Corn Curry Chicken Wild Rice Stew

I made a curry thing that doesn’t look like barf! It’s all due to Will’s fancy new camera. I’m sure in bad lighting it could still look unappetizing.  Let’s not dare it to.

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Will and I are about to celebrate five years of marriage and our epic 250 miles of paddle and portage honeymoon adventure with far too little time in the BWCA.

In the meanwhile I leave you with this wonderfully autumn “recipe” in which everything is a guess and you should make it your own.

Into the slow cooker I added:
1 onion diced
3 carrots diced
4 stalks of celery
Lots of minced garlic
Generous splash of apple cider vinegar
8 chicken thighs (bone in, skin off)
About 3T of curry powder
1 can of creamed corn
1 can of coconut milk
This ended up way too thick.  I added a bunch of liquid (milk, white wine, more vinegar, water etc) at the end of cooking.   I’d suggest starting out with two can’s of coconut milk or even just a cup or two of water.

Set the slow cooker for high for 4 hours (or was it 5?)

I boiled and drained 2 cups of wild rice.  But I ended up using only about half of it.

At the end I cut the kernels off 3 ears of corn directly into the mess.  I might have also added a bunch of chopped cilantro, but I can’t remember now.

I fished out the chicken bones while the corn warmed up.

That was it.  It made a boat load.  Enough to feed us for the week and freeze some for when we get back from our trip. 

Here is proof of the non-recipe nature of this stew.  This is the notebook I use to plan what to cook.  It’s what I use to help assemble a grocery list and then assemble the ingredients for cooking. It’s clearly not an exact science.

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Traditions, Triathlons, and Homes

Traditions are nice.  They are comforting when life feels chaotic.  It’s reassuring to repeat things.  Traditions are a reminder of what we feel is valuable to set aside time for.  The holidays are nice, but I’m really liking the athletic traditions I’ve been creating.

Velocikitty Snuggles celebrated our one year anniversary at the Square Lake Triathlon.  Which makes it a tradition now.  A really silly goofy wonderful tradition.

We had gotten way more into it last year. We had t-shirts, tattoos, special toenails… Dinosaur everything!

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This year we’ve both been been focused on different life projects.  We’d hardly seen each other all summer.  But we still painted our toes, and we had our dinosaur transition towels, and we passed ‘lil T (the squishy green guy) as our relay baton.

We got one pre-race selfie (pictured right) with ‘lil T and Rexy Roo (the plush dino backpack).

Despite minimal training, we did very well.  img_2962We placed 1st in our all women relay division and second among all relays.  I was surprised and pleased with my swim and run paces.

Traditions can also be a reminder of where we come from.   Swimming and running are deeply a part of my past.  Even when I’ve neglected them they feel like home.  Swimming and running welcome me back so easily.

While I’ve been trying new hard things (like flexibility and dance) and trying not to get frustrated with what feels like impossibly slow progress (I still can’t balance in a handstand) This race was a reminder of the depth of my roots in swimming and running.  People might be so frustrated at seemingly how easily I might run or swim with such minimal training.  But it comes from decades of experience.  It comes from years of dedication and effort and progress.

I have to remember I am an infant in the world of gymnastic and dance movement.  When I see images and videos of people who do amazing, mind-blowing, gorgeous feats of strength-flexility-control, I have to remember that we come from different athletic homes.  I am welcome in this new home, but it will feel awkward and foreign and that’s ok.  I do not have to be “good” at something for it to be valuable and meaningful to me.

Still, it’s nice to come home.  It’s nice to repeat traditions I know so well.  It’s nice to be in a community I feel so comfortable with.  I don’t have to look around wondering if I’m doing the right thing or in the right place.  It’s nice to feel effortlessly competent.   It gives me the strength and confidence to keep pursuing the new hard things.

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2017 Square Lake Triathlon 

So much love to all my athletic families.

As I wrote this I couldn’t help but think of the experiences of immigrants, of marginalized people, and anyone who feels they don’t belong.  I hope we can all reflect on personal experiences that might give us insight into the experiences that are not our own.  

 

 

 

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Fish Pie – weird, but good.

Hello!   It’s been a while.   I’ve got a bunch of excuses, but the biggest reason I didn’t blog is that I’m cooking up a big project.   I’ve been doing my darnedest to pull all my energy into it.   It’s almost ready and I’ll share as soon as it is.

In the meanwhile how about something weird?  Is sardine pie interesting enough?

Remember my hidden fish success back in April?  Lemony sumac yogurt and fresh bright veggies to balance/hide the sardines.   The flavors were a win. But it wasn’t practical enough for our lifestyle.   Which right now is lazy and inconsistent cooking.  I wanted all the components and flavors  but in a format that would make leftovers.

This seemed like an impossibly tall order.  Yet, watch mean leap over buildings!  Fish pie was even more successful!  Gold star for me.

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I really worked for that gold star. This was a long drawn out affair.

Tuesday 8/22 – Brainstormed how to reconfigure the fish toast.
Wednesday 8/23 – Went grocery shopping.
Friday 8/25- Was going to cook and didn’t. Same with Saturday.
Sunday 8/27 – Only got as far as the vinegar veggies and the sumac yogurt.
Wednesday 8/30 – Managed to assemble the fish filling, then got distracted by beer on the front step…
Thursday 8/31 – Made the hot water crust and baked the pie!  But we had an event and didn’t get to eat it.
Friday 9/1 – FINALLY GOT TO EAT IT!
It took 11 days for me to cook something new and another 9 for me to write about it.   This is my wildly productive life.

Below is what I did.  I hope you get some inspiration from it.

Vinegar veggies:
Chopped english cucumber, red onion, fresh raw corn cut off the cob (and my god this was better than anything canned or frozen).  Sprinkled with generously with salt, about 1/2t of sugar, and a dousing of white wine vinegar.  Mixed and let sit in the fridge, giving it a toss every now and then.
Sumac yogurt:
About 1c of plain greek yogurt mixed with enough ground sumac to make it fairly gritty.  With time it get’s to be purple and the gritty texture softens.  (I got the sumac at the Holy Land

Fish filling:
4 tins of oil packed sardines.  1 14oz can of salmon.  Both drained of excess liquid. Mixed with one bunch of chopped parsley, and as much parmesan cheese as felt right. Added salt to taste.

Hot Water Pastry (because I love the Great British Baking Show):
200g lard + 220g water +1/2t salt boiled in sauce pan.
Mixed in 575g flour, then turned out and needed like it was bread.  Then rolled out and very poorly assembled it as a pie in my rarely used springform pan.

Baked it at… well I’m not sure.  I think it was 400? For… I was multi-tasking… I think I just checked on it every 15-20min…
It wouldn’t win any awards for presentation but, ta-da!  It was finally done!

It was delicious.  It kept in the fridge and individual slices reheated beautifully.  We ate it all week.

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Fish Ballet

I’ve been looking for ways to feel like a fish out of water while I take my hiatus from triathlon racing.   I got so comfortable in the world of triathlon, something that many people experience as awkward.  As a coach, I consider empathizing and guiding people through the awkward stage a critical professional skill.  I think coaches should regularly find ways to be completely out of their comfort zone.

Summer 2016 I did GMB Focused Flexibility and Elements programs. 

The first weeks were awesome.  Then progress became excruciatingly snail pace slow.  The program was also entirely online and I was ready to up the awkward ante.
dreamworks turbo snail

Winter 2017 I tried ExperTease’s Fiercely Flex class.

The whole loud music, burlesque and pole dance approach was not for me.  There was some stretching going on, but generally I felt a whole lot’a unsexy disjointed awkwardness.
awkward flamingo

Spring 2017 I spent with Querencia Fitness – Adult Gymnastics.

Gymnastics was way more fun and much closer to my comfort zone.  I still had some pretty great failing moments.
“Is this it? Am I doing it?” Immediately followed by falling over and giggling on the floor.  awkward baby elephant

Now in the Summer of 2017 I’m trying Fundamental Ballet with Zenon Dance School.

After trying a hip hop class and observing one ballet class I signed up.   Immediately I biked way way out of my way to arrive at a dance supply store, dirty and drenched in sweat.  The teenage employee was surprisingly gracious and helpful.  I was so excited to have new “sport gear” that I walked out of the store and had to put on my brand new ballet slippers.

I’ve now taken three classes.
In my mind I’m a natural Misty Copeland, looking all effortless rocking elegant athleticism.   She’s my new hero.

In reality I know I’m still a fish.  A fish trying to be a ballerina.  Fish out of waterYup.  That’s more like it.

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Type Two Fun Spiders

Totally random post.   Except because it was horrible at the time but I can’t stop telling the story it must be type two fun.

I’ll share the original telling of the tale, through Facebook messenger because I’m not the only storyteller here worth hearing.

Spider Story #1 Continue reading

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Waiting for Tri Hunger

I will be celebrating my 20th year of triathlons at Heart Of the Lakes on July 16th.

My dad and I in 1997 at my first Triathlon. Wow, 15 was an awkward year.

It’s a good time to remember how much I love swimming and running and biking. The world of triathlon has done so much for my life.  It’s become a cornerstone of my career.  It has been a source of friendship and a reminder of gratitude.

My personal journey as a swimmer, runner, biker, and triathlete has taught me so much about myself.  It has been a source of strength and humility.  Over and over again I got to prove to myself that I can do something hard.  Athletic training is such a great way to interject some type two fun into daily life.

But right now, while I’ll be doing the Heart of the Lake Tri, I am not training to race.  There are so many reasons.

  • I’m trying other athletic activities.  It’s beneficial both as a person and as a professional.
  • I’m pursuing career goals.  It’s taking all my energy to keep my eye on this ball.  For far too long I figured the pieces would eventually all fall in to place.  Nope.
  • I’m putting my money elsewhere.  Triathlons are expensive. It’s so much more than the race entry.  It’s the gear you wear out, the bike, increased nutrition demands, coaching, club fees, body work, travel, time off from work, it just goes on and on.

But even if I had the time and money, the biggest reason is…

  • I’m not hungry for it.

To achieve big goals requires tons of dedication and passion and discipline.

When I’m hungry for it I’ve got plenty of ideas lined up.

  • I’d love to get competitive at Olympic distance triathlons.  Maybe go to age group nationals?  I’d want to hire a bike coach so I could start to see my potential.  I’d want to finally get a real tri bike so my 1970’s Italian steel can be put to pasture. What I really want is the feeling of racing aggressively.
  • I’d love to reawaken my love for running and feel fast again.  Maybe a finally join the marathon club?  Maybe do trail races?  What pace “fast” is matters less than feeling fast.  I’d want to reconnect with the elemental rhythm of running that feels like a thread through the history of humanity and nature.  Running fast used to transport me to timelessness.
  • I’d love to revisit Ironman Tri.  Perhaps I’ll get another chance to hit my “A” goal of a sub 12 hour Ironman.  Or at least a chance to get a PR.  I loved the long arc of the day, whether training or racing.  There’s no rushing, only steady sustainable effort.  Like being in the wilderness, complexities are stripped away and it’s only me traveling forward.

That’s enough stuff to feed at least 3 years, perhaps even 5 years of triathlon hunger.

But I’m waiting for the right time and more money.  Even if I had the time and money, I’d still want to wait until I was itching to start.

It will be so much more fun if I’ve waited.  The discipline and the sacrifices to do all the preparation will feel more like a treat than a chore.

I want to be hungry for the training and the racing.  I’ll wait until I’m starving for it.

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A Lasagna Experiment

Warning, this was weird.  It was a brave experiment.  I wasn’t sure I’d like it.   Even when it looked like a perfectly normal lasagna, I was doubtful.   img_2691

It was a rhubarb lasagna.
This is how it came to be. Continue reading

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