Friday, September 28, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ High-Pointedly Caffeinated

What were some highlights of the Seattle/Portland trip? 

I'm so glad you asked. Allow me to blather. 

First and foremost, the Queen Mother signature of the trip, coffee.

Now, I'm not talking brown water Folger's in your cup. I'm talking serious coffee. From the espresso to the clover; from the exotic blend that tasted just like blueberries to the whole luxury of enjoying conversation over a steaming, aromatic brew. Oh yeah. 

Probably the best experience, coffee-wise was the Coffee Crawl. (highly recommended - our tour guide, Emily, knows her coffee and her city.) Our tour was two and one half hours of coffee focused bliss. Not only that, Emily extended our great time by providing information that turned our great experience into another one. A mere two and one half mile walk (one way, up hill) took us to Capital Hill where we were able to get involved in an actual coffee cupping. I have always wanted to do one of these, ever since I found out there was such a thing. A coffee cupping is a little like a wine tasting (or so they say, but I've never done a wine tasting event). There are ground beans of several different coffees placed in individual bowls. The first step is to sniff the freshly ground beans. Then perfectly hot water is poured over the coffee to allow the coffee to begin brewing. This is sniffed as well. The crust is broken and it is sniffed again. Finally, the crust is removed and a spoon goes into the hot liquid and the coffees are slurped. Slurping fills your palate so you can fully experience the liquid you are tasting. 

You are looking for flavors (do you pick up hints of other things like fruit, is it citrus, stone fruit, berry?) mouth feel, does the coffee have body vs a watery "feel", the acidity level...and a few more things I have forgotten. It's very scientific. The third time through I finally tasted lemon in one of the coffees. 

Because of the caffeine content in tasting five different coffees several times there is also a spit cup provided. Can I just say I didn't spit? Okay, once, but good coffee is a terrible thing to waste. As suspected, Kenyan coffee topped the list. Give me Kenya and I'm a happy woman. This particular batch was full of fruity, rich flavor. 

In case you are in Seattle and want to find this fabulous, free, and informative opportunity here's the link to Stumptown Roasters. (While we waited for the tasting, we watched roasters roast three batches of beans. Uhh, cool, and amazing. They shared a ton of details with us and were chatty about the world of coffee.)

We also visited a Stumptown in Portland. Consistently good coffee. 

Other amazing cups of coffee.

The tasting room of Batdorf & Bronson in Olympia Washington
Trabant in Seattle - Clover coffee. Clean, crisp and delicious
Barista in Portland (Alberta)
Burien Press in Burien Washington
Zoka Pour over amazingness 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles - Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Touched down on home soil at 9:55 p.m. After a very long day of traveling. Denver had a rain storm that slowed our return and soaked our luggage.

Glad to be home and to see all the critters (and people of course) that we love. However there is a teeny part of me that wonders if I couldn't just become independently wealthy and travel for fun.

I think this was a once in a lifetime trip. I'm posting the self portraits that are &'s trademark shots. More about the trip later. I have laundry to do and an internal clock to reset.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles - Last Day

We will be flying out this morning. It is time.... but I hate to go back on so many different levels.

Yesterday we packed so much into ten hours that my head is still spinning. Coffee crawl ... Excellent great time. The Ferris wheel, a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island, a coffee cupping and literally ten miles of walking. two trains, a bus trip and the best vegan pizza ever. Yeah it was a full day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles - Flexitrip

This trip has become bigger and different than originally planned. I don't know about you but until I actually touch, taste or at least touch down something/somewhere I am pretty clueless about details. Hence this trip was into the unknown.

I was in Seattle 24 years ago. A very long time... I remember the following details: a most delicious, decadent chocolate dessert at the Pike's Market, my first sighting of a pierced nose...I thought the poor girl had a wicked nasty whitehead. I also remember the fish market and the flowers. Oh and a week of drizzle.

We have had perfect weather. Absolutely perfect. And we've seen and experienced more than we thought we would. Seattle is different than I remembered. Portland was a lot like I expected. Ours plans have all changed several times. Things we thought we wanted to do have become no's due to time, space or $. But other things have slid into place and made for some fun memories. We've even shared air with Esselstyn and Bob of Bob's Mill.

So today is the last full day. We'll see what it holds.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles _ A Few Scenes from Portland

We've enjoyed Portland and are headed back to Seattle for the final leg of our trip. i'll share highlights once we hit Iowa soil. Until then here are these random shots.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles - Day tripping in Seattle

Beautiful weather in Seattle yesterday. The morning was overcast with fog, so much so, that the legs of the Space Needle were hidden.

We faced a few traffic issues. We are not in Iowa anymore that's for sure. And I phones are wonderful inventions. We also went on a little stroll and got lost on foot. Did I mention how nice smart phones are?

I fell flat on my face by the Space Needle. Join me in saying awkward!

We've had two of the best cups of coffee ever! Today we will see some ocean and hopefully remain upright when walking.

Scribbles and Scrambles - Good Morning from Seattle

Hit Seattle about 1:00 am their time. That's 3 on our clock. Had a 3 hour layover in Vegas. The lights as we left were amazing. Had to pose by a slot machine and tell my folks that & and I were gambling our generous birthday gift away. Haha.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ Vegan Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Vegan Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

1/2 Cup non-dairy milk (I used Organic Vanilla Soy)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup peanut butter
1/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup crushed peanuts (I used salted, no skins)

Combine the milk, sugar, peanut butter and salt in a medium sauce pan. Heat and stir constantly until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute. The texture will change and become caramelly as you stir. Add peanuts. 

Serve over ice cream, brownies, on a spoon. Refrigerate leftovers if there are any.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Leavin on a Jet Plane, but Never Fear, You're Coming Along...

I haven't mentioned my upcoming travel plans on the blog yet. So consider this an announcement. My daughter (also known as &) and I have a trip planned. Started out a road trip and has morphed into a super sweet deal on plane tickets and stays at two different Air BnB's. 

Where are we going? Seattle and Portland. Why? Well, one of us had a crazy idea that we should honor some significant birthdays. One of us is currently twenty-five and one of us is ahem...forty-nine. We will be celebrating the flipping of the mileage counter past and upcoming. 

Why did we pick Portland/Seattle? Veg Fest. We are flying to Seattle, hanging out and being tourists, going on a coffee crawl, seeing the sights, shopping, walking then heading to Portland for two days of Vegan seminars and booths, and Multnomah Falls, and places that have been blogged about by other Portland fans. 

To prepare, we've been researching and watching episodes of Portlandia. Ha. Ha. Should be a very crazy fun trip. 

I'll be I-phone blogging travel updates so you can come along for the fun. Who knows what will appear here. 

But before I head out on a jet plane I'm going to post a recipe for peanut butter caramel. 


Here's a teaser. This caramel sauce tops one of the desserts that I've been experimenting with for Vegan MOFO. The whole recipe will be appearing here in October. And you are going to want the whole recipe. But, tomorrow, you can come back for a sliver of the delicious concoction -- something delicious to dribble over ice cream or eat by spoonfuls.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ Roasted Tomato Bean Soup

After seeing a few recipes for Roasted Tomato Soup and trying one prior that was okay but not quite there, I played around and came up with this concoction. I love soup, but vegetable soup is not always filling enough to make it a full meal.

Rob says it's the best soup ever. That's high praise.

10-12 medium (organic/heirloom) tomatoes cut into wedges
1 can (or 1 2/3 cups cooked) white beans
1/2 cup or so of diced eggplant
4-5 mushrooms (regular sized)
6-8 Kalamata olives
1 sliced onion
6 cloves garlic sliced
5 cups vegetable broth
fresh basil (6-7 leaves chiffonade)
fresh thyme (the leaves from 3 sprigs)
Sea Salt

Heat oven to 425. Chop and dice eggplant, tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms. Lay out on two greased cookie sheets. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt. 

Roast for 20-25 minutes. When they are close (check at 18-19 minutes place the basil on the cookie sheet) Veggies should be tender, beginning to caramelize and are darkening. Place the slightly cooled veggies in a food processor with the beans, olives, thyme and another few shakes of salt. Puree all. 

Dump into a crockpot or large saucepan. Add the vegetable broth and heat through or simmer on low.