The Outlaw Life

running, reading, blogging, loving

Garry Gribble’s Has my Heart

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(this is what happens when you ask your husband to humor you and take a picture with his new running shoes for your blog)

Oh, day of all days! Today started with the usual – dragging ourselves out of bed at eight, which I realize to some sounds totally ridiculous! But I should explain: Mark works second shift, which means he usually goes in to work at around two in the afternoon and is home by about 11:30. At night. By the time we, you know, speak words to each other and each get a cookie, it’s 12:30 and time for bed. Or, time to watch The Daily Show and Dance Moms until well past 1:00. Whatever works. Add to that the fact that his “weekend” days are Tuesday and Wednesday – today was basically our Monday, and 8am might as well be our 6am. And although this sound suspiciously like whining, it’s not –we’re night people to begin with, and honestly, I’m just glad we have enough flexibility in the other parts of our lives to make Mark’s schedule work!

Breakfast was, technically, a piece of whole-wheat toast with almond butter and chia seeds. But I didn’t get a picture, because I figured you guys’ imaginations were up to the task. After that, it was Mark and I off to the BRAND NEW GYM FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!! Needless to say, I was giddy. He and I both hopped up on the treadmill, which ended up looking like this by the time I was done

P3130067 It helped that I had this to keep me company: P3130064

I tried to take a picture without the flash because, you know, I didn’t want to be that person but, alas, that just wasn’t happening – at least, not in a way that produced a legible picture!

0:00-5:00 min. Warm Up: 3.5 @ 0.0%
5:00-10:00 min 5.5 @ 1.0%
10:00-15:00 min. 6.0 @ 1.0%
15:00-20:00 min. 5.0 @ 0.0%
20:00-25:00 min 4.0 @ 8.0%
25:00-30:00 min Cool Down: 3.0 @ 0.0%

All in all, I was alright with everything, although I will say I wish that I had pushed myself a bit harder and kept to my original goal/plan of alternating between a 5.5 and 6.0. I don’t know if maybe I didn’t eat enough (I’m still new to this whole working out right when I get up thing, so any tips on timing breakfast with a morning workout would be much appreciated!) of if there was another culprit, but I left the gym sweaty and that’s always a win. After the gym, Mark and I ran home real quick to whip up this beauty

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for brunchfast – what we call eating at 10:45 in the morning. It’s diced potatoes, red bell pepper, onion, hickory sausage (splurge!) and two eggs, with a big heaping dollop of ERMAGHAD ketchup. It was delicious, and couldn’t have hit the spot better. We ate fast though, because we wanted to stop by Mark’s mom’s house to thank her for the gym membership – it’s a joint birthday present for Mark and I) – before heading off to our major and most awesome errand for the day… Today, Mark and I got the chance to go by the place that is near and dear to my heart but that, because of budgetary restraints (a polite way of saying ‘broke-ass mofo’), I hardly ever get to go to. Garry Gribble’s is a little bit of a local running Nirvana, a place for everything from chews to water bottles to these bad boys

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Those are Mark’s new Brooks Addiction 10s, which he bought in anticipation of starting the Couch to 5K program, which just makes my little newly running-converted heart go all pitter-patter. Seriously, I’m just so excited to get the chance to finally share this whole running thing with him – definite updates to follow. The picture on the right are my brand new Smartwool PhD Running socks! The ones pictured are the crew cut in the “Horizon Blue”, and I also got a pair of ankle-height in “Berry” because, TOTAL SCORE, they were two for one! All in all, it was definitely an awesome trip to Garry Gribbles!

After that, Mark had to head to work (there’s that 2:00 start time!) so I headed back up to the gym for another quick round of cardio, this time on the StairMaster

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0:00-5:00 min. Warm Up: Level 4
5:00-10:00 min. Ramp it Up: Level 8 (forward)
10:00-15:00 min. To the Left: Level 6 (face the left)
15:00-20:00 min. To the Right: Level 6 (face the right)
20:00-25:00 min. Finish Strong: Level 8 (forward)
25:00-30:00 min. Cool Down: Level 4

After I wrapped up the StairMaster, I headed downstairs for some strength training. I did three sets of 10 squats/shoulder presses (12.5 lbs), followed by three sets of 10 alternating lunges (bent leg balanced on Bosu) with tricep curls at 12.5 lbs. After that, I headed to the back of the gym and did two sets of ten jumps on to the smallest box they had (12 inches? 18? 7? I have no idea – I’m horrible at spatial relations) followed by two sets of 5 machine-assisted pull-ups. After that, I was dying (and, looking back on it now, apparently feeling a bit random!) and ready to head home. I whipped up this delicious ditty for Mark and I to have on his “break” – which tonight he got at 7:30, in just enough time for it to be dinner

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that, my friends, is the tried-and-true-never-fails combo of chicken fajitas. A staple in our house, the recipe looks something like this: slice as many onions and green peppers as you think you’ll eat. Cook them with 2.0 tsp (approx) of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent and the peppers are getting little bits of burnt on the edges (that’s how we like them in this house, anyway!), turn them on to a plate and tossed in 1 chicken breast per person, cut in to strips of about the same size. Then proceed to toss on as many Mexican-themed spices as you desire, until the chicken smells how you want it to smell (for this recipe, there was a bit of taco seasoning, onion powder, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper, but in the past I’ve had success with sweet mesquite, ranch, and wing-sauce coated chicken – its really all about what your taste-buds desire) and then you cook it until the chicken is white and done. Toss the veggies back in with the chicken, give it another minute or two on the burner, and then throw down. Mark prefers them with our favorite Costco tortillas, as do I, but it’s also good on salad, in a bowl by itself, or as the filling for hard or soft tacos. Really, the options are endless, the chicken scrumptious, and how can you beat a meal filled with mmm-mmm veggies?

That, dear friends, brings us to now! Mark is still at work, and will be for another few hours (as of the time I’m writing this very sentence). The evening looks rather full of laundry, Veronica Mars (PLEASE tell me you watch this show and have heard about this amazing Kickstarter?! We’ll be friends forever – promise!), and maybe even a bit of foam rolling if the mood strikes. One thing’s for sure, thought. When Mark gets home tonight, he and I will be splitting this

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a looks-can-be-deceiving Thin Mint Cal-Blaster Smoothie from the cafe at the gym. It’s been sitting in the freezer since I brought it home after my second trip (I just couldn’t help myself! THIN MINT, DAMN YOU!), so it should be nice and ice-creamy, which will be divine. My hats off to all you lovely lads and lasses!

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The Literary Kitchen

Well, y’all, spring is here. I know, I know, it’s not, like, HERE here, but it’s totally here! It’s March! I don’t even care that there is snow on the ground, like, past my ankles. I don’t care that I wouldn’t wear a skirt without leggings no matter how much you paid me, and that my furry fake Ugg boots are about to need retirement for the season. It’s still spring, and with spring comes food. And farmers markets. And flowers. And finally getting to feel like, you know, a human again – a human who can touch grass and feel the wind without yelling obscenities and running for the nearest indoor location. Mostly, though, I know its spring because I’m getting that urge I get every spring: to read books about cooking, more specifically books about cooking by people who can cook WAY better than I can. In other, words, friends, this post is all about two words: Book. List.

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For the record, none of these book I’ve read yet. They are all just the ones that I’ve been book-stalking on Goodreads, trying to track down a copy (for free) with as little wait as possible (kind of a bummer at my library, which I swear only orders ONE COPY OF LIKE EVERYTHING – side rant: more than two people want to read Gone, Girl at any given point in time, alright?! Just accept it and ORDER MORE!). I’ve went ahead and given you guys the Goodreads summary, in case you don’t trust a famous name a pretty cover as much as I do when it comes to books about food. I tried to find a range of books covering famous cooks, people doing cool food challenges – I’m a TOTAL sucker for anything having the format of “do _____ for a year” – and books about food history, culture, or politics. Or all of the above. With that said, grab a piece of pie and some whiskey (what, is that not a thing you just, like, have around all the time?) and enjoy the Literary Kitchen Book List of 2013, or Some Such Title.

139220In a fast-paced, candid narrative, Buford describes the frenetic experience of working in Babbo’s kitchen: the trials and errors (and more errors), humiliations and hopes, disappointments and triumphs as he worked his way up the ladder from slave to cook. He talks about his relationships with his kitchen colleagues and with the larger-than-life, hard-living Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters.

 

 

164428In the winter of 1996, Michael Ruhlman donned hounds-tooth-check pants and a chef’s jacket and entered the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, to learn the art of cooking. His vivid and energetic record of that experience, The Making of a Chef, takes us to the heart of this food-knowledge mecca. Here we meet a coterie of talented chefs, an astonishing and driven breed. Ruhlman learns fundamental skills and information about the behavior of food that make cooking anything possible. Ultimately, he propels himself and his readers through a score of kitchens and classrooms, from Asian and American regional cuisines to lunch cookery and even table waiting, in search of the elusive, unnameable elements of great cooking.

 

880773In 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six-year-old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mother’s advice that she get another job immediately or “never get hired anywhere ever again,” Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream-a diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cryis the touching and remarkably funny account of Flinn’s transformation as she moves through the school’s intense program and falls deeply in love along the way. Flinn interweaves more than two dozen recipes with a unique look inside Le Cordon Bleu amid battles with demanding chefs, competitive classmates, and her “wretchedly inadequate” French. Flinn offers a vibrant portrait of Paris, one in which the sights and sounds of the city’s street markets and purveyors come alive in rich detail.

8459594Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; the soulless catering factories that helped pay the rent; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a difficult and prickly marriage that nonetheless yields rich and lasting dividends.

 

19132Like manufacturing cigarettes or building weapons, making food is very big business. Food companies in 2000 generated nearly $900 billion in sales. They have stakeholders to please, shareholders to satisfy, and government regulations to deal with. It is nevertheless shocking to learn precisely how food companies lobby officials, co-opt experts, and expand sales by marketing to children, members of minority groups, and people in developing countries. We learn that the food industry plays politics as well as or better than other industries, not least because so much of its activity takes place outside the public view…No wonder most of us are thoroughly confused about what to eat to stay healthy. An accessible and balanced account, Food Politics will forever change the way we respond to food industry marketing practices. By explaining how much the food industry influences government nutrition policies and how cleverly it links its interests to those of nutrition experts, this pathbreaking book helps us understand more clearly than ever before what we eat and why.

421393 It wouldn’t be easy. Stepping outside the industrial food system, Smith and MacKinnon found themselves relying on World War II–era cookbooks and maverick farmers who refused to play by the rules of a global economy. What began as a struggle slowly transformed into one of the deepest pleasures of their lives. For the first time they felt connected to the people and the places that sustain them. For Smith and MacKinnon, the 100-mile diet became a journey whose destination was, simply, home. From the satisfaction of pulling their own crop of garlic out of the earth to pitched battles over canning tomatoes, Plenty is about eating locally and thinking globally.  The authors’ food-focused experiment questions globalization, monoculture, the oil economy, environmental collapse, and the tattering threads of community. Thought-provoking and inspiring, Plenty offers more than a way of eating. In the end, it’s a new way of looking at the world.

40136Bestselling chef and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has never been one to pull punches. In The Nasty Bits, he serves up a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures. Whether scrounging for eel in the backstreets of Hanoi, revealing what you didn’t want to know about the more unglamorous aspects of making television, calling for the head of raw food activist Woody Harrelson, or confessing to lobster-killing guilt, Bourdain is as entertaining as ever. Bringing together the best of his previously uncollected nonfiction–and including new, never-before-published material–The Nasty Bits is a rude, funny, brutal and passionate stew for fans and the uninitiated alike.

 

6164628For anyone who has ever grown herbs on their windowsill, tomatoes on their fire escape, or obsessed over the offerings at the local farmers’ market, Carpenter’s story will capture your heart. And if you’ve ever considered leaving it all behind to become a farmer outside the city limits, or looked at the abandoned lot next door with a gleam in your eye, consider this both a cautionary tale and a full-throated call to action. Farm City is an unforgettably charming memoir, full of hilarious moments, fascinating farmers’ tips, and a great deal of heart. It is also a moving meditation on urban life versus the natural world and what we have given up to live the way we do.

 

835313Uncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in Abyssinia to its role in intrigue in the American colonies to its rise as a national consumer product in the twentieth century and its rediscovery with the advent of Starbucks at the end of the century. A panoramic epic, Uncommon Grounds uses coffee production, trade, and consumption as a window through which to view broad historical themes: the clash and blending of cultures, the rise of marketing and the “national brand,” assembly line mass production, and urbanization. Coffeehouses have provided places to plan revolutions, write poetry, do business, and meet friends. The coffee industry has dominated and molded the economy, politics, and social structure of entire countries. Mark Pendergrast introduces the reader to an eccentric cast of characters, all of them with a passion for the golden bean. Uncommon Grounds is nothing less than a coffee-flavored history of the world.

11550559 After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn’s “chefternal” instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers’ culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar, and simple recipes that get readers cooking. (And yes, this is the same Kathleen Flinn who wrote one of the above books!)

 

So, I have to ask – what’s your ‘spring thing’? I know everyone has one… 🙂

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