Summer's ending?? Oh no...

Wow this summer has flown by for us! Sierra and I have had a blast with great hikes with our guests, lots of bear and deer chasing and wonderful basking in the sunshine on the decks! Our guests last week shared a few photos from our adventures on the trails with them. There is just a touch of fall color on a few of the trees and it looks like the next 2 months are going to continue to be glorious for enjoying the beauty of the cascades before winter arrives. Any chance you can get away? We have scattered space until mid November and would love to have you over to relax and play! Cheers, Millie V, Lodge Concierge

Mother's Day plans?

What are you having for your Mother’s Day appetizers? Maybe Thai turkey lettuce wraps and roasted strawberry crostini’s? Looks delicious! We have a few rooms still open if you can join us for a perfect weekend in the Cascades to celebrate the special partner your kids call “mom”! Sierra and I are ready to join you on a hike in the woods with great wildflowers, birds and morel mushroom hunting! Come play! Love, Millie V

Enter Spring!!!
Happy May Day!! Come over and play!

Happy May Day!! Come over and play!

Spring has arrived! Spectacular weather with clear skies, sunny days and chilly nights. Looks like an amazing wildflower show is in store for the Cascades. The meadows yellow balsam root is blooming everywhere enjoying the sunshine! Lupine and Larkspur will be next as well as trillium, Indian paintbrush and so many more. The spring morel hunt is just starting…. the treasure awaits us!!! This year our WA state bird, the American goldfinch flock has decided that the lodge is the perfect hang out. We must have close to 50 of these gorgeous birds decorating our trees and filling the air with their song. The ruby throat and roufous hummingbirds are draining the feeder every few days as they await the sweet nectar of the fruit blossoms and lilacs which should bloom in a few weeks. The bear are awake and we have had visits from a few of our known gang ( Bailey & Lil Guy) and a few visits from a new fella we have named “Pete”.

May is simply stunning over here! There is scattered availability and we would love to fit you in for a visit to enjoy spring renewal yourself! You can relax, rest, read and enjoy the solitude and peaceful breeze under the trees or poolside or hit the trails! Hiking, biking and white water rafting are fantastic now. Here’s Brad on his daily ride wishing you all a Happy May Day! Millie & Sierra are excited to welcome you to their slice of paradise before the busy summer season arrives…. Cheers from the mountain!

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Amazing dessert with vanilla ice cream or as a morning coffeecake.   Found this great recipe on a food blog called It was delicious and comes together easily.  

With baking, I recommend you either weigh the flour or use the “spooning in” method for measuring rather than scooping in your cup which often is too much flour and leads to a heavy crumb.  Take a large spoon and spoon flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife; don’t pack or tap it down.  

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake  



1⁄2 cup (8 tablespoons /4 oz/ 113 g ) unsalted butter, room temperature 

zest from 1 large lemon

1 cup (214 g) sugar (set aside 1 tablespoon for sprinkling)

1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups (256 g) all-purpose flour (set aside 1/4 cup of this to toss with the blueberries) 

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt ( or 3/4 tsp if using salted butter) 

2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over

1⁄2 cup buttermilk



1.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, cream the butter with the lemon zest and the 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of sugar until light and fluffy.

2.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with 1⁄4 cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3.  Add half of the flour mixture to the batter, and stir with spatula to incorporate. Add all of the buttermilk. Stir. Add remaining flour, and stir until flour is absorbed. Fold in the blueberries. (Leave excess flour from the blueberry bowl behind.)

4. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar—I prefer an 8-inch pan because I like the thicker pieces) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. If you have parchment paper on hand, line the pan with parchment on top of the butter. Spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the batter with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes — a 9-inch pan will be done in closer to 35 minutes; an 8-inch pan usually needs 40 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Vegetarain chili even Brad likes!

On cold winter nights Mom makes lots of soups and I wanted to share her and dad’s current favorite... vegetarian chili! Aka “You cannot believe it doesn’t have meat chili!” Mom says “this how we get dad (Brad) to eat all his vegetables”. Haha!!! I personally love carrots and Sierra still is into her pinecone fetish… I think Mom needs to make us carrot and cone soup, don’t you?!

Enjoy warmth from the Lodge kitchen into your home with a pot of easy to make chili this weekend. Cheers in the new year! Love, Millie

veg chili.jpeg

VEGETARIAN CHILI - Makes about 1 3/4 quarts

This is a recipe from The Frog Commissary cookbook with a few MHL changes.  You will NOT believe there is no meat in this, nor that canned beans are used in this. There are alot of ingredients, but all are kitchen staples so it comes together easily. Note:  This is even better made a day ahead, but if you do so you will need to add another 1 to 2 c of tomato juice* as the wheat drinks up some of the liquid overnight.  


1/3 c olive oil

2 c finely chopped onion

3/4 c chopped celery                 

1 c chopped green peppers

1 c chopped carrots 

4 cloves minced garlic

2 c chopped mushrooms

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste) 

1 Tbsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp dried basil

2 Tbspchili powder

3/4 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 c tomato juice* 

3/4 c bulger wheat

2 c chopped tomatoes

2 -14.5oz cans  undrained kidney beans (When we make this at the Lodge we are doubling or tripling the recipe so we prefer to use a variety such as kidney and white cannellini, navy and/or  butter beans) 

1/2 tsp tabasco

2 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c dry red or white wine

1 - 4oz can chopped canned green chilies 


* Have all ingredients ready.  

* Heat olive oil in a large skillet (or dutch oven). Over high heat add the onions, celery, green peppers, carrots, garlic mushrooms, spices, salt and pepper.  

* Cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, stirring.

* Reduce the heat and simmer 20-40 minutes, uncovered.

* If too thick, the chili can be thinned with additional tomato juice. 

Serve with sour cream, green onions and grated cheese.  


Nature's Christmas tree...

This shot was taken last week of our gorgeous tamarack (larch) beaming in the sunshine. He is an amazing specimen. This species in the pine family is one of the few that actually changes color in the fall and will drop all his needles as winter settles in! Many ask is that tree dead when viewed with needles littered about the snow? Nope, he is deciduous and will produce beautifiul bright green needles and cones come spring. He makes an outstanding Christmas tree in the woods for all the forest animals to enjoy doesn’t he? Happiest of holidays - Love Millie Vanilli

a peaceful morning...
Morning is breaking…

Morning is breaking…

Ahhh.. the beauty of an alpenglow sunrise! Sharing a shot from the lodge deck of a gorgeous dawn to remind you to take pause from the hectic holiday preparation to reflect on Nature and life.

Naturalist John Muir sums it up perfectly… “Climb the mountain and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow thier own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Season's Greetings from the girls...
I can fly!!

I can fly!!

Where has this year gone??? Pretty darn fast, but definitely one of the best as my rescue sister Sierra joined our family in late summer. We are the best of buds and of course I am teaching her the ropes. She is really smart and loves to run and play. I have shed a few pounds trying to keep up with this energetic kid! Thankfully she knows who is boss…. Cracker the cat!! Ha ha!! Just wanted to send you cheer and wish you the best of holidays and we will hope to see you on the mountain in the new year come spring!!