Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Friday, September 19, 2014

Encompass // Eola Amity Hills


A couple of weeks ago I ended up winning a pair of tickets to Encompass from Portland Monthly Magazine. I rarely win anything so I was pretty stoked, especially since the event was literally a ten minute drive from my house.

Encompass is weekend wine event held over Labor Day weekend that's designed to bring awareness to the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Twenty two participating wineries in the area opened up their doors to welcome visitors for the event. Participants purchased guide books that included maps and winery information and in return each winery gave complimentary wine tastings 


We had our friend's wedding to attend on Saturday, so we were only able to sneak out of the house for two hours Sunday afternoon to go tasting. We ended up stopping at one of Argyle Winery's vineyards names the Lone Star vineyard. Argyle has a nice tasting room in Dundee, but had staff directly out in the vineyard pouring their three Rieslings - Argyle Riesling, Nuthouse Riesling, and Minus Five Riesling as well as their Nuthouse Pinot Noir. I'm a huge fan of Riesling so it was nice to get to sample such a nice variety, and both Wayne and I absolutely loved their Nuthouse Pinot Noir. We ended up purchasing a bottle of their Nuthouse Riesling...which I may or may not be drinking as I type. :)


We looked around and really took in the view up there. It still amazes me how beautiful and serene life can be only a few miles out of town. For those of you who don't know, my husband is a vineyard manager and has worked in the the industry pretty much since the beginning here in Oregon. I though knew absolutely nothing about wine prior to meeting him, so I'm definitely what I would call still a beginning wine connoisseur, but I'm thoroughly enjoying learning more. Wayne took me around the plants and showed me how you can tell that they were Chardonnay grapes by how the veins on the leaf were. 


Afterwards we drove over to Redhawk Vineyard and Winery which is just outside of West Salem. There we had the opportunity to sample a flight of nine of their wines, from their Riesling, Pinot Gris, several Pinot Noirs, a Merlot, and even an Italian wine that I haven't tried before, their 2012 Nebbiolo. I think my favorite was their 2012 Pinot Noir Pataccoli Family Vineyard. The wine is produced from vines over 30 years old and it has a description of "cinnamon and spice on the nose and a cranberry, raspberry core." 


There were also some hors d'oeurves to sample so Wayne and I took a seat and enjoyed the gorgeous view. The Eola Amity Hills are so amazing because on a clear day you can see all four of our local mountains - Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Jefferson. While we were sitting there two women came up and sat in front of us and I just could help but snap some photos of their gorgeous silhouettes in front of the sky. I only wished I would have brought along my camera so the photo quality was better. 


Sometimes even getting a break for two hours really helps refuel me for the rest of the week. I feel so blessed to live in a valley that's so pretty. I love the rolling hills, vineyards, farms and fruit stands. I love that we are an hour from the beach, an hour and a half from the snow (Mt. Hood) and  I only live 30 miles from Portland, yet live in a small town in the country. Yup, I'm pretty lucky to live in the Willamette Valley.

                                                                                             ~Melissa

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #85

Hey everyone! Last week we unfortunately missed out on this link up with everything that happened, but I'm looking forward to see what you have to share this week! Today I'm getting my schedule all planned out for the next couple days because I'll be up in Portland for Feast, and I can already feel my pants getting tighter! If you want to follow along with my food and drink excitement just follow me via Instagram, and be sure to check out the hashtag #FEASTPDX

What are you up to this weekend?

This link up to to share anything and everything that inspires you. 

           ~Melissa
Create.Simplify.Inspire. #85


Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Living Locally: The MAiZe at The Pumpkin Patch


 It's almost that time of year again! Pumpkin Patch season as we call it in my house. Every October the kids look forward to hayrides, pumpkins, and of course, corn maizes. We usually go to at least two different ones every year - we have our old favorites, plus we like to "test out" new ones to see how we like them, and this year we will be heading up to the big one. Portland's Pumpkin Patch. 

Here's a little more info if you aren't familiar with it:


Portland's original cornfield maze celebrates its 15th season at The Pumpkin Patch on beautiful Sauvie Island in Portland, Oregon. Fifteen years ago, Craig Easterly, founder of the original corn maze, brought his weird idea to Sauvie Island's famous Pumpkin Patch and it soon became a fall tradition. The MAiZE attracts 30,000 eager explorers annually to the giant labyrinth of field corn, located just fifteen minutes from downtown Portland. Portland's premier agri-tainment attraction, The Maize and The Pumpkin Patch, have combined the local food movement with down home fun on the farm.

Right now you can get a jump start and print out a coupon to save $2.00 off of your ticket (up to 4 tickets per customer!) 

Save $2 off of The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch HERE


"Keeping Portland Lost Since 1999" Maize

September: 

Open every day: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

October: 

Sunday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

October: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-27, 30- 31 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Open Sunday, Oct. 27, Wednesday, Oct. 30 and Thursday, Oct 31 until 10pm




Can't wait to share photos from our adventure with you! 

~Melissa
Full Disclosure: I was given a family pass to The MAiZe at The Pumpkin Patch in exchange for sharing my review with you. No other compensation was received. If you are interested in working with me please email me at MelissaKaylene@Gmail.com 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Living Locally: Feast Portland this weekend!

#FeastPDX

You guys! I'm so excited for Feast Portland! It begins in just two short days! This will be my first year attending Feast, so I'm not 100% sure what to expect, but I'm positive that it will be tons of fun! I'll be up there solo for a full day of events on Friday, and then I'm bringing Wayne along on Saturday and we will be staying the night in downtown Portland celebrating our Anniversary at the Oregonian Media Group High Comfort at The Nines. If you want to follow along catch me over on Instagram, and be sure to check out the hashtag #FeastPDX to see everyone's pictures! 

I wrote a little bit more in depth about Feast Portland a couple of weeks ago, in case you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about right now. In a nutshell it's a four day food festival that celebrates Oregon's bounty. There's hands on classes, dinner series, grand tastings, tasting panels, - something interesting for everyone, and the best part is that Feast Portland donates its net proceeds towards ending child hunger in Oregon (and beyond) through Partners for a hunger-free Oregon and Share our Strength. 

Most of the events have already sold out, but here are a few with tickets still available. If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend I honestly can't think of anything better!



This is the big opening event on Thursday night kicking off the Feast celebration! 14 of America's top chefs will gather together in their quest for sandwich success. You can vote for the people's choice winner, enjoy Brothers Brewing Beers , wines and cocktails. 

#FeastPDX



This is one dinner you don't want to miss! Chefs Phil Speer, (Uchi/Uchiko, Austin)  Kristen Murray, (Maurice, Portland) Tim Helea, (Little T, Portland) Alissa Frice, (St. Jack, Frice Pastry, Portland) and Carrie Merrill (Urban Farmer, Portland) will treat you to a delicious evening - and Talia Baiocchi (Punch Editor in Chief and author of "Sherry") will be pairing with choices of Sherries and Madeiras. 


If you can only make it to one event during Feast Portland I think this is the one you need to check out. The Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting offers a huge variety of tastings - you can eat and drink until your heart is content as well as watch live cooking demonstrations. 

#FeastPDX


This looks like a fun tasting panel where you can mix two of my favorites things - coffee and spirits. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, House Spirits Distillery and industry titans Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Alex Negranza will be concocting some delightful drinks. 

#FeastPDX


I can't wait to dress up and head out to this event! Oregon's top winemakers will be there along with over 20 chefs who will be sharing their versions of comfort food at the evening held at The Nines Hotel.

#FeastPDX

Remember, all events are 21 + and all inclusive! Can't wait to see you there! :)

~Melissa
*All photos c/o of FeastPortland.com. I have been given a blogger/media pass in exchange for my coverage - no other compensation will be received. All opinions are my own. For more information on partnering with me on upcoming events email me at MelissaKaylene@gmail.com.*

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chocolate Caramel Candy Apple Cheesecake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop

Yesterday was the first day in a long time that we all just stayed home together and didn't have any schedule or plans. After the emotional ups and downs that I've had this past week, it was just what I needed. Even though it was a scorching 95 degrees outside still, we decided to do something that made it feel like fall, with one of our favorite fall flavors – candy apple.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop

It seems as if the summer whirled past us so quickly that we didn't have time to properly say goodbye, or give fall a welcome hello. In years past I've held an end of summer party for all of our friends and family, but that didn't even happen this year, and I think that may be one of the reasons why the change has been a bit more difficult for me this year. There’s been a lot of change in the past couple of weeks, from Wayne’s mom getting sick, to Anika starting middle school – it’s been a lot for me to take in.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop

That’s why I opened up my arms yesterday and enjoyed every minute of creating with the family. It’s therapeutic to me. We melted caramel and dipped apples, ate M&M’s and put a few on the apples too. ;)

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop

Chocolate Caramel Candy Apple Cheesecake

2 packages of Graham crackers, crushed (makes approximately 3 cups)
¼ cup of butter, melted
3 packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Caramel Candies and Chocolate to melt + Candy Apple M&Ms for topping.

In a small bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter and apple juice. Press into the bottom of a greased 9” spring form pan.

In a larger bowl, mix cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla. Next add the Candy Apple M&M’s. You can add them whole, chop them up, or softened them in the microwave and mix them in. I melted mine in the microwave so that they swirled in the pink colors when mixed.  Lastly, add the Mott’s Applesauce and then pour the cheesecake mixture onto the graham cracker crust.

Place the pan in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees. It will take approximately 60 minutes to bake. At 60 minutes check the cheesecake by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean the cheesecake is done! Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Melt chocolate and or/ caramel to pour on top as desired and then place the cheesecake in the refrigerator until completely cooled.

This makes about 12 servings! Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe #flavoroffall #cbias #shop

 We may or may not have eaten half of the cheesecake last night! Today I’m just trying to get back into some sort of routine, which is going to be hard to do for a while. If you are inspired to create some fall apple recipes with your family check out TheFlavorofFall.com and here are a couple coupons that you can use!


You can find Mott's apple juice and apple sauce as well as the new fall M&M flavors at Walmart. 


Thanks #CollectiveBias and #flavoroffall for letting me spend time with my family and share my ideas with you! They have been simply amazing.

~Melissa