wedding gift

In the Tundra

Hello from snowed/iced-in Portland! We are still snowed in. We can get around and out of the house but there is still TONS of snow and ice around town. Sunday morning I made it to the pool in the Subaru (yay!) and had the pool to myself. Then home just as my parents arrived from Seattle. We all went out to lunch at Reverend’s BBQ for my birthday and then Michael and I skee-daddled as quick as possible to go on our getaway trip!

For our wedding my aunt and uncle gave us a gift certificate to McMenamin’sย and we finally used it. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was so nice of them and it was awesome my parents were willing to babysit Logan overnight so we could have some couple’s time away. Boy, after being snowed in for a week I think we were all ready for the time away! We were all stir-crazy.

So for my birthday we spent one night at Edgefield. I’ve always wanted to stay there and we liked it so much we are already planning on doing it again sometime. It’s such a cool old building!

Edgefield is out in the Gorge in Troutdale. The weather is always way worse out there and there was a ton of snow on the ground but we were able to get there easily. We checked in and got settled before exploring.

Each room is a different theme. It’s European style, meaning no bathrooms. We stayed at the McMenamin’s in McMinnville a million years ago and we weren’t fans. The food wasn’t very good, our room was tiny and cramped and super far away from the bathroom (which was dorm style, so just shower stalls and bathroom stalls). But Edgefield was WAY nicer! Our room wasn’t far from the bathrooms and they were more private, so that was nice! You didn’t mind that there wasn’t a bathroom in your room.

I posted a short video on Instagram of our room. We got a King bed. The room was huge and comfortable and had two windows with a view.

There is art all over the place and it’s really cool. Here are a few of my favorites:

The elevator was that old-fashioned kind where you open the door and the elevator door slides open. It was slightly scary. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We walked around and checked things out. I bet the place is AMAZING in the summer! So many cool things to do–golf, spa, soaking pool, there’s live shows and concerts that sell out. There are several bars on site and several restaurants. There’s a brewery and winery.

We checked out the soaking pool by the spa. We brought our swim suits and we were going to do it. They notified all the guests that the soaking pool was under temperature because of all the snow. We saw people in it and we were going to try it but decided not to. We’d have to trek through the snow and ice to get there from the hotel and Michael was fighting off a cold so it didn’t seem like the best idea. I was really disappointed!! But it was probably the best decision. The people we asked about the pool said it was too cold and they didn’t last in there long. But check out how cool it looks:

We are definitely going back just for the pool!

We did the winery package and that included breakfast. We went down to the basement where the winery was. It was packed! They also had live music. Our winery package included a tasting, a fruit and cheese plate and a free bottle of wine to take home. It was a lot of fun doing the tasting and I liked a lot of them.

The cheese was a warm, melted brie and it was all very good! We did the classic tasting, that was a few white and a few red. Then we decided to pay for the red only tasting because it had a lot of other red wines that sounded good. We ended up liking that tasting better and I loved about three of them.

We enjoyed our tasting and hung out and ended up leaving with a delicious bottle of theย 2014 Ferryman’s Choice Cabernet Franc. Can’t wait to open it!

After that we walked around a bit and then went to dinner at the Black Rabbit bar/restaurant. I was craving a burger so I got their burger and got the Brussels Sprouts instead of fries. The burger was really good and the sprouts were ok (Michael’s are better!).

I had a glass of the Cuvee (it was my second choice wine during the tasting). Michael had a hot toddy with his dinner (the pork chops with mashed sweet potato puree). Michael said his dinner was outstanding.

Then it was time to call it a night. Our room was nice. You could hear the roaring wind outside. Michael said it sounded like the haunted mansion in Scooby Doo ๐Ÿ™‚ and it kinda did! But it was cool to listen to the crazy, stormy weather.ย It was so nice to sleep uninterrupted and SLEEP IN until 9am!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Then down to the Black Rabbit Restaurant for breakfast:

I got the French Toast made out of challah bread with a fruit compote and amaretto.

It also came with bacon. Michael got the special eggs benedict. It was avocado, tomato and egg and hollandaise. It looked amazing.

The food and service was great. We had a really nice, slow, low-key breakfast. Then we packed and checked out. We went to the nearby outlet mall and bought more clothes for Logan than ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚ and made a few stops on the way home and then we were home to relieve my parents.

We spent some time with my parents and then they left to drive home to Seattle. I went to the gym and then played with Logan. I think he missed us. ๐Ÿ™‚ We missed him but it was nice to get away for a short break and just be together the two of us. It’s nice that our family helps us have little dates here and there!

Mini Muffins

More zucchini…zucchini…zucchini! Everywhere! Recently Michael and I received a wedding gift from a very lovely friend who sadly can’t make it to the wedding. One of the items was a mini muffin baking pan. I was really excited to use it (and I was also doing some research on making some “dog” muffins that Bella can eat). But I had so much zucchini I decided to make some human muffins first and use up some zucchini. Here is the recipe:

Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Adapted From: http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/07/banana-zucchini-chocolate-chip-muffins.html

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (vegetable or canola oil may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk (coconut, soy, rice, cow's milk may be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup ripe mashed bananas (about 2 small/medium bananas)
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini, measured loosely laid in cup (not packed in or squeezed; about 1 medium zucchini, I didn't peel it)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • about 11 teaspoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips divided, about 1 teaspoon for each muffin (regular-sized chips may be substituted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan very well with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the bananas and whisk to combine.
  4. Before adding the zucchini, put it in a paper towel and squeeze tightly for about 10 seconds to remove some moisture. After squeezing, you should have about 3/4 cup of compacted shreds. Add zucchini to bowl and stir.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, optional salt and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop turn batter out into prepared pan. Each cavity should be filled to about 3/4 full, but not exceeding or batter could overflow.
  7. Sprinkle the top of each muffin generously with mini chocolate chips, about 1 teaspoon each.
  8. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes (for mini muffins) or until muffins are set, domed, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they've firmed up and are cool enough to handle. It's normal for muffin tops to be flatten as they cool.
  10. Muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=43945

I used the recipe as a base and adapted it. So the changes I made…

I used real milk (1%) instead of almond. I also used the Trader Joe’s gluten free flour. To make this a little healthier and reduce the amount of sugar, ย I made another substitute. When you bake with Splenda it’s a 50-50 mix. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you use 1/2 cup of Splenda instead. For this recipe I halved the sugar and used splenda and I also included 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. I probably could have skipped the Splenda/Sugar altogether honestly.

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I wanted to use the mini muffin tray, which was 24 mini muffins but I had a ton of extra batter after filling those so I did a few regular sized muffins as well. Because of that it kind of made the calorie count impossible to calculate but I’d say that the mini muffins are probably around 75 calories each and the regular muffins are around 100 calories, maybe a little less.

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These muffins were awesome! And addicting! And because they are so tiny, bitesize really, it’s easy to just keep popping them in your mouth. The muffins were definitely DIFFERENT than any I’ve ever done. They were very moist and gooey which I attribute to the addition of the applesauce. I think maybe using the melted coconut oil also did that. I’ve never baked with coconut oil before. It gave it a richer flavor I think. Each muffin had maybe 2-3 chocolate chips in it and so the chocolate flavor wasn’t overpowering at all. Just the perfect amount of sweetness.

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I would say that these tasted more like banana muffins than zucchini. Every once in awhile I’d get a bite of zucchini and really taste it but the most dominant flavor was the banana. These were great and I will make them again for parties. I ended up taking a bunch to my book club group and then I took some to a friend’s house the next day when Michael and I went over for dinner.

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The muffins were a hit at the book club. I really, really liked them, too. They had such a different texture than I’m used to with muffins but it was pleasant. I think this is a great “base” muffin recipe. You could make some really interesting alterations…like maybe shredded carrots instead of zucchini or maybe dried cranberries instead of chocolate chips. I think the mini muffins were too small for nuts, but maybe with bigger muffins it would work well. Depending on how you end up changing the ingredients in the recipe, these muffins could be dessert or could easily be a breakfast treat.

I’ve never baked with coconut oil before and I have to say, I kind of love it! Will definitely be using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil in more future baking experiments.