Vegfest Recap

I didn’t know what to expect going into this year’s Twin Cities Vegfest. Sure, I’m moving more toward a plant-based diet, but I’m not vegan. My love for cheese is real. Do I belong there? Should I even shoot at it? At the end of that hot September day, I walked away smiling, exhausted, and very pleased to shoot at such a cool event. My favorite part of this event was meeting and chatting with the incredible people behind the scenes. The ones that make the food what it is and the ones that put on the festival. The ones that hustle to make their passion come to life and support their fellow neighbors doing the same. The awesome attendees and their adorable children and pups. Everyone involved made this an incredible food festival.

I was extremely impressed by the food I tried, and I’m blown away by our strong plant based food scene here in the twin cities. Check out my list of a handful of the vendors below and give them a try if you haven’t yet.

Overall, Vegfest, a project of Compassionate Action of Animals, was a great experience. The festival aims to encourage people to move toward a plant-based diet, but is open to absolutely everyone. So yes, I did belong. And I did sample, mingle, shoot, and have a memorable experience. It was such a good summer send-off in a beautiful location, and I look forward to next year!

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Artisans and vendors pictured:

Summer in a cup by Evan’s Organic Eatery

Cupcakes by Vegan East

Jackfruit nachos and lemongrass tacos by Reverie Mobile Kitchen

Fried peanuts by Tootie’s Southern Peanuts

Fro Yo Soul

The Herbivorous Butcher

So Good So You

Tofino, B.C.

Last fall, Chris and I took a trip to Tofino, British Columbia. It was our amazing little getaway before we figured out we’d be moving across the country and before the baby joined us. Why Tofino? Chris had been there as a kid, and he often talked about this magical, beautiful, remote surfing town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I laughed at the thought of surfers in Canada, but he made me pretty curious about this Tofino place. When we were trying to pick a spot for our babymoon, I suggested Tofino, and we went for it. It was almost a full day of travel from Seattle, between the ferry and incredibly curvy (but stunning) Hiway 4 on Vancouver Island, but it was worth every minute of travel. I was in awe at the beauty and rawness of Tofino. The gorgeous beaches, the sunsets, the trails, the town lined with restaurants, breweries, and shops, and the incredibly friendly people.

I took a series of landscape and natural shots that I ended up just ignoring once we got back. Life got so busy, and I basically forgot about them. Well, here they are, and they are making me want to go back. I don’t know whether it’s remembering this peaceful time in our lives or the laid-back, beautiful town itself or maybe both, but Tofino will forever hold a special place in my heart.

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Feast Portland Recap

Well, I did it. I got to experience Feast Portland. I lived in Portland for about 4 years and never made it to Feast. We move to Seattle and I end up making a weekend out of traveling to this spirited food festival and wondered why it was only my first time. As great as it is making our life in Seattle, I clearly miss Portland. Feast embodied the Portland food scene. Local ingredients, creative dishes and bites, beautiful presentations, endless booze flowing, and constant foodie conversations. Incredible, hardworking people were behind every dish and drink. I was honored to receive a blogger pass, which granted me access to the Grand Tastings, Brunch Village, and the Food 52 Ice Cream Social along with a few other smaller classes and events. I had an excellent time at this unique-to-Portland food event which donates to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “Feast is more than just a food and drink festival” as described on the Feast Portland website.  It’s a movement that you just have to experience yourself.

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Artisians, Chefs, and Vendors pictured:

Johnny Appleseed Authentic by Congaree and Penn

Stumptown Coffee

Little T Baker (Flint Corn Brioche with Sweet Cream Cheese & Venus Grapes)

Vintner’s Kitchen

Tillamook Ice Cream

Smith Teamaker

Sisters Baking Company

Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Comission

Kite Hill

Wailua Shaved Ice

Figlia

Launderette

Óli Gústa

O’o Farm

Time for a post about a happy place. The last few days have been emotionally taxing, and I’m still sort of in this confused, disgusted, depressed, weird state of mind. I’m scared about the future of our country and the earth, since the newly elected has expressed his disregard with climate change, amongst many other incredibly important issues. I have heard many kind words and positive thoughts though, and feel like we can peacefully stand up for what we believe in and stick with each other in this uncertain time.

This is a series from O’o Farm in the upcountry farming community of Maui. This beautiful 8 acre farm biodynamically cultivates and supplies the produce for 2 restaurants and a market in Maui. Our guide educated us on many of the principles they go by, from planting to composting. We explored the garden, picked ingredients, and got to enjoy a very memorable farm to table lunch. O’o Farm has a love for the land that runs deep. If only all humans, especially leaders, could share that mentality.

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farmer’s market inspiration for fall

There’s nothing like a beautiful fall day at the farmer’s market to get you revved up for fall produce. Root vegetables, mushrooms, squash, eggplant, greens, and late summer tomatoes are a few that I found strolling around the Portland State University farmer’s market.  Also, check out the links at the end of the post for some excellent fall recipes from other blogs I love. Welcome to fall and happy cooking!

(Sidenote: House of Cards fans: check out the “House of Chards” sign. Clever Oregonians…)

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PSU-1 PSU-37Fall recipes:

Creamy Polenta with Roasted Root Vegetables – Naturally Ella

Moroccan Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Soup with Coconut Ginger Cream + Pistachios – Half Baked Harvest

Swiss Chard, Pear, and Gruyere Tart – Canelle et Vanille

Roasted Squash and Bitter Greens Salad – Not Without Salt

Apple-Pear Crisp – Baked by Rachel

More of my recipes to come!

Clare Barboza’s Food Photography Workshop

I recently attended a Seattle food photography workshop put on by Clare Barboza, a photographer I really admire. In a nutshell, it was awesome.  I took a lot away from it.  It was wonderful to meet her and everyone in the class. Check out her workshops if you want to learn more about food photography!

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