When friends ask me what my favorite spot in Washington is outside of Seattle, without a beat, I always enthusiastically answer, “Orcas Island!”. If you’re unfamiliar, Orcas Island is the largest island in the San Juan Islands and is located in northwestern Washington. I liken it to a Northwest version of Hawaii. The island is covered with lush vegetation and evergreen trees, while surrounded by the deep blues of Puget Sound. It has that magical power that makes you feel worlds away, when actually it’s just a short weekend trip from Seattle.
In case you couldn’t tell, I have a thing for granola bars and almonds. I’ve been on the hunt for a healthy, satisfying granola bar that combines a sweet chewy texture and the satisfying crunch of almonds. Folks, I’m happy to report I found the recipe that fits the bill.
These bars are a perfect concoction of sweet dates and honey mixed with oats, almond butter, and almonds. That’s only five ingredients. Compared to store bought granola bars that contain 20-plus ingredients that I can’t pronounce the names of, I’ll take these any day! Plus, these bars are no-bake so no oven is required. They’re a great breakfast or snack on-the-go, or even a healthy dessert treat. You’ll love them!
There’s nothing more I love than a good weekend road trip with my husband H. Busting out our old high school CD case and singing along to all the classic jams. (The original NOW! That’s What I Call Music CD is my personal favorite.) Sitting in the passenger seat and not being able to move my legs because they are covered by an overabundance of water bottles and snacks that would last anyone weeks. (You can never be over prepared.) It’s the journey, not the destination people!
But I digress. We are lucky to live in Seattle where there are so many unique and beautiful places to visit that are within a short driving distance. Now that the countdown clock is ticking towards our move date to Ohio, I am hurrying to book trips to some of our favorite places. Here’s a list of our top five favorite Northwest weekend road trips:
Did you know making your own granola is actually pretty easy? There is a myth that granola is difficult to make (“It’s so expensive to buy, it must be hard to bake!”). Whatever the reason, I’m busting this myth right here, right now. I’ve made this granola for family and friends over the years, many of them borrowing my recipe to make their own variation with great success. I promise you can too!
The base of this granola is oats, almonds, and pecans, stirred with a healthy dose of honey, a dash of cinnamon and vanilla, and olive oil. Yes, olive oil! I try to use healthy substitutes whenever possible in recipes. While this granola is definitely not a low-calorie recipe, it does provide healthy fats and oils. I’m from the healthy eating camp that believes in eating food that is fresh, unprocessed, and contains healthy nutrients. All good things in moderation, right?
Whether you are visiting Seattle or live in the city, Pike Place Market holds a special place for tourists and residents alike. Founded in 1907, it is one of the oldest continuously operated farmer’s market in the United States. Today, it is a place of business for small farmers, craftspeople, and merchants. What I love most about the market is the old school charm it retains, despite being in the middle of a rapidly growing city.
My husband and I make a point to have lunch at the market once a month, usually on Sundays when 1) it is less busy and 2) we can take advantage of free street parking. Over the years, we have visited dozens of spots but we keep returning to the same handful. While this by no means is a comprehensive list (I know, I didn’t even list a fish stand!), these places meet the insider mark by having minimal lines and being easy on the wallet. And, of course, they’re delicious too!
So without further ado, I present to you my countdown…