Yule dinner

Yule Dinner

For Yule I had my friend Star over for dinner and presents. She’s tried a bunch of different diets to cure her diabetes and after a few years and many holistic health appointments, she found something that worked: going vegan. She’s not a totally strict vegan, she will have some real cheese every once in awhile, but what she found going vegan was astounding! I don’t know that it cureher diabetes but her blood sugar is closer to normal and she no longer has to take medication for it. I think that’s awesome! While the vegan lifestyle doesn’t work for me, I’m impressed at how it changed her. Since she’s vegan, I wanted to find something for dinner that she could eat. I scoured the internet and settled on this recipe from Oh She Glows:

Chickpea Salad Wrap

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 3 servings

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/01/16/lunch-this-week-chickpea-salad-wraps/#ixzz2o9YCieOU

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 3 tbsp chopped dill pickle (~1 pickle)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp regular mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds (or pecans/walnuts)
  • salt/herbamare and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and toast the sunflower seeds for about 11 minutes.
  2. Mix everything into a bowl, mashing up the chickpeas slightly with a fork, and season with salt (I used Herbamare) and pepper, to taste.
  3. Stuff into a wrap or pita, or enjoy with crackers or rice cakes.
  4. Nutritional Info (based on 3 servings): 222 kcals, 8 grams fat, 32 grams carbs, 7 grams fibre, 1 gram sugar, 8 grams protein.

Nutrition Facts

Chickpea Salad Wrap

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 222
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=41218

I was skeptical, I’ll be honest. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was an easy recipe to mix up and this is something I can see making for a last minute event or something because it was so easy.

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I picked up these wraps and they were REALLY good. They were made with flaxseed, quinoa, spelt, millet, wheat and kamut. I was impressed with how tasty they were. These might be my new favorite tortilla/wraps.

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After I mixed everything up I made a spinach salad with cashews, raw broccoli and avocado. Star arrived and we made our wraps. (Michael had some chicken with his.)

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I loved how all the flavors meshed. The spiciness of the red onion complimented the savory flavors of the pickles. I added a little more mustard than the recipe called for and used half regular yellow mustard and half Dijon. I think the fresh dill really made this recipe good. Fresh herbs are just better.

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This recipe was fantastic! I loved it. I would make this again for an easy lunch to take to work. It could be used as a side dish without the wrap. You can top a salad with it. It’s very versatile.

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Star brought a loaf of cheesy olive bread from New Seasons (which was decadent and hard to resist). Everyone was impressed with the meal–even Michael. For dessert we shared some desserts from Petunia’s Pies and Pastries.

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We’ve been to Petunia’s before. They make all sorts of vegan and gluten-free desserts. Some were really good and you could hardly tell they were GF and some were a little “meh.” The three of us shared some of a salted chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookie and the above apple cinnamon coffee cake. Both were fantastic!

 

Christmas Eve

For Christmas Eve I got off work early and went for a quick run on the track near the house (2.35 miles). It was a crisp, cool afternoon but the sun was out, even if it was hidden behind the fog. It was a nice run around the track–peaceful and relaxing.

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Then Michael and I also tried a new recipe for dinner from Alton Brown. Instead of kielbasa we used mild Italian sausage links but there wasn’t really a difference. It was still just as good.

Alton Brown's Christmas Eve Soup

Servings: 6-8 servings depending on the size

From: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=763481570348120&set=a.271831096179839.79224.271823759513906&type=1&theater

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch thick disks on the bias
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, as needed
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound red kidney beans, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 pound red potatoes cut into .5 inch cubes
  • 6 ounces fresh kale washed, rinsed and torn into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Brown the kielbasa in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium low heat until it has rendered most of its fat, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside. If you do not have at least 2 teaspoons of fat, add enough vegetable oil to make 2 teaspoons of fat.
  2. Cook the garlic in the fat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the beans and the chicken broth and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, stir in the potatoes, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Toss the kale into the pot, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or just until it is tender, but not mushy.
  4. Sprinkle with the red wine vinegar, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine. Return the kielbasa to the pot and cook just until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Nutrition Facts

Alton Brown's Christmas Eve Soup

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 535 or 404
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=41218

We both really liked the soup. The flavors went well together and I loved the kale in the soup! It was hearty and comforting on a cold winter night. We both agreed that the red beans seemed odd in the soup. Discussing how we’d do it differently next time, I think we’ll skip the beans and add onions instead.

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After dinner our friends Erika and Charles came over to watch Christmas movies and have popcorn. We had some beer and some nog and watched Die Hard–THE Christmas classic. 🙂 It was awesome and so much fun! And Bella did a GREAT job meeting them. She had two timeouts for barking and growling when they first got there but then she was cool and sat in between our friends on the couch and fell asleep on Charles’s lap during the movie.

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The santa hat makes me laugh. She didn’t seem bothered at all by the hat and never tried to get it off her head. Oh the hats I plan on getting Bella now!! 😀

A Taste of Paris

To celebrate Yule, Michael and I went out to dinner at the Brasserie Montmarte in downtown Portland. It recently re-opened after being closed for awhile. It’s a French-American gastro-pub and I believe it got a new chef when it reopened. I’m fairly new to French food but what I’ve had, I loved. How could you not? Most dishes are made with a stick of butter. 🙂

For over a week I looked at their menu and drooled. I didn’t know what I’d order. It all sounded so amazing and I wanted to order something I’ve never had before. French Onion soup is a favorite, but it’s pretty easy to make at home. I wanted to branch out.

What sounded the most intriguing: Winter Vegetable Risotto with Butternut Squash, Local Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts or the Duck Confit–Crispy Skin Duck Confit, Brown Butter Cassoulet with Garlic and Fresh Thyme. Both sounded interesting and unusual.

I wore a new dress I got that I love. It’s long, hanging past my knees with long sleeves and a beautiful flow. I wish I had gotten a better picture of this dress because I love it so much. I’ll wear it again soon.

The place was completely packed to the rafters. We had an early reservation because we had plans after dinner too and I think we might have arrived during the happy hour. Or this place is just super popular. There was a jazz band playing in the corner. I absolutely loved the decorations in the place. It was decorated with interesting art and gorgeous chandeliers.

There were exposed brick walls and high ceilings. The place is loud, so if you’re looking for intimate conversation it will be difficult. The waiter was nice and really helpful. He also recommended that I try the duck. I had never tried it before and I was really on the fence. He asked me what kind of meat I liked. I said I preferred the dark meat in a turkey and that we usually ate chicken thighs instead of breasts. He said in that case I would love the duck. So that’s what I ordered!

I ordered a glass of the Château Tourteran, Haut-Médoc wine. It was a deep, earthly French wine, a Red Bordeaux Blend and I loved it. It had many different layers to it and it felt like each sip was a little different. The waiter brought us some warm sourdough rolls wrapped in a warm cloth to snack on while we waited.

The restaurant itself was humongous. There were booths and intimate tables everywhere, plus a massive bar section and even a downstairs area.

Michael ordered a Total Domination IPA beer to go with his dinner. He ordered the steak with mashed potatoes and onion rings on top. I had a bite of the onion rings and they were amazing (red onions too!). He asked for the steak to be medium and he said it was a little overdone but still good. The mashed potatoes though–these were epic. I loved the mashed potatoes and wished that my dish had come with them! I am pretty sure the potatoes were made with massive quantities of butter and probably duck fat. 🙂

Don’t tell me that meal doesn’t look epic! The meal was a little more expensive than we’d normally pick but we also had a Groupon deal for the restaurant. Even better!

Now for my entree. I ordered the special. It was a braised duck leg in bacon jus with roasted brussel sprouts, sunchokes and pomegranate seeds.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about the duck. But when it arrived I was so excited to try it. The bacon jus was salty and delicious. The duck skin was crunchy and the meat inside was dark and mild in flavor. Too many times I’ve heard the words “gamey” with meat like duck, rabbit and venison and that has always discouraged me from trying those meats. However, there was nothing “Gamey” about this. It tasted like a cross between dark turkey meat and chicken. I loved the combination of the pomegranate seeds. I took a bite with duck, brussel sprouts and pomegranate on my fork and all the flavors mingled nicely together.

After dinner we went out to the movies–the new Sherlock Holmes movie!

I LOVED the movie! It was such a great movie, maybe even better than the first one. It was a fantastic date night and a great start to a long weekend.

QUESTION: What’s the most exotic food you have ever eaten?