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.

Meatball Week

This has been the week of meatballs.  Meatballs are so awesome.  They are little bite-sized morsels of spiced deliciousness.

Last night I made Beef Liver and Onion Meatballs again.  I think I’ve written about this recipe before.  Liver is tough for some people to eat, but it’s chock full of goodness and is fairly cheap for grass-fed meat.  Tim and I both like the taste of liver, but often it has stringy bits running through it which make it difficult to eat.  This recipe overcomes that drawback – you grind up the liver in a food processor!   Because I am efficient (aka lazy), I toss the liver in the food processor along with the onions and spices from our herb garden (dill, oregano, and basil).  I mix it all up for a few minutes and then add it to the ground beef.  The meatballs turned out delicious.  I made them with the tried and true Sweet Potato Salad.  I kicked it up a notch with fresh dill from the garden and chopped, cooked bacon.  It was so tasty.

Tonight we went out to Lake G for an open-water swim (Tim is considering doing another triathlon this summer).  I did a few test runs in the water; I was too scared to swim out in the middle of lake without a wetsuit.  Plus, in my defense, I ran 4.5 miles this morning and did 8 15 second sprints.  My legs were beat!  Anyway, after the swim we were pretty whooped.  We came home and sauteed broccoli with cauliflower, and I made Asian Pork Meatballs with Dipping Sauce.  We ate it with the leftover sweet potato salad and slices of avocado.  Not to toot my own horn, but it was a delicious supper.  I was super proud of myself too for planning my recipes so that I used ALL of my homemade mayo.  I love homemade mayo, but it only lasts for 3 days, so I always end up tossing some of it.  It’s too expensive and too tasty to waste.  

And that’s meatball week.  We’ll have leftover meatballs for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.  I sauteed chopped up beef & liver meatballs this morning in grass-fed butter with red peppers and zucchini.  It was delicious and kept me really full and satiated until I got to work and succumbed to a cherry donut.  So tasty and so bad.  I had rot gut immediately after consuming it, but I’m pretty sure it was worth it.

Tomorrow is Friday!  And Payday!  I hope you all have a fantastic, productive, in-the-moment day.  

Homemade Gourmet Tomato Soup

I’ve always loved tomato soup.  When we were kids my mom would can tomatoes and then  we would dump a jar of them in a pot, add a bunch of butter, and that would be some deeeeelicious tomato soup.  I also like the tomato soup that you get at nice Italian restaurants – where the tomatoes are pureed with olive oil and delicious seasonings, and the soup is the perfect color of red.  I don’t why, but I always assumed it was difficult to make.   It looks so fancy. Today I found out differently.

I tried this recipe:  Tomato Soup with Spicy Mini Meatballs.  The soup itself was pretty easy to make, and best of all, I was able to finally utilize my herb garden!  I used fresh parsley, basil and oregano.  Those spices were combined with olive oil, garlic, canned tomatoes, water,  and salt.  The concoction simmered for 30 minutes, and then I dumped it into our Vitamix blender (I will have to do a separate post on this amazing machine some day).  Out came perfectly silky, tasty, beautiful tomato soup.

Once that was complete, I set to work on the spicy mini meatballs. Making the meatball batter was a pretty simple feat, but making the mini meatballs was a huge PITA.  They are supposed to be teaspoon size.  TEASPOON!!  It took forever.  I only cooked half up them and then froze the rest.  I have to say, they were worth the trouble. Very very delicious.

Tim and I both loved this soup.  Next time, however, I need to double or quadruple the batch.  We only got 2 large bowls out of this recipe.  Also, if you make the recipe, note that the ingredient list for the meatballs is missing garlic.  It’s referenced in the instructions but not listed in the ingredients.  I added 2 gloves of chopped garlic to my balls.

Now that the triathlon is over, I need to get back in the habit of cooking more and writing more.  That is, unless we do another triathlon.  Which we are seriously considering.  I probably should have just BOUGHT my wet suit instead of renting one.  Triathlons are expensive.  But Tim and I had a great time participating in the QC Triathlon last weekend. I want to do it again 🙂  I can’t believe it, but I actually enjoy swimming now.  I haven’t been swimming since last Saturday, and I miss it.  This is probably an egotistical thing to say, but I’m super proud of myself for facing and overcoming my fear of the water and of swimming.  Yay Heather!  I read a quote somewhere that says you should never compare yourself to someone else.  You should only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.  I feel like I’m a much stronger person physically and emotionally today than I was 6 months ago, and that makes me happy.

Hopefully I will have more recipe reviews to share soon!  Take care and good night.

Sooo….Training for a Triathlon and managing cravings

Today Tim and I did our first “brick” which means we trained on 2 of the 3 exercises.  We swam 600 yards in the pool and then biked 15 miles in the super cold, sunny, windy outdoors.  It wasn’t as exhausting as I anticipated, at least not physically   However, I think it’s rather draining emotionally.  At least something is draining me emotionally today.  Exercise usually makes me feel happy and energetic, but yesterday and today I’ve had a serious case of the Sundays (I just want to lay around, not do anything, and think about how I don’t want to go back to work tomorrow because I have so many things I would rather do at home, none of which I feel like doing when I have a case of the Sundays).

I think that my mopey grouchiness, while exacerbated by the 1.5 hours of pretty intense exercise, is compounded by a few factors:

1.  My bro was in town last weekend, and as is our custom, we ate a lot of delicious (non paleo) food and drank A LOT of beer.  I drank mostly cider, which is gluten free but definitely not carb free.  I gained the Benny differential (about 3 lbs).

2.  We had a little get-together here Friday night.  We had a great time, but having a party is an emotional roller coastal in and of itself.  You have the stress of preparation, the stress of hoping the weather cooperates, the excitement of looking forward to the event, the stress of hoping people have a good time, and then you enjoy the party, and then it’s over.  You have nothing more to look forward to except for cleaning up and dreading Monday.  Plus, at parties you usually eat too much (pizza, pretzel turtles, Triscuits, etc.) and drink too much (whiskey, Rumchata shots (BAD IDEA), and caramel apple shots (another horrible idea), which does not leave you feeling awesome the next day.

3.  And finally, Boys – feel free to skip this paragraph – I’m in the hell week of my cycle.  I’m 36 years old and should have figured out how my body works by now.  However, I’ve just generally noticed that around day 15 I hate everyone.  I hate life.  I hate myself.  I hate everything except for sugary, fattening foods.  Life would only be fair if this period of the cycle lasted one day at the most.  However, I’ve been feeling this way for like 3 days, so I finally googled it today.  I found it hilarious that the first search results for “What to expect during days of your period” were hits for adolescent sites.  I should have read this stuff when I was 13, evidently.  Anyway, I found this enlightening article.  I’ve discovered, much to my dismay, that “hell week” is actually “hell 12 fucking days.”  Sorry for the cussing, but it’s warranted in this instance.  The only reassuring portion of that article was the assurance that gaining 3-5 pounds during this time frame is normal.  So that, combined with the Bboo’s visit, explains why I can no longer see my abs.  Man, sometimes it really sucks to be a woman.  Except for days 6-13.  Why do the feel good days only last for 7 days, and but the bad days last for 12 + the 5 days of your actual period??  It is SO unfair.  Bleh.

Anyway, I’m done wallowing.  On to brighter topics.  I’ve planned some delicious paleo meals for the week.  I’m going to try writing more in this blog now that school is over – hopefully once/day.  I’ll post reviews of the recipes.  We also bought some herbs (cilantro, dill, and parsley) and flowers (vincas and impatiens), so I’m going to plant those once the weather cooperates.

My cravings also drove me to discover a tasty “paleoish” treat.  I had some sunflower seeds hanging out in the freezer forever.  I kept trying to get Tim to put them in smoothies, but he wasn’t listening!  So tried to make sunbutter out of them.  No matter how much I processed it, the butter was pretty mealy.  I even added some honey and olive oil.  Finally I got it to a point of tasty paste and gave up.  However, I’ve really been wanting some peanut butter cups, so I had a flash of inspiration. I put 2 squares of dark chocolate in the bottom of a silicon muffin liner, added a tablespoon of the sunpaste, then a shaving of coconut butter, and put it in the microwave.  I did the first one for 30 seconds, which was too long.  I burned the chocolate.  The second one I microwaved for 15 seconds, and it was just perfect.  I used a knife to slightly mix up everything, and then put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  They turned out really tasty!  They don’t look beautiful, but they taste really good.  I got my peanut butter cup fix!!

And that’s it for today.  It’s about supper time, and we’re making pork chops and roasted cauliflower (spiced with cumin, turmeric, and salt).  It’s going to be super deeeeelicious.

Hope you have a great Sunday and talk to you tomorrow!