Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Halfway: Souper Day 15

January 15, 2014

500soupsYay, had another productive day. Got Janathon exercise checked off my list first thing this morning — highly unusual for me! A 3 mi. walk with friend Teres. The roads were a little icy but they melted as the sun was coming up. We were careful in spots & managed well, even on the hills. Done by 9am & had planned to blog it early too, but a busy day at work got in the way & went by so quickly, I’m only now getting to my post.

SoupGame2SoupGame4

SoupGame3Diet went mostly well, but I did have a 2nd serving of soup. Couldn’t resist. I love soup in winter. I make all kinds to suit my mood & love them equally. My friend Susan gave me this book years ago. It was a great gift.

The photos here depict some of the soups I’ve made in the past year. They are, in no particular order: Borscht, Mulligatawny, Hungarian Mushroom, Tom Kha Goong, Posole, Curried Carrot & Avgolemono. I also make Tomato-Basil, Seafood Chowder, French Onion & Cream of Asparagus or Broccoli, but seem to have missed photographing them? Wait, just found a homemade tomato soup pic in the context of a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh yum! I’d better go to bed before I get hungry again…

CurriedCarrotSoupSoupGame5

SoupGameBeetBorscht

GrCheese&TomSoup

Day 13: Unlucky Thirteen, Nearly a Fail

January 13, 2014

Almost a Janathon fail today, but thankfully, not quite. I didn’t feel like going to the gym, nor did I feel like anything too strenuous… but I did manage to bundle up & go out for a walk. A short walk. Only a half mile. So, I didn’t fail on my exercise.

ChocRaspCakeI did, however, fail my diet. Made this chocolate-raspberry cake from scratch, frosting too. Tried a gluten-free recipe I got from a friend. Not bad! Not as tasty as a regular cake, but pretty good for gluten-free :-)

Day 7: Cold & Tired = Grumpy

January 7, 2014

I was kinda grumpy today. Finally got some things I ordered online, only to be disappointed in them (must return 2 items). Work was slow & boring. It’s 2°F. I have some tough life choices to make soon. Cut the tip of my index finger on a broken glass. All of this was complicated by the fact that I stayed up til almost 2am last night watching a TV program, which meant I was exhausted while dealing with all this stuff. I’ve got to get serious about getting more sleep. It makes a huge difference in my ability to cope with days like today.

The gym was packed with New Year Resolutioners, so I couldn’t get a treadmill to do my 1st Jantastic run of the week. I did exercise, however. I took a 1-hour strength training class instead.

Today’s photo is homemade. I’ll sure miss fresh hot scones with my coffee or tea, but I might try giving up flour for a month or so, to pinch a few pounds. More sleep might help with that too. Goodnight!

SconesCoffee

Day 3: Burning Off the Fruitcake

January 3, 2014

There’s still some left. Any takers?

The snowstorm abated at 10am, about 10 inches total. I shoveled out & took a half-mile dog walk, but I’m not counting that. It’s -13°F, thank God for the gym! I did a 4 mi. Expresso bike route called Bent Spoke (17 min.), then got a treadmill & did 1.5 mi. mixed walking/running intervals (20 min.). Closed with 15 min. of ab work on the mat, including a 30 sec. plank & some quad/hip/ham/calf/foot stretches. I’m planning to reintroduce running this month, as I did last January, with the hope of getting past 6 to 8 mi. long runs by May without injury. I’m trying not to get too jazzed tho, as this will be my 3rd year attempting to work up to my 1st half marathon.

Brrr, I’m cold & tired. Making a cup of tea now, then plan to crawl into bed to get warm. I should write thank-you notes for Christmas gifts I received, but I have a feeling I’ll get distracted by TV episodes on Netflix. Oh well. Tonight’s photo is of my first Christmas pudding ever. It unmolded perfectly & flamed with vigor! I even baked a real 1962 Queen Liz sixpence in it for luck. Here’s a video of the event, creatively filmed & arranged by Fruitcake-Shunning Elf, Ben Billings.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/83363456]

Day 1: Still Fleshing Out My Jana-Plan

January 1, 2014

AgedBeefCoolerJanathon started promptly with the New Year. I’m still thinking about my fitness goals for the month, but I did exercise & that’s good enough for now. Went for a brisk 2 mi. walk in the dark @5pm. I was cold & sullen on the mile out, but feeling warmer & happier on the mile back. It’s 12°F, but still clear. Heavy snow is supposed to start before morning, with a forecast of 12 to 14 inches over the next 24 hrs.

Per notmuchofarunner ‘s tips, I am including some superfluous interesting photos that have nothing to do with fitness. I don’t have a broken shoulder & if you wanna hear about my plantar fasciitis, you’ll have to read last year’s Day 1. What I do have is a photo of the aged beef cooler at the Capital Grille in Chestnut Hill, MA. Lucky for me, our party was seated across from the walk-in wine cellar instead. (I’m not keen on red meat.) I ordered the seared sushi-grade tuna, in contrast to the steaks & filets most other diners fancy. Either way, the food was fabulous! I meant to take glamour shots of the spinach salad w/warm bacon dressing, the asparagus grilled in lemon oil, the wild mushroom sauté, the layered chocolate-hazelnut cake… but I was so titillated, I simply forgot. Shall I blame the wine?

BlackNapkinBefore we left, my friend Nancy took this pic of me holding my black napkin. Upon seating us, the hostess had immediately removed the white cloth napkin from my table setting only & replaced it with a black one. Curious, I asked why.

“Your dress, madam,” she replied. “This will leave no white lint on your black dress.” I knew right then I could expect a unique dining adventure.

Marching Into March With Sushi

March 5, 2013

Meant to post an update over the weekend, but just never got to it. My work is getting busier with deadlines now, plus I was away over the weekend. I won’t bore you with work details, so how ’bout some slightly less boring pics from the weekend?

SushiReady

I’m ready to begin. Chop, chop!

I went to a Sushi 101 cooking class at the Bernerhof Inn in the White Mountains. It was great fun! My husband found this activity online, when looking for unusual things for us to do together. We both like sushi, so I agreed that it would be great to know how to make it at home. Our instructor, Chef Kendra Stanley, was fantastic. I learned a lot. We stayed overnight at the inn, as it was 3 hours drive from home. Our Saturday night sushi dinner & wine was included in the cost of the cooking class, & breakfast the next morning was included in the price of our room — which was discounted, since we were taking a class there. It was well worth every penny!

Chef Kendra demos julienned veggies.

Despite a busy week & a weekend away, I managed to cram in my last 3 Febulous runs. I ran 3 miles on Tuesday (treadmill), 5 miles on Thursday (outdoors) & 3 more miles on Friday (treadmill). I’m particularly pleased with the 5-miler, which is my first distance over 4 mi. in probably 18 mo. or more. I think I can safely say the my plantar fasciitis recovery & management is successful. I’m so happy that after over a year of struggling with foot pain, I’ve found my way out of it by stretching my foot & calves daily, sleeping in my therapeutic boot often & using a foam roller on my legs 3X a week or more. I aim to keep that up as I continue to run, run, run! I did my first run for March yesterday, another 3 mi. Since Marchvellous run training is about improving speed, I’m planning to mostly practice the 3 mi. distance & look for a 5K the weekend of March 30/31, hoping to get a personal best.

Ken wraps his bamboo mat.

Ken wraps his bamboo mat while Chef Kendra offers helpful tips.

A short wine break before we roll in seaweed!

A short wine break before we roll seaweed!

I’m still coffee- & black tea-free. I still eat chocolate in small amounts, but all other caffeine is out of my system. I can’t say I notice a marked difference. I may be a slight bit less volatile emotionally (ie. less stress)? Hard to tell really. I am noticing a marked difference in my weight tho, since mid-January when I started reducing my calorie intake. I’m down 8 lbs. in 6 wks. If I continue w/my calorie-counting for another 2 months, I wonder if I will drop another 10 lbs. by May 1? I’m going to keep up the effort & see what happens :-)

Viola! Beautiful sushi :-)

Big Blizzard: 2 to 3 FEET of Snow Expected!

February 7, 2013
Source: Weather.com

Source: Weather.com

WOW. See the text in the ocean that reads “2-3 FT POSSIBLE”, with an arrow pointing into Southern New Hampshire just above the “B” in Boston? I live right about there. HA!

I love winter storms & this one might be a doozy. The snow is welcome, it’s the wind gusts they’re predicting that worry me. Our electricity goes out at the drop of a hat (case in point, my last 2 blog entries!). When it does go out, I never know if it will be for 8 hrs. or 8 days. Seriously. In a Dec. 2008 icestorm, we lost power & continued to have no electricity for 12 days. That’s our record so far & I do not want to break it, thank you very much.

As insurance, I got my weekly “long run” done today (only 3.25 mi., but that’s long for me right now), to be certain the snow won’t prevent it. Weather outstanding, I don’t want to let anyone down for Febulous — my team or myself! With my committed 3-miler out of the way, I can do any old run of random length as Run #3 for the week. No pressure! If we’re plowed out by Sunday morning, I think I’ll walk out the road to take photos of the snow, then run 2 miles home. I’m very happy that I have been able to run 3x per week all year so far, with no further aggravation to my foot :-)

The Stuffed Poblanos: Mmm, so spicy!

The stuffed Poblanos: Mmm, so spicy!

Other good news: I lost another 1.5 lbs., despite the fact that I’ve been cooking & eating very well. This week’s menu featured pumpkin-pecan-raisin bread, stuffed Poblano peppers, Avgolemono & a baked eggplant-tomato casserole. My only bad news is I may need to try giving up caffeine, in order to address some health issues I’m having. I stupidly tried going off it completely on Monday, only to get the Mother of All Headaches by Monday night — all night — and into Tuesday morning! Worst headache of my life. Since that miserable occurrence, I’m now shooting for a more reasonable “weaning-off” plan. Makes me a little sad to do this, as I love morning coffee & afternoon tea. But I really want to see if no/low caffeine makes a notable difference in how I feel. Per some Twitter advice from Mark, I’m trying to approach this purge-caffeine thing as an “interesting experiment.” Yeah, right!

Day 23: Nothing “Beets” A Pre-Borscht Dinner Run

January 23, 2013

BeetOwl

BeetsStoveToday’s leisure activities were productive. We do count a nice Jantastic Janathon run just before cooking a delish diet dinner as “leisure”, right? The above photo of a “handpuppet owl” made from a Chioggia beet & my fingers is proof that I’ve gone mad on this crazy low calorie diet I was definitely having fun this afternoon :-)

On the fitness front, I ran 3 continuous miles at 9:40 pace on the gym treadmill, sandwiched between 1/4 mi. walk each for warm-up & cooldown. I then stretched out & did a series of abdominal exercises, just for good measure. My foot is a little stiff so I’m icing now, as I sit blogging from my laptop. I should be completely fine by morning.

BeetHandsThe only thing that was difficult about today’s run was boredom. I remember now why I once preferred outdoor runs over treadmill, even in winter, for anything over a 2 mi. distance. It’s nice when you’re actually going somewhere. Music is all well & good, but changing scenery passes the time easier after 2 mi. & distracts me from the monotony of my own footfalls or taxed breathing. I’d like to think going outdoors would be that easy again, but whoa, I’m very out of practice motivating on that level. Jack Frost has thrown down one bitch of a gauntlet. The temp rose to 8 °F (-13 °C) earlier today, but right now, it’s a brisk -2 °F (-19 °C). Tomorrow will be a no-run, rest day — meaning I’ll choose to row, bike or swim to give my heels a break. Lemme tell ya, the sauna afterward is already sounding ideal! If this cold snap is still on for Friday’s run, all bet’s are off.

BeetBorschtOn to dinner: In order to keep myself from getting as bored with low-cal food as I do on a treadmill, I’ve been cooking more creatively. Low-cal must be interesting & tasty, or I’ll resort to chips. We have a ton of beets still in storage from last fall’s crop (both colorful Chioggia beets & traditional Crimson Globe beets). We also have storage onions, carrots, garlic & home-canned tomatoes. Borscht was meant to be! The only ingredient I didn’t have on hand (or in the freezer) was fresh dill, which I bought at the market whilst driving home from the gym. Oh, and I ignored the sour cream garnish for caloric reasons, but substituted non-fat Greek yogurt instead. Winner, winner, yummy dinner!

Day 21: Pathetic Run, Impressive Bread

January 21, 2013

A friend called to say she’s got physical therapy at my gym today (my gym is affiliated with a hospital), did I wanna carpool with her, as we haven’t seen each other since before Christmas? I agreed.

The Plan: her PT appt. would be 1/2 hr. in the pool, giving me enough time to run 2 mi. on a treadmill & stretch out, without making her wait… then we’d leave together & run some errands in town before heading home. It was a great plan.

She drove us to the gym, we changed in the locker room. She went to the pool while I headed to a treadmill & started a warm-up walk, soon amping the speed to a run. One of the floor attendants came over… uh oh. Turns out, they were discouraging treadmill running for safety reasons, as the hospital was testing its power generators! The electricity would cut out briefly, as they tested the switchover from grid to generator & back again. So… if I were running, the treadmill would suddenly stop-then-restart, or just stop altogether. They weren’t sure how jarring it would be?

Great. On the one day I’ve a half hour limit & I’m scheduled to do my Jantastic weekly Run #1. Any other day, I might have been Janathoning on the bikes, the rowing machine, taking a class — none of which could hurt me if they stopped abruptly.

I whined a little, jokingly offered to sign a waiver to run at my own risk. A hospital gym is crawling with doctors & nurses exercising between shifts. There’s even a gurney parked under the stairs. If you’re gonna have a painful accident requiring emergency medical attention, my gym is a great place to do it :-)

We compromised. I ran a little longer (got in a mile), then switched to a walk & waited for the scheduled blip — which didn’t happen — so after a 1/2 mi. walk, I started running again. Nervously. With no incline. At a cautious 10:00 pace. With my hands resting lightly on the side rails.

Ran like that for another 1/2 mi., still nothing. Finally, I had to bail, as my friend’s appt. was over. Once in the locker room, the power blacked out for 5 secs. If we’d arrived 3o min. earlier or 30 min. later, I’d have had my perfectly planned run. Fate ruined it. Yeah, yeah, I know I could have tried running again later, outdoors from my house… but I didn’t. Sometimes you gotta believe the Universe knows what it’s doing & just move on. Tomorrow’s a new day :-)

And now — because this calorie-restricted diet is killing me — the biggest naan I’ve ever eaten! Akbar’s in Leeds, UK. This is their small order of naan. You should see the large (think doormat). If you like good Indian curry, you won’t be disappointed. (Thanks to Mark for sending us there. Photo credit: my naan-sharing, UK-vacation-sharing sister.)

GiantNaan

Day 19: Lazy But Compliant Saturday

January 19, 2013

TeaChipCamI was feeling very lazy today, after yesterday’s cap off to my exercise week. A decadent Friday evening out didn’t help. I slept til 9am this morning, then proceeded to futz around in my pajamas til noon. I did very little most of the day, with the exception of some household chores. I couldn’t be bothered driving to the gym, so biking, swimming, rowing, ARC trainer were all ruled out. When faced with the cold, cloudy outdoors this time of year, I have only the choices of running (nope, won’t do it 2 consecutive days yet), snowshoe-hiking (too lazy to “gear up”) & walking — bingo!

I took a short walk out the road & back, totaling 2 miles, then came in & had tea. Not as nice a tea as shown above, tho, which was served to me at the Bantam Tea Room in Chipping Campden last June. I had my very first scones w/clotted cream there. And my first Bakewell tart… because I couldn’t decide which, so oh yes, I had both! Mmmm, totally worth it.

Disclaimer: If you’re currently on a calorie-restricted diet, I cannot be held responsible for your misery or distress if you click on the photo below to see it larger :-)

TeaCakes