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Quick Europe run-down and some thoughts on living in Germany

I've officially been in Germany for two weeks, and left Utah just about five weeks ago. It's been the longest five weeks of my life. In a good way, I promise. I'm just used to going to work every day at the same place, walking the same streets, seeing the same views, and eating the same foods with all the same people. The last five weeks have been an exception to all of those rules.

On day 1, we pranced around NYC, eating until we were bursting. Still, familiar. Still, could communicate easily with the people around me.

Day 2 landed us in Lisbon, Portugal, where we stayed outside of the city and close to some beaches. Nothing about that city and language and culture was familiar to me. Happily, we were there for a dear friend's wedding, which means we not only had familiar American friends around us, but we also got to experience a Portuguese wedding. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that we ate from about 3:30pm till 1am. It was unbelievable. If you're e…
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Two weeks ago, I left Utah and spent a magical day in NYC with some of my favorite people, before hopping on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to cross the pond, land in Portugal for my sweet friend's wedding and a long weekend in Lisbon, then on to Paris for a week of croissants and walking, and now we are taking it slow in Strasbourg. Come Monday, my little sister/travel companion/tour guide and I will be parting ways (ohmygosh not ready for that), and then to Germany it is.

We don't know how much weight we've gained, but gained we have. Every once in a while we supplement our high-carb diet with a smoothie or some detox tea, but mostly it's just chocolate and all the delicious pastries we can eat, followed by the best cappuccinos I've ever had. One is only in France for so long, you know. #wheninfrance
And a photo, because it's been years since I've posted anything and I'm already feeling vulnerable and unsure about this whole thing so I need to just wrapthisu…

Year #1

In honor of Valentine's Day this weekend, I thought I'd finally post some photos from our anniversary shoot we took with the fabulous Melissa Kilner in November. She shot my sister's wedding a couple years ago, and I loved the photos, so I booked her and told Mr. Graham later (sometimes that's the way to get things done, amiright?). Not knowing where life is going to take us, I wanted to capture the true pacific northwest feel where we spent our first couple of years together. I think Melissa captured that and more.
The location was Rattlesnake Lake and up on Rattlesnake Ridge/Ledge in North Bend (whichever name you prefer). We got dressed after a Saturday dance rehearsal and hiked the two miles up the trail to find ourselves in a white sky, rather than the expansive views we were expecting. Just know this: in the photo below, J is standing on a boulder on the side of a cliff, and I'm woozy just looking at it.
Aren't these photos just dreamy? I think so. 

I've got plenty to be thankful for

The number one thing I'll always be thankful for in life is my family.

For sweet memories of my dad, and family videos that have become sacred, and for his love of documenting life through photos.

For my mom, who played us to sleep with her piano, and who read to us for hours on end. Who teaches me about bone broth, and calls me to leave a thousand messages on my phone that I just can't delete.

For John, who is gentle and loving, and so forgiving, and for his wonderful family that I get to be a part of.

For my incredible siblings who can make me cry at the drop of the hat, I love them so much. For the special relationships I have with all of them, and how life is so much better when we're all together. For the emails, Skype, phone calls, and hand-written letters that bridge the many miles between us across the globe. And especially for their goofiness.

For my uncle who is special and wonderful, loves his kids like no other, who doesn't judge me and my stuff, who loves…

cookies, glorious cookies!

This blog looks a little like a food blog this week. But don't worry, it's not. I promise the next time I post (probably this weekend because I'm on very productive kick right now that might last through Monday) it won't be about food. But hey, at least I add photos of John, and who doesn't love that? Just look at that face. 

I know what you're thinking after last night's healthy broth/soup post: "She's all talk and no walk!" Yes, we're trying to be healthy. No, cookies aren't healthy. BUT they are gluten free AND there are very limited refined sugars in there: I sweetened it with maple syrup (grade b, of course), and the chocolate chips are the darkest I could find (aka, less milk and less sugar, and not for the faint of heart). Want the recipe? Of course you do. They're almost (but not entirely) guilt-free. 
This is what you do: take your typical three ingredient peanut butter cookies and add chocolate and more chocolate. 
Here: …

Broth and White Bean and Chicken Chili

Right now I'm big into soups. More specifically, I'm big into broth and soup is a great way to consume large amounts of broth.

Why? Because homemade bone broths are amazing. Many many many health benefits, I've read. I'm no health expert, but I'm definitely drinking the juice (broth?). I totally dig it. Get this: felt a serious cold coming on the other day, then I made broth. Ask me how I feel right now. (I feel good!) Warmth + liquid + minerals + gelatin + lots of other things = good things.

Anyway. Dinner.

Saturday night I threw a chicken straight into the stock pot, and then one in the oven to roast for dinner. I let that first one simmer away for about an hour then carved it and saved the meat and then threw it back into the stock pot along with the carcass from the chicken I roasted for dinner (and, if you're interested, I also cubed two onions, threw in some carrots, some celery, a couple of halved apples, a couple of bay leaves, and - very important! - …

Chocolate Pudding! + a lecture on good ingredients

I've made it not once but twice in the last week or so, it's just that good. You have to make it.

But first, let me tell you why it's so freaking good: quality ingredients. That's it! That's the secret!  You think this will taste as good using low fat milk and low quality butter and cheap chocolate? Yeah. Right. If you haven't already committed to spending all your money (hah!) on high quality ingredients, do so now! If you can, choose organic (start here: dirty dozen) ! It will change your life in more ways than one.
Here are the ingredients in this recipe that I use that I believe make all the difference: ~ Raw whole milk (from my local health food store, but whatever whole organic milk you can find will be fabulous - and yes, I know there's a slight risk to using raw milk, but I'm a believer) ~ Pasture butter (from grass fed cows, which not only tastes better, is better for you, but is also even  magically better for the cow! So many wins!) ~ Pastur…