(Huckleberry) Honey Feta Cakes

So, um, I really love huckleberries. I just think this is something you should know about me.  Because they are the perfect berry, tarter than a blueberry but sweeter than a raspberry, and just the juiciest. But did you know that huckleberries are pretty fucking hard to come by? Even here in Idaho where they are the official state fruit. Because you have to go out in the woods and pick them and know where a good patch of them are and worry about disturbing a bear's favorite picking spot and so on. Does anyone know of somewhere not too far from Boise to pick them? I'll be your best friend if you do. Because finding some (legitimate wild ones) to buy is difficult and pricey; you can't just grow these pretties commercially (or even in a home garden). Though, Tillamook makes a delicious Mountain Huckleberry ice cream and Camas Prairie Winery in Moscow makes the best huckleberry mead ever. That is how I have enjoyed huckleberries the past few years.

You can imagine my excitement when Will came home last Friday from a work trip holding a bag full of these treasures. It had been years since I had fresh huckleberries. Oh, did we enjoy them. We mostly ate them on their own, in their perfect unadulterated form, or with yogurt. But Sunday morning we decided to get fancy and Will had the amazing idea to add them to our favorite griddle cakes. I mean, what could be better than honey feta griddle cakes? Well huckleberry honey feta griddle cakes, of course. These were crazy, insanely good. But, if you can't get your hands on some huckleberries (I don't blame you), these are still good without them. You might also try substituting blueberries.

(Huckleberry) Honey Feta Cakes, makes 12 griddle cakes
    Adapted from the recipe Honey Feta Griddle Bread from The Philosopher's Kitchen

8 ounces feta cheese
3 tablespoons honey
2 to 3 tablespoons honey (or plain) greek yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic unbleached flour
1/2 cup fresh huckleberries (approximate)

Directions: In a large bowl mash the feta cheese with the honey using the back of a fork until fully combined. Add in the greek yogurt and continue to mash, making sure no large clumps of cheese remain (this may take a lot of mashing). Add the salt and stir to combine. Slowly add portions of the flour, stirring to combine completely each time. This should be a pretty dense dough, but still workable. If the dough seems too stiff you can add more yogurt in small increments until it reaches a more malleable consistency. Using your hands, knead the dough briefly. Divide the dough into small equal pieces, about 12 for thicker griddle cakes. Divide into smaller pieces if thin cakes are desired.  Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten into (about 3 in diameter) rounds between your palms. Cook the cakes on a lightly oiled griddle over medium heat. Once a round is placed on the griddle, press a small handful of fresh huckleberries firmly into each one on the side of the cake that is facing up. Cook on each side until golden brown. Serve immediately while still warm.

Oh my. Enjoy with a cup of coffee!

Weekend Wears: Lazy Sunday

I've begun to take walks around the neighborhood again recently. Now that is a bit cooler for longer in the mornings and cooler a little sooner in the evenings, I want to get out and stroll with the pups more. I love walks around sunset and feeling the day change to night. And I love that that is happening now earlier and earlier. I've said it before and I'll say it again (and Will heard me say it on several occasions on our walk last night), I am so excited for Fall.

Outfit Details
tank: Forever 21
cardigan: Old Navy (similar)
skirt: hand-me-down, the tag says Blue Plate
walking flats: so so old, I think from Target (similar)

This weekend was full of lots of much needed rest. Will really needed some after backpacking and working all week. I really needed some after not sleeping all week. Sunday we slept in so incredibly longer than usual, enjoyed salmon cream cheese bagels and huckleberry honey feta cakes and coffee for brunch (that combination is perfection), ran some errands, relaxed a lot, enjoyed a thanksgiving style feast with my family, and enjoyed a long walk. Lovely, lazy Sunday.

A Little Lonely Lately

My absence around here the past few days, I'm sure, hasn't gone unnoticed. You may remember me mentioning that Will was gone on a trip for work last week, so I had lots of time to devout to this blog to keep me busy, and I had every intention of doing so. I had lots of plans concerning things here; projects I wanted to get done, projects I wanted to start, quite a few posts to write, and a small bit of change to make. I perfectly mapped out my schedule for five days to get it all done but in reality, everything seemed so incredibly daunting.

I was so exhausted last week, between not sleeping all weekend thanks to pup-sitting my sister's dog (Pippin and Bo are best friends and like to think it's time to play at 2:00 am), not sleeping thanks to a very sick Pippin Monday and Tuesday, and difficulty sleeping the whole week with Will away. With out sounding like a big old emotional baby mess (but I'm afraid I am going to) it is incredibly hard for me to be away from Will for any amount of time. In fact, before this summer, when he first went out in the field for work two weeks ago, we had never even spent more than a work day's worth of hours apart since we started dating. I am sure that seems pretty crazy to the majority of you. You'd think us even crazier if you knew how soon we moved in together. But that is a story for another time, perhaps.

I felt a bit misplaced, I suppose, last week. Without being even able to call or text (Will is really completely out in the middle of nowhere for 5 solid days) the absence of my love and best friend is shocking and not ignorable. I'd be fine during the day, as we usually spend days apart, but come 4:30/5:00 PM I kept expecting him to show up any minute. Every single day. Despite the fact that I knew he wouldn't be home until late Friday. I spent a lot of time reading through out the day and watching movies on Netfix late at night. And drinking wine, of course.

And then this weekend was a whirlwind. I knew I only had those two days before he had to head back out again (He left for the same trip this morning, again until late Friday. Ugh.), so we tried to soak up every minute together. Even if it was mostly spent running errands, watching Game of Thrones,  and napping cuddly with the puppy. Will found a great patch of huckleberries (a rare treat) while he was out, and as the pictures suggest, brought me back quite a bit. We enjoyed those together this weekend, too. They were so delicious with greek yogurt, and even better in some little griddle cakes (recipe coming soon).

I know it is silly; how terrible I feel when he is away. And I have no idea how couples survive long distance. But I love my crazy, mad, fulfilling love. I'd want it no other way.

And of course, I am behind a bit on quite a few things. If you have emailed me recently, I sincerely apologize. I will get back to you today. I have a feeling this week will be a little easier than the last and I have every intention of keeping you all busy with posts.

Jump Creek Again

Monday, in my latest weekend wears post, I mentioned that I tried to get Will and I out a bit this weekend before he left for a work trip. I decided a hike around Jump Creek would be fun, since it was where we took all the pups last time we were watching Bo (my sister's dog). Crazy that that was my first real post on OWM, it seems like forever ago. Last time we hiked here there was such a crowd of people that we skipped hiking the trail into the canyon to view the falls and instead took the longer hike up and around the canyon. So, we woke up early Sunday morning with the hopes of beating other potential hikers out there and also the heat so we could do both trails.

Bo, I think, must have thought we were driving to the boonies to off him because he whined the entire way there (an hour+ drive). I don't know why, but he is slightly terrified of Will. There was nothing we could do, poor pup, so we just turned the music up to save the rest of us from going crazy. Pippin just wanted to nap the whole way and Scout is content so long as he gets to sit near the window. Once we made it there they were all pretty happy to be running around.

We did beat everyone out there, so we had the whole place to ourselves. We took our time exploring and playing around in the water. I was really amused by all the cave drawings I found. This place really is rather beautiful, so it was nice to relax out there for a bit. I tried to got some pictures of the dogs but they were too busy zooming around (especially Scout) to care about stopping for a second to pose, or panicking when we tried to get some pictures of ourselves. They are all excellent photo-bombers, but Bo is pro. That picture of the two of us that I thought was photo-bomb free, did you spot Pippin? I didn't at first. He made it up that rock, too. He is an excellent rock climber.

We unfortunately didn't beat the heat, though. It got so hot so fast, so we only hiked around the lower area. I didn't want to go hiking up any step slopes in that oven, thank you. Those pups tired out quickly, anyway, and they earned a bath after.

Go away, heat, so I can go enjoy the outsides again.

Weekend Wears: Lace & A Simple Stroll

Will is gone for work this week; he's out surveying/counting fish carcasses in the woods or something. Saying goodbye at 6:00 am is not fun. This is the longest we will have been apart to date, and with him out all week I had a feeling I might be a bit of a home-body these next few days. Which is all right, I've got a bottle of wine and some Netflix. But with that foresight I made an effort for us to get out a bit this weekend and spend time together. Saturday there were lots of errands to run, but we ended the night sitting down together over some greasy, mediocre chinese food :) Sunday we got up early and piled the pups + one in the car (we're dog sitting) for a hiking adventure (pictures to come). These were taken post hike, when we had to go back out to make an exchange of something bought the day before. Will had the lovely idea to go for a walk around Kathryn Albertson's park, while we were downtown, before heading home. So I took off my dirty hiking attire, combed out my tangled hair, and threw back on the dress I had worn the day before.

Outfit details
dress: Bohme, last year 
belt: from a different dress
bag: Target, a few years ago (similar/similar)
flip flops: Maurices, ages ago (similar)
sunnies: ModCloth
bracelet: borrowed

You'll probably see this dress pop up quite a bit come fall/winter; it is my favorite. I've been rolling the sleeves up a bit lately and it feels completely different. I love that I can wear it with anything or on it's own, and always feel so chic. But it's best with boots.

I hope your weekend was lovely as well.

Self-Portrait Challenge Recap

Did any of you participate in A Beautiful Mess's 30 Day Self-Portrait Challenge? If so please leave your instagram username below! I love seeing how others took this on creatively. You can follow me on instagram (@ohwhimsicalme) if you'd like a better look at these.

I took on this challenge with the hope of helping me feel more natural in front of the camera. I recently started a outfit series here, but photo shoots for it can be a little... awkward. I have no idea how to pose and instantly turn into a giant cheese-ball when a camera is directed at me. The results are rarely pretty. For me, unfortunately, I don't know if I got much out of this challenge, to be honest. Elsie and Emma mentioned in their first post about the challenge that when taking pictures of ourselves, "At first it feels unnatural, awkward and pretty self-absorbed." I never got past this stage. I've always felt this way, and I still do. I think this can be seen through the fact that very few of my pictures from this challenge actually show my entire face looking at the camera. For this is more so a result of not liking to take pictures of myself (or have my picture taken) than an attempt at creativity within my portraits. Because, I mean, there are quite a few pictures of my lap and feet. Boring.

Well, I hope I didn't bore you too much.

Happy Sunday!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I love banana bread. It is no secret. In fact, I love bananas baked in just about any form. Banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and frosted banana bars anyone? They make whatever they are baked into so dreamy and creamy and perfect. I usually stay true to tradition and make my mom's recipe every time I make banana bread, but this last time I was missing some vital ingredients and so I decided to mix it up and make my own. My mom isn't much of a fan of spiced breads, but I sure am; I was sure to add both cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as a bit of cloves to this loaf. I also decided to use brown sugar and leave out the vanilla. And of course, this girl must have chocolate. My old recipe was good, but this one is perfect. Yes, my food reflects me. And it is delicious. Next time you've got some super ripe bananas lying around (I always do, I like them that way), give this bread a try before they go bad. 

And you'll have to excuse the fact that I don't have a picture of the full pretty loaf; this was a late night baking whim and the lighting was terrible (and we couldn't wait to dig in). These are the delicious remnants the next morning. 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, makes one loaf

3 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup organic unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine or butter substitute
1 beaten egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt and ground cloves
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan by coating it with cooking spray. In a large bowl mash the bananas thoroughly with the back of a fork until no large clumps remain. Add the melted butter, brown sugar and the beaten egg stirring thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Slowly add in the flour while stirring the mixture at the same time; once the flour is combined into the mixture, add all the spices and baking soda. Finally, stir in the mini chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level the batter out by placing the pan on the counter and gently shaking it side to side. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

xx Enjoy with a cup of coffee or a warm chai latte.

30 Days of Truth: Day 1 | Something You Hate About Yourself

Of all the prompts in the 30 Days of Truth challenge, this first one may actually be the most difficult for me. I wish it wasn't, but we're aiming for honesty here. And maybe this first one is the most important one then. Because I am my biggest critic and I shouldn't be.

If it were a bad day and I was asked to write a list of what I hate about myself, I'm afraid that list might be quite a bit longer than you would expect. My anxiety would be up near the top of that list, but I'd probably also include things like my shyness, my fears, silly mistakes I've made, my need for control, etc. If I was having an okay confidence day, I may just list my anxiety and leave it at that. But truthfully, the first scenario may be more common. And anxiety may be what's to blame, because it does eat away at me and make me even more critical. But I don't like simply blaming my anxiety for things and then just dismissing them by telling myself to learn to live with it. I'm frankly tired of using that mentality with myself and, in so doing, inevitably blocking my own growth.

So, I guess above all else, I hate how critical I am of myself. Being highly critical creates an infinite amount of self doubt. It keeps me from trying things from fear of failure. It allows for a false sense of entrapment to rule above everything else. It makes happiness a constant internal struggle.

Here's the thing, you don't have to have your life together at 22. You don't have to have your life together at 35. You don't have to ever have your life together. Because what else is life but messy? Whoever has everything together? Be okay with not knowing what is around the corner. You are allowed to make mistakes. It is perfectly okay to drop everything from time to time when you can't handle it anymore. You can start all over again just because you feel like it. You don't owe success or happiness to anyone but yourself, and you get to define what those mean to you.

30 Days of Truth

I stumbled across Amber's blog Stages of Gold recently. This girl is so lovely and inspiring, be sure to check her blog out. I've decided to take on her writing prompt challenge 30 Days of Truth. It is, simply, 30 days worth of writing designed for the purpose of self reflection to approach complete honesty with yourself. I am taking on this task in the hopes that reflection on these topics will lead to self discovery, if not just better understanding of myself. If I am to complete this, in no way will it get done in 30 days. I will shoot for completing one prompt per week until completed, but they may end up spaced out even more than that. Join in with me if you'd like! Below I have included the full list of writing topics (you can also see them here) that I will update and link to each post as I complete them (you can also find them linked on the personal posts page).

Day 01 : Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 : Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 : Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 : Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 : Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 : Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 : Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 : Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 : Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 : Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 : Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 : Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 : A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 : A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 : Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 : Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 : A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 : Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 : What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 : Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 : (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 : Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 : Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 : Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 : The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 : Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 : What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 : What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 : Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 : A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

I am so excited to participate,  look for my answer to the first prompt tomorrow!
Read more about Stages of Gold's 30 Days of Truth here.

Weekend Wears: Sunday Picnic

My outfit details shirt: H&M kitty skirt: H&M (not online) oxfords: UO a few years ago sun hat: Target a few years ago Will's outfit details shirt: Target (similar) shorts: Old Navy shoes: TOMS

Will and I went on a bit of a spontaneous little picnic yesterday. Once the idea popped into my head I was obsessed with it and planned on making a gourmet selection of quinoa salad and fresh fruit and veggies and cheese and wine. I pictured us on bikes, cruising about through the park. But when 5:00 arrived yesterday and we had been so busy all day, you know, relaxing (read blog work/reading and WoW playing) I wasn't much in the mood to make even a quinoa salad. Because we were both starving. But Will didn't want me to miss out on a picnic I had so badly wanted, so we hoped in the car, grabbed some super classy (but delicious, come on) Subway, and headed to the river. We parked in the park and walked around until we found a relatively (there were lots of people floating the river) quiet spot in the shade to eat. Our bike ride turned into a nice casual greenbelt stroll. We saw lots of cute pups, which made me feel guilty for leaving Pippin home, and it wasn't even too terribly hot! I mean, it was hot, but I didn't die :)

I'd like to start an outfit series, of sorts, here. I'll be sharing a peek at what I'm wearing when we're out doing things on the weekend. I may lure Will into the picture from time to time as well; because he's really adorable and likes to dress to match me. Everyone probably thinks we're gross. In addition I'll share with you where my pieces are from. This will be easy this first time because most of what I am wearing I acquired recently. But truthfully, I do not add new clothes to my wardrobe very often. I'm picky and only buy things that are a good deal and that I really love. I'm also the type to hold onto something special until it falls apart. Some items in my closet I have had since I was a freshman. . . in high school. Others have a great story behind them; you have been warned.

I am also entering H&M's 50 States of Style contest! Could you be so lovely and vote for me? If you have instagram you can like my picture here. You can also vote for me by finding my picture here, just scroll down until you see the sort by options then select State and then Idaho. Thanks, dear.

Scrambled Egg Avocado Brunch Tacos

Am I the only one who eats eggs in tacos? Given the response I always get when I suggest them for a meal, I am starting to believe so. I've finally gotten Will on board with them, though, so I will be eating them alone no longer. Perhaps eggs and tacos seems like a strange combination at first, but breakfast burritos exist and huevos rancheros are delicious. Scrambled egg tacos are actually my favorite kind of taco. Well, aside from Pollo Rey's fish taco but you just can't compete with that. They are certainly my favorite tacos to make; they are so simple and quick.

Plus these have avocado on them as well. I truly believe avocados are a perfect food. You just can't go wrong with them. If you want to make something delicious put avocado in it. Or, you know, just eat one with a spoon. The avocado is certainly what makes these tacos perfect. And these tacos are all kinds of perfect; they are great for those days when you didn't eat breakfast, or at least not much of one, and you're now starving but it still seems too early for lunch. Eat these then. I know that I titled these Avocado Brunch Tacos. But don't let the name of these tacos limit you either; I would eat these anytime (and do). Ugh, so good.

Avocado Brunch Tacos, serves 2 / makes 4 tacos

4 corn tortillas
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 whole eggs and 3 egg whites
1/2 cup spinach
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup black beans
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons pico de gallo
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
fresh lime and cilantro, to garnish

Directions: Put the chopped onions and green bell pepper in a pan with a bit of olive oil (or butter/margarine if you fancy) and cook over medium high heat, stirring often. You don't want to grill these brown and crunchy, just cook until soft and translucent. Beat the eggs and whites in a bowl and then pour in the pan over the onion and peppers. Season with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cook the scrambled eggs until completely done. Warm the tortillas up a bit in a separate pan or pop them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Spread a thin layer of sour cream on each tortilla and build the tacos by layering black beans, avocado slices, spinach, and the cooked egg mixture. Top each taco with a scoop of pico de gallo and a bit of fresh cilantro. Squeeze a bit of lime over the top as well.

Enjoy, and ignore the comments about how weird you are for eating egg tacos. You know how good they are; everyone else is just missing out.