Fancy Date Night at Home

Friday, January 16, 2015


Some Friday nights when we feel like indulging in a nice meal, but don't want to spend a lot of money at a restaurant, we'll create a fancy date night in. A few weeks back I picked up some fresh ingredients from my favorite local market, Zupan's, and got right to work on an Italian dish I've had my heart set on re-creating for quite some time. I lit some candles, put on some music, poured my favorite wine and enjoyed a delicious date-night dinner with Luke. The Blazer game quickly followed :)


Pasta with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce
Serves 2-4

1 pound pasta (I used fresh tagliatelle pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, roughly chopped (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
1 pound asparagus, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes (if using fresh pasta) If using boxed pasta, cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, 1/4 cup parsley, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine, chicken stock, and heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens. While the sauce thickens, blanch the asparagus and add to the mixture. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the cooked shrimp, the cooked pasta, and the remaining herbs. Toss together until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Top with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

(Adapted from Giada's recipe which can be found here)


- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Home Tour: Bathroom "before" photos

Sunday, January 11, 2015

These pictures are rather embarrassing to share. These are the "before" photos of our upstairs bathrooms. Yes, we've been living with this awful green linoleum for the past three years. We always knew that remodeling these bathrooms would be a project we would eventually tackle, so when we bought our house we were OK with them because we knew it would be temporary. We have two bathrooms upstairs (one off the hallway and one off our master bedroom). What's silly is that these pictures are actually an improvement from what they used to be... these bathrooms once had sponge painted teal walls and neon flower drawer handles, eww!

Sometimes it takes living in a place for a while to see what you can live with and what you'd like to live without. We're happy to see these green bathrooms go & can't wait to show you what they look like closer to the end of the week... So check back soon for the big reveal. Muhahahah!

Don't go too hard on us with the photos below...


Sonoma, California #wineweekend

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

On our second day in wine country we ventured towards the Sonoma Valley. This area was much more our style! We started out with a delicious brunch and then worked our way a little north, making stops at a few wineries and exploring downtown Sonoma. Sonoma had a more relaxing vibe and the people seemed a little friendlier. The first two wineries that we visited offered free tastings (yippe!) so I made sure to make a few purchases at their gift shops to show my appreciation. See below for a list of the places where we tasted and dined.


Breakfast: 
Fremont Diner in Sonoma. So good! We had the ricotta pancakes, a breakfast sandwich, chili bacon and cheesy grits. Definitely recommend!

Wineries Visited:
Cline Cellars Free tastings of really good wines!
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards A beyond gorgeous winery and across the street from Cline. Also offers free tastings! We received so many free tasting that we lost count... 
Roche Winery Quaint little tasting room on the edge of downtown Sonoma. We sat outside by a fire pit and sipped some delicious wines.
Kunde Family Estate Awesome winery that offers cave tours on-site. 
Kenwood Vineyards We got here close to closing time so they gave us free tastings!

Lunch:
La Casa Delicious Mexican food in downtown Sonoma. We had the bean and chese fundido and street tacos. 

Dinner:
Ristorante Allegria Amazing Italian in downtown Napa. We had the Dungeness crab cakes, carpaccio, penne con pollo and pappardelle allo zafferano.


- Photos © Holly Copeland -

Napa, California #wineweekend

Monday, January 5, 2015

Last month Luke and I flew down to California wine country for a long weekend. Other than driving past a few times, this was our first time really exploring the area (and definitely won't be our last...). On our first day in wine country we spent a good part of the day exploring in the Napa Valley. We started off with a yummy lunch in downtown Napa and then worked our way up north to stop by a few wineries. With temps in the mid-60's a a few sun breaks, we were feeling pretty lucky with the weather (Oregonians have low weather expectations, haha). 

Lunch:
Gott's Roadside in downtown Napa. Yummy burgers and fries!

Wineries:
Napa Cellars To be completely honest there was nothing special about this place, the guy pouring our wine was really rude.
Cosentino A gorgeous winery with delicious wines. 
Markham Vineyards This is the place where I discovered that I don't hate merlots; they have a great one!
Francis Ford Coppola Okay, so this was more in Sonoma Valley... I loved everything about this place. I've been wanting to visit this winery for the longest time and I'm finally glad that I was able to. I recommend everything here! Next time I'd like to dine at their restaurant, Rustic. 
Ridge Great wines with sweeping views. We took our glasses out to the patio and chatted while we enjoyed our wines. 

Dinner: 
Zuzu in downtown Nappa. The most amazing spanish tapas we've had. We had the Ceviche del Dia, Tunisian Brik Pastry, Flat Iron steak and Paella del Dia. I highly recommend it all!

*Since Napa is a little on the pricey side, we found a lot of 2 for 1 coupons here, they really helped :) 

- Photos © Holly Copeland -\

2015 Goals

Sunday, January 4, 2015


With the start of a brand new year, comes a feeling of a blank slate and the possibility for new beginnings. For me, I have some goals that I'd like to work on in the next 365 days. Call them resolutions if you will (although I'd prefer to just call them goals). Here's where my focus is going to be in 2015.

one // Run more. We are signing up for the Shamrock Run in March and are already well on our way to some race training. Most times when I'm running I think it's so hard and question why I picked this method to stay in shape... but after a good run I feel accomplished in a way that I don't get from any other workout.

two // Document more. I want to take my camera out more, just for fun. I miss the days when we used to wander around on the weekends and I would snap away at anything interesting that I would encounter. I would love to do this once a month (at least) and document it here.

three // Cook more. I already love to cook but sometimes life gets busy and we settle on Thai takeout down the street (which is amazing, every once in a while). I want to be better at meal planning and prepping for the week ahead. There's something about cooking a delicious meal that I just find so relaxing and therapeutic.

four // Travel more. We didn't take as many trips in 2014 as we would have wanted to (or that the bank account would allow...). We really want to take a BIG international trip and are hoping to do so towards the end of the year. Our savings account is already in full force working towards this.

five // Finish more. We have a few house projects that I've love to just cross off the list already! One more bathroom to finish and some kitchen work. It's been harder than I thought it would be to get these completed, but I'm crossing my fingers that we can finally get them done in 2015!

What are your goals for this new year? Please share!

Looking back on 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

(image via)

2014 was a great year for the Copeland's! While nothing significant happened in our lives, our time was mostly spent settling into life and enjoying time with friends & family, which is alright by us. While we don't have much planned for 2015... I am looking forward to maybe a trip or two (we've been talking about Austin, TX or Charleston, SC - we've also talked about taking one huge trip...), so we'll see what happens. Either way, this new year is sure to be a great one. Here's a look back on all the memories we made this past year in 2014...

January: We started off 2014 by booking a trip to NYC & Boston later in the year.

February: Celebrated our friends' birthdays with a 90's night dance party at Lola's Room. We also bought our first new car, a 2014 Ford Escape!

March: My parents moved from Gig Harbor, WA back to Madras, OR. We took part in Portland Dining Month at the County Cat and had a delicious 3-course dinner. We participated in the Shamrock Run and I managed to run the entire race (go me!). We're excited to participate again in 2015!

April: I started a new job with a company that I've wanted to work with for the longest time. It was a change that restored my happiness and put me on a more promising career path. I couldn't be happier with my decision.

May: Had a great time attending Blazer playoff games with friends. We took a trip to NYC & Boston with my dad. We had the best time walking around each city & trying out the local cuisine & craft brews. One day we walked a half-marathon! It was much needed with all the good food and beer we consumed.

June: We celebrated one year of marriage in the middle of the month. We then took a trip to Playa del Carmen for Kara & Donny's wedding. It was the first wedding that I photographed & I had a lot of fun in the process. Unfortunately I contracted bronchitis the day before we left. It ended up being a great trip despite the illness. :)

July: Spent the 4th of July weekend in Central Oregon with my family & friends. There was lake swimming, river floating, parade watching, grilling & beer drinking - everything you're supposed to do on this holiday weekend. :)

August: We had friends visit from the Midwest & had way too much fun taking them on a brewery tour of Portland. We also spent a lot of time outside this month... this summer in Portland was exceptionally amazing, weather wise.

September: We traveled to the Oregon Coast for Labor Day weekend. I had the bright idea of camping out in our SUV in the casino parking lot... Let's just say that between the uncomfortably cramped air mattress wedged in the back or the car, the non-stop panting dog & bright overhead lights in the parking lot... it was not a brilliant idea. We also debuted our built-in shelves project, making our living room my favorite room in the house. The project was also featured on Apartment Therapy!

October: Went to the pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island to meet up with friends, although had a miss-communication and went to the wrong spot... We traveled to Bend, OR to see the newest addition to the Schmitt family. I also had the honor of taking newborn photos for them.

November: We finished remodeling one of our bathrooms, a project that was more intensive than I had planned for... the second bathroom remodel is currently on hold, haha. Luke's parents came to visit from Indiana for a week. We had a packed schedule full of dinners out, sight-seeing & visiting my parents in Central Oregon for Thanksgiving.

December: We traveled to Napa & Sonoma Valley for a wine tasting weekend. That weekend might be one of my favorite vacations to date. Great food, great wine & we also met up with great friends along the way. We also traveled to the Oregon Coast for Christmas, where we rented a house for a few days with my family.


Here's to 2015!!


Just for fun... a look back on past years: 20132012, 2011, 2010

Happy Holidays

Sunday, December 21, 2014

How are are holidays already here? (and how have I not blogged for months?!? oops!) Here's our holiday card we sent out to friends and family this year. We took this photo at my parents house this Thanksgiving. Gracie is fixated on who the heck knows what, which is pretty normal, and the sun got in Luke's eyes - it's the best we could get :). I hope you all have a wonderful holiday this year!

xo - The Copelands


Just for fun, here are our holiday cards from the past few years...