24 May 2010

Shaka Shaka

My geometry teacher had this deal for choosing lucky contestants to come to the board and write out proofs from our homework assignments. She called it "shaka shaka." Every student's name was on a tiny slip of paper in a can on her desk. She'd give that can the ole "shaka shaka" and pull out a name. If she picked you, it was your lucky day for putting your geometry skills on display. Everybody loved/hated shaka shaka. It broke up the routine of the same kids always solving proofs, but breaking up the routine meant you could be the one put in the geometry hot seat.

I'm hoping to shaka shaka my life, by breaking up my routine. I'm so craving excitement and fun. I've felt stuck in a rut for a while now. Perhaps that's why I've been a little more quiet than normal around these parts, there's been nothing terribly noteworthy to blog about.

Shake It Up, Hand Painted Giclee Print on Canvas

by Russell D'Allessio

Instead of waiting for something exciting to happen that I can be a part of, I need to make my own excitement. This could take on many forms. Mainly, I can't keep waiting for the good stuff to happen. I need to make it happen. It's so easy for me to get trapped in the daily grind of work, run, eat & sleep that I forget there's so much more to life. I'm not in the thick of training for a race right now, so now is a perfect time to shake things up, to do things a little differently, to do things I've been thinking about doing, but haven't.

I've already changed things up a bit today. I got my running miles in this morning. I actually got out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and was running by 5:15 a.m., which when you consider my previous snooze button abuse, this is a big deal. I'm already so into the morning run, I'm looking forward to getting up tomorrow and doing it again. Tomorrow isn't even a day I'd usually run! There's something very cool about being up before the sun. The streets were mine and I was home before I would normally even be out of bed! With the heat we're experiencing here in Michigan, the morning run will probably save me from heat stroke.

So that's just one example of me giving my routine the old shaka shaka. I've got to keep the momentum going so I'm continually looking forward to something. I'll try to keep you posted. What do you do to break out of a rut?

17 May 2010


I made a batch of broccoli peanut slaw last night. It technically serves eight grown adults. I will admit, I can't stop eating it. This is something of a phenomenon, dare I say a slaw-nomenon, with me. I have been known make a batch of slaw and eat it like it's my first meal after being stranded in the desert for years with nothing but sand(wiches) to eat. Then I'll make another batch and do the same thing over again a few days later. Repeat scene until I burn out. It's slaw, not sweet rolls. I guess that's why this seems so odd to me. My food obsessions usually involve a bread or starch of some sort. Seriously, does anyone else have recipes like this where you make it and you can't help but eat it like a fiend and then make it again a few days later? If you do, please share!

This is a first time I've made the broccoli peanut slaw, but I've had it many a time when other's have made it. I think I actually got the recipe a while back from my Aunt. Out in the non-vegetarian world, this little veggie has to be careful because people usually make it with real bacon. I made mine with fake bacon and it tasted so good, I had to tell you about it. It makes a ton - perfect for potlucks, picnics or back yard barbeque parties. Or, if you're me, it a perfect breakfast, lunch and dinner. No special occasion needed, just grab a fork!

Broccoli Peanut Slaw
1 12 oz. pkg. broccoli slaw mix (I used Mann's brand)
2-4 cups broccoli, broken into small florets (I used just over 1/2 of bundle of broccoli)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cups dry roasted peanuts, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 strips fake bacon, cooked and crumbled or chopped

1 cup slaw dressing (I used Marzetti Light Slaw dressing)
2 Tbsp. sugar

Mix together package broccoli slaw, broccoli florets, raisins, peanuts, onion and "bacon" in a large mixing bowl. Whisk sugar into dressing in a separate bowl, then pour dressing over veggies. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight so flavors can meld. I added a touch of salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy and share, if you can!

12 May 2010

Summer (Dreaming) Eats

The weather here in Michigan this week has been far from desireable for late spring. It's been about 45 and cloudy and/or rainy since earlier this week. So what else can a foodie girl do but start dreaming of all things summer? I've been thinking about food in particular, things I want to make that will help enhance the summer mood, once it finally does arrive. Here's what I've got so far:

Ice cream sandwiches made with homemade cookies and or graham crackers.
Salsa from scratch.
Blueberry pie.
Peach pie.
Pesto with fresh basil.
Grilled corn on the cob.
Potato salad.
New and adventurous salads.

I've made a number of these things already, but look forward to them each summer. I love things that are rather simple, yet full of flavor. There's nothing better than making something with items I've picked up at the Farmer's Market earlier in the day. Each of the recipes I've made are seasonal palate pleasers that pretty much fit that bill (except maybe the S'mores!) and I can't wait to create some new summer snacks to share with family & friends and you. My plan is to document a few of these and post pics here.

What foods are your summer favorites? What am I missing out on? Wanna swap recipes?

10 May 2010

Riverbank Run! Run!

Through cold and wind, my legs kept going for the full 25k on Saturday for the 33rd annual 5/3 Riverbank Run. Since I had run the course two weeks ago, I wasn't really concerned with not finishing, although I did want to improve on my time from two weeks ago or my time from last year's race. I finished with a 2:43:38, about two minutes faster than last year's time and about three minutes slower than two weeks ago. Go figure! I was happy with my finish time. Next time though I'm hoping to improve even more!

It managed to stay dry for almost the entire race. It did start to rain when I had about one mile to go. Not that big of a deal since it rained only briefly and with 14.6 miles behind you, you just push on.

A & I found our running buddy Fred near the start and we ran with him and the 10 minute mile pace guy for a while. I was feeling really good for keeping that pace and was hoping to be able to keep up for the whole race. I ended up losing them somewhere around mile 6 & 7 though. My knees historically get very tight between those two mile markers and I had to stop to apply some Tiger Balm. The knees chilled out and I was able to keep moving. A & Fred were rock stars and finished about eight or nine minutes ahead of me! WOW! I really have to get on my speed work to be able to kick through the end with them next time!

It made a big difference to see this guy Paul from GRRC (whom my friend A dubbed Motivator Man before we knew his name) a couple times along the course. He showed up a few different places to cheer people on. So cool to see a familiar face and get that boost of energy. I also ran into Dry Cleaner Mike in the home stretch. He was actually running the race and keeping an eye out for GRRC runners.

The finish was good. I was able to tap into my reserves and pick up my pace once I rounded the slight bend on Ottawa and could see the finish. I love that feeling! Best feeling ever though is being able to stop, collect your medal and know you don't have to run again for the rest of the day! My mom, her friend D and R were at the finish. I actually saw my mom, which was cool since the finish line can be a bit of a blur!

Post race included a small bagel snack, water and picking up gear from gear check (something we did for the first time ever and will do again.) Then hot shower, warm clothes and a trip for celebratory pancakes! I am so happy to be a runner and thankful that I can include it as part of my life. I'm still not sure what our next race will be, but I'm already looking forward to getting back on the road and logging some miles.

06 May 2010

Photo Shop

"I'll take you to the Photo Shop, I'll let you cut and paste photos till you hit the spot, C'mon girl, don't you stop."

...That's gotta be Premier Skateboarding's favorite song. Hehe! I follow this local skate shop on Twitter and was intrigued when they mentioned 50 cent in a recent tweet. The intrigue comes because Mr. Curtis Jackson is currently in my fair city shooting a movie, in fact the current set is just a short walk from my house. So I clicked on the link to find this little story about how someone at the shop had met Curtis and convinced him to come back to the house for a little impromptu show for some girl's birthday. Here's the pic they posted with the story:

I actually believed it for a second and then got skeptical. I did a google image search and found this, it was the second image on the page:

Uh, huh. Look familiar? I had to laugh! They got me for a second. Just think there are probably kids out there who actually still think the story is real, that if they come to the shop they've got one degree of separation with 50. The light and the fact that it's only May in Michigan, you just wouldn't get that sweaty if you were on the mic on someone's front porch with your shirt off, gave it away. Nice work taking us to the Photo Shop though, guys!

02 May 2010

Cross it off the List

I've learned how to ride a motorcycle! It's something I've wanted to do for a while now and I can officially check it off my list. The class I took was a four day adventure. Two days (two evenings, actually) in the classroom and two days (five hours each) on the range on an actual motorcycle!

Talk about a good time! I wasn't sure what to expect, but they start the riding portion of the class out literally with baby steps. You do things like the pre-ride inspection, then suit up and get on the bike and learn how to start it up properly. Your first movement on the bike is something they call "power walking". You're on the bike working the "friction zone" - the point where the clutch and the throttle are balanced enough to move you forward, but you don't actually pick up your feet. You kind of walk along using your feet/legs to get a feel for the balance you'll need. From there, we moved through turns, braking, upshifting, downshifting and running over obstacles. And whole host of other stuff to make us safe riders.

Then at the end of the second morning, comes the evaluation. I did really well throughout the class and picked up some points during the evaluation. Points are not a good thing. I still passed, but as one of my rider coaches said, "you did so well through class, what happened to you?" I was a little bummed that I didn't pass with fewer points, but I still passed! I think I was just tired, and trying to concentrate on everything we had learned. There's a lot to think about while being evaluated and you know you're being watched like a hawk by the rider coaches and the entire class. Everyone in class was super supportive of each other, which was cool. But they were still watching!

Did I mention that it rained most of the morning this morning? Not just a little bit of rain. Lots of it! We rode anyway. Thank goodness for rain gear. With running in the rain for my race training, I'm getting pretty used to doing activities in the rain. Rain was better than blazing sun though since you have to be in full pants, sleeves, gloves, helmet and eyewear the whole time you're on the bike.

One of the main reasons I took the class this spring is that I need to get my Vespa licensed and insured. The endorsement comes in handy for that since my little Italian friend is 150 cc and can do 65 mph max! Going into the class I thought, "I'm good with the Vespa, I don't think I'll want to get a motorcycle for a while." Now that I can actually ride, my vintage motorcycle dream has reawakened!

Good times! I'm happy that the class is done though. It was a busy week getting class and my training runs in, plus the rest of my life! I'm a little sleepy! Now that I can cross learning how to ride a motorcycle off my list, it's time to come up with something new to cross off.

Have you crossed anything off your "I want to do that" list recently? What do you want to learn?