Apr 022014
 

On Sunday night I met up with a friend for dinner because we had a lot of catching up to do! We met at Oaks Bottom Pub in Sellwood because they had a happy hour that ran until 6pm. Michael was out at a concert that night and it was nice to get out of the house and have some girl time. I’d spent most of Sunday cooking for the week and then watching episodes of West Wing on Netflix.

I’d been craving a BLT sandwich for a few weeks and decided to get that instead of something off the happy hour menu. It came out and it was a LOT bigger than I was expecting and it was also fried. But oh well, it was delicious. It had slices of avocado on it and melted cheese and that made it amazing. Glad I got the salad as the side!

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Erika got the sliders from the happy hour menu and an order of tots. Their tots are pretty good (and they also have something called “Totchos”–basically nachos made with tots). I had a few of her tots but the sandwich was so big I didn’t have much.

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Kind of a massive amount for happy hour! We both got a beer but stuck to just one. Partly because I’m trying to limit my liquid calories and also because I’m not a huge fan of their beer. I got the seasonal IPA and it was ok but not great so why waste my calories?

It was such a nice night and our happy hour excursion turned into a 3+ hour gab session. It was good to catch up; we’ve both had a lot of stuff going on lately. I suggested that when the weather is a little nicer she meet me somewhere to walk Bella. I’m always up for a walk! As long as it’s not raining. :)

I’d planned on prepping some dinner to go into the crockpot Monday morning but my dinner date Sunday went late. By the time I got home, I just wanted to cuddle with Bella and Fat Kitty in bed and read a book (Maya was under the bed, as per usual). So Monday night when I got home from work I decided to make a quickie soup for dinner.

I wish I was one of those “throw everything together in a pot and it tastes fantastic” kind of cook. I’m a recipe follower. I need actual measurements and instructions. I guess I’m just a really literal person when it comes to the kitchen. That being said, I did kind of “throw things together” on this one. Originally I wanted to make the Pasta Y Fagioli Soup “recipe” that Michael’s mom gave me a few months ago. We’d gone over there for dinner and she made this fantastic soup! But she’s a “throw everything together” kind of cook and this is what she gave me:

Pasta Y Fagioli Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground beef, browned
  • Diced onions, celery, carrots, garlic
  • 2 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 can each: chicken, beef and vegetable broth
  • Seasoning: garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, pepper, Italian seasoning, Bay leaf
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 15 ounce can white beans
  • Fagioli pasta

Instructions

  1. Add everything into large pot and simmer.
  2. Serve.
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I thought, ok I can give this a try! I can WING IT (yeah right). Except I went to make the dinner and didn’t have any canned beans. I ALWAYS have canned beans. How am I out?!? Nothing but black beans and that kind of changed the whole recipe. So I made something similar to this recipe minus the beans, Also, the only pasta I had besides spaghetti was gluten-free fuselli. I honestly didn’t care that it wasn’t the right pasta. I’m not a stickler. Pasta is pasta to me.

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I browned half a pound of beef (it was left over and needed to be cooked) and halved the rest of the recipe. Minus the beans. I let it simmer for about 45 minutes on the stove. I cooked the pasta separately and then added it to the soup mixture about 10 minutes before it was going to be ready. I also baked some biscuits–you know, the kind that come in a tube? It’s been probably 8 years or so since I had them and was craving it so I got it. They were surprisingly low in calories. A serving was 3 biscuits for 160 calories. Not bad!

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With my throwing things together, I actually got 5 servings out of the dish and that made it 271 calories for 5 servings. If it was half of the original recipe at 4 servings it would be a little higher but still pretty low.

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Michael was a big fan of the soup. I was too. It was delicious and hearty. The kitchen smelled delightful! I would most definitely make this recipe again with one minor tweak — it needed more fluids! Since I was omitting the cans of beans (which the original recipes I consulted said to include the liquid in the beans) there was less fluid. I think I’d add some beef broth or maybe some water.

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Despite not being “soupy” it was still delicious and I loved the flavors. And the biscuit. :)

What’s your favorite soup?

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Jan 212014
 

Historically we spend my birthday in the snow. We’ve gone to Bend many, many times, Sisters once and Mount Hood. Usually the snowshoeing is fantastic in January! Unfortunately this year the snow levels in the mountains were nearly non-existent.  Many friends that went to Bend or Mt. Hood to snowboard or ski complained about the lack of snow. So this year we skipped the snowy-birthday and went to the beach instead. Maybe we just needed a change. We got a Groupon Getaway for a hotel in Lincoln City. I love Lincoln City. It’s one of my favorite beach towns in Oregon (Rockaway is my first).

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I was excited to try something new for my birthday and to also experience Bella’s FIRST beach trip!

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Funny enough, she seemed to prefer just rolling around in the sand! It was very odd and totally hilarious. She scooted, rolled, rubbed and flopped around in the sand. She was one dirty girl after this weekend. She didn’t like the super soft sand by the surf and she seemed scared of the ocean so she didn’t venture into the water, which was probably for the best because it was pretty cold.

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Lincoln City is a good beach town for flying a kite, which we didn’t do this time. The wind is just perfect for it. We got lucky this weekend. The weather was perfect–around 50 degrees, clear blue skies and not too windy. The first day we went down to the beach was a bit cold but the following days were not bad.

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We walked around quite a bit on the beach. Because Bella’s recall is about 80% we didn’t take her off leash, but we had a super long leash and let it all out so she could run around and have some semblance of freedom. She seemed over-stimulated most of the time which meant she didn’t bark at all the strangers on the beach or the dogs on the beach, which was good!

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Hopefully when she is a little older and more trained she can be off leash and go nuts with the other dogs!

After spending the afternoon on the beach we went over to Chinook Winds, the casino at Lincoln City. I’ve never played there before and wanted to check it out. It was super crowded for the holiday weekend but I squeezed in at the roulette table and gave it a try. I ended up walking away with double my money! WOOHOO!!!!

Robyn's Birthday

Robyn's Birthday

Finally it was dinner time and we went to Humble Pie Pizzaria. It was a little hole-in-the-wall joint with some old hippies in tie-dye making some damn good pizza. We got it to go, made a stop by the local grocery store that had a walk-in beer fridge and then went back to the room so we could hang out with Bella.

Robyn's Birthday

It was pretty darn good pizza. And there’s just something great about eating pizza and drinking beer in a hotel room. :) We called it a night because we were all pretty tired by this time. Even though we don’t really let Bella on the bed at home, we did in the hotel. She did really great. She slept in her crate at night and didn’t bark too much. She had to have a few time-outs when we first got there because she’d bark at the sounds outside, but it only took a few time-outs and she got it and was great the rest of the weekend. I was happy that her first “vacation” was a success. Now we know we can take her other places with us!

It wasn’t that late but I was super tired and that Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA hit me fast and honestly, the sound of the ocean outside your bedroom just makes you relaxed and sleepy. Why don’t we go to the beach more often??

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