I was just thinking the other day... the kids are almost done with school for this year. Once they are home it will be time to start thinking about travel and vacations; and that made me think about packing! I remember as a kid the whole family filling the car to the roof full of clothes, toys, snacks and everything else that we thought we needed. Wow, there were times when we thought there wouldn't even be enough room for us in the car. Nowadays people travel by plane to vacation destinations and packing has become an art. To help you get ready for travel we did a story with Dan Lerma at The Container Store (503-620-5700). Check it out below.

No matter where your travels take you this summer, be safe and don't forget to check us out when you return.

One place you can travel for a day trip is to French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445). Head on out for a taste of spring, they are just getting their first crop of strawberries this weekend.

Backyard Bouquets

You are getting ready for a dinner party and you notice that the table is not looking that great. Well, this is the perfect time of year to take care of the problem yourself. Just make a trip to your backyard! Kim from Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) showed us how you can use the flowers that are already in your garden to create a wonderful centerpiece for your table. You need a container that will be a good size for your table. Don't get anything too tall. That will just create a barrier at the table and people will have a hard time visiting. Add some flower preservative to the water to help your arrangement last longer. Now you are ready to start building your centerpiece. Kim started with the background foliage. This foliage creates the backdrop to your arrangement and the structure for everything else you use. A lot of people forget that they have plenty of material at their finger tips. Something as simple as iris leaves, herbs and other garden shrubs may not look that great by themselves, but together they can really look wonderful. We then moved to some smaller flowers stalks like Lily of the Valley and Weigela to the corners of the arrangement. This will allow the center to be open for the bigger, bolder flowers. For big flowers Kim picked some peonies and poppies. The poppies emit a sap, so Kim used a match to burn and seal the stem. This will help the poppy last longer. Once they were finished we moved them to the table and by creating 4-5 similar arrangements the table really stood out! Kim also added a small cordial glass with individual flowers and the guests get to keep the glasses. For more helpful decorating tips you can check out the Geranium Lake website and Kim's Blog.

Sautéed Mushrooms

It is mushroom season! In Oregon one of the most highly sought after mushrooms is the Morel mushroom. To learn how to prepare this wonderful delicacy we stopped by the Oregon Culinary Institute (1-888-OCI-CHEF) to visit with Chef Dan Brophy. A true morel is hollow in the center. You tap them gently to remove the dirt. When you slice them you want to leave larger pieces so people can see and enjoy the honeycomb or 'loofah' like texture. Chef Brophy did a simple sauté of these wonderful favorites. It was simple with just a few ingredients. First, after slicing the mushrooms, he heated a pan with a tablespoon of butter. He added about a half a cup of sliced shallots and let them get tender. Then he added the mushrooms. After about 10 minutes the mushrooms and the shallots were soft and tender. Then he added about a quarter cup of brandy (away from the flame) and then burned that off. This added more flavor to the dish. He then added about a ½ cup of cream and ½ cup of chicken stock and let that simmer to reduce and thicken it. After adding a pinch of salt and pepper, and garnishing with chives he recommended pouring it on a bed of rice or noodles to make a nice dish!

Lavender Lemon Soda

Lavender is a popular flavor these days. We can find it in lots of new recipes in the kitchen. The most recent taste treat is lavender in drinks. We even found a new product on the market; a lavender infused drink from Dry Soda based in Seattle. If you can't find this wonderful drink at your local store you can still enjoy the taste of a lavender drink by creating your own. Local author Kathy Gehrt has written a book called 'Discover Cooking with Lavender' and she joined us to share a recipe for a lavender lemon soda. Kathy starts with culinary lavender which is an English variety of lavender. The Spanish style of lavender is too bitter for this recipe. One teaspoon of these culinary lavender buds is added to a simple syrup recipe of one cup of water and one cup of sugar over a simmering heat. You can use fresh lavender from your garden but you will have to use more buds to get the same flavor. The lavender buds are strained out once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is cooled. You add a half cup of the syrup to a half cup of lemon juice in a glass full of ice. You top the mixture off with sparkling mineral water for a light and refreshing drink. For more information on lavender you can check out www.DiscoverLavender.comFind the recipe here.

Travel Packing

Soooo, you are getting ready for the annual family vacation, or maybe you are trying to get too much into your suitcase for that quick business trip and you can't fit everything in that you need. Well, Dan Lerma from The Container Store (503-620-5700) joined us to give us some tips on travel packing. The first tip is to be organized. Contact the destination to find out what they have already there and then make a list of things you need to take to fill in the gaps. This could be stuff like toiletries, or even maps and brochures of tourist destinations. Second, if you are flying, remember 3-1-1. This means your liquids are limited to 3 ounces or less per item, in a 1 quart bag and 1 carry-on bag. Of course if you check your luggage you can pack bigger bottles of liquids (check with your airline). Next consider weight. Lightweight bags and suitcases will help you stay under the weight limits that airlines have these days. Now if all this seems confusing you can check out the Container Store Packing Demonstrations at their store through the end of June. A $25 dollar gift certificate will be given away at each demonstration.



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This page last modified
August 13, 2010.