Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lost Lake Resort Camping Trip {#gocamping} #oregon #getoutside #nature {#galactosemia #newbornscreening}

This my friends is our summer of camping and living outside.  You may remember that we got a new tent earlier this year and are truly enjoying it.  Never has camping been easier;  finally a tent that I can put up all by myself…

It has been very hot here in Portland and you know what we do to escape the heat?  We either drive out to the beach {= Pacific Ocean}, or we go up by the mountain {= Mount Hood} to one of the lakes to swim and camp.  This year we have already been to Trillium Lake but this was our first camping trip to Lost Lake {we have come up for the day before}.  A few things to know if you plan on camping at Lost Lake; get there early in the day to find a spot - there are also a few walk-in sites however all sites are first come first served.  Yes,  you cannot reserve a spot.  Try to come up during the week and stay a couple of nights.  It will be challenging to find a spot on a weekend - but you can always call the resort in the morning to find out how many camping spots are available…
P.S.: Can you see our tent right behind Alena & her friend...
We made the trip out to Lost Lake on a Wednesday morning together with our friend Kim and her 4 year old twins.  Kim has camped there many times before so she knew the perfect site for the six of us.  Luckily the site was empty when we arrived and we quickly pitched the tents.  Okay - I admit Kim helped me in putting up the tent…While we put up the tents the kids  explored the camp site, walked on the large log and later both of my kids read to Kim's children.

Dinner was amazing; Kim cooked for all of us take a look at this amazing looking plate…

The next day Kim rented a boat and took all the kids fishing; both Alena and Mia Rose loved it and cannot wait to get their own fishing poles. I think that will be the perfect activity for Ron with the girls because this girl is not much of a fisher…

Oh, I almost forgot there was ice "cream"; plenty of dairy free options for the girls leaving everyone happy :)

On Friday the girls and I hiked around Lost Lake which everyone enjoyed - yes, truly I kid you not neither of the ladies griped even so Mia Rose only found one newt ….

By the time we got back from our hike the other parental units had arrived from Portland….

We had one amazing time; these are little things which I never thought would be possible ten years ago when Alena was first diagnosed with Classic Galactosemia.  Our life is luxuriously ordinary and I never ever forget that newborn screening saved both of my children.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Almond Cashew Chicken for #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams

This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own 

Happy Sunday and welcome another fantastic #SundaySupper event.  This week's event is sponsored by American Family Insurance and I am very excited to be one of the Brand Advocates.  American Family Insurance is a champion of dreams and aims to inspire all of us to pursue our dreams. Learn more about the #ChooseDreams campaign  by following this hashtag and American Family Insurance on Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest.

American Family Insurance encourages everyone to follow their dreams by eating healthy and be active.  This week's #SundaySupper theme is Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle and our wonderful host is Denise of RunDMT. You may be wondering what does a Family Healthy Lifestyle mean; let me tell you what it means to me.  To me it means to spend quality time outside as a family, bring healthy snacks,  and eat home cooked meals together.   We are what you may call an outdoorsy type of family; we love to camp, visit lakes, rivers, beaches etc most of us like to hike but every so often our youngest is the squeaky wheel.  But you know we can generally find enough on the path to keep her interested.  At the beginning of the summer we went for a beautiful hike in the Columbia River Gorge.  Mia Rose was not so excited about hiking until we saw a deer eating her lunch…or we watch the clouds - is that the shape of a heart? - or we look for bugs, flowers, fairies, birds….You know, Ron's motto is you have to earn the day by spending time outside exercising and that is what we try to live by.

You can find great places to explore everywhere in the country; to find great outdoor spaces to explore check National Parks  or  find a state park in your area and go out hike.  Most parks have day use facilities so it is easy to pack a picnic and spend the day.  We often bring along our camping stove along with plates, water, and at least one quick item to cook after our hike.  ~  Now you do not have to miss out on spending time together with you family if you live in the city.  When we lived in Chicago Ron and I would take urban hikes to explore the city.  If your goal is to visit the zoo, park a little further away and take a walk through the neighborhood, or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier, or go explore a city park.  What are your tips to live a Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle?

Now what about dinner?  What about making a home cooked meal after spending all this time outdoors?  Advance preparation is the answer and one of my favorite delicious go-to dishes is Almond Cashew Chicken. The meat marinates while you are having fun outside and once you are back home all you need to do is put on the rice, and sauté the nuts, chicken, together with the vegetables. Yes,  it is that easy plus is is delicious.

Almond Cashew Chicken
  • 1-1/2 lb. chicken breast, diced
  •  3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 Tbs plum sauce
  • 1 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic chili paste
  • 1 Tbs reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 C Almonds, whole
  • 1/2 C Cashew
  • 1/4 C water or more as needed
  • 3-4 C broccoli or other seasonal vegetables i.e. snap peas, bok choy, etc.
  1. Make marinade by combining garlic and ginger with plum sauce, vinegar, oil, chili paste, and soy sauce.  Mix until well combined
  2. Place diced in a bowl and pour marinade over the chicken.  Make sure that the marinade covers all of the chicken, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least a couple of hours.
  3. Heat oil in a wok or cast iron pan; add nuts and toast them for about five minutes.
  4. Add chicken together with marinade and sauté until the chicken is cooked all the way through
  5. Place broccoli or other vegetables on top of the chicken along with about 1/4 C of water or more as needed.  Cover and leave on heat for about 3-5 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.
  6. Serve on a bed of rice.
Are you ready for more great recipes and tips how to live a Family Fit Lifestyle?  Be sure to check with all of the other fantastic contributors and follow the Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle #ChooseDreams Pinterest board.
Sunday Supper Movement

Get Up and Go Power Breakfasts
Salads and Healthy Snacks
Healthy Fit Lifestyle Dinners
Healthy Desserts

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trillium Lake Camping Trip {#gocamping} #oregon #getoutside #nature

I have some news to share with you.  Really are you ready for it?  Okay…we LOVE camping. Yes we do - we love spending quality family time together in the outdoors.  Now honestly this is not something I would have imagined myself saying  fifteen probably even eight years ago; but it is true we love it and that is all of us no exceptions.  Having a new tent that is easily pitched helped, having the right equipment and of course gorgeous nature has helped.  So far we have been on two camping trips.  The first one was to Memaloose State Park and a couple of weeks ago {I cannot believe how far behind I am blogging} we took our chances by driving up to Trillium Lake without a reservation.
Mt. Hood as seen from Trillium Lake {Oregon}
We lucked out; we asked the host and guess what she said?  I think spot 47 is still open…

It does not get much better than this.  Camping right at Trillium Lake with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood; we usually come up once a year during the summer for a day trip but staying over night was just amazing.  We hiked around the lake, the girls and Ron swam while I enjoyed reading my book.  Ron took a swim out to the middle of the lake every morning. One morning a bald eagle pulled out a fish just a couple feet away from him.  Yes, we saw at least a couple different bald eagles {majestic is the only word that comes to mind}, an osprey and lots of other birds.

Both girls - especially MiaRose - were excited about catching rough skinned newts to pet and release them right away. I think MiaRose could have spent all day catching them.  We stayed a couple of nights and it was just pure bliss.  On the culinary end,  we enjoyed pasta one night and baked beans with hot dogs grilled over the fire on a stick the other nights.  Not to forget, there were s'mores every night….

What are you up to this summer?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lemony Grilled Chicken {Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna} ~ #GreekSummer {It's All Greek To Me}

This post is part of Take a "trip" to Greece this summer with Debbie Matenopolous sponsored by Bella Books, Inc.
All opinions are my own - This post contains Amazon Affiliate links

I was so excited when It's All Greek To Me by Debbie Matenopoulos arrived at my doorstep earlier this month as Greek food is one of my favorite foods but I have never tried it at home.  Since Greek food is not found as easily in Portland as it is found in Germany it has been way too long.  So needless to say I was beyond happy to review a book on Greek cuisine.

What do you think of when you think of Greek food? Let me tell you what comes to my mind is fragrant, perfectly grilled meats with light sauces, rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemons, and of course olives as well as olive oil.  I think of Retsina, white houses, geraniums, blue skies, and blue water - something I remember from my one visit to the Greek island of Rhodes over 20 years ago.  So yes,  you can say that I had a lot of expectation for It's All Greek To Me; did it deliver?  Well, you can say so it exceeded my expectations…

From it's beautiful cover to its beautiful photos descriptive recipes and eloquent introductions to Greek food and culture cook book lives up fully to its expectation.  It  takes the reader on a virtual trip through Greece; the pictures along with the beautifully written introductions to each section of the book take the reader on a "trip" through Greece.  It certainly was the perfect medicine for this homesick European.

It contains useful cooking tips and a great glossary of The Greek Pantry explaining everything from bread crumbs to the vinegar used in Greek cuisine.  One point I particular liked was the special note on vegan "butter" and learning that some of the sweets can also be easily recreated by using it.  This is - as may come as no surprise to you - a big win for me.

The cookbook contains everything from Appetizers - Mezzethes to Main Dishes both vegetarian and meat based to Sweet Pastries - Glyka.  The recipes are beautifully written, easy to follow and the bulk of them are adaptable to a dairy free kitchen {triple yay for that}; I for one am super excited to learn there is a dairy free alternative to Tazatziki which Skorthalia pg. 81 let me tell you I had no idea….

The recipes both sounds amazing and intriguing; Horta - Dandelion Greens Salad, Pligouri Salata - Bulgur Wheat Salad, Domlmathes Gyalantzi - Stuffed Grape Leaves, Faki - Greek Lentil Soup, Tahinosoupa, Tahini Soup…so far a couple of recipes have been recreated in my kitchen but the list is super long; way too long to list here :)  So far we have enjoyed Aunt Aphfroditie's Beet and Apple  Salad page 108 which was just amazing {I used vegan sour cream instead to make it dairy free} and also Pilafi - Rice Pilaf with Carrots and Parsley page 230 along with Latholemono - Lemon-Olive Oil Dressing page75 and the most amazingly moist delicious Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna - Lemony Grilled Chicken.  Now, it is confession time once again…but I am usually not the biggest fan of white chicken meat as it tends to be too dry for me however this recipe?!  It is just amazing, moist, lemony and full of flavor.  Take a look

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Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna (leh-moh-NAH-tee KOH-tah stah KAR-voo-nah)
Lemony Grilled Chicken (page 201)

I have found that simple food with great flavor is often the most satisfying, healthy, and easy to prepare. This fast and fantastic chicken recipe is packed with flavor and can be doubled or tripled easily for a big crowd. Serve this chicken with Summer Peach Salsa for a great summer lunch or light dinner. You can make the salsa and start to marinate the chicken right before you leave for work in the morning. Then, when you come home, just toss the chicken on the grill, and you can have a healthy dinner on the table in about 20 minutes.

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about
2 lemons)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
5 scallions, soft green parts reserved, thinly sliced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups loosely packed mixed greens or baby spinach
1 recipe Summer Peach Salsa (page 83) or Latholemono (page 73)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and the white parts of the scallions. Set aside.

Rinse the chicken under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Put the chicken into a large Ziploc bag and pour in the lemon juice mixture. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal the bag, and shake to coat chicken in the marinade. Refrigerate on a large plate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Flip the bag over at least once so that the chicken marinates evenly.

Prepare a very hot grill or set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the grill or grill pan with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from the grill and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, evenly distribute the greens among 4 plates. Slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch diagonal slices and fan the slices over the greens. Spoon the Summer Peach Salsa or Latholemono over the top of the chicken. Garnish with the reserved green parts of the scallions. This chicken is also delicious served with Tzatziki (page 76).

Here is the nitty gritty brief review

It's All Greek to Me by Debbie Matenopoulos
Publisher BenBella Books, Inc., 2014
Hardcover, 303 pages ~ $29.95

Cuisine:                        Greek
Difficulty of recipes:    Mostly easy
Easily adaptable:          YES, the bulk of recipes can be adapted to a dairy free 
                                     and galactosemic diet
Pro:                              Great recipes for every day life that are easy to follow; the portions are
                                     generously calculated.  The pictures of Greece and the food photography
                                     a like are amazing.

You can connect with Debbie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Green Gazpacho {#vegan #dairyfree} for #SundaySupper

Happy Sunday!!!  Summer is finally here and we are just about to hit the summer heat next week.  What is summer without hot days and the days when you rather eat chilled food than hot food.  At least to me something is missing without those days.  The theme for this week's #SundaySupper is Summer Chillin' and Alayio of Prescetarian Journal is having all of us around her virtual dinner table.

I we love soup any time of year and cold soups are not refreshing but also so quick and easy to make.  So far Gurkenkaltschale {Cucumber Cold Bowl} with cucumber, dill, and "cream", Asparagus Gazpacho, or Gazpacho Andaluz have been on our table.  Now a Green Gazpacho has not yet been served…well, that is until today.

All you need to make this no-fuzz, no-cook soup is chilled ingredients and a blender.  Yes, that's it…super easy, right?

Green Gazpacho
  • 1 large cucumber app. {3/4 lb.}, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, well cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 1 green pepper, cleaned, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 - 1 full bunch of garlic scapes cut into pieces {depending on how much you like garlic - as alternative you can use 4-6 garlic cloves}
  • 1/2 C ice cubes
  • 1/3 C lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato cut into bite sized pieces for garnish
  1. Place all ingredients except salt and pepper into a blender;
  2. Turn blender to "chop" setting until all vegetables are all chopped up.
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste and set blender to "mix" setting.  Mix until everything is thoroughly mixed up.  Adjust spices as needed.
  4. Serve right away, or keep chilled in the fridge until you are ready to eat
  5. For serving top with tomato pieces.

Are you ready for more chilled dishes and drinks to beat the heat?!  Take a look what the other #SundaySupper contributors are bringing...

  Brisk Beverages Chilled Starters Snappy Salads and Sides Refreshing Main Dishes Cool Confections Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

German Cherry Cheesecake - Kirschkäsekuchen {#Dairyfree} & first 2014 camping trip at Memaloose Oregon State Park

What is going on?  It is finally summer when the living should be easy and time for leisure should be plenty.  This has been said many times by me, but really would someone please invent a device that transposes blog posts onto the screen for editing….

The 2013-14 school year is over and to celebrate we went camping the very first weekend.  We have a new tent and could not wait to get out and give it a try.  Let me tell you it was full success.  The weather was dry out at Memaloose State Park in the Columbia Gorge albeit super windy and making the kite- and windsurfers out on the Columbia River very happy.

Both girls loved riding their bikes throughout the campground - their favorite is to make  s'mores at the camp fire and play silly games.  We have somewhat of a routine when camping.  Ron makes delicious French Press coffee and breakfast then we head out for a daily adventure.  This trip we went on a couple of adventures.  The first day we drove up to Rowena Crest and hiked the Tom McCall Nature Preserve; windy but simply beautiful.  Now let me tell you something about our kids - we have one child that absolutely loves hiking but there is also a cute squeaky little wheel that is not the biggest fan.  Can you guess the hiking fan and the hiking foe?!  -  One thing that sure helped the hiking foe was that we observed a beautiful deer in the park eating her lunch and seeing the ponds on the plateau.  Take a look how beautiful this place is….

Now I know if you are here for the Kirschkäsekuchen you are asking yourself what on earth does any of this have to do with a cake?  Let me tell you,  cherries grow in abundance in the Columbia River Gorge and this is what we saw on our drive up to the nature preserve

How can anyone resist and not stop to buy at least a pound of cherries for each person? Well, I may have bought ten pounds something I shall call planning ahead :)  Back home, they were pitted, placed on cookie sheets in the freezer, then moved to freezer bags and I am happy to report that we now have lots of cherries.  We use them as ice cubs in water and lemonade, and in this German style Cherry Cheesecake…Since we are not going to Germany this summer, I have to bring Germany to us.  Käsekuchen is one of my favorites; dense, rich, full in flavor with little hints of lemon. Unlike the American Cheescake a German style Cheesecake is made with Quark. Neither of our girls have had Käsekuchen before so this was a challenge that I had planned to tackle for a long time.

Take a look…

What do you think?

German Cherry Cheescake {Kirschkäsekuchen}

  • 1-1/4 C flour
  •     1/4 C  Sugar
  •      1 tsp vanilla 
  •      pinch of salt
  •     1 egg yolk 
  •  1/2 C  Earth Balance or other vegan "butter"
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 pack soft silken tofu 
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • zest of 1/2 untreated lemon, grated
  • 1/4 C corn starch
  • 1-1/2 C fresh or frozen pitted cherries
  1. Combine all the dough ingredients and bring together until it forms into a smooth dough.  Roll out the dough on a floured work space.  Place it into a parchment lined spring form pan. 
  2. Place dough in spring form pan for about 30 minutes into a fridge
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F
  4. When the dough has chilled and the oven is preheated bake the dough for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, and turn down heat to 335 F
  6. Make the filling -
  7. Beat egg whites until they are firm.  Set aside
  8. Place tofu - drained as much as possible - into kitchen stand mixer. Beat until all lumps are worked out and it is smooth.
  9. Mix in sugar, lemon juice (add more to taste), egg yolks and corn starch.  
  10. Gently lift egg white under the filling
  11. Pour filing into pre baked crust.
  12. Place cherries on top of the filling and gently push them down
  13. Bake for about 60 minutes until golden
  14. Remove from the oven and let rest at a cool place for about 45 minutes before serving




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