Monday, September 22, 2014

We Made It!

D and I had the best last night in Portland (last Wednesday). We really took advantage of the fact that we had no furnishings left in our home and celebrated with a date night. We had dinner at our favorite restaurant, strolled through the best book store in the world, watched a movie at an intimate theater that served our drinks to us AFTER we sat down, and finished off with drinks accompanied by the best view of downtown. It was wonderful. And it made me so sad to leave the fantastic city I've called home for the past 30 years of my life.

drinks at MMM Tacos
the view of the city from Departure Lounge through a martini glass
We got to Kirkland, WA on Thursday and moved into our corporate housing. It's furnished (albeit sparsely) and has its own swimming pool, hot tub, tennis courts, and private dock. We're right on Lake Washington, and I've been enjoying as much of my time as possible on the lake.

I visited my new college (North Seattle College) and discovered the building where I will be spending most of my time for the next 11 weeks. I'm taking Anatomy and Physiology Monday through Thursday, and from what I've heard from other people, it's a very time-intensive class that will require a lot of brainpower and energy.

There's so much good food to be had here in the Seattle area. I've been digging all the new-to-me brands of gluten-free and vegan goodness.

Peanut Butter bar from Flying Apron bakery

it's time for pumpkin cider!!
D headed down to the Bay Area for orientation at his new company yesterday, so I'm home alone with Betsy until Friday. I guess it's time for a full-on ladies' week here! I'm thinking we'll have popcorn every night for dinner and then we'll stay up really late and gossip about boys.

Here I am on my first day of class this morning:

It's exciting to be in a new city!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We're Moving to Seattle!

a view of Lake Washington
I figured it would be easier to just come right out and say it, rather than beat around the bush. D got an amazing job offer in the Seattle area, and we're moving up there at the end of this week! We're both from Portland, and our families are here, so it'll be quite an adjustment, but it'll also be such an exciting adventure!

Lovers of Seattle: what's your favorite restaurant? tourist attraction? thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Visit to San Diego

D and I visited San Diego last weekend. It was my first time there, and I fell in love with it. I took too few pictures, so in a way, you'll be spared having to live through every detail, but we enjoyed so many adventures while we were there. We went to the ocean every day (the water was so warm!), tried some famous Mexican food, went kayaking by moonlight, and just enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was a wonderful vacation. I would go back in a heartbeat.

the view from the place we were staying - that's Mission Bay in the horizon
the aftermath of our trips to the beach
I don't remember what these are called, but our host referred to them as a weed; either way, they're gorgeous!
I don't know if I've made this clear on this blog, but I loooove palm trees
D's a former Marine who spent some time on Navy ships, so when we read through my guide book and learned that there was a decommissioned Navy aircraft carrier on display in the bay, we decided to visit. It was my first time on one, and it was fascinating. It was so big! I loved hearing D's take on the ship, as well as being guided around by retired navy men. 

here I am, standing in front of the USS Midway
here's D, standing in front of the USS Midway
a view of the flight deck on top of the aircraft carrier USS Midway
I visited a friend in Solana Beach (which was a bit north of where we stayed in San Diego) who took me to some beautiful sights around her area. We stopped at a meditation garden in Encinitas, then had a smoothie in town, then finished up with strolling and shopping in Solana Beach (I purchased a t-shirt for only $5!).

the view of the ocean from the meditation gardens
more lovely ocean
And, just like that, the vacation was over. We were only there for 3 days, but as I said before, in just that short amount of time, I fell in love with this new-to-me city.

selfies before getting onto the plane! I think the guy to the left of D is channeling Shawn Spencer from the TV show "Psych"
the view from the plane as we landed - it looks so artistic, but I was really just trying to take a picture of the big moon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

10 Back to School Favorites - Vegan and Gluten-free Treats

Luckily, I do not have to go back to school until September 22nd, but my nieces in Kentucky have already gone back to school, and I know that for many children, today was their first day back. In the spirit of everything back-to-school, I've come up with a list of my 10 favorite school-friendly snacks and lunches -- vegan and gluten-free, of course!

To get your kid (or yourself) excited about Halloween (less than two months away, and counting!), try these ridiculously cute Frankenstein Brown Rice Treats from Fork and Beans:

These Homemade Clif Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie look perfect for the active student:

I grew up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day at school, and look at how gorgeous this jam would be in a peanut butter sandwich! Blueberry Rosemary Chia Seed Jam from Tasty Yummies:

Can you imagine coming home from school and seeing these amazing donuts on a plate, set out just for you? It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Salted Caramel Glazed Chocolate Donuts from Allyson Kramer: 

Gah - I grew up on homemade fruit roll ups, too! My grandma made them and would store them in her freezer, so every time we went to visit her in southern Oregon, I made it a major priority to grab a roll up and start munching. Now I don't have to just remember - I can eat them like I used to with this Fruit Roll Up recipe from Beard + Bonnet:

This peach banana bread seems like the perfect way to use up those summer peaches while simultaneously welcome in fall. Peach Banana Bread from Conscientious Cookie: 

I know that not all children like figs (it took me quite a while to develop a taste for them), but I think these Raw Fig Newtons from Holy Basil look like they would be the perfect snack for just about any palate:

Who doesn't love brownies? These Mocha Teff Brownies from Cake Maker to the Stars seem like the perfect addition to your lunchbox or your after-school snack:

I'm all for having healthy after-school treats (although you might not realize that, given the other links I've selected for this list), so these Summer Rolls from Elephantastic Vegan look just right:

And to finish out the list, here's a lovely looking snack featuring fruit AND chocolate (seriously, is there a better combination?). Strawberry Sushi with Chocolate Sauce from Green Gourmet Giraffe:

You might notice that it's the beginning of Vegan Mofo around the vegan blogosphere, but I have decided not to participate this year. Although I've had a blast in years past, this month seemed a little too busy to add blogging every day to my list of duties. I'll be back next year, though!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The HappyCow Cookbook: A Review and Giveaway: CLOSED

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered!

I'm really excited about today's review and giveaway. I remember when HappyCow was brand new, and I was a brand new vegan, and it was so refreshing to be able to look at the website and find out where I could eat with my new diet. Now, they have an app for smartphones and - even more exciting - a lovely new cookbook!

Note: I received a complimentary copy of the cookbook, but all the comments and opinions expressed are my own. 

Doesn't it look beautiful? The inside is just as nice - it has full-color photos and descriptions of the restaurants and the head cooks or owners. And, for those of you living in or from Portland, OR, there's an extra treat: there's a recipe from one of our very own all-vegan restaurants, Portobello Vegan Trattoria!

I love this cookbook for many reasons, but I think my favorite part is that for every featured restaurant, there's two pages containing an interview with the chef or owner of the restaurant. Without visiting the restaurant, you're able to learn a bit more about the establishment, such as why the owner opened it, what motivates him/her to do what he/she does, what the most popular items on the menu are, and whether there are gluten-, soy- and/or sugar-free options on the menu. Following that interview, there's at least one recipe from the restaurant, with full-color photos.

Because Portobello was featured in the book, I decided it had been way too long since I had stopped in to visit, so I took my friend S with me to dine. The recipe featured in the cookbook is their Butternut Gnocchi with Brussels Leaves, but I wasn't able to eat that (given its glutenous nature); however, here's the recipe picture from the cookbook, to whet your appetite...

And to give you an idea of just how delicious this gnocchi probably is, here are some pictures from our visit (forgive the restaurant lighting)...

We started with pomme frites (french fries, obviously!) with homemade ketchup

Hers and hers drinks.

We split everything half and half, but I ordered the cauliflower steak with olive tapenade, which came with a side of vegetables.

S ordered the ratatouille risotto, which was just as delicious.

We finished with amazing homemade coconut milk ice cream - this flavor was vanilla bourbon.
As you can see, Portobello is amazing, and I'm sure all the other restaurants in the cookbook are, too. I'm so excited to try at home many of the delicious meals or dishes I've had when traveling. This cookbook features some fantastic recipes from even more fantastic restaurants located all around the world; I guarantee this is a cookbook you'll want to add to your collection. AND, because HappyCow is so awesome, they are letting me give away a copy of the cookbook to one lucky reader! Please see below for the rules and restrictions of this giveaway.

The winner will be contacted next Thursday, September 4th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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