In my efforts to train for the Tour de Blast bicycle ride in September, I have been trying to build my endurance with long rides as well as fit in some hills for strength. I have done a couple of 30 mile rides and a 40 mile ride with plenty of punchy hills. Yesterday I rode with two friends in the Tour de Kitsap bicycle ride. The Tour de Kitsap is an organized bicycle ride in Kitsap County. We had an option to choose from a 34, 50, 74 or 100-mile ride. My friends and I choose to do the 74-mile ride. We missed a turn during the route and had to back-track a bit which brought our final milage up to 80 miles. This was the longest ride I have done and a tough one. There were several hills which turned the route into a very long interval ride and an intense workout. My sit-bones are still trying to get used to a bicycle seat and 80 miles on the narrow seat was a bit uncomfortable. The ride, however, was invigorating and I was elated to know I could complete it. It also gave me some confidence that I will be able to get ready for the Tour de Blast in seven weeks.
Now, the best part of this post is this amazing chicken dish. Chicken, artichokes and olives in a tangy lemony broth…this is dinner, an amazing dinner. Serve it with rice or some crusty bread or both because you’re going to want to sop up the broth. It is just too good to leave behind. Adapted from Epicurious.com
Chicken, artichokes and olives in a tangy lemony broth.
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground oregano
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
½ cup white wine
1 (15 ounce) can of chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained
10 thawed frozen artichoke hearts, quartered
½ cup Kalamata olives
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Season the chicken with salt and pepper then let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side until well browned (work in batches as adding all of the chicken at once will lower the heat of the pan and prevent the chicken from browning quickly) transfer the chicken to a plate.
Decrease the heat to medium. Add the onion and sauté about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, oregano, turmeric, cumin, salt, coriander, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and bay leaf then cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir the bottom of the skillet to loosen the cooked on bits. Stir in the chicken broth, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, olives and the juice and zest of 2 lemons. Add the browned chicken and decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
Serve with rice or crusty bread to sop up the amazing broth.
Eggplant has been pretty much an ‘unknown’ vegetable to me as it was not one that I grew up with and had never been inspired to investigate.All that changed three years ago when I ‘retired’ as provider of an elder care business and actually had control of my time.Also, I had made a conscious decision to eat more veggies and get in shape.
One of my decisions was that I would incorporate previously ignored and unfamiliar vegetables.Eggplant was one of the first newbies I added.I discovered that it is delicious and can be prepared in so many ways.
Jon’s cousin got married in Roche Harbor, which is on San Juan Island in Washington State. It was a spectacular event and the most beautiful venue for a wedding. Getting to the resort was a well-planned event. The entire trip took about 4 ½ hours.
Since I didn’t know how much workspace I would have at the house we were renting, I wanted to have the cake completed before embarking on the trip. The only way onto the island is by ferry, private boat or small charter plane. Since I needed a smooth ride for the cake, I chose to take the ferry with my mother-in-law, Diana and her boyfriend, Walt. The completed cake weighed 50 pounds so it was essential to have a strong, sturdy, level support to hold up each layer and prevent shifting. I also needed to keep the cake cool on the warm summer day so I had Jon make me an insulated box big enough to fit the cake and some dry ice.
Mangos are one of my very favorite fruits and when we lived in the Philippines I enjoyed them often.They grew on huge trees that would be totally loaded with fruit.They were so abundant and in the market we could buy a bag of them for hardly anything.
At the peak of the season we would see great black clouds of fruit bats flying in the early evening and they would devour the mangos on the trees.Mangos are also a favorite food of the monkeys, but still, we always had plenty of them to eat.
I mentioned in my last post that I had started riding my bike quite frequently and I am really enjoying it. I started riding with a co-worker who has been riding for a long time and she has been teaching me some valuable lessons on riding a bike. The two of us have decided to sign up for an organized bike ride in September. It is quite a stretch for a newbie bicycle rider like myself but I am determined to train for the ride. And I am determined to finish the ride. Tour de Blast is not a wimpy ride for the faint of heart. Signing up for it gave me butterflies in my stomach.
Don and I stopped at a restaurant a couple weeks ago and enjoyed a really nice dinner, a bottle of wine and some good conversation.When the waiter presented the dessert menu to us I thought perhaps I would just pass.Oh, maybe I will just look and see what they are offering.I bet you know where that goes! Well, I saw the lovely pictures of each dessert and they all looked so yummy that I thought “I will diet tomorrow”.It was a difficult decision and I finally chose the lemon cream cake while Don chose the chocolate mousse.We happily sipped our coffee while anticipating our desserts.
Since the first of June I have been riding my bicycle quite frequently. I have had a bit of a learning curve adjusting to the bike but I am really enjoying the workouts and challenges on the hills.
Three weeks ago I bought some clipless pedals for the bike and started a new learning curve. The pedal has a locking mechanism that attaches to a cleat on the bottom of my bike shoes. Since the shoes clip into the pedals I am not certain why they are called clipless, they should be called dangerous. It took me quite some time to get the nerve up to get this pedal system but I have been told by several people that it would make a huge difference. They were all right. It really has made a difference in my performance on the bike as well as how my workout feels. My biggest hang up to getting this pedal system was the fear of getting my feet stuck in the pedals and falling when I come to a stop.
All the health advisors and nutritionist say to never, ever skip breakfast.They tell us that it is the most important meal of the day and if you are trying to loose some extra pounds to start your day with a breakfast.Well, I believe it!It is easy to skip it though, as I am usually not hungry in the morning and not motivated to put something together that is too time-related.It is just too easy to grab a piece of toast or a bowl of cold cereal for another ho-hum breakfast.In the past, that has been my habit but recently I have been more health conscious and am enjoying the change.
By the time my cousin Abby had her baby shower, she knew she was going to have a baby boy so the colors and theme of the party was decidedly boyish. I chose turquoise and white for the cake and made an elegant design to match her personality but still say “baby boy”. Abby was stunningly beautiful and glowing the entire time. It was so good to see both Abby and her husband Ian who were visiting from Alaska
Don and I do love Mexican food and he is especially partial to chili rellenos. They are not easy to make at home, at least not for me.Basically, they are roasted poblano chiles stuffed with as much cheese as you can get into them, then they are dipped in an eggy batter, giving them a thick coating, finally, they are fried until crispy. Every time I cooked them they turned out not quite right (NQR) and rather disappointing. It has been a very long time since my last chili relleno event so when I saw this recipe from epicurious.com it sounded doable.It almost sounded too easy! Naturally, I had to play around with the recipe to put my own spin on it.