vodka

Wedding Day & Festivities

I left off with Anna and I lounging like lizards by the pool. It was blissful! I needed some relaxing time and some sunshine. I love the desert…

We cleaned up and got ready for the wedding and took the street car downtown. The wedding was at the Z Mansion. It was such a cool building! (When we got there we explored a little bit and there were secret passageways and all sorts of neat things.)

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There wasn’t much around there and we hadn’t eaten lunch (the vodka and pineapple didn’t count LOL). We wanted a snack so we ended up going to a Mexican restaurant across the street and sharing a snack of guacamole and chips and a quesadilla.

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Then it was time for the event! We hung out and explored the mansion a little bit during cocktail hour.

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I LOVED the wallpaper. I wonder if Michael will let me do this to our house…..? I know I just remodeled my bathroom but now I wish I had peacocks on the wall…

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The wedding was outside in the backyard. It was an intimate wedding under the trees that were decorated with fairy lights. There was a gazebo and a fountain. The colors were a creamy ivory and sage green. I loved the colors.

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Christine looked gorgeous! Her dress was simple and looked breezy and comfortable (and perfect for a hot Arizona day). Everything looked magical. I was so happy for the couple!

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She walked down the stairs and then her dad met her and walked her down the aisle. Christine and Jeremy had a very sweet, romantic and unique wedding ceremony. They each talked a little about how they met and it was funny! I was so impressed they were able to like have SPEECHES! And an ACT! Michael and I wrote our ceremony and vows so that our friend Star was the one saying everything and we just said “I Do” because we both knew we wouldn’t be able to talk much up there.

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It was very romantic and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house–even Anna who didn’t know the couple was bawling her eyes out. LOL

After the ceremony they got group pictures of all the guests and then we all kind of hung around by the bar area while we waited for the tables to be set up.

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Anna and I won the lottery with the table. Table 8 ruled! We made lots of new friends and had a blast!

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There was drinking, dancing, food, lots of laughing.

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They had anyone who wanted to come up and give a speech. Apparently I’d had just enough wine to feel bold enough to go up there. Eeeek! Had I known this was happening I would have written something but I went up there, heart pounding, and winged it.

I think my speech started off with… “Picture gray, rainy Seattle…it’s the 90’s. I’m obsessed with Nirvana and Christine is obsessed with Soundgarden. I think we both have braces and are beyond awkward…” And then Christine jumped in and said yes, and something to the effect of still being awkward (truth). I talked a little about how I met Christine in middle school and said some nice things about her and then of course, Jeremy, her new hubby, I had to comment on his excellent taste in beer. I was told later the speech was ok. I was so nervous I don’t remember much!

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We stayed pretty late and danced into the night with Awesome Table 8 (Anna suggested we have a 10 Year Table 8 Reunion) and then we walked back to the street car and headed to the hotel. It was a great wedding!

Sunday

We slept in and decided on having a very leisurely day. We got breakfast at Dunken Donuts (across the street from our hotel). I love DD!! The iced coffee is amazing. And I love how quick and easy, low-calorie and delicious the breakfast sandwiches were. That became our breakfast norm.

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Then we took the street car back to 4th Street so we could finish our sightseeing and shopping and then we checked out the University Campus.

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Lunch was Mexican food at B-Line, a cute bistro with delicious food. I got the Carne Asada tacos. It was just the right amount of food and really tasty. Another place I’d recommend if you visit Tucson.

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After that more walking, more shopping, and then back to the hotel to spend the day by the pool. I finished reading my book and started the next one, took a nap, relaxed. It was lovely! I FaceTimed with Michael and Bella by the pool. 🙂

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I had some time to kill before dinner so I ended up going to the hotel gym for another quick elliptical workout.

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Dinner was at Hub. We cleaned up and took the streetcar back downtown. The place was huge and packed! But we got a table immediately. We got tasty beverages.

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And I ordered the Veggie Burger. It was a Chipotle black bean patty with roasted red pepper aioli on a delicious brioche bun. I got a salad instead of fries. The whole meal was fantastic! I was really impressed with the food and the vibe was pretty cool.

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It had high ceilings, exposed brick walls, cool decorations and apparently they are known for their ice cream because there was a huge setup for that too. Sadly, we had to skip the ice cream because we wanted to make the last train of the night back to the hotel. We could have walked it but…we didn’t want to! So we hustled back to the train. I think on Sundays they stop running at 8pm. It was a really perfect day and I happily fell asleep early and slept like the dead.

Peppers and Puppy Dog Tails

I’m so glad this recipe turned out. I’d had a rough week and was feeling rather “fragile” when I was making this dinner and had it ended up in the garbage I feel like there would have been tears, just one more thing to go wrong. To be perfectly honest, these most recent weeks at work have been a challenge. There hasn’t been a single day where I wasn’t tempted to just walk out; but I am responsible and no matter how bad it gets I won’t leave until I find something else. I am aggressively looking and applying to other things. It’s time for a change.

But back to dinner. Thank the Goddess this dinner was delicious.

Turkey and Feta Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 pepper

Calories per serving: About 639

From: http://www.eatliverun.com/turkey-and-feta-stuffed-peppers/

Ingredients

  • 4 large green bell peppers, tops sliced off and seeds removed
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, small diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, small diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet on the stove. Once hot, add the onion and celery, and saute for 5 minutes until soft. Add the minced garlic and continue sauteing for another minute.
  3. Turn the heat to high. Add the tomato paste to the skillet and mash the onions, celery and garlic together with the paste. Cook for three minutes, stirring continuously.
  4. Add the ground turkey and brown with the veggies. This should take about six minutes.
  5. Then, add the diced tomatoes, salt, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until sauce reduces and isn’t as runny. Remove pan from heat and stir in the feta cheese.
  6. Place the green bell peppers on a tin foil-lined sheet tray. Fill each pepper with turkey and feta mixture. Once all peppers have been filled, cover peppers with a large piece of tin foil and seal.
  7. Bake peppers for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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You know what else helped my mood? The “skinny” Pina Colada I made for myself while it was cooking! For around 150 calories, I was able to enjoy a pina colada that was truly awesome and hit the spot. I suppose I was craving some island beverage; sadly, I didn’t have any umbrellas to put in my drink.

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It’s hard to screw up stuffed peppers. I’ve tried about half a dozen different kinds of stuffed pepper recipes (Stuffed PeppersSouthwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash) and they were all good in their own way. My absolute favorite was definitely the Pecan and Wild Rice-Stuffed Squash I made. Not exactly a stuffed pepper but stuffed nonetheless. I LOVED the flavors of the wild rice and the crunch of the nuts.

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And this is the part of the post where I tell you how I changed the recipe. 🙂 First, I used red and yellow peppers because they are my favorites. Second, I added some of the Costco Organic Non-Salt Seasoning, dried rosemary and extra red pepper flakes. I’m glad I did, it turned out great! It smelled so good while it was simmering on the stove. Michael commented that we just eat that instead of stuffing the peppers with it. But no, we were having peppers. I love peppers.

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I used my cupcake tin to cook the peppers in because they kept trying to fall over in all my other dishes. It worked great!

I baked the peppers at 350 for about 20 minutes or so. I could have left them in another 10 minutes I think because my pepper was still a bit “crunchy.” But it wasn’t bad. I loved this recipe. It was so tasty and it felt healthy, not like a gut bomb of food.

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The verdict from Michael was that it was a winner. We’ll definitely be eating this again in the near future. I loved the flavors–there was a sweetness to it, that I suppose is from the tomatoes and tomato paste, and there was also a nice bite of spice. I added more red pepper flakes than the recipe called for and I was glad I did. It balanced out the sweetness nicely. And of course, the cheese was perfect. 🙂

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One thing I did notice was that the stuffing part was a tad runny. I had cooked it in the skillet for the required time to reduce the liquid but there was still a lot left. I’m not sure if maybe I needed to add more paste or what. The next day I ate the leftover stuffing mixture for lunch after the gym. It was even better the next day. I measured out a serving of whole wheat pasta and added the turkey mixture then topped it with some feta.

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After lunch, Michael and I went to the Pixie Project for an afternoon of dog walking. It was such a gorgeous day. I’d been expecting rain but it was sunny and warm. The skies were perfectly blue and everything was in bloom. It would be impossible to be in a bad mood with weather like this.

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The first dog we took out was Dublin. He was a high energy dog. Michael walked him because I think Dublin would have been dragging me down the street.

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He was a while and yellow colored dog, maybe some kind of lab pit bull mix? He had a little pit bull in his face and he was STRONG. He was also a jumper and a runner. Hahaha! Look at how excited Dublin is!

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We took him around the Convention Center and let him run around in the grassy area but then he seemed to have some tummy troubles so we took him back to the shelter. I guess they got him recently, so there probably isn’t a profile for Dublin yet on their website. But most of the dogs I post pictures of are waiting for adoption–if anyone in the Portland area is interested.

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The next dog we took out was Jasmine. She was a cocker spaniel mix of some sort. She was such a sweetheart! She knew “sit” but would only sit when Michael told her to. And of course she’d get a treat if she sat. She was really well-behaved (especially compared to the very active Dublin) but she was also active in her own way. She wanted to be the leader and as volunteer dog walkers we’re not supposed to try and train or “correct behavior” but if it were my dog, I’d probably train it not to pull the leash.

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Jasmine was really sweet and super soft. She also loved her reflection in windows. She would stop and stare at herself, I suppose wondering who the other dog was. Too funny.

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Jasmine and I had a grand old time walking in the sunshine. As always, I was kinda sad to drop the dogs back off at the shelter and go. If I could I’d probably spend all day there playing with puppies. I mean how awesome does that sounds? Also, The Pixie Project has cats, too. As we were leaving I gazed into the window at all the sleepy kitties sunny themselves in the window. Adorable. When I got home, Fat Kitty was sniffing all over me. Yep, that’s dog you smell baby! Sorry…. 🙂

QUESTION: What’s your favorite “stuffed” recipe?