Jan 202015
 

For years Bend was my birthday tradition. My birthday often falls on the holiday weekend. It was a tradition I loved and we stayed in all sorts of different place and different parts of Bend, Sunriver and surrounding areas. Last year we went to the beach instead. It was just as great, but not quite the same! Now that we have Bella we wanted to go back to Bend so we could take her with us. She LOVES the snow and our hope was that she’d be a good snowshoe buddy.

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We booked a house in downtown Bend through AirBnB with another couple. Since it had been about 2 years since we’d been to Bend, I was excited to try the new restaurants and breweries that have popped up, see how the town has changed (I’d heard it grew a lot) and of course get some of my beloved Boneyard Beer!

Early Saturday morning I got up and did a kettlebell workout at home. I didn’t want to get up really early and waste time going to the gym, so I did a living room workout while Michael got ready and finished packing.

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Then we hit the road! It was a gross, rainy drive. Bella was super excited about the car trip but eventually slept through a lot of it. :)

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Most of the drive it was pouring rain. We got into Bend around noon and met up with our friends at Brother Jon’s Public House for lunch. The awesome thing about Bend is that everywhere you go, Boneyard Beer is on tap. Everywhere. It’s my #1 favorite beer and so it’s like being in heaven. I can get it anywhere! I got a RPM and a BLTA for lunch. Michael got the steak and blue cheese salad (and gave me a bite–it was delicious!).

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My sandwich was okay but it had too much lettuce on it.  While we were at lunch I got a text that the house we rented was ready if we wanted to check in early so we decided to check in, unload the car and then go to the outlet mall (where I got a new jacket and some hiking pants that I’ve desperately needed).

The house we rented was near downtown, less than a mile. The location was fantastic!

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The house was adorable and perfect for what we needed. It was two bedrooms, one bath, with a huge fenced yard and plenty of space for four people and a dog. We unpacked our cars and then Michael and I took Bella for a short walk after being in the car for three hours. The house was a block from the river and they were building a nice walking/running path along it (that wasn’t quite done yet).

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After shopping we took our growlers to the Boneyard Beer tasting room. We got some tastings and we all filled our growlers with RPM  (four growler!). I bought myself a t-shirt as a birthday present to myself. :) Man do I love their beer.

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We went back to the house and we spent the rest of the evening in. The boys went out for burritos and brought them back to the house where we hung out, played card games and enjoyed our beer. The owner of the house had also left us this little treat in the freezer as a welcome gift:

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Sunday we got up and ate breakfast and planned on going snowshoeing. That was the entire plan for the weekend. Our friends, Sean and Margie, had never been before and really wanted to try it. We decided to leave Bella at the house and take them to Virginia Meissner Sno-Park. It’s one that Michael and I have done a few times and it’s a fantastic adventure–complete with little cabins in the middle of nowhere that you can dry off and rest in.

Virginia Meissner is a really popular sno-park and unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed, but it was the perfect beginner trail. It’s groomed and it’s not super strenuous. We drove up Mt. Bachelor and I was noticing that there wasn’t any snow on the road or pretty much anywhere…The sun was out and it was warm and beautiful. We got closer and closer to the turn off and realized, uh there’s no snow. There’s ALWAYS snow. We’ve never been to Bend in January and NOT been able to find snow.

Sure enough, the sno-park was empty. There wasn’t enough snow to go out in. We were about 12 miles from the house so we decided to go back to the house and get Bella and go to one of the dog-friendly trails higher up on the mountain. When we got back to the house Margie made us all a picnic lunch and I looked up snow conditions online to check the other trails I’d planned on going to that trip. Sadly, they all reported “Inadequate snow”. What?!? NO SNOW?!

So snowshoeing was a bust. To be continued….

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Dec 152014
 

Saturday morning I went to the Warrior Room for the Kettlebell Conditioning class. This class focuses more on the kettle bell moves and perfecting form. We worked on “complexes” this class. A complex is basically three or four moves put together in a sequence without putting the kettlebells down or resting in between the moves. The complexes are a lot harder because of this–no resting! Power through it!

Here is an example of one of the complexes: With one kettlebell, rack the bell (basically holding the rack position with the kettlebell close to your body) like this:

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Then we put one leg bag, kneeled down and put the other leg back and kneeled down. Then with one arm out (similar to above photo) press the kettlebell up for 4 reps, then stand back up and with the kettlebell still in the rack position, 4 squats. Then it was a set of lunges followed by 6 one-armed kettlebell swings. (Here is a good video of the alternating single arm swing to give you an example of good form–even though in class we didn’t do alternating swings.) That was one set. Then the same thing on the other side. Doing these complexes always gets my heart pounding and I do find that I fatigued quicker than when we do regular sets. But the complexes are fun to do and clearly are a good workout:

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The class also included lots of burpees, mountain climbers and hill sprints. It was a fantastic class and I felt strong throughout the entire class, which was nice!

Later that day I went grocery shopping to get a bunch of veggies and stuff to make this new recipe I wanted to try. I don’t know where I found this recipe–maybe Pinterest? But it sounded so tasty and I love curry.

I substituted kale for the swiss chard. It had been ages since I’d had kale and when I was in the grocery store looking at that glorious green bunch of kale, I decided to just get that instead. Plus I’ve never cooked with swiss chard (or eaten it I think…) and wasn’t really sure if I’d like it. I knew I loved kale. Also, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs because we didn’t have thighs. I liked the breasts in this recipe better anyway; it was easier to chop into small bite-sized pieces.

Green Chickpea & Chicken Curry with Swiss Chard

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 624

From: http://www.thecrepesofwrath.com/2014/02/14/green-chickpea-chicken-coconut-curry/

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat your olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add in your cubed chicken and cook over medium heat until almost fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Add in your shallots and continue to cook until the shallots are softened, about another 5-6 minutes. Add in the curry paste, chili paste, kosher salt, ginger, coconut milk, and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.
  3. Add in the additional cup of water. Bring back up to a boil, then add in the drained and rinsed chickpeas and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. After simmering, add in the trimmed and sliced Swiss chard. When you're trimming the chard, the thicker, whiter parts are generally too tough to eat, but the smaller, more tender colored stalks and all of the leafy greens will soften as they cook. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve alone or with some naan or pita bread.
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The kitchen smelled so good while I was cooking this! It was a little higher in calories than I would have liked but it was a healthy, filling recipe so I tried not to give it too much thought. I used light coconut milk to lighten it up a little bit. Really, the calories come from the chickpeas.

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While it was cooking it seemed like there was too much liquid but I still followed the recipe as it said. When I added the kale it soaked up a ton of the liquid! Mystery solved. I let it simmer for another 15 minutes and then it was done.

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I served it with a piece of sourdough bread. The dish was delicious with one exception. OMIT THE SALT. I have no idea why the recipe called for salt at all. Maybe it was because I used jarred chili paste and green curry that already had salt as one of their ingredients, but it was JUST on the borderline of being too salty.

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I liked the spice in this and the flavors. I would make this recipe again but would not add any salt. I had a glass of crisp chardonnay to go with dinner, which was a nice balance to the spicy food. I’d also get some naan next time I make this recipe. Anyways, after dinner Michael and played a few rounds of the Sequence game. I love that game!

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We brought Bella’s bed into the dining room to try and get her to keep us company while we played. She kept going back to the couch instead. I think she likes staring at the Christmas tree lights. She finally came back in and relaxed once Fat Kitty took her bed. :P They are too funny. Look, ALMOST cuddling. Almost.

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I got a few new board games recently and we’re going to have some friends over soon to play them. I’m excited! I will let you know how the new games are soon.

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