low calorie recipe

Shiny and Bright

Saturday I made it to the gym!!! After being snowed/iced in for two days I braved the drive and made it. My little car would not have made it out of our street –which was a sheet of ice–but the Subaru did great and once I got on the main streets it was clear.

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It felt SO good to get to the gym! I hadn’t been since Monday. I was also slightly sore still from Thursday’s at home workout. Squats and kettlebells ALWAYS get me.

At the gym I did some light body weight/ab stuff, went through a circuit of the weight machines and then did 27 minutes on the elliptical. It felt awesome!

Then home to clean up and get ready to go on a date. Michael’s mom and stepdad came over to spend some time with the little dude so we could go out to lunch and possibly get a Christmas tree.

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The roads were decent but sidewalks were super icy still. We ended up going to Lardo on SE Hawthorne for lunch. It’s been years since I’ve been there. The place was packed when we arrived. We ordered and then sat outside in the covered and heated patio area.

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We both got the Block 15 Sticky Hands IPA. For lunch Michael got the Grilled Mortadella:

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I got the Lardo Egg Sandwich, smoked pork belly with a runny egg and cheese. It came with a hash brown patty on the side.

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Michael got an order of their “dirty fries” –fries with cheese, pork pieces and pickled peppers on top. I nibbled on some. I didn’t love the fries. I did enjoy the pickled peppers, though!

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We talked about getting a Christmas tree. We both had concerns, obviously. Logan is almost 9 months old (on the 22nd!!) and he is an ACTIVE little boy already. He’s been crawling for two months, standing for a month and he’s already “cruising” (walking while he holds on to things like the coffee table). He also goes right for all the things he shouldn’t have and big, sparkling, blinky Christmas tree would be a bad idea.

We talked about getting a small tree and putting it on a table, that didn’t really seem feasible, because we a) don’t have a table that would work and b) he could probably pull that down too. I floated the idea of getting a tiny living tree (something I’ve always wanted to do) and putting it on this one tall side table we have in the living room. So we went to Lowe’s to check it out and found the small living trees.

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For about the same price as a large Christmas tree we got the living tree. It’s small and the needles are super spikey! That’s the only downside. But I like that we can plant it in the yard somewhere after Christmas and it doesn’t feel like such a waste.

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It’s okay, it does the trick. Next year we’ll go all out and it will be great! And Logan will be old enough to “get it”.

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Saturday night we were supposed to go to the Milwaukie Solstice Festival and then some friends were coming over for dinner but our friends were sick, I was still under the weather and we just didn’t feel like going back out. So Michael made dinner for us instead and we just chilled.

He made French Onion Soup!

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Here’s the recipe:

French Onion Soup

From: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/french_onion_soup

Ingredients

  • 6 large red or yellow onions (about 3 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced root to stem (see How to Slice an Onion), about 10 cups of sliced onions total
  • 4 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
  • 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme (can also use a few sprigs of fresh thyme) OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 8 inch-thick slices of French bread or baguette
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere and a sprinkling of Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Caramelize the onions: In a 5 to 6 quart thick-bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with the olive oil.
  2. Cook the onions, stirring often, until they have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter and cook, stirring often, until the onions start to brown, about 15 more minutes.
  4. Then sprinkle with sugar (to help with the caramelization) and 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to cook until the onions are well browned, about 10 to 15 more minutes.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.
  6. Deglaze the pot with vermouth: Add the vermouth to the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pot, deglazing the pot as you go.
  7. Add stock and seasonings: Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.
  8. Season to taste with more salt and add freshly ground black pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Add brandy if using.
  9. Toast French bread slices: While the soup is simmering, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil and preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven.
  10. Brush both sides of the French bread or baguette slices lightly with olive oil (you'll end up using about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil for this).
  11. Put in the oven and toast until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
  12. Turn the toasts over and sprinkle with the grated Gruyere cheese and Parmesan. Return to oven when it's close to serving time and bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
  13. Serve: To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and transfer one cheesy toast onto the top of each bowl of soup.
  14. Alternatively, you can use individual oven-proof bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350° F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51311

Dinner was great!

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We missed the Winter Solstice but we did manage to go to Peacock Lane this year!

I told Logan we were going to see sparkly Christmas lights. He giggled:

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We met up with a friend of mine who has a baby about 2.5 months younger than Logan. Peacock Lane was PACKED! You could barely walk there were so many people. But the babies loved the lights!

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I’m really looking forward to Christmas this weekend!

Bridal Shower/Cooking Lesson

Saturday turned out to be a really nice day! I planned on going to the gym but Michael suggested we go for a walk as a family since it was so sunny and kind of warm out. It turned out to be a really lovely walk.

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Not too bad of a calorie burn for a long walk/jog. It was nice to go out as a family, too.

Also over the weekend, it was my cousin Anna’s bridal shower. Her friend Shawna planned a super fun and unique shower for her–a cooking lesson! Her friend Bernadette, who has been a chef in many Portland restaurants and now does some catering on her own, taught a cooking lesson for the shower and it was so much fun!

We were all instructed to bring our favorite recipe for Anna and $10 in one dollar bills…hmmm…what could that be for?? 😉

Turned out there were a few rules for the party. You couldn’t mention the honeymoon, their new house or the fiance by name and if you did you had to put $1 in a jar as a tax. It was a funny idea. The money in the jar was going towards the purchase of a Kitchenaid Mixer for the happy couple. I love that idea!

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There were some snacks out while we mingled. Cheese, fruit, crackers, French bread. Lots of wine, sparkling water and lemon water. It was a big group, too, and my mom drove down and stayed with us overnight so she could go. A bunch of my aunts and cousins were there and it was nice to see everyone.

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We were all told to bring our favorite recipe, too. So we all decorated our recipe cards and put them in a book for Anna. My Grandma sent down her coffee cake recipe (which is the best you’d ever eat) and I put in Michael’s mac n’ cheese recipe in the book.

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The party was at my aunt Sheila’s house and the decorations were adorable.

The cooking instruction started. Dinner was salmon with Asian slaw, zucchini and rice.

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The cooking instruction was really fun and interesting and Bernadette answered questions (some just general cooking questions) and was a good teacher. She walked us through her recipe for the slaw and homemade dressing and recruited Anna to do the mixing:

Then she walked us through making the sauce for the salmon. It was tamari, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes and cornstarch with water.

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We all got to taste the sauce after it thickened up and it was almost like a tangy, tamari caramel sauce. It was SO good!!!

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Here is the finished product:

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The food was absolutely delicious! Shawna is going to email everyone the recipe soon and when I get it I will post it. I definitely want to make that sauce because it was so amazing. I also loved that it was a simple, healthy, low-calorie meal that anyone could make.

After dinner we had dessert. Anna’s mom made a chocolate/whipped cream/walnut dessert and a raspberry cheesecake bar dessert. I had a small piece of both.

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The cooking lesson was a blast and it inspired me to look into some cooking classes in the future. It’s something I’ve done in the past and had fun but never stuck with.

It was such a fun night. I was so glad we all got together and celebrated the upcoming wedding. It’s going to be a blast!

Question: Have you ever had a cooking lesson? What did you learn to cook?