September 28, 2016

Breakfast Braid

I have a love hate relationship with breakfast. If a meal is sacrificed by me in eating, it is breakfast. But my most of my favorite foods...breakfast items. It is tough sometimes!

I don't host breakfast often, but I did the other day and I thought making a quick breakfast braid would be great. What is perfect is that it is very simple. Lately I have just used lots of crescent rolls for easy recipes and I am not mad about it.

The best part about this recipe is it is versatile. You could just do it with the cheese mixture like a cheese danish, add sweet jam like I did, or do something savory. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients:

1 tube of crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of jam/jelly (use my homemade recipes or buy some. I used blackberry and it was great!)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.

Unroll crescent rolls seamlessly onto the baking sheet. On each long side of the dough, make 2 inch long cuts about 1 inch apart using a knife or pizza cutter.

Spread your cheese filling down the middle of the dough. Add jam over the cheese layer.

Starting at one end, fold the strips over the filling on an angle alternating sides. This will give it a braided look.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the danish is golden brown.


How do you like your danish in the morning?

September 26, 2016

Visiting Oregon: Columbia River Valley

I had a spur of the moment vacation flying into Portland, Oregon. Now while I did not spend any time in Portland--Oregon served me well!

Remember how I said spur of the moment?! Well, so spur of the moment, that I forgot my camera. There are plenty of posts on travel out there, but I still thought I would do blog posts with my camera phone pictures. Who am I kidding anyway....almost every photo on this blog is a camera phone photo. And if you have interesting vacation photos and thoughts that you want to share, you should go for it!

So okay, thanks for your rant Lauren...now just share your trip!

Also, I tried to post a little on Instagram/Snapchat, but I am probably the only person in the world who only has 150 megabytes of data. Yeah, not a lot.

But for a great little trip, I highly recommend doing the Columbia River Highway. Here are the highlights:

Start at the Crown Point Vista House: A beautiful stone exterior and marble interior makes for a beautiful building. The name Vista House is appropriate because on a beautiful day, the views are just great!

Latourell Falls: This is the first major waterfall on your drive. You can access a view point to the falls by going on a very short moderate hike. After that, go further and trek even higher for an amazing waterfall experience. This was my favorite!


Bridal Veil Falls: This is a beautiful two tier waterfall that has a short and easy pathway that leads to the falls.

Wahkeena Falls: There is a small short paved trail from the parking lot to a misty falls. You can go past that and walk the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop Trail. I opted to just drive to Multnomah to save my time hiking to see more waterfalls.

Multnomah Falls: This is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the second tallest year round waterfall in the US (I don't know what the first is.) It is tiered and classic. The view points are easy walks from the parking area. This is the most popular falls and therefore, the most people will be here.

Oneonta Falls: So we were running short on time after being so enamored with all the falls before this one. So we did not go here. So sad! Next time for sure! This is supposed to be one of the best! You hike through a slot canyon to get to some beautiful falls.

Horsetail Falls: Right of the road this is a beautiful fall that is calm enough to be peaceful but strong enough to be astonishing. 


 All these beautiful waterfalls are getting me excited to explore Iceland like my girl Andrea! One day...but till then, Oregon is beautiful and I would love to go back!


Have you ever explored Oregon?

September 23, 2016

Exploring Wilamette Valley Wineries

I decided to spend a weekend getaway in Oregon. Like any trip, I of course did not have enough time for all the exploring I wanted to do, but I sure enjoyed exploring the land of Pinot Noir: Wilamette Valley. I landed in Portland and drove and stayed in Salem. Here is an overview of some of our findings in the Willamette Valley.
We used the Oregon Wine Passport. I HIGHLY recommend it because it is good for two people and pays for itself in a heartbeat. Plus there are SO MANY wineries that it serves as a good starting guide of places to go.

Buddaha Kat Winery
So this was a very modest tasting room. Just a woman going it her own way. It was fun to meet an eccentric wine maker, but I may not suggest the wines to anyone.

King's Raven Winery
So we went during Harvest and since we visited this on a weekday, we had the place to ourselves and the family was busy. One of the things that initially grabbed me was that this is not an estate where you pull up and it looks like a grand castle. When you pull up you might think, "They make wine here? Is it any good? Should we bail and go somewhere else?" Just park and walk around back, you'll be pleasantly surprised.They left Granddad in charge of the tasting room and he was very nice and knowledgeable about the wine and its history.

Coria Estates
Small tasting flight, but I liked all their wines. They had a beautiful outdoor seating area to enjoy wines and if I had more time, I would have liked to!

Carlton Cellars
This was my favorite winery and I bought from here! In the tasting room we were helped by John who was so knowledgeable about the wine making process. He even taught us a new trick to wine tasting! Very nice, friendly, and on top of it...great wines! So that wine I bought? Not a Pinot, ironically! It was an Auxerrois Blanc which is something I had never heard of or tried! It is a German grape that was a mix for me between a Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. So good!

Troon Vineyard Carlton Tasting Room
This was a great little tasting room! Right next to Carton Cellars! Right after we had walked in, there was an obnoxious group of girls that walked in smelling strong of cigarette smoke. Thankfully the woman doing our tastings deftly made sure we were taken care of and we tried some great wines. And as for the reds, they were not only Pinot Noirs! Imagine trying some good Sangiovese and Malbec to the mix! Well done, Troon!

Naked Winery
An experience for sure! Every wine name is an innuendo and all wines are paired with dark chocolate and goldfish (naturally). Their mission stated they wanted to "cut America's divorce rate in half by inviting couple to shut off all electronics and share a glass of wine nightly." Now personally I don't want to share a glass...I want my own, but it was fun to laugh over some provocative labels and wines.

Youngberg Hill Vineyard
This is a beautiful, beautiful winery. The grounds are just gorgeous and it is family owned and operated. The couple has three daughters and they have wines named after them. Their tasting room is surrounded by views and their Pinot Noir was very good. They have a beautiful inn where I will be begging Kevin to let us stay next trip!

Walnut City WineWorks
Super modest tasting room. Unfortunately the girl pouring did not know a lot about the wines she was pouring or process, but they had a nice tasting that we enjoyed.

Vista Hills Vineyard Treehouse Tasting Room
Treehouse for a reason! It is surrounded by trees with views of vineyard behind it. It is modern, zen, and beautiful. Now I am normally not one for Rose, but they had the closest thing for me here by doing a Pinot Gris Rose. They are all estate grown and served some great Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.



Longplay Wine
So like the first winery we went to, it is an eclectic place with a winemaker who is just doing his own thing, living life. The owner is a farmer and just loves what he does. He did teach us about pouring wine through an argon capsule so that a bottle of wine did not have to be open. It was kind of a cool trick. If you like 70s vinyl playing while sipping some wines in a casual laid-back environment, this may just be your vibe...

ArborBrook Vineyards
This was a great place with some great snacks to go with your wine. I noshed on cheese and chocolate covered hazelnuts while drinking my wine. The owner (who just so happened to be pouring for us) said that his wife likes Sauvignon Blanc and so he sourced some grapes from Washington and poured us a great wine. Having so many Pinot Noirs, it was so refreshing to have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. But their Pinot Noir selections were also very good. Overall, a great place!


And that wraps up my reviews of Oregon Wine Country! I wouldn't mind trying more and coming back to some for round two. Hopefully you have discovered a new winery or feel inspired to pack up and make a weekend and visit. If you do, take me!

Have you been to Oregon wine country?

September 21, 2016

Baked Brie

In Arizona, the end of the summer is known as monsoon season. Basically we get all of our rain then. Well, this monsoon season, I found that I have a leak in my house. Yeah...not good.
Usually monsoon season is great. We get tons of rain, the weather isn't triple digits and then a couple of hours later we have full sunshine. It makes for some great days. Unless of course you have a leak.

Now in between works, leaks, and a number of other things going on (car not starting and needing a new battery and new job changes), I needed some quick easy recipes. So how easy is it to throw some cheese into a crescent roll? The answer is very easy and thankfully, very very yummy!

In addition to amazing simple the ingredients, the combo of cool sweet and warmth of the cheese is great. It is the perfect vehicle for both summer and fall. Good for both and good for transitional seasons. Basically, the perfect recipe for anytime! 

Ingredients:

1 round of brie
1/4 cup of jelly/jam (I use and enjoy my homemade with apricot and strawberry plum as my favorites)
1 tube of crescent rolls

Directions:


Unroll crescent rolls flat onto a greased cookie sheet. Push together the creases and top with brie round.

Cover the top of the brie with your jam.

Roll up crescent roll to cover the top and cook at 350 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy with some crackers or just eat with the crescent roll dough.


Happy Wednesday! Try and make it a great one!
The weekend is in our sights!

September 19, 2016

Apple Crumble Pie

Lately I have been more conscious about what I eat. I would be lying if I said I was doing a great job. I can't seem to completely give up carbs and some of my other food weaknesses.

One of my biggest cravings is my mom's crisp topping. It is so good! When I was little I used to sneak into the kitchen and pick of the crisp topping. If we are being totally honest, I still do it, it is so good! But apart from the topping, add some warm apples and you have a calorie worth it dessert! Just in time for fall!

It is one of my husband's favorite. You can serve it warm with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. It also holds up nicely if you can eat it when it is cool to serve (or more likely enjoy as leftovers!)

Speaking of fall, here in the desert, fall is not showing up quite yet. One of my favorite ways to get into the spirit of fall is to visit my parent's house. It is no wonder that fall is my favorite holiday. It is also my mom's and she knows how to welcome it and make the season feel perfect!

Ingredients:

Filling:
homemade apple pie filling

Topping:
1/3 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of flour
6 tablespoons of butter

Directions:

Prepare filling by slicing the apples and coating with cinnamon and sugar.

Prepare topping by cutting butter into sugar and flour with a big fork.

In a 9x13 baking dish, evenly apply filling and cover evenly with topping. Bake at 400 for 35 minutes.


What is your favorite thing to do when the weather is transitional?
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