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Archive for August, 2010

Tonight after returning home from the jewelers to get our wedding  bands squared away (pictures will be posted next week) I whipped up a quick dinner.

While a couple of frozen salmon fillets thawed out and the oven preheated to 400 degrees I busied myself slicing some brussel sprouts. A spritz of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Season All later, they were ready for a-roastin’.

The salmon got their own special treatment with some fresh rosemary, a squeeze of lemon juice, and dashes of sea salt and pepper. I’ve always loved fresh herbs over their dried counterparts, but hated the tedious task of chopping the itty-bity leaves. Enter kitchen scissors. ‘Nuff said.

After 15 minutes in the oven you have yourself some healthy eats. I absolutely adore meals like this. They’re fast, easy, and require no forethought; just 5 minutes of prep and you’re done.

To be perfectly honest, I’d never tried brussel sprouts before. The verdict: these poor guys have a bad wrap. They were delish!

As dinner was pretty much cooking itself I watched as Evan eagerly opened our new toys. Brand-spankin’-new bike lights. And not just any bike lights, I might add. I’m told that these bad boys can pretty much transform a pitch black trail to utter daylighted brilliance.

“A Lupine sets the benchmark for luminosity, versatility, reliability, design and permanence,” boasts the product’s website. *Ooooohh Aaaahhh

With Fall fast approaching and the number of daylight hours dwindling we’d made an executive decision to upgrade our not-so-reliable bike lights. After not one, but two of our old light’s batteries crapping out on me during the only night race of the season we’d had enough. Couple that with Evan’s obsession with head lamps and the choice was made.

Note Evan checking himself out in the mirror and modeling the light’s carrying case. It looks more like a lunch box if you ask me.

Bring on the night rides!!!

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After getting the go-ahead from the doc to exercise, but “just take it slow” and “no marathons,” I wasted no time. This exercise-o-maniac got right back on the saddle.

Evan joked that he was going to check my Garmin to make sure I behaved. Always looking out for my best interest, that one. I was instructed by Coach Ev to keep it under 15 mph. I acquiesced, giggling and scheming to head straight to Emmaus to do laps up and down South Mountain by way of the notorious 2nd street, 5th street, and 10th street (Roughly 1,500/ft elevation per lap); all the while maintaining 15 mph.

Inevitably, I avoided the urge to hit the ground running with an epic ride and instead took it slow and steady. Back on the bike my legs felt surprisingly fresh. My cardiovascular fitness, not so much. The long stretch of inactivity has compromised my stamina, but fortunately in a way that felt easy to reign back in. Rather than agonizing over the setback I welcomed the huffing, the puffing, the soaring heart rate, and took solace in knowing I was finally getting a workout.

It’s good to be back.

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A week ago I mentioned I had some exciting bike-related news I was holding out on. I have been dying to share!!

Let me give you a hint…

I will be joining the South Mountain Cycles team for cyclocross this fall AND continue to ride for this awesome bike shop next season!!! Thanks Mark.

This kit is fierce right!? Okay, maybe it’s just my hair in this picture, but whatever.

I’d also like to thank Steve, owner of Saucon Valley Bikes. I’ve always been a happy customer who has wholly been able to count on his shop, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to wear the SVB jersey. Fond memories of my beginnings as a rider are inherently tied to the Saucon Valley Bikes community. As a newbie I found them to be the most approachable group of riders in The Valley. Five seasons later, I still enjoy the shop’s Wednesday night rides at Jacobsburg when my schedule permits.

My gratitude also goes out to Josh, SVB’s super-mechanic who doubles as race support. Thanks for taking care of my bike and cheering me on all season!

It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to rockin’ my SVB jersey one last time at the Bear Creek MASS final.

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As cliche as it may sound, the storm is passing…and everything is starting to look more beautiful than I ever remembered.

With the antibiotics taking their course and giving my overtaxed immune system a serious boost, my ailments are slowly releasing their death grip. Sayonara Lyme!

And I had enough energy to carry me through multiple chores, which felt more like pursuits of bliss!

Some of the highlights of this Suzi Homemaker’s day included:

Taking Mr. Denali for a stroll through suburbia.

Putting fresh sheets on the bed…

because crawling into clean sheets at day’s end is sheer bliss. And on my list of top 100 ordinary indulgences. (I spy a future post, or two.)

Spotting these at the grocery store!

I hate to admit it, but coffee just tastes better when it’s in a pretty cup and stamped with a well-branded logo of a siren. To me anyway. It’s quite possible that I’m just a lemming, and a sucker. These coffee travelers at least mimic the pretty cup part of the equation. I happened upon them while browsing the back-to-school section at Wegman’s. I am also a sucker for back-to-school crap. No, I am not of school-age. My psychoanalysis on this matter concludes it might be because it invokes feelings of new beginnings and fresh starts.

Experiencing flavored almond butter for the first time.

It did not disappoint, especially since it was expertly paired with oats. These little packets of heaven just might be the cure for portion distortion with nut butters (A terrible disease). And they’re easy. All you have to do is snip off a little corner and squeeze the gooey goodness into your mouth like candy! Or you could be a crazy person and proceed to then cut the packet completely open and lick up every last bit. Just sayin’.

And cooking my all-time-favorite soup, minestrone.

This isn’t your ordinary minestrone. This is my minestrone; so good that Evan’s eyes lit up when he found out what I was up to in the kitchen. That speaks volumes considering their was a time in the not-so-distant past when Evan relied solely on Domino’s pizza and Wawa hoagies for sustenance. I’d also like to add that this recipe calls for vegetables and is completely lacking in meat. Volumes I tell you!

Oh, the anticipation. This deliciousness smelled a-m-a-z-i-n-g as soon as it hit the stovetop in all its bubbling, herb-infused, soupy glory.

Titanium Cheeks!!!

*commentary omitted.

Laura’s tip of the day today: Laminate recipe cards you use and abuse! You will thank me next time you spill.

The Recipe: (It’s easy. I swear)

15 Servings/Prep & Cook Time about an hour

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 C chopped white onion
1/2 C frozen cut Italian green beans
1/2 C chopped zucchini
1/4 C mined celery
4 tsp. minced garlic
4 C vegetable broth
2 15oz. cans red kidney beans (drained/rinsed)
2 15oz. cans great northern white beans (drained/rinsed)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (drained)
1/2 C carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
5 C hot water
8 C fresh spinach
1 C medium shell pasta

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.

Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in oil for 5 mins. or until onions begin to turn translucent.

Add vegetable broth to the pot, plus tomatoes, beans, carrots, hot water, and spices.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for 20 mins.

Add spinach and pasta and cook for an additional 20 mins. or until desired consistency.

Calories: 120, Fat 3 g, Sodium 540 mg, Carbs 18 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 5 g

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no mono!

The final verdict is in.

I do not have the mono-monster.

It seems I have lyme disease instead.

I have been on some serious antibiotics for a day now and am feeling 1,000x better. These pills are massive! I’m still getting run down rather quickly, but my head no longer is threatening to explode. Just as exciting, is the fact that my neck has un-kinked. The pain was something akin to sleeping on your side using a rock as a pillow for a year straight.

I think I might have to start using Denali’s Frontline from here on out.

I think he’d be willing to share.

He’s usually pretty agreeable as long as their lots of head scratching. And belly rubs. And treats. And walks. And doggy play-time….well, you get the idea.

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Rosemary Chickpea Veggie Wrap

This vegetarian/vegan wrap is not just for hippies. It packs a surprising amount of protein with the addition of sunflower seeds and chickpeas. The unique combination of ingredients including lemon juice, rosemary, and dijon give a fresh, flavorful spin on veggies.

Serves: 1/Prep & Cook Time: 15 mins.

1 Large Whole Wheat Tortilla

2 tsp Grey Poupon

1 Slice Onion chopped

2 Cups Spinach

2/3 C. Summer Squash (or zucchini) chopped

4 oz. Mushrooms sliced

1 Small Garlic Clove minced

1/4 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 Lemon Wedge juiced

2 Tbsp Sliced Black Olives

1/3 C. Chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 Sprig of Rosemary chopped (scissors work best)

1 Tbsp Hulled & Salted Sunflower Seeds

Dash of Pepper

In a medium fry pan sautee onions, mushrooms, and summer squash in the extra virgin olive oil until just barely cooked.

Meanwhile, spread Grey Poupon on tortilla.

Add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, chickpeas, olives, garlic and rosemary. Cover for a few minutes until spinach has wilted.

Scoop veggie mix onto the center of prepared tortilla. Sprinkle on sunflower seeds and pepper.

Wrap tortilla by folding in the sides first, then folding over the entire wrap in half. Support the sides while tucking and rolling the top edge under and around the filling. Cut wrap in half.

Snap photos if you’re a foodie blogger, and enjoy.

Nutritional Info

Calories: 404
Total Fat: 14 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1,097 mg
Total Carbs: 57g
Dietary Fiber: 12 g
Protein: 16g

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So after yesterday’s somewhat “Debby Downer” post I decided that today should reflect a more uplifting outlook on things.

In honor of counting my blessings I am fervently trying to seek out the good in coming down with mono. This is an immense proposition to ask of a girl who was so so so close to maybe, possibly, finally coming to terms with her body image–A girl who fears, right or wrong, all the hard efforts to shape and tone her body this past year will have been to no avail.

Although I don’t intend to revolve this blog around weight loss you’ll find that it will pop up every once in a while. My relationship with the number on the scale is still a work in progress. If you’ve done a thorough background check and read up on me here you have an idea of what this looks like. You’ll also know that I’ve set a goal of reaching 125 lbs. for my weight loss. However, all along I have known how insignificant an arbitrary number on the scale is. Before I embarked on this journey I did lecture myself on the importance of body composition and lost inches over weight.

Now fast-forward to my point…

This morning I stepped on my Personal Trainer Healthstation (read: overpriced scale) and low-and-behold, there it was…125 lbs. You think I would have been jumping for joy, but instead I knew it was too good to be true. I was screaming to myself, “THERE! Are you HAPPY know!!” Busting my butt for the burn wasn’t doing anything to blast those last few pounds and now here I am: a lazy, mono-fatigue-ridden couch potato, and they just disappeared. This doesn’t seem like cause for celebration. I know all too well that those last few pounds simply came from losing muscle mass rather than fat stores.

My point is positive, I promise…

This experience has shown me how little the scale has to do with measuring constructive physical changes.

Although I’ve read and heard this little snippet of wisdom time and time again, and believed it on some level, I never really embraced it until now.


Oh, how easy it is to remove yourself from the norm and believe that circumstances are just different for you. I’ve known all along reaching 125 lbs. is just an arbitrary goal–not attainable or maintainable for some people due to their make-up. 125 is just a number. But for me, it’s been my number. I’ve got too much vested in this number. Too many New Years have come and gone without getting a taste of this number. It’s been critical to my list of resolutions for at least 10 years now! This number matters to me. Hitting this number is IT. All worry of body-image, self-doubt, insecurity…all of this will magically disappear once I’ve hit this number,…right?

I’m starting to realize that things like thunder thighs have a bad wrap and should be disassociated from all negative connotation. Alas, they might add a few pounds, but they sure are strong and they enable amazing accomplishments to transpire. Although my race season was cut ridiculously short, my thunder thighs powered me through to a solid third place podium finish.

Now that I have had nothing better to do than sit back and rest due to this illness, I’ve been given the gift of hindsight. I’ve had a chance to look back over this past race season and revel in all the accomplishments I’ve achieved. And I have to admit, on a non-weight bearing scale of what was important, 125 lbs. really. just. wasn’t.

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