The Days of Summer

I can’t believe I am finally sitting down to write a blog post after such a long break! Time passes quickly in my world and my schedule has been filled with plenty of activity. While I am incredibly excited for the fall season, the weather in Portland still boasts plenty of sunshine and high temperatures so Tim and I are taking full advantage during the dwindling days if summer. Here is a peek at the highlights:We visited our friends in Seattle a few weeks ago and enjoyed brunch at Cafe Flora. I had a plate with potatoes, toast & jam, tofu scramble, and homemade soy sausage. It was delicious, especially the scramble. Tim had a tofu sandwich that came with salad. He didn’t care for it, but it sure looked pretty:After we left Seattle, we wandered around Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. It’s so much fun to explore places like this because if you are patient and quiet, all sorts of creatures make their presence known with a chorus of sounds. We even saw jellyfish floating in the southern end of the Puget Sound! Overall, it’s a very peaceful place to visit.When we returned from Seattle, we decided it was time to take a backpacking trip. It had been awhile and we knew September meant less crowds and less bugs. We opted for a two night loop hike in the Deschutes National Forest. We crossed paths with very few people and had our campsites all to ourselves. Plus, both campsites were next to chilly mountain lakes which we happily dove into after hiking all day in the sunshine.Campsite on night number two looked toward this view:
And then, before we knew it, my parents were in town for a visit. My mom had never been to the Pacific Northwest before so she really enjoyed all the scenery and places we took her.

We took my mom to see Mt. Hood! It was a gorgeous day despite the haze from nearby wildfires. We also took her and my dad to Portobello for dinner. I opted for the portobello burger, garlicky fries, and a homemade peach and rosemary soda. Don’t you just love how my meal was served? Everything was amazing, especially the fries. Oh my goodness, those fries were the best!We took my parents to the coast too. It was windy and a good 30 degress cooler than the city but still worth the trip. They both dipped their feet in the icy Pacific Ocean. I knew better.After my parents left, I accepted a job offer with one of the coolest vegan companies in Portland. I am now happily employed after many months of miscellaneous freelance stints here and there. It’s a quick bike ride from home and I am sandwiched between Food Fight Grocery and Sweetpea Bakery. This has already proven dangerous because yesterday I snuck over to Food Fight for chocolate caramel cups, ginger iced tea, and a curried tofu sandwich. It’s perfect because I work part-time and can still enjoy outdoor adventure activities while the weather permits. Come visit me if you are ever in Portland!!

This past Friday Tim and I went hiking on the southern slopes of Mt. Saint Helens. A good portion of the trail involved boulder hopping, but snacking on an abundance of wild huckleberries and views such as the one below made up for it, just a bit.And finally, this weekend is Portland’s 2012 VegFest! I will be selling/sampling treats from Nicobella OrganicsĀ (chocolate truffles!). Stop by and say hello and I might let you have a sample!

Enjoy the week ahead!

Summer Adventures Part I

Wildflowers and Mt. Hood

Hi everybody! It is certainly never my intention to let so much time pass between blog posts. However, the last several weeks have been very adventurous. Sunshine in the Pacific Northwest has been a stranger this season so any opportunity to find warmth is welcoming. And I sought the sunshine! I am splitting my recent adventures into several posts because I have too many pictures to share.

I mentioned in previous posts that fruit picking is the ultimate highlight of my summers. Spending the morning in a sunny, quiet, open field collecting berries is one of the best stress relievers. This year I managed to pick mountains of fresh local berries (with Tim’s help, of course). Aside from enjoying the fruit fresh and stuffing as much as I could into my freezer, I also canned nearly 30 half pints of treasures. My resource for delicious jams and preserves is The Joy of Jams, Jellies, & Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich. Every recipe I have made so far has been a no-fail, simple, and fun afternoon project. I’ve had my copy checked out of the library for over a month! Look at all those jars:

Bounty of jams

Then, at the end of July, Tim and I visited my family in Pennsylvania. I hadn’t been home in nearly four years so the trip was well overdue. My older sister and her family, who live in Germany, were visiting too. My sister has two children, one I had never met. I am absolutely terrible with children but homemade cupcakes and trampolines can fix my aunty ineptness:

Cookies-n-Cream cupcakes

My nephew, Kai, jumping on a trampoline from my childhood

Sunset on Lake Erie

We lounged around in the sunshine, wandered the shores of Lake Erie, spent a day at the local amusement/water park, made lots of yummy vegan food, and then spontaneously decided to drive across the country back to Portland. We took a car my dad gifted to us since our 16+ year old car has been having some troubles that are too costly to fix. We visited friends in Madison, WI and Omaha, NE along the way. It was fun, but goodness, was it ever HOT! The temperatures exceeded my comfort limits and detoured our travels. Scenes from the road:

Road in Wisconsin

Puffy clouds enroute to Madison, WI

Wind turbine

Me and my friend Tait in front of Madison’s Capitol building

Somewhere on the way to Omaha, NE

Banana Pecan Pancakes from McFosters in Omaha, NE

Cloudy skies in Colorado

Little America, a rest stop in Wyoming

Sunset over Wyoming landscape

Wind turbines in Eastern, OR (almost home!)

The road trip was exhausting, exciting, and gorgeous. It was nice to visit with friends and drive through new places. We have a few more adventures planned in the upcoming weeks and a trip to Nova Scotia with Tim’s family fast approaching. Check back tomorrow for Part II of my Summer Adventures series!

Summer Wrap-Up

It’s been a long while since my last post. Summer kept me busy:

EDITED TO ADD THE FOLLOWING PHOTO BELOW:

Fight!!

Visiting with my super awesome, lovely friend Celine;

DSC_0294

Attending Portland Veg Fest;

Tent & Sun & Fog

Camping on the Pacific Crest Trail;

Nods on Trail

Hiking in the misty, foggy, rainy wilderness;

Misty Ridges

Enjoying the view from our campsite;

Picking Berries

Picking wild huckleberries;

Goofy 1

Goofing around to keep warm;

Protester Tim

Protesting the circus in Portland;

DSC_0289

More protesting;

More Apples

Picking apples in Hood River, OR;

Me & My Dad

Visiting with my dad;

Portobello 2

Eating yummy food at Portobello Vegan Trattoria in Portland (lasagna);

Portobello 1

More good food from Portobello (portobello mushrooms and polenta);

Storm in the Gorge

Watching an approaching storm in the Columbia River Gorge;

Nods & Mountain

Backpacking near South Sister (a mountain in Oregon);

Wickiup Plain

Looking into the distance on the trail;

Tent at Sunset

Enjoying the sun setting;

Don't bug me while I eat my bagel sammie!

Munching on tasty bagel sammies;

Cafe Yumm 1

More eating (post-trail food from Cafe Yumm in Bend, OR);

Cafe Yumm 2

I think that’s about all I have for now. Summer was also lots of relaxing, bike riding, donut-eating, cooking, canning, baking, and spending time with Tim. Fall is my favorite time of year though, so expect a bit more of a post commitment this season!