Fancy Date Night at Home

Friday, January 16, 2015

Some Friday nights when we feel like indulging in a nice meal, but don't want to spend a lot of money at a restaurant, we'll create a fancy date night in. A few weeks back I picked up some fresh ingredients from my favorite local market, Zupan's, and got right to work on an Italian dish I've had my heart set on re-creating for quite some time. I lit some candles, put on some music, poured my favorite wine and enjoyed a delicious date-night dinner with Luke. The Blazer game quickly followed :)

Pasta with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce
Serves 2-4

1 pound pasta (I used fresh tagliatelle pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, roughly chopped (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
1 pound asparagus, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes (if using fresh pasta) If using boxed pasta, cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, 1/4 cup parsley, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine, chicken stock, and heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens. While the sauce thickens, blanch the asparagus and add to the mixture. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the cooked shrimp, the cooked pasta, and the remaining herbs. Toss together until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Top with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

(Adapted from Giada's recipe which can be found here)

- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Home Tour: Bathroom "before" photos

Sunday, January 11, 2015

These pictures are rather embarrassing to share. These are the "before" photos of our upstairs bathrooms. Yes, we've been living with this awful green linoleum for the past three years. We always knew that remodeling these bathrooms would be a project we would eventually tackle, so when we bought our house we were OK with them because we knew it would be temporary. We have two bathrooms upstairs (one off the hallway and one off our master bedroom). What's silly is that these pictures are actually an improvement from what they used to be... these bathrooms once had sponge painted teal walls and neon flower drawer handles, eww!

Sometimes it takes living in a place for a while to see what you can live with and what you'd like to live without. We're happy to see these green bathrooms go & can't wait to show you what they look like closer to the end of the week... So check back soon for the big reveal. Muhahahah!

Don't go too hard on us with the photos below...

Sonoma, California #wineweekend

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

On our second day in wine country we ventured towards the Sonoma Valley. This area was much more our style! We started out with a delicious brunch and then worked our way a little north, making stops at a few wineries and exploring downtown Sonoma. Sonoma had a more relaxing vibe and the people seemed a little friendlier. The first two wineries that we visited offered free tastings (yippe!) so I made sure to make a few purchases at their gift shops to show my appreciation. See below for a list of the places where we tasted and dined.

Fremont Diner in Sonoma. So good! We had the ricotta pancakes, a breakfast sandwich, chili bacon and cheesy grits. Definitely recommend!

Wineries Visited:
Cline Cellars Free tastings of really good wines!
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards A beyond gorgeous winery and across the street from Cline. Also offers free tastings! We received so many free tasting that we lost count... 
Roche Winery Quaint little tasting room on the edge of downtown Sonoma. We sat outside by a fire pit and sipped some delicious wines.
Kunde Family Estate Awesome winery that offers cave tours on-site. 
Kenwood Vineyards We got here close to closing time so they gave us free tastings!

La Casa Delicious Mexican food in downtown Sonoma. We had the bean and chese fundido and street tacos. 

Ristorante Allegria Amazing Italian in downtown Napa. We had the Dungeness crab cakes, carpaccio, penne con pollo and pappardelle allo zafferano.

- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Napa, California #wineweekend

Monday, January 5, 2015

Last month Luke and I flew down to California wine country for a long weekend. Other than driving past a few times, this was our first time really exploring the area (and definitely won't be our last...). On our first day in wine country we spent a good part of the day exploring in the Napa Valley. We started off with a yummy lunch in downtown Napa and then worked our way up north to stop by a few wineries. With temps in the mid-60's a a few sun breaks, we were feeling pretty lucky with the weather (Oregonians have low weather expectations, haha). 

Gott's Roadside in downtown Napa. Yummy burgers and fries!

Napa Cellars To be completely honest there was nothing special about this place, the guy pouring our wine was really rude.
Cosentino A gorgeous winery with delicious wines. 
Markham Vineyards This is the place where I discovered that I don't hate merlots; they have a great one!
Francis Ford Coppola Okay, so this was more in Sonoma Valley... I loved everything about this place. I've been wanting to visit this winery for the longest time and I'm finally glad that I was able to. I recommend everything here! Next time I'd like to dine at their restaurant, Rustic. 
Ridge Great wines with sweeping views. We took our glasses out to the patio and chatted while we enjoyed our wines. 

Zuzu in downtown Nappa. The most amazing spanish tapas we've had. We had the Ceviche del Dia, Tunisian Brik Pastry, Flat Iron steak and Paella del Dia. I highly recommend it all!

*Since Napa is a little on the pricey side, we found a lot of 2 for 1 coupons here, they really helped :) 

- Photos © Holly Copeland -\

2015 Goals

Sunday, January 4, 2015

With the start of a brand new year, comes a feeling of a blank slate and the possibility for new beginnings. For me, I have some goals that I'd like to work on in the next 365 days. Call them resolutions if you will (although I'd prefer to just call them goals). Here's where my focus is going to be in 2015.

one // Run more. We are signing up for the Shamrock Run in March and are already well on our way to some race training. Most times when I'm running I think it's so hard and question why I picked this method to stay in shape... but after a good run I feel accomplished in a way that I don't get from any other workout.

two // Document more. I want to take my camera out more, just for fun. I miss the days when we used to wander around on the weekends and I would snap away at anything interesting that I would encounter. I would love to do this once a month (at least) and document it here.

three // Cook more. I already love to cook but sometimes life gets busy and we settle on Thai takeout down the street (which is amazing, every once in a while). I want to be better at meal planning and prepping for the week ahead. There's something about cooking a delicious meal that I just find so relaxing and therapeutic.

four // Travel more. We didn't take as many trips in 2014 as we would have wanted to (or that the bank account would allow...). We really want to take a BIG international trip and are hoping to do so towards the end of the year. Our savings account is already in full force working towards this.

five // Finish more. We have a few house projects that I've love to just cross off the list already! One more bathroom to finish and some kitchen work. It's been harder than I thought it would be to get these completed, but I'm crossing my fingers that we can finally get them done in 2015!

What are your goals for this new year? Please share!