Bluebird Down

The pursuit of domestic bliss, one glorious debacle at a time.

What Came First, the Apple or the Burpee? June 17, 2013

I’m soaking my fruit in vinegar. Have you seen this on Pinterest? I’m giving it a try since I spent a third of my grocery bill on blueberries, cherries and peaches. I tried a cherry mid-soak to make sure it wasn’t going to turn out like some bastardized version of vodka soaked fruit. It wasn’t. The vinegar rinsed right off. (Which is weird, right?)

So I bought the cherries and bypassed the chocolate chip cookies because it’s time to get my eating on track. My meal plans have to transition to timely visits to the grocery then to actual meals made in the kitchen. Tricky how it all depends on the other.

And it’s time to get my eating on track because I’m spending a lot of my time in the gym… and something isn’t clicking. I can hold a plank like a beast. I can do a decent squat. I can savasana with the best. And, yet, my curves roll on.

Here’s the summer training schedule:
Monday: Train with Kristin (personal trainer), Yoga with Kate
Tuesday: HEAT (a functional fitness training class – lots of planks, burpees, jacking jacks, that sort of thing), Cycling
Wednesday: Train with Kristen, Yoga with Kelli, Couch to 10K with Running Club (Wednesday are going to be tough!)
Thursday: HEAT, Cycling
Friday: Couch to 10K
Saturday: Cycling, Yoga with Katherine
Sunday: Yoga with Kimber, Couch to 10K with Running Club

When I was little, Richard Simmons had a TV exercise show. I distinctly remember Richard saying, “It’s OK to eat a candy bar sometimes. You just have to work off an extra 200 calories that day.” (Apparently candy bars were only 200 calories in the 1970’s.) I’d say that was true when I was 20 years old. It’s not so true now. And I bet Richard Simmons knows it.

Kristin posted on Facebook today, “You can’t out train your fork.” Which means run as far as you want, lift as many weights as you want, but you aren’t going to get fit unless your eating gets right. Dang it.

 

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It’s a good thing I love to eat healthy as much as I love to eat chocolate chip cookies. Last night I had a genuine healthy meal victory: balsamic pork tenderloin and sauteed kale with tomato and avocado salad. You should try it. It was delicious.

Hey, and guess what, I’m running the Rock n Roll Half Marathon next April. So you’ll hear a lot about training this summer. You’ll hear a lot about food. And, in between, life will still go on, so you’ll probably hear a few stories about severed limb near-misses during the bathroom and back yard renovations. Hooray!

 

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Post 2 of 68
Days Until Half Marathon: 300

 

Breakin’ the Law: Pinterest Style June 24, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food,Recipes — Teri @ 10:14 pm

I’m a ripper. A magazine ripper. I rip out recipes and gardening tips and pictures of Julia Roberts so I can copy her eye makeup one day when I actually wear eye makeup. But mostly I rip out recipes. The result is an unwieldy tattered mess in a pile on the bookshelf.

One of my first summer projects was to turn all of the collected pages into a cookbook. I figured it would take me an afternoon and the better part of an evening to finish. I just finished a few minutes ago, having started last Monday. Factor out moments of extreme ADD and you still have a project that took 18 hours over six days to complete.

Best.damn.cookbook.ever.

This isn’t the first time I’ve compiled recipes into my own cookbook. My first version is a forest green photo album where I peeled away the protective plastic to stick recipes to the pages. The book must be 20 years old at least. I doubt I’ve used it 20 times in those 20 years.

This time the book was made with the user in mind. This time the pages are sheet protectors that can be removed one at a time. This time there is only one recipe per page. This time everything is held in two 2” binders with tabs. This time no recipe was allowed that required any type of crust to be created from scratch. Let’s not kid ourselves.

 

Functional, not fancy. Might stand a chance.

 

I was so impressed with my organizational skills, I figured why stop with the mess on my bookshelf? Let’s tackle my Pinterest boards too! My food category, Num Num was split into Num Num: Desserts!, Num Num: Eat Your Veggies!, Num Num: Party Starters and Num Num: Thirst Quenchers (which is really just where I hide all of the alcohol drenched fruit). I was ready to break things down even further when Pinterest put the kibosh on my pinning practices for excessive repinning.

Now I could understand their apprehension if I were creating boards titled In the Kitchen: Poisons or Gifts: Holiday Mail Bombs, but I can promise you I was not. I was simply subdividing my chaotic food board. No need to go all Patriot Act on me.

 

Scene of the Crime

 

I really don’t think this is what George W. intended. I should appeal to him directly to get my pinning privileges reinstated. He would agree with me that the summer salsa with its corn and black beans would be a fine appetizer for a cookout (he’ll call it a barbeque though). And meatloaf made in a muffin pan? Shut the front door. He’d make a phone call and I’m free to pin again. Then he’ll whisper to the Secret Service agent to save him one of those cupcakes that look like a watermelon. The seeds are really chocolate chips, he would say with delight!

And that’s how you get a presidential pardon, y’all.

 

March Eats March 4, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food — Teri @ 7:32 pm

I hate to keep beating up on February, but included on it’s list of offenses was lazy, indulgent eating practices. We practically ate out every night — which fattens your waistline and makes your wallet skinny. Not the effect I’m going for in March. Most recipes are from the March 2012 edition of Cooking Light, unless otherwise noted. And I’m very excited to put my hours on Pinterest to good use this month — those are the links toward the end of the month. I had to weed through a lot of martini recipes, so enjoy!

 

 

Considering eating shamrocks this month for extra luck.

 

 

March 5 — Potato, Mushroom & Leek Croquettes with sauteed spinach
March 6 — Chicken & Sausage Stew
March 7 — Crispy Herbed Sprimp with asparagus
March 8 — Grilled Sirloin with Broccoli Rabe
March 9 — Cheesy Pigs in Blankets
March 10 — Cheesy Pasta Bake
March 11 — All American Meat Loaf with Potato & Root Vegetable Mashers and broccoli

March 12 — Dinner out for Z’s birthday
March 13 — Hamburgers with Creamy Potato Salad
March 14 — Tempeh and Broccolini Stirfry
March 15 — Tarragon Chicken Salad with salad greens and biscuits while wearing a toga [Southern Living, March 2012]
March 16 — Roadtrippin’ with P to see the Penguins play the NJ Devils
March 17 — Saint Patrick’s Day in NYC [Squee!!!!]
March 18 — Bloody Marys. Lots and lots of Bloody Marys.

March 19 — Mushroom & Manchego Panini
March 20 — Cheesy Brown Rice Gratin with Zucchini & Eggplant
March 21 — Cheesesteak with Oven Fries
March 22 — Chicken Risotto with Spring Vegetables [Southern Living, March 2012]
March 23 — Baked Chicken Nuggets
March 24 — Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili
March 25 — Spinach & Artichoke Baked Pasta

March 26 — Steak House Mac & Cheese with salad
March 27 — Smoky Chicken Panini [Southern Living, March 2012]
March 28 — Kale, Sausage & Lentil Skillet
March 29 — Chicken & Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce with Baked Rice and Peas
March 30 — Pan-seared Scallops with spinach
March 31 — Chicken, Avocado & Bacon Quesadillas
April 1 — Spinach Lasagna Rolls

 

Feeding Time January 4, 2012

Filed under: 30 Day Challenge,Cooking,Food — Teri @ 6:54 pm

Oh my. It’s only Day 3 and I’m already starting to lose interest in my photo food journal. The first problem is that I have the attention span of a mouse on speed. The second problem is that my food is boring — at least in two out of three cases. I sense a challenge within a challenge coming. I gotta shake things up. Spice them up, if you will. But it will have to be next week, because this week’s meals are planned and the food is in the fridge. All dinner recipes, by the way, are brought to you by the January/February issue of Cooking Light. Brace yourself for the coming month. There is a lot of chicken and rice at dinnertime.

Today’s damage: I actually logged my food into Weight Watchers tonight. I racked up 37 points. Whoops. That’s 11 over my daily limit. Looks like I’ll need to get creative and cut back. Mercy.

 

Breakfast: Yes, again. Fiber is your friend.

 

Mid-morning snack while talking to a friend about how we want to be runners with a capital R.

 

Leftover from Panera for lunch -- with Miracle Whip Light and pepper added.

 

A tall non-fat hot chocolate with no whip before my afternoon meeting.

 

A before dinner apple.

 

Dinner: Sausage, Spinach & Mushroom Risotto. I think it would be good even without sausage, but Z thought that was crazy talk.

 

Sausage and Spinach Risotto

  • 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
  • 5 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (about 2 links)
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Romano cheese

Preparation

  1. 1. Bring broth and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil); keep warm over low heat.
  2. 2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add salt and mushrooms to pan; cook for 8 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove mushrooms from pan, and set aside.
  3. 3. Add sausage to pan, and cook for 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add shallots and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add rice; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  4. 4. Stir in 1 cup broth mixture; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Remove pan from heat. Add mushrooms and spinach; stir until spinach wilts. Top evenly with cheese. Serve immediately.

Can we talk about feeding the mind for a minute? Work is seriously cutting into my reading time.

 

I've owned this book for about 15 years. Every year I say I'm going to read each of the 365 daily essays. I think one year I made it all the way to January 21. And this year I'm already three days behind.

 

I have very good intentions of reading this book. I've read the same 78 pages about three times now.

 

And what am I ditching all of the self help reading for? Scandal! Chapter 9 of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

 

Thoughts or suggestions on anything I’m disgusting in my belly or my head?

 

Second Verse Same As The First January 2, 2012

Filed under: 5K,Cooking,Exercise Follies,Food,Recipes,Training Log — Teri @ 7:01 pm

Ah, it’s a new year with new possibilities and new hopes and new resolutions. I’m a resolution maker. I’m so fond of making and breaking them that I even make them on my birthday and relatively minor life events, like going back to school after summer break. It’s the Six Million Dollar Man complex.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.

It could happen — even by way of my oft-repeated, super generic Eat Less/Move More resolution. [When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you learn to just make one master resolution.] I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not greeting this resolution with much enthusiasm and it’s because of one horrific realization I had today. I haven’t exercised with any consistency since Thanksgiving. That’s November 24, 2011 and that was almost SIX WEEKS AGO. Holy crikey. Sure, there was an occasional weekend run, but there is only so much lipstick we can put on that pig. And speaking of pigs, if I could have dipped bacon in chocolate and eaten it over Christmas break, I totally would have.

So here’s the deal: I’m doing a photo food journal, as suggested by Amanda at Run to the Finish. It’s a 30 Day Challenge. I like the idea of just snapping a photo with my iPhone and getting on with the eating. And you just can’t embellish the details when there is photographic evidence. That was a carrot! No, it was a Cheeto. {Is there actually a singular form for Cheetos?} Posting the food journal will keep me accountable. I was tweeting today’s photos, but that seemed like overkill to tweet every time I ate something. So I’ll do a daily summary blog. That means I’m blogging every day for January, whether you would like to know what I’m eating or not. I’ll try to come up with something clever to say on occasion.

 

Breakfast: Oatmeal that tasted way better than it looked.

 

Mid-morning Snack: 15 Almonds

 

Lunch: Dried Apricots, Carrots and a Peanut Butter Sandwich

 

Dinner: Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole

 

Observations: I got a little nutty with the nuts. There’s nothing wrong with nuts. I just need to space’em out. The most notable observation is that I was starving by 2:00 pm. Which reminds me, I ate six olives and six almonds pre-workout [not pictured]. Nutty with the nuts, I tell ya. I was lethargic today, but I think that had more to do with the gluttony of the past two weeks rather than what I did today. And I had freaky dreams last night that there is a secret passage way into my bedroom and people entered at their own will. Keep your Freudian analysis to yourself, please.

Oh yeah, and Move More, almost forgot the second half of the master resolution. The schedule is simple:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday – Morning workout to a DVD {probably freakin’ Jillian Michaels} and then an afternoon three mile walk/run combo [hopefully leaning heavier on the run].

Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – Afternoon Bodypump class followed by cycling.

Sunday is a rest day.

I’d like to fit in yoga three times a week, but I’m not sure when. I know you are going to tell me Tuesday and Thursday morning, but I’m not willing to commit to 5 a.m. wake-up calls five days a week yet.

So here’s to being better, stronger, faster, my friends. May 2012 treat you well.

 

Fillin’ the Belly August 28, 2011

Filed under: College Football,Cooking,Food,NFL,NHL,Penguins,Recipes — Teri @ 10:47 pm

I’ve gotten into a pattern of over-analyzing everything. It took me forever to write out our September menus. Our formula is pretty simple: one night of vegetarian, one night of red meat, one night of salmon. The rest usually turns out to be chicken. I was hoping to up the number of vegetarian meals this month, but instead I doubled up on red meat some weeks. That’s what happens when you over-analyze — often times, you move in reverse. Speaking of red meat, I made Slow Cooker Barbeque Beef Sandwiches from Southern Living tonight. Z ate four sandwiches with baked barbeque potato chips and cole slaw. The recipe is a keeper.

  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) eye-of-round roast, cut in half vertically [I used a 2 and a 1/2 pounder from Carolina Grown of grass fed beef.]
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 (10-ounce) can condensed beef broth
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons steak sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 Kaiser rolls or sandwich buns [I used whole wheat hamburger buns.]
  • Dill pickle slices [Omitted. Z hates pickles.]

Preparation

  • Sprinkle beef evenly with 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Stir together remaining 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, and next 7 ingredients. Pour half of mixture into a 5 1/2-quart slow cooker. Place beef in slow cooker, and pour remaining mixture over beef.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH 7 hours.
  • Shred beef in slow cooker with two forks. Serve in rolls or buns with dill pickle slices.

 

That steely eyed bluebird is on the hunt for leaves and sticks and berries for her fabulous vegetarian meal.

 

Here’s what we’re having for the next 28 days. [I still haven’t gotten a proper calendar.] Maybe I’ll do better at sharing recipes this month.

August 29 – Salmon, spinach and rice
August 30 – Veggie Sausage & Egg Burritos
August 31 – Stovetop Chicken Pie
September 1 – Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Balsamic Reduction
September 2 – Beef & Mushroom Sloppy Joes
September 3 – Out for Family Birthday Dinners
September 4 – Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo with Asparagus
September 5 – Grilled Bison Burgers with French Fries
September 6 – Salmon, Broccoli, Couscous
September 7 – Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
September 8 – Chili with Guacamole and Chips [NFL Season Opener]
September 9 – Eat Out [Hopefully the new Mellow Mushroom!]
September 10 – Grilled Chicken Wraps
September 11 – Linguine with Two Cheese Sauce
September 12 – Mexicali Meatless Tostadas
September 13 – Creamy Chicken Salad
September 14 – Salmon, Asparagus and Rice
September 15 – Grilled Flank Steak with Onion, Avocado and Tomato
September 16 – Pizza and Beer at the Midnight Madness 5K
September 17 – Chicken and Black Bean Stuffed Burritos
September 18 – Spaghetti
September 19 – Wild Mushroom Stroganoff
September 20 – Chipotle Rubbed Flank Steak
September 21 – Chicken & Bacon Roll-ups
September 22 – Salmon, Brussel Sprouts, Red Potatoes
September 23 – Chicken Strips with Blue Cheese Dressing
September 24 – Chicken Tostadas & Avocado Dressing
September 25 – Lasagna

Should Just Give Up Reading: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Training Log: I used Hurricane Irene as an excuse to sleep a lot this weekend.

Days Until: College Football: 6; NFL: 11; NHL: 46

 

June Cleaver Is a Body Snatcher August 3, 2011

Filed under: Cooking,Currently Reading,Food,Recipes,Training Log — Teri @ 8:34 pm

Apparently I have died and been reincarnated as June Cleaver. Yesterday [or maybe it was Monday, hard to keep track when you aren’t in your right mind] I organized and cleaned our home office. The office was bad, like piles of paperwork falling over and sliding off the desk bad. I even washed the sheets, cover and pillow cases for the day bed [or the cat bed, depending on which creature in this house you ask]. The day before that [whichever day it was] I mapped out my entire training schedule until Winter Break. And I just now finished planning our supper menu for the rest of August — and made grocery lists for each week. I know. Stop giving me that look. It’s just the pre-school year jitters manifesting as nesting. It will pass by October — most likely mid-September.

So here is what we are eating in August. Maybe I’ll be a pal and post the recipes each night. I hope you like chicken. Thanks to my weight struggles and Z’s cholesterol issues, red meat has been limited to once a week. Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon has been added once a week. And we celebrate Meatless Monday in this house. [OK, I celebrate, Z grieves. But if you squint when you look at him, he seems really happy.]

 

I suppose if I were using a monthly planner rather than a weekly planner I wouldn't be disappointed there are only 28 blocks.

 

August Supper Menus
Thursday, August 4 – Eggplant Parmesan [I know, it’s too hot outside. I’ll sit on the floor beside the AC vent as I eat.]
Friday, August 5 – Chicken Enchiladas
Saturday, August 6 – Salmon
Sunday, August 7 – Easy Chicken & Dumplings
[Vacation break.]
Friday, August 12 – Hamburgers
Saturday, August 13 – Shrimp & Grits
Sunday, August 14 – Chicken & Bow Tie Pasta
Monday, August 15 – Mexicali Meatless Tostadas
Tuesday, August 16 – Salmon
Wednesday, August 17 – Baked Chicken & Rice w/ Black Beans
Thursday, August 18 – Balsamic Pork Chops
Friday, August 19 – Homemade Pizza
Saturday, August 20 – Grilled Steak
Sunday, August 21 – Stovetop Chicken Pie
Monday, August 22 – Black Bean Chili
Tuesday, August 23 – Buttermilk Baked Chicken
Wednesday, August 24 – Salmon
Thursday, August 25 – Oven Chicken Risotto
Friday, August 26 – Meatball Subs
Saturday, August 27 – Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Sunday, August 28 – Chicken Cobbler Casserole
[Monday, August 29 – Wednesday, August 31 – TBD because I ran out of blocks on my Post-it Planner Pad.]

As demented as this seems, it does serve a greater purpose. I’m doing my best to buy in-season, local foods. I have a tendency to be hit-and-miss and just buy food without any inkling how I’m going to prepare it. Now I can work from a recipe first. Chicken or the egg, people. Chicken or the egg.

Started Reading After Finishing On Writing by Stephen King: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Training Log: Didn’t get back to it today and Z is giving me the guilt treatment. Just so you know, I’ll be at cycling at 8:30 and strength training at 9:30 tomorrow. Really, I will.