My Faves of Portland : {Making the most of a short trip}

IMG_6371_2“Keep Portland Weird” is a phrase that was painted on the wall of a local pizza place by our hotel…and it says so much about Portland!  Portland is weird and quirky and artsy and beautiful and they own it!

Because my mom is a cosmetic laser trainer and travels all the time; training clinics and doctor’s office staff on their newly purchased lasers….she gets to travel and earn lots of travel points and rewards!  So we used some of her rewards points and had a mother/daughter trip to Portland two weeks ago!

It was a short trip (Sunday night-Wednesday evening) so we had to make the most of our time to ensure we saw everything we wanted to.

Despite only being there a few days, I FELL IN LOVE WITH PORTLAND!  It had all the best things of a big city: tons of things to do and see, so many great and unique eateries, amazing parks, quirky neighborhoods, etc……but it was so much better than most of the famous big cities I have visited!  Mainly because it was clean, lush and green, the people were so friendly, and it was oh so quiet!  Of course being the socal girl that I am….it helped that it didn’t rain while we were there :).

Here are just a few highlights and recommendations on where to eat and what to see when there….especially if its only for a short time!  Prior to leaving I scoured blogs, Pinterest and yelp to make sure I hit great spots.  Plan a trip there soon friends!!

EAT:

  • VooDoo Doughnuts – Famous for their crazy donuts
  • Salt & Straw – Amazing & unique ice cream flavors (like Olive Oil)…plus this is in a cute neighborhood that I wish I had time to really explore!
  • Tasty & Alder – Great breakfast biscuits! (although I still need to try Pine St. Biscuits)
  • Veritable Quandary – The Bacon Dates app was on point, and everything was so delish here…but make a reservation!
  • Cheryl’s on 12th – Not only did I chat and talk about babies with the actual Cheryl, but my mother and I shared drinks, chatted, and showed off baby pictures with a lovely couple sitting next to us.  Oh yeah and the food was great…I had a fig & goat cheese sandwich!
  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters – The best coffee…seriously so smooth and delish!  You will find a number of cafe’s and bakeries around the city that promote that they brew Stumptown.
  • Lovejoy Bakers – Grab a Stumptown coffee and a pastry and you can sit on their adirondack chairs and just relax..taking in the Pearl District!
  • Petunia’s Pies & Pastries – Vegan Bakery…my mom was obsessed with the raspberry bars
  • Ken’s Artisan Bakery – We had an amazing lunch here…the bread is so fresh and I love that goat cheese came on the salad.
  • Andina – Peruvian Food (I recommend the cheese plate & quinoa crusted shrimp)
  • Isabel – Yummy latin breakfast (I had the artichoke scramble)
  • Lonesome’s Pizza – Open late and cheap delicious slices from a tiny speak-easy type window (Cash Only)

SEE:

  • Washington Park – There are endless things to do here.  You can visit the zoo, rose garden, japanese garden, tree arboretum, children’s museum, etc.  And the hiking…oh the amount of trails!
  • Waterfront Park – This runs along the river which divides Portland and it is a great walk where you can take in all the gorgeous bridges!…just watch out for all the bikers!
  • Keller Fountain Park – This is a fountain (although it didn’t have water when we were there) that just looks so cool!

SHOP:

  • Powell’s Bookstore – THE bookstore in Portland
  • The Pearl District – This was my favorite neighborhood to explore.  It has a ton of cute shops, adorable homes and apartments, art installations and sculptures line the streets, and it is just oh so hip feeling haha.

HELPFUL TIPS:

  • You can’t catch cabs in the city…just from the airport or if your hotel calls one for you
  • The train/bus system is awesome but you can walk the city fairly easy (when you stick to one side…I.E. the Westside or the Eastside)
  • Best months to travel there are August and September…a friend from there told me Don’t go in the fall!…you can seriously get just drenched by the rain!
  • They offer great tours…like bike tours and brewery tours.
  • If you do rent a car…there are lots of one way streets and you have to pay for parking pretty much wherever you go in the downtown area…but I didn’t find it was too hard to find a spot or too expensive.
  • Traffic going in and out of the city can be rough so plan ahead when trying to catch a flight.

I MUST go back…and maybe I will bring the hubby along next time :).

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My favorite cheat sheet/map that I found! IMG_6379_2We loved our stay at the Embassy Suites Downtown…the decor was so 1920’s art deco…and the accommodations were great!
IMG_6510No joke the cheese plate at Andina’s…the corn nuts!…so good 
IMG_6514 IMG_6473Our appetizer at Veritable QuandaryIMG_6469_2These cinnamon/sugar puffs (like a beignet) come free as you wait for your meal at Cheryl’s on 12th!IMG_6458This is at Washington Park and there were just so many trails!….I was almost expecting Edward Cullen to walk out from behind a tree.
IMG_6461Lush lush lushIMG_6446These are the drinking fountains that are spread around the SouthWest side of Portland…they are all around and the water constantly flows!  Plus the water there tastes AMAZING!IMG_6443_2Keller Fountain Park…would have been so cool if it was flowing…but still so beautiful.IMG_6441_2Walking along Waterfront ParkIMG_6426_2VooDoo Doughnuts…the line can get cray so go when its slow!IMG_6419_2This place is so adorable and the vegan treats were delish!
IMG_6409Our lunch at Ken’s Artisan BakeryIMG_6398_2At Lovejoy BakersIMG_6400_2Oh you know…just a baby on a bench :).  IMG_6392_2Such cute homes in The Pearl!IMG_6391_2Oh I love all the greenery!

There were a ton more places to see and eat at but there just wasn’t time (feel free to comment if you want more recommendations).  So….looks like I will just need to go again.  Until next time PDX!

Apple Cake w/Cinnamon Sugar Topping {Magnolia Bakery}

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When on maternity leave we had lots of visitors who brought us meals, one of them being my sweet Grandma.  When she brought us food she left this can of Duncan Hines Country Apple Pie Filling for dessert saying we could mix it/top it on almost anything!  I have never bought pre-mixed pie filling and thought it was a sweet “Grandma thing” to bring but didn’t know how to really use it….so I just put it in my cupboard and forgot about it.  But then when looking for fall recipes and flipping through my favorite Magnolia Bakery Cookbook I found this recipe and it called for canned apples.  I figured canned apples and canned apple pie filling weren’t that much different so I made the cake and it was delish and very moist!  The difference is that I didn’t add sugar to the batter because the pie filling already had sugar…but everything else is the same.  It’s a perfect cake to be sliced, served warm with coffee or tea for breakfast or dessert!  This is also a good loaf cake to give as a gift!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (canola is preferred)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (20 ounce) can sliced apples, drained and patted dry
  • Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I skipped this since the canned pie filling had sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

*Tip:  If you want a really crispy cinnamon/sugar top then really load it on.  The amount called for in the recipe does not produce a super sweet crust but is still good.

Directions:

  • In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, and eggs, using an electric mixer on medium speed; beat for about 3 minutes or until light and thick.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar/oil mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, beating after each addition until smooth.
  • In another bowl, toss the apples with half the cinnamon-sugar topping; then stir half the apples into the batter. (In my case I skipped this and just added the canned apple pie filling to the batter and a tsp of cinnamon.  I tried to leave as much of the jelly from the filling out of the batter.)
  • Pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 10-inch tube pan.
  • Drop the remaining apples on top of the batter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake in a 325 degree oven for 60-70 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour.
  • Remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

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{Pumpkin} Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Fall is my favorite season by far!  So it’s time for the fall recipes and that means PUMPKIN!  I was making some Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies the other day and decided they needed to be pumpkin instead!  Last Fall I made pumpkin bread with chocolate chips as an experiment and my brother loved it!  So I had to combine those two ingredients again this year but in cookie form.  The result is a soft, fluffy pumpkin-y cookie that is delish and light!

Ingredients:  

{Follow the back of the Nestle Tollhouse Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips directions but add pumpkin and spice to butter/sugar mixture}

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin pureé
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice

IMG_2297IMG_2302IMG_2321The cookies come out puffier, softer, and more cake like than normal cookiesIMG_2318IMG_2324Dip and enjoy!

Apple Cake w/Cinnamon Sugar Topping {Magnolia Bakery}

IMG_2330

When on maternity leave we had lots of visitors who brought us meals, one of them being my sweet Grandma.  When she brought us food she left this can of Duncan Hines Country Apple Pie Filling for dessert saying we could mix it/top it on almost anything!  I have never bought pre-mixed pie filling and thought it was a sweet “Grandma thing” to bring but didn’t know how to really use it….so I just put it in my cupboard and forgot about it.  But then when looking for fall recipes and flipping through my favorite Magnolia Bakery Cookbook I found this recipe and it called for canned apples.  I figured canned apples and canned apple pie filling weren’t that much different so I made the cake and it was delish and very moist!  The difference is that I didn’t add sugar to the batter because the pie filling already had sugar…but everything else is the same.  It’s a perfect cake to be sliced, served warm with coffee or tea for breakfast or dessert!  This is also a good loaf cake to give as a gift!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (canola is preferred)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (20 ounce) can sliced apples, drained and patted dry
  • Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I skipped this since the canned pie filling had sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

*Tip:  If you want a really crispy cinnamon/sugar top then really load it on.  The amount called for in the recipe does not produce a super sweet crust but is still good.

Directions:

  • In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, and eggs, using an electric mixer on medium speed; beat for about 3 minutes or until light and thick.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar/oil mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, beating after each addition until smooth.
  • In another bowl, toss the apples with half the cinnamon-sugar topping; then stir half the apples into the batter. (In my case I skipped this and just added the canned apple pie filling to the batter and a tsp of cinnamon.  I tried to leave as much of the jelly from the filling out of the batter.)
  • Pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 10-inch tube pan.
  • Drop the remaining apples on top of the batter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake in a 325 degree oven for 60-70 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour.
  • Remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Zucchini Bruschetta {Hot}

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Don’t get me wrong, traditional bruschetta is delish, but when zucchini’s are in season I like to mix it up a bit. Zucchini’s are my go to veggie most nights, and I will sometimes just make this {Hot} Zucchini Bruschetta for dinner.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 Servings

-Roasted Garlic Spread (Click for my recipe))

– 1 Zucchini

-2 pieces of bread (I prefer Sourdough or french)

-2 Mushrooms (Optional)

-2 tbls Olive Oil

-1 tbls crushed garlic (jarred is fine)

-Salt & Pepper (To taste)

-Grated Parmesan Cheese (Just to sprinkle on top when done)

Directions:

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IMG_0463Cut zucchini long way in quarters, and dice.

IMG_0464 Chop mushrooms (Totes optional)

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Let oil heat up a bit before putting in veggies. (Stove can be on high)IMG_0472Add garlic and veggies. Then sauté until zucchini is tender. Salt and pepper to taste. IMG_0344Lightly spread Roasted Garlic Spread on both sides of each slice.

IMG_0346Broil on high approx. 3 minutes per side (Pay attention to them so they don’t burn!)

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IMG_0473Top garlic toasts with zucchini and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

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