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Playing Hooky

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. Β 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. πŸ˜‰

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!

Healthy Breakfast Muffins

About a month ago I made some breakfast egg “muffins”. They worked great and I liked the concept a lot. I decided to try something else. I looked around for a breakfast muffin that was low in calories and didn’t have 1 cup of sugar in it. One of my biggest pet peeves about Pinterest is that if you search for “healthy recipes” you most definitely do NOT get healthy. What pinners think is healthy is insane. Sorry but any recipe that calls for multiple cups of sugar is insane.

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Anyways, I finally found a recipe that was healthy. It called for very little sugar and used the sweetness of the banana and applesauce instead. I used unsweetened apple sauce. I added a little less than 1/4 of a cup of craisins to the mixture and it was a great addition. Adding that changed the calorie count to 85 calories. Still a great number!

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I sprinkled a pinch of Maui sugar on top of the dough and baked it for about 18 minutes. Here is theΒ recipe:

The kitchen smelled so homey and wonderful as it was baking. I had to sample the muffins–you know, to make sure they were edible. πŸ™‚ I had one after lunch. It was moist and subtle–not so sweet it tasted like a dessert. It’s probably the perfect muffin to eat as breakfast. No sugar crash from frosting and chocolate chips, etc.Β 

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For breakfast during the work week I had one muffin and an egg. It was filling enough to get me through the morning to my mid-morning snack (and apple). The next morning I tried having one muffin with some Greek yogurt. I needed something quick because I overslept and was running late!

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That breakfast was 275 calories, and I had some coffee once I got work. The next day I had a muffin and some plain Greek yogurt, another day I had 1/2 a serving of rice krispies cereal with a muffin. Another day I had one egg and a muffin. The combinations with the muffins were great and I felt really satisfied. The banana muffins were delicious too.

You could easily have these muffins as a mid-day snack or maybe a pre-gym snack, as well. I think next time I make these I’d try adding some nuts or maybe some blueberries to it as well. I REALLY liked the addition of the Craisins. This recipe will definitely stay in rotation!