ice cream
Salt and Straw Ice Cream

I have family and good friends who live in Portland, Ore. I was going out there about once a year for the past few years and it generally worked out that I would be there in early December. Weather is a big deal in the Pacific Northwest. They get a lot of rain, and it rains a lot outside of the summer. Thus, while I enjoyed visiting the people I knew there, I do hate rain! So, the past year or two I’ve made it a point to go in the summer and the change the sunshine brings is easily recognizable. Therefore, today’s lesson is: go to Portland in the summer!

The Columbia River Gorge is less than an hour east of Portland and is simply stunning. I remember hiking up mountains and to hidden waterfalls when I was a kid. The scenery is picturesque, especially on a clear summer’s day.

The Oregon coast is also equally amazing. About two hours west of the city, the rugged coastline and large rocks of the coast make for a stunning backdrop.

I went on a day trip to the gorge and a two-day trip to the beaches around Lincoln City. A few choice pictures are below, with more at my Flickr page and the entire set on Shutteryfly.

Columbia River Gorge from The Vista House

Panorama Point
Panorama Point in Hood River

Nye Beach
Nye Beach With Yaquina Lighthouse in the Background

Super Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies


Some people just love snickerdoodles. I wouldn’t say I love them, but the spices used in them (cinnamon and nutmeg) remind me of autumn, which is clearly the season superior to all the others. The nice thing about them is the spice is present but not overwhelming and the cookie isn’t heavy at all – all the while being easy to make! What else could you ask for?

From The Kitchn website, here is the recipe I used:

For the cookies:
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 c dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 c white sugar
3 c flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar:
1/4 c white sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave and let it cool while you mix the dry ingredients. Stir together the sugars, flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Whisk the eggs into the cooled butter and add the vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Form 1 1/2-inch balls of dough and roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Place them on an unlined, ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 7 minutes then remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.