The Island’s New Stain

As you may or may not recall, I have a large list of projects to do in my little apartment. way back in the spring, when the weather finally became warm enough for me to want to work outside and I finished my kitchen island over the course of a couple weekends. I could have finished it in one, but I had other things to do outside so I broke it up between the stain and poly coat. It was pretty easy to do, but a bit messy. You’ve been warned.

Island finished (2)I picked up a dark stain, Ebony, for the top and lower slates, thinking that the grey paint I already had for the base was lighter. It is not. It is the same stuff I used on the little dresser. So I decided to keep it white and maybe paint it later. It could probably use a touch up, but it looks pretty good as is. Plus, the idea of all the taping I would have to do was a bit overwhelming.

As I mentioned before, this wasn’t too difficult of a project, just a bit messy and takes some time to let the stain dry in between. And the taping took awhile too.  So here it is in steps, mostly based on the stain instructions. I highly recommend wearing gloves while  staining!

1. Sand the surfaces to be stained. I started with a larger grit, 80, then went to 120 and finally went over it a third time with 220. There was one spot that never seemed to lighten up, and it was a bit difficult to cover with the new stain. Some sort of oil or something must have gotten on it. Anyway, I gave up sanding it forever, cause it clearly wasn’t going anywhere.

Island (1)2. Clean the surfaces to be stained well. I did this once before and after taping everything else off. And then tape it all off to get ready to stain.

Island (9) Island (3)

3. Apply your stain. I used a normal paint brush to apply it quickly and then wiped it with a rag. After letting it dry the prescribed amount of time, I applied a second coat the same way.

Island (5)Island (10) 4. After the final coat is fully dry, us a poly to to seal the top, following the directions to the T. Let it dry and enjoy! Island finished (1)

The Squash is Back

So. It’s time to come to terms with the fact that fall is here. I have been in denial. The weather here also seems to be in denial. Minus a day here or there, it has been beautiful. But the cold nights are here to stay along with extra blankets, hot tea in the evening and sweaters. So. It’s time to accept that winter is around the corner.

There is one thing that makes me very happy about all of this. Squash is in season. Apparently I am a weird one for liking squash so much. I do recall posting some squash recipes last fall and winter. And the year before that. And the one before that. Maybe I do have a problem… I will apologize for this post and I’m sure the next one or two up front. Then we can move on while you roll your eyes at me and go make this delicious dish!

turkey pumpkinI have stuffed peppers before, but not pumpkins. This trumps peppers. The recipe is savory and the texture is perfect. I will admit that The Sexy Master Electrician demanded some sort of spiciness be added, so we added some cajun seasoning.  We didn’t add a ton, just a tiny bit to give it a little kick, but I don’t think it needed it at all.  The only snag we had was our larger pumpkin and squash. They were bigger than the softball size recommended, so it did take about an hour or so to bake through.

Turkey Stuffed Pumpkins

4 servings

  • 2 softball-sized pumpkins or kaboucha squash ( or one of each!)
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, diced into chunks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 white onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6-8 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt, pepper and olive oil to taste
  • 1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning (recipe below) more or less
  1. Cut the top off of the pumpkin, make the opening wide enough to stuff. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Season with salt and pepper, then steam or roast until tender (about 15 minutes on 350′ F)
  2. Meanwhile, soak the bread in the cream for 5-10 minutes until moist.
  3. In a medium saute pan over medium heat, caramelize the onions, garlic, and sage in the butter until translucent for about 3 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the pumpkins and olive oil. Mix with hands to incorporate thoroughly.
  5. Arrange pumpkins onto an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Lightly pack the meat mixture into the two pumpkins until all of the filling is used.
  6. Bake in oven 35-45 minutes at 350′ F or until internal temperature reaches 165′ F.
  7. Allow to cool 10 minutes, cut in half and serve.

Enjoy!

Emeril’s Cajun Seasoning Slightly Spicier
  • 2 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  1. Combine and store in an air tight jar.
  2. Season with cation, it is spicy, in my opinion anyway.

An Evening in Livingston

IMG_2486I’ve mentioned Livingston before. It’s a smaller town on the other side of Bridger Pass, about 30 minutes from Bozeman. It’s know for the trains, wind and as an artist town. It’s also pretty fun, but since it’s over the mountain and through the canyon, we don’t go over often. There are many great spots to eat and drink and have fun at, I think we need to get over there more often.

The Saturday after Halloween, The Sexy Master Electrician and I found ourselves over there for a night out. We went over for dinner and to watch a friend’s band play later on. (I apologize for not taking many pictures, I wasn’t really planning on posting it!) We crashed at my boss’s studio that evening and proceeded to spend most of Sunday on the east side of the Bridgers.

I loved the neon owl

I loved the neon owl

We started a pre-dinner drink and some MSU football at The Owl. It was pretty quite inside, so we could actually hear each other talk. The bartender was a super nice old guy who was great to chat with and not too nosy or talkative.

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From there we headed over to The Second Street Bistro for a late dinner. It was amazing. We kind of went all out and did a full bottle of wine, an appetizer and dessert with our main course dishes with post dinner tea and espresso. I felt like I might burst when it was over and I wanted to eat more. We had the nicest waitress and, whether it was the later time or their typical attitude, I am not sure, we were there for two hours, and never felt rushed or like we were a bother. It was great. Oh and in case you were wondering, we had crab cakes, steak frites, the ravioli special and creme brulee.

This little hippo salt holder was adorable

This little hippo salt holder was adorable

After dinner we rolled ourselves next door to the Murray Bar.  Some of the band members of The BusDriver Tour playing with a few friends. They were really fun and the bar was surprisingly quite. We heard that the town blew it out the night before and there was a Day of the Dead party going on that night as well. We didn’t mind it at all. We enjoyed some cocktails and the music before calling it a night and crashing at the studio.

One of the pieces at the studio using freestalls from home.

One of the pieces at the studio using freestalls from home.

The next morning, at the recommendation of my boss, we headed to Pinky’s Cafe for breakfast. Another delicious meal. I had a weird breakfast potpie that was combination of ham, sausage, bacon, gravy, egg and biscuits. The cafe was tiny and reminded me of places in New York. It was great little cozy spot.

Main Street Livingston, with Pinky's at the end!

Main Street Livingston, with Pinky’s in the middle!

IMG_2493We headed south from town down to Yellowstone to spend some time in the Boiling River. It was perfect, until more people started showing up. Then we went back to Livingston for lunch and a beer. There is a new brewery in town, and we were hoping they served food, but not yet. So we went back to Gil’s Goods for a quick bite.

Yummy Gil's burger with mini pickle

Yummy Gil’s burger with mini pickle

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Always great and went back to the Katabatic Brewery. It just opened in September. It was pretty good. I only had enough energy for one beer,  but TSME tried a couple different options. The space was nice too. I want to go  back when I am not so tired with a group to try it again.

IMG_2498 IMG_2497Even though we slept in that morning, I was exhausted by the time we left the brewery and headed home. Maybe it was the Halloween shenanigans from the night before, maybe it was the hot water in the river. Either way, I was happy to be home, but I think we need to spend more time exploring or just enjoying Livingston.

 

Sunday Afternoon [forty]

IMG_2480If we were having coffee right now I would tell you about Halloween! I broke out the cotton candyland queen dress, messed up my make-up, lipstick on teeth a must, and made a sash to become Miss Nothing. The Sexy Master Electrician went as a blacksmith last weekend and Dexter this weekend.  Last weekend we had two parties to attend. One was heavily children loaded. But there were twin chicken toddlers that were pretty funny. And a little girl who thought my drunken beauty queen costume was actually a pretty princess. The second was all grown ups, more yummy snacks and puppies.

TSME napping with Winnie. Halloween takes it out of him.

TSME napping with Winnie. Halloween takes it out of him.

Skull Cake!

Skull Cake!

This weekend we went downtown with friends. It was a blast and when it was over, leftover cold fried chicken never tasted so good.

Dexter

Dexter

The Drunken Miss Nothing and The Evil Queen

The Drunken Miss Nothing and The Evil Queen

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you about Rooster and Sage. Rooster, aka Roo, is a teacup yorkie puppy. Sage is his much older golden retriever roommate, who is sort of a fan, but not really yet. They are TSME’s cousin’s dogs. He was asked to babysit for a long weekend, so I of course tagged along. So damn cute. I did feel bad for maybe neglecting Sage a little bit, but it’s really hard when there is a tornado of small dog in your lap.

Roo and his Shunk

Roo and his Shunk

aurd Dog

Guard Dog

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I finally went into the Story Mansion. It’s the largest of them all on Willson Street where they collected. It was a frat house back in the day up until my first year of college. Somehow I never ended up at any parties there. Anyway. It is now offices and the first floor is an event venue. So I went mostly to see the inside. The mash potato bar (brilliant) and s’more bar were and extra bonus.

Mashed Potato Bar

Mashed Potato Bar

S'more bar

S’more bar

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you there are many times, I couldn’t agree with this more.

And this is also very true: “In 1964, Pablo Picasso was asked by an interviewer about the new electronic calculating machines, soon to become known as computers. He replied, “But they are useless. They can only give you answers.”  I probably need to unplug a bit more… via This is Glamorous.

If we were having coffee right now I would tell you that I am so happy that I will be able to play volleyball next week. After sitting out three games over this dumb twisted ankle. I am ready to play again. Yeah!

Team Short Shorts!

Team Short Shorts!

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would scream it out again how happy I am for my friend’s Melissa and Kurt. They finally got engaged while in Italy. And it sounds like Kurt did a fantastic job. She had no idea. Well done Kurt!

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I show you this cool idea for highways. When are we going to get it here?

DCIM100GOPROIf we were having coffee this afternoon, it would have been in the Boiling River. After a night out in Livingston, we headed down there to enjoy the river. The weather was grey and cold, and when we arrived, there was only five of us. It was perfect. We were there for about an hour when more people started showing up and we decided it was time to leave.

DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO

Northern Yellowstone [Weekend Trip pt.2]

The second day of our weekend was suppose to be nice, or at least no rain. That didn’t really happen. It was still cold and the sun refused to shine. But we went on a couple hikes anyway. And they were pretty awesome.

Love not being the one who got up first to start the fire. Or breakfast

Love not being the one who got up first to start the fire. Or breakfast

Let me back track for a minute. We had a pretty busy day planned for ourselves. We had two hikes planned, one up to the see the Petrified Trees on Specimen Ridge and the Bridge on the way to the Hellroaring Creek. We also planned to stop at Tower Falls and go to the Boiling River and not get home too late. Because of the weather, we were a bit lazy getting out of our sleeping bags and into the cold air. If we had drug ourselves up a bit earlier, we would have maybe completed all our hikes. Since there was snow, yes in August, the night before (even if it wasn’t on us), we were lazy and cut all things a bit short.

Black Canyon

Black Canyon

We did stop at Tower Falls. I don’t know why, but I think it is one of my favorite in the park. We went down to the river and hung out for a bit before heading out. We also spent extra time looking around at the canyon area, which I hadn’t done before. It is such a beautiful part of the park.

Petrified Tree

Petrified Tree

Our next stop was the petrified trees. And not the one linked above. This was a hike to the top of Specimen Ridge, but not the long way that you can go, it’s like 10 miles. This was from an unmarked parking lot on the south side of the road just west of the Lamar River bridge. If you cross the bridge you went too far. The trail itself is pretty obvious. It follows an old jeep trail for the first bit, then it splits and heads south east up the hill. And it is steep. STEEP. It’s only three miles round trip, but it will kick your ass. The weather was threatening rain the entire time, and parts of it were muddy and slick from the rain the day before.

Muddy Slope

Muddy Slope

Petrified Stump

Petrified Stump

On Specimen Ridge

On Specimen Ridge

Lamar Valley from Specimen Ridge

Lamar Valley from Specimen Ridge

The trees made it worth it. We would have completely missed the first one you pass on the trail had it not been for the couple stopped next to it. We were focused on getting up the hill. We turned around where the trail hit the hill top. We could have continued on the ridge line for a bit, but it didn’t look like the view was going to get much better.  We managed to make it back down the hill will out sliding on our butt through the mud and moved on to the next trail.

Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge

Beartooth pass 2014 (145)The trail to Hellroaring Creek is actually a four mile hike round trip. The bridge is about half way in over the Yellowstone River and the trail to it is the most difficult part of the hike. You switch back down a big hill with great views of the river. They make up for it. We were really hoping to see a bear in the meadows beyond, but had not luck. The bridge is really cool and worth the trip, even if my legs were hurting from the earlier hike. Beartooth pass 2014 (147)

We forced ourselves back up the hill and into the truck to head to the Boiling River. We stopped briefly at the Mammoth Hot Springs since The Sexy Master Electrician had never been on the way. The sun decided it was finally time to come out as we arrived at the river. Naturally. Why wouldn’t you want it to be sunny and hot as you enter a boiling river? I don’t know why not either. It still felt great. We found a perfect spot that didn’t have terrible scalding and freezing alternating currents. My muscles needed it. It was a perfect end to the weekend.

Boiling River

Boiling River

So that’s the end of our last summer weekend in the park. It closed early October and some roads closed after Labor Day for construction. We will be going back to the Boiling River this winter and hopefully do some snowmobiling too, but I can’t wait to head back next summer for more exploring!

 

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [Thirty-nine]

IMG_2290If we were having coffee this afternoon, it would probably be in my kitchen while I mix up some cookies. I’ve been in a cookie making mood lately. I made some two weekends ago and here we are baking again. Yummy!

If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you about the wedding I was on my way to with The Sexy Master Electrician, (he passed his exam and is now even more sexy) during my last post. I met the whole family and their significant others. It was a bit overwhelming sometimes, but mostly fun. We spent a lot of time setting up for the wedding and then drinking. It was a beautiful day for a wedding and the huge bonfire felt amazing once the temperature dropped. I didn’t take too many pictures… not sure why. Anyway, it was nice to actually get out of town for more than a weekend. But it’s always nice to return.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I made another cape. This on is for a 6 year-old’s birthday. She saw mine and TSME told her that I made it, so I was talked into making one for her upcoming birthday. Hopefully she likes it, I like the buttons.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you about volleyball. Two Wednesdays ago a a group of us started playing on the city league. I love volleyball. I hate co-ed because the net is so high, it’s hard for me to get up to block and hit. The first week I walked away pretty bruised from all the diving and colliding as the team worked out it’s first matches. This week I came down on someone’s foot on the other team at the net and really twisted my ankle. Just like me to hurt myself. Last time I played volleyball, years ago in New York, I hurt my knee diving and ended up in physical therapy for eight weeks. It’s not that bad, but I really need to work on my accident prone issues.

Team Short Shorts

Team Short Shorts

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that our office is moved last weekend! After much planning and packing, Envi Design has it’s own space on the east end of Mendenhall. We loved sharing with Massive, but we have both grown and needed more space. Plus sometimes their musical choices are not so great.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you how I made TSME go Frisbee golfing with me last weekend. There are few course around Bozeman, some set up with baskets actual tees and some like the one on campus that everyone just makes up. We went to one over in Rose Park. It wasn’t very clear where we were going all the time, but it was fun. Even TSME had fun and wants to try it again. He had been resisting all summer, sometimes I think he should just listen to me:) IMG_2264 IMG_2267

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would ask you if you saw the eclipse Wednesday morning. I was taking TSME to the airport (he is living in up in Miami for the week. I am a bit jealous) at 4:30 in the morning and we were able to see the red moon and the eclipse. It was pretty cool. It was the first I have seen!

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The Beartooth Pass [Weekend Trip pt. 1]

View from Rock Vista

View from Rock Creek Vista

Weekends upon weekends ago, some time in August, The Sexy Electrician and I took a weekend trip through Beartooth Pass. The drive is one of the most beautiful in the country and the highest in the Northern Rockies. Neither of us had ever been on the 68 mile highway and decided early in the summer it would be on of our weekend trips.

Crazy Creek Falls

Crazy Creek Falls

Since it is only open June through mid October, weather depending, we wanted to go when the summer days were long and hot. August should have been perfect. Instead, the weekend we picked promised rain and even snow at high elevations. We thought about moving it back, but the next weekend didn’t look much better and we didn’t really have a free weekend to push it back anyway. In the end, it was a bit cold, and towards the end of the drive our views were hidden by clouds. It was still amazing.

Mausoleum

Mausoleum

We decided to drive it east to west and drove up to Red Lodge on Friday night. We had to stop at the bar in Roscoe, because we kept hearing about it. We also had to stop at this awesome old mausoleum that was right outside of Red Lodge. So cool.

RedLodge alesWe went and set up camp before it started to rain again and then explored Red Lodge. Our first stop was the brewery. Red Lodge Ales. TSE loves their IPA. I am a fan of their hef. The other bonus is that my boss designed the space so I needed to check it out. I love the bathroom partitions.

We wondered downtown to find something for dinner and ended up at Bridge Creek Backcountry. Then after some recommendations from our waitress headed out to check out a couple local bars. The first was Snow Creek Saloon that had some very loud live music. After a drink we headed over to The Snag to finish the night. I know Red Lodge is known to be a town that knows how to have fun. But the rain and cold seemed to be keeping people at home and we were both kind of tired that night, so we really didn’t live it up. We will have to return.

Around Red Lodge

Around Red Lodge

The next morning after pancakes and packing up camp, we went back into town for coffee at Coffee Factory Roasters. Then wandered around to some of the various galleries and shops that were open. The sun finally started peaking out, so we figured we should get on the road.

Red Lodge BT DriveThe drive was amazing, a bit scary on some of the switch backs, and amazing. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. The view at Rock Creek Vista were the best for us. The Absarokee and Beartooth Mountains are so gorgeous.

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes

The Twin Lakes are beautiful. It’s all just beautiful. It started to rain again around the time we reached the Western Summit Outlook, there may have even been some snow. When we reached the Clay Butte Fire Lookout, the clouds had taken over. There was still a nice little party going on for it being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We had some cake.

Clay Butte Fire Lookout

Clay Butte Fire Lookout

Once we started entering lower elevations the weather was a lot better and we were able to enjoy both the Lake Creek and Crazy Creek Falls.

Top: Panorama of Absorkees  Middle Three: Falls  Bottom Three: Cascades

Top: Panorama of Absorkees
Middle Three: Lake Creek Falls
Bottom Three: Crazy Creek Falls

That completes the drive through the Beartooths. We stopped briefly in Cooke City for gas and coffee before heading into Northeastern Yellowstone where we were camping for the night. I’ll fill you in on our Yellowstone adventures in another post. Let’s face it, this one was too long as it was!