Wednesday, February 29, 2012

current addictions

This was originally posted here. For those of you who don't know, my dear friend Fritzie and I have a co-authored blog called Academic Kitchen. Stop by and check us out sometime:)

For this post, I want to share a few things that I'm totally addicted to. First off, I'm currently addicted to listening to the Paleo Summit, that's going on from now til March 4th. It's a series of radio interviews with varios experts in Paleo lifestyles. Each day, there is a different set of audio interviews that are posted. These interviews are available for only twenty-four hours. When the summit is done, the interviews and transcripts will be available for sale. I'm loving the plethora of information because the organizer has set up a diverse set of speakers, some who contradict each other. If you have the time, check it out!

As I probably mentioned before (maybe not), I'm currently addicted to Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Admittedly, I own quite a few paleo cookbooks, but this is the one that I use ALL THE TIME.

There are several reasons why I love Well Fed so much. First, there's a ton of variety. I'm never bored with the recipes she has because with most recipes, she lists ways to vary the it so that you can potentially make two to four different dishes using the same components. Second, it's a true paleo cookbook. While I'm not super strict, I like that Joulwan sticks to strict paleo because it shows that paleo cooking can be strict, yet delicious. Third, she introduces some simple, but effective cooking techniques such as brining chicken to make sure it stays moist and emphasizing that chili needs to simmer for two hours to ensure deliciousness. Take it from me, she's TOTALLY RIGHT! Third, her recipes are really easy. Fourth, she has a section where she shows how you can cook/prep for the week, making paleo eating very do-able. (Yes. Treating cooking like a CrossFit WOD definitely helps with making home-cooked meals manageable and efficient!) Fifth, she has a cooking style that I can relate to. I'm someone who isn't really good at following strict recipes. This is because I don't usually trust recipes. I take for granted that most cooks won't share their secrets. Therefore, cooking is about 10% recipe and 90% instinct and soul. Luckily, Joulwan's directions are great! But they also give you room to experiment. She provides the base ideas and you, the budding paleo cook can run wild. Pretty awesome!

Finally, the reason why I'm addicted to Well Fed is because it introduced me to my next addiction: Penzeys Spices! OMG!OMG!OMG!HOLYJEEBUS!OMG! For those of you who don't know, Penzeys is a store (and website) that sells spices. That's it. Just spices. Thing is, it sells deliciously fresh and totally inspiring spices! Luckily, there's a Penzeys in Menlo Park. At my last visit, I picked up a few things. Aren't these things just beautiful?

I have to say that shopping at Penzeys has totally inspired my inner chef. First off, it prompted me to re-organize my spice cabinet. Check it out, y'all! Isn't she gorgeous? FYI - I get my spices in various places. As long as there is a Penzeys nearby, I'll always go there first. However, I also shop for spices at Trader Joe's and Cost Plus World Market. Though I have some stuff from Costco, I'm going to stop that because there's no reason for me to have two pounds of cinnamon. Really. There isn't.

I must admit that with my spice rack all revamped, I've been really inspired in the kitchen. Here are a few results of this weekend's cooking adventures. After a conversation with the Manpanion about my eating goals, I told him that I respect his love for carbs and such. Just because I'm trying to be better at a paleo/primal diet doesn't mean he has to suffer. However, I do want to know that I'm feeding him well. (Yes. I pack him lunch everyday. I'm awesome like that.) I explained that he would see a few changes in his meals. Primarily, I'm cutting out bread, noodles, and pasta. Instead, I'm packing him potatoes (the colored ones, not the Idaho ones), yams, squash, and other friendly starches. He trusts my cooking senses, but will miss the rice. I cooked these seasoned red potatoes to pair with the pot of chili I made.

I swear this next dish tastes better than the photo looks. I wanted to make a creamy Italian-inspired dish. I make a mean alfredo, but I wanted to create something that had those sensibilities, but was (mostly) dairy free. Using coconut milk and two different cheese-flavored spices (they have minimal amounts of cheese, so this dish isn't 100% paleo), I created this creamy chicken and vegetable dish. It turned out fantastic! Unfortunately, I don't have an exact recipe. Let me think about this and I'll post the "recipe" of this dish soon.

And there you have it. A few of my current addictions...

Live deliciously!

Friday, February 10, 2012

project: non-slip headbands

Per Gladys's request, here's a photo of me
sporting one of her awesome headbands!
Last November, my gals Lori, Lyn and I ran the Mermaid 10K. After the race, Lori and I purchased the Mermaid Series Sweaty Band, a headband that is partially lined with velvet to stay in place during rigorous workouts. I've read about them for a while and when I saw that they were selling at the race, I figured I'd treat myself to one as a victory gift.

Believe the hype. They are a GREAT product! They're cute and available in every design and color known to human kind. More importantly, they definitely stay in place during high intensity workouts. So what's the catch?

Unfortunately, I have a HUGE head (to house my insanely large, magnificent brain). While I love the headband I bought, it does slip and is a bit tight (even after it's been stretched out). Though they're worth the money, I still think $15-$18 is a bit steep for ribbon, velvet, and elastic. With that, I did a search for DIY Sweaty Bands and found this site. I then emailed my dear friend Gladys, who has been taking up sewing and asked her if she would be able to sew these bands for me. When she agreed, I started inspecting my band, trying to figure out what measurements and materials I needed. (Standard Sweaty Bands come in about 20" and I need something that's about 21" or so.) I then looked online for some ribbon and velvet and found the EXACT same ribbon as what's sold through Sweaty Bands! In case you want to make your own headbands, I suggest buying ribbon here and here.

Anyway... as stolen from Gladys's post, here is the finished product! I just received the bands today and I'm wearing one right now as we speak. They fit perfectly and I can't wait for the elastic to settle in. Also, I suggest you visit Gladys's post to get a solid sense of how to make the headbands yourself.

BUT WAIT! For those of you who aren't the crafty types but don't want to pay the high price for Sweaty Bands, then please check out BIC Bands and Chick Bands. If you email the makers directly, they can custom size your bands for you (wa-hoo!). BIC Bands are based in LA and her products run about $10 or so. The great thing is, a portion of the sales go to a different charity every month. Yea! Chick Bands, which operates out of Maryland and available through etsy, runs a little cheaper at about $8 or so. Shipping is inexpensive on both sites.

Happy shopping!

Monday, February 06, 2012

aaaaand she's back!

This was taken during my last race of 2011.
I ran the Mermain 10K in SF with Lori and
Lyn. It wasn't my best race, but as always, I'm
glad I did it. I'm still trying to figure out my
running schedule for 2012. I'll let you know
details as soon as I decide!
Hello all!

I know. It's been a LONG time! Yes. I've missed you too. A lot has happened since my last entry. The long and short of it is this:

1) I moved to South San Francisco.
2) I no longer CrossFit, which means...
3) I'm now at your standard globo gym. fathlete confession: It's not as bad as you think. At the end of the day, exercise is exercise. While I miss CrossFit, there are certainly things about it that I can do without. I'm enjoying the break. When the day comes that I go back to CrossFit, I know the road won't be easy. Right now, I need the break. I need to re-set and re-evaluate.
4) I'm still working on moving forward and moving on. It's a scary road. But I'm ready roll. Full throttle. BRING IT!

When I clicked on the "new post" button, I meant to explain the changes in my life and why CrossFit and I are on a "break." However, I just don't feel like getting into the details right now. Instead, I think I'm just going to keep it simple. This is still a blog where I record my random musings about health and all that good stuff. I promise I'll try to keep things interesting. For now, I just want to say hello and I've missed you.

By the way, a dear friend of mine and I started a new blog called Academic Kitchen. It's a food blog! I use it to connect stories about food and memory. It's where Fritzie and I share various food adventures including what we're eating, what we're cooking, and who we're doing this with. I'll share more about why we started this new blog in another entry. For now, feel free to visit, comment, and simply enjoy the place "where nerds cook up a storm."

Today's Small Victories
You're reading it. Yay.

Today's Workout
I took a break this morning. I woke up at 5:30am, dressed up and was headed out the door. But something just didn't feel right. My body didn't feel right. I headed back to the apartment and my stomach started to ache really bad. This, to me, was a sign that I needed to stay in. I shall hit the globo gym tomorrow morning. Yay.