Friday, October 14, 2011

Dried kale is KALEtastic!

Dehydrated Kale Chips!

I made more yummy kale chips today! After they were done I think I ate an entire bunch of kale while lounging on the couch, they were so good! As I was lazing around today I thumbed through the latest issue of 'whole living.' The November issue says that kale increases sulfur levels in the colon and helps the body ward off environmental toxins. At this rate I probably won't have toxins of any kind in my body!

Kale is a new thing to me. My sister-in-law loves it and I've always nicely smiled and eyed the lettuce. Now I can't get enough of it. It started with a friend making me a fresh kale dish with toasted sunflower seeds, steamed dino kale, olive oil and braggs. Then I got a dehydrator and started seeing online how you can make kale chips. Nutritious and they help curb the urge for crunchy things.

The ones I made today are tangy and sweet. Half the batch I used honey and the other half had more lemon juice. Here is the recipe I used.

2 bunches of curly kale
olive oil
lemon juice

I pulled the leaves off the stem, hold the stem in one hand and slider your fingers down the stem, pulling off the leafy part. Whatever stem is left is fine.

Wash kale well.

Pull kale pieces apart into smaller pieces.

In a large bowl toss the kale pieces with the olive oil, braggs, lemon juice, salt and honey. I didn't measure the wet stuff. I just drizzled the olive oil to coat the kale well, drizzled less braggs. I squeezed a total of 3 lemons for the 2 bunches. If you wanted yours less tangy you could do 2 lemons. Salt to taste.

In half the batch I drizzled it with honey and tossed. The other half I just had the other stuff.

I have a round Nesco dehydrator, I placed the pieces on clean screens over the trays. At the top I added an empty tray because the kale was so fluffy it was hitting the top of the machine.

I started the dehydrator at 145 degrees for an hour. I then took extra trays and alternated, kale tray, empty tray, kale tray, empty tray to allow more air flow. I lowered the temperature to 115 degrees and let it go for another 3 hours. Result? Yummy kale chips!

The clean screens are so great! The first batch of kale I did stuck to the trays, I ended up with a lot of crumbled up dried kale bits. The only downside is because the clean screens have smaller holes, the air flow is not as good; thus the idea to add the empty trays in between. I think it really helped evenly dehydrate the kale and much faster.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CrossFit Fun - Class Two

I went to CrossFit again today. I am doing the 6 elements class which is the basic classes you are suppose to take to learn the techniques. I bought a "deal" for the classes based on the fact that a friend of mine and I would be doing this together. Life got in the way, as it does so many times, and we found ourselves near the end of the deal period, both going out of town! I managed to come back and start just before the deal ended. As it turns out, I was lucky, I came to my first class the week they were starting a new set of 6 classes. How lucky for me. (grin)

My first class we did squats, sit ups and ring pulls. Squats were ok, I managed to get through those no problem. Sit ups?! Ugh. I hate sit ups. I got through them but the last set was a doozie. Ring pulls? These are where you hold onto rings, lean back and use your arm strength to pull yourself up, rings to your arm pits, body straight. I picked a set of rings, tested them out and thought, huh, ok, I can do this. The coach TJ quickly suggested I get a different set, "because those are too easy for you." I'm thinking, of course, that is the point! Not the point?! Fine. I moved to the harder set.

I did the workout. We timed it and we will do the same workout (can't wait) at the end of the six classes to see if we improved (I mean, to see how MUCH we improved) over the 6 classes. Goodie. As I left I could feel my deltoids screaming at me. I felt like my arms were going to melt off. That actually might have felt better than how my arms feel today.

Today I went back for the second class. Still not fully able to do everything I use to be able to do with my arms, like move them, I was skeptical at my abilities for today's class. But...I went.

The one thing I am good at are shoulder rotations, we do them as part of the warmup. We use a pvc pipe and rotate it from the front to the back over our heads. It rotates the shoulder. We do this in the advanced class for Bikram Yoga, it helps open up the shoulders for certain postures. Most people have their hands pretty far out on the pole because their shoulders are tight and that is the only way to get the bar over their head. My hands were just a little outside of my hips. Score for me! We don't actually do that in the workout though so it doesn't REALLY matter. lol

We did more squats, different kinds and rowing. More arm work, you can imagine my delight.

TJ takes us over to the bars. He explains the bars come in three different weights, 45 lbs, 25 lbs, 15 lbs. He gives the other guy a 45 lb bar, looks at me and says "Carolyn, you pick up one of those 25 lb bars."

"Uh, I think I am going to need the 15 lb bar." TJ disagrees with me. I get a 25 lb bar.

So here is our drill today. We are to row until we use up 10 calories, then do 10 squats with a press using the bar. Repeat 5 times.

At round 3, gasping for air and pointing back to the bar while staggering to the rowing machine I try and explain I think I need the 15 lb bar now. Both TJ and John, the other coach, laugh and say no...that I need to think positive. I reply, "I positively think I need the 15 lb bar!" They laugh but don't seem to agree with me. The other guy in the class is almost done with round 5.

I keep going. Are they serious? I finish round 4 and the other guy is done. Great. Now both coaches get to focus on me. Good times. I make it to the end. It wasn't pretty and I won't be getting any grace points but I finished.

This is why I had a personal trainer three times a week for more than a year at the gym. I can't and won't do it on my own. Or more accurate, I CAN do it but I don't want to. I need someone there to tell me to keep going and to push me beyond what I think I can do. This is probably why places like CrossFit are doing so well, there must be lots of people out there that feel the same way.

Needless to say, I will be back on Saturday for the third class. I can only imagine the fun things they have in store for me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Enjoying the See Jane Run from the comfort of my home

Lightening, flooding, medical and police emergencies and an ounce of good sense by the See Jane Run organizers prevented me from running my seventh half marathon. Not too upset; it was raining yesterday when I flew into Austin and it rained all night. I was hoping after looking at the rain would subside for the morning hours long enough for me to run most if not all of the race. Not so lucky. I woke up at 5:00 am to rain.

There are two things I try and follow:
1. Be early. (I have a dad who is fanatic about this.)
2. Training for a marathon or half marathon? Eh, who needs it?! I try but it rarely happens.

Be early. 
This didn't work out so well for me today. The last See Jane Run email I got said, no, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, to get to the race early, by 6:00 am. As a typical rule follower and a common "be early" person, I set my alarm for 5:00 am. I left by 5:40 and was at the Mueller area, where the race started, by 5:55 am. It was near pitch black, apparently lighting is too costly. I found the right street and followed the crowd. That was a mistake. Around I went again. By the time I made it around again the street was full of cars. I waited again. As I got to the front of the line there was a poor soul standing in the rain directing people. I rolled down my window and she shouted out to me, "race has been canceled, check facebook."

Uh, ok. I try and pull it up on my phone. Between the bad lighting, water on the road making the asphalt look like the black hole and traffic, I gave up, opting for a safer option of just driving and getting home in one piece.

As a conciliation prize I treated myself to Starbucks coffee. I didn't run so it was a "skinny".

Once back in a dry place I noticed an email came in at 6:23 am stating the race had been canceled.  I got on facebook and wholly cow...people were pissed! And they stayed pissed most of the day. I am sure some are still upset.

There were several comments from people voicing their disappointment about not being able to run today. Not able to run? You can't do a timed race but you certainly can run! And people did! Several people posted they were running around Town Lake (Lady Bird Johnson Lake). Others posted they ran on treadmills.

Others were upset about training all summer getting ready for the race. Not me!  This is where #2 comes in. I didn't run around the lake or on a treadmill. Even in the best of scenarios I can't seem to find the time to train. The only time I ever properly trained for an event was my first marathon. I trained with Team in Training and it was the best experience. I find training on my own difficult, lack of motivation I suppose. I'd rather run and be in pain like my last half marathon where I was felt my hip pop at mile six and kept going to 13.1. My IT band was basically out of whack and I walked with a pop sound in my hip for weeks. Nothing a little yoga can't fix! LOL

One thing I did learn though from training for a marathon, you get in great shape! And you stay that way for a long time. So for all those people that feel bummed you didn't get to run, cheer up. You look awesome and are primed to run in a half marathon for at least the next month or so. Stick with the training, there are probably another handful of races this year that will be glad to test your running skills.

Then there are the medals, packets and champagne glasses. I had planned to get my packet today before the race but that didn't happen. Thankfully the See Jane Run people found a way to get those that hung around in Austin their packets and champagne glasses. I went down to the Courtyard Marriott to the designated place and waited in line, got a glass and race shirt with miscellaneous freebies. I even snagged a 2009 t-shirt they were giving away just because. I don't plan to wear it but it has a cute design on it...I see a craft project in my future.

Not a bad day; I got a shirt and commemorative glass and didn't have to run!  Oh, sorry, I mean, bummer, I didn't get to run. Even worse, I didn't do Bikram Yoga either, I didn't have any yoga clothes. :(

Will I do the race next year? Eh, not sure. I suppose it depends on the discount they give us.
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