Archive for the ‘Portland Eats’ Category

Andrea: Blind Date

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Whenever I see Pill-related posts on the blog scene, I know they will spark a lively discussion. I also know that the post and the comments that follow can open a lot of eyes, so thank you to all of you who responded to yesterday’s post!

There were a few points that I didn’t make that I wanted to touch on.

Andrea (from Off Her Cork) summed up my first point in her comment:

“…I’m not going to be too negative on the pill either. Without the pill women would be in a very serious way right now that would not be to their benefit. The pill revolutionized birth control and women finally being able to take charge of their reproduction systems. It also helps a lot of people who suffer from very seriously stressful periods to better manage them.

I do agree that putting fake hormones into your body like that cannot be good as a long term practice and that it can mess with your system a great deal. I’m just not willing to curse them and dismiss them because they can be so helpful to so many.”

I completely agree with that statement. The Pill has played an important role in our society and it should still have a significant role. As I mentioned yesterday, the Pill just celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary and there is a very interesting article about it in this week’s TIME Magazine. The Pill has also helped women who suffer from debilitating cramps, PMDD, acne, and a whole variety of medical issues. Although not evidenced by yesterday’s comments (!) there are women out there who have had positive experiences while on the Pill. Which brings me to my next point…

If I had stopped taking the Pill three years ago, I would have been one of those women who sung the Pill’s praises. Unfortunately, the Pill “turned” on me and it became something I hated. If you’re having success on the Pill now, watch out because it could start to cause issues. Or not – we’re all different. If it’s working for you, just be aware and if it’s not, maybe it’s time to think of the alternatives. Also, if you’re like me and thinking about breeding, it might be a good idea to get off the Pill sooner than later to make sure there’s no setbacks, or to have the opportunity to address them if there are.

And my third and final point is: Why in the hell is the Pill so popular? The Family Awareness Method (FAM) is obviously not for everyone. When I was 19 and in college, there is NO WAY I could have successfully prevented pregnancy using that method. It’s just not practical for that lifestyle. It is, however, practical for me now – a 30 year old, mature (just go with it!) woman, in a committed relationship, with a supportive partner, who can wake up at the same time every day, and is comfortable touching her vajay-jay at times. I just wish, when I had gone to my doctor as a sexually active young woman, instead of him saying, “Here’s your prescription.” he would have said, “Here are your options.” Every form of birth control has it’s flaws and risks. Looking back, why wasn’t a copper IUD ever suggested for me? It seems like a great, non-hormonal alternative for a young woman. I would consider one now if I was looking for long-term contraception. I just think doctors are so quick to dispense the Pill since that’s what’s been the “norm” for so long.

It’s dialogue and open discussion, like this, that will make women question what is right for them instead of just going with what a trusted physician recommends. I would also encourage you to talk about all aspects of reproduction with your “real-life” friends 🙂 With my girlfriends, pretty much no topic is off limits, so when I have brought up TCOYF and the FAM, I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised that nobody really knew that’s what our bodies were doing every month. It’s disappointing that we aren’t told to be more aware about our fertility and that we may even feel embarrassed when we do bring it up.

My last comment before moving on, Toni Weschler has a book geared towards teens – Cycle Savvy. I haven’t personally read it, so I can’t recommend it, but if it’s anything like TCOYF, I assume it should be a must-read for young women as well. If you have a younger sister, or family member, it might be something to check out.

Okay, on to more fun things, cuz periods are AWESOME, right?!

I had a date last night! A blind date! A few weeks ago, a reader and new blogger, Kilee, emailed me about where I bought my raw ingredients. She had just moved back to Oregon from Hawaii and needed some recommendations. Well, of course, the first thing I did was blog stalk her (duh!), and I was like, I have to meet this girl! She has a dehydrator, she has a juicer, she works out at my gym. Plus, one can not have too many friends, right?

Plans were arranged, and we met up at Blossoming Lotus – a popular vegan, mostly raw restaurant in town. I had been several times before (here, here, and here) but never at their new location in the Irvington neighborhood of NE Portland.

***Side note – I first went to Blossoming Lotus for brunch like five years ago and I had NEVER been to a vegan restaurant before. Obviously, they didn’t have cow’s milk so I had to get my chai with soy milk (the horror!) and I was so nervous about how it would taste. Of course I loved it. Also, I think I pussied out and got some safe dish like French Toast which is so easy to veganize – look how far I’ve come!***

Cocktails were had!

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Lavender Lemon Drops – very refreshing and since I hadn’t had alcohol in a few days, made me quite the chatty Cathy – sorry Kilee!

For my entree, I ordered their Live Pizza:

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From the website:  hempseed & basil pesto, cashew cheese and marinated vegetable topping on spiced tomato & walnut crust, served with a mixed green salad

It was fabulous and I am desperate to recreate the “crust” ASAP.

Here’s Kilee with her entree – she’s kind of like the Anti-Andrea – tall, blonde hair, blue eyes and absolutely gorgeous.

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Kilee has a gluten allergy, so she ordered the Green Goddess Bowl: steamed kale, mixed greens, sprouts*, with avocado goddess sauce & roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette, topped with sesame seeds, served with a choice of brown rice or quinoa

And of course I ordered dessert – I don’t know the exact name, but it was a cacao/mint kream cake. Blossoming Lotus always has fantastic raw dessert options!

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I was so full after this meal, but that’s what I love about raw foods – whenever I do eat a lot, I can feel stuffed, but never gross.

Kilee was such a sweetheart and brought me some ingredients I didn’t have at home to make a Butterfinger Protein Shake. I can not wait to try it, as well as her macaroon recipe, and of course I can’t wait to hang out again! Thanks so much Kilee for a fun night.

Ok, time for this monster post to end and make some dinner! I don’t know what I’m making yet, but maybe between now and the time I get home, I’ll be inspired.

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Andrea: All it took was a trip to Costco

Did you know that Friday night’s at Costco are hellabusy? At least the one I go to. But, I knew if I didn’t go after work on Friday, I would have nothing healthy to eat all weekend – much like the past couple of weeks. So, I manned up, grabbed a big-ass cart and started filling it up.

When I got home, and was putting all my produce away, I felt happy, settled, and back. Random funk begone. Thanks Costco!

I felt so good in fact, that I opted not to hang out with friends and stayed at home to cook and bake. I had a piece of ahi tuna in the fridge that had been marinating for a couple of days, so I seared that and ate it with some pureed butternut squash. Simple and delicious.

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I also had some extremely ripe bananas that were begging to be turned into bread. So, I happily obliged and made Mama Pea’s toasted almond flax banana bread. I made a regular size loaf, and then a mini one for me to eat that night.

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It was excellent and I highly recommend you try this for yourself!

Saturday morning I had a date with a friend – breakfast at J&M Cafe in SE Portland. I hadn’t been there in years so it was like trying out a new place!

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I ordered a scramble with mustard greens, leeks, mushrooms, and garlic. I asked for parmesan on the side, but it was flavorful enough that I didn’t even need the extra dairy. Worked for me because I definitely ate one of those butters 🙂 After breakfast we headed to the Portland Saturday Market. Neither one of us bought anything, but we did see this:

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Basil only wishes he was this cool.

Saturday night was Lee’s birthday – hence the cake from my last post. There was lots of debauchery and I totally made up for not hanging out with everybody on Friday night 🙂

I worked this morning and into the afternoon. Even though I had fueled up with a big glass of juice and a big piece of banana bread before I left, I was ravenous by the time I got home. I wanted something quick, so a salad was the easiest solution.   

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I used the other half of my tuna from Friday night and it was an excellent salad topper. Look at how gorgeous this piece of fish is! Ahi tuna is definitely going into regular rotation on my dinner menu.

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The weather was gorgeous here today so I sat outside on our back stoop while I ate. Chris joined me with his lunch and we sat outside planning our next move when it comes to our back yard.

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Chris planted some azaleas, hostas, and ground cover on Friday. Next comes bringing in some flagstone to make a seating area. Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to sit at a real table outside instead of on a concrete step 🙂

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My lunch dessert was half a cantaloupe. My first one of the year!

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I just couldn’t say no to that face, so I let him lick the “bowl.”

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Since I had such a late lunch, I’m skipping dinner and just eating some strawberries with rawnola and greek yogurt.

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I’m about to start a movie – The Lovely Bones. If it’s half as good as the book, I’ll be happy!

Andrea: I’m such a blog loser!

Wow, did I really only post once last week? I was busier at work than I thought! My boss comes home tomorrow so hopefully life will return to normal soon!.

Not much to report on the food front, but I did have a fantastic meal on Saturday at one of Portland’s most popular Lebanese restaurants – Ya Hala.

Chris and I split a vegetarian Mezza plate with hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and fried cauliflower (Aranabeet).

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And I also ordered some vegan Fatayer.

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We totally stuffed our faces. Chris usually doesn’t like Middle Eastern food, but even he was impressed by Ya Hala. It’s really close to our house so I’m sure we’ll be back!

After dinner, and despite our bursting tummies, we walked down the street to Bipartisan Cafe for some pie.

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Chris is in love with their Chocolate Silk pie as evidenced by the thumbs up! (Somebody get that boy a manicure!) He graciously let me take a couple of bites – not like I could have handled more!

I worked a lot this weekend, so I didn’t get to spend as much time in the kitchen as I would have liked. I did pick up Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney at the library this weekend and there are some awesome looking recipes in there that I want to try soon.

I did try my hand at raw crackers using leftover juice pulp. I kind of just winged it, so no recipe, but here’s what was in it:

  • carrot pulp (3 carrots)
  • apple pulp (1)
  • cucumber pulp (1/2)
  • flax meal
  • nooch
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • the stalks from 1 bunch of kale broken down in the food processor

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I dehydrated these overnight and I was quite pleased with the result – more on that later!

I also made some raw cookies to have for the week using this recipe I found online.

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They look so pretty, no?

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I had high hopes for these, but I underestimated myself in the spirulina department. I’ve eaten spirulina in things several times before, but I’ve never actually used it myself at home. It’s definitely an acquired taste and I guess the amount in this recipe was way too much for me to handle. I don’t want to give up on them yet, but I’m afraid they may go uneaten – which would be way sad since they are a protein powerhouse! We shall see….

Andrea: You’re an a$$hole.

That’s right, You.

I know I’ve said it before, but I absolutely love running – once I stop. During a run, no matter how hard or easy it is, I hate every minute of it. With every step I ask myself, “What asshole got me into this mess?” I always thought that asshole was me and my masochistic nature, but this morning I realized one other thing – the asshole is YOU! You bloggers with your goals and determination making me think, “Well, if they can do it, so can I!” And you readers with your support and words of encouragement who make me believe I can do it.

Because of you, I had one of my best runs ever this morning. Of course, I didn’t realize it until after I was done and I spontaneously karate-kicked/fist pumped the air in the gym parking lot. I feel like I turned a corner this morning and if all goes well, I know I can make the time goal I set for myself at my 10k next month. So anyways, thanks a lot, assholes. 🙂

You know what’s even more awesome than an awesome run? A beautiful day in Portland with sunshine and warm temps. And even more awesome than that? Finding pants at Banana Republic that are marked down to $26 AND make your ass look phenomenal. And even more awesome than that? Thinking the nerd at the Apple store is going to tell you your 3+ year old laptop is kaput and you’ll have to buy a new one only to find out the issue is fixable! And even more awesome than that? Finding out that your particular issue is covered by Apple and can be fixed for free!!!! And even more awesome than that? Flirting with the nerd at the Apple store and convincing him that since he already has the manager’s override to fix the first issue, that maybe he can just go ahead and replace the broken plastic keyboard as well. I tried to convince him that he could just give me a new computer, but I was unsuccessful. Maybe if I had on those new pants…..

So, yeah. I’m having kind of an awesome day.

Oh right, this is a food blog – let me tell you about the awesome dinner I had last night!

Chris and I had a double date with our cousins Jack & Megan. For you newbies, that’s Erin’s brother & Sister in Law. They live on the other side of town, but were kind enough to kick it over to our ‘hood to check out our new pad. We had dinner at The Observatory, which is becoming quite the popular place in Portland.

I started off with The Capricorn – vodka, strawberry puree, black peppercorn syrup with a salt and pink peppercorn rim

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I couldn’t taste the alcohol at all, which would have been dangerous if I was in a more than one drink mood. This was so good and I must learn how to recreate this at home. And for those of you who cared enough to remember, by now you’ve realized I didn’t stick to Lent this year. I’m pretty sure Jesus would classify that as “Not awesome.” 🙂 (For the record, I only do Lent for personal reasons, not religious ones. Regardless, I’ve failed miserably!)

For dinner, I had a burger!

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But no worries – it was vegan 🙂

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This is a quinoa-mushroom veggie burger. It was pretty tasty, but I’m pretty sure what made it awesome was that it was fried and crispy 🙂 This is definitely a case where vegan does not necessarily equal healthy!

I ate all my fries, BTW. Would you expect anything less from me?!

Andrea: I’m spoiled!

Last week I got to spend some time with new friends and old friends.

New friend #1 – Thor!

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After spending two weeks in NICU getting his lungs ready for the world, Thurston (Thor) James was finally home and ready for visitors! Rose & Jon are my closest friends to have a baby, so this was very exciting for me. And I’m sure for Thor too 🙂 I can’t wait to spend more time with the little guy!

New Friend #2 – Nate, The BlogStalker!

I met Nate a couple of times last Summer when he was in Portland for work. Nate was back in town and asked Mama Pea and me if we could make dinner one night. Mama couldn’t make the drive up to Portland (due to her impending trip to Hawaii – so. jealous.), so it was up to Chris and me to entertain him for the evening. Nate was game for sushi, so we headed to our favorite Portland sushi place, Yakuza.

Rolls were shared…

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Nate had to remind me that I’m a food blogger and that I needed to take a picture of what we were eating. I had to remind Nate that he’s used to dealing with more “professional” bloggers down there in Charlotte!

I ordered some Ahi Poke for myself which is basically marinated ahi tuna, avocados, & cucumbers. The quality of fish at Yakuza is VERY high quality, so this was good, but I thought it could use more spice.

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Nate isn’t drinking right now, and I’m on a temporary hiatus from the sauce, but hopefully he still had a good time! Nate is just as hilarious in person as he is on the blog and we’d love to see you again next time you’re in town!

Old Friends – Emily & Andy

I worked late on Friday and all I wanted to do was drink my stress away. On my way home, I had a pep-talk to myself that I needed to replace bad habits with good ones, so I resolved myself to hit the gym when I got home. Of course, as soon as I had decided this, Chris called me and said that our friends & neighbors Andy & Emily wanted to go out to dinner. As much as I wanted to go to the gym, I have a rule that I always abide by – never let exercise get in the way of quality social interactions. We hang out with A&E a lot, but we rarely do the double date thing, so this was very much an instance when spending time with good friends was a much better way to spend my time than a few lousy miles on the treadmill.

We live in the Montavilla neighborhood of NE Portland which is touted as the new “up and coming” Portland neighborhood (LOL – click on the link to it’s Wikipedia page – no wonder it’s becoming popular!). Not far from our house is a strip of restaurants that are starting to gain some noteriety and fans around town. Emily picked a Mexican restaurant, Romo’s, that isn’t nearly as popular as other restaurants on the street. It’s sort of an unassuming place and you wouldn’t think it’s as nice as it is from the outside. But what they lack in looks, they certainly make up for in the quality of service and food. We all agreed that this was hands down some of the best Mexican food we’ve had in Portland. It’s not “cheap” Mexican food, but it’s certainly worth every penny.

I broke down and had a margarita – let’s just call it my “three miles.” 🙂

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Romo, the owner, greeted us when we walked in and brought us an appetizer for us to munch on as we waited for our table at the bar.

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Chris was the only non-vegetarian of the group, so he munched on this green chile chicken snack (there were four of these total) although Emily did have a bite as well.

Romo chatted with us a bit as we perused the menus and recommended a few dishes for us vegetarians. He was also very accomodating to any vegan needs we may have had as well. I ordered the Chilaquiles which were surprisingly full of fresh veggies and lots of spinach, although it just looks like a mound of cheese here 🙂

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I should have taken a picture of everybody’s meal as they looked fantastic. Seriously, I can not say enough good things about this restaurant. If you’re a Portland reader, I highly suggest Romo’s in Montavilla!

I guess Romo (and his sister who was our waitress) took a liking to our table, because they brought us free dessert with out check. Foodgasms followed.

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The bowl on the left was like a coconut chocolate pudding and the chocolate cake on the right was very dark and rich. The four of us had no problems finishing them 🙂

See what I would have missed if I had gone to the gym instead?!?! It would have been a tragedy, I tell ya. Now if only I had legitimate excuses to not go to the gym the other 95% of the time I don’t go…. 🙂

p.s. My BFF in San Diego emailed me yesterday and she made her own yogurt over the weekend! Has anybody else tried their hand at it? She used her crockpot and said it came out great!

Andrea: Back that thing up

So, our biggest numbers for our site, ever, were yesterday!  Coincidence?  I think not!

So, for all you serious bloggers who want to increase your traffic in 2010, here’s the secret:  Talk about your CATA lot.  😉

I’m going to go back in time and tell you about the wonderful dinner I had last Wednesday.  Chris’ cousin and his wife were up here from Santa Barbara, so we had dinner with them and Erin’s bro & sissie-in-law.  Jack (Erin’s bro) is a total Portland Foodie, so he suggested a new-ish restaurant, Olympic Provisions.

Now, a place that describes itself as an “American Charcuterie” would not have been my first choice, but I had total faith in Jack and he did not disappoint!  It’s a small plates type of restaurant, so we just got a bunch of things for the table and started passing.

I started with a glass of wine, naturally.  A glass of Rosé.  It was just okay 😦

Then the goodies arrived…

Fried almonds and roasted cauliflower w/garbanzos

Shaved brussel sprouts & sunchokes and Pork Terrine w/pickles & mustard

Obvs, I didn’t eat the pork terrine, but I went to town on those brussels sprouts!

Roasted beets & pistachios with mint and ricotta

Prosecco fried cod with bitter orange sauce

I really didn’t like the cod at all – I couldn’t tell if it was the sauce or the prosecco batter.  Everything else was fabulous.  Well, everything that I ate 🙂  I was the only vegetarian of the table, so not pictured and not consumed by me is:

  • Beef tongue & octopus hash
  • Pork rillette filled hand pie
  • Manilla clams
  • Tesa

I don’t even know what Tesa is, but I knew I didn’t want to eat it!  Because Jack knows everybody in this town, our table got to sample all of the desserts.  I just had one of these amaretto cookies.

It was the perfect ending to a great dinner with good food, good friends, and great conversation.

Ok, must get back to work 😦

Andrea: The eating never stops

If you saw our very mature video post or read Erin’s Thanksgiving recap, then you could see that I ate a LOT this Thanksgiving weekend.

It was love at first sight when I saw you, Nutella cookies.  I’ll always remember those days we shared at the beach and how good you tasted in my mouth.

That’s what she said.

When the holiday festivities ended, Chris and I headed back to Portland and continued eating like king and queen we think we are.  Saturday was my Mother-in-Law’s birthday and we took her out to dinner at a restaurant near our house, The Country Cat.  This place is known for their brunch, but we have only been there for dinner.

Chris and I shared a salad (not pictured) of butter lettuce, green goddess dressing and a soft boiled egg.  They only had a couple of vegetarian dishes, and I settled on the potato lasagna with lemon ricotta.

So good!  Although, there was a root vegetable I couldn’t identify that had a nasty taste (in my opinion) to it, so I just ate around those 🙂

Dessert was equally as good:

Jonagold apple crisp with buttermilk cranberry ice cream.  I had two cups of coffee after dessert and ended up staying up until 2 a.m. catching up on some of the blogs I missed over the past couple of days.  My Reader is still 400+.

Sunday was kind of a low-key day.  Chris and I did some furniture shopping – we’re looking for a sleeper sofa for our home office so that we can actually have guests spend the night.  After visiting a couple of stores we stopped for lunch at Qdoba.  I had never been to one before and was pleasantly surprised by my options.

I got a naked grilled veggie burrito w/guac – no cheese and no sour cream.  I inhaled this plate in about three minutes.  There were a ton of veggies and the salsa was really good.  We went during their “Happy Hour” menu pricing and I was half tempted to get a $2 margarita.  Next time.

After running a couple of more errands (i.e. going to Trader Joes and buying six bottles of wine) I came home and made these poop-like substances:

These are quite simply, da bomb.

Foodbuzz sent out an email last week about Safeway giving away the chance to win a $50 gift card to bloggers who recreate one of their Holiday Recipes.   Since a $50 grocery gift card will go a long way in this house, I decided to give it a whirl.  Of course, I was supposed to have completed the post by this morning, so I’m probably out of contention.  Oh well – these Rocky Road Granola Clusters were so good that they are prize enough!

Of course, I had to tweak the recipe a bit for my tastes.  First of all, I used REAL 72% dark chocolate – none of that candy coating chocolate crap.  I also used pumpernickel pretzel sticks since they didn’t have any regular, more “natural” pretzels at the store.  I omitted the caramels as it just seemed excessive and I couldn’t find the Brach’s bin of candy at the store – do they not have those anymore?  Am I dating myself by knowing what that is?

I also tried to make them vegan.  I did use vegan shortening, but the marshmallows had gelatin in them.  I looked for vegan marshmallows at Whole Foods, but even the ones there had fish gelatin in them.  I could have paid $4 for those or $.99 for the regular horse-hoof gelatin filled ones like I ended up buying.  Since the recipe only calls for a cup of marshmallows, I decided to be three bucks richer.

I will try to get a better picture of them tomorrow – seriously, the above photo does not do them justice.  I took them to Emily’s house last night as they invited us over for dinner.  It ended up being perfect because we ate them around the fire pit.

Emily and Andy hosted a dinner with some of our close friends and we had such a great time.  We decided to re-institute Sunday Dinner (we used to do it every week about a year and a half ago) – it’s such a great way to end the weekend and socialize before the start of the work week.  I think I volunteered to host this Sunday – after three glasses of wine, things were kind of hazy by the end of the night!

Dinner was simple – manicotti from Costco!  Emily had hosted Thanksgiving dinner at her house, so we definitely could not fault her for going “easy” on dinner last night.  It was actually really good and Emily put her special touch on everything by setting a nice table and having classy munchies for us when we arrived – pickled asparagus and garlic (so good!) and bruschetta.  Sorry, I forgot to snap a pic of those.  I did get these…

I also wasn’t able to get a picture of the homemade Tiramisu that Lee made – he even got the lady fingers from an Italian deli downtown!  I’m so glad my friends are into food and entertaining – it makes for a fun and delicious evenings!

This post is getting epic, so I’m going to stop now.  Today’s eats were very much back to normal – bowl of cereal, Subway sandwich, and salad and brown rice.  Although, I did try the new veggie patties that Subway is offering and it wasn’t too bad – I will definitely be getting it again as it kept me full until I was able to eat dinner tonight.  Work kept me out late and I didn’t get home until almost 8 p.m.!  I’m already ready to have some time off at Christmas!