Portland weather right now is wondrous: chilly, crisp and sunny, making it ripe for exploring.
It’s been so much fun taking Porter/Pork Chop out when the weather is like this, and I really try to mix it up with different parks so it’s not too boring for him (or me).
Sure, we hit our neighborhood parks the most often.
Grant Park is just four blocks from my house
and Wilshire Park seems to be the primo spot for squirrel chasing.
Recently though I found another place that we both love to explore: the South Waterfront.
This area, located at the tail end of downtown, has been developed quite a bit recently and I love all the sidewalks along the Willamette River and the views of the bridges in both directions.
Just this week though I discovered a pathway and an encouragement
that took me down to a patch of sand I’d never seen before.
Welcome to Poet’s Beach.
The day I discovered it the sun was just breaking and the light was gorgeous.
No one was around and Porter had a blast running up and down the little sandy patch, and I found even the freeways nearby had a kind of noisy, serpentine beauty.
After Porter ran himself silly, he plonked down in the sun-lit sand and it was then I found something really curious.
What at first glance looked like perhaps seaweed was actually something man-made.
Someone had taken a feather to write this stunning script in the sandy bank,
and although I couldn’t decipher what it said, I marvelled at the beauty of the precise, swirling lines.
I love that whoever did this left the feather that’d been used standing upright at the end.
(What I wouldn’t do to know the story on this sandy gift– and what message was written here…)
I love this stretch along the river so much because it’s so sleepy (despite its proximity to downtown!) and lovely and I find that I’m always happiest with sand underfoot and water nearby.
As we walked back up to the sidewalk above, I took a minute to notice the stones that are etched on the pathway.
Nestled into these large boulders are messages from children.
And I really loved this translation rock.
Speaking of family, long walks in chilly weather always make me eager to return home to bake up some comfort and joy.
And nothing screams holiday season more for me than a version of my mom’s gingersnaps: Chewy Ginger Cookies.
This version comes from this book
and as you can tell, the book is dog-eared and splattered which means it’s been used a ton.
I’ve shared with you before a recipe for these ginger cookies before and I have to say that whenever I talk to one of my kid’s former teachers, it’s usually this cookie they remember the most vividly.
I’ve been experimenting with different sugars on the sides, sometimes using granulated sugar
and other times a Demerara sugar which offers a glimmery, crispy crunch to the cookie.
I really recommend this recipe as it’s a cinch to pull together
and I’ve recently tried a different way to deal with that big blob of rich dough.
Usually I use a scoop to divvy it up
and then roll it in sugar like this
but this is time-consuming.
Yesterday I did something a little different.
I turned the dough into slice-and-bake-like long rolls.
Not only is this more time-efficient than scooping and then rolling each ball in sugar, it makes them truly uniform and the dough takes up less space in the freezer.
Dough in the freezer is MONEY.
Anytime you want cookies you just slice the amount you need and bake them up.
One last word on these.
If you like them thin and crisp, cut them thinner or bake them right from the fridge — they’ll spread more and this makes them ideal for ice cream sandwiches.
If you like them chewier and thicker, cut them thick and bake them straight from the freezer, and they’ll look more like this.
You really can’t lose with these and the cookies are delicious on their own, with ice cream or served along crisp tart, apples.
(I like this last combo so much I make drop-offs like these).
I’m now off to finish decorating the house (I’ll show you some of my new festive additions next time.)
But first– cookie time.