Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shepherd Chicken Stew with Preserved Lemon, Olives, Capers, and Eggplant

shepherd chicken stew with preserved lemon, olives, capers, and eggplant

I'm on a roll now, this is my riff on imam bayildi and I'm naming it after Book. You can't take the sky from me! If you don't have preserved lemon, you can just use anchovies like in the puttanesca version.

I am definitely plating these stews with cauliflower, to stretch them so I don't have to cook as much. I know the thing to do now is make cauliflower into rice, but I'm okay with cauliflower as cauliflower. I guess if it's too confusing to have something named shepherd that isn't covered with a potatoey crust, you could bake this under mashed cauliflower. I bet that would be good.

This is so, so delicious, but you might want to keep in mind that eggplant soaks up olive oil like a magic chamois and that's why so delicious.

an onion
two stalks celery
4-5 chicken thighs
2 cups water

2 lb eggplant
olive oil
2 Tbsp or half a small can of tomato paste
1 piece preserved lemon
about 20 kalamata olives
1 Tbsp capers

Peel and chop the onion, and trim and chop the celery including the leaves if they look nice. Put the onion, celery, chicken, and water in a soup pot and bring to a strong simmer over high heat. Then turn the heat to low and let simmer partially covered for an hour.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Trim and thickly slice the eggplant. Generously brush a baking sheet with olive oil and lay out the eggplant slices in one layer— no salt, there will be other salty things coming up. Roast for 15 minutes, flip the slices then roast for another 15 minutes.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board and set aside. Pour the remaining broth and vegetables through a strainer, set aside the broth and discard the vegetables. I usually go do something else for a while and let the chicken cool almost completely, so I can take it apart with my hands. When the eggplant is done, it can hang out on the pan until the chicken is cool enough to skin and take apart with your hands. Then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Mince the preserved lemon. Pit the olives by smashing them open under the flat of your knife and roughly chop them.

Pour the broth back into the soup pot, stir in the tomato paste, preserved lemon, olives, and capers. Simmer over medium high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the eggplant and chicken and simmer a few more minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spinach Leek Parmesan Egg Bites

spinach leek parmesan egg bites

Okay so, I replaced half of the spinach with a leek! So this is more balanced between eggy and veggie. No green onion, because leek obviously.

1 lb frozen spinach
1 leek
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
12 eggs 16 eggs

Tear off a piece of parchment paper somewhat larger than the baking pan, fold the paper on the upside-down pan, making a rectangle about the size of the bottom of the pan. Fit the paper to the inside of the pan, folding in the corners.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put frozen spinach in a microwave-safe mixing bowl and cook according to package directions—e.g., cover the bowl with saran wrap, microwave it for four minutes, stir it up, and microwave it for another four minutes. Squeeze the spinach dry in handfuls, and pour out any liquid in the bowl.

Trim, halve, and thoroughly wash the leek, then shake it dry and slice thinly.

Add the bread crumbs, parmesan, and leek to the spinach and mix thoroughly with your hands.

Beat the eggs—I recommend using a rocket blender—and pour them in the mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly again with your hands.

Pour the spinach-egg mixture into the parchment-lined pan. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan around, and bake for another 20 minutes. The eggs should be pretty well set when they come out of the oven.

Grab the edges of the parchment, lift the baked eggs out of the pan, and pull the parchment away from the sides. Let it cool for a bit. This time I cut the bake into thirds lengthwise and sixths crosswise, so that three pieces makes a serving—ah math, now I'm just screwing around. Cut it however you want.

Let the bites cool completely if you're putting them in jars, so condensation doesn't make them soggy.

To serve, reheat in the microwave for two minutes.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Egressions #49-50

49. Instead of butterflies, little doors that open. Via Crafts Unleashed.
50. From the innards of my pomodoro that blew up. Via Craft.

Sigh, so, I had like two weeks with actual Saturdays when I could get my workout in and then be totally free to do whatever pastime, not that I'm complaining because I do actually love training folks and of course I like playing derby a lot, and I'm delighted I get to do both. I'm eyeing this every other Friday, maybe? To make beautiful objets? But idk, I work and I train and I play derby and I blog and I have a boyyyfriend, and also friends, I think I might have enough birds in my hands and maybe can leave a few in the bush. Can I organize these birds to fit one more bird in.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

State of the Biz
 spring 2013

batman and batman

Where was I. Forging your idea of a tree from an actual tree.

So first the idea was, get your certification and then quit your job and get a job folding towels at a gym. Then it was, okay, forget the gym, keep your job, get some clients and then quit derby after this season and put more clients there. But then I adjusted my work schedule, I'm embarrassed to say that three days a week was too much. So now I work three days every other week, which I can deal with. And and, I have a new client. I'm never quite sure how to count my clients. I have a two long term partner clients who work together, a long term personal client, a short term group class of six, a short term coaching client who could be long term, and now this new hopefully long term personal client. Where the game is to collect long term clients, I suppose. In any case, my group class and my new client are on Saturday; that officially makes Saturday a work day for me, and makes me less embarrassed about not being able to deal with all the Fridays.

SO NOW, the idea is keep your job, keep your clients, load up Saturday as much as I can with clients and classes, and keep playing derby for another season. That's kind of what I want to talk about, the idea of having to quit derby. Which is about what. Like it's about thinking, I've only gotten this good in four years and it's time to throw it in. I only have this much time to build a business, which should look like this. And see, that's making a tree from your idea of a tree. Whereas the actual tree is like, one, they say it takes ten years or ten thousand hours to develop mastery of a sport. So what gave you the idea that you had to get roller derby in three years or out? Because roller derby is easier than the other sports? Right, having wheels on and playing defense and offense at the same time. Which I am just now starting to get, and by just now I seriously mean like in the last three weeks. Two, did you start your own business because you want to write your own ticket or not; so write it how you want. I didn't really love my job when it was forty hours a week, that's why I started studying for my certification. Whereas two days a week, perfectly amusing, and actually I know where it tips over, three days a week, here I am thrillingly balanced on the tipping point, three days every other week. Which also pays just enough extra that if I get just one more client—not ten more clients, not forty hours a week of clients, which sounds both impossible and exhausting—I will be in the black for the first time in two years.

Which is about what, doing exactly what I want to do at the moment, sustainably.

Yeah, I know about the other foot. I know about a sunny day waiting for your rollerskates to be delivered and your brother-in-law calls in tears about your sister's cancer being back. Lord, have I ever told you that story?

Peek and Shriek
a story from when there was MySpace
also when you had to return DVDs to the video store

This week I was going to do even less than last week because I have just enough patience to run out the clock before Wednesday, when I go to New York, where "just enough patience" actually means I'm absolutely out of patience. I'm not going to get anything done, and I'm not even going to try. This isn't the most positive thinking --but you know, Know Thyself.

My to-do list for the week is:

  • call Com Ed
  • be home when skates are delivered
  • return DVD
and also "clean kitchen," where cleaning the kitchen is definitely optional, calling Com Ed is probably optional, returning the DVD is probably not optional because it has to be returned to the actual video store, and being home when my skates are delivered is definitely not optional because if I don't get them in the house before I leave for New York they'll be shipped back to Las Vegas.

Sunday night I check UPS online and my skates are on the truck for delivery. I go to bed happy and excited.

Monday morning I wake up at nine, skip tidying the kitchen --"tidy kitchen," which I do every morning, is different from "clean kitchen," which I do every month-- and get into the shower. I think after I get my skates, I'll go to the video store. I can't think about doing anything that's probably or definitely optional. Around three I check my gmail for any livejournal or myspace notifications, and instead I have an exception from UPS that says THE RECEIVER WAS UNAVAILABLE TO SIGN ON THE 1ST DELIVERY ATTEMPT, all caps like I'm being yelled at. I fling open my front door, and there's the brown and yellow post-it stuck to the door during the twenty minutes I was in the shower.

There's a funny interlude here where I fly into a rage and fail to get absolutely anything else done that afternoon, and call Deric to help me decide if I should go out and see my friend's band. And Deric being an introvert tends to think the best thing for a bad mood is to stay in, as do I, which is why I called him. And I let him talk me into staying in, and I get off the phone fired up DAMN RIGHT I'M STAYING IN all the while storming around the apartment fixing my hair and putting on lip gloss and getting on my bike. Oh and, I went to the video store.

Tuesday the 12th I check online, and my skates are scheduled for redelivery on the 13th. Which is Wednesday, when I am fucking going to be on a plane to New York. Insert second interlude of raging and failing to get anything done. Around 11:30 I make myself call Com Ed, just to confirm that their meter reading matches mine and it does. So at least I know how to read the meter. They still say that I owe them $400; and maybe I do, but I have an appointment with a technician when I get back and will cross that bridge then. And just as I'm crossing call Com Ed off my laughable to-do list, I see Brown pull up and fling open my front door and scare Brown half to death. So I have my skates. And a minute later I hear the mail drop through the slot, and there's a little package from the U.K., and it's The Last Vampire, which I hadn't realized I was ordering from the U.K., which explains why the shipping was so much.

Hooray, I think. All my pigeons are home to roost. It's nice to have everything in order before you go on vacation. And now I don't have to worry about my skates getting delivered when I'm at my hair appointment with Ludwig this afternoon.

Then oddly, my cell phone rings. It's my brother-in-law telling me that my sister's cancer is back.

Scott breaks down at the end of our conversation and asks me to call Grace for him. You know that I'm being honest when I tell you that my first thought is, Fuck no, followed by a big sigh and which part of his wife has cancer do you not understand?

I call Grace and, er, leave a message that our sister has cancer on her answering machine, which is hilariously callous and so me. But see, I figure that Grace pretty much knows that I wouldn't call her unless I'd died. To leave a message that just says "Call me" would actually be cruel. I mean, I didn't just say "Ruth's cancer is back," click.

I've been thinking about Richard lately, and quashing thoughts like Should I call him about the new Harry Potter book? because half of the Harry Potter books he has are his and the other half are mine, and who should get the seventh book, to which Meg says, concisely, "Library." So I think, Should I call him about Ruth's cancer coming back? and I think that the answer isn't obvious --my life isn't his life anymore-- and decide to ask Meg when she comes over for craft that night.

I walk to the salon debating whether or not to tell Ludwig.

When my sister had cancer before, I didn't tell anybody. It's like... you exist as a character in everybody's mind who knows you. I guess this is another part of othermind, and you are the sum of undermind and mind and overmind and othermind. So when people say what do you care what other people think about you, I think this is a little bravado on their part. On my part. What people think of you is part of who you are. This is why I don't love talking about my problems until they're solved. I don't want my unsolved problems to exist in othermind; I think that it magnifies them. Then again if you don't tell people, it becomes this huge lump in your chest of something that you haven't said. The thing to remember is that people are mostly concerned with their own drama, and not so much yours. I mean this as a good thing. You spit out this lump in your chest, and then it sort of gets dissolved in other people's drama. So it doesn't get magnified. How lucky am I that I get to try it both ways.

When Ludwig sees me, he says "That's funny, I'm seeing Richard at 4:30 this afternoon." Ludwig is friends with both of us. I used to cut Richard's hair; now Ludwig does, and it looks much better.

Ludwig wants to know, "Is he still being mean to you?"

"He's not being mean to me," I sigh. "You know Richard. He's being cold."

"No," Ludwig says, "he told me that he's being mean to you."

"He's aware that he's being mean to me?" I struggle. I struggle. I lose. "What did he say?"

Ludwig either genuinely can't remember exactly how Richard said this, or has decided that he's said too much. He changes the subject. "Are you on MySpace?"

"Yeah," I say.

"Well, add me!"

"Okay," I say, thinking where my myspace says In A Relationship. "You can see my new boyfriend."

Ludwig mentally drops his shears, but doesn't actually. "Pauline, I hate you for being able to keep a secret!"

"It's not a secret," I say, deciding to keep my mouth shut about my sister. "It's still new."

"How new? Since the pageant?"

"Uh yeah, since the pageant."

"Tell me about him!"

I pause.

"Oh my god, is he a criminal that you can't think of anything to say about him??"

"Quiet. Gorgeous. He lives in New Jersey," which is apparently what's top of mind to say about MJ. I'm about to say that he skydives, but Ludwig interrupts to ask me how often I get to have sex with him, which is the other thing that's top of mind that I wasn't going to say.

I don't know why he then asks, "Is your boyfriend a boy or a girl?"

"Uh, my boyfriend is a boy. Though I'm okay with girls."

"Do you think Richard would be okay with boys?"

Lord have mercy. Though I'm okay with boy on boy! I mean, he knits? "Boys are okay with Richard, I know that."

I get home and write this story up to this point; and oddly again, the phone rings. It's a male voice that isn't Scott or MJ --it's Richard.

Susan says at craft, "Ludwig told him that you have a boyfriend."

"No," Meg says, "Richard already knew about MJ."

"Maybe it isn't so weird that he called me," I say. It's just weird that I didn't have to call him, after all. I'm telling them about my conversation with Richard --the upshot being that after I sign over the mortgage and get the rest of my stuff and give his car key back, he doesn't want to talk to me again. "I feel like I want to write him sort of a valedictory letter, you know, I just want to say..." like I'm sorry that I can't seem to have a conversation with him without fighting like a two-year old, and that I truly wish him the best, and godspeed, something like that.

Meg says, "That he's being a dick?"

Susan says, "That he should pay you for half the car?"

"You guys," I say severely. "That is not what valedictory means."

"You know, I never knew what that word meant," Meg says. "It doesn't mean like victory?"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Baked Oatmeal with Peaches and Almonds

baked oatmeal with peaches and almonds

I was going to make my next baked oatmeal with raspberries and almonds, and actually I did, and you know what? I think I don't like raspberries. So I made it again with peaches. Actually you know what else I kind of don't like, slivered almonds. They hurt my teeth, almonds are better sliced or ground like in macarons or those almond crescent cookies. I'm trying to use up these slivered almonds that I used to use in sun-dried tomato pesto—see, ground. I feel like I just learned something about almonds. I ground and toasted them in this recipe and they weren't terribly present? If you want a more present almond flavor, maybe you could swap in almond extract for the vanilla. Or maybe pecans would be better.

Also as pretty as this peach spiral is, thirty minutes is barely long enough to bake peaches especially from frozen; they were just crisp, and I feel like you want tender peaches slightly melting with the oatmeal. So I'm going to say roughly chop the frozen peaches so they cook faster, and besides then you can get more peaches on.

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds, coarsely ground and toasted
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
however much you want of a 12 or 16 oz bag of frozen peaches, roughly chopped
2 cups milk
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla

butter
greek yogurt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the oats, almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Butter a skillet or 8x8 baking pan, then put the oats in the skillet or pan and put the frozen peaches on top of the oats.

Whisk together the milk, honey, egg, butter, and vanilla. Pour the milk over the oats and let it soak in.

Bake until the oats are golden and set, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve giant puffy scoops of oatmeal immediately or let it set up for a few more minutes for perfect slices.

Serve with a pat of butter and a scoop of greek yogurt, and some fresh fruit is nice if you have that.

Leftover slices can be refrigerated and eaten cold with greek yogurt.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Companion Chicken Stew with Anchovies, Olives, Capers, and Zucchini

companion chicken stew with anchovies, olives, capers, and zucchini

So I made hunter chicken stew and thought hunter is cacciatore, I should make puttanesca! But puttanesca is whore, I can't have a recipe called whore stew. And I can't call it puttanesca because then it doesn't match hunter. What. A stew with meat and vegetable is pretty fancy for puttanesca, anyway. So I am calling this companion stew, because companions are fancy. You get this if you watched Firefly.

If your eyes are sharp, you may see a few cauliflower hiding in the stew above. That's because I'm thinking about plating this with cauliflower, so I can stretch this recipe from four to maybe six servings and be covered for a whole week of lunches.

Oh and, this is incredibly good.

an onion
two stalks celery
4-5 chicken thighs
2 cups water

2 lb zucchini
olive oil
2 Tbsp or half a small can of tomato paste
2-3 anchovy filets
about 20 kalamata olives
1 Tbsp capers

Peel and chop the onion, and trim and chop the celery including the leaves if they look nice. Put the onion, celery, chicken, and water in a soup pot and bring to a strong simmer over high heat. Then turn the heat to low and let simmer partially covered for an hour.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Trim and dice the zucchini, toss with olive oil but no salt—there will be other salty things coming up. Roast for 30 minutes, you might like to give it a stir halfway through roasting.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board and set aside. Pour the remaining broth and vegetables through a strainer, set aside the broth and discard the vegetables. I usually go do something else for a while and let the chicken cool almost completely, so I can take it apart with my hands. When the zucchini's done, it can hang out in the pan until the chicken is cool enough to skin and take apart with your hands. Then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Mince the anchovies. Pit the olives by smashing them open under the flat of your knife and roughly chop them.

Pour the broth back into the soup pot, stir in the tomato paste, anchovies, olives, and capers. Simmer over medium high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the zucchini and chicken and simmer a few more minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spinach Feta Egg Bites

spinach and feta egg bites

Spinach is more dense than broccoli and cauliflower, so these are more hearty and vegetal bites. They're good, though I might try to lighten up the texture in another version.

2 lb frozen spinach
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup chopped green onions or one bunch
12 eggs 16 eggs

Tear off a piece of parchment paper somewhat larger than the baking pan, fold the paper on the upside-down pan, making a rectangle about the size of the bottom of the pan. Fit the paper to the inside of the pan, folding in the corners. Brush the bottom and sides of the parchment with olive oil.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the two pounds of frozen spinach in a microwave-safe mixing bowl and cook according to package directions—e.g., cover the bowl with saran wrap, microwave it for four minutes, stir it up, and microwave it for another four minutes. Squeeze the spinach dry in handfuls, and pour out any liquid in the bowl.

Add the bread crumbs, feta, and green onions to the spinach and mix thoroughly with your hands.

Beat the eggs—I recommend using a rocket blender—and pour them in the mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly again with your hands.

Pour the spinach-egg mixture into the parchment-lined pan. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan around, and bake for another 20 minutes. The eggs should be pretty well set when they come out of the oven.

Grab the edges of the parchment, lift the baked eggs out of the pan, and pull the parchment away from the sides. Let it cool for a bit. I figured out that you can also cut the bake into fourths lengthwise and sixths crosswise, so that four pieces makes a serving.

Let the bites cool completely if you're putting them in jars, so condensation doesn't make them soggy.

To serve, reheat in the microwave for two minutes.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spanx for the Memories

p: i look goooood.

m: you do.

p: i mean.

p: i am held in with high tensile strength elastic.

m: even so.

p: still.

Bout Day Breakfast
 TF vs XX

baked eggs in red pepper rings with a teeny bit of turnip parsnip mash underneath, red pepper avocado hash, kielbasa, orange juice, coffee, water

Baked eggs in red pepper rings with a teeny bit of turnip parsnip mash underneath, red pepper avocado hash, kielbasa, orange juice, coffee, water.

More bout day breakfasts!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Egressions #45-48


45. Carne asada. Via What 2 Cook.
46. Carnitas. Via My Kitchen Escapades.
47. Korean ground beef. Via The Girl Who Ate Everything.
48. Chinese ground pork. Via Yi Reservation.

Like I've been saying I've started making actual Friday dinners, and Sunday breakfasts, and now sometimes my own tacos for taco Tuesday. My main proteins are eggs, chicken, and greek yogurt, so for these one-off meals I've been throwing in fish, and beef and pork.

I've made the carne asada and carnitas, both sooooo good for breakfast and taco night. Gonna to tweak the recipes alla Poppy style. Heyyy sexy lady.

I'm going to try the ground beef and pork for Friday or even preworkout dinners, oh you know what else I should have included: The Food in My Beard's ground tofu. My preworkout proteins are currently quinoa and beans, but I'm processing them more and more like starch and they don't last. Ground meat or tofu has that sort of spacefood quality that I want for fuel.

Or actually you know what would be great, if I could cook up a big pot of meat Friday night and have it for Friday dinner, a little bit for Sunday breakfast, and enough left over for tacos? Not that the carne asada or carnitas lasted past the first night, though I think I scaled the recipes down. Maybe scale them back up.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Get Active

So you know I've been hiding out on Pinterest and it's a different world than where I come from, and it was freaking me out a little bit. I know I shouldn't take Pinterest as the state of the union, but it's so fractured! If that's how it is, it needs to be fixed! So many conflicting images and ideas! Who even knew so many things could be made with oreos and cool whip, and are those woman's abs real? Why are there so many workouts for melting this or that, I thought everyone knew by now that you can't spot reduce fat and my heart hurts for these people bragging that they lost six pounds in nine days like it's not just water weight.

I mean, can we forget about losing weight for a second? Maybe you need to lose weight, I'm not saying that's not a thing. Though not only is it not the only thing, it's not anything I'd organize myself around. I don't even mean that how fit or how strong you are is so much more important than how much you weigh, though I do think that. I do think that being fit and strong is way more important. I'm just saying even if what you want is six pack abs or just to look good in some jeans, it's your body composition that's relevant and how much you weigh not so much.

And I'm also saying that getting lean is a thing, but it's not the only thing. Because guess what, you can be perfectly happy without a six pack. Let me get even more radical and say that you can be perfectly healthy without a six pack. Because I feel like a lot of sensible people look at all these thinspiration pics and think very sensibly, nah I don't need a body like a hood ornament. But then I worry that people think that's all that fitness has to offer, this one luxury item that you could be perfectly happy without. When there's stuff that you actually need, that you can't be healthy without. That is, you need to be active. Maybe sensible people already know this; they are sensible, after all.

get active

So let's talk about this.

I dunno, am I sedentary?

There's an actual definition for sedentary—i.e., less than three months doing less than 30 minutes of moderate activity 3x/week. If you don't have that under your belt, I sincerely hope that you make it your goal. And remember that you don't start at your goal, you start short of your goal and your goal is where you want to get to—that's why it's a goal, right? Start where you are with what you can do; if that's 10 minutes of low intensity activity, get started with that.

But do you know what, don't assume that you're sedentary. Count! So you don't "work out." Find where you're active in your daily life, and figure out how much it counts. Do you know what I used to do, I used to count skating as fitness and biking to work five days a week as transportation. Aagh, what?! Like it wasn't a perfect hill workout, it started with a flat stretch and then a longish slight incline and then a short steep incline that was murder and then it flattened out for the home stretch. Don't be crazy, count what counts. If you don't bike to work, do you walk to the train? Are there stairs up to a platform? Are there stairs up to the street? Is there a bit more of a walk to your office? Or hey oh, do you work on your feet all day? Geez, that counts. I was on my feet for five hours one day when we moved offices, and that wiped me ouuut.

Here's how you figure out how much it counts, take note of:

  • frequency of activity—i.e., how many times per week
  • intensity of activity
    • if you can speak comfortably, then it's low intensity
    • if you can speak but not comfortably, then it's moderate intensity
    • if you can't speak, then it's high intensity
  • duration of activity—i.e., how many minutes per day

So for example, let's look at my commute to and from work:

  • Frequency: 2-1/2x per week, which is to say 2x/week alternating with 3x/week every other week
  • Intensity: hm well, maybe 10 min from my house to the train, two sets of stairs down, stand on the platform (there are some shenanigans here, geez, is that how you spell shenanigans), stand on the train, then two sets of stairs up, and then I'm right at my office. Walking and stairs down is low intensity, just stairs up is moderate intensity for me. Then going home, all this in reverse. So maybe 2 minutes moderate intensity activity, and let's say 28 minutes low intensity activity.
  • Duration: which I have already figured out above, pretty much 30 minutes total for this activity for the day.
Okay so, let's pretend that's all the activity I get. Which you know, it isn't. Pretending! So this is a sedentary person; this person needs to be active more frequently (one more day per week, every other week) and with more intensity (say, walking more briskly), but is active for a sufficient duration—and this is just doing what she just does in a normal day in her life.

Getting in the game

Clearly I'm making a point here, so why don't I get to it, i.e., activity is not something separate from your life. It's a part of your life, probably already at least to some degree. And the point, in my opinion, is to increase if necessary and improve the activity throughout your life. And by the way, this is no less true if you're an athlete who works out five times a week; but it might not be true in the way that you think, but I will get to you later.

Anyway I can't cover everybody's possible situations with this one post or with this whole blog, like what if you drive to work. Or what if you take the bus to the train. If I was your trainer, I would talk to you in person about what we could do with your normal daily activity—it doesn't work for everybody's situation, but commuting is a great opportunity to look into. But if that doesn't work, then something else that gets you up to that 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 3x/per week.

What is it good for?

I started out by saying slightly out of order that if you don't have this under your belt, I sincerely hope that you make this your goal. And it's not because I think everybody should be strong and good looking, you want to hear something crazy for a trainer to say? I don't. Chances are I do think you're good looking, but who cares. I'm sure I've said this before, I believe that everybody is an instance of life and the game isn't for everybody to be the same instance. I mean, that's the opposite of the game. So you can't deadlift your body weight, you could very well be doing something more important with your instance that uplifts us all. Thirty minutes of moderate intensity activity 3x/week isn't going to get you a six-pack—but is getting a six-pack going to get you what you think, we can talk about that later. It's just that your instance of life is carried in an electrochemical machine that needs at least thirty minutes of moderate activity 3x/week, at least according to conventional wisdom, so that we can get instances of music, or photography, or cultural theory, or unswaying friendship, or really hilarious facebook statuses.

So, I do. Think. That everybody should be active. I say that with hesitation because of still believing that the game is to generate as many instances as possible, and some of those will be inactive instances. So this is in the context of, I'm not involved in every instance. I mean, obviously—there's seven billion instances in the world, and right now I'm involved with, like, ten. That's my instance, see.

I can't figure out how to wrap this up, and I've gone on long enough on the bowl of egg bites that I scarfed four hours ago. After I've eaten I will either come up with a few more ideas for getting active, or continue on my merry way down this skeleton...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Butter Coffee
  a.k.a. bulletproof coffee

butter coffee

Oh man, I have gotten on the butter a.k.a. bulletproof coffee bandwagon. Though I don't know if this is the seventy six trombones with a hundred and ten cornets kind of bandwagon or just a couple of cranks with combs and wax paper, I'm sensitive lately that—speaking of butter, did you ever read Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder? The part where the butter salesman samples Mrs. Wilder's butter with a thin tube that he sticks down into the tub of butter? That's what I'm talking about, that I'm only sampling a thin tube out of the whole tub of the world. Where the world is more variant than Mrs. Wilder's butter, which was uniform and good all the way through. I'm pretty sure that my tube of butter isn't the same butter all around, but it's easy to take it for that. And by tube of butter, I mean the blogs that I follow on my feedly (which is what I am replacing my google reader with). Anyway the blogs I follow are tending more toward paleo these days, and through my tube it looks like everybody is drinking bulletproof coffee and, finally, here's a concrete answer for my dad about whether if everybody jumped into Lake Michigan, would I jump into Lake Michigan: uh, yes? I'd want to know what that was all about. Actually, I'm going to let Joel Runyon explain what it's all about for you:

Because really, I am not an authority about such things. I can't tell you that drinking butter is going to help you burn fat or get lean or geez not have a heart attack, I don't know about that. I'm not a dietitian. It's something that I'm trying for myself, and that's all I can tell you about. It's all in the context of, shall we say, an undulating reduction of the amount of starch in my diet, which has been ongoing for the last couple of years. I do feel better the less starch that I eat, and I do eat more protein—which is to say, meat—than I used to. I like to think, though, that I've mostly replaced starches with vegetables and fruit. I have, right? I pretty fervently believe that whether you're vegan or paleo, half of your plate should be vegetables and we can meet on this common ground.

Of course, butter coffee is not a vegetable.

Here's what's going on with butter coffee for me. So there was a little opera about the bagel this winter and then the fat lady sang, and that was the end of that opera. And now I'm testing a get lean program, and getting lean means getting strict with your diet—yeah, it does—and this is about the strictest my diet has ever been: alcohol, sugar, and/or processed starch (pasta, bread) once a week, and starchy protein (grains, legumes) or starchy vegetable (potato, sweet potato) once a day. And man, once a week is not a lot. And once a day is not a lot. You actually have to choose whether you're going to have baked oatmeal now, because that's it for the day then. Or do you want to eat this ice cream in bed tonight, or do you want to have a jack and ginger on Saturday night when you're out with your friends. I'm not saying that it's bad to choose the ice cream! Just that choosing something means not something else. And coming off the opera about the bagel, there were more than a few things regularly appearing in my mouth that I wouldn't choose now over baked oatmeal. Like the cup of tea and two three four biscoff cookies that I was sitting down to write with, there's the rub. You write with your brain, and your brain runs on sugar. And honestly if it came down to giving up writing or giving up sugar, I wouldn't give up writing. I mean this quite seriously and not in the sense that writing is that important. I really think that it's all about deciding what's important to you and choosing, and then accepting what you've chosen. Or hey, adjusting what you've chosen. I will say more about that later; as it is, this is the world's longest recipe for butter coffee. Pssh though, who reads me because I'm succinct.

As it happens, I didn't have to choose between writing and sugar. Enter butter coffee. So far it's working that a hot, luxurious, and incidentally caffeinated beverage gives me just the right pause and kick to sit down and write. At some point I will also have something to say about how sit down always seems to go with write.

And that is basically what I have to say about butter coffee. It's hot. It's luxurious. Oh and it's filling, there's that too. And here's how I make mine, I get Kerrygold unsalted butter at Trader Joe's:

8 oz coffee
1 Tbsp grassfed unsalted butter
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Pour the coffee in a rocket blender cup. Add the butter, coconut oil, and vanilla.

Blend it all together until creamy, about thirty seconds.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hunter Chicken Stew with Mushrooms and Green Beans

hunter chicken stew

Jeebus, it took three tries to get this right. Pureeing the onion and celery into the broth on the first try like I did for the classic and brunswick stews didn't work, unless you don't mind your stew looking like Campbell's tomato soup. Nevermind the second try, I was rushed and didn't have mushrooms and doubled the green beans instead—nnnnn. So I strained the broth for the third try and contemplated what self-respecting hunter would throw out perfectly nutritious onions and celery, but I knew from veganly beans that broth plus tomato paste would be gorgeously red. And I really couldn't bear to ruin the picture out of overreaching ambition and have to make this again, because I have lots more ideas for chicken stews! But probably you could add them back in, I will say though that the way it's written it has a nice oniony celery-y flavor and otherwise it's all about the mushrooms. Oh and, the whole head of garlic.

an onion
two stalks celery
4-5 chicken thighs
2 cups water

1 lb mushrooms
1/2 lb frozen green beans
1 head garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp or half a small can of tomato paste

Peel and chop the onion, and trim and chop the celery including the leaves if they look nice. Put the onion, celery, chicken, and water in a soup pot and bring to a strong simmer over high heat. Then turn the heat to low and let simmer partially covered for an hour.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Wipe and quarter the mushrooms, and separate the head of garlic into cloves and peel them by smashing them open under the flat of your knife. Toss the mushrooms, green beans, and garlic with olive oil and a little bit of salt. Roast for 30 minutes. Mushrooms and also frozen green beans give off a lot of water, so after 15 minutes you might like to drain and save the excess liquid in a small bowl, give the veggies a check and a stir, and put them back in the oven for another fifteen.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board and set aside. Pour the remaining broth and vegetables through a strainer, set aside the broth and discard the vegetables. When the mushrooms and green beans are done, they can hang out in their pan until the chicken is cool enough to skin and take apart with your hands. It's kinda gross, but you can feel quicker with your hands what's meat and what's a glob of fat or gristle; hands are good tools. But then I use a knife to finish cutting the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Pour the broth back into the soup pot. If you have reserved mushroom liquid, you can throw that in too. Stir in the tomato paste and simmer over medium high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms, green beans, and chicken. Simmer a few more minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cauliflower Parmesan Egg Bites

cauliflower parmesan egg bites

Sooo good.

2 lb frozen cauliflower
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped green onions or one bunch
12 eggs 16 eggs

Tear off a piece of parchment paper somewhat larger than the baking pan, fold the paper on the upside-down pan, making a rectangle about the size of the bottom of the pan. Fit the paper to the inside of the pan, folding in the corners.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the two pounds of frozen cauliflower in a microwave-safe mixing bowl and cook according to package directions—e.g., cover the bowl with saran wrap, microwave it for four minutes, stir it up, and microwave it for another four minutes. It doesn't have to be cooked to a T, it still gets another 40 minutes in the oven after all.

Add the bread crumbs, parmesan, and green onions to the cauliflower and mix thoroughly with your hands.

Beat the eggs—I recommend using a rocket blender—and pour them in the mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly again with your hands.

Pour the cauliflower-egg mixture into the parchment-lined pan. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan around, and bake for another 20 minutes. The eggs should be pretty well set when they come out of the oven.

Grab the edges of the parchment, lift the baked eggs out of the pan, and pull the parchment away from the sides. Let it cool for a bit, then slice it into twelve pieces with a serrated knife, then slice each piece into nine bites.

Let the bites cool completely closing them in jars, if you're doing that, so condensation doesn't make them soggy.

To serve, reheat in the microwave for two minutes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Egressions #41-44


41. Dandelion lime cooler, except with tequila gin? Via The Bitten Word.
42. Pale ale lemon shandy. Via Women's Health.
43. New York sour, very pretty. Via The Bitten Word.
44. Grapefruit margarita with salt foam. Salt foam, what! Via A Couple Cooks.

Pretty much it goes like this: 1) be a person who doesn't hardly drink at all, 2) think about eliminating alcohol entirely, 3) be shocked at the pushback you get from undermind about that, 4) say okay, one drink every two weeks, 5) OKAY how about one every week, 6) sheesh, 7) have a thousand ideas for delicious summer drinks, 8) OMG SUMMER WHEN.

Though I think the New York sour will do nicely to get us through this long tail end of winter, a.k.a. spring. I wonder could that be made with tart cherry juice. And be called a New York tart.

Okay though, sticking to the one drink per week is working out so far: challenge accepted. I slightly feel like I upped my alcohol consumption to one drink per week, but it's possible that I've been drinking less in my head than was actually going down. Anyway. Your mileage may vary!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tay Q Down's Sweet Potato Chips

sweet potato chips

Boy I could not remember at all how to fold a paper boat, I had to google the instructions.

I have a recipe for sweet potato fries, but fries to me isn't a snack. For a snack, I want chips!

In addition to being a Hell's Belle and this season's co-captain of Second Wind, Tay is a professional baker and knows stuff and also has some fancy stuff that I don't have. Like a mandolin, and sea salt, and walnut oil. Ha ha. I have decent knife skills, so I was able to slice the chips just about a sixteenth of an inch thick by hand. I forget what I have all this kosher salt for—oh, the preserved lemons and oranges—but I've started cooking with it instead of table salt, and it does taste better; so I used kosher salt for this. Tay said she tried olive oil vs walnut oil, and walnut won. I tried coconut oil, which I have tons of, and that was delicious.

Also these are supposed to go with zucchini hummus, but I was unable to organize myself to make sweet potato chips and zucchini hummus at the same time. TK!

But without further ado, here is Tay's original recipe:

2 sweet potatoes
walnut oil
sea salt

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Wash and dry the sweet potatoes, cut one end off and slice thinly with a mandolin.

Put the chips in a bag with walnut oil and shake, lay them out on a pan covered with parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Oil the bottom of another pan of the same size and put that on top—this is the cool part! Tay says, "this way the whole chip is touching a heat source and not just in the air," so they bake evenly and don't curl up, omg science. Tay didn't say omg science, that was me.

Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 10-15 minutes until they start to brown. At this point, they start turning into chips for real and sort of fast. I started picking the done-looking chips off the pan about every minute or two; you want to get them off the pan just as they turn and before they burn.

burnt chips

Aw.

Let the chips cool and crisp up a bit.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Walnuts

blueberry baked oatmeal

I adapted this pretty closely from Orangette's Baked Oatmeal, which she adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday, for brunch for me and Biggie before we went to sign trading cards at Graham Crackers Comics, plated with an extra pat of butter, a big scoop of greek yogurt, and a sliced banana, oh my word, it was so good.

Then I ate the rest for dinners for the rest of the week, with just greek yogurt, cold, it was like eating cake and ice cream for dinner. Dinner is when I have reserved starchy proteins for, oatmeal is a starchy protein. Oatmeal for dinner, why not. And I have ideeeas for this—raspberries and almonds and honey, mango and coconut and agave, and also maybe savory baked oatmeal, eh?

I still love you veganly beans, but I'm going to be just a little bit obsessed with baked oatmeal for the next few weeks.

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
however much you want of a 12 or 16 oz bag of frozen blueberries
2 cups milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla

butter
greek yogurt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the oats, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. I am superstitious and buttered my skillet, then I put the oats in the skillet and emptied a bag of frozen blueberries on top of the oats. (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, Orangette calls for an 8x8 baking dish.)

Whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg, butter, and vanilla. Pour the milk over the oats and let it soak into the oats.

Bake until the oats are golden and set, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and if you give it a few minutes to cool, it sets up even more so that you can cut perfect slices. Not that puffy giant scoops of baked oatmeal aren't awesome.

Serve with a pat of butter and a scoop of greek yogurt, and some fresh fruit is nice if you have that.

Leftover slices can be refrigerated and eaten cold with greek yogurt.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Brunswick Chicken Stew with Tomatoes, Lima Beans, and Corn

brunswick chicken stew with tomatoes, lima beans, and corn

Of course the piece of celery that escaped the wrath of the immersion blender is front and center.

This and the classic chicken stew were the two chicken stews I always made in my old life, though slightly more lengthy and complicated versions. I still have a soft spot for them both, but don't really eat legumes (peas, lima beans) or grains (corn) for lunch in my new life. But, soft spot. More vegetal chicken stews TK.

an onion
two stalks celery
4-5 chicken thighs
2 cups water
olive oil or butter
1 lb tomatoes
1/2 lb frozen lima beans
1/2 lb frozen corn
1 Tbsp flour or cornmeal
1 tsp dried oregano

Peel and chop the onion, and trim and chop the celery including the leaves if they look nice. Put the onion, celery, chicken, and water in a soup pot and bring to a strong simmer over high heat. Then turn the heat to low and let simmer partially covered for an hour.

Dice the tomatoes.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Puree the remaining broth and vegetables with an immersion blender until smooth, pour the pureed broth into a prep bowl and set aside.

Heat olive oil or butter in the soup pot over high heat and saute the tomatoes for a couple of minutes until just softened. Stir in the flour or cornmeal and oregano and cook for a couple minutes, then add the pureed broth back to the pot. Stir until the broth starts to thicken and simmer, then add the lima beans and corn. Simmer for ten minutes until the lima beans and corn are tender.

Separate the chicken meat from the skin and bone, and cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

Add the chicken meat back to the stew and simmer a few more minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Egg Bites

broccoli cheddar egg bites

Oh man, I was making egg bites to beat the band all break, and I have to say, you ladies with your perfectly crusty egg bites, I salute you. I have no idea how you get your egg bites so perfectly out of your muffin tin, I tried oiling the cups, lining them with paper liners, lining them with foil liners, lining them with foil liners and oiling the liners, and everything stuck and I LOST LITTLE BITS OF EGG, THOSE ADD UP YOU KNOW, and I added eight minutes to my RealAge scrubbing out my muffin tin, and finally I hung up the muffin tin and took down my trusty old baking pan. And a roll of parchment paper. And the olive oil. I'm not actually sure that the parchment paper wouldn't do fine on its own, but I'm too scarred to find out.

A note about the green onions, I started chopping up the entire bunch of green onions and storing them in a box in the freezer like I do parsley and bread crumbs. But making these in a baking pan meant doubling the recipe, and a cup of green onions is just shy of the whole bunch. So you probably could chop up the whole bunch and put it right in. [ETA: I don't, though. It's handy to have green onions in the freezer, like that butter steak, if you don't have garlic for some reason, you can throw a handful of frozen green onions in the pan, I did that. It was good.]

2 lb frozen broccoli
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped green onions or one bunch
12 eggs 16 eggs

First off, tear off a piece of parchment paper somewhat larger than the baking pan. I actually fold the paper on the upside-down pan, making a rectangle about the size of the bottom of the pan. With sharp creases, even. Then I fit the paper to the inside of the pan, folding in the corners also with sharp creases. Then I brush the bottom and sides of the parchment with olive oil. [ETA: I pinned my courage to the sticking place and tried it without oil. Parchment doesn't need to be oiled.]

Oh and, heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Okay now, put the two pounds of frozen broccoli in a microwave-safe mixing bowl and cook according to package directions—e.g., cover the bowl with saran wrap, microwave it for four minutes, stir it up, and microwave it for another four minutes, and that should do it if you have a normal-powered microwave. Which I do not, I have a half-pint microwave that takes at least a third and sometimes a fourth four minute cycle, and the reason I go to all this bother is so my broccoli is right in the bowl that I'm going to mix it in. There used to be an intermediate step here where I turned the broccoli out on my cutting board and gave it a rough chop, which removes a bit of moisture and yields a kind of chewier egg bite, sometimes I do that, sometimes I'm too lazy to do that.

Add the bread crumbs, cheddar, and green onions to the broccoli and mix thoroughly, by which I mean, with your hands.

I found that the very best thing to beat eggs with is my rocket blender, though it only holds six eggs at a time. So I crack six eggs into the blender cup, blend it for twenty seconds, pour it in the mixing bowl, crack the other six eggs into the blender cup, blend it for twenty seconds, and pour it in the mixing bowl. Then I mix it thoroughly again with my hands.

Pour the broccoli-egg mixture into the parchment-lined pan. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan around, and bake for another 20 minutes. The eggs should be pretty well set when they come out of the oven.

Here's the best part: you grab the edges of the parchment and lift that baby right out of the pan. And you hang your pan right back up. And the parchment peels perfectly away from the precious egg bake.

Let the egg bake cool for a bit, then slice it into twelve pieces with a serrated knife, then slice each piece into nine bites.

I always eat two eggs, except when I eat three, so two pieces or eighteen bites is a serving for me. They go into a quart-size mason jar, I let them cool completely before putting on the lids and putting them in the fridge, so condensation doesn't make them soggy.

To serve, reheat in the microwave for two minutes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Breakfast
 avocado, mushroom, and jalapeno hash

scrambled eggs and mini peppers with avocado, mushroom, and jalapeno hash

Three scrambled eggs and mini peppers with avocado, mushroom, and jalapeno hash.

Honestly I just made this with what was left over from making vegetable skewers for the Fury Working Bikes barbecue. I always overestimate how much food to buy, I got a pound each of mushrooms, zucchini, red bell peppers, and I don't know what's up but lately the Jewel has really enormous jalapenos, like post apocalyptic size jalapenos. It's the weirdest thing, it looks like a jalapeno but it's the size of a carrot, an adult carrot. You think it's some other kind of pepper, so you slice it open and sniff it and it smells just like a jalapeno. It's totally weird. Anyway. I got a couple of those, too. So then I started skewering, and all of a sudden I had this huge pile of skewered vegetables and was like, okay woah. So I had some mushrooms left over, and I didn't do the peppers. And of course there was a ton of food that everybody else brought.

So anyway, I wake up this morning and I'm like, welp, I guess I'll use up these mushrooms... I think I'll save these red bells for this week's egg bake, cauliflower with roasted red bell pepper, what... Great Scott, look at these jalapenos, just one of these I think... and an avocado, of course. And I'm feeling kind of bad, because it's all left over and kind of skimpy. But you know what, it was friggin delicious so I'm writing it down.

I've switched from table salt to kosher salt, by the way. So when I say salt, I mean kosher salt. It does taste better, who knew. It's hard to describe, but it's like table salt tastes salty and kosher salt sort of tastes like potato chips?

1/2 lb mushrooms
a very large jalapeno
olive oil
salt
an avocado

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Wipe and quarter the mushrooms, and seed and sliver the jalapeno. Toss them in a baking pan with a little olive oil and salt, and put them in the oven for fifteen minutes, stir them up and roast for another ten minutes.

Cut up the avocado into hash-size pieces. Take the mushrooms and jalapenos out of the oven, and stir in the avocado pieces.

For the rest of this breakfast

When you put the mushrooms back in the oven, scramble some eggs. You know: a knob of butter or coconut oil over medium-low heat, pour in beaten eggs, push them around with a heat safe rubber spatula until they're just set.

Plate the eggs with the hash, and add some mini peppers to fill out the plate. Mini peppers are the bomb.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Egressions #39-40


39. Part 1: This is true for me, is it true for you? Via Stepcase Lifehack.

"We feel agitated when we read articles, pick up books or take programs that implicitly assume that we are novices who are taking our first steps. The truth is that we aren’t: we already have time- and self-management systems in place that have worked for several years. Sometimes decades. We don’t want to be treated as if we are starting from scratch, like five-year-olds at their first music lesson."

40. Part 2: I took the quiz, I'm a green belt! Via Stepcase Lifehack.

"The fact is, like most people, you started to put together your own time management system in your teens and completed the process in your early twenties. You may have tweaked it since then, but most people don’t – they stick with what works for them, and they forget the fact that they ever put it together; it sinks deep into the world of their unconscious competence."

I mean, systems isn't unconscious competence for me. Systems is, actually, my hobby, or I guess now I'm calling it home. Well, systems is my home. Systems is practically, like, my bar, seriously, cue the theme song to Cheers. I do love the notion of unconscious competence, though. You know what that is for me? Like I tell people I don't count calories or grams, which I love like freedom. Just remember where there's a blowhole, there's a whale. Meaning that I did count, for years. So I'm not sure how much my current lightness of being owes to that ballast, what, my whale has ballast, I write what I want. Also all this talk of whales and lightness is not about my weight, it is about my miiind. ANYWAY back to systems, I occasionally think about getting my systems together and taking them on the road; but these two posts sort of crystalized for me why I don't, or haven't yet:

  • People don't need my systems, because they have their own systems.
  • I kind of don't think that my systems will, you know, "freeze beautifully." They're not so much a package or a product, they're a process. I do, and basically have done for over twenty years, which is how long ago my early twenties was, pretty much what he says above, and I owe the organized person that I am not to a particular system, but to having been actively engaged in organizing, experimenting, and improving my personal systems for longer and more continuously than I have done any other thing in my life.
  • And it's that engagement, if anything, that I should sell.

But anyway at the moment, I am not in the life design business. I bring this up just because this is the sort of thing I get geeked on, and also because you may have noticed it says TRACK in a few places on the training skeleton and those are places where a good grasp on systems will really help you get what you want. And a trainer helps you with that, I basically design spreadsheets for fun and can save you a little work up front. Then though, you do your own work. I can't do your work, I can't help you much if you don't do your work.

So basically: want to get strong or fast or agile or lean, tune up your systems skills. It's not all about situps. It's not even all about your body. It all works a lot better with your brain in the game.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Coconut-Buttered Popcorn

coconut buttered popcorn

So basically, we ate so much Coconut-Popped Popcorn that we used up all the coconut oil in the house, and coconut oil we get from Whole Foods, which shows you how much I love coconut oil, I'm really inclined to do without if I can't get something from the Jewel, and of course you know that by "we" and "I" I mean the sweetie man who gets all the groceries, but then I actually was in the Jewel, like my actual physical body was getting groceries, and I happened upon Maranatha Coconut Butter, hark!

"So you don't have to go to Whole Foods after all," I said to the sweetie man.

"Uh, this is not working," he says later that night from the kitchen, "it's turning black."

So the deal is, there is a thing called coconut oil that is also sometimes called coconut butter, and there is another thing called coconut butter also, and also sometimes called coconut cream or Nutiva calls theirs coconut manna, which is overstating it a little bit, if you ask me. It doesn't fall from the sky, after all.

coconut oil and butters

So there I was fiending for popcorn, and whatever vegetable oil we had in the house also turned black, and I have completely spoiled myself for plain air-popped popcorn, picture this, I'm directing all of this popcorn making from the couch with my legs covered with a blanket, like I'm Mimi from La Boheme or Rent. So finally I tell the sweetie man to melt the coconut butter/cream/whatever in the one-egg pan and drizzle it over some airpopped popcorn.

This is totally how penicillin was invented, you know. Except that penicillan is not DELICIOUS.

1/3 cup popcorn
2 Tbsp coconut butter
a tip of a spoon of coconut oil

Melt the coconut butter in a small pan, adding just enough coconut oil to make it melty and runny. Because coconut butter, you know, it's like peanut butter, it has nut solids so it's a little too thick to drizzle over popcorn.

Pop the popcorn in an airpopper, drizzling with coconut butter as it pops. I use my silcone brush to brush the coconut butter all over the popcorn.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Training Skeleton

training skeleton This is my first stab at an infographic, welp, I am not a designer. I hope you don't get tired of Mr. Bones, because he's the only graphic I've got around here. He took forever to draw, he'll be working that off for the rest of his natural born life—

Anyway. What this is about. Substance over style, right? I struggle a bit, as you know, with writing about the thing that's supposedly what I'm here for, to train people, yeah, did you know that? Did you think that I was here for the food? Well yeah, food I've figured out; so it's easy for me to write about food. Or maybe I should say that I'm farther along in my figuring out process with food and have used this blog a lot in that process, and have also used this blog to figure out fitness a little bit, too—i.e., my muscles and movement series that was really just me studying for my certification exam; but my point is, generating material for this blog helps me figure things out and vice versa. So if I'm looking to generate fitness material, I should be asking myself what I need to figure out for myself, say, now that I've passed my exam and am training clients. And write about that.

And where I am with that is, so I get a new client. Then what, where do we go from here? I mean, this is pretty much precisely why you hire a trainer—as a sherpa, pretty much. To guide you up the mountain, and I guess carry some stuff. And it should be obvious, but often isn't, that where we go from here has primarily to do with where here is. I mean, geez, I've been certified for just about a year and might be about to get my third regular client, and I've already heard from more people than I can count on my hands who are pretty much lost in a snowstorm, looking up at a very faraway peak and thinking—or indeed saying out loud— that it's too far. And guess what, it is! That is not where I would be going with you today, I would be going somewhere we could get to. And also guess what, once we got there. If we're still getting along and haven't turned into The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Yep, we would go to the next place we could get to. And the closer we get to that peak, well, the closer it gets. And now maybe you get it and don't need to hire me as a trainer, and you can get there on your own. That is great, that is why I blog. Everybody, ultimately, gets there on their own, pardon the subject-pronoun disagreement. And also, now that I'm being groovy, everybody also ultimately gets there with people helping them. So I can help you by blathering in this blog or for $60/hour I can blather on you in person and occasionally bust out a hand puppet show that illustrates how you listen to what your body's telling you and then your body listens to what you have to say like in any good relationship.

Or just to preview a little farther down the continuum, I am, shall we say, exposed to a lot of folks who train their guts out, and some of them are coming to me now to advise them on what they can add to their training to get even better results, and I say mildly, you could sleep more. And believe me, I have more to say about that and not so mildly. Since I'm talking to the air, right?

So anyway, that is the introduction. In subsequent weeks I will be zooming on different parts of the skeleton, and expounding on them in greater detail—whatever it pops into my mind to say, so who know what shape this will take and thanks for being with me. I know I'm a pretty determined introvert and have disabled comments so we don't actually talk, but sometimes I can sense you like Peter Falk in Wings of Desire, compañeros.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sleep Wear Review

sleepwear

I feel the need to check on my clothes, but not necessarily to do anything about them. Ha ha. Here is my demented fashion chart, and I just want you to know that I do always feel the need to add an apologetic set of quotation marks whenever I say fashion to describe what I wear, but I always decide not to.

Anyway. From the top.

Just to refresh, my formula for how many pieces of any given article of clothing I need is:

(n x 2) + 2 = x

...where n is the number of days in a week I would wear that x 2 weeks + 2 more pieces in case life hits the fan and laundry gets really behind. So for sleepwear that would actually be:

(7 x 2) + 2 = 16

Oh. Why did I think it was twelve.

WHATEVER. I think I count 11 v-neck t-shirts there, 10 long underwear + 1 that I'm wearing + 1 in the laundry, and 14 boxer briefs. Which means I should stock up on five more t-shirts, four more long underwear, and two more boxer briefs.

But I'm not going to:

  • first of all, these t-shirts, I've been wearing these same t-shirts since, I kid you not, probably since the 1990s. Is that possible? I definitely gave up on wearing cute pajamas when I was still married. Aw. Maybe 2002-2003? I guess these t-shirts are sexy now, since they're practically see-through. Every neckline is frayed at the edges, every underarm is riddled with holes, and somewhere in that pile there's a print of each tattoo I've gotten.
  • the long underwear are relatively newer, because I used to wear size L everything and then after I got divorced I started buying clothes in my size. Last winter at the peak of my derby weight gain, they were actually getting a little tight in the butt and thighs. But they're fine again, except now they're too big in the waist—this, though, is not going to be solved by shopping, unless there's long underwear that comes in a derby girl cut.
  • I finally bit the bullet and bought a couple more packs of boxer briefs, which is what I wear in summer. But I guess I didn't buy enough, because I can't do math.

I'm not at all saying that I'm not getting new sleepwear because I'm sentimental about the rags I sleep in, or that they're so well-worn and comfortable. It's just that the whole caboodle needs replacing and I'm not all in for that, money is tight and against that I don't care much what I look like when I'm sleeping. And I sleep with a man who when I ask him in the morning if he slept well says "I don't know, I was asleep." And if you think I'm forgetting about sex, don't you think sex and sleep should ...not be synonymous?

So on the shopping list, but on hold:

* 16 t-shirts, size S
* 16 long underwear, size M
* 16 boxer briefs, size M

Or some other sleep bottoms TBD.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Smell It in the Air

p: i have just made the most beautiful egg bake.

p: look at it.

p: look at it.

m: it's monstrous.

m: i'm almost frightened.

p: it's the galadriel of egg bakes.

p: love it and despair.

Start the Day with Lemon Water

start the day with lemon water

Backing up here because I adjusted my first habit, start the day with green tea and lemon, to this, starting the day with lemon water. I did it because, well, it's kind of too princessy to expect a cup of tea in bed every day, and then there was a sort of decadence creep where tea in bed turned into coffee and milk in bed turned into coffee and milk and toast in bed, and then I started on 750 Words, which is really great, and I can't type and juggle a cup of hot tea at the same time.

The Cue

The key behavior isn't drinking the water when I wake up, actually, it's setting up the water before I go to bed. So the cues are different, I finish what I'm doing in the evening, either I'm coming home from practice or training or I'm getting up from watching television on the couch, and pretty much all I want to do is go to bed. Timewise we're talking ten or eleven, sometimes as late as midnight. It's not that I'm so tired, I'm usually not. I'm just finished for the day and not coming up with anything else to do. Like flossing or brushing my teeth, which is the grossest thing about me that you know. I'm not sure what's so much more motivating about having a room temperature drink of lemony water when I wake up than, like, undecayed teeth, but the rough beast slouching towards Bedfordshire will indeed stop and smell the lemons.

The Routine

Which means, I get the lemon out of its jar in the fridge and slice off a slice of lemon. I plop that into a jelly jar and fill it with water. If I have a nub of ginger, I put in a slice of that like in the picture. Then I cover the jelly jar with its lid and put the jar on the nightstand, where it sits all night, and in the morning I sit up in bed, grab the jar, unscrew the lid, and drink down the water before I start my words.

The Reward

This has the same reward as starting the day with green tea with lemon or hot water with lemon did, rehydrating and priming the body and all that. That's not the best part, though. Whereas the previous version had a horn and tails effect, this version has a halo effect. I don't know what it is, but stopping on my way to bed to fix the lemon water interrupts my momentum enough that I now actually, huzzah, floss and brush my teeth. And practice standing on one foot with my eyes closed while I'm brushing my teeth. And wash my face, and put on my anti-wrinkle cream that I haven't been at all good about and have had a little anxiety lately about regretting when I finally do get wrinkles someday, and—I'm not even done yet!—doing a small set of stretches before I get into bed.

Status: DEACTIVATED