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Archive for April, 2009

When it rains, I get in a funky mood.  I wake up (although I’d rather stay in bed) every morning and get in front of my light box and read my scriptures.  That seems to help, but in the evenings, I come home from work, eat something and sit in front of the TV until it’s time to go to bed and wake up the next day to do everything again.  Every day, I just keep pushing myself until the weekends.  Weekends are great.  I’ve got time to wake up at my own pace, exercise to my heart’s content, clean my house, and relax.  It’s fantastic.  I definitely love weekends.

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Yes, folks, I cleaned my oven.  Now, many of you probably clean your oven frequently.  I bet it shines.  Until yesterday, I didn’t know the inside of my oven was blue.

Let me give you a little back story.  My husband and I love Totinos pizzas.  They’re delicious and inexpensive (and unhealthy, I know, but they’re yummy…).  You cook them directly on the oven rack, so pieces fall down to the bottom of the oven.  Well, I avoided cleaning the oven for a long time.  Let’s just say that we would know dinner was done when the fire alarm went off.  Why?  Because every time you opened the oven, smoke would come out and set off the fire alarm!  We’d gotten very good about waving a towel in front of it.

Okay, so I decided to try the Easy Off Max Fume Free Oven Cleaner.  First, I sprayed the interior of my (cold) oven and shut the door.  I waited two hours and then braced myself to clean the mess.  I doubled two plastic grocery sacks, cut and folded paper towels in half, got them wet, and laid them out in a grid for easy grabbing.  I did open the windows, because the lemon scent was a bit strong, but there were no “fumes.”

Make sure you wear gloves.  I used yellow, kitchen gloves, and they’re now stained lovely dark colors.

I was so surpised at how well the Easy Off worked.  The charred bits wiped off like water.  It was extremely messy to clean up, and I went through a lot of wet paper towels (I’m glad I cut them in half to be economical), but my oven is now clean!  Hooray!  So, the next time your fire alarm goes off when you open your oven, consider Easy Off Oven Cleaner.

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Did I mention that I got a new triathlon training book?  It’s Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide: Plans, Scheduling Tips, and Workout Goals for Triathletes of All Levels by Matt Fitzgerald.

It has 10 levels of training for each triathlon distance.  I chose Level 4 for a Sprint tri.  I’m in Week 2.

I’m not pleased that my lovely, heated, free pool will be closed for cleaning next week.  Sigh…  Still, I’ve gotten in a bit of swimming the past week or so.  The book breaks down your swim into warm ups, drills, kick sets, intervals, fartleks, cool downs, etc.  It gives you distances (which increase each week before peaking and relaxing a bit) to swim, instead of times.  My last swim included: 250 warm up, 6 x 25 drills, 5 x 100 intervals, 4 x 25 kicks, and 200 cool down.  It took me about 50 minutes.

For biking and jogging, it gives you times.  I’m supposed to do 1 hour and 15 minutes on my bike next week.  My next jog is a 30 min. jog, which I’m not looking forward to.  I’m happier with 5 minute jogs…

Happily, a coworker loaned me a bike trainer stand until the summer.  I set up my bike in front of my TV.  Now, I can train on my race bike and work on my positioning.  I’ve been doing most of my cycling on a stationary bike that sits you in an upright position, not like my racing bike, where you’re supporting yourself with your hands, shoulders, and abs.  It’s a big difference.  My workout was to do 60 min. of cycling immediately followed by 10 min. of jogging.  I somehow lasted 30 min. on my race bike/with the bike trainer, before I had to switch to the easy-going stationary bike.  When it was time to get jogging, I definitely was feeling challenged.

I’m so glad that I have the bike trainer, because it’s going to dramatically increase my abilities on my racing bike.  I’ll be able to ride longer and I’ll be more comfortable with my racing bike.  Plus, by riding in front of my TV, there’s no chance of getting run over outside!

For each cycling workout, I’ll start on the bike trainer and go as long as I can.  Then, I’ll finish the workout on the stationary bike.  I hope to build up my abilities so that I’ll eventually (hopefully soon) do my entire cycling workout on the bike trainer.  Maybe then, I’ll feel more comfortable about riding outside.  Plus, I’ll probably have enough stamina to do longer rides, so I’ll be able to go to parks and veloways.  Maybe, I’ll be able to join a riding group!

As I said before, I’m not able to jog for very long.  I’m also very slow.  I go to a free jogging group at a neighborhood jogging store once a week.  Lately, it’s just been me and S. from the store.  She’s been very patient and she always jogs at my speed.  Last week, a gentleman joined our group.  I’m short and he’s tall, so he jogged quite a bit faster than me.  I got left in the dust!  I tried to keep up, but then I had to walk, because the pace was too fast.  Often, the gentleman and S. would wait for me and then jog with me, but I felt that I was definitely not on their level!

Oh well, it would be nice if I were completely trained so that I could go out and do a triathlon at the end of May, but I’m going to keep at it and hope to do one at the end of June.  I’m happy with the tri training book I have.  The workouts are just at the level I need and they’re just challenging enough without being too much or too little.


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More Sushi

Yummy!!!

Yummy!!!

I’ve had several people want me to join them for sushi parties.  It’s very exciting!  Plus, I just noticed another sushi shop going in about a mile away.  That makes…about 8 sushi locations (there’s probably more) close to my home.  Yes, my students are still bringing sushi and seaweed to pass around for snacks and lunch.  We even had someone bring sushi on our study trip!

Still, the reason why I spent the $18 to load up on sushi materials was so that I wouldn’t go broke everytime I got sushi cravings. Yes, whenever I crave sushi, it lasts for several days. Then, I’m okay without sushi for about a few weeks.  If I bought 3 day’s worth of sushi, it would cost about $24.  I could buy some serious groceries with that amount!  Either that, or my husband and I could go out for dinner.  Last time I made sushi, my friend and I made enough for 4 people, if not more.  We had so much sushi, we couldn’t finish it that weekend.

Yesterday, the sushi cravings came back.  I knew that I could sit on them and end up buying sushi (for a fortune), or I could get started on making my sushi rice.  I started at 10 AM yesterday morning, and ended up eating sushi just after 12 PM (with a short trip to the Post Office and local grocery).  This time, I decided to make a half recipe, which would yield 2 sushi rolls (2 day’s worth).

To make 2 servings, I brought 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sushi rice to a boil, then covered and simmered on low for 15 minutes.  After that, I let it sit, covered for 10 minutes.  I combined 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt (less if reg. salt), 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp rice vinegar and nuked it for 20-30 seconds.  I put the rice in a very large bowl, drizzled the hot vinegar mixture on top, and then cut/folded the rice with a spatula for several minutes to make sure that every rice grain was coated.  As I stirred, I fanned the rice with a pot holder in my left hand, to help it cool.

With the rice spread out to come to room temp, I checked on the two pieces of imitation crab sticks I’d set on the counter to thaw.  I’d frozen the leftovers after the first sushi episode.  I still had cream cheese slices left, so I went to the store for an avocado.

I got home and sliced the avocado very thinly.  I did fourths and then cut each fourth into thirds or fourths (Can you tell that I taught fractions recently?).  If you first cut the avocado into fourths, it’s much easier to get the peel off. I also sliced the thawed crab sticks in half length wise.

Okay, to make the sushi, I had rice, seaweed sheets, crab, cream cheese, and avocado.  I also had my sushi mat, which I covered with plastic wrap, a bowl of water, and a hand towel.  The bowl of water is essential.  For cutting the sushi, I had a cutting board and a freshly-sharpened knife.  If you don’t use a sharp knife, you’ll end up with squashed sushi mess instead of sushi slices.

I put down a seaweed sheet with the smooth side down, put half of my rice on it, and used wet hands (Remember the bowl of water?) to spread out the rice.  I laid out 3 rows of fillings in the middle: crab, cream cheese, and avocado).  I tried not to overlap them.  Then, I rolled the sushi and sliced it into 8-10 slices.  Yum!

I had sushi for lunch and some dinner last night.  I plan to have more today (Breakfast?).

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I’ve recently begun reading a foodie mystery series by Joanne Fluke.  It’s about a woman named Hannah who owns a cookie shop in a small town.  Her sister is married to a detective, and the cookie lady is dating the town’s other detective.  Together with her sister, Hannah investigates and solves murders.  Whenever she and her sister find the murderer, they call the detectives.  How do they investigate?  Why, they hand out cookies to people, who suddenly open up and share info that they wouldn’t share with the police.  It’s amazing what cookies can do.  Hannah reminds me of Nancy Drew.

Every time she makes a batch of cookies, the recipe is at the end of the chapter.  Today, I made Twin Chocolate Delights, from Book 3: The Blueberry Muffin Murder.  They’re similar to chocolate chip cookies, but they have cocoa in them, which makes them even yummier.  Think chocolate chip cookie meets gooey brownie with chocolate chips in it.  Mmmm.

I started to make a quarter of the recipe, but I kept mixing up the amounts and putting in more than needed of an ingredient, so I ended up doing the entire recipe.  I think it made about 4 dozen cookies.  We ate about half a dozen to a dozen (not sure).  I set aside another half dozen or so for munching at home tomorrow, and I put another dozen in the freezer.  I’ll be taking a dozen to work tomorrow as well.

I should have used a larger bowl.  My shoulder got sore mixing it (by hand).

I should have used a larger bowl. My shoulder got sore mixing it (by hand).

I made about 2-1/2 trays.

I made about 2-1/2 trays.

Just out of the oven!

Just out of the oven!

This is what's left after some munching.  Yum!

This is what's left after some munching. Yum!

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