Monthly Archives: December 2009

Failed Attempts in the Kitchen

I am not your average fitness blogger.

Tonight, I attempted to do what I see on health & fitness blogs all over America: bake cookies and kabocha squash. The adventure started because I had the luxury of working from home today which gave me some more time to myself. Which led to idle hands.

At 4:30 I took a quick ride to the store, bought massive amounts of supplies for cookies and 1 kabocha squash (total = $85, wtf? no control, mel… no control). I set out to bake the cookies first, and prepared the dough. The plan was to make sandwich cookies: almond sugar cookies sandwiched together with apricot jam, then dipped in chocolate. Stupendous possibilities awaited my stomach.

Mistake number 1: not putting the dough far enough apart on the backing sheet.

After I split them with a knife

I set the cookies on my floor to cool while I got started on cutting up the kabocha squash. Small counter space in a Brooklyn apartment will make you do that. The squash cutting went pretty well, I’ve had some recent practice on butternut squash so I felt pretty competitent. I got down to the last, awkwardly shaped piece that needed to be sliced in half.

The perpetrator is on the right.

Then it happened. Mistake number two: I sliced my finger instead.

I’m the kind of person who can’t look at blood without getting nauseous, so you can imagine my reaction to seeing my finger stabbed with a knife. The cut was very deep. I almost threw up (tmi?). I ran to my cell phone to call 911, but then realized that might be a little over the top, and called my friend instead. She calmly asked me if I chopped off a piece or if it was a stab wound. Who can ask a question like that so calmly? “Did you chop off a piece..or..”. Noteworthy.

She talked me through the ordeal, and after about twenty minutes of applying pressure, I ended up with a small bandaid on my finger. This bandaid does not do my near death kitchen experience justice.

it was you! kombacha!

After calming down. I returned to the squash, went back to cut the last piece successfully this time, and put them in the oven. 400 degrees for 30 minutes if you’re interested. I took a test bite; sweet tasting and the texture was more dense than I anticipated. In a good way.

While the squash was in the oven, it was time to make the cookies into sandwiches and dip them in chocolate. How do you make decent looking sandwiches with pentagon shaped cookies? You don’t, friends. I decided I would just put jelly on half of one cookie, and dip that half into chocolate. This would also yield more cookies. Genius.

To melt the chocolate chips I put them in the microwave for 1 minute. After stirring, it was velvety smooth and amazing looking. But about two minutes in, it started to get thick again. Duh. So what did I do?

Mistake number three: Do not attempt to re-microwave solidifying chocolate.

The result? The portion touching the bowl gets a chalky consistency, and everything gets lumpy. I decided to stop being a lazy mofo and put the bowl in a pot of hot water and stir it like a good cook would. I had to add milk to get it to be creamy again. It did get velvety, but it was still lumpy, and had a weird dark color. It also didn’t make for good dipping so I kind of just spread the chocolate on the cookie bottoms. The final cookies look like someone’s sad attempt to make fancy cookies. That’s about accurate.

I think Mike 2 will still eat them.

Blood, sweat and tears. Oh, and kabocha and cookies. Victory?

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Winter Running Gear Giveaway

Apprehensive of the cold weather ahead of us like I am? I feel you. How are you going to beat the cold weather and run anyway? I’ll help you.

My generous friends at runworldwide.com sent me over some winter running gear that, well, just isn’t quite my style (TJ- pink?!). So I’m going to give it to one lucky reader (or one lucky reader’s girlfriend/wife… get creative gentlemen) who will benefit from this awesome piece more than I will:

The Moving Comfort Windy Fleece Jacket

“The 100% polyester microfleece body will keep you warm when the temperature dips. But the protection doesn’t stop there. Semi-fitted jacket is highly wind resistant to keep your torso cozy, the MC stretch drawcord hood protects your head and ears, while the zip hand warmer pockets ward off the chill. this jacket is engineered with the exclusive DriLayer technology which transfers moisture away from the skin to the outside of the garment keeping you dry and comfortable.”

That’s the brand’s description of the piece. It’s pretty soft and comfy feeling. I also want to note the front pockets are big and there’s also a small zipped picket on the left shoulder. You can probably fit a few GUs in there, or some hershey’s kisses. Just sayin’. Also note: it’s a size SMALL.

Want it? Get it. Leave a comment on this post by 9pm tomorrow night telling me 1 other thing you’d want from runworlwide.com. You won’t have to have a blog to enter, just comment! Then I’ll randomly choose a winner.

Wahoo! I hope you are warmer then I am with this bad boy. Not really.. I want to be warm too.

My High School Track Days

Someone from my high school track team found our old cross-country champs pictures (#1 in NYC!) from 2002-2003:

That’s me on the left rockin’ the bright blue tights. Man I miss those days! We were together every single day for four years after school and at meets on Saturday. Can you imagine how much time that is? We were a family. We ran hard together, slacked off together (long runs to Burger King?), cried together, won and lost. Now we remember and try to maintain.

The running runs deep. Pun intended.

Winter Is Really Here

It’s now below 40 degrees when I wake up in the morning. Aaah! Call a doctor!

i am the snowman.

Ya know, I wrote so many posts trying to prepare myself for this cold blast of running reality that keeps me from gettin’ my game on:

  • How to wake up & jump-start in the dark early morning here
  • A plan to buy technical winter running gear here
  • A reminder that a coming back to running is always awesome here, here, here, and here… hmmm

And now I need to reach deep and pull them out. Ever notice how it’s easier to give advice and structure to other people than to follow it yourself? Can someone call me and read my own posts to me so it feels like outside advice? Sweet.

Last winter I became so frustrated with not getting outside for a run, that I started to wake up at 5:30 to go to the gym in the city before work. Something was better than nothing. Picture me in a huge parka, in the dark freezing cold, walking very slowly to the train for 15 minutes so that I didn’t slip on black ice on the Brooklyn streets. Then finally arriving at the gym, defrosting, and running.. on.. a treadmill (ack!). Brutal.

“When I was your age I used to talk 5 miles to school, uphill, both ways.” Yeah, I feel like that guy.

Possible Savior: Tonight! Is a North Brooklyn Runner’s winter running salon that I’m going to attend. A bunch of runners are going to gather to share tips for running in the winter, proper ways to dress, techniques for running in snow, etc. I’m very excited. Maybe I’ll be able to take it to the next level this winter. There is hope! Bonsai!

Stay tuned for a recap. I’m as interested as you are (aren’t you?).

Drinking the Ju-uice: ‘Jus Bar’ in Union Square

On my way to work in the morning, I pass by a juice bar on 16th and University Place called Jus. I’ve never tried it, but notice a small line of people (clearly, very healthy people) waiting for their drink in the morning. I’ve pondered the possibility of a liquid breakfast made of carrots and whathaveyou.. but never took the dive.

After stumbling upon theirritableeater blog and reading about her fasting adventure of all juice drinks, I thought ‘hey, maybe I’ll give it a shot.’ Not a fast; but a juice drink for breakfast. There’s a lot of talk out there about the “detoxifying” abilities of drinking vegetable juice mixes, and I figured a little detox would be good for me. Maybe it’ll negate a few mojitos from my future weekend.

Friday morning I was pretty hungry (I usually wake up starving), and debated on the L train about screwing the plan and getting an egg sandwich. But I stuck to my guns, and stopped at Jus:

a small miracle for juicers on the go

I ordered a large ($5!) apple, carrot, kale and ginger juice. There was a very long list of options, with categories of mixes. My mix fell under the list called, “sex boosters”. Sweet.

like a burnt-orange crayola crayon

It tasted pretty good. The ginger had a nice kick, but not too strong. ‘Cool, something different to grab in the morning,’ I thought.

I sipped on this bad boy from 8:30-9:30… and then from 9:30-10 I pretty muched gulped the whole thing down in an effort to feel full. It didn’t work. And I was beginning to feel lightheaded. Strange.

By 10:15 I was complaining to my coworker about the effects and threatening to go buy breakfast before our 10:30 meeting, or else I would be an unproductive grump (read: bitch). He said “it’s definitely the effect of the ginger, it opens up your blood vessels and it can make you feel hot and kinda woozey.” Hm. Was that the sex-booster effect?

Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. I ran out and bought a yogurt, banana, and mini bran muffin and scarfed it during the morning conference call. Then I felt much better. And resigned never to try a just-juice breakfast again.

Maybe as an afternoon pick-me-up it could work better? Or maybe the “sex-booster” drink would work best at night. 😉

Brooklyn Distance Running is a Cultural Experience

This morning I knocked out 4.6 Miles here. That is the longest distance I’ve ever squeezed in before work. Victorious! I ran through three distinct Brooklyn neighborhoods and saw the morning routines and nuances of three different cultures (Hipster–is this a culture? Hasidic, and Hispanic).

Looking at this small loop it seems impossible that there can be such abrupt changes in the people who live here. If I went even farther out I would’ve hit a fourth, without a doubt. Welcome to Brooklyn friends. I personally think it’s one of the borough’s best attributes.

Should I Run Tomorrow Morning? You Decide

I got to work at 8:15am today, and worked until 8:15pm. I feel like my eyes are dried up apricots (at least I chose something tasty for a comparison) and my body is going to give out. I need to go to sleep ASAP and sleep for a long time.

On the flipside.. I didn’t run this morning. I would like to run tomorrow morning–but I’m SO TIRED.