Archive for February 2012

Exercise plan

First and foremost, pushups every day until I can do 10. And just so you know, I tried to do a real pushup Saturday, and got into position, and my arms were trembling trying to hold myself up. *sigh* Last night, I was able to do about a quarter of a real pushup. But aside from that, here is my intent:

Mondays: Stationary bike
Tuesdays: Running with Brick City Running Tribe. Weather permitting…
Wednesday: Elliptical
Thursday: Run at lunch or bike
Friday: Elliptical

Yeah, I know. That’s just cardio and I said I would do strength and core also. I just don’t have the strength and core plan yet. Except for the pitiful almost pushups. *sigh*

I did do 30 min on the bike last night. It hurt my right knee very much badly, and that’s not even my bad knee. :-/

Reading list

I figured I would put up my reading list. Some of these have some explanation like why I started reading it, but haven’t finished it yet.

This was a study we did at church with the “young” women. I quote the word “young” because I was the old head in the group. The rest of the ladies are young. ;) Anyway, we only got up to a point and the class has been put on hold, and I figured I’d go ahead and finish the book even though I was at least 75% through it. Will likely be finished tonight.

I was actively reading this, but wasn’t half way. Hit the halfway mark last night.

I don’t pass up a freebie, and I got this as a free Kindle download. No, I don’t have a Kindle or a Nook, but I have the Kindle and Nook apps on my pc. I got through 2 chapters, and wasn’t finding it overly interesting compared to, oh, spider solitaire.

This is actually 3 books in one. I’ve already read Chosen by God, so that makes me 1/3 finished with this, and it’s the 2nd book.

I started this and have no idea why I put it aside.

I read Bringing up Girls, and it was pretty interesting read. I was having a hard time getting into this one, and sat it aside.

I kept waiting for this one to get easier to read.

Interesting, but technical. I put this one aside when I went back to grad school. About 75% through it also.

Interesting, but a hard read.

I bought this on my fail vacation last summer.

I am 99% sure I have read this book. I read one of her books when I was around 12, and this title sounds more familiar than The Hiding Place.

This isn’t officially on my 20 by Easter reading list. However, since I never got around to reading this (grad school), and it’s actually 5 books in one volume, I am putting it up as backup in case I can’t manage one or more of the above books.

The more I look at my list, the more I think I should have left the challenge at 10 books in March.

What is it with a challenge?

And why can’t I just leave a challenge as it stands and not up the ante? So here’s the deal. My friend Molly put up a challenge to read 10 books in March. I am totally up for that since I gave up gaming for lent (and I can’t tell you how hard it was not to play spider solitaire last night or this morning), so I should be able to fill that void with reading. So I went through the books I have listed in Goodreads, and wrote down the ones I have either started or haven’t read at all yet. That would be 20. Actually, it’s probably 19 as I have 2 Corrie Ten Boom books listed, and one of them I read when I was around 12, but I can’t remember which one I read. Since I have started reading 8 of those books, and just need to finish them, I have decided that I am going to complete my list of 20 by Easter. That’s 6 1/2 weeks…with no naps… ;)

Challenge #1: 20 books by Easter.

Now that I have lost 20 pounds, and it is actually noticeable now, I need to start working on core training to tone, build up muscle, and absolutely do something about the fat between my underarms and boobs. That fat goes away most effectively with pushups. I haven’t been able to do a real pushup in years. When I got out of the military I could only do 1. Yes, that is pathetic. I never was in danger of maxing out on pushups, but in my younger years, I was always able to do between 10 and 20. So my next challenge has to do with pushups, and is a 2-part.

Challenge #2a: 1 real pushup by March 2.
Challenge #2b: 10 real pushups by March 31.

Back in the Air Force, I ballooned up dangerously close to my max weight after I quit smoking. Rather than risking being put on the fat girl program (and having less than a year left and refusing to buy new uniforms), I started taking my fat arse to the gym. I went every weekday afternoon and still remember my routine:

Monday: Stationary bike (because that’s what we were PT tested on) and weights.
Tuesday: Elliptical and crunches.
Wednesday: Rowing, stair stepper, or treadmill (depending on my mood) and weights.
Thursday: Same as Tuesday
Friday: Same as Monday.

I wasn’t really dieting at the time. I gave up chips, but I think that was it. Hence, it took a full year to lose 20 pounds. Now that I have identified my comfort food addiction, and cut out the addictive foods (mainly pastas and breads), I somewhat have a handle on my diet and have lost 20 pounds in about 4 months, predominantly through diet. I say that because I haven’t done crossfit in months, and haven’t managed more than 2 runs a week if that. In fact, I haven’t run in over 2 weeks now. So my next challenge is exercise related.

Challenge #3: Cardio and core at least 3 times a week…each.

Anyone want to join me for any or all of these?

Humpday randomness

1. Why don’t I find any raw meats as disgusting to touch as raw chicken? Granted, I cooked 6 chicken breasts the other day, and had to physically touch 6 pieces of raw chicken, and it wasn’t as gross as if it still had the skin, but still.

2. I have developed a love of cooking which I still hate it. It’s a lot like running. I like it once I start doing it, but getting started…

3. Speaking of running, I always hated running when I was growing up and especially when I was in the military. How on earth did I start liking it once I got in my 40’s?

4. Whole Foods Market. I made my first trip there last week because it was the only place I could find chia seeds. Oh my. I normally go to Chatham Marketplace which my son calls “the organic store.” They sell grains, beans, nuts, etc in bulk, and that’s where I’ve gotten my quinoa & amaranth. WH bulk section is at least 3 times the size of CM. I was almost overwhelmed.

5. Eating healthy. I knew this challenge was going to hurt. I had a headache for 5 days straight, and my legs ached for another 3 days after that. I broke out twice. And just as my body seems to be chilling out, the cravings have started up again. *sigh*

6. Now that the hubby is working, and we work opposite shifts, there really isn’t enough hours in the day.

7. Needs the heater core fixed/replaced in the Neon. Who wants to volunteer to pay for that?

8. Cheese. Why must I have to pay physically for consuming your yumminess?

My little artist

Not that she is little anymore.

I asked Jamie to draw me a purple dragon. Because I finally found a theme I am happy with and can customize to my liking…enough. She brought me the sketch tonight, and will be coloring it in next weekend when I give her laptop back.

I can’t wait until she finishes it.

Lessons learned

Lest this become a cooking blog, I will write about something besides food. And I have noticed I have used “lest” a lot lately. Weird. And there will be a certain vagueness to this…specifics withheld to protect the guilty. ;)

Anyway, the lessons are related to a common thing – bitterness and unforgiveness. They go hand in hand with me which is why I referred to them in the singular. And I have been struggling with them, or rather struggling with letting go of them. The unforgiveness feeds the bitterness, and I know they are eating me alive. I know people say “Just let it go,” but it isn’t really just that easy. There is real hurt to contend with. There are unmet expectations to contend with. There is a sense of entitlement to contend with.

I stood in “the confessional” one night (that’s what I named my shower) and was wrestling with the “How much is enough” question. I wasn’t really asking myself, because I knew I had LONG passed the threshold of enough. I got answered, and it wasn’t an answer I wanted to hear. But I could not argue. I had an example that I could not deny nor ignore. No matter if the one prevailing issue never goes away, I can’t give up.

But I had no idea how I was going to cope. The future looked bleak and hopeless. There was no way I could make it. I was going to fail and fail miserably. How can I do it? I can’t let go when it’s constantly thrown in my face. Can I?

Then something happened, and it clicked. It wasn’t something you would expect to be an attitude-changing moment, but yet it was. It happened Sunday, but finally fully sank in today.

Cherish the times that are really, really good-the ones that feel like the “fairy tale”-instead of only focusing on the bad times when your expectations aren’t being met.

In the past few days there have been many “fairy tale” moments. Yeah, they may be just little things, but they still warm the heart. Like sitting in Burger King wanting to wallow in self-pity, but you can’t because your son is talking your ear off and you can’t help but smile. Or you’re sitting in McDonald’s with a splitting headache and your daughter keeps putting her “chicken” nuggets in your face. But mainly when you are sitting there broken, hoping no one else can see that you are trying not to fall apart and your husband reaches over and holds your hand…when he doesn’t ever do that. Dwell on that. Cherish that.

Cleaning out the fridge

I had some leftover veggies that were quickly approaching use or lose. In fact, there were some losses. But I was determined that before I lost the whole lot I would do something with them. So I went through the fridge last night, picked out the bad, kept the good, and this is what I ended up with:

3 or 4 green onions, a few chives, 5 leftover slices of russet potato, 1 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, 2 parsnips, 1 avocado, and 2 apples. I pulled out 3 carrots from the bag, the last lime, 1 of the 3 lemons, and a sweet potato also. But what on earth was I going to do with all this? As an aside, before I continue, I want to note that those are the 2 crappy apples that my daughter did NOT get when she ate my really really good Gala apples. Not that the Galas would have gone into this dish.

I opted for roasting them since I had some practice last week roasting veggies, and turned the oven on at 350 to heat up. I threw in a second sweet potato and started peeling and slicing. After the carrots, parsnips, russet slices, and sweet potatoes, it became quite clear that my bowl was not big enough to fit the squash in.

I transferred to the larger bowl and added the squash, avocado, and apples.

This is the point I thought I would be tossing them with olive oil, but the big bowl was too full and that’s the biggest bowl I have. So instead of tossing them, I put parchment down in the big baking dish (because I learned that parchment not only keeps the food from sticking, but makes for waaay easier cleanup) and drizzled them with olive oil. I semi-randomly picked spices to add based on a general taste I was hoping for.

The salt & pepper weren’t random, but I picked white pepper because I just don’t really like the taste of black pepper. Never have. I know, I’m weird. My parent’s peppered EVERYTHING. It sucked. But anyway… I put thyme in something last week that was ok, I love ginger (and would have put fresh ginger in but that had to be thrown out), and I thought the nutmeg would go really well with the sweet potatoes. The cilantro, well, it’s cilantro. It’s a must. Ready for the oven in 15 minute increments it was:

In the meantime, I went to work on the chives & green onions, and threw in 4 cloves of garlic.

Every 15 min, I would take the veggies out and stir them up. This was probably the 30 minute mark.

After an hour and 15 min, half the carrots and parsnips were still on the crunchy side. (Yes, there was a lesson learned.) I then put on a honey badger attitude, and squeezed the lime and lemon over it and put it back in for 10 more minutes.

I should have tasted it BEFORE I added the lime & lemon juice. Another lesson learned. I don’t know if it was just one of them that was a mistake or both, but I didn’t care for the flavor. It’s not so bad I couldn’t eat it, and even the hubster liked it ok. He didn’t love it, but it was good enough he could eat it, but not so good he would eat too much. Sadly, that makes perfect sense.

Lessons learned. 1) I am terrible at determining how much “prepared” I will have after peeling and slicing when looking at the raw material. 2) I take forever to prep. 3) I suck at picking out good (read firm) avocado. 4) Ok, this one I already knew, but carrots & parsnips will take longer to cook than the rest of that stuff. 5) Taste at every point when experimenting.

And yes, I know apples are not veggies, but I had to get rid of them.

Surprise visits

This post is brought to you today because of a Facebook message thread (note: not a public thread) where there was a discussion of someone’s house not being “company ready.” I said “Whatever” followed by “Did I ever tell you about the first 2 visits we got from NLPC?” NLPC = New Life Praise Church = where we go. Anyway, she said, “no, you’ll have to give me those stories! ha!” Now with this in mind, there was some discussion a few days prior about “being real” and “masks” and, well, this is kind of me putting my “ugly” out there.

You can click on the image for the larger size if you just have to go looking for cobwebs. ;)

So this was made Christmas ’07. I think. It’s main purpose is to show the old sectional…for scale. Note that right there in the middle of the floor is a big mess. I decorated for Christmas, but never bothered to put the containers away turning them into a “catch-all” spot. Also notice the dog. That’s Buster as a puppy. His middle name is Deuce because he was always dropping one behind furniture. He is also a big outside dog now. Anyway, a couple of weeks after that Christmas we started attending NLPC.

I’m not sure how long we had been going before we got the visit. One Tuesday night, the dogs started barking, and we heard car doors (plural) outside. One of the Tuesday night visitation teams made a trip to visit us. I know it was Charlie and Sylvia, but I can’t remember who (if anyone) was with them. What I do remember is the sectional was so covered with stuff (laundry, junk, whatever) that you couldn’t sit on it. Oh, and the Christmas stuff was still sitting there in the middle of the room. I was mortified. I am sure everything in the kitchen was dirty and covering all the counters, and, well, my house was a pig stye. And I swore that it would not ever get that bad again just in case we ever got another unannounced visit.

So a few weeks later, dogs bark, car doors slam, and we have visitors again. This time it was Gerald & Bonnie, and Sylvia. Yes, same Sylvia, and guess what? The house was in just as bad a shape as it was before, except that I had put away the Christmas decorations by that time. That was it. They had seen the real us. I don’t think anyone from church has ever been by that the house wasn’t a wreck. It’s not that we don’t both want a clean house, nor do we not know how to keep a clean house. It’s just overwhelming, and it’s easier to let it go.

As an aside, we no longer have the sectional, and we no longer pile laundry up in the living room. We keep those piles in our bedrooms now. LOL

A cookin’ fool

The DragonLady is at it again. Hopefully for the last time for a few days. That said, I still have a few veggies in the fridge that will need to be cooked or frozen. Actually, I made 2 dishes Monday night, and 2 last night. I called myself done, but there is still some veggies in the fridge that need something done with them. I really hope they will make it until Saturday ’cause I’m tired.

Monday night I made Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad and Vegetable Tian. First a confession. I’ve never had any dealings with avocado beyond guacamole (already prepared) and sushi (again, already prepared). So as I started peeling the avocado, I was hit with unexpected sliminess. I had to quickly message the avocado “expert”, Karyn with the question, “Is avocado supposed to be slimy?” She has never had a slimy one, so I tossed that one, and the second one wasn’t quite so bad, but it was still on the soft side. I’m thinking they were just overripe?

Slimy avocado or not, the Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad turned out alright:

It’s quite oniony. It would seem as though I saturated myself with onion as that is all I could taste yesterday.

In the meantime, I figured it would probably be a good thing to feed the kids since I bought some chuck steaks just for that purpose. And to be honest, I needed a “main” to go with the Vegetable Tian, which was pretty good, but I couldn’t get it to ring around a squared off dish. So it didn’t look as pretty as the photos in the recipe. Not that I took a photo of the finished dish, just an overflashed bad photo of the serving on my plate.

The taste made up for the presentation, though I sliced a few of the potatoes a bit thick and those didn’t get quite as done as I would like.

Tuesday is run day, so no cooking. Not that there was any running either because 1) I overslept and didn’t have time to pack my gym bag, and 2) I ran over something on the way home that got stuck in one of my tires necessitating me changing the tire. That cost me 45 min, so I would have missed the run anyway.

Last night, though, I went back into the kitchen like a mad woman. Mad because it was day 4 of a headache (which I still have, but I think today’s is weather and not food withdrawl), and I’m ready for the detox to be over and to start feeling great like this healthy, chemical-free diet is supposed to produce. So I started in first on the Quinoa Cakes. I eat quinoa and amaranth for breakfast with bananas, blueberries, and cranberries. I love quinoa, and it’s all kinds of protein & nutrient rich.

Makes a sticky mess of a “batter”:

Made the patties by scooping it out with a 1/4 cup measuring cup per hint in the recipe.

The first batch was iffy because the skillet wasn’t quite hot enough. Nothing sticks to that pan unless you drop something in oil that isn’t all the way hot. FYI…

The second and third batches turned out fine with no sticking, and this stuff is the BOMB!!! I know I said that about the taco salad too. But this is all fried. I love fried.

So finally, I was ready to finish off the last of the recipes I had picked and printed out. Roasted Eggplant Salad with Smoked Almonds and Goat Cheese. Ok, I didn’t have any smoked almonds, nor the desire to turn the almonds I had into smoked almonds, so I used raw almond slivers…because I have way more than I needed for the one recipe that called for almond slivers. I also did not have fresh parsley. I don’t think either of those would have made any difference. However, there wasn’t anything in the ingredients list I didn’t like, and the picture looked appetizing so, I went for it.



Final product:

Not so great. Not bad, and I’ll be able to eat it, but I won’t be making it again. It’s not that good.