Sausage and Veggie Pasta in Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

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Yeah, you heard me.

Sometimes even when you need comfort food, some vegetables are in order, and that’s what I made for myself one fine evening. The base vodka cream sauce recipe (butter, yellow onions, heavy cream, vodka) can be used in multiple iterations, so try your hand at it and impress all your friends. Continue reading

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Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad

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Inspired by the Picnic House‘s brown rice salad, this side dish is a big hit at potlucks, lunch and dinner side dishes. Happily, the recipe is simple, limited effort and absolutely delicious – hot or cold.

Roasted Vegetables and Brown Rice Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium skinned, cubed sweet potato
  • 2-3 carrots, quartered and cubed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small flowerettes
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnut vinaigrette (I prefer Lucini, found at New Seasons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions

Most of the “work” for this dish is taken care of while the vegetables are roasting, which can be done the night before and then kept cool until serving. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower, carrots and sweet potatoes with 2 tbs of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While the vegetable roast, warm over low heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a pot, then add the brown rice and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add water and cook to package instructions (usually around 25 minutes).

Once the rice has finished, remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally to release the heat. If you would like this to be a warm salad, immediately start mixing together the roasted vegetables and rice, add hazelnuts, cilantro, and vinaigrette. For a cold salad, let the rice cool completely before adding all the ingredients together.

Yup, that’s pretty much it! You may like to add more salt and/or vinaigrette to the salad, but regardless, you won’t be disappointed in the outcome!

Leftover tip: heat the leftover salad over medium heat with just some water, then break an egg and scramble. Makes for an awesome breakfast!

Curried Beef Short Ribs

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I’ve talked about comfort food before. Sometimes it’s a gluten-laden bowl of Mac ‘n’ cheese or pizza, but it can also be a totally different kind of belly warmer that makes you smile at dinner time. Thai is one of those foods for me, particularly when there’s red curry and coconut milk involved. This is one of my favorite recipes, and extra delicious if you have 6 hours to let it cook, but is just as satisfying with 2 hours simmering time.

While I’ve made this dish many times before, this was my first attempt at using pork ribs rather than beef. The consensus: beef is better. Try it out and let me know what you think.
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Cranberry, Apricot and Nut Oat Granola Bars

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For those longer hikes and backpacking trips, it’s important to have protein and energy-packed snacks at your chewing disposal. But let’s face it, healthy snacks can be expensive, plus there’s all that extra packaging, and who knows what really goes in them if you didn’t make it yourself, right?

I faced a similar dilemma while prepping for my annual Ladies’ Backpacking Weekend, and decided to take matters into my own hands. Instead of loading up on Kind bars and Soy Joys (though I do love them), I tried my own homemade granola bars and a sweet treat. Thanks to Minimalist Baker for this awesome 5 ingredient recipe, which both accommodates great taste and easy creation. Continue reading

The Unparalleled Cascade Views from Tom Dick and Harry

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If you’re searching for an iconic view of Oregon’s tallest mountain, Tom Dick and Harry must be added to your “must hike” list. A mere hour from downtown Portland, the Mirror Lake trailhead will take you from trafficked Highway 26 to an impressive overlook granting views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and even Mr. Rainier on very clear days.

I have twice hiked the Mirror Lake trail during the winter months when the lake is coated in beautiful white, but this was my first excursion in the summer time and first ever to the upper division of Tom Dick and Harry. Surprisingly, when you’re not trudging through snow, this hike goes quickly to the lake, but is absolutely worth the added jaunt to the top.

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Cherry, Peach and Raspberry Chia Seed Crisp

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Holy moly! I’ve only recently heard about chia seeds and their alleged health properties, but I am now a full on believer! Packed with protein and aiding hydration, these little guys are a wonderful addition to your diet, particularly in the hot summer months when it’s hot and you need all the water retention you can get.

While at the local farmers market, Whole Foods was set up promoting healthy eating and this amazing raw cherry chia seed crisp recipe. It was so delicious I ended up coming back for seconds, and because they were strategically placed right next door to a farmer selling Rainier cherries, you better believe a pound of those things came home with me. I promise that this recipe is not a labor of love, even though it does involve a food processor. You’ll have it whipped together and served to delighted friends in T-20 min or so. Continue reading

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

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Nom. Just nom. Yet another win from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice! This light chicken dinner is seasonal win for the upcoming summer evenings, plus it’s easy to put together and leaves satisfied customers all around. The artichoke marinade can be prepared ahead of time, so it’s perfect if you’ve had a long day and want a simple (and delicious) meal ready within 30 min.

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