Currently - April 2016

May is already over!  This month went quickly, and although I was keeping myself busy with training, I managed to find some time for outside interests, too.

 

Watching

Bikes vs Cars - This documentary by Frederik Gertten dives into the global traffic issue and how bicycles try to fit into the car based world.  I loved how it showed cycling life in different parts of the world.  As someone who enjoys cycling, but also depends on a car to get around, I could see both sides of the issue, and found this documentary very thought provoking.  Clearly it was made by bike people, and there were a few moments that I felt an agenda being pushed, but overall it was still enjoyable.  Recommend!

Casting By - Shocker, but yes, this is another documentary.  This one focused on the position of Casting Director in television and film, with a particular focus on Marion Dougherty.  I didn’t really understand the full scope of casting before watching this, and I found it eye opening.  Quite the interesting watch if you like behind-the-scenes Hollywood kind of docs.

Captain America: Civil War - J and I were both officially meh about this latest installment from Marvel.  I don’t know if I’m just tired of the Avengers, or if the story telling is just getting really bad.  Actually, not really much of a plot in this one, just a lot of introducing characters, explosions, fights, and a sprinkling of story.  I’m looking forward to Marvel’s other non-Avenger projects coming up in the future, like Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel.  Infinity Wars...meh.  At least I don’t have to worry about that for a couple years.

 

Cooking

It looks like I spent the month of May with something of a polenta obsession.  You have been warned.

Polenta with Spring Vegetable Ragout - This was okay, and I would absolutely like to try it again and go a bit off recipe next time.  The Kitchn’s way of making polenta was a snap, so I can’t recommend that enough, but I did find the vegetable ragout a bit bland.  I think for my next go at it, it needs more herbs and less asparagus.  This kept nicely in the fridge for my lunches, but it was the best the day I made it.  If J would eat something like this for dinner, that would be a real win.

First time enjoying radishes!

First time enjoying radishes!

Breakfast Polenta Squares with Spinach & Bacon - another polenta recipe from The Kitchn.  Points for consistency?  I know these say breakfast squares, but I ate these for lunch.  I wound up freezing a little less than half the pan, so we’ll see how they do defrosted over the next coming week.  I thought these were filling and yummy.  I think next time I would cut these into smaller squares and have a salad or something veggie-rific on the side.  These turned out richer than I originally thought they’d be.

My brother said it looked like dessert.  I wish I could have dessert for lunch every day!

My brother said it looked like dessert.  I wish I could have dessert for lunch every day!

 

Reading

Triathlon For Beginners, by Dan Golding - I checked this out on a whim from Amazon for my Kindle, and I’m really glad it was free.  I would not have been pleased if I paid good money for this book.  While it was fairly clear and concise, there wasn’t much in this book that I couldn’t have gotten online from forums.  That isn’t to say it's a worthless book, and some may like it, but since I already have a strong mentor team, I feel that this book wasn’t a good choice on my part.  Also there were a few typos and grammatical errors, which I found quite distracting.  Basically, if you’ve found my review of this book, you have the tools you need to get the triathlon information you need, and can give this book a skip.


So boom, May is over.  June is, dare I say it, busting out all over!  How is summer here already?  Can’t wait to see what it brings.  

Currently - April 2016

April, you were a terrible month, and I am glad you’re over.  Despite the awful start, there were some interesting things happening.  I spent some time in the kitchen and in front of the television, just not as much as usual.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Watching

Inspired to Ride - This documentary follows some crazy cyclists as they take on the Trans Am Bike Race.  The coolest part of this race is that it is unsupported!  No teams, no SAG vehicles, and no prize money.  I enjoyed this immensely, and highly recommend this documentary.

The Barkley Marathons - Ultra marathoners are crazy, but the Barkley Marathons are on a whole different level.  Back to back (to back to back to back) trail marathons in Tennessee, where it took years before someone even finished it?  54,000+ feet of elevation gain?  I don’t feel any inclination to ever do an event like this, but boy it was an interesting watch.  Obviously if you’re into ultras or trail running, this one’s for you.

Cooking

Chilled Black Bean Salad - I’ve added poached chicken thighs to this and have been eating it for lunch all week.  It keeps in the fridge nicely, and comes together in a snap  The cumin, cilantro, and black beans give it a Mexican feel, but then the red wine vinegar and feta offer a Mediterranean twist.  So good!

 

 

 

Blondies - I was wanting a change from my usual brownies, so gave these blondies a try.  I did a mix of milk chocolate and semi sweet chocolate chips, but I think next time some pecans or pistachios would be quite welcome.  Maybe some dried fruit?  The key to making these tasty are to have them almost at the point of being under cooked.  The tricky bit of that means these bars are quite soft when you’re trying to depan and slice.  Worth it though!

 

 

Interviewing

Out of nowhere on Friday I got an email from an employer that was interested in me.  A quick phone call later and I was scheduled for an interview on Monday.  Whaaaa?  You picked me?  I’ve made no decisions, but it certainly is nice to be wanted.

Saying Goodbye

The dark cloud that hung over April was losing Vivaldi.  It hasn’t been my intention to wallow in heartache, but I still miss her so much.  Each day is a little bit easier, but for now the sadness is still stronger than my good memories.  I’ll share one more picture of her sweet face.

Currently - February 2016

January ended with a blizzard, then as February got underway I got a bad cold.  Fortunately it got better from there!

Getting ready to dig out Pilar the Fiat post-blizzard

Getting ready to dig out Pilar the Fiat post-blizzard

 

 

Listening

I have a serious earworm going on these last few days.  In the car twice in one day, on Pandora all the time, I can’t seem to escape “Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots.  I wasn’t an immediate embracer, but it grew on me.  Then I was loving it and rocking out whenever it came on, but now I’m kind of irritated by it.  So overplayed!  I just need it out of my head for a day, then I’ll miss it and be ready to love it again.

 

Eating

I just slightly tweaked this recipe for Savory Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with White Beans and Kale from The Kitchn and got four lunches for the week out of it.  I swapped out the kale for a kale/spinach/chard blend, and added in a can of tuna for added protein.  Also added yum factor!

 

Watching

Sleepy Hollow is in its third season, and it came back from winter hiatus.  The first season was the best, and the second season was pretty slow.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with the front half of season 3, but the two episodes I’ve seen since it came back have been good.  The Abbie/Ichabod chemistry is the main reason I watch this show, and it has been on point!

Marvel’s Agent Carter is back for season two.  Sadly, it seems to be following the theme of Sleepy Hollow where the magic just isn’t quite coming together after a fantastic freshman season.  I still love the characters, but it just isn’t holding my attention like before.  I do still recommend it though, as Peggy Carter is a kick ass character!

 

Celebrating

Valentine’s Day with J saw the exact same menu this year as last: perfect New York Strip with mushrooms, caramelized onion mashed potatoes, and peas.  We deviated on dessert, and this year J made a white chocolate bread pudding with custard from scratch.  Absolutely delicious, all around.  The dessert was so good that we dove right in, no time for pictures.

 

Recuperating

I haven’t gotten a really bad cold in about four years, so I guess I was due.  I was laid up in bed for quite a few days, but fortunately Vivaldi kept a good eye on me.


Currently - January 2016

I love Erin’s Currently posts, so I thought I’d do one for myself.  My Currently posts will focus on the non-triathlon aspects of my life.  For January, that means family, fun, and food.

 

 

Listening

I should preface by saying that I don’t listen to music while working out.  Maybe one day, when trainer time becomes a real thing, that will change, but right now, not so much.  Most of my listening happens at the office, and while I was previously quite happy with my Pandora stations, of late I have been enjoying www.ambient-mixer.com  which has free streaming soundscapes.  Sometimes I get too caught up in music, but with ambient mixer I don’t have to deal with my silent office, but I feel quite focused.  I like to listen to it while I write as well, and as I type this up I’ve currently got “Beside the Fireplace” in my ears.  

 

Eating

January has been a good month for trying out new recipes!

First up was this Warm Lentil and Potato Salad from Smitten Kitchen.  If you’re a fan of lentils, this is a great way to eat them for lunch in the winter!  I make up a big batch on Sunday and take them into the office for the rest of the week.  Pickles, red onion, capers, and fluffy potatoes...I made this two weeks in a row, for a grand total of 12 meals.  Yum!

Warm lentil and potato salad from smitten kitchen

Next was Golden Chicken with Braised Greens and Potato Gratin from Jamie Oliver.  He claimed 15 minutes, my reality was closer to 30.  I also overcooked the chicken a bit, and it was full of spinach, yet still my husband ate it.  Winner winner, chicken dinner.  

 

Watching

My husband and I are big bums in front of screens.  We love watching movies together, we eat dinner in front of the tv every night, and we each have our own laptop.  Lately we’ve been loving:

Deutschland83 - An outstanding German show that follows a young East German soldier as he becomes a spy in West Berlin in 1983.  The sets and costuming are fantastic, the storylines are leaving me with nubs for fingernails, and the music is awesome.  

The Flash, Arrow, & DC’s Legends of Tomorrow - These three shows have completely changed my view of The CW as a network.  The Flash and Arrow just came back from their holiday hiatuses, and Legends of Tomorrow had its premiere this week.  For fans of science fiction, Arthur Darvill (Rory on Doctor Who) plays Rip Hunter in LoT, and after the first few scenes, your brain switches Rory off and he is Rip Hunter all the way.  Plenty for our geeky little household to love!  

 

Celebrating

My gorgeous mother turned 66 in the middle of the month, so my brother and I headed over on a Friday night to make her dinner and celebrate.  J came, too, and he really deserves the kudos, since he’s the one who made the chili that everyone devoured.  Mom made a jalapeno cornbread, and my brother brought some delicious gooey lemon cake.  And yes, I had two helping of it, because nobody leaves gooey lemon cake in the corner.  We toasted with some Shiner Birthday Beer.  Aptly named for the occasion, and good drinking for those that are fans of hops.

 

Reading

So this category is alarmingly empty.  I go through periods where I read voraciously, but of late that has not been the case.  Any suggestions?  I generally like to read quite fluffy things to help clear the serious stuff out of my head before I go to sleep.

 

Vivaldi

That’s January in a nutshell, so as will become routine, I leave the internet with the gorgeous face of my best friend, Vivaldi the papillon.