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 🙂

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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

Snacks:

  • 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 ❤

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:

Savory:

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Goat Cheese
  • Arugula
  • Sliced almonds

Sweet:

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

Gluten Free Crepes - scottileona.com

Recipe

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  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

Life is too short to eat plain oats!

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Oats are a classic breakfast staple.  It seems like I am not the only one who feels a bit nostalgic about a warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning.  That feeling reminds me of my grandmother and the warm cereal has been a necessity in my survival of Portland winter mornings (I know, it’s so obvious I am from Southern California when I complain about the winter here!  Go ahead and roll your eyes East Coasters, I won’t be offended!  (-: ).

There are several options for oats, including old-fashioned rolled oats, quick oaks and steel cut oats.  The various types are the same food, just cut differently, giving the oats a different texture and cooking time.  We know from Quaker brand commercials and packaging that cooked oats is a great food for those who are working to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease or diabetes.  This is because oats contain beta-glucan, a fiber that has been shown to have positive benefits on cholesterol levels.  Beta-glucan also enhances the immune system and gives oats their blood stabilizing quality.  Their high fiber content also allows oats to remove cholesterol from the digestive system, thus keeping it out of your bloodstream.

Oats are also great for the following:

  • They increase appetite-control hormones
  • Oats may reduce asthma risk in children
  • They are low in calories and fat, but high in protein
  • Oats also contain lignans, which are thought to protect against heart disease and hormone-dependent cancers (i.e. breast cancer)
  • Oats contain unique antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Oats are a great source of carbohydrates too, which can prepare you for a work out or get you fueled for your long day ahead
  • Oats are also very inexpensive, especially when purchased from a bulk bin!

For 1/2 cup dry (1 cup cooked) of whole grain rolled oats, you get 190 calories, 3.5g fat, 32g carbs, and 7g protein.

For more information on all the amazing benefits of oats, head on over to The World’s Healthiest Foods and The Whole Grains Council.

Because oats are so low in calories, it makes them a great base for fun breakfast creations!  Here are a few of my recent favorites!

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Ginger Peach Oats with Raspberry Protein Oats

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 bags of Trader Joe’s Organic Ginger Peach Tea
  • 1 fresh peach or apricot
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • Splash of almond milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Sliced almonds

Steep the bags of tea in one cup hot water.  Meanwhile, microwave the frozen raspberries for approx 30 seconds or less (until melted and mushy).  Mix in the protein powder and chia seeds and splash of almond milk until desired thickness.  Next, cook oats in brewed tea on the stovetop until done.  Top the oats with sliced almonds and the fresh peach.  Pour the sauce over the top and enjoy!

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Chocolate Orange Protein Oats

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • Stevia drops to taste
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • Almond butter
  • Fresh orange

Cook the oats in 1 cup water with the orange extract.  Once done, stir in the protein powder and cacao powder.  Top with almond butter (I used Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter by a company called Wild Friends….I can’t even explain how amazing this almond butter is) and an organic mandarin orange.

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Coconut Blueberry Protein Oats

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • Frozen or fresh blueberries
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Coconut milk

Cook oats in 1 cup water and coconut extract.  Once done, add the protein powder.  Top with blueberries, shredded coconut and coconut milk to taste.

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Coconut, Strawberry and Banana Protein Oats

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2-3 fresh organic strawberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut

Cook oats in 1 cup water and coconut extract.  Once done, stir in the protein powder and top with fruit and coconut.  Could also add coconut milk as well.

The plain flavor of oats allows you to add ANYTHING your heart desires!  Play around, experiment and try new combinations!  Let me know how it goes!  🙂

1-2-3 Pancakes!

For the first time in a couple of years, I don’t have to work on Saturday OR Sunday mornings.  This means I get to take part in the excitement of waking up late and making breakfasts that take more than 10 minutes to prepare!  This is a really big deal for me.  Although I had to sacrifice some nights at home for this new work schedule, the smell of pancakes, wearing PJ’s until 11am, and taking my dog on long wandering walks through the neighborhood has been totally worth it!

This morning I made some super simple, yet super delicious, pancakes that contain only three ingredients!  Easy, clean, yum.

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You’ll need:

1 banana

2 eggs

3 tablespoons almond butter

Mix ingredients together and cook pancakes with a little coconut oil over medium heat, 2-4 minutes on each side.  Makes about 5-7 pancakes.

I topped mine with Greek Yogurt mixed with some berries from the Trader Joe’s Frozen Berry Medley mix and a tiny bit of Maple Syrup. I left the berries frozen, which was delicious in combination with the warm pancake, but you could also use defrosted berries or heat them up to make a berry sauce.

Happy Saturday ❤