Thursday, June 11, 2015

Maryhill Winery, Museum, & Stonehenge #Washington {#travel} Columbia River Gorge

Camping or travel in the Pacific Northwest is so rewarding - from the great outdoors with fantastic hikes, climbs,  surfing and more to wine tasting, fine art and  - gasp - Stonhenge.  Yes,  you read that correctly…no joke.

You may remember that our first tenting trip of 2015 too us yet again to Memaloose Oregon State Park in the Columbia River Gorge; it usually is always a nice hike however my foot has been bugging me so since that was out of the question why not sightsee…

I have heard many things about a supposed replica of Stonehenge in the Columbia River Gorge so this was the perfect opportunity since we were pretty much already half way there {from Portland that is}.  We crossed the Columbia in The Dalles and from it there it was less than an hour to reach Maryhill Winery - our first stop. I honestly did not know what to expect.  Yes,  we have been wine tasting in Willamette Valley but never before in the Columbia River Gorge.  Oh my what have we missed…

Maryhill Winery has a very nicely appointed large tasting room, the most amazing place however is the patio.  There is a lovely, large patio with stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge, and Mount Hood.  You could bring along a picnic {saw many people with that thought} order a bottle of wine and enjoy a lovely afternoon on the patio.  Now let me also say,  that the wine was quite delicious and we may have added a few bottles to our collection :)

Next stop - Stonehenge; now let me preface by telling you that we {as in Ron & I pre-kids} have been to actual Stonehenge.  Stonehenge that is surrounded by green and seeing a fully intact replica in a dessert environment was - how can I say this correctly - a little surreal, but at the same time super cool.  Samuel Hill built the replica of Stonehenge as a memorial for those fallen in World War I.

Our last stop was the Maryhill Museum of Art - let me admit that I did not have high expectation but was I wrong; we were blown away.  Starting out with the amazing collection of pieces and drawings by Auguste Rodin to the amazing collection of American Indian Artifacts to the Théâtre de la Mode; oh and did I mention the girls favorite which which is collection of royal memorabilia from Queen Marie of Romania.

We stopped at the museum cafe for lunch and it was delicious; not only were they able to cater to our kids but the food was yummy.  Ron and I shared a salad with local smoked salmon….

Good to know if you go
- Maryhill is about 90 miles or about 2 hours drive from Portland
- the weather is quite a bit warmer
- there are several vineyards along the route so be sure to have a dedicated driver
- pack a picnic and stop at Maryhill Winery
- have fun

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Camping in the Columbia River Gorge at Memaloose {#Travel #Oregon #GoCamping #Food Family #Fun}

How can it be that it is already June 10th - another few posts are still locked up in my head and there has been zero output on this blog lately.  Yes, shame of me…time keeps just on rolling by…so now no more fretting from me…

Summer is here meaning the tent camping season is now fully open {for us} -  we kicked off the season with a two night stay at Memaloose Oregon State Park; actually the same campground we kicked the season off for a few years now.  Memaloose State Park is in the Columbia River Gorge just past Mosier and few miles west of The Dalles; this is the place - at least we think so - where the lush green changes over to a more desert feel.  The mighty Columbia is just below the campground and Rowena Crest rises high above;  Memaloose is located where the gorge is super narrow.  The train line is below the campground separating the river from the park; I-84 runs right above campground and Rowena Crest towers above.  Yes,  it is loud - there is the highway, trains all times of day and night, and - since this is the Columbia River Gorge - one the premier wind/kite surfing places around the world super, duper windy.  WE - for some odd reason - love to kick off the season here.  It is always a lot warmer, and drier than Portland plus there is a lot to do.

We love hiking up Rowena Crest, or the Tom McCall Preserve but since I hurt my foot {hello Plantar Faciatis} a hike was not in the cards.  Let's just say that MiaRose was slightly excited about that fact.  Instead of the hike we headed to the Washington side in the gorge, tasted some wine,  went to an awesome museum and visited Stonehenge.  More about that tomorrow, or soon thereafter...
Roasted Marshmallows and s'mores by the campfire

Other things to do include biking, wind/kite surfing, hiking, more wine tasting, visit the the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, taste fantastic beers at Full Sail and/or Double Mountain in Hood River…

Oh yes and finally figured out how to improve our camping fare; parboil.  I obviously did not invent the idea but how on earth did it take me so long to think of it?  We finally had great food - perfectly roasted corn on the cobb {parboiled at home before packing} plus potatoes, bacon, and eggs for breakfast - I parboiled the potatoes and they came out fantastic….

Good to know before you camp at Memaloose

  • It is loud - there is no way of sugar coating it; trains run throughout the night, and so does the traffic on the highway
  • It is windy and the wind can be really gusty; so if you are tenting be prepared to anchor it down
  • It is dry and hot
  • and yes,  despite it all we love it , but it is not for everyone - so if you are looking for a quaint spot to camp this is not it…
  • Great Junior Ranger program in the summer

Friday, May 15, 2015

Almond Crunch Rhubarb Kuchen {cake #dairyfree #recipe Rhabarberkuchen}

I love spring - well, guess I say that about every season - and I love rhubarb since tart and bitter are my flavors.  Yes,  I am a tart and bitter woman :)  Strawberries are of course a perfect company for rhubarb however I prefer rhubarb all by itself.  It takes me back to my childhood.  My grandparents had a - seemingly at the time - huge yard growing everything from Stachelberen {goose berries}, Johannisbeeren (red and black currents) to vegetables and Rhabarber {rhubarb}. When rhubarb was in season it was often rhubarb compote for dessert, Rhabarberkuchen is served in Cafe's and bakeries everywhere around.  Topped with meringue or with marzipan or glazed…so yes,  I love Rhabarberkuchen.

Rhubarb has finally arrived at our stores. We already had a rhubarb-strawberry compete with ice "cream" for dessert and finally the first Rhabarberkuchen of the year.  My usual go-to recipe is Rhubarb Meringue but sometimes there is just not enough time to make it….So instead it was this easy and quick  cake….which shall be named Almond Crunch Rhubarb Kuchen.  It comes together super easy, really delicious and you can always add a little more rhubarb than I did.

Almond Crunch Rhubarb Kuchen
  • 1-1/4 C flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3  C corn starch
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 5 TB Earth Balance {or your favorite "butter} - softened cut into pieces
  • 1/2 C plain almond milk {your favorite type of "milk"}
  • 2  egg
  • 1     tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 C cleaned, chopped rhubarb cut into about 1/2" pieces
      For Almond Crunch topping
  • 2/3 C ground almonds
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C flour
  •    4 TB Earth Balance {or your favorite "butter"}
        ***Preheat oven to 360 F***
  1. In a stand mixer gently combine flour, baking powder, corn starch, and sugar
  2. Add "butter", "milk",  eggs and combine into a smooth batter.
  3. Add vanilla until it is worked well into the batter
  4. Mix rhubarb into the batter
  5. Pour batter into a prepared springform
  6. Combine ground almonds, sugar, flour, and "butter", until it becomes crumbly {I use my hands for this step) and it has the appearance of streusel.
  7. Top the batter with the streusel
  8. Bake for about 80 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup {#dairyfree #recipe}

Soup is on my mind - I must have told you that before a couple of times but we love soup. Soup to me is always comforting,  delicious, the perfect meal in one bowl plus it's the perfect lunch the next day.  The weather does not matter - every day is the perfect soup day, add some crusty bread, a hearty salad and it is a complete dinner…You know what else I love?  Lemon and pasta…lemon adding a fresh, tangy, crisp flavor to anything and pasta the prefect comfort food.  Now adding it all together is the perfect meal - not photogenic at all - but oh so tasty….

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 3/4 lb diced chicken, skin removed {I prefer dark meat}
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 TB dried Oregano
  • 1/3 C lemon juice
  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • 3 C water
  • 1 tsp lemon zest {use zest from organic lemon}
  • 1/2 C of dried orzo
  • 2 C frozen, defrosted or fresh spinach
  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot and when hot add
  2. onion and sauté until softened
  3. Add celery, garlic together with diced chicken.  Sauté until celery turns bright green in color.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and oregano; sauté for another couple of minutes until fragrant
  5. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, chicken broth, and water.  Bring to a low simmer, cover and leave on the stove for about 30-45 minutes for all of the flavors to combine.
  6. Increase heat and add dried orzo when the soup is bubbling, continue cooking until orzo is soft.
  7. Add spinach to soup, stir, cover and simmer for another five minutes.
  8. Adjust salt, pepper, lemon as needed.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Chicago with kids {#travel #family}

Ron and I moved from Chicago to Portland about thirteen years ago; for the longest time we have been talking how much fund it will be to go back with the girls, stay downtown, and be tourists in our old hometown.  In the past our big annual summer trip has been to go home {at least for me} to Europe, but since Europe will not be happening this summer we were finally made the trip back to Chicago.   Why did we wait so long?!

We left PDX at 12:40am getting into Minneapolis just before 6am getting us to Chicago O'Hare just around 8am; I know it does sound a little crazy to take the red-eye with kids but it was great.  It was the most economical flight option and two out of four slept all the way; while the other two may have enjoyed a rare treat of Coca-Cola.  Now do you care to guess who the two sleepers were?! 

Getting into O'Hare that early was great and getting downtown from O'Hare is super easy by taking the 'L' -  follow the signs for "CTA Trains" or "Trains to City"; 
we stayed at the downtown Hampton Inn & Suites on Illinois pretty much right off Michigan Avenue and it was fantastic.  Bright, clean, nice size rooms, comfy beds, a lovely swimming pool {key when traveling with our kids} plus continental breakfast.  In order to make our stay more economical we booked and prepaid the room.  Now let me say this - and no this is not a sponsored post - this hotel was absolutely perfect, we will definitively stay there again and I highly recommend it to all traveling to Chicago with kids.  True, it is not right on Michigan Avenue, or in the Loop but it is centrally located. Eataly is a couple of blocks away,  you can walk or take the bus to Navy Pier {just straight down Illinois}, and Michigan Avenue.  Our room was ready when we got there.  There is nothing like a shower, a quick rest to rejuvenate after the flight to get ready to explore.

I have to admit that there was one big thing making me uneasy was worrying about food options for the girls.  Yes…it is true but let me tell you not a reason to be worried; for lunch we went to Wishbone one of my all time favorites - it was burgers for the girls on dairy free buns {the regular buns contain dairy}. Breakfast was at the Corner Bakery, dinner at Ed Debevec's, dessert at  Eataly where there is plenty of Sorbetto {dairy free}, hot dogs at the Cub's game…plenty of dairy free / galactosemia friendly choices.  What did I worry about?!  The key - like always - is to ask, don't take "it probably has milk in it" for an answer but ask to read the labels…

We walked a lot and rode the 'L" everywhere…
went to a Cubs game
and we discovered the best playground {at least in our opinion} this side of the Atlantic…the Maggie Daley Park

Good to know if you go to Chicago with kids {or by yourself}
  •  bring good walking shoes
  • Chicago has fantastic public transportation - use it; get a daily pass, or buy a Vesta card
  •  taking a red eye flight can be the most economical options - have your kids bring their favorite pillows
  • pay for your hotel room in advance to get the best deals {I use the Hilton booking site}
  • call ahead to restaurants you want to visit to ensure that there are "safe" options for the kids
  • have LOTS of fun!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thai Fish Soup

Thai Fish Soup
Hello friends of The Not So Cheesy Kitchen, it's Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchendropping by to share a bowl of soup with you today, because Bea has been so busy lately that she's forgotten to feed you. (Joke!) And hey, when all else fails, soup always comes to the rescue. Especially one this simple, that comes together quickly, and packs loads of flavor!

This soup came about on a clean out the pantry and fridge night, so I used a can of peas and a can of corn (I know - gasp!), along with the end of a bag of julienne carrots. But really, any frozen or fresh veggies will work here. Throw in some ribbons of greens, some snow peas cut on the bias, or some beautiful carrot coins. Switch up the herbs, or use only one kind.

As far as the fish went, I had a few fillets of tilapia and a large swai fillet that I took out of the freezer the day before, and in those went. Mild white fish is definitely the way to go here, it paired perfectly with the broth made slightly creamy from the addition of coconut milk.
Thai Fish Soup
You may notice the obvious crazy yellow color of my broth. That comes from the addition of turmeric in my homemade curry powder. I'd probably opt to use a curry powder without turmeric next time (though turmeric is a very Thai-inspired ingredient), just because I think it might be more visually appealing.

Oh, and I mentioned this came together quickly, right? You can have a pot of delicious soup on the table in under 30 minutes. What are you waiting for!?

Thai Fish Soup
This brothy soup enriched with coconut milk is packed with chunks of tender white fish, veggies and herbs. Switch up the add-ins to match the season!
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Thai Fish Soup
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: simmer soup/stew dairy-free pescetarian Thai

Ingredients (serves 4)
    for the curry broth:
    • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    • 3 spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup coconut milk
    • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    everything else:
    • 1 pound white fish (I used a mix of tilapia and swai)
    • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables, cut very small (peas, carrots, corn)
    • 1 cup cooked rice
    • 1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh cilantro, basil and mint leaves
    • lime wedges
    Heat oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add green onions, garlic, curry powder and sugar; cooking, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.

    Add the fish and veggies to the pot, simmer until everything is cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over each serving, to taste.

    -adapted from Taking On Magazines and Family Circle Magazine, January 2014
    Thai Fish Soup

    More delicious soups from the sea (at girlichef):
    Caldo de Camaron y Pescado (Brothy Shrimp and Fish Soup)
    Manhattan Clam Chowder
    Rhode Island Clam Chowder
    Smoked Salmon Chowder (inspired by Pike Place Chowder)

    Friday, April 24, 2015

    Bagby Hot Springs {#travel #Oregon #PDX}

    We have finally made it out to Bagby Hot Springs out in the Mt. Hood National Forest  This has been on my wish list in forever.  By the time I think about it is usually is already quite late in day, and then there is also the little piece of distance.  Now this beauty - depending on your threshold of time spent in the car - is a drive but oh, so totally absolutely worth it and I am not a hot tub fan.  Well, of course this is no hot tub but a hot spring brining absolute mind clearing serenity.  It is in the middle of the woods,  it is a tiny hike about 1-1/2 miles which non-surpisingly still brought on the "When are we finally question - but oh, my.  The trail to the Hot Springs is already magical; green in any variety dark, light, the sound of a river as the trail leads up along a river. It is easy to imagine it as fairy land.

    and then just when we thought we missed a turn….

    Just a couple steps past the sign  hot water bubbles up and is directed to by wooden lines to the different soaking areas.

    The water runs to the soaking area to five private rooms, about three  round tubs for smaller groups, and a couple of larger tub for a bigger group.  We chose the private soaking room…what to expect?  First off, the tub is a carved out of a cedar log log…Please tell me you are as excited as I am about this.
    Once in the room, let the hot water flow in and be sure to get a few buckets of cold water; because the water is hot. Next..soak.  Sit back, relax, look out through the holes in the roof…

    What do you think?  It is absolute bliss….then walk back to the car through the magical forest

    Good to know if you go:
    In addition to towels pack water, snacks, and all other stuff you usually bring with you on a hike.  Yes, this is short but it is in the middle of Mt. Hood National Forest, the weather can change, people slip and did I mention that it is in the middle of the woods?  So yes, no matter how close and easy it seems wear sturdy shoes.

    There is a $5 {cash only} soaking fee for each adult - so be sure to bring cash, or get your wristband the Ripplebrook Store.  Bagby Hot Springs are about 40 miles SouthEast of Estacada so yes,  it takes some time to get out there but it is so worth is.

    Lastly,  it does get very busy so be prepared to wait and most of all have fun!

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Picnic Pearl Couscous Salad {#vegan #dairyfree #recipe}

    Happy Wednesday! How are you? - Everything here at The Not So Cheesy Kitchen is great, I just needed a little hiatus but now I am back and {in my mind} many posts are lined up.  Now,  I just need to get them all out of my head onto paper  the screen.  Will tell you all about our adventures these past few weeks, just stick with me.  Pretty please?!
    Portland weather has been absolutely spectacular these past few days with summer like temperatures.  Yes, it feels more like summer than early spring and we are ready for picnics as well as cooking out. This easy Picnic Pearl Couscous Salad is the perfect side for any picnic.  It comes together quickly, is fun to eat and all it needs is enough time to absorb all the flavors.  

    Picnic Pearl CousCous Salad

    • 3 c water 
    • 1 tsp sald 
    • 2 C Pearl CousCous
    • 1 C cucumber, seeded and diced
    • 1 C tomato, seeded, and diced
    • 1 C red pepper, seeded, and diced
    • 1/2 C Kalamata Olives, pitted, and diced  
    • 3 Tbs lemon juice
    • 2 Tbs olive oil
    • Salt &  pepper to taste
    • 1/2 bunch of chives minced
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    1. Add salt to water and bring to a boil
    2. Add couscous, cover, and turn heat down to low.  Simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Couscous is ready once all the water has been absorbed.
    3. Remove cooked couscous immediately from pan to a larger bowl to cool down
    4. Add vegetables once couscous has cooled off
    5. Combine lemon juice with olive oil, dried oregano, and minced chives
    6. .  Add salt and pepper to taste
    7. Pour dressing over couscous and carefully toss into salad until well combined
    8. Cover and let rest for at least an hour before serving.  
    9. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. 

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Fort Stevens State Park, Astoria & Beer or the first #camping trip of 2015 {#travel #gocamping #yurt #oregon}

    No, this is not an April first joke it is actually me posting…can you believe my super long break?!  I am really waiting for that tool to transpose my posts from my brain to my blog.  Yes, I have been saying that for a long time it's lame but yes, so many, many posts lined up in my head and oh so little time.  Well, truth be said that lately I have also been feeling a little worn out ~ not to worry the family is all right just me being a little under the weather.

    I am happy to announce that our 2015 camping season has opened.  Okay, truth be said we did not yet break the tent out and instead camped in a yurt at Forth Stevens Oregon State Park {Northern coast} which is perfect especially in chilly weather as there is heat, electricity, as well as beds.  Take a look

    It's super fun and dry…We arrived on a Monday - it being March and the Oregon coast - there was a chill in the air and a slight drizzle in the air.  After setting up camp, we took a quick drive to the beach to explore the wreck of the Peter Iredale a ship that ran ashore in 1906.

     This was the first time we have seen it, really the first time that I have seen a real-life shipwreck and I do think that there is a certain mystique about it. You, know I was thinking about the hands that built the ship, the people that sailed on it the merchandise…okay, okay I am getting a little carried away...

    The next stop was dinner and when in Astoria or close to it Fort George Brewery  is our place to go.  Let me just say that the beer is delicious and the food is not shabby either.  They certainly always have options for the girls.  In addition to the regular pub fare on the lower level,  the restaurant has expanded the upstairs into a pizzeria including a wood burning oven.  Feeling more like pub food - fish tacos for me friers - we stayed downstairs, gobbled down our food, enjoyed the beer, and took in the atmosphere of the steady downpour….

    After dinner back to the yurt - yay for the yurt in the pouring rain - a nice game of Eckolo with Alena, comfortable beds and sleeping to the sound of the rain without worry.

    We woke up to an almost dry day - you know the kind with lots of dry patches, sun, and intermittent rain.  Ron - always the camp chef - made us bacon and coffee/tea for breakfast…before we took a nice long walk to Coffenbury Lake (you can swim in the summer) to the beach and back.

    I do have one complaint about Ft. Stevens and that is that cars are allowed on the beach. Year-round the beach is open for cars to drove tp the shipwreck but the area north is closed off for the months May thru September.  Let's just say,  cars on the beach are not my thing…

    Check-out is at 1pm leaving plenty of time to explore Astoria.  Alena loves to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum  which really is an awesome place to visit, now you know there is a but coming, right so here it is blue skies - sun and yes, neither MiaRose nor I were into a visit this time.  Instead we watched a beautiful 3D movie about Galapagos Islands and then headed outside to the pier to tour the Columbia Lightship

    Feeling hungry our last stop was at Buoy Beer Company right on the river; the brewery is a little over one years old and neither the beer nor food disappointed.  The most amazing thing however are the views…I am talking right on the river,  pilot boats go by as do huge freighters coming off the Pacific Ocean and let's not forget the great viewing area of sea lions from the restaurant.  What do I mean?  Well, there is huge viewing area in the floor of the restaurant and below the floor are sea lions lounging.  Quite amazing and it's an awesome addition to the places to visit in Astoria.
    Good to know:

    Yurts - as many campsites in Oregon - must be reserved ahead of time and they go quickly; we just got lucky but only got to stay one night.  Reserve your spot at ReserveAmerica

    Bring sheets to put underneath your sleeping back it's more comfortable than lying directly on the thick plastic

    Be aware that cars are allowed on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park.

    Have fun!

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015

    Manzanita, Beach, Pizza & a Bald Eagle #family #Sunday #fun {#oregon #travel #NehalemStatePark}

    Is it really already the second week of March? All is great here I just have been feeling under the weather a bit…but you know there is nothing like spending time outdoors to lift my spirit.   On Sunday we ventured out to the Oregon coast which is one of our favorite places it always rejuvenates with its majestic beauty.  There are so many great places to go from Portland for a quick day trip - often times we go to Cannon Beach closest to Portland but there are so many, many other fantastic spots…

    This time it was Manzanita - the town is south of Cannon Beach and this is the view of the town and beach from 101…

    Amazing, right?!  It is a cute little beach town this is the view down main street….

    What do you think?

    Since we did not pack a picnic {yes, shame on me} besides a couple of snacks we decided to order a couple of pizza's from Marzano's Pizza - easy enough, right?!  Yes, especially when the dough is "safe" for the girls (i.e. no milk sugar) and that makes this mothership very happy…Anyway it was a pepperoni pizza without dairy for the girls, and a number eight for the parental units.  While the pizza was in the making we walked down to the beach and relaxed for the twenty minutes until the pizza was ready.

    The beach in Manzanita is by far not as crowded as in Cannon Beach, but looking for an even more quiet spot plus some dunes we packed the pizza's and drove down the five minutes to Nehalem State Park.  It is the perfect spot…dunes, beach, quiet…

    We ate our pizzas on the beach - the girls ran down the dunes and the absolute cherry on top {as MiaRose says} was this sight…

    Yes,  a Bald Eagle devouring his catch right on the beach;  good thing we brought the binoculars and Ron took the pictures.
    Walking back to the car after a fun day on the beach

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    It's #giveRARE #day - please support #newbornscreening {@screenbabies} today

    NOTE: March 3rd, 2015 was the first "Give Rare" fundraiser event - I support newborn screening and the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation; the link in this post has been updated to the SBTS donation page.  Thank you!

    Today is the first ever Rare disease giving day and this is an event near to my heart; both of our children have a rare disorder called Classic Galactosemia.  Statistically it effects about 1:60,000 newborns in the United States.  Galactosemia is detected through newborn screening and without early detection it can be fatal to the infant or lead to severe complications.  Alena most likely would not have survived E.Coli Mengengitis if her newborn screen would not have come back in time.

    Our happy and healthy girls

    Newborn screening saved her life and MiaRosie's life -> read our story here;  Jake and Owen's story tells about what happens without early detection.

    As a newborn screening advocate I support the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation; an organization whose mission is to save babies by working to prevent disabilities and death resulting from disorders detectable through newbornscreening.  Would you please join me in supporting this great organization?

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Tasting The Seasons by Kerry Dunnington {#cookbook #review}

    Disclaimer: I have received a copy of this book for review all opinions are my own; this post contains affiliate links.

    Tasting The Seasons Inspired, In-Season Cuisine That's Easy, Healthy, Fresh and Fun by Kerry Dunnington is a 288 page cookbook that includes recipes from breakfast items to appetizers - main dishes and desserts.  The first brief section of the book is dedicated to tips on entertaining and hosting the perfect dinner party; tips include hiring party staff, menu cards, serving sizes etc.  This section is followed by Ms. Dunnington's invitation for the reader to join in The 365 Challenge; challenging one to make more environmentally friendly choices by eliminating plastic ware, eat in, eat local foods, etc.

    Each recipe section starts out with a nice, easy to read introduction followed by a recipe overview.  The appetizer section includes favorites such as Guacamole with an interesting twist. Enhancers include salad dressings, sauces, as well as beverages including a recipe for seasonal Sangria.  The breakfast and brunch section includes everything from a Cherry Almond Coffeecake to Oven-Roasted Tomato Quiche to Chestnut Pancakes.  Ms. Dunnington includes a great soup section with recipes ranging from Hearty Soups {21 recipes} to sixteen Lighter Than Hearty Soups recipes which include Shrimp and Cucumber Bisque, Sunburst Squash Soup as well as Home-Harvest Gazpacho.  The soup section is followed by a Pesecatrian, and next a meat section with recipes using chicken as well as pork.  A large recipe collection for side dishes is next.  This section is divided into Cold Garden Greenery and Warm Garden Greenery.  The Cold Garden Greenery part includes thirteen recipes including dishes such as Kohlrabi Coleslaw and Marinated Yellow Beets with Horseradish.  The Warm Garden Greenery includes twenty recipes for sides such as Caramelized Parsnips with Roasted Pecans and a Berry Nutty Couscous. Next up is the Bread, Biscuit, Roll section and is - like all other parts of the book - started with introduction.  The introduction includes a useful guide for successful bread making, and the twelve recipes include Popovers as well as Radish Bread with Caraway Seeds. The final piece of the collection are Sweet Endings and include twenty-two recipes.  Sweets Endings everything from Baked Alaska to Pudding and Shortbread.

    The back of the book includes an A-Z Product Resource List with information on what, where, and when to buy. This informational part is followed with an explanation on Eco-Terms, Tips, and Techniques.

    This cookbook encourages the reader to understand the importance of knowing where food comes from and to make sustainable food choices. I very much like that the book includes plenty of space for taking notes but would have liked to see a little bit more pictures besides the few black and white sketches. My favorite parts include the 365 challenge, the fantastic guide to bread baking as well as all of the explanation on the environmental terms and tips.

    Recipes that are certain to make an appearance at our table include Kohlrabi Coleslaw,  Cream of Kohlrabi Soup,  Popovers, Apple Celery Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette, and Peach Cake

    Tasting The Seasons
    Inspired, In-Season Cuisine That's Easy, Healthy, Fresh and Fun
    Author Kerry Dunnington

    Paperback: 288 pages

    Difficulty of Recipes:       Easy - Medium
    Cuisine:                            American cuisine
    Galactosemia friendly:     Yes, many of the the recipes can be easily adapted to suit a dairy free
    (dairyfree)                        diet
    Pro:                                  Contains good information and tips throughout
                                             250 recipes
    Good to know:                 Black and white with very few illustrations

    Suggested Retail Price: 19.95    

    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    Family #hike at Lacamas Lake Park - Camas, #Washington {#pdx #kids}

    Time flies, flies, flies and we have been like busy bees.  So needles to say that I we {as in the parental units} have really been looking forward to a nice family hike.  This winter has been crazy here in the Pacific Northwest ~ it has been so warm that all the snow at Teacup Nordic is gone.  Yes, the year we were going to ski every weekend = no snow.   Daffodils are already in full bloom, friends - so I thought that maybe the lilies are already getting ready to bloom at Lacams Lake Park and thus its the perfect excursion.

    We first went on this hike a couple of years ago and I have to say it is a great hike.  It is close to Portland - only about 25 minutes from our house in Southeast - even so it is on the other side of the river aka Columbia.  This hike packs a lot of everything;  you hike over a dam and then you can decide whether to take the lake loop which is about 1-1/2 miles or take a longer loop down to the waterfalls.  Now you may know that I really like love waterfalls; they are so amazing, powerful and beautiful; so there is no question that we took the longer loop.  The trail leads down into the canyon over some rocks, curving along the creek onto a couple of different wooden bridges until you reach the Lower Falls. This is the perfect spot for a break - it does get a little busy…

    From the Lower Falls

    we worked our way back out of the canyon; now our biggest complaint about this hike is that everything is very poorly marked.  We chose to take a trail leading up through the woods and confirmed with other hikers that it indeed is the right trail.  The trail is very serene and it got a lot less crowded - let me also say that both girls were great as we kept listening for birds.  Out of the woods the trail leads to a gravely road - no cars - where we saw a few hikers and this the way to the Lilly field.  I remembered just how beautiful and amazing it was; an unexpected treasure…

    Luckily we found the trail leading us up to the lilly field; oh my…no, lilies are not yet in bloom but this place is magical.  There is a sense of being out in the middle of nature - very far away from civilization. The colors - patches of bright green moss, flower stamps, dark green fir trees, light green lichen, rocks covered with lichen and patches of moss.  Just us and nature. Oh, how can one not believe in fairies…true magic…

    At this point the girls were ready to get back to the trailhead and spend some time on the playground.

    Good to know before you go -
    The trails are poorly marked it is good idea to print out a trail map, or carry your hiking book.
    This is a easy-moderate hike but - the loop we took with addition of the lily field - it is about 3.6 miles.
    Be sure to take water, snacks, and wear sturdy shoes.

    Have fun!


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