Aug 182015
 

What a busy weekend!

Michael’s dad was visiting from Texas and we had my parents come down for a short visit, too. It was nice to have a visit and catch up and they hadn’t seen each other since our wedding last year. Michael, his dad and my dad went golfing Thursday afternoon and then we all went out to dinner at Jake’s Grill. A favorite in Portland, for sure.

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We got a really nice, quiet table in the back underneath a gorgeous antique stained glassed window atrium. I’d never seen it before.

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We shared an order of calamari for the table. It was nice to show my parents one of our favorite restaurants (they had never been there).

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Michael got the steak, my mom got the meatloaf and mashed potatoes and my dad got the beef stroganoff. Michael’s dad got the halibut (his favorite) and I got the Cedar Planked Steelhead with mashed potatoes. I’d been craving mashed potatoes for weeks! This definitely satisfied that craving. The steelhead was so amazing and perfect–the perfect, rich piece of fish, slightly crispy.

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After that lovely, rich dinner my parents split a chocolate cake and Michael and I split the cheesecake with blueberry compote. It’s been so long since I’ve had a fancy dessert–it was so worth the calories!

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What a nice night!

On Friday I had the day off. I went for a swim–first swim in over a week and a half and it felt fantastic being back in the pool (especially with my recent back stuff). The boys were spending the day watching golf (no thanks) and so my mom and worked in the kitchen. Our garden has gone so crazy this summer and our tomatoes were out of control. I was so glad to had my mom’s help with them.

She bought me a tomato press (we’d gone to several stores to find a food mill and this was the closest thing we could find). I am so glad, too! It’s a nifty little device that worked great for the project. In the past it was SO time consuming and exhausting trying sieve the tomato seeds and skins out of the cooked tomatoes and this made the project a million times easier.

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I don’t know how many pounds of tomatoes we picked from the garden but it was an insane amount. The tomato press removed probably 90% of the seeds and all of the skins. Worked great!

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I chopped up a red pepper, green pepper, two onions, a ton of garlic and a shallot. I cooked it all down and then put the sauce in the pot.

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The kitchen smelled fantastic.

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I added some seasonings, salt, sugar and let it simmer for about 2 hours. I added 3 cans of tomato paste to thicken it up and it worked SO much better than last year’s batch of tomato sauce! I got the flavor and texture just right and it was ready. We ended up doing freezer bags instead of canning it (since I don’t have a pressure canner) and it will be a great sauce to have this winter.

After that it was nearing dinner time and Michael made us all ribs. I cooked up corn on the cob and baked beans.

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Michael did the ribs a different way this time. He baked them in the oven at a low temperature for two hours and then cooked them on the grill for 30-45 minutes until they were ready. They turned out great! It was another nice night visiting but I was really tired after all the work I’d done.

I have to share this one other thing. My mom brought down a giant scrapbook from my great grandfather. He used to keep journals and cut out newspaper clippings. There were some amazing newspaper articles in his scrapbook. The Kennedy assassination, the Civil Rights movement…just amazing to see.

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I spent a good hour reading through the book. There is so much to read!

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Aug 122015
 

Saturday we tried to go to a hike on Mt. Hood, Enid Lake, but the directions we had weren’t great and we couldn’t find the trailhead. Instead we ended up doing Paradise Park and Little Zig Zag Falls. The Zig Zag Falls were really pretty and an easy walk from the parking lot. The whole “hike” was a little over half a mile round trip.

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The mini falls were really pretty and if you got too close to them it was FREEZING! There was a little picnic area and that was about it. The trail ended. I posted a short video on Instagram of the falls.

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We went back down the trail and then drove down the road a bit to a trail head for Paradise Park.

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You walked through a primitive campground to get to the trailhead and then the trail went through old growth trees and the ground was covered in lush green moss.

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The first part of the trail was pretty flat and you walked on soft ground, which was nice. We were the only people on the trail. Then it started going uphill and there were some switchbacks.

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It was a lot steeper than we were expecting and our hearts were pounding. I talked to my chiropractor and he thought that my back injury was an accumulation of my back feeling tight, sitting in the car, and then doing a steep hike with an incline–where you are forced to lean forward as you climb. And that did me in.

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Despite my back issues, the hike was okay. There wasn’t a stunning view, the climb up the side of the mountain kept you in the trees but you got glimpses of the area around you through the trees and you realized just how high up you were.

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We stopped to rest and have lunch (I had a PB&J sandwich), gave Bella some water and continued up the trail a bit. Then I decided I’d had enough and we turned around. It was easier going back down but my back was still bothering me.

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We did just under 4 miles and I burned 507 calories. Then my back went out. :(
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You guys know the rest!

As of today I am feeling a LOT better! No back spasms since Sunday night. I went to the chiropractor Monday afternoon and got a massage yesterday. I’m back at work and glad I have a standing desk, I think that’s helping. So far so good!

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