Kickin’ Kale Chips

So it’s pretty easy to eat healthy for meals but what about snacking?  How boring does a bowl of grapes get during your mid-afternoon slump when all you want is a salty, crispy XL bag of potato chips?!  Forget the carbs, sodium and fat…I present to you…kale “chips”.  Essentially you’re just eating veggies while curbing the craving for something crunchy and salty.  Just don’t go too crazy on the salt!  If you’re feeling really feisty, try adding some paprika, cayenne or lemon pepper.  Whatever your seasoning of preference will do the trick. Low calorie, delicious and nutritious…a triple threat!

Kickin' Kale Chips
Serves 2
A low calorie and nutritiously crunchy snack!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch of kale
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. ½ tsp salt
  4. ½ tsp garlic salt
  5. ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil.
  2. Tear the kale into bite size pieces, wash and thoroughly dry.
  3. Lay the kale on the baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, garlic salt and pepper.
  4. Bake until the edges brown (10 to 15 minutes).
The Paleo Panda http://www.thepaleopanda.com/

Pesto Shrimp

Recipes, Seafood | March 30, 2016 | By

Pesto, pesto, pesto…pesto everything!  Nothing beats the taste of FRESH homemade pesto and I can’t believe how easy it is to make.  It’s not a bad idea to make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge or freezer to add a dollop of it to anything you’re cooking and instantly pesto-fy it!  My absolute favorite – make your classic morning breakfast scramble then add a few teaspoons of fresh pesto and your boring breakfast is now a treat!  This pesto shrimp dish is a surefire appetizer pleaser…non-paleo eaters can serve on crostinis (for paleo eaters a toothpick should suffice)!

Pesto Shrimp
Serves 4
Delightfully pesto shrimp
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
For the pesto
  1. ½ cup pine nuts
  2. 3 tbp garlic, chopped (around 9 cloves)
  3. 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  6. 1 ½ cup olive oil
  7. 1 cup freshly grated parmesan (or Jane’s Healthy Kitchen’s Vegan Parmesan Cheese)
For the shrimp
  1. 2 pounds of jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  2. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and process for 10-15 second.
  2. Add the basil leaves, salt and black pepper and pulse.
  3. Slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl and process until smooth.
  4. Add the parmesan cheese and process for an additional minute.
  5. Set aside pesto sauce in the fridge or freezer for later use.
  6. To make the shrimp, toss 6 tablespoon of pesto sauce to coat the shrimp (or enough to fully cover to your liking).
  7. Let the shrimp it at room temperature and marinate for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sautee chopped garlic for 1 minute.
  9. Pour the shrimp in and cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp is bright pink and opaque (approximately 5 minutes).
  10. Mix in desired amount of pesto to coat shrimp to your liking and serve!
The Paleo Panda http://www.thepaleopanda.com/

Park City, Utah

Park City

Travel, USA Travels | February 23, 2016 | By

This post (like all the others lately) is a bit delayed but I wanted to have a memory of our fabulous trip to the Park City snow!  Park City is a beautiful scenic mountain community filled with activities, award winning restaurants, a lively action-packed calendar – in addition to its two world-class resorts Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort.  Considered part of the Wasatch Batch, Park City is a mere 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City and hosts the famous Sundance Film Festival every year where the streets are lined with celebrities and transformed with pop up shops and parties!

Sundance...a little early but the sign is up!

Sundance…a little early but the sign is up!

If you’re a skier, you’ll be in heaven at Deer Valley Resort that revolutionized the ski industry by being the first North American ski resort to provide the first-class service comparable to a five-star hotel with a variety of lodging, an award-winning ski school and 300 annual inches of powder snow along with state-of-the-art snow making.  If you’re a snowboarder, Park City Mountain Resort will be more up your alley.  The resort combined with neighboring Canyons Resort in July 2015, creating one powerhouse ski/snowboard resort encompassing 7,300 acres, 300+ trails, 38 lifts, seven terrain parks, 14 bowls, six natural half pipes, one super pipe and one mini pipe. Non-skiers and snowboarders can ride the Quicksilver Gondola for a killer view!

Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Drive South
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-1000

Park City Mountain Resort
1310 Lowell Ave
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-8111

Riding on the Quiksilver Gondola

Riding on the Quiksilver Gondola

I love the snow!

I love the snow!

The adventure lovers out there will love visiting the Utah Olympic Park to experience Utah’s Olympic legacy!  Guided tours of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games venue are available daily and you can explore both the George Eccles 2002 Olympc Games Museum and Interactive Alf Engen Ski Museum.  The Park is a year-round U.S. Olympic training site for athletes of all ages training for Nordic Ski Jumping, Freestyle Skiing, Bobsled, Skeleton and Luge.  You can even take the ride on the Winter Comet Bobsled and experience what it is like to fly down the Olympic track in a bobsled!

Utah Olympic Park
3419 Olympic Parkway
Park City, UT 84098
(435) 658-4200

Fresh snow!

Fresh snow!

Love on the lift <3

Love on the lift <3

We got lucky and had fresh snow on the ground and blue skies for our day on the mountain (especially appreciated after getting skunked the last few years at our local mountain).  We had a great day journeying from Park City to Canyons and back and getting some quality time with everyone on the ski lifts.  We didn’t stop all day and it’s safe to say I couldn’t move by the last run, a sign of a successful snowboarding day!

Fun day of boarding!

Fun day of boarding!

After a long day of snowboarding (or skiing), THE spot for apres ski is no doubt No Name Saloon and Grill, Park City’s oldest and most popular bar.  The signature red-brick saloon with pub grub on Main Street features killer bison burgers and an extensive beer and whiskey menu.  Come for a drink on your way off the mountain or dance the night away!

No Name Saloon and Grill
447 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-6667

Beer lovers will also love Wasatch Brew Pub at the top of Main Street.  A local favorite since 1989, Wasatch became Park City’s first brewery, since prohibition, in 1986.  Wasatch was one of the first craft brewers in all of the U.S. and continues to brew award winning beers year after year.  Their pulled pork sandwich is also crave worthy!

Wasatch Brew Pub
250 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-0900

If you’re a whiskey fan, don’t miss High West Distillery and Saloon, Utah’s first distillery since the 1870’s and the only ski-in gastro-distillery in the world.  Located at the bottom of Quittin’ Time ski run and next to the Town Lift, this intimate gathering spot serves small plates of nouveau Western fare and of course their own small-batch, mountain-crafted, award-winning whiskeys and vodkas!

High West Saloon
703 Park Ave
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-8300

The shopping on historic Main Street in Park City is second to none.  Whether you’re in the market for a new fur mankini or merely just window shopping, Main Street is home to every type of store you can imagine.  From the latest fashion trends to unique art galleries from local artists, you can browse for hours with pit stops for a delicious cappuccino or cocktail in between!  The Red Velvet Mocha at Atticus Coffee Books & Teahouse is to die for and they have thousands of used books to browse along with eclectic gifts and souvenirs.  Too cute!

Atticus Coffee Books & Teahouse
738 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-3140

Crock Pot Pork

Pork, Recipes | January 21, 2016 | By

This first post of the year comes to you complements of my brand new gold MacBook!  Santa was nice to me, I sure am a lucky girl.  This year I’m thankful for all of the exciting events coming up in my life, all my travels…and for the invention of the CROCK POT!  Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – thank god for the creation of this one stop shop for a gourmet dinner with absolutely no effort whatsoever (besides pushing the “on” button).  Season the meat before you go to work in the morning and dinner is ready by the time you get home!  Pork is always a great alternative to the typical chicken that I’m used to serving almost every night.  Tender, juicy and flavorful, you can top this pork with my paleo barbecue sauce or enjoy it as is!

Crock Pot Pork
Serves 3
An easy and delicious pork dinner made in a crock pot!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 lb pork shoulder
  2. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  3. 1 tbsp paprika
  4. 1 tbsp chili powder
  5. 1 tsp garlic powder
  6. 1 tsp cumin
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  9. 1/2 cup chicken broth
  10. ½ tsp liquid smoke
Instructions
  1. Season both sides of the pork shoulder with salt and black pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin.
  3. Massage the seasoning into both sides of the pork until fully coated.
  4. Place pork into crock pot and sprinkle a layer of garlic on top.
  5. Combine liquid smoke with chicken broth and pour over the pork.
  6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours and serve!
The Paleo Panda http://www.thepaleopanda.com/

Big Sur and Central Coast Road Trip

Big Sur and Central Coast Road Trip

Travel, USA Travels | December 2, 2015 | By

Having grown up and lived in California my whole life, I’m not exactly sure how it’s possible that I’ve never been to Big Sur.  To my parents’ credit, they did plan a family trip there…but alas, it was on their road trip for my college graduation and I was neck deep in finals.  We decided that we had to take advantage of living near this breathtaking rugged stretch of California’s central coast – and conveniently combined it with a venue scouting trip!

We left San Diego at the crack of dawn and drove straight into the world-renowned Carmel, a town that has charmed artists and celebrities alike with its picturesque white-sand beach and European-style village packed with restaurants, shops and art galleries.  We made it there before the sun came up and stopped first at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands which was absolutely beautiful but a little too small for our needs.  I got my first glimpse of the beauty we were about encounter with turquoise capped waves slamming into the cliffs below us.  We then started the dramatic journey down Highway 1 along the jagged cliffs pummeled by surf line to Big Sur, providing the most stunning views of any coastline I have ever seen. 

Beautiful Big Sur Coastline

Beautiful Big Sur Coastline

The Big Sur Bakery was recommended to us as a “must” but I found it to be overpriced and a bit overrated…the avocado toast was over $20 (which they were out of) and apparently wheat toast is only delivered on certain days!  Not that day…I settled for a mediocre $7 muffin.  We made our way to the Ventana Inn, across the street from the famous Post Ranch Inn which was also beautiful but too small for our tastes.   For a refreshing drink with an insane view, stop at the reknown Nepenthe restaurant…pricey but the atmosphere can’t be beat!

Nepenthe Restaurant
48510 Hwy 1, Big Sur, California 93920
(831) 667-2345
$$

The most iconic photo of Big Sur is that of the 80-foot McWay Waterfall as it cascades onto the sandy shore in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  One of the shortest hiking trails in Big Sur, Mcway Falls should be seen by anyone traveling along Highway 1…trust me, it’s easy.  We did it in flip flops!  The trail is a mere .64 miles on a flat and wide path that provides both southern and northern Coastal views.  After parking, walk directly west back towards Highway 1 and look fo the sign to the Overlook/Waterfall Trail/Pelton Wheel straight ahead.  You’ll head down short wooden steps, proceed along a wide path and then through a round tunnel under the highway.  Once you emerge facting th ocean, turn right and walk along the path for several yards until you see the falls.  Breathtaking! 

McWay Falls

McWay Falls

We continued south to visit one of the most beautiful venues I’ve seen – Point 16.  Point 16 is absolutely magical with 180 degree views of the coastline and the “loo with a view” that can’t be beat.  If the logistics were not an issue (distance from LA, 1 hour bus ride from closest hotels, etc.), this would be our dream venue!

Point 16...A Dream!

Point 16…A Dream!

Me and Harley enjoying the view

Me and Harley enjoying the view

There are several different Big Sur lodging options from camping at Fernwood to the magnificently opulent Post Ranch Inn if you end up spending more time there.  Many choose the “glamping” option to take advantage of the natural beauty of the area without having to rough it TOO much.  We decided to continue our trek down the coast but for the adventurous, you have plenty of options to choose from whether it be tent camping  to lounging in a luxurious room with a butler!

Fernwood Resort (range of options from camping to motel)
47200 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2422

Big Sur Lodge (3.5 stars)
47225 CA-1, Bi Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-3100

Ventana Inn & Spa (4 stars)
48123 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2331

Post Ranch Inn (5 stars)
47900 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2200

Road trip!

Road trip!

We continued our drive down the beautiful California coast past the stunning rock formations and sunning elephant seals at Piedras Blancas down to Cambria, a lovely seaside town in San Luis Obispo County.  We checked in to our adorable room at the Firestone Inn and went down to catch the gorgeous sunset at Cambria’s famous Moonstone Beach.  We worked up an appetite collecting the semi-precious jasper stones of all colors scattered all over the beach (hence the name “Moonstone”) and headed into town to check out Robin’s Restaurant, an eclectic East village restaurant serving made-from-scratch international cuisine that came highly recommended to us.  The setting at Robin’s is romantic and unique and the fusion of Asian, Mexican and Indian – absolutely mouthwatering.  We started out with crispy calamari with a spicy aioli and tried the enchiladas and chicken curry…we were not disappointed!

Robin’s Restaurant
4095 Burton Drive, Cambria CA 93428
$$
(805) 927-5007

Firestone Inn at Moonstone Beach (3-star)
6700 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria CA 93428
(805) 927-8661

Catching the sunset in Cambria

Catching the sunset in Cambria

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

If you have the time, arrange for a tour of Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst’s famous estate, only 6 miles from Cambria!  We didn’t have time since we had to continue down the coast on a serious scouting mission but I hear this sprawling state historical monument is definitely worth the visit!

Hearst Castle
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon CA 93452
(805) 927-2020

Paleo Ribs with 5 Spice and Honey Garlic Glaze

Pork, Recipes | November 4, 2015 | By

We are huge carnivores and my fiancé used to always make ooey gooey fall off the bone BBQ ribs that are oh so delicious but oh so packed with sugar (OH NO)! He has been eating paleo for quite some time now and we were craving ribs one day but still trying to stay on track with eating clean and eating smart when he found Taylor from Food Faith Fitness to save us and worked his magic! He prepped and executed the most perfect tender, sticky and sweet ribs I have ever tasted! I could not get enough of the freshly minced ginger in the savory honey glaze…and still cannot believe that these ribs are actually paleo. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my lip smacking sugar laden barbeque sauce but these amazing ribs with a slightly Asian twist are just too good (and too healthy) to resist! Visit Taylor’s site and recipe here and happy ribbing!

Paleo Ribs with 5 Spice and Honey Garlic Glaze
Yields 1
Tender, sticky and sweet paleo ribs
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
3 hr
For the ribs
  1. 1 rack of baby back ribs
  2. 4 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  3. Salt and black pepper
For the sauce
  1. ½ cup honey
  2. ¼ cup + 2 tbsp chicken broth
  3. 1 tsp white vinegar
  4. 1 tbsp + 2 tsp coconut aminos
  5. ½ tsp sesame oil
  6. 2 tsp ginger, minced
  7. 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  8. Cilantro, for garnish
  9. Diced green onion, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place the rack of ribs on a large piece of tinfoil and rub with the Chinese 5 spice (about 2 tsps for each side of the ribs) and with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in the foil and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, heat oven to 250 degrees and line a roasting pan with tinfoil. Place a large cooling rack in the center.
  3. Place the ribs, bone-side up, into the roasting pan and cover the pan tightly with tinfoil. Roast until the ribs are tender and fall off the bone, about 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
  4. While the ribs cook, combine all of the sauce ingredients except for the cilantro and green onion in a large saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Boil the sauce, stirring constantly until it just begins to reduce (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and let it come to room temperature.
  5. Once the ribs are cooked, remove them from the oven and preheat the broiler for 5 minutes. (Alternatively, you can finish these ribs off on the BBQ!)
  6. Once the broiler is heated, flip the rib over so that the meaty side is up and brush generously with half of the cooled glaze.
  7. Place the ribs under the broiler and cook until a nice crust forms, about 5-6 minutes.
  8. Remove the ribs from the oven and brush with remaining glaze.
  9. Cover the pan with tinfoil and let the ribs rest for 10 minutes.
The Paleo Panda http://www.thepaleopanda.com/

Paleo Apple Crumble

Dessert, Recipes | October 26, 2015 | By

The weather is finally changing in California (kind of) and what better way to welcome fall than with a warm, cinnamon toasted apple crumble…a la paleo style!  The perfect after dinner dessert or a daytime snack, this healthy holiday treat will satisfy your cravings and keep the doctor away.  Try it served warm with a dollop of my paleo whipped cream (see recipe here) for extreme guiltless indulgence.  Just a warning, you may find yourself fighting the urge to consume the entire crumbly top in one sitting…this is normal!

Paleo Apple Crumble
Serves 6
Warm, cinnamon toasted apple crumble perfect for fall!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
For the filling
  1. 5 medium apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced (Granny Smith are recommended due to firmness)
  2. 3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  3. 2 tsp lemon juice
  4. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  5. 1 tbsp honey
  6. 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  7. 1 tsp cinnamon
  8. ½ tsp nutmeg
For the crumble topping
  1. ½ cup coconut flour
  2. ½ cup almond flour
  3. 4 tbsp finely chopped pecans and almonds
  4. 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. ¼ tsp salt
  7. 3 tbsp coconut oil
  8. 2 tbsp honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Toss apples into mixture and pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish.
  4. Pulse together the pecans and almonds in a food processor until finely chopped.
  5. Pulse in the coconut flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined.
  6. Pulse in the coconut oil and honey until a crumbly dough is formed.
  7. Crumble over apple mixture.
  8. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
  9. Slightly cool and enjoy!
The Paleo Panda http://www.thepaleopanda.com/

Miramar Air Show

Miramar Air Show

Blog, Live. | October 7, 2015 | By

We checked out the Miramar Air Show this weekend…my first one to date!  Hosted in San Diego at Miramar,  home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, including MAG-11’s fixed-wing F/A-18 and KC-130 Hercules squadrons and MAG-16’s  MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, this year’s air show paid tribute to veterans and their families.  We saw F-18s, Blackhawls…even sat in a MIG!  

Cousins hangin' at the air show

Cousins hangin’ at the air show

A MiG!

A MiG!

It was amazing to be able to sit in the cockpit of a giant Boeing C-17 and try to imagine transporting tanks and troops in the body of the plane…how do they get these things off the ground?!  Did you know the U.S. sent a C-17 to a Chinese Air Show despite concerns inside the Pentagon in 2014?  The purpose was to strengthen relations but at costs such as putting technology secrets in jeopardy…including a monetary cost of at least $350,000!  Fascinating.  

Sitting in the huge C-17 cockpit

Sitting in the huge C-17 cockpit

We were able to catch the incredible acrobatics of the Oracle Challenger and Breitling L-39 Jet Team demo.  The highlight of the day and show undoubtedly was the majestic performance by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels – jaw dropping and awe inspiring! 

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels

What a great day and what great people watching!  Thank you to all who serve!

 

 

Succulent Sweet Dijon Thighs

Chicken, Recipes | October 1, 2015 | By

As you know I’m constantly on the lookout for alternatives to basic boring chicken breast recipes.  Chicken thighs are always tender and therefore automatically delicious (not to mention easy and inexpensive – always a bonus)!  This recipe combines tangy Dijon with sweet and zesty balsamic vinegar and spices for a chicken dish that’s healthy and jam packed with flavor!  Pop it in the oven and dinner is ready!

Succulent Sweet Dijon Thighs
Serves 2
Sweet, tangy and tender chicken thighs.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  2. 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  3. ¼ cup olive oil
  4. ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  5. 1 tsp dried thyme
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. ¼ tsp garlic powder
  8. ¼ tsp paprika
  9. Salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place chicken thighs in a container and cut slits in each thigh.
  2. Rub garlic powder, paprika, salt and black pepper on chicken.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and garlic cloves.
  4. Pour the marinade over the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes (or longer if possible).
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a slightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
The Paleo Panda http://www.thepaleopanda.com/

Coeur d’Alene Engagement Weekend

Blog, Love. | September 10, 2015 | By

When I was told we were planning a trip out to Coeur d’Alene for Labor Day, I had no idea what a weekend it would be!  I had always heard about the beauty of the lake and was excited to experience the magic.  Located approximately 30 miles east of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene is named after a tribe of Native Americans who live along the rivers and lakes of the region.  There are actually more than 55 lakes in the region, with Lake Coeur d’Alene being the most magnificent!

We flew into Spokane and met our friends Doug and Shadi to make the scenic drive to the lake, stopping at the delicious local Toby’s BBQ stand on the way of course.  An easy hour drive later, we were at the beautiful home of the Whites and Matalon at Black Rock.  Eager to check out our surroundings, we settled in to our amazing room, complete with deck and Keurig machine then headed down to the lake.  I did find it slightly odd that no one else wanted to join…and that we brought one of the $100 bottles of Williams Selyem pinot that we brought the hosts along with us…but was more excited to be heading to the water. 

Coeur d'Alene Lake

Coeur d’Alene Lake

There were all sorts of paddleboards and kayaks down by the water and we decided to take the canoe out for a spin.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and the lake was gorgeous and perfectly still for our ride.  By then we had discovered that if either of us moved two inches, the canoe would most likely completely capsize.  After a few paddles around the lovely lake, I discovered that I could pass my empty wine glass over on an oar and be returned a full glass of pinot with no spillage!  I was still reveling in my ingenuity that I hardly noticed a black box being pulled out of the pocket of a Patagonia rain jacket.  At this point I think I slightly blacked out a little bit and was presented with the sweetest proposal (and most breathtaking ring) in history.  It was so perfect just being in the sun, on the water…and with my fiancé!

Wine, please!

Wine, please!

Ring, please?!

Ring, please?!

So happy!!

So happy!!

As we paddled back towards the dock, we heard cheering and the popping of champagne.  Unbeknownst to me, our friends had been watching us from the Black Rock clubhouse.  We celebrated with some amazing champagne and of course more Williams Selyem – and a celebratory dip in the freezing cold lake.  On our way back to the house to get ready for our special dinner, we even saw a couple of deer only a few feet away from us.  They were definitely celebrating with us!

Engaged!

Engaged!

If you ever find yourself in Coeur d’Alene, you must stop and dine at Satay Bistro (ask for Kelleen as your waitress).  They have an amazing private wine room to dine in and their homemade bread drizzled in olive oil and garlic is to die for.  Their pasta is made completely from scratch and all soups, marinades and sauces are made fresh daily by the culinary team…truly “farm to menu”!

Satay Bistro
2501 N 4th St
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
$$

Dining in the wine room at Satay

Dining in the wine room at Satay

We took a day to head to Schweitzer Mountain and take the chairlift to the top of the mountain to do some hiking!  The largest resort in Idaho and Washington with 2,900 acres of amazing terrain in the rugged Selkirk Mountains, Schweitzer overlooks the beautiful Lake Pend Oreille.  The hike was a long way down but the views were worth it.  We even caught a rainbow!  It just so happened to be Fall Fest on the mountain with 60+ microbrews and live music, including a killer all-girl ACDC cover band.  If you have the time, stop in the charming and eclectic town of Sandpoint on your way out…a perfect to reward your hiking efforts with a drink + view of the lake!

View from the top of Schweitzer Mountain

View from the top of Schweitzer Mountain

Could not resist this while taking a pic of the rainbow!

Could not resist this while taking a pic of the rainbow!

Relaxing in Sandpoint

Relaxing in Sandpoint

A beautiful end to an amazing weekend…thank you so much to Jason, Jess, Justin, Sarah, Doug and Shadi and especially Kevin for making it one to remember forever!  Over the moon!