Saturday, July 30, 2011


Today felt like an Enchilada day.  Actually, yesterday, when I took the meat out of the freezer to defrost, felt like an enchilada day.

Boy it was a lot of work and a lot of dishes.  I cooked the beans from dried.  I also made an avocado/yogurt/sour cream/lime/cilantro sauce to cut the heat.  I used El Pato, and it was spicy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Silly Little Goals

Earlier this summer, when Biz started her summer fitness "101 days of summer" challenge, I thought about signing up.  Really I did.  But with full time job, kid, husband who travels...I decided to pass.

But I secretly had a goal.

It all starts in January.  My niece started a group called "Club 365".  The goal: we would aim to get 365 miles of exercise in this year.  I know that's only a mile a day.  Well, for some people the goal was probably to work out 365 days (depends on your level!)  I jumped into that head first and kept on going.  The group has petered out a bit.  There appear to  be only 8 people of the original 50 still tracking their miles.  And to give my niece credit, she's pretty pregnant now.

It did not require "running" or "walking".  There are basic running and walking miles, and a conversion for other activities.  I basically consider approximately 10 minutes of any kind of cardio to be a mile.  So my 45 min bike ride to work?  4 miles.  An 800 - 1000 yd swim?  3 to 3.5 miles.

So in June, I made a goal to hit 90 miles.  That's 3 miles a day.  Until that month, I had gotten from 55 to 80 miles.  Well, I didn't even come close - only 72 miles.  Partly because that included a week in Arizona.  And it was hot.

Well, it's July, and I decided to try again.  This month, triathlon training helps, as Saturdays I easily get in 7 miles or so, so I can afford to skip a day.  And I made it!  What's even better, I SMASHED it!

Already, with still two days to go (one of which a Saturday), I passed 100 miles this morning with my little Level 1 of 30 day shred (which I count as 2 miles, by the way).  Yay for me!

Now it's off to shower.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I am a WINNER!

I won a giveaway at Love Veggies and Yoga last week.  A great little collection of natural personal care items...They came in the mail today!
Tom's Deodorant (Tom's business started in 1970, a great year)
Tom's toothpaste
Tom's bar soap
Badger after sun balm (I am religious about sunscreen, but things do happen)
Dr.  Hauschka Melissa day cream which should reduce the appearance of blemishes.  I need that!

And coupons for FREE Stonyfield farms frozen yogurt on a stick!  Can't wait to try these out.  Also coupons for free juice.

Thank you Averie!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend Eats Plus Around the Homestead

I had some nice open-faced sandwiches for lunch yesterday with fruit (yes, those are organic CSA tomatoes, the first of the delicous!)

I made granola for the family...spouse and child have been eating a LOT of yogurt and granola for breakfast.  Like Kalli, I have been concerned about the amount of sugar found in everything.  My son really likes the vanilla yogurt.  I used to buy the plain, and I'm not quite sure how he got onto the vanilla.  It's organic, no HFCS, but still sweet.  So my spouse and I - at the same time and unbeknowst to each other - starting stirring half and half plain and vanilla yogurt (maybe even more plain).  And he hasn't noticed the difference. 

Usually, we crumble on a Nature Valley oats and honey granola bar (spouse's snack of choice).  Made from real ingredients, but it's still...sweet.
I make my own granola.  I usually put a little bit of sugar in there - much less than most recipes call for.  I found a recipe years ago for granola with NO added sugar in The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs.  I've always wanted to try it.  Well, today was the day.  I edited it a bit...granola is one of those things that you can heavily adjust.

4 cups oats
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup wheat germ
pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Wet stuff:  Put in food processor until smooth
2 bananas - either frozen and defrosted, or fresh
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup hot water
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
The dates and bananas add just enough sweetness to the granola.  I'm not sure you can even taste the maple syrup.  I mostly put it in there in case my spouse asked if there was anything sugar-like in there (in case it wasn't sweet enough).  Anyway, I just gave the bowl to my son and it's empty.

Around the homestead:
We have bluebirds!
On Gardening:  Last year, we built a self watering container and planted squash (butternut, delicata).  It was a dismal failure.  We only got a few squash and they were tiny.  We ended up composting them.  We really need to turn our compost.  But we can't.  See why:

Yep, a delicata plant started growing from our compost and has given us a single delicata squash.

This year, we decided to go with tomatoes in the self-watering container.  They are MUCH more successful.  The plants are taller than me (there are 3 in there) and almost taller than my husband.  And I'm not sure how to hold up that front plant.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CSA Haul!

Last week on on the thin side, this week was NOT!

1 basket strawberries
4 plums
3 avocados
1 head romaine
0.3 lbs lettuce mix
2 cucumbers
1 lb zucchini
1 bunch onions
1 bunch fava greens
2 lbs tomatoes

Looking forward to chopping and eating lots of salad!  I think I'm going to have an open-faced egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All About the Grill

That's tonight's dinner.  I defrosted some grass-fed tri-tip and decided today was a good day for the grill.  I also took a couple of onions and 2 lbs of zucchini and give them the same treatment.

We don't have a lot of experience grilling meat, and yes, the tri-tip was a tiny bit overcooked (still figuring out the meat thing AND the grass-fed thing.  Most recipes are written for grain-fed meat.)

The marinade was pretty simple.  I have a Williams Sonoma grilling cookbook that I received as a birthday gift from my great neighbor.  I didn't have the beer it called for, so I used red wine vinegar.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Joined a new gym

Here's a history of my gym membership:
1992: joined a community center in Arlington VA (former middle school): $45 a year.  Hours were short, but it was cheap,
1993: joined a fancy gym near work in DC that was subsidized by the Navy ($250 a year).  Pool, sauna, towel service, classes, racquetball, volleyball, know, very nice.
1997: moved to Cali and joined Gold's Gym: $50/month (for two).  No pool.
2006ish: Gold's bought by Spectrum, which is a little bit fancier (the towel service was added), and we were up to $100/month (for two).  Still no pool.  I didn't know how to swim, so I didn't care.  A spin room and a fitness room, so many choices in classes.
2008: got talked into leaving Spectrum (after 11 years) for relatively new 24-hour fitness.  Small pool (2 lanes, 12.5 yds long.)  I still don't care, because I still can't swim.  Only one fitness room, shared.  So only one class at a time.  No classes on Tuesday/Thursday mornings.  Pre-pay $1200 for 3 years, 400/year, or $33.33 a month.
May 2011: renewed our membership for $99/year each, or $16.50 a month.  But now, I know how to swim.  Do you know how many gazillon laps you need to swim in a 12.5 yd pool when you want to swim 700-1000 yds?  A lot.  Too many to count.

July 2011: Joined the YMCA.  25 yd, 6 lane pool - with ACCESS for KIDS SWIM (24 hour fitness does not have that).  Many classes, spin room, 3 fitness class rooms, free child care, parent's night out, summer camp, evening child care, swim lessons, soccer and T-ball, family camping trips.  $99/month.  I really fought joining for awhile.  Especially at $99 a month.  But boy, it hasn't even been a week, and we've  used it a LOT.  I think the amount of activities that we will be getting will make up for it.

Case in point: swim lessons.  We have paid anywhere from $18 to $35 for a 20 min swim lesson.  The Y swim lessons for members are $37.50 for 5 weeks, or $7.50 per lesson ($50 discount for being members). 

Another case in point: Parent's night out.  We don't have a babysitter.  We occasionally swap child care with other families, but that can be difficult.  Parent's night out is $20 for 5 hours, and includes snacks, pizza, games, and a movie.

When my husband travels, I am unable to get to the gym.  It is also difficult for me to work out in the morning (tired, and my son wakes up too early).  I traveled this week, and my kid was "let's go to the gym!"  So spouse got to do a swim class and take him swimming on the first day, and work out for an hour on the second day.  I think I can get used to this.

Have you ever changed your gym or your exercise habits to fit a new life or lifestyle?  It was time for me to embrace parenthood and become a joiner.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Know when to say "when"

I'm all about free entertainment.  In the summer, we have these great Thursday night "concerts in the park", where families put down blankets, bring picnics (or order pizza), and listen to music while the kiddos dance and play.  Now, they aren't "free" in the sense that - the performers get paid, and they pay for them by collecting donations.  But it is a really nice and cheap entertainment.

They are a bit of work...packing up the stuff, getting there, laying out the blanket, cleaning up. But they are fun.  I hate to miss them.

But here we are.  It's Thursday.  I was in San Fran for business on Tues/Weds.  I haven't traveled for work in 5 years.  It was a great and very useful conference trip.  However, it means that I haven't slept much this week (insomnia and sleeping in a strange hotel bed).  Last night I got home late (flight delay), and it was my 15th anniversary (happy anniversary sweetie!), so I stayed up an extra 1/2 hour to get caught up on what I missed and reminisce.  So I'm beat.

So we're not going.  I just want to eat dinner and pass out at 8 pm.  So part of having a full, happy life is - knowing when to make the extra effort "I know I'll enjoy it once I get there" and knowing when not "man, I just want to pass out!"


Saturday, July 9, 2011

First Ocean Swim of the Season

Today was the first ocean swim of my triathlon training this season.  Some observations:

1.  I've gained at least 10 lbs since last year.  I can feel it in the wetsuit.  But I can at least still zip it up.
2.  The ocean is 5-6 degrees warmer than it ever got last year. Last year?  Never above 60.  This year?  65.  You wouldn't think it would make that much of a difference, but it does.  My feet froze like crazy last year, and today, they never got numb.
3.  I am much more comfortable in the water.  I am swimming with the "intermediate" group, not the beginner group.  But I am still slow, so I tend to be the last person out of the water.  Apparently, I'm a LITTLE bit faster though.  Somebody ran into me, then passed me, then proceeded to zig zag in front of me and stop in front of me.  Until I decided to stop and bob awhile and let her get ahead.  On the last round, I was way in the back and had my own personal lifeguard in a kayak.  I got some good swim tips from him though.  "You are putting your arm in flat, try to go in at an angle so you immediately get forward momentum."  Good stuff.
4.  The ocean does wonderful things to my hair.  Nice and soft.
5.  The beach does awful things to my feet.  Case in point: (you should see my socks...trashed!)

Yes, we have naturally occurring tar on our shores.  Peanut butter takes care of it.  I feel kinda sorry for the cleaning lady on Monday though.

Summary for the day:
1100 yd ocean swim
12 mile bike ride (I'm a little saddle sore).

I was very excited about all of the ocean swim and workout options this week...then I remembered that I'm going on a business trip so...can't do any of it.  Ah well, next week!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Green beans! Zucchini frittata! Plus some other stuff.

I found a couple of old photos on my camera.  A stir fry (who me?) and banana nut muffins.  They were good pics, so I thought I'd share.

Earlier this week I got some fresh green beans from the CSA and did a healthified version of my husband's aunt's green beans with onions and butter.

I steamed the beans, sauteed the onions in grapeseed oil.  Then I added the green beans and salt and pepper to the pan to get the beans a little carmely.  Then I added a tbsp of butter.  REALLY good.

And apparently I made banana muffins.  Sometime awhile ago.

But the real star is the frittata.  We lbs of zucchini this week from the farm.  I was looking for a recipe that would travel well to the summer "concerts in the park" series.  Every Thursday in the summer, there's a free concert in a local park (though they do solicit donations).  People put down blankets and bring picnics.  Today was a country-Cajun style band.  Really good.  And there is a GREAT park for the kiddos to run around in.  We did that too.  My son's little friend didn't show, so he was sad.

I decided to go for a frittata.  So last night, before I went to my boss's farewell happy hour (while my son crashed on the couch), I shredded zukes and chopped onions and sauteed them down.

After the happy hour, I made the frittata and burned the crap out of my arm on the inside of the door of the 400F oven.  Ouch.  Nice big welt/bruise.  Did I mention I have PMS? Probably not helping. Anyway, the frittata is delicious and tasted awesome lukewarm (just micro'd a bit before we left home) at the park.  You have an unending array of choices for this frittata (tomatoes, spinach, corn, broccoli, leftovers...)

Zucchini frittata
1+ lbs zucchini, shredded: 0.80
1 small onion, chopped: 0.25
1 Tbsp oil: 0.04
s&p to taste

1 Tbsp dijon: 0.03
6 eggs: 1.50
1/2 cup milk: 0.17
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or mozzarella or cheddar): 0.63

1 "babybel" round cheese, chopped: 0.50 (it was the most available cheese in my fridge)
fresh chopped herbs: rosemary and chives were all that survived our week away
handful of bread crumbs
s&p to taste

Total: $3.42 for about 4 generous servings, or even more appetizer servings.  $0.86 per serving.

Saute the onions and zucchini in the oil with the S&P until soft and until they have given up most of their water.

Whisk the eggs, milk, parmesan, dijon, S&P in a bowl.

Spray a small pan (7x10? 8x10?) with cooking spray or grease.  Spread the zucchini/onion mixture on the bottom.  Put the sliced cheese on top.  Sprinkle on the chopped herbs.  Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs.  Pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake at 400F for about 20 to 25 min, until nicely browned.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baked Fish and Focaccia

I've been feeling like making bread.  It sort of relaxes me, which doesn't make a WHOLE lot of sense, because I use the bread machine more than half the time (so, not a lot of kneading).  Today I didn't get started in time to do anything other than focaccia.  I used the recipe in my bread machine cookbook, but tried to bake it per Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda Watson.  It was pretty good, but I needed more olive oil on the top (another tablespoon at least - I only used one), and I ended up baking it at 425F for 20 mins.

I also defrosted some white fish (don't remember what kind) and made a marinade similar to the ones in Bikini bootcamp.

Baked White Fish fillets:
three 5 or 6 oz white fish fillets: uh...$5?  I don't remember.

1.5 Tbsp olive oil: 0.16
juice of 3 limes: 0.75
juice and zest of 1 very small orange from my tree
1 clove garlic, pressed: 0.05
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce: 0.09
S&P to taste
Total: $6.05 for 3 fillets, or $2.02 per serving.

Mix the marinade ingredients and marinate the fish for 2 hours.  Bake at 425F for about 20 min.

2 c. whole wheat flour: 0.41
1 3/8 c. bread flour: 0.28
2 Tbsp sugar: 0.05
2 Tbsp dry milk: 0.10
2 tsp salt: 0.02
2 Tbsp olive oil: 0.22
1 3/8 c. water
2 tsp yeast: 0.05

extra flour for kneading: 0.10

one clove garlic: 0.05
2 Tbsp olive oil: 0.22
dried basil: 0.02
coarse salt

Total: $1.49 for a very large piece of focaccia.  Probably 16 servings.  $0.09 per serving.

Place ingredients in bread machine pan in order given.  Use "pizza"  setting.  Knead on a floured surface until it springs back at the touch.  Roll/press out like pizza dough onto a piece of parchment paper coated with cooking spray.  Use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the bread every 2 inches.  Cover with a towel and allow to raise until doubled (20 to 60 min).

Saute garlic in olive oil for 30 sec and let cool.  When bread is raised, brush the bread with the oil  using a brush or your fingers.  Sprinkle with basil and salt.

Slide the parchment paper onto the pre-heated pizza stone using a rimless cookie sheet.  Or, just bake it on a cookie sheet.  I baked at 425F for about 20 mins.  One recipe said 450F for 8 mins, the other said 340F for 25-30 min. 

I served this all with a green salad with tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and goat cheese (balsamic dressing), and some "Texas caviar" from Costco.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Post-Brick workout meals

Saturday was my second "brick" workout in triathlon training.  We swam and run, as we did 2 weeks ago (I missed the swim/bike on my birthday).  The first week, I went from training to my company picnic, where I ate everything in sight.

This week, during the cooldown, the coach gave us his standard lecture on how to eat healthfully and fuel your body, and don't go crazy with the post workout carbs.  "The chips look good, don't do it!"  Last year's coach wasn't nearly so militant.

So I tried to think of foods that I would like and that would fuel me for the rest of my day.  The brick was a 750 yd pool swim and a 40-minute run.  It was really hot out, and I was feeling both the heat and my knee on the run.  So my run/walk was about 3.7 miles in 45 minutes.  I ran 10 minutes, walked a minute, but then the frequency and length of the walking bits increased as the time went on.  On the other hand, no sciatica pain today.  (I wonder if it is the swim?  If it is, I will only run after swimming from now on.  Promise.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Camping Review!

We had a great time, if a little bit of a hot time.  We had a lot of packaged food and too much McDonalds, but also managed to get some produce in by stopping at the grocery store a couple of times.  My son ate an entire cantaloupe as a snack one after noon.

Here are some photos from our trip!
Our campsite at Mather Campground

Dinner night #1

My birthday wine

The Grand Canyon

Me and Kiddo on hike along the rim.  I have hat head.

Lake Powell from the Utah side

Trip down Colorado River from Page

Doesn't everyone paint their toenails on vacation?