Worldrunner3's Blog

July 11, 2012

Trading Yucks for Yums

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 11:34 pm
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I read somewhere (most likely on the Internet, the Bringer of All Un-Cited Wisdom) that it is rude and close-minded to “yuck someone else’s yum.” Meaning, if your friend has a thing for liver and onions, or enjoys eating cheap ground beef for dinner, or likes sweet pickles in any other application but the occasional spoonful of relish on a hot dog at a baseball game, or likes to dip French fries in those amazing Wendy’s Frosties (as I did during every youth group outing to that chain in junior high and high school), you can’t look at them and say “yuck.”

*You can, however, look at them when they are eating copious amounts of beef or processed meats and say “good luck with your cancer.” As long as it’s not yuck.

I’m going to point fingers at my husband here and say that he regularly yucks my yum. I like fresh tomatoes. He only eats them cooked, and they better be pureed; none of that chunky tomato nonsense for him, thankyouverymuch. (This is why my stick blender never ever leaves my side in the kitchen.) Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil, with a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper? He asks me, “Do you KNOW what they grow those in?? Poop!!” Zucchini…ahh, zucchini. That overly abundant, incredibly versatile summer vegetable. It overflows gardens, friends try to pawn off their extras, and creative recipes pop up on Pinterest constantly. I love many applications of zucchini: grilled? sauteed? baked into zucchini bread? Haven’t tried this one, but I hear “the zuke” makes divine tots. And you know who doesn’t like this wonderous veg?

Yup.

Oh, my poor hypocritical self. It was a few weeks ago that Hubs was waxing rhapsodic on his favorite-in-moderation beverage: beer. He is picky about beer: none of that cheap Miller/Bud/PBR/Keystone crap that placates the unwashed masses. Pity the fool that offers him a light beer, which is an offense in the eyes of God. He likes quality craftmanship in his beer, and is always up for a glass from the local microbrewery. The man knows his stuff…and I have no interest. (Not like I don’t enjoy a glass of, oh, anything but beer; the texture throws me! Smells like bread, chews like water…eh. Give me a glass of wine, a mixed drink with rum or tequila; I’ll even have vodka before I’ll choose a beer.)

He was enjoying his beer and trying to get me to take a taste, which I refused: I’ve been down this road before. He looked at me for a moment, and came up with a stunning arrangement-if I’ll learn to like beer, really like it, and be able to drink an entire bottle of “good” beer with a smile on my face, he will be open-minded and try zucchini. “Deal,” I said, before I really thought about it.

So now I have to learn to like beer-any suggestions? I already like hard ciders, which are kind of like gateway beers: what should I try next? I’ve already tried the light/flavored beers, which are kind of disgusting. I need a real beer that is also tasty for those of us who don’t like strong yeast flavors in a drink, which considering it’s beer, may be an impossible task.

And as for Kevin and zucchini? Well, considering I got him to try beets and he loved them, I’m not too concerned.

July 1, 2012

Ahhhh…

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 6:35 pm

First of all, warning-no pictures from my unbelievably fantastic weekend. Why? Too busy frolicking on the beach with my hubby. I was not about to stop all the fun just so I could take some poorly composed “sloppily-painted toenails in the sand” shots. (So if just reading doesn’t appeal to you, this will be dull. Sorry.)

Kevin didn’t have one single obligation on Saturday: not one! This NEVER happens. We decided to take advantage of this and spent the afternoon at Navarre Beach, which is not nearly as developed as Pensacola Beach (read: no loud, kitschy bars). We spent a lot of time throwing a Frisbee out in the water, which mostly entailed Kevin throwing it and me trying valiantly to catch it, then retrieving it from the waves. Seaweed kept wrapping around my ankles, which kept me in a perpetual state of panic (“OMG something has my leg!!”). 

Side note: When you’re going to the beach and planning on doing anything besides lying on the beach perfectly still breaking your DNA strands tanning, it is important to have a suit that fits. Very Important. *ahem*

When we’d had enough of frisbee-ing, checking out all the cool shells that washed up on the sand, and people-watching, we headed out to Pensacola to try Taste of India for dinner. At the corner where the bridge to Navarre Beach intersects Highway 98, there is a huge Black Cat fireworks tent. This perfectly typifies this area-beach culture meets redneck culture. (Tragically, this leads to the only logical conclusion-scantily clad rednecks. God help us.)

Taste of India is a hole in the wall, at least from the outside. Once inside and seated, the food starts coming, and fast! We both had lamb (vindaloo for me, biryani for him), with vegetable fritters and buttered flatbread. On top of that, Kevin ordered a Kingfisher beer, which we shared. This was no pansy 12 oz bottle. I didn’t even know that beer came in 24 oz bottles! Stuffed and exhausted, we packed up our leftovers and headed for the door. On our way out, my foot slipped on a slick spot on the floor. I caught myself, but some of the vindaloo juices leaked out the side of the styrofoam container and got all over me. Someday, I will be able to both enter and leave a restaurant without making a scene. 

June 29, 2012

See my shameless plugs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 10:58 am

I put my way-cooler friends on the side of my blog. I want other people to check out these people, because they are funny, and they take better pictures than I do. You’ll enjoy them. :-)

June 28, 2012

See, this is why we can’t have nice things

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 8:31 pm
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Oh hello there, blog! Of course I remember you! I used to update you! And then I stopped, because nothing was happening in my life (at least I felt that way), and then we moved, and I started graduate school, and I just sort of fell off the face of the earth. Then all my cool friends here had blogs, and they made me feel awesome by saying I should have a blog. This definitely appeals to my constant need for attention…and the constant need to be talking. 

We have a garden! It grows food for us. Kevin wanted me to water the garden this morning, since he had to leave early to fly. He gave me very specific instructions about the backyard plants. “From the carrots all the way to the tomatoes. Leave the herbs alone, they don’t like to be watered as much. Use the flat setting on the spray nozzle, stand about 6 feet away, and hold it level so the water goes straight out and falls on the plants.” I felt pretty good about my ability to follow directions, and at 6:30 this morning, I was out wrestling the hose from the front yard to the back yard. I watered everything, then worked out, showered, and went to Bible study. 

It’s freaking hot outside, so I didn’t even attempt to leave the air conditioning again until this afternoon. I was on the phone with my sister and stepped outside. That’s when I saw it. The poor, sad strawberry plant. It sits in the front yard in its own little pot, and I had completely forgotten about it. (To be fair, Kevin never said anything about anything in the front yard.) I pulled it onto the front porch in the shade and began watering it. But I don’t think it’s going to survive…

Image

Do you see the crunchiness there on the leaves? Sad. 

July 25, 2011

Moving, cooking, and why it doesn’t happen for me

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 10:30 am

Greetings to you all from the Florida Panhandle! Kevin and I made the drive down on Tuesday and Wednesday, and spent Tuesday night in Charleston, SC. That is a beautiful city, and one that I wouldn’t mind retiring in one  day. Gorgeous houses, great food everywhere you turn… We are safely ensconced in our new home, with all sorts of improvements planned. (yes, it’s a rental, but the owners had been trying to sell it anyway, so if we just make a few little tweaks, it’ll be easier for them to sell in a year or two, whenever we have  to move next.) It is incredibly hot and humid, and the mosquitoes have made quite a meal of my legs. But we’re in Florida, the beach is 45 minutes away, and it’s all good.

Speaking of good, I have  never had so much good seafood as I have in the past 4 days. Wow. Everyone, from the little place here in our new hometown with the wood paneling that reminds me of the restaurant which was my first job, to the beach restaurant insanely popular with tourists with the way-too-loud band and the servers who wear Hawaiian shirts, knows how to cook the best seafood you’ve ever eaten. In fact, we’re going back to that local place for lunch again today, because you can get a great piece of fish, 2 sides, and a couple of the most divine hush puppies ever for $6.

But all this eating out, on the road and here, is hard on my stomach, and on our wallet. You see, one of the great things about military  moves is that, well, the government will actually pay for a contractor to move all your stuff. It’s great! But they take your kitchen gear, and don’t deliver it for a week and a half, or more! I’ve been tempted to drive down to the base and borrow some kitchen stuff from the lending closet, but The Hubster gets really weird about borrowing kitchen stuff.

What’s the solution? Hobo dinners! They’re great; potatoes, carrots, and ground beef patties wrapped up in foil packets. Salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce. Pop ‘em in the oven for a half-hour or so, around 375-400. Even if you have to buy new aluminum foil because your  roll is in a box somewhere between Virginia and Florida, you will be eating healthier and cheaper than you would at a restaurant.

I have some cooking goals while I’m here. First, I want to make really great fish. Fish is one of those things that I consistently make poorly, unless I’m using something from a yellow box with a blue label and a kindly looking old man wearing a yellow raincoat on the front. I also want to make grits; the little local place makes the most amazing smoked gouda grits. Yum and a half! I recognize that these are very southern-style cooking goals, and that’s ok. Southern food is good food, except when all you’ve eaten is the fried variety and your digestive system says, seriously? Enough.

July 14, 2011

Chickpea Curry My Way, i.e. Inauthentic but Delicious

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 12:43 pm
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A vegetarian meal my husband actually mostly likes

When my parents came to visit us a few months ago, we went out to an Indian restaurant in Woodbridge. Kevin and I try to make a point of finding interesting, un-chain places to eat, and love taking my parents to holes in the wall.

This place beyond qualified, thanks to its storefront location in a run down strip mall, the dim lighting, the server who had a barely rudimentary grasp of the English language (complicated by a thick accent), and enough typos in the menu to make my eye twitch. But the food, oh the food. I had an absolutely divine chickpea thing, loaded with turmeric and flavor, and maybe some sort of ridiculous heavy cream. Not spicy, but rich, and a great bite to the chickpeas. I ate my weight of it, and had the rest for lunch the next day.

The dish haunted me, and I vowed I would re-create it someday in my own kitchen. That day arrived earlier this week, when I finally decided to make a recipe I’d found on the Betty Crocker website. Now, this recipe called for curry powder, but as we are moving and I seriously don’t have the money or inclination to buy one more bottle of spices that we have to move, I improvised my own “curry powder.” Anyone who is a true connoisseur of Indian food will cry with shame, but I thought the results were delicious, and even better the next day (and the day after!). Even Kevin, a devoted eater of meat, thought it was pretty good, though he’s no fan of whole chickpeas.

Please make this. It’s not exactly what I had in Woodbridge, but I like it even better without the cream. It’s just plain yummy.

*Edit: I used fire-roasted canned tomatoes, which really add some serious yum to the whole mess. I should’ve put that in. My apologies. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.*

Chickpea Curry My Way (adapted from Betty Crocker’s Chickpea and Tomato Curry)

olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 onion, minced

2 cans garbanzo beans

2 cans whole tomatoes

large pinch of coriander seeds

cumin

ginger powder

turmeric

ground red pepper

salt

lemon juice

cooked white rice

Put the coriander seeds in a plastic baggie and crush with a can or rolling pin. (If you are not a loser and have a fancy-pants spice grinder, feel free to toast the seeds, and toast cumin seeds, and grind them all up together. That’s not me. I use a baggie and a can.) Heat a skillet or big, shallow sauce pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the oil and let it heat up. Saute the onion and garlic, adding the crushed coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and red pepper. Because I didn’t measure, I can’t tell you how much I used of anything. There will be a good chance to taste and adapt in a few minutes. Just make sure it’s good and yellow by adding plenty of turmeric!

While the onion and garlic are softening and cooking down, put the tomatoes in the blender with the juices and puree them. (Whole tomatoes taste better than the diced ones, and Kevin won’t eat tomato chunks. If your friends and family eat chunks of tomato, lucky you; you can skip this step if you want, and just break them up into more manageable pieces with a fork.) Drain and rinse the garbanzos. Add tomatoes and garbanzos to the onion and garlic. Stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste it about midway through; is it spicy enough? Smokey? Do you just want more turmeric (that’s me, always)? Go ahead and add it. Curry is a personal thing, so just go with how you’re feeling today!

At the end of the simmering time, put in a good pinch of salt and a squirt of lemon juice. Taste. Maybe a tiny bit more salt. Good.

Serve over rice, maybe have some falafel on the side, or pita bread. Whatever your heart desires.

It’s been HOW long??

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 8:51 am
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*blows dust off blog*
Oh dear, my poor blog. I am so sorry. How did I let time slip away from me without making an entry for the ENTIRE length of Kevin’s imprisonment, I mean, assignment, to language school?

I suppose I can tack it up to poor judgment, lack of time management, and all of those other character flaws that plague my particular generation. Not to mention that nasty sense of entitlement, which I bet manifested itself in my own life by my thinking that this blog would update itself, because I’ve earned it.

At any rate, I have some interesting posts coming up focusing on (I’m hoping) delicious side dishes. Pesto, anyone?

Please remember that I am simultaneously preparing to move, so things are getting a little hairy on my end. Conveniently enough, in my world, I think the week before we move to another state is the perfect time to get back into blogging. Go figure, right?

And in keeping with my blog’s title, I am preparing for a race in my soon-to-be new hometown. I’m very excited, as it should be a fun, laid-back, scenic race; the best kind.

September 21, 2010

Separations and snacking

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 10:19 am

The hubster and his company are in the field this week, sleeping in foxholes that they get to dig themselves. I’m sure he’s having a wonderful time. Except for the fact that he’s SLEEPING IN A HOLE. You know. Other than that.

Our FRO put on a coffee last night, which was tasty Subway sammies and a session on family care plans and deployments. Kind of icky stuff, although the lady who spoke on family care plans did remind us, “Put on your big girl panties and make some big girl decisions.” True. And yes, families who don’t have kids or even pets yet need to make a family care plan. For example, what if your hubby is deployed or on TAD for 30 days and you break your leg? You’re not in the hospital for those 30 days, you’re at home. Who is going to help you? Better be someone you really trust, if they’re going to help you toilet and bathe! It’s not fun to think about, but it is necessary.

Right now, Kevin is never going to be in “that box” to work on our will, getting me special power-of-attorney, and creating our family care plan. However, after TBS is over, I will be insisting we make an appointment at Base Legal to get all of our stuff squared away. I think I’ll feel better when everything is all prepared and ready.

As I previously mentioned, Kevin is in the field. Which means I get to spend a lot of time at home, chilling by myself. The temptation to snack is almost unbelievable. And no, these aren’t the healthy snacks either!

“Kari…How about a bunch of chips and salsa?”

“Kari…Why don’t you go down the street to McDonald’s and get a Big Mac?”

“Kari…You should consider eating Nutella straight out of the jar. Really.”

It’s pretty tough to keep myself from just constantly eating. So that’s why I’m blogging. If both hands are busy typing, I can’t eat. Unless I allow myself to take breaks.

Uh oh…I’m running out of things to write about!!

Wish me luck as I’m dragged back into the kitchen.

September 8, 2010

Labor Day recap and the frustrations of military medicine: plus cranberry muesli and garlicy grilled chicken!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 8:34 pm

So folks, it’s been a while! I’m not ignoring you, my life has just been crazy.

Labor Day was amazing. Kevin got a 96, (which translates to a 4-day weekend!!!); there was much rejoicing of the local peasantry about these parts. He got home early on Thursday, and we got to hang out, relax, and enjoy each other’s company for the whole afternoon! I worked out Friday morning, and got my gorgeous hubby up so we could clean our apartment. Truly, it was a holy wreck. Thanks to a few episodes of Top Gear, we got through it all before my parents showed up on Friday. Kevin and I were so excited to see them! We went to La Rosetta on Friday night, which is our favorite local restaurant. It’s tiny, but the food is absolutely, positively amazing. Sure, the decor isn’t totally upscale: there are plastic dinosaurs in the fountain against the wall! The food is rich, decadent, delicious, and in my humble opinion, way better than Olive Garden. So there.

Saturday was a glorious day. I made cranberry muesli the evening before, so in the morning, I had a delicious, healthy breakfast ready for everyone to enjoy without having to put a ton of work and time into it (quiche lorraine, anyone?). We spent the day in Olde Town Fredericksburg; beautiful area with amazing restaurants, and with a philosophy about antique shops that you generally find true of fudge shops in other tourist destinations: it ain’t complete till there’s one on every corner. We went to a decadent and amazing French restaurant for dinner, and I had poached eggs Benedict for the first time in my life. It was deeply satisfying and glorious, and I feel that nothing in the world can make me feel like that dish did.

Sunday was wonderful. We went to church, I made tuna pasta primavera for lunch, and we went the Marine Corps Museum. My parents hadn’t been yet, and Kevin and I wanted to show the place off. That museum still gives the Relief Services Assistant at the NMCRS chills every time she goes, and it’s no surprise. It is moving, stirring, and inspiring to think of what such a small group of men and women have d0ne and accomplished since 1775.

Today was a rough day; I was late to my doctor’s appointment because I got lost, and they couldn’t fit me in until 2 weeks from now. Super frustrating; 2 hours of my morning completely lost! I still had fun hanging out with my downstairs neighbor and getting to know her, since I was sad and miserable and needed some cheering up. I made a delicious, amazing dinner, and now I will share all with you!

Cranberry Muesli (adapted from eathealthyyourway.com)

1 and 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 and 1/2 cups cranberry juice

big handful dried cranberries

long squeeze of honey (you can always add more in the morning)

dribble vanilla extract

big pinch salt

Mix thoroughly in a bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Deliciousness will ensue in the morning. Serves about 4.

Garlicky Grilled Chicken

4 minced garlic cloves

Small spoonful of stone-ground mustard (I like Grey Poupon)

big splash of olive oil

big pinch of salt

plenty of ground black pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix the first 5 ingredients, and rub thoroughly into the chicken. Let sit in fridge for several hours (I let it go all day!), and grill for dinner. (I got to try out my George Foreman grill, and it was absolutely glorious. I don’t know how I survived without it!) Serve with buttery green beans and mashed potatoes (prepared with a big dollop of sour cream mixed in; it absolutely made it one of the happiest moments of my life.)

August 15, 2010

Run Amuck 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 11:35 am

I love racing. Granted, I’m not terribly good at it; there are oodles of people that are stronger and faster than me, and have a greater competitive spirit. But in terms of a goal to get me out the door and running by 6:30 AM, nothing beats an upcoming race that I have paid $30 or more for the privilege of beating myself into oblivion. Nothing says “pay us so you can abuse yourself” more than the MCM series event Run Amuck.

Run Amuck is a 4-mile obstacle course through woods on board MCB Quantico. It took place on Saturday, with a recorded total of 2224 finishers. First off, this is the biggest race I have ever participated in; heck, they had wave starts. I’ve NEVER been a part of a race that required waves! Chip timing, sure. Wave starts were a new one for me. My neighbor and friend Meagan and I signed up for this race and decided to run in the same wave, even though technically, she was in a wave a few minutes before mine. The starting area, on the infield of Butler Stadium’s track, was really keyed up-lots of loud music playing (which inspired a dance party by the 2 of us), mud-covered runners sprinting across the finish line, Marines ensuring everything was running smoothly. Meagan and I took our places on the track, waiting. 90 seconds…60 seconds…30 seconds…3…2…1…*siren* and we were off!

After a brief stint on the track, the course took off into a back road, which was fairly innocuous (except for a major hill that reduced others around us to a walk). We had to stop at a station to do jumping jacks. The first obstacle was a stack of hay bales, which I got over without too much trouble. A Woman Marine was standing at the hay bales, yelling at us that it shouldn’t be hard, it used to be higher, so get over it already! Farther down the road was tires. The course curved to the left, sending us off-road and immediately into the first mud pit. That was some serious mud. The water only came up to my knees, but the mud underneath was both sticky and slippery. It tried to pull my sneakers right off my feet! Keeping my knees high as I ran through helped, but it was still tough going. The smell was unbelievable; I wondered out-loud why it smelled like the state fair. We faced some serious hills after emerging from the mud, “encouraged” by a Marine at the top yelling at those weaker individuals around us who had slowed to a walk. The downhill sections worried me exceedingly, as it was covered in the same slippery mud. I was constantly worried about slipping, falling, hitting the orange barrier wall at the bottom of the hill, and being done for the race. Somehow, I kept to my feet and threw myself over the wall. We got to our hands and knees and crawled through more of the mud underneath ropes stretched over the trail, again encouraged by a Marine telling us to keep our heads down so we wouldn’t get shot. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the mud hadn’t been full of sharp gravel. The last few meters were pretty painful. But we were soon up and running again, flinging bits of mud from our fingertips into the woods around us. We had to do situps, crawl through a tunnel, run more, do flutter kicks, run under a firehose spraying water, and finish on the track. Official result? I finished 958 out of the 2224, with a chip time of 38:49. After we finished, my shins started stinging. Meagan and I cleaned off in another fire hose that was running to clean off the participants. Final damage report: my shins and knees are cut, scraped, and bruised; my elbow hurts to fully extend or put weight on it. That was awesome! I’ve got my eye on a 10K (that’s 6.2 miles) Turkey Trot in November. Doing one race makes me want to do another. If anyone is in the DC area this time next year, try to get over to Quantico to compete in Run Amuck 2011. It’s fun, it’s well-organized, it’s definitely beginner-runner friendly with a competitive but welcoming atmosphere; plus, it’s very affordable ($35, with t-shirt and entrance to the beer garden. But seriously, beer at 9:00 AM? Right after a tough race? Not for me!) If you’re interested, sign up as soon as registration opens; it’s a popular race so it fills up quickly!

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