Recent Adventures

Can you believe it’s March already? Time is passing too fast! Although I must admit, it never felt like winter in Portland, so the onset of spring isn’t too exciting – except for all the beautiful flowers blooming, of course!

Lately Tim and I have been making time for at least one adventure per week, sometimes more if our schedules allow. Here are a few highlights from our most recent outdoor pursuits.

Hoodie! 02

Snowshoeing along the White River with Mt. Hood looming before us the entire way. We found a lovely ridge to sit on and eat lunch. It was our first snowshoe this season with fluffy, powdery, new snow. Winter has been so mild that our other snowshoe trips were on hard, packed snow – much less fun. But the fluffy stuff? That’s what snowshoes are made for!

View 02

Wahclella Falls 01

Last week we went on a very short (and easy!) hike to massive Wahclella Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. We enjoyed our lunch in solitude unless you count waterfall mist as company. :)

Cape Horn Overlook 01

Yesterday we took advantage of sunshine and warm temperatures and headed into Washington state for new exploration. This was taken near Cape Horn. We found a nice hike just a few miles up the road that offers several viewpoints across the gorge. It was a LOT of climbing, but so worth it!

Cape Horn Trail 01

We are already planning backpacking trips for late spring and summer. It’s going to be awesome! I think I will make a nifty spreadsheet with trails and distances and whatnot. I hope to be back soon with some foodie-inspired posts, promise. Hope you are all well and looking forward to warmer weather. :)

 

Snow Bird

Despite the arrival of spring, Tim and I decided to enjoy a snowy adventure today. Mt. Hood isn’t too far from Portland so we took advantage of some free time and headed into the forest for a 6-mile snowshoe hike. We have learned over the years to arrive at trailheads early to avoid the inevitable crowds. Usually we only cross paths with a few folks, which provides us with much-needed solitude. After all, that is why people choose to escape into the wilderness, right? Most of the people we saw today were families with kids arriving as we were leaving – perfect timing!

We chose a trail that looped around Trillium Lake and maintained a relatively easy grade (except for the last 1/2 mile which was UPHILL!). The path was wide and if it had been a clear day, Mt. Hood would have been visible over the lake. Unfortunately, every time we go snowshoeing it is cloudy and snowing! We have yet to see Mt. Hood on a snowshoe excursion. Maybe next time…

We did, however, spot a Stellar’s Jay perched in a tree (also pictured at the top of this post). He was so tame and hardly budged while I snapped away taking his photograph. Beautiful, isn’t he? He was extremely round!

We were also confronted with a mighty dinosaur!

(forgive the snow splotch on my lens)

It was a great day to be outside enjoying the snow. We hope to get one more snowshoe trip in before the snow disappears:

Looks like we have at least a few weeks!

 

Tummy Fillers

This morning Tim and I joined some friends for brunch at Blossoming Lotus. We are fortunate to live less that a mile from this wonderful vegan cafe yet we rarely indulge in their delicious food. I think cooking at home will always be at the top of my list!

Tim chose the Benedict which had maple seitan sausage, hollandaise sauce, and some other stuff on a biscuit. I didn’t sample Tim’s meal, but he cleaned his plate with a smile!

I chose the Florentine Scramble which consisted of tempeh (I subbed tempeh in place of tofu), fresh arugula, basil-hempseed pesto, and cashew ricotta. It was very good, but a bit too salty for my tastes. Next time I think I will opt for the Breakfast Parfait which has sprouted buckwheat granola layered with fruit, nuts, and agave-sweetened cashew cream.

Yesterday I created a new recipe for my brownie cookbook: Raspberry Poppy Seed Brownies. They turned out beautifully. This first batch was topped with ganache. The next batch will have a drizzle of raspberry sauce instead since the ganache overpowered the raspberry flavor in the brownie.

And finally, last week Tim and I went snowshoeing with our friend Dave. We were greeted with blue skies right around lunch time – it was a gorgeous day!

It’s supposed to snow later this week so we might get one more opportunity for snowshoeing before spring arrives.

 

Winter Wonderland

Sadly it didn’t really snow much in Portland today (but there were flakes falling for maybe 10 minutes!). The photo above is from a snowshoe trip Tim and I took this afternoon. We chose a short 5-6 mile trail that passes two lakes. This is Upper Twin Lake. We enjoyed complete solitude until the last mile of the trail. It was freezing, but worth every step! We were visited by several Gray Jays, one who happily perched on a branch for at least 15 minutes while I snapped his photo (with ever-increasing numb fingers):

I love how you can see his little feet poking out from under his fluffed-up feathers. So sweet!

After snowshoeing, we drove back to Portland so we could head over to Herbivore to meet Melisser, the author of The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life. I filled my pockets with crackers (it’s a terrible addiction, me and the cracker) from the snack table and chatted briefly with Melisser and Kittee. Kittee made some incredible cookies for the book signing event:

Carrot Cake Cookies with Candied Ginger and Cream Cheese Frosting! Oooooh yeah. The recipe is adapted from a great little cookbook called Cookies for Everyone. Check out Kittee’s post on the cookies because her photos are much better and super close-up so you can experience cookie envy.

Goodnight!

 

Stuff on My Plate

It’s been awhile, huh? I have no excuses… Here are some photos of tasty foods to make up for the absense:

avocado-spring-rolls-1

Homemade Avocado Spring Rolls, a test recipe for the 500 Vegan Recipes Cookbook. These rolls were incredibly delicious and simple to prepare. They are full of veggies too! I had never worked with rice paper before and now I am addicted. Tim and I enjoyed these (way, way too many) with the Peanut Passion Sauce from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. It was a perfect combination.

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Close up – take a nice long peek!

black-bean-grillers-1

Black Bean Grillers, another test recipe. These burgers mix up quickly and keep their shape when grilling and eating. They are loaded with protein so you may need to hide in a corner as digestion comes to a close… The recipe makes six hearty burgers and they freeze well. They are supposed to be topped with BBQ sauce, but I was out of that beloved condiment. What?! 

pear-roll-ups1

Off the test recipes and onto crafty creations with the food dehydrator: homemade pear roll-ups!!! These are simply a mixture of chopped pears (peeled), agave nectar, cinnamon, and a squeeze of lime juice pureed in the food processor. The puree is then spread on a special sheet and placed in a food dehydrator. In about six hours, you have pear roll-ups!! We made some with kiwis too, but they were a bit tart. I am tip-toe excited for fruit picking season in Oregon because I am going to be making loads and loads of dried fruits, roll-ups and snacks. I imagine dropping hand-picked dried strawberries into granola…

cauliflower-alfredo-pasta1

Cauliflower-based alfredo sauce over whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli and spinach. The sauce recipe is here. I have made this many times and I love the versatility. You can add whatever veggies you want, use whatever pasta you want, and it still tastes yummy. I think it would be nice drizzled over baked potatoes. Next time perhaps!

veganzola-balls-1

Walnut and Currant Veganzola Balls - one more test recipe! The combination of ingredients in this recipe provides lovely textures, sweetness, smokiness, and savoryness (it’s not a word, but it ought to be). I have eaten bits of these balls spread on crackers, crumbled over salad, and in sammies. They are huge (think baseball size) and fun to shape. I think these would be great for a potluck or fancy gathering.

curry-master

Here is Tim making curry on a recent snowshoeing trip! Well actually, it’s leftover curry being reheated, but it doesn’t matter! This was such a warming lunch, especially when it started snowing as soon as we sat down.

curry-master-22

Close-up.

naughty-amaryllis

And lastly, a beautiful Amaryllis bloom! My sister gave Tim and I an Amaryllis bulb for Christmas and we nurtured it with lots of love. The blooms have since withered. Do you see all that pretty yellow pollen settled on the petals? It gave me allergies! I have never had allergies before. In fact, I used to tease Tim during his worst allergy episodes. Now, I have them too, since February! It was always my understanding that you were born with allergies, but that is not the case I guess. My sneezes are so frightening they literally lift my feet off the ground. Sigh… I acquired these allergies right after my 32nd birthday – just goes to show old age and Amy don’t mix so nicely…