Friday, November 30, 2012

State of the Blog
 fall 2012

Looky, I have a search function now --> very handy, and the first thing I used it for was finding my past posts that I needed to catch up linking from my flickr and then I cleaned up my labels a bit. I'm going to clean them up some more so that only featured series are labeled. Really if you are looking for anything, like quinoa recipes, just type "quinoa" in the search box and everything that I wrote about quinoa will pop up.

Also looky ^ I have a favicon now, which the sweetie man made for me. And look what else:

business card pad

He put glue on the top edge of a stack of business cards, so it's like a business card pad. I mean, it is a business card pad. After the prototype I asked for a bunch of them, so now I have a business card pad in each of my bags. Have I showed you my business cards? These were designed by Lizelle Din of Aesthetic Response a.k.a. Joanie Utah of the Double Crossers a.k.a. my milk toof twin. My favicon is in that font, which is Alte Haas Grotesk Bold, which I am also using in my annotated photos and also the font and the skeleton in some exciting stuff that's coming up in the new year. A look and feel for alla Poppy, what! Wait, that sounds dirtier than it means.

What else. When I started this blog, I wrote this as my blog description, that little bit of text below my blog title:

In a nutshell: I work, I skate, and I sleep. I devise systems to keep myself clothed and fed, which are distantly secondary to me. Actually also, working and sleeping are secondary. So that leaves skating.

That was April 2009, though. I threw about a year's worth of spaghetti on the wall, then pulled it all down and rebooted in June 2010 with the same blog description. Now towards the end of 2012, it's probably time for something a little healthier.

How about:

Food, fitness, and fashion, really in that order, and systems for managing thereof.

And I can edit my About page thusly:

Well also, I write. Hinc illa blog. I write up charts for my life on a regular basis. I have a taxonomy for dividing my life between work and play, and also sleep, practice, and recovery. I plan my clothes mainly so that I don't have to think about what to wear, and it shows at times. I'm a gear and fitness nerd, and I guess I'm also a nutrition nerd. I used to be a gear nerd, but now not so much. I'm a fitness nerd turned ACE-certified Personal Trainer. Still working out how to write about how to train. Though I also plan my food mainly so that I don't have to think about what to eat. Though in all honesty, the upshot of that is that I'm thinking about what to eat almost all the time. I don't actually think I'm a nutrition nerd? Because eating whole, unprocessed foods means pretty much never having to count calories. I pretty much only bother with recipes that are healthy, tasty, and easy. I'm also a proponent of whole foods. Which means unprocessed and all that, but also And also whole foods means that I will almost always call for an onion or a can of tomatoes and not litter your refrigerator with half-used foods.

"State of the blog" is kind of inherently state of the biz, viz., my personal training business, and sort of the first thing to triangulate is the relation of the blog to the biz. Is the blog a biz itself, or is it a function of the personal training biz. Being that after three years of existence the blog has just crested $20.00 in earnings and due to state regulations I'm not even eligible to participate in Amazon's affiliate program, it's not actually that hard to figure out: not a biz. But I think it's an asset for my business, as a resource for my clients and as a marketing piece for prospective clients.

But also I am thinking about... Kindle books! The sweetie man is going to help me make those, too.

Going on blog break! Be back 12/21.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Sitting Does To How You Stand

So like I said, muscles tend to work in pairs—dynamically, one muscle contracts and the other muscle stretches. Or one muscle does what the other muscle undoes, hip flexors flex or bend the hip and hamstrings extend or straighten. Statically, muscle pairs equally oppose each other to hold parts of the body in neutral position such as the pelvis:

balanced pelvis

The pelvis is properly held in neutral position by the abs pulling up in front against the lower back pulling up in back, and by the hip flexors pulling down in front against the hamstrings pulling down in back. If the pull is equal at all points, then the pelvis hangs nicely balanced. If you imagine the pelvis as a bucket—which you don't have to, imagine I mean, because there's a picture right there—you see that a balanced bucket does not spill its contents.

But as you know, sitting for prolonged periods without breaks results in tight hip flexors and lower back, and weak hamstrings and abs; so the tight muscles pull harder than the weak muscles, so that the pelvis is held unbalanced:

unbalanced pelvis

This bucket is spilling its contents in front, which we do not want. Not that your pelvis actually spills anything. But there's a good chance that your back will hurt, and there's also a good chance you will hurt your back trying to do anything strenuous—or not that strenuous even, it's not that unheard of to throw out your back sneezing—with posture like this.

A strong, balanced core—also known as good posture—is the basis of good movement, and that is the first thing I teach. That's what I was teaching when I said to pull your head and shoulders back and pull your abs in for your kickbacks. Taking the time to train something, idk, as girly as posture, may seem like delayed gratification when you want to get to agility, strength, power. You know what agility without core strength is, though? A hot mess. Upper or lower body strength without core strength? Weak. Power without core strength? Womp womp. C'mon you only have to learn it once, and then I like to say it's like a sauce that you can put on everything.

I do have a core workout TK, and sneak peek, it doesn't involve a single crunch. But also sneak peek, what is it basically boils down to is stand up straight for the love of god. Did you want something sexier than that, like for nutrition you wanted something sexier than eat your vegetables? If you wanted advice like that, you could have just listened to your mom, well, somebody thought your mom was sexy, because here you are.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hold On I'll Handle It, Don't Start Panickin

p: blech, i just ate something disgusting.

(it was sweet potato with raw granola topping, total yuck.)

m: you mean the cottage cheese with the barbecue potato chips?


16 Ways to Master Your Derby-Life Balance
 you deserve a reward!

I've said plenty enough about recovery and rest, haven't I?

“It’s easy to forget about the “life” part. Unfortunately, this ends up making you burn out, while never giving yourself “me” time and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Reward yourself, whether it’s by taking a vacation, treating yourself to a day at the spa, or turning off your devices and reading a book. It will make you a better worker in the long run.” -Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr
So let's not be namby pamby, we're not talking about taking a night off to watch TV anymore. We're talking about booty! Treasure! Untold riches! Leaving the laundry on the floor and the dishes in the sink to lay on the couch under blankets and read Game Of Thrones for twelve hours, and the sweetie man brings you tea and cookies to dunk in the tea, and then goes for Chinese takeout so you don't have to cook dinner, and all you want is potstickers and all the white rice you can eat and that's all you eat.

Or a day at King Spa and you disable your internal spending limit of twenty dollars on any single item and you get the scrub, and you soak in tubs and get scrubbed for an hour and then change into fresh pink pajamas and take a nap in the nap room. Don't think about how you could DIY all this for free, because you know what: you don't have to do it all yourself all the time.

Are you snowballing yet? Are you fast forwarding to the gluttonous bankrupt sloth of a Jabba the Hut that you're going to turn into if you let yourself go like this? If you do this every day for a year, yeah. Were you planning on doing this every day for a year? Just the one day, right? Do you think if you let yourself go for one day, you won't be able to put yourself back together again? It's probably worth practicing, then.

I mean, this doesn't just have to do with derby. This has to do with life, and this is what derby supposedly teaches you about life: it's okay to fall down, because you can get back up. It's not a big deal to get hit, because you can take it. Some things are actually easier to do fast than slow. It's super handy to be able to change speed and direction, so don't blow off learning your stops and turns. The more you can do, the better you can play and the more fun it is. Don't be afraid, have fun. Have a lot of fun. In derby. IN LIFE.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chopped Vegetable Soup
 fennel and beet soup with turkey meatballs

fennel beet soup with turkey meatballs

Oh hello it is totally so easy to cook the meatballs right in the soup, especially if you've done prep ahead of time and have bread crumb, parsley, and bacon-onion mix in the freezer.

In my last recipe I just rattled off fennel and beet as celery and carrot substitutes, I thought I would put my money where my mouth is. And hello, here's me eating my beets.

olive oil
1 onion
2 fennel bulbs
a bunch of beets with greens
1 quart or two cans chicken stock

For the turkey meatballs
about a cup of bread crumb
1/3 cup almond milk
about a half cup of chopped parsley
a portion of bacon-onion mix, thawed
1 egg
1 lb ground turkey

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat while you dice the onion, fennel, and beets, adding the vegetables to the pan as they are diced. When they're all in, stir them up and turn up the heat a bit. Also chop up any fennel fronds and beet greens and leave them aside for a moment.

Add the stock and bring the soup to a strong simmer over medium high heat. I added two more cups of water to make the proportion of broth to vegetable right, it was a lot of vegetable.

Soak the bread crumb in almond milk and squeeze it out, and combine with the parsley, bacon-onion mix, and egg in a large bowl, then add the turkey and mix all together. (I omit the tomato paste for cooking the meatballs in soup.) Form tablespoons of meat into balls, my mix made twenty-four small meatballs.

When the soup is strongly simmering, drop the meatballs into the soup and let simmer about ten minutes until cooked. Add the fennel fronds and beet greens and simmer another ten minutes until wilted.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Greek Yogurt with Roasted Apples and Sliced Almonds

greek yogurt with roasted apples and sliced almonds

It almost seemed a shame to bake honey crisp apples, which are such good eating apples. And they fall apart a bit in the oven. But they are really, really delicious baked, the soft flesh separates from the skin and this is what you do about that: scoop the flesh away from the skin and eat that. Then scrape up the slightly caramelized skin and eat that, too.

six Honeycrisp apples
greek yogurt
sliced almonds

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Halve and core the apples, and arrange the halves cut side up in a 13 x 9 baking pan.

Thin about a tablespoon of honey with about a tablespoon of hot water in a small bowl. The hot water will melt the honey a bit, then whisk them together with a basting brush. Brush the thinned honey over the cut apple sides, using it all up. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and cinnamon.

Roast apples for twenty five minutes, turning the pan around in the oven halfway through if you think of it.

Let cool a bit, then plate two still warm halves right away with some greek yogurt and sliced almonds. The rest you can put away in the fridge to eat cold.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Winterval Advent
 with preserved lemons

odie and a jar of just packed preserved lemons

First of all, Winterval Advent starts the day after Thanksgiving and HATS ON. This is Odie's first Winterval, he is super excited. And he helped make these preserved lemons!

We might have done this wrong, we'll find out in four weeks! Most of the instructions say to quarter the lemons lengthwise but not all the way through, so the lemons stay whole and you can pack the salt inside. I cut them into sixths because I thought I could pack them tighter, and just rolled the wedges in salt, but it looks like the salt just drifts to the bottom of the jar like that. I did just fit six lemons into a quart mason jar, and topped it off with the juice of the seventh and eighth lemons.

8 lemons
a box of kosher salt

Put a couple tablespoons of salt in the bottom of a quart-sized mason jar.

Okay so, this is how I did and I will edit later if it doesn't turn out: trim the ends off six lemons and cut them lengthwise into sixths. Pour a good amount of salt in a small bowl, press the salt into the lemon wedges all over, and pack them tightly in the jar.

Squeeze the last two lemons and top the jar all the way up with the juice. Top with a couple more tablespoons of salt.

Now they're supposed to sit at room temperature for a couple days, turning the jar upside down now and again. Then they go in refrigerator for at least three weeks, still turning them upside down now and again, until the lemon rinds soften.

When they're ready, you take a lemon out of the jar, rinse off the salt, chop it up and add it to stuff. I am planning to use these for slow chicken, stay tuned.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pearl Onions, Cranberries, and Walnuts

roasted brussels sprouts with pearl onions, cranberries, and walnuts

This is a double recipe, by the way, in case you were looking at the picture and thinking ...that's a pound of brussels sprouts?

Today this is going to be served as a side dish to a turkey, Happy Thanksgiving by the way! For everyday it can go next to rotisserie chicken, or have quinoa mixed in a la quinoa with root vegetables.

1/2 cup dried cranberries
tart cherry juice
1 lb brussels sprouts
pearl onions
olive oil
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Put the cranberries in a small bowl with enough tart cherry juice to cover.

Trim and halve the brussels sprouts. Today I have pearl onions in this; but let me tell you, they took a half hour to peel. Maybe you just want to roughly chop a regular onion, or omit the onion. Toss the sprouts and onions in a baking pan with olive oil and salt. Roast the sprouts and onions mostly cut side down for ten minutes.

Drain the cranberries, and by "drain" I mean drink the tart cherry juice. I'm guessing at most of these roasting times because I'm actually sitting next to the oven drinking tart cherry juice and reading my google reader, and taking things out of the oven when they smell done. Brussels sprouts, though, roast way faster than root vegetables, just so you know.

Stir up the sprouts and onions so they're mostly cut side up, stir in the cranberries and walnuts, and roast for five more minutes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mint Tea and Dates Stuffed With Peanut Butter

mint tea and dates stuffed with peanut butter

This is another of Sarge's crazy inventions! If you're counting, Sarge's crazy inventions so far have been 1) green meanie smoothie with chocolate and spinach, 2) stretching smoothies into winter by drinking them in the bath, and now this 3) dates stuffed with peanut butter, which she told me tasted like FUDGE, and which I forgot about forever and then I remembered and oh my god. And then the sweetie man accidentally made me mint tea instead of green tea, and all of it together tastes like MINT FUDGE.

s: HAHA!! smoothies and dates, oh my! my derby name should have been albert heinstein.
p: OMG
p: unretire!
s: i'll come back as alberta heinstein and wear glasses with the nose and mustache attached. no one will know!
p: your number can be EMC2
s: we are killing it here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Play Wear

screened tank tops

Ahhh I finally bit the bullet and am 100% stocked on play wear, remember the formula is:

(n x 2) + 2

So I needed five more bandanas, two more white tanks, four more black tanks, and six more black leggings, now I have twelve of everything except for black boyshorts because Hanes doesn't make them anymore, aargh would I be wearing boyfriend underwear if I wanted pink even black boyshorts, I found black nylon Gilligan & O'Malley boyshorts at Target, two pairs for seven dollars!

I don't know why I'm able to get more stuff like this done, maybe just because I'm not studying so much. Maybe because the vague desire finally resolved into a discrete list of things to do: get bandanas from Joann, get tanks from Old Navy, get leggings from Target, glower at Hanes website. Also screen name and number on tanks, and also argh rip out the stupid side tags and resew the sides. Why would you put side tags on tagless tanks? Last season I ripped out a side tag with my bare hands in the middle of practice and left the hole in the side all season, not to mention all the tags in the rest of the tanks. I think vague desire gently wears away at your mind or possibly your soul, like what they say Coke does to your teeth. Now I have timetracker, which more than anything is like a task garage, and a list of tasks like little matchbox cars to drive into their little spaces.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fried Eggs with Eggplant Noodles and Cherry Tomatoes

fried eggs and eggplant noodles

Eggplant does not yield very nicely to a vegetable peeler, julienne or otherwise. It's easier to slice with a knife, though, than either zucchini or summer squash, I guess because it's not as slippery. As for quinoa gratin, I use zucchini-sized and -shaped eggplant for this rather than giant globe eggplant.

Eggplant seems to go especially well with tomatoes, so I threw some in.

one eggplant
five or seven cherry tomatoes
olive oil
two eggs

Heat oven to 200-300 degrees.

Wash and trim the eggplant, halve it lengthwise and then thinly slice it lengthwise again. Then julienne the slices into noodles. Halve the tomatoes.

Saute the eggplant and tomatoes over medium high heat in a bit of olive oil until the noodles are separate and floppy. Put the eggplant and tomatoes on an ovenproof plate, sprinkle with parmesan, and put the plate in the oven while you fry your eggs.

Fry the eggs in a bit more olive oil also over medium high heat. I crack my eggs in the oil, let them set a bit, then dribble in a little water from the kettle and cover the skillet for a couple minutes; this cooks the tops of the eggs without having to flip them or wait forever.

Plate the eggs on top of the eggplant and tomatoes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Practice Spirituality

What do you want to know about me in this regard?

When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever. It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists. Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
Do I believe in God? Hard to say that I do, but also hard to say that I don't. I was pretty afraid of hellfire as a kid, and I wouldn't say that as an adult I'm afraid but let's say that I have a healthy respect for its earthly equivalent: irony.

I do believe in things like the universe and the general notion that there are forces greater than myself, beyond my control, that operate on me to an unknown extent. It's actually difficult to conceive that there are people who... don't? Really? Geez, I know I don't even control all the forces contained in my own skin. And I was somewhat recently informed that the world population is up to seven billion after having been stuck in my head at four billion since that's what I learned in the fourth grade, so like, there's even way more people than I thought were in the world, all those bodies and minds and underminds and overminds, there doesn't have to be a God. And really that kind of awesome scale is just overkill, when you know that more than likely you couldn't get seven people to cooperate in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

I don't know, does this knowledge give me happiness? I can't say, but I think I can say that not knowing you're not the master of the universe might give you a little frustration?

Actually Box just wrote something great about this: The Most Haunting Post Of All. Spirituality, I guess, is a haunted house that we can be scared to death of or learn to live in.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Undoing What Sitting Does
 exercise breaks

Okay so, everybody different! Bodies are different, lives are different. I specifically didn't start this blog with the idea that I was going to solve everybody's problems, I just thought I would show how I'm solving some of my problems and then whoever wanted could take it from there. Anyway the problem that I'm trying to solve here and now is how to undo a little bit what sitting does, and the first a-ha moment was that this problem isn't being solved by three key and two recovery workouts per week; this problem isn't going to be solved by workouts, this problem is going to be solved by breaks.

So there are two things that we're talking about, breaks and workouts:

  Intensity Duration Frequency
Break very low 20 seconds–2 minutes several times per day
Workout low to very high 20 minutes–2 hours several times per week

See, I think this is really good and win win. If you don't work out and you're worried about what all this sitting is doing to your health and maybe you dread the idea of working out, or if you do work out and maybe you're mad that now they're telling you it's not enough, it's all good. This isn't a workout, you won't and furthermore you shouldn't get your heart rate up or lift heavy weights for this. All you're doing here is moving your body parts for 20 seconds to two minutes, say, six or eight times per day. Which in addition to giving your tight muscles a break and your weak muscles something to do is also going to switch the electrical activity in your leg muscles back on, burn some calories, pump up your fat-burning enzymes, and keep your good cholesterol and your insulin effectiveness up.

Let me tell you what doesn't work for me, who knows maybe these will work for you:

  • That Sitting is Killing You infographic says "interrupt sitting whenever you can," woah non-specific. And also functionally I work sitting down, so interrupting sitting interrupts my work, which I don't want whenever.
  • It also suggests jumping jacks, there's just a limit to how much of a spectacle I'm going to make of myself at work.
  • Other suggestions I've read are like "walk to your coworkers' desks instead of sending email," well, there are other reasons that we send emails besides being too lazy to walk. And also nonspecific, and also too dependent on needing something else to happen.
  • Or Shanna said she usually goes for a walk but that means to get hot chocolate, and I said yeah, I went on a walk and ended up with a bagel.
  • Or you know, last winter I was doing stairs as a pomodoro workout, but let's call that for what it is, a workout.

So I need something specific that doesn't interrupt my work too much and that isn't too much of a spectacle and that's isn't too much of a workout, and this is what I'm trying out:

  1. First of all, I had to say to myself, I'm going to get up on the hour for exercise breaks. Because I am a creature of momentum, I need that little intention as my impetus to pry my butt off that stability ball. I do sit on a stability ball at work; like I said, it helps with taking up some of the slack in your abs and generally improving your posture while sitting—but you're still sitting, which means that you still need to get up and take a break from sitting.
  2. Then I need something to poke me on the hour, I had a really complicated notion of a tin hen that clucks and lays an egg on the hour and you collect the eggs? Or how about I set myself reminders on Google calendar, how about that. I set this up as a separate calendar, so I can switch it on and off as needed.
  3. Here's my favorite part, I have Timer bookmarked on my browser toolbar. Okay so it's on the hour and the hen clucks, I get up and start an e.ggtimer for my one minute exercise break. It's a totally simple interface, it brings up a white screen that counts down the time that you picked and then beeps when time's up.
  4. What exercises should I do? Well if you look at the picture, you basically want to stretch the tight muscles and contract the weak muscles, so basically do the opposite of what they're doing when you sit:
    • The opposite of hip and knee flexion is hip and knee extension. Which means straighten your legs, which means stand up. You can further extend the hip by kicking your leg back, which you can do super subtly standing right there at your desk, casually drinking from your water bottle and, if you want, still looking at your computer, which is to say looking at the timer counting down.
    • You can hold onto something for balance when you do your kickbacks, or you can go handsfree for a balance challenge. All balance problems have the same answer, engage your core. Core can mean a lot of things, there were two different definitions of core on the same page in my textbook. I usually mean upper back, abs, glutes and hamstrings. Engage your core means activate, contract, tighten, squeeze your upper back, abs, glutes and hamstrings, and that will also stretch and relax your chest, lower back, and hip flexors.
    • Also maybe take thirty seconds to pull your head back to its proper position. I dunno if it's computers or what, forward head posture is becoming the norm. I read somewhere that every inch your head hangs forward adds 10 pounds to its weight. It can throw your whole spine out of whack and everything that's connected to your spine, which is everything.
    kickback 1 kickback 2
    So basically thirty seconds of kickbacks on one leg then thirty seconds on the other leg, how easy is that. That's as good a place to start as any and will probably give you the most bang for your buck for now.

As it happens, I usually get up for something as long as I'm getting up—to wash my breakfast bowl, to get a cup of coffee, to wash my coffee cup, to go to the bathroom, etc. So my total break includes some standing and walking around, plus the kickbacks. Also I'm finding that if you sit a lot, you just want to sit more, and if you get up and move a little bit, then you want to move more; so if you're daunted by the idea of moving more, your part is just to get started moving a little bit and momentum will do the rest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

16 Ways to Master Your Derby-Life Balance
 balance is not "equal"

This is the same as I've been saying about periodization; if you're stressing yourself out trying to fit four skating practices and four strength training workouts per week, let me help you out with that: don't. I know where I get ideas like that, I'm meeting my league practice requirements on the one hand—and by the way league practice requirements are not four practices per week, more like two and a half, but I've always done four and am apparently only programmed to raise the bar and not dispense extra credit— and then I'll stumble upon a running or weightlifting program on the other hand, and it'll be a four day a week program, and my mind will automatically edit out that whatever program this is wasn't written for somebody who's already skating four times a week, and I'll spend an afternoon trying to put eight pegs into four holes. Which is, you know, stupid.

13. Balance Is Not “Equal”

“Personally, I’m not happy if I’m evenly dividing my time between work and other things. I really enjoy what I do, to the point that I get bored with a lot of hobbies. I focus on making sure that I’m doing well on a personal level: if I’m feeling stressed out, I’ll take a step back; if I feel like I’m not getting enough work done, I’m cool with investing more time.” -Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Right-o! I have probably said enough things about this in a training context, now imagine all those things applied to a life context. To paint it in the broadest strokes, maybe you're spending the greater part of yourself doing derby and derby things with derby friends, and you know what, that's okay. There's no rule that says you have to put four derby pegs and four non-derby pegs into eight holes!

Either this is obvious or it's an epiphany to you. Which is the larger point of this, what standards are you trying to meet and are some of them maybe stupid? Who made them? Was it you? Was it the mean voice in your head? Because you need to tell that voice to shut up and that that's not how it is.

Truthfully, I do not have a lot of non-derby pegs. Mainly I have the sweetie man who is amazingly supportive of the derby pegs and takes away a non-derby peg now and again to free up another hole. Being gratefully aware of this and also thinking that he's pretty cute makes it easy enough to choose TV nights with him over all of the other things, though.

You may not have weeded out your peg collection as ruthlessly as mine, partly it was done for me—no family—and partly it's my way; but it doesn't have to be your way. So now you have to figure out sanely how to fit them all in and hint, eight pegs in four holes is not sane. Just remember that everything doesn't have to be equal, you're allowed and furthermore it's healthy for you to be aware of what's more important to you. And further even more if you're trying to make closely important things equalish, you have that fourth dimension, time, to play with.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chopped Vegetable Soup
 kale soup with turkey meatballs

kale soup with turkey meatballs

Too cold for salad! Kale salad transitions pretty perfectly to kale soup, though. This is my basic recipe for chopped vegetable soup as opposed to my one of my oldest recipes, creamed vegetable soup, and actually I like turkey meatballs in that too.

Now you could start with the turkey meatball recipe and just cook the meatballs in the soup, that works. I had already-baked turkey meatballs on hand and plated them with the soup, which was easy and good. I don't know how well meatballs hold up in soup for a week, but then again who cares if they fall apart. Though what if you want to just snack on a turkey meatball, that happens.

Anyway like I said, this is a basic recipe for chopped vegetable soup. You can vary it a lot of ways, just think an aromatic vegetable, a stalky vegetable, and a rooty vegetable—e.g., leek instead of onion, fennel or kohlrabi instead of celery, beets or parsnips or turnips instead of carrots. Also this is a lunch soup for me, so it doesn't have potatoes or beans and those are both very good. Oh and, also a "star vegetable," you could use any other leafy green; if it's a sturdy green like kale or collard greens, add it at the saute stage. If it's a delicate green like spinach or swiss chard, add it at the simmer stage (the more delicate, the later in the simmer stage). But wait, your star vegetable could also be a cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower) or hey, a squash like acorn or butternut or pumpkin...

olive oil
1 onion
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 bunch kale
1 can diced tomatoes
1 quart or two cans chicken stock
turkey meatballs

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat while you dice the onion, celery, and carrots, adding the vegetables to the pan as they are diced. When they're all in, stir them up and turn up the heat a bit. Then stem and chop the kale, and add it to the pan. Saute over high heat until the kale is wilted. Add the diced tomatoes and the chicken stock.

Simmer soup over medium high heat for about twenty minutes. If you're cooking the turkey meatballs in the soup, you would add them at this point; if you have them already made, plate them three to a bowl and ladle the soup over them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Greek Yogurt with Roasted Pears and Almonds

greek yogurt with roasted pears and sliced almonds

YUM. Yum yum yum.

I gave the sweetie man this primer on pears before he went to the Jewel: brown Bosc pears or red Anjou pears hold their shape when baked, green Bartlett pears not so much. So brown or red pears for baked pears.

six Bosc or Anjou pears
olive oil
greek yogurt
sliced almonds

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Halve and pit the pears, and arrange the halves cut side up in a 13 x 9 baking pan.

Thin about a tablespoon of honey with about a tablespoon of hot water in a small bowl. The hot water will melt the honey a bit, then whisk them together with a basting brush. Brush the thinned honey over the cut pear sides, using it all up.

Lightly drizzle the honeyed pears with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and—no reason to always be challenging and outre with our flavors— a bit of nutmeg.

Roast pears for twenty five minutes, turning the pan around in the oven halfway through if you think of it.

Let cool a bit, then plate two still warm halves right away with some greek yogurt and sliced almonds. The rest you can put away in the fridge to eat cold.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The POP That Was Heard In The Other Room

m: what was that??
p: that.
p: was my sternum.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tart Cherry Soda

tart cherry soda

As a treat, I sometimes get a Jarrito with my Tuesday tacos and this replaces that. This is a decent way to wean yourself off sugary sodas—sweet, tart, and fizzy.

club soda
tart cherry juice

Fill three quarters of a pint glass with club soda and top off with tart cherry juice.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Broccoli Pesto Potato Gratin

broccoli pesto potato gratin

It was the broccoli pesto that was the troublemaker, I just couldn't make it look good with sweet potatoes. It looks fine with regular potatoes, I think! Actually if you want to know, it was the good amount of almond milk that finally pulled this recipe all together; the pesto needed to be well thinned out to layer nicely between the potatoes and more for the top to keep it from drying out. And also it makes the broccoli a prettier shade of green, not quite so Halloween green.

So question, how I am able to divide all the potato slices evenly into five layers? And the answer is, I don't. I always have leftover slices, and what do I do with them? Welp, you can throw them out. Just saying! I only bring this up because if cooking—or anything, really—frustrates you, it might be because you're unconsciously trying to do the thing more perfectly than it needs to be done, and the more you can make conscious that things don't have to be perfect and that waste happens, the more you can relax into doing things and actually doing them well. Nin said the other day that she would like to know how to cut up a mango without wasting so much, and really the thing to know is that you always waste some mango and then you can accept that and enjoy the mango you get.

Anyway what I actually did was throw together the extra potato slices and the extra sweet potato slices from last week's gratin with the little bit of leftover pesto into a cake pan, and it was ugly but good.

1 lb frozen broccoli
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup almond milk
4 russet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
a bit more almond milk
another 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Bring water to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan. Add broccoli and cook until tender, about five minutes. Drain.

Put the broccoli, garlic, walnuts, parmesan cheese and nutmeg into a food processor and process until roughly chopped. Add the almond milk and process until incorporated.

Peel and slice the potatoes very thinly. Melt some butter in the microwave and get your brush. First brush your ovenproof skillet with butter, then lay down a layer of potatoes and brush them with butter. Spread some broccoli pesto over the buttered potatoes, not too thick. Lay down another layer of potatoes, brush with butter, and spread with pesto, you do this three more times. After the fifth layer of potatoes though, you should have just a little bit of pesto left. Mix that with whatever butter's leftover and a bit more almond milk and brush that all over the top layer, then sprinkle over a final layer of parmesan cheese.

Bake for forty minutes until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are very tender when poked with a fork. Let cool a bit before slicing, then the slices come out better.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Green Tea with Dates and Almonds

green tea with almond milk, dates, and almonds

Food can be simple, you know.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Shoes To Finish


My shoe collection is complete! It goes like this:

WORKHuntress bootsDansko clogsDansko sandals
HOBBYfleece Crocsslingback CrocsPLAY year round
New Balance
running shoes
PASTIMELands End snowtrekkersAriat Fatbaby bootsJosef Seibel sandals

I actually wear the fleece crocs for winter/spring and the slingback crocs for summer/fall, I just could not make myself buy a third pair of crocs that I only wear in the house. At no time do I not wear socks in the house, I can't stand feeling grit on the bottom of my feet; so in winter and spring I wear the fleece crocs with white crew socks and in summer and fall I wear the slingback crocs with white noshow socks, sort of on the theory that you dress for lingering cold in spring and for lingering warmth in fall.

And obviously it would be ridiculously extravagant to have a different pair of gym shoes for every season, better to just wear the same shoes year round until they're worn out and then replace them. Probably running shoes should be replaced every year if you actually run, which I don't. Actually this pair is going on three years, I bought them as a Fury rookie because they were white and orange and black.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fried Eggs with Summer Squash Noodles and Caramelized Onions

fried eggs and summer squash noodles with caramelized onions

I thought I was being so super creative pairing summer squash noodles with caramelized onions, but then I saw that I did the same thing with summer squash quinoa gratin. Oh well, but it actually is a really good flavor combination. I realize that as it is fried eggs and vegetable noodles is a work from home breakfast, and not much use for folks who don't work from home, and adding a long step to caramelize onions makes this recipe really not very useful, but. If you are at home and you happen to have a huge sink full of dishes, you can slice your onion first and get it started in the pan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, and by time all the dishes are done, you have caramelized onions.

For summer squash I'm going with half butter and half olive oil, because I'm whimsical like that.

an onion
olive oil
two summer squash
two eggs

Heat oven to 200-300 degrees.

Peel, halve, and thinly slice the onion. Saute the onion slices in a little butter and a little olive oil over medium low heat until caramelized, about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile wash and trim the summer squash, then julienne them with a julienne peeler or with a knife if you have mad knife skillz or spiralize them with a spiralizer.

Add the summer squash noodles to the caramelized onions, and saute over medium high heat until the noodles are separate and floppy. Put the squash and onions on an ovenproof plate, sprinkle with parmesan, and put the plate in the oven while you fry your eggs.

Fry the eggs in a bit more butter and olive oil also over medium high heat. I crack my eggs in the oil, let them set a bit, then dribble in a little water from the kettle and cover the skillet for a couple minutes; this cooks the tops of the eggs without having to flip them or wait forever.

Plate the eggs on top of the squash and onions.

Friday, November 2, 2012



Hold the phone, CocoOJ2O has been dethroned. So apparently beet and tart cherry juices are the juices du jour for athletes, beet supposedly because it improves oxygen delivery to muscles and tart cherry because it aids in muscle recovery. I couldn't find beet juice at the Jewel, but I did find tart cherry juice and it's very good. So I'm trying tart cherry instead of orange juice in my workout drink, which I figure is pretty much the perfect delivery system.

A brief history of my workout drink:

  • 2007: water
  • 2008-2010: water + orange juice for sugar
  • 2010-2012: water + orange juice for sugar + coconut water for electrolytes
  • 2012: water + tart cherry juice for sugar and antioxidants + coconut water for electrolytes

I think the tart cherry juice tastes better than the orange juice did, too. I mean I love you, orange juice. But diluted, not so much. And actually, tart cherry juice tastes better mixed than straight; diluting and also the sweetness of the coconut water smooths out the tartness. And also OJ2O tends to separate after a day, it's drink it or lose it. I partly judge my workouts by how much juice I have left, or if I drank all my juice and refilled with water, woo, anyway, my point is if I have a light workout, I can pop the leftover cherry juice back in the fridge.

I figure I'll just eat my beets until I get up the escape velocity to get to Trader Joe's to try their beet and purple carrot juice.

small container of coconut water
about a cup of tart cherry juice

Just eyeball the measurements: fill a liter bottle with a bottle of coconut water, a few glugs of tart cherry juice, and then the rest water.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Sitting Does To Your Muscles

So not to be alarmist and apart from its metabolic effects, I just want to show you what prolonged sitting does in particular to your muscles. Basically if you're sitting for six or eight hours, that means you're holding your body in the same position for the duration. And you know that muscles or muscle groups tend to work in pairs, one muscle contracts and the other muscle stretches to move a body part into position, and to hold that position, that one muscle stays contracted and that other muscle stays stretched. So far, so good, until it's eight hours later. A muscle that's been contracted for a long time gets tight, and a muscle that's been stretched for a long time gets weak—particularly if they do it all over again, day in and day out.


You may think of sitting as the opposite of active and you may not think of your muscles as being active when you sit, but in fact your hip is flexed, see how your thigh is at a ninetyish-degree angle to your trunk; that means the muscles that flex your hip—which are fancily referred to as your hip flexors—are contracted and the muscles that extend your hip—your hamstrings—are stretched, resulting in tight hip flexors and weak hamstrings if prolonged.

Next see how your abs are on the inside of that right angle and your lower back is on the outside of that angle, so there's slack in your abs and tension in your lower back. So weak abs, tight lower back.

Then you're usually focused forward on whatever's on your desk, so you lean—or worse, slouch—forward, which tends to contract your chest and stretch your upper back. And also your head hangs forward, so there's tension in the neck muscles holding up the weight of your big old head. Tight chest, weak upper back, tight neck.

By the way I say "tight" for an overcontracted muscle, "strong" for a properly contracted muscle, "weak" for an overstretched muscle, and "relaxed" for a properly stretched muscle. And I talk about tight muscles needing to be relaxed or stretched, and weak muscles needing to be strengthened, and that's what we're going to do with these muscles.

I said this before, but it's worth saying again: regardless of what workouts you do throughout the week, you should take breaks from sitting throughout the day. I do mean regardless; if you work out five days a week, you should take breaks from sitting throughout the day. If you don't work out, you should take breaks from sitting throughout the day. You should take breaks from sitting throughout the day. And by the way if you sit on a stability ball, that helps you take up the slack in your abs and you should still take breaks from sitting throughout the day. And also by the way if you stand at a standing desk, then you should take breaks from standing throughout the day. There's no solution where you hold your body in the same position for hours and days on end, moving is what does your body good! Breaks and workouts TK.