Nov 222016
 

Saturday turned out to be a really nice day! I planned on going to the gym but Michael suggested we go for a walk as a family since it was so sunny and kind of warm out. It turned out to be a really lovely walk.

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Not too bad of a calorie burn for a long walk/jog. It was nice to go out as a family, too.

Also over the weekend, it was my cousin Anna’s bridal shower. Her friend Shawna planned a super fun and unique shower for her–a cooking lesson! Her friend Bernadette, who has been a chef in many Portland restaurants and now does some catering on her own, taught a cooking lesson for the shower and it was so much fun!

We were all instructed to bring our favorite recipe for Anna and $10 in one dollar bills…hmmm…what could that be for?? 😉

Turned out there were a few rules for the party. You couldn’t mention the honeymoon, their new house or the fiance by name and if you did you had to put $1 in a jar as a tax. It was a funny idea. The money in the jar was going towards the purchase of a Kitchenaid Mixer for the happy couple. I love that idea!

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There were some snacks out while we mingled. Cheese, fruit, crackers, French bread. Lots of wine, sparkling water and lemon water. It was a big group, too, and my mom drove down and stayed with us overnight so she could go. A bunch of my aunts and cousins were there and it was nice to see everyone.

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We were all told to bring our favorite recipe, too. So we all decorated our recipe cards and put them in a book for Anna. My Grandma sent down her coffee cake recipe (which is the best you’d ever eat) and I put in Michael’s mac n’ cheese recipe in the book.

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The party was at my aunt Sheila’s house and the decorations were adorable.

The cooking instruction started. Dinner was salmon with Asian slaw, zucchini and rice.

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The cooking instruction was really fun and interesting and Bernadette answered questions (some just general cooking questions) and was a good teacher. She walked us through her recipe for the slaw and homemade dressing and recruited Anna to do the mixing:

Then she walked us through making the sauce for the salmon. It was tamari, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes and cornstarch with water.

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We all got to taste the sauce after it thickened up and it was almost like a tangy, tamari caramel sauce. It was SO good!!!

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Here is the finished product:

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The food was absolutely delicious! Shawna is going to email everyone the recipe soon and when I get it I will post it. I definitely want to make that sauce because it was so amazing. I also loved that it was a simple, healthy, low-calorie meal that anyone could make.

After dinner we had dessert. Anna’s mom made a chocolate/whipped cream/walnut dessert and a raspberry cheesecake bar dessert. I had a small piece of both.

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The cooking lesson was a blast and it inspired me to look into some cooking classes in the future. It’s something I’ve done in the past and had fun but never stuck with.

It was such a fun night. I was so glad we all got together and celebrated the upcoming wedding. It’s going to be a blast!

Question: Have you ever had a cooking lesson? What did you learn to cook?

Oct 182016
 

I go to Trader Joe’s once a month. Generally I skip a lot of the produce there because it’s really expensive and nothing special. I just don’t see the worth in it. I can get similar organic produce at my Fred Meyer. And during the summer I usually buy my produce at a local farm stand by the house.

But Trader Joe’s is the perfect spot for specialty items.

I generally buy most of my cheese at TJ’s. You can try tons of different kind of fun flavored cheeses and it’s not that expensive! Definitely my favorite go-to cheese spot. And if I’m craving Indian food, I love the TJ options.

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Some of my favorite TJ finds that I get every time: 

  • The Vegetable Masala Burger (these veggie burgers are DELICIOUS!! and only 140 calories)
  • Kefir
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (great for on top of steaks or in salads)
  • TJ smoked Gouda slices (great for snacks and only 100 calories)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cubed butternut squash (because I’m lazy)

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  • The fingerling potatoes are super cheap at TJ’s and delicious with breakfast
  • A big bag of kale
  • Chocolate
  • TJ pizza dough (I buy a bag every time I go and throw it in the freezer for the next time we want homemade pizza)

New to me this trip:

  • Riced Cauliflower – after hearing about this for like a year I finally decided to buy a bag and see what all the fuss is about
  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • Cinnamon instant oatmeal
  • Tri-colored carrots (I know they’re just regular carrots, I got taken in by the purple ones–what can I say?)

So after my grocery visit I whipped up lunch while Logan took a nap. Roasted butternut squash, sliced apple and a slice of Smoked Gouda cheese. It hit the spot on the gray, rainy day.

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Portland was hit with some stormy weather this weekend. I was glad I went out in the morning to get my grocery shopping finished before the wind and rain got really bad. (The so-called storm of the century never really hit, by the way.)

I was craving some comfort food. After a week of being sick and the rainy Fall weather, all I wanted was some soup and biscuits. I made the buttermilk biscuits from Trader Joe’s and then this soup:

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The mixture made a ton of food! But that was good for lunches for the week. And I froze a ridiculous amount. Seriously, make this if you have to feed 10 people!

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Yes, I did use the “good” wine in this recipe! The only change I made to the recipe was using spicy sausage instead of mild. Because we always like spicy more than “mild”!

Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits:

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Damn, these biscuits are to die for.

I ended up leaving out the zucchini at Michael’s request. After eating the soup I agreed that the zucchini would be a weird addition, even though it called for it.

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I don’t know that I’m a good critic of this soup because I’ve been sick with a head cold turned sinus infection turned bronchitis…I asked Michael what he thought of the soup because it tasted “bland” to me…and he was like “um it tastes like fire”…so yeah. 😉 Not a good gauge. But I will say that it felt very hearty and filling and healthy. And the biscuits were the perfect addition!

What are your favorite must-have Trader Joe’s items?