Currently - June 2016

I’m pretty sure I say this every month, but time is just flying!  June was a fun month, starting off with my return to triathlon.  Besides tri-life, I spent my time as usual, in the kitchen and in front of the tv.

Eating:

Grain Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Basil – I swapped in whole wheat israeli couscous in place of the wheat berries.  45 minutes is too long to wait for wheat berries to cook, thank you very much.  I packed this up for lunches at work, served with a couple hard boiled eggs on the side.  It was bright and light, and tasted very much the way a summer grain salad should.  I highly recommend it for a 4th of July picnic, or as a side for anything grilled.  That being said, next time I plan to do some substitutions to get the fiber and protein count up, because I was hankering for a snack by the time the bowl was empty.  Not a good standalone entrée.

Can't wait to give this another go, with a few tweaks

Can't wait to give this another go, with a few tweaks

Jicama – I’ve had jicama before, but never actually in a recipe.  It is crunchy and juicy, but savory.  In the past I’ve cut it into sticks and snacked on it like I would red pepper strips or carrot.  For father’s day I was bringing this Chilled Black Bean, Feta & Cucumber Salad, but my dad is not a fan of cucumbers.  The crunch of jicama played nicely with the rest of the gang, and I would gladly do this swap again.  The only thing that was a little odd is that the squares of white jicama looked at first glance like the feta, so you do lose a little color.

I swear this salad is mostly beans....they're just at the bottom of the bowl here

I swear this salad is mostly beans....they're just at the bottom of the bowl here

Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives – We’ll file this one away under things NOT to make for Dad, since there is a lot of cucumber in this one.  I get big time cravings for salty food, and I’ve found that this salad is the perfect remedy.  Between the olives and the feta….so good!  I eat this on its own for lunch.  My trick for keeping the mint from wilting in the dressing is to add it in each day before mixing and eating at my desk.  I pack up the salad in containers during my Sunday prep, then pluck off the mint leaves and lay them gently on top of the salad.  Come lunchtime I rip the mint apart, stir it up, and go to town.

I can't believe it was only a year ago that I first tried lentils.  So quick and so yummy.

I can't believe it was only a year ago that I first tried lentils.  So quick and so yummy.

Chocolate Milk – Well done, chocolate milk marketing team!  Between Crowie and Rinny shilling for this as a recovery beverage, and my overwhelming desire to have all the chocolate, all the time, we’re officially going through at least half a gallon of this stuff a week.

Watching:

Silicon Valley – So J got an HBO Go invite, which came just in time for Game of Thrones to start up in the spring (see below.)  The added advantage has been all the other neat shows we’ve been able to watch.  Silicon Valley is a short (episodes are 30 minutes) comedy about a group of engineers trying to make the next big thing happen in Silicon Valley.  They fail, they succeed, they beta test.   J loves it because…engineering! IT! Inside jokes!  I like it because it is funny, and real, and the characters are wonderful.  Jared is my favorite.  If you have HBO but aren’t watching this, give it a go.

Game of Thrones – I loved this most recent season!  I felt like season 5 dragged a bit, but I never felt that from season 6.  You can tell that they're tightening up the sprawling story lines of previous seasons, so they can bring the story to a close.  The cinematography of the last two episodes was excellent.  The CGI looks good, too.  Sometimes the dragons were looking a bit cringe-worthy, but not so this time around.

The Fabulous Ice Age – This documentary chronicles a time when ice skating shows were THE form of family entertainment.  Performers could choose to be ice skaters, and not only would it be a legitimate profession, it would enable them to see the world.  As ice shows fell out of favor, it is sad in the interviews to see how it meant a real change of plans for some people.  Scott Hamilton had always wanted to be in the shows as a pro, but if no one was coming, what was he going to do?  If you’re a fan of ice skating, this is a lovely watch.

I guess my June was pretty action packed as far as training, as I didn’t seem to have much time for anything else.  Who am I kidding?  I’m not one of those people that has big adventures.  I don’t head out every weekend looking for the next great restaurant, the cool new musical, or the undiscovered hiking trails.  I swim/bike/run, then I eat and snuggle with my J in front of the telly.  Life is good.

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.