Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach, Oregon, is one of those places I have always dreamed of seeing.  As we walked the beach toward it, it almost seemed to be a man-made structure because it was such a fantastic sight.

Haystack Rock was formed by lava flows.  It is 235 feet in height, home to crabs, starfish, sea slugs and a place for nesting birds such as tufted puffins, gulls and cormorants.  It is a protected Marine Garden, as it should be. 

The village of Cannon Beach itself is a lively town, filled with tourists this time of year.  The beach....perfect.  It was such a pleasure to again be on the Pacific, having traveled from the Atlantic.  As a dear friend commented to me, "from sea to shining sea."  Yes, we have traveled that far and more.  I stopped checking the odometer after we reached 5000. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Have you tried Singing Dog Vanilla?

I remembered reading that Singing Dog Vanilla was located in Eugene, Oregon.  Knowing we would be visiting in the area, our host, Pete, called the local number and spoke with co-owner, Marty.  Marty invited us down to visit even though he said it was just a simple warehouse.  What excitement as Diane, Pete, the Trout and I made our way to Singing Dog Vanilla.

The philosophy of this company is to produce organic, non-GMO and high quality products.  Just speaking to Marty, one could hear the pride in his product,  as it should be.

Fair Trade Plus is a partnership between family farmers and companies that bring the produce to markets.  In this case, the product is vanilla from Papua, New Guinea.  The name, Singing Dog, comes from the breed of dog, found in New Guinea.  It is a dog that does not bark, but sings.  On the website, you can actually hear a dog singing.

Products being produced are vanilla extract, tea, coffee, vanilla beans, paste, lip balm and now even vanilla salt.  (This is reportedly great on popcorn.)  Packing materials are sustainable such as cardboard, cornstarch packing material and reusable tea bags.  This is a company that will go far.  Good luck to Marty and his crew.  We loved our visit.

I stocked up on several items while in town.  I see that the products at this time are not available in Florida, but you can order them by mail.  The vanilla bean paste....I can hardly wait to try it.  I think it will have to wait until fall when I am back home in my own kitchen.  Baking in a travel trailer seems a little bit daunting. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Schnitzel and the Trout meets Wives with Knives

Almost five years ago, I met Cathy from Wives with Knives.  I did not literally meet her, but we connected as we were both starting blogs and sometimes the technology was a little overwhelming.  We helped each other and consoled each other.  Not only did we read each others blogs, we started emailing each other.  In a true sense, we really got to know each other. 

I contacted Cathy this last winter and told her that we were planning a trip to Oregon when we arrived in Montana for the summer.  An invitation to meet was graciously extended by Cathy.  The Trout and I looked forward to this day for a long time.  We were invited to lunch at Cathy's.  You can imagine how the excitement escalated from there.

When Cathy opened the door, I hugged my long-time friend.  We had some good laughs, some good conversations about how much we all love to travel to France.

This absolutely gorgeous table, outside in the beautiful Oregon sunshine is what greeted us for lunch.  For Cathy's delicious Northwest version of Salad Nicoise, please go to her blog here.

Everything was prepared to perfection.  The fresh mint in the couscous was especially special for me.  I loved it.  We had no problem eating our plates clean.  What a beautiful treat, Cathy.

And you ask if there was dessert?  The Oregon local marionberry in a pie shell that was so flaky.

And that is Tillamook Vanilla Bean ice cream on top.  Two you see that?  I did not feel guilty at all eating this wonderful ice cream.

Thank you, Cathy.  We are looking forward to meeting you again someday soon. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My 50th Class Reunion

You cannot imagine what fun it was, posing for this photo.  My 50th class reunion from Amana High School, Amana, Iowa.  We were a close class of 18 students, 14 of us starting school together in kindergarten.  We have memories, many happy and funny memories.  At this special reunion, we had 13 students attend.  Unfortunately, 3 of our classmates have passed on.  They are greatly missed.  Two were unable to attend.  They were greatly missed.

Admit it...only in Iowa can a photo resembling "Field of Dreams" mean as much as this picture.  This photo means a lot to me.  I will treasure it always because to me, we do not look our age!!!  Young at heart and in spirit.  We traveled from California, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin and the rest came from somewhere in Iowa.  Thanks to Facebook, it is much easier to keep in touch.

One of our class members had her nephew bring this 1963 Pontiac Catalina for our posing.  What amazed me is that without direction, we simply moved into a position that we liked and posed naturally.  Our class always worked together beautifully as can be attested by our wonderful high school yearbook.  It was a classic!

The best surprise at this gathering was the unexpected visit of our high school business and art teacher, Mr. Richard Wheeler from Dallas, Texas.   Some of us still have trouble calling him anything but Mr. Wheeler. 
He was just out of college when he started teaching at our high school when we were freshmen.  Richard was a great inspiration to all of us and just put the icing on the cake of this gathering.  Thank you, Richard, for making the effort to attend.

To my dear classmates, I wish you health and love and peace.  May we be so fortunate to gather again.  Please, let us keep in touch.