Beans

A Valentine’s Date and a Recipe

Logan has had a cold this week, which means he’s not sleeping well, which means we aren’t sleeping well….! I’ve been exhausted all week. So I was super surprised on Saturday morning when I went to the gym and hadย energy for days! It was a great workout! I did 30 minutes of strength training–body weights, free weighs and kettlebells, and then 30 minutes on the elliptical.

I could have kept going, too, but I had things to do! I went to the store to get groceries and then home to make this dinner:

SLOW COOKER 3-BEAN TURKEY CHILI

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 231

From: http://www.skinnytaste.com/crock-pot-3-bean-turkey-chili-3125-pts/

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lb (20 oz) 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for topping
  • optional toppings, shredded cheddar, avocado, sour cream, etc

Instructions

  1. Brown turkey and onion in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through.
  2. Transfer to the slow cooker with the beans, chilies, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin, mixing well.
  3. Cook on high 6 to 8 hours or low 10 to 12.
  4. Garnish with onions, cilantro and tour favorite toppings.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51725

I’ve made several Skinny Taste recipes before and they were always really delicious.

Our friends had a baby last month (their third!!) and we signed up for their meal train dinner. It was so amazing when we had Logan and friends and family made us meals. It was so so so helpful and generous and we ate some really great food.

Originally we were going to do Michael’s mac n’ cheese but our friends are dairy-free at the moment so I decided to make them chili. I’ve been craving chili for awhile now.

I browned the ground turkey and onions. (I added a teeny bit of spicy ground pork for some flavor.)

The recipe called for three different beans — one being chickpeas! So odd. But I went with it and it turned out to be a really good addition. I did black beans, red kidney beans and garbanzo beans.

I mixed it all and it cooked in the crockpot all day. It smelled really good.

After lunch Logan took a nap and I decided to take a nap, too, and ended up sleeping for over 2 hours!! Catching up on sleep after four days of no sleep, was awesome.

When it was done cooking I packed everything up and we went to our friend’s house to take them dinner and meet the new baby! NEW BABY SMELL!! Oh my gosh the baby isย sooo teeny tiny and adorable. I cannot believe that Logan was ever that tiny. It’s crazy. (Especially considering Logan decided to walk this week.)

So for the meal train I took our friends the pot of chili, a loaf of French bread and all the toppings: cilantro, chopped red onion, green onion, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream (for the kiddos who aren’t dairy-free). Also in the bag was a bottle of wine and some homemade gluten-free brownies (from Bob’s Red Mill). ๐Ÿ˜€

We spent a little bit of time catching up and snuggling with new baby and then went home to get Logan to bed and open a bottle of wine for us:

There was just enough chili left over for Michael and I to have dinner, too. My one complaint about the recipe was that it said there were 10 servings in there but really, it was more like 5 or 6 generous servings. I guess she made the servings small to keep the calories low.

Ok I kind of loved this chili. It was so good! Lots of flavor and texture. I enjoyed the chickpeas, too. At first I thought they were weird to add to chili but the texture was great. The beans weren’t mushy.

This recipe is a winner! I would make it again for sure.

On Sunday I went swimming and then Michael and I got to go out for a Valentine’s Date Day. Michael’s sister babysat this guy:

I planned our date for this month. Our date started with lunch. We went to Ten Barrel Brewery. I’ve never been and it was a cool place with a fun vibe. We both got the Pearl IPA.

It was a pretty decent beer.

Michael got the personal sized pizza and the salad lunch combo:

The crust wasn’t anything special but the flavor of the sauce and the spicy pepperoni were really tasty. I got the Seoul Sandwich which had Korean steak with sauce, pickled carrots and shredded cabbage on it. It was really, really tasty! The meat had a fabulous flavor to it. I would have liked it a little spicier but it was a really delicious meal otherwise.

Next up was the highlight of our date day: A mini spa day! We went to Sole 2 Sole Reflexology in North Portland. I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never tried reflexology before.

It was such a good experience! We both LOVED it! We were in a semi-private back room with two chairs. We sat down in our side-by-side chairs and then we soaked our feet in barrels of hot water while the therapists massaged our arms and hands. They also put some hot neck wrap things on us. Those were nice.

Then they dried our feet and started the foot and leg massage and reflexology. It was SO GOOD! I get massages once a month (thank you insurance)ย but they rarely spend that much time on my legs or feet, which is a bummer. So this was a really nice treat because it was a full hour on your feet and legs!

The reflexology part was really interesting. Hard to describe, but nice. It was a lot of pressure-point massage and the massage therapist did some massage around my knees, which was really nice.

Michael fell asleep. ๐Ÿ™‚ I dozed in and out of very deep relaxation. It was so nice. The place was great and I would totally go back again. Michael enjoyed his surprise Valentine’s date and he said had he’d known what I had planned he would have run extra miles on Saturday to really get the full benefit of the massage. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was a great date and we went home to be with the baby and just hang out for the rest of Sunday. Kinda lazy, which was nice.

Pickles!

I’ve tried pickling everything I can get my hands on…yet no pickles?!

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What’s up with that?! So yeah, I finally tried making my very own pickles! I bought a pickling cucumber plant and waited patiently for something to grow. And then I blinked and the plant had overtaken the entire planter bed. LOL Apparently it’s like zucchini…you only need one plant because it will be prolific. I saw some teeny tiny cucumbers growing and figured it would be about 2 weeks and then they’d be the right size. Well, the heat wave sped that up. They were slightly larger than I had planned on using for my first batch of pickles, but oh well.

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I got some fresh dish at a local produce stand and then tried my hand at making pickles! Here is the recipe I used:

Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 jars

From: http://thecreeksidecook.com/refrigerator-garlic-dill-pickles/#axzz3f4KTLSg4

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 cup white or cider vinegar
  • ยฝ cup pickling salt
  • About 3 to 4 pounds of cucumbers - small pickling cukes are best
  • 8 large heads of dill, or more if they are smaller
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 4 pinches red pepper flake
  • about 20 black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. This will make about 4 quarts of pickles, so you need 4 1 quart jars with lids, or more if they are smaller. Canning jars aren't necessary, but they do need a lid. Wash in hot soapy water and rinse well [or run through the dishwasher].
  2. Measure the water, vinegar and salt into a 3 quart sauce pan and set over high heat - you want the salt to dissolve and the mixture to come to a full boil.
  3. Meanwhile, make sure your cucumbers are good and clean. Cut them however you like - the smaller the pieces, the more that will fit in a jar. I like spears, because they are pretty to serve, though if I end up with a lot of odd sized cucumbers, chunks may work better.
  4. In the bottom of each jar, place 1 large head of dill, or several smaller ones. You can also put in some of the fronds and stems. Then put 1 garlic clove in the bottom.
  5. Fill each jar with cucumbers - for spears, it might be easier to lay the jar on its side. You can really cram them in there tightly, but leave a good inch of headspace at the top, so that the brine will be able to cover the pickles.
  6. Top the cucumbers in the jars with another clove of garlic, as well as another large head of dill. You can just leave it at that, or for a little more complexity of flavor, add a scant teaspoon of mustard seed, a pinch of red pepper flake and 5 peppercorns to each jar.
  7. Carefully fill each jar with the boiling water/vinegar/salt mixture, making sure to get the cucumbers completely covered.
  8. Screw on the lids.
  9. Leave the jars out in the counter for 2 or 3 days, and then store in the refrigerator for at least two weeks before opening them.
  10. They will keep well for several months at least, so long as you keep them refrigerated. [Naturally, if anything looks or smells funky, discard them, but honestly, that happens very rarely.]
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=47391

I added more red pepper flakes than the recipe called for because I love spice. The recipe was super easy. The one thing I had an issue with was that the liquid wasn’t enough for 4 quart jars. I’m not sure why–maybe I let the liquid mixture boil down too much? I have no idea. But I ended up having to make a second 1/2 batch of the liquid to finish up the pickles.

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I also added some “pickle crisp granules” to each jar because I like crunchy pickles. The finished product:

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It will be about a week or two and then I can open these babies up and test them out. I’m really excited about them! If this recipe isn’t perfect, I have two other recipes that I want to try and those both are recipes for canning (as opposed to just refrigerator pickles). I will keep you updated on how they turn out.

4th of July

It was a pretty low-key holiday this year. Usually our street goes all out with tons of giant fireworks and a BBQ and everyone does a potluck/drinking fest on our street. It’s always a good time. Sadly, a bunch of neighbors went out of town this year instead so it wasn’t the big affair it usually is.

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We had our friends Mike and Susanna over for a BBQ and their oldest son brought some fireworks (and I got some of those Pop Its). Michael grilled up some ribs for dinner and we did corn on the cob and Baked Beans. I also tried a new (to me) beer! A Grapefruit Shandy. I only bought 2 bottles because I didn’t want to buy a 6 pack just in case I didn’t like it…and of course I loved it, so I wish I’d bought the whole thing. It was very refreshing and light for a very hot summer night.

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After dinner we went outside and did the fireworks. Their youngest, Rowan, is 2.5 years old and just learning to talk and it’s so adorable! He repeats everything you say and he has a slight lisp when he says the word “yes.” “Do you want to throw some Pop Its?” Answer: “Yesh!” Haha. He’s a little rockstar too. He wasn’t scared at all by the fireworks and seemed fascinated by the whole thing.

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The teenage neighbor kids were setting off the “real” fireworks once it got dark and we watched those for a bit. Then I went back to the house to be with the animals. They were all freaked out. ๐Ÿ™ Rowan found Maya (the super scared and skittish cat that hides most of the time) and Maya let him pet her! (Which is hilarious because she doesn’t let ME pet her…) Rowan said “I pet the nice kitty” and he did a very good job being gentle with the kitty. It was cute.

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Unfortunately the animals were really freaked out. When it was bedtime Bella jumped up on the bed and slept between us because she was so scared. ๐Ÿ™

The next day I went to a birthday party for my friend Debby. It was her 50th! She had the party at K Marie in Milwaukie. It’s a really cool idea for a party. Food and drink and arts and crafts! This time we decorated hat boxes. Since Debby went to Italy, Vienna and Paris to celebrate her 50th birthday our hat boxes were European themed!

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It was so much and everyone’s hat box looked a little bit different even though we all used the same stuff. There was artichoke dip with bread and crackers, a refreshing fruit and mint salad and of course cupcakes!

It was a busy busy busy weekend but so good! And I was so happy to see so many friends!