John and I planned a treat for ourselves and went out to lunch, dinner, and stayed over at hotel for the first time since February, 2020. I have to admit that not being able to go to restaurants for over a year probably helped a lot with staying on a diet but now that we are semi-free to do so, I have to figure out strategies to make good choices.
Since we were scheduled for a wine tasting at Imagery we decided to go to Salt and Stone in Kenwood first. For lunch I ordered mussels and John ordered octopus. Seafood, as a long as it is not fried, is always a good choice. Giving John my bread is also a successful strategy for me but probably not for him.
Our lunch was followed by a wine tasting at Imagery Winery. We sat outside and it was a perfect Spring day to do it. Flowers were blooming everywhere and the temperature was just right.
After our tasting we made our way to the BW Sonoma to check in, have a little rest, and get cleaned up for dinner. The hotel is very near the square in Sonoma and it is an easy walk to EDGE, the restaurant associated with Stone Edge Winery.
We had a four course meal paired with wines which had us eating hamachi, a salad, halibut, and buttermilk ice cream. Of course these were not simply the item on a plate but each course was carefully prepared with delicious accompaniments.
It was so great to go out again. We still need to be careful but now that we are vaccinated, we feel much safer than before. We are looking forward to more outings and travel soon.
Alex is turning 15 this year. I cannot believe it!! It seems like such a short time ago that she was just a little kid. Ah, well, I guess we all get older (and older.) John, Sarah, and I took a trip over to Jon and Ryan’s house for a little celebration. Of course since it is still pandemic time and not everyone has been vaccinated, we celebrated in our masks outdoors. Jon, Ryan, Leigh, and Sarah cannot wait for it to be their turn to get the vaccine.
Here are some pictures from the day –
We gave Alex some Spring clothes which is not terribly exciting but I know will be appreciated when the weather warms up. (If it ever does!!)
On Wednesday, our last vacation day, we played some tennis and, for Jonathan, a round a golf. The original idea was that John would play golf too. John decided to give his weary muscles a rest and spend the afternoon doing laundry and getting packed.
We got some yummy pizza from Bella Marie’s, had a salad and drank some wine. John and I knew that we had to eat something which we haven’t had since we started this diet 1 1/2 years ago. Pizza with Italian sausage and sautéed onions and garlic, wine, and a salad with real salad dressing (inclusive of oil!) certainly filled the bill.
At 5:55 AM MST Thursday we hit the road for home and only 11 hours and 5 minutes later (4 PM PST) we were home. Jonathan and I tend to push the speed limits a bit and our stops were brief so we were home a little more quickly than usual.
We had so much fun on our trip. It was such a welcome break from pandemic living. We played lots of tennis, Jonathan went golfing twice, the hiking was spectacular even if we didn’t find what we were looking for, and mom and Jon had plenty of shopping and cooking times! I am already looking forward to doing it again!
I found some interesting looking hikes not too far from our base in St. George. The Bowl and the Vortex are mostly in a slickrock area in the Red Mountain Wilderness near Gunlock and Veyo, UT. Veyo is famous for its cinder cones and there is still a lot of volcanic rubble around. To reach the slickrock area we had to hike a very difficult downslope full of sharp basalt rocks. I needed help from John and Jon’s steadying hands.
The trail was not well marked and the hiking guide just said to follow the cairns. What cairns!? We would come across two or three close together and then nothing. So although we hiked around the area for almost 3 hours we never did find the Vortex. Luckily the area was beautiful and there were very few people about so our hike was pretty nice regardless of whether we found our goal!
Pictures from the hike-
Our reward for all the hiking was a delicious steak dinner with tater tots and collards and corn. Cooking together has been a highlight of our vacation.
After dinner we took a walk over to our old house. It appeared that someone was home this time!
John, Jon and I went on a hike yesterday up the Huber Wash in Zion National Park. Although the round-trip is supposedly 4 miles, it was a difficult hike for me since the rock-strewn trail was tortuous for my fragile knee which does not take well to any sort of twisting. My Fitbit said I went over 4.5 miles and took 12,000 steps but I did not make it to the end of the trail due to large boulders that I was unable to scramble over. John and Jon went on ahead and I sat on a rock and waited for them as they went further down the trail. (Poor me!)
That being said, this is why I felt totally deserving of my all-American dinner of a hamburger on a ciabatta, tater tots, and salad. In my less exhausted mind I would have had a small burger, no roll, half a small baked potato, and the salad.
Jonathan did a super job cooking the burgers to medium rare. I used some of the leftover fennel, onion, and red bell peppers to enliven our salad. And what can I say about tater tots other than that they were easy and yummy!
Sunday will be a recovery day for John and me. And I am planning something a little saner for dinner tomorrow night!
We decided to take a week’s trip to St. George to enjoy the sunshine, the beautiful scenery, and to celebrate our vaccines. We invited Jon to come along since he is a great lover of the St. George area. He can play tennis, golf, and hike as well as accompany me to the grocery store and cook while he is here.
We have rented accommodations at the Villas at Entrada where we know the units are fastidiously cleaned and the tennis courts are a short walk away. We have stayed here before and are always interested in how one unit varies from the other. In this one, 2502, there is a separate potty room in the master suite bathroom and a powder room for communal use. We are up pretty high in the development so the views are spectacular. The kitchen is equipped rather poorly but we have brought along things that we felt we would need and can manage quite well.
On our first day here we take a trip to Harmon’s to get our groceries for the night’s dinner. Shopping is a special mom and Jon activity. In the afternoon we play tennis. It is pretty chilly here but out in the sun even temperatures in the 50s are okay when we are running around.
After we are cleaned up we take some pictures from the little table and chairs in front of our villa. It has a great view of Snow Canyon.
Our welcome dinner is the always fabulous Kenwood shrimp. It is a group effort with Jon and me cutting the veg, me cleaning the shrimp, and John doing the cooking. I think it turned out the best we have ever made it. Could it be that adding all the cream makes a difference!?
We do not usually celebrate all the Jewish holidays but since we are still pretty isolated due to the pandemic, Sarah thought that finding occasions to celebrate and make new things was a worthy project.
The idea with Purim is that you read the Book of Esther from the Bible (Esther was a Jewish queen who outwitted the evil Haman and saved the Jewish people from destruction), give to charity, eat triangular food (the shape of Haman’s hat), and get a little tipsy. Sounds perfect!
We started out with some crackers and hummus. Since Esther was Middle Eastern we figured this was a fine appetizer to have.
Rather than make our own triangular food we hit the frozen food aisle to try to find some already made items. We were actually hoping to find spanakopita but no luck. We ended up with samosas that were stuffed with chickpeas and a tamarind chutney and came with a delicious cilantro sauce. I am planning on using this new found sauce on many things in the future. The samosa manufacturer, Sukhi’s, was nice enough to put the recipe online.
Our next find were Buffalo chicken poppers which were triangular and spicy. These were fine although it was hard to find the chicken in them and were not nearly as good as the samosas.
Finally we had homemade hamantashen that Sarah made. They were wonderful! The cookie part was crisp and delicious, kind of a like a sugar cookie. The interior was a great prune jam that she also made.
We really enjoyed our Purim celebration. Taking turns reading the Book of Esther taught us some new things and it was fun booing whenever Haman’s name came up. Maybe we will do it again next year quarantine or not.
Some good things are happening! On January 20, 2021, Joseph Biden was sworn in as 46th president. We are so happy that the dreadful Trump administration has ended. Maybe now the country can move forward. We deplore the awful insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 when rioters tried to stop the confirmation of the ballots. The lies about election fraud perpetrated by the Trump administration and its rabble rousing caused this to happen. But now Biden is in and we are so hopeful for a better future for this country.
President Biden has promised 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days of his term. And he is doing it!! On January 25 John and I received the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine and on February 15 we get the second one. Our side effects are minimal, mostly just a sore arm for a day or two. By March 1 we should be mostly immune. Of course the virus is trying to stay ahead of the vaccine and has mutated into variants which the vaccine may not deal with as well but we understand that even if we were to catch a variant the vaccine would protect us enough that we would not get seriously ill. Hurrah!!!