Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

Oct 292014
 

A few weeks after our wedding the certificate finally arrived. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t an actual certificate and just an official form that had been certified. Kinda lame, but whatever. I took a half day off from work to go to the Social Security Office and DMV to get that done first.

I have to say, the SS office is hell on earth. The DMV was actually fine. That took like 30 minutes, start to finish, and they had like 9 or 10 people working the counter so the line moved very quickly. Social Security? Not so much. I got there about a half hour after they had opened and the place was full.

There were people standing, there were a few empty seats but they were so scrunched together I felt claustrophobic. The waiting room sucked. Why did they have to make it so awful? The chairs were all in a line (similar to the photo below) in four rows. Who creates a waiting room like this?

ss

The chairs were all facing the same direction, looking at basically a wall and the screen updating the numbers. Hell on earth. Seriously. The numbers moved at a snail’s pace and seemed to have no rhyme or reason. People were coughing, sneezing, there were kids fussing, there were angry people arguing with the workers. Ugh. Just awful. I was there for nearly an hour and a half and 5 minutes of that was the ACTUAL process of changing my name and getting a new card. 5 minutes. The rest was waiting; feeling like your number is never going to be called.

But, the good news is that it’s done and I am now officially Mrs. W!

For our 1 month anniversary (I know, I know, eye roll) I cooked us dinner at home and I also made Michael his favorite drink–an Old Fashioned. I’ve never made it before so I did my research and I bought some fancy bitters to make it official! Here is the recipe I used:

Old Fashioned
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
From: http://liquor.com/recipes/bourbon-old-fashioned/#.
Ingredients
  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp Sugar (or 2 sugar cubes)
  • 1 Orange wheel
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • 1 splash Club soda
  • 2 oz Bourbon
Instructions
  1. In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the bitters, sugar, orange wheel, cherry and a splash of soda. Remove the orange rind, add the bourbon and fill with ice.
  2. Garnish with a fresh orange wheel and cherry.
  3. Old Fashioned drinkers are divided on the question of muddling the fruit. To prepare the traditional version, muddle only the sugar, bitters and splash of soda but keep the fruit as garnishes.

I didn’t quite get the muddling down, I need to give it another try. Other than that, it was pretty easy to make and Michael loved it! I’m so glad.

oldfashioned

oldfashioned2

For dinner I made us a baked gnocchi dish and used our new French Onion Soup LeCreuset bowls that we got as a wedding gift. They were perfect for this recipe. No, I did not make the gnocchi from scratch. I’ve never done that before and while sometimes I think I want to give it a try, I also kind just want to use the easy stuff from Trader Joe’s…

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato and mozzarella

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3-4 servings

Calories per serving: 820 for 3 servings

From: http://simply-delicious-food.com/2013/07/16/baked-gnocchi-with-bacon-tomato-and-mozzarella/

Ingredients

  • 500g store-bought gnocchi
  • 250g bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream/yoghurt
  • large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 100g mozzarella, sliced

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  3. In the meantime, make the sauce.
  4. In a large, hot frying pan, fry the bacon until starting to crisp with most of the fat rendered.
  5. Pour off most of the fat then add the garlic and smoked paprika and fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add all of the tomatoes and the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream/yoghurt, parsley and seasoning.
  8. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water until it starts floating to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.
  9. Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an oven-proof dish and top with the sliced mozzarella.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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The recipe was pretty easy to make. I cooked the bacon and when it was time to add the tomatoes I used canned tomatoes from my garden! It was so cool to be able to finally use them for something and they worked great. I am so glad I spent the time the summer to can all of those romas.

dinner1

The recipe called for either cream or yogurt. I thought I had some plain Greek yogurt (because I almost always have some on hand) but I was out! I panicked for a second and then googled what alternatives I could use. I found a website that gave some other options and one of them was sour cream–which I did have on hand. So I used about 2 tablespoons of that and it added such a rich, tangy flavor pretty similar to what plain Greek yogurt would have done. It was amazing.

dinner2

The recipe claimed to be 2-3 servings. When I was measuring everything out I thought it was more like 4 servings. But when I spooned everything into the Le Creuset bowls it turned out to be three generous servings. I love our new bowls! They worked perfectly for this. I baked them for about 15 minutes (using the broiler for the last 5 of those) to brown the cheese on top.

gnocchi1

It smelled so good. But then, doesn’t bacon always smell good?? So whenever I do a new recipe I always check the calorie count online first. Sometimes I disregard certain recipes if the calories are too high. This is the ONE TIME I didn’t do that first and of course, the calories were a lot higher than I’d normally like. Oh well, it was fantastic….so worth it! Look at this dinner:

gnocchi2

It was so amazing and an easy enough recipe to make for a dinner party and impress everyone. Michael loved it. I loved it. I wanted to keep eating it. This recipe was a winner! Michael mentioned that adding some fresh basil would be nice and I agree. Next time I’ll add some fresh rosemary and basil to the recipe.

gnocchi3

We sat at our bar in the kitchen and ate our delicious dinner, listening to some jazz music. Michael enjoyed is Old Fashioned and I broke out the mini bottle of champagne that we got on our wedding night from the hotel manager that we never actually drank. To one month! Cheers!

I will most definitely be making this recipe again. When I do, I will portion it out into 4 servings instead of 3 and I’ll serve a spinach salad with it or something. That will reduce the calories in the dish dramatically. It’s a heavy dish, so reducing it a little and making a salad would make sense. Make this recipe! You won’t be disappointed.

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Oct 282014
 

Goodbye summer!

Fall is here. We were soaking up the sun in Hawaii when Fall officially arrived to the NW. We got back to cooler temperatures, leaves turning colors and pumpkin everything. It seemed too soon and out of place. But after a week or so of being home, I started to settle in and welcome the coming autumn weather. Cozy sweaters, fires in the fireplace, hot tea, and soup.

from http://livinginportlandor.blogspot.com/

from http://livinginportlandor.blogspot.com/

I found this recipe somewhere…it’s not a blog I’ve ever read and I honestly don’t know what search I did that brought me to it but once I found it I thought, I need to make this! I knew Michael would love it. He’s a huge fan of spinach and wants to eat more of it. I have not-so-fond memories of cooked spinach from my childhood. In fact, they were so horrible that I never ate spinach again until I met Michael. I remember we were first dating and he made me this Greek scrambled egg breakfast with spinach in it and I wrinkled my nose and said “I hate spinach.”

Lo and behold, I didn’t hate spinach. I just hated the frozen spinach slop defrosted in a microwave and used as a side dish at dinner. Ever since then I’ve found that I actually quite like it and it went GREAT in this recipe. It was one of the highlights I think.

photo 1

I cooked the veggies in a skillet and heat the tomatoes and broth in a separate stockpot. It’s actually a wedding gift! Le Creuset stock pot from Michael’s coworkers. Very generous gift that we will use often. This was the maiden voyage of said pot.

photo 2

photo 3

So I cooked the onions, carrots and celery separately and then added that to the stockpot of broth. The recipe was vegetarian but had options to make it not vegetarian. I didn’t have vegetable broth so I used about 1 cup of leftover beef broth and the rest was chicken broth. I had some leftover hamburger meat I needed to cook up so we browned that in the skillet with the garlic and then added that to the pot, too. I’d say it was roughly about the amount you’d use for one hamburger. It wasn’t much and I wish it had been a little more.

Here is the recipe:

ITALIAN ORZO SPINACH SOUP

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Calories per serving: 300-400 calories depending on servings

From: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/italian-orzo-spinach-soup-recipe/

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) DeLallo whole wheat orzo pasta, or other whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 4 cups loosely-packed spinach
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, orzo (pasta), thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine.
  2. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
  4. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed). Serve warm.
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I’ve never had orzo before (shocking) and I liked it a lot! Kind of a cross between brown rice and tiny pasta…I got roughly 7 servings out of this recipe. I topped the soup with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

photo 4

Michael said it was okay; I liked the recipe a lot but I’d make one change: I’d use spicy ground pork in it. I think the spice would go great with the rest of the flavors.

So while the evening darkened outside and we settled in to watch The Walking Dead, we ate our soup and felt it warm us from the inside. I love soup weather! We shared a few glasses of a sweet, smooth Malbec wine and it went perfectly with the soup.

I had some leftovers that I ate for lunch during the week. It was less soupy then because the orzo soaked up most of the broth. Despite that, it was still really tasty and it might even have been better the next day. I liked this dinner and would make it again. I’d probably also make some biscuits to go with it. Perfect fall meal for not many calories!

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