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!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Blood Orange Margarita for National Margarita Day

Happy National Margarita Day!!!  Yes,  friends I have stepped out of my comfort zone yet again and super excited that my good friend Heather aka girlichef invited me to celebrate National Margarita Day.   Now making cocktails is really not my strength - let's just say there have been a couple of failures albeit tasty failures in the process of making my Blood Orange Margarita… Yes, leave it up to the German girl to make a Margarita.  Rest assured that it only took a couple of tries and it has now been perfected.  

Please let me present you with my version of Blood Orange Margarita

Blood Orange Margarita
  • 1-1/2 oz lime juice
  •    1/2 oz triple sec
  •    1/2 oz Blood Orange Simple Syrup
  • 1-1/2 oz Tequilla
  •    1/2 C freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  •    ice cubes
  1. Combine lime juice, triple sec, simple syrup, and tequila in a cocktail shaker {or use a mason jar with a lid} place some ice cubes with the liquid.  Throughly shake it up.
  2. Pour liquid - strain the ice - into a tall glass
  3. Top with blood orange juice
  4. Add ice and serve

Are you ready for more Margarita fun…check all of it out…


Margarita-inspired food:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Latourell Falls #hike {#Oregon #travel #kids} in the Columbia River Gorge

Is it really already the end of the week? Yikes, this post was - at least in my head - planned for much earlier in the week.  I swear it was all drafted, written, pictures selected…that is in my head.  Yup, it never made it out to the keyboard.

There is still no snow up at Teacup Nordic so it was yet another weekend without cross-country skiing for this family and you may know by now just how much we need to get out at least once on the weekend.  It is our way to rejuvenate and recharge the batteries…looking for places to go, we asked Alena to look through our hiking book and she chose Latourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.  This waterfall is very close to Portland, and while we had stopped at the Lower Latourell Fall plenty of times we had never hiked the loop to the upper falls returning on the other side.   I have to say this was magical - it is not a very long hike with about 2.4 miles but it packs a lot into it.

Great trails, a hike up along the impressive lower Latourell Fall with beautiful lichen on the basalt rock face

yes, water drops 249' straight down into the basin. The hike continues along the stream on nice trail including four wooden bridges
until you can hear the thunder of the upper Latourell Fall.  The upper fall is amazing as it twists down the basalt rock into the basin…

crossing the bridge at the basin the return took us through lush green forest where Ron and MiaRose were looking for salamanders.

The trail takes a left turn leading to a magnificent view point - albeit super windy - of the Columbia River Gorge

The entire family including our often unenthusiastic hiker had lot's of fun.

Good to know before you go: The hike is about 2.4 miles and is considered a moderate hike with an elevation gain of about 520 ft. This is a hike where you should be sure to wear sturdy shoes, and carry water along with some snacks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fettucini Alfredo {#recipe #pasta #lactosefree} #galactosemia friendly

Does the world really need another Fettucini Alfredo recipe one may ask. I certainly think so because it is such a quick dinner that is super delicious.  Now you may not be surprised to hear previously may have had Alfredo once before at home and of course never out.  You know there are not "safe" versions eating out and for some reason or another I remembered it - from the one time I tried it before - as not being that great.    So now I have had the urge to give this another try and tadahhhhh I declare success.  It was not even good it was great; everyone loved it so yes,  Fettucini Alfredo will be make an appearance again in the near future…

Now I don't know if there is a way to make Fettucini Alfred look pretty…you be the judge

Our kids are allowed - among some other aged cheeses - Parmigiano Reggiano which is free of milk sugar due to the aging process, if you want a vegan version I suggest using vegan Mozzarella style shreds. One last note to those new to galactosemia please always check with your clinic and beware that lactose free does often not equal galactosemia safe.

Fettucini Alfredo
  • 1 package fettucini
  • 2 TB Vegan "butter" {I use Earth Balance}
  • 2 TB  Flour
  • 1-1/2 C plain soy creamer
  • 1-1/2 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 C minced fresh Italian parsley {about 1/2 bunch}
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg to taste
  1. Cook fettucini according to package instructions; and make Alfredo sauce in the meantime
  2. Over medium heat melt "butter" stir in flour when completely melted. Combine both
  3. Add soy creamer stirring the entire time to be sure that all lumps are worked out
  4. Add Parmigiano and bring to a low simmer, carefully stirring the sauce.  It should not boil.
  5. When sauce has thickened - do not let it get too thick - add parsley together with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Blood Orange Rum Fizz for #Valentines {#TripleSBites #drink}

Can you believe that I have yet another post this week?! Yes, I am on a roll…

Today it's time for an adult beverage for the #TripleSBites event just in time for Valentine's Day.  Now truth be said, I like cocktails but never really make them at home well except for the occasional Campari with OJ or Soda so this really took me a bit out of my comfort zone.  Remember the Blood Orange Simple Syrup?  Yes, it does not just turn into Blood Orange Lemonade, but it's also a cocktail.
Let me introduce you to the Blood Orange Rum Fizz.

yes, another not so great picture…sorry I really was going to take another pictures….

Blood Orange Rum Fizz
  • 1-1/2 TB Blood Orange Simple Syrup
  • 1-1/2 TB Light Brown Rum
  • Slice of Blood Orange
  • Prosecco, or other sparkling wine
  • Optional ice cubes
  1. Add Blood Orange Simple Syrup and rum to a tall glass.  Stir and mix together
  2. Add Prosecco and blood orange slice
Now don't forget to enter in the giveaway for fantastic by visiting my #TripleSBites Kick off post and be sure to visit all of the participating blogs.

Are you ready for more great inspiration for Valentine's Day from the rest of the fantastic #TripleSBites bloggers?

Disclaimer:  I have received free products from the sponsors for this event.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blood Orange Lemonade #Valentines #TripleSBites {#dairyfree #recipe #giveaway}

I am on a roll this week.  Can you believe it? A post almost every single day this week. Today it is another post for the #TripleSBites for Valentine's Day and it is something quite out of the ordinary for me a drink.  Yup, that is right I am getting outside of my comfort zone with this one.

Now let's talk Valentine's day for a wee bit - for some it is all about spending time with their sweethearts, others do not care about Vday the least bit, while others yet celebrate the day with their spouses plus kids.  We belong to the last category - we have a special little day for the entire family so there has to be a special drink for everyone not just the parental units.  So now let me present you with homemade Blood Orange Lemonade.

Okay, yes the pictures are less than impressive Ron already told me that but look at this…

yes, that is the Blood Orange Simple Syrup that is the entire basis for this drink. So simple, yet the result is beautiful, deep red in color, plus absolutely delicious…

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

  • 1-1/2 C fresh blood orange juice {juice of about 2-3 blood oranges}
  • 1/2 blood orange, organic, zested
  • 1-1/2 C sugar 
  • 1/8 Tsp almond extract
  1. Combine blood orange juice and sugar in a sauce pan.  Constantly stirring bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Add zest together with almond extract and mix under the syrup
  3. Let syrup cool down and transfer into a glass container.  Close glass container tightly and store in refrigerator.
Blood Orange Lemonade
  • 2 TB Blood Orange Simple Syrup
  • crushed ice
  • sparkling water
  • 1 blood orange slice for garnish
  1. Pour Blood Orange Simple Syrup into tall skinny glass
  2. Add ice
  3. Top off with sparkling water - stir syrup up 
  4. Garnish with blood orange slice

Now don't forget to enter in the giveaway for fantastic by visiting my #TripleSBites Kick off post and be sure to visit all of the participating blogs.

Are you ready for more great inspiration for Valentine's Day from the rest of the fantastic #TripleSBites bloggers?

Disclaimer:  I have received free products from the sponsors for this event.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Silver Falls State Park = perfect day #hike {#travel #oregon #kids #pdx}

Still there is no snow up at Teacup on Mt. Hood and pretty much most of what there is gone as it is way too warm for January.  It is so sad…yes, the year the kids are signed up for skiing lessons the year of epic skiing has so far been pretty much non-existend.  Well, okay we got two days of skiing in but that's it. Sad, right?!   Now we all know - ha yes, Bea that is not true - okay I have previously mentioned that the Sonntagsausflug aka as weekend excursion is important to me us so we needed to look for something different to do last weekend. Good thing outdoor options are plentiful here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest so Silver Falls State Park came to mind.  Waterfalls galore…yes, they are not only in the Columia Gorge but can also be found at Silver Falls.  Plus, you can actually walk behind the waterfall now how cool is that?!

Silver Falls is about 1-45 min drive but oh so worth it.  I remember having first heard about it at a luncheon when we first moved Portland.  The hike and park were described as being absolutely magnificent; surely enough it was the first Sunday hike we went on twelve years and it did not disappoint.   Take a look…

For some reason or another we had not been there in years; the last time we were there both kids were on our backs but now they are - finally - capable on going on hikes with us.

True,  we did not - even so I really wanted to - hike the entire loop, not even the median one but hey about three miles is not bad.  We went behind the South Fall - can you say impressive -

it's a 177 ft drop; can you see the people in the far left corner…I think this is how to realize it's size

Next stop Lower South Fall….

before hiking back out of the canyon.

Silver Falls State park is amazing, truly.  When you go be sure to keep a few things in mind.
Wear sturdy shoes,
Stay on the trail,
Be sure to carry water and food,
Pets are not allowed on this hike,
gift shop and lodge close at 4 p.m. sharp

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blood Orange Beet Soup for #Valentine's #TripleSBites {#vegan #recipe #dairyfree}

Are you ready of my second post for the Valentine's #TripleSBevent? I certainly am and bringing soup that is a deep red, almost purple and so fitting for Valentine's Day, or any other day.   

Delicious earthy beets meet tangy yet sweet blood orange ~ it is like a big Valentine's card in a bowl.  Okay, I get it totally exaggerating…but you get my drift, right?!  Now let's be honest so - my entire family loves beets whether roasted or in this soup however if your family or significant other does not like beets this soup is not for you.  There is no way around it - if you are not a beet lover just think of the beautiful color that you are missing :) Take a look

On another note,  I do not use gloves when cooking but also do not mind my hands turning into this…

…so if red purple hands are not for you,  be sure to wear gloves because it sure takes a while to get the color off your hands.

Blood Orange Beet Soup
  • 2 large red beets
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large organic blood oranges
  • 2 C water, or a little more
  • 1 vegan bullion cube 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C roasted, salted, cashews, crushed
  •  2 TB parsley, minced
  • 1/4 C Vegan sour "cream" {or your favorite sour cream}
  1. Boil beets in salted water in their jackets for about 45 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from water and immediately slip them out of their jackets.  Be careful, the beets will stain your hands.  Dice beets and set aside
  2. Zest 1/2 of a blood orange. Set zest aside
  3. Peel the blood oranges, carefully taking off any white skin (bitter) and dice the oranges.
  4. Heat olive oil in a pot and add onion when hot add onion with a pinch of salt.  Sauté until onions are translucent and have softened
  5. Add diced beets as well as oranges.  Sauté for minute or so before adding the water and the bullion cube.  
  6. Cover and bring to a low simmer.  Simmer for about 10 minutes
  7. While soup is cooking, mince the blood orange zest and combine with crushed cashes as well as parsley
  8. Remove soup from heat and - using an immersion blender - carefully puree the soup.  Adjust salt as well as pepper, you may - if soup is too thick for you - add a little more water at this step.
  9. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls topping each with sour "cream" and the cashew/zest/parsley mix

To enter to win one of several awesome prizes please visit my #TripleSBites Kick off post and be sure to visit all of the participating blogs.

Disclaimer:  I have received free products from the sponsors for this event.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Individual Chocolate Raspberry Bites #TripleSBites {#dairyfree #recipe} and #giveaway

Happy February ~ are you getting ready to think about Valentine's Day?  Yes, the Super Bowl is done and now on to the next party Valentine's Day.  This week twenty bring recipes from drinks to desserts just in time for Valentine's with the #TripleSBites event.

I am kicking it off the event with these delicious decadent individual chocolate raspberry bites and yes, they are dairy free.  They come together in a snap, are the ultimate bite sized chocolate treat, plus they are pretty.  What do you think?

Are you ready for the recipe - the filing is enough for about 45 mini bites but you could - if you don't want to make that many - fill 15 or 30 bites and bake off the rest to top ice cream….

Individual Chocolate Raspberry Bites
  • 2-3 packages of frozen mini Phyllo dough shells {15 baked shells per package} 
  •     8 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  •     1 C  plain Soy creamer
  •     1 tsp Vanilla extract
  •     1 egg, beaten
  •     1 pint raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a pot gently heat the chocolate pieces in the soy creamer.
  3. Carefully stir and when completed melted mix in vanilla extract. 
  4. Remove from heat, let cool down then whisk in the beaten egg.
  5. Remove the frozen phyllo dough shells from packaging and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Fill each shell with about a tablespoon of filling and repeat
  7. Bake for 10 minutes
  8. Remove from oven let cool down for a minute before topping each mini bite with a fresh raspberry.
To enter to win one of several awesome prizes please visit my #TripleSBites Kick off post and be sure to visit all of the participating blogs.

Disclaimer:  I have received free products from the sponsors for this event.  All opinions are my own.

It's time to kick off #TripleSBites week just in time for #Valentine's Day

Disclaimer: Thank you to our generous sponsors for the products received for use with this event #TripelSBitems as well as for  providing the prizes free of charge.  All opinions stated are my own.   
How do you feel about Valentine's Day?  Is it a day you like to spend with alone with your sweet heart, is it family kind of affair, or is it day like every other for you?  I for one love Valentine's Day.  It may be because - yes, it's me not the girls - pink, purple, and pretty hearts are my favorite and I love, love, love to decorate for it. HA, who know that about me, right?! Plus it is fun to spend some extra time in the kitchen to pamper everyone.  For us, it is a family affair with special drinks and dishes for my sweetheart as well as my other loves aka our girlies.  This year I am starting the fun early by joining the #TripleSBites event hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla

This week for the #TripelSBites event twenty bloggers will feature recipes from drinks to dessert all with a Valentine's theme.  Isn't that fantastic?  Yup,  al you need for a whole week with plenty time to prepare for February 14th. Now not only,  are there fantastic recipes, but there is also a fantastic products give away!   From delectable saucy goodness to delicately spiced chocolate there is something for everyone.

So now, beware and remember because all the info you need during the event is covered in this post.  It includes a list of our sponsors and items (including the nifty rafflecopter widget needed need for a chance to win).  This is how it works.   The event starts at 12 am PT on February 2nd and closes at 6pm on February 9th, 2015  on  so be sure to come back and check out the recipes. Now, don't be disappointed I won't be posting a new recipe every single day during the event—but the rest assured there will be a new recipe from the fantastic #TripleSBites bloggers.

#TripleSBites Bloggers
Cooking In Stilettos                            
Cheese Curd In Paradise              
Summer Scraps                         
From Gate to Plate         
Eliot's Eats          
Making Miracles              
Curious Cuisiniere           
The Spiffy Cookie            
The Weekend Gourmet                               
Dancing Veggies              
Meet and connect with our sponsors:
Gourmet Garden: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram
Intensity Academy: website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram
Kitchen IQ website | twitter | facebook | pinterest
2 Armadillos  website | twitter facebook | pinterest | instagram
Acala Farms website | twitter facebook | pinterest 
Out of the Woods  website | twitter | pinterest | instagram
Pirate Jonny's website | twitter facebook | instagram
Voodoo Chef website | twitter facebook | instagram
Mekinita Brands facebook | twitter
Spicely Organics website | twitter facebook

The Giveaway 
Terms & Conditions

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment (below) and tell me What's your favorite romantic dish to cook for your sweetheart? Many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget [below].

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. This #TripleSBites 2015 giveaway runs from Monday, February 2, 2015 12:00am PT through Monday, February 9, 2015 at 6:00pm PT. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on February 10, 2015. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Please click on the arrows in the rafflecopter to scroll through the prize packages!


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