Dec 092014
 

Every year I’ve said I wanted to do the whole “go to a tree farm and cut your own tree down” thing. I never had this experience as a kid, and still haven’t done it as an adult. Well we finally did it!

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On Saturday there was a break in the rain and so we trekked over to the tree farm near our house. I’d seen the sign that said $20 ANY tree! U-Cut! Sign me up. We walked all over the tree farm to find the perfect tree. I tend to like the smaller trees (around my height or shorter) and Michael wanted a taller tree. I also tend to gravitate towards the derpy trees that no one else wants. (Same with animals: perusing rescue websites I always want to adopt the animal that is missing a leg or something.)

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Anyways, we found half a dozen trees that seemed pretty good but kept looking. Then we got to the point where there were SO many options we had to just pick one. We picked one.

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It was a happy medium sized tree that was fluffy and only had one bald spot. :) Which was okay, that side of the tree would be against the wall. No one would know!

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We took turns sawing the tree, but Michael did the bulk of it. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and didn’t take too long to chop down. I carried it downhill (humble brag) with only one hand! Thank you Warrior Room!!

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We got the tree home and trimmed the bottom, put it in the stand and spent the next hour putting the lights and ornaments on. I remember how much I HATE the light part. It’s my least favorite part of the Christmas tree experience. The ornaments? It’s the best part.  I had a few new ornaments to put on the tree, including one from my friend (more on that later). Bella supervised from the couch. Oddly enough the cats were nowhere to be seen. They are usually right underneath the tree the second it gets in the house.

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It was a good day!

The weekend didn’t stop there. I stopped in to the Eastside Distillery for a little Christmas shopping. I saw this new product and HAD to have a sample! They had samples of all their products in the bar. I tried the egg nog liqueur first. It was pretty good, really strong, but I didn’t think it was necessary. Get a jug of nog at the grocery story and spike it with your favorite booze and you have a great drink. The Peppermint Bark Liqueur however? That stuff was gold! It was AMAZING. It was a shot of chocolate peppermint goodness. It was so tasty and I almost bought a bottle. Almost. It was really expensive, sadly.

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I also recently went to a new(ish) restaurant with my cousin Anna. I had a Groupon for the new Salvador Molly’s restaurant that opened in Sellwood. There used to be one on SE Belmont Street, a trendy area here in Portland. I’d been to that restaurant like a over a decade ago and I remembered liking it so when the Groupon came out I was excited to try it again.

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The prices are affordable. The drinks were super cheap, too. Anna got the Angry Pineapple (what a great name) — it was pineapple juice, lime juice and infused Thai chili vodka. It had a kick! I got the Coco-Tini, a coconut rum martini. It was like drinking candy. Both drinks were delicious but not very strong, so that was slightly disappointing. They also had a great beer list, too.

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Anna got the kahlua pork entree and I got the Bulgogi Korean tacos. They were steak bites in Bulgogi marinade topped with spicy aioli sauce. It came with dirty rice and black beans on the side. It was so fantastic. The taco meat was flavorful, slightly sweet, and spicy. I loved them. I would eat ten more of these tacos! So good!

I want to go back and get more of those tacos. And…I kinda want that peppermint bark liqueur. I keep thinking about it…Wouldn’t it be a nice adult beverage next to that Christmas tree?? I think so!

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Nov 242014
 

I am so glad I’m not sick anymore. Having bronchitis and being segregated in the house for four days straight made me stir crazy and aching for some social interaction!

Friday

First swim in two weeks! Bronchitis is an ass-kicker. I wasn’t sure how I’d do because swimming is the #1 barometer on fitness in my opinion. If you are not up to par you will know it immediately in the pool. I had my inhaler with me just in case, but didn’t need it. I was able to swim and breathe normally and didn’t cough once! The only thing I noticed was I was getting really tired towards the end of the swim. Despite all that I did 1.125 miles without any breaks and felt great.

Saturday

Back at the Warrior Room! Thank goodness. I was still not back to normal. My stamina isn’t fabulous. My muscles were getting fatigued quicker than normal and I had to stop to rest in between sets. Other than that the class was really fun and the workout was challenging. There was one set we did where we held kettle bells in each hand and did front raises then Ashley would say “hold” and we’d have to hold the kettlebells in mid-air. It is SO MUCH harder than it sounds, trust me. Even with super light weight kettle bells it was brutal. Then we did the same thing with side lateral raises and holds. Ouch!

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Later on Saturday we went to our friend’s house for a housewarming party. They bought a house together recently and have been fixing it up so this was our change to catch up with them and see the new place.

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Michael made his famous mac n’ cheese to bring. Trust me, this is the perfect mac n’ cheese recipe. If you ever make this for a potluck or holiday party, be prepared to be nominated to make it for every following potluck for the rest of your life. Word will spread. People will request it. Trust me, I know. Michael made it one year for my family Christmas party and I think there would be a mutiny if he ever skipped it a year!

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While I ate some of the mac n’ cheese, I tried to limit how much because it’s so high in calories. I was trying to practice what I preached when it came to holiday eating…try a little bit of everything I want but don’t go overboard.

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Christi also made some roasted nuts that were AMAZING and I ended up eating way too many of those babies. They were seriously so good. Butter, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, rosemary and thyme. Amazing. We ended up playing Cards Against Humanity for a few hours and before we knew it, it was really late. It was a fun night though!

Sunday

Sunday I was finally back to yoga class. I’d missed it. So had my stiff joints and muscles. I also got in a two mile run on the treadmill before class. Which was nice because both things loosened up my tight muscles after the Warrior Room Saturday.

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After class Michael and I went over to a friend’s house for lunch and board games! Something else I had missed terribly lately.

My friend Courtney made chili so I found a cornbread recipe and made that. I decided to do mini muffins and used my mini muffin tray that we got as a wedding present. I liked the mini size. :) Because I used the mini muffin tray and I substituted the Splenda Blend, the calorie came out to 60 calories per muffin. Obviously if you do regular sized muffins that will change.

Cornbread Muffins

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 or 32 depending on size

Serving Size: 1 muffin

From: http://princesspinkygirl.com/delicious-cornbread-muffins/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Combine milk, egg and butter/margarine and mix well.
  4. Combine the dry and liquid ingredients in a bowl and mix (do not overmix, should be slightly lumpy).
  5. Pour batter into a well greased muffin pan.
  6. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=44890

I made three changes to the recipe: first I substituted Splenda Blend for the sugar and then I added about 1/4 cup of corn kernels. I like cornbread that has actual corn in it. Lastly, I heated the oven at 350 instead of 400 because they are so much smaller than other muffins. I thought they might get overdone.

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I liked the muffins and I liked the flavor. They were a little on the dry side eating them on their own. But with some butter melted on top or with chili, they were fine. I’d make these again but I’d probably add maybe some shredded cheese to make them a little moister? Other than that it was good.

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I love chili! It was fantastic and she used chunks of beef instead of just ground beef. It was really good and next time I make chili I want to try using chunks of beef in it. Usually I just do ground turkey or beef. This was a nice variation.

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We played two games, Love Letter and Gloom. They were both really fun. I liked the Gloom game but it was really involved and intricate. I need to play it a few more times to really get it I think.

It was the kind of weekend that was jam-packed and I didn’t have any downtime to myself, but it was worth it. It was a ton of fun!

Do you have any game recommendations? Looking for something new!

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