January 2019 Hikes

We have not done a lot of hiking lately. Between travel and minor surgery (for the dog, she’s fine) we just haven’t gotten out of the city much. We’ve still spent a good amount of time on the trails, but they’ve been ones we’ve done many times before – a perk of living in a city surrounded by great trails. Hopefully we can get back in the swing of things in February.

Oregon Coast to Neahkahnie Mountain

In mid-January we ventured out to the coast to do a long hike. The weather ended up being perfect – it was sunny and so warm we had to keep shedding layers. The trail is a 7 mile, moderately trafficked out-and-back with an elevation gain of 2,200 ft. It is accessible from both a north and south trailhead; we started on the south side which has the steeper climb. The trail climbed 1.5 miles to the peak where we were treated to sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean before winding down to to an overlook. Even with the elevation, the trail is moderate and the view at the top makes the burning legs worth it.

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2018 Year In Review

Mostly for posterity, because thinking back I couldn’t for the life of me remember what we did January-March. We had a great year and are excited to see what 2019 has in store.

January

We don’t have many photos from early in the year. We spent the first few months in Louisville, and January was marked with some snowy walks and finishing up the garage (I think we finished the siding at this point and were able to park inside!).

February

Matt ran the electric to the garage and learned a new skill in the process. We went on a trip to Hawaii, and even though it was rainy we did some amazing hikes, ate way too much poke, and tried stand up paddleboard yoga for the first time!

March

In March we: had a fire, it snowed a bit, we crashed a wedding, and drove across the country (again)!

April

We spent April in Phoenix and enjoyed the warm weather. We visited Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Sedona. Ralph and Jan came to visit. We did some desert hikes and spent some time hanging out with friends.

May

We moved to Utah, I got a new job, we spent a lot of time at the pool, and we did a lot of mountain hikes. Looking back at these pictures I forgot how green Utah was in the spring; by the time we left in September it was completely brown.

June

We spent more time at the pool and exploring Salt Lake City. We hit up some new breweries. Matt turned 33! We hiked some more. Beth and Casey came to visit and we went to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. And we went to a professional rugby match.

July

I started training for a 50K. Ralph and Jan came to visit and we took a trip to Moab to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We did lots of hiking including our first sunset hike on Antelope Island. Matt went to Vegas for the first time and I went to Boston. I turned 32.

August

More hiking and running in August. Matt went to Canada. The weather got really hot. We spent more time at the pool. I ran my first marathon distance in Park City and saw some moose on the trail.

September

We did more running and hiking and tried to keep cool (the Utah summer was HOT). We went to Wyoming to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We went to the Utah State Fair. I started another new job. We moved to Boise for a few weeks.

October

We moved to Portland. I ran the Elk-Kings 50K. We did some hikes and watched the leaves turn. We went to a Timbers game.

November

We slowed down a little this month. Fewer hikes and fewer runs. We settled into our apartment. Beth and Casey came to visit and we drove down to San Francisco to visit Heidi and Brian. We had some good coffee and payed virtual reality games. We stopped at Crater Lake National Park, but it was closed due to snow. We went to a holiday beer festival in downtown Portland.

December

Heidi came to visit/dog sit and we tried some delicious food and drinks. We hiked a little, it rained a lot. And we celebrated the holidays in a very low-key way with just the three of us.

Recent Bakes

Just a couple of photos of some things I whipped up recently.

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Christmas cookies. I love making sugar cookies – the decorating is actually really cathartic to me – and I like to change it up and do some new designs every year. Matt requested the jumping reindeer this year, and they were my favorite!

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Vegan meringues. This was on a bit of whim, but I roasted some chickpeas and wanted to see what I could make from the leftover brine. It whipped up with a bit of sugar into a fluffy, marshmallowy meringue that baked into a delightfully crunchy, chewy cookie. I slightly overbaked them, but we had them as part of a pavlova (not vegan) with whipped cream, cranberry curd, and berries and it wasn’t noticeable.

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Girl Scout Cookie samoa cake. Matt requested a cake, and when I came across this recipe I knew it was a winner. I used my classic chocolate cake recipe and layered it with: dark chocolate ganache, shortbread cookie crumbs, shortbread cookie buttercream, and toasted coconut caramel. It was decadent!

Food and Drink in Portland – fall 2018

We’ve been in Portland for a little over 2 months now, and sometimes it feels like we never left. We keep having to remind ourselves that it’s been 2.5 years since we were here last – like the time I tried to take Heidi to a wine bar only to find out once we got there that it’s now a coffee shop. We’ve been thoroughly enjoying revisiting some of our favorite haunts and trying new places as well.

Coffee

When we were here in 2016, we were just starting to get into coffee. Now, we’re bona fide coffee snobs. It’s been fun trying out new roasters to find ones that we love.

Kiosko – this has been the favorite so far. It’s a tiny shop down by the river that you’d miss if you weren’t paying attention. We randomly found it while staying in a hotel the first week we were in town, but we’ve been back multiple times since. The beans are roasted perfectly – not too burnt – and they make an excellent pour over in house. They source all of their beans from Mexico and rotate their selections throughout the year.

Case Study Coffee Roasters – Case Study is a coffee shop right in the heart of downtown. We tried two pour over coffees here: the Costa Rica Las Lajas  (notes of honeysuckle, peach jam, vanilla) and the Ethiopia Sidama (notes of raspberry, nectarine, and lemonade). Both coffees were light and flavorful. The Ethiopan had a nice acidity while the Costa Rica had a deeper, creamy mouthfeel coming from the Honey Process.

Good Coffee – Good Coffee has a couple of shops around the city. The location we went to focuses primarily on espresso and espresso-based drinks. We didn’t have a cup there, but we did pick up a bag of beans to brew at home. We tried an Ethiopian roast that was light and complex with a light acidity on the front end and a rich finish.

Food

Por Que No  – an old favorite that stands the test of time. The tacos are fresh and stuffed to the gills with meats, veggies, and other toppings, and the margaritas are a perfect mix of booze and tart. There’s usually a line, but it moves fast and once you get inside you can order your pint of margarita.

Food Trucks – we love all of the food trucks in this city. It’s so nice to be able to walk down the block when you don’t know what to have for dinner and get something cheap and delicious. Our favorite block is at 10th and Alder, though it will soon be closing to make way for a high rise. We also enjoyed Cartopia on the East side, which is set up more like a food court with plenty of seating and places to grab a beer.

 Raven and Rose – even though this was right down the block from our 2016 apartment, we only just now made a visit. The restaurant looks like an English pub on the outside and is broken up into two distinct spaces inside: the downstairs is a full-service dining room while the upstairs bar is a more casual lounge-style atmosphere. The house cocktails are unique and mixed well (they even had fresh eggnog for the holidays!) and the food is rich and delicious.

The Daily Feast – this is a casual diner serving up breakfast and lunch. It’s a small space and can get crowded fast, but they turn tables quickly. They have a nice selection of healthy and hearty breakfast dishes and churn out some decent lattes. We’re fans of the lox bagels and omelettes, but everything on the menu sounds tasty.

Quickfish – poke joint focused on sustainability. We’ll go here when we’re craving something fresh and a little healthy. We love the different bowl options but also like crafting our own bowls. You don’t get as much fish as other places, but they don’t sacrifice on flavor or quality.

Drinks

Deadshot – we stumbled on this bar on our way to a brewery and it was the happiest accident. The drinks caught our eye with their unusual ingredients (mustard, fish sauce, and kimchi, to name a few), and they were executed impeccably. The bar is casual with comfortable couch-like seating and is the perfect location to meet up with friends for a drink.

Shift Drinks – Shift Drinks is downtown and, as the name implies, started as a way to unwind after a day of work. They have an all-day happy hour – since not everyone works the traditional 9-5 – that has plenty of food and drink specials. The drinks are crafted well and the food is tasty. We’ve gone a couple of times and can’t help but getting the bread and olive oil plate to eat alongside our cocktails.

November and December 2018 Hikes

Bald Mountain via Pacific Crest Trail

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Bald Mountain is located in the Mt. Hood National Forest and reached via a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. The drive to the trailhead alone offered amazing views, but the hike is definitely worth the effort.  The trail is moderate due to an initial elevation gain of 1,000 ft. in the first 1.5 miles, but it isn’t too steep and levels out after that point. On the day we went it was pretty lightly trafficked, though it was early November and very cold. Since we were in the mountains (starting at 3,500 ft.), as we climbed the temperature dropped and trees became frost-covered. After the initial climb, you’re treated to a spectacular view of Mt. Hood rising out of the valley. The trail continues an additional 1.5 miles through pine forests before opening up to sweeping views of the valley and Mt. Hood. Go on a clear day to maximize the views and you won’t be disappointed.Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 8.40.34 AM

Dog Mountain

Dog mountain is a 4-6 mile hike in the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side of the river. It is a moderate to difficult trail and hikers have the option of a 4 mile lollipop loop or adding in an additional 2 miles out and back to the peak. The trail climbs steadily for the first half and there is an option of a difficult or more difficult route. The overall elevation gain is just shy of 3,000 feet for the full 6 miles and about 2,000 for the 4 mile loop. We did the 4 mile loop, taking the difficult route up and the more difficult route down. The more difficult route has fewer switchbacks and is quite a bit steeper. The day we went was snowy making the trail a bit slippery and pushing it into a more difficult trail for us; on a clear day we likely would have rated it moderate due to the climbing. The trail is rated moderately-trafficked, however since it was winter we didn’t see an overwhelming number of people. The spring and summer are likely a bit busier. On the way up, we had some great views of the gorge; it was shrouded in a moody winter mist. Overall it was a fun hike, and we’d love to go back to the top on a clear day.Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 1.14.05 PM

Forest Park

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Forest Park is right in the heart of Portland and contains a vast network of trails. It wasn’t our favorite place to go initially because many of the trails are overly crowded. We found that the further north you go, the less crowded it becomes, so we’ve been exploring more trails further in the park. It’s a great place to get out for a trail run or easy hike without having to drive too far.

Kings Mountain Trail

Kings Mountain is located in the Tillamook Forest, 40 miles west of Portland. I ran my ultra in this forest but didn’t get to the summits, so we knew we wanted to get back and hike. The trail is not easy – it is all uphill gaining 2,500 feet in 2.25 miles until you reach Kings Summit. It’s moderately trafficked, and even on a rainy/snowy day we passed plenty of other hikers. Unfortunately there was no visibility at the top the day we hiked, but on a clear day you can supposedly see all the way to the ocean. We’re planning on going back in nicer weather to do the double Elk-Kings summit loop.

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Lemon Cranberry Muffins

It’s no secret that we love muffins. To change it up from our weekly banana nut muffins and to use up some leftover cranberries, I decided to whip up some lemon cranberry muffins. This cranberries are cooked before being added to the batter to remove some of their inherent tartness, and then lemon adds such a brightness.  I also added poppy seeds, which aren’t necessary, but balance out the tartness of the lemon with a slight nuttiness.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C  all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour – can sub all-purpose if desired
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t  salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 C fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 T water

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Place cranberries, brown sugar, and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium until cranberries start to pop. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In a medium bowl, mix together oil, eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add to dry mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in cranberries.

Divide into muffin tin and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

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