I am available for appearances at your business events, fundraisers & conventions! If you are interested in booking Mrs Portland, please email me at mrsportland2011@gmail.com

June 15, 2011

Back to your regularly scheduled programming....

Boy, it's almost like I fell off the face of the earth! Never fear, I have returned. A wonderful, yet very consuming event has taken place in my life which took up my blogging time. I am going to be more dedicated to writing, though, because I want to keep everyone updated... Lenny, Ryker and I are expecting another addition to our family!!!

Not only are we expecting, we are already at 34 weeks. Only 6 more weeks to go. It's crazy and exciting all at the same time. The fatigue of pregnancy, plus the added drain of a 2 1/2 year old plus working 32 hours a week just didn't allow me time to write. Now, as I've cut back my work a little, I hope to use this blog to keep family and friends up-to-date when it comes to our new family. Can't wait to post pics of our larger, incredibly blessed family!

October 23, 2010

The Great Chili Cook-Off

Drum roll please....... and the winner of the Beaverton SDA Church chili cook-off, held at the Annual Barn Party is..... Delicia!

Ok, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic... but I am still excited just the same. On my sister's urging, I entered a chili in the Chili-cook off contest at our annual Barn Party and was surprised to take home the prize. Surprised because it was a vegetarian chili contest and I'm not well versed in cooking vegetarian food. So, I hoped on line, grabbed a couple recipes, picked and chose from the spice cabinet and away I went. Things went well, until I had a slight mishap with the temperature control... as it turns out, level 4 is considerably higher then "Low", and will burn your chili. Thank goodness I was able to save it with my mystery ingredient... peanut butter. Shocking, but delicious. I think it was a blessing in disguise, because the addition of this secret ingredient made the chili very unique and tasty. I wanted to share the recipe because it's packed with veggies and very good for the weather we're having right now. Even meat lovers will enjoy this meal. It's super hearty and very robust.

Delicia's Veggie Chili

2 Tbsp oil
1 large (softball size) onion, diced
1-2 Serrano chilies, seeded and minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (depends on your preference)
1 medium zucchini, cubed into 1/2" cubes
4 portabello mushroom caps, stemmed and cleaned, then cubed
3 Tbsp chili powder (I used 2 Tbsp regular and 1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder)
2 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp Alderwood Smoked salt
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes
28oz crushed tomatoes
15oz tomato sauce
2 cups veggie stock
1 can each black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 - 1/2 c peanut butter - taste

Saute the onions, garlic and peppers in the oil until soft and slightly browned on the edges. While these are going, saute the cubed portabellos until slightly golden. If you don't want to do this separately, remove the gills of the mushrooms before you cube them because they will muddy your chili if cooked all together.

Add the zucchini and already sauteed mushrooms (or raw mushrooms with gills removed) to the onions and peppers and cook until the zucchini is tender. Add your spices and toss to coat evenly. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the beans and combine thoroughly. Simmer for 20 min or until thick.

Add the peanut butter and stir to melt. Taste and season to taste. This is a thick chili and your serving spoon should be able to stand up in it.


October 20, 2010

Let the Cooking Classes Begin

This past weekend was the graduation ceremony for my class at the Oregon Culinary Institute. Although I wasn't able to attend it (my pastor of 14 years retired and delivered his final message), I spent a few moments remembering the months I was in class, baking and cooking up a storm. It was definitely one of the most wonderful experiences I have had in the last few years... up there with marriage and the birth of my son, of course!

Then I got to thinking... while a restaurant schedule is not conducive to the schedule a mom needs to keep, there had to be something else I could do to utilize my newly acquired skills and to share my love for food. Enter the Oregon Food Bank's "Nutrition Education" program. With a little research and some tips from a friend, I found out that the Food Bank offers cooking classes to the public, to learn how to prepare nutritious, affordable meals for your family while also providing education on label reading, dietary needs and meal planning. Perfect fit for me! So I signed up and ended up in my first class last night as a volunteer. Every Tuesday, I meet a group of volunteers at Tigard Highschool and we teach a class of 10-13 students how to make the yumminess that is Ratatouille, Apple Crisp and roasted garlic bread. We all prep, cook and then (the BEST part) eat the meal together, talking about what brings everyone together, what each person is hoping to get from the class and sharing cooking stories. The evening just flew by. Perhaps my favorite part is at the end of the end of the night when we send each person home with a cloth bag filled with all the ingredients needed to prepare the meal we just created in class. They are able to take this food home and make a delicious meal for their families. I couldn't believe how enthusiastic everyone was as we chopped veggies, minced garlic and peeled apples. There is something about food that inherently brings out laughter and joy. Good food and fellowship feeds more then the stomach, it feeds the soul. I'm super excited to see how the class progresses and we all become friends and experience more culinary adventures together. What an excellent way to use my skills to spread my passion for food and health. Thanks to the Oregon Food Bank for allowing me to be involved in their classes.

October 17, 2010

Making Memories

This weekend we took Ryker on our annual trip to the Plumper Pumpkin Patch. Starting in 2008, when he was just 1 month old, my family (parents, siblings and spouses) go to the same pumpkin patch and explore the animals, pumpkins and country store. I don't think I've appreciated a family tradition more then this one... probably because I am doing it with my own little family. It is amazing the memories you can build by doing little things like this. For instance, this is a picture from our first visit:

Plumper Pumpkin Patch 2008
 I can't believe how tiny he is! We dressed him as a pumpkin that year and got lots of offers for him. I remember the trip also being exhausting and a bit cumbersome. We weren't use to carrying a lot of stuff around with us yet, we were still not getting much sleep... but it was a wonderful feeling to be taking our own son to this place and starting his memories. Now, here's a picture from this year:

Plumper Pumpkin Patch 2010
Look at us! 2 years as a family... and we get to compare the changes year by year... can we bottle these memories somehow? Save the happiness and joy we share here? I have a feeling it will only take a couple more years and I will be able to sit on Ryker's lap! While I am excited to see our family grow and change, I wish I could freeze these days forever.

October 08, 2010

Just a little off the top!

My little man experienced another major milestone in his quick paced life... he got his first haircut! I know, I know, he had adorable curls... but he was starting to look like a California beach bum, with his flip flops and shorts, so a cleaner, shorter cut was due. Luckily, we had 2 years pictures taken a couple days prior, so we have memories of the curly top.

We went to Little Clippers, where they specialize in giving squirmy little monsters haircuts. Perfect for Ryker. He got to sit in a Lighting McQueen car, watch Finding Nemo and eat a lollipop... heck, I wanted to get a haircut! Look at him now... he's so clean cut and grown up looking. Where does the time go?

October 06, 2010

Something Borrowed, Something Blue...

A woman gets one day to wear the most beautiful dress she will ever own, and it passes in a blur of pictures, cake and toasts. The dress then gets sealed in a plastic bag and only admired from then on. It's a shame, I tell you... But I was a lucky girl this weekend!

I was blessed to be a part of the Rose City Bridal Show at the Portland Convention Center. I got to model the the most gorgeous gown from Bella Victoria Boutique. It fit like a glove and made me feel like a beautiful bride again. What a wonderful opportunity. And not only was the experience fantastic, but I met some of the kindest, most beautiful women I have ever seen... it was strange being amongst them. We were together only 2 days (8 hours a day) but some instant friendships were created. Maybe it was the magic of marriage in the air? The feeling of love and excitement from the soon to be newlyweds... but the atmosphere was lively, uplifting and full of happiness.

It took me back to my wedding day... the day I got to marry my best friend of 8 years. Our story may be slightly complicated and a bit non-traditional, but for us, it is perfect. Perfect because it ended with us at the alter, reciting our vows. This experience allowed me to reflect on just how blessed I am to be a married woman... to have the love and support of a wonderful husband and the unconditional love of my son. Without which, I wouldn't be able to come close to the woman I am today. What a lovely day.

Rachel and her assistant: Bella Victoria Boutiques

September 25, 2010

Shasta 2010

8 hour drive + 4 days on a houseboat + 2 years old = absolute madness

This is the only way I saw this equation working out, but I am happy to report that I was completely wrong. This year, my family was able to revive our cherished tradition of sending out the summer- we rented a houseboat on Lake Shasta and spent the week together. Yes, all of us t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. 7 adults and a 2 year old. We waterskiied, innertubbed, kneeboarded and attempted to wakeboard. We lounged in the sun, went on boat rides and 'swam' with Ryker in the hot tub. Never has an unplanned week passed so quickly. I am use to being on the go all the time, so this break was just what was needed. Some quailty time with my family and wonderful new memories with my son.

Ryker did amazing. He rode in the car like a trooper, chatting away with his Tigger and Pooh Bear puppets and sleeping. He adored the houseboat, being on the water and going on shore to throw rocks into the lake. He entertained us all with his silly dances and crazy word combinations (he's experimenting with sentences). All in all, we were blessed with an enjoyable experience. On the way home, Grammie and Grampy decided Ryker needed to stop at the WildLife Safari in Winston, OR to see all the animals. He loved it!

I am very thankful for 2 things:
1) I have a family that enjoys hanging out with each other. A family that enjoys spending quality time together. What a blessing! I'm not saying there weren't a few bumps along the way, but we came out still loving each other...
2) We have the means to be able to go on vacations together. The financial situation of our economy is so uncertain, and it is weighing heavily on families. I am thankful that my family members have jobs and are willing to prioritize our finances so that we can escape from time to time to focus on our family. This is something I hope I never take for granted.