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!

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


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