Monthly Archives: April 2016

Next Stop: Portland

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Rose City, Bridge City, Slab City, Rip City. Whatever you want to call it, Portland, Ore., is where your eyes should be drawn for your next vacation.

As you will soon see, Portland offers something for everyone:

The aspiring adventurer can get her or his kick by taking a quick drive to Multnomah Fall, where you will be greeted by a light hike and beautiful views. This should keep the restless spirit at bay for the day.

The foodie will be in heaven! Take a stroll downtown during lunch and pick whichever truck smells best. Once you have secured your treasures, go to O’Bryant Square to take in the local scene and dig in! It doesn’t end there, though. Throw a rock and you’ll hit a great restaurant. Mediterranean Exploration Company, in the pearl, has some of the most fabulous grilled octopus you will ever dare to try.

The beer connoisseur will be enlivened when she or he hits the town and is exposed to all of the local breweries PDX has to offer. There are breweries in The Pearl, Sellwood, Beaverton and every other place. You name the neighborhood and they will have at least one!

If you picked up a tea or coffee habit on the way, don’t worry. Now you will finally be able to have a cup of whichever beverage without hearing nagging about it not being good enough. Stumptown has a nitro-tapped cold brew to write home about. Just be careful, two cups of this essential beverage has been known to give even the most experience coffee connoisseur the jitters. With so many local coffee and tea shops around, it would be wise to stay away from the coffee giant that plagues the city, Starbucks.

For the frugal traveler here is perhaps the best perk of all: Oregon has no sales tax! Your personified wallet will be able to take a sigh of relief. You may still find that you can’t resist breaking the bank in Portland, but at least it won’t be as painful.

Food Trends of 2016

Keep your eyes peeled and stomachs full! Maybe it was the introduction of Instagram, but suddenly it seems everyone has become a foodie (or, at least, become addicted to taking beautiful pictures of artisan food). Luckily, however, now that folks are more open to expanding their palette, chefs are constantly exposing us to new and exciting food options.

Here are some of the trending foods of 2016. 

1.       Poké

It’s a traditional Hawaiian dish that is making its way into the stomach of many this year. Pronounced “poke-AY,” it is traditionally chunked raw fish marinated in soy and sesame. Often seen over bowls of rice, many restaurants are starting to offer it on anything. From poké tacos to poké sandwich wraps, it is carving out a spot in the culinary world.

 

2.      Seaweed

Say goodbye to your friend, kale, and make room for your new super friend, seaweed. Rich in fiber and vitamins, this new green is on its way to taking over the go-to-green scene. Not only is it super nutritious, it’s also plentiful and environmentally friendly! No rainforests in Brazil need to be destroyed for this crop, as its naturally-occurring all over the world.

 

3.       Jewish Cuisine

If you haven’t had the honor of an authentic Jewish meal, you are in luck! Lox, challah and latkes are taking the stage this year. As chefs dive more into their heritages for culinary inspiration, we get a see a lot of traditional food become more accessible and often even get an artisan twist! Move aside, late-night pizza. Hello, late-night latkes!

 

4.      Artisan Ice Cream

I couldn’t end this hunger-inducing post without desert! Artisan ice cream is making many turn their noses up to the classics. No one wants to be vanilla, so don’t let your ice cream be it! Check out some of the interesting flavors below:

 

·         Pistachio Honey Ricotta from High Road Craft Ice Cream and Sorbet

·         Carrot Habanero Pepper from Steve’s Ice Cream

·         Chorizo Caramel Swirl from Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.

Gardening with a Brown Thumb

Everyone always has that friend or family member who raves about the benefits of gardening. It could be improving the quality of air in your home or it could provide you with ever-fresh herbs and vegetables.

The only problem with your gardening, however: You can’t seem to be able to keep a plant alive. You are a serial killer of plants.

Unlike the perps on Law & Order: SVU, you can be reformed. Below are a few tricks and tips to help with the transition from plant murdered to plant nurturer. 

·        Not many things like to be pinched, but it turns out your herbs do! If you have decided to grow herbs indoors or out, lightly pinch the tip before the bundle of leaves to promote healthy leaves.

·        For those who want to grow flowers on their balcony, patio or in their yards, be sure to put a coffee filter at the bottom of the pot. This will help soil stay put. Also if it’s a large pot, put packing peanuts at the bottom to minimize how much it weighs. This way if you do let your flowers die, moving the pot won’t make you want to.

·        If you have a four-legged friend that loves to destroy all of the nice leafy things you bring home, simply sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper on your plants to keep your plant-murdering partner away. (And, FYI, cayenne is harmless to pets.)

·        Set a reminder on your phone to water the plants or move them outside or close to a window. These are the most likely reasons your plants have been having funerals at an alarming rate – water, and sunlight.

If these simple tips don’t help your problem, I have one more suggestion: Get a succulent. They require lots of light and minimal water. I’m sure you can keep cactus and the like alive. If not, your local craft store is bound to have many fake plants to give others the illusion that you are not a plague to plants even though we both know you are.

No More Morning Joe?

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In the United States, about 50 percent of the population (150 million people) drink at least one cup of coffee daily. Many have (much) more than tha
t every morning. In a society where we are always on the run and barely have time to spend with our loved ones, coffee is the fuel that keeps us running. It might not be for long, though.

Brazil is currently the largest producer of coffee, but it has recently experienced a drought causing fields to yield less, combined with a high rate of deforestation. Thankfully for coffee drinkers, Indonesia and Honduras are expected have bountiful crops this year. But this situation may not last long enough for the conditions in Brazil to improve. With more coffee consumers coming out of traditional tea drinking countries, like China, India and the United Kingdom, coffee is projected to skyrocket in price in as little as three years.

Unfortunately, there’s not much any of us can do about the price of our beloved Joe. As for the future of the beans, however, experts believe that coffee varietals will continue to evolve as temperatures change, just as they’ve observed with wine grapes and even bananas. That prediction could be good news for regions not typically known for growing coffee – and is definitely good news for America’s caffeine addicts!

Tricks for a pristine spring pad

Spring is finally here! The much missed warm weather and sunshine is pushing away the cold, gloomy winter. However, as you are pulling open curtains, drapes and/or blinds to embrace the beauty, you might notice that being holed up all winter has taken its toll on your home.

Fear not, excited springling! Cleaning up after winter’s mess will actually make you healthier and happier. Removing the dust and bacteria from your dwelling will ease your reaction to the seasonal allergies that might make you less excited about spring. Here are a list of some spring cleaning “musts” to brighten your abode:

       Dust.

o   Dust everything! Lightbulbs, lamps, vent covers, fans, shelves, etc.

o   Dust is full of dead mites, skin cells and dirt. It’s time to free yourself from your winter collection!

Clean the structure.

o   This means walls, baseboards, windows, window sills, doors, switch plates, knobs, etc.

o   These areas are touched often and rarely cleaned. Who knows what is spreading around your house.

o   Walls, baseboards, doors, window sills, knobs and switch plates can all be cleaned with a mild soap and water.

Vacuum.

o   Vacuum anywhere you can get a vacuum. Mattresses, carpets, couches, the inside of drawers, drapes and everything else I am missing!

o   This helps remove set-in dust that isn’t seen with the naked eye. Don’t forget to regularly clean your vacuum so it’s preforming correctly.

Appliances.

o   Cleaning appliances is a pain, but it’s also a pain to open your fridge or microwave only to find a mutant creature growing in the same place you put food.

o   The fridge, microwave, oven, coffee maker, toaster/toaster oven, dishwasher, washing machine and all the other much used, much forgotten about appliances.

o   When cleaning the fridge, club soda and table salt does wonders without the harsh residue of chemical cleaners.

Change the air filter(s).

o   It is recommended that an air filter is changed about every two months, but almost monthly during winter when the heat is being run more often. Window-unit air filters can often be cleaned and put back in, but that isn’t recommended for centralized systems.

o   This could be a contributing factor if you are sensitive to allergies.