New Year, New You: Gluten-Free Portland

New Year, New You: Gluten-Free Portland



Gluten-free dumplings from Jade Bistro & Patisserie

The start of a new year is the perfect time for all of us to hit the reset button, as we work towards being the very best versions of ourselves we can be. If you’re like most of us, you may have resolved to get your eating habits back on track and that may include eschewing carbs or even going gluten-free.

With the popularity of diet trends like Keto, Paleo, and Whole 30 (and a greater awareness of the needs of our celiac friends and family members) going gluten-free has never been easier—especially here in the simultaneously health-conscious and food-obsessed city of Portland, Oregon. 

Portland: The best place to be gluten-free

Portland’s legendary rainfall brings with it the lush green that surrounds our beautiful city year-round and keeps us flush with some of the freshest, most beautiful organic fruits and vegetables, wild-caught fish and pasture-raised meats and having access to all these fresh, natural whole foods makes it exceptionally easy to go gluten-free without feeling like you’re missing out.

A brief look around the Portland NextDoor neighborhood boards quickly garners a list of the very best places for gluten-free goodness in our neck of the woods.

Here’s what your friends and neighbors on NextDoor have to say about the best in gluten-free dining in Portland:

  • Jade Bistro for Vietnamese “most of their menu is GF and all items are clearly marked as GF on the menu.”
  • New Cascadia Traditional and Gluten-Free Gem are the best gluten-free bakeries in the area!
  • “Local chain, Pastini Pasteria will sub gluten-free ziti or spaghetti in most dishes.”
  • Devil’s Dill features New Cascadia baguette for their hearty GF sandwiches.” 
  • “I hit up Poke Mon for delish GF poke salad and GF poke rice bowl options.” 
  • Dick’s Kitchen for yummy burgers on either lettuce or a GF bun.” 
  • Little Big Burger will make ’em for ya on lettuce instead of a bun and their fries are gluten-free.”
  • Eb and Bean is great for family froyo time (dairy-free is even available) with GF toppings!”
  • Boke Bowl for some super scrummy GF Fried chicken ramen made with glass yam noodles or the GF fried chicken bowl with assorted veggies (also rice tots- YUM!)”
  • Pollo Norte: “Everything but the beer is GF.” 
  • Zell’s has those tasty GF banana mini muffins for your table bread basket (upon request) at breakfast and an array of mouth-watering omelets that are GF.” 
  • Por Que No: “Most tacos and bowls here are GF.” 
  • Nong’s Khao Man Gai has a GF version.” 
  • Harlow is hands down my favorite!” 
  • Cibo has a nice gluten-free pizza and I was thrilled to find out that Blackbird Pizza at 20th and Hawthorne has gluten-free pizza by the slice!” 
  • Ground Breaker Brewery is completely gluten-free.”
  • Hawthorne Fish House is amazing and its sister restaurant, Corbett Fish House was THE original gluten-free establishment in Portland, way before being gf became trendy!” 
  • Bamboo Sushi offers gluten-free soy sauce and tempura!” 
  • Deschutes Brewery has GF menu.” 
  • Mississippi Pizza has good GF pizza.” 
  • Sparky’s has in-house homemade GF pizza dough.”
  • “Everything at Cubo IS or can be made gluten-free! Baby doll pizza has the best gf crust I’ve ever had and a dedicated oven. Teote is all gf and amazing! Poblano’s is my go-to for Mexican food they have homemade corn tortillas for tacos.”  
  • Dot’s Cafe has great burgers and other gf options Off the Griddle and Off the Waffle have great breakfast options too!” 
  • “Visit Jurassic Cart at Carts on Foster, they have some of the yummiest food around and they cater to any and all food issues, restrictions, allergies.”
  • Beulahland on NE 28th has fantastic gluten-free waffles.
  • Nuestra Cocina on Division is GF inherently because of the type of cuisine”
  • Xico.”
  • Maru Ramen has gf ramen.”
  • “Looking for cakes, cupcakes, donuts, and cinnamon rolls try Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego! She is a 4x winner on cupcake wars. Her combinations are amazing and don’t taste like cardboard like some gluten-free options.”
  • “I love New Moon Thai.”
  • Butterfly Belly in NW is a dedicated GF pan-Asian restaurant. They are also MSG-free. It is the only place I can eat Pho and not have a reaction.”

NOTE: As always, if you’re celiac be sure to tell the waitstaff at any restaurant or dining establishment so that they can inform the cooks to avoid any cross-contamination in the kitchen.

 

Best Autumn Hikes in and Around Portland

Best Autumn Hikes in and Around Portland

There is nothing quite like fall in Portland.

Whether you’re new to the area, looking to relocate to the Pacific Northwest, or you’re a Portland native baptized in the Oregon rain, there is no denying the pull of autumn in the Portland metro area.

Outdoor enthusiasts from all over come to experience the blushing auburn hues of Oregon’s brilliant foliage, leaves of gold, amber, russet, and sepia up against the deeply verdant needles of old-growth evergreen forests, mountain peaks, and coastal beaches. They come to kayak our rushing rivers, witness our plunging waterfalls, and to hike our wildlife refuges, wetland preserves, and to explore one of the largest urban forest reserves in the U.S.—Forest Park.

If you’re up for something a little more adventurous than just the wind ruffling your hair and kissing your cheeks, as you saunter along Stumptown’s highly walkable tree-lined streets, you might want to have a peek at local author Paul Gerald’s hiking books.

Gerald, a freelance writer, who has written for both The Oregonian and The Willamette Week, is the author of Portland’s best selling hiking book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland ($18), and as he noted in a blog titled, Best Fall Colors Hikes Near Portland, there is no better time for a colorful hike than October.

“. . . October is actually my favorite hiking month of the year: cool air, clear days, no bugs, few people, and that special energy of getting it done while you still can.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Here are a few more resources for finding your perfect hike this autumn:
Five Reasons Why Winter May Be the Best Time to Buy a Home in Portland

Five Reasons Why Winter May Be the Best Time to Buy a Home in Portland

Whether you’re planning to relocate to Portland in the near future or you’re just looking for a new place to plant roots in town, buying a home in Portland during the winter offers a unique set of advantages over other seasons.

Rainy day Portland

Portland is known for being a rainy state, which is only partially true. In terms of actual precipitation, it’s not even close to the top of the list of wettest U.S. cities. But when it comes to the number of rainy days, that’s where Portland gets its reputation.

The “Portland mist”

According to data collected by TripSavvy, Portland sees an average of 164 days of rain or snow per year. So while it may seem to rain a lot in Portland, the amount of accumulation is not staggering—which is probably why those familiar with the area refer to the rain here as the “Portland mist.”

The majority of the rainfall in Portland occurs during the fall and winter, with the post-holiday winter months arguably marking Portland’s most overcast time of year. But this precipitous pattern is precisely why you should start your home search in January or February, despite the usual recommendations to wait for spring.

Five top reasons to shop Portland homes in the winter

1. Scope out the natural light: Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in your new home, it’s important to know what it feels like in its least favorable conditions. Viewing a home on one of Portland’s rainy winter days can allow you to get a sense of how much natural light the home receives. Natural light not only provides the body with the crucial vitamin D it needs, but it also factors into sleep, mood, cognitive function, and stress. It can also make a room feel bigger and more inviting.

2. Inspect wet weather conditions: In addition to natural light, there are other cold-weather aspects of owning a home in the Pacific Northwest that you should be aware of. Here are some questions to ask yourself while surveying the home:

  • Does the home seem well insulated? Does it feel cold, damp or drafty? Or is it warm and inviting?
  • Are there any damp odors when you initially walk in, or in certain parts of the house?
  • Are there any signs of mold?
  • What are the grounds like in the rain? Do you foresee any potential problems with the layout regarding rain?
Lighting Rest Cup Relaxation Cozy Stockings

3. The Hygge factor: Hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga,” is a popular Danish concept that describes feelings of well-being, coziness, and contentment attained by focusing on the simple pleasures in life such as sipping a cup of tea, sitting by the fireplace, reading a book while bundled in a blanket, or just watching the rain from the window. It’s a way of approaching the winter months with the attitude that they don’t have to be spent uncomfortable or miserable. But of course the home you live in plays a big part in being able to live with this mindset throughout the winter.

Ask yourself which of the homes you’re looking at possess the Hygge factor?

4. Less competition: In addition to weather-specific factors, there’s also less competition from other buyers if you buy in the winter rather than during the peak buying seasons of spring and summer. With less overall buyers, you’ll receive a warmer welcome from home owners eager to sell. They’ll also be more willing to work with you and make some compromises since there are less buyers to choose from.

5. Cost: Finally, there’s the cost. According to NerdWallet, homes cost an average of 8.45% less in the winter than in summer. Again, with less competition, buyers may get the upper hand, with sellers may be more willing to negotiate.

Natives of Portland, and those who have been residing here for some time, have an against-the-grain attitude that being a Portlander means not letting the weather hold you back from doing things in the wetter seasons—buying a home is no exception.

So take a look at the winter listings and don’t’ forget to grab your rain jacket and a hot cup of coffee when you head to a viewing.


How to Get Organized in the New Year

How to Get Organized in the New Year

“New Year—new you,” as the saying goes. But after you’ve made your resolutions and set your goals, you may just find your energy feeling a little stuck in all your clutter. So how can you get organized in the New Year and energize the course you charted to your wildest dreams?

By simplifying things in the place you rejuvenate—at home.

Declutter and breathe

There’s no rule that says you must wait until spring to declutter your home. On the contrary, with all the additional items that find a way into our living space during the holidays (gifts, wrapping paper, party supplies, etc.), the beginning of the new year makes for a perfect time to simplify, organize, discard, and otherwise downsize for the year ahead.

Because clutter creeps up gradually over time, we’re often unaware of how it can weigh on us, surreptitiously impeding both relaxation and our ability to focus. Even a handful of random items haphazardly placed here or there can make a room feel in disarray and take away from the feeling of calm we might otherwise enjoy.

Only once we experience being in a clean, simplified space again do we realize how much the clutter has been negatively impacting us.

Dive in

Despite our good intentions, downsizing can feel overwhelming. How often do we say to ourselves, “I’ll do that tomorrow?” The most important thing is to get started.

According to a poll on GaGa Sisterhood, some of the most common roadblocks people face are:

  • Getting started
  • Finding time
  • Emotional attachment to things
  • Decisions about what to keep and toss
  • Overwhelmed by where to start

The ideal living space

Ultimately, the goal is to create a serene living environment. One that is conducive to doing the things that we need and want to do, without any physical or mental barriers.

Although each room presents it’s own unique challenges (and should be taken on individually) there are some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Everything should have its own “home” location, an agreed-upon place where it can be easily accessed when needed, without having to root around or ask someone else where it is.  
  • Surfaces should be kept as clear as possible, otherwise they turn into dumping grounds.
  • In most cases, there’s no need to have four or five of an item—one will suffice.
  • Use a label maker to mark where items go when it’s a shared space with lots of stuff.

Enlist help

If you live with others, everyone should pitch in and do their part. There’s no reason one person should get stuck with the task of organizing and decluttering the space everyone shares and uses.

Or hire a professional organizer or declutterer like Netflix‘s Marie Kondo of “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” Experts like Portland’s own mavens of home reorganization, Eden and Cari over at Turnstyle, can guide you through the process, helping you to feel more confident about your choices.

How to get started

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do is mark a date on your calendar for when to begin.

Avoid self-sabotage by making sure it’s a day that you, and everyone you’ve enlisted to help, actually have free. Also, don’t schedule it too far in advance. Try for within two weeks from when you made the initial decision to declutter.

Make a plan of attack

Before the big day arrives, it’s a good idea to plan your strategy. Tackling one room at a time is the best course of action if you’re going it alone. But if you have a lot of helpers, assigning one room per person can allow you to power through quickly, as long as everyone is on the same page.

If you’re feeling less than motivated, try starting with the smaller or easier rooms and build up to larger more involved tasks as you go. The sense of accomplishment will spur you on to bigger challenges.

For some, digging into the tough stuff right away can help you feel the worst is behind you. Only you can determine which of these approaches will work best to motivate you and your family.

Should it stay or should it go?

It can be tough deciding what stays and shoul go. Most people find it useful to use the “three pile” method: One pile for items to “Keep,” a second for things you’re “Unsure” about, and a third for “Trash/Donation.”

As a general rule of thumb, items in the “Keep” category should either be things you use on a regular basis, use seasonally or infrequently but for a specific purpose, or those that bring you joy. Everything else can go.

If you’re having anxiety about getting rid of something, here’s a list of questions from GaGa Sisterhood you can ask to help make the call:

  • Will it fit in my space?
  • When was the last time I used it?
  • Will I ever use this again?
  • What’s the worst thing that would happen if I gave it away?
  • Would it be appreciated as a donation or gift?
  • Am I keeping this out of obligation?
  • Do I have multiples of the same item?
  • Could I use the space for something else?
Up your pantry game like Southern Curls and Pearls blogger, Caitlyn Covington did, using a combination of clear containers, stylish baskets, and wire organizers.

Room by room: The kitchen

In an interview with Architectural Digest, lifestyle and organization expert Justin Klosky, who penned Organize and Create Discipline: An A-To-Z Guide to an Organized Existence, said the biggest problem people have when it comes to the kitchen is, “… not being able to see the things that they buy.”

To remedy this solution, use clear, well-marked, containers to store bulk foods, grouping like items together with duplicates forming a second row.

Get rid of multiples of cooking utensils such as tongs, spatulas, and graters—too many items means it’s harder to find them. Each item in the kitchen should have a specific spot. If a utensil drawer becomes a cluttered mess, use organizers and labels to keep things tidy and in their home.

The bathroom

One of the potentially messier and most frequently used rooms in a person’s home, the bathroom, is also one of the most important to keep neat and tidy.

Even more than the kitchen, everything in the bathroom should have its place and should not be haphazardly piled together.

It’s vital to go through everything in the bathroom regularly, discarding expired products or ones you haven’t used in the last six months. If necessary, upgrade your medicine cabinet. Invest in one that is well-made and has ample shelving to store everything you need.

Above all else, keep the bathroom clean to preserve a pleasant atmosphere for your well-being and that of your guests.

The living room

The living room is a space that can easily get out of hand if not managed. Keep items like newspapers, magazines, TV remotes, throw blankets, and toys out of sight by using tasteful containers that fit right in with your décor.

Get rid of excess shelving that crowds the room by going digital with movies and books.

Make sure you actually need all the furniture in the room—too much seating can lead to a cramped space. Ideally, everyone should be able to sit comfortably but without feeling crowded.

These lidded seagrass baskets by Serena and Lily provide an elegant solution to practical storage and home organization needs.

The bedroom

Your bedroom should feel like a sanctuary—a place of reprieve at the end of a long day. Avoid a cluttered bed by not using a bunch of extra decorative pillows. Keep nightstands and other surfaces clear of books, papers, watches, etc.

Keep clothes off of the floor using chic clothes hamper or elegant lidded basket placed nearby like Instagram user Erin Broege of @theheartandhaven did so you don’t have to cross the room or open a closet door when you’re exhausted.

Maximize your bedroom closet, going through it regularly and donating items you haven’t used or worn in the last year.

Stay on top of it

Now, that you’ve decluttered and reorganized your home, the key is to maintain it. All this requires is a simple mindset change from “getting organized” to “staying organized.”

Staying organized takes little everyday efforts, as you move throughout your day like putting your carry-with-you items away immediately upon entering the house, or getting rid of something old when you bring home a new purchase, or asking yourself questions like, “Do I really need to keep this?”

Here are some tips you can use to keep the molehill from turning into a mountain:

  • Do a little bit of smaller chores everyday—don’t underestimate what ten minutes of tidying up in the morning and/or evening can do.
  • Be aware of what you and others in your family are bringing into the house. Is it something you really need or that brings you happiness?
  • Follow the golden rule of accumulation elimination: For every new item you bring into the home, get rid of something to make room for it.
  • Take an inventory of your belongings quarterly to avoid a bigger undertaking in the future.  

Streamline your empty nest  

Another thing to consider is reducing clutter for the next generation. As your children become grown and move to a later stage of life, it’s a good time to start thinking about the kind of situation you’ll be leaving behind for them and any potential future grandchildren.

Avoid saddling your loved ones with the responsibility of sorting through a lifetime’s worth of belongings by downsizing now, while you’re still mentally and physically able to make these choices for yourself.

Follow these practical tips for organizing your home and you just might find that like Albert Einstein once said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity,” and as Kondo says, “Spark joy!”