Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Diet Quality Card

january diet card

This is a Thursday, on a Tuesday I would be eating tacos de lengua from Taco Burrito Express for dinner and watching Voyager. Thursday I work and then I have scrimmage.

Did I tell you this already? That I'm trying to cut carbs from breakfast and lunch and put them towards dinner and post-workout snack? Let me tell you something, I believe in carbs. I silently freak out when I hear people aren't eating carbs, silently because believing is not knowing and I'm my father's daughter in almost every regard but not evangelical. But believing is believing, I believe in carbs for derby and worry about people who go without. That said, I don't think I need quite so many carbs.

Basically, in four meals:

  • whole wheat bagel and cream cheese for breakfast - so yeah, I have to do something about this. It's really a matter of convenience, I don't love bagels. I just don't know what else. I could trade up to oatmeal, that's still carbs but better carbs than bagels. Greek yogurt would solve everything, but it's too cold for yogurt.
  • slow chicken and steamed vegetables for lunch - this is really working for me, I got the idea of eating a bag of Steamfresh frozen vegetables from this story about this nerd girl powerlifter. Though I cannot eat the whole bag of vegetables, which is just as well because I eat half on Tuesday and the other half on Thursday. They're pretty okay for frozen vegetables, and now my vegetable consumption is beyond reproach.
  • vegetables though, they fill you up right away and then three hours later you are STARVING. I need something for an afternoon snack. Probably fruit, because I don't eat any fruit. I say this every month. I did start eating fruit salad as a post-yoga snack, I liked that. And I can eat a whole jar of fruit salad, I would be set for fruit if I did that twice a week. If, sigh, blargh.
  • quinoa and beans with roasted vegetables - that leaves quinoa for dinner, which I had been dragging my heels about. It was either that I was imagining it was too dry or not enough food, both of which I solved by adding beans to the quinoa.
  • ramen with egg, tofu, and peas - which is my attempt to make ramen not so bad. Ha.

But this, in a nutshell, is how I "diet," which is to say, 1) I eat what I want, which might be easier for me because not much of what I want is that bad, and 2) I fix little problems progressively, not everything all at once. Like Coke, fixed. Carbs out of lunch, fixed with steamfresh veggies. Actually carbs out of breakfast, mostly fixed except for these two bagels. I couldn't fix my whole diet, but I can fix these two bagels.

ETA: Fixed! Poached eggs and curried vegetable stew!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Express Gratitude 1

You may have noticed that I am thinking on 12 Things Happy People Do Differently by Jacob Sokol this year, twelve things for twelve months conveniently enough, which is something that I can keep up with, because if you ask me, 1 Thing People Who Write Self-Help Lists Do is write lists with too damn many things, seriously, a list of a thirty or sixty ways to be fitter or happier or more productive does not help me help myself. So actually probably a thing that you could do to be happier is to be happier with fewer things that could make you happier.

Or to be less subjunctive, a thing that you can do to be happy is to be happy with things that make you happy. Which intrinsically means things that you have.

When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that’s without having to go out and buy anything. It makes sense. We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.

You don't have to stop there, but you do have to start there. Or as I standardly say, you don't have to do anything. Do what you want! I'm just saying and because I'm me, I'm saying it in chart form:

make you happydon't make you happy
have1. be grateful for this3. get rid of that
don't have4. then, get this2. be grateful for this

Do you want to know how you get things that make you happy that you don't have?

Pay attention, that's fourth. Don't skip!

1. Be grateful for things that make you happy that you have.

Is there a difference between being grateful and expressing gratitude, though. If you ask me, there's also an order to this:

  1. knowing what you have
  2. being grateful for what you have
  3. expressing that you're grateful for what you have

I'm taking all the fun out of being grateful, aren't I. Look, I'm not saying that I do everything in a totally linear fashion. I forget the word for when you attack something from all angles, but that's mostly what I do: grab at the whip end of a problem, which isn't just a whip but a cat o' nines. Maybe that's your thing, but try the handle sometime why don't you.

Anyway if you ask me, expressing gratitude like everything else comes in talking the talk and walking the walk forms. So expressing gratitude is partly writing in your journal or posting as your facebook status, I am grateful that the sweetie man has taken out the trash since 2008, but even more I think it's practicing every day like you're grateful for what you have, which is to say knowing what you have, which is what all the charts are for, and knowing what you need, and knowing what you want. And what you don't really need and what you don't really want. And not wanting what you don't really want. And not getting what you don't really want, augh to mindless shopping. All I know is, I get a lot more pleasure lately pruning away stuff that's extraneous to my life and appreciating the four really nice blooms that I've left on the branch.

But you know, maybe I'm just old! Maybe there's a time in your life when you're supposed to be greedily piling up clay on your armature and later you're supposed sculpt, uh apparently, your sculpture of a branch with blooms. I mean, that's what I did. Insofar as I am any kind of role model. How do you know which blooms you don't want if you don't try them—

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bout Day Breakfast
 Charity Round Robin Tournament

1/28/2012 fried eggs and tomatoes on mashed potatoes and cannellini beans with OJ

Fried eggs and tomatoes on mashed potatoes and beans with OJ

More bout day breakfasts!

The Showdown Begins

Friday, January 27, 2012

Movement and Muscles at the Hip
 horizontal abduction and adduction

Horizontal abduction and adduction of the leg at the hip isn't covered in the book, why not! It's so great.

biggie horizontally abducts her leg at the hip biggie horizontally adducts her leg at the hip

What movements happen at this joint?

So it may look like Biggie is abducting her leg in the left pic and flexing her leg in the right pic, except for the telltale blur on the return. Instead she first flexes her leg and then abducts her leg in a horizontal position, which is horizontal abduction. Then she adducts her leg, still in a horizontal position, for horizontal adduction. Not the easiest thing to do standing, which is to say standing on one leg. It takes strength! Balance! Flexibility! If you are lacking in any of these and can't do this without falling over, you can bend your leg at the knee to make your leg weigh less.

Like your shoulder, your hip is a highly mobile ball and socket joint and can "rotate" through flexion, horizontal abduction, abduction, horizontal (backwards) adduction, (backwards) adduction, and extension, which is to say circumduction.

What muscles make these movements happen?

hip horizontal abduction hip adduction and horizontal adduction

The muscles that horizontally abduct your leg at the hip are your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, piriformis, and obdurator externus, which is to say your glutes and uppermost external rotators. The muscles that horizontally adduct your leg at the hip are your pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and gracilis, which is to say your adductors. I am not sure about semimembranosus and semitendinosus, which are involved in adduction according to the book; but my info for horizontal abduction and adduction is pieced together from the internet, so take with salt.

What exercises make these muscles work?

Exercises for the external rotators will be given in the next post.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pomodoro Workout

Can I tell you something really stupid about myself? Of course, that's what this blog is for. For the past year I've been working on the fourth floor of the Marquette Building, I take the Blue Line to work which drops me off right underneath the building and I've been running the stairs up to street level to make up for knowing that I will never ride my bike to work again as long as public transportation is this convenient. And for the past year, I've been bemoaning that the door at the top of the grand marble staircase that goes up from the lobby to the second floor is locked on the outside. You can go out that door, but not in. Because that would be a perfect little morning workout, wouldn't it? Up two flights of stairs from the subway to the street, and up four flights of stairs to the office. At the end of the day, I do go down the stairs from the fourth floor to the lobby; but that's not a workout, I'm just too impatient to wait for an elevator.

It never occurred to me, for a year, that the stairs that go down from the fourth floor to the lobby... go up to the top of the building.

Until I started these pomodoro workouts. I'm such a Pavlov's dog, that bell goes off and I really feel like I should do a little something something; but I'm too self conscious to do, like, situps in the office. I work with economists, they've started playing chess on their breaks. I liked the year that we had the pushup contest, I kicked ass at pushups.

So what do you know, those stairs go up from four to, I think, sixteen. I don't know for sure because I made it up to fourteen and I was breathing so loud I was too embarrassed to keep going up.

So that's ten floors, right?

So based on the formula in How to Get a Complete Workout with Nothing But Your Body but totally changed to suit my own nefarious purposes, I have calculated my workout as follows:

  1. Run up as many floors as you can. Skip steps in between if you can (not). Stop when you're so tired you can't climb another floor.
  2. Take the total number of floors and halve it. So, ten floors halved is five.
  3. Ta da, your stair workout is: run up 5 floors of stairs then down, then up 4 floors and down, 3 floors and down, 2 floors and down, and 1 floor and down. I don't know if I'm doing it wrong, but going down is recovery for me so I like to break it up.
  4. So as not to demotivate myself from escalating, ha ha, this workout, I will keep this at five sets, so next up will be 6 floors up and down, 5 floors, 4 floors, 3 floors, and finish with 2 floors. Etc.

Huntress boots, unfortunately, are not ideal for running stairs, I keep tripping on the toes. Unintentional burpees, I guess. I need a pair of, like, slip on running shoes...

You may be doing the math and thinking to yourself, twenty-five minutes of work plus five minutes of break in an eight hour workday, minus lunch, is fourteen pomodoros, Poppy, are you running up and down ten floors fourteen times a day?? The answer to which is, HA. Man if I were solidly working through an eight hour workday, I wouldn't need pomodoros. Right now I feel pretty good if I do two good pomodoros, the rest of the time I nibble away the time in my usual "SQUIRREL!" style. I'm working on getting better, but I will not be running 1400 floors twice a week anytime soon. I will get unselfconscious about situps well before that becomes a possibility.

ETA: Also woah, hello calf muscles, probably best to alternate stair runs with stair stretches, as it happens, stairs are great for calf stretches.

ETA: And also I have to keep in mind that I designed these pomodoro workouts during league break, when I had energy to burn. I am finally walking the walk when it comes to recovery, I don't want that to come undone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brought to You by Urban Folk Circuit

trading card

The Urban Folk Circuit is a simple practice:: we bring an old-fashioned awareness to a hip, urban market. We exist to support local livelihoods and reconnect mindful buyers to modern handmakers.

The Urban Folk Circuit, Chicago’s only traveling year-round craft-market series, debuted in October 2010 as a means to promote fellow local artisans, musicians, and neighborhood establishments in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to all.

Movement and Muscles at the Hip
 abduction and adduction

More meat leg demystified!

biggie abducts her leg at the hip biggie hyperadducts her leg at the hip

What movements happen at this joint?

So abduction at the hip is when you move your leg away from the midline of your body, and adduction is when you move it back to midline of your body, and hyperadduction is when you move it past the midline of the body.

What muscles make these movements happen?

hip abduction hip adduction

Your hip abductors are gluteus maximus, below that gluteus medius, and below that gluteus miniums, and also tensor fascia latae and the big hamstring biceps femoris. These muscles contract and pull the top of your leg in, so the rest of your leg swings out; the glutes are the primary abductors, with the tensor fascia latae assisting.

Your hip adductors basically your inner thigh muscles starting with pectineus, then adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and gracilis. These muscles, obviously, contract and pull your leg back in.

What exercises make these muscles work?

Same exercises for the abductors for abduction as for extension. Side leg raises work gluteus medius and minimus, and so does walking and running.

Side bottom leg raises work the adductors, and so does resisted adduction with a band. But what you can already tell from the picture is, your adductors are what you use to pull under your inside leg for crossovers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Pastime Outerwear

winter pastime outerwear

Snowsuit, again, for pastime wear. Having a snowsuit, to me, means never having to think of what to wear all winter. I just wear the damn snowsuit. For Ska's wedding remix, I wore it with a black longsleeved t-shirt, pearls, and an up do. For Juanna's NYE smoked meat party, green longsleeved t-shirt and stringy neckwarmers (TK!) of many colors. For Fury brunch, orange Fury tank top. I have leggings underneath. I love sitting around like an old farmer in my overall bib and shirt sleeves at parties.

Same outerwear as fall, black WCR dickies jacket, and these are my blue gloves for winter to go with, and look, Viral's grandmother is knitting Fury scarves for the whole team, mine says CAPT THE FURY. I still think that WCR hat is too many logos, but it matches nicely with my new gloves, so—

Monday, January 23, 2012

Baked Eggs in Curried Vegetable Nest

baked eggs in curried vegetable nest

So I'm developing a food chart in my book of charts, really a food rotation, by season, and when I have it and my fashion chart perfectly worked out, well, I was going to say that I can stop writing this blog because I will be totally set with what to eat and what to wear all year round, but if I actually do get that worked out, there's other charts I can work on, like I've always wanted a chart for my bathroom.


Look at these delicious eggs!!

I had it in my head that it would be baked eggs for winter, I looked up some recipes and figured out that the basic formula is a veg + bechamel sauce + egg + cheese all the while knowing that I was never going to get all that together first thing in the AM. This was only going to happen if I used something already cooked and on hand—i.e., leftovers—e.g., curried veg stew, which is in rotation for winter lunches.

olive oil
leftover curried veg stew
two eggs
Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a ramekin, and spoon in curried veg stew about half or three quarters up. Make a well in the center and crack in two eggs. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for twenty-five minutes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bout Day Breakfast
 The Fury vs The Warning Belles at Naptown

1/21/2012 slow chicken with lemon and olives, brown rice, fried egg & OJ

Slow chicken with lemon and olives, brown rice, fried egg & OJ

More bout day breakfasts!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Movement and Muscles at the Hip
 flexion and extension

Now we're talking business, this is what we're talking about when we talk about MEAT LEGS. I've talked about my quads and my glutes and my hamstrings with the best of them, honestly though with just the vaguest notion of the actual muscles that these magic words invoke. I have been looking forward to being demystified.

biggie flexes her leg at the hip biggie hyperextends her leg at the hip

What movements happen at this joint?

Flexion is when the angle between the femur and the ilium is decreased by moving them toward each other, and extension is when the angle is increased by moving them away from each other. So at the shoulder it's the angle between the humerus and the scapula; this was so confusing to me when I started studying motion at the joints, and now it seems obvious. Progress! But anyway, flexion at the hip is bringing your thigh forward and extension is bringing it back. In the picture above, Biggie is actually hyperextending her thigh past neutral.

What muscles make these movements happen?

hip flexion hip extension

I have never known what people were talking about when they said "hip flexors," now behold the man behind the curtain. The muscles that flex your thigh are your iliopsoas, which is actually made up of the psoas major, psoas minor, and iliacus, sartorius, the "tailor's muscle" that stretches from your pelvis all the way to your tibia and is the muscle that allows you to sit crosslegged, rectus femoris, one of the four muscles that you probably refer to as your "quad," tensor fascia latae, a short muscle at the side of your hip that attaches to the long iliotibial ligament a.k.a. "IT band" that also stretches from pelvis to your tibia, and pectineus, which is more commonly grouped with the hip adductors.

The muscles that extend and hyperextend your thigh are your gluteus maximus, the largest and closest to the surface of your three gluteal muscles, and your three "hamstrings," biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus.

And it all makes sense, right? The flexors are anterior muscles, they contract and pull your thigh forward; the extensors are posterior muscles, they contract and pull your thigh back.

What exercises make these muscles work?

Straight leg situps, high knee running, leg raises, and hanging leg raises work iliopsoas; my iliopsoas is pretty weak, I hate high knees but am getting better at them. Knee raises (lifts) with hip external rotation work sartorius, which is also involved in hip external rotation and knee flexion. Squats, leg presses and also running and jumping rope work rectus femoris. Hanging knee raises, side leg raises, and running work tensor fascia latae. Hanging knee raises, side bottom leg raises, and resisted external rotation work pectineus.

An interesting note about straight leg situps and leg raises: because the psoas muscles are short, they exert a lot of force in lifting the trunk or legs and most people do not have strong enough abdominal muscles to counteract this force and keep the spine in a neutral position. You can feel this when you're doing these exercises and your spine pulls off the ground; you should only do these exercises to the extent that you can keep your spine printed on the ground, to protect your spine and lower back muscles. Pull down with your abdominal muscles to strengthen them.

Squats, plyos, and also cycling, stair climbing, and jumping rope work gluteus maximus. Cycling also works hamstrings, as do hamstring curls.

Hamstrings are the primary movers in low-intensity activities such as walking, whereas glutes are the primary movers in high-intensity activities such as sprinting and stair climbing. Also at least 90 degrees of hip flexion is a guideline for activating the glutes.

The more I write up these exercises, the more I would not organize exercises like this. I would never think about working myself out muscle by muscle, I would do it by groups or by movement or I would train to be a champion jumproper and might want to know what muscles were involved. I have to know these for the test, though.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pomodoro Workout

So let's start with the easiest workout, by which I mean the easiest to post because there's this video:

But also it's not too hard of a workout, very basic. You don't have to know how to clean, which I don't have the hang of quite yet.

The only thing I do different is single leg deadlifts—instead of the pushup position hold a.k.a. plank for that third exercise. Not that planks aren't excellent, I have a floor series where I do all sorts of planks though. Single leg deadlifts are more in line with the rest of this workout, which to my mind is about dynamic core strength.

To do single leg deadlifts:

stand straight with kettlebell in front of left foot bend forward and grab kettlebell with your right hand stand up bend forward and set down kettlebell in front of your left foot

  1. Stand straight with the kettlebell in front of, say, your left foot.
  2. Bend forward and grab the kettlebell with your right hand.
  3. Stand up.
  4. Bend forward and set the kettlebell down in front of your left foot.
Then stand up and slightly adjust your position so that the kettlebell is in front of your right foot, and repeat on the other side.

I started with my 20# kettlebell for all this workout, and it was totally right to get a thirty pounder as a ninth present. I wasn't sure that I could manage thirty pounds for the halos with my little T-Rex arms, but it just takes more focus. Which is all good, for the whole workout. I'm finding that using the heaviest weight that I can possibly manage makes sure that I don't cheat—i.e., compensate with my dominant muscles; if low belly doesn't join in, that kettlebell is not getting off the ground and that's that.

If you want to do this as a proper workout, do three complete sets back to back. I do one set as a pomodoro break, probably 3-5 sets in any given afternoon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bones of the Hip


What bones are at this joint?

The bones at the hip are the three bones of the pelvic girdle, ilium, ischium, and pubis, and the femur, the head of which fits into a cup-shaped space on the pelvis called the acetabulum.

Please excuse, Mr. Skeleton's pelvis is still not quite right with regard to the three pelvic bones, the ilium is the flat piece of bone up there and the ischium is the outside bottom and the pubis is the inside top of that looped bit underneath.

What type of joint is this?

This acetabulofemoral joint is a synovial ball and socket joint.

What body part moves this joint?

I'm gonna say that the meat that does the work at your hip joint is your hip and your butt, since most of the muscles that work at the hip originate from the pelvis.

What body part is moved at this joint?

So we are talking about is how muscles in your hip and butt move your upper leg or thigh at the hip.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter Play Outerwear

winter play outerwear

Look here's me fronting like I waited for it to snow to start wearing my snowsuit, everybody is so sick of me in this snowsuit already and it's only January. I will be wearing this through March, bitches. I am warm for the first time in my life.

Underneath is just play wear, which is in a state of dire emergency. I finally biked to Target to replenish my leggings and they are out of stock in my size, in store and on line. No, that's not true. They had one medium pair in BLACK SNAKESKIN, holla, those are going to be my bout leggings. At least I will not be skating in rags in public. And I also picked up two new work skirts, so I'm covered, ba ha, at work. What am I talking about, what lies beneath the snowsuit. Play wear, WCR track jacket as a sort of waistcoat, snowsuit, Buffy hoody, Fury track jacket.

For biking in winter, black knit gloves under my orange paws. Usually no hat, just my bandana and bike helmet. But it was cold getting my picture taken. No scarf, because the track jacket zips up and the hoody and the other track jacket.

And new snow boots! They're Lands End snow trekker boots; they were on sale, they're perfect with my snowsuit (also from Lands End), and they complete my winter shoe collection. Better shoe pics TK.

Moment of silence for my old snow boots, which I had for well over ten years and the soles still look like new, but I mended the uppers last winter and they wouldn't be mended again. Be not afraid old boots, I am going to make you into glitter boots.

Monday, January 16, 2012

P is for Pomodoro

pomodoro in use

Here is pomodoro in use in its Bonne Maman cone of silence. Or at least it takes the edge off when the timer rings and I'm immersed in my work. I can still hear it ticking in there, though.

So I have an idea for an alphabet book, except it's all words that start with P. What, it's my favorite letter! Not that you want to be the kid whose initials are pee pee. I own it now, though. Yeah. I seriously have a thing for things that start with the letter P, do you want to see my list?

* Persephone
* pigs
* especially pigasuses
* poppies

And now:

* pomodoros

In other words, I was destined for pomodoro technique. You can read about the actual pomodoro technique here, the entire book is available as a free download. I only do the basics of pomodoro technique: set a timer for 25 minutes, work until the timer rings, take a 5 min break, repeat 3x then take a 30 min break. Ish. I don't always take the breaks. Getting started is what I have a problem with, the pomodoro is great for that. Once I'm in though, I don't want to come out; so sometimes, I just reset the pomodoro for another 25 minutes. The book says not to, but I do.

I started out using Timerrr but do you know, I think timerrr only rings the first time it's set. I dunno, I feel like it wasn't reliable. Having an actual tomato timer works for me: it's cute, and it ticks. It was cheap, too. It checks out with me that winding up the timer is like winding myself up to work, ticking means that I'm working.

Every other pomodoro or so, I do take a break for a little workout. I call these my pomodoro workouts. Little means little, five minute workouts—TK.

Friday, January 13, 2012



My favorite thing to drink at Feed is to mix their sweet tea with their lemonade, so this is the lemonade part. You can also mix it with seltzer water to make limonata, which is also good.

1 quart water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice

Put the sugar into a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let cool. Pour into a pitcher and keep in the refrigerator.

To serve, fill a glass mostly with water and top off with lemonade, or sweet tea and lemonade, to taste, or top off a glass of seltzer water for limonata.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Movement and Muscles at the Trunk

  flexion extension lateral flexion rotation
rectus abdominis X   X  
external oblique X   X X
internal oblique X   X X
tranverse abdominis compresses abdomen and stabilizes spine
erector spinae   X    
multifidi   X X X

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Movement and Muscles at the Trunk

biggie rotates her trunk to the right biggie rotates her trunk to the left

What movements happen at this joint?

Rotation happens at the trunk when you turn your trunk to one side or the other in the transverse plane.

What muscles make these movements happen?

trunk flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation

Your external and internal obliques rotate your trunk. Contracting either external oblique produces contralateral rotation—i.e., contracting your right external oblique rotates your trunk to the left. Contracting either internal oblique produces ipsilateral rotation—i.e., contracting your right internal oblique rotates your trunk to the right.

What exercises make these muscles work?

Twisting ab exercises like bicycles and russian twists target the obliques.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Hobby Wear

winter hobby wear mended

Welp, these old sweatpants will last another season. Whaaat, I tried to buy new sweatpants. I did, honestly! I can't help it that I grew out of them in like three months, I had to cut them down to shorts and made the legs into hats.

I'm not going to tell you that mending isn't a total pain, it totally is. In fact I only mended the one pair of sweats last winter because I ran right out of patience, and actually that's when I decided, hello, it would be a lot easier to just buy new sweatpants. It isn't, though. I guess I don't shop enough though to get that everything that you want in your head isn't just waiting in the store for you to pick it up. I mean, I get this about people. That people exist as separate beings and not as a part of myself, which is from Iris Murdoch's Under The Net, and which gives me a sense of initiative that is perhaps one of the guises of love. I might have more initiative to shop if I understood this about shopping, but I don't. I'm always frustrated. Or if not always, often enough.

So I mend. My mom taught me how to machine mend, you put a bit of cloth behind the hole and smooth it all out. Then you sew all over with whatever darning stitch your machine has. Then you trim the cloth close to where it's sewn and sew all over the edges on the back.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Apple Bread Pudding
 with streusel

apple bread pudding

After I made the pumpkin bread pudding by just stirring in a can of pumpkin puree, I realized that I didn't have to peel and slice apples for apple bread pudding, hello, jar of applesauce. A twentyish ounce jar made a very puddy bread pudding, you could use less if you want it more bready.

a one pound loaf of nice bread
2 cups almond milk
1 jar applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

For the streusel
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped or sliced nuts
1/4 cup butter, softened

Trim the heels off the bread, then cut it up into bite sized cubes. Whisk the applesauce, sugar, and cinnamon into the almond milk in a large bowl. Toss the bread cubes in the milk, cover and let soak for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Or two nights.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" baking pan. Put the soaked bread in the pan, cover the pan with a sheet of buttered aluminium foil and bake covered for thirty minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the streusel ingredients into coarse crumbs.

Remove the foil, sprinkle with streusel, and bake uncovered for ten more minutes until lightly browned.

Friday, January 6, 2012

First Contact

p: would you rather be a polaron beam or a tachyon beam?

m: i really don't care.

p: you would never just say "polaron beam" or "tachyon beam," would you.

m: no.

p: would you rather be vulcan or borg?

m: …

m: i don't care.

m: i suppose vulcan.

p: i would rather be vulcan.

p: would you rather be chakotay or tom paris.

m: chakotay.

p: would you rather be me or you?

m: i can't answer that question.

p: why can't you answer that question?

m: i am not awake enough for the level of introspection required to answer that question.

p: ...

p: vampires are very old.

p: and old people don't have teeth.

Sweet Tea

sweetie tea

If nothing else this is a concrete example of the lesser of two evils, this is what I am fighting the demon Coke with. It's sweet tea, I call it sweetie tea because the sweetie man is very good about always making more when the pitcher gets low. It started as sweet tea for real, four parts water to one part sugar for the concentrate. For normal sweet tea, I think you would mix one part concentrate with one part water in the pitcher. I keep the concentrate in the pitcher and when I want a Coke a refreshing glass of iced tea, or cold tea anyway, ice is too much to deal with, I fill a pint glass mostly with water and top it off with just a splash of concentrate—not very much, maybe a half or a quarter cup. Now we are trying half as much sugar, and it's still plenty sweet enough.

three tea bags
1 quart water
1/2 cup sugar

Put the tea bags into a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for fifteen minutes. Remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar. Let cool. Pour into a pitcher and keep in the refrigerator.

To serve, fill a glass mostly with water and top off with sweet tea to taste.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Movement and Muscles at the Trunk
 lateral flexion

biggie laterally flexes her trunk to the right biggie laterally flexes her trunk to the left

What movements happen at this joint?

Lateral flexion happens at the trunk when you pull your shoulder toward the side of your thigh, decreasing the angle between your shoulder and your thigh.

What muscles make these movements happen?

trunk flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation

The muscles that laterally flex your trunk are the same as those that flex it forward, just in different combinations. If you contract the right side of your rectus abdominis and your right external and internal obliques, then you flex to the right. If you contract the left side of your rectus abdominis and your left external and internal obliques, then you flex to the left.

What exercises make these muscles work?

Same basic exercises, same basic advice to exercise your range of motion in all directions. Teapots and windmills specifically involve lateral flexion.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Movement and Muscles at the Trunk

biggie hyperextends her trunk

What movements happen at this joint?

Extension happens at the trunk when you straighten from bending at the waist, increasing the angle between your chest and your thighs. As you can see Biggie is doing, you can slightly hyperextend your back past neutral.

What muscles make these movements happen?

trunk extension

The muscles that extend your trunk are mainly your erector spinae, posterior muscles that pull the chest back up when they contract. Also back there are the multifidi, which act to stabilize the spine during trunk extension, lateral flexion, and rotation.

What exercises make these muscles work?

Squats and deadlifts, two of my favorites, work the erector spinae as do prone back extension exercises like supermans. Birddogs work the multifidi.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Slow Chicken Paprikash

slow chicken paprikash

So unbelievably easy, so unbelievably good!

I had ideas for all kinds of slow cooked meats, beef short ribs with tomatoes and pork country ribs with oranges and chicken thighs with peppers. But beef and pork man, that shiz is expensive! So it's going to be chicken thighs with everything.

4-5 chicken thighs
1 large or 2 medium onions
1 red bell pepper

Seriously, you won't believe how easy this is.

First, you can take the skin off the chicken thighs; the skin is where the fat is, and chicken thighs slow cooked in fat is nom. But, fat. Chicken thighs slow cooked without the skin is still pretty nom. Okay so, lightly salt the chicken thighs and put them in the slow cooker.

Slice the onions and peppers and put them on top of the chicken. You can also throw in a couple of bay leaves.

Set the slow cooker on low, and then go away for six to eight hours. That's it!

Serve with steamed vegetables.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Waffles with Orangencreme and Streusel

orangen waffles

Happy Winterval Epiphany, just so you know I did end up making Xmas waffles! I just realized these are very Fury waffles, though the recipe for the orangencreme comes from Manic Attacker and fellow glutton Tamikaze and, to be honest, I was just planning to eat the orangencreme out of the bowl while watching Voyager. But then I found a jar of mandarin oranges, and also I had some streusel left over from the apple bread pudding recipe that just got bumped to next week. It looks complicated, but it just came together out of things that I happened to have on hand. It would be easy enough if you made the streusel and the orangencreme a day ahead, I also have a three bowl system for making the waffles to navigate this egg separation business that I typically don't approve of.

By the way, I make bacon in the oven: line a baking sheet with foil, lay out the strips on the foil, put the sheet in the oven and turn to 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. So that's the bacon totally out of the way, and the only thing is not to forget it's in the oven.

For the streusel
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1/4 cup butter, softened

Mix together the streusel ingredients into coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until needed.

Before you start your actual waffles, toast however much streusel you want on a piece of aluminium foil in a toaster oven on, say, medium dark, and set it aside for later.

For the orangencreme
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 cup whipping cream

Stir the orange juice, sugar, and vanilla into the sour cream until smooth. Whip the cream and fold into the sour cream mixture. Refrigerate until needed.

For the waffles
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs

Heat your waffle iron.

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a medium bowl for ten or so seconds in the microwave and add the buttermilk. Separate the egg whites into another medium bowl and beat the egg yolks into the butter and buttermilk. Lightly stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Beat the egg whites—I use my Cuisinart Smart Stick with the whisk attachment—until they hold a peak, then gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Drop about a cup of batter on the center of your waffle iron and smooth into whatever shape you want, I don't care about making perfectly square waffles and usually do a circle. Close the iron and bake until done.

To serve, separate the waffles and layer them with scoops of orangencreme and mandarin oranges and top with streusel.