Sunday, August 29, 2010

Salmon and other welcome house guests

We recently had a house full. I mean the house was literally bursting at the seems. Mornings looked like left overs from a raging college party... bodies every where. We are used to that here. Living on the lake, summertime brings all of our friends and family to us for a much deserved vacation on their part. We joke that we open a Bed and Breakfast every summer. Entertaining guests with a few days in between to clean, flip sheets, and prepare for the next round.

What I have come to understand is that with house guests comes work, chaos, laughter, and sometimes when we are really really lucky... special treats.  This last three weeks we have entertained my cousin Jim from Alaska. To say he is a handful is an understatement, but he always comes bearing gifts. This time he came with beautiful Alaskan Jade earrings (shaped like eagles no less), widdled Diamond willow, and a bountiful supply of fresh caught Alaskan salmon. 

We struck gold and we knew it. He knew it would guarantee that we wouldn't kick him out too. He is a smart man.. family after all. We have spent the last three weeks concocting all sorts of delicious treasures with this salmon. The recipes that follow are mouth-wateringly delicious if I don't say so myself. All of the recipes start with a simple recipe for Grilled Salmon and go from there. 

The Pesto Cream Sauce was the perfect marriage with the grilled salmon and the Lemon Dill Sauce my dad now wants to start putting on everything... including breakfast cereal. And I made an entire meal out of the Smoked Salmon Dip and a glass of wine. It was just that good.

Now I sit in a still house. Just me, my boyfriend, and Frankie (our one kitty circus). The weather has turned bringing a cold rain and fog that blanket us for day. I am still recovering from the house guests, but today is a good day with the quiet hum of the heater, the sounds of my cat wanting my attention, and Scott sipping his morning coffee. Life is Good.
Not to mention, I still have leftover salmon that my cousin thoughtfully left behind just for me... Ssshhhh. Don't tell anyone where I live! I am locking the door!

Alaskan Salmon Cream Cheese Dip

 1 cup low fat sour cream
8 ounces low fat cream cheese
1 tbsp. lemon grass (we use the Nature's Garden in the tube)
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh chives
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups smoked salmon (reserve 1/2 cup)

1. Combine the sour cream, cream cheese, lemon grass, lemon juice, garlic, dill, chives, salt, and 1 1/2 cup smoked salmon in the food processor. Process for 30 second pulses until smooth and ingredients incorporated.
2. Transfer to a large bowl and roughly chop the remaining half cup of the salmon and stir in. This will leave delicious chunks in the dip.

3. Serve with pita chips, fresh pea pods, and sliced cheese and pears for a delightful light lunch or snack before dinner. A little apertif!

Grilled Fresh Salmon
2 pounds fresh Alaskan salmon
1 lemon; sliced thinly
Handful of fresh dill sprigs
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cracked pepper

1. Place the salmon fillets on a foil lined cookie sheet with the skin side down. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the fresh dill sprigs and lemon slices on the flesh of each fillet.

2. Heat the grill to 350 degrees. Once hot, place the foil on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes depending on how thick the fillets are. You will know they are done with the skin begins to sweat white beads. This tells you that the fish is done!

3. Remove from the grill and serve alongside the Lemon Dill Sauce (recipe below)!

Cream Lemon Dill Sauce
 1 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup fresh dill
Juice of one lemon
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Combine the sour cream, dill, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until ingredients have been combined and are smooth.

2. Transfer to a bowl and serve alongside grilled salmon. 

Fresh From the Garden Pesto

1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

1. Combine the basil, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. That's it! It's really that easy and delicious.

Pesto Cream Sauce
1. Use the fresh from the garden pesto from recipe above. Place the pesto in a sauce pan and add 1/2 cup fat free half and half! Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes stirring with a whisk until it is hot and bubbly. That's IT!

Serve over the top of the salmon and add a few diced sun dried tomatoes (optional) for an added punch. You will be licking your plate.. well, I'm pretty sure anyway!

Alaskan Thai Chowder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion; diced
6 cloves garlic; minced
1 cup carrots; diced
1 cup zucchini; diced
1 can (12 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon red curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fresh minced or dried ginger
1 tablespoon lemon grass (we use the bottle of Gourmet Gardens)
1 can (14 ounces) lite coconut milk
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 can (16 ounces) sweet corn
l lb. cooked salmon; chunked (use the leftovers from the grilled recipe above)
2 cups fresh snow peas
3 tablespoons fresh Thai basil

1. In a large skillet drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes or until the onions begin to blonde and become translucent. Add the carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

 2. Transfer the vegetables to a large soup or stock pot and continue cooking over high heat. Add the red curry powder, turmeric, cumin, ginger, lemon grass, coconut milk, chicken broth, and sweet corn to the pot. Continue cooking over low heat for 30 minutes. The flavors will fill the house with an intoxicating aroma!

3. After 30 minutes, add the fresh snow peas, salmon chunks, and Thai basil to the pot and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes just to heat the peas and salmon through. 

4. Serve in a low with organic grown Indian Basmati rice (we follow the directions on the package, but use low sodium chicken broth instead of water to enhance flavors). Top with fresh cilantro and serve with soft bread for dipping up the soup's delicious juices.

Mental Health Tip: Okay. Here is the skinny on dealing with crazy house guests and relatives. Love them no matter what and embrace their idiosyncrasies. Life is good, but only when there is diversity, new ideas, and people to laugh and share with. I don't care how crazy your family is.. love them because of this. I call it the good kind of crazy! And when all else fails,  get some salmon and start cooking. Good, healthy food cures everything! Even frazzled nerves!

Bringing you fresh fish, omega-3's and healthy back to school blessings!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in recovery!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Montana Breakfast

Mornings are when I do most of my writing. It works best for my creative flow this way. Naturally, while I am coming to the end of my writing, my family and I are talking about what we should eat for breakfast. After lingering over coffee for a few hours we have usually worked up a healthy appetite. We typically stick with eggs, whole wheat toast, and fruit. 

The other element is summer. During the summer we get lots and lots of house guests, which means lots of cooking, meal planning, dishes, cleaning.. You get the picture. Some mornings we are just worn out and wanting something simple to feed our house guests. 
This is where the Montana Breakfast emerged from. One morning we were all tired of cooking and cleaning and we had baked a pie the day before that no one had left any room for after a large dinner the night before. The pie was left untouched. My mom had pulled it out of the fridge and sat it on the counter and declared, "Montana Breakfast is served!" Ever since that morning, this has become somewhat of a tradition in our household. SOme mornings we do eggs, others we do yogurt with fruit, and still others we do pie.

Because why not? Really, why not? The recipes below for Peach Razzilicious Pie is made with fresh peaches and raspberries from our friends gardens and the Apple Rhubarb Pie is from the garden harvest as well. There is fruit, fiber, and no sugar or fat... Why not start the day off right.. with a piece of pie for your peace of mind. Plus, Cinnamon is a wonder food in that it balances out those nasty spikes in blood sugar! It helps promote even blood sugar to prevent those nasty spikes and falls in energy and blood sugar. And since these don't have any sugar you don't have to worry about that dreaded morning slump.

Try it out.. take these recipes from dessert to breakfast! Have fun with your summer harvest and adapt the recipes depending on what you have from the gardens in your area. And.. our guests love this special treat by the way!

Peach Razzilicious Deep Dish Pie
Basic Pie dough (found in the refrigerator section)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups pitted and sliced peaches (leave skins on!)
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons butter (using Smart Balance is what we recommend)
1. Spray a pie pan with vegetable cooking spray and place the prepared pie crust on the bottom of the pan and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced peaches, splenda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whole wheat flour and mix until all peaches are coated with sugar, spices, and flour. Set aside in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow flavors to marinade.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Pour the peach and raspberry mixture into the pie crust. Place the Smart Balance butter in small amounts on top of the peach and raspberry mixture. Top with the remaining prepared pie crust and crimp the edges with your fingers making sweet pinched edges just like grandma used to make.

5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

**Serve warm out of the oven with sugar free vanilla ice cream or whip cream. Enjoy!

Apple Rhubarb Pie
Basic Prepared pie crust (found in the refrigerator section)
2 cups fresh rhubarb; diced
4 cups apples; skin left on and sliced
3/4 cup Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. all spice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. milled flax seed

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray a pie plate with cooking spray and place one of the pie crusts in the pie plate and set aside.

3. In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, apples, splenda, salt, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, whole wheat flour, and flax. Stir together until the fruit is coated. Then pour the fruit mixture into the pie crust. Top with the other pie crust and crimp the edges together using your fingers. Cut four slits along the top of the crust and sprinkle with additional cinnamon for more blood sugar regulating goodness!

4. Bake pie in the oven for 45-55 minutes. The apples should be slightly bubbling and the crust brown. Serve with sugar free frozen yogurt for an added dose of calcium in the morning!

Mental Health Benefit: This easy breakfast keeps everyone happy and allows your family to have a special l'anguiape to start there day and you as the cook get the morning off! Just use paper plates and you really give yourself a break! Come on! Doesn't that just look delicious! I think so!

Have a wonderful morning and a fabulous breakfast from our kitchen to yours!

~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Beginning.. Start with Pancakes

I am sitting at our dining room table in the early light of morning watching my loved ones awake. There is a peace in the house, a ruslting of newspapers, clip clop of foot steps, and a gurgling coming from the coffee pot. The house is about to awaken and I am sitting within the heart of our home right before the volcano erupts. Before everyone is awake and laughing, telling stories, fighting over newspaper sections and coffee cups. I am in the moments before watching as the heat rises inside and out.

As I write I think about how precious each person is. We have lots of guests this morning. Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and loved ones. We are all starting a new day together. Sharing in the wonder that lives right before a brand new day begins, before the miracles that are to take place happen today. The sun is shining on the deck kissing it with it's warm yellow glow and dancing on the water as it continues to climb higher and higher. Just as we all climb higher and higher within each moment.
To celebrate us all being together sharing in this morning, I decide to make pancakes for everyone. Healthy pancakes of course filled with whole grains, flax, protein packed yogurt. I want to provide everyone with something healthy and nourishing to start their day, to have the energy to meet new opportunities, new inspiration, and create new magical moments today.
Just as I am mixing up the batter, my cousin leans in from the deck shouting, "The millionaire's back!" AKA The millionaire who owns the island across from us. We watch as a huge military float plane lands a few yards from our dock in the water. As we watch this huge float plane land and people run to grab cameras I know that the day is in full swing, the volcano has erupted, and the first miracle has already occurred. We are brought together in the wonder of this huge sea-plane landing and then taking off again. You really never know what you are going to bump into when you wake up do you?

Try these and provide your loved ones with a great and wonderful start to the day that will keep them going all morning long. Your kids with love these too!

Let the day begin!

Wholesome Pancakes
2 eggs
4 tablespoons Smart Balance butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 (6 ounce) container low fat yogurt (we use vanilla, but blueberry is great too!)
1/4 cup ground milled flaxseed
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. In a large bowl mix the eggs, smart balance butter, vanilla, and yogurt. Stir using a whisk to combine.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flaxseed, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. The batter should be thin, yet coat the back of a spoon.

4. To cook, heat a smooth non-stick skillet until water bubbles when sprinkled on. Place a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the pan and swirl to coat. Add 1/4 cup of batter at a time to the skillet and cook each pancake on 2 minutes a side. The top will tell you it's time to flip the pancake when it bubbles. Continue cooking all pancakes this way.

5. These pancakes will be slightly more dense than regular pancakes. Serve with Smart Balance butter, fresh fruit, and sugar free syrup for a delightful light breakfast! You can also top with low fat yogurt for an extra punch of protein.

Mental Health Tip: Breakfast is important, it's the beginning of a new day, starts us out right. This is the perfect blend of protein and carbohydrates.  Do something special for yourself and start your day with a BANG!

Wishing you Happy Mornings and days from our kitchen to yours!

~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cookies aren't just for monsters!

Sometimes I just need a cookie... It's unavoidable. Just like sometimes I need a hot fudge sundae. And today I do. Need a cookie or two. I also needed to get into my happy place, the kitchen. I work nights waiting tables now and I don't get to cook as much. I miss it, cooking. It is crazy, but I do! This afternoon I take the bull by the horns and take some time and get into the kitchen. In the kitchen is where I get to release some energy, get my creativity stimulated, and promote happiness within me.

I didn't want to get crazy with the cookies by using only healthy ingredients, but my goal was to add a little nutrition. These recipes are simple and my special taste tester called these, "the best cookies on the planet." Try them out for yourself and see what you think. There is real sugar, but you can easily substitute splenda for the sugar or half the sugar. The whole wheat actually made the chocolate chip cookies better and the flax in the peanut cookies was distinguishable! Once again my mission to make things healthy and delicious is a success!

Peanutiest Cookies

2 Cups All Natural Peanut Butter  (We love Smuckers)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Baking Splenda
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Milled Flax Seeds
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix the peanut butter, sugar, splenda, eggs, baking soda, flax seed, whole wheat flour, and chocolate chips. The batter will be thick and crumbly.

3. Using your hands, form into over-sized walnut balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Smooshing the batter in your palms will make it stick together. Gently flatten with a fork making the trademark crisscross pattern.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Delicious!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 cup Salted Butter; Softened
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Package Semisweet Chocolate Chips (2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix the sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg together until creamed together.
3. Then add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Combine with a wooden spoon until ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be thick and slightly flaky.

4. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine. Grease your baking sheets with cooking spray. Because the dough was so flaky, I used my hands to form small balls of dough squeezing the dough together. Place the dough at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 

***These cookies didn't flatten like they can when using white flour, they just puffed up delightfully and were the most amazing cookies. The whole wheat flour gave it great texture and more flavor.

Servings: 40

Nutritional Skinny:

 94.7 calories / 4.7 g fat / 33 g carbohydrates / .8 g fiber / 1.2 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: Sometimes we all deserve a little break. Maybe even a cookie and milk break. Go ahead and make these cookies and enjoy. You deserve a little cookie. You and cookie monster. He was loveable right? Well, so are you! Fill your cookie jar and get your hands in there. Cookies aren't just for kids! They are for us grown ups too!

Peace and chocolate from your kitchen to mine!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes cookie heaven!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Trip to the Oregon Coast.. Country Style

Our long weekend trip continued onto the Oregon Coast after Portland. We loaded up in the van, we call her Ol' Suzanna and headed still west. We decided to forgo breakfast in luo of a seafood lunch on the ocean. I could hardly wait as we revved up Ol' Suzanna and headed out and as a generous kiss good-bye Mt. St. Helen's come out to wave us off and tell us.. "Y'all come back now, Ya Here!" (or something like that).
On the way we found a charming farmer's stand and fresh tickle-your-taste-buds apricots and I couldn't resist. We bought a whole bunch of them which inspired my Apricot Chocolate S'more that I made later in the trip. We also picked up some fresh sweet corn that inspired my Oven Roasted Cobs. I did a few cartwheels (yes, really) and we loaded back up and in a few short hours, we were on the coast where the smoke stacks were beyond imagination. Large majestic peaks in the middle of no where and the foggy dampness just added to the drama.
 We landed at Mo's Restaurant where they are famous for their clam chowder. And they should be the food was divine. We had blackened cod, garlic grilled shrimp, fish n' chips, and the top it off Marionberry Cobbler that was to die for (sorry no picture, we were too busy eating!)
After stuffing ourselves, my mom and I thirsted to touch the water. It was cold and rainy, but small things like that don't really stop anyone in our family and my mom and I went in. Okay, only to our shins, but the water was something like 60 degrees. My toes burned, but my face smiled. 
From there we are off to find our lodging. But on the way we see a sign that is irresistible even to us. It is like kryptonite... It reads "WINE TASTING" and we can't help it. We stop. And we find the wine masters that call themselves Hip Chicks Do Wine (I call them geniuses) and we have to try to Drop Dead Red. All of their wine is delicious and I am secretly envious of this brilliant idea! We have some around a camp fire hoping to wait out the rain.
We finally get to Jetty Fisheries where we had reserved cabins with a little bit of trouble. The person on the phone had been quite confused most times we had called. When we walked into the 'office' we understood. We checked in and were led to our cabins and given a 'grand tour' of the bathrooms all the while Scott is giving me sideways looks.

And after we are given the key and left alone, my dad walks over and says, "If you have ever wanted to stay in a gypsy camp, you can cross that off your list now." Scott laughs and I secretly think.. I am home. Not to mention they caught 33 crabs that day. Okay not only is that my magic number that is also a ton of crab. My favorite thing to eat on this planet!
But it's still raining and our dreams of cooking by the fire are squashed. Instead we find Pirate's Cove and let me say this was one of the ultimate highlights of my trip! My mom and I shared the steamed crab and drawn butter.
 While Scott had the Tuna wrapped in bacon.
My dad had the Blacked Sea Bass served with Shrimp (yes that is a GIANT shrimp). This meal and service was everything I had hoped for and more. At the end, I had a chance run in with our server who told us that we tipped her way to much. And there were so many things I wanted to say like.. You made our trip.. or.. There is no such thing as tipping too much (I'm a server too). But what I said instead was, "You totally deserve it." And I meant it.
The next morning we opted to leave Gypsy Fish Camp, although I will go back again and this time I will go crabbing. They were delightful and the experience was worth repeating, but the weather and our desire to be closer to home for our last day, made us journey forward. Not to mention the untouched wineries... Which we uncovered a little more of when we discovered Blue Heron French Cheese Company in Tillamook, OR 
We tasted wine, cheese, and ate a delicious lunch of Caprese Sandwich (the best ever, just look at it!) 
and barbecue chicken with a roasted corn and black bean salad...
Of course a delicious cheese tray complete with cantelope, brie, grapes, and salami to name a few of the suspects that attended this glutenous party.
And then we were off again driving along the coast on route 101. We hiked to a lighthouse and saw views that were breathtaking just as the sun was peaking out from it's shy slumber.
I, of course, had to get my feet in the sand and the ocean one last time before we headed home. And I along with the baby sea turtles took one last dip in the vast ocean.
On the way to our lodging we stopped at the Powers and Badger Mountain Winery. They make all organic wines without sulfates. The taster was extremely knowledgeable (she is getting her PhD in wine making) and they sold boxed wine that was delicious! We purchased a few boxes for good measure and headed to the Vagabond Lodge in Hood River where we reserved a suite to sleep all of us for next to nothing. It overlooked the Columbia River Gorge and we sat watching the wind surfers work their behinds off. The suite was perfect and had a full kitchen where we could finally cook our brats and sour kraut.  The next morning, we couldn't leave the area without visiting one more winery.. the Apolloni Winery where we finally bought our bottle of the aclaimed 2006 Pinot Noir.

The first line from one of my favorite Anita Shreve's novels Fortune's Rock sums this trip up perfectly, "In the time it takes her to walk from the bath house at the seawall of Fortune's Rock, where she has left her boots and discreetly pulled off her stockings, to the waterline along which the sea continuously licks at the silver and pink sand, she learns about desire." And the sea does exactly what this quote does.. It leaves me wanting more... When we arrive home, we begin planning our next trip to the coast.

We shall return.. And I hope we have inspired you to take a trip, to the coast or somewhere else! Just pack a bag and get going!

More from the kitchen to come from our inspirations from the trip... Seafood and apricot delights are on the way...!

Wishing you safe and happy travels this summer,

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes back home

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perfect in Portland

We were locked and loaded, picked my honey up in Missoula and headed west. The first stop was the nearest Winery (pretty much), which happened to be Preston Winery which we learned was the 3rd winery in the washington valley.  We were met by one of the owner's daughters herself, the lovely Chenyn (yes! named after the wine). We tasted all of the wines they had to offer and I fell in love with the Long Tail Lizard line. The wine was fruity with lots of depth and the Mom's Cab 2005 was our ultimate love. You have to try it out! They do a fun and playful label with a yellow taxi cab and the wine is just as playful on your palet. We ended up with half a case just of the mom's cab.  And were pretty happy when we walked out of there!
On down the road we stumbled upon the Washington River Gorge and I took pictures out the window while my parents begged from the back for more wineries. We were on a mission, however and it had been a long day, so instead I made turkey and ham sandwiches on the road, we took a fee pee breaks, and muscled on.
Our first destination was the lovely Best Western right outside of Portland in Cascade Locks.  The hotel was wonderful. We each had a lovely view of the river from our rooms and due to a slight snafu at check in, my parents were bumped up to a room with a balcony. Inevitably, their room became the 'party room' as we called it. We planned to have dinner across the river in Stevenson, WA at the Big River Grill. They describe it as a 'high end road house' which is the perfect description as it is cozy, but we were able to order delicious steak and seafood and my dad hit the jackpot with a delicious spicy homemade tortellini special. We sampled the delicious Smoked Sturgeon Spread. A must try!

The next day we woke early and had Portland on our minds. We headed west again and stumbled into my dad's cousin, and Bite of Oregon, a huge taste of Portland Festival! I couldn't believe our luck!
We held back slightly and stopped first at the Japanese, Chinese, and Rose gardens. The gardens were gorgeous and of the three I have to say the rose garden was my favorite and completely free! What can I say, I must be a thrifty flower child! But don't get me wrong they are all worth seeing! It was gorgious day and the roses and gardens were breath taking.

Next stop was the Bite of Oregon and it was a complete blast! We had the opportunity to do a lot of wine tasting, eat Voodoo Donuts (famous Portland donuts!), craft beer from 14 different vendors (we loved the OREgasmic Ale by Rogue), and dance to the music from the DJ. He refused to play I'm on a Boat by The Lonely Island. He actually told me he was ashamed of me, but I told him it was my theme song and danced on down the road.

Dinner was at a fabulous Italian Restaurant called Palio di Portland at Nostrana where the owner-chef Cathy herself, sat us. We shared salad and delicious thin crust pizza using great fresh ingredients, thin and light dough and lots and lots of heat in a wood stove. The pizza was the best I ever tasted and the restaurant was magnificent! I would recommend this spot to anyone. Mom and I were swinging from the trees we were so happy!
It was a marvelous day until we attempted to find our hotel room by the airport. This story is for a whole separate blog entry, however I will say this... when things turned ugly and everyone was all sorts of out of their bubbles and my boyfriend just sat and laughed. When we finally arrived some thirty minutes later we all enjoyed a cocktail in our room together and Scott got to laugh at our family, 'out of bubble' experience.
Portland was great, the food was fabulous, the weather couldn't have been better, and the company was what made the trip fabulous... Next stop.... The Oregon Coast!

Mental Health Travel Tip: When traveling in mixed company.. basically any time you aren't alone. Be as flexible as you possibly can. The magic that comes from spontaneity are usually the special Lagniappes of the trip anyway! Keep a good attitude and forget your watch at home. Time is irrelevant when you're traveling. Just lay back and take a drink of refreshing life!

Stay Tuned for more tips from the Oregon Coast

~ Some "Hot Messes" On a Hot Trip!