Dec 162016
 

Snow Day!!!

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On Wednesday we left work early because daycare was closing early–which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We picked up the baby and got home in no time at all and I was able to work from home for a few hours. Unfortunately, a lot of people I know, and some coworkers, didn’t get as lucky. Lots of people’s commutes were 2-4 hours!! Lots of cars got stuck, crashed, people abandoned their cars and walked, some people took cabs and got gouged for outrages rates, a school bus with kids inside slid down an icy hill and crashed (everyone was ok). It was chaos! For only a few inches!

To be fair, it doesn’t snow often in Portland–usually we get hit with ice and that’s worse. But not many of us local PNW-ers are experienced driving in snow AND it’s so hilly that roads get icy and treacherous, and so the city pretty much shuts down.

Thursday work was closed and so I did a little bit of work on my laptop (when I had some, which wasn’t much) but basically I had a snow day too! YAY!

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Logan let us sleep in a bit, which was a nice bonus, and Michael made breakfast burritos. Then I worked out in my living room.

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Snowed In Workout

Warm-up with resistance bands

Push-ups: 2 sets of 10

Bicep curls with resistance band: 3 sets of 10

Chest press with 2 15 pound dumbbells: 3 sets of 10

Overhead Triceps with 2 15 pound dumbbells: 3 sets of 10

Mountain Climbers: 4 sets of 20

Kettlebell Swing with 20 pound KB: 4 sets of 10

Squats: 3 sets of 10

Plank Jacks: 4 sets of 15

Abs:

V-ups: 3 sets of 15

Toe touches with 8lb ball: 3 sets of 20

Bird Dogs: 3 sets of 10 each side

Cobra: 4 sets of 10

Glute Bridge: 4 sets of 12

Plank: 30 second hold twice

Finished up with PT exercises for back and stretching.

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Logan’s playmate works great as a workout matt, too! 😉

I’m super happy with my home workout! Even though I was snowed in and couldn’t get to the gym–I was able to get some fitness in. I immediately felt better after working out. And trust me, it’s been a rough month and a half of being sick and my fitness being super spotty. So it was an extra bonus to work out consistently this week (despite the weather!).

Later, Michael braved the weather and picked up some groceries. He got some tomato bisque and made us grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it.

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It really hit the spot!

The rest of the afternoon I did some work, took a nap (I wasn’t feeling great still) and Logan took a nap and then I made us dinner.

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I was a vegetarian for about 10 years a long time ago. I’ve talked about it before, and how I was a terrible vegetarian. And while I’m no longer a vegetarian, I do tend to lean more towards vegetarian meals when I have to cook for myself. Thankfully I’m a little better at it these days and don’t just eat crap AND there are much better options out there for vegetarians than when I was one.

I really love Angela’s recipes at Oh She Glows. Not only is her website gorgeous, the recipes I’ve tried have been really good–even if they ARE vegan/vegetarian.

I’ve had this particular recipe for a few months now and finally made it. The snowy, cold weather just seemed fitting for a hearty soup.

Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 7 cups

Calories per serving: 282 calories

Note from author: I tried a version using light canned coconut milk and one using full-fat canned coconut milk, and I greatly prefer the full-fat coconut milk version (shocker, I know). I recommend following suit, but if all you have on hand is light canned coconut milk that’ll work in a pinch—it just won't be as rich and creamy.

From: http://ohsheglows.com/2016/04/03/glowing-spiced-lentil-soup/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (280 grams) diced onion (1 medium/large)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (15-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 (15-ounce/398 mL) can full-fat coconut milk*
  • 3/4 cup (140 grams) uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste (for a kick of heat!)
  • 1 (5-ounce/140-gram) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion softens.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom until combined. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, salt, and plenty of pepper. Add red pepper flakes or cayenne, if desired, to taste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
  4. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, for about 18 to 22 minutes, until the lentils are fluffy and tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted. Add the lime juice to taste. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted bread and lime wedges.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51207

The recipe was REALLY easy. Like seriously. You can easily make this on a work night when you don’t have a lot of time. I prepped stuff (chopped onion, garlic, got all the ingredients out) and that took about 10 minutes and then I played with Logan and when it was time to really start cooking Michael took the baby and got him ready for bed.

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I used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth because neither of us are vegetarian and I kinda wanted a little more flavor in it. Other than that, I followed the recipe completely. She said you could add chard, kale or spinach. I used kale and baby spinach.

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I opened a bottle of wine and toasted some asiago bread, topping it with the garlic Irish butter.

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It was so good! It was the perfect dinner for a snowed-in day.

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It was hearty and filling and completely satisfying. I really enjoyed the dinner. (Even though I was congested from yet another cold.) Michael said it would be better with some sausage in it–maybe so. Like I said above, I am usually cool with vegetarian meals. So I don’t necessarily feel like the dish was lacking because it didn’t have meat. But you can easily add something to this and I think it would still work.

I think our dinners were about a serving and a half. I have about 3 or 4 servings of leftovers and I think it will taste even better after sitting overnight.

After dinner we watched a few episodes of WestWorld. 🙂

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?