Category Archives: Food and Drink

Buckling Down

With the absolutely miserable weather we had in January & February, I really let my gym attendance slide.  It was all I could do to slip and slide to and from work; the last thing I wanted to do was risk extra miles in the ice and snow.  Despite the fact that we have late-season snow forecast again for Wednesday, I have to get back into my habit of hitting the gym 4-5 times a week.

Unfortunately, that’s the easy part. Once I’m in the habit of heading to the gym, continuing to hit the elliptical for 45 minutes a day isn’t that difficult. My downfall is food.  Oh, how I love food.  Sweet food, salty food, crunchy food, smooth food.  Mostly carb-y food.  Mmmm, carbs.  Unfortunately, I think my pre-Diabetes is rearing its ugly, ickyness-inducing head so I need to lock down.

I need to get back to seriously monitoring my portion size, easing off on sweets and increasing veggie intake.  I’ll never be able to go full paleo, but I need to try to make smarter decisions.  This will require getting HRG (Her Royal Grandma) on board, since she’s the one who is preparing more of the meals now that I’m working.  As she’s nearing 90, making sure that she eats and keeps weight on is more important than me taking pounds off, but I have to find a happy medium.

I was thinking of trying to persuade her to do a Meatless Monday sort of thing or something similar. Does anyone have any vegetarian or veggie-dominant meals they’d recommend?

ImageAin’t nothin’ gonna break my stride…

With Karen’s wedding in less than three weeks, I’m not even pretending that there will be any sort of notable weight loss between now and then. However, there’s a camping trip three months from now that I can use as a marker.  So, putting it in print here and now – 15 lbs by the second Friday in June – Friday the 13th.  Aaaaaaaaaand, go!

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Cornelius made me do it

I spent the weekend in Ohio’s fair capital city.  Despite the fact that Pi Day isn’t officially until next Friday, I signed up for the 5K almost entirely because I wanted the medal. My friend Eric was awesome enough to let me crash at his place so I wouldn’t have to get up at o’dark-thirty to make the drive in time.

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I picked up my BF, Janet, at 8ish Saturday morning and we headed to the park.  It was a little chilly when we started out, but once we were moving, it felt good outside.  We met our goal of finishing under an hour and I think Jan had a good time, when all was said and done.  Of course, I couldn’t resist having my medal engraved…

R*cist

R*cist

After running home and cleaning up, I crashed a mini-class of ’88 reunion for lunch.  It was great catching up with Jen, Janet & Robin.  I’ll have to head back east next month and try to catch up with even more people I haven’t seen in an age.

By now I’d pretty much decided I wasn’t going to head back to Dayton until the following morning, so I decided to check out the Brewery District.  Bellied up to the bar at Columbus Brewing Company and ordered a flight.

ImageUnfortunately it was WAY heavy on IPAs.  I just…blech, not a fan.  I’m always a fan of wheat beers, even the raspberry ones and (1) Jackie O’s Razz Wheat didn’t disappoint.  (2) CBC Pale Ale was okay, but starting to tilt towards that IPA flavor that I’m not a fan of.  The (3) Weasel Boy Plaid Ferret was a tasty caramel-chocolaty change, but then we ramped into IPA-ville.  The (4) CBC IPA and (5) Head Hunter IPA were as meh as I expected.  CBC’s Nightstick IPA was better.  Maybe I like the black IPAs better because there’s more other flavors burying the hop-fest.  Last but not least, the CBC Sohio Stout which I really liked.  I got a bonus taste of the Ryborg Farmhouse Ale, which I would put somewhere between the CBC Pale and one of the IPAs.  Wouldn’t turn it down, but doubt I’d go out of my way to hunt it down.

As happens when you spend all afternoon sampling beer, I ended up chatting with people at the bar.  By far, my favorite partner in crime was the semi-driver, Cornelius.  Tales from his truck-driving days & his brief period of teaching middle school in Florida made the afternoon (and the dreaded IPAs) fly by.  Unfortunately, Cornelius also tried to turn me into a scotch convert and got me a double of Dewar’s.  I sipped some of it, but I honestly wasn’t able to finish the whole thing, not if I wanted to have any chance to drive back north.

My second 5K of the year is in the books.  Next up, the Flying Pig Tri-State Running Company 5K in Cincinnati in early May.

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One Beer at a Time

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more in 2014.  I have to figure out my theme and my voice and what I want to say and how I want to say it but for now, I’m just going to tell you about my day.

My friend, Eric, is having a New Year’s Day shindig.  He’s a bit of a craft beer guy, so I decided to check out a local brewery to see if they had any beers worthy of grabbing a growler-ful.  I fired up the old GPS and headed off to Kettering to find the Eudora Brewing Company.

flight

In general, I just like beer, so I’m trying to be more mindful of what I’m drinking and what I like and don’t like.  Fact: I don’t like pale ales or IPAs.  They’re just too hoppy for me.  The bartender was kind enough to give me a taste of the Boomerang IPA – didn’t do a thing to change my mind about IPAs so I didn’t bother including it in my flight.  From the top: Sundowner Blonde Ale, The Bee’s Knees American Pale Ale, Thunderball Stout and their seasonal Chocolate Milk Porter.  I probably preferred the Sundowner and Thunderball out of the five I tasted.  The Bee’s Knees was a smidge hoppy for me and the porter just tasted a little off.  They were out of the Mother-Fuggle Brown Ale, but the bartender seemed to think I would’ve liked it.

As usual, I felt a little lame venturing out on my own.  I had my usual bag of tricks – knitting, e-reader, crossword puzzle –  but for a while I was the only person at the bar, so I watched football and chitchatted with the bartender.  There are several other breweries in the area – Dayton Beer Company, Toxic Brew Company, Yellow Springs Brewery – so maybe I’ll try to hit up one every couple of months and check them out.

 

 

Just Peachy

peachesWe had some peaches on the verge of going soft so I decided it was time to bake.  After bringing my Google-Fu powers to bear, I came across Tésa’s Best Peach Crisp Recipe Ever recipe.  As I am powerless to resist hyperbole, I knew this was going to be the winner.

crisp ingredients

crisp1

crisp2This is the first crisp recipe I’ve seen where you pack the crumble into the bottom of the baking dish, add the fruit, then top with the remaining crisp.  This particular recipe also called for a syrupy mixture to be added on top of the fruit.  Overall, I enjoyed this crisp, but found it to be a little too sweet for my taste.  If I make it again, I’ll likely dial back on the syrup and maybe bump up the fruit.  I didn’t get a lot of the peachy taste that I was really looking for.

crisp3That doesn’t mean I won’t inhale the rest of this.

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When Life Hands You Lemons

Today was full of fail. Jimmie got a flat with two laps to go at Michigan, dinner was a stir fry catastrophe. Even my baking gene abandoned me!

I tried a new banana bread recipe today. Let me state for the record that there is NOTHING wrong with the recipe, only the baker. I tested the bread, toothpick came out clean so I set it on the counter to cool. Ten, fifteen minutes later, I went back and released it from the loaf pan so it could cool the rest of the way on a rack. It wasn’t until I lifted it free of the pan that I noticed it felt a little dense. Moist. Like it was still gooey inside. An additional toothpick test proved me right.

So, twenty minutes after it came out of the oven, it went back in. I baked it another 20 minutes or so, let it cool briefly, then drowned it in vanilla ice cream, Cool Whip and chocolate syrup. That’ll show it who’s boss!

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Baby Steps

After visiting the Dayton Recreation Center this afternoon, I think I’ve decided that this is the facility I want to get a pass to.  I’m mostly an elliptical girl – though I have the vaguest notion of trying to run again – and I really like the equipment at this facility.  There seem to be enough machines and it’s only about a 10-12 minute drive from the house.  Now I just need to bite the bullet and go for it.

I’ve been taking baby steps towards eating better, too.  I’m still helpless in the face of homemade cookies (note: look for healthier sweets recipes), but I’m making a concerted effort to eat more vegetables and back down my portion sizes.  I also dug out my old info for my SparkPeople account.  Oh, food tracking – how I haven’t missed you even the teensiest bit.

dinnerOkay, not the healthiest salad ever, but it was tasty and probably contains twice the number of vegetables I consumed in the previous week’s dinners combined.  Note: I can’t be held responsible for the iceberg; that’s HRG’s lettuce of choice.

I also whipped up a batch of bug deterrent.  As I mentioned, I noticed some of my tomato leaves were looking a little munched upon so I consulted my dear friend, the Internet, and eHow recommended this concoction to deter critters.

repelIt looks kinda like…yeah, I don’t know what it looks like.  Garlic, cayenne, liquid detergent, vegetable oil and water – I hope it does the trick!

Garden Pest

That would be me.

After spending eight hours pulling weeds and cultivating and re-planting over the last couple of days, the Garden of Weedin’ has been at the forefront of my mind lately.  I promise to invent other things to blog about in the coming days.

done-ishThere are still a few weeds and a lot of grass scattered, but I just couldn’t spend another five hours crawling in the dirt today.  The fact that I walked away from the television during a NASCAR race – WHILE JIMMIE WAS LEADING – in order to go garden is mind-boggling enough as it is.

There has been baking.  I finally got around to fixing another loaf of Strawberry-Cream Cheese bread and whipped up a batch of chocolate chip & pecan cookies.

creamAs much as I DESPERATELY want a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, something about mixing up chocolate chip cookie dough makes me nostalgic.  Creaming butter and sugar to me means a big metal bowl, a sturdy wooden spoon and elbow grease.  My father and I always voted thumbs down on adding walnuts to our chocolate chip cookies, calling ourselves purists.  Of course, once we wolfed down our 75% of the plain cookies, we would delve into her stash of nutty ones.  This batch of cookies ended up being a combination of milk and semisweet chocolate chips, as well as adding chopped pecans.  Hooray for using what’s on hand!  This cookie base – taken from Julie’s Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe – may become my go-to.  I love the texture with the cake flour and cornstarch, plus they stay soft forever!

Split Decision

I was hoping to get to the garden this morning before the skies opened up, but I didn’t quite make it.  The drizzle started early and turned into a soaking rain that lasted all day.  Good for the garden, but I would’ve liked to have gotten the rest of it replanted before the rain kicked in.  Oh well, I’ll go check it out tomorrow and see what’s what.

So, since I was trapped inside all day, I ended up in the kitchen.  I meant to bake another loaf of Strawberry-Cream Cheese Bread, but ended up prepping dinner instead.  I still had some Fage Greek Yogurt left from my BzzAgent freebie, so I decided to try something savory as opposed to something sweet.

I’d had Life of Meg‘s Skinny Greek Yogurt Chicken bookmarked for a month or so and decided it was time to give it a go.  As usual, I substituted boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the breasts called for in the recipe.  I know that breasts are the optimal choice for lighter fare, but I just don’t like them.

ingredients

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Mixed the yogurt and grated cheese together with seasoned salt, pepper & garlic powder and slathered it on the chicken, then baked for 20 minutes (time adjusted for thighs).  I’ll definitely make it again, but I might tweak a couple of things – dial back the pepper a little bit, and I may dredge in breadcrumbs after the yogurt, just for a change in texture.  I suppose the beauty of this recipe base is that you can blend whichever herbs you prefer into the yogurt mixture – Dijon mustard and rosemary also crossed my mind as future additions.

yogurt chixIntroduced HRG to orzo salad tonight.  Once we got past the “No, it’s NOT rice…I promise!” argument, I think she liked it.  The chicken, on the other hand?  Well, she managed to choke it down once she added barbecue sauce.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

* Disclosure: As a BzzAgent, I received a coupon for a free container of Fage Greek Yogurt.  Any opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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Happy Mother’s Day

This is one of those days that just sucks.  There, I said it.  For me, this is a sucky day.

I lost my mother to lung cancer almost 5 years ago and today – along with Christmas – is one of the hardest days for me to struggle through.  My mother and I were never particularly close as I was growing up; our relationship improved dramatically once I moved out.  It’s not as though there were any huge rift between us; we just weren’t storybook close.  I simply don’t know that we ever understood one another.   However, as is so often the case, the older I get, the more pieces of her I see in myself: the craftiness (though I can’t draw worth a lick); addiction to trashy romances; and baking to show my love for others.

Today, I’m baking for HRG.  She’s currently munching on Strawberry-Sour Cream Scones with her coffee; they were awarded the coveted “Very Good” rating. Fortuitously, I just received my Bzzkit* for Fage Greek Yogurt, so I figured this would be a good way to kill two birds.  Since Greek yogurt can be substituted 1-for-1 for sour cream, into the mixing bowl it went!

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fold

patted

sconeThe folding-and-patting of the dough was a little tricky for me.  I have a tendency to take a heavy-handed, how-fast-can-I-get-this-done approach, but I didn’t want to break the berries so I did my best to take my time.  The scones have a wonderful moist texture and a slightly tangy taste.  They’re not quite sweet enough for my taste, but that’s easily fixable.

Since this is the first time I have made this recipe, I cannot compare the flavor and texture of these scones with Greek yogurt versus sour cream.  The only thing I can state with conviction is that they are moist, tart and delicious.

* Disclosure: As a BzzAgent, I received a coupon for a free container of Fage Greek Yogurt.  Any opinions expressed are strictly my own.

The Kitchen Sink

I meant to do this follow up post on the Sticky Lemon Rolls a couple of days ago, but – as usual – time got away from me.

lemonrollsThey were delicious!  I found them to be a smidge on the tart side but they earned three “very good” comments from HRG, so they have her stamp of approval.  If I make them again, I think I’d sweeten up the icing a little – then they’d be perfect!

daily dish breadIt makes my grandmother nuts that I never (or rarely) use the same bread recipe twice.  Emma’s Everyday Bread has gotten some repeat action but that’s one of the rare ones.  Today’s recipe came from the Daily Dish Recipes blog.  Their Favorite Homemade Sandwich bread recipe has a chewy crust with a soft, squishy center.  I’m not sure how it toasts (HRG’s favorite way of eating bread) but I had a turkey sandwich for dinner and it was delish.  This recipe yielded enough dough for two loaves; the second half is in the fridge so there will be more homemade bread later this week, in case someone drops additional not-so-subtle hints.

I swung by this afternoon to rope off my plot and remove some of the larger rocks, and – to my novice eye – it still just doesn’t look plant-able.  I made a couple of phone calls about tiller rental this afternoon (because no one seems to know where my grandfather’s tiller has gotten to), and we are pretty sure the ground needs to be broken up some more.  Hopefully we can reach a decision about it before the end of the week.  We have until the 20th to get seeds in the ground or risk losing our plots.

At least we’re getting rain.

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The Asiatic lilies appreciate it:irises