Thursday, February 27, 2014

State of the Blog
 winter 2014

when odie met ivy

When Odie Met Ivy.

Welp, what is going on around here.

I'm back on my blog and blog break schedule, I am about to go on break. I blog Monday through Thursday with Friday egressions pretty much for the first two months of the quarter, so January and February, and then I take about a twenty-day break in the third month of the quarter, so I will be on break in March.

However, I have started these new monthly food chart (just the most recent posts under this label) and cooking practices series and will post a late winter food chart next week and cooking practices the week after that. But you know, glitch in the matrix, these posts have already been written, words from the past, and at this moment, not when I am writing but when you are reading this, I am on a sunny beach with an umbrella drink, well, in my mind.

Also you will get a bout day breakfast during my break, because there is a travel team bout in March and I am on a travel team. I mean, I was on a travel team last summer. But now I am on a travel team that plays in March.

The effects of which on this blog I am still observing, so we will see about that. Maybe it won't be Monday through Thursday et cetera.

Actually I have two March bouts, The Fury is playing in Madison. I must remember to pack my camera.

The other thing I've done around here is clean up the labels in the sidebar, there are three ways to find stuff around here: 1) I still have some work to do on this, but specific series like "12 Things Happy People Do Differently" or "slow chicken" are labeled in the sidebar. 1a) Drink, breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner are also labeled, but let it be known that these labels are individualized to what I eat at those mealtimes, so you won't find eggs for dinner or starches hardly anywhere else but dinner, not that there's anything wrong with eggs or starches anytime you want, just that this blog is set for how I do, figuring that I'm still the main person who reads it. 2) Every little thing, though, like all the instances where you could find greek yogurt, are not labeled, that's what I'm been cleaning up, trying to make looking for labels less like looking for a needle in a haystack. For individual instances, you could try the search box over the labels, but I will tell you, sometimes it works and sometimes it will say that there are no results for quinoa and I'll be like YES THERE ARE, YOU BASTARD SEARCH BOX. So honestly 3) sometimes the best search is good old Google, just "alla poppy" and whatever you're searching for. You want to ask, Are you going to upgrade the search function? And really the short answer is, No. And the slightly less short answer is, This blog is good enough for me the way it is. And the somewhat long answer is, Remember that everything is a good servant but a poor master, except you, you're the master and the first thing about being a good master is to be the master and not let your servants be the masters.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Malort Olive Oil Cake

malort olive oil cake

As you know, I don't really like to bake. But there is a certain kind of cake that I like that doesn't tend to be readily available, e.g., this olive oil cake from Food 52, and I'm even more attracted to a cake that can be made with two bowls and a whisk. And because I'm me and don't have a nine-inch cake pan, I baked it in my twelve-inch skillet. And also because I'm me and only buy one or two bottles of liquor at a time and have been working off this bottle of malort for the better part of a year, I omitted the orange zest and substituted the orange juice and grand marinier in the original recipe with grapefruit juice and malort. The baked cake doesn't taste much like grapefruit or malort, it mainly features a nice pudding-like texture and an herbal tone that might be those things plus the olive oil.

2 cups flour
1-3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/3 cup olive oil
1-1/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup malort

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a twelve-inch skillet and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, grapefuit juice and malort in a medium bowl. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Pour the batter into the skillet and bake for an hour, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the skillet on a burner for thirty minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet, the original instructions say to invert the cake onto a rack and let the cake cool completely for two hours; but, I don't have a cake rack. So I inverted it on the lid of my saute pan and then inverted it again on this platter that Cara made for me, and then cut a piece to eat right away—it's pretty delicious warm, with a cup of milky tea.

ETA: I had a second piece with a couple spoonfuls of greek yogurt and a sliced banana, and that was phenomenal. Those three flavors of cake and yogurt and banana, they blended perfectly together. The rest of the cake I wrapped and put in the freezer; that's the thing about cake for me, I don't want to be eating cake all week. I just want one piece every once in a while, so maybe this will work for that.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Place to Hang My Hats and Gloves

hats and gloves

I'm showing you this as an example of a less complicated solution being better than more complicated.

The problem was never being able to find the hat and gloves I wanted, I guess maybe the larger problem is that I can't just wear any hat and gloves but oh well. I tried stuffing hats and gloves into the pockets of the coats they went with, but sometimes, you know, in winter, hats and gloves are snowy when you come in and they don't dry if you stuff them into pockets.

So for like a year I've been dreaming up really complicated solutions to this, like making and hanging bunting on the console table with hooks for hats and gloves. Remember that quilt I'm making, hyeah. Anyway at some point it morphed into screwing extra knobs to the front of an old dresser drawer... and I looked over at my craft dresser... it has knobs...

Problem totally solved, I didn't even have to buy the clothespins that hold together my gloves because the sweetie man already had them. It's life changing, I can always find my hat. And my gloves. And they're always dry. And they're organized by life area: red hat and gloves for work, I switched to WCR hat and black armwarmers for home, and my former indoor hats for play, they fit perfectly under my helmet for biking and I can layer two of them if it's really cold, although I just got a balaclava for when it's really really cold, and for gloves I layer black target gloves and orange paws. For pastime, it's the blue slouch hat and layered blue and black gloves.

Scarves and coats are paired on the coat rack on the door.

I guess you might be wondering, isn't that a bother when you want to open a drawer when you want to do crafts? Yeahhh, see... I kinda almost never do that...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Egg and Carrot Puree in Oatmeal

oatmeal with egg and carrot puree, a little maple syrup and almond milk

I had a couple of Saturday mornings in a row, one assisting at Rioter tryouts and the other trying out for Second Wind, both with 9:30 calls, which really made me realize how acclimated I've become to evening workouts. I mean, I make a big fuss over bout day breakfast, but what is that really, just breakfast when I have a lot of time to make a fancy breakfast, the bout itself is in the evening like all my other practices. And actually, I rediscovered oatmeal for breakfast when we had our December bout at the Armory and had to be there early and all day for setup. What I discovered was, I can't face a bowl of meat, greens, and sweet potato at seven or eight in the morning, and I do need starchy carbs that I can digest and burn for fuel forthwith.

Thus this oatmeal! This is the version for when you're in a hurry, with an egg stirred in for added protein, a swirl of carrot puree because I had it on hand and thought it might be good and it totally is, and just a pinstripe of maple syrup because I had that on hand from making marshmallows. And a good splash of almond milk, because that's how I like my oatmeal.

I'm winding down with veg purees for the nonce so I will have to save further ideas for next winter, but I think I'd do a savory version of this with cauliflower puree, a tiny bit of minced green onions, and a drizzle of soy sauce, maybe in miso broth.

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup water
an egg
about half a cup of carrot puree
maple syrup
almond milk

Bring the oatmeal and water to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly and adding water as desired, and also heat the carrot puree in your bowl in the microwave, both for about two or three minutes.

Off the stove, crack in the egg and whisk it in throughly. I do think it might incorporate more smoothly if I blended it in my rocket blender, but mah, then I have dirtied another dish. So I whisk very vigorously with a whisk and leave it at that.

Scrape the oatmeal over the puree in the bowl, swirl to make it fancy, pour in some almond milk and drizzle a little maple syrup on top.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pizza Quest
 coalfire pizza

Today I trained Nora, then got my hair cut by Biggie, then Biggie, me, Dawn, and the sweetie man converged on Coalfire, which is just down Grand from Tsubo where Biggie cuts hair and where I train.

biggie and dawn

Biggie and Dawn.

poppy and mr spock

Prawn and sweetie man.

Isn't my hair cute? I mean, I know it mostly blends into the black background in this picture. I loove the bangs, you can see those. Every time Biggie cuts my hair, and we've come a long way from the one-length long bob I think two years ago, I study it seriously and pronounce, this is my favorite one, and I think it might go like that for these pizzas, too. But, that's why I provide these excerpts for more graspable and perhaps more meaningful information:

The 20 Best Pizzas In Chicago Via Chicagoist.

This West Town spot has nearly done as much for introducing Chicago to high-quality Neapolitan style pizza as Nella Grassano, with every pie baked in an oven fired by domestic clean burning coal. Coalfire focuses on the freshest dough and ingredients making their margherita and Fiorentino pizzas among the best in the city, but their mortadella pie is the must-eat. —Chuck Sudo

Coalfire is located at 1321 W. Grand Ave.

Biggie is a vegetarian, pescetarian actually, Dawn and the sweetie man are more on the carnivorous side, and as in every aspect of my life, I am a switch hitter, so I proposed that Biggie and I split a veggie pizza and Dawn and the sweetie split a meaty pizza, and maybe I would have one piece of meaty. Oh because, the menu said one pizza served two. For veggie we got the white and for meaty we got the recommended mortadella, Dawn is very good at paying attention to what the must eat pizza is.





Haha, what, they were good! I want to say that this isn't a bready crust, but of course it's bready, but it's a particular kind of bready, sort of thin and chewy and bubbly, like naan. Like naan! Like naan, not so much with toppings as with flavorings. You wouldn't want to weigh down this crust. So like the white has a thin layer of melted mozzarella and romano, then delicious delicious blobs of ricotta and enormous basil leaves, and the mortadella has just a shmear of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and paper thin slices of mortadella. It kind of reminded me of the Carl Buddig lunch meats that I ate when I was a kid, but in a really good way. Almost melt in your mouth meat.

Anyway we were coming down the home stretch of these two pizzas and Dawn says, I think one pizza serves two was optimistic, and I say, I don't think they were calculating based on two of us.


Thus this margherita.

Schmear of tomato sauce, melted rounds of fresh mozzarella, and the enormous basil leaves. No leftovers.

We were stuffed after that, they have cupcakes for dessert that we will have to come back for. There was cannoli that we didn't get at Art of Pizza, too. We're gonna have to do Pizza Quest 2, this time it's personal.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beet Cherry Juice Audition

beet cherry juice

So I read about tart cherry and beet juices a little over a year ago, Jewel had tart cherry but not beet juice and I don't like to ask the sweetie man to go to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods—or you know, go myself—unless I absolutely need the thing. Like I neeeeed coconut oil, grassfed unsalted butter, and microwaveable rice, or maybe it's that these you can stock up on once in a blue moon. If I'm going to drink beet juice, I'm going to go through a lot. I'm also not going to buy a juicer or more to the point, clean a juicer. But then Legal gave me a tip about beet juice powder, which I ordered from Amazon. So I'm giving that a shot, fnar. (The cool kids call them beet juice shots for some reason.)

The jar says 1 teaspoon powder in 3 ounces of water, I tried that. It was not delicious. So I tried a second shot with 1 teaspoon powder in 3 ounces of tart cherry juice, that was acceptable. By 3 ounces I mean that I measured a third of a cup. Be warned, the powder is dehydrated beet and doesn't exactly dissolve into juice; you can feel it on your teeth. Since I just downed two teaspoons of beet powder and haven't hulked out, I might play around with that plus 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup tart cherry juice in my rocket blender. Meh. It goes down in three seconds, it doesn't really matter. Otherwise it works fine to use a bonne maman jar and its lid, which I have like a hundred of.

ETA: Woah, maybe this stuff actually works? From what I've read, like, creatine has a cumulative effect, you build it up in your muscles over time, but beet juice has more of an immediate effect, it goes to your bloodstream and is at work in 2–3 hours, well, I downed a tablespoon of beet powder blended in 1/3 cup each water and tart cherry juice before my two clients and Second Wind practice this Tuesday, and I felt, idk, less hopeless when I jammed. Like natural born jammers, you know how they hop around and you look at them like, where do you find the energy. I'm more like a thrilla in manila jammer, I let myself get pummelled and plow through. Tuesday, though, I was dancing a bit. HM.

ETA: Ahh but, Kristen at work has an actual juicer and now and again I get little samples from that, yesterday she had beet juice and like I can get this beet juice from powder down, but the fresh beet juice is actually delicious. Aagh. Now I want a juicer.

ETA: You know what's decent:

1 Tbsp beet powder
1/3 cup apple juice
1/3 cup tart cherry juice

Blend all ingredients together in a rocket blender, then throw it down the hatch.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Buttered Rum
 with coco almond popcorn

buttered rum and coco almond popcorn

My starting point for this recipe was Joy the Baker's Hot Buttered Rum and Cider, I changed up the spices for things that can be easily fished out. Then you can get the stick blender in there to emulsify the butter so that it's perfectly smooth and not at all separated.

2 cups apple juice or cider
   I like Martinelli's unfiltered apple juice
2/3 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
a cutie stuck with a dozen cloves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup rum

Pour cider and water into a small saucepan and add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, the cutie stuck with cloves, a pinch of nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, remove from heat, and cover and steep for fifteen minutes.

Uncover, fish out the cinnamon, bay, and cutie, and add the butter and rum. Blend with a stick blender.

Ladle the buttered rum into two mugs, and make a big bowl of popcorn. Idk if I mentioned, sometimes I throw a handful of sliced almonds on my popcorn? Sometimes I throw a handful of sliced almonds on my popcorn.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bounce Toe Stop

bounce toe stops

My Snyder rounds were about to erupt, so I picked up these Bounce toe stops by Crazy Skates at Champs. Crazy Skates also makes Bloc toe stops, I got both kinds because I was torn. KWOW totally recommends the Blocs, and her opinion carries a ton of weight. But the Bounce, they had pictures of springs on the box! Made from super high rebound compound! Like Tigger!

Well. I mean, they were never going to be as good as what I instantly pictured in my mind. They're good, though. I liked my Snyder rounds, I tried Gumballs once and instantly rejected them. I instantly accepted these, so there's that. And if you look at the picture, I've had these in since Champs, so about two months, my Snyders were already wearing flat in that amount of time, these look almost creepily brand new.

So I guess my review is, I don't really notice them and that's what I'm looking for in a toe stop? Well truthfully, I was looking to be sproinging all around the track and I'm not doing that; but they're there when I need them. It also says something that I'm loth to change them so that I can try the Blocs, but I will do that at some point.

ETA 3/28/14: So a slight issue with my pair of bounces, after about a month of wear, the stop separated a bit from the stem:
slight issue with bounce toe stops
You know how refs end always end equipment check by saying check your toe stops, and I always do, and I was like, huh. It felt loose like a loose tooth. I have been otherwise happy with these stops and who knows, maybe it's just this one or maybe it's just me. I bang on my toe stops pretty hard. But I also have a pair of blocs burning a hole in my pocket but am generally loth to change, and this just gave me a little push.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter Chart Reredux

morning morning morning morning morning morning morning
evening evening evening evening evening evening evening

Scritch scritch... gah let's be honest, nothing gets done in the split, so I might as well get my nothing scheduled in there.

That bumps systems to Tuesday and actually Saturday morning, cooking to Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, and writing to just Thursday morning. It might be getting quiet around here, we shall see. I have a break coming up, anyway.

There is no cleaning on this chart, aiee. I mean, I have my little daily tidying habits (not charted). I'm going to try doing a big clean on bout days (also not charted), nice little monthlyish ritual that I sort of already do.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bout Day Breakfast
 TF vs HB
 parmesan baked eggs in extra dirty eggplant rice

parmesan baked eggs in extra dirty eggplant rice with avocado, water, coffee, and grapefruit juice

Parmesan baked eggs in extra dirty eggplant rice with avocado, water, coffee, and grapefruit juice

More bout day breakfasts!

I made this! Deb made it, too! We both say YUM. I put too much salt in mine, so I rescued it for this breakfast by adding an extra pound of roasted eggplant, pepper, and tomato. It's good now!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fish Gumbo

fish gumbo

I made this fish gumbo from the pot liquor left over from making collard greens. There's usually a couple quarts of that, I put that away in a couple mason jars and use it as the stock for this soup.

1 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
an onion
a green bell pepper
2–3 celery stalks
2 quarts pot liquor left over from collard greens, or vegetable broth
smoked ham hock or other meaty bone left over from collard greens
8–16 oz fish, I used cod
8 oz shrimp
2–3 green onions
a fistful of parsley

Bring the rice with two cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, then lower heat to medium low and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Take it off the heat and leave it covered.

Okay so, the instructions I was working from said to cook the flour and oil, whisking constantly, for forty-five minutes, and I briefly had a flash of what that uber-patient Poppy's life must look like. But you know, only a brief flash. As it was, I was keeping an eye on my roux while I was finely chopping my onion and pepper and celery, whisking occasionally, and boy it went from blonde to mahogany in the blink of an eye at about ten or fifteen minutes. Use your judgment, and constant vigilance!

So then I just added my finely chopped vegetables to the roux and let them cook down a bit, and then I added the pot liquor. Then the instructions said to let that simmer for another forty-five minutes, but I bargained them down to 25 minutes.

I busied myself in that twenty-five minutes picking the meat off the bone that I also saved from the collard greens, finely chopping that, and also cutting the fish into bite-size pieces. I think I could have also taken the time to shell the shrimp, because I didn't realize until I bit into one that it still had its legs on. Eee. Last but not least, I minced my green onions and parsley.

Somewhere in here you also want to taste and salt the soup.

Ding, the timer goes off and I add the fish and let that poach for three minutes. Then the shrimp, that poaches for another three minutes. Then the ham bits, parsley, and green onions get stirred in.

Put a big scoop of rice in the middle of a bowl, and ladle some gumbo over.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mid-Winter Thursday Cooking Practice
 slow carne, greens, sweet potatoes
 greens three ways

Thursday's cooking practice has been the same: slow carne asada or carnitas into the slow cooker, put on a pot for water for the greens, and sweet potatoes in the oven.

But I figure the carne and the sweet potatoes are just sitting in the slow cooker and the oven, I have time on my hands to fix up my greens. So here's greens three ways, I use Glory greens that come prewashed and precut in a bag:

fistfuls of greens
Turnip greens

This is the simplest, just put on the pot of water and bring it to a boil with some salt. Blanch the greens until they're wilted and you can smell them. Drain and run cold water over them, then squeeze them dry and put them away.

Actually apart from just mushing them with carne and sweet potato for spacefood, you can also slice a fistful or two of greens and dress them with rice wine vinegar and minced green onions for a little Korean side vegetable with mung bean pancakes.

sauteed kale
I already told you this, but I'll save you the click through: after blanching, saute the blanched kale in olive oil and some minced garlic if you feel like that. You can just toss the kale in the olive oil and garlic and then walk away, let it cook down over low heat by itself.

collard greens
Collard greens
I already told you this, too. For this you just squish the greens in a saucepan with a smoked ham hock or other piece of smoked meat, just covered with water, bring to a boil on high heat then turn heat to low and simmer for an hour.

I save the pot liquor and the bit of meat for soup, TK.

Greens go in a container, sweet potatoes get halved and put into containers, meat gets shredded and put into a container, all ready to eat! Put a little bit of each into a bowl, heat in the microwave, eat, skedaddle.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mint Almond Latte and Peanut Butter Dates

mint almond tea and pb dates

OKAY I have sorted out my post-workout snack for the post greek yogurt era, for winter I definitely want something warm so I pulled together this tea latte, but decaf because bedtime, and then the theme for post workout is fruits and nuts, so these dates stuffed with peanut butter, actually I guess all I've done is leveled the mint tea up to a mint latte. It's a good upgrade, though! It's really nice. I also have upgraded my peanut butter from Jif to Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter, I may have told you I got that tip from Heidi.

I simplified the preparation, too. Which is good because I don't actually make this myself, I get home and the sweetie man brings me my snack so it has to be not fussy.

almond milk
mint tea
peanut butter

All you do is heat a mug of almond milk in the microwave until hot, you can cut the almond milk with water to your liking. I would think at least half almond milk, or you could do all almond milk, or anywhere in between. Then drop a tea bag in the hot milk.

He just brings me the box of dates and the jar of peanut butter, and I stuff the dates with peanut butter with the spoon and stuff them in my mouth.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mid-Winter Tuesday Cooking Practice
 slow chicken

slow cooker


At the end of last winter, my good little slow cooker went bonkers. I guess it fried some wires, sometimes it wouldn't heat up and sometimes it thought it was a hot pot. You don't want to find your slow chicken bubbling merrily away, so I finally went to Kmart and got a new, bigger slow cooker, isn't it beautiful. And boy does it cook slow, I have had to adjust my cooking times. And boy do my slow chicken and slow meats turn out juicy and tender.

For mid-winter all I've had to do on Tuesday for slow chicken was chop up some vegetables and layer it with some chicken thighs, boom, done. The bigger cooker comfortably fits 6–8 pieces of chicken, so that's lunches for the week.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Chart Redux

Yessir, turn left at the fork in the road. TURN LEEEFT!

So yeah, I made Second Wind. Here we go through Door #1:

morning morning morning morning morning morning morning
evening evening evening evening evening evening evening

So tada, swap Sunday morning team practice for afternoon league practice, and in hindsight it was genius to have scheduled plyos for the past six weeks, I'm perfectly acclimated to having a hard practice Tuesday night. And that's it.


It's up and at 'em both weekend days, no more lazy Sundays until I have to leave the house at four. It's a small thing, but I don't overlook small things. I don't make mountains out of molehills, but after all a molehill is still a hill that a mole lives in. You'd keep an eye on that if it was in your yard. So I might lean harder on Tuesdays and Thursdays to be lazy days, and you know that by lazy I mean recovery. Which maybe means less writing.

Even so, it would be be one thing if I got up and knocked out my practice and then went back home. But it's the other thing, I have to go back and teach referees at least every other week; those Sundays will be the trickiest of schedules, the split. It's always tempting to not go home in between, just stay out and eat chicken and kill time or oh throw in an extra practice, but I have actual tasks to get done on Sundays, reviewing and planning tasks and recording bills and so forth. So, that. Will never happen. Know thyself.

So again, lean on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm friggin lucky I have them.

I'm just going to leave this here for a minute, I actually haven't been to a Second Wind practice yet because the day after tryouts I got the flu. So I should probably get a few of those under my belt before I start jabbering about a fitness chart.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mid-Winter Sunday Cooking Practice
 veg puree
 a glitch in the matrix

Today's post is a glitch in the matrix, where it shows that I'm actually a month ahead of the cooking practices that I post. I did do veg puree for early winter and winter Sunday cooking practices, which were December and January, and now that it's February I'm in late winter where there is no Sunday cooking practice anymore, becausssse I made Second Wind and now my Sundays are different.

I can't imagine that you're actually trying to follow along with my cooking practices, though. They're not here as turnkey solutions, they're here as examples of how I customized my cooking practices to the demands of my schedule. If you wanted to do something like this, you would look at your schedule and take it from there.

Anyway pretend, this month's Sunday cooking practice is just like last month's. Even though actually something else is going on.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Food Chart

Green tea with almond milk, most mornings in bed.
Sleep in Sunday morning, butter coffee to tide me over until lunch.
Eggs in veg puree for Sunday lunch and work breakfasts.
Sweet or savory egg clafouti for home breakfasts.
NEW! Slow chicken and steamed vegetables for lunches.
Black tea and cuties for afternoon snack.
Slow meat, greens, and sweet potato for pre-workout dinners.
Polar vortex! Still working out this fish dinner...
Cococherry2O for workout drink.
NEW! Mint almond latte, dried fruits and nuts for post-workout snack.
NEW! Buttered rum and coco popcorn for Friday evening snack.

By gum, it is winter.

I'm keeping most of my meals from last month, just finally rotating out baked chicken and roasted vegetables for slow chicken. I sort of messed up, I had a technique for baked chicken for soup for home lunches but I held it back. But now I don't know when I was thinking this baked chicken soup would happen, I could do it for Friday dinner but I want that to be my fish dinner. Besides that, it's just toooo easy to throw 6–8 pieces of chicken in the slow cooker, boom, lunches for the week.

I have also rotated in mint almond latte and dried fruit and nuts for post-workout snack, and buttered rum and coco popcorn for Friday or Saturday night snack.

Ultimate food chart! Always tweaking...
Mid-winter food planner for the extremely detail-oriented.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hot Chocolate and Halos

hot chocolate and halos

Halos are the same as cuties, different brand name. I believe the most proper technical name is mandarins.

I meant this hot chocolate, well first, to go with my marshmallows, but secondly to go with popcorn for a cozy at home winter evening snack, but I didn't feel like popping popcorn in the middle of the afternoon for this photoshoot and just grabbed two halos-cuties-mandarins-clementines-whatevers, and then of course I had to drink the chocolate and eat the ...little oranges, and of course, why didn't I think of it, chocolate and orange is an amazing combination.

The formula I started with was 3 oz chocolate to 2 cups milk for two servings of hot chocolate. Lindt dark chocolate bars come ten squares to a bar and they're 3.5 ounces, I think. I made one recipe with all ten squares and that was tooo rich. Haha, I had to know. Eight squares is just under three ounces, and even that was pretty rich. To me six squares is still rich, and actually four squares is just right, yes, I tried them all, and insert YMMV here.

I'm still playing around with the milk, my current mix is one part half and half to one part almond milk.

four squares or about 1-1/2 oz Lindt 85% dark chocolate, or your favorite chocolate
1 cup half and half
1 cup almond milk
two marshmallows

Pour half and half and almond milk into a small saucepan and drop chocolate squares into the milks. Gently bring to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring constantly. When the chocolate is melted, give it a quick whizz with a stick blender so that it's perfectly smooth.

Ladle into two cups and top with marshmallows.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Baked Chicken
 and Roasted Radicchio, Turnips, and Garlic

baked chicken and roasted radicchio, turnips, and garlic

In the tiny cabbage category, I also submit radicchio and thus end my baked chicken and roasted vegetable series for this round.

Radicchio and turnips together is perhaps a little too much bitter in the same dish, so maybe change up the combination to your own taste. Or maybe use twice as much garlic, which really contrasts nicely here. I was chasing the garlics around the bowl with my fork, c'mere, you tasty little nubbins...

4 chicken thighs
   plus 4 more chicken thighs to eat with soup,
two radicchio
three or five turnips
a head of garlic

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Debone the chicken thighs using a very sharp, small knife. Sprinkle the cut side of the meat with a little salt and pepper. Arrange the pieces on the baking sheet, tucking the skin under the meat. Don't bother with aluminum foil. Also don't bother trimming the skin or if you do, scatter the extra pieces of skin on the baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, turning the sheet around halfway through if your oven is uneven.

While the chicken is baking trim and quarter the radicchio lengthwise, scrub, trim, and cut the turnips into large pieces, and smash the garlic to peel.

Take the chicken pieces out of the pan and set them aside. If you did eight chicken thighs, drain some of the fat off and put the extra four chicken thighs away to eat with soup later in the week.

Turn the oven up to 500 degrees. Arrange the vegetables on the baking sheet, turnips first, give them a 15 minute head start in the oven. Then add the radicchio and garlic and roast for another 15 minutes, making sure that the garlic is somewhat sheltered near the other vegetables.

Fill four jars with a sliced chicken thigh and a fourth of the roasted vegetables each, these you can just reheat in the microwave and eat. Or you know, eat whatever you want right away and put away whatever's left.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Habit Review

Fiiiiinally, habits. Haaaaabits.

I'm going to make a habit out of everything that I want to get done that I don't need to think about.

Here's everything that want to get done that I can think of right now, organized per my work/play matrix—

—but wait! Before you get horrified, keep in mind that the whole point of habits is that you DON'T have to keep this whole list of habits in mind. The whole point of habits is to do them automatically, without thinking about them. The only time you have to think about them is when you're learning them. and you do that like how you eat a whale, one bite at at time. Or if you just want to freak yourself out once in a blue moon and look at the whole whale.

Okay, here's the list:


I actually am working on a few new work habits, but I'm not going to write about them. That's sort of funny, work is the least personal thing I do and it's too personal to write about? I guess it's not that funny, this is a personal space and it doesn't belong if it's not personal.

Also, I don't want to accidentally get fired.




  • Review and plan appointments and tasks weekly


  • Record bills weekly
  • Pay bills monthly
  • File taxes annually


  • Brush teeth and wash face before breakfast and before bed
  • Shower or wash daily
  • Stylist twice quarterly
  • Optometrist annually
  • Dentist twice annually
  • Gynecologist annually



  • Cook breakfasts for the week weekly
  • Cook lunches for the week weekly
  • Cook pre-workout dinners for the week weekly
  • Shop for and cook Friday dinner after Friday work


  • Tidy bedroom before breakfast
  • Tidy kitchen before breakfast
  • Tidy bathroom before breakfast
  • Tidy front room before bed
  • Clean as needed Saturday morning


  • Aghhh idk...



  • Stop caffeinating six hours before bed
  • Stop eating three hours before bed
  • Stop exercising three hours before bed
  • Tidy front room
  • Brush teeth and wash face
  • Turn down the temperature
  • Straighten the sheets
  • Actually be in bed eight hours before you have to get up, right?
  • Turn down the lights
  • Turn down your brain


  • Ahhh, I must!


  • Drink green tea for morning drink
  • Eat eggs and vegetables and drink water for breakfast
  • Eat chicken and vegetables and drink water for lunch
  • Drink black tea and eat fruit for afternoon snack
  • Eat meat, greens, and starch and drink water for pre-workout dinners
  • Eat fish and vegetables and drink water for Friday dinner
  • Drink cococherry20 for workout drink
  • Drink mint tea and eat fruit and nuts for post-workout snack
  • Drink wine and eat popcorn for Friday evening snack



  • Email and train Joe on Sunday morning and Tuesday evening
  • Email and train Kris on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening
  • Email and train Nora on Thursday morning and Saturday afternoon
  • Lead referees on Sunday evening
  • Lead plyos on Tuesday evening


  • On skates practice Sunday, Monday, and Thursday
  • Off skates practice Tuesday
  • Recovery practice Wednesday and Saturday
  • Rest Friday


  • See clothing



  • Write blog posts Tuesday and Thursday afternoons


  • Watch TV and movies Friday evening


  • See people Saturday evening


  • Make stuff Friday evening

Well. A great deal of this is just my systems and fitness charts exploded, all the weekly things anyway. I manage all the daily and weekly things in my timetracker, which I don't use so much as a time tracker as I do a giant chronological recurring to do list. I manage the monthly and longer things in my tasktracker, which is another giant to do list. Random and one-off things also get managed in my tasktracker, but remember we were talking about habits. Things that repeat, routine things that we learn how to do until we do them without thinking. Obviously the more we repeat them, the sooner we learn them; so daily and weekly things get up and running right quick, but like doing my taxes is like picking out a fresh rock to carve into a wheel every year. Actually I think I might have to start filing taxes quarterly this year, I might actually like that better.

Anyway my point is, a list like this is not really usable. It's useful for unpacking and inventorying everything, but you'd roll it back up before you went on the road. But we are not on the road right now, everything's unrolled, oh look, I made a chart of habits. Really much of this is well in hand and being handled by my various tools—food chart, food planner, fashion chart, timetracker, tasktracker, SNIKT! and so forth—with just a few things that could be mastered better: filing my taxes, regular health and beauty appointments, sigh, back in the day I used to get regular brow waxes and pedicures, that seems like Shangri-La. I could clean my house better. I have an idea about bout days being big clean days, since Nora and I don't train on bout days. I've been seeing people at least once a week and I've been making stuff, I want to keep that up.

Idk if my clothes are as bad off as I think, I do have that whole fashion chart and my formula... but it still seems beyond my grasp, and also truthfully beyond my reach. Do you know what I saw that's great, hold on... The Wardrobe of Walter White, omg, I totally want to do this for my clothes. I draw sooo slow, but Walter White has a lot more clothes than I do. Haha, so demented.

Maybe meditation would help with that.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pizza Quest

killa tay berg

Killa, Tay, and Berg participated in this quest!

legal dawn poppy

As did Legal, Dawn, and Poppy. As you can see, we did eat greens...

thin crust with honey butter fried chicken

...before digging into Piece's February special, HONEY BUTTER FRIED CHICKEN ON PIZZA. WHAT.


Biggie joined us later, finished our greens, and helped us eat the chocolate pizza (not pictured) that we had for dessert.

The 20 Best Pizzas In Chicago Via Chicagoist.

We don’t all live for deep dish just because we live in Chicago. I’m a fan of the thinner, crispier pie at Piece Brewery & Pizzeria in Wicker Park. It’s called New Haven style, and you can get it red (tomato sauce and mozzarella), plain (red sauce with parmesan instead of mozzarella--the traditional New Haven way) or white (olive oil, garlic and mozzarella only). They’ve got a multitude of toppings to choose from, or load up on, including some unusual ones like mashed potatoes, broccoli and clams. I usually order red with friends, but sometimes I’ll go on my own and get a lunch size (available before 5pm) white and add goat or feta cheese. And you read that name correctly, they’re also a small-shop brewery with their own award winning beers that you can also take home by the growler. Right now they’ve got one on tap called Surrender that we can only assume is named for co-owner Rick Nielsen’s band Cheap Trick. Dine in and you’ll get to take a look at his famous five-necked guitar.--Michelle Meywes

Piece is located at 1927 W. North Ave.

Piece is my local joint, or well actually the Little Caesar's inside the Kmart on Ashland is my local joint, but in the previous administration—marital, not presidential—I did used to go to Piece quite a bit and I like their pizza a lot, and we were going to save it for later in the quest to force the creature out of its habit. But then our fearless leader heard some drumbeats about an amazing thing, viz., Honey Butter fried chicken on Piece pizza, WHAT. It started today, is it only for February? I thought it was only February. I am a terrible journalist. They are only making 100 per day, though.


Well. I am not any kind of super taster. And I like pizza. I am probably going to write twenty pizza posts and every one of them is going to be MMMMM GOOD, so use your judgment. I thought it was good. I got two tastes, 1) chicken, and 2) fried. Like the crispy part on fried chicken, you can taste that. And Legal also said, 3) garlic.

I love Piece's crust, it's thin. Remember the guy last time was talking about balancing your slice on your fingers, you can't do that with a Piece slice. It's floppy, but it's not soggy. I feel like it's cooked on an open flame? The bottom tastes toasted, idk.

Also, the beer. I always get the Worryin' Ale, it's good. I have even fewer words for beer than I do for food. They win awards, though. I do think that beer and pizza are really good together, I missed that last time.

Oh, the chocolate pizza. That was somebody at the other end of the table's idea, I could not wrap my head around the concept of that. I got my mouth around it, though. See, that is why you should be open to other people's suggestions.