What I’m Loving Lately VI

books, daily life, food, music, pregnancy, reading

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

It has been awhile since I have written one of these — not since January. I woke up around three this morning, not feeling well. I fell back asleep at five, but for the most part feel kind of groggy today. This is 38 weeks of pregnancy! Very glamorous.

Watching : Like nearly everyone else on this planet, I finished watching the final season of Game of Thrones the other day. That said, I’m not sure I can include it in things that I love. I liked the endings for everyone, but I thought it needed more time, more development to get to those endings. I’ve also been watching Chernobyl on HBO and it is terrifying and excellent. I feel so stressed out when I watch it, but it is so well-done I cannot stop watching. Bruno says there is a podcast that goes with it, but I have not listened yet. Other than that — I’ve been trying to watch how much television we watch. I’m tired of feeling like my evenings go to scanning through netflix, hbo, prime to find something to watch before bed. I’m not anti-tv. I love it, but I like to be a little bit more deliberative about what I’m watching.

Listening : My big post-dissertation gift to myself was a turn table. We bought an Audio-Technica. After it arrived, we went to our local record store and I bought Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin. For awhile it has been our only record, so I think baby will be a big Led Zeppelin fan. This last month, however, we bought Greta Van Fleet’s From the Fires, so we are expanding. I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to starting and maintaining a record collection, so I feel like such a newb. I will say this: there is a great pleasure to listening to something on analog. I like having to get up and turn the record to the other side. Plus, with headphones on all the time, Bruno and I do not get to share the music we are listening to, it seems much more communal now. I like that.

Reading : Plenty. I’ll share my May reads later, but I’m also trying to make it through some books in preparation for teaching in the fall. I am reading Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People. I did read a new history textbook the other week. I won’t share the name, because I’m not quite sure it is out yet, but I did not particularly care for it. I’ve been reading Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales in the morning and I love it. And of course — I’m still making my way through re-reading Harry Potter. I’m finally on Half-Blood Prince, so we’ll see if I get through all seven before baby arrives.

Eating : Probably too much. We bought Cook Once, Eat All Week to see if it would help save time and money. I think initially it cost quite a bit — all those different oils, spices, you know. But I think it will end up paying for itself. I spend all Sunday afternoon getting the components of the meals together and I love that it is step-by-step and I don’t have to think about it too much. We’ve been following it for three weeks and have been pretty happy about it. We had some bbq meatloafs with carrot fries which were delicious. Other than that — I am loving ice cream, lots and lots of ice cream.

What are you loving lately?

Recent Eats : April 2019

food

Though I have gone full stereotypical pregnant lady and subsisted on a diet of ice cream and pickles, I’ll admit my eating during this pregnancy has not been exactly the best. Chocolate cannot be kept in this house. At least once a week ice cream is required. I may put a little extra maple syrup on my yogurt in the morning and my idea of an afternoon snack – apples with peanut butter – means that I’m eating about a good fourth of a jar of peanut butter.

I keep telling myself, I’ll improve my eating once the baby comes. We’ll see about that! Anyway, here are a few of my recent eats for this month.

breakfast

Homemade yogurt, strawberries, granola, and bit (ok, a lot) of maple syrup. This has been my breakfast almost every single day this month.

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Typical meal — beef, mushrooms, onions, and rice with a big side of veggies. Delicious.

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It does not look like much, but this was by far the most delicious thing made this month. Shrimp, onions, carrots, coconut milk, curry, rice — all the good things. Bruno adapted from a recipe in this book — and I was happy to have several bowls of it.*

aprilfood3

This is my favorite thing to eat on Lenten Fridays — rice and beans. I usually make a big batch of beans in the crock-pot and freeze them in bags so that I can use them over the course of a month. It is easy and simple. I just throw on my favorite toppings and call it a day.

aprilfood4

Once again — this does not look like much, but it is adapted from one of the recipes in Run Fast Eat Slow, one of my favorite cookbooks, the zucchini quinotto.* I usually add some shrimp for extra protein and ricotta cheese to the top for extra deliciousness. I’ve only made it once or twice before, but when I do, Bruno always asks, “Why don’t you make it more?” I love that it is so simple to make, but tastes like a fancy dish.

What have you been cooking up this past month?

*Amazon Affiliate link.

What I’m Loving Lately V

books, daily life, dissertation, food, music

Before I even get started, I should say that what I am loving lately the most is heat and our furnace. I am loving modernity and the industrial revolution, because I feel like I am living in a Jack London novel. I am loving that I have a flexible schedule that allows for me to stay home all day if I want to. Being a graduate student is (sometimes) the best. With wind chill in the -40s in Michigan today (although strangely it will be 48 degrees on Sunday), I am very much loving that I am inside.

Watching: Like everyone else this past week, I watched the Fyre documentaries on Netflix and Hulu. You know you are a total nerd when, you go to Krogers and make lame jokes with your husband about “late stage capitalism” the entire time you picking out what you are about to binge on (peanut butter m and m’s and yogurt covered pretzels for me, Twizzlers for Bruno), probably scaring the other consumers. Ok, back to the documentaries. I recommend and I’ll admit not for the most virtuous of reasons. I definitely have a sort of #richpeopleproblems attitude to the whole debacle. There was one “influencer” who was not even shown for longer than two minutes (in both documentaries) who made me rage (“low, low economy”). I will say though it made me question whether I was part of the problem due to my (probably excessive) use of Instagram, so I pre-ordered Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism to try to temper my social media-addict ways. Sidenote: the Fyre Festival memes on ultrarunningmemes are gold.

Listening: I am really liking Weezer’s Teal Album. I did not initially love their cover of Toto’s Africa, but it grew on me and I was pleasantly surprised with all the other covers on the album. A few favorites: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Sweet Dreams are Made of These, and Paranoid. Weezer covering Black Sabbath may be one of the most fun songs I’ve heard in awhile. I went through a Weezer phase in high school (this is a thing, right?) and listened to plenty of the Blue Album and Pinkerton (just like this SNL sketch), but then never really listened to them again. So, it has been fun to listen to those albums again.

Reading: Confession? Not much. I’m reading True Devotion to Mary as a part of this reading challenge, but most of my reading has been Jean-Jacques Rousseau and dissertation-related as I begin to prepare for my defense next month. So yeah, strangely nothing too exciting here unless you are into the sources of inequality and the great swindle that led to political society.

Eating: I have been having bad cravings again. I made these blondies yesterday to satiate my sugar tooth and they were amazing. But mostly, it has been nothing too exciting — lots of soups made from my favorite cookbook. I switched up my flour from white to whole wheat for my sour dough bread and it was just ok — why does the bad stuff always taste better? I did start making my own yogurt and I will admit, it tastes much better than what you can get in the store.

I hope you all are staying warm! What are you loving lately?

 

 

 

What I’m Loving Lately IV

books, daily life, food, music, reading

Tomorrow we begin our annual holiday tour. We leave Michigan for Ohio and then will leave Ohio for Connecticut on Sunday. So today I’m finishing up grading, packing, cleaning — all that fun stuff, because after tomorrow it will probably be two weeks before we are home again. I dislike being gone for so long, but it is the best way to get seeing everyone in.

So it is a bit of a full day, but I figured I would share something I’m loving lately.

Watching: It is an old show, but we’ve been watching a lot of Pushing Daisies lately. I like the whimsical fairy tale-mystery-crime of the week vibe. Plus, the lines are so good. We’ve mainly been sticking to comedy shows, because I have not been able to tolerate anything too serious — just stress, you know? Anyway, tis the season for Christmas movies and I had a few firsts. One — I finally watched It’s a Wonderful Life and cried my eyes out at the end. I was so afraid it would not be as good as everyone said it was and it really is that great. Two — I watched Die Hard. Not as good at IAWL, but good in its own way. I’m not usually one for action films, but I liked this one. And finally, we watched the Christmas Chronicles on Netflix and thought it was hilarious. Kurt Russell should always play Santa Claus.

Listening: When I was not running in September and October, I kind of took a break from podcasts. Now, I’m back to them, catching up on Ultrarunner Podcast, Work, Play, Love, and Rich Roll‘s podcast. It feels good to have these voices back in my ears while going for runs. I find that I miss everyone when it has been awhile. I’m kind of in a music rut. I want something new that does not sound new — if that makes any sense. Like, I want to discover an old album or song that I have not listened to in years.

Reading: I’m reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year I re-read the whole series. It has been pretty slow-going this year, but I’m sure it will pick up once we get to Connecticut. I tell you what, I still have the same reactions to those books as I did when I was a teen. I cannot put them down. I will sit on the couch all day to get through one of those tomes. I’m still trying to finish the Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and reading Atomic Habits by James Cleary.

Eating: Well, you can see some of what I’ve been eating lately here. I’ve been trying to add more snacks to my daily routine (frankly, it is not working. I’m still hungry). I’ve forgotten how good something simple like hard boiled eggs sprinkled with salt can taste, like amazingly good. Another frequent staple is Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce (I’m addicted). I made this crockpot baked ziti on Sunday and it is so good and easy and has so much potential (like I would add a ton of veggies to it).

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

What I’ve Been Eating Lately

food, pregnancy

First, a disclaimer: I am not at all what you would describe as a “healthy eater.” I follow no prescribed diet. I still eat white flour and sugar. I would like to be better, but in the past couple of months nothing has sounded good to me to eat except for McDonald’s, Ben and Jerry’s, and Mexican food. I’ve felt good enough in the past couple of weeks to start to avoid those things again, but I am still having days where I’m just like “nope, need a fried chicken sandwich.” I’m not proud, but that is where I’m at right now. It is also probably why I gained more than the recommended amount in my first trimester. I’m trying not to care, because I am active, but still I care. I can’t help it.

This past week Sunday, I told Bruno that my big goal was to not go out to eat or get fast food for the next two weeks. I told him I did not care how bad the food I was making at home was (bad for you), but I wanted to do whatever it took just to prevent myself from ordering a pizza or eating Ben and Jerry’s from dinner. I figured even if everything I ate was smothered in cheese, even if I ate Eckrich farm sausage (I know it is disgusting and really bad for you, but it tastes so damn good), as long as I was not eating out that was good enough for me. It is Thursday, so, so far, so good. But the weekend is coming.

Anyway — here is a little bit of what I’ve been eating the past few weeks, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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I’ve been craving buffalo sauce on everything, so I figured I would give this buffalo chicken casserole a try. It was good, but almost too much tomato, not enough buffalo. Also, for whatever reason quinoa has not tasted good to me at all. I blame pregnancy, not the recipe.

breakfast

Here’s a standard breakfast – kale, coconut, yogurt smoothie (from the Eat Slow, Run Fast cookbook), with homemade banana bread with butter and coffee. Frankly, this has not been enough. Within two hours, I am starving. Breakfast is something I need to figure out.

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This soup was a big hit in our house. The only thing I think I would change is I would not cook the noodles in the soup and add them later (making it no longer a one-pot meal, but still pretty easy). The surplus of leftovers was amazing and delicious, but the noodles were so soggy by the end. Still. I will make this again.

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Another breakfast: yogurt smothered with granola and maple syrup.

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When Bruno cooks: ground beef, veggies, and potatoes. Nuun water on the side. I’m having a hard time with ground beef still. I used to love it, as in, I love cheeseburgers especially with bacon. This has been one of our throw together meals for a long time.

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Sausage, kale, sweet potato, and ricotta cheese. I threw this together after grocery shopping on Sunday. It was delicious. Probably not the best for you (hello sodium and sulfites), but still delicious. I love sausage, but I cannot find any “healthy” brands from our local Kroger, or maybe I’m just not aware of it. I would like to think the kale made up for it. Ha!

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Lunch this week — bbq chicken made with Montgomery Inn bbq sauce (because, Ohio!), salad with all the good veggies and all the bad salad dressing (see above about trying really hard to not go out to eat), and homemade sour dough bread with butter.

Not pictured: pizza from a local pizza place, Ruben sandwich from a local restaurant, buffalo chicken sandwich from a local pizza place, McDonald’s fried chicken sandwich, fries, and holiday pie (what is this deliciousness?), and pizza from another local pizza establishment.

I’m trying, people. Trying. And don’t give me that Yoda stuff, I’m pregnant.

xo, Ali

What I’m Loving Lately III

books, daily life, food

And yes, I will continue to use Roman numerals for all of these.

This is basically the last week of summer for us. Classes start on campus next week Wednesday which means come this weekend our college town will be filled with undergrads again. Summer hours for favorite coffee shops will be over. It will be harder to find a spot in the library (we are graduate students are a pretty studious school). And, most importantly, I will begin teaching for the first time ever. Hello, anxiety.

I have a few solutions for when I become a bundle of nerves. Here is what is making the end of the summer especially enjoyable.

Watching : I am about ten years late on this bandwagon, but I officially started watching The Office. I have tried to watch it before, but did not like the show at all. I would get second-hand embarrassment over the awkward situations. Bruno loves it though and has had it on as background (he’s watched it several times) while he does administrative tasks. Now I’m hooked. It took three times, but I guess the third time is the charm, right? I also now get this The “Oval” Office parody.

Listening : I’ve been listening to a audiobooks lately. Sometimes all I want to do is listen to podcasts, but sometimes I just get tired of them. I’m currently going back and forth between the classic book on the Charles Manson family murders, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, and the controversial 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. I’m finding them both interesting, although the Manson book can be at times dry and repetitive. I get it though. Some of the witnesses repeat information and there are a bunch of rules for prosecution and evidence that I do not understand. The whole situation is terrifying and definitely shows the danger of a breakdown of culture, which of course leads me to the Peterson book. In a strange twist, the biggest Peterson fans in my life are all married women. Go figure. I want to get the hardcover version so that I can actually take notes. It can be easy to miss things when you listen on audible. I do not find anything he says that shocking. I think he stretches some things (I’m currently on the chapter where he equates the ancient sacrificing to the gods to sacrificing our present desires for a better future well-being…I get what he saying, put off facebook today and work so you can have a better tomorrow, but how he gets there I don’t know), but I think his overall points make sense.

Reading : A lot of Ryan Holiday. I liked the Ego is the EnemyI am not too keen on the Obstacle is the Way. Both books contradict each other. I’m not sure if this is because they have different purposes. For example, Ego is the Enemy notes that Steve Jobs had to learn to get it together before Apple took him back. His ego was a problem and he needed to overcome it. The Obstacle is the Way seems to praise Jobs’ ego. It was Apple that was in the wrong for firing Jobs. They just did not appreciate his vision. So, ok, is it just ok to maniacal if you have “vision”? Where the first book is anti-workaholic, pro-character, I’m not so sure about Obstacle. Once again Holiday praises Jobs for his excessive demands on other people all in the name of getting a product out. Sure, they produced whatever technology on time, but at the expense of how many relationships, health problems, parents not home with children? Both are worth reading, but Ego is the Enemy is by far superior.

Eating : I have been trying to snack more. I felt kind of weird during a CrossFit work out last week. My head felt slightly woozy. I work out right before dinner, so I figured I was probably hungry and needed to eat more. Enter my two favorite snacks of the moment. From Aldi’s I buy Coconut Cashews. These are magical. I’m sure they are not the healthiest, but they are glorious and probably better than snacking on cookies or chips. Then, from Kroger’s we have been buying the Kroger brand beef jerky. Previously I did not like beef jerky. I thought it was too hard, too chewy, and kind of gross. This jerky has changed everything. I no longer feel like I am gnawing on a piece of dried meat like a dog. It is the perfect texture and I like the smokehouse flavor best thus far.

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

What I’m Loving Lately II

books, daily life, food, music

After what felt like a long hiatus, this week I have been hitting the dissertation hard. I have been waking up at four in the morning, so that I can start writing close to five to try to get anywhere between one and half hours (if I run in the morning) to three hours (if I don’t) of writing in before I get ready to go to work in the archives for the day. Evenings are spent reading and taking notes. I’m hoping to turn chapter four in by Monday, which also happens to be the day after my one year anniversary. We’ll see.

It has not been all work, excuse me, I mean leisure. Aside for Rousseau, there are a few things that have piqued my interest.

Watching : I haven’t really watched much tv lately, but Sunday night Bruno and I watched the first two episodes of A Very English Scandal on Amazon prime. We haven’t yet been able to watch the third and final episode, but it is well done.

Listening : My current writing music is Pixies DoolittleGouge Away might be the perfect editing song. While at work, I’ve been listening to Bad Blood : Secrets and Lies of a Silicon Valley Start-Up by John Carreyrou on audible. Holy shit. I am obsessed. I am trying to avoid going down an Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos google rabbit hole. I am only a couple hours into it, but I’m already sure it will be a five star book. Also, it is the reason why this song (not Taylor Swift!) has been in my head all day.

Reading : I’m still making may way through the Odyssey. I’m almost done. I started reading Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent. As Bruno bluntly put it when he opened the book and started read a few pages, “Sarah Perry can write.” I have two history books I am working through. The first is Daniel Walker Howe’s tome What Hath God Wrought : The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 and the second, Jon Meacham’s American Lion : Andrew Jackson in the White House. I’m loving the first a little more than the second. For whatever reason, I find Meacham biography kind of tedious, although it is interesting to compare Meacham and Howe on Jackson. I was hoping for more on his political thought, particularly on nullification, and less on scandals involving “wanton” women. I’m half-way through Howe’s book and I love every page, even during the long discussions of internal improvements and the bank.

Eating : Chocolate Vega powder and cherry smoothies. I do not like fruit. I do not like cherries. But for whatever reason, when they are mixed with some protein powder, almond milk, and some ice, magic happens. Also, I restarted my sour dough bread starter this week (is it weird to name your sour dough starter? mine is named Sebastian), so definitely looking forward to eating some of that.

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

 

Recipes I’ve Been Loving

crossfit, daily life, food, training

The times they are a-changing. Or so says, my favorite singer/writer/philosopher/poet Bob Dylan. And so they are. Usually I call it a day around 5, relax for a bit (some La Croix, book, and porch sitting time), make dinner, and read some more. With Crossfit evenings have become more busy. Three nights a week, I’m back home a little before seven, which means later dinners, and later bedtimes (not too late..10pm..).

With the time crunch planning dinner has become more important, especially because when we come walking through that door after working out, we are usually hungry.

Here are a few of the things that have been on regular rotation.

Meat and potatoes. This is the easiest, simplest thing we make. Usually I boil up some sweet potatoes and Bruno cooks up some ground beef or pork sausage, carrots, zuchinni, and summer squash. After sweet potatoes are boiled, I add some ghee and mash them. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is delicious. We probably make this twice a week. Maybe more.

One pan chorizo. From a Carrots ‘n’ Cake recipe. Confession: Typically I cook. Bruno does the dishes. We don’t have a dishwasher. One pot dishes are key. One pot dishes that are not bland and taste exceptionally delicious, especially key.

Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Casserole. If I can remember to start this recipe ahead of time it is a game changer. It is nice to not have to worry about what to make, but just stick the pan in the oven and go. Also, sweet potatoes and plenty of cheese. Need I say more?

Shredded chicken salad. On Sundays, I stick a bunch of chicken breasts in the crockpot, add salt, olive oil, and probably way too much lemon juice and put it on for eight hours. I typically add it to salads or sweet potatoes (is there such a thing as too many sweet potatoes?). I’m thinking I might do this recipe for my next batch.

Recovery quinoa salad. This one is from my most-used cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow. Instead of recovery though, I usually make this one on Friday’s as a pre-long run dinner with some salmon. I love it. Bruno loves it. The only thing wrong with the recipe is that it can take forever to chop everything up, but it makes plenty of leftovers so its worth it.

Do you have any favorite recipes?

xo, Ali