Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Random Odds and Ends

As we get packed to head down to the Bay Area for food, family and friends (and did we mention food??) a couple of random thoughts:

Crossword Puzzles

I grew up enjoying all kinds of puzzles, especially logic puzzles and crossword puzzles. A love of solving puzzles was something that my Dad and I shared and we had a lot of fun working on them together. And I still feel really close to him when I do them.

I've recently become hooked on crossword puzzles again thanks to encouragement from our friend Seth, a fellow ultimate player and around-the-world traveler. He is a regular solver of the New York Times puzzles and has encouraged me to test my solving skills against them too. So now we both do them online and compete on solving times, though he's so much better than me that there's not much competition. Still, emailing back and forth about clues and working together to figure out the harder days of the week reminds me of solving puzzles together with Dad and that makes me happy.

(Plus, we get to be make jokes about ridiculous freaky talent of puzzle solvers like Orange and Rex Parker)

"Cleaning out the fridge" entrees

When I first started getting into cooking I could make some pretty good meals, but they always required cookbooks and recipes. I could follow directions and learn techniques, but I didn't have any confidence or knowledge about creating my own dishes. One of the fun things about cooking more since our return from the trip has been becoming more comfortable winging it in the kitchen. Recently I've been working on a new specialty on the nights Brian is in class: the cleaning-out-the-fridge-use-up-the-leftovers-and-feed-myself meal.

Two recent successes:

-- Saute-ing whatever veggies are left (usually zucchini and/or yellow squash and red bell pepper) in garlic and olive oil, liberally sprinkling with cumin, then adding in some frozen corn (kept in the freezer for this kind of purpose) or leftover fresh corn (in the summer), baby spinach leaves, and crumbled feta cheese to finish. Tossed over cous cous or pasta, or even wrapped in a wheat tortilla for an impromptu veggie burrito it has been a quick and easy, faithful, and tasty standby and has fed me on a number of occasions.

-- Sauteeing thin slices of prosciutto (left over from making the yummy butternut squash recipe I mentioned before) and shallots and garlic in butter to crisp the prosciuto, then throwing it in an omelet, with a little cream cheese and fresh rosemary (left over from some fancy Italian steak sandwiches)

Still Running

Haven't kicked the running bug yet. Guess Brian was more contageous than I thought. :-) But for the first time I think I can actually say I enjoy running instead of just tolerating it as a necessary evil for staying in shape. I think one of the things I really like about it is that I can see such progress. 3 miles always used to be a LONG run for me. Now it's my basic run and I build up from there.

Yesterday I decided to try a 6 mile run for the first time since the 10-K in September. I ran a loop that was much hillier than the easy Pints-to-Pasta downhill course and yet it felt comfortable and easy and I finished several minutes faster. How cool is that??

While I am still not setting any land speed records, I run at a respectable speed, and I'm really enjoying becoming someone who can just go out and run 5 miles without giving it another thought.

Not sure how interesting anyone will find these tidbits, but we figured it could be an appetizer before a full Thanksgiving meal entry.

Hope everyone has a great weekend full of fun, friends and family.



elpelso said...

Always love to read about you both...

SethG said...

13:44 for today...have at it.

Happy Turkeyday (and Bunni's b-day!). We're off to the Dunns' to watch football and gain some weight,

Wade said...

i was unaware of your love of crossword puzzles. i, too, used to work with my dad on solving them when i was younger-- still do whenever we're home in austin. the star trib (paper version) features two a day: LA Times and NY Times. i do the former to feel good about myself, and the latter to come crashing back down to reality. :)