Jan 142013
 

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A weekend is apparently when I get lost in television shows. I’ve finished the entire 3rd season of Downton Abbey. Once I started watching it, I couldn’t stop. I’m glad I don’t have to wait each week to see an episode but I’m sad that it’s over now and I have to wait until season 4 comes out–whenever THAT is! Anyone else a Downton fan? I love the show. Maggie Smith is by far the star of the show, no matter what anyone else thinks. The zingers that the Dowager Countess has in every single episode always have me laughing.

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Oh Granny. Every scene in Downton Abbey should include you. Of course, since I’ve already seen all of season 3 there’s TONS of stuff I want to talk to people about but can’t! I won’t spoil it, I promise. But dang, I can’t wait for everyone to get caught up.

Last week my knees were particularly achy and sore. I have no idea why. I don’t know why I had a flare-up but it had me in a cranky mood all week. There’s nothing worse than being in constant pain. And when it’s something like your knees that impact your daily life in such a big way, it’s hard to ignore it. I took it easy with my workouts. Last Wednesday evening I skipped cardio completely and only focused on upper body weights. I did a bunch of free weight exercises for my shoulders, biceps and triceps and then used the kettlebells.

Thursday I took a rest day, Friday night I swam (it went ok, pretty pain-free) and by Saturday I was feeling a little bit better. Unfortunately this week Michael also had a flare-up of his old back injury! We were quite the pair. :( Saturday I took it easy and did some elliptical work (easy on the resistance) and then weights. I felt pretty good by the end of it.

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Saturday afternoon I asked my lovely readers and friends on my Facebook fan page if they had a favorite chicken recipe. The idea of chicken was so boring that I almost dreaded making dinner! Thankfully, someone had a great recommendation. It was called “The World’s Best Chicken.” How could you go wrong with a title like that??

World's Best Chicken
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
  • Rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and vinegar.
  3. Place chicken breasts into 9×13 greased baking dish. Season with salt & lots of pepper.
  4. Pour mustard mixture over chicken. Make sure each breast is coated. No need to marinate.
  5. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Line your pan with foil to keep clean up easy!
  6. Season with chopped rosemary.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 400

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I used the Calorie Count website to calculate the recipe. It came to around 400 calories, of course that depends on the size and weight of the chicken. I only changed the recipe with one thing: paprika. I added a dash of paprika to the mustard mixture. I also chopped up some onions to include in the roasting chicken. If I’d had potatoes I would have added some of that too.

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With dinner I had a glass of Hopwork’s IPA. Michael got a growler for us for Christmas. We finally got it filled! The IPA is hoppy and makes me feel like I’m eating a lemon in the middle of a forest. Earthy, hoppy, citrusy. Yum.

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With dinner I made polenta (from Trader Joe’s) and steamed broccoli. I used the leftover mustard sauce to drizzle over the broccoli. The whole dinner, including the beer, was around 800 calories. Michael really liked the dinner. I cooked the chicken for about 35 minutes and it was perfect–not dried out at all. I liked the dinner but I wouldn’t qualify it as the best chicken in the world. I’m still in search of that!

QUESTION: What is your world’s best chicken recipe? How was your weekend?

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Feb 052012
 
Marquam Trail Hike

Saturday morning we woke up to sunshine and the promise of nearly 60 degrees outside! What a gorgeous little burst of sunshine in the middle of winter. We shared a lovely breakfast of pancakes and bacon before heading out for a day hike.


I was still getting over my nasty heady cold but feeling pretty good. The hike we chose was the Gillette Lake Hike over at the Bonneville Dam. Unfortunately it was about 15 degrees cooler out in The Gorge and about 15x windier out there! It was quite unpleasant so we chalked it up to a nice drive in the sunshine, and returned to Portland. Instead, we did a hike that was right in the middle of the city.

The hike was the Marquam Trail to Council Crest. To get to the trailhead, get off I-5 at Terwilliger and SW Barbur, and drive up Terwilliger towards OHSU. The trailhead was small and easy to miss, but since it was such a nice day out we just kept our eyes peeled for a bunch of cars parked by the trailhead and we were right!

The trail was classified as “Moderate.” There was a climb right at the start, but it wasn’t too bad. The trail went up the side of the hill, through tall trees covered in moss.

It was so much warmer and not windy in town! The sun was so bright and the sky was bright blue. It was such a lovely day. My stamina was definitely not what it used to be before my cold took over. I wasn’t feeling sick or weak, but I also wasn’t ready to run the entire trail! Speaking of running, we saw half a dozen trail runners during our hike, too.

The trail went steadily uphill. We were definitely getting our hear rates up. I still don’t know that I’d classify the hike as “Moderate.” It was more “easy” with a few “moderate” spots. It wasn’t unpleasant but definitely not the type of hike for someone with any sort of knee issues. Luckily, my knees were holding up.

The trail went downhill a little bit. The trail was very dry, with only a few muddy spots. We crossed the main road and picked up the trail on the other side. I realized once we got to the other side of the road that the Marquam trail eventually connected to Washington Park! It was part of the 40 miles of trails there.

This part of the trail was straight downhill. It was easy to get going and start running down the trail. I can see why the runners love it there! We got to the bottom of the trail and took the fork in the road towards the Marquam Shelter.

We stopped at the shelter to eat our lunches that we packed. Sitting still while sweaty means getting a chill pretty quickly so we didn’t stay too long once we were done eating. We headed back up the trail. It was a steady uphill climb back to the main trail.


We definitely got our hearts pumping as we climbed back up the Marquam trail. We decided to head back instead of continuing onto Council Crest. That will have to be another day when we have more time and more energy. I didn’t want to wipe myself out.

We crossed the road and picked up the trail again on the other side. It was mostly downhill the rest of the way. We crossed over a few creeks. There was this crooked little bridge and staircase that felt like it was about ready to fall off the face of the earth. It was entirely crooked but felt steady enough.

My cold didn’t hold me back too much. My body felt pretty good–my runny nose, not as great, but I was glad that my body didn’t feel fatigued. Michael’s back was holding up, too, so even better.

This little hike was such a GEM! It’s the perfect day hike right in the middle of the city. It was easy to get to, fairly easy to find, and close to everything. If you’re in Portland looking for a hike that will get your heart pumping, but don’t want to drive an hour east, definitely give Marquam Trail a try.

You can extend this little hike into so much more, as well. So please pack a lunch and some snacks and give it a try!

Hike Stats:
Time: 1:57
Calories Burned: 529
Mileage: About 3.5 miles

We got back to the car and stopped by the Viewpoint near the Chart House restaurant–which Michael and I want to try someday. I’d never heard of it, but the seafood restaurant was perched on the side of the hill overlooking the water and valley below. What a romantic spot!

When we got home I took a short nap. I was suddenly exhausted. Then I spent a the rest of the afternoon finishing Season 1 of Downton Abbey and starting season 2! I am officially addicted!

We made homemade pizza for dinner (this dough recipe we used was fantastic!) and I crashed in bed with a book, waiting for the NyQuil to kick in. :)

QUESTION: How far do you have to travel from home to find good hikes? Have you done the Marquam Trail?

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