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.

I love rhubarb.   I love it’s tangy vibrancy.  Growing up, I’d pick what grew by our garage.  I’d simply dip the end in a bowl of sugar, eating it like celery sticks and dip.

The problem is that everyone wants to treat rhubarb more like a fruit than like the vegetable that it is.  The problem is that I don’t make sweet things.  I’ve tried to get around this before with my rhubarb chicken salad.  But I had still used rhubarb’s constant companion – strawberries.   Could I make a savory main dish with rhubarb that didn’t cheat with either meat or strawberries?

I consulted my Vegetarian Flavor Bible.  Other than strawberries… rhubarb also goes well with creamy and and cheesy things…

And creamy things also go well with spinach, and green onions…

Suddenly I envisioned a lasagna.  Layers of tangy rhubarb, creamy and funky cheese, and bright greens.

  • I took a frozen quart bag of rhubarb and boiled it down with black pepper, and honey, and a touch of vegetable oil. 
  • I defrosted frozen spinach and squeezed out the water.  I mixed in a bunch of green onions and one egg.
  • I mixed ricotta and goat cheese with some thyme.

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I started with a thin layer of rhubarb sauce, then a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles, then rhubarb, cheese, greens, repeat ending with a cheese layer of mozzarella.

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Put in the oven (I think it was 350º?) covered, for… well until it I could see it bubbling on the sides of the glass.  I finished it under the broiler to get the cheese all toasty.

I actually liked it!  I enjoyed it as a brunch or lunch.  Will wasn’t as sold, but I think he had it for dinner.  Still, I’m counting it as a successful experiment.

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Team VKS at Rib Mt. Race Report

It was a tiny bit miserable.  Just enough to respect the challenge.  Not so miserable that I don’t totally want jump up and down shouting “Again! Again! Let’s do that again!”

Saturday May 27th 2017 was partially sunny, not too hot, not too windy, just right for the perfect amount of type 2 fun.  Team Velocikitty Snuggles, did it’s first Adventure Race.  It was the  8 hour Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge.

We finished.  Not as well as we are used to doing.  We did a meager 33 out of 45 Check Points (we called them Chick Peas after Andrea’s kitties) in 7:36:36 which put us 26th out of 30 teams.  Although there were only two women’s teams in the 8 hour race.   There was so much we couldn’t really have prepared for until we experienced it.  The things we learned don’t capture the experience.

  • Remember to use the bug spray.
  • Better sun block application.
  • MORE nutrition earlier – brains bonk before bodies!
  • Speed changes the whole game – both for navigating and paddling.
  • Problem solving, communication, and social/emotional management are CRITICAL race skills.

Here’s the story in pictures: Continue reading

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What A Ride

Holy moley.  What a ride it’s been.

Eleven years ago I hated biking.  I wanted to like it so much.  I wouldn’t have admitted it back then, but I HATED it.  Was terrified of it.  Just getting on a bike made me break out in nervous sweating.  I did it anyway because, well… triathlon.  I liked the swimming and running and winning too much.2007 bike trip

Ten years ago, Spring 2007,
I got really fucking determined “I AM GOING TO LIKE BIKING DAMN IT!”  I spent some time only biking in the easiest situations.  No traffic, only smooth clean paths in perfect weather.  Over the summer, with guidance, I started biking on roads.   Even managed to do a solo bike camping trip.  Even though day two ended in exhausted tears I was proud that I hadn’t been too scared to do it.

Eight years ago, December 2009,
Addled on romance I agreed to become a year round bike commuter.  Feeling like a badass was the only reason it was worth the effort, discomfort, and residual anxiety.

Four years ago, Summer 2013
I discovered that I LOVED bike commuting.  I preferred it.  Sometimes I could have got a ride or drove, but I actually chose biking.  I was fully transformed!  I was a butterfly!

Two years ago, August 2015,
I had my first serious bike crash.  Riding 20mph downhill, a pothole bounced me off my bike.  It left me with a little emotional trauma.  “Downhills make me nervous.  As does questionable roads.  Even just the illusion of uneven roads.  Such as downed autumn leaves and dappled sunlight.  Beautiful or scary?”

Turns out I have a biking fairy godmother.  Anne fixed my bike after the crash.  Then last fall lent me one her bikes from her fleet and patiently guided me in very basic mountain biking.   At first I was panic screaming at everything…trees, mud, logs…
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I not only survived, I wasn’t even miserable.  It was like Disney magic… giphy

only replace the tiara and ball gown with a helmet and dirt.

Two days ago, May 27th 2017,
I did a race that included single track mountain biking.  Granted, it was totally beginner level.  But there were ups and downs and tight turns and rocks, and narrow passes, and lots of roots and stumps. I fucking did it.  And there was minimal screaming and no wining or crying.

Reflecting on this ten year journey blows me away.  I am so proud of myself for taking all these tiny steps that have led me to this place.  Sometimes I set out with a big goal in mind.  Sometimes it’s only in looking back that I can see how far I’ve come.

So I’ve added “Biking” as a Storyline in the menu bar to collect all the times I’ve shared biking related stories. From my triathlon journey, to bike commuting, to the bike crash, to my next story… Team Velocikitty Snuggles at the Rib Mt. Adventure Race!

 

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Chicken meatloaf with banana amba

Food posts are my way of procrastinating sharing more complicated things.  Hopefully you find them just interesting enough to keep checking back in.  Next weekend Team Velcokitty Snuggles will be doing the 8 hour Rib Mt. Adventure Race.  Not only will it be my first adventure race, but my third time mountain biking in the last eight years.  I’m sure there will be some type two fun in there.

In the meanwhile… I made another recipe from The Laws of Cooking.   I chose Justin’s “chicken shwarma in a can” but figured it was basically a meatloaf and neither the can or the DIY rotisserie was necessary.  Other than that, I actually followed his recipe which means I shouldn’t just give you all the details.  Get your hands on his book!

First I made meat goo.  Mixed yogurt, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, buttermilk powder, parsley, dill, and paprika.  Oh, and I see from the picture I also added dried onion because I found it in my spice stash. img_2614

Continue reading

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Cinnamon and Sage Chicken

It’s a combination I would have never considered.  Turns out it’s fantastic.  My dad sent me this lovely article “The Secrets of Jamie Oliver’s Chicken and Milk” and I had to make ASAP.  I actually followed the chicken recipe.  My personal additions were the potatoes and matching veggies.  It will now reside in our family canon of comfort foods.

The essential flavors prepped.  So simple.  So beautiful.
img_2588 Continue reading

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Tortoise raging is my life – slow progress.

It has been my birthday month.  For weeks, as a gift to myself I wanted to be able to post how much progress I made since January.  Progress in all areas of my life – athletically, personally, professionally…

Nope.  Not so much.  I have excuses.  My former routines and facilities have been disrupted.  I’ve been taking new classes that have changed my schedule.  I also just got discouraged and and progress got even slower.  Two Wednesdays ago (the 19th, a week after my birthday) I was going to be fantastically productive and instead I had a non-functional emotional meltdown.  Fortunately I have amazing friends and family and they all were perfectly wonderful in the face of my sobbing messiness.

I wanted to say “Patience grasshopper”  but I’m sick of patience.  I’ve had patience.  I’ve been patient for over a year. No, not just a year, years.  Fuck patience.  I’m ready for remarkable breakthroughs everywhere.  I could use fucking movie miracles of happy rainbows bursting out of the cracks of my life like dandelions through cement.

Instead, progress is, as always, infuriatingly slow.  One achingly small step at a time. Apparently tortious raging is my life.  That could be my personal Disney theme song right now.

So while I have nothing miraculous to share, and it’s one tiny aspect of my life…

On February 22nd my longest timed freestanding handstand was 1.72 seconds.  Last Tuesday April 25th a co-worker timed me at 3.22 seconds.  I was hoping for more like 5 seconds, but I’ll take it.

I’m also learning how to roll out of handstands:

Also working the progression towards a front handspring:

Nothing else to report for now.  I’ll keep plugging away one step at a time – the only way a tortious can rage.

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Something Fishy – Sardine Toasts

I successfully hid the fish!  Or perhaps balanced the fishiness?  I have a long history of mild failure with sardines.  They are so healthy and yet I’ve been repulsing the people I live with since my college years.  This time Will liked it!  Probably because I hid them well.  And the flavors were well balanced.
Again, I was inspired by The Laws Of Cooking – And How to Break Them.   This time it was the Law of The Wedge Salad.  It is about balancing funky with fresh.

I loved the concept but I want my sardines to be easy.  There will be no deboning fresh sardines for an appetizer.  I wanted a quick healthy meal that I could pull together on a whim.   Continue reading

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