Farmer’s Market Binge

My little brother was in town last week, so I took him to our local farmer’s market on Saturday.  He lives in NYC, so he went a little hog wild at the sight of so much inexpensive produce.  Unfortunately, he had to fly home 2 days after the market, so we were left with a lot of unusual produce to consume.

For example, Benny bought a whole bag of garlic scapes, which I have neither seen nor used before.  They are pretty little things, but I had no idea what to do with them, so of course I googled it. I found this recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto.   I had no pistachios or Parmesan, so I left out the Parmesan completely and subbed walnuts for the pistachios.  The resulting pesto was bright green, super peppery, and delicious!  At least I thought so.  I put some on a cracker and gave it to Tim to try, and he made the most unpleasantly surprised face I have ever seen on an adult.  He did NOT like it one bit!

I, on the other hand, have eaten it with every meal this week.  I had it on pork chops, hamburgers, hot dogs, and I mixed it with my pork chop/broccoli/mustard green stir fry.  I absolutely love it.  Go try some!

In other news, I’m trying my hand at continuous brew bone broth.  We’ve been soaking Lucent’s food in bone broth so that the food is softer for him and so he gets some extra nutrients.  We’re going through the broth pretty fast, so I’m keeping a pot of it going in the crockpot.  We’ll see how this turns out.

I also think I killed my water kefir grains again.  I see no bubbles, and the kefir smells just like juice – absolutely no kefir-y funkiness going on.  I think that the kefir grains were doing so well they were multiplying, and I didn’t account for their increased numbers and ended up starving them to death.  I thought it was supposed to be EASY to make water kefir!  I think I might order some milk kefir grains instead and try my hand at that.  Dairy tends to give me troubles, even fermented dairy like yogurt & kefir.  However, I was listening to a recent Chris Kresser podcast about how to eat probiotics if you don’t handle them well, and I learned that you can gradually add them into your diet.  I’m going to try to do that with full fat grass-fed yogurt and see how it goes.  My stomach as been feeling out of whack for the past few months, and I’m grasping at straws!

So there you have it, go try some garlic scape pesto and mourn for my dead kefir grains!


Summer Foods

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve been going totally off the rails since Saturday.  One hour and 56 minutes of straight exercise does NOT create a caloric deficit equal to beer + ribs + pizza + Chubby Hubby + jalapeno poppers/onion rings/fried mushrooms + nachos + several (and I do mean several) chocolate coconut bars.

Anyway, today is a new day, and I look forward to putting this backslide behind me and getting rid of my volleyball tummy.  I made some bone broth yesterday, and I have some sprouted almonds roasting in the oven.  We ordered another hog, which is going to the butcher today.  We’ve learned some lessons from our prior experiences. We are getting a lot more ground pork instead of smoked hams, for one.  We’ve also requested the bones (for bone broth), and we’re not getting any sausage since we don’t know what exactly they put in that (msg??).  It’s easy enough to turn ground pork into sausage with the addition of a few spices.

My brother’s girlfriend just sent us a new book that will come in super handy too –Good Meat.  It has a ton of helpful information on how to have the pig butchered, as well as recipes on how to cook the pastured pork.  Plus, it’s just a beautiful book, at least if you are into food pictures.  🙂

Before going on the bad-food binge, I did make a great primal recipe: Better Than Fried Chicken with Coconut Aminos Dipping Sauce.  This was a very easy recipe to make, and the results were super delicious!  The skin was crispy, and the flavor was sweet, almost teriyaki-like.  I still have not found a place to buy coconut aminos locally though, and on Amazon, the shipping (it’s not available through a prime seller) is more than the aminos!  Since I don’t have aminos, I used tamari instead.  It has soy in it though.  🙁  The result was still delicious, if not 100% paleo.  We couldn’t eat all of it, so we put the leftovers in the fridge.  The skin lost its crispness (as disclosed in the recipe), but the chicken flavor was awesome cold.

In the midst of binge week, I also tried a non-paleo recipe:  Perfect Summer Basil Burger.  We have SEVEN basil plants growing, 4 different varieties. I pulled leaves from each of them to make the Perfect Basil Sauce.  We also used fresh mozzarella instead of shredded.  To make the recipe slightly healthier, we used olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and we skipped the grated parm.  I also made homemade mayo with olive oil.  The results were DELICIOUS!!  I LOVE that basil sauce.  Next time to make it more primal-friendly I will use greek yogurt instead of sour cream, but I think that’s the only change I would make.

And that’s my update.  It’s Friday.  I am off work.  We’re planning on a nice, long bike ride on a sunny day.  Life is good.  Have a fabulous weekend!!

Tri Bye

It’s Thursday, June 19th. The triathlon was Saturday, June 14th, so obviously I survived.  It was touch and go there for a while, however.  I was actually really stoked at the start of the race.  Tim and I did a little practice swim in West Lake about 10 minutes before the start time, and I was in the zone – happy, confident, breathing perfectly well in the chilly 6:45 AM water.  But.  Then we got out of the water and situated ourselves in line – Tim towards the front, and me towards the back.  It took probably 10+ minutes for me to reach the front the line, during which time I shivered, and shivered, and shivered, feeling my confidence ebb with each shake of my chilly self.  I remembered last year, however, and how I let nerves get to me and how I was able to force myself to get it together and figured I’d probably be alright.  This year was different, however.

With my first plunge into the water, my breathing was off.  No matter what I did, I could not get my rhythm.  I would take a breath on my right side, put my face in the water to take a stroke and immediately inhale.  I swear I ended up doggy paddling almost the whole thing.  It was exhausting and so disappointing!!

But I made it back to shore and on to my bike for a calming, albeit rather windy, sun-infused ride.  On the ride I noticed that my jaw had pretty much clamped shut, so I had to squeeze Gu Chomps in through my front snaggle teeth (they come in handy sometimes).

By the time the ride was over, I was feeling much better and had a pretty solid run.  I was encouraged by other runners and the volunteers.  One runner complimented my pace.  I was really buoyed by the comment and by another human being using precious energy to help me out!

Overall I added 8 minutes to last year’s time.  The swim took about 3 minutes longer (it felt like a lot more!!), the bike took about 5 minutes longer, and the run was a few seconds shorter.  I was surprised at the longer bike ride, but I think it was because of the wind.  I probably presented a broader plane to the wind, too, because the whole time I was just shaking my head in disappointment at the swim!

Also, I was not paying attention while riding my bike on Friday and ended up flying head first off my bike when my brother turned in front of me.  I landed on my shoulder, elbow, hip and ankle.  I didn’t feel as if anything was broken – all my limbs moved as they should, so I got back on the bike, and we all headed downtown for supper at Front Street.  On Tri morning, I still felt pretty good, just a little scraped up.  But come Sunday?  Ouch!  It hurt to laugh and to breathe.  I had some ART done on Tuesday, though, and now I am back almost to normal.  The only evidence of the crash is a thick scab on my elbow that I really, really, really want to pick off but Tim won’t let me.  So I’m calling the 8 minutes the bike crash differential.  🙂

All that being said, I’m glad I did it again, but I’m even more glad it’s over!  As of right now, I REALLY don’t want to do it again.  I just really do not enjoy the swimming experience and the costs associated with it.  It is really fun to do a race like this with family, however, so I’ll have to see where everyone else lands on this.  If the whole family wants to do it again next year, I will consider it.  But I plan to find a really amazing bike or running race and tempt everyone with that instead!


And Here’s to Trying Something New

It’s been another busy week here at the Longoria homestead.  I tried no new recipes this week – we just ate grilled food and veggies all week long.  I LOVE summer.  It’s so much easier!!

How did we fill our evenings if we weren’t cooking elaborate meals, you may ask?  Well, we swam again at Annie Wittenmeyer one evening.  I’m super relieved to say that this swim went MUCH better than the first.  My breathing remained under control, I was actually able to swim somewhat straight, and I finally started to actually enjoy swimming outside and seeing the beautiful blue sky and white clouds each time I took a breath.

We also did something we’ve never done before.  We joined a group ride at a local bicycle shop, Healthy Habits.  We met up with a group of 5 other people and rode north up Devil’s Glen and then headed out east on Forest Grove.  We biked through Pleasant Valley, past Argo, past the Davenport Country Club, and then back to Healthy Habits.  It was a stunningly beautiful ride with lots of hills and lots of interesting conversation.  We met 3 other triathletes as well as another couple devoted to cycling.  After the ride we retired to Governors for supper and got to know the other riders even better.

As a result of the evening and getting out of our comfort zone, we now know about some beautiful bicycle-friendly roads, we found out about 2 good restaurants in the QC, and we met some potential training partners.  Even though I ended up staying up an hour past my bedtime, it was so worth it.  Tim and I had a great time.

We also did some running and another new ride this weekend.  We rode out west to Wisconsin, but instead of heading south  like we usually do, we headed north and biked all the way to I-80.  It was another pretty ride, but my legs were toast for some reason.  They were toast all weekend, in point of fact.  When we went out to jog this morning I found I didn’t have the strength for it in my hamstrings, so instead I walked and did sprints.  I’m hoping they return to normal soon because the triathlon is SATURDAY!!

I also finished a book this weekend – The Year of Magical Thinking.  This book has appeared on so many “must read” lists, that I finally figured that I must read it!  But, I have to say, while I’m not disappointed that I did read it, I was not a huge fan of the book.  The author repeats several phrases throughout the book (“I shall not live two days,” “I love you more than one more day,” “You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends”), and for some reason it annoyed me.  I also had a hard time identifying with her and her lifestyle.  Her and her husband, both writers, traveled all over the world and had houses and pools in beautiful places everywhere.  For some reason, I got hung up on that and couldn’t focus on the author’s exploration of grief.  Maybe it’s jealousy?  Impatience with trying to see life through eyes very foreign to my own?  I’m not sure.

And that was our week.  This week my brothers come in to town, and I am super excited about seeing them again.  I’m super excited about getting this tri behind us as well.  🙂

Brick #2 (aka why I’m exhausted)

Saturday we did our second brick to prepare for the triathlon on 6/14.  We biked 16 miles along the Duck Creek Bike Path, and then we ran 3.1 miles in Crow Creek Park.  The bike ride was pretty easy-peasy, but the running, Oh Boy!  My legs felt like lead for about the first mile, and I had to walk up the first big hill (it’s called The Incinerator for a reason).  Tim encouraged me though, and we powered through for the full run.  We spent the rest of the weekend taking it fairly easy, trying to give our bodies a rest.

And that’s why I’ve pretty much decided that I’m not doing triathlons any more.  I just think that this amount of exercise is too stressful for my body.  All day long on Saturday my stomach was messed up, and since I wasn’t eating anything out of the ordinary, I’m pinning it on the exercise.  Also, these triathlons get to be expensive, primarily due to the swimming portion.  It necessitates a gym membership and for me, at least, a wet-suit rental.  We did swim for free tonight in Lake G, but as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Lake G is the quintessential redneck “watering hole.”  It was full of scantily clad, scantily toothed, heavily tattooed folk drinking lots o’ beer and Gatorade.  It’s quite the scene, and not in a good way.

Despite the training schedule, I did try a few new recipes this week.

Garlic Roasted Broccoli – This broccoli is deeeeeelicious!  So good, in point of fact, that I grew impatient with Tim not eating his while he was chatting and ate the rest of his serving off his plate.  I love roasted veggies.  Tim is a big steamed veggie fan, but I think his tastes are wrong on this one.  Roasted (doused in olive oil and garlic) is the only way to go.

Sweet Potato Chips – This recipe turned out OK.  They were tasty, but I had a hard time getting them to be crispy, which is an essential feature of “chips.”   I baked them for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe said, but still only a few burnt-looking ones got crispy.  Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong?

Coriander And Cumin-Rubbed Pork Chops – This was another recipe that I found in the free Allrecipes magazine that appeared in my mail box.  This recipe is a definite keeper – it produced a very tender, juicy, flavorful pork chop.  Speaking of which, we’re going to have to order another pig so that we can make more tasty, tender, juicy, flavorful pork chops.

Pumpkin Kiss Cookies – I’ve been wanting to try these for awhile and finally got around to it on Sunday.  I was making Tim chocolate chip cookies, so I knew I would have to make a treat for me too; otherwise, I would eat all the damn cookies.  These turned out just OK.  I should have followed the recipe more closely and used 2 teaspoons of batter per cookie.  Instead I used my normal cookie scoop, which is probably closer to 2 T.  The cookies ended up super moist and spongy.  I like the flavor, but the texture doesn’t do it for me.  Next time I will make them smaller, and I bet they will turn out perfectly.