Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Equals bizarre fun. At present, the outdoor grill isn't working right (and I know myself well enough to stay AWAY from trying to puzzle out gas lines and tanks), but it doesn't matter; the Foreman grill serves the same purpose inside. It inspires in my mind the conversation that begins with, "Well, I went to the trouble to heat this thing up. What else can I chuck onto it?"
Today, it was a hunk of tempeh and a whole sliced zucchini, all splashed with Ponzu sauce, and then I took a "sweet frying pepper" (I love the folks at our farmers' market, so I'll forgive them for not knowing the names of whatever the heck they're selling me), lopped off the top - it looked a little like a poblano, only skinnier - and shoved in some Laughing Cow cheese and some low-sugar strawberry jam I had on hand, then grilled that. It was GOOD.
My whole cooking method has evolved since heading down the "Top That Bowl" hot cereal preparation path. When I make oatmeal (or oat bran, or seven-grain, or whatever other hot cereal I find), I rummage through the fridge and pantry, looking for inspiration...and now I do that with other meals, too. I still love me a good cookbook and a formal recipe, but I don't feel as wedded to them as I used to be. This morning, I was all, "I want an egg! On a sandwich!" which led to digging in the vegetable drawer and hauling out a bunch of stuff that I could saute up to mix with the egg. No plan, just...chemistry, or something.
I just wish my family was grooving on this as much as I am. Well, the husband is, and the older son is *sort* of game, but the four-year-old is just hitting his stride in a "I CAN LIVE ON AIR MOLECULES AND GRAPES!!" stage, so he's raining on my parade. Of course, in this stage, he likely wouldn't eat planned recipes, either. And he has fully embraced the cousin of this strategy, the "Make Your Own Wrap" night I've been declaring in order to wipe out the leftovers inevitably created (especially by the aforementioned "me + grill" times). Mind you, he's just making elaborately cheesed grilled cheeses, occasionally with some deli turkey. Still, no fighting involved!
I have no idea what's for dinner tonight, but it may involve beets. I have a bunch, and they're calling my name. But the kids won't eat 'em, so I better give this some thought...
Friday, June 26, 2009
My eight-year-old son just made a snack, involving layers of yogurt, granola, banana chips, crushed graham, and peanut butter, all in a crystal demitasse (because presentation is everything). He says, and I quote, that he has never tasted anything so delicious in his life.
It's not about any one of those ingredients, or even the simple combination of them. It's about the whole: the process of selecting the flavors, the decisions in how to combine them, and the way the entire dish was pleasing to the eye as well as the mouth. He didn't rush to throw things down to his belly; it was more than just a way to quickly assuage hunger. Because of that, he was able to feel completely satisfied, rather than finding himself wanting more almost immediately.
I've been getting better about that, too. Following the advice of Christine, the Holistic Guru*, we started with one meal a day - breakfast - and we focus on making the food really something to satisfy us. It takes time; we select exactly the items we want, and we chop and prepare them together, shaping our dishes to be what we are craving. I like a good bowl of oatmeal, and it's a rare day that the bowl will have less than three other foods mixed in and on top of the oats. I also love to make the bowl half-sized, and then accompany it with another dish - a bagel, perhaps, with Laughing Cow and preserves, or with almond butter and crushed walnuts. We eat sitting at the dining room table, and we use good dishes; a while back, I decided that I am *worth* a real bowl, and even if I'm eating a hurried, microwaved lunch of leftovers or frozen food, I will not eat it out of a plastic cup or a cardboard box.
Making the dining experience satisfying is a huge key to weight loss, I think. We're designed to seek satisfaction, and if we don't get it from quality, our bodies will seek it with quantity. It does not take so very much longer to chop up some strawberries or sprinkle some sunflower seeds onto a prepackaged salad, or to put the leaves into an attractive bowl.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I came in second in my age group! They'll mail me my medal.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
That...that was warm. I appreciate that other climes are much hotter, but we're used to something a bit more temperate up here, and we train most of the time in cooler temps. Mid-seventies is at least twenty degrees warmer than my favorite running weather, and over the course of the race, the mercury rose up into the eighties, which took a huge toll on all of us.
I went out from the start with other members of the running club - specifically, with the two guys with whom I've been running over the past several weeks. These guys historically have been generally faster than me, but since the marathon, we've been doing our Saturday runs together at a similar (quickish) pace. Well, the three of us made a crucial error from the start: we pushed each other. TOO FAST. We hit our usual pace from weeks past, which was just inappropriate for the conditions; I began to realize that a few miles in, and I said something to one of them. He agreed that we were going too fast, but did we slow down? Not just then, anyway.
Another mistake I made was to trust the race course for fluids. Last year, I wore a fuel belt, and I didn't use it much at all. Of course, last year, it was in the low sixties, overcast, and rainy. I grabbed water from almost every aid station this year, sipping as much as I could, and I think it helped; after the race, I saw plenty of people suffering obvious effects of dehydration, and my hands and feet were swollen despite the sipping.
A few more miles in, and I lost both the guys from the running club. One had been hurting more than the other, and he fell back first; the other man finished a minute behind me, but I didn't see him at all. I pushed as hard as I could, which was probably too much, but my times slipped anyway, and every once in a while I started feeling nauseated and had to force myself to rein it in. The worst part was probably around miles 4 and 5, which was both uphill and directly into the sun and with no shade to temper things.
The end was sort of a haze, with my mini-goals becoming to just get from water table to water table. I saw a few people I knew along the sides of the road, which gave me a little boost; around mile 7, one of the daughters of my church choir director handed me my water. Halfway through mile 8, the ten-mile course runners collided with the people doing the people doing the 4-mile Fun Run/Walk, so the rest of the race involved more weaving, but that wasn't so bad, since the faster-running crowd had thinned out a bit. We were going uphill again, and I was hurting, so it didn't matter to me if I was suddenly having to navigate around stroller-pushing mobs of walkers.
Heading into the finishing chute, I made sure to look at the right clock this year (last year, I glanced at the one for the 4-milers by mistake, and I thought I'd gone a lot faster, since they started after we did), and it confirmed what I knew: I beat my time last year by a good margin. The clock time was 1:21:23, and my Garmin gave me 1:21:10, which is close enough. I staggered coming across the line; thankfully, a friend saw me cross and brought me water. She also helped me find the family; the kids were hot, miserable, and grumpy, and so was my husband. Drank some more water, caught up with other running friends (everybody's times were much slower than they would have liked), and then we headed home. I have no idea how I placed, age-group-wise, and I won't know until they get the results online. (Refresh screen, refresh screen...)
I feel much better now, thankfully, after having drunk a bunch of water and eaten some leftover pasta with cilantro pesto (this is my husband; there aren't many like him, and this one is mine). One of those guys running with me said afterward, "This is why I don't have goal times for Lighthouse." He's right; you can't predict what weather will be like around here at any given time of the year, and it has a huge impact on how a race of this length can go. I got a PR, but unlike last year, when I positively skipped to the car after the race, this year I think I'll be feeling the effects at least through tomorrow. I paid for that time...but it was worth it.
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