When Weekends Fly By…

The weather in Portland has been amazing this past week. Every day has been sunny, warm, and filled with blue skies. Spring is pretty much shoving winter aside and I am a happy camper! Tim and I noticed buds on trees this morning and lots of birdies trotting about on the ground looking for treats. Ahhhh… Here is a weekend recap:

Dinner Friday night:

My co-worker is writing a cookbook (yay!!) and was kind enough to give me her recipe for black bean burgers. She has been bringing them to work for lunch and enticing me with the aroma for months. They are ace. It is really great having co-workers who share a passion for healthy, delicious foods!!!

Tim and I spent much of Saturday riding our bikes and relaxing in the park:

In the evening we had a pizza party with friends and ate this cake:

A chocolate peanut butter cake I made for our friend Emiko’s birthday.

Today we volunteered at Out to Pasture Animal Sanctuary in Estacada, OR with several other people. We spent the day building fences, digging ditches, clipping blackberry brambles, and chatting with animals. It was a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to go and help again next month. The animals are so sweet and loving I wish I could scoop them up and lounge with them for hours (although horses and pigs are mighty heavy!).

A silly llama eating grass through a fence.

Tim (in the white top) helping make sure the fence components are level.

Here I am helping dig a drainage ditch to prevent flooding in the pasture.

Singer, the horse. She is nearly blind and followed Tim and I around when we were digging the ditch. She nearly bumped into the wheelbarrow once and it made me sad.

The envious life of a kitty. She lounged in the sunshine all day!

A quiet donkey munching in the pasture.

Best weekend!

Backpacking Wacky

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This past weekend Tim and I headed down to the southern Oregon coast to go backpacking. Despite crazy heat and mosquito posses, it was an absolutely gorgeous area. We saw tiny frogs, snails, birds, lizards, snakes, leopard slugs and so many (think dozens of varieties) colorful wildflowers blooming on hillsides. We even got to jump and swim around in two cold rivers as a reward for enduring the toasty sunshine each day. And, we had complete solitude the entire time – we didn’t see any other people until we were about a mile from the end of the trail. A perfect escape from the city.

Oftentimes, people think of dehydrated packaged meals as the staples for backpacking fare. Tim and I discovered years ago that a little creativity and fresh veggies and ingredients make for much more exciting meals on the trail. While this option might make our packs a bit heavier, we eat tastier, healthier meals! I was too lazy to photograph our lunches but we snacked on homemade bagels (recipe from the kickin’ sweet Vegan Brunch) smeared with peanut butter and bananas we dehydrated a few days earlier. We also had homemade cajun tofu jerky, carrot sticks, pumpkin seeds, and a medley of other dried fruits we made. Here are some photos from our trip, starting with meals.

Soba Noodle Curry

A simple soba noodle curry – We brought along small plastic bottles of coconut milk and a spicy peanut curry sauce to pour over soba noodles (broken in half) and sauteed mushrooms, red bell pepper and broccoli. The meal was then topped with sesame seeds and some toasted coconut. It was delicious.

Of course you can’t have dinner without dessert, right? Right. When Tim and I backpacked around New Zealand in 2000, we brought along an Outback Oven. It’s basically a convection-style oven that you can use with a backpacking stove. It is small, fairly lightweight, and portable. We don’t always use the outback oven, but some of our favorite foods have been enjoyed on the trail when we do bring it along (think cinnamon rolls, pizza, scones…). For this trip, we made a chocolate wacky cake. My favorite recipe is from a Mollie Katzen children’s cookbook. We simply quartered the recipe, packed the dry ingredients in a ziplock, and the wet ingredients in a small bottle. Everything mixed up nicely in the pan and baked in about 15 minutes. We used some addictively yummy chocolate agave packets as a frosting (see photo of packets below).

Wacky Cake!

Wacky cake with about 5 minutes of baking time left.

Chocolate Agave 2

This stuff is so incredibly yummy. I admit to eating a packet straight up by itself. That’s right, you would too.

Next up:

Brekkie Couscous

Breakfast Couscous – Whole wheat couscous, powdered soy milk mixed with water, our own dried strawberries, pecans, agave, and cinnamon. Super quick and simple!

And now some photos from our mini vacation:

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Cape Blanco 1.3

I am pretty sure I could do this every weekend…

Keep on Let Living

First off, I have been a lazy poster. But, I have been super busy too! This past weekend was a whirlwind of awesome. The Let Live Animal Rights Conference kicked off on Friday evening and lasted through Sunday. This was an amazing event, and I really, really enjoyed myself. There is something about being surrounded by like-minded people that puts one at ease. So, Friday night was a small turnout of people, but there was delicious food from Los Gorditos, and several of the organizers for the conference spoke.

Saturday was a long day. There were lots of speakers and workshops to choose from throughout the day. Here is what I did:

1. Conference Orientation and Opening Plenary Address (with Lauren Ornelas and Elsbeth Seymour)

2. Exposing Institutionalized Cruelty (with Nathan Runkle and others)

3. Striking at the Roots (with Mark Hawthorne)

4. How To: Solo Activism (with Mark Hawthorne and Veda Stram)

5. How To: Dealing with Law Enforcement (with Shannon Keith)

6. How To: Becoming the Media and Getting Creative (with Josh Hooten {check the link for some of Josh’s photos from the event! DO IT!!!} and others)

7. How To: Researching Animal Abuse (with Peter Young and others)

Phew! Long day huh?

Sunday was shorter for me because I had brunch with a friend and also met Hannah of My Sweet Vegan! Yeah! She is so kind! I sampled a few of the treats she brought along (whoopie pies and wee muffins). They were the perfect dessert after brunch at Sweetpea!

Next, I headed back to the conference to see Isa speak about Culinary Activism. Fun, and definitely worth the 3-mile walk in the 90+ degree weather I took to get there! Everybody loves talking about food, especially vegan food, so this was a great way to end the conference. Go bake a treat for some friends, it’s a great form of activism.

Lastly, was the conference closing with Lauren Ornelas. If you click on the link for Josh Hooten above, you can view a photo of a bunch of the attendees smiling for the camera. The photos will be sent to the SHAC 7 folks.

Overall, I am so very happy that I was able to be a part of such an awesome event. I cannot wait for next year!