Welcome July

I am very excited for July to start. I have so many fun plans for July, I am getting a new car, camping a lot and it is my birthday month! It also happens to be plastic free July, a movement one of my coworkers introduced me to. Additionally I am excited to check out all the new fruits and vegetables that will start appearing at the farmer’s market in the month of July.

Recently I was talking to one of my coworkers about how guilty I feel about the amount of plastic I use. I told her how I want to try using alternatives to common plastic items but I am not sure how to start. She introduced me to a movement called plastic free july where you vow to illiminate certain plastic items from your life for july in the hope that you make it a habit in the future. I decided that I can’t eliminate every single single use plastic but I will set some goals for myself. Throughout my month I will keep you all up to date on my instagram.

Plastic Free July Goals:

  1. No single use plastic to go cups, bring a reusable cup to Starbucks or other places to prevent waisting a plastic one. Also carry a metal straw to use in place of single use ones.
  2. No plastic bags for lunches. I found some great reusable plastic sandwich bags from Target. They are dishwasher and freezer safe and were a great price compared to other products I have seen.
  3. No grocery store plastics. I shop largely in the bulk section, I am going to reuse bags for that or bring my own mesh bags. Same for the produce section and farmer’s market. I will use mesh produce bags. Additionally, I am going to stop using single use bags to carry my groceries in.
  4. Give up Pod Coffee. My work provides coffee in our break room which is super easy. Unfortunately it is via a pod coffee maker. For this month I am going to give that up and bring my own coffee grounds to make french press or iced coffee.

As mentioned above I am also excited for July because of the produce it brings. In June we started to see fresh strawberries, blueberries and cherries but I anticipate that they will continue through July. I am also excited for the start of Tomato season! My tomatoes have been slowly growing throughout the late spring but I am looking forward to them soon turning red. Additionally I am looking forward to the continuation of peas and green beans popping up at the farmer’s market and my garden!

If you would like more information about plastic free July visit: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/take-the-challenge/

Restaurant Spotlight

As I have mentioned in previous posts one of my best friends came to visit me about a week ago. She was our first out town guest and I was so excited to show her our new life in Portland. Part of that was showing her some of my favorite spots for dinner! One of those is the subject of this weeks post.

I love going to to Grassa because I always have a fun time eating there. I still remember the first time we ate out there for a special date night. It was the dead of winter and freezing cold outside and their pasta certainly warmed me up. Grassa has two locations one downtown Portland and one in slab town with another opening soon on the Eastside. You can watch as they make all of the pasta fresh in front of you at the open style kitchen. While I have tried other dishes on their menu I always turn back to my tried and true favorite. I get a order of the garlic bread and a glass of wine then for my entree I get the Pork Belly Mac and Cheese. The pork belly is like candy and the mac and cheese is perfectly creamy. If you’re in Portland looking for a warm comforting meal definitely check out Grassa!

Recipe: Honey Mustard Dressing

As you can probably tell from reading this blog, I love salad. We eat salad at least twice a week especially when there is so much fresh produce available. One of my favorite dressings to make is Honey Mustard. I love it because it isn’t just good on salad, you can also use it to marinate chicken or as a dip.

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1/2 a lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • big pinch of salt
  • cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients using an immersion blender or whisk.

Week of June 24

I missed a whole week of blogging. I sat down multiple times to write a post but each time got distracted by some other life event. This past week has been busy I spent a weekend with my best friend, my car got broken into, work is busy and I said goodbye to my childhood home. To say the least I have been stressed and emotional this week. The good news is my next week should be a little less busy and I am hoping to get back on track with life.

When I am having a stressful I find great relaxation in cooking. Today I went to a new Asian Supermarket in my neighborhood called “SF Supermarket”. Most of my meal prep will be inspired by the things I found there. I love exploring new specialty grocery stores especially with someone who also loves cooking. I love to gather inspiration from the foods I can’t find else where!

Here is what I got from SF Supermarket. Tomorrow I am going to try making curry. The market is by my work and I have a feeling it will be a new favorite spot for me.

Breakfast:

The usual granola and yogurt. I prepped more granola this week and froze a ton of produce last week. I have also been really into having a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast.

Lunch:

Meal prep is easy this week for lunch . I made my Asian Noodle Salad recipe this week for meal prep using veggies I found at the supermarket. We also have a ton of leftovers perfect for lunch.

Dinner:

I have been wanting to try making curry for a while so I think I am going to finally attempt that. I also still have peas to use from the farmer’s market so I need to find a use for those. I love putting them in my salad for the perfect crunch. The rest of the week we will probably have salad because there is so much fresh produce available now!

My Home Garden

Ever since I have been living away from home I have wanted to have my own garden. In college I never had any outdoor space. I attempted to grow things in my window but few things flourished. When we moved to our Portland Apartment I was so excited because there is a balcony off of our living room. Starting in March I started planning out our balcony garden. I of course turned first to Pinterest for inspiration. I wanted to save money cute also create a space where we could relax and be surrounded by plants. I started collecting pots to put small plants in. I also found some crate style planters at Ikea. The planters were meant for putting terra cotta pots in but I decided to line them garden mesh and fill them with soil to create something similar to a raised bed. I am hoping to keep the garden growing throughout spring, summer and fall.

I started peas and green beans, they grow along the railing of our balcony and up strings attached to the roof of our balcony. We had huge plants of lettuce, spinach and kale. I also brought some strawberry starters from home in Hood River. I planted these same strawberries back when I was a kid.

I also planted tomato, beet and tomato starters that will hopefully be ready in the summer. I am also thinking of planting garlic for the winter and maybe some other fall plants.

Lastly, I have some herbs growing in pots outside that I look forward to adding to my meals. Going out to garden on my balcony has been a great hobby and I am looking forward to watching it grow!

Week June 10-15

Another week has gone by and once again I am prepping for the week to come! Summer plans are starting to go into full swing. This past weekend we did lots of organizing and running around. We went to the farmer’s market for the third time since they opened. I got some really beautiful Wala Wala onions, beets and lettuce. I meal prepped and planned a little extra this week because of my busy weekend. Next weekend my best friend from college is coming to visit! I haven’t seen her in a year and I am really excited to show her around Portland and my post-grad life. In the meantime here is my meal plan/prep for the week.

Breakfast:

I didn’t prep much this week for breakfast. I have some granola still from the recipe I shared last week. I also got some amazing looking peaches at Trader Joe’s for breakfasts and snacks.

Lunch:

I prepped two different meals for lunches this week. The first is just a simple salad. In the salad I cut up lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes and quinoa. I left the tomatoes on the side to avoid getting the salad too wilted. I will also add dressing later.

I also prepped some sweet potato bowls. I roasted sweet potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes. I added them to brown rice and beans with some veggies on the side. The morning of eating them I will add a sauce.

For dinner tonight I am making meatballs which I will be able to use for dinners throughout the week. We also have some leftover salmon from the weekend that we will use in salads during the week.

Coming soon…..

I am working on launching a meal planning service for anyone who reads this blog. Keep an eye out for a post about that coming in the next month or so.

Eating Out: Bella’s Italian Bakery

A new feature of this blog that I am really looking forward to diving into is my eating out posts. Each week I will feature one of my favorite restaurants. TO start off I would like to share my favorite work lunch spot. Some times I feel like I need to get out of the office for lunch and relax on my own. On these days I walk down the street to Bella’s Italian Bakery. I discovered this cute little bakery shortly after my office moved to the Lents Neighborhood in SE Portland. They have a wide range of pastries and baked goods, gourmet sandwiches and specialty groceries. Sometimes I grab a sandwich and take a walk with it. Other times I sit in their brightly lit dining area and decompress from my day of work. There menu is constantly rotating so there is always something new to try. They also sell slabs of focaccia by the quarter, half and full sheet pan. I love to pick up a focaccia slab and bring it home for dinner. On Thursdays they do pizza dinner and Sundays you can pick up lasagna. Thank you to Bella’s for being the perfect break during busy work weeks!

Veggie Sandwich in a sunny window bar seat.