How NOT to Cook Nachos

I learned a hard lesson today. How to not cook nachos.

As a wonderfully quick yet amazingly delicious meal, nachos are one of my favorite treats. I have mastered – or thought so –  the basic chip with melted cheese recipe by laying out a single layer of corn tortilla chips and lightly sprinkling with cheese before popping in the oven for a few minutes. Yet tonight something went horrible wrong. After only a brief cooking in the oven, I notice a little bit of smoke coming out of the back burn and when I openned the oven the nachos where burning like a s’mores making fire pit. The not-good-with-crisis me just flipped out and yelled for my roommate. As I openned all the doors, turned off the oven and scurried the house for the fire extinguisher, she quickly and calming put out the fire.

All I imagined was they entire apartment burning down – good thing she was around.

So to help me out. What is your favorite nacho recipe? I don’t want another repeat of tonight – it ruined my appetite.

Burnt chrispy


The Tree Hugger In Me: Eugene to the Redwoods

In two weekends of road trip extravaganzas and less than seven days, Sarah and I drove the entire state of Oregon twice – plus some if you count those wrong turns.

This past weekend to finish off the southern half of the state and check another off the Bucket List, we travel three hours south of Eugene to Ashland to visit friends. With another late start, we swerved through the curvy, valley-filled turns of I-5 South during sunset for some miraculous palate splashes against the wooded hillsides.

Line of traffic as the sun sets

Quizzing Sarah on vocab with my feet up on the dash, I made inane sentences in hope that she would remember them for her GRE test on Monday – but in reality it just made us laugh until we cried and miss our exit. Luckily we noticed just in time before crossing into California at one of those creepily pitch black turnarounds like where horror stories start.

After catching up with our friends, we hit downtown Ashland to explore and grab a drink. Stopping at one of the only open clothing stores on the way to the pub, I found an “Oregon, America’s Happy Place” shirt that I just had to have and ultimately ordered online once home. Then we continued to the Black Sheep for an authentic British beer at this English style pub. With high ceilings and long dark drapes against the memorabilia covered walls and red telephone booth in the corner, the pub added interest to the evening and a few wise-crack accents.

Yet this bar was not our only foreign trek of the weekend. Rising and shining, the next morning we set off for the wild and unknown land to our south –California!

In two hours time we crossed the border – no fruit in hand of course – and made our way into the Redwood forests.  In the land of the giants we exploded these towering limbs that burst from the ground at Jedediah Smith State Park. Filled with dense undercover of ferns, the whole forest circled upward in a gradient of green and brown to the sun break branches. Here I found out that I truly am a tree hugger!

Sarah and I LOVE TREES!

After enough bug bitten time in the forests we spent the remainder of the afternoon playing in the river, jumping off roads and hiking up the beautiful shallow stream.

Here are more photos from the trip:

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Billowing Clouds

Spent the weekend visiting friends in Ashland, Oregon and venturing to the Redwoods. Photos to come soon. For now enjoy a look up at the sky from our drive home. This cloud formation were the only insight on the horizon hoovering over Cave Junction, Oregon.

August 28, 2011 - Billowing Clouds

Road Trip Day 2

Day two started with cartwheels and coffee.

Getting up with the sun – I would have been up earlier but Sarah needs her beauty sleep – Sarah and I got out of bed early to beat the crowds to the coastal waters. It just so happened that we also beat the sun. With a low, cool damp fog that frizzed every strand of my hair, we made our way out of Florence for the scenic drive north along Highway 101.

To our luck as soon as we hit the edge of town, the sun turned on the burners and patches of blue sky broke through. For anyone who has been to the Oregon coast or lives there, morning sun is hard to come by. So we were thrilled to have packed shorts.

Stopping about every half mile we explored the wonderfully wild and sickly scenic cliff roadway.

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Road Trip Day 1

Breathing hard or hardly breathing – I’m not sure which, but as long as I could still see Sarah’s light blue tank top and red curly hair bouncing in front of me, I’d keep running.

Sarah and I have somehow fall into a bad curse of losing track of time. We just always think we can do more in less. But I guess the phrase is too true – time flies when you’re having fun.

The first day of our three day Oregon road trip started with a short list of stops. Leaving a little later than hoped (I had to unfortunately work until 5 p.m.), Sarah and I trimmed down our must sees for the Highway 126 portion out to Florence. Three stops, two covered bridges, one short hike, all bucket list items for the 46 mile trek. Our only stipulation for this day was to make it to Florence by 9 p.m. to check in at our hotel – so we set off with bags packed, cameras ready and excitement soaring for a weekend away.

Using the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Guide for directions (wine country and Hwys 126 & 36 pages) we drove off toward the dropping sun in the West.

First up on our trip was the Coyote Creek Covered Bridge. Located off of Territorial Road on Battle Creek, the 1922 erected bridge viewed like a gate to the beautiful countryside. Looking through the 60 foot bridge, the arches framed a beautiful golden field glistening in the hot sun. With my 10 second self-timer programmed, we set abounding to check off more of our jumping covered bridges tour photos. A little rusty on our jumping skills but quickly muscle memory took over.

Jumping Coyote Creek Bridge

Back onto Highway 126, the car swerved in and out of the long cast shadows of the Coast Mountain range around each corner as we popped down our sunglass – ahhh…its finally summer.

Between mile posts 26 and 27, we stopped for our second leap of the evening. Wildcat Covered Bridge, constructed in 1925 crosses the point where Wildcat Creek meets the Siuslaw River. With a hard rock river bed below, this bridge offers wonderful areas to stick your toes in the water and beautiful, unique views of the historic bridge from below.

Jumping Wildcat Bridge

Two down and only one more stop to go as the sun continued it’s decent toward the horizon. With the mountains bringing night fall quicker than we anticipated, Sarah and I boogied west on hwy 126 until we finally turned off on Sweet Creek Road around 8 p.m. near the town of Mapleton.  Following the riverbank for ten miles to the Sweet Creek Falls trailhead, dusk set in and the realization that maybe we really didn’t have time for the hike hit.

Not willing to give up though, we gave ourselves 40 minutes to complete the two mile round trip hike. Carefully treading over the root crossed path and metal grated trail along the creek bed, we walked as fast as we could using our stealth like camera skills to snap shots of the slow moving waters. When the branches of the forest canopied over the trail, you could hardly see in front of you, but we were determined to make it to the end.

Sweet Creek Falls

Reaching the beautiful, classic waterfall at the end of the path in exactly 21 minutes, we took a breather and a few photos before turning back.

Sweet Creek Falls

With still 25 miles to drive before Florence and a mile walk back to the car, the pressure started to kick in. Will we actually reach our hotel before the owner closes up at 9pm. Both of us really didn’t want to sleep in the car. So we picked up the pace – running like wild women through the lush forest back to our car.

Wearing my salmon colored Marmot rain jacket with camera in one pocket and phone in the other, the weight bounced back and forth with every stride making it hard to stay balanced, but with long steps I hopped from rock to rock down the steeper sections and thudded across the cliff grated trail portions.

Laughing like little children the whole way down the trail from the pure silliness of the situation, we made the one mile back to the car in less than 12 minutes and sped off toward the winding road back to Florence.

With the last ounces of our luck, Sarah and I arrived at our hotel in Florence at 8:55. Throwing me out of the car to go check in as she found parking, the smiles never left our faces to have made it – we beat the clock for once.

Roadtrip here we come!

Sarah and I are setting off this evening for a weekend road trip. We are traveling out Hwy 126 from Eugene to Florence tonight – checking off some Bucket List items along the way. Then Saturday treking north along Hwy 101 on the coast to around Pacific City/Tillamook before turning inland to visit friends in Portland. Don’t worry I will report back once we return.

Want to travel along? Follow the trip with us via Instagram. My user name is KelseyIvey. Don’t have Instagram on your iphone? You can also see the photo stream online at WebStagram. I will also be trying to post photos and updates via twitter (@KelseyIvey).

See you monday!