Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zwetschgenkuchen {Italian Plum Tart}, Ratatoullie, Children's Museum, and Farmer's Market

this is how we spent our last Wednesday of the 2012 summer break.  Yes, the title is in reverse order :)
I know, it is summer and we love to spend time outdoors however the first words out of Mia Rosies mouth in the morning were "Mama can we gehen zu the Kindermuseum heute?" {in perfect "Genglish" translation:  Mama can we go to the Children's Museum today?}.  So how, could I resist!

We packed it all into one day and met Ron for lunch on the Farmer's Market before heading to the Portland Children's Museum.  Both girlies had their - usual - sausage for lunch.  I did not buy any of the beautiful produce as we just had our CSA share delivered on Tuesday.  But take a look at this beautiful produce - and yes, the produce I have/had at home was just as gorgeous :)

Portland Farmer's Market - August 29th, 2012

Here we are at our next stop, the Portland Children's Museum...

Yes, the girls did paint their faces with white face paint 

Back home it was time - very late start if I may add :) - to think about dinner.  We received Italian Plums with this week's produce.  Those the kind of plums I grew up with in Germany.  They are tart, yet sweet and absolutely delicious. Oh, and how I miss "Zwetschgenkuchen" - it is always one of my favorites when back in Germany.   In any case, I first started on the cake which had to go in the oven before making dinner. Please read on, for the pictures and recipe :)

Ratatouille - Zucchini, eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes

For dinner, the produce was transformed into wonderful, summery, baked ratatouille served alongside with creamy, comforting polenta.  Yes, I know we just had baked ratatouille a couple of weeks ago but summer is almost over and I only make it when tomatoes are at their peak :)

Zwetschgenkuchen {Italian Plum Tart}

Zwetschgenkuchen {Italian Plum Tart}
For the dough
- 2 C of flour
- 2 teaspoons Backing Powder
- 1/2 C of sugar, plus 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 1/3 plus 1 T of stick of Earth Balance Margarine {50 gram)
- 3-4 Tbl Almond or Soy Milk
1. Mix in a bowl and knead - by hand - until it turns into a dough
2. Smooth dough into a baking pan {I used my hands as it is a little tricky to work with}
- a little over 2 lbs {1 kg} of Italian Plums, cleaned and "butterflied" {pit taken out}
- 1 Tbl sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
3. Arrange the plums on the dough
4. Sprinkle sugar/cinamon mixture over the plums
- 1 C of flour
- 1 egg
- 1 packet of vanilla sugar
- 1/2 C of sugar and {optional} 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Rest of stick of Earth Balance Margarine (dough) {70 gram}
5. Mix in a bowl - by hand.  It will be very crumbly
6. Pour the Streusel over the plums

Bake in preheated oven at 360F for about 55 minutes

NOTE:  If you are not eliminating dairy, use butter instead of vegan butter

Serve with either vegan whipped cream, dairy whipped cream, or any type {vegan/dairy} of vanilla ice cream!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taco Tuesday

made everyone happy :) It really did.  Ron was happy because it was beef, both girls were happy because the lazy Susan came out and they got to assemble their food, and I was happy because it is such an easy dinner.  Oh, and yes I did have a meeting to go to tonight so easy as well as ease were on the top of my list :)  A great day to have taco's....

Very boring tacos with ground beef, and taco seasoning.  Yes, you can call this a cheater's cooking...refried beans - no, not homemade , chopped fresh tomatoes and onions - yes, chopped by me,   Tofutti {vegan} sour cream and homemade Guacamole.

2 ripe avocados
2 cloves of garlic, minced, or pressed
juice from one lime
1-2 chopped tomatoes
salt, pepper to taste

1. Cut avocados, and scoop them into a bowl.  Smash them with a fork
2. Add garlic, and lime.  Blend well {I just use a fork}
3. Add tomatoes and blend again
4. Add salt and pepper to taste

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lauchkuchen {Leak Tart} for dinner...

remember our produce share from last week? Well, we still had some leaks left over and I just love leak.  One of my favorite things to make with leak is "Lauchkuchen" {Leak Tart}.  I made it with Emmenthaler, but you can leave it out and use bacon instead, or leave out both.  Personally, I think it is best with Emmenthaler as it adds just the right amount of extra flavor to the tart :)

Today's picture is not as good as previous ones, but here it is and the link to the recipe {my post} is here ->

Copyright galactopdx 2012

Almost last hooray for the 2012 summer

by spending the afternoon at Jamison Fountain in downtown Portland.  This was only our third visit to the fountain this summer.  Both girls wanted to one more time this summer.  It is something I could not say "no" to.  Truth be said so, that to me it is a little strange to go "swimming' in a fountain but what do I know, right?!  The girls have lots of fun, so that is really what matters most.   Today I brought along a picnic of lactose free salami, crackers, and plenty of watermelon to cool down with...

Can you find the girlies?

Mia Rosie running back...

Alena enjoying watermelon



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Homemade Gnocchi and Pesto with salad

was our Sunday dinner.  We spent the day to the park at the Portland Sunday Parkway.  A fun event, where the streets are closed to cars.  Only bikers and pedestrians are allowed - this weekend was the Southeast Portland Sunday Parkway and it was actually a total of 9 miles.  No, we did not walk the entire 9 miles but probably close to 4 miles.  Not too shabby for a little urban hike to the playground.   Anyways, you want to read about our dinner, right?  Remember the produce I received last week?  Well, we still had plenty of potatoes left.  Perfect night for Gnocchi with pesto.  We did have pesto, as I made it {walnut} a couple of weeks ago and froze in an heart-shaped ice cube tray.  The pesto looks so cute :) - three hearts, defrosted it slowly and added some parmesiano regiano to it. It was ready by the time,  the gnocchi came out of the water...Oh, and here is the link to the post with my recipe for the gnocchi ->  It is comfort food!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Farm fresh green beans & tofu with jasmine rice, and mixed salad

was our Saturday night dinner.  One of our neighbors runs an urban farm, and last week I received the first share {I know it is late in the summer to join}.  We had plenty of fresh green and purple beans left as well as tomatoes and a beautiful head of lettuce.  I also found a package of tofu in my fridge, in addition to onions, garlic, and some unsalted peanuts.  Perfect to try out tofu with green beans.  I actually had planned to make this meal for Friday dinner, as Ron was running the Hood-to-Coast race and did not get back home until late this afternoon...In any case, it was a perfect dinner on this Saturday night with jasmine rice.  An addition of fresh ginger would have been great, but oh well - next time :)

Green Beans with Tofu
1 Package of firm tofu pressed
1 onion chopped
1 large clove of garlic chopped
app. 1"grated ginger
2 Tbs      teriyaki sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp  garlic-chili sauce
2-2 Tbs    roasted sesame oil
1 -1- 1/2 C fresh green beans, cut into 1" pieces and cleaned
1/4-1/2  C unsalted peanuts
Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce to taste

1. Marinate tofu with 2 Tbs teriyaki sauce
2. Bring water to a boil in a pot - when boiling add green beans and blanche. After two minutes
    drain the beans, and cool them off under cold water.  Be sure that they are cool
3. Heat sesame oil in a pan, or wok {I use my cast iron pan}
4. When hot, add onion, garlic, and ginger (if using).  Be careful not to burn them - while they are on
    the stove,
5. Cut tofu into bite size pieces, and add - together with the marinate - to the pan once the onion is
    fragrant and soft.
6. Fry until tofu turns a little brown.  Add beans, peanuts as well as garlic-chili sauce, soy, and teriyaki
    sauce.  Cover for a couple of minutes.
7. Check and stir frequently. It is done when beans are bright green, and "softness" is according to your
    taste.  Adjust soy, and teriyaki sauce to taste.
8. Serve over a bed of jasmine rice.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Outdoor summer fun...

is spending time outdoors.  Today I am participating again in Kate's "Fun Fridays" Blog Party and the topic is "favorite sumer outing".

Well, for us I cannot limit what our one most favorite summer outing is. All of us love to be outdoors
Hiking in the Columbia Gorge

and I really cannot limit it to one single activity.
Urban Hike
We actually love to be outdoors year round, regardless of weather and where ever we are :)
Sightseeing in Nuremberg

Swimming at the Lake of Constance

 When we are here in Oregon Camping is usually one of the highlights of our summer, this one thing that we did not do a lot of this summer.  Besides that we love to go to the beach - the Oregon Coast is just a little over an hour away -
Fun at the Oregon Coast

 go up to the mountain, go on hikes,
Mini hike on Larch Mountain

go swimming,
Swimming at the pool in Portland

 but it also includes trips to the Oregon Zoo,
At the Oregon Zoo

 trips to downtown Portland,
Downtown Portland

and - course how could I forget - plenty of trips to the playground....
On the playground

I just love summer :)  How about you?  If you are here from Kate's Blog I say a special "Thank you for visiting" and I hope to see you again :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Camp "Mama"

is how we are spending this summer.  The girlies get to enjoy a little OPB in the morning {I am usually a true TV stickler} while I try to catch up a little on my work.  Then breakfast where we kind of, sort of plan the day.

Today, we went downtown to the Farmer's Market - okay, first we stopped at my office - had lunch, and devoured a pint of Oregon blackberries for dessert.

Then we took a walk through downtown {I had to give a little talk},

made another stop at my office

 and headed to the playground.  The girlies got to play and made a friend.  I just love watching their imaginary play :) - Our next stop were the food carts on Belmont for an ice cream treat {Fifty Licks}  - they have two Galactosemia safe flavors, Passionfruit Sorbet {Mia Rosie's favorite} and Coconut Lemon Saffron Sorbet {Alena's favorite} oh, and I think both are amazing :)

          Sorry, the picture did not turn out, but look at this hula hooping girl :)

Next a stop today was at the post office, then the store and we headed home.  Both girlies enjoyed some more outdoor playtime, and another 30 minutes of OPB - who-hoo  I know it is not as exciting as circus camp, but it gives us time to spend plenty of time together....

Baked Coho Salmon on bed of sauteed corn and green bean succotash...

along oven roasted purple potatoes was our Wednesday dinner.

One of our neighbors runs an urban farm, and is selling produce on the farmers market.  She has just started to sell shares to us neighbors, and this was the first week where we received beautiful corn, fresh onions, delicious green beans, potatoes and more.  The vegetables are 100% organic, and can just not be any more local - you know in Portland, we like to have local food ;).   I could not come up with any great idea myself, so I started to search the internet.  I found a recipe for "sauteed corn and green bean sccotash" - it sounded perfect.  My picture does not look as fantastic as the one in the photo with the recipe - it was good so ;).  Instead of the butter I used Earth Balance, I added a tomato as well as a summer squash to the veggies and left out the parsley as I had none.  It turned out great, and just demands to be served along side a fish.

Coho Salmon was on sale today, and I just could not pass it up.  I generally prefer Sockeye Salmon, but the sale was too good.  I seasoned the salmon with my all favorite salmon rub and baked it for 20 minutes.  I am happy to report dinner success in our little house in Portland...Oh, and those are purple potatoes. They looked a lot better in - as the girlies would say - "real life"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rigatoni in Chorizo & Tomato Sauce {Macaroni en Salsa de Tomate con Chorizo}

was our dinner on this Monday night.  Last night we had Paella and I bought a package of Spanish Chorizo {please read label carefully to make sure it is "safe"}.  It comes in a double pack, so there was another pack left over  This was the first time I had bought Chorizo and I was at a loss what to make.  Time for an internet search and I found a recipe for Pasta in Chorizo & Tomato Sauce.  It read like an easy meal to make, plus all of the ingredients were at home.  Whoo-hoo for that :)  - Well, I used Rigatoni - a full pound/full box - and the tomatoes I used were diced, and 28 oz.  I also cut the chorizo much thinner - it turned out delicious. Even the girlies ate the pasta with sauce.

Oh, it was salad for a side. No, not my usual mixed greens, but escarole with a surprise ingredient.   I made a dressing with finely chopped 1/2 onion, extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt, paper, and a hint of paprika.  My surprise ingredient was one donut nectarine, and one donut peach.  It was perfect...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mixed Paella

was our dinner tonight.  You probably do not know this, but my husband loves Paella.  Every so often, for special occasions, he would at a lovely near our house.  The sad news this restaurants - it was our favorite - closed their doors. So, there was no Paella for Ron on his birthday...

Now I have to admit, that I also like Paella so today I decided to make it.  Honestly, it was completely out of my comfort zone. You know, a German making any case I found this (please click on link)  recipe for Seafood Paella , stopped at New Seasons Market for chorizo {the imported kind is 100% Galactosemia safe - read the label}, fresh Washington manila clams, and shrimp.  I used my all time favorite chicken broth {not the low sodium}, and instead of a red pepper I had a green pepper.
It turned out great! - Ron was happy, Mia Rose was happy with the chorizo, and Alena was happy with the clams as well as the chorizo.  Yay - happiness for a great Sunday dinner!

Copyright galactopdx 2012

Blueberry picking fun

You know that the middle of August has atrrived in Portland when the grass turns brown {yes, it is true it does not rain all the time in Portland -  psssst please do not share our secret :)}, and it is time to go blueberry picking.  All of us just love Oregon blueberries and we pick enough to last us way into the winter.  We usually head over to Sauvie Island, but this year we were ready to give a different location a try.  I get email notifications from Tri-County Farm about various farms in the greater Portland area with produce. The email mentioned Klock Farms in Corbett. Corbett is a town on the way to the Columbia River Gorge. It actually lies above it, and also above Portland. It is a scenic drive, and closer to our house than Sauvie Island.

The blueberry picking was fantastic.  We got assigned a row for picking  and had 14 lbs.of sweet, juicy blueberries  in less than an hour.  

This is a fantastic farm to pick as there are also picnic benches in the shade. Perfect for an outdoor lunch! Take a look...

The farm is located on the way up to Larch Mountain.  I have known about it for a long time but - this is so hard to believe - have never made it up there. For some reason we always forgot about it. Not so yesterday, worth it. Yes, it be even better to come up and be prepared for a hike and not just for the short stroll to the viewing site. Well, we were so unprepared - in our flip flops - for a hike so all we could do was go on the brief walk to take in the view. It was beautiful - even so brief, but still enough to fill our lungs with  mountain air, and minds with the calmness of the woods.

View from Larch Mountain

Next time we will be better prepared and hike before we pick our blueberries :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gazpacho Andaluz on a hot Friday night

It was really hot yesterday in Portland with close to 100F.  Not our usual temperature in the summer, but we get a couple of hot spurts every year.  Temperatures otherwise are very moderate so we do not have Air Conditioning.  So on a hot day, we just go with it.  Close the curtains, doors to keep out the heat, go in the basement to cool off and cooking, well yesterday it was just too hot for that....So what to  make for dinner?  Too hot for cold cuts - Vesper -,  that is were the Gazpacho entered the stage :)

We stopped at New Seasons Market to pick up groceries, and find out the best way to make Gazpacho.  As always it was a success,  lovely Peggy hooked me up with her favorite recipe for "Gazpacho Andaluz".  Oh my, was it fantastic!  I added avocado slices to each bowl,  served it with Oregon Bay Shrimp and our favorite tortilla chips on the side.  Yummy, so easy, no cooking time, just perfect for a hot summer day.

I bought perfectly ripe, and juicy heirloom tomatoes which really brought in the taste of summer.

Gazpacho Andazluz  New Seasons Market, Hawthorne Branch
2 lbs. very ripe tomatoes, chopped - keep all of the juice
1 green pepper, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 red pepper, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cucumber peeled, and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 slices of bread - I used crusty French Batard
1/2 Cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
1 Cup ice water - I added ice cubes
Salt, and black pepper to taste

1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1 avocado sliced (optional)
Handfull of tortilla chips (optional)
Oregon Bay Shrimp (optional)

  • Add all ingredients - not the garnish - into a food processor and blend until well mixed.  Make sure it does not get too smooth.  Adjust salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar to taste
  •  Chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve with garnish on the side
Note:  I do not have a food processor, so I used my blender and made the Gazpacho in two batches.  It worked out well.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Almost back to school...

Two more weeks of summer bliss then we are also back to school here in Portland.  Today is a first for me as I am writing this post in participation of a Friday Fun Party hosted by Kate.  I recently found and followed Kate's Blog. This is the first time I am joining a blogger party.  In any case, the topic of today's fun party is back to school for kids with medical conditions.  In her post Kate writes about the preparations she made at her daughters - Lucy -  school to accommodate her when she is in school. Lucy is a cancer patient.  

You know, if you know me or my blog, that I do not think of our two girls as kids with special needs. Yes, they both have a rare metabolic disorder - Classic Galactosemia - which we manage solely through diet {which is why I talk so much about food :)}. But yes, at the beginning of each school year we have to prepare for school accordingly. This is our third year at this school, so the cafeteria cards of both girls clearly reflect that they do not get hot lunches. Then again, the girls know what and what not they can eat.  The office is aware, and they have a pictures of the girls up identifying them as kids with dietary issues.  
Alena and her Second grade teacher
Alena and her second grade teacher

MiaRose and her Kindergarten teacher
Mia Rose and her Kindergarten teacher

For the new school year, I am hoping that Mia Rose will get Alena's first grade teacher who is aware of their condition. The only other individuals  I will need to speak with are Alena's third grade teacher, and the school nurse. Well, assuming there will be a new school nurse. Alena is on an IEP, so a lot of information is contained on her plan.

Oh yes, and the most important thing to get will be.....yes, you got that one right, Popsicles to keep in the freezer at school, as well as other treats for the classroom should there be any unplanned parties.  One thing we might do this year - if the teachers and girls are up to it - prepare a little talk to the class and parents about Classic Galactosemia.  I feel that at times the girls are not invited to parties, or play dates because parents are afraid. So an explanation about the condition coupled with, no they will not fall into a coma, or metabolic shock and no - this sounds silly - it is not contagious may reduce the fear.  It should make school life easier. Well, I will keep you posted if we do it :)

One thing we have yet to get are medical bracelets. I really need to find a cute ones.  Any recommendations are highly appreciated :) Just in case - if something happens and neither of us parental units is available.

OK - now we are off to enjoy this super hot Portland day....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lazy summer day and BBQ dinner

We spent a lovely hot August day today in Camp Mama.  A few errands, and then we were off to downtown to have lunch at the Farmer's Market with Ron.  Sausages for the girlies, and vegetable pita's for the parental units.  For dessert we devoured two pints of deliciously sweet Oregon blueberries....

The afternoon we spent at a playground were the girlies practices their skills on the monkeybar's and twirlly slide.  So you know, dinner had to be easy, right?  Well, we left it up to Ron :)  On our way back home we stopped at New Season's Market on Hawthorne, got a couple of pork chops {three} and seasoned them with herbs.  At home, I took of the silks from the ears of corn and soaked them in cold water.  So all that was left to do was for Ron to get home to grill the pork chops and corn to perfection. The girlies and I hung out in the hammock {together with the cat - can you find him}

while Ron grilled the food to perfection.  20 minutes on the corn with the husks on, and 10 minutes each side - 20 minutes total - on the pork chops. It was perfect - we have definetively grown into a four ears of corn, and three pork chop family :)  Served with ajvar {I get mine at Trader Joe's} and a handfull of cherry tomatoes as well as a glass of rose {for the parental units} it was the perfect dinner on this hot day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oven Roasted Ratatouille with Polenta

Oh, the flavors of summer in the middle of August.  Ripe tomatoes, fresh zucchini, peppers, and basil...perfectly roasted. The flavors get sweet and blend together in this ratatouille recipe.  I love this recipe, because everything blends perfectly together and the ratatouille does not get soupy.  We love it topped on creamy, rich polenta.  This dish spells summertime :)
The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks "Simple Suppers" by Moosewood Restaurants.  The recipe it is vegan, but we like to top ours with Paremsiano Regiano {we have to make sure that the girls get their calcium}.  This recipe is as simple as it gets - all you need to do is roughly chop the vegetables.    

Roasted Ratatouille by Moosewood Restaurant in "Simple Suppers"
1 eggplant - peeled, cut into 1" pieces
3 onions - cut into chunks
6 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
2 peppers [I like red}
2 tomatoes
1-2 zucchinis {the recipe uses one - I like to use one green, and one yellow}
1/3 C Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper to taste
Basil - chopped about a handful or more

- Preheat oven to 450 F
- Toss chopped vegetables into a large bowl, and mix with olive oil as well as a teaspoon of salt
- Pour vegetable mixture into a baking pan; put into the preheated oven

- After 15 minutes turn the vegetables
- Bake for another 20 minutes, toss them around again and bake for another 5 - 10 minutes until done
- Toss it with the chopped fresh basil once it is out of the oven and a little cooled off
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Basic Polenta
One quart of chicken or vegetable broth {I use whatever is left in the cupboard :)} - total of 4 cups
1-1/2 Cups of Polenta (Corn Grits)
Paremsiano Regiano rind - Optional
1/2 C grated Parmesiano Regino - Optional
Salt to taste

1. Bring broth and rind of Parmesiano Reginao - if using - to a slow simmer
2. Slowly pour in polenta meal - while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon
3. Turn down heat - be careful not to burn yourself - and continue to stir the polenta until it has the
    desired consistency {it takes about 20 minutes or so}. Be sure to continue stirring to make sure that
    polenta does not get lumpy
4. Remove from heat and stir in - if using - the grated parmesiano regiano. [I think it gives it a great
    additional flavor and - of course - packs a lot of additional calcium for the girls}
5. Add salt to taste

To serve spoon Polenta onto a plate, top with roasted ratatouille and additional Parmesiano Regiano.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Asian inspired noodle soup...

with snap, and snow peas, red peppers, and chicken thigh was our Monday night dinner. Not sure if I will be able to recreate again - it will probably be a little different, but it turned out. It really was an experiment that turned out well :)

1. I first briefly roasted the chicken thighs in a different pan, and then skinned them. 2. I then put some peanut butter {please do not tell Alena} with garlic, ginger, curry, cayenne, and coriander in the stockpot. 3. Next I added the chicken thigs and once it was fragrant 4. added a can of - light - coconut milk, plus three cans of water. 5. Oh, I also added the juice of a lime, and in the end 6. added 1-1/2 tablespoons of Tom Yum paste {yes, I cheat :) }. 7.At the very end I added the vegetables, and vermicelli noodles. I served it with a wedge of lime, and topped with chopped cilantro and green onions.

Cooling off in the woods...

on a hot Portland summer day.  We love where we live - the ocean is just a little over an hour away, and within an hours drive we are also at the mountain {Mt. Hood that is}.  The girls went to a birthday party earlier in the day.  It was a pizza party.  I called ahead to the restaurant to make sure the dough, and it was :) So both enjoyed pizza at the party and then we went back home to pick-up Ron to take off for the mountain for the day.

Portland was nice and hot yesterday.  We left late, so Trillium Lake was too far and instead we went to the Wildwood Recreation Park.  It is close, but far enough to be emerged in nature.  There are trails, a river salmon viewing station {we saw coho fry, a couple of salamanders, crayfish in the water}, a perfect place to cool off in the Sandy river, plenty of picnic stations with grills,  and even - if mother natures playground is not enough - a big play structure, baseball field, volleyball field...It is a great place to spend the day

We first took the 1 mile walk along the Wetland Boardwalk trail,

and then followed the Cascade Streamwatch trail along to the river access to cool off.

And yes, mother natures playground was not enough for our children so we ended our visit at the large  family picnic area and the playground...


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