Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh My Yum!

Before I started my dinner tonight I already knew it was going to be a winner. Sometimes you just know. I took a bunch of pictures because, I just knew. And sure enough, it was out of this world. I got the recipe from Busy Vegan Mama and since I had some spinach leftover from my CSA I thought it would be the perfect dinner for one of these nights right before Xmas and end of the year when I am so uber busy. Without further ado, I give you:

Spinach Pesto Pasta
Sorry for the super up close picture. I have yet to master taking pictures of certain things. Bowls of food being one of them. But don't let that detract from the beauty of this bowl. I followed Sara's recipe to a T except for adding a few extra vegetables to my pasta so check out her site if you'd like to get yourself over to her site and try it out for yourself.
Pine Nuts
Chili Flakes
Olive Oil
Stir & keep blending
Add pasta to boiling water per package directions. About 3 minutes until the end, add all veggies except tomatoes. I used zucchini, green beans and red pepper. Add tomatoes when there is only one minute left on the pasta. Seriously, they only need a minute.
Toss together gently and try to master the art of taking a picture while simultaneously blowing steam away from the camera.
Go back for seconds.

Seriously, if it hadn't been for trying to take some artistic photos and posing my ingredients, this dinner would have taken me 15 minutes to make and that includes boiling the water and cooking the pasta. It helps that somehow I managed to buy whole wheat pasta that only took 4 minutes to cook. Ok, but really, go make this. Right now. You are only 15 minutes away from a delicious dinner.

Now I'm off to wrap presents!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Portland: Friday

My entire life I have dreamed about moving to Oregon. I think it's the blackberries. Or maybe the creeks. All I know is that every summer my family used to travel from San Diego by car to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Oregon and ever since then, I have dreamed of living there. If you'd asked me what stopped me from going there for college I wouldn't have an exact answer for you. If you asked why I didn't go after college I'd say a number of reasons. I have recently gotten to a point in my life where I feel that the time might be right. And by that of course I mean probably 3 more scouting trips over the next 1-3 years before making any actual plans. Personally, I could probably up and move tomorrow but my boyfriend is not so quick to upend his entire life. That's ok though, I have patience (sometimes). This first scouting trip to my hopefully someday future home town was taken not with said boyfriend but instead with my Mom. My mom is anything but vegan, and in fact made her living as a manager of meat departments all across San Diego Vons stores but she hardly complained at all that in 4 days we went to only one restaurant where she ate meat. She did however want it noted that we did not encounter one vegan restaurant that served Diet Coke. This post is not planned to be super in depth as it is the weekend before Xmas and I still don't even have my decorations up from the garage, I have biscotti to make for a gift and a gift or two to try to track down but I wanted to share with you all the amazing things I saw.

We flew into Portland at 9:40 on Thursday night. We had rented a car and our hotel was the Phoenix Inn in Beaverton. I would have liked to have stayed a little closer to Portland and I would love on my next trip to try and take the public transportation for most of the trip, but this worked well for my mom and I. The main things on my scouting list were:

Grocery Stores
Comic Shops
Farmer's Markets
Saturday Market
24 Hour Fitness
Places to Hike
Resale Stores (Clothes, Furniture, Cookware, etc)
Getting a feel for which part of town I would look on Craigslist for a house

We succeeded on all fronts. Except maybe the comic shop, but I will get to that. The car we rented was a Chevy Aleo, which I had never heard of. Turned out to be a totally cute car that got about 25 miles to the gallon driving all around Portland.

Friday morning we woke up bright and early and headed out to explore. First on my list was the People's Co-Op not to be confused with the OB People's Food which is also a Co-Op.

Ever since I heard about this place at Bonzai Aprodite I couldn't wait to check it out. As a result of this being the first place we visited, it became my main point of reference. We used my mom's GPS and had plotted out a list of places to check out before we left. Let me tell you, a printed map with everything roughly plotted goes a long way towards understanding the roads you are driving. I loved the GPS but it was difficult to get a feel for the streets. We drove all over the city that first day, back and forth. I think we crossed the Willamette about 6 times, each time across a different bridge.

At the Co-Op we got lunch (we had eaten breakfast at the hotel. Not so great but not the worst.). I went a little crazy and bought some Gingerbread beer that sounded delicious and festive along with some Theo chocolate bars that I had just seen Hungry Hungry Hippie talking about and my favorite eat of the entire trip:

Vanilla Creme with Karmal & Chocolate. Oh my god. Coconut, cashews, cocoa, maple, maca, mesquite, lucuma, vanilla, salt, soy lecithin. Vegan, raw, local and oh so decadent. We went back right before we went to the airport so I could get one for the plane, but they were out. And I was sad. In case you have delusions that this is all I would eat for lunch you are oh so wrong. I had a raw mock tuna salad wrapped in chard. It was decent but not the best thing ever.

Friday we also went to:

Excalibur Books & Comis (ok)
Gilded Closet (ok)
Seams to Fit (really expensive and not my style but very nice)
Village Merchants (freakin awesome shop!)
Vintage Pink (not on my list but I am soooo in love with this shop)

In fact, I found this coffee table there that I really want to find someone to recreate for me. It had the perfect size display coves for comics.

In our search for one place (and due to our GPS's lack of knowledge that Burnside St and Sandy Blvd become one way at one point) we got turned around and ended up at Voodoo Donuts. I had written their downtown location on my list and then crossed it off. I had heard that they had vegan donuts but that the lines were long. I figured we would be going to enough vegan restaurants and bakeries that I wouldn't need an extra donut. Who am I to argue with fate when we stumbled upon a second location so easily? Besides, who doesn't love a maple bar?

This is not a maple bar but is instead, a voodoo donut. It is shaped like a person (sort of) and then it has a pretzel stick stuck in it like a pin. The kicker?
It's filled with "blood". Mmm vegan blood. That makes me smile. We may or may not have hit this place up before the airport to take home some vegan donuts.

The other comic shop we visited on Friday (please note, this is all still the first day there) was Bridge City Comics. I liked this store quite a lot. It was well stocked and well set up. It was a little more north than I would have loved, but travel for good comics is not the end of the world. Oddly, I happened upon one other comic shop on our way to the airport that had not been on my list. It is called Future Dreams and it was in the basement of a building that looked to be making furniture. I only got a chance to glance inside but we will definitely be checking out these two locations when we come back. One of the reasons that we feel Portland is the right sort of city for us is that my boyfriend is working towards being a comic book writer and Portland seems to be the west coast comic creator central. Comics are quite an integral part of our lives.

So day one, as it started to get dark, we were debating what else to do. I didn't want to go back to the hotel but we weren't quite hungry enough for dinner. We ended up at one of the resale clothes shops (I can't remember if it was even on my list or which one it was) and decided to go across the street to this little bar and get a drink. I got this oh so yummy cocktail of vodka infused with strawberries (made by the bar) mixed with soda water and lemonade. It was delish! 
Afterward, we went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. I ordered a mostly mediocre stir fry with tofu and my mom got a curry bowl. We took the leftovers home in the tupperware that I had brought my plane food in. (Just a note, tupperware is great for saving the throw away to go containers, but make a note to get a hotel with a real sink rather than just a bathroom sink. It was a pain washing them and I think I may have clogged the sink a bit). Finally we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

And with that, I think I may have to extend this trip into more than one post if I hope to get everything done today that I need to. Please join me again next time for Portland: Saturday.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Insane Goal for the Morning


Ultimate Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

1/2 dozen baked, 1.5 dozen frozen

Salt Kissed Chunky Peanut Butter Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 dozen baked, 1/2 dozen frozen

Pumpkin Pie Banana Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

1 dozen baked, 1.5 dozen frozen

Vegan Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies x 3

6 dozen baked, 1/2 dozen frozen

Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 dozen baked, 1 dozen frozen

Added bonus:

Pumpkin Ginger Snaps (cause I didn't have enough on my plate)

Chilling in the fridge to be rolled out and frozen. 2 dozen.

Morning success!

Going to a cookie party tomorrow at noon. Bringing 6 dozen of the peppermint cookies but I also wanted to make chocolate chip for my boyfriend. I couldn't decide between the two so I am making both. I have an over ripe banana on hand and some pumpkin thus the pumpkin pie banana chunk and the oatmeal raisin sounded so healthy and yummy to take on my upcoming trip. Thus, 5 types of cookies; 7 batches in total, before noon tomorrow so I still have time to go pick up my CSA. Can I do it? I think so. Luckily I will be freezing a good portion of them without baking so that cuts down on my time. Now if I could just find a sous chef. Or at least a dish washer.

Oh, and my upcoming trip? To the vegan mecca? That's right! Portland, Oregon! I am so excited. I leave on Thursday night and am there through Monday afternoon. Anyone have any tips or suggestions for while I am there?