Monthly Archives: August 2011

Warrior Dash Delight

Christine and her medal

An evil warrior grin

This weekend, in what I’m beginning to believe is a healthy sort of midlife crisis, I finished the Warrior Dash. What a great time! Here’s a list of things I’d recommend, which goes to 11.

1. Just because it’s called Warrior Dash doesn’t mean they are anarchists. Wow, what an amazingly well organized event. Kudos, Red Frog, KUDOS. I can’t imagine it’s easy to cart this stuff around the country, setting up these events and keeping people from killing themselves, but that is exactly what they do. And not only that, but there’s never a time where you feel overwhelmed or that you’re having to wait forever or even wait for a port-a-potty. At an event where people are drinking beer and using the port-a-potties to change, that’s really saying something. They’ve thought of everything, even down to the tanks full of water and dudes sitting on top of them to spray the mud off people.

Pre race

Before

Post-race

After

2. Mud washes off tyvek and nylon, but in cotton and shoes, it’s forever. Whoops, forgot to take the number off the shirt, but that stayed intact. The $1 nylon soccer shorts I nabbed at Helping Hands came out like brand new. The cotton shirt is permanently brown. If I do this again, maybe I’ll wear a shirt with a boat or a motorcycle on it and give it a ground when I crawl through the mud. Big lesson here: don’t wear anything you want to keep. Your socks are going straight into the trash. And your shoes? Forget it. You are SO giving those shoes away.

Christine starts

Race start

3. You’re going to embarrass your kids, so do it in style. My preteen found my behavior mortifying. Oddly enough, she was mostly horrified by my bandanna. I wore the only one we had in the house, a Harley Davidson my husband got from someone, 20 years ago. Close second was a shirt I nabbed out of the go to charity box that used to be hers. She didn’t enjoy watching me destroy an old favorite. Ultimately, however you dress, just be yourself and enjoy it.

Smurfs

With their movie bombing, the Smurfs will appear anywhere

4. Come in costume if you like, but save your knees. My knees took a lot of surface bruising. Somehow you envision the mudpit being full of soft, gushy mud, especially when you live around a man-made lake like Hartwell Lake. But this one had a ton of grit at the bottom and owie on the knees. Don’t run in hard knee pads necessarily, but if you could find a little something with padding. (Does this make me less warrior-like? It’s just that my legs look like I’m married to a domestically violent midget.)

5. Bring an entourage, friends to share the race and chairs. And sunscreen. You’re going to want someone to document the silliness and believe me, you will not be in any shape to handle electronic devices while covered in mud. Plus, there’s lots of entertainment (a cool cover band that played the 80s, Green Day, ACDC … it made my husband happy to sit and wait for his wife to make a fool of herself.) Even though you’re running, they might want to sit for the 40 minutes you’re cruising around the course. The friends are to compare notes and to hug when your entourage won’t touch you.

Shoes

A big pile of very dirty shoes going to Green Sneakers

6. You can change in a port-a-potty and still not touch anything. Use the lock as a hook and you’re set. Take as little as possible in there too. Bring plastic bags and a towel, maybe 2. Oh, and bring your stuff with you. Leave it in the car and you’ve got a loooong walk back outside to get your stuff. Then a long walk back to a port-a-potty to change. Leave your bag with your entourage. (Or use gear check.)

7. You will happily jump into a pool of fetid water (waist down anyway.) If you bring nothing else, BRING FLIP FLOPS. It’s going to feel so amazing to jump into that pond. But it’s going to feel even more amazing to take your shoes off when you’re done.

8. Be prepared to walk. I thought this would be a simple 5K with some obstacles in the middle. Turns out the running was some of the hardest part! For one thing, it was hilly as hell. For another, it’s August in NC and it was H-O-T. For another, you’re not used to stopping, hopping over barrier walls that are nearly as tall as you are. (OK that’s me but you get the idea. Believe me, you hop off an obstacle and your heart is probably beating a little faster than you thought.)

Fire

Leap over fire! (OK duralogs but still, fire!)

9. Think of the obstacles as a playground for adults. I had that thought, probably around the rope thing that came after the tire thing. The silliest thing was hoping in and out of (very clean but used) dumpsters. I wasn’t impressed with crawling in the dark. Just not terribly challenging. I had expected to have problems climbing up a rope, but had no problem with it. I thought the hopping over fire would be fun, but in the end, it was kind of scary. Then I did it and it was fun. Oh, and surprise surprise … you’re going to be sore. I run 3 miles on a slow day. I’m sore. In my legs.

Mud

Looking pretty good in mud!

10. Enjoy it! Revel in the utter silliness of the event. If dressing up is your thing, do it! If you don’t want to compete in that arena, just beat your demons. I was surprised what was easy for me and what was hard. The climbing up a wall with a rope? Way easier than I envisioned. The horizontal hike? That scared the shit out of me. The top was three boards, separated by two feet of … nothing … air I guess.

11. Results? Who cares! This is just a big old party, honestly. (But for the record, 9th in my age division for Sunday (out of about 100), 182 for females (out of 2102) and 958 overall (out of 4500).) But who cares!

See you in London? Or maybe Mountain City. Wonder what the hills are like there.

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Clean out the fridge Pasta Primavera

I haven’t blogged in forever! I’ve been too busy doing stuff. We went to Hilton Head (fabulous time, will write about that at some point), we went ziplining (click on the squirrel) in Asheville (fabulous time as well) and in between, I’ve been working or being driven crazy by this one particular sweater. So, I’ve fallen off my goal of blogging once a week.

Tonight, I have a recipe. I’d been getting a little slack with some of the cooking and some of the things we’ve been making are crazy-quick things that really almost don’t deserve a blog post. But tonight, here we were, no dinner plans, no meals plotted out. I realized when I was making my salad for work that I was out of spinach (which I use for my base), but not out of other vegetables. I thought I’d make a stir fry, but I looked at the carrots, two mushrooms, half a zucchini, and entire red pepper, along with most a can of light coconut milk I had left and thought “hmm, not sure that’s going to work.”

Ta da! Pasta Primavera made with coconut milk. I waited until my husband ate it and decided it was good before I broke it to him that it wasn’t cow’s milk. He’s a little concerned about all this vegetarianism (hey we eat fish) and all, getting sick of me talking about the China Study, so I wasn’t sure what he’d say. He liked it a great deal. In fact, he yelled at the kid for leaving a little bit in the pot when she put the leftovers in the fridge. He’s already claimed it for lunch and told her “that is a morsel that could be in my belly!”

Sorry for the lack of pictures. I guess we were hungry! We served this with some bread bought at the Clemson Farmer’s Market, made by Artisan Breads. (He usually runs out early, the bread is that damn good. You can also get it through CAFE.) A nice loaf, which he said came out of the oven at 3:30 that afternoon. YUM. Good for mopping up the sauce.

Here’s the dish:

  • Peppers, sweet, red, fresh, 1.25 large (2-1/4 per lb, approx 3-3/4″)
  • Carrots, raw, .5 cup, chopped
  • Zucchini, .5 cup, sliced
  • Mushrooms, fresh, 2 large
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Butter, unsalted, 2 tbsp
  • Flour, white, .125 cup
  • 13.5 oz can organic coconut milk (light), .75 serving
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated, 2 tbsp (remove)
  • Asiago Cheese, 1 oz
  • Pasta, cooked, 3.5 oz

Directions

Three parts to this dish:

  1. Veggies: heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the veggies and saute until everything is coated in the oil. Add whatever spices suite your taste. I added basil, oregano and adobo. Turn down the heat. cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
  2. Sauce: melt the butter in a pan on low to medium heat. When it begins to bubble, add the flour and stir until all lumps are gone. Add the coconut milk and continue to stir until mixed. I added Adobo and some red pepper flakes here. When warm and almost ready to serve, add the cheeses. I only used .75 a can of the milk because that was what we had left in the fridge. You can use the milk of your choice, but this had a nice sweet flavor to it and was low calorie.
  3. Pasta: make according to the directions. We used penne.

Drain the pasta, add the veggies, Add the sauce. Blend and serve.
Serving Size: 4 large servings

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 257.5
  • Total Fat: 13.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 30.8 mg
  • Sodium: 138.6 mg
  • Total Carbs: 28.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 7.8 g

Not Enough Lebowski

So close and yet no cigar

Well, friends, it happened. I ran out of yarn, specifically the dark yarn for the pattern. Here’s the heartbreaking thing: I ran out of yarn with 6 rows to go. So, I need about 6 yards of yarn. A skein typically had between 150-200 yards in it. So, to put that in football terms, I made it to the 3 yard line with a full set of downs and failed to cross the finish line.

This leaves you thinking about all the yarn you could have possibly still had. If only you hadn’t been so generous with the carry acrosses. If only you had trimmed it a little closer when you tied off. If only … well then I might have had enough yarn.

Or not. It’s about $7 a skein, so I’ll see what else I can buy and work up an order to get enough to qualify for free shipping. It’s not like I can work on it anyway, being on vacation with the husband all week.

Still, for the goal-oriented girl, it’s painful.

Anyone got 6-7 yards of Weekend Mouse Yarn?

Chef Boyardee

One morning I heard a story on NPR about this cookbook. Now I love a good cookbook, but this one really piqued my interest, because it was called “Delicious Memories: Recipes from the Chef Boyardee Kitchen.” Who didn’t eat more than their fair share of that stuff? I must have eaten my weight in the ravioli alone, when I was in college and first out on my own. (Surprised? Yeah, I ate really badly when I was younger.)

But this book isn’t a collection of processed pasta recipes. It turns out that the Boiardis were terrific cooks, and had their own restaurant and everything before they became the King of the Canned Pasta. The book is written by the grandniece of Hector Boiardi, who was one of three brothers that made their way in the restaurant biz. They were quite accomplished chefs and got into the canned sauce business because people kept asking to take the sauce with them.

Since my husband subsisted on this stuff when I first met him (although he’d add melted American cheese on top of it), I had to tell him about this story. He was intrigued enough to ask for it for father’s day and we’ve enjoyed it ever since.

So far, we’ve made the risotto (lots of work but delicious), the spinach frittata (solid, will make again), the broccoli pasta (scrumptious and shockingly easy, 5 ingredients including the salt for the boiling water.) Tonight, Keith wanted the Bucatini Amatriciana. A couple of problems: first, I couldn’t find bucatini, so I had to use spaghetti so of course I used whole wheat. Second, it’s flavored with bacon which Bella and I don’t eat. And third, I had some veggies in the fridge that really needed to go. So, we basically made a vegetable spaghetti sauce. Here’s what we did:

Roughly chop:

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • clove of garlic

Warm up some olive oil (about a T) in a large pot until warm and add the veggies. I started with the onions and garlic, got them soft, then added the rest.

Let that cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring. Then add:

  • 28 ounce can + 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes. (Actually, I did whole, which is what it called for but you just ended up pureeing them so next time, I’ll just do diced. Also, I had a tomato that needed to be used so I tossed that in as well.)
  • Some salt
  • Some red pepper flakes. It called for pepperoncino, but I couldn’t find it whole so I went with just regular old red pepper flakes. Believe it or not, no oregano, no basil.

Simmer that for about half an hour, stirring. Make your pasta, drain, add the sauce and sprinkle on some parmesan and asiago and SERVE. And, if your husband is not a vegetarian, you can make some bacon on the side and let him stir that in. Everyone is happy! So happy, we’ll probably eat it again tomorrow.

Blackberry Peach Crisp

I bought some blackberries from the Happy Berry last Friday, as well as some peaches from Pace Produce, both at the Clemson Farmer’s Market. Normally, the kid scarfs up the blackberries, but these were moving a little slower. She said they were a little sour, so I figured I’d make a crisp out of them.

Now I like crisps more than pies and I realize that’s probably controversial, but I do. There’s more fruit and less crust (and pie crust is really just flour and fat) and plus usually crisps include oatmeal, which I love and it’s good for you. Well, maybe not so much in this form BUT it’s better than pie crust, trust me. So, we made a crisp! And per my twitter friend’s recommendation, I included peaches.

I’ve not been writing so much about food because I don’t really consider myself a real cook in the sense that I’m rarely inventing these dishes. What I do well is read directions and follow them accordingly. But, seemed that I was finding some good dishes and some good ideas, so I figured if I linked to what I was finding, no one would mind much. This recipe came from epicurious.com, which God bless ’em, they have a great little mobile app that pulls a bunch of recipes. Imagine me sitting in my car in the parking lot, with a last minute dinner idea, pouring through the recipes. Their crisp recipe is very much similar to one that I found in Jane Brody’s book that I bought waaaay back in 1988. That book (“Living the High Carbohydrate Way” believe it or not) was actually my very first cookbook that I think I bought myself but I’ll write another time about that in my series of food history memories. That crisp from Jane was with apples, but you could certainly substitute any old fruit you wanted. Or even new fruit. Go wild.

I made it much according to the directions, except I think I had more than 2 cups of blackberries and I used about 2/3 the sugar, for both the topping and the blackberries. The family decided it was still pretty dang tart, so they will eat the leftovers with some vanilla ice cream. Me, I liked the tartiness of the dessert, but those that know me might find that appropriate.

Lebowski Haiku

I’m a goal oriented girl. I’m not one of those knitters that tends to not finish a project. (Well OK there is that one sweater that I should just pull out and cash in.) But, I’m not usually one of those knitters that lets projects languish, a basket full of UFOs (UnFinished Objects.) So … even though the husband’s travel schedule has been much lighter and we’re happy to have him around … it’s been hell on my goal of finishing this sweater. And I’m at that point with the sweater that I really just want to finish it up. Kind of like a run, where you’re more than halfway there? And you know you’re going to finish it, no matter what? That’s where I’m at with this sweater.

It's going to be very very close

Add to the goal of wanting to know if this little ball of gray yarn is going to hold up for 34 more rows and I’m hiding out in the office, knitting while the husband watches movies like Hero. Or goes to bed, perhaps. This is what happened last night when I posted, “Husband in bed, Christine knits the Lebowski sweater …” to which a friend said it wasn’t quite a haiku. I wrote this instead: “Husband is asleep. Christine knits Lebowski sleeve. Will yarn last?” to which I was told “better, keep working on it.”

Sleeve #2, row 68. Another 40 and I start shaping.

Again, I was able to jump into it, with our vastly different viewing habits, and I watched Paper Heart. (Eh, maybe I’m too old and jaded for it. I like awkward humor, but this was just too much for me. I did like the couples telling their stories of love, but otherwise … it just wasn’t quite my cup of tea.) Tonight’s haiku was “I knit again. Husband watches Jet Li flick. Stitch stitch stitch.” Not sure if that’s better or not, but it certainly sums up the evening. I’m worn from stitching in 1×1 rib, but I want, no need, to know if I have enough of this dark gray yarn to finish this up.

Fortunately, I’ll know in another 38 rows. Keep your fingers crossed for me.