Saturday, May 25, 2013

Seriously?! On the Road Again?!

Why yes. I'm once again joining you from my car. I've calculated that in the past 2 weeks I've spent maybe 4 nights in my bed. Last night we ventured to Eastern Kentucky to see The Colonel's older sister and niece before they flew back to California. They were staying with a family friend in the town (yes, TOWN) he went to high school in. Beautiful it was but I was so far out of my element. Luckily we just hung out, ate, and played with the baby. Yep, held a baby again. She wasn't too scary now that I'm a seasoned veteran (ha) but she managed to cry and fuss enough that I still stand firm in my barren, sterile existence that ends when I die. Has anyone else seen that episode of Seinfeld? Anyway, I did find that EKY is not terribly vegetarian friendly. There wasn't a veggie burger to be found and when I tried ordering an egg mcmuffin without Canadian bacon she kept correcting me to say double instead of no. Otherwise it was an interesting little trip. As much as I like Dallas and at times rave about it, it takes a royal beating when it comes to classic Kentucky scenery. I forget how green it is here sometimes and it's nice to be able to appreciate it every now and then. Fingers crossed that soon I'll get a nice long nap in my own bed before we head out on the next adventure!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Home Sweet Home?

Well I'm finally back home and planting myself here for the next long while. I feel like crap. I managed a 3-ish hour nap once I finally got here but woke up feeling sluggish, still tired and full on hangry. *Hangry is a term derived from the American words "hungry" and "angry" and describes a rather terrifying state of being. I'm still hangry. One of the worst parts of being gone is coming home to bare cabinets and empty freezers. I ate a waffle with peanut butter and an orange. Aside from that, I've had water and an almond bar to eat. I suspect that's contributing to my general awfulness.

Since I have a few moments, I'll finally recap what's been going on. Last Sunday The Colonel experienced a death in the family. Tuesday we drove up to Michigan and our completely impromptu trip ended up lasting until Sunday. It was so great to meet his family and learn a bit about the country life but it was also emotionally draining as you might expect. We stayed with his uncle on the couch for me so that meant multiple nights of 6 hours or less of slightly restless sleep. I managed to eat pretty decently and only ended up gaining 2 pounds while not cooking at all. Maybe it was the stress. Anyway, we got back Sunday evening and had The Colonel's youngest brother in tow. I immediately had to get home and do laundry because I was leaving for Dallas for a couple of days Monday morning at 6:40. I didn't get to bed until well after midnight and was up at 4 for the flight. The trip was quite a whirlwind but also involved very little sleep and storm anxiety to the nth degree. It also involved seeing a new baby out in Our Fabulous Life in the Suburbs! Long story short, now I'm home. And tired. And hangry.

Friday I start orientation for a new job. Just a summer gig but well paying and as I imagine and hope, relatively easy and stress free. Does such a job exist?! Ask me after Friday. Enjoy some pictures of my many travels.

The Colonel's cousin's horses 

Two of uncle's dogs 

My girl was so happy Mom and Dad were home! 

I got to stay on the plane from Tampa to Austin and was literally the only one.  

My favorite fast food joint in the world and a reason I got so fat living in Dallas 

Lovely little free meal 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Heading Home

Greetings from my car located somewhere outside of Indianapolis. We are driving home from Michigan and picked up an extra passenger. The Colonel's youngest brother caught a ride with us and is going to hang around for a day or two. That means I snagged the back seat and have been sleeping off and on without feeling guilty. As soon as we get home I have to do laundry and pack because I'm heading out to Dallas obnoxiously early tomorrow morning for a couple of days. Then once I'm back Wednesday or Thursday I have to get into adequately trained beginner triathlete mode and head to Cincinnati Saturday for my first tri of the year. Look who has a calendar all of a sudden. I'll recap my many trips soon but for now it's another hundred miles of the stunning Indiana landscape.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Vegetarian in Michigan

Greetings from what may or may not be Jackson, Michigan. The Colonel and I are currently in Michigan for a not so great occasion but on the bright side it's been quite an experience meeting his family for the first time. Holy Mosquitos am I in the country! Huge change for my apparently city girl self but I'm having a blast. Here are my 2 favorite photos so far and I'll catch up with you all soon!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Funday!

Happy Mother's Day! I'm not always good with words, especially when they express sentiment or tender feelings of any kind so I'll just leave this conversation with my mom as a reason why I love her:

Mom: Do you have to work tomorrow?
Me: Yeah, I'm pretty much the reason Kathy doesn't have to work on days like Mother's Day.
Mom: Why?
Me: You know, because she has kids and stuff.
Mom: So? Nobody told her to go do something like that.

Since my mom hates taking pictures, here are some that she was probably forced to take by someone else...from like 5 years ago.

Mother's Day cruise to the Bahamas

My high school graduation

Same cruise

Wearing her slightly smudged Team Rennay tshirt at my first half

My mom also hates attention so I'll move on and let her be.

Yesterday I ran the Throo the Zoo 5K which I've wanted to do for a while but never got around to. It's definitely got some hills but they're all pretty short climbs except the last one which is actually IN the zoo and lasts forever. The worst part about the "family friendly" 5Ks is that they lack any basic runner etiquette because there are a lot of kids and first-timers who just don't know any better. So lining up Autumn and I lined up much much closer to the front than normal and closer to the center. It didn't really matter because somehow two women with strollers still managed to be walking right in the middle of the front pack which caused a bit of a runner pile up in addition to the kids who took off running then came to a dead stop to turn and run in the other direction. Frequently seen 5K hazards but us veterans just adjust and move on and usually no one is harmed. Trust me, I'm not hating on stroller parents. Most of them can run me into oblivion with a 30 pound kid in tow. I actually really like first timers because they're always really cute and excited and remind me what this sport is all about. They're hopeful but nervous and it's refreshing to see that because, at least for me, as we get into longer races those 5 and 10ks which are now training runs don't seem like a big deal or much of an accomplishment anymore when they should be. A 5K is never "Just a 5k" and a race is never "Just a run." It's nice to have newbies around to bring that life back into racing when it gets a little stale. 

I subscribed to the "The only way to run faster is to run faster." frame of mind and took off at a pace that was faster than I would have ordinarily but I really wanted to see what I was capable of. The first mile was clogged and crowded but I still managed a 9:59 which was really exciting since I never really feel capable of sub-10s especially in any sustained capacity. Mile 2 clicked off fast and I clocked a 9:33. Blazing for me. My favorite part of a 5K is the last 1.1 because you kind of start to get tired but then say, "There's only a mile left" and how can you punk out with a mile to go? I also appreciate that there aren't any mile markers at halfway so by the time you see the second marker, you're almost finished. The big climb was in the last mile (isn't it always) and I checked my Garmin at the top and had lost almost 30 seconds. I was feeling really good so I picked it back up into the finish and ended with my very first *drumroll please* SUB-30 5K! Alright, so my Garmin said it was slightly less than 5K but I'll just take that to mean I stayed right on course without a lot of weaving. I made the last turn before the finish at 29:27 and was like "Ah! I have to finish under 30!" I'm a little irritated that the official results include only the clock time and not a chip time because it has me over 30 but that's just a vanity issue. There were 156 in my age group and "officially" I claimed 40th place which I like a lot! It was a beautiful day but later I had some pretty rough hip pain which is still persisting today. It's weird since I never have hip pain but Autumn predicts it's bursitis. Sounds lame. 

Every time I do a race with this organizer my name is spelled wrong and in lowercase letters. I can't stand it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pizza Rolls!

You know those commercials where the dumb kids call their mom complaining about how hungry they are and she's trying to explain to them how to look in the freezer and find Tostino's Pizza Rolls? No? Maybe I just watch too much tv. Anyway, I think most people have some kind of history and possibly past love affair with those tasty treats but have you ever looked at the nutrition facts? Or at how much they cost when you buy them every other day? Or the ingredients? Well I am here to tell you there's a better way. Thanks to Once a Month Mom I found a great recipe for homemade pizza rolls (which I think is originally made for picky eating toddlers but The Colonel is practically the same thing...). You have to be a member to get recipes so I can't link you to it, but I can give you an overview. Once a Month Mom doesn't pay me to say they're awesome, I'm just saying it because it's true!

So! Step one is to get your ingredients:

  • Wonton Wrappers
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Any filling you choose. I used cheese and spinach because spinach can and should be added to anything
  • A large bowl to mix filling
  • A small bowl of water
The procedure is pretty simple though time consuming. Mix all of your filling ingredients together in a big bowl. If you're using meat I assume you should cook it first because the rolls don't bake for very long.

Pull out a wonton wrapper and set it in your work area.

Place about a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wonton wrapper.

Wet your fingertips in the bowl of water and trace the edges of the wonton wrapper to help it stick. Fold the bottom up and the top down to make a rectangle.

Flip it over and press the short edges together to seal.

Now you have a raw pizza roll!

As you finish them place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Once they are all finished, spray them lightly with cooking oil (I use Pam EVOO) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy and browned on the edges.

And voila! You have pizza rolls! They even break open tragically like the real ones do. Less calories, real ingredients and absolutely delicious. They're designed so you can freeze them and reheat when you're ready but seriously. You think I froze them? Nope, The Colonel and I ate them all. Even the few I tried to set aside in the freezer for later. Yum!

P.S. - You're welcome :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What DO You Eat?

I get this question a lot. Far more than I ever expected to get it. Have you ever heard that joke, "How do you know if there's a vegan at a party? Don't worry, they'll tell you." I think it's hilarious and cracks me up every time I'm at a party or any event because inevitably what I eat, or more so, what I don't eat comes up in conversation. It's usually from the host/hostess asking if I have dietary restrictions or discussing the menu and they say something like, "Oh, do you eat red meat?" (People often get the impression I'm some kind of health nut and ask me questions like this a lot. Weird, I know.) and then I say something like, "No..." and they say "Oh well we'll have chicken too." And I smile politely but my lack of enthusiasm elicits panic and more questioning, "Do you eat chicken?" or "You don't eat chicken either?" I then am forced to respond with another "No" and since I've been a vegetarian long enough to know how this conversation continues, I follow up with "I don't eat meat. But don't worry about making anything special." At this point I learn a lot about people. I'm happy to say that people are generally kind and want to know what they can do to aid in my appearance of normalcy as I avoid certain dishes at their party. They offer other foods, some have even offered their kitchens where I can make my own. But then there are those with the facial expressions, annoyed sighs, snide comments and my favorite question, "So what DO you eat?" Well my friends, I'm going to give you just a peek at what we non-meat eaters eat.

Keep in mind that I'm a vegetarian, not a vegan. I'm also working to eat better and healthier to maximize my heath and performance in races. Oh yeah, and because of vanity. That said, it's really easy to still eat crap without eating meat. I try my best not to do that. Let me also say that I don't eat eggs and I don't eat any meat. So let's not have this conversation:

Me: I don't eat meat.
Concerned Citizen: You don't eat meat at all?
Me: No.
CC: Do you eat beef?
Me: No.
CC: Do you eat pork?
Me: No.
CC: Do you eat chicken?
Me: No.
CC: Do you eat fish? (this one is slightly valid since apparently you can be a vegetarian while still eating fish...I am not one of them)
Me: No.
CC: ....I know you don't eat meat, but do you eat meatloaf?

*Sigh* This is the reality of my life. To be honest I actually eat a much wider variety of foods since I cut meat and really enjoy cooking now and eating new foods.

Sushi. Vegetable Roll and Avocado Roll from Sapporo 

Gluten free strawberry shortcakes 

Reese's cups...though not typically but the pound 

Smoothies. Lots of smoothies. 

Pineapple. Typically by the pound 

Ugly yet delicious gluten free apple pie 

LOTS of Mexican food 

Did I mention I really like pineapple? 

Quinoa and roasted veggies 

Chips and salsa 


Kale chips 

Avocado. I would eat these like a hand fruit if socially acceptable 

My fridge. As you can see, it has food in it 

And even more food

As you can see, I eat. A lot. I like to cook. I also like to consume trash at restaurants during certain horse racing weekends. I hope that cleared up some of the mystery surrounding meat free diets and remember this is not all inclusive. Hopefully I've saved both meat eaters and the meat free those circular and uncomfortable conversations all in hopes of answering the question of what we eat.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Derby Hangover

Why hello there from my couch. I'm not actually hungover, don't worry but I am having a bit of a food hangover which means lots of juicing and cooking tonight/next week. But all in all it was a wildly successful Derby weekend and for that I am grateful. Oaks night aka Derby Eve aka Friday I went to my former boss' hat party and had a good time catching up with my old coworkers, drooling over his house and not making eye contact with the good looking, lightly clothed bartenders. I had a couple of drinks and some delicious little bites and most importantly received a lot of compliments on how nice I looked. Score! For the record, I'm a really terrible awful...but on the bright side that means the second I strap on a high heel or add a little eyeliner I'm suddenly a supermodel.

Oaks Day/Hat Party Attire

On Derby day I went to see my good friend's baby girl and provide mommy with some grown up conversation. I also brought diapers. I'm not great at mommy/baby etiquette so it took some googling on my part to figure out the rules. Luckily my friend doesn't suck and knows me well enough to tell me what size diapers and not expect anything else. There was still no holding of Baby E but I've now made a June 1st goal for it to happen. Another month's worth of work on head control and I think we can have a relationship. I did however put her pacifier back in her mouth TWICE. And you have to get pretty close to a baby to do that. Flying high after that major win I was ready to take on the Derby. My original picks didn't pan out but I bet a few dollars on some random horses at the party I went to and won $20. Well done Orb!

Cash money y'all 

Old Fashioned Derby look

Just to toot my own horn, I decorated my hat myself. Being the cheapo bad dresser that I am, picking out a proper Derby hat just wasn't reasonable so I wandered into Hobby Lobby Thursday afternoon and came out with a plain black hat and some cute embellishments. Less than an hour later, I had a Derby hat!

So another Derby comes to an end and the traffic here in the city gets back to normal. Despite the semi-cold rainy weather Derby weekend serves as an unofficial start to summer. I'm making all kinds of plans and hoping this will be my best summer yet! There is a great tri on the 18th at Taylorsville Lake that I'd really like to do but my confidence isn't quite there yet. I might hold out until the 25th but we'll see. Happy Sunday!