Lately

It’s officially spring which explains the complex mixture of hail, rain, sunshine, clouds, and blue skies we are experiencing in Portland. I need to walk around with my camera more because a few days ago the aforementioned weather patterns collided and made a massive full double rainbow in the sky. Or maybe, just maybe, I need one of those snazzy smartphones. It was a beautiful rainbow but you’ll have to imagine what it looked like since I have no hard proof.

Life is keeping me busy, but not enough for me to neglect the blog! Here are some fun highlights from the last few weeks:

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Aaron Ash, the owner of Gorilla Food in Vancouver, B.C., came to Herbivore to do a raw food demo, Q&A, and book signing last weekend. We had a full house and got to sample some delicious food: ginger nori crackers, guacamole, chile almonds, and vegan sushi! I went home that evening and put a batch of the ginger nori crackers in my dehydrator because they were the best crackers I’d ever tasted. And I happen to know a thing or fifty about tasty crackers. Aaron is mighty talented and you should check out his book!

Pasta Dinner 01I’ve been cooking solo recently because Tim is traveling for work. Usually I end up eating a lot of burritos when he’s away because cooking by myself is way less fun. And I have to do the dishes – lame! So my meals are minimal attempts at best. Last night I had a surge of energy, most likely from eating too many of these¬†(make them! they rule!). With boosts of spirit, I made a baked pasta dish consisting of penne, pesto, tomato sauce, cashew cream, sauteed mushrooms, and lots of fresh parsley. It was good. Although, not the best meal to eat while watching Workaholics.

And lastly, I’ve been busy with freelance writing assignments. There’s an exciting one with a recipe/giveaway coming up very soon. Follow the Vegan Cuts blog so you don’t miss it! I’ll give you a hint: it involves carrots and sugar. Hmmmm… !!!

That’s all for now. Hope you’re all well and enjoying the weekend.

 

 

The Snow Fell in Portland

It almost never snows in Portland. We get plenty of snow on the nearby mountains, but in the city itself, it’s rare. And when it does snow, it lasts all of a few hours if we are lucky. I woke up this morning, opened the blinds, and saw this:

Snow 01December Photo Project 2012: Day #18

It doesn’t look like much – because it wasn’t. A few hours later the sun was shining and the only indication that it had snowed was the frigid temperature. Now? It’s raining.

Fun and yummy recipe post coming up tomorrow!!! Get excited!

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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 Organics¬†(chocolate truffles!). Stop by and say hello and I might let you have a sample!

Enjoy the week ahead!

Birthday Adventures

Yesterday was Tim’s 34th birthday. We awoke to unusually sunny skies and temperatures nearing 60 degrees – ideal for a bike ride and lunch at our favorite Portland cafe, Proper Eats. I was fooled into thinking spring had arrived early! Although I think the ridiculous headwind we pedaled into for the first half of our bike ride made me realize winter is holding steady. Check out the clouds looming over downtown Portland:

Onward we pedaled…

Proper Eats is a cozy, welcoming place with super kind folks cooking and serving delicious food. The menu is entirely vegetarian (mostly vegan). They support local farmers, businesses, distributors, and artists. I’ve never had a disappointing meal at Proper Eats and the food is so healthy, nourishing, and well-priced. There is a small grocery/bulk foods section at the front of the cafe. The kitchen is open so you can watch people preparing your food – I love that!

It’s challenging trying to capture decent food photos in eateries (especially with low light conditions). Here is what we enjoyed:

Collard Wraps served with Carrot-Ginger Dressing

Potato & Garlic Soup

Spinach Salad w/ Carrot-Ginger Dressing (and local hazelnuts and cranberries!)

Tempeh Reuben (the only thing Tim ever orders at Proper Eats, it’s his favorite sammie)

The bike ride home was easier since we were riding with the wind (and fueled by yummy foods). When we got back to our place we decided it was okay to have some birthday cake a bit early. This poor cake had a traumatic day – it stuck to my cooling rack, cracked in half as a result, and then stuck to the serving plate. What a stinker! The issue of the naughty cake was resolved and disguised with peanut butter filling and chocolate ganache (plus a side of Coconut Bliss ice cream!).

Tim demands pizza for dinner weekly. His birthday was no exception. He kept reminding me over the weekend to make the dough. We learned from a friend that making the dough several days ahead of time and putting it in the fridge (no rising) creates a chewy, crisp-on-the-bottom, pizza. Just remember to let the dough rest on the counter a few hours before you plan to make your pizza.

And then, of course, we enjoyed more cake and Coconut Bliss after dinner. It was a good day.

Properly Full

Today marked the opening of yet another all-vegan food cart in Portland! I am forever lost in the numbers of vegan-friendly dining options here since Tim and I rarely go out to eat. But, we were lured by the opening of this new cart, Kitchen Dances, because the owner used to be a partner at Proper Eats, one of our most favorite places to dine in Portland. We impulsively decided to take a quick bike ride over to the new cart for lunch:

The cart is located in the Good Food Here cart pod on SE Belmont and 42nd Avenue (surprisingly, Tim and I had no idea this cart pod even existed! See? We don’t eat out much!). It’s tucked away in the back, but you can’t miss the bright red exterior or lovely aromas wafting from the inside. For their first day of business, Kitchen Dances had a non-stop flow of customers, which makes me insanely happy because I want this cart to stay firmly planted right where it is! The menu boasts super-fresh cooked and raw items:

After a few moments of pondering the menu, the woman working there offered us a free sample of their homemade basil-hazelnut pesto spread on some awesome chewy bread:

I was seconds away from darting off with the entire plate of samples because (1) I love bread; (2) I love pesto; and (3) I love free samples. While we were waiting in line to order, the gentleman behind us asked if we had ordered yet. I told him that we had not and when it was our turn to order, he cut in front of us and placed his order first! What? If ever there were a time for me to exercise my desire to punch someone in the face, this would have come close. Don’t fret, I’m not violent and I pretended not to notice.

I ordered the Raw Hummus Wrap for $5.00 and Tim ordered the Roasted Eggplant Sandwich for $7.50. The prices are fair considering the amount of food you get and the quality of ingredients. The food is so clean and so good for you – there’s no guilt! Kitchen Dances also offers desserts, primarily from Black Sheep Bakery. We didn’t get any desserts because I overdosed on chocolate yesterday… Maybe next time though!

Our food:

Tim’s Roasted Eggplant Sandwich consisted of: roasted eggplant, caramelized onion, and tomato with a garlic-herb aioli and a side salad. He said it was really good. I was proud of Tim because when we go to Proper Eats, he ALWAYS gets the Tempeh Reuben (which is on the menu at Kitchen Dances too) and he tried something new today!

My Raw Hummus Wrap: this was a chard leaf filled with raw hummus, carrots, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, and quinoa tabouli. I was a bit disappointed because there were no carrots or beets (two of my favorite veggies) and the tabouli was loaded with lots of onions (which I’m not a fan of, sadly). The hummus was delicious and so was the chard leaf, but I couldn’t finish my wrap due to all the onions. Tim devoured it though, even after cleaning his own plate.

I will definitely be riding my bike back to Kitchen Dances because there were other items on the menu that looked incredibly yummy. I should have known better about the onions, but I was too excited and didn’t think before I ordered.

Yay for even more vegan food options in Portland!!!

And hey, if you haven’t entered my giveaway yet, you should! I keep adding more fun items to the prize!! I hope everybody’s week is off to a good start.