Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bend, Oregon

One of our best camping trips was back in September of 2008, when I was just moving into the 2nd trimester and getting over morning sickness with our son. My family and I had vacationed in Bend a few years before and enjoyed it so much, I was anxious to take Jeremy and relive some of those great memories and make new ones for ourselves.

The trip started with a night in Portland and good friends. 
We heard about Voodoo Doughnuts and well, Jeremy needed 
to try the "Captain my Captain". We also got the Mountain Dew  
and my favorite, French Cruellers.

 We came early September and did not realize that East of the Cascades 
would be so frigid after the sun went down. We spent our first night awake, 
shivering until 5:30am when we decided to go find a coffee shop. 
We found this gem, Thump, in the artsy downtown. I loved the cozy decor, 
they had wooden slats hanging from the ceiling that guests had written 
their wishes on: my favorites were "that Bryan Adams would come 
to Bend" and one a child had written "for families to have a good time". 

 Thankfully, the yurt next to our campsite opened up and we moved on in. 
Tumalo State Park was awesome, close to town, but near the Deschutes 
River for early morning fishing. Our neighbors were the nicest camp host 
you'd ever meet, he brought us chips and a bowl of his freshly roasted salsa.

 One of the many parks you can hike or ride.

 One of the highlights, the Lava Caves
Bring a jacket! Not for closterfobes!

 This was a fun trail to ride which followed the edge of the lava flow, 
you can also drive to the beautiful Benham Falls.

 We took a day to visit Sisters, and got in a game of Disc Golf.

 Got to fly fish the Metolius. Yikes, the white balance is way off!?!

Oh yeah.

 Best find in Bend, The Sparrow Bakery
tucked away, all by itself, this rustic little bakery.

A uniquely gourmet menu.
The River Trail which extends for miles along the Deschutes River 
is a peaceful walk in town with beautiful homes and gardens to drool over.

In all our travels, Bend is the one place Jeremy says he could settle. We learned that a few years ago Donald Trump was asked where to invest money, his answer: Bend, OR. The town has seen tremendous growth in the last decade and continues to thrive. The Old Mill district is a unique shopping center with a lot of your favorite stores. Other local attractions: the popular ski resort at Mt. Bachelor; the touristy Sun River and the rock climbing hub at Smith Rock.

For more information on things to do, places to stay, food to eat, click here.

Grilled Chicken Caeser Salad

During the summer I find it challenging to come up with menu ideas for hot days (or warm days in Seattle). Husbands don't seem to get excited about salads the way us wives do, but classic Caesar Salad seems to be a crowd pleaser for everyone and every occasion. This is my go-to side salad with any Italian dish all year around.

My sister Mandie found this gluten-free recipe a few years ago in an Every Day Food cookbook. This makes for a great dip for veggies and pizza as well.

1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup parmesan
2 anchovy fillets (optional, in fact I've never used them)
1 small garlic clove
1-2 tsp sugar
1/8-1/4 tsp. pepper to taste 
1/2-1 tsp garlic seasoning (like Johnny's from Costco)

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.  Refrigerate.


I made up a marinade that went a little something like this:

1 Chicken breast
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp white cooking wine
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt and Pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Store in ziploc in fridge for a couple hours.  My sister, Molly taught me about filleting chicken breasts to make the meat go farther and cook faster, so now I always cut the chicken breast in half. Place chicken on hot grill, rotate after a few minutes to get crossed searing lines. Turn, cook for a few more minutes until no longer pink in center or until thermometer reads 160-165 degrees. 

Romaine - diced or torn 
Greens - you want mostly Romaine which holds up better to creamy dressings, but greens add a touch of elegance.

Mandie is convinced torn lettuce tastes better than cut. I worked at a cafe in Normandy Park and learned that cutting lettuce was so much faster than tearing. I dice it first right off the core, then give it a rinse and put it in the salad spinner. It's important to get the excess water off, otherwise salad will become soupy.

Olive oil or Pan Spray
Garlic Seasoning
Bread heels, cut into bit sized squares (I keep a Ziploc bag full of heels from every loaf of bread we eat and save them for making croutons, the more variety, the better)

Spread cubes over baking sheet, drizzle with oil or for lower cal, spray with any kind of pan spray. Sprinkle with seasoning.  Toast in oven on a low Broiler for 5-10 minutes, not too soft and not too crisp. Remove from oven; cool for a few minutes.

To assemble:
Toss romaine and greens in dressing. (Start with a little, you can always add more.)
Slice chicken into strips, keeping shape intact. Place on top of dressed salad.
Top with croutons.
Sprinkle with Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese. I always buy the big bag of Parmesan at Costco, but for a real gourmet touch, use a potato peeler to get generous shavings from a block of Italian cheese.
And always...fresh ground pepper.


~ Julie

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Lavender Festival - Sequim

Another floral gem in our state are the Lavender fields. I love Sequim, I love the Olympic Peninsula, I love, I love Lavender, call me an old lady, but an old lady that smells good. I have sweet memories of going to Sequim on numerous trips: picking berries with my Grandma, Lavender Lattes with a friend on our way to Hurricane Ridge, and most recently a camping trip for our anniversary.

 Another time, another place.

 We would stay at Sequim Bay State Park again: quiet, hot showers, 
convenient, close to town. We pulled in, got our tent set up 
and went to town for hot drinks at The Buzz.

 Always gotta remember your site.

 Jeremy was sweet to let me visit as many fields as I could, 
my favorite farm is Purple Haze, who have been featured in magazines.

 Sequim's other claim to fame is the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
home of the popular delicacy: Dungeness Crab.

 Where we wanted to eat at Cedarbrook Herb Farm...

...Where our budget wanted us to eat. 
(You can't beat Costco Polish Dogs anyway.)

We had our morning latte at Hurricane Coffee Company, their beans roasted by Tully's. Cool atmosphere, Lively shop. A lot of gifty boutiques to browse downtown along W Washington St. The city hosts a Farmer's Market every Saturday during the summer season.  My parents also went to Sequim for an anniversary trip several years ago and recommend visiting the Olympic Game Farm, especially if you have little ones.

For their official tourism website click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stumptown Coffee

Definitely my #1 roaster is Stumptown Coffee. We first discovered these rich beans in Portland and later learned the company and roasting plant is based in our own Capitol Hill--surprise, surprise. My Aunt and Uncle were here for a visit last month and one of our "musts" was to show them true Seattle espresso.  

Outside the 12th store on Capitol Hill, also the roasting plant.

 Ya, didn't really get the logo.

I'm a sucker for brick walls.

 I believe the single prices are for an 8 oz cup. 
My uncle ordered the Mexican Coke, which came in a glass bottle 
and is made with cane sugar vs high fructose corn syrup. 
I guess it tasted about the same, but a little healthier.

 Also a sucker for hand stamped cups.

 Mid Century Mod Decor

 Latte Art...always a good sign.

 The tasting room for coffee snobs (like me). :(


 I found this humorous.

We got a personal tour by Wolfgang, who told us all kinds of cool stuff 
about beans and roasting, which I knew I should have taken notes
or done this posting sooner, because now I forget. 
I do remember that all their beans are a specific variety, 
he compared them to being the Heirlooms of tomatoes. 
I guess you will just have to go and get your own personal tour. 

Lake Washington Blvd - Seattle

Probably every Seattlelite has driven, walked or biked Lake Washington Blvd. Seattle: this post is not for you. However, for the Out-of-Towners, if you want a scenic drive close to the city, I would recommend this 8 mile stretch, beginning near the I-90 corridor at the Arboretum and ending at the beloved Seward Park. This is for one of those low-key rainy or sunny Saturdays.  Be sure to stop at the Garage Sales, treasures await! If you need some coffee or lunch, the Madison and Leschi neighborhoods have got your back. Seward Park is a recreational gym for kayakers, hikers, bikers, bird watchers...and anyone seeking fresh air.

The Blvd is packed mid-July during Seafair, Seattle's biggest festival: Hydroplane Races, the Blue Angels, Pirates, a Marathon, Triathlon, Parade and Beauty Pageant are all packed into one crazy weekend. Be prepared for some serious traffic. The rest of the year, is pretty laid back and peaceful, with a number of little parks to stop and share a picnic lunch, sip a latte or meditate on a pier.

Hope you will get a chance to visit!