Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pumpkin Quinoa Cakes


I worked on this recipe last year.  We moved and I thought the recipe had moved to a new location.  Not Oregon or so I thought.

I usually have about 20 recipes that I work on: testing, photographing, retesting, etc...  This recipe is one that my family enjoys.  I finished testing it last year at the end of the pumpkin craze and decided to save it for this year.  At the time I never imagined a move 3000 miles away from Maryland.

With our move came one case of canned pumpkin. I new I had worked on a few recipes last year and went to my MAC to see what I could find.  In searching through my old files I found these images.  Just my luck a healthy recipe to retest and serve to my family.

 The only problem is I also found that I had misplaced the recipe.

In my attempts to be organized I realize that I am not.  It just happens.  I have a green journal that I carry with me everywhere.  This is my companion for ideas, recipes suggestions, sifting through life pieces, crazy thoughts, frustrations.  You get the idea.  My life is in this little green book.

On occasion I find myself thumbing through the pages.  Trying to refresh my memory and to reread some crazy shit.  I write way too much stuff.  I think if anyone finds my journals they will know I am an over thinker.  Over doer.  Over everything.  Seriously, it's too much at times for me.  In a good way of course.

I find a single sentence that reads: 80/20=balance.

Balance must have been something I needed at the time I wrote the recipe because right below it was THIS recipe.  Yay me!  

So here it is, the recipe.  I hope it's not too late and some of you have a the urge to still make something pumpkin-y for your family.

Pumpkin Quinoa Cakes
makes 20-25 small patties

2 cups cooked quinoa, follow directions on box
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons flax seed
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons potato starch
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (adds flavor to cakes)

1.  Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.

2.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan.  I use a cookie scoop to measure mixture and pat into a patty.  Fry on both sides until crispy.

3.  Serve with your favorite sauce.  I served mine with a fresh salad of bell pepper and zucchini.  I drizzled some peanut sauce on the salad and the cakes.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Abandoned Sandcastles


Our beaches draw thousands of visitors each weekend.  The Oregon Coast invites families, couples, and singles from all over the world to come and explore our beautiful coastlines up and down scenic highway 101. Newport sits on the Yaquina Bay and feeds into the Pacific Ocean.

We have officially ended what is known in our tiny town as the "tourist season" and gently rolled into our second summer.  Second summer is something we learned recently from a local update we subscribe to.  We get a few weeks of warm summer-like days that are sprinkled with rolling fog, misty mornings and cooler nights.  The days are delicious to our souls.  We savor each one with the knowledge that soon we will be cold and our homes will be hit with high winds and rain...lots of rain. Ten inches of rain in one month.  

Crazy!

Our nights find us walking along the beaches at low tide in search of finding treasures from the water.  We find shells, drift wood and the occasional flip flop. We find toys, shirts, shorts, dead birds, bits of jelly fish and abandoned sandcastles.

On Saturday we headed to South Beach State Park over the Yaquina Bridge to check out a new beach.  The beaches have similarities but each beach also has its own personality.  Yaquina Head State Parks beach is covered in basalt.  Little black rocks covering the shore.  This creates a "shhhhhhh" sound as the water passes through each rock.  Nye Beach has dunes for the kids to run up and down on.  

 We have so many beaches to explore.

South Beach has shells.  We are discovering stretches of the coastline that do not have shells.  If they do, they are often busted and in pieces.  This beach has a bit of both.  I usually return home with a few "whole" shells.  I clean them and add them to the table in our living room for the kids to touch, see and admire. I love bringing the outside indoors.  

My home is filled with bowls of rocks and shells. Vases with driftwood.  Fake beach grass.  Anything to remind me that we live at the beach.

While walking, I stop and notice the sandcastle that is posted at the top of the page.  It is covered with crab shells and a few broken sand dollars.  I stand there for a moment looking and inspecting the sandcastle.  My mind drifts in and out of our own family's escapades to the beach and building sandcastles.  A smile gently rises to greet the warm feelings I am remembering.

Heading to the beach empty handed is never an option.  We must come prepared for epic expectations of building the largest sandcastle in town.  Cory hauls our wagon through deep sand,  laden down with shovels, buckets, sifters, rakes, gold panning pans, and towels.  If we are lucky we return home with our beginning inventory, if not, then we have shared a bit of our family with the next beach dweller.  It happens.  

Abandoned sandcastle sounds so lonely and deserted. It expresses the circumstances that most sandcastles meet at the end of a fun weekend or a single westward excursion to find some sand.  We don't build sandcastles with the thought of leaving them behind at the end the day.  We dream about the imaginary lives that will be lived inside, the battles that will be fought, and victories won.

There is an experience that happens between the time a decision to build a sand castle is made and the final moments of realizing you must leave it behind. Minutes are devoted to the design, hours to the building and a few seconds left for goodbyes.  It all happens so fast.  Time does slip away when making memories in the sand. Our kids never want to leave.

We don't want to leave either if I am being honest. 

Our sandcastles are abandoned as the weekend draws to an end.  They are empty because families must return home to their busy lives.  Adults work and kids have school and everything in between. Each builder leaves their sandcastle reluctantly, with a backward glance, as the tide slowly rolls in.  A long day spent digging, packing sand, carrying buckets of water, and finding adornments.  It ends.

It is over.

The deserted sandcastle will not be there in the morning.  The tide will roll in and take back each grain of sand. The waves that have brought the sand to shore, pulls them into the water.  Pushing them farther and farther out to sea until all that is left in its place is a memory.

Each day these memories are made for locals and visitors on the beaches of our Oregon Coast.  At the end of each day or long weekend, we take with us the memories of building our sandcastle.  The memories of time spent with family, friends and the sea.

Next weekend will bring a new idea.  New designs.  New treasures to decorate with.

More abandoned sandcastles.









Sunday, September 13, 2015

Newport, Oregon-Pictures

I know most of you know that we have moved by now.  Our new home is everything that we had hoped it would be.  Our family has adapted to the beach with ease and adoration.

We love it doesn't quite express just how much we LOVE the beach.  

Enjoy a few pictures shared below of a few beaches, sunsets, and rocks we have visited over the past few weeks.  When they told us the Oregon coast was scenic I don't think we understood just how scenic it was until we moved here and saw for ourselves the endless array of landscapes, sunsets, lighthouses, tide pools, and sand.  

Oh the sand!  It's everywhere and we wouldn't have it any other way.















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Friday, September 4, 2015

Portabella Mushroom Casserole



In my neck of the woods it is casserole season.  Living at the beach in Oregon brings a cooler climate, especially in the mornings and evenings, that makes each day seem like the perfect blend of summer and fall.

Portabella Mushrooms are a family favorite because they are meaty in texture and have a mild earthy flavor.   My kids like mushrooms and this is a fun variety to buy at the store because they come in different sizes.  I usually buy the large ones in a 4 pack.  The mushrooms can be grilled (love the flavor when grilled), diced up for casseroles or used in stir frys.  These are just a few ways I incorporate them into our menu.

This casserole was a combination of a few ingredients that I had in my refrigerator.  I have a tendency to buy the mushrooms and then forget to use them.  I could tell I was nearing the end of their "fresh" cycle.  I recently switched to turkey sausage and find that these two ingredients pair well together.

On a scale of 1 to 10 this is an easy dish to prepare.  The kids love it and the leftovers leave you wanting more.

ENJOY!


Portabella Mushroom Casserole
4 servings

4 large portabella mushrooms
2-3 turkey sausage links (I choose the Italian flavor)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced small
1 small zucchini, diced small
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
2 cups of prepared marinara (homemade or store bought)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Oil a casserole dish.  Add the 4 portabella mushrooms and prebake them for 15 minutes.

2.  Saute red onion and zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add turkey and cook until done.

3.  Combine the parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese together.

4.  Remove mushrooms from oven and layer the turkey sausage mixture with the ricotta cheese,  marinara sauce and mozzarella/parmesan cheese around the mushrooms in the casserole dish.  If you wish to slice or chop the prebaked mushrooms into smaller pieces you can before adding the sauce and cheese.

5.  Bake until bubbly--25-30 minutes for most ovens.

Recipe by Sherron Watson

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