Playing Hooky

For an anniversary gift, Michael surprised me with suggesting we book a couple’s massage. I looked around for something in Portland and found a stellar place! But first, a lunch date!

We played hooky and took off half the day from work and went out to lunch. We went to Stella Taco on SE Division. There are a ton of cool new restaurants on SE Division that we’ve been wanting to check out but never have the opportunity.

Stella Taco was a cute, hip place with “street” tacos on the menu. It was a casual joint, with the order-at-the-bar and bus your own table model (which I’m not usually a huge fan of, but…it was ok). It was cheap, so that’s nice.

I got one of of the fish street tacos and one carnitas. There were small, like three or four bites worth.

Michael got the carnitas, beef and chorizo street tacos. Everything was really fresh. I liked my tacos a lot but they weren’t spicy. The carnitas was pretty flavorful but I wished that the fish taco had a little more flavor, it was a tad bland. But I think with some spice they could have been great!

Michael said the chorizo tacos were spicy. We had lunch and then went to a dive bar nearby for beers. We had about an hour and a half to kill after lunch before our massages. Boneyard RPM! Our favorite beer on tap! It was nice to just chill in the quiet bar, not rushed or anything.

Then we walked around SE Hawthorne for a bit. We had no destination, just wandering. We stopped in Red Light (a funky, hip consignment store) that had a ton of retro clothes and halloween costumes and we hung out a bit. I was super excited about the cheesy 70’s pantsuits! Sadly, I didn’t find anything that really spoke to me enough to buy for Halloween. 😉 There were some real gems, though!

On a whim we stopped in at Blue Star Donuts and Michael bought a blueberry bourbon basil donut–apparently Blue Star is something pretty amazing. I wasn’t all that impressed after a few bites.

Then it was time for our appointments. I had looked around and found a place called Laurelhurst Massage by Laurelhurst Park. It was SO great! We both agreed they were some of the best massages we’ve had. It was a really relaxing and wonderful experience.

Rick and Greg have a massage studio in a space behind their house. It’s a cute space among nice, old Portland craftsman houses. The studio downstairs had a bathroom and a decent sized spa that we got to use before our massages.

The sauna was so nice! We’ve been talking about wanting our own sauna at home someday…Anyways, the sauna was great and so relaxing. The door to the sauna had a really pretty glass etching, too, of Multnomah Falls. Very cool.

After about 10 or 15 minutes in the sauna, we used the double spa shower that had like 6 shower heads, dried off and then had our couple’s massage upstairs in the massage room. (They had big fluffy bathrobes and nice towels for us.)

They were fabulous massages! So good and relaxing. I fell asleep halfway through my massage. Michael got a pretty deep sports massage and was pretty happy with his. We had a great time and will most definitely go back to use them again. If you are in the Portland area and looking a luxurious afternoon spa getaway, I recommend it!

After our massages we melted outside to the car 😉 and then went to pick up our little dude from daycare and head home.

It was a good change from the routine!

A Week in Dinners

Today’s post is a quickie about my dinners this week. Without further preamble, here you go!

Baked Salmon with Mustard Sauce and Kale.

The way I bake salmon is fail-safe. I use a piece of foil, put the salmon down, season it however I want, then loosely wrap the foil. I bake it at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes depending on how thick the salmon fillet is. Usually 18 minutes is a good time.

I have about four or five favorite salmon “recipes” and this one is probably #2. I make it a lot. I take some dijon mustard and add a little brown sugar, mix well and top the salmon with the mustard. It’s sweet and tangy at the same time. This time I added a little cayenne pepper to it to see how much of a bite it gave the sauce. It wasn’t very spicy.


I sauteed some kale in a skillet with chicken stock and topped it with the salmon. It was a filling, delicious dinner for 400 calories.

Thai Noodles with Broccoli.

I have fallen in love with the Thai Kitchen noodles. They come in a little packet (like Ramen) and there’s about four different flavor. This time I used the lemongrass and chili flavor. The packet itself is around 170 calories and it’s SO GOOD!


I cooked the noodles and added steamed broccoli to it. I topped it with sriracha sauce. I know it was an “easy” dinner and nothing fancy but I loved how tasty it was. I made a salad to go with my noodles. The salad was: spinach, Oregon Gorgonzola, slivered almonds and half an avocado.


It was definitely enough food, and it was only around 400 calories for everything. This is a good dinner for me when I’m cooking for just myself because it’s so easy and quick.

Cheeseburger with Greens.

Michael is the burger connoisseur in our house and he makes good burgers! Since Michael is gluten-free, he uses gluten-free buns for the burgers. I’d much rather just skip the bun altogether, so that’s what I’ve been doing lately. He grilled up the burgers and I had a slice of smoked Gouda on mine.


I added stoneground mustard to the top of my burger and had steamed green beans as my side with pickles and green olives. Weird, I know, but so good. Not seen in the photo was the glass of Cabernet I had with dinner, too. Calories for dinner: 650.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos.

Tuesday night was dog walking! It was a really nice day, the sun was out and warm and the dogs were super excited to be outside. Michael and I walked Cindy and Tiki again. We’ve walked them before. They are an adorable pair.


They are a funny pair. They walk really fast but they have tiny little legs so it’s hilarious to watch. They also have to stop and pee on EVERYTHING. Even if there’s nothing else coming out. It’s silly.


They are sweet and affectionate and so chill. After those two, we walked Bessie. She’s not for adoption (she previously was, was adopted and was there for some medical treatments only). She was a basset hound. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve only seen basset hounds in cartoons and never in person. 😉


When Michael and I got home from volunteering at The Pixie Project, ready to make dinner, I realized our dishwasher was broken. This comes after Michael’s old TV broke and then his iPod broke…so instead of fixing dinner, I spent an hour washing three days worth of dishes that were sitting in our broken dishwasher!

Despite that, dinner was simple and quick. Michael sauteed the shrimp in a skillet with coconut oil and cayenne pepper. I prepped the small corn tortillas.


Two tortillas equal 110 calories. I put refried beans on it, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped jalapenos, and black olives in the tortillas and topped it with shrimp. The shrimp was super spicy! A serving of shrimp was about 100 calories but dinner ended up being around 700 calories total because of all the fixings (and tortilla chips)!

Grilled Cheese.

Yeah. It was one of those weeks and by Thursday I was over it. We’d had house guests the previous two weekends in a row so I hadn’t done a whole lot of grocery shopping. Which meant the choices for dinner were slim pickings. We decided on grilled cheese. Michael picked up a fancy loaf of bread at the store and we had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Robyn's Birthday

Guess which one was mine? 😉 I went with half a sandwich. The bread was pretty rich. It also got smashed down pretty good with the press.


I had steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing and some green olives. I just felt like I needed some green on my plate. Man, it had been a long time since we had some REAL BREAD. Michael even broke his gluten-free thing to enjoy the sourdough. It was so good. (We might have eaten a piece of bread slathered in butter while dinner was cooking…and we might have both looked like we’d been on a deserted island for a month starving…)

The grilled cheese was exactly what I needed last night. Sometimes comfort food is good. Calories were high. I estimated around 800 with all the snacking I did while dinner was cooking. But the grilled cheese was so good!

QUESTION: Any remarkable dinners this week?