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Monthly Archives: January 2012

While I’m on the recipes, I’ve got one I made up for potatoes.

This recipe won’t be like the barbequed heart attacks on a bun that I posted last night.  First of all, for the recipes section of this blog, I’m no chef (though my soon to be brother-in-law is, and he is good), I just like to cook.  More to the point, I like to grill.  In fact, I can grill almost anything.

Cooking out and need a neat desert course?  Grill pineapple (plain pineapple slices, just slap ’em on a grill till they brown on the edges and have a nice grill mark on them).  Try it,  it’s fantastic.

Today’s recipe, though, is for potatoes;  You guessed it, grilled.  These take a bit, so cook them before your meat.

  • Potatoes (they reheat well, don’t be afraid to cook too many)
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Shredded Cheese (we use the Mexican blend)

You can use any kind of potato here, yellow, red or regular Idaho russets.  Slice them into sixes, or wide enough that they won’t fall through the grill – you’re going for the wedge here – and leave the skins on, that’s where all of the vitamins are don’t ya know (at least according to my mom).  Now, we’ve gotta boil them first or they’ll shrivel up into black hunks on the grill before the insides cook, but if you boil them too hard, they’ll turn to mush on the grill, so follow this easy process – it’ll give you the perfect consistency every time.  Fill up your pot half way with water and set on the stove (DON’T TURN ON THE STOVE YET).  Slice up your potato wedges and put them in the pot.  Turn on the heat to medium – high.  Once the water comes to an active boil, leave the taters in there for another five minutes and they’re ready.  Much shorter and they’re a little tough, much longer and they’re mush.

Strain the potato wedges and place on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with Olive Oil, then sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and seasoned salt. (I don’t wash the oil and seasoning off the cookie sheet after I place the wedges on the grill, I place them back on there as is when they’re done).

Place them on the grill, long ways – across the grill pattern so they won’t fall through, til the edges brown and you get a decent grill mark on them – flip them as best you can and do the other side the same way.  When you take them off the grill and place them on your cookie sheet, take them inside and drizzle with seasoned salt and then top with your favorite shredded cheese and place them in the oven at 210 to keep warm and melt the cheese, until y0ur meat’s done.

If you’re using a gas grill, you’re bound to have hot spots that cook food faster than others – rotate your food.  As the stuff on the hot spots become done, move it to a coolest spot on the grill and rotate in food from the other cool spots.

That’s it, and it’s one of my wife and kid’s favorites.

 

An interesting problem requires drastic action

I hit the scale today and was a little disheartened to find that I dropped another pound – that puts me at 157.2.  If I go by the BMI calculators, I’m smack dab, right in the middle of my healthy weight – in other words, I don’t want to lose any more…

So drastic measures are in order.  WARNING:  If you’re on a diet, stop reading this now.  If you happen to be a cardiologist, look away, look away.

Big Daddy Jim’s Bad-Bad BBQ Bacon Burgers:

1/3 lb Burger (ea.) times 2 per person

Fry Bacon (2 pcs per burger minimum) in a skillet

Dice one onion and saute the onion in the leftover bacon grease – if you think this sounds good, wait till you smell it.  Yum

Place onions on a plate and set in the oven with the bacon (which you also put on a plate for the litigious in the house) and keep warm at 210 degrees F – this trick also works for large meals that you can’t possibly make everything finish at the same time.

Prepare burgers, season with McCormick’s Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning

Grill burgers (or fry them in the leftover bacon grease if your cholesterol level on your last checkup was below 150).

Top burger with bacon, sauteed onions, a little mayo and some Sweet Baby Rays Barbeque Sauce

Serve with a side salad…(Kind of like the Diet Coke with a Double Cheeseburger, Chicken Nuggets and Large Fries).

Good luck just eating one – I won’t.

 

UPDATE:  I didn’t eat just one and they were heavenly…  I didn’t think that the recipe, simple as it was, could be improved upon.  I was mistaken.  God bless my lovely wife who suggested donning the burger with…  wait for it… 

Mesquite BBQ Potato Chips

I need a nap.

Bgddyjim out.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

Saturday morning, it’s 40 degrees (F) outside right now at 4:24 in the morning, I’ve got a cup of coffee, a movie on the tube and I just woke up after a good seven hours of sleep…  And in about three and a half hours I’m going to head out on another 30 mile (+) Saturday.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

To most normal people (including a younger me), it might seem odd for a fellow to be awake, drinking coffee, watching a movie, typing a blog post about how it doesn’t get any better than this at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday.  Well, we’d be right to an extent but there’s a method to the madness.

I wake up early during the week.  I have for the last several years and I used to struggle with it.  I was a snooze bar pusher.  One day I just got tired of rushing to work because I’d hit the snooze bar one too many times.  The crazy thing was that I noticed a pattern on days that I hit the snooze bar compared to days that I’d jump out of bed.  It occurred to me, over time, that it was harder to wake up and get rolling after I hit the snooze bar – even once.  I started doing a little internet research on how to wake up without hitting the snooze bar (really, I did).  I can’t find the article anymore, and to tell you the truth, I really didn’t look that hard…but this article suggested that in order to wake regularly during the week, don’t sleep in on the weekends by more than one hour.  So I stopped sleeping in and started waking up on time and I never hit the snooze bar again.  I’m happier for it too.  I can’t remember how often I let the committee (in my melon) beat me down for waking up late.  Now how can one start a productive, happy day by kicking one’s own butt (figuratively) for not waking up or for sleeping in?  You can’t.  That little, gnawing, emotional response will bust you every time.  Of course this can be recovered from with a little work, but why not skip the whole process from the start?  That’s the way I look at it.

 

So happy Saturday.

 

UPDATE:  The ride to the running club was awesome.  Sun was shining, wind at the back for a few miles (and a gnarly cross wind for the rest)…  Run was nice, but I had a terrible stitch at 4-1/2 miles – walked back the rest of the way which was I was perfectly happy with.  The ride back, however, made me question wisdom in winter riding altogether.  The wind was in my face the whole way (WNW) at 17mph and it was COLD.  All I could do was spin in 4th and 5th gear (of 14) and I could only muster an average of 15 mph…  Time to shower that off.

1990 Cannondale SR400 Criterium – My pride and joy

I’ve said it before, I’m cheap.  Not so much because I don’t want nice stuff, but because my priorities are spread between my wife an kids too, so i simply don’t want to afford a brand new Madone…  It just is what it is.  With that, I picked up my road bike – which I absolutely love – on Craigslist for $300 – it sold for $800 new.

1990 Cannondale Criterium

The only thing I’ve changed since buying the bike is changing the bar tape to red and switching the WB Cages to red plastic…  I love this bike.

UPDATE:  Uh oh…  I just went over to Assenmacher’s and got a real bike fit…  As it turns out, and this is almost too funny, my Cannondale was set up just about as perfectly as it could be setting aside the seat tube is a full 1.5 cm too short, the top tube is 4 cm too short (which means I have a hard time getting comfortable and I can’t stretch out enough).  He put me on a  Trek carbon bike with an Ultegra grouppo for a test ride…with an aero wheel set…  Uh, yeah.  I’m going 20 mph working my tail off when I could be going 25 working that hard.  What an awesome bike.  It’s going to be time to move up…  Technically I’ll keep the Cannondale for training (might as well feel like I’m stepping on a Ferrari when I get to racing).

UPDATE:  I’ve updated this bike with new rear wheels that came off of my ’13 Specialized Venge.  The dropouts took some work, but not because the wheels didn’t fit – they were snug but did fit (and a little bit of cold setting which is not recommended) but was made to work and for less than $50.  I probably dropped 1 pound per wheel with the upgrade.  I kept the original 7 sp. components.  The Cannodale shall, at least for the near future, be an old school bike.

UPDATE #2:  As the Cannondale is today:
IMG_6774
Added a nicer saddle, years ago, lowered the front end, added a longer stem to match my reach, had the rear triangles spread and realigned for new 10 sp. wheels (in case I ever want to upgrade it to brifters, though that’s doubtful) and redid the bars in black tape for a more classic look (and to match the wheels/saddle).

Thank God for unseasonably warm weather…

Well, let me tell you…  I’m pooped!  Just got back from a ride, this unseasonably mild weather is just great – especially when, according to my GPS, I just rode 11.5 miles through Lake Michigan and I averaged 34.5 mph THROUGH WATER!  Now you might say to yourself; self, that’s impossible.  And you’d be right, but the GPS doesn’t lie!  It’s even got my descent about right (1,358 ft).  What a hoot.  When you look at the distance, it won’t match up because I already edited it to make it right.

I’ll be hitting it again tomorrow and Saturday.  It’s kind of tearing me up, really…  I’m averaging about 17.5-18.5 mph (the first 10.4 was at 18.2, I stopped at the LBS and started a new workout for the ride home) but it feels like I’m working hard enough for 23.  I can’t figure out if it’s the extra clothes or I’ve gotten that out of shape in four weeks spinning instead of riding.  The point is moot, really.  I’d be a lot worse off without the spinning, there’s no doubt about that.  I miss that smooth, even 20 mph though.

Another Personal Best…

 

For the first time ever, I’m into the new year at the same weight I was on November 23rd.  Normally I’ve got five to ten pounds to work off after a month of heavy eating – and with the lousy Michigan weather that usually means it’s not coming off till the spring.

There’s only one thing that I did differently this year, and it certainly wasn’t eat less;  More miles.  For the last several years Thanksgiving has marked a slowdown in my mileage.  I don’t fall off completely but I’ve always taken nasty days off.  This year, with the addition of cycling and being able to spin in my office almost every day and keeping my running miles steady, I simply didn’t put the weight on that I normally would….  In fact, that gave me an idea.  I’ll post the perfect Office Workout after work tonight.  I promise you this, it’s quick, easy and it works.

 

Recovery…from a workout.

 

So I’m up against a rock and a hard place when it comes to recovery from a hard workout. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post from day one…  I decided to just do it.

I had a tough workout yesterday, one of those that would have left a 30 year-old me with sore muscles and a sore back for a couple of days – at least.  Add on ten years and I was really feeling rough after a hard workout last year.  In fact I can remember, vaguely, the day that I really felt like I was 40 and why they make such a big deal about it.  It hit about 2 months after my 40th birthday.  The additional pain didn’t stop me, it really didn’t slow me down either, I just felt different – like it was harder to turn around after pushing myself.  I clung to the old Marine adage; “Pain is weakness leaving your body”.  Not exactly comforting, but it is what it is.

This changed with a visit to an unlikely source for strength and pain relief – my dentist a couple of years ago.  Dr. Ewing is a holistic dentist and I’m not exactly what you would call a holistic kind of guy – I’ll just leave it at that.  In any event, after a normal cleaning, Dr. Ewing notice that I had a hairline fracture in one of my incisors that he attributed to my clenching my jaw during sleep – I was clenching so hard (from stress most likely) that I’d worn down a flat edge on one tooth and put that fracture in another.  He said that he’d just come up with a new bite splint that would relieve the pressure and that I should think about buying one before my teeth started crumbling under the strain.  He made quite a few claims related to the splint, that it would actually make me stronger if I wore it during workouts and that I’d sleep better.  The only problem was that it was not cheap.  Normal bite splints are not near as expensive, but he’s got a few proprietary things built-in that make it so.  In fact, I hemmed and hawed for about a year before he finally convinced me that I had no other option.  My teeth had gotten a little worse and I had some pretty intense regular pains in my neck and lower back…so I got fitted.

The day the splint came it, he took a good hour or two to tailor it to my bite – he made sure that all of my top teeth hit the bottom teeth evenly, over a range of motions which he said would help with my balance and the way my body generated strength, right down to my core.  He gave me some final care instructions and sent me on my way.  Let’s say that I was skeptical about many of the claims figuring as long as my Chiclets were saved I’d be happy.  That night I wore it to bed for the first time.  Now stick with me here because this might sound a little outrageous, but I swear to God, I’m not exaggerating…  On waking the next morning, I can’t remember ever feeling so alive in the last 20 years…in fact, I actually felt like I was 20 again.  My teeth hurt a little bit because the splint needed some adjusting, but the rest of my body was absolutely energized.  The best way I can describe this is that it felt like someone had taken an oil can and lubed each joint in my body.  My neck, shoulders, lower back and knees all felt like new – in fact my back, a constant source of pain that I’d simply gotten used to, didn’t hurt for the first time in as long as I can remember.  Honest to goodness, I felt so good I got a little weepy.  Over the next few weeks I went back for a few adjustments so it fit properly over my teeth and to make sure that the alignment was right, each adjustment taking between a half an hour and hour.

After the final adjustment I started wearing it when I did my push ups in my office.  I went from four sets of 30 push ups to five sets of 40, instantly.  I can’t explain it, originally I figured it was mental but it’s not, and I can tell you, I feel so good now that I really don’t care why it works.  In fact, there have been a few times that I’ve fallen asleep before I put the splint in or I’d left it at the office and the difference in how I feel when I wake up the next morning is absolutely NOT mental.

To give an example, after my ride and run yesterday, I was hurting.  With the cold weather, I had to bundle up quite a bit so I have to work against the clothing while riding so my muscles have to work harder for every rotation of the pedals.  By the time the ball dropped last night, I had a hard time getting off the couch to kiss my wife and clink glasses with English Pete and his wife, Big Steve and his wife and all of our kids…  This morning, I feel like I could easily put in a long ride or a 10 k if I really wanted to.  Only minimal soreness or stiffness in getting up, no shoulder, neck or back pain…it’s as if I just slept yesterday’s workout off.  Recovery time of about seven hours sleep.

I didn’t expect the results, but I sure can’t argue with them.  Dr. Ewing’s bite splint changed my quality of life by leaps and bounds and I wouldn’t have had such a great summer without that splint.  Period.