Simple Summer Eating

Aug3With as many mouths in the house as I have, “Easy Summer Eating” becomes overwhelming.  I stand in front of all the raw veggies in my refrigerator and my mind goes blank. I try to plan meals.  No other planner follows the same method of my madness, though.  My eating pattern is very light at the beginning of the week and then relaxes into the weekend.

The pin I chose to work on today was meal planning, pinned from Tatertots and Jello, but with my own planner.  The recipes below are all from summer magazine issues and feature fresh yummy fruits and veggies.

Monday Menu (vegan, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, low carb)

Shaved Fennel, Zucchini, and Celery Salad from Martha Stewart ( I may sub in cucumber for the zucchini), and Corn on the Cob.

Tuesday Menu (vegan, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, high protein carb)

Plum Spritzer from Diner Journal
Tomato, Radicchio and Grilled Peach Salad with Basil Oil from Food & Wine
Big Bowl unshelled peanuts

Wednesday Menu (no sugar, no meat, high protein carb or nuts)

Mixed Pepper Pasta from Food & Wine
(I will be using half whole wheat and half white pasta for this. Cook whole wheat for the first few minutes, then add the white and cook until finished.)
Raw Asparagus Salad with Tomatoes and Hard-Boiled Eggs from Food & Wine
( I will be subbing in vinegar and Kalamata olives for the anchovies)

Thursday Menu (no red meat, lower carb)

Watermelon Slushie from Martha Stewart
Chicken, Artichoke & Orzo Lettuce Cups from Martha Stewart
Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Friday Menu (no red meat, low carb)

Iceberg Lettuce w/ Roasted Tomato Dressing Food & Wine
Picnic Basket Dinner from Portland Monthly Magazine

Saturday Menu (no restrictions)

Sausages & Onions Food & Wine
Lime & Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie Bon Appetit

Sunday Menu (no restrictions)

Grilled Chicken w/ lemon & Coucous from Bon Appetit
(subbing in bell peppers, carrots, sugar snap peas, shallots, zuchini, and peaches)
Apple Tart Poilane

Just click on the links and print the recipes.  Write the day on the top of each menu, staple the stack together for this week, and you are ready to go!

and Tea

I call my mother a pyromaniac because of her absolute love of fire.  She loves the warmth tickling up through her fingers and toes, making up for our joint lack of “good circulation”.  Matching this love of fire is her love of tea, the conduit to warmth from the inside, tingling out to meet the crackling heat on the outside.

My favorite tea is a chai, not too sweet, not too spicy, and always with a sweet or buttery bread at hand.  Below are a few of my favorite places to find the perfect combination.

Jim and Patty’s is a Portland landmark.  They are the original creators of Coffee People, and my mother actually worked at the old headquarters years ago.  We LOVE their sour cream coffeecake. I think it goes great with chai. Mum thinks it goes well with Earl Grey.

Pearl Bakery is dh’s favorite bakery.  He will make a beeline for this just as quickly as he can on a free afternoon.  Their croissants and signature pugliese would keep him fed for a month straight. Maybe longer if cheese was an option.

Dot’s Donuts. The couple who owns and runs Dots used to be our link to fresh bread until they decided to sell their bread bakery and switch gears. They now have Tazo teas and fresh-from-scratch donuts of all shapes and sizes. They will box up a dozen for a party, or you can sit outside during the summer at their little bistro tables.

Chocolate first, then Tea…

I may not dream in chocolate, but I certainly have my cravings.  I did a little research for you this week to bring the possibilities of a chocolate tour to your mind.  My girlfriend Patty and I do have to warn you though, we did a tour of a lovely chocolate factory (The Candy Basket) and were full by the time we left.  The factory gave us sweet samples the whole way through and we felt like chocolate covered jelly sticks ourselves on the way out.

Chocolate festivals through the year:
Portland, Oregon Forestry Center Benefit at the Convention Center; Chocolate Fest  Bloomington, Indiana; Week of Chocolate

Morehead City, North Carolina benefit including a chocolate spa day, Friday golf and formal dinner, Saturday afternoon spa and casual, formal art and wine and a dinner Saturday night; Carolina Chocolate Festival
Glendale, Arizona Glendale Chocolate Affaire casual street faire combined with a Romance Writers workshop

Ashland, Oregon Ashland Springs Hotel Oregon Chocolate Festival 35 chocolate companies compete in a juried competition
Fairfax, Virginia  Chocolate Lovers Festival casual, with juried amature and professional competition benefits children’s food program
Dallas/Ft.Worth Chocolatefest benefit for Traveler’s Aid Formal on Friday evening (wine and art also a focus of this event) casual on Saturday
Washington, Kentucky casual festival Chocolate Festival
San Diego, California Botanical Gardens has a Chocolate Festival right before Mother’s Day with crafts for children to make and tastings for mothers.
Winter Park Resort in Colorado has an open admission to their Chocolate Festival with tickets for individual tastings.

Melbourne, Australia Chocolate Rush brings consumers in touch with innovations in the industry.
San Francisco, California Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival square benefit for Open Hand Saturday and Sunday casual demonstrations all day with special tea menu
Paris Salon du Chocolat an exhibition and show devoted entirely to chocolate art in all forms.
Vancouver, Canada hosts a month long series of events for chocolate lovers with their West Coast Chocolate Festival
Orange County, California O.C. Chocolate Festival  wine tasting, holiday shopping, chocolate fashion show, and raffle to benefit a local charity.

Chocolate craft studio also has chocolate kits if you can’t leave home.

Eating out

We took a much needed break last weekend. (We have many friends and relations to thank for it too…) While away, we again tested several restaurants for you.

We started at MintIt was Friday night, we were exhausted and the lighting was very low, so I didn’t even attempt pictures. However, I will tell you what was good. Dh had the signature spicy ceasar chicken salad and their soup of the day which was a spicy Thai soup. It was just what the doctor ordered and he came away happy. The chicken was tender, flavorful and as good as the picture on their website.

I had the grilled peach salad, arugula, goat cheese with blackberry vinaigrette. It was amazing. They brought it at the same time as my entree, but I didn’t want to mix the tastes because the salad was so well balanced. The goat cheese was soft, smooth, and mild, a perfect balance to the light bite of the arugula and blackberries. My entree was the roasted duck breast with mushroom wild rice and black cherry sauce. The duck breast managed to rise above a heavy liver flavor that they can sometimes fall prey to.  However, it was tough, and I had to ask for a steak knife.  The mushroom wild rice was perfect, but the cherry sauce had been over cooked and lost it’s brightness.  I kept hoping one of the cherries would be good, but alas, they were all the same.  The salads and the mushroom wild rice achieved greatness.

Pearl Bakery was: busy and as good as always. Dh had a ham and cheese croissant and an almond croissant. I had the irish soda bread and a raisin roll. The irish soda bread was a bit salty and heavy, but lovely with their fresh raspberry jam. We shared an organic Columbia Gorge orange juice that was just as good as fresh squeezed. We gave the oj 4.5 stars.

Escape from New York filled our thin crust, perfect sauce, pizza craving.  On Saturday we had dinner with friends at Lincoln. The company was as lovely as the food, an altogether delightful evening.

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Creating for you…

Thank you for all the lovely comments on the blog around my birthday.  I’m working on presents for the following people right now. Michele, Jeremy, Patty, Barb, Sarah, Kathy, Rachel, Dixie, Joanne, Laurie, Lori, Barbara and Kristi…Some of you have posted here, some of you loaned me things for the big party I just hosted, and some of you have a birthday coming up. Blessings!





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Remember, Saturday is the drawing for the birthday presents for you! Leave a comment here to enter.

The scones below were amazing. We ate dinner really late Sunday night and I had some raspberries that had just started to go south.  The raspberries were a little spikey, so I used this cranberry recipe from Smittenkitchen and they turned out just right.

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