Friday, May 29, 2020

Morning Walks



I've taken to going for walks fairly early in the morning, before 7am, when the streets are quiet(er).  It's just me, early dogwalkers, and garbagemen.  A jogger or two.  I'll make a cup of coffee, throw some weight (20# or so) in a backpack and head out.  Call it rucking if you like. 

I'm grateful to live in a neighborhood lush with foliage.  There are lots of houses with beautiful front gardens, and this Spring it's been incredible to simply watch things grow and bloom.  I notice something new every time I go out.


Sidenote: the iNaturalist app has been helpful for identifying the things I'm seeing--putting a name to a face.  This nice yellow flower, for example, is called "Creeping Buttercup".

Here are some more:





I've found it very useful to track my daily step count during these times, to try and match my activity level pre-pandemic (7000 steps per day).  I work in the restaurant industry, and I've been unemployed since things really shut down.  I noticed old aches and pains coming back with a vengeance after a couple weeks of simply taking it easy, and just the small act of making sure I get those 7000 steps in goes a long way (with or without a weighted pack).  I've realized how important walking is--it definitely meets the criterion for the "80/20" rule (80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts--walking is absolutely part of that 20%).  When I think back to periods of my life when I felt particularly limber and pain-free, I notice that, hmmm...yep, I was walking a lot at that point.

So much of life is steeped in convenience at this point.  It would be entirely possible to sustain life from the couch--ordering delivery (and even cocktails--absurd) and binge-watching Netflix all day, waiting for the world to open back up.  But our bodies are efficient, and if you don't use it, you lose it.  We actually have to intentionally introduce challenge ("load") to our lives if we want to stay strong, limber, and youthful.  This means getting outside (wear a mask), cooking your food (after walking to the farmer's market to buy your produce, perhaps), installing a pull-up bar in your home and hanging from it throughout the day--anything you can do to undermine the convenience that is seemingly always there, offering to do it for us.



Thursday, May 28, 2020

Curried Kale



1 bunch of kale, preferably Lacinato, destemmed and roughly chopped
2 medium onions, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 fresh red chili, diced, or a pinch of dried chili flakes
1 tbsp vadouvan curry powder
2 cups of chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat, then add onions and season with salt and pepper.  If using a fresh chili, add it after the onions have cooked for a few minutes.  Once everything is nice and soft, add the garlic and curry powder (and dried chili flakes, if using) and stir to coat for about a minute.  Add the kale to the pot in batches, space allowing, and add a little salt each time.  Once all the kale has been added and it's had time to soften a little, add the stock or water (if using water, add a little more salt and curry powder here), scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to collect all the flavorful bits that have accumulated, then turn the heat to high.  Once the liquid begins to bubble, partially cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, adding more liquid if necessary.  You should end up with something brothy, but not soupy.  Consider adding a fried egg.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Roll-up




My first roll-up.  It's a work in progress, but I was pretty happy about it this morning!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Cauliflower & Spinach Curry



This is a hearty & warming vegetarian option that is fairly hands-off once you gather all of the ingredients and do the chopping.  This recipe makes 6 large servings.

1 head cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
2 medium onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, diced
2" piece of ginger, grated
2 serrano peppers, seeded and diced
1 bunch of spinach, coarsely chopped
1tbsp turmeric
1tsp curry powder
1tsp cumin
1tsp coriander
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/8tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1 fistful of cilantro, chopped + more to serve
14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with their juices
14oz can of coconut milk
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3tsp coconut oil
Squeeze of lime

Heat the coconut oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions and season with salt.  Stir occasionally until the onions are starting to get slippery (about 5 minutes), then add the serranos.  Cook for a few minutes longer, then add the ginger, garlic, and spices.  Stir for a minute to coat, then add the cauliflower and more salt.  Add more oil if necessary, and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the can of tomatoes with their juice, and salt.  Let this mixture cook for a few minutes, then add the stock and turn up the heat.  When things start to bubble, add the spinach in batches (with a little pinch of salt each time) and let it wilt as space allows.  Once the spinach has all been added and wilted, turn the heat to low and add the coconut milk.  Stir, then partially cover the pot.

Allow the curry to sit on the stove for at least one hour, but 3-4 hours will be ideal to let the curry get good & mushy.  The thickness can be adjusted to your taste--cook less for a soupier curry.  Towards the end of the cooking time, stir in the cilantro.  Ladle into bowls and serve with a squeeze of lime and more cilantro.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Brazil Diogo Dias



Method: French Press (41g Coffee / 500g Water)

This is a super satisfyingly fudgy, nutty coffee from Heart Coffee Roasters out of Portland, OR.  Very smooth and almost chewy...  Like a warm brownie.  Naturally processed.



https://www.heartroasters.com/collections/beans/products/brazil-diogo-dias


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Agua Blanca


Method: "Ultimate French Press Method" 
35g coffee/507g water

This coffee is delightful.  Light, creamy, and sweet with some fruity (grape) notes as well.  I tend to like George Howell's Columbian coffees--even the decaf which I drank in abundance throughout the workdays of 2016-2019.  I will definitely be ordering more of this.






Frittata of the Day #10

Broccoli, red onion, chicken sausage.