Under the pool table of a dive bar in a college town is an uncharted territory of cobwebs, spilled beer and who knows what else.

They accepted and Tony and Chris beat them handily. Tony was on a roll, sinking ball after ball and they dutifully crawled under the table after the game, much to everyone’s delight! We all headed back towards the stage, I sat next to Renee and Miles plunked down right next to me. Tony ended up at another table. I had my eye on him and planned to go over when the opportunity presented itself and see what he was all about.

My plans were brought to an abrupt halt when Miles tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his phone with the contacts open, wanting my number. I was not interested in Miles at all but I didn’t know what else to do without making a really awkward rest of the evening. So I put my number in and then sat seething because it seemed like a dick thing to do to give a guy your number and then go flirt with someone else, and I just couldn’t bring myself to crush him like that. The night wrapped up quickly and we left. I figured it wasn’t meant to be and spent the next month promptly deleting every text Miles sent me.A month later, in early April, Renee and I went back to Avogadro’s number to watch the band play. We got there, grabbed a table and were heading to the bar when I saw Tony across the room. He spotted us too and came up right behind us in line.. He was relaxed, easy going and quickly secured us for a game of pool later.

He sat next to us and after a few songs we snuck out to play pool. Renee stayed to watch the band. We made stakes again that the loser would crawl under the table. I’m not very good at pool but managed to keep up with him until we were down to the 8 ball and it was my shot. The alcohol kicked in at just the wrong moment and I clipped the cue ball instead of shooting it. Tony graciously offered me another try and my pole made crisp contact and I suck the 8 ball. I immediately conceded that he didn’t have to crawl under the pool table since he had technically let me win.

Instead, he offered to buy me a drink and I ordered Makers Mark on the rocks, my drink of choice at the time as I was very into “being cool and drinking whiskey.” He then asked me to go dance, which I thought showed great courage, and we danced a fast-paced song, neither of us being very good, before he admitted he had injured his ankle skateboarding that day and showed me a picture of it, it was swollen twice the size of his other one.

At this point, he had scored many points. Confident, easy going, bought me a drink, asked me to dance, and then asked for my number. I happily gave it over and as Avogadro’s was closing we headed down the street to the pool hall, another bar after twenty minutes of corralling drunk friends and Tony disappearing to pee in the bushes behind the bar when they wouldn’t let him back in to use the loo.

We had another beer and Tony insisted on biking me home, saying it was “On his way!” It was, in fact, not on his way. If we were at point A of a triangle, I lived at point B and he lived at point C. Nevertheless, I let him bike me home and then we parted ways with the tentative promise of a date hanging in the air. I couldn’t say for sure but rumor has it that he “whooped” into the night air on his ride home that night. I definitely went to bed with a grin on my face.Wanting to see him again, I had offered to work on his hurt leg with the excuse that I needed the massage training and he had countered with dinner. We compromised with massage, then dinner, and texted every day leading up to our date, which was set for the following Wednesday. I distinctly remember Tony sending me this video of Denver the Guilty Dog and that being the exact moment I decided I liked him.

Fast Forward to Wednesday, April 13th, 2016. Tony shows up for the date, I work on his leg and then we head to Choice City Butcher and Deli. I loved that place but later found out Tony was peeved because they didn’t offer their dinner menu and table service on Wednesday nights. Instead, we waited in line to order sandwiches and sat ourselves.

The conversation dragged. I now know this is because Tony was incredibly nervous, and his former, easy-going social interaction was helped greatly by a few beers. Tony is one of those rare people that is a really fun drunk and even two years later I sometimes still have to ask if he’s had a few to really tell.

The tension broke when I accidentally locked myself out of the restaurant while using the bathroom that was shared by three other business in that building, and he had to come let be back in (he remembers this as being a heroic rescue)… After dinner I asked if he wanted to keep hanging out, he responded with “yeah but I need to let my dogs out.” And so we spent an evening on one of the ugliest, but most comfortable leather couches with a large coonhound in between us. Until finally Tony made him get down and we had our first kiss.My younger sister likes to refer to this time as “She went on one date and I never saw her again.” Essentially, I went over one day and never left. It’s now two years later and we’ve started the blog Cleaver Cooking. We traveled to Costa Rica and then one Sunday on that ugly, old red leather couch, I mentioned that I wanted to travel more in the next few years and Tony turned to me and asked: “You got room for two?” We decided to spend the seasons in different cities to experience the U.S and eventually the world.

We’ve lived in Colorado, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, and as you read this we are packing up to head to Portland Maine for the summer. What I’ve learned along the way is It’s the people that make the place. Here’s to many more years with you, meeting new people and exploring new places.

To Be Continued…

April 13, 2018

In March 2016 I was in my final semester of Massage Therapy school in Fort Collins, CO. I wore my hair big, my jeans ripped, and a general attitude of “I’ve got this all figured out.” (Sure, Savannah, sure). I’d been single for three years which was one of the best, and trying, things to ever happen to me. It gave me a chance to develop some standards for myself and for potential partners.

One of my good friends Renee was seeing a guy named Chris who played guitar in a local, Fort Collins band. She invited me to open mike night at Avogadro’s Number where he would be playing on a Friday night. So we went and ended up at a table with a random assortment of Fort Collins, Bluegrass musicians who all knew each other. After Chris’s set, we moved to the pool tables where I spotted a guy leaning up against the edge of a booth talking to Chris. He was wearing a light wash pair of Levi’s, an unbuttoned, long-sleeved plaid shirt over a graphic T, and had a shock of curly, dark brown hair peeking out the back of a grey, beanie cap that came down almost to his eyebrows.

He had dark brown eyes, a strong jaw, was clean shaven and had this grin on his face like he was causing trouble. I believe exactly what went through my mind right then was “He’s cute and the clothes need some work.”

He turned out to be neighbors with another member of the band and was doing photography as a hobby. So he’d come to the local shows and shoot pics for the band, usually in exchange for free admission. His name was Tony and I now know he was out with his camera trying to break out of his habitual, homebody habits of cleaning and hanging out with his dogs. (Spoiler alert ladies, he’s taken!).

he played a game of pool with me, Renee, and one of her musician friends named Miles. Our game came to an end and another group of guys wanted to play. Tony and Chris agreed to play them with stakes of “Losers have to crawl under the pool table.” It seems odd but actually, it’s the perfect wager. Under the pool table of a dive bar in a college town is an uncharted territory of cobwebs, spilled beer and who knows what else.

They accepted and Tony and Chris beat them handily. Tony was on a roll, sinking ball after ball and they dutifully crawled under the table after the game, much to everyone’s delight! We all headed back towards the stage, I sat next to Renee and Miles plunked down right next to me. Tony ended up at another table. I had my eye on him and planned to go over when the opportunity presented itself and see what he was all about.

My plans were brought to an abrupt halt when Miles tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his phone with the contacts open, wanting my number. I was not interested in Miles at all but I didn’t know what else to do without making a really awkward rest of the evening. So I put my number in and then sat seething because it seemed like a dick thing to do to give a guy your number and then go flirt with someone else, and I just couldn’t bring myself to crush him like that. The night wrapped up quickly and we left. I figured it wasn’t meant to be and spent the next month promptly deleting every text Miles sent me.

A month later, in early April, Renee and I went back to Avogadro’s number to watch the band play. We got there, grabbed a table and were heading to the bar when I saw Tony across the room. He spotted us too and came up right behind us in line.. He was relaxed, easy going and quickly secured us for a game of pool later.

He sat next to us and after a few songs we snuck out to play pool. Renee stayed to watch the band. We made stakes again that the loser would crawl under the table. I’m not very good at pool but managed to keep up with him until we were down to the 8 ball and it was my shot. The alcohol kicked in at just the wrong moment and I clipped the cue ball instead of shooting it. Tony graciously offered me another try and my pole made crisp contact and I suck the 8 ball. I immediately conceded that he didn’t have to crawl under the pool table since he had technically let me win.

Instead, he offered to buy me a drink and I ordered Makers Mark on the rocks, my drink of choice at the time as I was very into “being cool and drinking whiskey.” He then asked me to go dance, which I thought showed great courage, and we danced a fast-paced song, neither of us being very good, before he admitted he had injured his ankle skateboarding that day and showed me a picture of it, it was swollen twice the size of his other one.

At this point, he had scored many points. Confident, easy going, bought me a drink, asked me to dance, and then asked for my number. I happily gave it over and as Avogadro’s was closing we headed down the street to the pool hall, another bar after twenty minutes of corralling drunk friends and Tony disappearing to pee in the bushes behind the bar when they wouldn’t let him back in to use the loo.

We had another beer and Tony insisted on biking me home, saying it was “On his way!” It was, in fact, not on his way. If we were at point A of a triangle, I lived at point B and he lived at point C. Nevertheless, I let him bike me home and then we parted ways with the tentative promise of a date hanging in the air. I couldn’t say for sure but rumor has it that he “whooped” into the night air on his ride home that night. I definitely went to bed with a grin on my face.

Wanting to see him again, I had offered to work on his hurt leg with the excuse that I needed the massage training and he had countered with dinner. We compromised with massage, then dinner, and texted every day leading up to our date, which was set for the following Wednesday. I distinctly remember Tony sending me this video of Denver the Guilty Dog and that being the exact moment I decided I liked him.

Fast Forward to Wednesday, April 13th, 2016. Tony shows up for the date, I work on his leg and then we head to Choice City Butcher and Deli. I loved that place but later found out Tony was peeved because they didn’t offer their dinner menu and table service on Wednesday nights. Instead, we waited in line to order sandwiches and sat ourselves.

The conversation dragged. I now know this is because Tony was incredibly nervous, and his former, easy-going social interaction was helped greatly by a few beers. Tony is one of those rare people that is a really fun drunk and even two years later I sometimes still have to ask if he’s had a few to really tell.

The tension broke when I accidentally locked myself out of the restaurant while using the bathroom that was shared by three other business in that building, and he had to come let be back in (he remembers this as being a heroic rescue)… After dinner I asked if he wanted to keep hanging out, he responded with “yeah but I need to let my dogs out.” And so we spent an evening on one of the ugliest, but most comfortable leather couches with a large coonhound in between us. Until finally Tony made him get down and we had our first kiss.

My younger sister likes to refer to this time as “She went on one date and I never saw her again.” Essentially, I went over one day and never left. It’s now two years later and we’ve started the blog Cleaver Cooking. We traveled to Costa Rica and then one Sunday on that ugly, old red leather couch, I mentioned that I wanted to travel more in the next few years and Tony turned to me and asked: “You got room for two?” We decided to spend the seasons in different cities to experience the U.S and eventually the world.

We’ve lived in Colorado, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, and as you read this we are packing up to head to Portland Maine for the summer. What I’ve learned along the way is It’s the people that make the place. Here’s to many more years with you, meeting new people and exploring new places.

To Be Continued…

Living Outside the Law

Savannah walking through Gilgal park

March 23, 2018

If you’ve followed along with us since our time in New Orleans you’ll remember I sold Wanda the Honda our first month there, as Louisiana Insurance and registration fees combined were outrageous and Tony and I really don’t need two cars right now. Well, I sent my car off happily to live with another family and hadn’t thought about license plates or registration since.

That is until two weeks ago when my boss at Ritual Chocolate asked me if I’d been given a hard time by any officers for having plates that expired last November. I was shocked… Surely they weren’t expired, Tony was always very on top of that sort of thing and I’d been pulled over a few days ago and the officer told me I had a tail light out and that I needed to replace the cracked windshield. Not a word he said about anyone’s registration. But sure enough, I went out and looked and a glaring “11/17” Sticker gave it away. I was officially living outside the law and had been mindlessly speeding up and down the mountain roads (Speeding safely Mom, if you’re reading this) and had no idea the fines I could have faced.

So in the event that you find yourself in Utah with Colorado plates that expired last November when you lived in New Orleans, and neither of you noticed till now here is what to do:

  1. Look up penalties for driving an unregistered car. Realize that $1,000 is a lot of money.
  2. Look up how long you have when moving to a new state to register a vehicle. Discover that you are two days past the allotted amount of time.
  3. Consider selling the car that’s in Tony’s name to Savannah so that it looks like I just bought it.
  4. Realize your insurance took effect in January (because you were responsible about that) and would rat you out.
  5. Look up requirements to get your vehicle registered in Utah. Cross your fingers that you will pass the emissions test.
  6. Look up requirements for getting a Utah drivers license which is a prereq for getting your car registered. Begin studying for the required written test (really Utah?)
  7. Realize your rental agreement is all you can produce as proof of residency and it will also rat you out for being late.
  8. Look up the fine for being late getting a Utah drivers license. Decide $10 dollars isn’t’ too bad.
  9. Wonder why it is that you must show proof of residency to register your vehicle within 60 days of moving but that you cannot establish residency until you’ve lived in Utah for a year.
  10. Realize your passport is expired. Look for Tony’s Birth Certificate. Realize his mother has it in Wisconsin.
  11. Open a bottle of wine and decide that it will all be fine.

Spoiler alert: It was all fine. We passed the emissions, Tony’s Mom shipped him the certificate, he passed the written test, and we are now the proud new owners of some snazzy, Utah plates and Tony is very displeased with his new license picture.In other news Tony and I visited the Gilgal Sculpture Garden last weekend which I stumbled upon by accident trying to find something else. It’s this unique, tiny garden that is hidden away right, smack in the middle of a bunch of houses. The sculpture artist was a devout Mormon and it was fascinating reading about his work. You can read about him and take a visual tour on their website at gilgalgarden.org/. We visited on a snowy morning and were the only ones in the garden for most of our visit. We’ve been trying to do one, new thing a week to force ourselves to get out of our routine. Let us know in the comments if you have any recommendations for Utah or what adventure you’re going on this week, wherever you’re reading from!And last but not least I cannot say enough good things about the Salt Lake Culinary Center, as a place to work, a place to take cooking classes, and just a place where amazing people end up at every day. My friend, and also Chef Instructor, Paul Morello snapped this photo for me while I prepared a simple, Cuban salad in his class, Havana Nights. He reminds me of Paul Childs from the movie Julie and Julia and besides being an excellent chef, he is starting a business importing and distributing specialty foods at chefoodsusa.com so be sure to check out his website in the near future! And If you live in the Salt Lake area take a cooking class! I’ll be teaching through the end of April and I’d love to see you! But you’ll be in great hands with any of the instructors on staff, they are truly amazing people. You can view the class calendar here www.saltlakeculinarycenter.com/classes/ Thanks for tuning in for our adventures this week, I hope you have the best Friday, it is the first Friday of Spring, after all.

To Be Continued…

March 23, 2018

If you’ve followed along with us since our time in New Orleans you’ll remember I sold Wanda the Honda our first month there, as Louisiana Insurance and registration fees combined were outrageous and Tony and I really don’t need two cars right now. Well, I sent my car off happily to live with another family and hadn’t thought about license plates or registration since.

That is until two weeks ago when my boss at Ritual Chocolate asked me if I’d been given a hard time by any officers for having plates that expired last November. I was shocked… Surely they weren’t expired, Tony was always very on top of that sort of thing and I’d been pulled over a few days ago and the officer told me I had a tail light out and that I needed to replace the cracked windshield. Not a word he said about anyone’s registration. But sure enough, I went out and looked and a glaring “11/17” Sticker gave it away. I was officially living outside the law and had been mindlessly speeding up and down the mountain roads (Speeding safely Mom, if you’re reading this) and had no idea the fines I could have faced.

So in the event that you find yourself in Utah with Colorado plates that expired last November when you lived in New Orleans, and neither of you noticed till now here is what to do:

  1. Look up penalties for driving an unregistered car. Realize that $1,000 is a lot of money.
  2. Look up how long you have when moving to a new state to register a vehicle. Discover that you are two days past the allotted amount of time.
  3. Consider selling the car that’s in Tony’s name to Savannah so that it looks like I just bought it.
  4. Realize your insurance took effect in January (because you were responsible about that) and would rat you out.
  5. Look up requirements to get your vehicle registered in Utah. Cross your fingers that you will pass the emissions test.
  6. Look up requirements for getting a Utah drivers license which is a prereq for getting your car registered. Begin studying for the required written test (really Utah?)
  7. Realize your rental agreement is all you can produce as proof of residency and it will also rat you out for being late.
  8. Look up the fine for being late getting a Utah drivers license. Decide $10 dollars isn’t’ too bad.
  9. Wonder why it is that you must show proof of residency to register your vehicle within 60 days of moving but that you cannot establish residency until you’ve lived in Utah for a year.
  10. Realize your passport is expired. Look for Tony’s Birth Certificate. Realize his mother has it in Wisconsin.
  11. Open a bottle of wine and decide that it will all be fine.

Spoiler alert: It was all fine. We passed the emissions, Tony’s Mom shipped him the certificate, he passed the written test, and we are now the proud new owners of some snazzy, Utah plates and Tony is very displeased with his new license picture.

In other news Tony and I visited the Gilgal Sculpture Garden last weekend which I stumbled upon by accident trying to find something else. It’s this unique, tiny garden that is hidden away right, smack in the middle of a bunch of houses. The sculpture artist was a devout Mormon and it was fascinating reading about his work. You can read about him and take a visual tour on their website at gilgalgarden.org/. We visited on a snowy morning and were the only ones in the garden for most of our visit. We’ve been trying to do one, new thing a week to force ourselves to get out of our routine. Let us know in the comments if you have any recommendations for Utah or what adventure you’re going on this week, wherever you’re reading from!

And last but not least I cannot say enough good things about the Salt Lake Culinary Center, as a place to work, a place to take cooking classes, and just a place where amazing people end up at every day. My friend, and also Chef Instructor, Paul Morello snapped this photo for me while I prepared a simple, Cuban salad in his class, Havana Nights. He reminds me of Paul Childs from the movie Julie and Julia and besides being an excellent chef, he is starting a business importing and distributing specialty foods at chefoodsusa.com so be sure to check out his website in the near future! And If you live in the Salt Lake area take a cooking class! I’ll be teaching through the end of April and I’d love to see you! But you’ll be in great hands with any of the instructors on staff, they are truly amazing people. You can view the class calendar here www.saltlakeculinarycenter.com/classes/ Thanks for tuning in for our adventures this week, I hope you have the best Friday, it is the first Friday of Spring, after all.

To Be Continued…

A Trip to Antelope Island

Hiking at antelope island

March 16, 2018

The last few weeks have taken a happy turn, Tony and I had been getting a little desperate with our house hunt in Maine. Everything was either a scam, out of our price range, or really just the most dismal hole a college student ever was forced to live in. If you remember, in January, I talked about the perfect place that we had found – less than half a mile from the beach, a jetted jacuzzi, a garden, really more than we could have hoped for. In a cruel twist of fate, it was ripped away from us due to the landlords unexpected and impending knee surgery and we’d been morosely searching in vain ever since. Well, as luck would have it we got an email last week. The knee surgery had been a misdiagnosis and “would we still like to rent the place?” We celebrated with champagne and have been on cloud nine ever since!

This past weekend, in an effort to do something besides work, cook, blog, sleep and repeat, Tony and I drove to Antelope Island State Park. Surrounded by the great salt lake, herds of Bison lazily grazed, turning their backs to the invasive tourists, and the highest peak of the island is accessed by an eight-mile, round-trip hiking trail rated as “difficult.” Tony had picked the trail and we started hiking around 1:00 pm.It was fairly easy for the first mile and then we started to encounter snow which got deeper as we went up. Not many people were on the second half of the trail and the ones that were warned us to stay off the ridge. The path was fairly traversable until the last 0.2 miles where you either had to scale the ridge or follow a foot-beaten path on a snow-covered, 15% hill grade. It started out fine but as the grade increased and the snow melted with the sun, chunks of the snow would tumble away beneath your feet, leaving your heart racing and your hands clawing at the snow drifts to your side for anything to hold onto to. It took us nearly an hour to get across that last 0.2 miles but we finally summited to an incredible view. You could turn in a circle and see the lake on all sides and the surrounding mountains. A mailbox had been hauled up and buried under rocks with a cairn on top, some notepads and a pen were sheltered inside where hundreds of people had scrawled their name.

We wrote our names in and then hit the trail again as it was 4:00 pm and we were losing light. The way back was just as nerve-wracking and the footing was worse but we finally made it and loped down the rest of the trail, giddy to be out of harm’s way. We stopped for groceries on the way back and got home, took hot showers and ate chili dogs in front of the TV with that wearied satisfaction that you can only find after a hard day in the elements. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything!On our drive back down Tony nearly did a 180 in the driver’s seat as he spotted a sign for In-N-Out Burger. It had been 20 years since his last In-N-Out Burger and he’s been gnawing at the bit to get one again, sure it would be a religious experience and probably worth the eight-hour drive to Vegas. Surprisingly there was an In-N-Out not 15 minutes from our house so the next morning we drove to In-N-Out, each ordered a double-double and shared a fry. I must say it was better than I expected although I’m pleased we didn’t drive eight hours to get it.

To Be Continued…

March 16, 2018

The last few weeks have taken a happy turn, Tony and I had been getting a little desperate with our house hunt in Maine. Everything was either a scam, out of our price range, or really just the most dismal hole a college student ever was forced to live in. If you remember, in January, I talked about the perfect place that we had found – less than half a mile from the beach, a jetted jacuzzi, a garden, really more than we could have hoped for. In a cruel twist of fate, it was ripped away from us due to the landlords unexpected and impending knee surgery and we’d been morosely searching in vain ever since. Well, as luck would have it we got an email last week. The knee surgery had been a misdiagnosis and “would we still like to rent the place?” We celebrated with champagne and have been on cloud nine ever since!

This past weekend, in an effort to do something besides work, cook, blog, sleep and repeat, Tony and I drove to Antelope Island State Park. Surrounded by the great salt lake, herds of Bison lazily grazed, turning their backs to the invasive tourists, and the highest peak of the island is accessed by an eight-mile, round-trip hiking trail rated as “difficult.” Tony had picked the trail and we started hiking around 1:00 pm.

It was fairly easy for the first mile and then we started to encounter snow which got deeper as we went up. Not many people were on the second half of the trail and the ones that were warned us to stay off the ridge. The path was fairly traversable until the last 0.2 miles where you either had to scale the ridge or follow a foot-beaten path on a snow-covered, 15% hill grade. It started out fine but as the grade increased and the snow melted with the sun, chunks of the snow would tumble away beneath your feet, leaving your heart racing and your hands clawing at the snow drifts to your side for anything to hold onto to. It took us nearly an hour to get across that last 0.2 miles but we finally summited to an incredible view. You could turn in a circle and see the lake on all sides and the surrounding mountains. A mailbox had been hauled up and buried under rocks with a cairn on top, some notepads and a pen were sheltered inside where hundreds of people had scrawled their name.

We wrote our names in and then hit the trail again as it was 4:00 pm and we were losing light. The way back was just as nerve-wracking and the footing was worse but we finally made it and loped down the rest of the trail, giddy to be out of harm’s way. We stopped for groceries on the way back and got home, took hot showers and ate chili dogs in front of the TV with that wearied satisfaction that you can only find after a hard day in the elements. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything!

On our drive back down Tony nearly did a 180 in the driver’s seat as he spotted a sign for In-N-Out Burger. It had been 20 years since his last In-N-Out Burger and he’s been gnawing at the bit to get one again, sure it would be a religious experience and probably worth the eight-hour drive to Vegas. Surprisingly there was an In-N-Out not 15 minutes from our house so the next morning we drove to In-N-Out, each ordered a double-double and shared a fry. I must say it was better than I expected although I’m pleased we didn’t drive eight hours to get it.

To Be Continued…

No Day Like a Snow Day!

February 23, 2018

This past week I did what I”d been very good about not doing since we moved here; I picked up some extra shifts at work when asked and as a result, I burnt myself out a wee bit. This was exacerbated by a good sized snow storm rolling in early in the week making the already forty minute drive to Ritual Chocolate twice as long and nerve-wracking. But I’m still so enjoying getting elbow deep in the chocolate making process that it is worth it.

Since this was the first time we’ve actually had some snow since landing in Utah we’ve made it a habit of walking to the grocery store that is conveniently half a mile from our house together. This past weekend before the snow hit we headed off to get some ingredients and rather than getting a bag of skittles, which was quite tempting, we bought a bag of grapes instead and ate half the bag on the walk back home. We really found ourselves quite entertaining trying to catch grapes in our mouths, tossing the bad ones into the shrubbery and giggling like school children the whole way home. Sometimes I think we just need a change of pace to remind us to appreciate something like a delicious grape.

Sunday rolled around and I worked at Ritual, picking up a barista shift as production only runs Monday-Friday. The snowstorm was rolling in and I was tired, cold and hungry by the time I got home. I tromped up the stairs to find Tony had pizza dough rising, marinara simmering and a load of delicious toppings. He is a dream… The dough made three pizzas worth and they did not last long! You can find the recipe here: Jalapeno Popper Pizza, and let me just say it’s the perfect thing for a snow day!Monday dawned and everything was covered in snow! I worked in the early afternoon at Ritual and so Tony took half the day off, drove up with me and went snowboarding in the fresh powder! I don’t participate in snow sports since a bad experience years ago at Snow Creek, a “resort” in Kansas City, MO. Long story short, I didn’t have a helmet, wasn’t dressed warmly enough, the hills were icy and I smacked my head hard enough to black out. Since then I haven’t gone near a ski resort but dropping Tony off to snowboard was really exciting! He’s a really good rider and I was surprised by the energy and happiness of everyone as they shouldered their ski’s, got on the lifts and were carried off onto the cold, snowy slopes. Tony LOVES to snowboard and I personally think he looked pretty cute heading off in his bright orange jacket with his snowboard. I think I might have to give it another try one of these days.The past few days in between working we managed to squeeze in a walk, it was chilly, the sun dazzled my eyes as it reflected off the snow and I discovered I could throw a snowball at a laden tree right as Tony walked under it, showering him with the fresh powder. In short, I’m having more fun than I usually do in the winter because I’ve decided I’d rather embrace the cold and snow than gripe about it.

In other news, my Cast Iron Cooking Class sold out this week at the Salt Lake Culinary Center! This is the first class I’ll be teaching with a menu by my design and I can’t wait, it’s going to be a blast! I’ve really lucked out with my jobs here, having a fulfilling and positive environment to go to every day makes a world of difference. Thanks for tuning in!

To Be Continued…

February 23, 2018

This past week I did what I”d been very good about not doing since we moved here; I picked up some extra shifts at work when asked and as a result, I burnt myself out a wee bit. This was exacerbated by a good sized snow storm rolling in early in the week making the already forty minute drive to Ritual Chocolate twice as long and nerve-wracking. But I’m still so enjoying getting elbow deep in the chocolate making process that it is worth it.

Since this was the first time we’ve actually had some snow since landing in Utah we’ve made it a habit of walking to the grocery store that is conveniently half a mile from our house together. This past weekend before the snow hit we headed off to get some ingredients and rather than getting a bag of skittles, which was quite tempting, we bought a bag of grapes instead and ate half the bag on the walk back home. We really found ourselves quite entertaining trying to catch grapes in our mouths, tossing the bad ones into the shrubbery and giggling like school children the whole way home. Sometimes I think we just need a change of pace to remind us to appreciate something like a delicious grape.

Sunday rolled around and I worked at Ritual, picking up a barista shift as production only runs Monday-Friday. The snowstorm was rolling in and I was tired, cold and hungry by the time I got home. I tromped up the stairs to find Tony had pizza dough rising, marinara simmering and a load of delicious toppings. He is a dream… The dough made three pizzas worth and they did not last long! You can find the recipe here: Jalapeno Popper Pizza, and let me just say it’s the perfect thing for a snow day!

Monday dawned and everything was covered in snow! I worked in the early afternoon at Ritual and so Tony took half the day off, drove up with me and went snowboarding in the fresh powder! I don’t participate in snow sports since a bad experience years ago at Snow Creek, a “resort” in Kansas City, MO. Long story short, I didn’t have a helmet, wasn’t dressed warmly enough, the hills were icy and I smacked my head hard enough to black out. Since then I haven’t gone near a ski resort but dropping Tony off to snowboard was really exciting! He’s a really good rider and I was surprised by the energy and happiness of everyone as they shouldered their ski’s, got on the lifts and were carried off onto the cold, snowy slopes. Tony LOVES to snowboard and I personally think he looked pretty cute heading off in his bright orange jacket with his snowboard. I think I might have to give it another try one of these days.

The past few days in between working we managed to squeeze in a walk, it was chilly, the sun dazzled my eyes as it reflected off the snow and I discovered I could throw a snowball at a laden tree right as Tony walked under it, showering him with the fresh powder. In short, I’m having more fun than I usually do in the winter because I’ve decided I’d rather embrace the cold and snow than gripe about it.

In other news, my Cast Iron Cooking Class sold out this week at the Salt Lake Culinary Center! This is the first class I’ll be teaching with a menu by my design and I can’t wait, it’s going to be a blast! I’ve really lucked out with my jobs here, having a fulfilling and positive environment to go to every day makes a world of difference. Thanks for tuning in!

To Be Continued…

We’re in Business

February 16, 2018

This week has rolled by pretty quickly and I waited till after Valentine’s day to write this Nutshell because I was sure something interesting would happen I could tell you all about. Well, in short, I went for a hike, got my knives sharpened at the Salt Lake Culinary Center (Best work I’ve seen!), and then Tony and I made some steaks, potatoes, and Brussels and ate waaay too much followed by a flourless chocolate cake with rum soaked strawberries and then we just lay on the couch and groaned about how much food we had eaten. What a dreamy couple we are.

In the interest of entertaining myself I did give his unopened beer can a good shake while he was showering but alas, the beer had settled and didn’t so much as fizz when he opened it.With our influx of subscribers in January, it was the perfect time to knock out one of our 2018 goals, get an LLC. We went through IncFile and it was such an easy process! I’m pleased to say less than two weeks after we applied a beautiful, bound binder was mailed to our house with all of the appropriate papers and a seal with our official logo on it! Being the professionals that we are we immediately began putting our seal on any and all random papers or packaging we had lying about. We’re also in the process of redoing our logo and I can’t wait to show it to you when it’s done! It’s gonna be amazing, my 15-year-old sister Claire designed it for us and we’re currently having a graphic designer out of Seattle bring it to life!Last weekend Tony and I switched places in the kitchen and he made french bread for the blog while I took over the camera. He’s been working on perfecting this bread recipe since New Orleans and lemme tell you, I ain’t mad about all the test loaves I have eaten. He mixed, measured and patiently went about the process while I teetered on the step stool with his camera, put my nose inches above the yeast, and dramatically ordered it to come alive. Which it did with a very large and sudden bubble. I have powers… But more importantly, that bread recipe is coming to the blog very soon! I hear you can still eat bread for lent so ya’ll are set. I, however, have eaten all of the bread and will be set as soon as Tony proofreads this and realizes he needs to make more. That’s all the excitement for this week friends, thanks for tuning in and happy bread baking to you all!

To Be Continued…

February 16, 2018

This week has rolled by pretty quickly and I waited till after Valentine’s day to write this Nutshell because I was sure something interesting would happen I could tell you all about. Well, in short, I went for a hike, got my knives sharpened at the Salt Lake Culinary Center (Best work I’ve seen!), and then Tony and I made some steaks, potatoes, and Brussels and ate waaay too much followed by a flourless chocolate cake with rum soaked strawberries and then we just lay on the couch and groaned about how much food we had eaten. What a dreamy couple we are.

In the interest of entertaining myself I did give his unopened beer can a good shake while he was showering but alas, the beer had settled and didn’t so much as fizz when he opened it.

With our influx of subscribers in January, it was the perfect time to knock out one of our 2018 goals, get an LLC. We went through IncFile and it was such an easy process! I’m pleased to say less than two weeks after we applied a beautiful, bound binder was mailed to our house with all of the appropriate papers and a seal with our official logo on it! Being the professionals that we are we immediately began putting our seal on any and all random papers or packaging we had lying about. We’re also in the process of redoing our logo and I can’t wait to show it to you when it’s done! It’s gonna be amazing, my 15-year-old sister Claire designed it for us and we’re currently having a graphic designer out of Seattle bring it to life!

Last weekend Tony and I switched places in the kitchen and he made french bread for the blog while I took over the camera. He’s been working on perfecting this bread recipe since New Orleans and lemme tell you, I ain’t mad about all the test loaves I have eaten. He mixed, measured and patiently went about the process while I teetered on the step stool with his camera, put my nose inches above the yeast, and dramatically ordered it to come alive. Which it did with a very large and sudden bubble. I have powers… But more importantly, that bread recipe is coming to the blog very soon! I hear you can still eat bread for lent so ya’ll are set. I, however, have eaten all of the bread and will be set as soon as Tony proofreads this and realizes he needs to make more. That’s all the excitement for this week friends, thanks for tuning in and happy bread baking to you all!

To Be Continued…

365 Days & Counting

February 9, 2018

I can hardly believe that a year ago Tony and I launched Cleaver Cooking! It’s been such a whirlwind of late nights, powdered sugar covered kitchens, climbing on counters to get shots, learning that imperfect pictures and ugly dishes are ok, and so much growing on both our parts. And I’m so pleased to say that in January of 2018, our number of followers increased by 30%!!! That is HUGE and thank you so much to every one of you who have followed along with our journey for a whole year or if you’re just now joining us, welcome! You all are the reason we’re doing this and I LOVE seeing when you make our recipes or chime in about our travels.

This past weekend Tony and I headed out to run errands. We shipped off Ritual Chocolate bars to the winner of January’s giveaway (Congratulations Sheri!), and Tony had ripped out his snowboarding pants (happens to the best of us!) so he went shopping for new ones while I went on a mad hunt for purple, green and gold sanding sugar to make a king cake, because ya’ll it’s almost Mardi Gras!This month we’ve started looking for a place to live at our next stop, Portland Maine, where we plan on heading for in May. Over the weekend Tony was emailing with the kindest couple that were looking to rent out their house on Old Orchard Beach while they went camping for the summer. It was ideal – Five minutes from the beach, in our price range, a beautiful house and kitchen, a short bus ride to Portland, everything checked out. We were so excited, I started looking up jobs and Tony began researching good fishing spots while we imagined our dream summer…

The next morning I received the text message you see in the photo… I was so confused, the couple had checked out and I hadn’t been communicating with them so surely this was something else. I wrote back and to my relief, it was their son who owns a cyber security company and was making sure we weren’t scamming his parents!

We had a good laugh about that while eating King Cake which turned out beautifully by the way, and I’m not ashamed to say Tony and I polished off the entire cake in three days.

But it was too good to be true… Tony got an email on Monday and one of our “soon to be landlords” had to have knee surgery in April, effectively canceling their summer plans. We were bummed, they were bummed… Their cat is likely the only one pleased with the situation as he doesn’t have to go to daycare for the summer now.We drowned our woes in an apple pie since we’d eaten all the King Cake which in fact, did make me feel better. It’s still early on but if you know of anyone looking to rent near the Portland, Maine area please don’t hesitate to let us know!

But on a brighter note, we’ve really been enjoying finding a routine again. Yesterday Tony and I had a competition to see who could drink the most water. I’m always on his case about water and he always responds that coffee and beer count! I was sure I’d win but he pulled through late last night and chugged a bottle, setting him one ahead and I was too waterlogged to make any kind of a comeback.

We also discovered a trail that runs through our cul-de-sac and goes for several miles leading to a beautiful park. I’ve so been enjoying getting out in this crazy, 50 degree February in Utah! I’ve just remembered there’s chicken in the oven so I must go and rescue it. Happy Friday ya’ll!

To Be Continued…

February 9, 2018

I can hardly believe that a year ago Tony and I launched Cleaver Cooking! It’s been such a whirlwind of late nights, powdered sugar covered kitchens, climbing on counters to get shots, learning that imperfect pictures and ugly dishes are ok, and so much growing on both our parts. And I’m so pleased to say that in January of 2018, our number of followers increased by 30%!!! That is HUGE and thank you so much to every one of you who have followed along with our journey for a whole year or if you’re just now joining us, welcome! You all are the reason we’re doing this and I LOVE seeing when you make our recipes or chime in about our travels.

This past weekend Tony and I headed out to run errands. We shipped off Ritual Chocolate bars to the winner of January’s giveaway (Congratulations Sheri!), and Tony had ripped out his snowboarding pants (happens to the best of us!) so he went shopping for new ones while I went on a mad hunt for purple, green and gold sanding sugar to make a king cake, because ya’ll it’s almost Mardi Gras!

This month we’ve started looking for a place to live at our next stop, Portland Maine, where we plan on heading for in May. Over the weekend Tony was emailing with the kindest couple that were looking to rent out their house on Old Orchard Beach while they went camping for the summer. It was ideal – Five minutes from the beach, in our price range, a beautiful house and kitchen, a short bus ride to Portland, everything checked out. We were so excited, I started looking up jobs and Tony began researching good fishing spots while we imagined our dream summer…

The next morning I received the text message you see in the photo… I was so confused, the couple had checked out and I hadn’t been communicating with them so surely this was something else. I wrote back and to my relief, it was their son who owns a cyber security company and was making sure we weren’t scamming his parents!

We had a good laugh about that while eating King Cake which turned out beautifully by the way, and I’m not ashamed to say Tony and I polished off the entire cake in three days.

But it was too good to be true… Tony got an email on Monday and one of our “soon to be landlords” had to have knee surgery in April, effectively canceling their summer plans. We were bummed, they were bummed… Their cat is likely the only one pleased with the situation as he doesn’t have to go to daycare for the summer now.

We drowned our woes in an apple pie since we’d eaten all the King Cake which in fact, did make me feel better. It’s still early on but if you know of anyone looking to rent near the Portland, Maine area please don’t hesitate to let us know!

But on a brighter note, we’ve really been enjoying finding a routine again. Yesterday Tony and I had a competition to see who could drink the most water. I’m always on his case about water and he always responds that coffee and beer count! I was sure I’d win but he pulled through late last night and chugged a bottle, setting him one ahead and I was too waterlogged to make any kind of a comeback.

We also discovered a trail that runs through our cul-de-sac and goes for several miles leading to a beautiful park. I’ve so been enjoying getting out in this crazy, 50 degree February in Utah! I’ve just remembered there’s chicken in the oven so I must go and rescue it. Happy Friday ya’ll!

To Be Continued…

Dear January, We’re Through!

February 2, 2018

As I sit in my apartment at 7:08 am in my coat and boots, clutching a cup of coffee I would just like to stop and think about exactly what has gone on in January. Because really it’s seemed like such a fast-paced ride that I can’t keep track of the stops.

Since our arrival on the 1st, we’ve unpacked, created a laundry system with a washer that hooks to the sink and a clothesline in our bedroom, built permanent shelves and counters into the kitchen, I started two new jobs, we flew to Wisconsin for a week with an hours notice for a family members surgery (Surgery went great! They are in recovery), flew back and found out the next day our apartment attic was being sprayed with insulation and we had to be out for 24 hours.The next morning after dragging everything out of the attic, Tony packed up his gear to go snowboarding, we booked an Airbnb and retreated to a coffee shop by 8:00 am. Then we got a call telling us there was a mix-up and the company was actually coming next Tuesday. That brings us to this week…

So Tuesday night we found ourselves in one of the strangest Airbnb’s. A little second level apartment much like our own but with a distinctive creepy quality about it. There were rugs on the carpet and a whole cluster of outdated furniture and the landlady had gone nuts with passive aggressive notes stuck to the walls stating things like “pick a hook and reuse your towel” and “No lotions or oils on the bedding.” She also proudly displayed a notepad and pen next to all of the “thank you” notes her guests had left. In her defense, she did leave some snacks that I ate in the dark living room while watching Law and Order, which didn’t really do much to alleviate the creeps.We baked a pizza for dinner and the simple act of pulling it out of the oven set off the fire alarm clear across the living room. I could have thrown that thing out the window without a bit of remorse! I should preface this with the exciting news that the fire alarm at our apartment will go off randomly for something as minor as cooking an egg and I’ve managed to set it off six times since moving in, naturally always after 10:00 pm. I know Utah is a dry state but dear god, the steam from buttering a piece of toast is not going to burn down the house.

Fortunately, the good lady of the house didn’t hear the alarm going off although apparently, she could hear water running in the bathroom clear as a bell and texted “would we please lift the toilet handle” to stop it. I contemplated leaving the faucet on a slow drip before leaving at 6 am this morning but Tony hurried me out the door before I could cause any trouble.

We arrived back home to windows wide open in the chilly air and I made a pot of coffee and wrote this. Mind you the first draft was really a rant and was revised after a few cups of coffee and a hot shower.

But sometimes we’re all a little better for a good rant and funnily enough, it’s never the things that you worry about that actually end up happening to you.

Despite our crazy month of fire alarms, family, and feeling like I’m STILL living out of a suitcase, I’m really enjoying it here in Utah. Both my jobs are so refueling that I don’t mind the forty-minute drive to one and the learning curve that they both present. If I could go back to the first of the year, I would tell myself “You’re going to learn so much, enjoy the ride.”

To Be Continued…

February 2, 2018

As I sit in my apartment at 7:08 am in my coat and boots, clutching a cup of coffee I would just like to stop and think about exactly what has gone on in January. Because really it’s seemed like such a fast-paced ride that I can’t keep track of the stops.

Since our arrival on the 1st, we’ve unpacked, created a laundry system with a washer that hooks to the sink and a clothesline in our bedroom, built permanent shelves and counters into the kitchen, I started two new jobs, we flew to Wisconsin for a week with an hours notice for a family members surgery (Surgery went great! They are in recovery), flew back and found out the next day our apartment attic was being sprayed with insulation and we had to be out for 24 hours.

The next morning after dragging everything out of the attic, Tony packed up his gear to go snowboarding, we booked an Airbnb and retreated to a coffee shop by 8:00 am. Then we got a call telling us there was a mix-up and the company was actually coming next Tuesday. That brings us to this week…

So Tuesday night we found ourselves in one of the strangest Airbnb’s. A little second level apartment much like our own but with a distinctive creepy quality about it. There were rugs on the carpet and a whole cluster of outdated furniture and the landlady had gone nuts with passive aggressive notes stuck to the walls stating things like “pick a hook and reuse your towel” and “No lotions or oils on the bedding.” She also proudly displayed a notepad and pen next to all of the “thank you” notes her guests had left. In her defense, she did leave some snacks that I ate in the dark living room while watching Law and Order, which didn’t really do much to alleviate the creeps.

We baked a pizza for dinner and the simple act of pulling it out of the oven set off the fire alarm clear across the living room. I could have thrown that thing out the window without a bit of remorse! I should preface this with the exciting news that the fire alarm at our apartment will go off randomly for something as minor as cooking an egg and I’ve managed to set it off six times since moving in, naturally always after 10:00 pm. I know Utah is a dry state but dear god, the steam from buttering a piece of toast is not going to burn down the house.

Fortunately, the good lady of the house didn’t hear the alarm going off although apparently, she could hear water running in the bathroom clear as a bell and texted “would we please lift the toilet handle” to stop it. I contemplated leaving the faucet on a slow drip before leaving at 6 am this morning but Tony hurried me out the door before I could cause any trouble.

We arrived back home to windows wide open in the chilly air and I made a pot of coffee and wrote this. Mind you the first draft was really a rant and was revised after a few cups of coffee and a hot shower.

But sometimes we’re all a little better for a good rant and funnily enough, it’s never the things that you worry about that actually end up happening to you.

Despite our crazy month of fire alarms, family, and feeling like I’m STILL living out of a suitcase, I’m really enjoying it here in Utah. Both my jobs are so refueling that I don’t mind the forty minute drive to one and the learning curve that they both present. If I could go back to the first of the year, I would tell myself “You’re going to learn so much, enjoy the ride.”

To Be Continued…

A Sudden Change in the Weather

January 19, 2018

Last week Tony and I skipped putting out the Nutshell Friday. This was an act of self-care because, since the 1st of the year when we drove up to our new home in Salt Lake City I have started two new jobs, we spent countless hours measuring, cutting and building counters for the kitchen, Tony went back to work and we began publishing recipes on the blog again. So Instead we went out to dinner at Chile Tepin, a Mexican restaurant with a delicious Paloma and we sat and ate tacos and felt very tired and proud of what we had accomplished, not the least of which are the counters which turned out AMAZING and completely transformed that tiny kitchen.

But let’s rewind a little and I’ll catch you up on the past two weeks –

I had two interviews; One, working production at Ritual Chocolate in Park City and the other as a chef instructor at the Salt Lake Culinary Center. Despite my short timeline, I’m happy to say I was hired on at both and I’m already so enjoying the positive environment and the amazing people. My job at Ritual involves tempering the chocolate, molding the bars and packaging hundreds of bars a day. The machines are often loud so everyone puts in their earphones and listens to podcasts, music or in my case, audiobooks! (Any book recommendations you all can give me would be welcome!) We then usually spend the afternoon talking about anything and everything and I come home every day smelling like chocolate.My second day at Ritual I went out to the car for lunch and as I headed back inside at the end of my break I hit the lock, slammed the door and even as the sound of the slamming car door still hung in the air I realized my keys were in the car. The kind auto shop across the street that does AAA support came over and retrieved my keys for free! I showered them with thank you’s and hot chocolates, and overall it was the most pleasant experience of locking my keys in my car to date!

The weekend rolled around and our to-do list was a mile long. So we slept in, put the list on hold and then went for a hike! Tony and I have been so busy or so tired during the time we do get together that we were both giddy to get outdoors, feeling well rested and energized with each other. We hiked The Living Room Trail which is a fairly rigorous hike and the summit has an amazing view that you can enjoy seated on red brick benches and chairs that have been built from the flat, red rocks. Hence where the trail got its name from. Then Tuesday afternoon came… I had gone for a run and was preparing to head to a coffee shop to work on the blog when Tony walked in and said: “I’ve got some bad news.” His dad was in the hospital and they’d found a large tumor in his brain and could potentially be operating in the next few hours.

We packed our bags and were on our way to the airport thirty minutes later. A few hour flight delay had us in Milwaukee by 1:30 am and we had learned they wouldn’t be operating that night. The next morning Tony’s sister picked us up from the airport and drove us to Madison where his family lives.

The Operation has been moved to Monday and will likely be about four hours and then they’ll be able to biopsy the tumor and know what the next best steps will be. In the meantime, his Dad was discharged and we’re happy to be spending the week with his family at their home. We’d love if you’d send us your positive thoughts, prayers, and all the good juju!

To Be Continued…

January 19, 2018

Last week Tony and I skipped putting out the Nutshell Friday. This was an act of self-care because, since the 1st of the year when we drove up to our new home in Salt Lake City I have started two new jobs, we spent countless hours measuring, cutting and building counters for the kitchen, Tony went back to work and we began publishing recipes on the blog again. So Instead we went out to dinner at Chile Tepin, a Mexican restaurant with a delicious Paloma and we sat and ate tacos and felt very tired and proud of what we had accomplished, not the least of which are the counters which turned out AMAZING and completely transformed that tiny kitchen.

But let’s rewind a little and I’ll catch you up on the past two weeks –

I had two interviews; One, working production at Ritual Chocolate in Park City and the other as a chef instructor at the Salt Lake Culinary Center. Despite my short timeline, I’m happy to say I was hired on at both and I’m already so enjoying the positive environment and the amazing people. My job at Ritual involves tempering the chocolate, molding the bars and packaging hundreds of bars a day. The machines are often loud so everyone puts in their earphones and listens to podcasts, music or in my case, audiobooks! (Any book recommendations you all can give me would be welcome!) We then usually spend the afternoon talking about anything and everything and I come home every day smelling like chocolate.

My second day at Ritual I went out to the car for lunch and as I headed back inside at the end of my break I hit the lock, slammed the door and even as the sound of the slamming car door still hung in the air I realized my keys were in the car. The kind auto shop across the street that does AAA support came over and retrieved my keys for free! I showered them with thank you’s and hot chocolates, and overall it was the most pleasant experience of locking my keys in my car to date!

The weekend rolled around and our to-do list was a mile long. So we slept in, put the list on hold and then went for a hike! Tony and I have been so busy or so tired during the time we do get together that we were both giddy to get outdoors, feeling well rested and energized with each other. We hiked The Living Room Trail which is a fairly rigorous hike and the summit has an amazing view that you can enjoy seated on red brick benches and chairs that have been built from the flat, red rocks. Hence where the trail got its name from.

Then Tuesday afternoon came… I had gone for a run and was preparing to head to a coffee shop to work on the blog when Tony walked in and said: “I’ve got some bad news.” His dad was in the hospital and they’d found a large tumor in his brain and could potentially be operating in the next few hours.

We packed our bags and were on our way to the airport thirty minutes later. A few hour flight delay had us in Milwaukee by 1:30 am and we had learned they wouldn’t be operating that night. The next morning Tony’s sister picked us up from the airport and drove us to Madison where his family lives.

The Operation has been moved to Monday and will likely be about four hours and then they’ll be able to biopsy the tumor and know what the next best steps will be. In the meantime, his Dad was discharged and we’re happy to be spending the week with his family at their home. We’d love if you’d send us your positive thoughts, prayers, and all the good juju!

To Be Continued…

Clotheslines & Sawdust

January 5, 2018

Our last few days in Colorado were all a bit of a celebration. Tori’s birthday was December 30th and we got Thai food and celebrated by curling up on the couch in our pajamas and putting on a Youtube video of a crackling fire in the absence of a chimney. I swear it felt warmer closer to the TV. A couple of Tori and Max’s good friends drove up from Denver for New Year’s Eve, bringing brie and crackers with them. I instantly knew that I liked them.

The next morning Tony and I were up at 5:30 am, deflated and rolled up our faithful air mattress and the last of the clothes, and tucked everything into the car. Tori and Max came out to hug us goodbye, I have to say our stay with Tori and Max was the highlight of December. Even if they did call the cops on us.Monday, January 1st we drove for Salt Lake City, our home for the next four months! I must confess it feels so strange to be staying in one place for more than a week but I’m so excited to get back to a routine for a while.

Our apartment in Salt Lake is roughly 600 square feet! The bedroom is my favorite room, the sunlight streams through the windows and it is very cozy. This place was a steal, incredibly cheap and all utilities included but no washer and dryer hookups and the kitchen is so tiny and has almost no counter space! So Tony went to work and convinced the landlords to let us put in some counters.Since arriving on Monday we have managed to unpack everything but the kitchen, I’ve had two job interviews, we bought and set up a snazzy washer that hooks up to the kitchen sink and rigged up a clothesline that shows our knickers fashionably out the bedroom window. We’ve spent at least five hours at hardware stores and been hard at work cutting and drilling to make shelves and counters. I can’t wait until I’m back in the kitchen making new recipes for you guys!

I’m equally excited for this place to feel like a home once we’re finished but if 2017 taught me anything it was to be more present in the moment. And so even though we’ve been eating a lot of dinners on the living room floor and I’m really excited not to be cutting wood till after dark and breathing sawdust for hours on end, I want to enjoy this time in my life as much as possible, splinters and all. Happy New Year!

To Be Continued…

January 5, 2018

Our last few days in Colorado were all a bit of a celebration. Tori’s birthday was December 30th and we got Thai food and celebrated by curling up on the couch in our pajamas and putting on a Youtube video of a crackling fire in the absence of a chimney. I swear it felt warmer closer to the TV. A couple of Tori and Max’s good friends drove up from Denver for New Year’s Eve, bringing brie and crackers with them. I instantly knew that I liked them.

The next morning Tony and I were up at 5:30 am, deflated and rolled up our faithful air mattress and the last of the clothes, and tucked everything into the car. Tori and Max came out to hug us goodbye, I have to say our stay with Tori and Max was the highlight of December. Even if they did call the cops on us.

Monday, January 1st we drove for Salt Lake City, our home for the next four months! I must confess it feels so strange to be staying in one place for more than a week but I’m so excited to get back to a routine for a while.

Our apartment in Salt Lake is roughly 600 square feet! The bedroom is my favorite room, the sunlight streams through the windows and it is very cozy. This place was a steal, incredibly cheap and all utilities included but no washer and dryer hookups and the kitchen is so tiny and has almost no counter space! So Tony went to work and convinced the landlords to let us put in some counters.

Since arriving on Monday we have managed to unpack everything but the kitchen, I’ve had two job interviews, we bought and set up a snazzy washer that hooks up to the kitchen sink and rigged up a clothesline that shows our knickers fashionably out the bedroom window. We’ve spent at least five hours at hardware stores and been hard at work cutting and drilling to make shelves and counters. I can’t wait until I’m back in the kitchen making new recipes for you guys!

I’m equally excited for this place to feel like a home once we’re finished but if 2017 taught me anything it was to be more present in the moment. And so even though we’ve been eating a lot of dinners on the living room floor and I’m really excited not to be cutting wood till after dark and breathing sawdust for hours on end, I want to enjoy this time in my life as much as possible, splinters and all. Happy New Year!

To Be Continued…

The Long Haul – Part 4

December 29, 2017

To get a drink in the Denver airport four days before Christmas you have to sell your soul. But lordy is it worth it. A few gin and tonics later we were happily boarding our plane, making fun of the panicky, A-list preferred because when you fly Southwest, no matter how “preferred” you are, you still have to wait in line with the other “preferred” members and might get a middle seat. This was more fun since we forgot to check in till the day of and were in the C boarding group and there is no point in clamoring for anything… You are in the caboose of the plane.

We arrived in Seattle around midnight, Sadie appeared at Sea-Tac in her shiny, new Prius, scooped us off the crowded arrivals port and we buzzed downtown to get pizza at Big Mario’s, which is THE PLACE to get late night pizza. Cooks tossed the dough in the air and we ate pizza by the slice on paper plates, reaching over strangers for napkins and condiments.

Then we drove to Pioneers Square where one of Sadie’s friends lives. He was going to be out of town for the holidays and despite having never met us, he offered to let us stay at his place which turned out to be on the 26th floor of a huge apartment complex with the amazing view of the city you see in the cover photo. This was the sort of place with three shower heads, a jacuzzi sized bathtub, and a fridge with tap handles coming out of it for his home-brewing escapades. What a guy.The next morning, Tony and I walked to Elm Coffee Roasters, caffeined up and then made the two-mile walk up the hills of Seattle towards Capitol Hill, to meet Sadie for brunch. If you’ve never been to Seattle you cannot comprehend the hills this city is built on. They are comparable to the mountain roads Tony and I used to run up last summer. I must say I felt as if we’d earned our breakfast by the time we arrived. Sadie showed us all around her neighborhood and we ate fried chicken and biscuits and then stopped for pastries on the way home. And we weren’t one bit sorry about it.

Sadie took us to her new apartment which is one of the most charming places you’ll ever walk into. Full of character, French doorways, bow windows and the tiniest, but cutest, kitchen. When you used the loo, your knees bumped up against the bathtub but you didn’t mind because the whole place just made you so happy to be there.Later Sadies friends came over and we all went out for drinks and later Karaoke where Sadie and friends sang an excellent rendition of “You’re the One that I Want” from Greece and that has been stuck in my head ever since. Sadie and I went up after a few more drinks and tried to sing something from Frozen, and everyone was pleased there was no footage of that to haunt us the next day.

Christmas Eve was spent pleasantly napping on the couch at Sadie’s place and I made pasta for everyone while drinking wine, which resulted in a rather nasty burn on my forearm but I am pleased to say I didn’t spill so much as one noodle down the drain.

Christmas day dawned and was spent much the same way, we watched Christmas movies, took dinner to Sadie’s roommate who was working at Liberty, the neighborhood bar and then had pleasant talks while cuddling with the dogs.

Overall Seattle is a beautiful city. It is so opportunistic, the architecture is beautiful and the people are driven. I’m so proud of my beautiful sister for making her way into a new city, finding awesome people and building her life. Seattle is lucky to have her.

Tony and are back in Colorado through the end of the year and then we’ll be driving to Salt Lake City, our home for the next four months. The long haul is almost over and I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen. Stay tuned for recipes in the new year. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

To Be Continued…

December 29, 2017

To get a drink in the Denver airport four days before Christmas you have to sell your soul. But lordy is it worth it. A few gin and tonics later we were happily boarding our plane, making fun of the panicky, A-list preferred because when you fly Southwest, no matter how “preferred” you are, you still have to wait in line with the other “preferred” members and might get a middle seat. This was more fun since we forgot to check in till the day of and were in the C boarding group and there is no point in clamoring for anything… You are in the caboose of the plane.

We arrived in Seattle around midnight, Sadie appeared at Sea-Tac in her shiny, new Prius, scooped us off the crowded arrivals port and we buzzed downtown to get pizza at Big Mario’s, which is THE PLACE to get late night pizza. Cooks tossed the dough in the air and we ate pizza by the slice on paper plates, reaching over strangers for napkins and condiments.

Then we drove to Pioneers Square where one of Sadie’s friends lives. He was going to be out of town for the holidays and despite having never met us, he offered to let us stay at his place which turned out to be on the 26th floor of a huge apartment complex with the amazing view of the city you see in the cover photo. This was the sort of place with three shower heads, a jacuzzi sized bathtub, and a fridge with tap handles coming out of it for his home-brewing escapades. What a guy.

The next morning, Tony and I walked to Elm Coffee Roasters, caffeined up and then made the two-mile walk up the hills of Seattle towards Capitol Hill, to meet Sadie for brunch. If you’ve never been to Seattle you cannot comprehend the hills this city is built on. They are comparable to the mountain roads Tony and I used to run up last summer. I must say I felt as if we’d earned our breakfast by the time we arrived. Sadie showed us all around her neighborhood and we ate fried chicken and biscuits and then stopped for pastries on the way home. And we weren’t one bit sorry about it.

Sadie took us to her new apartment which is one of the most charming places you’ll ever walk into. Full of character, French doorways, bow windows and the tiniest, but cutest, kitchen. When you used the loo, your knees bumped up against the bathtub but you didn’t mind because the whole place just made you so happy to be there.

Later Sadies friends came over and we all went out for drinks and later Karaoke where Sadie and friends sang an excellent rendition of “You’re the One that I Want” from Greece and that has been stuck in my head ever since. Sadie and I went up after a few more drinks and tried to sing something from Frozen, and everyone was pleased there was no footage of that to haunt us the next day.

Christmas Eve was spent pleasantly napping on the couch at Sadie’s place and I made pasta for everyone while drinking wine, which resulted in a rather nasty burn on my forearm but I am pleased to say I didn’t spill so much as one noodle down the drain.

Christmas day dawned and was spent much the same way, we watched Christmas movies, took dinner to Sadie’s roommate who was working at Liberty, the neighborhood bar and then had pleasant talks while cuddling with the dogs.

Overall Seattle is a beautiful city. It is so opportunistic, the architecture is beautiful and the people are driven. I’m so proud of my beautiful sister for making her way into a new city, finding awesome people and building her life. Seattle is lucky to have her.

Tony and are back in Colorado through the end of the year and then we’ll be driving to Salt Lake City, our home for the next four months. The long haul is almost over and I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen. Stay tuned for recipes in the new year. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

To Be Continued…