Spiced Vanilla Bean Pancakes with Mango

In 2014, I ran A LOT.  In September I did two half marathons in two weeks and I spent my summer training for the Portland Marathon, which took place in October.  I also did another half marathon earlier in the year AND Hood to Coast so by the time I completed the marathon I was burned out.  Luckily, we were heading right into winter so I let the rain be my very convenient excuse to take a break from running.  I spent the winter doing some great indoor workouts with weight training and tried to incorporate more yoga into my routine (something I am still working on!).  I built up some strength, focused on other areas of my fitness and health, and actually found myself missing my time cruising through town listening to music in the early morning hours!

This summer, the intoxicating sunshine and the seemingly constant stream of emails about upcoming races, I decided to give a new half marathon a try.  I signed up for the Twilight Half Marathon, which took place in Vancouver, WA at dusk.  I’ve never done a race that didn’t start way too early in the morning so that brought an interesting change to the race routine and it offered a cute medal (oh so important, right?)🙂

After taking such a long break from running, I felt like I had come back physically stronger and felt more excited about lacing up my shoes in the morning.  Not only did I enjoy getting back into running, it seems that taking the time to focus on strength in other areas of my body proved to be effective.  This was the first year this particular race was held so I knew there was a chance that not all of the logistics would be perfectly worked out.  About 3/4 of the way through, I was following a little group of runners down a path along Vancouver Lake.  Someone realized there weren’t any mile markers or volunteers, which meant we had veered off course.  We all turned around and ran to the course feeling a bit discouraged by the increase in our finish time that was due to a lack of enough volunteers and course signs.  I worked hard the rest of the race to forget that number and just focus on the fact that I was feeling strong and I could tell I was running harder than I ever have in the past.  As I approached the last straight away to the finish line, I kicked it into high gear and started to race toward the blow up arches.  A gentleman that had been pacing near me for most of the race chuckled at my burst of energy and gave me a nod that said he was ready to push each other to the end.  We broke out into a sprint and came to the finish line with huge smiles on our faces because we were having fun.  That oh so important, but sometimes forgotten, three letter word in my running world.  The icing on the cake, however, was crossing the finish line and seeing the time clock read 1:55:09!  Despite running off course, I still beat my best half marathon time by 4 MINUTES!  I was so stoked!

Twilight Half Marathon, Vancouver WA | scottileona.com

I thought the validation and excitement surrounding a PR would propel me back into racing more consistently…but it didn’t.  We are back in the winter grind with dark mornings, days, evenings and rain.  so. much. rain.  I have brought my workouts back to my living room and have been completely happy with this.  We continue to build up our little home gym and have been trying new programs to keep things fresh.  However, I am setting some running goals for 2016.  Nothing concrete yet, except that I am going to run!  I am going to sign up for races early and use my typical strategy of having a deadline to propel myself back into a sport that brings me joy when I am actually doing it.

Winter time has brought up the desire to have slower mornings on the weekends.  When it is wet and grey outside staying in sweats under the blankets with the dog feels so much better than hustling to get outside.  This is good because I absolutely love slow weekend mornings.  This gives some time to sleep in a little, make a delicious breakfast, sip coffee, cuddle with the dog and partner, read or catch up on TV shows.  <3  Those moments are just perfect.

On slow mornings my go to breakfasts are usually pancakes or waffles.  Sweet, warm, topped with fruit, a little syrup… yeah.  Pairs so well with coffee and fluffy slippers.

Spiced Vanilla Bean Pancakes | scottileona.com

A while ago, I discovered PaleOMG’s Vanilla Bean Pancake recipe and it has been go my to the last couple of times I have made pancakes.  The pancakes are made with simple ingredients and cook up perfectly.  This time around I decided to add some extra cinnamon and turmeric and served them with warmed spiced mango.  Prepare to be transported (at least mentally) to a tropical place while eating these🙂


  • 2 bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • pinch of salt

For the topping:

  • 1 cup frozen mango slices (or 1 chopped fresh mango)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric


  1. Place bananas in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the eggs and blend again.
  2. Scrape the vanilla bean pod into the food processor.  Add the remaining pancake ingredients and blend
  3. Cook on a heated skillet with coconut oil
  4. For the topping, warm the mango chunks in a small sauce pan with spices.


Natural Rodent Repellent {Ensuring Safety for Pets and Children}

4th of July weekend was an interesting one for Nick and I this year.  Saturday morning started out lovely.  I made some delicious waffles and topped them in blueberries, strawberries, and coconut laid out in the design of the U.S. flag, of course.  Unfortunately, this post is not about those magnificent waffles (I’ll do a waffle post soon!).


While we were enjoying our brekky we noticed our little dog, Reymie, being sneaky with something she found on the porch.  When she tries to eat something while hiding under a chair we know she has something she probably shouldn’t!  So Nick attempted to take it away from her and discovered her mouth is full of thick teal saliva.  We then noticed some random teal pellets scattered on our porch.  Having no idea what they were or where they came from, we went around to our neighbors to ask if they had recently used fertilizer or something that would contain these teal pellets.  No one seemed to know what they were so we turned to good ol’ Google.  To our horror, the pellets we found looked a heck of a lot like rat poison.

The pellets we found around our porch.

The pellets we found around our porch.

Off to Dove Lewis (Portland’s AMAZING emergency vet) we went and we arrived there about 1 hour after Reymie ingested the poison.  I brought some of the pellets we found with me and the front desk staff immediately recognized it as rat bait and believed it was a brand called d-CON.  They immediately took her back to induce vomiting and begin IV fluids.  They also gave her activated charcoal to bind to the toxins as they made their way through her body.

Throughout this terrifying event, we learned quite a few things about rodent bait and how it affects the body.  It is, obviously, dangerous for pets to ingest.  It is meant to kill rodents so other small creatures are in danger when ingesting it as well.  We learned there are two types of commonly used rat bait – one that has an antidote and one that does not.  The one that has an antidote includes brands such as d-CON and it prevents the formation of blood clots.  All mammals experience tears in blood vessels on a daily basis, but our bodies are able to form clots and get on their day.  The active ingredients in d-CON prevent the production of Vitamin K, which causes the body to reach lethal levels of internal bleeding.  The other type of rat baits contain zinc phosphide and there is no antidote for this ingredient.  Side effects include seizures and our vet told us if Reymie reached that point, her only treatment options would be to alleviate her symptoms and hope her brain recovers from the seizures.  Since we didn’t know exactly what Reymie ate, hearing these options was pretty horrible.  We decided to treat her as if she ate d-CON and took her home with hopes that she would not develop the symptoms associated with zinc phosphide.  She will be taking Vitamin K twice a day for 4 weeks and will follow up with her vet to ensure her blood is clotting as it should.  So far, we have not seen symptoms associated with zinc phosphide (knock on wood!).

Charcoal covered beard :-)

Charcoal covered beard🙂

According to saferodentcontrol.org, “these chemicals poison over 10,000 children across the U.S every year.  Young children, especially those under the age of 6, are at high risk of unintentional poisoning through ingestion. Kids’ curious nature and desire to stick everything in their mouths makes exposure to rodenticides a real danger.”  While I do not have small children in my home, I find this statistic very concerning.  I did a little research about how to control rodent issues in your home without the use of harsh chemicals and here is what I found out.

  • According to one professional wildlife removal site, the best way to prevent rodents getting in your house is to make sure all holes or spaces where rodents can enter the home are covered.  Do a thorough investigation of your home and its foundation and look for any small hole or crack on the interior and exterior – rats and mice and squeeze their bodies in to very small spaces!
  • Another prevention method is to ensure that food items are tightly sealed and kept out of reach of mice.  Also, keep your trash cans away from your house.
  • Homestead Mania provides instructions for natural mouse repellent pouches that are made with corn cob pet bedding and Balsam Fir essential oil.
  • Tree Hugger recommends a salad oil made of horseradish, garlic, and plenty of cayenne pepper, which can be sprayed liberally on areas where you know rats are a problem.  Mix the ingredients, let sit for a few days, then spray on pipes and areas where you have noticed rat chewing.
  • I read on various parts of the internet that peppermint oil is a great rodent repellent.  You can either put 100% peppermint oil on a cotton ball and put the cotton ball near air vents or other rodent entry points.  You can also grow peppermint near entryways – which serves the double purpose of rodent repellent and herb for cooking🙂
  • There are some companies that create natural rodent repellents, including EarthKind brand, which claim to be safe for humans (and I am assuming pets too).
  • And of course, there are traps.  I’ll leave the type of trap up to you depending on your feelings about killing vs. not killing small rodents.  I once lived in a part of Portland that has a problem with roof rats and we could hear them creating homes in the walls around our bed.  It was pretty gnarly so the owner of the home had to have an exterminator come to set rat traps in the attic.  It helped the problem greatly, although it was pretty gross/kinda sad at the time.

As we prepare to move in to our new home and start the garden of our dreams, I will be particularly aware of the pest control we use.  I will probably be testing out natural remedies, such as peppermint oil or the pouches created by Homestead Mania, so I will keep you all updated on what I find works (or doesn’t!).  Stay safe out there and keep your furry friends away from poisons too🙂

Do you have any tactics for keeping rodents out of your home?  Share in the comments below!

XoXo – Scotti Leona

Nutritious Camp Meals (& a Trip to Pacific City, OR!)

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Hello!  How is summer treating you so far?  I hope well!  It has been unusually hot here in Portland and it seems that everyone is melting.  I love the heat but it leaves me feeling super lethargic and lazy so by the time I get home from work, I don’t feel like turning on the stove and cooking.  I see many salads in my future🙂

Last weekend, Nick and I went camping in Pacific City, OR.  We camped at a Tillamook County campground called Whalen Island.  It was a cute little, family friendly campground surrounded by an estuary that remains fairly shallow even at higher tide.  The campground is located near great places to go crabbing and fishing, bird watch, hike, and kayak.  We went out there to explore Cape Kiwanda and escape the heat of the city for a few days.

Camping at Whalen Island, OR | scottileona.com

On Saturday, we spent the day at Cape Kiwanda and all I can say is, wow.  That place is seriously beautiful.  I loved all the nooks and crannies where the ocean rushed through the rocks and made dramatic splashes that literally made us cheer.  The rock formations were intricate and gorgeously colored with various shades of tans, browns and reds.  We hiked all over the rocks and enjoyed some snacks while watching boats drive around Haystack Rock.  Reymie also really enjoyed her time running up and down the large sand dunes🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

I wanted to keep this trip as low budget and healthy as possible, so I prepped and packed our meals for the weekend.  Because we were in a regular campground (not one we hiked in to), we had our car nearby the entire time and were able to pack an ice chest.  We also have a great picnic basket with all the necessary dishes, a tablecloth, and a great side pocket for wine that makes it really easy to have fabulous outdoor meals.  Here is what we made and links to some of the recipes:

Saturday breakfast:

Flourless Almond Butter Banana Muffins | scottileona.com

Saturday lunch:

  • Tuna salad on rosemary bread (from Trader Joe’s) with avocado and spinach

Saturday dinner (my fave!):

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup | scottileona.com


  • Pita crackers, cheese, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, almonds and cashews, and of course, wine🙂

To keep things simple at the campsite, I chopped the strawberries and cucumbers for the salad and prepped the dressing in a separate container at home.  The tuna salad, muffins, hard boiled eggs and the soup was also made beforehand.  With a little prep work at home, it is totally possible to get outside, explore, and still eat well and save some moo-la.

We drove home Sunday morning and opted for a drive-through coffee stand breakfast.  We were hoping to find a cute diner in one of the small coastal towns, but we quickly realized just how spoiled Portland has made us in our expectations for fantastic brunch options on a Sunday morning!

I hope you are gearing up for a safe and healthy 4th of July❤

Cycling McKenzie Pass, Oregon

McKenzie Pass, OR - scottileona.com

Greetings!  Last weekend I took a glorious break from the never-ending Portland house hunt and headed out to Sisters, Oregon with a friend.  We went to ride our bikes over McKenzie Pass, which is a scenic bikeway in Central Oregon.  The road is closed during the winter and in spring it first opens just to cyclists, providing a car-free exploration of this beautiful region.  The forest varies from one side of the pass to the other, from high desert ponderosa pines through 2,000 year old lava fields and a finale through lush green forests with waterfalls.  Here’s a promotional video about the bikeway from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department🙂

We left Portland Friday afternoon after work and camped at the Olallie at McKenzie Bridge campground, which is located off McKenzie Highway 126.  The campground was really nice and the site we stayed in with some friends is located right next to where the Olallie Creek meets the McKenzie River.  There are few things better than sleeping in a tent next to a rushing river!  <3

Olallie Campground at McKenzie Bridge, OR - scottileona.com

We started the ride around 12pm from Eurosports bike shop in Sisters – I had some brake issues that needed to be addressed before hitting the 4,000 foot descent.  Note to self: don’t rush out of town for a long ride without checking over my bike for needed repairs!  Despite my last minute repair needs, the guys at Eurosports were super helpful and replaced my back brakes, fixed my front ones, and cleaned out the gunk that had built up from rainy rides to work for a very reasonable price.  :-)

The initial ride up to the Dee Wright Observatory gives you a 2,000 foot gain in elevation, but provides epic views of the surrounding mountains.  We made a pit stop at Windy Point to check out Mt Washington and lava flow that leaves you feeling like you are standing on another planet.  Dee Wright Observatory is a castle-like structure that sits at the summit of McKenzie Pass and is made of lava rock.  From the top, you can see Mount Jefferson, Cache Mountain, Dugout Butte, Black Butte, Bluegrass Butte, Black Crater, North Sister, Middle Sister, Little Brother, Condon Butte, Scott Mountain, Belknap Crater, and Mount Washington.  In clear weather, you can also see Mount Hood and a few other peaks, however it wasn’t quite clear enough for us to clearly make out Hood.  Still, that is quite an impressive list of mountains!

Windy Point, McKenzie Pass, OR - scottileona.com

McKenzie Pass, OR - scottileona.com

Dee Wright Observatory, McKenzie Pass, OR - scottileona.com

Dee Wright Observatory, McKenzie Pass, OR - scottileona.com

After taking in the views and munching on a snack at Dee Wright, we began the trip down the pass.  We passed more lava fields before hitting the really exhilarating part of the ride – steep declines and switchback turns!  We barreled down the mountain on a road flanked by dense trees and the shade was a relief from the sun exposure we had on our way up.  We made a pit stop at Proxy Falls.  Proxy Falls is a beautiful waterfall that is 226 feet tall and doesn’t feed into a stream.  The water from the falls pools at the bottom and sinks through porous lava at the foot of the pool – pretty neat!

Proxy Falls, OR - scottileona.com

Proxy Falls, OR  - scottileona.com

According to MapMyRun, we rode a little over 41 miles and the falls added about 1.5 miles of hiking.  Not too shabby🙂  I am stoked I checked out that part of this part of Central Oregon and was left with an even longer list of places I’d like to return to!


Scotti Leona❤

Gluten Free Crepes and a weekend in Belfair, Washington

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Well hello there!  This year is literally flying by and I cannot believe it is already June!  I meant to post about my lovely weekend with my gal pals after it happened way back in April, but before I knew it two months went by!  Despite this being a bit late, I am still excited to share it with you all🙂

In mid-April, I spent a weekend in a beautiful lake house overlooking Trail’s End Lake in Belfair, Washington.  The weekend was this year’s Social Worker Spring Break, an annual event I have been celebrating for the past 5 years with 6 gorgeous ladies I met in graduate school.  We started taking trips together during our actual Spring Break while we were in school, but even after graduation we have continued to take a break from “grown up life” in Spring.  We are all social workers, so it is vitally important that we take time to get out town, drink wine, eat chocolate, laugh until we cry and complain/rejoice about our jobs, partners, dogs, etc.  Even if we didn’t have jobs that drained us emotionally and physically, I believe everyone should have friendships that fill us up and strengthen us to keep fighting the good fight.

Dinner with the ladies - scottileona.com

We found the lake house on VRBO.com.  It was a huge home with a large deck that featured panoramic views of the lake and a hot tub.  There were stairs leading down to a dock on the lake, which was perfect for afternoon lounging, reading, and champagne sipping.  The lake was quiet and the neighbors felt well spread out, making this great for a more private getaway.  So relaxing.

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

We each sign up for a meal or snacks and spoil each other rotten.  This year I made gluten free crepes with both sweet and savory filling options.  I love crepes because the filling and topping options are endless!  You can get creative with your flavor combinations, or eat them simply with some fruit and yogurt and either way they are delicious.

The filling options I brought along were:


  • Smoked Salmon
  • Goat Cheese
  • Arugula
  • Sliced almonds


  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Almond Butter
  • Powdered Sugar

Gluten Free Crepes - scottileona.com


Makes 2-3 servings


  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used Namaste gluten free Perfect Flour Blend)
  • 2+ cups almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups of almond milk, the eggs, vanilla extract and agave.
  2. Add the flour and salt and stir.
  3. Add a little almond milk at a time until the batter is thinner than pancake batter.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add a little coconut oil.  Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and swirl the skillet until it is covered with a thin layer of the batter.
  5. Cook the crepe until the bottom is lightly browned (about 2 minutes).  Carefully flip over and cook until the other side is lightly browned.  Continue until all of the batter is gone.
  6. Fill with whatever your heart desires and fold in half.  Add more toppings and enjoy🙂

**Full disclosure**: I used the recipe above and doubled it for our group of 6 and I had a really hard time getting it to thin out enough.  I had many trial crepes that ended up in the trashcan before I got the batter thinned out to acceptable, but I still didn’t think it was quite thin enough (although I got rave reviews from my very sweet friends).  I am not sure if it is the gluten free flour or not having enough almond milk, but I have not had time to play around with the recipe since.  I am still new to gluten free flours and need some practice!  However, when I made it following the instructions I listed here, they turned out great.  Play around with it and let me know if you find any secrets to making a larger batch🙂

Welcome to summer!

Xoxo – Scotti Leona

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup

Springtime in Portland

Spring is in full swing, which means the flowers are blooming and filling the city with bright colors!  It also means the weather is wildly unpredictable and the sun is a huge tease.  Yesterday the weather alternated between sunshine and clear skies to hail.  It’s also still cold enough in the evenings that hail remained on the ground in our yard when I left for work this morning!

I have continued to keep the majority of my workouts indoors because of the continued chill.  I am still loving the 21 Day Fix Extreme program and have been mixing in a little more Brazil Butt Lift since, hey it’s almost summer🙂  Additionally, I have slowly started to integrate running into my weekly routine again.  After the Portland Marathon, I took a long vacation from running but I have started to miss it!  I am still debating whether I want to race this year and which races I will do, but getting back out there in the early mornings is such a nice way to wake up and prepare for a hectic work day.  However, without a race deadline looming over me, if I wake up and hear rain I am definitely not putting on my running shoes.  It’s fair weather running for now.

Despite the continued wetness of the Northwest, our seasonal produce is evolving and we are getting closer to my favorite season for eating: Summer!  Right now, asparagus is in season and we have been getting plenty in our Organics to You delivery boxes.  Asparagus is a great anti-inflammatory food and also contains a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Selenium

Asparagus is also great for digestive support because it contains inulin, fiber and protein.  Lastly, asparagus contains B vitamins which are beneficial for blood sugar management.  So, eat up those green spears even if they do make your pee smell weird😉

The chilly Spring evenings are keeping soup in style, so I whipped up this asparagus soup using potatoes and coconut milk to make it nice and creamy.  Topped with a little hemp oil for an Omega-3 and 6 boost and served with a salad or a fancy grilled cheese, this soup will keep you cozy and healthy🙂  This recipe makes a large batch of soup.  We had enough for dinner for 2, plus at least three additional lunches to bring to work that week.

Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup | scottileona.com

Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ~2 pounds of asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces with stem ends trimmed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk


  1. In a large pot, cook onion, celery and garlic in coconut oil until onion is translucent
  2. Add the potatoes, asparagus, vegetable stock, thyme, salt and pepper.  Simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are just tender.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender (you may need to do this in two batches).  Blend until smooth.
  4. Return to the pot and stir in the coconut milk.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of hemp oil and coconut milk.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

The last couple of weeks have been interesting.  Housing hunting in Portland continues to be slightly unpleasant and more competitive than I generally like.  We have seen a little less than 30 homes at this point and have just put in our third offer.  We shall see how it goes!  This has been an interesting process because I spend my working hours with folks who are experiencing homelessness and battling this fiercely competitive housing market in a very different way.  They are fighting just to find any place to live, while I am looking for a home from the comfort of my safe apartment that I can afford.  Despite how frustrating buying a house has been, I finish each day feeling grateful to be in this position.  We are incredibly lucky and I won’t forget that.🙂

The stress of all of this has sent my sugar cravings through the freaking roof!!  Does anyone else experience this?  You are going through something stressful and you are suddenly the Cookie Monster devouring every sweet in sight!  I’ve been trying to reach for natural sweets, such as dates, but at work I have been slightly less successful.  We get weekly donations of pastries from Starbucks and cupcakes from Saint Cupcake so I am always surrounded by surgary, buttery, bready foods.  It’s intense!


It’s a new week, however, and I am ready to tame the sugar beast!  I am starting this week with a new resolve and hope to access other coping mechanisms for stress.  In addition to my morning work outs, I will try going for a little walk at times where I feel like I need that chocolate cookie staring at me (i.e. when I am feeling particularly stressed).  Other tactics I have found are helpful for me when I am overwhelmed include cleaning (I know, I’m weird) and taking a minute to breathe and drink some water.  I also made some tasty date and nut bites (using this recipe) and can rely on the deliciousness of chocolate Shakeology too!

I made this smoothie for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it really was like drinking a chocolate covered strawberry.  However, instead of a couple strawberries dipped in chocolate, it was a big ol’ glass of cold, creamy, super foods that tasted like ice cream!   Perfect for post-work out or to cool off on a warm afternoon (if you are lucky enough to be in sunny Sping/Summer weather already!).  This has definitely been added to my regular smoothie flavor rotation🙂

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie | scottileona.com

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Serves 2

Strawberry Layer

Add to your blender the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 large organic frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop Strawberry Shakeology
  • Large handful+ of ice

Blend and pour between two glasses.  Place the glasses in the freezer while you make the chocolate layer.

Chocolate Layer

In your blender, combine:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology (I used the vegan one)
  • 2 tsp almond butter
  • Ice

Pour on top of the strawberry layers and enjoy!

Happy Monday!