Monday, September 29, 2014

Keep Calm and Make your Own Carmel Sauce

Apple Farms

Apple Picking

Apple Pies

Fall is here and so are Apples
Macintosh, Red Delicious, Pinklady
and Minnesota's own Honeycrisp

After a day at the Apple Farm,
I usually run out to get some carmel
because what apple is complete without Carmel

Not anymore-- I decided to make my own
and I am only sharing it because - well it worked!!

Ok Really  10 Minutes and you will have

Sea Salt Carmel Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons salted butter - cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt


Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat,
stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Seriously-
Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored
liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.

Once sugar is melted, add the cubed butter.  The caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Don't get scared - It won't run away
Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.

Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while whisking. I forget to pour slowly- it turned out anyway.
Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added.
Boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.
I used more salt - just because I don't like to follow rules!
Allow to cool down before using.
Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before you use
Unless you just eat it by the spoonfuls !!

That is right- there was no thermometor harmed or used in this recipe.


Monday, September 22, 2014

A Tourist in My own Hometown

A trip to my hometown of Anacortes,Wa was truely a Ferrytale
I came back home for my 40 class reunion to revisit, reconnect and reunite with classmates and the beauty of the San Juan Islands.

Growing up in this beautiful island (Fildago Island) was like growing up in the enchanted forest with its stunning landscapes and mezmerizing views of the Puget Sound.

Not only is Anacortes rich in seafarer and fishing history, you will find an open kindness and friendliness from the locals. You will be treated to mouth watering cusine and luxurious accomodations.
Seafood right off the boats and eateries that reflect the flavor and
taste of the people of Anacortes. A must stop is Geri Deli for a sandwich,Calico Cupboard for a cinnamon bun not to be missed and Anthony's Cap Santefor an outdoor fireside bar with a stunning harbor view to eat, drink and be merry.

My stay in Anacortes began at the Majestic Inn and Spa in Old Town

While growing up it was an retail store but with careful restoration it has been transformed into a pillar of the city. The owners have mixed old history with new amenities from the stunning entrance and the carved staircase to the comfort of the modern 52 rooms. Most rooms have some water views.
I was welcomed by a friendly and gracious staff and treated to a room that overlooked Cap Sante.

From the rooms to the resturants and the rooftop bar-
the Majestic Inn and Spa is truely majestic. A must stay
if you are staying downtown and enjoying the historic town of Anacortes.

Coming home to some can be a dissapointment because of changes
or circumstances but this visit exceeded every expectation I had.
With every hello to each genuine hug to just a simple drive to a
sacred spot that held many memories- Anacortes will not and did not dissapoint.
Now that I have shared my little secret spot in the Pacific Northwest, you must be sworn to travel secrecy. It is a hidden gem only to be discovered by those who truly appreciate beauty.
I do- Can't wait to visit again

My Apron travels next to San Juan Island..

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A FerryTale Visit to Anacortes

My Apron Traveled to many beautiful places this summer but the one I was most excited about was the quaint, picturesque town of Anacortes, Washington.
Not only is it charming- it is where I got to grow up  and be from.
Yes  It is my hometown
Being back home for my 40th class reunion gave me the opportunity to not only get reacquainted with classmates but with the charm of this intimate harbor town.

Most people drive through this beautiful gem of a city on their way to or from the ferry.
Taking a turn at the light and heading to the ferry terminal...Missing the heart of the town.
But those who take the time to stop, explore and discover the beauty of Fildago Island and especially the historic town of Anacortes, The Gateway to the San Juan Islands get to take in a little slice of Heaven on Earth.

Whether you arrived by ferry

or perhaps the breathtaking Deception Pass Bridge

Photo Courtesy Derek Farmer

You are in for a visual feast at every turn.
I may be biased but with each corner of the town, 
the view is stunning, organic and unforgettable.
From the harbor to the loop road and to the beach for 
amazing sunsets, every inch of this island is a postcard.
Photo Courtesy Marcia Springer

Anacortes is a destination for adventures, shoppers, and foodies. 
There are alot of places to stay but few as great as the ones I found.
As a professional Innsitter (interim Innkeeper) I choose to stay in small, local inns or Band B's when I travel.
I was able to find two amazing lodging opportunities that fit in
with my search for Hip and Fresh Bed and Breakfasts. 
A must stay in Anacortes , The Gateway Bed and Breakfast
What a find, I was lucky to get the last available room on a Saturday night and I was not disappointed.
Sitting high on the bluff on Cap Sante, this new victorian style B and B was perfect in every way.
From the location close to down town, to the wraparound
porch perfect to sip coffee or wine and watch the sunset of the Guemes Channel, this B and B is enchanting.
As winter comes, the inside is enhanced by the outside elements peeking through the large windows of a warm and cozy sitting area.

The Gateway Bed and Breakfast has 4 rooms currently available and each one is appointed to fit the elements of Anacortes- 
Coastal, calm and comfortable.
On the cleanliness chart, it was off the chart.
I had a quiet room in the back with a private sitting area, spa like amenities in the oversized bathroom and best of all .. Coffee in each room. 

What I love about B and B's these days is that around the breakfast table are people of all walks and ages of life. The morning was shared with newlyweds,an adventurous couple and 2 solo women. Me being one

Mike and Nancy know how to be available, gracious and inviting hosts.
Believe me, it feels so comfortable while you are a guest
you feel like you are home.
Not to be missed is the breakfast part of this B and B
Mike was serving fritta and crisp bacon which was as delicious as 
the granola and fresh berries. The bowls of  fresh cracked dungeness crab was the creme de la creme.. Loved the breakfasts
The Gateway Bed and Breakfast is at the top of my list for 
HIP and FRESH places to stay while in Anacortes.

Photo Courtesy Carl Nickerson

So as many seafarers have been beaconed home to Anacortes,
you find your adventurous spirit drawing you to the tip of the Pacific Northwest, to the gateway to the San Juan Islands, for a ferry to Victoria, Guemes Island or beyond BUT
Before you take off to the rest of the beautiful San Juan Islands- 
Make this Ferryland your destination.. It is a true Sparkling Gem

Part 2  TBA The Majestic Inn and Spa

Friday, September 12, 2014

ReUnited - 40th Class Reunion

Was it the trepidation of a visit to my hometown or seeing classmates after 40 years. Both were creating a wave of anticipation and excitement as I traveled to the beautiful Fidalgo Island and Anacortes to take part in a weekend of gatherings for the Class of 1974
I was about to be reunited with classmates from all walks of life. Fisherman, Business exec, creators, game changers were about to embark on 3 days of sharing their lives with 120 classmates 40 years later.

As I enter town, a flood of emotion comes over me as I turn the corner on to Commercial Ave. The sheer beauty of Anacortes,Wa takes my breathe away.

Memories of listening to Bachman-Turner -Overdrive with the friends I was going to see made me smile. I know some classmates arrived with anxiety and uncertainty but that quickly went away as
Friday night came with a gathering of classmates only at the local H20 Bar.

The amazing committee had done their homework and with a little help from friends more than 60 alumni were welcomed with open arms, handshakes and even a few girl shrieks. Yes, after 40 years girls can still shriek when seeing an old friend.
How quick we revert from professional to high school.
Now that it is over, people can go back to their real names but some will always be Kandi,Bimbi and Suzy to me

From a beachhouse welcome, to a walk along the loop in Washington Park,  finding a special classmate who was reflecting on the bench, it was evident that 40 years had softened us all. Compassion, healing, acceptance and genuine care for each other was so evident . It was clear that life had granted us this time to show our deep appreciation for the friends that we had lost connections with over time.
The reacquaintance brought laughter - even the deep silly - gonna wet your pants kind, it brought tears of compassion for classmates that needed hugs and acceptance.
Love, the kind of love that you share with those who you have known for years but distance and life had seperated you, was in the air.
 Deep Pure Acceptance Love

We had grown up. Life had been good to us, but not without challenges and struggles. We all cherished our time together to reconnect, be refreshed and find laughter in 3 days of events.
But it was with somber thoughts that we also missed not only those who couldn't attend but those whom had left us on this earth. 14 souls were missed and acknowledged by a beautiful SONG sung by a classmate Brian and a slideshow presented by Suzanne. Classmates sat a little closer to loved ones, held hands with old friends and shed a tear in rememberance..We lost them too early but I truly felt they were sharing that precious moment with us.
(Please click on SONG link to hear this beautiful song)

Whether is was the cocktail party, the gala event or the final goodbye at the park, the friendships were rekindled, the reconnections had been made and talk of not waiting so long for the next one warmed everyones heart. Well and with a little help from Wes and his amazing food. 

I could continue but the truth was we all took the time, and it was fun. It was due in part to the organizing committee which made this possible- They are the glue to this incredible event but mainly because of the effort to stay in touch with the past and watch where the future will take us all.

So if you get an invite to your 40th class reunion, my reccommendation is that you pull on your Spanx (or not), color in your eyebrows (yes even the ladies) and just Let it Go .. Enjoy 
It truly was the time of our lives.

This is dedicated to each member of AHS Class of 1974