The Layover – Seattle (Pearl Jam Style)

I have been a Pearl Jam fan since the moment I heard the song “Porch” when I was in the fifth grade in 1992.  Since that time I have seen the band only once, at the 1994 Bridge School Benefit.  I had seen Eddie solo (Kentucky 2017) and I saw Temple of the Dog (San Francisco 2016) but the band as a whole…it had been entirely TOO long!  When I heard about the home shows, I knew I had to make it happen.

Seeing Pearl Jam in Seattle was literally a dream come true for me.  Matt and I went for our 14 year wedding anniversary.  We went to Easy Street Records, The Black Sun Sculpture, hit up a local dive bar, some breweries….and pretty much everyone was wearing Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden shirts….all that music was playing everywhere…I was in heaven.  At one point Matt even said “I feel like I’m in one of your dreams” 🙂  And to top it all off, Pearl Jam raised over 11 million dollars to help with the homelessness epidemic in Seattle!

We went for a REALLY quick trip, we were literally in and out of there.  For our everyday life of having kids, working, etc the timing was horrible.  We even missed both kids back to school nights.  BUT….TOTALLY worth it!  AND we drove…12 hours each way!  Though the drive home took a bit longer…the traffic in Seattle and Portland is horrible.  We went from Thursday – Saturday.  I originally booked our airbnb til Sunday but with school, work, etc I really wanted Sunday to just rest.

Below is our itinerary for the short weekend.

Thursday August 9th

-Leave Brentwood between 4-6am. Estimated arrival 4-6pm (without stopping). Can eat at in n out in Medford, bring snacks!

-Check in to airbnb  

This place was super cute and in a really cute area (Queen Anne)

Kerry park (Seattle skyline views, near our Airbnb)


-Dinner Out and explore Seattle nightlife.  We went to a place called The Outlander Brewing Co. in the Fremont District.  Super good bar food, good beers on tap, and live Scottish music!  Afterwards we went to a little dive bar down the street from our Airbnb called Targy’s and played some shuffle board and pool.  

Friday August 10th

-Have coffee and breakfast at our place.  The nice place about staying at an airbnb is you can save money by making your own food!  Plus eating out too much upsets my stomach.

Check out MoPop museum, PJ exhibit. PJ exhibit entry @ 10am, line up at 9:45.  This was AMAZING!!!  If you’re ever in Seattle, definitely check out the MoPop museum!!!  Right next to the Space Needle too if you feel like checking that out (we didn’t, no time this trip.)



After the museum we drove over to Easy Street Records.  Seattle is a really big city, much unlike San Francisco, it’s very spread out.  So it was a little drive.  Cute neighborhood, got myself a record, took a picture and headed out.

Afterwards we headed to The Black Sun Sculpture.  Apparently this was part of the inspiration for Soundgarden’s hot song Black Hole Sun.  Beautiful park!  We had a mini picnic and walked around for a bit.

After chilling for a bit at the park we decided to head out towards Safeco.  I wanted to make sure we got in on time and didn’t miss a second of Pearl Jam.  We went to a brewery called Elysian.  I have seen their beer in the grocery store before.  Good beer and a short walk to Safeco so it was perfect.

Then, the main event!!!  OMG I could not have asked for a better lineup.  Seriously, best concert of my life.



Drive home :-(. We definitely took our time.  Some of the rest stops in WA are beautiful and volunteers give out free coffee!  I love it up there, can’t wait to visit again.  I left my ❤️ In Seattle!


“Party Night” McVicker Style

Ever since my kids were babies, we have had family movie nights every Friday night. We call these nights “party night” as that’s what Matts family called it growing up. It’s a celebration to the beginning of the weekend and a way to bond as a family. Sometimes we rent new releases on redbox, and sometimes we watch old classic favorites. This is such an easy way to bring the family together and it’s cheap as well. We always have pizza (sometimes take out, sometimes homemade, recipes to follow), soda (the one time a week the kids get soda), popcorn, and beer for mom and dad! I’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite family movies. We’ve watched many movies together but these listed here are movies we’ve all really enjoyed, in sure I’ll be adding to the list from time to time. I’ve categorized these in order of our generation (80s/90s kids) and current gen releases, Halloween, and Holiday. Hope you find our list helpful in selecting your movie night movie!

By the way, the list is always evolving, I will add to it when we find new favorites but to date these are our faves!

McVicker Movie Favorites 80s/90s

Star Wars (1, 4, 5, 6)

The Sandlot

Harry and the Hendersons


Super man (OG with Christopher Reeves)

X Men

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (90s version)




So I Married an Axe Murderer

Honey I Shrunk the Kids

Space Jam


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Flight of the Navigator

Dumb and Dumber

Edward Scissor hands


Mighty Duck (1,2)

SNL collection Best of Chris Farley


Cone heads

Jurassic Park


The Karate Kid


Mrs. Doubtfire

McVicker Movie Favorites 2000+

Star Wars (2, 3, 7, Rogue One)


Pirates of the Caribbean

Jurassic world

Guardians of the galaxy (1,2)

Man of Steel

Dawn of Justice

Inside out

Lion King

School of Rock

Lego Movie



Iron Man

Captain America

McVicker Halloween Favorites 🎃💀👻

Nightmare before Christmas (can watch all season long!)





Poltergeist (1,2)


Ghostbusters (OG 1,2 and remake)

Corpse bride

Charlie Brown The Great Pumpkin

Hocus Pocus



Hotel Transylvania (1,2)

Book of Life (day of the dead)


Mom and dad faves we haven’t showed the kids yet…

Donnie Darko

Halloween (all)

Nightmare on elm street (all)

The Craft

Friday the 13th


Final Destination

I know what you did last summer

The Hills Have Eyes

McVicker Holiday Favorites 🎄

Home Alone (1,2)

Polar Express

Christmas Story

Christmas Vacation

Charlie Brown Christmas

Bad Santa (just Mom and Dad) 🥃 🎅🏼


Lately I just haven’t made time to make homemade dough, we’ve just been ordering pizza from the pizza parlor.  However the below pizza dough recipe is a definite crowd pleaser, I need to start making it again!  We also pick up hansens soda, beer for Matt and I, and always have plenty of popcorn on hand!

Aunt Diane’s Pizza Dough

Chill bread flour in fridge.  This flour is higher in gluten and is the best.

Mix 4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp yeast

1/4 garlic flavored olive oil

1 3/4 C ice water (add ice above line and then take out ice)

Use a kitchen aid with dough hook to mix. Mix this all together on number 2.  The dough should be elastic and not stick to side of bowl but may stick a little to the bottom of the bowl.   After it is all mixed, I let it knead for 6 minutes on number 2.

Take dough out of bowl, cut into 4-6 pieces and wrap in plastic wrap (sprayed with cooking spray)

It is best to let it rest at least 24 hours in the fridge, but is you make it in the morning and let it rest it will still be good.

Before you plan to use it, take it out of the fridge for about an hour so it gets to room temp.

This dough will stretch nicely.  Put the stretched dough on a large wooden cutting board (or “peel” with a handle/bought mine at WIlliams SOnoma) that is lightly covered in corn meal.  This helps get the dough off the cutting board.  Best to cook on a pizza stone.

Preheat oven to as high as it goes.  I can get mine up to 550.  “peel” off the pizza with toppings on to the heated pizza stone.  Best ingredients for pizza are a thick marinara sauce/pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano and parm.

Smoothie Bowl

For Christmas 2015, “Santa” bought Matt and I a nutribullet.  I have become slightly obsessed with smothie bowls because of it.  They are delicious, you can add all kinds of toppings, it’s healthy and yummy!  Allergy season has kicked in and I add a little local honey (which is supposed to help).  Here’s the recipe, all ingredients are organic:

1 banana (can be frozen)

1 small handful of frozen strawberries

3/4 c unsweetened coconut milk

1 large handful spinach

1/2 handful kale

1 tbsp honey

Throw ingredients in your nutribullet (or blender will work) and blend away.  Pour in your bowl and add whatever toppings you like!  I add about 2 teaspoons of the super seed and ancient grain blend from Trader Joe’s (it has sprouted buckwheat, flax seed, quinoa, hemp, chia and amaranth), shredded coconut, almonds, and fresh berries.  Enjoy!

Baked Egg and Veggie Ramekins

I’m so excited about this recipe!  Not only is it super healthy, but I got to use my new ramekins I got at World Market the other day!  This meal is such a great way to start the day.  You get a handful of fresh veggies along with some protein to keep you full. The egg yolk also remains nice and runny after baking which is my favorite part 🙂  Hope you enjoy!


2 Bellpeppers, chopped

2 small zucchini or 1 large, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

small handful of fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp evoo

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

6 -8 eggs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Put veggies, salt and pepper, basil, and parmesan cheese in roasting pan and toss with evoo.
  3. Roast veggies for 30 minutes.
  4. Spread veggies evenly among ramekins.
  5. Make a small well in each ramekin and crack an egg over the top.
  6. Place all ramekins on an oven tray and bake for about 20-25 minutes.






I have lived my entire life on the West Coast (34 years) and until now had not traveled to the PNW….crazy right?  My girlfriends and I decided to start a yearly girls trip and Portland was the city we chose to kick it off.  We absolutely fell in love with it!  The food, the weather, the beer, the people, the scenery, the prices (we are used to bay area prices!)!  We were there for 4 days and that was enough time to explore the city and even take a short drive outside the city to see Multnomah Falls.  We stayed at an airbnb in SE Portland, super cute area!  We did not need a car, though we did use Uber several times and another app called GetAround to rent a car to take to the falls.  I did not take public transportation at all but I heard it’s a great way to get around Portland.  If you do decide to rent or bring a car parking was not a problem in our area.  Here is a copy of our Portland Itinerary:


-Check in to airbnb

-We’ll be hungry so lets eat.  Cheaper suggestions via Jenn’s g doc are La Bonita, *Lardo, Luc Lac, Bollywood theater, Tachos at Florida Room

-Late lunch/early dinner at Fathead Brewery

brew cycle tour at 6!  Check out breweries or cycle brew tour This was a fun way to start off trip

Breweries and tap rooms in our neighborhood in order of proximity:

-Hedge House

-Imperial Bottle shop and tap room

McMenamins Baghdad Theater (this place looks cool!)

Bridgeport on Hawthorn

Apex 12th and division



-Nightcap Pix Patisserie amazing carmel latte!

p/u donuts at Voodoo for bfast tomorrow 1501 N.E. Davis St (NOT the downtown original one, line way too long)


-Farmers Market (Cafe Au Play is closest to our place)

-Breakfast at Jam on Hawthorne

-Powell books, walk around downtown

– Slam to breweries

– common brewing – basecamp – ex novo

– Snacks at 28th and SE Division Food Carts HIGHLY recommend a bowl at Happa Ramen and waffle from Smaaken Waffle cart (be still my Dutch heart!)

-Hit up more breweries, Imperial within walking and more

– 10pm dinner at Ava Gene’s

Multnomah Whiskey Library (looks like reservation or “hall pass” as they call it would be smart)


Multomah Falls Day

(Maybe early bfast at Screen Door – line can be long)

-Pick up GetAround car

-Find a Stumptown?

-Drive to Falls

-HIKE to the top


-Look for a stop along the way or maybe pack snacks from Farmers market trip to bring with us

-Home, chill, Shower

LARDO for dinner (dirty fries, just do it)


-In the patio area of Lardo there is a food cart called Hunny Milk.  Go there and get an ice cream, amazing.  Pictured here is their “French Kiss” which is creme brulee ice cream with sugar chards and lavendar macaroons.


-more cocktails

-Show at Mississippi Lounge


Pine State Biscuits for breakfast before heading to airport


-depart 2:20

The itinerary was not followed exact but the restaurants and places in bold are places we did go and loved.  Portland proved to be a wonderful place for a weekend get away.  I love you Portland and I will be back!


Happy New Year!

Happy 2015!  Wow, it has been WAY too long since I’ve blogged.  Since July I have made all kinds of delicious foods that I’ve failed to post, probably because I was too interested in consuming the foods soon after cooking or baking….so as many people after the holidays, I need to lose some LBs.  Now, just because I’m “watching it” does not mean I will sacrifice my taste buds, no no no.  Any fad “diet” (ie paleo, gluten free, juice cleanses, etc) are against my religion (my religion is love and happiness).  For me, it’s everything in moderation and I really need to emphasize on the moderation!  You will be seeing less baking posts because that has been my problem area.  Any who, here’s a recap of all my food happenings July – December!

So what have I been up to since July…..well, to start we had our annual McVicker camping trip in July.  This year we decided on Fort Bragg and it was so beautiful and amazing!  I highly recommend camping at Mackerrichter State Park!  An added plus, someone caught some fresh fish and decided to leave it hanging on our campsite…score!  We grilled those suckers up and dug in!  I also made my Campfire Nasi Goreng on this trip.


Son Devours Fish

Soon after the camping trip my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in Sonoma.  It was beautiful and peaceful.  On our way up we stopped in Petaluma for the Lagunitas Brew tour….wow was it worth it.  I mean how could it not be…its delicious Lagunitas beer and it was free!  We stayed at the Old Crocker Inn in Cloverdale, hit up some wineries off Dry Creek Road, and stopped at our favorite little restaurant in Geyeserville called Diavola Salumeria.

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Once we got back from Sonoma the kids started school so that consumed much of my time which is part of the reason I haven’t posted in a while.

In November we did manage to get in a pretty kick ass rijastaffel (Dutch Indonesian feast).  We BBQ’d satay, made nasi goreng, kroepoek, cucumber salad….it was amazing!  And of course the people and the company are the most important ingredient 🙂  All the love we put into the food (especially the satay pricking which I did not do but did delegate the task and micromanage lol), the conversations…I just love my family!

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In the beginning of December my Godmother, Mom, and God sisters had a holiday bake day and it was deliciously sinful.  Shots of fernet, too much sugar and carbs, old school Christmas records, it was so fantastic!  This was the first year we did this and I hope we can make it a tradition!

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For Christmas Matt and I hosted our 3rd annual Pho Christmas and I can’t even believe I took NO pictures of the amazingly delicious Pho!  Darn!  However I did snap a pic of my festive white holiday cake topped with candied cranberries and edged with fresh rosemary.


And finally we have New Years.  We had my cousin and her husband over.  I made classic cheese fondue from a cook book my husbands late grandmother gave me (she used to make fondue every Christmas Eve).  We also had plenty of fernet and champagne!

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Happy 2015!!!

Organic Chocolate Chip Plumalicious Ice Cream


I’m a huge ice cream lover, but it’s been a while since I’ve had ice cream in a cone.  We were in Fort Bragg last week and stopped at a place called Cowlicks where I got black rasberry chocolate chip ice cream in a waffle cone.  When we got home and I did my weekly shopping I just had to get some cones but could not find a flavor comparable to what I had at Cowlicks……so naturally I made my own.  In this recipe I use local Brentwood Plums and all organic ingredients.  It tastes just as refreshing and heavenly as it looks.


2 cups plum preserves

2 cups organic heavy cream

1/3 cup organic cane sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey

1 cup chocolate chunks or chips


1. Stir together cream, sugar, vanilla extract and honey to a saucepan and cook on medium until sugar is dissolved.

2. Add plum preserves to a blender and add 1/4 cup of cream mixture in with the plums

3. Blend on high until it is a smooth, creamy consistency

4. Add blended ingredients into a large bowl

5. Add cream mixture into bowl with plum preserves and mix together well

6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refridgerate at least 4 hours

7. Once refridgerated at least 4 hours, remove from fridge and mix in chocolate chips

8. Poor into your ice cream maker and mix according to your ice cream maker directions (mine is about 25 minutes)

9. Store in a sealed container in the freezer or devour it right away, your choice 😉

Campfire Nasi Goreng

We just got back from camping and I decided to attempt making nasi goreng over the campfire….it came out awesome! Here is the recipe.


2 cups cooked rice (I cooked at home before hand and stored in a freezer bag)
1 lb applewood smoked bacon
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
8 eggs
2 tbsp sambal oeleck terasi
1 lbs shrimp (mine was already cooked)
salt and pepper


Place pan over the campfire. Cut bacon into pieces and cook in pan. Once bacon is cooked add garlic and onion, cook for 30 seconds to a minute stirring constantly. Add sambal and stir. Crack 3 eggs over the pan and stir eggs in (no need to scramble before). The liquid should be thick and orange in color. Add shrimp and stir, cooking for about a minute. Lastly, add rice and stir ingredients together well.


I always like to have a fried egg (tjeplokt) over my rice and since we were camping and had limited dish wear I just cracked 5 eggs over the rice, put the lid on, and cooked it into the rice but not too long because you want the yolk runny. Enjoy!

Oma’s Macaroni and Cheese


Tonight for dinner I made my Oma’s mac and cheese recipe.  Normally when I make mac n’ cheese I start with a rue for the cheese sauce but Oma’s technique is easier and tastes great!  I used a combo of gouda and asiago cheeses but you can get creative and use your own combinations 🙂  Now, I can’t say this is exactly how my Oma makes it, I always have to cook with her to get it right but I went off the directions she texted me.  There are no measurements and very vague directions, but good cooks never measure and good cooks also know how to interpret vague directions 😉



1 package macaroni noodles

1 package asiago cheese

1 package gouda cheese

panchetta, cooked

1 cup milk

4 tbsp unsalted butter

3 eggs whisked

1 cup breadcrumbs

salt and pepper




-Liberally salt a pot of water and boil.  Once boiling add macaroni and cook according to package directions.  Set cooked pasta aside.

-Add butter to a large pot and melt over medium low heat.

-Once butter is melted add milk and heat until simmering (not boiling)

-Add shredded cheese to milk one handful at a time while whisking it in.

-Once cheese is all melted and incorporated add macaroni and stir together.

-Add eggs and stir.  At this point lower the heat to low.

-Lastly, add pancetta.

Top macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs.  Enjoy!




Apricot and Plum Preserves

I am so lucky, my Aunt and Uncle live locally on an orchard so I always get a ton of plums and apricots from them!  Too many to eat, so I can them.  It’s really easy, here are the steps:

-Wash, cut and pit fruit

-Place in large pot over stove


-Add sugar.  For me, I filled an entire pot and only added about a cup of sugar.  Other recipes I found added up to 6 cups…WAY too much in my opinion but it’s up to you.  For the apricots I also added about 2 tbsp honey

-Add the juice of 1 lemon

-Bring to a soft boil and boil for about 3 minutes.

-Pour preserves into sanitized (I just run mine in the dishwasher) mason jars with fresh never before used lids.  After sealing you should hear the lid “pop” which means it’s officially sealed and no air is getting in.


Store preserves in cupboard.  Once opened store in refrigerator.  Enjoy!