Bunches of Lunches

Here I am again, making lunches. I have a few days off (I took the weekend off for the Joyride, and then I have my normal days off), but I still need to eat lunch. I’m doing intermittent fasting, so my lunch is my first meal. I want it to be a tasty one!

I figured I’d make some lunches and see if they were easy and suitable for work. I typically don’t like time consuming lunches (making them, that is), so I’m looking for quick, easy, and yummy. I wouldn’t mind healthy as well… The first one on the list was a hummus wrap.

I have a couple of almond flour tortillas instead of flour. I put a generous amount of hummus on them along with some fresh feta. I got the feta from my nearest Market of Choice, and it comes in a container with liquid (water? I have no idea) which keeps the feta fresh and moist. It’s so much better than some of the very dry feta cheeses I’ve had! Next came some kalamata olives and thinly sliced red onion. Lastly, I topped it off with some local microgreens. If you’re interested in microgreens, you can click right here. That’s a website for a local farm here in Oregon.

I’m telling you; this was really more like a hummus taco than a hummus wrap. But it was very good and quite satisfying. I have no problems making this one again for a work lunch. I’ll just have to keep a lot of the ingredients separated so things don’t get soggy. But I’m okay with that!

For my next wrap, I decided to use some smoked salmon my sweetheart got me a little while ago. I picked up some fresh dill and some chive & onion cream cheese (I have a crush on Tillamook, seriously). I still had some microgreens left, so I figured I would add those as well.

I put them in a layer and added some capers for a nice salty punch. This was good, but definitely smelled fishy… which people at work are very sensitive about. I probably won’t make it for work. Also, it was a bit on the dry side, so I think I need to add a juicy vegetable.

Next was more of a dinner thing than lunch, although it would reheat easily enough. I would not mind reheating this for lunch! This is cheesesteak on a portobello mushroom. I think I should throw in the caveat that I have never had an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich (in PA, that is), so I take liberties with this recipe that would probably leave a purist gaping in horror. You’ve been warned.

I grabbed some white onion, green bell pepper, and lean flank steak for the main filling.

I cleaned the gills and stem out of the mushroom and put some olive oil on it. I poured the oil without getting the brush out first, so I ended up smoothing it out evenly (ish) with my finger. Then I added some garlic salt stuff. Mmmm.

After baking for 10 minutes or so, the mushrooms were ready.

Did I mention how much I love Tillamook? Well, I do.

When the veggies were cooked, I threw in the flank steak at a high heat and cooked it quickly. The meat stayed nice and tender! Then I piled it all on and threw a slice of provolone on it. Back in the oven it went, to be broiled.

This was pretty darn good. Yes, you need a fork and knife to eat it. I could have put the other portobello on top to make a sandwich, but I think we all know how messy that would have been.

For my last lunch, this was an at-home lunch. I was feeling good and wanted to give myself a little treat. I’m making a bit of a fancy egg sandwich. I got my truffle mayonnaise out, sliced up a green onion, and decided to try out some radish sprouts.

If you’re like me, you’ve struggled with boiling eggs so that they come out with perfectly yellow yolks and the shell peels right off. Well, suffer no more! You can read how the Pioneer Woman boils eggs HERE! I followed her directions, and my eggs, as you can see, came out wonderfully. Thanks, Ree!

Smash up your eggs and put the mayo in to taste/texture. I like to keep the onions out to add as garnish.

Lastly, I toasted up some bread (using Tillamook butter, no joke). Since I didn’t want to eat a TON of bread, I have some of the small slices. Fewer calories, less flour. I consider it a splurge. Today, I bought my first “paleo bread,” so I’ll have to update here if I try it and it turns out tasty. But for this sandwich, I used regular whole grain bread.

Now, come on. Is that the cutest, most delicious egg salad sandwich you’ve ever seen, or what?? I can tell you with full honesty, between the buttered toast and the truffle mayonnaise, this was a decadent sandwich!

Here’s what I learned:

  1. I don’t make wraps; I just make different forms of tacos.
  2. Radish sprouts are very slippery and make my sandwich slippery (but still delicious).
  3. Tillamook is the best for cheeses, sour cream, etc. Okay, I didn’t learn that one – I already knew it.
  4. Sweet pea microgreens taste just like raw sweet peas! The microgreens are expensive, but I really enjoyed them.

Aaaand, that’s a wrap! (Or not.)

Cycle Oregon Joyride 25Jun2022

Summer has officially come to Oregon!

The Joyride, an all-women ride, is a ride I have done a couple of other times, and it’s one of my favorites. Cycle Oregon really knows how to put an event together! Between the venue, the route, the food, and the entertainment after, it’s such a wonderful thing to experience.

Christina and I posed at the beginning, getting a little bit of a late start. We hit the road at around 9am, while it opens at 8am. The latest you can start, I believe, is 10am. We chose to do the 40-mile route.

Photo by Christine B.

Toward the beginning, we got to see some growing hops. The Pacific Northwest really does love good coffee and good beer!

This is a great area for growing all kinds of things. From grass to grapes to hops, you never know what you’ll find. It sure is pretty, even when you don’t see green things.

Our first rest stop had foods such as dill pickles, little cups of pickle juice (I loved both!), small open-faced egg salad sandwiches, bread with peanut butter and jelly, pieces of bagel with cream cheese, fresh, local strawberries, banana halves, and more. It was a mini feast!

The shade was also VERY welcomed.

Since this is an all-women’s ride, you can see various men and women helping – serving food, making more, etc. The local robotics club was also a part of this! All of the helpers were incredibly gracious and wonderful.

We took a few breaks for water or lip balm, and it was really heating up!

Photo by Christina H.

The second rest stop was just as good as the first. This one had granola bars, Babybel cheese, candied ginger, more pickles, and some lemon cookies. There was more that I can’t remember, and each stop had plenty to drink.

The second rest stop was at this great farm.

I don’t know what kind of flowers those were, but there were soooo many!

This cemetery was named something-Crest (brain no worky well at this point in the ride). I hoped the word “crest” indicated more downhill from there… but there were a few more hills.

Mt Hood in the distance.

I’m pretty sure the elevation gain was promoted at a little over 900 feet, which is why I was thinking I could do it. Well. It was more. I was pretty beat at the end, and I felt like I was limping in. It was HOT. The food and festivities at the end were wonderful. I had so much fun talking to my friends, Christine and Christina! That was the frosting on the cake. That and sitting in the shade, sipping a very cold, locally made beer.

Distance and elevation gain listed in the picture above.

The Gorge Ride 18Jun2022

I’ve done the Gorge Ride at least twice before, but it’s been a few years. It’s a ride that supports the historical Highway 30, the first highway in the Pacific Northwest, if I recall correctly. Here’s a quick bit of info about it: HERE. It’s supported by Friends of the Historic Columbia Highway.

For the other times I’ve done the ride, I stayed at a local motel that has a restaurant in it. I can eat dinner, sleep, and get an early breakfast. However, the last time I was there I ended up with six spider bites on my legs. C.R.E.E.P.Y. So, I decided why not try Airbnb? I snagged a very cute studio in a Victorian-style home. Airbnb prices are crazy high with “covid cleaning,” but hotels are pretty pricey too. Why not go cute and unique?

I got to store my bike at the bottom of the stairs, which is nicer than in the Jeep. I was the only one using that entrance, so it was relatively safe.

Tiny! The shower is straight ahead of the toilet – very small! But the whole thing was efficient and well-done.

The kitchen was also very small. Just beyond the sink there is a stand with a microwave oven, coffee maker, and supplies. Under that is a toaster oven and a dorm-style refrigerator with freezer. Lastly is an impressively sized pantry. If I lived there, I definitely would have stored a lot more in there than food!

After a great night’s sleep, I headed out to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. This neat salmon-in-the-river metal sculpture was over a freeway – pretty neat!

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

The beginning of the ride started out with an insane headwind. The Gorge is known for windiness. Check out the Columbia Gorge Wind & Water Association.

This was supposed to be a better picture. You might notice it’s slightly askew. Well friends, that’s because a big gust of wind almost knocked me over! I had to keep both hands on the handlebars as much as possible. This comes into play later…

I put a big red arrow pointing at the Rowena Crest viewpoint. Waaaaaaay up there. I’m biking up there. *sigh*

It really is a beautiful ride, but there’s a lot of uphill. Going on Highway 242 helped me prepare for this, I thought. But I had to stop a few times on the way up. I’m not ashamed to stop and rest!

Almost there! Hairpin turns and all, this is a killer hill. This sight gave me hope though.

At the top!! You can see the road far, far below. What a view!

Here you can see some of the hairpin turns and a little car. Those dots on the road are more bikers, pushing hard.

The top is a large circle where cars (or bikes) can pull over and passengers get out to enjoy the view. You can see a pair of bikers almost dead ahead, on the other side of the circle. To the left are some Honey Buckets for when that coffee makes it to the bladder.

Just after Rowena Crest is a beautiful viewpoint on a narrow bridge. There’s a house down there! That must be an amazing place to live.

I couldn’t take pictures for a while because I was concentrating on staying on my bike and alive. But I finally made it to the halfway point! They had berries, pineapple, bananas, sandwiches, keto snacks, energy balls, water, and water with electrolytes. Such a treat!

This guy. I’m not going to lie, he annoyed me. He was driving an e-bike and he had a Raiders sticker on the back (I lived in San Diego for a while, and the Raiders fans were not a terribly friendly people when in town, generally speaking). He passed me a couple of times. It could also be that I was struggling, and he passed me without a struggle at all, and that’s why I was annoyed? My legs were BURNING!!

I stayed there for quite a while, trying to let my legs rest. I’m not great at eating during a big ride, but I forced myself to eat some energy balls and drink more electrolyte water.

On my way back, I enjoyed the cherry trees and the sunny weather. It was so nice! I knew it was raining at home.

This side is a very long hill, going back up to Rowena Crest. It’s not as steep, but it’s hard after doing the first half and then having more hill to climb. I pulled over, drank water, rested, and then would start up again.

Remember when I talked about the wind and the gusts? Well, I made it to Rowena Crest again, and there were a lot of cars, bikes, and people. I had to move my bike to get out of a car’s way, so I ended up with my wheels in some soft pea gravel. I was adjusting my technology (my Apple watch) when a strong gust of wind hit me from the left and I lost my balance. My left foot was on the ground, but my right was still clipped in. In the soft gravel, my tires quickly sank and shifted, giving me no time to unclip and put my foot down. I went down into the pea gravel. So embarrassing.

I got up as quickly as I could, ignoring the burning on my leg and knee. An older gentleman came up behind me, looking at me but not saying anything. I said, “Pretty gusty up here!” He agreed and said, “I’m a little worried about going down!” I agreed and said I would probably go slower than normal.

Friends.

I did not go slow.

I got on my bike and got the hell out of there, leaving my shame behind me! I reached speeds of just over 36 mph, my tires absolutely singing. Not only was I leaving that embarrassing moment behind, but I was so grateful for some downhill! I was happy for every bit I didn’t have to pedal.

I changed the exposure on this so you can see the craggy nature of some of the scenery nearby. I was only a few miles from the finish at this point and struggling to make it. My legs were absolute toast.

Normally, I cool off by taking a couple of slow laps around the parking lot. Not this time. I went straight to Matilde and loaded Sasha (my bike) in. I took off my helmet and sweat-gator and walked to the building. I got my free ice cream and went back to the Jeep. I am READY TO GO HOME.

The wind had fun with my sweaty hair. I didn’t care at all! I’m going home!

A quick scenery shot on the way home… You can see where the fires of either 2019 or 2020 ate some of the trees, black skeletons left behind. Things are green around it, and healing. It just takes a while, like most healing does.

I’ve enjoyed this ride more the other times I rode it. This time, I fear I wasn’t quite ready for it. I’m getting there, but the elevation got me this time. I’m doing another ride in a week, and I almost cancelled. But… it doesn’t have the same elevation gain, so I’ll probably go for it. I’m glad I finished, but it was painful.

Distance: 38.6 miles; Elevation Gain: 2,620 feet

To Clearwater Boat Ramp 15Jun2022

Working on my distance instead of hills, I decided to bike out to Springfield. It has been raining… STILL. It wasn’t raining on this day (yet), so it was a good day to ride.

Crossing one of the bridges near the University of Oregon, I noticed how full the rivers are.

This water is usually low around this time, and we can see balanced river rocks that people enjoy stacking. Not right now though!

Closer to the Clearwater boat ramp, it was pretty wet.

This was closed. Technically.

It was practically warm in the sunshine, so I took a little break and ate a fruit bar.

I was hoping to get a better video, but it turns out that it’s also important to steer.

I headed back through the Doris Ranch area.

Even Alton Baker Park has flooded areas. No biking there!

On the way home, I took a route that takes me by the freeway. It’s pretty loud! It’s not a long stretch though, so it’s ok.

This was a very nice ride. I tried to take some of the time pressure out of it by taking a snack break. I have a riding event coming up soon, and it’s longer. I hope I can do the distance! It also has a big hill… Wish me luck!

Distance: 26.4 miles; Elevation: 393 feet

Dorena Dam Rail Trail 13Jun2022

Christine and I put on our helmets once again to hit the path. This time, we headed down to Cottage Grove, where they have a great path. I believe this used to be a train track and was converted to a bike path (rails to trails)? I want to look at this more, because I think it’s much longer than I realized.

Christine, smiling in the foreground and a covered bridge in the background.

We’ve had so much rain! You can see how swollen and muddy this creek is. I don’t think we’ve had a late spring/early summer like this for over 10 years.

I think this is a second covered bridge…

Another covered bridge!

The path was so green and lush! Also, I love how someone was nice enough to mark all of the dips and bumps that can do a number on the tush if you’re not expecting it.

There’s a nice little potty spot on the trail for those who need it.

You can see the clouds… we were taking a chance with the weather. The forecast called for rain all day, but we really wanted to get a ride in.

Halfway into our ride (we both had time constraints), it started POURING. We quickly sought cover under some large trees and waited for it to subside, or at least slow down.

On our way back, we had to look at the reservoir. It is FULL and at the spilling over point. We wanted to get an even better look…

We went up a little gravel road and out our bikes down to walk the rest of the way.

Wow! The water made so much noise! Also, you can hear a high-pitched whine. I don’t know if that’s just the sound of the water shooting out of the jets, or if it’s the hydro-machinery? Either way, it was quite impressive.

LEAVES OF THREE, LET THEM BE! NO TOUCHY! Poison Oak, my friends.

Our trip back involved just a few sprinkles, but it was mostly clear. What a great ride! If we both had more time, we would’ve gone further. Still, it was very nice.

Distance: 17.25 miles; Elevation Gain: 262 feet

Roast Beef Roll-Ups

It’s time to prep lunches again! This time I decided to do something with roast beef. I saw something similar online, and it looked great… so why not?

This is pretty simple: sliced roast beef, cheddar cheese slices, green chilis, and thinly slice red onion. I really wanted the whole green chilis, but my local grocery store has been out of them for a little while. I had to get large diced chilis, but it does the job.

I spread some of the roast beef slices out, broke up a slice of cheddar, and spread it out evenly. I topped that with onion slices and scoops of the green chilis. I wonder… is it chilis, or is it chillies? Chillis… Nothing looks right anymore.

Online, they used chives to neatly tie the rolls together. I tried it in real life and failed miserably. I ended up getting that kind of string that you can bake with. It worked great!

I took these to work (obviously) and they were a great lunch! With the green chilis, you don’t need mayo or any sauces. I think tomatoes would have been a pretty nice addition as well. Maybe next time.

Lunch Prep: Pizza Zuke Boats

Trying to get back on the diet wagon, I picked out a couple of fun recipes. I actually made some egg, green chili, and cheese burritos with almond flour tortillas, but didn’t take pictures. They were very tasty, but not particularly pretty. And I forgot.

But ANYWAY. I did take pictures of the pizza zucchini boats! These were fun and easy to make, and yummy to boot (see what I did there, Canada? Boat… boot…).

I took an ice cream scoop and scooped out the fleshy seed bit of the zucchini. I put them on aluminum foil because I’m lazy very efficient. I baked them for about 15 minutes, just to cook them a little. I knew they wouldn’t need long once I added the rest of the ingredients.

I added my favorite pizza sauce: Rao’s Homemade Pizza sauce. No sugar here! It’s just savory deliciousness.

I didn’t have sausage crumbles, so I diced up an Aidells Cajun style andouille sausage and hit them with some heat on the skillet. Then I put them on the pizza sauce and added the shredded Italian cheese mix.

These little low-carb treasures are delicious! They’re easy to heat up at work (pop them in the microwave, sans the foil), and just so darn tasty. I will definitely make them again. Maybe a pepperoni and/or veggie version?

Over the last couple of months, I’ve had a student with me at work. She’s such a sweet person! She just ended her term and is graduating on Saturday, and we decided to meet for coffee. I ordered an espresso shot, and the barista asked me if I wanted a little sparkling water on the side as a palate cleanser. I have never heard of such a thing, but it sounded good, so I said yes.

When I tried the sparkling water after a sip of the espresso… Well, first let me tell you a quick story. A few years ago, my husband and I were going to have homemade chicken fettuccini alfredo. I went to the store to get the ingredients. We had recently been to a nice Italian restaurant, and I had *loved* their fresh pasta. My husband said something about getting fresh pasta, but I had never known grocery stores carried that. Sure enough, I found fresh pasta in the refrigerated section. I made the dish and was stunned. WHY DIDN’T SOMEBODY TELL ME I COULD GET FRESH PASTA AT THE STORE! I was furious for the next two years.

Okay, back to the present. I tried the sparkling water after a sip of the espresso and was, once again, stunned. It took away the intense bitterness and I was left with a slight espresso aftertaste in my mouth. It was WONDERFUL!!! Now. Why didn’t I know this before?? People, I am getting close to the fantastic age of half-a-century, and I feel like this is something that should be common knowledge. Is it? Am I the only one who didn’t know??

No matter what, I’ve found a new thing in life to thoroughly enjoy, and that makes me happy. This time, I will not be angry about it for two years, I promise.