Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Microwave Potato Chips

microwave potato chips

So hey oh, I was messing around a bit with cottage cheese with potato chips and cherry tomatoes as a post-workout snack, now that I get two starches per day, and obviously potato chip potato chips aren't cricket, but an actual whole potato sliced and cooked into chips, nothing wrong with that, and they're easy and they're good.

I've seen recipes for microwave potato chips around for a while, probably have pinned more than one of them, but was always blocked from making them because most of them recommend using a mandolin to slice the potatoes very thin, and really nice mandolins are really expensive, and I feel like cheap mandolins are cheap. Anyway it turns out that my knife skills are perfectly up to slicing 1/16" potato slices, problem solved.

The recipe I followed calls for microwaving the chips for 3 minutes on 100% power and 3 minutes on 50% power, I was able to change the power on my microwave just once, and now can't figure out for the life of me how I did that. So I just do my chips all on 100% power and they turn out fine, but YMMV and the more you know.

a russet potato
olive oil
kosher salt

Line a plate or indeed the turntable already in the microwave with parchment, I trim it to a round with my kitchen scissors.

Scrub and thinly slice the potato into 1/16" slices, then lay the slices in a single layer, not overlapping, on the parchment. About a third of a potato will cover a small plate, and that's a perfect amount of chips, right? This is one of the rare times that I will tell you to wrap the rest of the potato in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for later.

Brush the slices with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Microwave slices for 3 minutes, then flip and microwave for another 3 minutes, then at this point microwave for 1 minute at a time and remove chips that look done until all the chips are done.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SMART Goals, Habits, and Sleep

This is only sort of about SMART goals, and really about habits. With sleep as an example. I meant to write all about habits starting in the new year, the upshot of that being that in February I published a terrifying list of habits for everything that I want to get done that I don't need to think about and then Second Wind and taxes and moving to a new gym blarf—

I believe in SMART goals, they're better than dumb goals. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Result-based
  • Time-based


How specific is specific? "Sleep better" is not specific. "Get eight hours of good sleep" is specific, but not specific enough. Because getting eight hours of good sleep isn't a thing I can just do. Whereas, things I can just do are:

  • Stop caffeinating six hours before bedtime.
  • Stop eating three hours before bedtime.
  • Stop exercising three hours before bedtime.
  • Actually get in bed eight or even more than eight hours before you have to wake up.
  • Straighten the sheets.
  • Turn down the temperature.
  • Turn down the lights.
  • Turn down your brain.
...and actually, I crossed off the two that I can't do right now. Because roller derby with its late practices, where I choose roller derby for now. You can do that, choose. There's no right or wrong, there's your choices work or don't work for you. Which you don't know until you try them out, so what are you waiting for. Seriously, that's weird.


Tch specific includes measurable, if you ask me. But anyway, yes, first of all, you're looking for a measurable result. Sleep better isn't measurable, and neither is sleep more, erk, do you know what my least favorite health tip is, Drink more water. You don't know me! You don't know how much water I'm drinking! Get eight hours of sleep is measurable. I also have a qualitative scale for assessing the sleep I'm getting, of course I do.

Behaviors should be measurable, too. But, I feel like the measure of a perfectly specific behavior boils down to do or do not, there is no try. You either stopped caffeinating by 6:00pm or you didn't, right?


Okay so if you ask me achievable is about asking, Is this a thing I can just do? Which we already did under specific, but perhaps now with a little more emphasis on the I that's not in TEAM. Maybe there's no I in TEAM, but there sure is an I in I. There's things that only I can do and there's things that only I can't do, i.e., that I can't do on my own. For that matter, there's things that only the team can do and there's things the team can't do on its own—so this applies in the plural and not just the singular. But I'm a personal trainer, I accentuate the singular. Achievable is a thing that you—singular or plural—can do on your own, it's achievable by you. Or to put it more finely, the part of you that you control, viz., mind. Not so much body and undermind, which is where "Get eight hours of good sleep" falls down as achievable for me, god knows why I wake up at 3:00 AM and am wide awake for an hour, or when I will stop dreaming about all the dead people in my family being alive again. Maybe when I stop eating and exercising three hours before bedtime.

So basically when you get through specific, measurable, and achievable, you should have a specific, measurable behavior or list of behaviors that you can achieve on your own.


Here's where I let results back in. Yes I want results, I'm not Buddha. I would love to reliably get eight hours of undelayed, uninterrupted sleep with good dreams that leave me feeling refreshed with a sense of well being, the better to take on the world with.

So I regard this as the little space where you park your results, where they will be safe and not underfoot. And also specific, and measurable.

If you're keeping track, so far we're up to SMARsm.


So like, this is supposed to be I will have attained X result by Y time... but if you don't attain X by Y, then what? Is that a fail? What if you get 80% of your goal, geez I'm Asian and I don't think 80% is a fail. Also, did the world end? Or do you live another day and another after that, the better to collect that last 20%, rhetorical question, right?

We're back to the thing about choices and they work or they don't work and you have to try them. You don't know what results you're going to get until you try the thing. Maybe you get there, maybe you don't, but you will get somewhere, but more importantly you will have done the thing, nobody can take that away from you.

How I do time is, I commit to trying this thing I can just do, this behavior, for say six weeks. See if you can work it, see if it works. If you can work it, it might become a habit. If it works, i.e., it gets you results, it'll more than likely become a habit. And get you more results.


Or I guess you'd probably start with the result you want, fine tune that so it's specific and measurable, park it, then think of the specific, measurable, achievable-by-you behavior that might get you there, and commit to X behavior for Y time. Soo that would be RsmSMAT.

But really what it boils down to is, the result you want and the habits that will get you somewhere. No promises, it truly is the journey and not the destination. Or well, the destination is out there; but you can't start out there. You are here, and your journey of a thousand miles begins with a single habit. That's your smart goal right here, this here habit. So now I need to talk about how to start good habits, and how to break bad habits.

ETA 11/3/2014: Eh you know this isn't the worst thing I've ever written, but it isn't the best.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

State of the Biz
 spring 2014


Odie's got a brand new bag! Thank youuu, Trouble!

Pretty big news on the state of the biz front, Tsubo is remodeling and I am moving to VIE Custom Fitness. I will super miss being part of the Tsubo gang; but VIE is closer to my house and to public transportation, and bigger with more equipment. I can train pull and rotate for real now, there's bars and eee heavy bags! It's also more expensive (than free), but still reasonably priced. I feel like it's a step from business with friends to business business.

I'm looking at that last paragraph and I never noticed before that business is spelled like busyness. Not to sound like a broken record, but I have been hella busy—well first, taxes, and then second, all of the above. Finding the new space, putting together the paperwork—certification, insurance, resume—to get into the new space, getting my photo taken, geez, for their website like a real live trainer. All fun, exciting, but time-consuming stuff, and already there's been just a little bit more of everything going on. I've been saying to myself that something was gonna have to give, and that something was probably going to be the blog and that finally actually happened. You didn't even notice, did you: the blog's been dark for the past week and a half. Which seems not to have hurt the blog's stats at all, those have coincidentally leveled up to around 350 hits per day, which is giving me a little bit of FOMO ...about my own blog, haha, like I'm not the life of the party after all, the party's going on really nicely without me. I'm completely kidding, by the way. I'm not upset.

Anyway I'm still transitioning into the new space, and another thing that was kind of forced on me—between doing my taxes and figuring out my budget for actually paying rent—was that I finally took a hard look at my living expenses, I've been prompting myself in my journal with these 26 Steps to Living a Life You Love and have been stuck on #10 for the better part of a year. It turns out that my expenses are right about where I thought they were, I'm kind of like with expenses the way I am with calories—I don't count, but I used to count religiously so I have a good feel for them. YMMV! Anyway I feel like I'm more on solid ground now that I actually know them, and I actually know that between working three days at the office and with four solid clients I could actually be making a living for the first time since my sister died. Though right now, I might only have three and a half solid clients now that Nora's in tournament season.

So step one, cut a hole in a box—

No wait.

Step one, shore up my four clients.

Step two, then what.

I hope this is reassuring to folks who want to start their own business and all the advice you read always says, start with a business plan! Eek, tabula rasa. But another way to do it is, just start scribbling and take a step back now and again to see what you've scribbled...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bout Day Breakfast
 TF v MA playoffs

blueberry walnut baked oatmeal, greek yogurt, bananas, coffee, and grapefruit juice

Blueberry walnut baked oatmeal, greek yogurt, bananas, coffee, and grapefruit juice

More bout day breakfasts!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Early Spring Thursday Cooking Practice
 vaguely korean carne, sesame kale,
 and mashed potatoes

vaguely korean slow carne, sesame kale, and mashed potatoes

Thursday's cooking practice is just the same as it was in late winter, which is boring for providing new blog content, but brilliant for being able to make your week's worth of dinners with your eyes closed.

But also you start freestyling, as I said last month, and sometimes you come up with new variations that are really darn good. I got a little tired of my slow carne being soo spiced, so I changed it up with more Korean seasonings:

an onion
a red bell pepper
a jalapeno pepper
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 c soy sauce
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 lb chuck steak

Roughly chop the onion and peppers and mix together. Mince the garlic and mix with the red pepper flakes, sesame, oil, soy sauce, and molasses. Brush the sauce all over the steaks. My new cooker is bigger than the old cooker so I just throw in the whole steaks, layered with the chopped onions and peppers. If you have any sauce left, just dump it in there. Cook on low for whatever, six or eight hours.

When the meat is very tender, you can remove it and turn the cooker up to high and let the vegetables reduce to a thick sauce. Or not. Rip the meat into bite-sized pieces. Put the meat into a container, pour the sauce over, and put it in the fridge.

For the kale:

a bag of kale
two onions
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Bring water to boil in a stock pot over high heat. Empty the bag of kale into the boiling water, squish it down with a wooden spoon, and let it come back to a boil. When you can smell the kale, pour it out and drain in a colander.

Meanwhile thinly slice the onions and heat the sesame oil in a saute pan over medium high heat, add the onions and let them cook down until pretty well caramelized. Add the drained kale and the sesame seeds and continue to cook it all down over low heat for another twenty minutes or so. Then put it into a container and put it in the fridge.

Last but not least, the mashed potatoes and beans. Here it is again for your one-stop shopping needs:

four russet potatoes
two cans of white, pink, or red beans—whatever beans you want, it's America

Generously salt water and bring to a boil in a large saucepan.

Scrub and quarter potatoes in the stock pot. Boil until fork tender, about fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile rinse and drain the beans, and put them in the large saute pan.

When the potatoes are done, ladle out a pint of cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup and then drain the potatoes.

Mash the beans with a potato masher in the saute pan, adding in some cooking liquid to make them easier to mash. Add the potatoes back to the pan and mash them on top of the beans, adding more cooking liquid to make the consistency you want. I like fairly soft mashed potatoes and add back almost the whole pint of liquid.

Put the mashed potatoes into a container for your week's spacefood needs.

To serve, scoop out a bit from each container into a bowl and heat in the microwave.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bloc Toe Stop

bloc toe stops

I was perfectly happy with my bounce toe stops and am never very inclined to fix what ain't broke, but then they broke? Sort of? So that gave me a little push to swap in these blocs.

WHICH I LOVE. Oh, how I love them. They just feel right; but if you pressed me for specifics, I would say that they're this giant launching pad to ...erm, launch forward, and also for tiptoeing through the tulips, and you know that by tulips I mean really nice girls who are trying to kill you. Ermahgerd I was jamming and Bork was in the pack, all you want out of life when Bork is in the pack is to get the hell out of there, two inches opened up on the line and idk it felt like a spacecraft putting down landing gear. I mean, I know nothing about a spacecraft's landing gear. But I'm thinking like big feet, zero gravity, one giant step for mankind. You know?

Full disclosure: I was so excited that I got out that I immediately tripped on my own foot and fell down. But then the jam ended, and I lived to write this post.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Early Spring Cooking Practice
 egg bites or chicken stew

Eurrr idk if I like cooking in the afternoon, I know why I decided to try it this way, because I need a fresh mind for desk work, most particularly for paying bills so I don't screw it up, but paying bills is only once a month, maybe the rest of the month I can do my cooking in the morning. The thing about cooking is, once you start you have to see it through to the end. I mean right, not like studying or writing, you can always put a pin in that for later. So with cooking in the afternoon there's this anxious eyeballing the clock if you got a late start, which is like always, I'm always sleeping in Tuesday and Thursday these days, and lately I'm always bargaining between which comes first, egg bites or chicken stew, and by comes first I don't mean which one I do first and which one I do second, I actually mean which one I do and which one I don't. I just I always have to say comes first when I say chicken and egg in the same sentence, I know you understand.

So anyway truth be told, I hardly ever get both egg bites and chicken stew done in the same practice. It's almost always one or the other. Same old good old egg bites here. I guess chicken stew is a little more involved than slow chicken and that pushes doing both just past the point where my reach exceeds my grasp. Chicken stew is very good, though. I'm just cooking from the recipes that I developed last year and enjoying them a lot.

It still works out because egg bites makes eight servings, which is more than a week's worth. And chicken stew makes four or five servings and I really only need three per week, because I pretty much skip Tuesday and Thursday lunches because of the aforementioned sleeping in and then having to rush out at five or five-thirty for my evening work, and I eat other things for Saturday and Sunday lunches. So I can roll with what I'm making from week to week, and not run out of food.

Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Clean Bathroom Mold

how to clean bathtub grout

So listen, my bathtub was like this when I moved in ::cough:: eight years ago, in fact the girl I was subletting from told me that the tub had been caulked improperly making this mold impossible to remove, and well, here's the not so savory part of me, I'm not that squicked about sharing my living space with some life forms and the apartment was otherwise perfect, and I and later the sweetie man have been very happy here. And I'm not saying that I haven't done more than a few energetic bouts with the mold; but to no avail, so it seemed I had been told the truth.

BUT THEN Biggie told me she had read this and you know she's a hairdresser, so she could get me some of that salon coil for a couple of bucks at Sally Beauty Supply. It's cotton, you know, like cotton ball except it's more like cotton yarn.

All you do is put some bleach in a small bowl, cut a piece of coil, let it soak up some bleach, and lay it down over the caulk. I did wear latex gloves, I have a box from when I was dying my one orange streak of hair. And I poked the cotton a bit with a chopstick to get it all up close and personal with the caulk.

You know how things can be disappointing? I thought I'd have to leave this on for hours upon hours and check back only to find some stubborn mold giving me the finger.

BUT NO, I idly checked it after a couple hours and the mold was gone. Or well I guess it's still there, it's just sparkling white now.

Ermahgerrrrrd, this is going to be life-changing. I can't wait to do the rest of the tub, I'm sorry to say but not being able to get rid of that mold wore me down about keeping the rest of the shower tile perfectly clean. I mean, why botherrr. Imma clean it all up now! I can use my tub as a tub now! It's just not relaxing to take a bath surrounded by a ring of mold, you know? I can make fancy bath salts! Eeeee!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pizza Quest

Post street teaming pizza again and I must say, for a pair of introverts, it's a nice thing to have a pizza reward for having to ask strangers if we can hang posters in their windows. Although maybe they're not so much strangers anymore, since we've been doing this route all season.

Well. We still get pizza!

We also got my Fury teammate T. Wrecks to join in our street team and pizza quest, the three of us played together last season on Third Coast and Wrecks just made Third Coast again this week. Third Coast is RIDIC this season. This league just keeps getting deeper and deeper. Maybe time for a D team?

wrecks and dawn

Wrecks and Dawn. See Dawn's black eye? Badass.

poppy and matt

Me und der schweetie mann. Probably the short person shouldn't hold the camera.

So I just noticed an odd thing about this Chicagoist list that we're working from—Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza, right? Like what about Lou Malnati's, or Gino's. But really only four of the pizzas on this list aren't thin crust. I mean, I actually prefer thin crust. I guess that's what it says on the tin, The 20 Best Pizzas In Chicago and not The 20 Best Chicago Pizzas. Okay. I accept that.

I feel I should also mention, there's a couple few good pizza places on Division where we street teamed. Like I really like Pizza Metro. I was trying to explain their crust to Dawn and Wrecks, it's not like the bready and blistery crusts we've had so far. It's like cornbready? But, not cornbread. Well, it turns out that Pequod's has this crust and this is what I think of as Chicago-style crust.

And you know, I've lived in Chicago on and off—really at this point, mostly on—for the past, geez, twenty-five years, and I've certainly heard people talk about Pequod's, I used to work on Webster and I knew where it was, but I never really wanted to go there, a) I had the sense that it was small and hard to get a table, and b) it has a neon sign of ...a fish. Or I guess it's a whale. Well let's start with a) the hostess is leading us to our table and I am grimacing at the table of Cub Scouts shrieking near the door, but she leads us to the back of the room and the shrieking fades, and then we turn left... and then we go up some stairs... and then we go even more back, and at this point I turn around to say it's bigger on the inside to the sweetie man who simultaneously says to me, "It's like the tardis," so we had a little soulmates moment there.

The 20 Best Pizzas In Chicago Via Chicagoist.

Some consider it blasphemy, but I’ve never been a fan of Chicago-style pizza. I’m more of a razor thin, crisp crust kind of girl, but there's one place I'll make an exception for: Pequod's. A friend lured me there on a miserably snowy day with their $4.95 beer and a 7" pizza lunch special and now it's my go-to for deep dish. The thing that sets Pequod's apart is the beautifully crispy, thick carmelized crust. It isn't weighed down with too much sauce or cheese so it's never soggy and it’s cooked in cast iron, making the crunch consistent from edges to center. I also love their appetizer combo - everything you could possibly want deep fried: mushrooms, mozzarella, zucchini and jalapeno poppers. Perfect for while you wait for your pizza to be cooked to crispy perfection. —Julia Weeman

Pequod's is located at 2207 N. Clybourn Ave

The pizza at Pequod's takes some time to get to the table, so you might as well work on that appetizer combo while you wait.

And b) nevermind the fish, THIS. IS. PIZZAAAAA!!! And it is worth the wait.

spinach sausage pan pizza

We got a large pan pizza with spinach and sausage, the crust was as aforementioned. Cornbready, but not cornbread. Crunchy, I guess a normal human would say. We took a few minutes to finally settle on the classic spinach and sausage combo, but it's a classic for a reason. The only reason I sometimes don't like spinach and sausage is because sometimes sausage is ...fluffy. Eurrr. But the sausage here is really dense and meaty, and nicely seasoned.

We each had two slices, and we all ended up juuust full.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Early Spring Food Chart

Green tea with almond milk, most mornings in bed.
Egg bites for breakfast.
Switching to chicken stew for lunch.
Black tea and cuties for afternoon snack.
Slow meat, greens, and mashed potato for pre-workout dinner.
Fish soup for Friday night.
Cococherry2O for workout drink.
Egg mochi oatmeal for post-workout snack.
Buttered rum and coco popcorn for Friday evening snack.

Spring is being pulled kicking and screaming feet first into this world, sheesh.

For these between charts, I get to spring forward to the next season's and fall back on the last season's food if I want. Like last month I got a little jump on egg bites, and this month I'm hanging on to slow meat and mashed potatoes, mochi oatmeal, and buttered rum.

I'm getting started with chicken stews, though. I think I like my chicken stews just a little bit more than my slow chickens, boy some of these—the companion stew, and the shepherd stew even though I don't have preserved lemon this year—are real good.

For afternoon snacks it seems like cuties a.k.a. haloes are done, and now Jewel has cara cara oranges. The power orange! Uh, okay.

I have been super creative with fish soups! So far I have a chowder, a gumbo, and a curry, and I made a fish pie with a cauliflower mash crust. I was a skeptic about cauliflower rice and mash, but it's freaky. I am going to give cauliflower pizza crust a try, stay tuned.

Ultimate food chart! Always tweaking...
Early spring food planner for the extremely detail-oriented.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Fitness Chart

morning morning morning morning morning morning morning
5 5 5 4 5 2 2
evening evening evening evening evening evening evening

Pretty well settled into this schedule, practice is when practice is and everything else fills in around that.

This is whole day fitness, so everything counts. I have a point system, of course I do, no activity (gray) is zero points, very low intensity activity (purple) is one point, low intensity activity (blue) is two points, and high intensity activity (orange) is three points, where the idea is to get at least two points for morning and afternoon. So that could be two purples, one plus one, or a gray and a blue, zero plus two, and sometimes that gets turned upside down on the weekend but whatever; then I add whatever evenings to that. So if I keep my mornings and afternoons consistent, it's the same high low as it ever was. Right now I have four high, one low, and two rest, if you follow what I'm doing there. (I turned Sunday upside down. Also I'm only counting the major beats, not the minor morning and evening beats when all I do is a tiny bit of balance work when I'm brushing my teeth.) I think before I was saying three high, two low, two rest, well, like I said, practice is when practice is, I think it's fair to swap a high for a low and keep two for rest. Anyway on the one hand it's the same as it ever was, but on the other hand it's not—the high low used to be on a base of zero morning and afternoon activity, now everything's up two. It doesn't feel like doing anything extra, I just changed some habits around and now that's just how I do. Except that it does feel like I've done something extra, like my core strength has noticeably improved. Just from getting up every thirty minutes, resetting my glutes and abs, and my upper back when I remember, and sitting back down—I'm not kidding, it's that simple, get up, reset, sit back down.

Here's the thing I'm thinking about: can I raise my base some more? My client Kris is pretty naturally active, twenty-five minute walks morning and afternoon plus moving boxes of books now and again; so her base is four, and then she runs and lifts weights two or three evenings a week on top of that. I mean, I'm not comparing. I'm just saying. There's no set rule, it's about finding your own level. And when you find a level, seeing whether you can raise your level. Or not.

Not is valid! Recovery is always a thing, recovery might be the thing you need to level up.

What I'm thinking about is adding in some teeny high intensity bursts, but anyway, one of the great things about having the friends that I do is, somebody will always think of something, like Trixxxie's ab challenge last fall. Problem's starting a burpee challenge soon for her 44th birthday, so it might just be that.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Owner's New and Improved Guide to Washing Your Gear

washing your gear

This is not actually my guide, it's pretty much straight from Ask A Clean Person:
How To Clean Your Roller Derby Pads
on Jezebel. I'm just here to say that my stuff was bad, and what she said worked.

I do bring my gear home from every practice, but I'd been getting lax about actually unpacking my bag and letting my gear air out. That's really the first line of defense for staying at Stage 1, I'm back to that again. I haven't tried the thing with the vodka.

  • Unpack and air gear after every practice!

But since I hadn't been airing it out, I'm sad to say that my gear was just about to transition from Stage 2 to full metal Stage 3. So I basically did the Stage 2 wash immediately followed by the Stage 3 wash, as follows:

  • Put 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup laundry detergent in a bucket or the tub, I used my five-gallon Home Depot bucket but maybe the tub is better.
  • Fill with very hot water.
  • Add gear, hold it down to saturate and then swish around for a few minutes.
  • Then actually I let it soak overnight.

The next day, I drained the bucket and took the pads in the bucket to the laundromat. Meh, I don't put them in a bag but besides that I do:

  • Tack down all velcro to itself.
  • Use whatever combo of gentlest cycle and hottest water is available at the laundromat.
  • Add 1/2 cup Borax, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1/4 cup laundry detergent, then gear.
  • Remove gear after spin cycle and hang back at home to air dry.

And, it worked. So I think this is going to be my way, let things air out every night and then soak followed by wash say every other month.