bocce ball

Once a Year

I had the pleasure of a mid-week day off last week when my brother and his wife came to visit. They only come out about once a year from Philly where they live. My sister-in-law is in medical school and they’ll probably be in Philadelphia for a few more years. I miss seeing them more often. It sucks that when they visit we only get a short amount of time together, but I understand. That once a year visit means they run around the whole time trying to see friends and family!

Andy and his wife Lisa (yes her name is Lisa too!) came down to Portland after spending almost a week with my parents in Seattle. The five of us went out to lunch at Cartlandia first. Everyone was starving!

We all ended up going to Good and Evil Wrap Company. My mom and I split the buffalo chicken wrap in a spinach tortilla. Lisa got the avocado tempeh wrap, Andy got the Pepper Jack Steak wrap and Michael go the same in a bowl so he could stay gluten-free. The food cart was a big hit and I was happy to turn more people on to my favorite Portland cart. I know I need to branch out and try other things, but dang that buffalo chicken one is addicting!

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After that my mom left to go do some wedding flower research at local farms (I think my mom and I might do the flowers ourselves) and then the four of us drove out to Kelly Point Park to spend the afternoon. It was a sunny, hot day and spending it near the water sounded perfect.

I packed a ton of water this time, and sunscreen! We were better prepared. We played bocce ball in the big field and it was the first time Andy and Lisa had ever played it! Team Lisa was ahead for most of it but the boys came up from behind and ended up winning.

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After that we moved to the beach and set down a blanket. The boys played another ring toss game I bought and us girls just chilled. I tested the water and it was cool but not freezing. I’m tempted to bring my swimsuit the next time Michael and I go down there!

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Spending the day playing in the sun wore all of us out I think. Dinner was decided and we went to Nuestra Cocina. I am so glad we went there! I’ve been a few times before but I just love their food so much.

I started with a lime drop (which was tart and sweet at the same time, delicious but lacking in alcohol if you ask me!).

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I ordered two appetizers for us all to share. The first was the special and it was a carnitas dish topped with pickled red onions. It was absolutely amazing! The pork had sweet fat on it that was almost candied. It was outstanding. I do not know how they made that meat so tender and sweet and perfect, but I wanted three more servings of it!

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The next appetizer was the Chile Relleno con Picadillo. It was a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with shredded pork, almond slivers and raisins. There was a crema sauce drizzled on top and seasoned with a little cilantro. It was just as delicious as the first dish but I liked the first one better. The second was really sweet.

Andy got the steak and drunken beans dish and he said it was one of the best steaks he’s had in a long time. I’m happy that we were able to satisfy the foodie in the family with an outstanding meal!

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Michael and I split an entree, which was the right decision! Since our first visit to this restaurant a few years ago, Michael has been raving about the half chicken he ate there. So we got it again. It was just as good as his memory told him. It was a grilled half chicken with a “Achiote rub”. I hadn’t heard of that before but man was it good! Slightly blackened, slightly spicy, a little sweet, basically perfect all around. It came with rice and salsa.

The four of us were slightly sunburned, tired and ready to relax. We made one stop at Beer Mongers to get some beer for Andy before heading home. He was like a kid in the candy store! For a moment I thought we’d have to leave him behind. He bought 6 different beers, all things I’d never heard of, and he turned me on to a new one! Well, new to me!

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He said it was one of his favorite beers and apparently it started the whole IPA craze. It’s called Pliny the Elder. I loved this beer! I want to get a few more bottles for home. It was smooth and not quite as hoppy and bitter as a lot of IPAs. There was a hint of something in it…for some reason I thought of peaches. Or a ruby red grapefruit–basically a sweet fruit.

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We were on a mission that night. Not just to catch up and drink beer, but to scare Lisa. Apparently she’d never seen any of the classic horror movies growing up and has never been scared by a movie. We discussed it thoroughly and finally decided she either needed to see The Exorcist or Nightmare on Elm Street. Classics. So Michael made popcorn, we settled in with our beers, turned the lights off and watched The Exorcist! While the movie is still good and holds up, she wasn’t scared. She said it was disturbing, but not scary….the quest continues!

Thursday Michael had to work so it was just the three of us. I took them to Tin Shed for breakfast. It’s a place I’ve wanted to go forever but the long lines discouraged me from trying it. Luckily a Thursday morning was the perfect time to go. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table and that wasn’t bad.

Andy and I both got the special of the day. It was scrambled eggs with andoiulle sausage, cheese, tomatoes and corn. It came with a biscuit (which we all decided was the best biscuit we’ve ever had) and cheesy grits.

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I am so glad I finally got to try Tin Shed! YUM! One of my favorite breakfast meals in a long time! I want another biscuit!!!!

Sadly, after breakfast I had to drop Andy and Lisa off to where they were meeting her dad. It was time to say goodbye and I went to work. I was bummed out and feeling sad pretty much the rest of the day. It was so nice to see them, but if was not enough time! I wish they’d hurry up and move back to the west coast already. 🙂

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Sorry for the long post and I know it was heavy on the photos! Thanks for indulging me while I show off my little brother. 🙂

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!