Labor Day Weekend

Staycation

The original plan for Labor Day weekend was for us to go to Seattle and spend time with friends and see Faith No More at Bumbershoot. In the end I ended up staying home and Michael went to Seattle. I was torn and wanted to see our friends, but I knew that sitting in a car in holiday traffic for 4+ hours was not a good idea for my back. While my back is much better, sitting for long periods of time is not good. I was bummed to be missing out on the fun, but it gave me a chance to get some stuff done at home.

Saturday

I started my day with the gym:

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Then Bella and I hit the road to meet my friend Erika at Laurelhurst Park (where I recently ran my 5k!) for lunch and a walk. Bella sniffing me as we sit at a very long light (she gets antsy when we just sit):

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It was a slightly chilly day but we found a picnic bench and ate lunch and talked. While we ate lunch it drizzled on us a teeny bit, but it wasn’t too bad. The park was full of people playing, having BBQ’s and birthday parties and there was even a wedding about to take place!

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I’d been craving pasta salad lately so that’s what I made for my lunch. Bowtie high-fiber pasta with chopped carrots, black olives, red peppers, tomatoes from my garden and Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian dressing. I had a string cheese and a plum with the salad. After lunch we walked around the park for a bit, saw this guy practicing tight rope walking:

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And then walked around the neighborhood. I found my new house:

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I bet that house has a library in it! 😀 We finished up our neighborhood walk and said our goodbyes and it was just in time, too, because it started to downpour! When I got home I got set baking chocolate zucchini bread.

HEALTHY CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

From: http://www.asweetpeachef.com/bread/healthy-chocolate-zucchini-bread/

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, plus more for greasing loaf pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1½ cups finely shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, 2 tbsp. coconut oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract. Whisk together until well-blended.
  4. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir to combine, taking care not to over-stir.
  5. Add the shredded zucchini and chocolate chips and fold into the mixture until well-blended.
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf pan and spread evenly.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 50-65 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest in for 10 minutes. If desired, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=47937

I liked healthier options for baking things like this. I would have liked to find one that used less sugar, but 3/4 cup of sugar was the least amount of sugar I was able to find in a recipe. I also love using applesauce in baking recipes! It makes the bread moist and fluffy in my opinion. I actually made 4 mini loaves of bread in my mini loaf pan.

The house smelled amazing as the bread baked! Yum yum. I gave one mini loaf to a friend and I froze two of the loaves for later. I carved into the last one for dessert!

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It was SO good. Spongy and moist, slightly sweet but not overly so and just plain delicious. I loved this recipe. It’s a keeper!

Sunday

Sunday was elliptical and yoga time. Then I came home and got lunch ready for Bella’s foster mom who was coming over for a visit. Lunch was cheese and crackers (smoked gouda and pepper jack), cantaloupe, pasta salad, salami and tomatoes. Then some zucchini bread for dessert.

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She brought her dog, Kona, so the two pups could race around the yard and play. It was so cute to watch them! Bella LOVES her mama Jen. She gets so excited and spazzy when she sees her. It’s amazing to watch.

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Bella was in HEAVEN. The dogs raced in the yard, Bella had zoomies for hours, she was so freakin’ happy! The dogs played for a few hours, we had lunch and chatted and Jen had some ideas for Bella’s latest issue. Jen has done some dog training courses and she’s seriously like the dog whisperer. We’ll see how things go. We have some good ideas on things to try for Bella.

After they left, Bella sat in the window kind of bummed–missing her buddies. Then I got to making tomato soup from the tomatoes from my garden. First I roasted the tomatoes with onions and garlic. Then I cooked it all down for a few hours. I used this recipe.

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I used the recipe as a base. I let the roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic simmer for a few hours, stirring occasionally. It thickened up and I used my immersion blender (I LOVE that thing!) to mix everything up until it was smooth and creamy (and didn’t have to remove the skins because it all blended up nicely. I added salt, pepper, seasonings, some vegetable broth, tomato paste and mixed it again. Then added a few pinches of sugar.

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Let it simmer a little longer and then put the tomato soup into freezer containers for this winter. I can’t wait to have this soup! When I defrost it I will probably experiment with adding some cream to it and it may need more tomato paste once I reheat it. We’ll see. It tastes good though!

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Got two 42 ounce plastic tubs of tomato soup (for freezing) and a small tupperware full for my lunch one day this week. How was your holiday?

 

Easing Back Into It

It’s been about a month since we hiked last–and since I threw my back out. 🙁 We both had Friday off from work and decided to take Bella for an easy hike after breakfast. I chose Horsetail Falls Loop. It’s less than 3 miles and not a ton of elevation climb. This is actually the very first hike Michael and I did when we started dating. I remember when we were just friends thinking, we don’t have much in common–I don’t think I could ever date this guy. I remember him saying he hated hiking. 🙂 Which was funny because he’d never done it before! So when we did start dating, I convinced him to give it a try and this is the hike we did. I remember a stranger on the trail taking this photo of us on my flip phone:

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And then Friday’s photo, 7.5 years later:

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Funny how things change. And how pre-conceived notions change.

It was kind of a cool morning. We got out to The Gorge and it was just under 60 degrees. It definitely felt like Fall was approaching. Some of the leaves were starting to turn, there were orange and brown leaves on the trail and there was a foggy morning mist.

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There is a very scenic viewpoint right at the trailhead, which is nice for photos. When dogs cooperate…. 😛

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Bella was a bit excited to be back hiking in the woods after almost a month off! I wore a hat for a first part of the hike because it was so chilly out! Glad I didn’t wear shorts, either. Although it did warm up nicely when the sun poked through the clouds.

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Isn’t the waterfall gorgeous? The second picture looks like a Fall postcard.

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The trail started going up hill kind of steeply. The trail also had a lot of rocks on it. It made it difficult at times and you had to watch your step. I almost twisted my ankles a few times. Thankfully my hiking boots are tall and have good ankle support.

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All of these Gorge hikes near Multnomah Falls connect with each other so you could in theory just keep hiking. Horsetail Falls is part of Oneonta Gorge so you can make it longer than the 2.6 mile loop if you wanted to.

After some steep switch backs that got my heart pounding, the trail leveled off a bit and there were some clearings with pretty viewpoints of The Gorge and the river.

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The day was shaping up nicely! We continued on the trail and quickly came to Horsetail Falls. It’s such a pretty discovery in the forest!

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It’s cool because you can walk underneath the Falls too!

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After walking under the waterfall, the trail went up hill again for a bit and then leveled out. There were more viewpoints of the Gorge and then the trail went through the woods for a bit before going back down. There was a bridge amongst the trees.

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As we got closer to the bridge I saw this sign:

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Um YIKES! Sooo Bella is not a fan of bridges. She freaks out and refuses to cross them. Usually I have to walk first and coax her across the bridge with Michael behind her. Since we couldn’t do that I took the leash and Bella and I tried to walk across together. She was not happy! She crouched down real low and didn’t want to walk. I said “Come on Bella!! Let’s go!” and started to walk fast. She was crouched down and kind of Army-crawled across the bridge. It was so funny.

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The above photo was a small waterfall right next to the bridge. We hiked up another hill on the other side of the bridge and came to a fork in the trail.

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The rest of the hike was trail through the woods going gently downhill and then winding around towards the old highway. The trail claims to be a loop but about 1/2 a mile of it is on the road to get back to the Horsetail Falls Trailhead. Luckily it wasn’t a busy traffic day and there was a large enough shoulder to walk safely. Some of the Old Highway is NOT safe to walk on.

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There was a cool tunnel carved out of the rock that we walked under to get back to the trailhead. We ate our sandwiches for lunch and then headed back home.

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I burned 379 calories and we hiked around 3 miles. It was a good, fairly gentle hike to ease back into hiking after a break. And it was a nice walk down memory lane. 🙂