Thursday, 6/16/2016

Lifting

  • Squat: bar 5×2, 95 for 5, 105 for 3, 115 for 2, 125 5×3 (light day)
  • Bench: 60 5×2, 70 for 5, 75 for 3, 80 3×5 (tried to do triples at 82.5 last time but had to drop back to 80)
  • Power Clean: 33 for 3, 43 for 3, 53 for 3, 60 3×5 (PR if achieved)

Eating

 

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Happy hour at home

Hey everyone. (Really, no one, but whatever.) I kind of forgot about this blog, or when I remembered it, I actually had work to do, or I was in the middle of reading a good book online at work. (Public library e-books are my greatest recent discovery.)

But here we are!

I’m instituting happy hours at home. K is trying to save money, because his car got totaled and the insurance gave him enough money for half of a down payment. So that means a lot fewer burgers at HamTav and Thames Street Oyster House, and definitely less spontaneous “let’s get pizza” nights during the week. (That won’t keep us from going to Tokifact on Thursday, though.)

I’ve been having a glass of wine at night during the week. That’s been especially enjoyable when I went to class at Inline in the morning–those empty calories mean nothing! K and I both end up snacking before we eat a real meal after work, too. But it’s never anything particularly exciting. I had a few bites of leftover stir-fry last night, and K had his usual Tostitos lime chips and Safeway “fresh” salsa. It seems way fancier and less depressing to intentionally make little bites before we actually have dinner. Kind of like going to happy hour, but we can wear whatever we want and no credit card swiping is required. Plus no alcoholic drink mark-up.

What kinds of snacks should I make? I’m in need of some recipes, you guys.

It’s the little things

You know how you start the day and something small happens, like you forgot to bring your gym clothes to work, or you discovered a scuff on the back of the shoes you wear practically every day? And then it seems to compound–you made a small error on something for work, the doctor’s office you called that has great Yelp reviews doesn’t accept your shitty insurance like they supposedly did, and your chin acquired a painful zit overnight that probably looks like it’s taking up half your face.

Gradually, you feel like the day is going down the tubes. If someone asked you how your day went, you’d think about it and say, “It wasn’t that great.” While you were in the midst of it, it’d seem like it could get better, and anyway, every day doesn’t have to be the best day ever. But after a quick reflection, you’d realize that it was actually kind of shitty, that the ho-hum of your usual day was punctuated with small events that tipped the scales to make the day not good at all. And you find yourself in a funk, in a grumpy mood, and like the day was a total wash.

It’s only 12:30 (also part of the issue–how is it not anywhere near 5 p.m. right now?), and I can already tell this is the kind of day I’m having. I’m looking at recipes for sweet potatoes and smoothies and salads and NOT thinking, Maybe I’ll actually make these, maybe they’ll taste good, like I usually do. I’m thinking, No way I’ll ever actually choose to eat a sweet potato, I’m not putting cabbage in a smoothie or even bothering to make one before work, this salad will never fill me up at lunch.

I know it’s partly mental, and that you make choices throughout the day, and that you can choose to be happy. But when you’re not inspired, and you just want to go home and take a nap with your cats, it’s real hard to keep that in mind.

I also just realized it’s that time of the month for me. Totally forgot. This probably explains it. False alarm?

A lack of follow-through

I have so many underdeveloped ideas. Most of them involve some kind of food project, perhaps a future business. Very few of them come to fruition, aside from manageable single events that involve my friends and cooking.

Here are some of the things I’d like to do someday:

  • Open a gourmet sandwich shop.
  • Open a pizza restaurant.
  • Create a business that brings together local chefs for once-monthly dinners and idea-sharing to improve a city’s food scene. (Baltimore, I’m looking at you.)
  • Develop a cheese-ranking website, similar to ratebeer.com.
  • Figure out how to create a website for any future freelance work.

Eating Out

I spent the weekend doing a lot of eating. This is pretty typical of my day-to-day (I’m always thinking about my next meal). This weekend involved visitors, though, so it was particularly special.

My friend K came up from Bethesda on Friday night for dinner. We went to Sascha’s 527 Cafe, which ended up being not as good as I’d hoped (and Yelp reviews predicted). I got a couple of small plates and finished none of them. Not that the food was that bad, but the flavors were too saturated in general. The pork belly with ramen noodles was caramely and too sweet to finish (though the belly was great on its own), the gazpacho was a bit too syrupy sweet (a strange flavor for gazpacho in the first place), and the grilled Caesar salad included the bottom end of the head of romaine, which was too thick to eat. I had a well balanced cocktail–something with gin, strawberries, cava, and I think elderflower liqueur. But I don’t see myself rushing back here anytime soon.

After K headed back home, Kevin and I went out for a little late-night snack. We stopped in at Of Love & Regret for a beer, then walked toward Jack’s Bistro for something to eat. On the way, we passed Mike McGovern’s, a bar in a former rowhouse that’s in the middle of a bunch of occupied rowhouses in Canton. Kevin had passed it a couple of times before and had never gone, so we stopped in. We ordered cans of Natty Boh ($4 total–I laughed out loud at how cheap it was) and hung out at the bar, which was comfortably filled with people (and two of their dogs!) who were clearly regulars. We got into conversation with a guy in the military whose wife lived in Germany for a few more weeks, and he told us they’d just had a baby.

Kevin strikes up conversations with at least one person every place we go. They always end with a handshake and an exchange of names. We were at Crate & Barrel on Saturday afternoon to look at duvet covers–jeez, could that sound any worse?–and this couple came up to us when we were looking at the drinking glasses. They asked us if we’d just moved, and then we chatted for ten minutes about where we lived, what we did for a living, etc. Then, the dude asked Kevin for his number so we could all hang out sometime. It was the fucking weirdest encounter. He actually called Kevin on Sunday and left a message asking him to call them back–they had a question for us. We’re convinced they’re going to ask us if we’re swingers or something. Stay tuned for the outcome.

H came up from DC on Saturday night. Kevin and I took her to Hamilton Tavern for the best burger I’ve ever eaten, plus some local Baltimore ambiance. We started with a savory peach tart, which was like nothing I’d ever tasted: phyllo crust topped caramelized onions, peaches, and walnuts, with a pillow of whipped goat cheese and a generous drizzle of basil pistou. Completely unique. The burger lived up to our previous experiences with it–cooked perfectly medium rare as requested, juicy, beefy, and coarsely ground for a delicate texture. Both Kevin and H chose the Boh-battered o’s as their side, which come thick, super crispy, and with a side of garlic dipping sauce (make sure to ask for it). I deviated from my usual order and went with the pork shoulder served with collard greens and a three-bean salad. Aside from the pork being a little dry, the flavors were excellent, particularly when it came to the collards. It’s rare to find collards that aren’t overly vinegary or too ham-heavy.

H and I were kind of tired, but once back in Fells, we wandered into and out of a couple of bars before deciding to have a drink at 1919. It reminded me so much of a bar I went to with friends in Austin, with live bluegrass, country-looking older couples dancing, and a bar strung with colored lights and all manner of paraphernalia.

The next morning, H and I got up early for a Sunday to check out the Baltimore Farmers’ Market under the Jones Falls Expressway. This was the absolute best farmers’ market either of us had ever been to–what must have been 30 farms, plus lots of artisanal food producers with samples of cheese, granola, even hard cider. We sampled fresh green beans, varieties of heirloom tomatoes, peaches, plums, hummus, salsa, jam, and lemonade. We went home with heirloom cherry tomatoes, green beans that tasted so sweet and crisp when raw, an eggplant, farm-fresh eggs, six ears of sweet white corn, and a homemade popsicle a piece. For lunch, I had a piece of toasted sourdough with goat cheese, some sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of lemon olive oil and sprinkle of coarse sea salt I’d gotten from my recent Food52 Quarterly box, and a few grinds of black pepper. Perfect.

Kevin and I snacked throughout the day. I roasted the corn on the cob in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then cut off the kernels and used them in a chipotle corn soup topped with sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest that we had for dinner. (I used this recipe, but I roasted the corn instead of grilled.) Along with an Indiana Jones movie and a strawberry-basil yogurt popsicle I’d made earlier in the day, it was a lazy and comforting way to end the weekend.

Before bed, Kevin and I were still hungry, so around 9:30 we sauteed some asparagus and topped with goat cheese and poached eggs.

It’s no wonder I gained a pound or two this weekend. I’m going to hot vinyasa after work tonight.

What’s Keeping Me Going?

ImageIced coffee, these days. Since moving to Baltimore, it now takes me at least an hour to drive to work in the morning, and I changed my hours so my workday starts and ends earlier in order to avoid as much gridlock as possible. I am not a morning person, so this is a definite problem for me. I need a boost in the morning, and while I’d love green tea to be enough for me, I need something stronger.

I’ve never had much of an opinion about coffee. (I have an opinion about a lot things, so this is sort of weird for me.) I’ll drink pre-ground supermarket coffee (currently drinking pre-ground Dunkin Donuts in the mornings) or fancy coffee. I just need some skim milk to stir in. No skim, only whole or half-and-half or powdered creamer? Sure, okay. I guess I can kind of tell the difference between roasts and beans and qualities, but I mean…it’s coffee. If it has caffeine, I’ll drink it.

I never needed caffeine, really. I never pulled all-nighters in college, I’ve never had the kind of job that keeps me late and brings me in early the next morning. I generally get at least eight hours of sleep.

But now that I’m getting up with the sun, essentially, I’ve been having trouble keeping my eyes open the whole drive to work. (I still do, but it involves a lot of digging my nails into my palms or turning off NPR. This has only happened once.)

I brew regular coffee the night before, which takes literally three minutes, pour it into a pint glass or a glass-handled measuring cup, and stick it in the fridge. Before I walk out the door in the morning, I pour it into my travel tumbler, add in a couple of ice cubes, and pour in some skim. Even the smell of it wakes me up. Done.

Now I just need someone to make me a handheld breakfast in the morning. I don’t think my cats should be using the stove, though…