CSA(wesome)

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The latest CSA bounty!!

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Yukon Gold potatoes, Cipollini onions, Stocky Red roasting peppers, Red Leaf lettuce, and cilantro!  I see another giant salad in our near future, as well as a giant roasting pan full of potatoes, onions, and peppers.  I used to think I didn’t like onions, and then I had the roasted!!

Picked up some stuff at the grocery as well:

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How cute are those little baby peppers?!!  Thinking about using those to spice up some tuna salad for lunches this week.  I told Royce (the very nice guy that works at the store) about my tuna plans and he’d never done jalapeno with tuna before.  Have you?  I did it for the first time a few months ago and it worked really well, we were both wondering why we hadn’t actually thought of it before.

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Even though it’s 90 degrees this weekend, it’s supposed to be back to mid-60s during the week so I’m very excited to thaw that Split Pea Soup and eat it with the Roman Candle rye bread for a quick and easy dinner or two.  BRING ON FALL!! (aka soup season)

Grabbed some apples for snackin’, and smokey blue cheese from Rogue Creamery for saladin’.  Not really a word, I know, but let’s go with it.

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Deck Family Farm in Junction City is a Regional Producer Member of Our Table and I’m excited to try their country pork sausage and uncured natural BACON!!  I’m thinking the bacon and cheese will make a good BLT salad, right?  Mr. Won’t Run grabbed the cheese out of the fridge when he got home to put together a snack but I wouldn’t let him eat it – I was really just afraid he wouldn’t leave me any, haha!  We’re serious about cheese around here.

We’ll also be snacking on some Oregon Brineworks pickles!  We got a couple of jars a month or so ago and then they got pushed to the back of the fridge so it was like Christmas when I rediscovered them.  We’re also serious about all things pickled around here!

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Mr. Won’t Run had a busy week last week so not all my dinner ideas ended up happening but I did do a couple of simple tasty things.  I know it’s not very exciting, but we seriously love basic roasted veggies so we added some fried eggs to roasted potatoes and onions.  That is never a wrong meal choice!  Don’t judge my fried eggs too hard, I’m working on it.

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How do you like your eggs?  He likes them runny, but I think that tastes like liquid chicken.  When I thought his were done, I asked him to come check on them and he said “why, what’s wrong with them” and I said “um, ya know, I cooked them” haha!

The nights he wasn’t home for dinner and I wanted something quick, I pulled out the spiralizer and noodled the sweet potato, cooked it up with some OTC meat sauce, added some meatballs, and called it good.

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It probably doesn’t look like much, but I really do like that dish, and it’s a huge step up from all the fast food (taco bell) we’ve been eating lately.  Especially if Mr. Won’t Run is gone, I normally don’t want to bother cooking just for myself, but I’m working on realizing that I’m worth the effort!

What should I do with that country pork sausage?  We still have some eggs… maybe something like these on-the-go sausage egg cups to grab on our way out the door in the morning?  What would you make?

Oh, and how cute is this?!  Welcome to the co-op family Baby Kemp!!

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Are you part of a CSA in your area?  Tell me what you’re doing with your share this week!

(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)

What the Friday!

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Holy moly, my fantasy could come true!!  For only $150.00 and a 250 word essay, this Vermont country inn could be mine-all-mine!!  Or yours-all-yours!

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{photo via Deerfield Valley Inn}

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“Vermont should be beautiful this time of the year, all that snow.”
(if you don’t know what movie that’s from I may have to rethink our friendship)

Portland will be the opposite of snow this weekend, it’s supposed to be 90 melty degrees again.  Has Oregon forgotten how to September?!!  It’s been teasing us with glimpses of cooler temps and changing colors, and now a heat wave curve ball.  Not cool.

Despite the heat, I could not be more excited for the changing season so I was thrilled to see the new Fall collection just released at Lindsay Letters.  I honestly gasped when I saw this one, it’s my favorite Fall quote, Delicious Autumn!  There is a larger canvas version too with different color options.

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I also love this one.  And this one.  And this one.  Just go over and check out the whole line here, 15% off right now with code FEAST15.  No, I don’t work for her, I just crazy-stalker-love her stuff!

Speaking of Fall, TV premiere season has started!!  What shows are you excited for?  I’m embarrassed to list all the ones I’m looking forward to, there are sooooo many, haha, our DVR should be very scared!  How about Netflix, have you seen what’s new for September?

Any locals hitting up Feast events next weekend?  There are still tickets available!  I’m hoping we’ll make it to the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting on Saturday but it’ll depend on Mr. Won’t Run’s work schedule.  Such a fun event and it supports a great cause!

Here’s a list of stuff going on around town this weekend.  One of them is Brandi Carlile at McMenamin’s Edgefield.  I had never heard of her but they likened her style to Patsy Cline so I knew I had to check her out.  Entered her name into Pandora and wound up with a great station, mellow and soothing – not to be confused with boring and sleepy.  I feel like I should be out on the back porch chatting with a good friend over a nice bottle of wine.

In case you missed it, I’m partnering with Our Table this month for a blog series all about my co-op experience with them so far, you can read those posts here.  It’s been a while since I’ve really felt a desire to blog, but this series is bringing it back.  I look forward to sharing more and getting back to writing here in general.  I hope you’ll stick around!

Cheers to the weekend!  Any big plans?

A Girl and her Co-op

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A little over three months ago I attended Indulge, a food blogging conference here in Portland.  I don’t really consider myself a food blogger in the traditional sense since I don’t develop my own recipes, but I do enjoy eating and might blog about a recipe I tried, a food product we like, or a restaurant we ate at.  When I found out that local food blogger Lauren Brennan of Lauren’s Latest got together with local event manager Christie Blake of Blake & Co. to host a conference focusing on food – and especially the Portland food scene – I knew I wanted to go.

OXO and Travel Oregon were conference sponsors and they put together a couple of day-trip options for attendees to choose from.  One trip went East to explore the Hood River Fruit Loop, and the other went South to see Willamette Valley wine country.  Since I’ve done the Fruit Loop a couple of times I decided to do the Willamette Valley tour and discover some new places in my neck of the woods.

The first stop on that tour?  A 58-acre farm in Sherwood, OR called Our Table Cooperative!

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We started with a walking tour around the farm lead by the founder, Narendra Varma.  I was enthralled, I think I could listen to him talk all day long about farming!  The farm was purchased in 2011 and the vision is to create a “beautifully diverse Permaculture design that views the farm as a single, whole organism”.  How beautiful does that sound?  They grow a variety of vegetable crops, as well as blueberries, apples, and some livestock too.  There is a creek and pond that flow through the property which they use for irrigation, and the views aren’t too terrible.

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So, how exactly does their garden grow?  Organically, of course!  As of June 2014, all their plant-based crops are certified organic under the USDA’s National Organic Program.  They are very up front about their farming practices which I greatly appreciate as a consumer.

Here are the basic approaches we employ to meet the spirit and letter of the NOP standards:

  • For fertility, we use cover crops and compost them on site. We also add lime for Calcium and feather meal for Nitrogen based on soil fertility tests.
  • For weed control, we use a variety of hoes and occasionally our hands. Proper bed preparation and other cultural practices limit weed competitiveness.
  • For pests, our primary approach is exclusion by using floating row cover (spun polyester). Much of the pest control is more in the diversity of plantings and other cultural practices that encourage strong plant growth.
  • Crops and cover crops to feed the soil are rotated constantly, and these contribute to fertility, weed control and pest control.
  • We primarily use Organic seed, but also include a few varieties that we know to be excellent and are not available Organically (probably only a handful at most). We save some seed on the farm and hope to use more as time goes on.
  • We are diligent in our record keeping and always keep our doors open for visitors who want a firsthand look at what we do.

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If you look reeeeaaaalllllllllllly closely around the center of that picture you an see Mt. Hood.

I don’t know about you guys, but the closest I’ve come to farming is when my parents had a garden while I was in middle school.  Sadly, I could not have cared less!  To me, gardening meant dirt and worms and weeding.  Who in their right mind would choose to do something like that?

Since then, I married a guy who grew up working on the family’s farm in Salinas Valley, I’ve become more conscious of where our food comes from and how it’s grown, and I’ve met people who have insane backyard gardens and want to teach others how to grow as well. (Veggies, people! How to grow veggies!!)  As much as I’d love to have a yard to garden, I’m honestly not sure I’m the dirt / worms / weeding type, but what good is the Our Table farm to me if I’m not a farmer?

They run a CSA!!  What’s a CSA?  It stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it basically means they do the farming for me; I get the benefit of fresh, organic, in-season veggies with none of the work!!  Shoot, when I say it like that I feel kind of bad, but I do pay for the CSA share so I guess that’s my hard work… trading some paper greens for leafy greens.  Works for me, especially if it means I don’t have to pull weeds!

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I had heard of CSAs before, but as I’ve mentioned, my kitchen skills have become sub-par so the thought of getting a giant bin of veggies every week that I’d need to figure out what to do with before it all goes bad was basically my worst nightmare.  What I like about this CSA in particular is that it’s small, individual-sized shares and you can buy as many shares as you want.  We’ve only got one share which is perfect for us and gives me a manageable amount of veggies to play with in a way that doesn’t give me a panic attack.  CSA day is Thursdays and there are some neighborhood delivery locations or if you’re close enough you can pick it up at the farm.  I’m close enough, and Thursdays are becoming my favorite days because I love going out there, but what if I pick up my share and I wish there was more in it?

They have an on-farm Grocery!!  And it’s the prettiest thing ever!

All I ever really knew about co-ops is what you see portrayed and stereotyped on TV, so I fully expected the store to have a hippy/granola/patchouli vibe.  Not that “hippy” is a bad thing, but I was shocked to walk into a place that felt more like a boutique grocer on NW 23rd.  It’s a warm and beautiful space that invites you to come in and sit by the fireplace.  Seriously, there’s a seating area by a fireplace!

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You may think a farm store would only have farm veggies, but there is so much more!  Kombucha on tap, a bulk food section, a dairy case with fresh eggs and specialty meats & cheeses, BEER & WINE, honey from their own hives, a freezer section with local meat and fish and ice cream, and don’t even get me started on their prepared foods!!  They have a commercial kitchen that puts out some crazy delicious items!

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The grocery is 80% Oregon sourced and 90% Organic with both vegan and gluten-free selections.  You’ll find so many great local treats, and there is a delicious partnership with Roman Candle Baking Co. – fresh bread is delivered on Fridays and Saturdays!  Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t tell you that… leave some focaccia for me, okay?

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All the conference attendees were blown away and commenting that they wished they had a place like this in their hometowns.  It made me feel so lucky that Our Table is in my back yard and I can visit whenever I want to – well, Wed-Sun from 10-6 anyways.  The store pics above are from my first visit in May, they’ve rearranged since then, so next time you’re in Sherwood, or if you’re heading down I-5 just hop off at Wilsonville and check it out!

And here is the original chalk heart that sealed the deal… #loveatfirstsight

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Check back on Saturday, I’ll show you what was in this week’s CSA and what else I picked up at the store!

Are you part of a Co-op or CSA in your area?  Hit me with your favorite CSA veggie recipes for Fall!

(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)

Our Table Cooperative–Membership Month

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If you haven’t heard me mention Our Table Cooperative yet, then you’ve only known me for about two minutes.  Others will tell you that I love this place and basically won’t shut up about it!

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I am so excited to share that I am partnering with Our Table this September to help them celebrate membership month!  I’ll be sharing my personal experience with Our Table (how we met and fell in love and are now going steady), and showing you what being a member of a co-op is all about and what it means to really own your food.

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Our Table has challenged me to eat local this month using their on-farm grocery store for the majority of my grocery shopping.  That makes it pretty easy since the store is mostly all Oregon-sourced organic foods anyways.  I’m looking forward to sharing some of my favorite products and showing you how much fun this place is.

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This challenge comes at an interesting time because I just revamped my budget and have a set amount for groceries each week that I need to stick to since groceries are where I tend to overspend.  It will be interesting to see how local and organic shopping goes on a budget but I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Obviously I won’t be emptying my kitchen and starting from scratch, that would be silly, but I will need to get creative and use items already in my freezer and pantry in order to make my budget stretch, but I’d be doing that no mater what grocery store I was using.

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I’ll be sharing with you each week what came in our CSA share, as well as what I’m buying for the week’s groceries and how I plan to use them.  This is going to be so fun!!

Speaking of CSA shares, those come on Thursdays and this is what we got this week:

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    • Rosencrantz Lettuce
    • Sivan Charentais Melon
    • Napoli Carrots
    • Stocky Red Roaster & Jimmy Nardello Peppers
      (if you’re lucky, the Nardello peppers will look like elf shoe, ha!)

I’m a big believer that sometimes the simplest ways to prepare foods can be the best, so of course I made a giant salad!  I used the lettuce and the stocky peppers from the CSA along with some tomatoes, lemon cucumber, and zucchini that were all garden gifts from friends!  And homemade Ranch because Ranch is everything (and always will be).

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If I’m being honest, the reason I’m into simple is also because I have lost all kitchen skills I once had.  Before we moved to this apartment in January, we spent two years in a smaller place with the tiniest galley kitchen.  It was difficult to do much of anything in that kitchen and over time I just stopped trying and we ate a lot of take-out.  Now that we have a decent kitchen again I’m feeling very awkward and clumsy and I question everything I do.  For example, that head of lettuce, I actually wondered to myself if I was washing and chopping it correctly.  So embarrassing!!  Admitting the problem is the first step and I fully admit it and am working on getting my kitchen mojo back – all tips are welcome!

In addition to the CSA items, here is what I picked up at the grocery for eating  and attempting to cook this week:

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  • Fuller Foods Serious Cheese Puffs… because cheesy puffs, duh
  • Housemade Meat Sauce… this will be going over some meatballs currently in my freezer, and then those will be going on a bed of sweet potato noodles!  (oops – got the sweet potatoes at the farm store but forgot to put them in the pic)
  • Yellow Onion… this will be added to some chicken breast and red potatoes I already have which will then be covered in a delicious curry simmer sauce currently in my pantry from Trader Joe’s.  I’ll also be using some onion with the elf shoe peppers from the CSA, roasting them up and then adding some fried eggs on top as a breakfast-for-dinner type meal.  Already have some eggs in the fridge from the farm store and you should see those gorgeous bright orange yolks!
  • Black Rockfish fillets… planning to use the melon from the CSA to make this grilled fish with spicy cantaloupe-cucumber salad ala Martha Stewart, but might dice the salad to make it more like a relish to go on the fish.
  • Yellow Peaches… since it’s just Mr. Won’t Run and I, I’m looking into more cooking-for-two type recipes so I’m thinking little individual peach cobblers or something like that.  Or just eating them straight up since they’re pretty much perfect as-is!
  • Bread… this isn’t just any old bread you guys, it’s from Roman Candle Baking Co. and they deliver to Our Table on Fridays and Saturdays.  The focaccia is unbelievable, but this is one of our favorites as well, except I can’t remember the name!!!  It’s nutty and fruity and peppery and awesome.  I’ll get the name for you next time because you’ll definitely be seeing me buy it again.

I’ll let you know next week how those meal ideas turned out, but if you want to know sooner just follow me on Instagram and I’ll post the greatness.  Or maybe the sadness.

Another thing I love about Our Table… there’s almost always a chalk heart somewhere out front.  It’s the little things.

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Stay tuned… next time I’ll tell you all about how I discovered this gem in my own backyard and fell fast and hard in love!

To learn more about Our Table and their co-op/csa/farming ways, check them out here:
Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
13390 SW Morgan Rd
Sherwood, OR  97140
503-217-4304

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(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)

Pourable Fruit – put it on everything!

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You guys… I have a confession… I am so awkward in the kitchen.  So completely awkward.

I remember liking to cook and bake when I was living with college friends (oh so long ago), and also when Mr. Won’t Run and I were newly married (although there may have been a lot of canned soup involved), so I’m not quite sure what happened, but I have a feeling it’s related to small apartment kitchens.  When there isn’t enough storage space or counter space or floor space, you start avoiding the kitchen.  It’s the last place on earth you want to be, and forget trying to get two people in there at once, and especially not two people AND a dog!  This was exactly the problem the last two years when we had the tiniest kitchen ever, but we’ve been in our new place since January and the kitchen is pretty decent for an apartment, but it seems I’ve forgotten everything I ever knew.  We’ll have to work on that.

Oregon Fruit Company has thankfully come to my rescue, and to celebrate their 80th year of business, they’ve re-released the coolest product – Pourable Fruit!

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They kindly offered to send me some to try out, and I have to say, it made me feel like a pro in the kitchen.  I love supporting local businesses, and if they can help me in the kitchen it’s a tasty win-win for everyone.  Especially for Mr. Won’t Run.

It worked perfectly when I had a strawberry shortcake craving but didn’t have any strawberries – and even if I did, who wants to slice all those strawberries, right?  They wouldn’t even last long enough around here to get sliced!  And those people who get fancy and cook the strawberries to make a delicious syrup type of topping, yeah, that’s not me.  Reference awkwardness mentioned above.

So, Pourable Fruit to the rescue!  I’d give you this recipe but I don’t think it qualifies as a recipe… pound cake + cool whip + Pourable Fruit.  #tastytrifecta

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For some strange reason I also had a craving for a margarita one night.  It was a Monday, but I’m sure there’s no correlation.  I googled a few margarita recipes and I think this ended up being something more like a colada.  Or a daquiri.  Or a slurpee.  I don’t really know my cocktail rules, I just know I like tequila, and I think tequila is the defining factor for a margarita, so we’re going to go with that.  Had to add coconut too.

Again, I feel weird calling this a recipe… it’s just equal parts tequila, lime juice, coconut milk, cream of coconut, and Pourable Fruit.  I did 1/2 cup of each + 10 ice cubes and that made about 3 cups.  So, 1 serving, yeah?

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So quick and easy, and there are so many things you could use it on or mix it with:

  • on top of ice cream (duh)
  • on top of cheesecake (double duh)
  • on top of pancakes and waffles and french toast (oh my)
  • layered with yogurt and granola (healthy)
  • mix it with cottage cheese and grape nuts (did anyone else eat that in college? so weird)
  • freeze it as ice cubes to dress up champagne (fancy)
  • salad dressings (lettuce eat fruit with our salad)
  • all the lemonades (mmmm, strawberry mint sounds good)
  • endless options with booze (obviously)
  • an italian soda (with a little vodka)
  • a real margarita (not a mutant one like mine)
  • a tequila spritzer (sign me up!)
  • a dipping sauce for some savory sweet summer rolls (yessssss)

Additional info + product highlights:

  • fresh fruit picked at the peak of ripeness from farms around Oregon and the U.S
  • manufactured using a cold process to maintain the vivid flavor and color of the fruit
  • lightly sweetened with cane sugar to enhance the fruits’ natural sugars
  • no high fructose corn syrup (has less sugar per serving than fruit syrup or jam)
  • no artificial ingredients
  • gluten-free
  • non-GMO
  • Kosher
  • 18 oz. bottles in freezer section at 142 Fred Meyer stores across OR, WA, and AK
  • retails for $7.99 MSRP
  • look for it in the freezer section (defrost it in the refrigerator, use it within ten days)
  • it may be under the previous name and packaging (berrst) which you can see pictured here and used in a berry meringue trifle!

Check out www.oregonfruit.com for more info and recipe ideas!

And please tell me there are other awkward kitchen ladies out there.  Let’s start a support group.

(Oregon Fruit Products sent me a free 18oz. bottle to try, all opinions are my own.)

Speaking of…

You guys, I have so much I want to blog about but so little time and it’s driving me crazy!!

ACCIDENTAL XXX

First off, if any of you subscribe via RSS, there were apparently some links to porn that showed up a couple of posts ago. It was supposed to be a super exciting Instagram photo of LA Fitness, I swear! No idea how that happened and I’m so sorry. Many thanks to Carla who I recently met at Indulge for letting me know, nothing like accidental porn to kick off a new friendship!  I’ve embedded some Instagram photos in this post as well to test it out and see if it happens again, so let me know if you see anything weird!

PIP’S ORIGINAL

Speaking of indulging, it’s no secret that one of the best places for donuts in Portland is Pip’s Original, and on Sunday night I found out that another gal and I won A FREE YEAR OF DONUTS!!

Pip’s partnered with PortlandNW.com and Rusty Rodas (<– handsomest golden ever!) for a giveaway on Instagram, and now I get a free dozen each month for the next 12 months.  I’m so excited to binge on those little donut babies! Then my belly will look like I’m pregnant with a little donut baby. #worthit.

The always classy Pip’s is also donating $200 in each of our names to Northwest Animal Companions of Oregon, a non-profit (and as far as I know, no-kill) animal rescue serving the local Portland/Vancouver metro area. Donuts + animals = winning!

We interrupt your feed to bring you this special news update: Rusty: hey ma! Me: yeah buddy? Rusty: let’s announce who won free doughnuts for a year from @pipsoriginal in the giveaway we announced with @Portland! Me: good idea buddy! Rusty: can I get a drumroll or something please? ………… The winners are: @willrunforpasta and @mellyjg82. Me: don’t forget to mention that @pipsoriginal is also generously donating $200 in each of the winners’ names to Northwest Animal Companions of Oregon, a non-profit Animal rescue you volunteer with. Rusty: and they get free doughnuts for a year! Me: yeah pretty sure we already mentioned that. Rusty: well that’s a lot of doughnuts so I’m just saying we should say it again. Right? Me: good call buddy #conversationswithrustyrodas #doughnuts #donuts #whyarethere2rightwaystospelldonuts #communitynotcompetition #pipsrules

A photo posted by R U S T Y R O D A S™ (@rustyrodas) on

 

THREE DAYS OF RAIN

Speaking of animals, you have through this Sunday 6/21 to see a Blutbad and a Zauberbiest on stage together! Grimm stars Silas Weir Mitchell and Sasha Roiz are staring with Lisa Datz in Portland Center Stage’s production of Three Days of Rain.


I saw it a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. It’s a rather minimal play in that there are just three actors and one set with two looks (an apartment in Greenwich Village). The first act is set in the 90s with the actors portraying brother/sister/friend, and the second act goes back in time to the 60s with them portraying three of the parents. It was really interesting to watch the kids in the first act as they find a journal one of the parents kept and we get to hear their interpretation of what the entries may have meant based on what they knew of their parents, and then to see the parents in the second act and find out the real meaning behind those entries.

It makes you question what you know of your own parents, why they are the way they are and how they got that way, and if we had kids I’d also be questioning how well they know the real me. It was really fun to see some of my TV favorites in person and in different roles. If you’re looking for a date night idea, be sure to check this out, tickets are still available here, but hurry before they’re gone! One of my favorite news anchors – Reggie Aqui with KGW – did a fun interview with Sasha and Silas here:

DINER LIVE

Speaking of date night, if you need a special last-minute idea to splurge on, this Thursday The Oregonian is celebrating Diner 2015 with a new interactive dinner series. You can buy tickets here to eat at the winning restaurant in one of three top categories, but the catch is you won’t know which restaurant is the winner until the day of – surprise!!

SPEAKING OF

I didn’t start this post with the “speaking of” idea, it just kind of happened.  Hopefully I wasn’t too obnoxious 😛  I hope you’re having a good week, let’s get together for donuts soon!

A photo posted by Sarah (@willrunforpasta) on