lemon-blackberry cake

weekend love it – scaling mountains and eating cake

After a couple of extremely busy weeks, this past weekend was suddenly here and I realized that I didn’t have a plethora of obligations or plans. So I spent the weekend enjoying the beautiful Idaho sunshine, mountains and an abundance of food and drinks! Here is what I have been loving during this whirlwind of a summer:

1. Hiking Baldy. Each summer I try make it a goal to hike our local ski mountain, Baldy. Baldy is 3,400 vertical feet and obviously a feat. The top elevation is 9,150 feet with breathtaking views. I chose to play catch-up to three of my favorite women and started a bit after them so I scurried straight up about 3/4 of the mountain. It was a challenge and I was incredibly excited to see happy, friendly faces on the side of the mountain to join for the final ascent.

Rather than hike down, we took the lift and gondola down to further enjoy the 360 degree views. Unfortunately it was a bit hazy out yesterday due to forest fire smoke. Regardless, the views were incredible!

Even if your lungs and legs give out, hiking Baldy is totally worth the trek. And believe me, you will definitely feel accomplished by the end!

the "trail" straight up River Run

the “trail” straight up River Run

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meeting up with the group!

a quick break right before the top

my hiking buddy taking a quick break right before the top!

view from the top!

view from the top! (the town of Ketchum below)

2. Easy (Peasy Lemon Squeezy) Summer Cake. Saturday night I had the pleasure of enjoying a few games of cornhole, drinks and dinner at the boy’s parents house. It was not so subtly requested that I bring a dessert. However, after scaling Baldy the last thing I wanted to do was spend much time in the kitchen. So, I made the executive decision to spend the afternoon at the pool and whip up a quick cake while I got ready for dinner.

I entrusted my good friend Betty Crocker and purchased her Lemon Cake Mix which I complemented with some fresh blackberries, whipped cream and a few lemon slices on top. I’m still uncertain if Martha would be proud or ashamed?

the simplest Lemon-Blackberry Cake (directions coming soon!)

the simplest Lemon-Blackberry Cake (directions coming soon!)

such a beautiful, summer table setting!

such a beautiful summer table setting!

3. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. One of the things that I love about the summer is that I find a bit more time to read. Perhaps it is the hours I spend lounging at the pool or in my adirondack chairs on the deck but summer inspires me to turn pages. I am extremely thankful for my love of reading and have full faith that reading anything non-electronic will help keep my brain from turning to technology mush in the near future.

Recently I asked my extremely talented and well-read friend, Jessie, if she had any book recommendations. She recommended The Magicians by Lev Grossman. At first I was doubtful but was hooked by about page 12. This book is like the illegitimate ,PG-13 rated, offspring of Harry Potter and Narnia. For anyone that loves a bit of fantasy with a healthy dose of reality this is the book for you. Plus there is a sequel so what more could you ask for?

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4. Crossfit Parody. I found this video hysterical. Even if you haven’t drunk the Crossfit Kool-Aid, please watch this video if only for the short shorts. You will learn some quality movements, perfect technique and safe practices….

Also for all you Crossfitters or really just anyone interested, take this quiz to find out what your Crossfit Spirit Animal is. My spirit animal is a cheetah, which I thought was pretty awesome until my lovely friend who is a super Crossfitter, Gina, took the quiz and was a Unicorn. Yeah, Unicorn trumps cheetah any day.

taylor brass

brass blossom

cornhole and mint – mother’s day dinner

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To celebrate Mother’s Day this year, I hosted a fun party for all of the women who I consider a “mother.” The night started with opening presents so that my mother and my boyfriend’s mother could provided the entertainment for the evening.

My boyfriend and I spent a majority of the weekend making custom cornhole games for our mothers. All of the wood, sanding, wood stain and physical/mental energy that went into these games was so worth it. We bought the cornhole bags from a super cool local cornhole company. Our mothers loved them. Also, I happen to have poor hand-eye coordination but cornhole proves to be a game that anyone can enjoy regardless of your skill. We played a few games of cornhole over drinks and this amazing asparagus and gruyere tart before dinner.

When it became slightly too cold to continue “cornholing,” we enjoyed a wonderful pot-luck style meal including spatchcocked chicken, brown rice and edamame salad, wedge salads, asparagus and beer bread. The entire meal was delicious and the company was even better.

Decor Yellow

My main inspiration behind the décor was mint plants. I wanted to make a little gift for each mother to take home and thought a small mint plant in a pretty pot would be a perfect spring gift. So for my table setting, I went with anything green with pops of yellow and white.

Post coming soon on the pots that I painted and distressed to add a rustic touch!

Here are some close ups of the table setting:

mint plants for the mothers!

mint plants for each mother at their table setting!

I went with simple white daisies to fill the center

I went with simple white daisies and candles to highlight my table

beautiful lime vase filled with fresh flowers

beautiful lime vase filled with fresh flowers

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mother’s day table setting – excuse my toes

Menu Yellow

Everyone brought a dish to contribute to dinner which was perfect and so easy for all.

APPETIZER:

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thanks, martha!

MAIN COURSE:

  • One of my great friends who happens to also be my boyfriend’s sister took on spatchcocked lemon chicken for the main course. Not only did everyone say it was delicious but also it was ridiculous fun to repeatedly say “spatchcock.”
  • We paired the spatchcocked chicken with a brown rice and edamame salad, beer bread, wedge salads and roasted asparagus! Everything was so delicious that I forgot to photograph anything that made it onto my plate…
  • We concluded the evening with a super simple lemon-blackberry bundt cake topped with a fresh-fruit salad and whipped cream. Recipe coming soon!
the professional spatchcocker herself

the professional spatchcocker herself

spatch-cocked chicken!

spatchcocked chicken!

lemon glazed lemon-blackberry bundt cake

lemon glazed lemon-blackberry bundt cake

sliced lemons for decoration

sliced lemons for a natural decoration

fresh fruit salad!

fresh fruit salad!

A few more photos that truly capture the evening:

corn-holing commencing!

cornholing commencing!

beautiful moms playing corn-hole!

beautiful moms playing corn-hole!

we bought these perfect bags from a local corn-hole company

we bought these perfect corn bags from a local cornhole company

sibling love

sibling love

shoulder rides during cornhole!

shoulder rides during cornhole!

homemade cornhole boards with Cornhole E.O. corn bags

homemade cornhole boards with Cornhole E.O. corn bags

Although everyday should really be a day to celebrate our mothers, we had a wonderful time celebrating all of our “mothers.” The night was full of lots of laughs, amazing food that left our bellies stuffed and the irrational desire to play just one more game of cornhole! I hope you all had an amazing Mother’s Day as well and continue to celebrate your mothers every day!

taylor brass

brass blossom