NYE

Snow Baby

Well Michael and I managed to continue our New Year’s Day tradition! Snowshoeing at Trillium Lake!

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In case you weren’t aware, it had been raining for the last 30 days straight here in Portland. In early December there was actually epic flooding as well. Bad news. Good news? Our mountain finally got SNOW!!! The weather has been pretty good this past week–very little rain but cold, cold, cold. Ice on the car in the mornings, wind chill that will make your eyes water and your joints ache. But still, there was snow on Mt. Hood! Last winter was pathetic (there was no snow in Bend!).

I wasn’t quite sure how it would go this year. I didn’t *think* snowshoeing would be hard pregnant — I mean, it’s really just walking — but I really no idea.

A friend of Michael’s got snowshoes for Christmas and asked if he could join us. We said sure but warned him we didn’t know how much I would be able to do. I knew it would not be like last year where we accidentally ended up doing nearly 5 miles (the entire Trillium Lake loop) which was too much for our bodies to handle, too much for the first time out snowshoeing for the season and WAY too much for Bella’s first time.

We actually ended up leaving Bella home this year. The weather was supposed to peak at around 15 degrees at Government Camp when we planned on being there and that was just too cold for Bella. I think we made the right call, even though we both felt sad that we couldn’t take her out to play in the snow (which she loves). I felt guilty when we got home, too, because she missed out. But it was the right decision–even with her fleece lined jacket it would have been too cold for her on the mountain since she doesn’t have fur or long hair.

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We planned on being up on the mountain by 10 because it’s usually pretty crowded and I’d heard earlier in the week from some people that the lot was full by 10am. We got a little bit of a later start than planned but were at Trillium Lake around 10:30. We got a parking spot (barely) and the lot was even more full when we were done!

I discovered that none of my snow gear fit. I had a feeling it would be tight, but didn’t think it would be unusable. That was disappointing. And since it was going to be such a cold day on the mountain I was a little worried about not being warm enough. I wore my long underwear (those fit for the most part), some sweat pants and a sweater, then wore a pair of Michael’s waterproof cycling pants over that instead of my snow pants. The gators I wore on my legs protected me enough from the snow and I was warm enough but it sure wasn’t good “snow” gear and definitely not breathable materials.

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We set out on the path down the steep hill and then took a right to get the best view of Mt. Hood.

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Gorgeous day!

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Baby bump on the mountain!

Snowshoeing seemed ok. I wasn’t really having any issues. I was definitely slower this year than in years past but I was trucking along. We went by the mountain and came to a fork in the road. The left goes around the lake and that’s usually the route we go. The other fork goes to another sno-park (I think maybe Mazamas?). We took that one instead.

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It was pretty flat in this part. There was a cute little cabin buried in the snow deep in the woods. It had huge icicles on the roof and snowdrifts were doing a good job hiding it.

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We hiked by a creek that I’d never seen before (or maybe just didn’t notice). Around this time my left ankle was starting to bug me a little bit–the achilles tendon. I wasn’t sure why and it wasn’t constant. Later when we were done I realized my hiking boot had come untied underneath all my layers and my gators so that was probably the reason why. It was slightly painful and very annoying.

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We’d been hiking for about an hour and decided to turn around. I was still feeling pretty good but wanted to turn around and be closer to the starting point just in case. If we got back to the base of the giant hill and I felt ok I said we could do the other part of the loop that goes towards the lake but I wanted to wait and see.

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We turned around and hiked back. I got to practice using my new camera on this adventure, which was nice. It takes great photos.

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Someone made a snow Alien:

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We got back to the viewpoint and took a few more pictures and then continued on. I realized I was pretty much done and Michael was, too. His hips were starting to bug him and so were mine.

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The last leg of the journey is the worst. It’s that never-ending climb up the hill to the parking lot. It’s so long and just when you turn a corner and think you’re at the top, you’re not. It’s very deceptive and harder than it looks and it gets me EVERY YEAR. This year was no different. Half-way up the hill I was over it. I was so slow. Just plugged along, taking baby steps because I was tired and starting to get sore. But finally made it to the top and then had to traverse the icy parking lot and the traffic of people trying to fight for spots to park.

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We ended up hiking 3 miles in 2 hours and I burned 793 calories.

It was a good trek out, I’m glad we did it and I’m glad I was ABLE to do it…but I’m pretty sure that was my one and only snowshoeing trek this year. Not having good snow clothes that fit are deterring me from wanting to try again. But I will say, physically, I was okay snowshoeing at almost 30 weeks pregnant. Other than carrying around an extra 20 pounds and being a little slower, it wasn’t that much different!

We were back in the car and heading down the mountain by 1pm, which meant we missed all the afternoon/evening traffic of skiers heading back to town. The pizza place we liked to go to was closed so we ended up getting sandwiches at Subway. I was famished and baby was kicking me for some food. Happy to oblige. Got home and immediately took a long, hot bath with Epsom salts. I knew I was going to be sore the next day!

6pm came around and I felt so depleted and exhausted I actually laid down and fell asleep for a nap. I’m not a napper. Like ever. But I guess the day caught up to me. Dinner was Papa Murphy’s pizza because the burger-fries-milkshake I was craving from a place near the house was closed.   🙁 Oh well. Food was food. I definitely didn’t eat enough calories for the day and I think that’s part of the reason I was so tired. That and trudging through the snow!

White Bean and Chard New Year’s Eve

Usually my boyfriend and I go out for a nice dinner on New Year’s Eve. I like the glitz and glamour of getting dressed up and being spoiled at a restaurant. Last year we changed the norm and stayed home. We were preparing for him possibly losing his job in January–which did end up happening–and wanted to tighten the reigns in anticipation. Thankfully, after a long 9 months unemployed, Michael got a new job and a fantastic one at that.

We had so much fun last year cooking a really nice meal at home and spending the evening playing scrabble together that we decided to do it again this year. Last year I made my very first ham and it turned out great! This year, we made something different: Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans and I added chicken to the recipe I found.

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped chard leaves, (about 1 small bunch) or spinach
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
Calories: 325 Fat: 7 Carbohydrates: 55 Fiber: 6 Protein: 14 Cholesterol: 8
3.1.09

 

I bought purple chard AND some kale at the grocery store and I used both in the recipe. I bought the gnocchi at Trader Joe’s, which is the only store I have ever found it in. I also added some fresh grape tomatoes, also from TJ’s, to the recipe in addition to the canned tomatoes. I thought the fresh tomatoes added a lot to the recipe and I’d definitely add more next time.

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I opened a nice bottle of red wine, even though the red didn’t really go with dinner. It was what I wanted and it actually ended up tasting pretty good with the gnocchi and chicken. Michael had a glass of whiskey then switched to an IPA. I set the table and lit some candles and turned on the music. It was fun cooking together and the recipe was SUPER easy and fast. This could most definitely be a work night meal.

Everything was done in one skillet, so the clean up was easy as well. Next time I would add more of the tomatoes, and more greens. I didn’t really add as much as the recipe called for and I regretted that. The chard and kale went perfectly and I wished there was more in it. As for the chicken, Michael baked a boneless chicken breast with just some lemon pepper seasoning and when it was done, chopped it into bite size pieces and threw it into the skillet at the last minute.

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The chicken definitely added something to the recipe. I’m so glad we did it. The chicken and gnocchi and greens were fantastic together. Michael felt like the white beans weren’t necessary but I kinda liked the beans in it, too.

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The cheese melted in the skillet and mixed with the tomato chunks to make a sauce. This recipe was most definitely a winner! I halved the recipe and made three servings (yay leftovers!) and because I added the chicken to it the calorie count was off. I’m guessing it was more in the range of 450-500 calories for the entire dish. (I also added more cheese.)

After dinner we shared some Ben & Jerry’s Karmel Sutra ice cream for dessert and then worked on the crossword puzzle we started on Christmas. 😉 Yes, it’s taking us a week to finish it! Fat Kitty was super excited about everything and just HAD to make his presence known.

 

Man he looks so grumpy in that photo! He didn’t like that we were ignoring him to finish the crossword. Before we came home to fix dinner, we saw a movie, Django Unchained. I wanted to share my mini review of that.

The movie started out really, really strong. The first half of the film, I LOVED it. It was exciting, intriguing; it had a great story, the characters were interesting, the acting superb (I even thought “wow, I see Oscar in their future”), and the camaraderie between Christoph Waltz and Jaime Foxx was great! I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, so I will be a bit vague.

While the slavery aspect was really, really hard to watch and that horribly racist word was used a lot, I was able to ignore that because it was the time period and that’s what the story was about. But honestly, 3/4 into the movie I was over it. The use of that word was too much and it became every other word and I found myself cringing. That needed to be toned down. Also, it is very, very violent and graphic so if you can’t handle people being shot on film don’t see this movie. There were a few scenes where I just had to close my eyes because I couldn’t take it. Finally, my last complaint was that Tarantino needed an editor, badly. Like I said, the first half of the movie was GREAT. The second half had some pacing issues and there were quite a few scenes toward the end where I thought “Oh my god is this OVER YET?”

Don’t let that deter you from seeing it, though. Despite the missteps, the movie was still really good and Christoph Waltz seriously stole the show. I hope he goes on to very big things in his future because he was riveting. There were also a lot of other big names in the movie that threatened to steal the show (Samuel L. Jackson’s and Don Johnson’s characters). Oh, and there’s a part in the movie that will have you rolling on the floor laughing so hard. The only hint I’ll give: it’s Jaime Foxx’s outfit change. 🙂 Okay I’ll give you another hint: my first thought when I saw it was “Is that Prince?”

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Anyways, it was a fun New Year’s Eve: good company, good movie, good food. I hope you rang in the new year with your loved ones!

QUESTION: How did you spend NYE? Have you seen Django Unchained?