A Simple Fruit and Cheese Plate

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Last Sunday we had Easter brunch over at my cousin Abby's place. She invited her parents, brother and Luke & I. We chatted while sipping on mimosas (with a mix of half orange juice and half pineapple juice, so good) and then she prepared a delicious brunch for us. Everything was so delicious! My brunch contribution was a simple fruit and cheese plate that we all snacked on beforehand. It's definitely my go-to when contributing to a small gathering and I usually have a good number of the ingredients on hand.

My Fruit and Cheese Plate Tips:

1) Start with a base. I own several wood trays and serving platters in different sizes depending on how large or how small I want my presentation to be.

2) Add Variety. I like to have at least 5 different items to mix and match. For this specific plate I used fruit, brie cheese, macadamia nuts, crackers and fig spread. Some other favorites to include are prosciutto, cranberries, pears, honey, mustards and more cheeses!

3) Mix sweet and savory. Brie, fig and strawberry is my favorite mix of sweet and savory. Blue cheese, pear and honey is a very close second!

4) Add height and interest. Incorporate a few small bowls for the extras and a few fun knifes for the cheese. If I have more than one cheese I try to include a knife for each.  

5) Have fun. There is no wrong way to go about this. In my opinion, fruit and cheese plates are fool-proof and are always a hit!

- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Portland Dining Month: Bar Avignon

Monday, April 6, 2015

(Disclosure: A PR firm on behalf of Travel Portland reached out and offered me a gift certificate to dine at a pre-selected restaurant participating in Portland Dining Month. All opinions are my own.)
Before dinner we stopped into the Double Barrel Tavern for a quick drink before dinner. This place is like a nice diver bar. Haha.
Bar Avignon was the second restaurant that we dined at for Portland Dining Month (see the first one here). Luke and I were very excited to try Bar Avignon; their menu looked phenomenal and the location is in a fun up-and-coming part of town.  We definitely enjoyed this opportunity to try a new-to-us restaurant and a Saturday night date night.
Now on to the Portland Dining Month specials... 
jacobs’ bloomy: oregon cow + honeycrisp apple 
Groundwork Organics spring lettuce with shallots and honey-apple-cider vinaigrette 
Seared pork chop with Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider-glazed new potatoes, rapini and thyme
Roasted half chicken panzanella with asparagus, radish, Grana Padano, baguette and lemon-garlic dressing
Gooey chocolate brownie with Jacobsen smoked salt caramel sauce
Carnaroli rice pudding with vanilla brown butter syrup

Minus a little rudeness from our waiter at the end of the evening (we received some weird and accusatory questioning when we presented our gift certificate...) we did enjoy our experience at Avignon. By far our favorite was the entrees! I'm still dreaming of that roast chicken over a panzanella salad; so delicious!

- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Home Tour: Our Dining Nook and Dining Room

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A few times a year I get tiresome of our furniture layout and on a whim decide to re-arrange everything. It usually happens out of the blue and without much thought at all. A few weeks ago I switched out some items in our living room and dining room to add more interest and love the results! I took my grandmas bench from the living room wall and slide it on the other side of our dining room table to create more seating. I also took our wood-top bar cart and moved it to the living room and placed bar stools on the ends. I basically took two pieces of furniture that weren't being used, moved them around and now they get more use than they ever had. That's a win in my book.

Dining Nook

Dining Room

- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Home Tour: Bathroom "after" photos

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I'm sharing these photos a little later than I had planned on. While the bathroom remodel was just finishing up, Luke underwent a planned eye surgery and ended up having a more complicated recovery than we both expected. His recovery consisted of him laying flat (face down) for two full weeks. My time was spent taking care of him and making sure his recovery went smooth... and not taking photos of our renovation :) I finally got around to taking photos of the finished space and here they are! We're very happy with the outcome. (let's not forgot what this space looked like before)

- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Portland Dining Month: Aviary

Monday, March 30, 2015

This post is coming a little late, but better late then never, right?! During the month of March, Travel Portland hosts Portland Dining Month. Over 100 Portland area restaurants participate in offering a special 3-course menu for $29/per person. It's such a great deal and a great way to try some new restaurants. Luke and I had such a hard time narrowing down a few spots to try. We chose Aviary for our first spot and it did not disappoint!

And now on to the Portland Dining Month specials... 
Dungeness crab chawanmushi with bone marrow, sea urchin, Asian pear, snap peas and truffle vinaigrette
Miso-braised beef short rib with taro root, Asian pear, yuzu kosho slaw
Pan-seared salmon with cauliflower, saffron, green apple, trout roe and American caviar
Ricotta and rhubarb strudel
Chocolate budino with butterscotch and cherry

Everything that we had was delicious. I was a little hesitant about the crab chawanmushi because it's a little bit outside of my food comfort zone, but I thought it was very good and unique. My absolute favorite dish of the evening was the salmon. Salmon is my absolute favorite and the additional flavors in this dish really made it stand out. I'm looking forward to a future visit to Aviary to see what their regular menu has to offer.

- Photos © Holly Copeland -

My Favorite Desktop Backgrounds

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In the past I would always have a calendar as my laptop desktop background. I would get so behind on updating them from month to month that I would have a July background up in September, oops! Determined to still have a cute background without having to update it each month, I found Design Love Fest's "Dress Your Tech" downloads. You guys, there are so many good ones on Bri's site. I listed my favorites below, but click over to her page and take a look as there are hundreds! The first one I shared below is currently on my screen!

Enjoy :)