Musings from a Seattle personal chef
Archive for December, 2006
Ever since our Thanksgiving in Whistler my darling has been jonesing for ski time. An avid skier since he was a toddler, he revels in pirouetting down the slopes — the steeper the better. But lest you think him a ski prima donna, he skis on the oldest, crappiest equipment he can find (although he did have to replace his $3 yard sale Caper boots he bought in 1987 as they finally bit the dust, er, snow, in Whistler. He’s still debating whether to replace his 20+ year-old Spalding skis. Yes, Spalding. You know, the manufacturer of basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls and volleyballs).
While I’m quick to wrangle him for a run — the longer the better — when it comes to skiing I’m a wuss. I learned to ski late in life, so I never developed a true love for the sport. Besides, the last time I was at Whistler I was dragged off the mountain with a broken ankle (sliding head-first down the slopes on a ski patrol sled is not an experience I care to revisit). Broken limbs = loss of income; NOT a good way to start off the New Year.
I know what you’re thinking — she ate herself into a cinnamon roll stupor and her brain is too sugar-addled to blog. Well, I’m happy to say the cinnamon rolls are still snuggled away in my freezer, but given this past weekend’s cookie fest, I feel like I have sugar coursing through my veins.
With a nod toward my darling’s favorite spaghetti western, here’s the week in review:
The Ugly: a routine trip to the mailbox sent my dad to the hospital with a broken ankle, forcing him and my mom to cancel their trip to Seattle for Christmas. He’s recuperating in a nursing home, but it could be weeks — if not months — before he can come home (they have to wait until he can put weight on his foot). Note to the city workers of Waterville, Maine: when you see an elderly gentleman signaling to you from the ground in windy, cold & rainy weather, you might stop to see if he needs help. Simply waving back to him and driving on could REALLY exacerbate the problem (it took him 40 minutes to hobble back inside; by then his ankle was at a 90-degree angle).
The Bad: my mom — another fabulous cook — is having a hard time cooking just for one. She’s also forced to deal with a lot of tasks that my dad once handled.
The Good: she’s finding the strength and courage she never thought she had to tackle these challenges.
Ummm, well, here’s the scoop — it’s not my fault.
You see, if the Neighborhood Cafe hadn’t run out of cinnamon rolls, then these tasty marvels never would have come to fruition.
My darling and I had just run Discovery Park and were hungry for some treed (it’s a Moroccan dish with roasted veggies, lentils and grilled flatbread that is just to DIE for). Because we had just been on a run we thought we would also treat ourselves to one of the cafe’s delectable cinnamon rolls. But no, they were out. Of course, by now both my darling and I had cinnamon rolls on the brain, and once that happens there’s no way to stop it until we get our fix.
(I know what you’re all saying — “Didn’t you JUST blog about wanting to lose some weight? Didn’t you JUST say you were going to make better choices?” Well, all I have to say is, “LA LA LA LA, I DON’T HEAR YOU, LA LA LA LA).
I think I’ve been sniffing too much eggnog.
My new fitness goal? Get down to 150 pounds by the Mercer Island Half marathon on March 25 (oh wait, perhaps it’s the CONSUMPTION of said eggnog that’s the culprit). At any rate, according to this morning’s scale, that’s just over 12 pounds in 15 weeks. Certainly doable, but given my proclivities for holiday treats (and my utter disdain for dieting), it could be a stretch. So to push myself a bit more I’m posting this in my blog for all the world to see.
Or at least my legion of fans.
All 5 of you.
What I see as my biggest obstacle is the fact that I don’t feel I really NEED to lose more weight. My darling thinks I’m hot, and more importantly, I’m happy where I’m at (heck, I even had the guts to pose in a bathing suit in the Seattle Times this past summer). Sure I still have pockets of flab that I’d love to get rid of (short shorts are verboten on long runs; I’m no masochist — upper thigh chafing does NOT build character). But I know my knees and feet would appreciate 12 fewer pounds pounding down on them.
I admit it — I’ve been a slacker. In the 6 days after the half marathon my fitness routine consisted of three activities: zip, nada and a whole lotta nuttin’.
I know I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. There is such a thing as overtraining and I’m a prime candidate for it. But I also know that if I allow myself to slip a bit, it can turn into a LONG slippery slope. Granted, the weather last week was horrid (on Tuesday I needed chains just to get out of my client’s driveway!), but I was also full of other excuses — it’s too dark, I have to decorate for Christmas, I’m catering a party and need to plan, I have to write a post in my blog, yadda yadda yadda.
Well, the excuses ended yesterday. Because I had taken — in my mind — such a long break, I intended to run twice around Greenlake, or just under 6 1/2 miles. But then I came to my senses. WHY must I do that? WHAT am I trying to prove? I’m not training for any particular race (yet), so why bust my butt?
I realized then I had forgotten the joys of a short, quick run. The kind that gets your heart pumping, but doesn’t force you to collapse on the couch afterwards. In fact, it’s a great ego boost to think that running 3.2 miles is a no-brainer. A year and a half ago that distance would have gotten me red-faced and panting; now it’s just a jaunt.
So for the next 4 weeks I’m going to cut myself a bit of slack. I’ll still exercise (I was back at the gym this morning and will be heading to the pool tomorrow morning), but I’m also going to enjoy the holiday season. Come New Year’s Day my training program for my next caper will commence!
After our run today my darling and I had a hankering for chili. Now I make some really awesome chili, but it takes all day and we wanted chili NOW. I’m sure there are places in Seattle that offer a decent bowl, but I’m not aware of any. Besides, we both had a ton of work to do and didn’t want to waste time going somewhere. So we decided to settle for store-bought.
I had hoped one local market might offer some freshly made (they often have a big pot of cioppino bubbling away), but alas we were out of luck (heck, they didn’t even have cioppino!). So off to the shelves of canned chilis I headed. I immediately spied one brand that looked promising: Pacific Natural Foods’ Beef Steak Chili with Beans. An added bonus — it wasn’t canned, but rather came in a microwaveable pouch. It was, however, much spendier than the canned offerings ($4.99/18-ounce package).
At that point my darling came up with the idea of doing a chili taste test. He first picked an organic brand, but since it was vegetarian we didn’t think it would be a fair comparison. We both love spicy food, so we chose the Campbell’s Chunky Firehouse Chili with Beans.
There’s a company in Bloomington, MN who is developing ammunition that supposedly will season game birds upon contact. Called Season Shot, it will be available in the following flavors: Cajun, teriyaki, honey mustard, garlic and lemon pepper. It’s apparently environmentally safe to boot! Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who hunts or else I’d ask them to try it out.
I’m not much of a pastry chef (none of my creations will win a Betty Crocker award), but I was pleasantly pleased with the Cranberry-Apple pie I made for Thanksgiving.
I tend to favor tart pies, so this didn’t have a ton of sugar. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but I love it (and that’s what matters!!!) Besides, it’s a Rogers family tradition.
(If you’d like to make your own, simply follow your favorite apple pie recipe and add about 1 1/2 cups of cranberries — fresh or frozen — and a bit more sugar).
(And thank you to my darling for downloading an FTP client for me!!!)
Just ran a marathon ba DA da dum
(Or rather a half) ba DA da dum
Ain’t sore in my ankle ba DA da dum
Ain’t sore in my calf ba DA da dum
But I got the BLUUUUESSSS,
Yeah the in-between racinâ€™ blues
Traininâ€™ steady since March ba DA da dum
For race after race ba DA da dum
Now time to recover ba DA da dum
Should slow down the pace ba DA da dum
But I got the BLUUUUESSSS,
Yeah the in-between racinâ€™ blues
Feel I have no purpose ba DA da dum
Feel I have no goal ba DA da dum
See, running sustains me ba DA da dum
It strengthens my soul ba DA da dum
So I got the BLUUUUESSSS,
Those in-between racin’ blues
Need the motivation ba DA da dum
That a race provides ba DA da dum
Couch potato habits ba DA da dum
Will fatten my hide ba DA da dum
Yeah I got the BLUUUUESSSS,
Those in-between racinâ€™ blues
Now itâ€™s Christmas season ba DA da dum
Fear my fitness will stall ba DA da dum
With holiday goodies ba DA da dum
And their cruel siren call ba DA da dum
Thatâ€™s why I got the BLUUUUESSSS,
Yeah the in-between racinâ€™ blues
The weather ainâ€™t helpinâ€™ ba DA da dum
Wind, rain, snow and sleet ba DA da dum
And darkness falls early ba DA da dum
Canâ€™t get no relief ba DA da dum
So Iâ€™ve got the BLUUUUESSSS,
Yeah those in-between racinâ€™ blues
Must look on the bright side ba DA da dum
Just four weeks and then ba DA da dum
My next race is coming ba DA da dum
Iâ€™ll be traininâ€™ again ba DA da dum
But â€˜til then I got BLUUUUESSS,
The in-between racinâ€™ blues
Yeah I got the in-between, weatherâ€™s obscene, gotta stay lean, need a routine, ainâ€™t digginâ€™ this scene, BLUUUUESSS!
I’m unable to post photos right now since I just upgraded to IE 7.0 and can no longer access our FTP server, so until I find a good FTP client, here’s a video of me finishing the Seattle half marathon (I’ll be coming in from the upper right; I’m the one in the 2-toned purple jacket, orange shirt, black pants and kitty-kat wool hat).