Speedy, Speedy… Run, Run!

The sun has been shining in Portland for the last several weeks. I suppose I am willing to embrace the warmth a bit even though I often prefer cloudy days. The approach of summer means eating lunch outside, enjoying the longer evenings of light, and lots of outdoor recreation. Quicker meals become a necessity when the weather creeps into the upper 70′s and 80′s. Here are two meals I enjoyed recently that came together in less than an hour and tasted as though they had been tended to much longer than that:

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Rotini with Roasted Red Pepper, Broccoli & Pecans

The above meal (recipe here) is courtesy of the super talented Sara from The Innocent Primate blog. There are so many creative recipes on the site (especially for smoothies!!!) as well as useful information on detoxing, drying herbs, and keeping healthy. Beautiful photos and menu ideas are also in abundance at The Innocent Primate blog; go and visit if you haven’t yet!!!

I love how quickly this meal comes together. The ingredients are likely to be in your kitchen already and you can adjust seasonings to suit your tastes. Pecans and broccoli provide a lovely texture, roasted red peppers add sweetness, and a drizzling of olive oil finishes it off. Very simple, very delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe Sara!

And:

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Baked Polenta Squares with Greens and Marinated Portobellos

I don’t have a recipe for this meal. Here is what I did though: 

1. Made a batch of polenta and baked it until firm and golden on top

2. Marinated portobellos in a blend of Braggs, sesame and olive oils, balsamic vinegar, agave, freshly ground black pepper, rosemary, and cayenne (for heat!) – this may look like a horrendous mixture, but trust me, it’s yummy

3. Sauteed the porotobellos with the marinade

4. Added fluffy kale to the saute pan

5. Piled the goodness on a plate

6. Ate the food

See? Easy as heck! And, if you have leftovers:  portobellos make tasty sammies, polenta can be cubed and baked into croutons for salad, and greens can be added to pasta (such as the meal above).

I mentioned outdoor recreation at the start of this post. It has been an ongoing joke of mine with Tim that while we are hiking a rattlesnake will slink out of the tall grasses and snap at my ankles. It’s never happened (thankfully), but last weekend we walked within a few feet of a rattling rattlesnake! Yipes! Luckily he was making noise and warned us of his presence. We were both startled, but facsinated at the same time. Here is a photo Tim took before we hiked past the evil rattler (giving him quite a wide berth):

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You might be thinking, “Why hike a trail with rattlers Amy”? Well, here is why:

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A gorgeous view of the Columbia River Gorge at the top of Coyote Wall (the hike we chose)

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Mt. Hood still covered in snow

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Spring wildflowers (lupine and balsam root)

Pretty! Plus, we had no idea that snakes were lurking on the trail. It’s cool, we enjoyed complete solitude at the summit and sat eating lunch, soaking up the sun, and watching peregrine falcons and other birdies fly around. I hope that the sunshine sticks around because days like the above are my favorites. I hope everybody enjoys the weekend ahead!