Aug 182015
 

What a busy weekend!

Michael’s dad was visiting from Texas and we had my parents come down for a short visit, too. It was nice to have a visit and catch up and they hadn’t seen each other since our wedding last year. Michael, his dad and my dad went golfing Thursday afternoon and then we all went out to dinner at Jake’s Grill. A favorite in Portland, for sure.

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We got a really nice, quiet table in the back underneath a gorgeous antique stained glassed window atrium. I’d never seen it before.

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We shared an order of calamari for the table. It was nice to show my parents one of our favorite restaurants (they had never been there).

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Michael got the steak, my mom got the meatloaf and mashed potatoes and my dad got the beef stroganoff. Michael’s dad got the halibut (his favorite) and I got the Cedar Planked Steelhead with mashed potatoes. I’d been craving mashed potatoes for weeks! This definitely satisfied that craving. The steelhead was so amazing and perfect–the perfect, rich piece of fish, slightly crispy.

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After that lovely, rich dinner my parents split a chocolate cake and Michael and I split the cheesecake with blueberry compote. It’s been so long since I’ve had a fancy dessert–it was so worth the calories!

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What a nice night!

On Friday I had the day off. I went for a swim–first swim in over a week and a half and it felt fantastic being back in the pool (especially with my recent back stuff). The boys were spending the day watching golf (no thanks) and so my mom and worked in the kitchen. Our garden has gone so crazy this summer and our tomatoes were out of control. I was so glad to had my mom’s help with them.

She bought me a tomato press (we’d gone to several stores to find a food mill and this was the closest thing we could find). I am so glad, too! It’s a nifty little device that worked great for the project. In the past it was SO time consuming and exhausting trying sieve the tomato seeds and skins out of the cooked tomatoes and this made the project a million times easier.

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I don’t know how many pounds of tomatoes we picked from the garden but it was an insane amount. The tomato press removed probably 90% of the seeds and all of the skins. Worked great!

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I chopped up a red pepper, green pepper, two onions, a ton of garlic and a shallot. I cooked it all down and then put the sauce in the pot.

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The kitchen smelled fantastic.

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I added some seasonings, salt, sugar and let it simmer for about 2 hours. I added 3 cans of tomato paste to thicken it up and it worked SO much better than last year’s batch of tomato sauce! I got the flavor and texture just right and it was ready. We ended up doing freezer bags instead of canning it (since I don’t have a pressure canner) and it will be a great sauce to have this winter.

After that it was nearing dinner time and Michael made us all ribs. I cooked up corn on the cob and baked beans.

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Michael did the ribs a different way this time. He baked them in the oven at a low temperature for two hours and then cooked them on the grill for 30-45 minutes until they were ready. They turned out great! It was another nice night visiting but I was really tired after all the work I’d done.

I have to share this one other thing. My mom brought down a giant scrapbook from my great grandfather. He used to keep journals and cut out newspaper clippings. There were some amazing newspaper articles in his scrapbook. The Kennedy assassination, the Civil Rights movement…just amazing to see.

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I spent a good hour reading through the book. There is so much to read!

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Jun 302015
 

Unbeknownst to us, we planned a weekend getaway to the beach at the perfect time! First heat wave of Portland –100+ degrees– and we were spending the weekend in Astoria. Michael’s dad gave us a giftcard for Christmas for the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria. They stayed there after our wedding last year and loved it.

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Bonus: they are dog friendly and have dog rooms available! We both took Friday off from work (I hit the gym and then had an appointment in the morning) and we drove to Astoria after lunch. It was a gorgeous day!

We got to our room to find a plush dog bed, a water dish and food dish, a toy for Bella, poop bags and dog treats! Fancy jerky and milkbones. B was super duper excited. Check her out:

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Are these for me?!

The room itself was really cute. King sized bed that was really comfortable, decent pillows, a small bistro table with two chairs, a loveseat with plush pillows and a small table, there was a wet bar with a sink, mini fridge, microwave. There was a huge bathroom with separate toilet room, a huge vanity and a clawfoot tub! I was SO looking forward to relaxing in the tub–especially because it had a view of the water. But I never actually used it because our room was across the hall from the spa where there was a salt water hot tub and steam room that was open 24/7 so we ended up using that all weekend.

The room also had a window seat with pillows and cushions so you could just lounge and look out the window. It was so relaxing.

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This was the view from our room:

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Not bad, huh? We got settled in and decided to take a walk to give Bella some time to get her zoomies out after the long car ride. There was a really nice walking/biking path along the water and a trolley.

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It was starting to get to dinner time and we were both hungry. Since we had Bella and it was too hot to leave her in the car, we decided to phone in a dinner order for take out. We ordered a pizza at Fort George and then had some time to kill. We went into the cute little downtown area. There was a ton of art everywhere, which was nice.

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We did some walking around and some window shopping and then walked back to Fort George. It was a super cool brewery pub. Huge! With outdoor patio seating (and you could bring your dog), indoor seating, and then the whole upper level had tables and a bar. It looked like there was a cafe and bakery inside too.

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We went back to the room with the pizza and a filled growler with their Vortex IPA. We sat outside on the small deck and enjoyed the sunshine, the cool breeze, the view and the good food. Bella wasn’t quite sure what to do on the deck. She was super curious about the water and the ducks and birds and seemed to be over-stimulated. 😉

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What a nice view for dinner! We saw tons of big ships and small yachts going by. Michael turned on some music and we just chilled.

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The pizza was a half and half– half sausage and peppers and half truffle oil pizza. I didn’t try the sausage and peppers half because the truffle oil half was so delicious! I had two slices and a few mugs of beer.

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Then we went across the hall to enjoy the saltwater hot tub. It was a cool space and we had it to ourselves. There were windows all around it so you could look out at the water, bridge and boats. There was a nice breeze coming in from the windows and the saltwater tub just felt so relaxing. After spending a good 30-45 minutes in there we sat in the Finnish sauna and then went back to the room. It was a good first night out.

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