An updated domain

I know what you’re thinking:

“Hey Sabrina, didn’t you JUST leave your self-hosted WordPress site for a free WordPress site like… less than six months ago? Why are you switching back to self hosted? And why did you change the name? Can’t you make up your mind? Stop being weird.”

And okay, yes, this move is happening quite soon after another move but I promise this makes sense. I had an idea for this domain ages ago and I’ve been sitting on it for a while. Every now and then I get emails from GoDaddy reminding me it exists and I go “Oh yea, some day I’ll put something on that catchy domain I have.” and then I don’t. I originally thought maybe David and I could use it somehow but we could just never figure out an idea that worked.

And then I thought HEY it kind of fits me. I should use it for myself. Let’s break it down:

Geek: It’s no secret I’m a total Doctor Who fangirl. I also love Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, reading comic books (that reminds me, still need to pick up Saga Vol. 3), and getting lost in a good sci-fi movie. I’m a professional writer and a self-cassified “word nerd.” I also subscribe to the idea that you can be a geek about pretty much anything. Whatever makes you squeal like a little fangirl and get excited when you’re around someone who understands your obsession.

Granola: This has more than one meaning to me. For one, granola is delicious. It’s also a staple of many healthy diets. I’m a Certified Personal Trainer with a love for living healthy, exercising regularly, and getting outdoors often. Granola is also akin to crunchy – both terms previously used to describe my occasionally earthy, glass-half-full, love the world personality. Also, now I want a granola bar. Damn.

And most importantly:

llama

So welcome to my new internet home. I paid for it so I might as well use it. I’m going to take some time in the coming weeks to update old posts to make the transition as smooth as possible and will probably continue to mess with the look of the site too. I promise not to move for at least another year. And hopefully not for much longer. Not that you care anyway because if you’re reading this you’re probably my mom and I’ll just keep sending you the updating hyperlinks. Love you mom!

The paper anniversary

Earlier this month, David and I celebrated one full year of marriage together. A conversation the day before went a little something like this:

Me: So we’ve been married a full year now.

David: Yup.

Me: That’s pretty weird right?

David: Umm… no? It’s what I expected.

Me: Right. But. It’s still weird.

-crickets-

Me: Know what I’m saying?

David: No. I really don’t.

You see? Even though we’re married, sometimes David still doesn’t get me. WHATEVER, DAVID.

Anyway, to celebrate I made him the greatest print he will ever receive ever. As the first anniversary is traditionally the paper anniversary, I thought it only right to whip out my mad art skills and present him with a piece that will one day hang in museums to be sure. It’s a pretty accurate depiction of how things roll in our house.

marriagefinalrgb2

 

We’re pretty complex people.

Happy Anniversary (again) hot stuff. I look forward to annoying you forever and ever amen.

A Sherlock inspired HIIT workout

This post was originally written for and posted on the Geeked Out Fitness blog.

After two years on hiatus, BBC finally aired Season 3 of Sherlock (thank you, Moffat) in January.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or a new viewer, you have probably noticed the episodes are lengthy. Each episode could be it’s own movie – but we’re grateful that it’s not because then who knows how long we would have to wait between episodes and seasons. Episodes with commercials run about two hours in the states which provides a great time to sit down, relax, and enjoy yourself.

Or not.

It’s also two hours that you could spend mostly sitting down but occasionally working out too. I’ve created a Sherlock workout for you to bring to any episode of Sherlock and get some exercise in. Any movement is better than no movement at all and it’s a two hour period with occasional exercise which makes it a workout with plenty of breaks to get your wits about you before the next exercise.

The instructions are easy. Any time something listed on the left happens, you move your cat off your lap, get off the couch, and do the exercise listed on the right. Use commercials to get yourself some water and stretch out. Invite a friend over and make a game of it. Not only will it help you get moving but it will also help you focus more on the show so you can catch all of the cues.

The workout is designed for Sherlock as a show and not specifically the next episode to air in the US so feel free to use this workout anytime you watch Sherlock – old or new. Just remember to shower afterwards so you don’t smell funny when you meet your friend later for coffee and crime solving.

sherlockworkout2

Need an explanation for one of the exercises? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back: push up, tuck jumpwalking push upplanktriceps dipreverse crunchwall sitSupermanjump squatmountain climberburpee.

Warrior Dash: A once in a lifetime experience

warriordash2No seriously. Once.

We’re not ever doing that again.

David and I have always wanted to run a mud run. It’s something that seemed like oodles of fun and our friends that have run them can’t stop raving about it. I’ve even volunteered for a mud run before (the goal was to get the free race – that I never got – but that’s another mess for another story time). At some point we made an agreement that on our anniversary each year we would try to seek out new experiences so we thought this would be a great inaugural experience.

We chose Warrior Dash because it’s fairly well known as one of the “easy” mud runs. Other mud run organizations like Spartan Race make a point at their races to insult Warrior Dash and how easy it is in comparison. Warrior Dash doesn’t time their races, making it pretty clear that the focus is about the fun and the experience, not the competition. With no desire to jump in ice baths or run through electric wires, we thought this would be fun.

We thought wrong.

Here, in list format, are all of the problems we had with the Warrior Dash we participated in. Some are related to the race organizers. Some are my own gripes. All are reasons we won’t be going back.

No signs pointing to the racer area. Party central (where all of the booths are) was about a mile from the parking lot, winding around some other buildings and sectioned off fields. There were no signs pointing us in the right direction and there were people walking in every possible direction around the parking lot. Eventually we just decided to follow some other unmuddied couple in hopes they were going the right direction.

No signs indicating where start line was. This one still blows my mind. The start line was small and was under some metal scaffolding with a Warrior Dash helmet on it. This same exact set up was at the finish line, near the stage, and at two other places in the same racer area. Nothing said “Start.” No arrows. No help anywhere.

Paying for parking. We had to pay $10 to park in a field. This fee? Maybe it’s to encourage carpooling but really it’s just more dollars in the bank for Warrior Dash.

No photographers. Do you follow Warrior Dash on Facebook? Or Twitter? Have you seen all of the photos of people having tons of fun running and climbing and jumping over fire? Yea, we won’t be in any of those. There wasn’t a single photographer when we ran and the hired photographer company even has the photos posted with waves stopping at 3PM. Apparently the 5+ later waves just weren’t worth the trouble and didn’t matter.

The mud. Okay, I know, this is a stupid thing to complain about because I signed up for a mud run. But that’s just it, I signed up for a mud RUN. We mud walked. And mud waded. And mud dragged each other through the course. At least half of the course was covered in mud more than a foot deep. For many parts of the course I was just wading through muddy water that was up to my knees or my hips. Running wasn’t even an option. Every now and then someone would try to run, would take one step, slip and fall. There were no shoes with powerful enough grip, no strong enough running technique. You physically could not run. Nearly everyone used the trees along the outskirts of the course to pull themselves along. It was pathetic. When I imagine mud run I imagine a trail run with obstacles that require me to get dirty. I don’t imagine I’ll spend an hour walking in mud and sometimes jumping on wooden obstacles.

Minimal supervision on the wooded part of the course. Speaking of slipping and falling, the wooded course supervision was paltry. I saw one singular volunteer in the woods where it was the deepest, muddiest, and least safe. And that guy was wearing a backpack wandering around the woods not even looking at the course so he was probably just looking for his beer or something and not there to watch the course. With how unsafe that terrain was there should have been people watching.

Missing obstacles. The Warrior Dash website says this location has 12 obstacles. Some of the obstacles listed on the website weren’t even at the race. Or maybe they were and they broke earlier in the day…

Broken Obstacles. Many of the obstacles are made of wood. I assume they’re made in the week leading up to the race, on site. I skipped many of these obstacles because wooden beams on the bottom were split, falling off, or gone all together. I went on one that had some broken beams and refused to get on another one.

Guys calling me cheater. This isn’t Warrior Dash’s issue but it made me really angry. David and I reached a tipping point in the first mile of the race where we were super over the whole situation. When there were large areas of mud, occasionally we would walk on the outside of the red tape designating the course limits. We did this in an effort to finish quicker, to get around the more dangerous hills or deep water, and we never ventured far off track. During one part two guys called us cheaters. Newsflash morons, you can’t cheat if it’s not a competition. The race isn’t timed. We weren’t in the competitive wave. And nobody cares. Get off your high horse and go to actual competitive events if you want to be an ass about it all. Besides, we were walking. If we really wanted to “cheat” we probably would have put some damn hustle in our step.

Crawling and more crawling. I counted at least three obstacles that required crawling on hands and knees. Have you ever dug your knee into gravel and mud? It’s just as much fun as it sounds.

Goliath volunteers not paying attention. I was two seconds from getting onto a broken slide because the volunteers at the top were too busy talking to each other to realize I was getting on an unmarked broken slide. As I mid-hop on the slide, I was sternly told not to use the two slides on the left because they were broken. Not labeled as such, with water still running down the slide. I got out and took another slide and wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t caught me last minute.

Fire jump obstacle volunteers not paying attention. At the start line we were told that the volunteers at the fire obstacle would give us very clear and specific instructions when we got to the obstacle to insure our safety. This didn’t happen. David and I ran through the fire and on with our race. The entire time the volunteers had their backs to the fire and were watching a helicopter land in the distance. I could have literally stood inside of the fire and they would not have noticed until I screamed for help on account of the whole being on fire thing.

No water at the showers. There was a pool and then a shower station built with hoses and PVC pipe. When we were done with the race there was no water to be had. How does that even happen? You’ve been running this race for how long now and you can’t calculate how much water you need?

Muddy water at the showers when they were finally refilled. On our way out about 40 minutes later a water truck was just arrived. The truck pulled up, plugged in, and about 4 of the dozens of showers started spraying water. Muddy water. It was super gross and people were still bathing in it. I still can’t figure out why.

Party was shut down before people were off the course. When we got our free beer we were told we had 15 minutes to drink it. On our way out we heard them tell everyone the party was shutting down. There were still people all over the course and I have to wonder if they still got the beer. I wonder how upset they were to get to the finish line to find the food, beer, and vendor booths shut down.

Removing the exit signs. When we were leaving the “parking lot” the volunteers were all taking the exit signs down. The parking lot was only about half empty if that so everyone left was going to just need to figure it out themselves and hopefully not run into each other. I get that you guys want to go party your Saturday night away, but would it kill you to wait until the parking lot was legitimately near empty to start removing signs telling them the direction to go to safely get out?

Cost too much money for what we got. I’m glad part of my race fee went to St. Jude although I have no idea how much. Outside of that, this was a whole lot of money for a poorly run race. Maybe it was awesome when they opened at 8AM but that doesn’t warrant giving up on anyone that came later in the day and providing a crappy experience for anyone in later waves. It cost over $160 for the two of us to run in a race that showed no indications of being a race that’s happened many, many times over. The organization and presentation were piss poor.

We have a cute picture thanks to a nice guy in the parking lot and that’s it. We smiled because we were happy to be heading home to shower but we were both pretty disappointed in the entire experience. It didn’t ruin our weekend – we spent the next day out in beautiful Charlottesville having brunch at a brewery – but it definitely wasn’t worth the effort or the money.

As I mentioned before, we have plenty of friends who’ve had great experiences with mud runs, Warrior Dash included. More power to ‘em and I’m glad that they had great experiences but it’s just not for us.  It wasn’t our cup of tea.

Suffice it to say we won’t be running in this or any other mud run ever again.

Now the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge (ROC Race) on the other hand? That one definitely caught my eye…

Real Food Experiment 1: Clean Eating Macaroni And Cheese

My first real food experiment comes courtesy of eat clean promoter and recipe provider, The Gracious Pantry. I decided to take on her Clean Eating Macaroni And Cheese dish after harboring some serious cheese cravings for a while now. The adventure was not without some hiccups, but it was mostly painless. Read on for the recipe, my experience, and my review at the end.

 

The Recipe

The Gracious Pantry’s Clean Eating Macaroni And Cheese (check it out on her page!)

The Experiment

I gathered my ingredients. I purposely picked a recipe that required to buy me as few ingredients as possible.

INGREDIENTS

 

My Ingredients:

  • * 2 cups uncooked, Great Value whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • ** 1/2 cup Stonyfield organic whole milk
  • *** 1 cup Seriously Sharp Cabot cheese
  • 1/8(ish) teaspoon McCormick, ground mustard
  • **** 1 tablespoon Pillsbury Best Whole Wheat flour
  • Salt to taste

* If you’re paying attention, you may have noticed that the original recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked pasta and I used 2 cups of uncooked pasta, on account of being a genius. If you’re keeping track at home, that means I had a yield of approximately 4 cups of cooked pasta. This really didn’t seem to impact my dish overall, the end product was still plenty cheesy but if you’re in the mood for ALL OF TEH CHEESEZ, maybe still with 2 cups cooked (approx. 1 cup uncooked).

** I drink whole milk and avoid any food item that is described as “reduced fat”, “low-fat”, or “fat free” because it means the product has been through additional processing, defeating the purpose of eating products as close to their whole, original form as possible.

*** There was no natural shredded sharp cheese in sight at my local Walmart. Everything shredded was processed cheese product. I chose the added inconvenience of cutting up the natural cheese block over choosing fake cheese. Also, because Cabot makes the best cheese (and butter) in the United States.

**** The original recipe says whole wheat flour might work instead of whole wheat pastry flour. Since I’m frugal and didn’t want to buy a new ingredient when I have a giant container of whole wheat flour, I substituted. This didn’t seem to cause any issues, but then I don’t know what it would be like with pastry flour since I didn’t try it so I could be wrong.

SALTMUSTARD FLOUR

 

I had a moment during the preparation where I realized I am a moron. I kept looking for the part of the directions that would tell me when/how to cook the pasta. As if I had never cooked pasta before. As if suddenly I couldn’t be trusted to understand that pasta was an integral part of this recipe’s success. I decided to wing it like a mad woman and cooked the pasta without being told to in the directions.

For timing’s sake, I boiled the water first and didn’t start making the sauce until after I had put the pasta in the boiling water. The timing was a little bit off because the cheese took longer to melt than if it were shredded, but overall it went pretty smoothly.

I cut the cheese into tiny blocks to help speed up the melting process when it was time for them to go to work.

CABOT

Have I mentioned that I love Cabot cheese? And butter? Because I do. I really, really do. And that’s not just because I’m an Upstate New York transplant, missing the trees and the tie die shirts of the Northeast. It’s because it’s true. Hands down. Best in the country. Don’t even try to argue this with me because you’re just wrong. Cutting up the cheese block was well worth the effort to have an entire macaroni and cheese dish covered in Cabot cheese.

I even wrote this poem in honor of my love for Cabot cheese:

Cabot cheese, you are so yummy
Cabot cheese, get in my tummy
Cabot cheese, I love you so
Cabot cheese, You’ll never know
Cabot cheese, without you my life is incomplete
Cabot cheese, you are the cheese I always choose to eat

Please send all poetry-related fan mail to my agent, Chewy the Most Handsome Dog.

PROCESS1 PROCESS2 PROCESS3 ADDINGDONE

Like I said, it was a pretty easy process. You can see that the cheesy goodness covered the macaroni quite well even though I accidentally doubled the macaroni.

And I had a tiny, furry spectator the entire time. I dropped a noodle or two and this guy was on it like white on rice. Or brown on rice. Or Jasmine on — nevermind.

CHEWY1
“Hey… What uh… what cha got there, Mom…?”
CHEWY2
“I noticed you made too much. I can help with that…”

 

The Review

I give this recipe 4 out of 5 Chewys. It was really good, but it needs something a little extra next time. (Spices? Better quality noodles? I’ll figure it out eventually.)

chewychewychewychewychewybw

 This recipe is one that I would definitely make again. I loved it. David loved it. Chewy loved it. The family enjoyed it completely. I would love to try to play around with it some more by maybe splitting the cheese with half mild cheddar instead of sharp, and adding some spices like perhaps paprika as some other homemade macaroni and cheese recipes call for. I’ll probably cut the recipe in half next time though since I really can’t imagine enjoying the cheese:noodle ratio if I used the correct amount of noodles.

If you’re into a more typical, Kraft-flavored macaroni, I would recommend sticking with mild cheddar. Sharp cheddar work for us and taste amazing but don’t produce a taste that’s as close to typical boxed macaroni and cheese as many people would like.

I enjoyed this side dish that night with green beans and leftover chipotle chicken breast that I topped with guacamole. Since then I’ve also mixed it with a can of tuna, and had it as a side with a veggie burger and beans. There’s still quite a bit of it left since I made enough for a small army, hopefully I can think of some more creative ways to incorporate macaroni and cheese in my diet this week…

 

plate2

 

The Nutrition

Numbers will vary based on ingredient brands/flavors etc.

nutritioninfo

A new feature: Real Food Experiments

wp226I’ve always had a weird relationship with food.

When I was younger it was all chicken nuggets and french fries for me. That and cereal were staples of my diet. Child nutrition wasn’t a focus for my generation and I was always naturally slender so little attention was paid to my poor eating choices.

As a high schooler, I was maybe 110 lbs. soaking wet and as a part of early dismissal I would stop by McDonalds for a Superzised number 10 (chicken nuggets, natch) with coke, and an Oreo McFlurry (back in MY day there was only one flavor of McFlurry!) at least three times a week.

As a college student I struggled with portion control as I was exposed to an all-you-can-eat buffet of foods for three meals a day. Ice cream and french fries were staples. Later in college, over the course of two years I would become vegetarian, then vegan, then a carnivore again. Over this time my taste buds adapted and changed. And wouldn’t you know it, a staple of my diet while being vegan and vegetarian was the french fry (I’m really good at health, you guys).

When I moved back home I became a personal trainer and worked out regularly but was heavier than ever before. Since leaving a university setting I’ve tried low-carb, no-carb, Paleo, flexitarian, gluten-free, and other options to try to stay a healthy weight while I work out and attempt to conquer adulthood. All the while I’ve been binging on chicken wings (ooh, diversity), french fries, and sweet treats.

I restrict. I binge. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It doesn’t take a dietitian to tell you that’s not healthy behavior. I struggle with portion control and self control. I struggle with wanting to eat fried food and frozen yogurt every day instead of broccoli. I struggle. A lot. But it doesn’t have to be so hard.

Recently I made a promise to myself to focus on me. I want to be a healthier, stronger, happier me. And a big part of that is getting control of my disordered eating. Not only will this help me, but it will help my husband too who has a lot of the same issues I do, and hopefully when the time comes for us to bring a tiny person into the world we will have mostly sorted out our food issues so that we can save our child from going through that struggle too (as for the rest of their life? we make no promises on not totally messing the imaginary kid up).

In our house there is no more calorie counting. No more food guilt. No more food regret. We are doing away with those things and we are doing that by focusing on healthy eating.

What is healthy eating?

Real food.

What is real food?

veg-board-with-real-food-rules1

 

 

I’m not going to act like we’re only going to buy the most humanely raised, local, organic everything. We don’t have that privilege. We typically try to avoid additives and hormones where we can but if the value chicken is $2.99 and the organic, locally and humanely raised chicken is $8.99, we’re just not in a place to choose the fancy chicken. So we make adjustments and we buy from farmer’s markets when we can.

This journey is a new one and since I’ve started I’ve posted some pictures of the recipes I’ve made with great response from my friends and family. Hence, a new feature to my blog. Real Food Experiments.

In this space I’ll be documenting all of my new recipe adventures with eating real food and cooking for  my little family. The good, the bad, and the pizza-night inducing. I’ll let you know when and why we loved something or we didn’t. I’ll let you know how many scraps my dog got to eat off the floor because I was too slow to pick them up and he’s a floor scrap ninja. I’ll let you know where the recipes came from because I’m all about giving credit where credit is due. And if I decide to try to make recipes myself (not likely) I’ll share those too.

I’m going to share when we’re able to spend an entire week eating all real food and I’m going to share when we spend an afternoon eating out and drinking at wineries (our anniversary is coming up, I’m so ready, come to me bread and booze and chocolate).

And of course, I’m going to supply the nutritional info when I can. Most online recipes are void of nutritional information but I’m going to use the magical interwebz to help me compile this information whenever possible. I want to know, you want to know, but I can’t guarantee 100% accuracy as, of course, ingredients may vary.

So, get excited for my Real Food Experiments. I hope you enjoy the ride and get some good recipes out of it!