Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fun weekend!

This was the first of four weekends in a row that I will be out of town, and the stretch of Omaha-less Saturdays and /or Sundays is off to a great start.

Dwight and I had a date night on Friday. We go out quite a bit, but we rarely go out just the two of us. It was a nice change to go somewhere together besides Costco. Dwight had read about an Ethiopian restaurant, and as we both like Ethiopian food, we thought we'd give it a try. We were a bit concerned, though, since the review said that it is sometimes randomly closed on certain days. We lucked out and had one of the most pleasant dining experiences ever.

This was the first thing we noticed: an Ethiopian coffee service.
Did you know that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia?
(Our first foray into Ethiopian food was in 1985 in Washington, D.C. when I was six months pregnant with Alex. It was at the height of the Ethiopian famine, and I was confused when a friend suggested that we meet there. They have food? Much less a distinctive enough cuisine to base an entire restaurant on? The answer is yes. And I am happy to say that my tummy is much more accepting of the spices and flavors when I'm not having to share my abdominal space with another person).

The restaurant, Lalibela, is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall over by the Med Center (2416 Farnam), but as I said, we were happy to find it open. (I'd provide a link, but they don't have a website).

Our waitress was very knowledgeable, and we just asked her for recommendations. We ended up with the combination platter and the tibs, and we requested medium spice.

Glossaries are always helpful
The table was narrow, about the width of half a restaurant booth. As the food is served on a communal platter, with no individual plates or silverware, it was a very functional size. The meal is served on injera, an Ethiopian bread, which is used to scoop up the food to transfer it to your mouth.

My mouth is watering a little thinking about this...
Combination platter
Dwight doing his best Carol Merrill and demonstrating how to scoop with the injera
As I mentioned, we had the greatest server. She pointed out the tablecloths that were newly arrived from Ethiopia. They were hand-embroidered, and if you look closely, you can see the pen lines drawn on the fabric. We will definitely be going back!

On Saturday morning, before we headed over to Iowa, I made some protein pancakes and topped them with a new Trader Joe's find:

Dwight thought it was "a little sweet". Duh - isn't that the point?!
Only a dollop was needed
We had lunch with Emily at Bravo in West Des Moines, mostly because it was close to I-35 and that's what we needed to take. Another reason we chose that restaurant is because we knew we were going to the Rib Shack in Knoxville for dinner and I wanted some greens in my diet!

Grilled salmon salad
As we were leaving, Emily (who had the eggplant parm - and just happens to be running the full marathon this Sunday) said that she needs to find another race to train for so she can continue to eat the way she has been! I totally feel the same way.

We finally got to meet Tim's parents! Erin is so lucky to be gaining such a great second set of parents. (I may be biased, but they are getting a pretty wonderful daughter-in-law, too!) There was much visiting, laughter, and consumption of wine and Peace Tree beer. I did not think to get a picture of the brisket that I had for dinner, but trust me - YUM!!! The same goes for the breakfast we had at Hy-Vee the next morning.

I was mowing yesterday and my neighbor Marcie came over with a baggie of wheatgrass. She had seen some blog pictures of my green monster smoothies and said that she puts wheatgrass in hers. She was kind enough to let me try it before I went out and bought some, and while I'm not sure I can taste any difference, I know there are supposed to be health benefits (everything from more energy, detoxification, blood purification - just Google it, you'll see), so I though why not. Thanks, Marcie!

Last night for dinner I tried a recipe (pork tenderloin with pan sauce) I had pinned a few weeks ago on Pinterest. While I'm not a huge pork fan (unless it's bacon, and then yes please!), for some reason I had a one-pound pork tenderloin in the freezer. When I saw the recipe, I knew I had been saving it for a reason. After thawing, I had it marinating all day, and served it with roasted Brussels sprouts and baby white, yellow, and blue potatoes. It was delicious AND colorful!

The cast of characters
Seriously tasty
Breakfast today was an invention of Erin's: steel cut oats with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices. She said to prepare five servings of the oats on the stovetop, and when ready, mix in a can of pumpkin and about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Divide it into five serving containers (she used mason jars since she is so much more pinteresting than I; I used glad-ware), refrigerate, and you have breakfast for a week. I heated mine up, added a teaspoon or two of brown sugar, and some almond-coconut milk. She said it kept her full for six hours, and I will second that. I have four  more containers in the fridge!

Lunch today - boring:
Turkey and swiss sandwich with roasted sweet potato slices
Five more days till the Des Moines Half! Eeeeeeee!!!

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