Jul 142015
 

On Saturday I hit the gym early for some reason. It wasn’t crowded, which was nice. I did weights (I’ve been adding pull-ups and chin-ups to my routine lately!), my physical therapy exercises and body weight exercises and then went for a run on the treadmill. It was one of those runs that was FABULOUS. Where I didn’t feel the need to walk, that I felt like I was too slow and sped up the treadmill and my legs just wanted to RUN. It was a fantastic 2.75 miles and then I walked down the stairs in the gym and all of a sudden my knees were like “we are not HAPPY!!!!” It wasn’t good. :( Despite that my knees were doing okay, as long as I didn’t go down any stairs…I burned 646 calories! Wowza.

Michael and I went to the Mississippi Street Fair next. It’s been about two years, I think, since we’ve been. Of all the street fairs in Portland it’s my favorite. I like the vibe and there’s a bunch of different stages with different kinds of music playing. It’s always crowded, so be prepared. This year it wasn’t quite as crowded as it was in the past, so it was slightly easier to walk up and down the street checking out the booths.
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First stop: LUNCH. We decided to bag street food and went straight to a restaurant. Little Big Burger. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been there. I like that the burgers are not ginormous. I got a cheeseburger and we split an order of their AMAZING to-die-for truffle fries.

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We wandered around and saw some of the booths (lots of arts and crafts and jewelry) and there was music everywhere. I’m not sure what this instrument is but it was fascinating to watch.

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Does your cat need a bowtie? I think it might! I almost got Fat Kitty a bowtie (this photo kinds of looks like him!) but I knew he’s never let me put it on him and would either a) give me the grumpy cat face or b) immediately take it off and destroy it in a rage. :)

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We walked around a little bit and met up with some friends. Our friends that came over for the 4th of July were hanging out doing the kid stuff (bouncy house) so we hung out with them for a little bit.

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Michael got two t-shirts and I got one (I will wear the shirt soon and post a photo–it’s so Portland). I ALMOST got a Sasquatch bumper sticker. Almost.

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We left our friends and met up with some other friends, who also have a daughter the same age as Rowan (2.5). It’s such an adorable age. We walked up and down the length of Mississippi with them and looked at the booths (she got a Kimchi Hot Dog for lunch which really fascinated me–I might need to try that combo soon). I bought a jar of kimchi from the hot dog vendor (can’t wait to eat it!). Then we ended up at Ecliptic Brewery.

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It was a cool, modern, high-ceiling and concrete floor and walls kind of a place with a ton of outdoor seating. Our friends ordered some food and drinks. The Orbiter IPA was a really smooth, balanced IPA. It SMELLED like a super strong, hoppy, intense bouquet of citrus and it smelled like it was going to be a face punch IPA, but once you took a drink it wasn’t like that. It was very mellow, which was kind of odd. Our friends shared their appetizer order of deviled eggs with us. They were topped with a sardine, which I didn’t eat. They assured me that it was the best part but…yeah, no thanks. I love deviled eggs, though!

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After hanging out drinking and talking at Ecliptic we realized it was pretty late in the day and walked back to the cars. Check out Charla’s super awesome cobalt blue shoe in this picture:

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Somehow it seems fitting with the Willy Wonka quote and I don’t know why. :)

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Sunday

I went back to yoga!!!

I hadn’t been since March when my back went out. One of the moves that hurt the WORST with my whole back issue was downward dog. As I continued with my healing and did physical therapy, downward dog was still something I couldn’t do at all. It was a benchmark for me. I periodically checked to see if I could do the stretch and for months and month, not at all.

I decided recently it was time to give it a try again. I tried downward dog at the gym one day as a stretch and didn’t have the immediate, searing pain in my low back so thought hmmm, maybe it’s better? I decided on Sunday I’d give it a go, with the caveat that if it hurt, I’d leave the class. I warmed up with the elliptical and then went to yoga class.

I spent the majority of the class subbing child’s pose for downward dog. I did to downward dog a few times in class, and it was just fine!! But I defaulted to child’s pose just to be safe. The rest of class went really well and I was able to do most of the stretches in class and I was SHOCKED to find that my balance hadn’t decreased after months off. I’m guessing that the combination between doing the One Leg Romanian Deadlift for my knees and all the core work I do with physical therapy for my back have maintained my balance (thank goodness!).

There were a few rotations in a lunge that felt not fabulous but overall it was a great class.

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After class Michael and I went and saw Jurassic World! I was so looking forward to seeing it. I knew it wouldn’t be as good as the original, of course, but I had high hopes. Then…I started hearing from people it wasn’t great. I was disappointed and dragged my feet in seeing the movie but we finally had a free afternoon so I caved.

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How was the movie? It was okay. It was fast-paced and had some exciting moments. There were definitely a lot of cheesy moments that made you groan but they’d switch gears pretty quickly so you didn’t have time to dwell on the cheesy for too long. Overall it was a decent action movie. Just don’t try to compare it to the original too much and you’ll enjoy it.

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Jul 082015
 

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
  • ½ 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. :( 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. :(

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!

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