Weekend Happenings

Tim and I enjoyed delicious food, lovely weather, and a fun adventure over the weekend. On Friday night, we strayed from our menu plan and opted for homemade pizza instead. The finished pie had a whole grain crust and was topped with cashew cheese, marinara sauce, chopped garlic, herbs, and kale crumbles. It was a bit puffier than our usual pizzas, so we had leftovers for Saturday lunch!For dessert, I made Lemon Zinger Squares! The recipe for these refreshing treats will be featured in my forthcoming cookzine. I think they might be one of my favorite creations to date. Tim ate most of them. These squares differ from regular cake because you can pick them up and eat them with your hands Рkind of like a brownie, but also very different from a brownie!On Saturday, Tim went kayaking, so I stayed home and worked on some miscellaneous projects. When dinner rolled around, I was too lazy to make much effort, but also quite hungry. My usual answer to the hungry/lazy dilemma is a meal-in-a-bowl. I love the ease and versatility. This particular bowl had quinoa, lightly steamed kale, roasted chickpeas, diced bell pepper, grated carrots, avocado, and a citrus tahini dressing. I also added some dried cranberries.On Sunday, Tim and I met a group of friends at Blossoming Lotus for brunch. These occasions are such a special treat since we rarely go out to eat. Tim had the Seitan Rancheros (his favorite) and I had the Pumpkin Battered French Toast (oh my, was this ever incredible!!).

After brunch, Tim and I drove about a half hour to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. We saw (and heard) a massive array of wildlife, including hawks, snakes, kingfishers, frogs, water bugs, rabbits, birds, ducks, cranes, and geese. I feel so comforted when I am surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Here is a sassy Spotted Towhee! Tim loves to record sounds, so if you are curious to hear this bird sing and chirp, listen to his recording here.We also saw a Song Sparrow:Along the hike, we enjoyed views across small lakes and plenty of flowers (and some pretty dandelions, which I guess are actually weeds?).

And then, we drove home and had more leftovers for dinner. It was a fulfilling weekend! Hope you all enjoyed your weekends too!

Snow Bird

Despite the arrival of spring, Tim and I decided to enjoy a snowy adventure today. Mt. Hood isn’t too far from Portland so we took advantage of some free time and headed into the forest for a 6-mile snowshoe hike. We have learned over the years to arrive at trailheads early to avoid the inevitable crowds. Usually we only cross paths with a few folks, which provides us with much-needed solitude. After all, that is why people choose to escape into the wilderness, right? Most of the people we saw today were families with kids arriving as we were leaving – perfect timing!

We chose a trail that looped around Trillium Lake and maintained a relatively easy grade (except for the last 1/2 mile which was UPHILL!). The path was wide and if it had been a clear day, Mt. Hood would have been visible over the lake. Unfortunately, every time we go snowshoeing it is cloudy and snowing! We have yet to see Mt. Hood on a snowshoe excursion. Maybe next time…

We did, however, spot a Stellar’s Jay perched in a tree (also pictured at the top of this post). He was so tame and hardly budged while I snapped away taking his photograph. Beautiful, isn’t he? He was extremely round!

We were also confronted with a mighty dinosaur!

(forgive the snow splotch on my lens)

It was a great day to be outside enjoying the snow. We hope to get one more snowshoe trip in before the snow disappears:

Looks like we have at least a few weeks!

 

Winter Wonderland

Sadly it didn’t really snow much in Portland today (but there were flakes falling for maybe 10 minutes!). The photo above is from a snowshoe trip Tim and I took this afternoon. We chose a short 5-6 mile trail that passes two lakes. This is Upper Twin Lake. We enjoyed complete solitude until the last mile of the trail. It was freezing, but worth every step! We were visited by several Gray Jays, one who happily perched on a branch for at least 15 minutes while I snapped his photo (with ever-increasing numb fingers):

I love how you can see his little feet poking out from under his fluffed-up feathers. So sweet!

After snowshoeing, we drove back to Portland so we could head over to Herbivore to meet Melisser, the author of The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life. I filled my pockets with crackers (it’s a terrible addiction, me and the cracker) from the snack table and chatted briefly with Melisser and Kittee. Kittee made some incredible cookies for the book signing event:

Carrot Cake Cookies with Candied Ginger and Cream Cheese Frosting! Oooooh yeah. The recipe is adapted from a great little cookbook called Cookies for Everyone. Check out Kittee’s post on the cookies because her photos are much better and super close-up so you can experience cookie envy.

Goodnight!

 

For the Birds

You’ve stumbled across a foodless post today. Instead? Photos of some of my favorite birds! If you can guess which bird isn’t “real”, I’ll post a TASTY Peanut Butter Cookie recipe later in the week! Maybe…

This is Afro-Duck.

This is Mr. Hawk (who incidentally looks like corn on the cob, but don’t laugh, he’s sensitive!)

This is Crazy Green Bird.

This is Lil’ Robin.

Okay? Now, at least 10 people have to choose correctly, or there is no Peanut Butter Cookie post…I’m serious.