Ultimate Frisbee + My New Favorite Squash Recipe

I am sore this morning!  Last night we played Ultimate Frisbee with friends, and we played hard.  I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, dinner.

We enjoyed leftovers from an awesome dinner Monday night: chicken sausages with a potato, squash, and goat cheese gratin.  I used this recipe for the gratin (minus the milk and Parmesan cheese; Andrew can handle goat cheese.)

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Oh, it was delicious.  Squash by itself?  Not my favorite.  Squash with my beloved potatoes?  Oh, yes.  This recipe is a winner, for sure.

After eating, we made our way to the University of Richmond to meet the Ultimate Frisbee gang.  We went a little bit early so Andrew and a few others could play Spikeball first.  I embraced the opportunity to go for a walk through the beautiful campus.

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Ready. To. Play. 😉

Last week we had 8 people for Frisbee;  this week we had twenty.  Rather than play a crowded 10-on-10 game, we made four teams and had a mini tournament on two adjacent fields.  We each played one game (first team to score 11,) then the winners played, and the losers played.   By the end, we’d all spend about 90 minutes running pretty hard.  The teams were beautifully even in terms of abilities, so although we won our games (:-D), both were very close, and there was no time to rest.

After driving home and hobbling from the car to the house, I made my favorite workout recovery meal–a smoothie.  This cup contained frozen berries, banana, mixed greens, peanut butter, and soy milk.  While this sounds rather strange and is not my typical smoothie combination–I usually use spinach, but we have mixed greens on hand right now, and I usually forego the peanut butter, but I wanted some extra protein–it actually tasted great!  And no, I could not taste the greens. 🙂

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I love smoothies as workout recovery fuel because they contain carbohydrates, protein, and lots of vitamins, depending on what fruit you include.  Unfortunately, none of that is preventing my legs and glutes from being incredibly sore this morning. 😀

What do you eat/drink after a hard workout?
Do you ever play Ultimate Frisbee?

Boating + An Almost Farm-to-Table Dinner

Greetings on this dark, but delightfully cool morning (at least in Richmond)!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.

We kicked ours off Friday with dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant and a movie–Red 2.  We saw the first one in the theater when we were still dating and loved it, and the sequel did not disappoint!  If you’re looking for a good suspenseful, action-packed, make-you-belly-laugh movie, I highly recommend Red 2.

On Saturday, we spent the day on the bay.  One of Andrew’s coworkers, Bruce, has a bay house (technically his mom’s) and a boat, and he invited us down for the day.

IMG_1472It was a gorgeous day–warm,with a breeze, but not hot; big fluffly clouds in the sky…

We spent most of the day in the boat, but stopped at a little island beach for a while to eat lunch and relax (you know, because riding around in a boat is so stressful ;-)).

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We also did some fishing from the boat.  Well, Bruce did some fishing (Andrew and I don’t have licenses.)  In a short amount of time, he caught five decent-sized croakers, which he cleaned and sent home with us!

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Driving home we caught this awesome sunset:

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On Sunday, after an excellent worship service at church, Andrew and I (…wait for it… this might surprise you…) worked in the garden.  😉  I weeded;  Andrew demolished a stump and tilled the soil so we could put the strawberry plants in the ground (rather than pots.)  We replanted the strawberries, and planted more green bean, broccoli, carrot, and beet seeds.  Our green beans are doing well and don’t take long to mature, and we just wanted more!  Our row of broccoli failed–one tiny head was starting to emerge just as the caterpillars destroyed the plants.  We planted the beet and carrot seeds in pots with store-bought soil.  As much as we tried to improve our ground soil, it still has lumps of clay and some rocks, which produce gnarly little underground vegetables.  (Exhibits A & B.)  We’re hoping the pots will be more of a controlled environment for them!

In sad garden news, I think we are losing our cucumber plants.  The leaves are getting yellow spots, then shriveling up and dying.

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Anyone know what that’s about?  Is it a disease?  Over/under watering?  I’m not very happy about it.

For dinner last night we enjoyed the fish from Saturday with green beans from the garden and some quinoa:

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We breaded the fish in gluten-free bread crumbs and pan-fried it (healthy, I know ;-)).  Apparently the tails are delicious, but you’ll have to ask Andrew about that.

And now, I’m off to tackle Monday.

What did you do this weekend?
What the heck is wrong with our cucumbers?

Fitness Apps and Listening to Your Body

Last week I mentioned that I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app out of curiosity about how my diet measures up to recommended guidelines.  Since then I have been recording my food and exercise (on week days), and I have one overarching thought about the app: It’s a helpful tool, but it’s still crucial to listen to your body.  Before I go into that, here’s what my week looked like in terms of workouts:

Monday: Running-30 minutes (AM); Walking-25 minutes (PM)
Tuesday: Weight circuits- 30 minutes; Walking-30 minutes (AM); Ultimate Frisbee- 70 minutes (PM)
Wednesday: Walking- 30 minutes (AM); Yoga-60 minutes (PM)

Thursday: Weight circuits (upper body)-20 minutes; Walking- 30 minutes
Friday: Running- 30 minutes

Let me draw your attention to Tuesday.  I burned a lot of calories through exercise that day–in the morning I lifted weights and did some light cardio, and after dinner I played a very intense game of Ultimate Frisbee with a group of friends.  The game was four-on-four, which means we all did a lot of running (with so few people on each team, you really cannot take a break,) and the only other girl playing (opposite team) was very comparable to me in terms of physical abilities (speed, willingness to crash into someone to catch the frisbee ;-)), so I was giving my all the entire game.

When we arrived back home around 9 PM, I had a substantial snack, but according to MyFitnessPal, I still fell way short on calories (and fat) that day.

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(Side note: check out my fantastic protein intake;  the only meat I had that day was about 2 oz of pork tenderloin at dinner.  Bam.)

Wednesday was a different story, however.  I took it easier with my exercise, but I was so much hungrier as a result of the previous day.  MyFitnessPal is just a tool and does not recognize that hunger can carry over, so on Wednesday I exceeded my recommended calories, fat, and…well, everything!  I think it would have been detrimental to my health to adhere strictly to what the app said I needed–my body knew it needed more.

My point is, this app is a great tool for getting the nutrients you need, but it doesn’t know your body as well as you do.  Listen to and honor your body!

Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

I love potatoes in most any form.  When I send Andrew a text mid-afternoon that says, “Thoughts on dinner?”  and he replies, “Whatever is fine,” there is a very strong chance he’ll be eating potatoes that night.  Yesterday, to jazz up our go-to oven roasted potatoes with salt, pepper, and olive oil, I created what turned out to be a really delicious seasoning mix.  If you are a fellow lover of potatoes, give this a try:

Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

-5-6 small red potatoes
-1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/4 tsp pepper

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1. Preheat oven to 350.  Begin boiling a large pot of water.  2. Slice potatoes into small chunks.  3. Boil potatoes for 5 minutes, drain, then transfer to a bowl.  4. While potatoes are boiling, combine all the spices and mix well.  5. Add olive oil and spice mixture to the potatoes, and stir, making sure all the potatoes are coated.  6.  Spread potatoes on an aluminum foil-lined baking pan, and place in oven for about 30 minutes, flipping potatoes with a spatula halfway through.

DSCN8551Oh man, they were good!  Boiling them first ensures that they are soft, and putting them in the oven makes the exterior crispy.  I could eat these every day!  They did have a little kick, so if you don’t like spicy food, make sure to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper (or eliminate it completely.)

In addition to the potatoes we had steamed broccoli and baked chicken breasts, marinated in raspberry-walnut vinaigrette (which explains the pinkish color. :))  With all the goods coming out of the garden, we have been eating a lot of salad;  last night I needed something that wasn’t raw, and the steamed broccoli hit the spot.

Enjoy!

Workout Motivation: Strong Over Skinny

If I learned one thing from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in The Silver Linings Playbook, it’s, well, to look for the silver lining in any situation.  (Andrew just read that over my shoulder and said, “No, it’s that if you are doing a lift while dancing, make sure you don’t get caught in the crotch.”  I’m sticking with the silver lining thing.)  One upside to my scary experience Friday is that it has provided excellent workout motivation.

While running on Monday I thought, What would I do if the guy drove up beside me in his car right now?  As I pondered the question, playing the scenario out in my head, I noticed I was running faster.  I felt the desire to push myself to be in the best shape possible–to be strong and able–so that if I ever end up in a similar or more dangerous situation, I have a fighting chance at defending myself.  I don’t want to run simply to burn calories, but rather to be fit and prepared for whatever challenges come my way.

Then I started thinking about workout motivation in general, separate from this specific experience.  I think what motivates us to exercise can change from month to month, even day to day.  Maybe we do it to lower our risk of a disease that runs in the family, or because we like how it makes us feel (go, endorphins!)  Maybe we want to be able to defend ourselves or run a marathon.  Maybe we just want to look good in a bikini.  There was a time in my life that I valued being skinny over a lot of other things.  But what’s the point of that?  What good is “skinny,” if you still can’t do the things you want to do?  We cannot reduce the value of our bodies to their size.

In recent years, I’ve learned to value strong over skinny.

Why I Workout:
To be healthy–There are many diseases and conditions that regular exercise can prevent (or at least greatly lower your risk of.)  If I can avoid certain heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, and other issues just by going for a walk each day, you better believe I’m going to do that.
To do what I loveI like to hike; I like to kayak.  I don’t ever want to miss out on an activity because I am not physically able to participate (for reasons that are my own fault.)  I don’t ever want to be nervous about having to park far away from where I’m going or not be able to explore a new city by foot.
To be strong–I want to be able to run (more) marathons.  I don’t want to say, “That’s too heavy;  I’ll wait until Andrew gets home.”  If the need ever arises, I want to be able to not just defend myself, but kick someone’s tail.

If I also end up thin while aiming to be strong, it’s no more than a happy byproduct.  Thin, in and of itself, holds very little value.

This was actually not the direction I intended to go on the blog when I started writing today, but I’m okay with that. 🙂

What is your non-skinny motivation for working out?

On Being Followed

In my post yesterday I mentioned a scary experience I had Friday night, and this morning I want to share the entire story.

I drove the to grocery store around 6:30 PM–Andrew was on his way back in town from a work function, and I needed to buy some snacks for when we had family over the next day.  Because it wasn’t my normal grocery store run, I repeatedly forgot items, backtracked, changed my mind, walked back to replace an item, etc.  I was all over the store.

On one of the first aisles I noticed a man, probably in his early 30’s, come to a dead stop and wait for me to walk around him.  My first thought was, “Well, that’s annoying.  Don’t block traffic, buddy,” but then he kept ending up very close to me, wherever I walked on the aisle.

I moved on, but no matter which aisle I walked down, this man would soon be there too.  If it had been a normal trip to the grocery store, I might not have thought anything of it, but as I said before, it was a very back-and-forth trip.  If we’d both been on the aisles for produce, meat, cereal eggs, etc., it wouldn’t have seemed odd, but how strange that this man would also be looking at mixed nuts, chip dip, pre-baked cookies–no, cookie dough–wine, chips, probably don’t need that bottle of wine…  Again, I was all over the place, and so was he.

I checked out, and as I walked to the door I turned around, and the man had also just checked out and was not far behind me.  He had one small bag after 30-45 minutes, which indicated to me that he did not come to the store to buy groceries.  The red flags were waving in my head.  My gut told me something was definitely not right.

It was still fairly light outside, and the parking lot was far from vacant.  I had parked to the right of the door, so I started walking left to see if the guy would follow me; no way in hell was I going to lead this guy to my car.  He followed.  I kept walking, and at one point when I looked over my shoulder, he was gone.  I figured he’d given up, so I made a right turn to head towards my car.  As I crossed a row of cars, however, I saw him standing by his car, just watching me.  I immediately turned around and walked back to the store.

I stood by the large front windows, hiding behind a wall, but peeking out for a few minutes.  I saw the man pull in front of the store very slowly, looking around.  Then he drove down the closest row, and backed into a parking spot from which he could see the front door.

At this point, I should have told a store manager.  I should have called the police and let them talk to him, and if it turned out he was a nice guy trying to ask me out in a very creepy way, I’d laugh, and he’d probably never make that mistake again.  But I didn’t.  I was ready to get home with my groceries, so I though I’d try to sneak back out in a crowd.  The moment I walked out the front door, he saw me and slowly pulled out of his parking spot.  At this point, I wasn’t scared;  I was mad.  He pulled up behind me as I walked, and finally I’d had enough.  I stopped, turned around, saw that his window was down, and said, “Are you just following me?” accompanied by a look that I hope said, Do not mess with me.  I think it caught him off guard, and he muttered, “Oh, uh, no,” before driving past me and very slowly leaving the parking lot.  I assume he was looking in his rear view mirror, still trying to see which car was mine, so I didn’t move until he was completely out of sight (at which point I ran, threw the bags in the car, and drove out of there as fast as possible, checking behind me frequently as I drove.)

I called my brother and Andrew to share the weirdness, and Andrew urged me to call the police.  I did, and they sent an officer to our house to do the report.  What’s funny is that even though my instincts were telling me something was very wrong, there was still part of my brain saying, “You’re overreacting.  This guy’s probably just trying to get your phone number.  Don’t waste the police department’s time with this.”  Thankfully, the officer that came to our house was so kind and said I absolutely did the right thing by calling.

Andrew and I talked about the situation at great length that night.  I think he was more scared than I was (“I don’t want you to get taken!”) which came out in the form of him criticizing some of the things I did (Um, like going back outside when I knew the guy was there waiting.  Admittedly, not my best move.)  Following those conversations, I did some research.

What to do if you think you are being followed:
Stay alert.  Be aware of your surroundings.  The first step is noticing the guy is creeping.
Trust your gut.  Instincts are real;  don’t reason yourself into a more dangerous situation by thinking, “I’m probably overreacting.”
Get to/stay in a public place.  An attacker does not want to get caught, so they probably will not try anything, say, in the grocery store.
Scream/draw attention to yourself.  Again, the person does not want to be seen or caught, so by making noise, you are putting his operation in jeopardy. (Andrew was upset that I confronted the guy, but I maintain that it served this purpose, among others.  When I spoke up, other people in the parking lot around us heard and looked right at him.)
Don’t go home (or in my case, to your car.)  You don’t want to lead them to your house–especially if you’ll be home alone.  Go to a public place, or better yet, a police station.
Don’t stop moving.  You can call the police and run at the same time!

Stay safe, everyone!

Has anyone ever had a similar experience?  Other tips for what to do in this situation?

The Weekend: Family, Vegetables, and a Police Report

What a weekend!  I may need a few days to recover from the busyness.

I kicked things off Friday evening by filing my first police report after being stalked in the grocery store and parking lot.  I’ll write a full post on this either later today or tomorrow, but suffice it to say that it was a very scary experience, and I’ve been a little bit on edge ever since.

On Saturday, we held a memorial service for my grandmother, and it was all that we wanted it to be.  After the service and wonderful reception put on by the Bereavement Committee at church, family gathered back at our house.   We had a veggie tray with a lot of goods from our garden, as well green salsa that Andrew made from our tomatillos!  It was a lot of fun to show off the garden to our family members who had heard about it but never seen it.  After the weight of the day, it was so nice to relax with family, share the Grandma Tudor stories that weren’t appropriate for non-family, and laugh.

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The nieces and me before the service 🙂

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My brother and brother-in-law passed out in my living room 😀

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Andrew, Ross, and my dad in the back;  Aunt Ann, Kendall, Lauren, Whitney, and me in front (Charles behind the camera!)

On Sunday, we slept in and skipped church (I know.  Sometimes you just need to be a recluse for a day, and yesterday was one of those days for me.)  Andrew and I went for a walk, then spent a few hours working in the garden–harvesting, weeding, pruning.

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We finally harvested our beets and carrots and had a good laugh about it:

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Five tiny carrots and a toothpick, and a bunch of beets… the largest of which is roughly 1.5-inch in diameter 😀
(Side note: I just started using Instagram!  Follow me @ctstorey)

You win some, you lose some, right?  Well, what we lost in root vegetables, we are winning in squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers…

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Yesterday’s harvest (minus the beets and carrots) + the crazy-tall tomato plants (those are 6-ft stakes!)

After gardening, lunch, and a few episodes of New Girl, Andrew went to the gym, and I stayed home to lift weights in the living room (again, the recluse thing.)

In the evening we went to Bonefish Grille to celebrate my mom’s birthday!  We love Bonefish.  Four of us split an order of Bang-Bang Shrimp (which I’d never had before because I always go with Andrew, and he can’t eat it… it’s delicious!) and an order of Saucy Shrimp.  (My mom’s friend Bill then ordered another Bang-Bang Shrimp for himself…before his entree. ;-))  For dinner I had the grilled scallops and shrimp with steamed broccoli and garlic whipped potatoes.  Mmm. 🙂

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We loved celebrating with my mom (and we missed you, Whitney and Charles!)

The weekend was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but held more smiles than tears.  I was able to see so many of my favorite people all at once, and for that, it was awesome. 🙂

What did you do this weekend?
Any tips for growing full-sized carrots and beets? 😀