Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Challenges


While many of my multi-talented, multi-sport teammates find it quite easy & enjoyable to turn out a 5k or a marathon, I have not been of this attitude. In fact, I've kind of dreaded running since oh, junior high.

But I got challenged/dared by Kelly to do the Wilderness Run for the Bridges, in exchange for which she'll do a cyclocross race this fall. And I can't resist a good dare.

I started training last week after seeking input from my extensive community of running friends. Start slow, they all said. So I did a 2km run last Tuesday, a 2.5km run Sunday. I felt good through each, and today, I was ready to up the ante on distance.
Running in a Swobo jersey. It works.
I saw rockstar runner Frankie at the South Street Rock Island crossing, and the first words out of her mouth were "Are you training for something?" Clearly, people are not accustomed to seeing me geared up like this -- I mean, I'm running in a cycling jersey. But hey, those back pockets are useful!

Today's run: 4.52km, 27:51 minutes. Average speed: 9.74km/hr (According to My Tracks for Android)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Cooking -- Jerusalem Artichoke & Lentil Soup

I love how I can get into such a fixed weekly routine that when it slowly changes based on seasonal activities or commitments that ebb and flow, I suddenly find myself with a free night home alone. Since we've started training Monday & Wednesday nights at the Hour Lounge (trainer sessions in a bar; we're clearly the coolest team in the state), I needed a rest day. Plus I just got dared into doing a trail run - - I am not a runner -- and so I had a short run as my only training activity right after work. Apparently Tuesday has moved into the "usually free at home & the housemates are at work" category.

This is my time for long-form experimental cooking.

I have long been a soup master -- I can make a big pot filled with odds and ends from the fridge that will feed my housemates for a week. I make my own vegetable stock, saving scraps from veggies (instead of composting them, onion heels, kale spines, withered leaves of fresh herbs, etc. etc. all go into a container in the freezer until I'm ready to make a batch) and adding aromatics to make unique, flavorful, and practically FREE broth. My staple soups include a potato & leek, a spicy red lentil & tomato, miso udon, a more newly discovered tom kha gai and more. Tonight, with elements missing to make any of those, I experimented with what I had in the pantry. The goal: a classic vegetable soup with the Jerusalem artichokes as a unique twist.
Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes) come in all sorts of interesting shapes!
If you haven't had them, they're amazing. Also called sunchokes, they're a succulent, crispy tuber, and they're delicious roasted, too.

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
7 cloves of garlic
1 cup lentils
6 cups vegetable stock (approx.)
fresh rosemary
dried herbs, whatever kind you like
5 stalks celery, save the leaves
6 scallions
6-8 Jerusalem artichokes

Celery & sunchokes patiently waiting to be boiled
Chop everything to your preference. Sauté onion & garlic until clear. Add lentils, and stir frequently over medium heat for 7-10 minutes. Add broth and herbs, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat & cover, cooking at a low boil for half an hour.
Lentils simmering with the onions, garlic, and broth
Write a blog post about your recipe. When the half-hour timer goes off, add in the celery, the white part of the scallions, and the Jerusalem artichokes. Return to a low boil, and go finish your blog post, adding some photos this time.
Right after adding the chopped veggies
Cook for 20-30 more minutes, checking the lentils to see if they're soft and not crunchy. If I had barley at home right now, I'd definitely add a half-cup with 20 minutes to go. When the lentils are soft, add the green part of the scallions and the celery leaves. Salt & pepper to taste, and enjoy!

UPDATE: It's sweet & delicious!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Team Meeting/Info Session and BRUNCH!!

Welcome to 2012! Bring a brunch dish to share as we talk about goals and plans for 2012. Whether you're racing, doing community work, or looking to be part of a dynamic and fun all-women's organization, this is your place! If you have a friend who might be interested, please bring her along!

The meeting will be at Elisabeth's house. If you need the address, please email reinkordt [at] gmail {dot} com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Badass Craft Time

I've been working on a craft project for awhile on and off and I finally put the finishing touches on it today. All it took were 2 pieces of thick foam you can get at any craft store, a can of spray paint, a few small tubes of black, white and dark blue acrylic craft paint and a quick homemade Sheclismo stencil. Cut the form, sew up the seems and you got a handsome, homemade kick-ass cheering tool for Lincoln's coolest all lady cycling team! Woot!