hello fresh

Hello Fresh Sample Week Unboxing

Thanks to my awesome Aunt Tink, Kevin and I got to try a free week of Hello Fresh last month. Hello Fresh is a meal subscription service that provides most of the ingredients for you, down to spices – you really only need to have cooking oils, butter, salt, etc. on hand. There are boxes for two people, four people, or families, and you can choose three, four, or five meals a week.

We had a lot of fun with our sample week! For foodies like us, this was a great chance to try some completely new recipes. If you’ve been wondering about trying out Hello Fresh, here’s a rundown of what was in our box and what we thought of the meals.

Our sample week included three meals for two people, which I thought was very generous for a sample size! Based on when I’d signed up for the free week, the box was delivered on a Saturday morning. It was a decent sized package that felt nice and cool as I picked it up.hello fresh

Continue reading

Advertisements

What I Ate | Las Vegas, August 2015

Once a year, I get to visit Las Vegas to see old friends, learn something new at DEFCON, and most importantly ( 😉 ) – eat some of my favorite dishes that I can’t find anywhere else.

This year’s Vegas trip took place during the first week of August. I was able to take part in some old favorites, and try a few new things that are now firmly on my “must do” list.

We stayed at the Monte Carlo, and this year’s DEFCON was located at Paris and Bally’s. These locations are pretty central on The Strip, and offered easy access to most places we wanted to visit (though we also had a pretty awesome Challenger for a rental car).

Kevin was occupied at Black Hat for much of our first full day, so I had the opportunity to have lunch with my friend Ellen. We decided on eating at the Yard House located in The Linq, which didn’t exist when I lived in Vegas. The area feels decidedly “un-Vegas” to me. It reminds me of Downtown Disney in Anaheim with the layout, architecture, and overall vibe. Yard House is located towards the back, near the High-Roller observation wheel.

yardhouse_las_vegas

Lunch & drinks at Yard House

Ellen had the Ahi Crunchy Salad, and I went with the Mac + Cheese (because when do I pass up macaroni and cheese?). Continue reading

cannon beach oregon

To Do List | Tourist-y Portland Top 5

After 5 months of settling into our new city, we are more than ready for some visitors to show around!

In just under two weeks, my biological and adopted sisters (Chelsea and Chelsea, or Chelsea Squared) will be coming to visit. Chelsea #2 helped us move back in February, but exhaustion and limited time didn’t leave much room for exploring together. The girls will be here for just under a week. A few days after they arrive, we will be joined by my dad and step-mom. After the long weekend, we will be off to Las Vegas for nearly another week. My current state of unemployment comes in handy here, as it leaves ample time for showing guests around town and hopping on a plane shortly after.

I have tons of things to do, see and eat on our agenda. The list, of course, includes some “tourist-y” items. When I lived in Vegas, I had a handful of tourist hot spots that I took guests, even when I’d lived there long enough to be jaded by cliches myself. With Portland, we’re still very new and exploring ourselves. Some of the to-dos are things we’ve seen before, and some we’ve saved specifically to experience with our visitors.

rose photo

Also mildly excited to show off our revamp of our itty bitty back yard to someone!

TO DO LIST: PORTLAND TOURIST SPOTS

Food | I honestly could make a full length list of all the food venues we will be visiting! Portland is becoming a major foodie destination. I have some tried and true spots we’ll be sharing with our guests, including Salt & Straw, Voodoo Doughnut, Kyra’s Bakeshop, Maki Sushi and Pastini Pastaria. We will all be trying out Mac! Mac and Cheesery together for the first time, and I’m hoping to maybe try some of the food carts downtown as well.

Powell’s City of Books | Any excuse I can find to head over to Powell’s, I will take! My little sister, Chelsea #1, is about to start her master’s degree in creative writing. I’m planning to find the shelf that her book will some day sit on and take her picture there.

International Rose Test Garden | Kevin and I visited this amazing place a few weeks ago. The trip was a bit rushed thanks to some minor dehydration, and I would love to go back and take another trip through. And guests to the Rose City can’t leave without seeing some roses!

Drinks at Departure | I’ve heard a lot about this hot spot with a view at the Nines Hotel downtown. What better time to find a new favorite drink than with visiting friends and family?

Oregon Coast | With the ocean so close to Portland, there’s no excuse not to experience your feet in the sand. I’m not sure whether we will be heading to Tillamook or Cannon Beach yet. Tillamook also has the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and Cannon Beach is a cozy, fun little beach town.

I better take advantage of the house cleaning time I have now!

intrusions of beauty

pacific ocean

Memorial Day Trip to Cannon Beach, OR

I am so excited that I live so close to the Pacific Ocean now!

While our original moving goal was Southern California, we eventually expanded our search to all of the West Coast. The important thing was being within a short distance of the ocean. We were finally able to drive out to the coast on Memorial Day to enjoy the sea breeze.

I have only been to Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast before, so we were open to any of the beach communities near by. After a quick Google search, I discovered Cannon Beach, and saw that parts of The Goonies were filmed there. We headed out on Monday morning to check it out.

cannon_beach_oregon Continue reading

Tuesday Tidbits

Summer is fast approaching! Although in Portland (and I know back home in Wyoming), the weather has been really rainy, I can still feel the summer time breeze coming in. Yesterday, we had our first thunderstorm since moving to Oregon, and thunderstorms have always been a sign of summer for me.

Evenings are filled with the smell of propane and charcoal grills, including ours! Even in the world’s smallest back yard, we have a tiny, portable charcoal grill that is perfect for two people. Despite some adventures in learning how to properly extinguish charcoal, I am looking forward to more cook outs this summer.

This week’s Tuesday Tidbits features all things grilling! I’d love to hear some of your favorite grill recipes, especially with Memorial Day next week.

What I’m Loving This Week: Grilling

→ Lauren Conrad featured some tips for keeping grilling healthy last week.

→ If you have a charcoal grill, there’s a good chance the bag your charcoal comes in says Kingsford on it. Their website features a comprehensive guide to working with charcoal.

→ One thing that will definitely be making an appearance on our menu this summer is grilled fruit. I have always wanted to try this technique, and this recipe for grilled watermelon and feta salad from the New York Times seems like a good place to start.

custom bbq tools

Engraved BBQ Tools by Rustic Craft Design

 

→ If you’re spending a lot of time with your grill, it only makes sense to invest in quality tools to work with. I like these custom designs from Rustic Craft Design on Etsy. You can customize them with almost anything you’d like!

→ The online version of Women’s Health Magazine is featuring a comprehensive guide to grilling -beginners to advanced grillers will be able to find tips and ideas here!

What are your best grilling tips? Do you love the smokiness of charcoal, or are you a propane devotee?

intrusions of beauty

To Do List | Portland Restaurants

I love food. I am willing to pay more money for an amazing meal than clothes, and consider dining one of the Macaroni and cheesebest parts of traveling. I am an unashamed foodie, and will try most anything at least once. To me, food is one of life’s great joys, and should be an experience.

When I found out that we were moving to Portland, I was excited to discover that the city is a foodie destination of sorts. Local eateries out number the chain restaurants, and we’ve already tried some amazing dishes in the two months that we have lived here. From mac and cheese made to order at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (at right) and gluten free lemon basil cake at Kyra’s Bakeshop to fresh burratta at Fireside and burbon ice cream at Salt & Straw in the Alphabet District, I am surprised I haven’t managed to put on twenty pounds yet.

Through Pinterest and Portland news sites, I have built a running list of places for us to try next. Here’s the top five I am currently looking forward to most.

To Do List: Portland Restaurants

  1. Mac! Mac and Cheesery | Kevin often jokes that if you cut me open, I’ll bleed mac and cheese. This restaurant sounds like a goldmine for me. 17 varieties of mac and cheese. And all of them can be made gluten free! Is this heaven? It might be.
  2. Elephants Delicatessen | This deli has a couple locations, and is a frequent pin in the Portland tag on Pinterest. They now have dine in options, including a grill, wood fire oven, and cheese and charcuterie counter.  Though Kevin can’t always partake, I am all about fresh, warm bread.
  3. Urban Farmer PDX | I follow Urban Farmer’s stunning Instagram, and frequently find myself drooling over the photos. The steakhouse focuses on sustainable, farm to table fare and is located on the 8th floor of the Nines Hotel downtown. Kevin and I both appreciate a good steak once awhile, and will have to stop by the next time the craving hits.
  4. Toro Bravo | Tapas to me fit the idea of food as an experience perfectly. When we lived in Vegas, we used to love stopping at Firefly for an evening of small plates and drinks, and I dearly miss the food at Social in Fort Collins, Colorado. Toro Bravo looks like it could be our new tapas spot.
  5. Pok Pok | With every search for Portland restaurants I’ve done, this Asian eatery has turned up near the top. Their site notes that they’re not a “fusion” restaurant. Their dishes are researched and tested to ensure an authentic dining experience.

Ah, so many food comas ahead!

intrusions of beauty

Chicken Feta Orzo Salad

When you’re a broke college student, pasta is a God-send. You can make it a thousand ways, make it healthy (or as caloric as you want), put whatever you feel like in it, and it always seems to make enough to eat off of for at least three days. When I was working on my graduate degree and living with my sister, we probably should have just bought stock in Barilla.

When looking for something new to try, I came across a pasta salad using orzo pasta on Pinterest. I tweaked the recipe to add veggies we liked, and it went over so well we had it at least once a month from there out. The awesome thing about this recipe, besides being super easy and guaranteeing you leftovers, is that you can change out the veggies and pasta for whatever you prefer. Take the chicken out, and it’s now vegetarian. Don’t like tomatoes? Toss ’em out, and add something like red pepper. We have made a version before that includes olives. Prefer something over orzo? Try that! In the rest of this post, the example I use I actually used gluten-free rotini instead of orzo (if you’ve ever managed to find gluten free orzo, please tell me where!) since the diners included my boyfriend. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

Note: Sorry for the terrible iPhone 4 photos. The Canon did not want to come out to play 😦

I love summer, I really do. I prefer the heat and would be completely fine if it only ever snowed Christmas day. But by far, my favorite time of year is fall (and not just because my birthday is at the end of September.) I love the changing leaves, Halloween, and excuses to dump pumpkin and pumpkin spice in everything. Yes, I am one of those people.

Though it’s the middle of July, I still get cravings for pumpkin treats. Last fall, I discovered a great recipe for pumpkin doughnuts that was just fantastic. With a few tweaks to the recipe, I was even able to make a batch for my Celiac boyfriend, who ate the entire dozen in one evening. Since I had a craving, what better opportunity to tweak the recipe a bit again and make muffins he could have for breakfast during his busy mornings before work? Continue reading