November 28, 2014

late autumn chopped salad

Late Autumn Chopped Salad

You know when you find a new recipe and fall madly in love with it and make it over and over again until you’re sick of it? Yeah, that’s this chopped salad for me right now. Except it’s been over a week and I’m still not sick of it. Sort of like how I’m not getting sick of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” despite listening to it multiple times a day for weeks now. My entire commute to/from work is spent flipping around Sirius XM radio stations looking for “Blank Space”. The other day, I caught it on three different stations in one morning. That was a good day.

Every single element of this salad can be found on my list of favorite foods: roasted sweet potatoes, crisp apples, fluffy quinoa, sharp slivers of red onion, toasted almonds, fresh arugula and spinach, shredded Brussels sprouts and lacinato kale, and a tangy, homemade lime vinaigrette. Is anyone else with me on this flavor combination? To die for. Oh, and if you’re looking for a nice little post-Thanksgiving detox, this salad is super clean and healthy, so there you go.

Late Autumn Chopped Salad

Late Autumn Chopped Salad

Late Autumn Chopped Salad
(recipe adapted slightly from Sprouted Kitchen)
serves 6


2/3 cup white quinoa, rinsed
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large apples, diced
Bag of mixed salad greens (I used spinach and arugula)
Half dozen Brussels sprouts, shredded
1/4 cup shredded lacinato kale
1/4 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
Handful of sliced almonds
Salt + pepper

For the dressing:
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a pot over medium heat, add quinoa and toast for two minutes. Add 1 + 1/3 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook until water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced sweet potatoes with the olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Toast the sliced almonds on a separate baking sheet for a few minutes (careful not to let them burn!).

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Add the quinoa, sweet potatoes, diced apples, salad greens, Brussels sprouts, kale and red onion and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve immediately. (Although it is best at its freshest, this salad will keep a couple of days for bagged lunches.)

November 26, 2014

happy thanksgiving!

image via chefstable

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you traveling or staying home? Allen and I are headed to Bozeman, Montana (where there will be real snow and cold temps) to see his sister and parents. Meanwhile, Natalie will be sticking around Portland to celebrate with family and put her ClassPass to good use. Thanksgiving is all about tradition. And although we can’t get enough pumpkin pie, corn casserole and mashed potatoes, we also love a good twist on an ole’ classic. So, to mix it up, Natalie and I are sharing some of our favorite family recipes…with a twist.

INSTEAD OF: Cranberry Sauce

TRY THIS: Cranberry Relish

My aunt Lori is a fabulous cook, and brought her own spin on this recipe several years ago. I feel like I can’t have Thanksgiving without it. I love the sweetness of the cranberries with the kick of jalapenos.

INSTEAD OF: Brussels Sprouts

TRY THIS: Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Fresh Walnuts and Pecorino

I think every dinner menu needs a great salad, and a lot of the time, the salad is what gets skipped during the holiday. My sister made a brussels sprouts salad last year, and while I thought I would really miss the roasted version, I really loved the freshness the salad brought. If anything, it’s a dish that doesn’t get baked in the oven for hours and provides a nice crunch.

– Kelsey

INSTEAD OF: Mashed Potatoes

TRY THIS: Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Back when I was a vegetarian (past life), I struggled through meat-laden family dinners during the holidays and often wound up with a plate full of mashed potatoes and a buttered roll. So when we hosted Thanksgiving last year, I served these stuffed sweet potatoes with my vegan and vegetarian relatives in mind. You know who liked them the most? My meat-loving mom!

INSTEAD OF: Pumpkin Pie

TRY THIS: Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits

My aunt Molly and I share a particular fondness for domestic goddess Ina Garten, so I was thrilled when she brought Ina’s beautiful pumpkin mousse parfaits to Thanksgiving a few years ago. The ratio of mousse to whipped cream to ginger cookie in these individual desserts is spot on (and oh so delicious). I think that was also the year that my cousin Ryan’s daughter was born, so between the adorable baby and the yummy parfaits, it was a particularly sweet Thanksgiving.

– Natalie

November 25, 2014

marine layer loft

Marine Layer Loft

On a cold and windy evening in November, Phil I packed our overnight bags and hiked over to NW 23rd Avenue for a 14-hour staycation in our favorite city. Marine Layer invited me to spend a night in their recently launched AirBnB loft, conveniently located right above their store (via private entrance, mind you) in the heart of Portland’s Nob Hill. Who doesn’t love a sleepover?

Marine Layer Loft

After checking in and having a quick look around the loft (more on that later), we headed downstairs and a few steps to the right for dinner. One of the biggest selling points of the Marine Layer Loft is its location, right next to Bamboo Sushi (an outstanding sustainable sushi restaurant) and Salt & Straw (the reason for my being the best ice cream shop in the world – fight me on this, seriously, I dare you) on NW 23rd Ave. I know sushi and ice cream don’t exactly “go together”, but dinner and dessert are two very distinct meals in my opinion, no matter how much time passes between them, and I’m thoroughly convinced that there is a separate stomach for dessert which means I always have room. We ordered a few sushi rolls to share (including two “green machine” rolls – so so good), sucked down a couple of Sapporos, and made a beeline for Salt & Straw. After sampling a few of the Thanksgiving flavors, we ordered our split-scoops to-go (sweet potato casserole and salted caramel turkey for me) and waddled back upstairs to the loft for some R&R.

Marine Layer Loft

How comfortable does that leather couch look? I swear it is even more comfortable than you are imagining right now. Marine Layer really nailed it with the decor in their loft – Pendleton blankets, Stumptown coffee mugs, retro games, a record player, and a bed made for dreaming. I’m tempted to ask them where they sourced their linens, because my god, they feel luxurious. They also offer tons of amenities like free coffee, wine, liquor, and candy, premium bath accessories, and a roku, which is kind of perfect for a night spent snuggling on the sofa with my man. (Hey, it was a school night! We can’t all be party animals.)

Marine Layer LoftAfter changing into our cozies, I challenged Phil to a rousing game of Jenga, but got a little impatient and made a risky move that cost me the game. Kind of my MO. I also ate a few lemon heads out of that candy bowl up there, because apparently there is a third stomach for sour candies that I wasn’t aware of.

All in all, I cannot recommend the Marine Layer loft enough. It’s $150 per night, which is an absolute steal for this Portland location and all of the amenities that come with it. I’ll be sending my in-laws here the next time they visit from England and am already planning my next staycation. If you’re interested in staying at the loft, you can find all of the booking details here. Happy stay/vacationing!

I’m a huge fan of AirBnB in general, but I’m curious – what are your thoughts on AirBnB? Would you ever stay at an AirBnB loft owned by a retailer like Marine Layer?

November 19, 2014

introducing classpass

ClassPass Portland

For months now, we’ve been hearing about ClassPass from friends in cities across the US, and finally they’re joining us here in Portland! What is ClassPass exactly? It’s a membership service that allows you to take nearly unlimited classes (think barre, yoga, pilates, spinning, martial arts, etc.) at various fitness studios around town. At $99 a month, ClassPass is comparable to a gym or studio membership, but provides a lot more variety to your workouts. You can learn more here.

ClassPassWhich class(es) would you want to take? Here are all the studios offered in Portland. We’re particularly excited to try out this one. Welcome to the Rose City, ClassPass!

November 18, 2014

pumpkin cranberry scones


While I’d love to take credit for these delicious pumpkin cranberry scones, I can’t. Truth be told, they were made from a Trader Joe’s scone mix. All I had to do was pull the box from my cupboard, mix some milk and melted butter, and voila!

I’m always curious to know what TJ products people love, so I’ll go on record and say this mix was pretty tasty. Can you believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner, this time of year always sneaks up on me. We will be sharing our Thanksgiving meal traditions next week, stay tuned!