food

Portland’s Finest: The Mississippi Street Fair & Oregon Berry Festival

Portlanders have more fun.

There, I said it. And that, my friends, is a fact. Since moving here I’ve been delighted by the smiling faces, fun-loving, welcoming spirit that Portlanders have shown me. I never know when I’ll meet someone new, but I know that I look forward to it. Need proof? Fly, drive, bike, bus, walk….get here however you want to get here….and see for yourself.

Summer in Portland has been blossoming with fairs, concerts, festivals, craft beer debuts, quirky bar themes, karaoke…you name it, we’ve got it. Last weekend my friends and I went to the Mississippi Street Fair and the Oregon Berry Festival, in NE and NW Portland, respectively.

As any future RD worth her salt does, I love fresh berries. I was lucky enough to grow up in France, where visiting the markets meant picking up local berries ripe for eating, and I’ve had a love affair with raspberries ever since. At the Oregon Berry Festival, we were treated to all things berries: smoothies, huckleberry coffee, brambleberry cider, Hawaiian ice, and of course some hot-off-the-press red raspberry vodka and blackberry bourbon. Um, free samples please? IMGP9536-001

The Oregon Berry Festival was educational, and highlighted local growers and their contributions to our berry feasts.

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It just wouldn’t be Portland without a food cart of some kind!  IMGP9540-001

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Next up was the Mississippi Street Fair. How I love thee, street fairs of all shapes and sizes. The vendors! The food and drink! Being goofy with your friends because ten blocks of the main street has been closed!

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First stop: whiskey. Like I said…it just wouldn’t be Portland without it.IMGP9565-001

Ten blocks, my friends. That’s a lot of road to get through in a crowd like this!IMGP9546-001

That’s why we had to take a break at Bungalow Bar to sit in their hammocks.

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What I ate: this thoughtful cart offered vegan barbeque, which was a must. But somehow I ended up with a two-pound, soy curl and macaroni and cheese vegan burrito…

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…should have been more sensible and had this instead!

 

Summer is only half-finished, so take advantage of it wherever you are! Street fairs and local town celebrations can be a lot of fun, and are a great excuse to get out and eat, drink, and be joyful in the sunshine. Happy summer!

 

 

 

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Vegan Banana Bread, or: that time when I baked something completely unrelated to the Fourth of July

On our nation’s birthday, when most Portlanders are sampling craft beers and scarfing down grass-fed ribs and hot dogs, I chose to make vegan banana bread.

And it turned out amazing.

Thank you to Quiche-a-Week for the recipe!

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Here are the dry ingredients: buckwheat flour, spelt flour, hemp protein powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

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This is me after I tried to look sad about the half-defrosted bananas, but instead giggled uncontrollably from being put in front of a camera.

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Some of the ingredients for this recipe are the BEST! If you haven’t tried Earth Balance, you have not lived. It is equal or better-tasting than actual, animal-derived butter. Hi-Fiber Hemp Protein is something I haven’t sampled too much, but it’s a fairly bland supplement that can go into smoothies and juices without muddling the taste too much. As for Bob’s, there just aren’t enough great things to say. The Bob’s Red Mill headquarters is just north of me in Oregon, and I’m planning to take a trip up there really soon.IMGP9390-001

Pro tip: this recipe calls for ground flax seed to be used as a binder substitute for eggs. If you can’t find ground flax seed and want to just grind up whole seeds, that’s fine–but rinse your blender out immediately after! Once those seeds get wet, they tend to stick. I guess that’s why they are such a great replacement for eggs!

So here it is all mixed up and ready to go. I gotta say…it doesn’t look very appetizing. IMGP9393-001

But it turned out delicious! The bread was fluffy, tender, and satisfyingly crunchy with my addition of coconut flakes. My resident taste tester reports, “I like that it’s not too sweet.”

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I’ll definitely be saving this recipe. I think a jam, Earth Balance, or PB would go great as a topping, but it’s perfect just the way it is.

Happy Fourth!

It’s the Great Outdoors

Things to do in your lifetime #594: Go camping.

Boulder Lake, Oregon is one of the best places I’ve ever camped–and I say this after spending the entire night and day fending off a steady freezing rain. But look, how could you not like this?

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Rule #1 of camping is that you must have a dog. Dogs provide security, fun, and general adorableness. That’s Seven down there, lounging about!

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Rule #2 of camping is that you must have good food. Hearty and delicious food will keep you warm and fend off the low blood sugar grumps on your extreme hikes and other explorations around the campsite. Seriously, load up. Some vegan camping fodder I live by are KIND bars (almond coconut, specifically), PB&jelly sandwiches, and any of the vegan fare from Backpacker’s Pantry. I sampled the Katmandu Curry this trip, which was delectable and oh-so-easy to make. Just add boiling water, let it sit, and fuel up! This one was filled with veggies, rice, some potatoes, and mouth-watering spices.

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Rule #3 of camping is to be spontaneous and have fun. As my friend Ashley demonstrates, this might mean hopping in an inflatable raft and using a cutting board to tour the lake even though it is raining and cold. This was one of those moments in my life where I realized that keeping a smile on your face and having some fantastic friends makes life joyful.

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Rule #4 of camping is that you must always, without exception, have ‘smores and a roarin’ campfire. Be sure to get enough firewood right off the bat so you don’t have to go trekking around in the dark looking for dry branches. This, and the tarp that my friends and I ingeniously tethered to the trees above our heads, provided a pretty comfy shelter.

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I had to bite the bullet after this trip and get a seriously warm sleeping bag for myself. My criteria were for it to be cheap, synthetic (no down feathers here, please), cute, and lightweight. After some contemplation at REI, I settled on the Marmot Sunset 20. Weighing in at just 3 lbs 9 oz, rated at 23 F, and cute to boot, I can’t wait to break it in!

Until the next camping trip!