Dec 10, 2014

Portland Foodie Favorites + Giveaway!

Queue song * My Favorite Things

It's the giving season! Time to fill the stockings and trim the tree with presents.  I have some tried and true favorites in the Portland foodie world and I thought now was a great time to share. If you have a foodie on your list, try some of these incredible items.

And now for the big surprise! I am holding a giveaway and the winner will receive ALL of the items in this post. Yes, you heard it correct! Enter the giveaway below and get all of these amazing items delivered to your door.  Just call me Santa! 

Let's get into this! 

You can't go wrong with OP salami. They make 12 varieties sold around town. I always have some on hand in case someone stops by. You can quickly cut it up with crackers or cheese and you have an impressive appetizer. The flavors of these salamis are far and away the best I've ever had. 

love, rachel

2. Treehouse Chocolate Co. Drinking Chocolate
Now this is a little bit of an indulgence for me. I usually save this treat for the holiday season and I had it for the first time last week and forgot how AMAZING this stuff is. It's similar to hot coco only richer and a more luxurious treat. I add warm milk or cream (OMG I know) and drink. The Camp flavor has coffee flavor added. To. Die. For.

3. Vincent Family Dried Cranberries + Blueberries 
I love a good dried fruit. I am not too partial to any certain fruit. I like berries of all kinds, apricots, bananas, etc. Then I tried Vincent Family. Boom. Sold. These are so good. You will love the freshness and unique flavor. They infuse them with apple juice. Chart Topper!

4. Stumptown Hair Bender Coffee
You had to know this was coming. Stumptown is a mainstay in Portland and worldwide. This stuff is the cat's meow. I really love Hair Bender as well, probably the one I buy most often. It's also one of the more affordable blends, so you aren't breaking the bank.

5. Elephants Deli candies
They built a new Elephants Deli down the street from my house. It is stocked with amazing sweets and candies to try. I always find myself grabbing something when I pop in. They have their own brand of candies that I gravitate towards. Seriously too good.

6. Cinnamon Chia Peanut Butter Bliss
Kristi and I were wandering the aisles of Zupans one Sunday and she stumbled across this GEM. This butter is so wonderful. It is perfect for breakfast on toast or snack with pretzel sticks. It has become a staple in our house. Love this stuff!

7. Bob's Red Mill Apple Cinnamon Granola
I love all things Bob's Red Mill. This granola was one of the first items I tried, and it has always remained one of my favorites. I've made cookies with this granola and they are amazing. Such a great pantry item to keep on hand. Very seasonally appropriate as well.

8. Beaverton Bakery Tillamook Cheddar Rolls
My dad used to take my brother and I to Beaverton Bakery before school to grab breakfast. No, I didn't get Tillamook rolls for breakfast, but my love affair started young. These rolls are perfect for almost any dinner! I also LOVE dipping into soup.

9. Steven Smith Tea
Duh. This is an obvious addition and a daily drink for me. There isn't anything better. LOVE this stuff.

10. Jacobsen Salt Co
This is a new comer to my list. I'll be honest, I thought the whole "fancy salt" thing was a gimmick. Nope, wrong. It really does make a difference. I use it to top many dishes. It is worth the splurge. Makes almost anything taste better.

11. PitchDark Chocolate
I first was introduced to PitchDark by Tique Box and have been a huge fan. I got the pleasure of meeting the owner Brian (Coffee Conversation coming soon). The chocolate is so special. The flavor and texture is outstanding. I love the Madagascar flavor the best...I think...

12. Moonstruck Mayan Hot Cocoa
I loooooove hot coco. It is one of my favorite things to drink. Moonstruck does a great job! I love this Mayan flavor too. The cinnamon and cayenne really adds to the flavor. Worth a try!

Alright! There they are. Such a great mix of items. You won't want to miss out on all of these amazing products. Make sure to enter the giveaway below. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dec 9, 2014

Recipe: Traditional Lasagna (Easy)

The days are getting shorter, and it's the best time of the year for a cozy, comfort food. What better than lasagna? My mom makes a much more traditional Italian lasagna, but it's a little more time consuming. We talked through how to make this recipe a little easier. 

This was a big hit in my house- and it took awhile, but the steps are very easy. It was fantastic as left overs as well. 

Let's do this! 

Lasagna is made of layers. Your meat sauce layer, your "white" or cream layer, noodles, and cheese. Lasagna takes a lot of steps because you need to create all the layers before assembly. Once you get each component made, it comes together very quickly! 

First I get the sauce going- because it's okay if it simmers away all day. Then I get the noodles going. *Tip lay out parchment paper so that you lay the noodles out to dry. If you keep them all in the bowl, they will stick together* 
Then mix together your cream sauce and get your cheese ready and start layering! 

  • 1lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28oz crushed tomatoes no salt added
  • 12oz tomato paste
  • 13oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespooon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Start by cooking the sausage, ground beef, and garlic over medium heat until the meat is browned.
  • Mix in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.
  • Add in sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons parsley.
  • Let the mixture cook on low for about 1 1/2 hours, covered, stirring occasionally. It can cook longer, but at least 1 1/2 hours. I did mine for about 4 hours. 
  • Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil.
  • Cook noodles in the boiling water for about 1-2 min LESS than the package says. 
  • Drain and rinse the noodles. Then lay out on parchment paper to cool. 
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F
  • In a 9"x13" basking dish, spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce on the bottom. Arrange half the noodles lengthwise over the meat sauce. Spread half the ricotta cheeze mixture over the noodles, then add a third of the mozzarella cheese slices. Top with another 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce, then add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients, then top it all with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil, then bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the foil, then bake an additional 25 minutes.
  • Let cool 15 minutes before serving. This step is very crucial. Don't serve too soon. 
This will be a hit with your household! Let me know how it goes.

Rachel xo


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