Saturday, July 31, 2010

Food Carts: Sonny Bowl and Sweet Wheels

Friday was my last day at work, and also the final food cart extravaganza lunch.  We didn't have much time to research and decide where we would go, but I was sure I wanted to squeeze in a trip to Sweet Wheels, a roving food cart that serves only cupcakes.  I knew it going to be at SW 2nd and Oak on Friday at noon, so we decided to grab lunch from Sonny Bowl (since neither of us had been there and it was just one block away from our cupcake destination) then swing by Sweet Wheels (because, as I said before, dessert is always the right idea), and then we headed down to the waterfront to meet up with Andrea and Elliot for a quick lunch.  

So here's the lunch cart low-down for the day...  Sonny Bowl is a vegan cart option that offers three different "bowls" of food.  We both chose the black bean, brown rice, mexican themed bowl.  It was good.  Better than I was expecting, actually.  Very filling, neither of us finished ours, and very flavorful.

But the clear winner for me were the cupcakes from Sweet Wheels.  There were only three varieties left when we got there, so we bought one of each (of course!).  Chocolate with fresh strawberry frosting (the frosting was amazing), vanilla with chocolate frosting (my favorite cake of all three varieties), and the winner by far... coconut with cream cheese frosting.  It was so good!  Sweet wheels doesn't have a set location, so you have to check in on Facebook or Twitter each day to find out where they are, and I suggest you do.  And when you're there, cross your fingers that they still have some coconut cupcakes left.  You will be in for a very yummy treat.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food Carts: Ziba's Pitas and Cool Harry's

Day two of the food cart extravaganza.  In honor of day number two, we went to two food carts.  Oh yes, lunch and dessert.  And they were both amazing.  First stop, Ziba's Pitas for some delicious, satisfying Bosnian food.  Ziba herself (who is oh-so-nice) served us full plates of burek, mine spinach and Annika's meat-filled, with sides of cool cucumbers and an eggplant and red pepper spread.  Wow.  This was a first for me.  Annika has lived in Croatia so was very familiar with this food, but this was my first burek, and it was simply wonderful.  Not what you might consider a typical pita.  More like a flakey, doughy spanakopita.  
   Then, because dessert is a never a bad idea, we took a quick trip up to Cool Harry's Yogurt.  It is, hands down, the most delicious frozen yogurt I have ever had.   I repeat:  THE. MOST. DELICIOUS. FROZEN. YOGURT. EVER.  If you live in Portland, put down your computer and go and get some Cool Harry's.  If you don't live in Portland, get in your car and come here now.  For the yogurt.  Seriously.  It's that good.  Pure, creamy, tart, organic, with live cultures.   I mean, really.  What more is there?!
This is Annika, melting with her first taste of Cool Harry's.  It's that good.  She is literally about to cry.  Monday was so so so good.  I never thought anything could get better.  But now all of this for Wednesday.  I wonder so much what Friday will bring! 


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Food Cart: Pastrami On Rye

This is my last week at work.  It is bitter-sweet, for sure.  Part of me is jumping up and down and part of me is really sad.  Okay, maybe not equal parts.  Maybe more like 80/20 in favor of the jumping up and down.  But after five years somewhere it is hard to imagine there not being certain things in my life anymore, like riding public transit or having Annika down the hall from me or marveling at all of the new food carts that seem to appear daily.  So to help with this transition, I jumped at Andrea's suggestion to have a cart-lunch-party during each of my last three days at work this week.  I'm usually very frugal (read: have no money) and would rather eat healthier food from home anyway, so I rarely eat at the carts.  But this seemed like the perfect treat!  One mention of it to Annika and she was on board.  So, early Monday morning the research began.  

First stop, Food Carts Portland, of course.  I started by searching cart pod locations downtown, thinking we could try one new cart from three different locations over the course of the week.  Then I scrapped that idea and decided to narrow it down by cuisine.  We started with ten, whittled it down to three, then settled on one... Jewish food.  So off to the cart pod by PSU we went to try out Pastrami On Rye.  It was an adorable cart.  I got the pastrami on rye (I'd never had one before) and Annika got the reuben (which I'd also never had).  They were absolutely delicious!  Salty, buttery, the mustard was coarse and tangy, the sauerkraut was subtle and the perfect accompaniment.  I seriously want another one of each right now as I sit here writing about them.  I mean, look at these sandwiches... they're beautiful!  So, if you're in the Portland area and need a lunch recommendation, I'd suggest hitting up Pastrami On Rye.  My vote would be for the ruben (the sweet/salty combo was amazing), but I don't think you could go wrong with anything on the menu.  Ooooh, now I wonder what Wednesday's lunch will bring??!?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Birthday Day

A four mile race on a beautiful summer morning (she came in 4th in the women's division!) followed by breakfast and out for drinks in the evening.  It was a perfect Hilary birthday.  Happy new year, Hil.  xoxo

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Story Time Adventure

We've been taking Elliot to lots of story times at all of the libraries in town.  Well, mostly Andrea has.  It doesn't work as well into my schedule.  But this weekend Elliot and I gave his Mama the morning off and we took an adventure to the downtown library for a fun-filled story time.  We rode the bus and the train, we walked on the city streets and looked in the fountains.  But most fun of all, we enjoyed a story time full of books, songs and shakers.  This particular group was Family Story Time, as opposed to an age-specific group, so there were children of all ages there to interact with.  And Teacher Juliet did a wonderful job leading the group.  It was really so much fun.  Being out in the world with Elliot is truly my most favorite thing to do.  And adventuring off to story times at the public library was the second thing I ever blogged about way back when Elliot was just four months old!  My, what a long way we've come.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Very Special Pie

We had a very special picnic with a very special friend tonight, for whom I made a very special pie.  His favorite berries--strawberry and blueberry--minus any sugar, which he can't have.  I simply heated a jar of sugarless strawberry jam (the kind that is sweetened only with fruit juices) until it was liquid, whisked in 4 teaspoons of cornstarch, and tossed it with 2 pounds of strawberries and a sprinkling of blueberries.  For the crust I made the Pie Dough Cockaigne recipe from The Joy of Cooking, minus the 2 teaspoons of sugar that it calls for.  I par-baked the bottom crust for 15 minutes, then dumped in the berries, wove the lattice top, and baked it for another 20 minutes.  It was absolutely perfect.  And so was our picnic.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DIY: Hooded Toddler Towel

It seemed that Elliot needed a hooded towel for his swim lessons this week and last, but the ones he had as a newborn were way too small.  So, in true Mixed Baby Greens fashion, I repurposed an old towel of ours into a new hooded toddler towel for him!  I did it during his naptime and used only stuff that I had in the house.  An hour of my time, zero money spent, and I didn't contribute to any new production of materials.  This project is a winner!

My camera isn't too good for these kind of shots, but I'll walk you through the steps incase anyone wants to make one for yourself.  I assure you... it's easy!  

1. Fold the towel in half.  Cut a diagonal line from the midpoint of the side to the midpoint of the top.  
2. Open the towel so that the new shortened edge is at the top.  Using one of the triangles you just cut off (the other won't be used), pin the triangle as shown along half of the the top edge.  Sew just that half where the triangle is lined up with the edge of the towel.
3. Now stretch the bottom point of the triangle (in the picture above) and match it to the other end of the top edge of the towel.  Sew just that line into the middle, stopping when you've reached your first seam.
4.  Now you've attached the triangle into the top of the towel along the the shortened edge you created by cutting the triangles off each side. 
5.  Zig zag the entire raw edge of the towel, from one end of the original cut, along the edge of the triangle you just sewed in, and all the way to the end of second side.  Zig zagging just the single raw edge makes the fabric naturally wavy.  The second picture is a close up.  
6.  Then add whatever silliness that you can come up with using scraps that you have.  I used felt to sew on eyes, a mouth and a spiny mohawk that goes half way down the back.  
And that's it.  A hooded towel made out of a full size towel.  The perfect size for a toddler!  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Balls Balls Balls!

Tee ball, soccer, and football... oh wow!  Elliot got to play with the big kids today at a family picnic with Andrea's coworkers.  Anna and Noah showed Elliot all about how to hit, throw, catch and kick their way through a fun day.  He absolutely loved it!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another Delicious Vegan Meal

Only this time, even though it was our turn to host, we left the cooking up to someone else and we took the party outside.  No shopping for groceries, no cleaning up afterwards, and the best of friends.  It was a perfect night!
For our monthly dinner with The Vegans, Andrea and I decided that instead of buying groceries and making a big spread we would just take us all out to a new vegan Middle Eastern cart that has been getting good reviews.  And, it was unanimous, Wolf & Bear's falafel deserves 5 stars!
And, as I mentioned, we opted out of house cleaning and dish washing by having our monthly dinner at the park.  (In all honesty, I'm just getting over a week of being really sick and now poor Elliot has a running nose like you wouldn't believe and is craaaaanky.  We thought it best to take the party out of our tiny, germ-ridden apartment and to a place where he could have some distractions to help him get through the night.  It worked, and he didn't mind helping us finish off a sampling of vegan cupcakes from Sweetpea Baking Co., either.  I'm pretty sure that raspberry frosting has at least a little vitamin C in it, don't you think??)  All in all, it was another great dinner with The Vegans.  Thank you Wolf, Bear and Sweetpea.  Tonight wouldn't have been possible without you.  And, of course, a big thank you to He and She Vegan for another perfect monthly dinner.  xoxo.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Heart Max's Family

We got to spend a lovely evening in Max's backyard with his mom and dad.  Michelle made a delicious tapas spread and David's homebrew was on tap.  The boys' Wednesday sitter, Tamara, even came for some happy hour fun.

Before we went over, Elliot and I took a trip to Portland Nursery to pick out a gift for Max's family.  First we picked out some flowers, then put them back for a raspberry bush, then finally settled on two perfect blueberry bushes.  The boys both LOOOOOVE blueberries, so I figured they would give Max and his mom and dad many years of yummy eating and remembering how wonderful the boys' first year was together.   (Elliot was sure we picked the right bush because he sampled the berries while we were still at the nursery.) 
As is turning out to be the case whenever I'm enjoying a fun time with friends, I end up spending more of my energy enjoying the people and setting and connections than I spend taking pictures.  When I'm home with the boys or when Andrea and I are out for a weekend adventure, I can spend as much time as I want snapping a gazillion pictures.  But on this night, I was enjoying the hanging out way too much to dig the camera out and disrupt my engagement with the moment.  So, in the end, I snapped a few goodbye shots that managed to capture the laid back, delicious, summery evening, but nowhere near the huge amount of pics that I normally have to comb through to find just the right ones to post.  Any other bloggers have this same experience?  

(Max and his Mama Michelle enjoying her yummy cobbler; Elliot and Tamara;  David on Bella duty)

Two more weeks with Max's family, then Max starts at a wonderful childcare home with a bunch of other kiddos and we get ready to head to Boise.  Max has got the perfect laid back personality to do really well in a group setting.  It won't be the same at Babytown with Elliot, but nothing will ever quite compare to the wonderful first year these two boys spent together.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Let It Be Forever

It's as official as the state motto... we are moving to Idaho!  Our departure date has been set for August 17th.  We are off to embed ourselves in a community of grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins galore.  It is exactly what we want for ourselves and for Elliot.  So... here's to our next adventure.  May it be perpetual!

Image by Emily Wick of Two Eyeballs