Yummy Snacks!

I have to admit something so you should brace yourself.

I have an addiction to going to small health stores without a plan, without a list, and with a small grumble in my tummy. I tend to gravitate to the sweet and also snack foods, items with pretty and unique packaging and small and local companies (usually most items in these type of stores). I generally go for the less expensive items but that is always a hit or miss when I weigh the pros and cons of my purchase. It is also a hit or miss on if the product is actually going to appeal to my tastebuds or not.

The other day I struck gold! I went on in knowing my sweet tooth (it is ginormous) was coming on and that I wasn’t super hungry after the quinoa and veggie bowl I had ate. After walking the entire store a couple times (it is very small but still got a workout in- jk) I settled on a few items I enjoyed and believe you might too!

The first- a no-bake peanut butter cookie produced by The No-Bake Cookie Co.. Though this cookie contains one of my biggest pet peeves it was very dense, large, and flavorful. The company is located in Bend, Oregon. The cookies ingredients are: Gluten free oats, sugar, non-fat milk, natural peanut butter, butter, and pure vanilla. Though this may seem like a healthy cookie the ingredients are hardly (sugar is the second listed) and dairy has negative side effects for those like me who suffer from lactose intolerance.

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My second item- Dark chocolate coconut butter cups with a hint of caramel sea salt. I gravitated to this because the packaging is made of that soft matte material. The ingredients are also simple- organic coconut, organic cacoa, organic coconut sugar, organic cocoa butter, himalayan sea salt. It is paleo and vegan. The company, is EatingEvolved and you can find them on social media to see some of their other products!

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My third item- Barnana bites. I was honestly not sure of how I would like this product as the smell or taste of bananas past their slightly-green-but-pretty-much-yellow stage grosses me out. However, these are delicious and of everything I still have some left! (I am savoring them). These are also dairy and gluten free! The packaging has fun info. and interaction on the backside, as seen below.

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* My pet peeve mentioned above- I hate hate hate when manufacturers put more than one serving in a package that either shouldn’t be eaten as two servings or simply can’t be sealed to be eaten later. Products found like this- small chip bags, canned soda, candy bars, single large cookies, etc. I think this has a been a huge contributing factor to the western diet and the obesity epidemic.

So, check out these super cool companies and products! They may not be as healthy as eating a normal banana, a scoop of all natural almond butter or some granola but live a little! They are definitely better than many other products out on the market today.

Cheers!

PS. I found these items at a local Green Zebra store.

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Whoa! This is the easiest meal!

As some of you know, I have recently changed my diet to Vegetarian with my next major goal being to go fully Vegan. So, since I am such a baby to the Vegetarian world I am inspired to create new meals and try out new products I have little to no experience with. I am also super inspired to start eating healthier since a vegetarian diet relies more on plants and vegetables for protein.

However, because I am a full time student and I work retail I feel like i have limited free time to really get into making big meals. Instead, I have been making one meal in bulk to have when I’m not inspired and/or short on time. And let’s be honest, why do all 21 meals (3 meals a day/7 days a week) have to be different? They don’t! That is one of my theories on why meal prepping is on the high recently.

Quinoa has been my first major experimental ingredient and I’m in love. Just a little bit fills me up, it gives me boosts of energy and it goes with everything. Last week I made a batch (made too much) and it lasted me about 6-7 meals. I put it in burritos, added almond milk and cinnamon to it for cereal and I put it in tacos! (Keep in mind Moderation of every ingredient is key).

This week, I put a ton of produce I found in our fridge into a pan and sautéed them. This is literally the easiest meal prep ever. I diced up what I could find- onion, green beans, rainbow carrots, yellow squash, potato. The possibilities here are endless too! Next batch I’m likely to use mushrooms, cabbage, and peppers. (Let me know in the comments what you suggest!)

This sautéed pan of veggies came out to be about 5-6 cups and on top of some quinoa (I made a fresh batch) it is likely to last quite a few meals! Veggies are key and I plan on working more and more into my diet. “Eat the rainbow” is also a current tagline I’m repeating to myself when I make my meals.

Cheers!

The scramble!

Vegetarian Burrito

Tonight I made my first real home cooked vegetarian meal!

It has only been 8 days since I’ve swapped to a vegetarian diet and yes, tonight I actually homemade a vegetarian meal. Being a full time student and working when I’m not at school is stressful and time consuming. I haven’t had any time to explore this new diet. In the past week I’ve mostly stuck to easy food; vegetarian pizza, eggs, popcorn, potatoes etc. etc. Today, however, I was free of work and class and during a study break chose to run a few errands. Originally, I had been planning on making tacos for my mom and I but I opted for burritos when I saw the big flour tortillas (a weakness of mine) at the super market.

Being as my mom is not vegetarian, I wanted to surprise her and *hopefully* sway her an inch or two toward my new choice of diet by cooking a delicious alternative to one of our favorite dinners.

In our burritos I put:

  • Quinoa
  • A sautéed blend of diced crimini mushrooms, onions, and white sweet potato.
  • Refried beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped up lettuce

Let me tell you, these burritos were incredible! I highly suggest you try more vegetarian options, I know I will! It makes me feel warm inside knowing I made an incredibly tasty dinner that cost no animals their lives. And yes, I am aware sour cream and cheese are dairy products and that is my next thing to get nixed from my diet.

Cheers!

Warning: It was my first time making quinoa so not being aware of how less is more (literally) I doubled it. 2 cups of uncooked quinoa turned out to be about 5 cups cooked. The beneficial outcome is we now both have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

No meat.

No meat. Aka Vegetarian.

“I’m honestly so surprised you aren’t vegetarian” has been a common phrase I’ve been hearing more and more. The reason I’ve heard it from many of my friends is because, quit honestly, I’m obsessed with animals. I love them. I love their beautiful mannerisms, how they can just sit and stare at one thing and we have absolutely no idea what’s going on in their mind and how their instincts still guide them no matter how much humans have coerced their lives. I love cows, cats, dogs, mice, penguins and almost every other gorgeous animal who graces Earth. So why do I eat them? Why do I choose to eat a cheeseburger, bacon or chicken burrito that is a crime scene? It baffles me how inhumanely millions of innocent beings are being slaughtered with no hope of a free life. How would I feel if a cow came and tortured me, made me stand in my own feces, never allowed me to see the sun, overfed me nasty food, injected chemicals in my body, hung me by my ankles (while still very alive) and slit my neck to drain my blood all against my will?!

So, with all that said, I am making the decision to try out Vegetarianism. I want to give it a go. Today is day 1 and I have consumed no meat.

I will continue to keep myself accountable and post here about my journey to vegetarianism. As my long term goal, I would like to strive to be Vegan. But for now, I’ll be starting small.

BOISE, ID

Boise, Idaho

10/27-10/30

The perfect city, the perfect weather and the perfect company all in one short weekend away.

It is no secret I love to travel and having a sister who loves to move around as much as I do has only come with benefits attached. When my older sister announced she was moving to Boise to accept a job offer, I was overjoyed for the positive shift in her career. What I did not fail to share with her and the rest of my family was what I was most

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The Record Exchange

excited for- having a free place to crash while I can explore an entirely new place! And I did just that.

For my birthday/Halloween (and let’s be honest, I missed her) weekend I flew from PDX to BOI and got the exciting opportunity of exploring a city with an also new to the city resident. Having her only lived there for 2 months helped because all the exciting new things she experienced were still fresh in her mind and made it easier for us to fill every open minute. Below is an awesome list of things to do in Boise that I HIGHLY recommend to people visiting Boise for the first time. All of these things are close enough to do all in one or two days.

  • Visit the Saturday Market– smaller than the one in Portland, just more tidy and clean.

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    Fresh made mini donuts at the Saturday Market
  • Mixed Greens– a fun shop of paper products, jewelry and crafted goods perfect for any gift giving event (or for yourself!!)
  • Hike Camel’s Back Mountain– Its a steep hill with an amazing view of the surrounding land.
  • Hyde Park– has some super neat shops and food.
  • The Record Exchange– I have never been into a record shop (insane, I know) and this is exactly what I pictured it to be! My sister has an old stereo so we bought a mystery CD grab bag, containing 5 random CDs for only $2.99. Among the CDs were Springsteen and Van Halen!
  • Freak Alley– Seriously, a must, and it is right off the street were the Saturday Market is. This alley reminds me so much of Portland, why we don’t have one here is beyond me.
  • Humpin’ Hannah’s– If you go anywhere for a night out, put this place on your list! We stopped here for our last Halloween bang and it was impressive. The dance floor was poppin’, there’s exciting objects hanging from the ceiling (bras among those things), pool tables, and drinks that get the job done.
  • The Village– If you want a fun shopping spot to walk around and spend an hour or two, go here! It has good food, cute shops, and is pleasing to the eyes.
  • Boise Towne Square– This mall is quit large, with a ton of space; however, I didn’t like it as much as I like The Village. There are larger stores, Ross, TJ Max, Cabela’s, etc., all within a few blocks.
  • Boise State University– Whether you go to a game or just walk/drive around the University you will wish you attended school there. The surrounding neighborhoods give you the image of a college town and the large stadiums scream excitement.
  • Idaho State Capitol– Standing in the heart of Downtown Boise stands a beautiful Sandstone (most of which was taken from Table Rock- a mountain nearby Boise) building. Fun Fact: The Idaho Capitol Building is the only one in the US to be heated by geothermal water sourced 3,000 feet below ground.
  • Old Idaho State Penitentiary– Though we didn’t get to this location it remains on my list for my next visit. There are tours available but walking around the grounds is allowed. This penitentiary was in use from 1872 to 1973.
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My Sister, Regan, Freak Alley

Everywhere I got to visit and see during my short visit to Boise seemed so close together that we were able to do a lot all while visiting and enjoying ourselves. And, there’s still enough I did not get to do or see that I want to go back. A few things I didn’t mention about: we went to a pumpkin patch/corn maze/event for Halloween, carved pumpkins, ate caramel apples, dressed up for Halloween, walked under beautifully colored fall trees, etc. Next time I would like to swim/fish in the Boise River Greenbelt, hike Table Rock, attend a sporting event at BSU and ride bikes through Boise and surrounding areas.

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My sister and I for Halloween, Zombie and Alien

 

 

 

If it was not obvious already, go visit Boise! It is so beautifully unique and the people who live there are so kind. The tickets flying from PDX to BOI are not too expensive and you will be baffled by the gorgeous scenery.

Note: In this case I consider Meridian and Eagle, Idaho as Boise because as a tourist and someone who is directionally challenged I feel they are close enough to be considered Boise. I do the same thing when people ask where I am from, I say Portland instead of Oregon City because people who don’t frequent Oregon often do not understand where OC is.

Bridge of the Gods, Cascade Locks

I am not entirely sure why Bridge of the Gods has always intrigued me, if it is the name that leads my mind to think of a magical scene leading to a mystical aura of light and fuzzy happiness or if it is the thought of hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and making it to such a wonderful location meaning so much.

While researching the history and stories of Bridge of the Gods I was instantly fascinated. I also strongly feel if I did not already have a bridge fascination I would still find my mouth open and my heart pounding at the old tales, and therefore encourage you to do a search of your own, but for now, here are some information on Bridge of the Gods.

This bridge was built in 1926, connects Oregon and Washington, sits 141 feet above the Columbia River and spans 1,858 feet of steel-trusses. The name was derived in 1450 AD when a magnificent landslide of large rock and boulders came storming down the Gorge creating a natural stone bridge over the Columbia River.

The Pacific Crest Trail is a trail starting inside the border of Mexico, trailing up through California, Oregon, Washington and ending in Canada. The PCT is a total of 2,650 miles and an average of 200 hikers attempt to thru hike it each season. It takes roughly 5 months, sometimes more, to hike the entire PCT, however, some experienced hikers have completed it in 2 months. If this intrigues you and you are serious about hiking and pushing your body to new limits I suggest you start doing your research and training. I know someday I will be a PCT thru hiker, and when that day comes I will be kissing Bridge of the Gods knowing that I am about to enter my last state (WA).

At my current location in my journey I am nowhere near my PCT thru hike, and because of that I will settle for walking across this beautiful bridge with the excitement of doing so for the first time and for the giddy and beaming excitement fluttering from within me.

There is also a $1 toll to walk the bridge and specific amounts for cars and large trucks, I suggest you have a little cash and be happy that they allow you to walk across. There is no “sidewalk” designated to walkers so if you get freaked easily make sure you are mentally prepared.

Head on over to my Instagram @rainadrake to see some sweet pictures of Bride of the Gods!

Rowena Crest

To say it was a perfect day may be cliché, nonetheless it is true.  There was a powerful wind, the type that could sweep you off your feet if you are not carefully aware. The type where your body acts freely and lifts your arms as if you could catch the perfect gust and fly (and also to air out your armpits). It was sunny, warm and there were rays of vitamin D engulfing pale winter stricken skin. It was a Wednesday, the day all wolflowers seemed to have found the perfect day for blooming. As the flowers swayed in the wind you get the thought they too enjoy the feeling of flying free and being magical. Rowena Crest never disappoints, minus the one closed road forcing adventure seekers to take the alternate route through the lovely town of Mosier. 
Go out and seek the wind, sun, and wildflowers. Find the magic and lift your sweat stricken arms. 

But Why?

My desire to find my purpose here.

What am I meant to do with my life? Why was I given this body? Why am I white, female, strong, stubborn, loved, lost when so many others are the complete opposite? Why am I 22 and have no idea what I want to do with my life? Why must this be so hard?

I want to do something to make the world a better place. I have never believed in violence or war and I don’t want to ever. I want to touch lives whether in a small way or a big. But how?
I don’t want to be stuck here in this place forever. I want to fly. I want to travel and be able to see all the animals, people, ruins, empires, new life, old life, I want to see everything beautiful and colorful in this world. I want to sit and have my breath taken away by utter beauty. But how?

I don’t want to have to pay back all the student loans I owe. I don’t want to continue working retail. I don’t want to be a part of corporate America. I don’t want to be solid and unmoving. I don’t want to be in an office from 8-5 (or possibly earlier/later). I don’t want to be stuck doing one thing for the rest of my life.

I know all of these things I don’t want, yet I can’t figure out what I want. I can picture freedom, sleep, energy, food, strangers, laughter, smiles, tears, love, happiness, and confidence. Yet I feel empty and lost.

How do I overcome this travel ‘fear’ and do what I really dream of?

Craters of the Moon

The name of this National monument and Preserve should alone hold you captive and really grab your attention. At least for me it did! During my Spring Break trip my sister and I found ourselves driving through Idaho with a few hours to spare here and there. We decided to take a small detour from our original path and make our way down and through Arco Idaho to Craters of the Moon.60BD3A24-896A-4FC8-B0E3-763B12C4D27A

If you are looking for things to do around Craters of the Moon or to stay in Arco, you won’t find anything. Arco is a tiny town and driving through you’ll be reminded of a scary old time movie where the town is mysteriously abandoned. The drive is beautiful, peaceful, and easy on the eyes so pack some snacks and enjoy the desolate emptiness!

Although we had many beautiful encounters, as I will describe below, the main disappointment was that on March 28th the crew had started plowing, and when we arrived on March 29th, the man in the visitors center informed us they would not prefer people to drive through the park as the plows are taking up the roads. However, from what we could see, the roads were already clear and there was not much snow visible anywhere. My sister and I both take safety as a priority and chose to follow the wishes of the park officials. The disappointing thing is that we could not find anywhere on the website nor online that plowing was going on and park accessibility would be limited.

FE25FC7B-DB7D-47A0-9234-0A613759E417.jpgAlthough we do respect elders and officials and safety (we respect most all people and things) we decided the long drive and built up anticipation was too great to just continue on driving. We hopped in the car and drove a short distance up the hill and walked around on the snow and ancient lava flows out of site from the visitor’s center. Let me tell you, it was so worth it! The rocks are unbelievable and look unreal. I am a business student but I have a little geologist wanna-be in me and I was in shock that lava flows and rocks could be that unique and intricate.

I do need to say if you go off and walk on the flows, make sure you are mindful of the sharp jaggedness and uneven areas. If you go during peak seasons, I have read that there are caves to be toured and explored! Just try to do your research beforehand and call ahead to see what is available. Also, definitely stop in and see the visitors center, there is a neat little room that has information of the knowledge around Craters of the Moon and some historical facts worth hearing before your grand adventure. With all the beauty in the area and the stunning lava flows I one hundred percent recommend making Craters of the Moon a stop in your next road trip.

C171A168-0C6B-4736-81DB-31135292E2E1.jpgA few things of interest to look for on the drive to Craters of the Moon:

Atomic City- First town to be run by nuclear power! There is a small (tiny) museum. Beware, like everything else in and around Idaho and Montana, tours are closed during winter months, and yes, the end of March is still considered winter there.

Some super awesome wildlife! It may be because I was feeling so alone in such a remote area, but I saw some gorgeous deer, birds, and goats that were beginning their migration back to the area.

 

 

Pack it in, Pack it out

This is a fair warning this post is a little more of a rant than not and I will be expressing unnamed-4.jpgwhat I was appalled by on a recent hike in Idaho. I will not be naming the specific location I was visiting or the hike I was pursuing for the blunt truth that it doesn’t matter; litter happens everywhere and the point of this article is to express how utterly disgusting it is and how disrespectful I find the human race to be when one chooses to leave a man made product in the wild.

Now, I understand littering fools may be hiking newbies or seasoned, both may be guilty. I also believe not everyone may understand the effects one truly has on the environment they appreciate so much. So, let me break it down for you:

It takes a glass bottle… 1 million years to decompose.

It takes a tin can… 50 years to decompose.

It takes a nylon fabric… 30-40 years to decompose.

It takes a plastic beverage bottle… 450 years to decompose.

It takes a wool sock 1-5 years to decompose

This is utterly appalling to me and I hope you find these numbers as a wakeup call. When you leave a soda bottle next to a tree it will be there for FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS!!
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The reason I chose the above items, you may see the others listed by visiting the site linked below, is because those are the ones I most commonly found while hiking to some natural hot springs in Idaho. On this 2 mile hike (there and back) I found: 3 glass bottles, 2 large fast food plastic cups, 2 aluminum cans, 3 pairs of socks (yes, 3!), and a number of small plastic and paper rappers. Not all of these items were found right on the trail, a couple was shoved in snow, next to fallen trees off the path, and a pair of socks was shoved in a tree trunk.

I am all for having a good time. If you want to have a drink while you soak in some super rad hot springs, go for it! However, do not get so blatantly ignorant and leave that super awesome alcoholic beverage sitting in a natural habitat for others to view after you leave. The consequences for doing so are endless. Although the surrounding areas may not look it, they are the home to some pretty neat animals. Would you go over to a friends house and leave plastic cups and your dirty socks laying on their bed or dinner table? I don’t think so! Do not even try to tell me you “forgot” them. Every time you are about to leave an area you just enjoyed take the one minute to walk around and see if you left anything, or better yet if the people before you left something. It is as simple as that.
So, the point of this post is to show you (if you didn’t already know) just how disgusting littering is and how uncool the litterers of the world are. I just do not understand why one would choose to leave behind something they brought in to such a beautiful place. Pack it in, Pack it out!! As an endnote, I understand a plastic bag takes 10-20 years to decompose, however, I advise any and all hikers to carry one in their gear bag in order to pick up the nasty trash left by those before you. If you have any suggestions on a more eco friendly method of collecting litter along the trail I would love to hear them in the comments below! Also, a warm thank you to my sister for picking up the socks (pictured above), you rock!

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Data used in this post has been found on the website linked below:

https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf