Chilled cucumber avocado soup for the last days of summer

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Here in Portland, hot, sunny days continue well into September. The cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in my garden are still going crazy. I often make gazpacho to put them to good use.

This summer, I added a new chilled soup to the rotation, inspired by the abundance of cucumbers, tomatoes and jalapeños from my garden and my love for avocados.

It’s creamy and refreshing with tang from the lime and a bit of heat from the jalapeño. Plus, the avocado makes it a bit more filling. Crusty bread, salami, or grilled shrimp (or chicken or fish) all make worthy companions. Continue reading

Afternoon survival kit: Avocado jalapeño hummus

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Afternoons are often my downfall, I’ve realized recently. I may have eaten a healthy lunch and have plans for a good dinner. But when I’m in that no-man’s-land halfway in between the two, things can go south quickly.

So, rather than ignoring my mid-afternoon growling stomach and hoping it goes away (hint: it doesn’t) or opting for the less-than-healthy snacks around the office, I’m going to pack myself a tasty afternoon pick-me-up.

Up first: a zingy avocado hummus with raw veggies. Continue reading

Thyme-scented tomato orange soup

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Elephants Delicatessen in Portland makes a terrific tomato orange soup. It’s creamy and comforting with some brightness and zing from the hit of orange. Perfect on a winter day.

Unfortunately for me, it has quite a bit of dairy in the form of butter and cream, so I’ve had to skip it. The good news… I found that Elephants published their recipe in the local paper, and not only is it quick and easy to make, it was a cinch to adapt it to make it dairy free.

Continue reading

Sunday round-up

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I’m loving the Thanksgiving invitations over at Paperless Post. So many great designs for all your Thanksgiving soirée needs and they can be sent online or through the mail.

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Taking time on Sunday to bake some muffins for the week has become a cold weather ritual for me. Having a couple of good-for-me muffins to go with my latte makes Monday mornings so much better. This week I baked these pumpkin oatmeal muffins from Dishing Up the Dirt. They’re gluten-free and vegan. Thanks, Andrea!

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I was surprised to find such a great selection of perfect-for-fall (and Thanksgiving!) cloth napkins at World Market. Bonus: they’re currently on sale.

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Image via NPR

I had the chance to taste several Kopke Ports over the weekend. I’ve never really drank much (if any?) port, but that tasting made me realize I should. This warming and somewhat sweet fortified wine seems like just the thing on a cold evening, especially with something chocolate. Any port suggestions for me?

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I’m making some more of this paleo (and vegan) salted caramel sauce for dunking apple slices and swirling into hot beverages like coffee, chai and apple cider to add creamy sweetness. It’s super easy to make and so good.

Happy Sunday!

Friday finds: Early fall edition

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WEAR: Cozy and chic sweatshirts. It’s a win-win. Clockwise from top left: Houndstooth Beckside Crew from Jack Wills, Ivy Melange Lace Appliqué from Scotch & Soda, Floral Sweatshirt from J. Crew, and Damson Beckside Crew from Jack Wills.

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Photo: Once Upon a Chef

EAT: Kale Apple Pancetta Salad from Once Upon a Chef. Make good use of the apple bounty with this flavorful, seasonal, nutrition-packed salad. Great topped with chicken breast or paired with roast chicken for a complete meal. I get regular requests for this one at home. Tip: Try it with prosciutto instead of pancetta. Or skip the meat all together and add a few more toasted pecans. It’s vegan. With protein. Score.

 

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Photo: Anna Joyce

HOME: Hand-printed cotton napkins from Portland’s own Anna Joyce. You know how I feel about cloth napkins. So excited to discover a new source for stylish napkins and more! She’s also on etsy.

Summer’s swan song supper: Caponata Panzanella

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I made such a great discovery this week– natural and seasonal foods blog, The First Mess.

Laura is a chef in Canada, and it took no time at all to find a handful of her recipes that I wanted to make, uh, immediately. Given our very changeable weather this week, the Caponata Panzanella seemed just right. I made it that same night. Continue reading

Eat this now: Blackberry Peach Crumble

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This week I faced the challenge of doing justice to some ridiculously perfect summer fruit: four big, sweet and juicy peaches and a pint of perfectly plump, sweet-tart Chester blackberries. Organic, Oregon-grown, some of mother nature’s finest work– my job was not to screw them up.

So, I dusted off a super simple crumble recipe (more of a formula, really) that I’ve been fine-tuning since last summer. Continue reading