A Look Back on 2012

I am very grateful for the adventures, new opportunities, and growth I experienced in 2012. Even numbers have always been my favorite so let’s hope that 2013 doesn’t disappoint (negative much, Amy?). Here is a photo-overloaded look back on the highlights of 2012:

January and February involved trips to the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Coast – two places that cannot be missed if you ever venture to the Pacific Northwest. They both have unique beauty and the ability to relax even the wildest of souls. January also included a trip to Omaha, NE to help much-loved Isa Moskowitz with her dessert contributions for the now released Forks Over Knives Cookbook.

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March was the tail end of my first paid freelance photography gig. The challenges that accompanied that experience really helped me trust myself more and approach photography with new insight.

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April was a collection of early season hiking, bird watching, a visit from my dad, and tons of baking for Portland’s part in the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.

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May and June highlights are rather silly, but this is primarily a food blog, so you’ll understand – attending the Veggie Grill grand opening and celebrating National Doughnut Day (vegan style!!) were top of the list!

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The remainder of June and most of July was perhaps the most incredible portion of 2012 for me. Tim and I went on an 8,000+ mile road trip all the way across the country and back, visiting National Parks, quirky small towns, friends, and family along the way. We had a blast! Spending so much time with Tim exploring new places and hiking in some of the most beautiful wilderness was truly, truly awesome. Recaps of our journey are here and here.

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August and September opened up more time for wilderness recreation. We went backpacking, spent time with friends in Seattle eating yummy food, and entertained my parents when they came for a visit. It was my mom’s first time in the Pacific Northwest and she loved every minute. September also marked the start of my employment with Herbivore Clothing Company. Best. Job. Ever.

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October was a month full of food since it was the Vegan Month of Food! Click here to see all the fun I stirred up in the kitchen!

November? I received two new cookbooks and had a blast cooking and baking from them. Preparing delicious food is almost as fun as devouring it!

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And that brings us to December! New recipe creations, a photo project, and a second new job round out the end of the year. I am excited for what lies ahead. Thanks for following me over the course of 2012. I wish all of you a super duper Happy New Year!!!

This & That

Tim and I are currently cat-sitting for some friends. In our care are three, identical-looking black cats. It has been very entertaining trying to keep track of who is who. I think we are noticing distinctive features on each cat, but it’s quite possible that we are calling them the wrong name when we talk to them. Luckily they don’t seem to mind or notice.

I am a few days behind on my December Photo Project. To catch up, here is yesterday’s photograph:

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December Photo Project 2012: Day #21

A terribly out of focus representation of a meal in a bowl: brown rice, kale, tofu, red peppers, and spicy almond-miso sauce (eaten while watching Cheers)

And, here is today’s photograph:

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December Photo Project 2012: Day #22

I received a box of homemade holiday treats in the mail yesterday! The lovely Sarah from This is What I Eat hosted a giveaway not too long ago and I was the lucky winner! She baked up a storm of delicious treats. She posted about them here, here, and here. Included in my package: Baklava Nut Medley in a super cute tin, Caramel Pecan Bars, Blueberry Spice Crumb Bars, Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookies, Gingerbread Biscotti, Peppermint Cookies-n-Cream Bark, and Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf. The last two are not pictured because greedy tummies monopolized the ride from our apartment to cat-sitting. Oooops! Sarah was sweet and packed the perfect amount of goodies for two people to share. Everything is absolutely amazing. My favorite is the biscotti because I love ginger. Tim loved (LOVED) the cookies-n-cream bark. Thank you a million times over, Sarah! You are so sweet and a super talented baker!!

 

A Special Night

Tonight my co-workers and I had our holiday dinner at Blossoming Lotus, an all vegan restaurant located in NE Portland. Gifts were exchanged, food was enjoyed, and desserts were demolished. The food at Blossoming Lotus is always amazing, beautifully presented, and nourishing. Despite the list of specials, I went with my all time favorite, the Crispy Thai BBQ Salad:

Mt. Hood Salad 02December Photo Project 2012: Day #20

This picture was taken in very dim light, but what you see is a Mt. Hood sized plate filled with mixed greens, romaine, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, raisins, crispy rice sticks, fresh herbs, curry peanuts, coconut, Thai spiced barbecue soy curls, sweet ginger dressing and sesame seeds. Crazy delicious. I cleaned my plate with the exception of a few random scallion rings and a leaf of cilantro (I am a hater).

Dessert was a share-all affair. We ordered multiple items from the menu, put them in the middle of the table, and dug in. No rules!

I only got a photograph of the chocolate coconut cake, which was too bad because the best dessert was a mixed berry pie.

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My belly is happy and full.

My evening was complete because I got to take home this lovely gift (click to see what was inside the package!!):

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Many appreciative thanks to my incredible work family.

Goodnight :)