Apr 082014
 

After a recent burst of summer-y weather, I vowed that the next day it was sunny and warm I’d take a vacation day and enjoy it. With the wedding and stuff I have been saving my vacation days but I had enough to spare one. I ended up taking off Monday to extend my weekend. I had nothing planned other than enjoying 0% chance of rain and the possible temperature of 74 degrees.

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I packed a backpack and water and Bella and I were off to play in the sunshine! I got an iced coffee, we filled up the gas tank and then drove to East Portland for a hike. I decided to do Powell Butte Park. I’d heard of the park before but had never been. I decided Monday was a good day! I didn’t want to drive all the way out to the Gorge for a hike and I’m glad I gave this local hike a try. I’d like to do it again with Michael.

They are doing construction at the park so the visitor parking lot is closed. I parked at the bowling alley across the street from the entrance road and Bella and I hoofed it up the steep road to the park. The hardest part of the hike was the first 1/2 mile trek TO the park!

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The park was pretty empty. We came across a few other people with dogs and Bella did a great job! She didn’t bark at any of the strangers except for one. The park is under massive construction. Not sure what all they are doing but I did see parts of the park were closed for habitat restoration. There were also tons of newly planted trees.

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The park is supposedly popular with cyclists, hikers and horseback riders. I saw evidence of horses on the trail but didn’t see any horses on our hike. The summit of the park was pretty barren; there were some trees but mostly it was just views of the surrounding mountains. It was a gorgeous lookout from the top!

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The sun was out, the skies were perfectly blue and it was warm out there. Bella and I hiked on the Wildhorse Trail and then it hooked up to the Orchard Trail. The path started to lead downhill and wound into some trees. The hike turned into a more typical Oregon hike–through old growth forests.

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The only sound was the breeze through the trees and the birds hiding in the branches. It was very peaceful. I followed the forested trail downhill for awhile and decided to turn around. I’m glad I did. We’d hiked a lot longer than I had expected. The trail was deceptive–it didn’t seem very far.

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It was a pretty warm day and most of the hike was out in the open. The sun felt really nice. We stopped many times for water breaks. We turned around and headed back the same way we came. I loved seeing the mountains! I found a map after the hike that showed all the trails. I’m not sure which ones are under construction but I was impressed with how big the park was!

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I’ve hiked on my own many times before. I’m always aware of what’s going on around me, pay attention to other people on the trail, and just be smart. I liked having Bella with me! We got back to the car and had more water before heading home. ¬†We did about 4.25 miles total. It was such a nice way to spend a day off!

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When I got home Bella fell asleep on the couch (snoring) while I cleaned up and had lunch. Lunch was leftover cashew chicken from the weekend and it really hit the spot. I’d worked up an appetite!

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I ran a few errands–one being a trip through the car wash! My poor car hasn’t been washed in months. And Bella got the exciting experience of going through a carwash. I posted a video of it on my instagram if you’re so inclined to check it out. After a day in the sunshine, Bella and I finally sat down to relax a little. She fell asleep and snored on the couch. ;)

When Michael got home I gave him his birthday present and made dinner. Even though we’d had Italian for his “official” birthday dinner, we ended up having Italian again! I opened a jar of my homemade marinara sauce made entirely from the tomatoes, rosemary, onions and basil from last year’s garden. I cooked some Trader Joe’s pesto tortellini, browned some turkey into the sauce and opened a bottle of red.

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For dessert I tried something I saw on Pinterest. You take the crescent roll dough, roll some Rollos into it, bake it and it’s all melty and gooey on the inside. For about 180 calories, it’s a nice treat! It was a little weird but tasty. Kind of reminded me of the croissants that have chocolate baked on the inside.

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We watched Game of Thrones and ended the day. It was such a nice day off!

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Mar 312014
 

My fiance is the best cook! I think it helps that it’s something that he enjoys doing and it shows because the food he makes is so delicious! My friend Star came over for dinner on Saturday night and Michael made one of his specialities–fish and chips! We don’t have this dish often and it’s usually only with Star because it’s her favorite meal that Michael makes. She’s a vegan and makes an exception because she loves his fish and chips. :)

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Usually he uses tilapia or basa fish for this but he picked up some delicious cod from Costco and I think I might like the cod better. It was a sturdier fish and didn’t fall apart as easily as tilapia has in the past. Michael also adds some Tabasco to the egg mixture–I think that’s his secret ingredient.

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There was enough fish left over that I froze some for another night. While Michael was prepping the fish, I baked a yam to be our “chips.” I sprayed the slices with coconut oil, added some salt and pepper, some of the Cotsco seasoning and I also sprinkle some cinnamon on a few of them as an experiment (which worked out well!). The yam “chips” were so freakin’ good we ate them while Michael was cooking the fish. :)

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So yeah, the fish and chips were kind of minus the chips. I opened a bottle of Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Reisling (the first white wine I learned to love and the wine from our first date–AND from the night that Michael proposed).

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Dinner was served. The three of us relaxed and ate the delicious feast and discussed our wedding. Star is going to be officiating the ceremony and we discussed some different ideas. We’re in the beginning stages of planning it and I think Michael and I are on the same page in terms of wanting Star to do most of the talking and we just say “I Do”!!

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Star brought a raw salad from New Seasons Market–it was asparagus, cabbage and various kinds of peppers. We were all excited to try it because it sounded great but sadly it wasn’t very good. There was very little to no dressing on it and it was kind of bitter. A big disappointment. Oh well, that just meant more room for dessert:

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Star brought fresh pineapple for dessert (which I love) and I added a treat that I found at the grocery store earlier that day. They are like waffle cones but made into crackers. They tasted just like a waffle cone–slightly sweet but not too sweet. They were really addicting. If you see these in your grocery store, give them a try. 3 crackers were a serving and it was 140 calories, so not bad at all.

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Even though most of the foods I ate on Saturday were healthy, I did overdo it a little at dinner. I was really hungry and it was like my morning workout session (weights and couch 2 5k) had finally caught up to me. I guess the green salad and leftover baked chicken with pesto for lunch wasn’t enough food. It felt like it at the time and then….crash! I’m still working on figuring out my hunger cues. Sometimes it feels like I am 100-% aware and other times it feels like it blindsides me.

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It had been a rainy, stormy, windy, gross day with only a few breaks with blue skies and even a rainbow. Star and I saw the rainbow when we took Bella for a walk before dinner and then later when we planted some flowers that she had brought over. Then the rain returned in full force. So much so that all I could hear was the sound of the gutters overflowing. Our yard is a swamp. :(

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I know that April Showers Bring May Flowers and all that crap but, dang, I am sick of the rain! I want some sunshine and dry weather!

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