#mightyifitkillsme, food

#mightyifitkillsme: Eat what you love

There are two things I love about recommitting to paying attention to food: Discovering new things I love, and remembering things I love but had forgotten about. So here’s a new one, and an old one for this week.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow cooker Indian food? Okay. I’m in. I found two options that made sense to me, and combined them my way. I gave this one a shot because given the ingredient list I ended up with, the worst case scenario was that it would be a little boring. It wasn’t boring. It was yum.

In your slow cooker, combine:
1 can full-fat coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground ginger (could use fresh!)
1 can tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt

2-3 lbs pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into 2-inch chunks
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cups quartered mushrooms
2 cups carrot rounds
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes

Cook on low for 6 hours. In the last half hour, season and thicken with cornstarch if desired, and put jasmine rice on to cook. Serves 6-8 for about 300 calories each.

Chopped vegetable salad

I really hate lettuce. It’s boring and annoying and bleh. I’ll eat a good spinach salad; spinach has flavor. Mixed spring greens can hold my attention via texture. But really, just skip it. What I want about salads are the other bits. So now I make salads out of just the other bits.

1 cup chopped raw broccoli
1 cup chopped raw cauliflower
1 cup grated raw carrots
1 cup diced apple.
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (cherries, apricots, raisins, etc)
1/2 cup nuts or seeds (sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, pecans, sunflower, etc)
To dress it, mix together:
Oil of your choice
balsamic vinegar (in whatever ratio suits your taste)
1tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of hot pepper relish

Whisk until blended, then salt to taste, and add cayenne if you need more kick. Pour over the salad, and divide into 3 portions of about 400 calories each. Enjoy!

#mightyifitkillsme, misc, The Tiniest Capen

Today I…
  • Worked for 6 hours, then left to run errands which I aborted when I got home in the middle of a rainstorm, opting to be useful at home instead. 
  • Did 80% of the needed toy cleanup in G’s room, including all Mystery Piles and Under The Bed. 
  • Played Horse Ride with G with her castle toys, which I expanded to Moose Ride and Bear Ride because I could. 
  • When G asked, I set up painting for her. 
  • Cleaned paint off G and washed brushes with her. 
  • Sorted the pile of mail on the table. 
  • Made dinner for G. (And by “made” I mean “microwaved some chicken, corn, and tater tots. But she’s two. She was thrilled. She ate it all.)
  • Made myself a sandwich. 
  • Washed the few dishes we’d dirtied.
  • Started a load of towels and folded a small load of laundry. 
  • Folded a big load of G laundry, integrated it with the big load Maggie had folded, and put 75% of it away. Because i was interrupted and then I …
  • Diapered and jammied a sleeping kid, because Captain I Don’t Need A Nap passed out at 7, dead to the world, on the couch. 
  • Put a pork roast in the crock pot so it will be pulled pork before morning, for taking to Camp. 
  • Started packing food for camp, and clothes for the family. 

So now I should go work out, but I’m super tempted to just play CivV. I mean, that was a lot of functional adult behavior, right there… I might be done. 

Or maybe I’ll do both. 

#mightyifitkillsme, The Tiniest Capen

I do not love my body right now, but that’s because it’s a reflection of all the things that aren’t really working. I know how to lose the weight I’m carrying, and regain the strength I’ve lost — I just have to choose to do that. And choosing to do it means spending time on different things than I have been spending it on, and that’s hard, and it sucks, and it takes energy that I’m not positive I have and so I live in this body that isn’t who I really want to be because inertia.

But I don’t hate my body. My body does amazing things, and when I want to dress it to look fucking amazing, I do that. I paint my nails and do my hair and makeup because those things make me happy, bring Justin joy, and contribute to the image I’ve crafted of myself for public consumption. And I’m okay with that. I’m equally okay with dirty feet and broken nails because we’ve spent the weekend living under the sky with my toes in the grass, which makes me happy, brings Justin joy, and is a part of who I am.

So you won’t hear me talking about being fat or hating my body unless I’m in a sad, dark, place — and unless I’m way out of my happy place, you’ll never hear me say it when Gwyneth can hear me. Her body is also amazing — strong, healthy, and beautiful for the potential it holds, not the form it takes. She’s going to believe that if it’s the last thing I do on this earth.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

~Sarah Koppelkam


Cheesy post title brought to you by the audiobook of The Force Awakens. 

This morning at Beast we did straight leg deadlifts. Brendan and I talked about my low back discomfort from the last few weeks, and he made sure I had good form so I didn’t make it worse. And he was right – when you do it right, it doesn’t hurt. Imagine. 

And then when we finished our 15 minute ladder of thrusters, box jumps, and toes-to-bar, he had me lie on a lacrosse ball with my feet on the wall. Holy wow, yo. 

That hurt. 

And it also worked. I came home and spent 20 minutes maneuvering our lacrosse ball around my low back and glutes. 

I feel so much better. Better than I have in weeks. 

And you know what? I didn’t resent my alarm at 5 am. 

#mightyifitkillsme, insert emoticon here

Got up at 5. Found workout clothes. Stole a timberland hoodie from Justin. Put my parka and uggs on. Shoved wallet, inhaler, keys, and phone into the pockets of my parka. Looked at the temp. – 10F. Add gloves. Started for the car, remembered I need water. Went back in, got a water bottle. Got to the driveway, remembered I need shoes. Search for shoes. Search car – I had them Wednesday – search shoe rack, search other shoe rack, search other car. Search garage. Give up, assume I left them at the gym on Wednesday. Start Honda. Try again to start Honda. Honda starts. Put it in reverse, start to move, Honda says “fuck no” and stalls in the driveway. Try again. And again. Manage to re-park it, and get in Toyota. Toyota has an iced windshield. Start the car, second try, confirm ten below on instrument panel, and get out to scrape the windshield. Finally leave house. Arrive gym 5:37, find shoes! Hurrah!

Skip most of the warmup but do the jump rope to get my body warm and moving, and do my 12 minute ass-kicking workout, plus push press set. (55lbs, 5 sets of 3) Still hate burpees, now also hate reverse bear crawls.

6:02, head home, looking forward to reading for an hour before I shower and get ready for work.

Wait, where’s my phone?

Search Toyota. No phone. Find two pairs of glasses, that’s cool. No phone. Check Honda; no phone. Garage, kitchen…

Get iPad. Use Find My iPhone. Says its in the driveway. Back to the cars. Still -3F. Hate everything. Search for phone. No phone. Try to play the sound, app says iPhone is not connected to the Internet. Hear the distinctive hiss-pop of a soda can opening as I sit in the below-zero Honda, and toss a super frozen ginger ale out of the car into the driveway.

Wait. The driveway. Literally the driveway. I changed cars and scraped windows… Ok, so I start searching the snow in predawn light. No phone. It’s in a red case, it should be easy to spot.

But I moved both cars. I can see under the Honda, easy – lots of ground clearance. No phone. But I refuse to lie in the snow to look under the Toyota. It’s negative fucking 3.

I go inside, get keys, start the Toyota (second try) and move it to a different parking spot.

And there, in the tread of my tire, where I had pulled in and backed out, so four tires bearing the weight of a Corolla had driven over it, is my phone.

It doesn’t turn on when I push the button, but it’s -3F, so wtf. I take it inside.

Lifeproof case? Undamaged.

Pulled the phone from the case, no visible damage. Push the button.  Dead battery.

Plugged it in and ….

It lives. Unharmed. Run over by a car twice. Frozen solid. Perfectly fine.

Persevere. You are stronger than you know.

#mightyifitkillsme, life list

Regardless of the utility of making new year’s resolutions, I always do. Mostly because it’s a time of change, and of rest, and of contemplation for me — between semesters, post holiday kookiness, a vacation. And so I resolve to fix the things that feel misplaced, unseated, or misaligned.

This year my resolve comes on two fronts.

We have to fix our finances. We live in a wobbly, uncertain place in which we spend too much on things we don’t value and we don’t know why and this is stupid. So that gets handled.

And I have to get healthy again, physically. I weighed in this morning at the highest weight of my entire life. I’m not feeling fit, I’m not feeling able, I’m not feeling strong, and I’m not happy about it. So that gets handled, too.

In both cases it’s not actually about “save money and lose weight”. In both cases it’s about being the person I want to be, living the kind of life I want to live, and creating a space of comfort, safety, and joy for myself. My physical self and my financial self are two of the voices presenting the most discord to my ideal. And so they’re getting reshaped. Realigned. Reimagined.


#mightyifitkillsme, craftastic, food, gratitudejournal, insert emoticon here

You know what happens when I don’t post or comment on Facebook for 24 hours?

I want to write elsewhere.

Imagine that.

So let’s reclaim that part of me, too. I am a writer. It’s a thing I do that has value for me.

So is exercising. This morning I did situps and squats with hand weights, and it felt good. Really good. Justin commented that I was walking differently when I got dressed this morning. I stood and paced during a meeting today and felt more at home in my body than I have in a long time. Let’s reclaim that.

I made dinner last night. Chicken thighs, turnips, parsnips, carrots, and mushrooms made into a stew/soup stuff, based on this recipe. Tasty. We ate it all. Reclaimed.

I have a novel on my bedside table. I’ve read some of it. Fiction. In print. Reading. Reclaimed.

I knit a cat toy — just a little stuffed squid — for Steve a few nights ago. Reclaimed.

What’s next?

#mightyifitkillsme, working mother

This morning Justin and Gwyn were comfortably ensconced watching parallel versions of Saturday Morning Cartoons (Fallout: New Vegas for the grownup and Curious George for the toddler), so I asked for an hour in the exercise room. I went down, flipped out my yoga mat, and pulled out the Yoga Studio app on my phone. I made a class called “Salute and Twist”, and filled it with all the blocks of twisting poses and sun salutations that the app has to offer. I threw in a standing balance block and a Warrior block for good measure.

Nothing I did was hard. I would say it was solidly beginner stuff — literally just sun salutations and warrior sequences and lots and lots of twists.

I hurt.

I hurt a lot.

Some of it is good hurt — muscles that needed to move, that needed to be used that way. My quads are going to tell me about those warrior sequences tomorrow, and my lower abs, newly loose, are telling me that they were the source of my low back pain this week.

Some of it’s not so great. A couple of nights ago I told Justin that I woke up and Gwyn had snuggled up to my back and was resting her face on my shoulderblade. And it HURT. I had a muscle spasming so hard that the pressure of a toddler’s snuggle woke me up. And so in the first five minutes of the 40 I did today, I felt that same muscle go. Now it’s just a dull throb, a low background notice that my body is not where I want it to be.

My friend Mary Carmen has been posting links to the videos her trainer shares on Facebook. Mary’s story is hers to tell, but after years of health issues and carrying two babies, she’s getting up every morning at 4:30 and doing a bootcamp workout at a gym before she spends the day parenting those two kiddos. And I am so proud of her. SO PROUD! Because I know how fucking hard that is. I know. Our mix of challenges is different, but I know. I get it.

Today Justin let me lie in bed and read for a couple of hours before I got up and went down to exercise. It felt like a gift. I’ve been either at work or doing a family thing or at LARP for every weekend since… forever. I am, in fact, typing this in my office on a Saturday afternoon. And that pattern is going to continue for the next several months. Next weekend I have to prep for a week of work travel. The one after that I have to work. After that we go to Rhode Island. Then it’s Halloween. Then it’s LARP. Then I have to work two weeks in a row. Then it’s Thanksgiving in Illinois. Then LARP. Then Christmas in Vermont.

There’s not much lying in bed in that picture, when you toss “toddler” on top of it all.

And there hasn’t been much exercising, either.

But I’m listening to my body today. I feel energized, and strong, and good. I have a dull throb in my  left shoulder and my quads are trembling with muscle fatigue, but I feel good. This needs to happen. I know who I want to be. I have to try harder to make myself a priority in all of this happy chaos that is our life.

Why walk when you can fly?

#mightyifitkillsme, food, working mother

I’m feeling rested (mostly) and healthy (mostly) and like I can (try) to make time to exercise and eat better. This is significant progress, and it only took a full year since my maternity leave ended…

But I think I need little rewards. SO. I’m setting some for myself, from my savings account.

  1. When I work out or do yoga every day for 2 weeks straight, I’ll buy a new phone case from Threadless.
  2. When I track my eating and hit my goals for a full week, I’ll buy a new piece of jewelry.
  3. When I finish a full 30 days of the 30 Day Sculpt (aka, What Fresh Hell) I’ll buy a new exercise outfit from Athleta or Title Nine.
  4. When I lose 5 lbs, I’ll buy a new Avatar tshirt from Redbubble.
  5. When I lose 10 lbs, I’ll take me and Justin out to dinner at First Crush.
  6. When I lose 15 lbs, I’ll treat myself to a massage and manicure.
  7. When I get my waist measurement back below 33 and hips below 41, I’ll buy new skinny jeans, at full price. (Unless I find a good sale. I love a good sale.)
  8. And if I somehow manage to lose all 35 lbs that I’m aiming for, I’m buying a new pair of Fluevogs.

Now: GO.

#mightyifitkillsme, The Tiniest Capen, working mother

Due to a collection of reasons, including baby-stolen car keys (still missing), a migraine (not mine), and miscommunication over text messages (all parties involved), I took Gwyn to the Urgent Care this afternoon instead of finishing a project due by close of business today.

First professional deadline blown due to parental responsibility: Check.

And then, while at Urgent Care, Gwyn immediately ceased showing any signs of illness. Because of course. (Right now, an hour later, despite the diagnosis of a second double ear infection, she is giggling lying in bed with her father. Of course.) She did, however, throw her toys and cheddar bunnies all over the exam room, so as I walked around, crouching down to pick them up, still wearing trousers and a nice sweater (having come straight from work), I split the seam on my pants.

Hypothesis: splitting the seam on your pants two days after deciding that yes, you have gained too much weight and thereby committing to remedying that is the universe’s sick way of reminding you how unhappy you are.

Because you totally needed a material reminder. Because a little indignity, a good right hook to the self-image, and a diaper bag draped artfully over your ass will totally make this day better.

After that, the sick baby and blown deadline are just icing on the cake, really.

Guess who will be working tonight after Gwyn goes to bed? This gal. Guess who really wants Chinese takeout and isn’t going to order it? This gal. Guess who will, however, be adjusting her portion sizes at dinner so she can have a goddamned drink before getting back to work? THIS GAL.