pasta

Picnic in the Park

Saturday morning I had a decent workout in the gym (and it was nice that I got there early before it was too crowded) but unfortunately pulled a muscle in my back. That was a bummer but at least it wasn’t so bad that it prevented me from having a really awesome day with friends.

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We’d planned on doing something like this for awhile and finally did it. Michael and I met our friends Erika and Charles at Kelley Pointe Park for a picnic lunch and to hang out in the sun. The day was overcast, gray and a little drizzly but it promised to clear up by the time we met them at the park in the afternoon. I wouldn’t say that I planned well for our outing  (shorts and a tank top and flip flops would have been better). Sunscreen and more water would have been ideal, too.

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I’ve never been to Kelley Pointe Park but it’s the park on Marine Drive right on the river that Michael and I have tried to bike to many times. Something always happened to keep was from making it there–getting lost, flat tires, etc. I am so glad we finally got to discover this gem in the city!! It’s a HUGE park with so much room for big groups of people. There are a bunch of different picnic areas, bathrooms (nice) and views of Mount Hood, downtown Portland and the water.

The four of us sat at a nice picnic table next to the sandy beach and Columbia River and ate a picnic lunch. Michael and I brought sandwiches from the New Seasons Deli and I made a killer quinoa salad to share.

Asian Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Category: fitness, food, Food update, Friends, Low Calorie Recipes, Memories, pasta, Portland, Portland activities, Portland Restaurants, Potluck, recipes, salads, Summer, sunny day, Weekend Update

Servings: Serves 4

From: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/asian-quinoa-salad/

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup lite soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
  2. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the cabbage, edamame, red pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to combine.
  5. Note-Make sure you use tamari for a gluten-free salad, not all soy sauce is gluten-free. This salad is good served at room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition Facts

Asian Quinoa Salad

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 215 (not counting dressing)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=39739

 

I loved the flavors and the crunchiness of the salad. Erika made a pasta salad and brought some fresh watermelon to share and they had Subway sandwiches. I was famished by the time we got settled in and ate! I had half a roast beef sandwich and lots of salad.

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It was so much fun having a picnic potluck lunch! The food was delicious and healthy and we definitely needed the nutrients for the rest of our outing.

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After lunch we packed up the food and walked down the path to a large, open grassy field to play bocce ball. I bought a set at the store on sale recently and was so happy to be able to try it out! It had been a good decade since I’d played bocce ball but it wasn’t too hard to pick back up. I also had a badminton set but we never actually got to that.

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Michael and I were on a team and Charles and Erika were a team and we actually did pretty well! It was neck and neck for awhile. The bocce ball was so much fun! I just wished I’d packed more water, maybe a hat and some sunscreen! I was baking.

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And guess what? I’m not too shabby at bocce!! I actually won a few rounds! We played for maybe two hours, stopped part way for a beverage break and to sit in the shade, then we packed everything up and went down to the beach.

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I had no idea there was a sandy beach in Portland!!! Wow! It was a happening place, too. There were tons of people but it wasn’t overcrowded. There were kids in life vests swimming and building sandcastles, some fly fishermen and tons of boaters.

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There were a lot of party boats, too. Lots of people on a boat with loud music as they sped by the shore. It was very cool. Again, I need to make some friends with boaters….Michael and Charles played some horseshoe while Erika and I just chilled in the shade on a blanket and enjoyed the hot, sunny day. It was so nice I didn’t want to leave but I knew it was time. I desperately needed water and to get out of the sun. Next time I will be more prepared.

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I’m going back here VERY SOON!!! So much fun!! What a fantastic weekend. On Sunday morning I changed up the routine and Michael and I went out to breakfast before I went swimming. I had a soon-to-expire Groupon for Grand Central and realized it was an awesome place to get breakfast!

The place was practically empty, there weren’t long lines and long waits for tables and the food was GREAT! The restaurant and bar just happened to be attached to a bowling alley (too funny).

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Michael got the breakfast tacos (they were made with corn tortillas) and I got an eggs benedict. It was made with artichokes and spinach and was fantastic! I never order that kind of breakfast and was glad I splurged and gave it a try. The hashbrowns were the best I’ve ever eaten–which is weird because I’m not really a fan of hashbrowns and usually ask for fruit on the side instead. It was so much food I ate half the eggs benedict and half of the potatoes. I’m totally going back to this place!

Mourning Pasta

As many of you read, I did a gluten-free and dairy-free challenge in February. If you’re a new reader, I did it because I wanted to see if I had any food sensitivities or allergies. My mom had done something similar and found that she lost 14 pounds, her sinus issues cleared up and she didn’t crave sugar. I also heard from other people that going dairy-free cleared up their skin. All of those things sounded good to me! Unfortunately that didn’t happen for me. I lost an inch and 2 pounds but my sinuses and acne didn’t clear up. I realized that I didn’t need to go dairy or gluten-free.

One thing that did happen was that my boyfriend Michael discovered he had a sensitivity to gluten. He’s now trying to be gluten-free because he saw such a difference. I had no idea that this little experiment would end up changing our lives.

While Michael is doing the gluten-free thing, I’m not really doing. I found that not feeling restricted made it easy to abstain from gluten. I can eat it IF I WANT TO–but most of the time I skip it.

That being said, there have been a few times where I kind of felt sad that Michael’s diet was so restrictive now. It’s not like we ate pasta all that often but suddenly realizing that we COULDN’T eat it together made me pause and think “oh.” Oh. Disappointing. Sure, there are alternatives and gluten-free products we can try but…it’s just not the same.

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And it’s not like I did a whole lot of baking but as soon as I realized Michael wouldn’t be able to eat anything I made, I suddenly wished I could bake! I tried some gluten-free recipes but they really aren’t the same. The results ranged from “just ok” to “this is pretty good as an alternative” to “how are these brownies both raw and burned?”

I realized that I was going through something I had gone through before. When I first started losing weight and was using calorie counting to achieve that, I had to stop eating a lot of things that I used to love. They were just too high in calories for me and I knew I wouldn’t lose the weight if I kept eating them. For example: the decadent white chocolate mochas with caramel syrup and whipped cream on top. That was my coffee drink every day. I was consuming around 500 calories in a drink! Absurd! When I realized that I immediately made the switch to black coffee with flavored creamer. It was around 100 calories and satisfied my coffee craving (to a point). Of course I missed those desserts I called coffee.

Speaking of beverages…Michael’s dietary change also includes BEER! He’s been trying the various gluten-free beers that are out there and Omission is actually pretty decent. But it’s kind of a bummer that we can’t drink the same beer now. What happens when we go beer tasting? Or to the Brewfest? I just don’t know. Yet.

I went through a short period of mourning when I realized I couldn’t consume all the things I wanted to. I think it’s normal. It’s a mourning of your past, your old habits. Every once in awhile I feel a sense of longing for the days when I didn’t have to schedule a gym session into my day when I’d much rather go home, sit on the couch in my PJs and watch TV. I always feel better going to the gym, but still.

I never really ate that oftenThose feelings of longing don’t last. I don’t mourn the “bad” foods I don’t eat anymore because I don’t really miss them. And this pasta thing? Bizarre. Why would I miss something to begin with?

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Am I alone in this? 

QUESTION: Has your significant other/partner had a dietary change that effects you?