Annnnnnnd… It’s July (already?)!

Happy Summer!

Here is what I’ve been up to lately:

Summer weather arrived late in Portland this year (big surprise!) and despite my general dislike of rising temperatures, I am actually quite pleased with the sunshine lately. After all, warm weather fuels the growth of local berry crops! In the last few weeks Tim and I have picked close to 25 pounds of deliciously sweet, deep red, Oregon strawberries. Yesterday I turned some of those berries into jam. The photo above shows two pints of strawberry-orange jam. My list of future jams includes: raspberry, blueberry, peach, marionberry, fig-ginger, cherry, and kiwi. I am also quite excited to make dill pickles!!

Sandwiches are a quick and simple meal in the summertime. A few days ago I made panini sandwiches filled with chickpea spread, golden beets, green apples, olive tapenade, and sprouts. I found the recipe in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. The combination might seem odd, but trust me, this sandwich was very satisfying!

Eating vegan ice cream is a great way to stay cool when the sun threatens to melt your shorts. Tim and I met up with friends today and enjoyed treats from Back to Eden Bakery. I had half of a Neapolitan cupcake and several generous bites of Tim’s banana split sundae (topped with peanut butter Newman O’s, Dandies, and house-made strawberry sauce).

A few weeks ago Tim and I went on an evening hike to Dog Mountain in Washington state. The hike is mighty steep but the views are very rewarding at the summit. Plus, we were greeted with tons of wildflowers along the trail and a gorgeous sunset. I am looking forward to August when the trails are lined with wild huckleberries (for making more jam, of course)!

I bought a doughnut pan recently and cannot stop making doughnuts! Eventually I will take the leap and try raised doughnuts but not until I have perfected the cake doughnut!

And finally, tomorrow I will be volunteering at Portland’s 2nd Annual Vegan Iron Chef competition. The event will be streamed live so you can tune in and watch the excitement from your lounge chair in the sunshine! Nifty, eh?

I hope everybody is enjoying summer (because my favorite season is coming up next!).

Who Loves PB & J? I do, I do!

What?! Another post on sammies? Well, not exactly… This is more of a sammie-inspired post. The hot weather continues to hold me in a state of vegan gooness, and frozen treats are the only thing keeping me sane. After making two varieties of popsicles, I decided it was time for ice cream. Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream (recipe from the June 2008 Vegetarian Times) and Creamy Peanut Butter Ice Cream (recipe made up by me, but not written down, therefore forgotten). See? PB & J in a bowl! A certain somebody who lives with me suggested that I photograph the ice creams between slices of bread… I have a nonsense filter for such flim flammy ideas.

Over the weekend, Tim and I hiked up Silver Star Mountain in Washington state. It was a gorgeous day, clear enough that four of the Cascade peaks were visible from start to finish (Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams). We packed a tasty lunch consisting of hummus sammies, black plums, carrot and celery sticks, roasted nuts, and some wee cookies. I love hikes where you walk along ridges in the open. The wildflowers were at their peak, making the hillsides colorful (not to mention a haven for bees-yay for the bees!).

Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Adams and some pretty flowers