Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today's Eats

I'm relaxing right now, after a shower. My inner thighs are killing me after yesterday's 4 x 12 backsquats. Yeow! (I forgot to wear my new lifting shoes, too! Dang... I love my lifting shoes, too - they really make a difference as to how deep I squat. If you can swing it, I highly recommend them!)

I started the day at work at 6 AM. Yeah, I'm an early bird. Plus, traffic northbound of Seattle at that time of day is trivial.  I wandered into the Tully's on-site and bought a venti black iced tea, and a grande breve latte, of which I drank less than half today.

Breakfast was a heated-up casserole & a strip of bacon.  Here's how I made the casserole (sorry, I am lacking pictures today!)

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE (aka Crustless Quiche)


- 12 eggs (as "happy" as you can afford - aka truly free-range-insect-eating local eggs, etc.)
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 minced ancho chile (or other mildish green chile, or a small can of green chiles)
- A couple of large handfuls of spinach
- A couple of shallots
- 2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
- Several cloves of garlic, minced
- Heavy cream and/or cheese (if you're eating dairy)
- Favorite spices and herbs - I used salt, pepper, smoked paprika, dried aleppo pepper

Preheat oven to 400 deg.  On the stove, cook the ground pork.  I seasoned it while I was cooking it (and I re-used the grease from the pork to cook a mess of kale for dinner last night).  Add the garlic and shallots to the pork.  Get out an 11x17 inch Pyrex baking dish. First, add the cooked pork to the dish.  Then stir in the spinach, pepper, and celery.  Crack and pour the 12 eggs into a bowl, and whisk them to combine the yolks and whites.  Add the whisked eggs to the baking dish.  I folded everything together with a small spatula to make sure the eggs were incorporated.  I poured a little cream over the top and a little shredded cheese, too.  Then I sprinkled the top with smoked paprika, and set it in the oven till the eggs were firm. 

Once it's done, let it cool, cut into 9-ish sections and store in the fridge.  It reheats really well!


For lunch, I had leftovers from last night - pork sausage and a mess of kale, with a gorgeous fresh-harvested apple for something delicious and sweet.  I've taken to cutting my apples into slices, and thoroughly covering them in Penzey's cinnamons - no sugar, and they are SPICY and DELICIOUS!


I came home, and honestly I haven't been hungry, though I made a pot of tea and (d'oh) left it steeping for *way* too long! Sigh.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Coffee and Cream

A couple of months ago, I finally got fed up with my weight.

Those of you who know me, know that I am pretty active - Crossfit 3x a week, Pilates on Sunday, and Daniel and I are usually milling around here or there, or helping friends move, or (today) driving down to Oregon to help wrestle 1-2 tons of grapes into a wine press.  So, I've got a lot of muscle.

 Basically, I was tired of feeling like for all the work I was doing and eating well (mostly Paleo) I wasn't getting results. I was stuck around 165 lb at 5'5" (for reference, I was a size 10 in most women's clothing).

So I tried this thing called homeopathic HCG. My homeopathist actually recommended it several months ago, but it sounded crazy.  Sometimes you just need something crazy to work, though.  After my friend K tried it, to great success, I decided to go for it.

I won't get into the mechanisms of homeopathic HCG here, because I'm not a doctor, though I have them in my family.  I was able to keep working out and stay "normal" throughout the diet, though I did notice my various lifts at the gym were not very strong - my friend and I theorized that was a result of consuming so little food.

Anyway, it worked. I lost 15 lb in a month, and am now a size 8.  It's awesome.  One of the things they have you stop consuming during the diet is coffee.  Now, I've never been a huge coffee person, but I'm definitely snooty about it.  I prefer Stumptown beans, I prefer espresso shots to drip, and I strive for the taste of the best milk I can afford (raw grass-fed if I can get it, pasteurized grass-fed is a close second, after that I will go for vat-pasteurized local organic milk).  For a couple of years, I allowed a Starbucks home espresso maker into my life.  It proudly ate up counter space, and it dutifully produced a decent shot of espresso for a machine I bought second-hand off Craigslist for $150.  It was worth the space.  When Daniel was in Japan and we would Skype in the wee morning hours, I would put him on Mute so I could foam the milk properly & he wouldn't go deaf.

When I was "big" into coffee, I only drank a 12 oz latte about 5 times a week - I'm not "one of those people" who sucks down coffee like it's going out of style. Frankly, more than a cup and my stomach is unhappy. 

So I gave up coffee for a month.  Actually, I gave it up for about 7 or 8 weeks.  Then I let it creep back in.  The first day, I had a tall breve latte at the Tully's coffee shop closest to me at work (our work site actually has several Tully's - I think there's about five locations at my last count).  I also proceeded to have a massive pounding headache, but that could have been because I discovered a massive pounding error in some data I had created and released, and it took me about 2 weeks to fix it and convince people it was OK to send off the new data.  Around this same time, I traded the espresso machine to a friend in exchange that she find me a nice hybrid bike off Craigslist.

I've probably creeped back to around 2 or 3 tall lattes a week. I tried asking for a Short Americano, but a longer shot, with room for cream, at work the other day, and the poor barista looked at me blankly before asking what a longer shot was.  It was then it dawned on me that all the machines at Tully's (and Starbucks, for that matter) are computerized and the baristas are only trained to press buttons and memorize syrup / milk / coffee combinations.  Another validation for local coffee places where the baristas actually know what "doppio" or "ristretto" mean.

In the meantime, I now drink some more of Teeccino.  It's herbal coffee, with some chicory to most of the flavors to give it the bitterness people expect from coffee. It's the best substitute I've found, and since it's totally caffeine-free, you can drink it whenever you want! Plus, I can make it like I make tea.

Oh yes, where was I going with this - a recipe I found, right. So, as a bona-fide lover of all things pumpkin-spice flavored, I was thrilled when I came across a Paleo Pumpkin Creamer recipe.  You take some coconut milk and heat it over the stove with some canned pumpkin and spices.  It made just enough to fit in one of my empty glass heavy cream bottles.

Here's the recipe! It's vegan, but don't let that scare you off. It's delicious.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flight Testing (& some knitting)


Well, I awoke to a cloudy Friday here in Seattle. I was supposed to be at Boeing Field for a flight test at 6:30 AM, but luckily I had the presence of mind to call our flight test hotline (useful little bugger!) and see what the status was.  My instincts on Not Wasting Time were right on - the flight had been delayed by 4 hours. I was able to come home, change clothes, and book it to the gym for a 6 AM Crossfit class that left my arms pretty much useless.  The trainer had us stack up weight plates - 5 kg, 10 kg, 15 kg, 20 kg, and 25 kg in a pile from heaviest to lightest.  One person laid on the floor, knees bent, and arms overhead.  Their partner handed them a plate (25 kg being first up) and the person on the floor did 10 "floor presses" (basically a bench press but you're holding a disc and you're on the floor, not n a bench).  As soon as you had finished 10, your partner took away that plate and handed you the next lightest one. When you got to the 5 kg plate, you did 20 presses, then you worked your way back up to 25 kg. Oh. My. God.  

I did have a nice moment in class, though - we were practicing engaging our lats against a partner - and the trainer was my partner, and he commented, "Wow, you're strong, Mel!"  Teehee! Hopefully he wasn't just stroking my ego. 

Anyway, back to the flight testing.  As I was writing the above paragraphs, I got a call from a coworker who would be on the flight test with me, and he said the test director had cancelled the test for today (yay!)  but upper management was still pushing for it (boo!).  So I have to call into a teleconference soon to figure out which side will win.  

Here is a great picture I got out of a window this past summer as we were doing low altitude testing near Catalina Island (this could be Catalina or a Channel Island, I'm not totally sure).

One benefit to flight testing is that, because the tests we do are boring and long, I tend to get a lot of knitting done.  Sometimes you can get a catnap in, but really you are supposed to be alert and watching your computer monitor for signs of machinery misbehaving.  So, I knit.  I knit a lot.  In 2010, I finished most of a sweater on flight tests, and remember losing my ball of yarn 150 feet back into a freighter airplane because we took off quickly and I had not secured it under anything!  (The flight test guys had a good laugh about that - me unbuckling and running after it before it got tangled in the maze of test equipment being stored in the back of the airplane).

I had planned to keep knitting on my Evendim sweater.  I cast on for a size smaller than I would normally knit, because I just finished losing about 15 lb! I am very excited.  I haven't been a size 8, well, since I can remember! Yes, my goal is to be strong and healthy, but dang if I don't want to look good naked, too!  Back to the knitting (ahem) -  As you can see below, I have knit the body up to the point where you separate for the front and back, and add the sleeves:

The red color is a little washed out in this picture.  It's actually much more of a blood red / pomegranate color of Madelinetosh Vintage in Tart.

I cast on for the first sleeve last night, and got a couple of rows in before bed. 


In other news, Daniel and I are going to go down to the Hood River Valley along the OR / WA border this weekend, and help some friends crush 2 tons of grapes for wine. They actually should have crushed 1 ton by the time we get there.  This is their biggest harvest yet, and I am looking forward to drinking the results in good time!