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!

Weekend Happenings

Tim and I enjoyed delicious food, lovely weather, and a fun adventure over the weekend. On Friday night, we strayed from our menu plan and opted for homemade pizza instead. The finished pie had a whole grain crust and was topped with cashew cheese, marinara sauce, chopped garlic, herbs, and kale crumbles. It was a bit puffier than our usual pizzas, so we had leftovers for Saturday lunch!For dessert, I made Lemon Zinger Squares! The recipe for these refreshing treats will be featured in my forthcoming cookzine. I think they might be one of my favorite creations to date. Tim ate most of them. These squares differ from regular cake because you can pick them up and eat them with your hands Рkind of like a brownie, but also very different from a brownie!On Saturday, Tim went kayaking, so I stayed home and worked on some miscellaneous projects. When dinner rolled around, I was too lazy to make much effort, but also quite hungry. My usual answer to the hungry/lazy dilemma is a meal-in-a-bowl. I love the ease and versatility. This particular bowl had quinoa, lightly steamed kale, roasted chickpeas, diced bell pepper, grated carrots, avocado, and a citrus tahini dressing. I also added some dried cranberries.On Sunday, Tim and I met a group of friends at Blossoming Lotus for brunch. These occasions are such a special treat since we rarely go out to eat. Tim had the Seitan Rancheros (his favorite) and I had the Pumpkin Battered French Toast (oh my, was this ever incredible!!).

After brunch, Tim and I drove about a half hour to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. We saw (and heard) a massive array of wildlife, including hawks, snakes, kingfishers, frogs, water bugs, rabbits, birds, ducks, cranes, and geese. I feel so comforted when I am surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Here is a sassy Spotted Towhee! Tim loves to record sounds, so if you are curious to hear this bird sing and chirp, listen to his recording here.We also saw a Song Sparrow:Along the hike, we enjoyed views across small lakes and plenty of flowers (and some pretty dandelions, which I guess are actually weeds?).

And then, we drove home and had more leftovers for dinner. It was a fulfilling weekend! Hope you all enjoyed your weekends too!

Northward to Seattle

Last weekend Tim and I visited our good friends in Seattle. We were treated to plenty of Mighty O Donuts, gorgeous weather, dinner at an amazing vegan restaurant, mini golf, homemade pizza and pancakes, and boxing battles on Nintendo Wii. That is a lot of fun to pack into one weekend!! Here are some photos of our adventures:

Thanks, Kim and Dave!

Stay tuned for tomorrow because I am posting a recipe for a fantastic sammie. You don’t want to miss it – promise!