Two Low Carb Dinners

I wanted to share two recipes with you that we tried last week. Here is the first:

Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs:

Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs |Paleo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 servings
From: http://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com/balsamic-braised-beef-short-ribs-paleo/
Ingredients
  • 2-3 lbs. of bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • ½ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 whole dried dates
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Spice Blend:
  • 2 tablespoon of course sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together course sea salt, dried rosemary, dried sage, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper.
  2. Pat dry bone-in beef short ribs. Rub spice blend into both sides of the short ribs.
  3. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add coconut oil to pan and sear the short ribs for 2-3 minutes per side or until slightly browned.
  4. Put the short ribs in a slow cooker with a tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, whole dried dates, and smashed garlic cloves.
  5. Cook for 4-6 hours on low or until beef is tender.
It doesn’t look pretty but it tasted really good! I made some sesame cucumber salads to go with it and the tartness of the salad was the perfect combo with the ribs.

We each had one (they were pretty big beef ribs) and then a few nights later had the leftovers and we both agreed that they were even better reheated as leftovers.

Michael made this dinner, even though crock-pot cooking isn’t something he likes to do, and it was really good! We both want to make it again in the future.

The second “recipe” wasn’t really a recipe but it was “lowish” carb and on the diet plan. I picked up the carrot “noodles” from Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago and we finally tried it.

Here are the stats on the carrot noodles:

8grams of carbs in a serving of carrot noodles. I also bought a jar of low carb spaghetti sauce. I hadn’t tried this brand before and another reader recommended a low carb marinara but it was really expensive when I finally found it! This particular bottle was half the price of the other one so I grabbed a jar to test it out.

A serving of this marinara was 5 grams of carbs. I also loved that it didn’t have a ton of sugar in it like a lot of red sauces have. We had some Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs on top with some fresh parmesan and opened a not-so-low-carb bottle of wine to go with dinner:

So how was the dinner? Really good! We both liked it a lot.

The carrots weren’t overpowering in flavor. They were slightly al dente, but I’m so used to eating spaghetti squash instead of real pasta noodles that it didn’t feel weird to me. The sauce? Fantastic! We both LOVED it! It was super spicy. We’d definitely make this dinner again.

I did comment that it needed some garlic bread. 😉

Two Date Nights

Michael and I lucked out and got TWO date nights this weekend!! The first was Friday night. Daycare had a “parents night out” and they were open until 10pm. We took advantage of that and got dressed up (sort of) and went to Chart House for dinner.

A coworker has been talking about how this is their date night spot because happy hour lasts until 7pm. So we decided to take advantage of that. We got there and it was valet parking only (free) and the bar is downstairs of the restaurant. It’s perched on a hill in SW Portland with amazing views!

The picture above was the view from our table, right by the window. It was a nice view of the river and downtown Portland. We could also see Mount St. Helens and Mt. Hood in the distance.

We got drinks–I got a white wine and Michael got a beer.

We got the calamari with kim chee (and it had deep fried veggies in there, too). It was really good and flavorful! And who doesn’t like deep fried veggies?

We shared the mahi mahi fish tacos. They were pretty good but needed some spice or something. They were a little on the bland side.

We shared the lettuce wraps. It was chicken with cucumber and carrots and a soy sauce glaze. I thought they were pretty good. Very messy to eat!

Lastly, we got the prime rib sliders (they had cheese and caramelized onions in it). Michael wasn’t a fan of the sliders but I thought they were really good! I loved the caramelized onion flavors and gooey cheese (and let’s be honest, the bread!!!)

We split a piece of cheesecake for dessert. It had caramel, crushed macadamia nuts and a little bit of Heath Bar crumbles. It was REALLY good but very, very decadent. Thank goodness we split it!

It was a really nice experience. We hadn’t really been on a real date night and been to a nice restaurant since February when we went out to sushi. 😀 It was definitely time for us! And it was perfect timing because this week was our 9 year anniversary. Hard to believe 9 years ago we had our first official date. <3

Then Saturday it was time for date night #2: my cousin’s wedding. My parents drove down from Seattle and got to spend some time with Logan and then we left Logan with Michael’s mom and drove to Ridgefield for the wedding.

It was at Bethany Vineyards. I’ve never been there before but it was a really beautiful wedding venue! It was off the freeway in Washington near Vancouver, amongst countryside and farms and lots of trees. I guess there was a brewpub nearby, too.

Her flowers were gorgeous!

The wedding was outside. It was a sunny, bright day, but unfortunately it was also 100 degrees (not exaggerating!). Here are a few photos of the venue:

It was too bad they didn’t have some kind of tents set up for the tables because we were in direct sunshine, no shade, and it was very very very hot! Thankfully they had tons of ice water.

The ceremony was kind of off to the side near the vineyards and there was a bit of shade over there, so that was nice.

And we got to spend some time with another cousin and her husband, whom we don’t get to see very often but it was a really fun night hanging out and catching up.

Since it was at the vineyard, they had plenty of the wine for drinks or tastes. I tried the Pinot and it was really good so I ended up buying a bottle. 🙂 My other cousin and her husband and I snuck into the tasting room for about 15 minutes after the ceremony because it was air conditioned and SO NICE in there (LOL) so we did a small taste and their Cuvee was excellent!

almost bought that bottle, too, but decided to be an adult and just buy one.

The signature drink for the wedding was a white wine spritzer, which I had never had before but it was quite lovely! It was the Bethany Vineyard Riesling with tonic water and fruit. In 100 degree weather it was very easy to drink those!

Very refreshing! I drank a ton of water and tried to stay hydrated as much as possible.

My cousin looked gorgeous in her dress and guess what? Her aunt HANDMADE the entire thing for her! It was absolutely stunning! And what a cool heirloom to pass down to your daughter or granddaughter someday. The ceremony was lovely and the food was really excellent! It was heavy Hors d’oeuvres –fruit and veggies, pasta salad, green salad, meatballs and these really yummy cold sandwiches. It was actually the perfect food for a hot, outdoor wedding.

There were these little chicken salad sandwiches on croissant rolls that were to die for! So good! Then it was the speeches and cake cutting and they had cute cupcakes, too:

I had one of the cupcakes. They were really good. By then I was pretty stuffed. So the homemade macarons that my cousin made as favors came home for later…

I’d like to say it was starting to cool off by then, but it was still nearly 100 degrees when we left at 6:30. We had to get home for Logan. It was a really nice wedding and it was nice that it was an afternoon wedding. I remember when Michael and I were planning our wedding we considered a Sunday brunch wedding (we loved the idea!), a vineyard wedding, or an afternoon wedding. I’m very happy with what we did but it’s still fun to experience other weddings and think about what it would have been like if we’d done that.