Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lazy Tip: Interval Living

in·ter·val (ntr-vl)
1. A space between two objects, points, or units.
2. The amount of time between two specified instants, events, or states.
3. One of a series of predetermined distances covered at regular time increments with intermittent periods of rest in an athletic workout.

Sometimes we have to celebrate the "space between."  I am so far behind where I had wanted to be with my book at this point in the year.  It has been hard to not feel very pressured.  My picture of what the book should look like at this point does not match the reality. 

And so it is with life:  reality crashing into the pictures you have in your head of what reality should look like. When I don't even make my minimum commitment of at least 1/2 hour each night -- which is an abysmally low goal -- it is easy to beat myself up. Yet my workload and health (up to a month ago) since I started the book in February have made it the true snapshot of reality.

Then I beat myself up and demand that I "catch up" on the weekends.  When the weekend comes I know that I also need to recover from my intense work load, and I need to rest and play and take care of things.  I woke up this morning with a new idea:  interval writing.  I have been doing it all day and realize now it is a great Lazy Woman tool. 

Interval training in the fitness arena is when you exert yourself intermittently at high and low intensity spurts.  When I have done this over the years it was extremely effective in terms of bumping up my fitness level and in keeping my weight down.   

This week I started spinning for the first time since 1998. I loved spinning in my 30's, but I had to stop because back then it wore down my immune system.  I am trying it again to see how my body will react all these many years later.  Most spinning classes have a level of interval training, but the first class I went to was designed as an interval training: sprints with low resistance and then hard uphill climbs, etc.  I enjoyed it, and the space between the sprints.

I have enjoyed my day of interval writing also.  It looked like this so far -- and will continue in this fashion through Sunday night:

  1. Yoga
  2. Spinning
  3. WRITE
  4. Hot Bath/Spa Time at Home/Relaxation
  5. WRITE
  6. Pedicure/WRITE (relaxing pedi combined with research for writing)
  7. Market
  8. WRITE
Writing is my sprinting.  The in-between activities allow me to come back to the writing with a lot more clarity and energy for another sprint.

I am excited to look back at this weekend of Interval Writing and see that it didn't have to be an angst filled weekend to be productive, and that the spaces between can be used for true relaxation and enjoyment, devoid of self-flagellation. 

Good times.  Good lazy times.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Best Laid Plans -- PART DEUX! aka Cops Like Donuts and PIE!

I am the worst about tasting food as I cook.  I just don't want to do it.  I smell things and that usually guides me far enough along.   It doesn't matter how damn delicious something is, I think I taught myself as a kid when I learned how to bake from my mom, that tasting stuff would be a rabbit hole for me.  But, honestly, I don't feel like eating when I cook. I'm far too distracted. If I am cooking all day long I will find myself starving at the end of the day, having forgotten to eat.  

In the case of Best Laid Plans - PART UN (aka ONE) choosing to NOT taste the pie filling was not the best idea.  The pie was not sweet enough for most tastebuds.  It was perfectly sweet enough for me, but for the general pie audiences out there it was not as sweet as it appeared. 
Looks can be deceiving, eh?

So, this time, I took a tiny bite of the filling to check the sweet/tart ratio and it was much better for -- again -- the general pie audiences in the world.

And, the venting on this pie was far prettier because I wasn't trying to be fancy with initials.  I carved initials on the Strawberry Rhubarb pie I made for my friend Bob's bday in June, and that didn't work either.  Sometimes I'm dense and need to get the lesson a couple of times before I resort to the less creative solutions.

So, this pie looked and tasted more like you would expect from such a picture. 

ALTERATION TO RECIPE FROM BEST LAID PLANS - PART UN (will be editing that recipe in a sec):

Instead of 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice, I probably used 1/2 of that. It was juice of one small lemon.  

Bottom line is it all depends on the fruit.  I think these peaches were a little sweeter, even though just as ripe as the last batch. 

So, next time you bake, channel the sexiest of chefs, Nigela Lawson and taste every damn thing and you'll be a far better baker than I.

And, definitely don't be as stubborn as I was, so you can have happy pie eating adventures where people are left smiling, rather than puckering!....unless you are baking for yourself and you like it that way! 

We shared the pie with the two cops in the restaurant.  They were happy and posed for a happy post-pie-eating smile photo:

Monday, October 08, 2012

Lazy Deliciousness: The Best Laid Plans

A little group I started that I call "CNC" -- acronym or reason we meet is not important, but suffice it to say I owe them a pie.   Last time we were supposed to meet I was sick and had to give an IOU for a yummalicious Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie.  Well, rhubarb has a very short season, so the CNC will be enjoying a Peach-Blackberry Pie instead.

The crust from Smitten Kitchen came out exquisitely.  And, it looked perfect as I put it in the oven.  I even buoyed it's buttery delicate self up with tin foil, but sadly it lost it's cute details, and of course, the best laid "CNC" instead of the normal pie venting marks, went all wonky on me.  But here's how it done been got this way:

Crust Recipe
Seriously the best most awesome crust which I discovered when making her Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is from the aforementioned Smitten Kitchen:

1 basket of Blackberries
10 large Peaches
1 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (to taste: depending on how sweet the fruit)
Pinch of Salt

5 Tablespoons Flour
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
Grated Fresh Nutmeg (several scrapings)

Glaze/Crust Protection
1 Egg White
2 teaspoons Water

NOTE RE: Pie Plate
I highly recommend you use one with a big lip on it.  See my post on 10/12 for pic of the improved pie made a couple days later with my favorite green pie plate with a thick lip. With this buttery a crust, you need it to have somewhere for it to ooze out.  Otherwise you will need to use aluminum foil around the pie plate to keep it from completely falling.  Not Lazy.  So, get a good pie plate with a lip.  I had left mine at a friend's so didn't have it on this nite.  Next pie much improved because of this lovely simple adjustment.

Preheat oven to 350.

Make an X at the bottom of the peach.  Throw in boiling water for about a minute.  Pull out of water and peels will come off really easily.  When cool, slice the peaches.  Toss with the blackerries, lemon juice and pinch of salt.  

Whisk together the flour, brown sugar and grated nutmeg.   Toss with the peach mixture above.  Let it rest while you roll out the dough, but at least 30 minutes.

Roll out bottom crust, put in pie plate with 1 inch overhang all around.  Put in the fridge.  Roll out the top crust, put on a flat plate and put in fridge.

Mix egg white and water together.  Get out your pastry brush.

If the peach mixture has set long enough, get out the bottom crust, and brush with egg mixture.  Put in the filling, scooping from bowl into the crust with a slotted spoon if it is super-soupy.  Leave the soupiest of the soup in the bowl, but you will have taken 98% of what is in the bowl over to the pie. 

Put on the top crust, crimp the edges as you wish, and cut decorative steam slits into crust to allow for proper bubbling to ensue.  Don't get all fancy like I did here (sorry it will not let me rotate this pic no matter what I do! LOL!) because with these buttery crusts, they need to be able to express themselves however they wish.  Simple slits work best.

Bake for 60-70 minutes normally.  This one took 80 tonight to get to double-double-toil-and-trouble delicious bubbling goodness.

I lost the beautiful edging took, but I guarantee no one will care!  Did I mention how unbelievably good it smells?  Oh my!

Lazily yours,

Happy Baking to All and to All a Good Night!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Lazy Travel Tip: Beware!

It seems to be the wave of air travel's future:  you can't necessarily trust that ticket you have in your hands!

A few months ago I was enjoying a lovely dinner in Denver and took a moment after the plates were cleared to use my iPhone to check in for my flight departing the following evening.  To my horror, the flight had been moved up three hours, to be smack in the middle of my last appointment.  When I called American Airlines in horror, they said they had emailed the change to me.  I get a lot of email, and I check my spam regularly.  I did not get an email about this.  I very rarely fly American, but promised then to try to avoid them at all costs in the future, and I have so far.

Three weeks ago I flew Virgin America. I went to check in to that flight and discovered I no longer had a seat.  Impossible.  I had made the reservation weeks prior and always get an aisle seat -- without fail.  They told me I'd have to get my seat at the airport -- after everyone else boarded the plane!  Impossible.  Another airline down!

Tonight a Facebook friend posted that he just went to check in for his 10:40 a.m. flight and he was informed that the flight was moved up to 7 a.m.   Virgin America strikes again.  They claim they emailed him that change.  His point:  this change is worthy of an actual, honest to God phone call, people!  He is flying out for a funeral, and would have missed it had he not noticed during his online check-in. 

Last Tuesday, I was driving to LAX at 6 a.m.  I received a phone call.  An automatic recording informed me that my flight was being moved UP from 7:48 to 7:23 a.m.   I hung up, called Delta and asked if there was a later flight and when it would get me in because I didn't think there was any way I'd make this flight.  I would miss my first appointment.  The customer service agent at the other end of the line thought he had misheard me when I said I had just been informed my flight was moved up.  He said "Oh no, we don't move flights UP."  I said "Well you did on this one!"  He looked and was embarassed to admit the error of his words.

I sped to LAX, raced to my parking lot, and sprinted to the security line where I had to ask an enormous crowd of people if they would let me move up in the line, explaining that as odd as it sounded my flight had been moved up almost 1/2 an hour.  They all stared and then in one magical moment as if rehearsed said in unison "Yes, gooooooo!"  Except.  One.  Person. 

A Delta pilot stared at me with his curmugeonly face set in stalwart silence, clearly self-assured that I was a liar.  I showed him my boarding pass and I said "This says 7:48 but this flight is leaving at 7:23."  He shook his head, judging me from his head down to his toes.

I sprinted to the gate.  It looked empty.  I saw a flight attendant disappear through the door just as I arrived within eye shot?  Huffing and puffing I ran up to the agent and begged, barely able to speak, "Please can you get me on!?"   The agent said "Just breathe."  I contested, "You don't understand I have to get on this flight. You moved it up!"   He said "It's OK, just breathe...."  Then I realized I had time to breathe because he was just about to start boarding.   We both started laughing at my idiocy.  The flight did take off at 7:23. It was just a nearly empty flight so not a lot of boarding to do!

I turned around to find a place to catch my breath before boarding and saw the judging pilot walking to a gate across the way.  I ran over to him, and said "I know you didn't believe me, so you have to come see this and talk to the agent!" I grabbed him by the elbow and he said "I STILL don't believe you!" as I dragged him over to my gate.  The agent explained that I was, indeed, telling the truth. 

Shocked, the pilot replied: "Is that even LEGAL?"

The bottom line is that pulling the rug out of your magic carpet rides should not be legal.  But, it does seem to be the new norm.  So, beware oh ye who travels our lovely skies.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Lazy Game On!

Game on.  Game is irrevocably on.  I have gained back just about all the weight I lost in at the beginning of 2011.  Due to glorious Bar Method, it's all a lot tighter than it was before.  Thanks to my mom, I've worked out since I was a teenager and have always been fit, but Bar really did shape, strengthen and tighten in the laziest of ways.  One hour, extremely efficient workout.  But, due to a persistent hamstring injury, I'm taking Bar "time out."   Working out hard in many different other ways now, but it's gonna take more than workouts to get off the weight gained due to persistent illness over the last year and a half.

So, the game is on to get the weight off, off, off.  

As of yesterday, I am back on track with Weight Watchers.   It is the laziest way for me to lose weight -- less stress, more joy -- because I don't have to think about it much, figure much out, or give up anything.  I had a half cup of Almond Dream Ice Cream with my favorite TJ Dark Chocolate Crisps, plus a tablespoon of toasted almonds this afternoon to beat the 110 degree heat, and I was in heaven for only 6 Weight Watchers points....which is a big yummy deal!

This game doesn't have to be hard.  This game doesn't have to kick my ass.  This game can be delicious and fun.  And, it's on.

The news of the day is this game has to be on FOREVER.  When I don't feel well -- especially when energy-less or pain-full -- I don't pay as much attention to exactly what is going into my mouth.   My body craves things it "thinks" will help it feel better, and I don't play the adult in this relationship.  I let it have what it wants.  Illness can rip down our guards.  Physical, emotional discomfort can take me out of my game.  I've got a pretty good handle on emotional eating (thank you Marianne Williamson), but this illness kicked my physical wellness butt for 18 months. 

What I learned:  I can't EVER stop playing the game.   So, today, October 1, 2012, I am committing to these three game pieces, rules and regulations:

1.  Reach my goal weight by the end of the year, and STICK IT!
2.  Weigh myself once a week no matter what.  Forever.
3.  If ever go 5 pounds over goal weight, have to start tracking all food until back to goal.  Forever.

Game pieces in place.  Rules understood.  Referees in place on the sidelines.  My goal weighted body in place waiting to be uncovered with sculpting and tracking. 

Ready, set .... PLAY! 

I got this game.  I got it.