Archive | October, 2013

Oh The Yum.

29 Oct

I’m trying as hard as I can to keep the momentum going, despite my monthly friend stopping by for a visit (i.e. I want to sleep for 12 hours a day and eat everything in sight).  I’m actually so tired that I just spelled sugar as “suger.”  On purpose.

Last night, I decided to give another one of Iowa Girl Eats’ recipes a whirl.  I happened upon her blog a few months ago when I realized I was loving her stuff on Pinterest.  Since then, I’ve been hooked!

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps (from Iowa Girl Eats)

  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 3 T. lime juice
  • 3 T. EVOO
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. + 1 t. sesame oil
  • 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2″ knob ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/2 T. creamy almond butter
  • 1 lb. thin cut sirloin steak
  • lettuce cups

Quick-Pickled Cucumbers and Onions:

  • 1 small seedless cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 c. rice vinegar
  • 2 t. sugar

This recipe was kind of perfect for us yesterday because I had basically everything in my fridge/pantry.  I just had to run out and grab the fresh stuff – steak, lettuce, and cucumber.

First, I made the pickled garnish by mixing everything together in a bowl and stirring it up.  I continued to stir it about every 15 minutes until it was time to serve.

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Then, I made the marinade by combining the soy sauce, lime juice, EVOO, sesame oil, honey, red pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic in my food processor.  Once everything was smooth, I took out 1/4 c. of the mixture and poured it over my steak as a marinade.  The rest of the sauce stayed in the food processor and I added the almond butter to it, mixing it again until smooth.  That mixture became the sauce for the wraps.  The steak marinated for about 20 minutes while I pre-heated my broiled, then I cooked it to medium, sliced it up and voila!

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Sorry about the poor quality of these pictures, it was hard to even snap a few before we devoured them!  So yummy and ridiculously easy to make.  I should also mention that we have leftovers a plenty for today as well.

 

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Redux

28 Oct

On occasion, I go through periods where I just stop caring about all of the things.  Usually this happens right around the seasons changing, i.e. the last month.  I’ve been eating whatever I want, whenever I want and the scale is not happy about it.

I made a deal with myself that I was going to enjoy myself all weekend and then wake up Monday morning with my head back on track!!  It sort of makes me sick to think about how un-motivated I can be to reach goals.  But, such is life sometimes!  No point in beating myself up about it, I just have to move forward and make better decisions.  I woke up an hour and a half earlier than I have been, made myself breakfast and lunch and then drank some tea before heading to work.

I continue to tell myself that until I run for 21 days straight, I am not allowed to even think about registering for another race.  If I am unable to meet that small goal, I have no business racing.  Seeing other people’s progress on Facebook, blogs, and Twitter is hugely inspiring!  It reminds me how much I want to get back out there and push myself.

Bring it on, November.  Bring it on!

Sweet Tea & Citrus Roasted Chicken

13 Oct

Turns out, third time IS a charm.

stc.final

I attempted to roast a chicken for the third time and it was a hit!  I honestly don’t even know where I went wrong the first two mishaps, but it left me nervous about trying again.  Whole roasting chickens were on sale so I made sure to scoop one up last week.  After endlessly researching techniques, I opted to brine that sucker and boy am I glad I did!

I found quite a few sweet tea and citrus brines on Pinterest and I happened to have enough ingredients to throw something together.  Win.

Sweet Tea & Citrus Brine

stcbrine.ingredients

Not shown:

  • 3.5 lb. roasting chicken
  • 8 family size bags of unsweetened tea
  • 1/2 c. sea salt
  • 1 c. brown sugar

First, I made the tea by boiling a gallon of water in my stockpot and adding all 8 tea bags.  I steeped them for 10 minutes while I prepped everything else.  After 10 minutes, I removed the tea bags and added the sugar and salt and stirred until they were fully dissolved.  Then, everything else went into the pot:

stcbrine.steep

This has to cool completely before you add the chicken or it will start to cook it.  Since my bird was less than 4 lbs, I decided that my best bet would be to just put it in a bag with the brine, then put it over ice in the same stockpot I had been using.

stcbrine.brining

I put the ice over it and then put the lid on.  I only meant to brine it overnight, but then all kinds of stuff came up and it ended up brining for a little over 48 hours.  Oopsie.  But no big deal, right?  I flipped it over in the brine every 12 hours.

When it was time to cook it, I took it out of the brine and rinsed it inside and out.  I set it up on a bed of carrots and onions in a casserole dish and then stuffed it with all the stuff that was in the brine (lemon, orange, onions, etc.)  I drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled it with pepper and then into the oven it went!  The bird was nice and brown before it even went in because of the tea, but HOOOOO BOY did it turn out good.

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Stranger Things Have Happened

11 Oct

Well, I did it.

After weeks of complaining and inactivity, I finally just forced myself out of bed early and did it.

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I re-joined the Athletic Club at the Carnegie Library of Homestead.

I’ve all ready had 3 people ask me if I’m crazy.  See, my community has a less than stellar reputation because of high crime rates in recent decades, pockets of low income populations, and stunted economic development.  I find this reputation to be unwarranted and unfair.  I love it here.  I live, work, and play in this area and I have never once felt scared or threatened by anyone.  Except for this one lady who sucker punched me in the face during a road rage incident.  I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble but, there is crime in even the wealthiest community.  There are junkies running dry everywhere people.  But I’ve done a lot of research into gyms in my area, comparing the pros and cons that go along with each.  I’ll get to what went into my decision in a second.

First, let me show you the place.  The Athletic Club takes up the second floor and the basement at the Carnegie Library of Homestead, which is nestled in an idyllic historical pocket of Homestead.

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Those wooden doors will take you into the actual library, but if you head upstairs you will see this door:

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I’ve been in a bit of a rush the last 2 mornings due to other things going on, so I didn’t take the time to take photos inside.  I will make sure to give you guys an inside look/tour over the next few days!

So, why the Athletic Club at the Carnegie Library?

1.  Proximity.  The library is almost exactly 1 mile away from my house.  Christina has the car?  No problem.  I can just walk over there!  The next closest gyms were 4.5 miles away (LA Fitness)  and 5.5 miles away (Fitness 247).

2.  Price.  The AC is $35 a month.  So, for $420 a year (it actually goes down to $300 if you pay the year in advance) I get access to a fully equipped gym, a heated swimming pool, a 6 hoop basketball court, an indoor track, and unlimited classes.  LA Fitness would have been $459 with $99 down.  Fitness 247 has a special right now for $300/year if paid in full – $348 if paid monthly – but like I said, its 10.5 miles round trip.  No contract, no initiation fee, nothing like that.

3.  Amenities.  No, there isn’t a tanning bed included in my membership, but I am fine with that.  There is a newly renovated heated pool, though, which none of the other gyms can offer.  There is a big room with cardio and weight machines, another room with just free weights, and like I said before – a giant basketball court with 6 hoops and an indoor track above it.  There is non-metered parking all over the place.  I like that it’s not busy.  I’m going to get my sweat on and get out, not to have social hour.  In the morning, there are maybe 4 people in their 20s-30s and 2-3 elderly people working out.  It is glorious.

4.  Pride.  The Carnegie Library of Homestead, includes not only the athletic club but also a gorgeous music hall, is a non-profit.  I respect that the facility is there for the right reasons and has remained open for the betterment of the community since 1898.  That’s 109 years of being continuously open and helping keep our community to prosper.  She’s seen a lot of shit go down, too.  The economic prosperity that Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills brought, and the devastation that came when those mills closed.  Two world wars, the Great Depression, and now the modern day recession, throughout the years mourning when neighboring libraries closing their doors due to lack of funding.  Andrew Carnegie himself founded the library and designed it to overlook his steel mill site.  He was quoted as saying:

“The building has rightfully in the center as the focus ‘The Library’– Music Hall upon the right and the Working Man’s Club upon the left. These three foundations from which healing waters are to flow for the Instruction, Entertainment and Happiness of the people. Recreation of the working man has an important bearing upon his character and development as his hours of work.”

You know that the nerd in me couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of this region’s living history.  You can keep your LA Fitnesses and your tanning and your overpriced saunas.  I am happy right here in the Steel Valley, supporting my community while I work to better myself.

Speaking of, it felt really really good get back on the treadmill.  I am waaaaay out of shape at this point.  I have spent the better part of a month eating complete crap and moving very little.  I feel like I’m starting back at square one, but that’s okay.  Momentum is better than inertia!  Right now, I’m being realistic about my goals and just working on building my base back up 30 minutes at a time.

Yesterday (Thursday), I warmed up with a 15 minute power walk, jogged at my usual pace for 10, and then did a 5 minute cool down.  Built up a nice sweat, stretched out, and went home with no shin splints or leg issues.  So today I shifted to a 10 minute power walk warm-up, a 15 minute jog, and a 5 minute cool down.

Proof!

Proof!

If you do something 21 times consecutively it becomes a habit, right?  19 more workouts to go!  With this gym membership also comes the opportunity to integrate real strength training and free weights into my program.  Access to the pool and other equipment gives me a variety of cardio options if I ever need a break from running.  I am considering taking a few of the classes that they offer, schedule permitting!  I’ve been taking a really good multivitamin I bought down at Vitamin Shoppe and I have a few other changes I want to make.  For example, I need to take stretching so much more seriously than I do now, especially considering my history of shin issues. I’ve been following Housewife Glamour‘s stretching routine and it’s awesome:

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5 Thing Friday

4 Oct

1.  The Pirates are in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.  I’ve never experienced anything like the baseball fever that has taken over the city!  It’s awesome.  We finally got a chance to catch a game at the end of September and it was amazing, even though we lost.  We had great seats and the energy was high until the 9th inning (when we subsequently blew it).  But we managed to win our wildcard game against that same team and we are now in the playoffs!

BUCN13

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2.  I am in love with my new cutting board.  Because I have such limited counter space at the moment, AHEM, I decided to purchase this gem.  It obviously fits across my sink and has a basket to rinse and drain veggies in.  Genius.  And it’s dishwasher safe as a bonus.

NewCuttingBoard

3.  A few weeks ago, we decided to try out this new hot dog place in South Side called Krazy Dogz.  It was like a hot dog cart grew up and decided to move out of mom and dad’s basement.  The menu had lots of options, including build your own hot dog and hamburgers, french fries, etc.  Also, they sell cans of Cherokee Red…just sayin’.

KrazyDogz2

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4.  Cutest baby shower cake ever.  Can’t wait to meet Baby Girl D!

babyshowercake

5.  The government shutdown sucks.  I’m related to both military personnel and federal employees who have been effected and it just sucks.  Everyone is stressed out and worried and being political and I hate it.

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