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Friday, October 19, 2018

A Visit To Leach Botanical Gardens

Summer used to be my favorite time of year in the Pacific Northwest. When my son was in school we would plan vacations for the first week he was out so we would be home and in town for the majority of the summer. Once he graduated and we started vacationing without him, we planned our out of town trips in October.

Lately, with our summer days being routinely 90 degrees or more, autumn and particularly October, is looking like it's now my favorite time of year in Portland!

With beautiful sunny skies and 70 degree weather for the past week, we took Sunday to visit the Leach Botanical Gardens in SE Portland for the first time.

The garden has a rich history having been donated to the City upon the death of it's owners, John and Lilla Leach.

The gardens are free of charge to visit (at least we didn't pay and didn't see anywhere to pay.)

I've included a few photos of our visit. Enjoy!

Looking up to the tree tops and sky.

Although the garden was referred to as Sleepy Hollow by it's owners, the place reminded me of the Shire. I kept expecting to see Hobbits running around.

The sign says 'Ferns' but there's not a fern in sight here.

I had to sneak up on this dinosaur so not to scare it.

A droopy, dead sunflower marks the end of summer for sure.

Friday, October 5, 2018

A Healthy, Easy Ingredient Substitution

I get a lot of promotional emails. Most of them I delete, however there are a select few I look at. That's how I stumbled on this great ingredient that you can use to substitute butter or oil in your baking recipes.

New-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies With All Tahini & No Butter
image from Food52

The image above stopped me in my tracks when I saw it in my email box one morning. My only thought was "I'M GOING TO GET ME SOME OF THOSE COOKIES IN MY MOUTH!"

Even better, these cookies were made with tahini instead of butter! Tahini is made from ground, hulled sesame seeds and can be found usually by the peanut butter in most grocery stores. It's lower in fat if you get the kind made with raw seeds rather than roasted. If you've had hummus before then you've had tahini as it's listed as an ingredient.

The best part though is tahini is quite healthy. It's a great source of calcium, magnesium and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It's also vegan, if you swing that way. Compared to peanut butter, tahini has higher levels of calcium and fiber and lower levels of sugar and fatty acids.

And the cookies? Yes, I made them and they are (were) FREAKING AMAZING! Even better than the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies everyone has made. Way better. They're soft and chewy even after sitting in the cookie jar a couple days.

I know, you want the recipe. Ok, here's the link. Now, go grab yourself some tahini and make these and the next time you're baking and your recipe calls for oil or butter, reach for tahini and substitute it one for one instead.