Archive | January, 2015

Roasted Chickpeas–New recipe #1

28 Jan

OK so this year I’ve decided to try at least 1 new recipe each month.  And I realized it’s almost the end of January, and I’d already almost failed.  Roasted chickpeas to the rescue!!

 

I found (and excitedly pinned) this recipe  for BBQ roasted chickpeas a while ago, thinking it was an allegedly delicious and healthy snack.  I think my eating is relatively healthy (I mean compared to the general population for sure, but especially if I really focus on it), but when it comes time for a snack, I’m a hot mess.  During the day, fruit is my go-to.  But there are not many healthy snacks that I like after school or in the evening.  I know this is probably just a matter of retraining my brain to think of healthy foods as snacks, and not just thinking “snack time” and “potato chips” are synonymous.  Or eating enough at actual meal times to alleviate the snack cravings.  But I digress…

 

I should preface by saying that I am not really sold on this whole “bean” thing.  I don’t particularly love the taste or texture of them.  Black beans really gross me out (I SWEAR I opened a can one time and there was a giant ant in them, so now every time I open them I have a minor freak out that bugs are going to come out), but cannellini and garbanzo (aka chickpeas) are ok.  I rinse beans for about 15-20 minutes.  I am not joking.  When you rinse, the skins start to come off.  I rinse until there are no more skins coming off.  The skins are disgusting.  They look like little popped blisters.  I collect them in a giant pile of blister-skin on the counter, and it always grosses me out.  Maybe my bean problems are because of the prep work.  IDK.  [Side note: Friends who are into beans: how long do you rinse for and do you take all the skins off?  If not, don’t they come off when you’re cooking them, then you have bean-skin to eat with your meal?? And doesn’t this disgust you????]

Nasty blister skins...

Nasty blister skins…

In case the big pile wasn't gross enough, here's a close-up for your viewing pleasure...

In case the big pile wasn’t gross enough, here’s a close-up for your viewing pleasure…

Anyway, it’s a fairly simple recipe to follow, but it does take a while to make–if you wash them for 20 minutes, then bake them for 40, you’re talking an hour to make a snack.  As a limited-time, convenience kinda girl, an hour for a snack is kind of a lot (and these apparently don’t really keep well once they’re made).
chickpeas2

Eric and I weren’t huge fans of the finished product.  For the amount of time it took, I was expecting heaven in my mouth (insert inappropriate comments here), and it was mediocre at best.  Picasso loved them, though.

 

I don’t think I’ll ever make these again.  However it wasn’t all a loss.  I’ve never used Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce before–but this shit was amazing.  A better snack would’ve just been the sauce.  Straight out of the bottle.  Delicious.

Deliciousness in a bottle...probably because of the sugar in it...alas...

Deliciousness in a bottle…probably because of the sugar in it…alas…

 

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progress

20 Jan

A year or so ago, if you’d have told me that I’d be excited about riding a bike, I’d have laughed in your face.  Not riding the brakes all the way down the hill?  Yeah. OK. Riding over a log without having to stop, falling off, or walk the bike over? Whatever.

 

Ditto with going to the gym to lift.  I just wasn’t interested.  I have a lot of hormone imbalances (that apparently nothing seems to be able to resolve FML), so I was worried lifting would cause me to build a lot of un-feminine muscle.  And being in the weight area of the gym (where it’s mostly just dudes doing half squats with a loaded bar and then sitting on the bench and texting for 20 minutes–women are confined to the cardio equipment, duh!) was intimidating.  I’d go when I got talked into it, reluctantly.

 

But I’ve been really thoroughly enjoying the biking and lifting I’ve been doing this winter.  Running has lost a lot of its allure these days.  I know it’s completely weather-related because when I think of a 40 or 50 degree day, my heart skips a beat as I think about putting in serious mileage on my favorite trails.  I miss the trails and more importantly (bc I’m still technically on the trails) the joy of running in shorts and a tshirt, braids flying behind me, feeling the fresh air blowing by me, my feet slapping the ground in tandem with my breathing, then hanging and laughing in the parking lot with friends until it got dark (oh yeah in my “joy of running” thoughts, I’m not running with a headlamp because we watch the sunset AFTER the run).  I miss it so much.  But right now, the super cold temps make my lungs super unhappy, the sloppy footing is not even remotely amusing to me, and the uncontrollable convulsive shivering post-run is miserable.  I’m obviously too soft for winter running in Rochester.  I take solace knowing that running through the winter will make me stronger–that the trails will feel so much easier in the spring (because it always happens this way…every winter…although I’ve never been this miserable over a winter of running before).

 

So I decided it was time to learn to love (or even just be able to do) something new.  At a time when falling off the bike was going to hurt less.  In theory.  Because the reality is that I fell (no idea when anymore, it’s been that long) and jammed the handlebar into my thigh and have since had a fist-sized bruise there turning various shades of blue, purple and green.  I’m starting to get a little alarmed that it will be a permanent thing (hmmm now I don’t need to get a tattoo??) and alternately feeling a little proud that I am such a badass that I got a huge bruise but it didn’t stop me from continuing to practice my new skillz.  With a z.  Because they are bad.  In a good way.

progress3

I’ve been feeling really good, despite all this lack of running.  I’ve been riding once or twice a week, lifting once or twice a week and still running a few times a week.  So fewer running miles, but the added riding and lifting has kept me sane (not running can make me go a little crazy), and I think I am seeing changes in my body, which is an unintended but exciting consequence.  Changes like my ass doesn’t hurt the minute I get on my bike anymore.  But seriously.  Today I went shopping for dress pants, which is normally a misery-inducing endeavor.  I’ve been kind of caught between sizes for over a year now, so either I can get a pair that kind of hangs awkwardly and looks sloppy or a smaller pair that is a little tight.  Today, every smaller pair I tried on fit…and relatively well.  So I bought a smaller size.  I was a little concerned, because it seemed that the ass was a little tight, but then I had to smile when I realized that the ass being tight-ish was just the result of a developing (I hope) bubble butt  built one squat at a time.  [PSA don’t listen to that whole song because it’s terrible…the lyrics are gross, and the actual music video is pretty disturbing so you’re welcome for not posting that one here.] [Also perhaps it’s not a bubble butt but rather just butt calluses formed over weeks of riding a bike…????]
progress2

If nothing else, I feel stronger, and I am loving seeing the progress in both my lifting and my riding.  Knowing that I am lifting more than I did last week, or that I can now ride through a lot of snow (slowly ha), over logs (that are not that big, but still…) or not ride the brakes all the way down a hill is pretty sweet.  And I can’t wait to see what all of this additional strength will do for my running when this terrible winter is finally over.

progress

 

to 50 or not to 50…

3 Jan

I’ve been hemming and hawing for a month now about this whole 50 mile thing.  I’ve looked at a slew of options, made charts comparing and contrasting them.  I’ve weighed the options, looked at pros and cons, and had moments of elation as I looked at races that I had looked at in the past and said “hell no” and this time said “someday for sure.”  I was ready physically.  But I couldn’t pull the trigger.

This morning, I was supposed to run 14 miles.  My alarm went off and I was so tired.  Everything in me wanted to swipe the terrible alarm sounds away and stay tucked in our nice warm bed.  But I crawled from bed, feeling all disconnected and out of it, like I’d taken a ton of cold medicine or something.  My body felt tired–down-to-the-bones tired.  Bending down to tie my shoes took all my effort.  I just kept telling myself I’d shake it off in the first few minutes of the run. Off we went.

You know those runs that just seem to fly by?  You end and you feel like you just started?  Yeah that was not this kind of run.  From about mile 5 on, it was a slow death march.   My legs felt like frozen blocks of ice.  Normally I warm up nicely after the first mile or so.  Today my arms and legs were freezing the whole time.  And that tired, groggy feeling I woke up with never lifted.  Maybe it’s the fact that we mountain biked (through snow) Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week on top of our normal running/lifting schedule.  Because even now, after I finished running, I swear even my fingers and toes are tired.

In the 5 mile death march back to the car, I kept thinking about how I don’t want to do this.  I don’t want to get up early to run for hours in the winter–in the snow, on the slippery trails, being cold, my lungs telling me to f off, not just on the hills but for the rest of the day.

I’m still new to this whole ultra thing, so I don’t know a whole lot.  But I do know that if you’re not in it, like 100% in it, the chances of finishing are slim.  And the chances that (even if you do finish) it’s going to be miserable are high.  And I don’t need to fill my time with things that make me miserable.  Maybe it’s time to give the distance a little rest and focus on speed and strength.  I’m still not completely ruling out a 50 miler, but I’m finally weighing some other options to see if there’s something that might fit better right now.

love

This year

1 Jan

 

I saw this meme/photo/journal prompt on pinterest and thought it was kind of cool, so I copied the prompts below with my answers.  I’m not one for making big resolutions or anything–I feel like if I realize something needs improvement in my life, I’m going to improve it without waiting for a certain time of the year.  But I guess being reflective and setting goals is a good thing.  So here goes:

10 high points of 2014 (in no particular order)

1.  Finishing my first 50k with new friends (Kevin and Liz) and hand-in-hand with Eric.  We were going to do a marathon together…but what’s another 5 miles?

2.  Finishing the Mendon Trail Runs 50k, a race I’d previously said I’d never do because it was too hard and I wasn’t good enough.

3.  Bagging my first ADK 46 peak.

4.  Our annual ADK summer anniversary trip, with additional time this year for a stop in the high peaks, which was SO MUCH FUN!

5.  Fall camping at Allegany–allllll alone and lovely.

6.  Lake Placid for Christmas–the best holiday we’ve ever had.

7.  The Run ‘Em All/Hike ‘Em All Challenge at Letchworth–over a week and a half, we ran/hiked every single trail in the park (including a 3 day backpacking stint).

8.  Lake Placid Snowshoe Trip  last January, my first time to Placid as an adult!

9.  Aid station crewing at 2 major ultras–the Cayuga Trails 50 and Virgil Ultra Crest.  Aid station-ing and helping runners (including elites, like my favorite, Krissy Moehl!) and hanging out and camping with a bunch of friends at camp…what more could you want in a volunteer experience???

10.  A wonderful weekend, particularly this visit with my little siblings–everyone is growing up so much, and I’m finally starting to accept that most of us are not kids any more, but that we can still care for each other and be there for each other.  The relationships are changing, but in cool ways.

A bad habit I’m going to break

I like for things in the house to be clean, but I am much less concerned with “neatness.”  [Eric is the opposite of this.] This year, I’d like to work on being neater.  In that vein, I want to try to keep our counter tops and end tables more tidy.  Last night, I cleared almost everything off of them for our New Years Eve party, and I liked how clean everything looked with nothing cluttering up the surfaces.

A new skill I’d like to learn

We’ve spent 2 days this week out on mountain bikes cruising around Eric’s fat tire bike race course.  I am pretty pathetic on a bike (I run faster than I bike). I am extremely unconfident on a bike.  I therefore do not really enjoy myself on a bike.  Riding on the road is particularly terrifying to me, as is having to rush to keep up with someone who I’m with (especially when that person is a way better cyclist than me, which is pretty much everyone).  That being said, today, the worst weather conditions possible for riding, I really enjoyed myself.  Early on in the ride, I found the “new” short section of trail on the course.  I went through the first time, almost bit it, jumped off my seat, but not in time to avoid a crotch shot from the bike.  I walked my bike out of the trail and said F that.  But when I came around the loop again, I decided to give it another shot.  I made it about 10 feet farther than I had the first time, got back on, bit it again after about 20 feet, and walked my bike out. At this point I got kind of pissed–so I went back to the start of the trail, and rode it again…this time, I made it all the way to the last turn before falling. I probably only fell because I was so excited that I thought I was going to make it through that I lost focus. Back to the start I went, and this time, I made it all the way through without falling or having to stop!!!  Maybe it was just a lucky fluke, my brain said.  Back to the start, one more time, and once again, I made it through!!!  I was pumped.  So this year, I’d like to practice mountain biking more.  I need to learn how to trust myself, use the gears to actually help me, and ride up and downhills.  So pretty much I need to learn how to ride a bike.

the boys across the pond. someday maybe I will be good enough to ride with them...or  maybe they'll even have to chase me to keep up!

the boys across the pond. someday maybe I will be good enough to ride with them…or maybe they’ll even have to chase me to keep up!

A person I hope to be more like

Of course, this is my Oma.  Compassionate, hard-working, brave beyond words and forgiving…She has always been and will always be one of my biggest inspirations.

new years

A place I’d like to visit

I can name about a billion places, but none of them are really technically within our means, financially.  I do, however, know that I want to spend a significant amount of time this year in the Adirondacks.  When I look at my top 10 moments of 2014, most of them involve camping/being outdoors.  I want it.  I crave it.  We’ve already got our anniversary Indian Lake trip booked, and we’ll probably squeeze in some high peaks time before that.  I would like to do some additional long weekends, though, and do some more of the high peaks this winter/spring.  It’s so pretty up there, and I want to climb as much as possible and see as much as possible while we’re young and able, because there are no guarantees of what tomorrow will bring.

new years3

if you're lucky enough to be on the lake...then you're lucky enough!

if you’re lucky enough to be on the lake…then you’re lucky enough!

A book I’d like to read

Last year, I did a 52 books in 2014 challenge.  I didn’t meet my goal, which was pretty lofty to begin with (but 42 books ain’t half bad….that’s roughly one book every 8.5 days).  If we counted the thousands of pages of NYS curriculum I’ve read this year, as I’m learning 2nd, 6th and 7th grade curriculums all at once, then I guess I’d have been there.  😛  That being said, I’d like to give myself the same challenge this year–52 books.  I love to read, but it’s easy to get distracted by other things and not do it.  This kept me on track for sure.  I’m looking forward to many more amazing books, and will keep an updated list on my blog in case anyone else is looking for book recommendations.

a really good way to spend a chilly evening...

a really good way to spend a chilly evening…

A letter I’m going to write

Once a month this year, I’d like to send a random card to a random person.  Because getting mail that is not bills is exciting, and sending real mail is a “lost art” that should be brought back.  🙂

A new food I’d like to try

I don’t know of any foods I haven’t had that I really should eat, otherwise I’d have already eaten them.  I do know that I like trying new recipes and experimenting a bit with food to try to find better, healthier options for us.  So this year, at least once a month I will try a new recipe.  I mostly enjoy cooking (although clean-up afterwards is awful).  I have pinned about 12370647245742572 recipes, and it’s time to start trying some of them so I can delete them or move them to a “keep” file.

I’m going to do better at

2015–the year of being assertive.  If you are an assertive person, feel free to pass on some tips to me. This year, I am working to be better at standing up for myself in an assertive way. When you see me being passive or wishy-washy or getting walked on, please remind me that I need to fight…for my right…to paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarty!!!  Seriously though.  Gentle reminders never hurt…

I’m looking forward to making 2015 another stellar year.  I have no idea what’s in store, but I do know that if it’s anything like 2014, it’ll be good stuff!!  Thank you to everyone who played a role in making 2014 a special year! ❤