Portland, OR

I visited Portland for the second time this past September. The first time was a little over a year ago. Although the city itself has changed slightly in regards to its infrastructure, my experience was far better than the first. The reason? There are several. 

No. 1 – I met my beautiful niece for the first time 😍 She made me an aunt!! #WednesdayFiona Isn’t she cute?!?!

No. 2 – The Pearl. I fell in love. The district is full of life with shopping, food, breweries, coffee, parks and more right out your front door. 

Check out that delicious, fall off the bone lamb shank from Deschutes!! Wow was it amazing! This was their special that day. My husband got the Elk Burger, which was excellent as well. 

And the parks!

No. 3 – The lifestyle. The housing and apartment we stayed in was beautiful. We rented a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment on Hoyt Street in the district. It’s owned by a company called Stay Alfred. They own several properties across the US and I will vouch for this one. Also, everything in Portland is family friendly.  A lot is pet friendly too. 

We like our craft beer!! Although Deschutes was my favorite all around when considering both food and brew, Rogue is a must try as well as 10 Barrel and Fat Heads close behind when in the immediate area. 

One final thing I’ll say about the lifestyle is the city’s and it’s residents commitment to the environment. Great job Portland!!

No. 4 – Culture. There’s a little bit of everything and a true melting pot. My favorite melting pot is, no surprise, the shear number of food trucks you will find that literally took over a whole city block. If the group can’t decide what type of food they all want…Portland’s food truck alley has the solution…Thai, Chinese, Iraqi, Mediterranean, African, Israeli, Mexican, Vietnamese to name a few. There’s a host of vegan, vegetarian, organic, gluten free, paleo and other options available as well. 

I could not write this post without talking about Pok Pok. I’m salivating at the very thought of their chicken wings. OMG. 5 stars. This is a must when visiting and I will go here each time I’m in the city. 

Back to culture…this Chinese garden we found…

We ended our trip by relaxing on our roof top terrace the last night…of course with an adult beverage in hand…grilled some chicken to put on top our organic salad and called it a week. And what a week it was.

My husband and brother in law put the cherry on top by buying a gigantic box of Voodoo Doughnuts (balancing out the organic salad). This is one more thing you have to do/eat/visit while you’re here. Holy crap! I’ll miss you Portland and hope I’ll be back soon!

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Bread Pizza topped with Meatballs and Sausage

What do you do with day old Italian bread, left over sauce, sausage and meatballs?? Make a pizza out of it!! It’s so easy.   

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Italian bread, sliced lengthwise 
  • Olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • dried oregano
  • S & P
  • Homemade tomato sauce
  • Italian sausage, precooked (preferably in the sauce) and sliced thin
  • Meatballs, precooked (again in the sauce) and sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded

  
 What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. spread olive oil over the bread along with garlic powder, oregano, S & P, and parm cheese. 
  3. Place on a sheet tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. 
  4. Remove and top with tomato sauce, sausage, and meatballs. Then top with more Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.  
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. 

I have to admit, I’m not ready to give up my family recipe for traditional Italian sauce (aka gravy). It is the first thing I learned to cook on my own and is close to my heart. So, I’ve found a great comp that you can use as a guide so that you can make your own! Click the link to find that along with a meatball recipe. You should know by now that I never buy pre-made 🤓

Enjoy!

Crockpot Beef Tacos for Toddlers (or Adults)

I really think older babies (when ready for solid food) and toddlers should eat just like adults. My husband and I LOVED our beef tacos so why not share with Grady?!?!

What you need to put in the crockpot:

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1 small jar salsa
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 4 cloves garlic

Toppings and shell:

  • Avocado
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Deathwish hot sauce (for the adults)
  • Whole wheat soft taco shells 

What to do:

  1. Add the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. 
  2. Shread the beef and cook another 1/2 hour – 1 hour. 
  3. Put it all on a shell with as much or as little of the toppings. I recommend that you drain some of the juice from the crockpot beforehand. 

At the very end I wanted to make sure Grady had enough vegetables so I added some raw carrots. He loved it all!

Enjoy!

      Bean, Quinoa, and Kale Salad

      What a tasty dish for Summer! It’s light, nutritious, and filling at the same time. I decided to make this after reading about switching out one or two meals a week to vegetarian. You will save a few dollars on your grocery bill and you still can get all the vitamins and nutrients if you choose the right products for the meal.  I, of course, want to be sure my family and I are getting enough protein if we were leaving out the meat. So, I loaded it with beans, quinoa and kale. Believe it or not, raw kale has 3g of protein in one cup.* 

      Here is an article about all the great benefits of quinoa:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/juliewilcox/2012/06/26/7-benefits-of-quinoa-the-supergrain-of-the-future/

      This recipe makes A LOT! That’s usually how I roll lol. What’s good about making A LOT is that it saves time for me during the week. I can bring some to work for lunch, have it as a quick dinner at night, and it’s an easy meal for me to send to daycare for my toddler! He loves it by the way 🙂

       
      Ingredients:

      • 3 stalks of kale, chopped
      • Cilantro, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
      • 2 Corn on the Cob
      • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
      • Juice of 1 Lime
      • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
      • 1 cup Uncooked White Quinoa
      • 2 cans Black Beans
      • 1 can Cannellini Beans
      • 1 can Pinto Beans
      • Salt
      1. Prepare the corn. Clean off the husks and boil in a large pot until corn is soft. Remember to salt the water. 
      2. While the corn is cooking, chop the pepper, tomatoes, kale, juice the lime,  and rinse the beans in a strainer with cold water. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. 
      3. Remove the corn, set aside, and let cool. Using 2 cups of the same water, cook the quinoa until all the liquid is absorbed. Put a little more salt in the water. (Tip – Don’t boil the quinoa. Let it simmer on low for 10 minutes while covered. Remove from the heat and let stand another 5-10 minutes until you start to see the rings). Once done, add to the other ingredients. 
      4. Cut the corn off the cob and add it to the other ingredients. 

      Once it’s all mixed, I stored portion sizes in snack and sandwich size ziplock bags and then put them all into a freezer bag. Organization is key for me! I also save some for the next day or two. If you do the same, I suggest adding a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil. It will be a little dry if you don’t. 

      Enjoy!

      *Source