Run for Congo Women 2010

Hello everybody!

I hope that the onset of summer is putting smiles on your faces and yummy foods on your tables. It is still a bit gray and rainy in Portland, but I won’t complain because I love the rain. That’s why the Pacific Northwest has such wonderful fruits, vegetables, and green forests!!!

Anyways… On June 26th, my friends and I are taking part in Portland’s 2010 Run for Congo Women. Our team is “Go Vegan!” (clever, huh?) and we will be running a challenging 5K on a forested trail. The funds raised by all participants will benefit the women of Congo and help raise some much needed awareness about the devastation happening in the Congo.  If you are not familiar with the atrocities, you can watch the video below. Lisa Shannon, the creator of Run for Congo Women and author of “A Thousand Sisters” speaks about the suffering in the Congo and her journey toward helping women and children in the Congo. She is absolutely amazing and I encourage everybody to watch the video.

I have set up a fundraising website and I hope that fellow bloggers/readers will donate some funds to help the women and children of the Congo. I would LOVE to surpass my goal of $250. I know funds are tight for many of us (including myself) but this is such a worthy cause – I promise. Please consider making a donation. You will be helping women and children who need our love and support. I will mail a set of handmade cards (made by me) to each person who makes a donation. Just leave me a comment on this post letting me know you made a donation and I will contact you to arrange for shipping of the cards (make sure you leave a valid e-mail address). Thanks so much!

Oh! And if anybody has any training tips for a 5K run (stretches, food to eat before the run, maintaining a good pace, etc.) please let me know!

“W” is for Whiffies

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Whiffies Truck

What is Whiffies? Well, let me tell you! Whiffies is the name of a fried pie cart in Portland that serves up sweet and savory hand pies. They even have vegan options (and a separate vegan fryer for those vegan pies – how nice, right?!). Tim and I had never visited Whiffies prior to last Saturday night so we decided to take the plunge. Unlike most folks, I am not a fan of fried stuff (except for frites) but late night treats are usually (always) an exception. I opted for a Pumpkin Creme pie and Tim chose a Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip pie. We didn’t have to wait long and the surrounding crowds provided plenty of entertainment (it was especially amusing to make mean faces and scoff at a girl wearing a real fur coat). Anyways, back to the pies!!! Golden flaky crusts and generous amounts of filling make the $3 price worth every penny, but let me just caution you: sometimes the filling can explode out of the shell and down your chin, onto your pants, and perhaps your shoe too. Messy indeed, but tasty too. My pumpkin filling reminded me of pumpkin pie and Tim’s filling was as it should be – a perfect balance of peanut butter and melty chocolate chips. However, we will reserve future trips to Whiffies for special occasions only because my tummy can’t handle a whole pie plus bites (and bites) of Tim’s pie. Here’s a shot of the nice end of my pie all fancied up at home:

Whiffie Pie

Annnnnnnd, just for some extra fun, here is what happens when I have Whiffies pie filling running down my face while trying to take a photo of Tim eating his pie without properly adjusting my camera setting because I am holding the camera with only one hand (pie in the other):

Whiffies make me loopy

Oooooooooooooooops-a-dozzle!

For the Chimps!

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This past Friday evening, Tim and I went to a four course benefit dinner for the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest held at Sweetpea Baking Company. A lovely group of folks prepared and served about forty diners an amazing meal – perfect for the chillier autumn weather (although it was kinda warm in Portland on Friday!). I have always had a deep fondness for chimpanzees and couldn’t be happier to help support such a wonderful sanctuary. Please check out their website to learn more and to meet some very special chimps (I love Burrito!).

THE MENU (taken from here)

Bread Basket
Mushroom walnut pate, carrot ginger spread, baguette, matzoh, flatbreads

Salad
Root Vegetable & Caramelized Figs
Mixed greens, endive, creamy garlic dressing, cilantro pesto drizzle

Entree
Butternut Rissoto
Cashew creme, roasted brussel sprouts, toasted hazelnuts

Dessert
Apple Pie with Peanut Butter Caramel
Homemade vanilla bean ice cream with a creamy coconut cashew almond base

Chimp Benefit 1

Chimp Benefit 2

Chimp Benefit 3

Chimp Benefit 5

Thanks to everybody who helped prepare and serve such a delicious, filling meal!!!

“D” is for Dessert

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Last year I had the brilliant idea to open a vegan restaurant called Dessert First – a place where people would order the sweets before the main course. Obviously I never really followed through, but sometimes I revisit the temptation. Dessert makes me mighty happy!

After riding our bikes home from my office Friday evening, Tim decided dinner at Blossoming Lotus was necessary – who am I to argue? Blossoming Lotus is an amazing all-vegan restaurant in Portland with two locations, one just a few blocks from our apartment. The softly lit, fancy-ish interior isn’t the best setting for quality photos when the skies begin to darken so I put all my energies into making the dessert photos count (we did eat main courses too, but I didn’t make much effort with the photos). We actually chose two desserts to share: a live chocolate mousse cake and vanilla soft serve with grated orange peel – perfect for this scenario: Bite of cake, spoonful of soft serve, bite of cake, spoonful of soft serve… Repeat until both dishes are clean.

Live Chocolate Mousse Cake

Vegan Soft Serve

I’m still full.

Back to Eden

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Despite feeling a bit ill on Sunday, Tim and I rode our bikes over to the new vegan bakery in town, Back to Eden, for some serious treat sampling (and, of course, to avoid the much needed rest I should have been getting). Sugar is good for curing head colds anyways…

The interior of this sweet little bakery is so darn cozy and homey! Not only are baked goods available for sale, but vegan cookbooks, local crafts, jams, Dandies, and other fun are nicely stocked for purchase too. We had such a difficult time deciding what to get and ended up with a takeout box full of goodness. Let’s see… White Chocolate Butterscotch Pecan Cookie, Cinnamon Tangerine Muffin, Peanut Butter Fudge, and an Orange Creamsicle-Filled Cupcake… All so very, very, very, very good!

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Tim ready to dive into our box of treats!

BTE 1

Inside the bakery

BTE 2

Inside one of the bakery cases

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On top of the bakery case

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Our selections

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The mighty Cinnamon Tangerine Muffin

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Inside the Creamsicle Cupcake

We definitely enjoyed the treats and will certainly be biking back for more soon!

Stay tuned for a sweet giveaway I will be having soon!!!!