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 ❤

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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!  ❤

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!

XoXo,

Scotti Leona ❤

Homemade Graham Crackers

Scottileona-CL2

Last month Nick and I attended a birthday bash at Crater Lake for our bestest bud.  Neither of us had ever been there, although it has been on our list since the day we moved to Oregon!  Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.  It was formed around 7,700 years ago when Mount Mazama volcano collapsed and created a large caldera that eventually filled with rain and snow melt.  It is an understatement to call Crater Lake breathtaking.  There are really no words to describe how blue the water is.  I also loved the huge lava rock formations and the trees that surround the lake.

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There is a road that goes around the perimeter of the lake and twice a year the park closes part of that road to cars so cyclists can enjoy it all to themselves!  We enjoyed the 33 mile scenic ride, which included over 3,800′ of climbing, PLUS the 10 mile ride each way from our camp ground that included another 800′ of climbing.  By “enjoyed” I mean our legs and lungs were screaming with each climb.  However, at each break, our minds were BLOWN.  It was awesome in every sense of the word.

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We all took turns preparing the meals for the group and enjoyed a variety of campground gourmet.  The item that really topped my list, though, were homemade graham crackers that my lovely friend Christine brought.  They had a thicker texture than store-bought crackers and were way more flavorful.  An added bonus: we can identify all of the ingredients!  Of course, we took that health train off the tracks by making s’mores with these glorious crackers…but hey, what’s a camping trip without s’mores?

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Christine found her inspiration for these Homemade Graham Crackers from The Post Punk Kitchen, with a few additions and changes.  Below is her recipe.  I can’t wait to make these at home and enjoy as a snack with tea or fruit!

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Homemade Graham Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Graham Flour
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar (this adds some extra texture and crunch, you can also use regular sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon extract
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the over to 350* F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil, molasses and vanilla and cinnamon extracts. Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry until well combined and crumbly.
  3. Add the milk and stir to combine.  Use your hands to knead the dough a few times until it holds together.  Christine recommends if the dough is dry and crumbly to roll out, you can try adding a tbsp or so more milk.
  4. Line your work surface with parchment paper.  Place the dough on the parchment paper and work dough into a rectangle.  Sprinkle with flour and use a rolling pin to flatten out the rectangle until it is about 10 x 14 inches.  The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick.
  5. Trim the edges and cut the dough into 8 crackers.  You may be able to get some more crackers from the trimmed edges, so roll it out and cut them up!  No need to waste good dough, right?  Very carefully transfer the crackers to the baking sheet.  Poke each cookie with a fork a few times.
  6. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  12 minutes gives softer cookies, that according to the Post Punk Kitchen, are better for making ice cream sandwiches!  What!  That sounds like something I need to do!  14 minutes gives you crispy cookies.  You decide how you like ’em.
  7. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

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Nom.  Now let’s go camping!  Oh, wait…it’s winter now.  We can still camp in our living rooms, yeah?  😉