Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

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Portland Shamrock Run

Running the Portland Shamrock Run has been on my bucket list for quite some time. While not quite as cool as being in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, Portland puts on a great showing.

Last year’s St. Patrick’s Day:

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This year’s St. Patrick’s Day:

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Because I am always up for the biggest challenge, I signed up for the 15 km race. Also, it was the same price as the 8 km and 5 km races, so I received more miles per dollar (or something like that). Additionally, the 15k was the only race where finishers received a medal that doubled as a beer opener.

Shamrock Run 030The biggest challenge of the race for most is the 3-ish miles run over the “Terwilliger Curves.” The above picture was actually taken at the Mile 4 water stop, as many people slowed to a walk. I actually found the downhill portions to be more difficult, and I am sure my knees will thank me tomorrow.

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The route passed by OHSU, the Veterans’ Administration Hospital and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital — the charity beneficiary of the race. While we didn’t ascend quite as high as during our Council Crest Hike last spring, there were still some great views of the city to be had…

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…and musical entertainment to help the miles fly by.

With over 35,000 runners, the finishers’ area was a bit chaotic, but I did manage to get my complimentary taste of Stanford’s smoked salmon chowder and Widmer Upheaval IPA, to make for a tipsy MAX ride home.

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Quick & Easy Chocolate-Hazelnut Dessert Bars + A Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may already know of my love for all things Bob’s Red Mill. In my household, Bob’s Red Mill  whole grain products are somehow worked into almost every meal. So I was especially excited when they sent me samples from their new natural nut flour line to play around with.

March is National Nutrition Month, and this month I am focused on preparing more healthy, low-cost meals at home. That’s not always easy when you have a busy schedule. I regularly turn to both Bob’s Red Mill’s website and the Cooking Matters website for well-balanced meals that can be made for only a few dollars per serving.

I made these chocolate-hazelnut dessert bars as a quick snack to get me through mid-term exams this week. They’re based off of this recipe, and prominently feature Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal/Flour, dark chocolate chips and whole hazelnuts. Dark chocolate is a good source of plant-based iron, and hazelnuts are rich in unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, several B vitamins, and Vitamin E.

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For those following special diets, this recipe is also low-carb and gluten free, making it a good dessert option for diabetics and those with gluten sensitivities, as long as you limit your serving size to one dessert square.

Quick & Easy Chocolate-Hazelnut Dessert Bars

makes 12 servings

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Flour/Meal
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray a 9-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and cocoa powder. Stir to combine. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the hazelnut flour, cornstarch, baking powder and sea salt. Finally, add the chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Spread the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Dessert bars will be ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out smooth. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes on the counter before cutting into 12 equal squares and serving.

As an added bonus, I am giving away Bob’s Red Mill Nut Flour Prize Packs to 3 lucky readers. The prize packs feature a 14 ounce bag of Hazelnut Flour/Meal, a 16 ounce bag of Almond Flour/Meal, and a 16 ounce bag of Organic Coconut Flour – over a $30 value! All flours are low-carb and gluten free.

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To enter, leave a comment below and let me know one of your favorite food obsessions at the moment. I will pick 3 winners at random from all who have enter by Saturday, March 15th at 9:00 pm PDT. Winners will be posted here and notified via e-mail.

This giveaway is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill and open to U.S. residents only. I received free product from Bob’s Red Mill, but all opinions are my own.

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Candice Hoff, Jeffrey and Wendy Wallace! I will be contacting you via e-mail to claim your prize.

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Snowlandia 2014

ImageDay 1

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Where has all the wildlife gone?

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Day 3

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How am I going to get to work on Monday?

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Home sweet home.

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Good thing I decided against going for a run this morning.

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Forgive my excitement. I grew up in the desert.

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Fall Projects

Has it really been 3 months since my last blog post? This fall has really flown by, and several times I thought about writing a blog post update, but never got around to it. Lately I have been working 3 part-time jobs (which translates to working 6-7 days per week), while taking a full-time load of college courses towards a dietetics degree (which translates to not reading any “fun” books aside from college textbooks). That aside, here is a run-down of a few of my favorite fall projects.

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Homemade Labneh: I attended my first mixer for registered dietitians and dietetic students this September — a potluck wine social — and was looking for an impressive appetizer to bring along that would be both healthy and tasty. Labneh is a traditional Mediterranean/Middle Eastern spread made with Greek yogurt. Although is takes 4 days to make, the active time is actually only about 20 minutes.

You simply combine 2 cups of full-fat Greek-style yogurt, 2 teaspoons sea salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper in a bowl. Line another large bowl with a cheese cloth or piece of muslin, spoon the mixture into the center, fold the corners together and tie to a wooden kitchen spoon. Leave the labneh like this in the fridge for 3 days, allowing any liquid to drain out and a ball to form.

Next, roll the yogurt ball in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of oregano and 2 teaspoons of thyme. Place in a pint-sized mason jar with 1 1/3 cups olive oil and 1 bay leaf and leave in the fridge 1 more day.

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Serve at room temperature. For the wine social, I brought the labneh on a standard chips and dip platter, with a  sliced, locally-baked whole wheat baguette and celery sticks to spread the labneh onto. The spread was one of the biggest hits of the party, and the RD crowd preferred the bread far more than the celery. It’s all about balance!

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Apple Asiago Pie: I made this pie for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. There’s not much added sugar, so the pie is not overly sweet, and the addition of thyme, black pepper and asiago cheese adds a nice twist. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Simply Organic. I haven’t made a recipe out of this book I didn’t like.

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Mixed Media Paper Witch on Canvas: I took this art class on a rare Saturday morning I didn’t have to work in late October. I am a huge fan of Halloween in general, in addition to October 31st being my wedding anniversary. This collage is something I think I’ll leave up year-round. The class was taught by Katrina of The Paper Parrot, who sells paper crafting kits and offers online crafting tutorials through her website.

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Lion Country Afghan: This was my big craft project of the summer because, who doesn’t need a 6-foot by 10-foot hand-knit map of the United States on their living room wall? I used this free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns. The pattern is geared toward advanced knitters, and it took me over 100 hours to make. I bought all of the recommended yarn for the pattern from Lion Brand, and since so many colors were involved, I have a ton of yarn left over. So if you would like to make your very own hand-knit map of the United States, send me an e-mail and I will sell it to you at a heavily discounted price.

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