Tuesday, August 30, 2011

easy blueberry pie

blueberries are effing expensive! a pint can cost you up to six bucks, so when i saw a huge half flat for $9.99 i knew i had to buy it. but what do you do with so many blubs? there are only so many blueberry parfaits you can make. and i didn't want to freeze them because that defeats the purpose of buying fresh blueberries. you can buy frozen blubs any time of the year. the best way to use up some blueberries is either cobbler or pie. so pie it was!

this recipe is so easy and tastes really good. it's not too sweet and allows the natural flavor of the blueberries to shine. it's great for a summer day or any day really. topped with some vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of fresh whipped cream, it's the perfect day's ending.

easy blueberry pie

-two pie crusts (one for the bottom and one for the lattice top)
- 3/4 c white sugar
- 4 tbs cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 c fresh blueberries
- 2 tbs butter

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees F
2. line a pie dish with one pie crust
3. mix together sugar, salt, cornstarch and cinnamon
4. toss mixture in with berries
5. pour berry mixture into pie crust
6. dot the blueberry mixture with pieces of broken up butter
7. take second pie crust and cut into strips to weave together for a lattice top
8. put lattice pie crust on top of pie and crimp the edges of the two crusts together
9. bake pie in the middle of the oven or until the crust turns golden brown

*i chose not to make my own crust and go through the whole process of making the dough and then setting it in the fridge. so i bought the just-add-water pie crust from Betty Crocker that doesn't require you to chill the dough after rolling it out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Giant Race: Plate to Plate

after the race in front of my house. looking all beat.

in February of this year i had the notion that i wanted to run another half marathon, evidenced by this post. i wanted to prove to myself that i could do it again but i'm sure part of it had to do with feeling like a lard-ass too. i figured that if i had a goal to work towards i would force myself to run faster and stronger. at that point in time i felt motivated and eager to begin training for my second half marathon.

in March, after coming home from a trip to Thailand, i felt a slump in my workouts and wasn't motivated to exercise as much as i normally do. feeling upset with myself, the the ideas of running the Giant Race  popped back into my head and i signed up. i had five months ahead of me to train. it was GO time.

as time went on i thought "well four months is good enough. last year i trained in three," then it became "well two months is probably enough. i've done it once, i'll do it again." then time continued to taper away and it became one month before the race. i tried and tried to run more than seven miles at a time and could never muster up enough motivation to do so. i'd hop on a treadmill, run five miles and call it quits because it was so boring. i would run around Lake Merced once (4.5 miles), never getting my breathing pattern right and giving up on making that second loop around. my body mind would tell me that i just didn't want to do it anymore. so one month before the race i resigned to just running the 10k instead of doing the half marathon. i felt fine with my decision and went on with my life.

typically the night before a big race like the Giant Race i would try to rest early, eat light and get anxious. the night before this race, i decided i wouldn't treat differently from any other day/night because i was just going to run 10k (6.2 miles) which isn't more than any typical workout i'd do on any given day. so after work i went to happy hour with some friends and had two vodka cranberries and two shots of Jameson. then we went to a surprise birthday party and i had another shot of Jameson. now that's five shots in the span of three hours, which is a lot for me, as i don't go out drinking very often. i've got to say, i was pretty tossed. but that didn't matter because i knew i'd be fine enough the next day to run the 10k. i went home around midnight to get at least a decent five hours of sleep before getting up for the race, but realized that i'd need to soak up some of the alcohol before i went to bed. i headed to McDonald's to get a double cheeseburger, small fries and a strawberry shake. not exactly the best things to eat the night before a race. but i figured it didn't really matter because again, it was no different than any normal run i'd do.

the morning of the race i still had the thought in my mind that i was going to just do the 10k. there's no way i could complete the half marathon i'd signed up to do without having trained. we got to AT&T Park around 7:30. i'd run into a couple of people i knew and told them that sadly i wouldn't be running the half anymore. then i found my brother and some friends who weren't confident they were ready to do the half, yet were still going to endure it. i saw all the people surrounding me with orange bibs, just like mine, who were going to run the half. then i thought about what it would look like to cross the finish line with the other people running the 10k, except i would stick out like a sore thumb because i had on an orange half marathon bib on and they all had a white 10k bib on. it would be obvious that i copped out.

Darrick, Jason, Jeremy and Stefan

 that's not sweat. Stefan spilled water all over himself. haha
this was taken right after deciding to actually do the half marathon.

we stood in the corral that was marked "slower than 9:00min/miles" or something of the like surrounded by a ton of people. if you've never been to a race, the hype is outstanding. you feel a sense of community. everybody is there to do the same thing: run! and spirits are always high. seeing people in bibs and running gear makes your heart beat faster and harder and somehow you feel a sense of happiness. in the last moments before the race started i changed my mind and decided that i'd do the half! i knew that without training it might be difficult and i might have to stop and walk. i'm the type of person who, when i set out to do something i want to do it without mishaps. to me, walking during a run is a mishap. but i thought that even if i had to walk some, it'd be better than having woken up early in the morning to run a distance i do on an average day anyway. i felt the need to push myself and in an instant flip of decision, i was nervous to run the half.

thoughts throughout the race:
miles 1&2: feeling fine. running at my normal pace of about 10min/mile.
mile 3: i pass the turn around point for the 10k and think to myself "thank god i didn't do the 10k. that just seems so short. it would've been pointless to come out to run such a short distance."
mile 6: still feeling fine. oh and HEY THERE'S BRIAN WILSON taking pictures with people and handing out high-fives!
mile 7: this route is much better than last year. if the fog wasn't here we'd see the bridge! wait, what? it's changing from cemented ground to dirt and gravel? now i have to adapt to that when my stride has been pretty steady on cement! oh man, at seven miles i normally feel like i don't want to run anymore but i'm feeling good. i could do this all day.
mile 9: okay, i'll make it to mile 10 without having stopped to walk at all. maybe i'll give myself a break at mile 11 to walk a bit.
mile 11: hmmm why am i still feeling quite well? my legs aren't dying, my breathing pattern is good. how could i be doing this without really training? AND i had a horrible midnight snack last night AND drank?? who am i? i feel like a beast!
mile 13: okay well i guess i'll just run the whole thing. no stopping or walking necessary. does this even make sense? how did i do that? i'm sure my time will be longer than last years pace but who cares. I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID THAT.

i finished at 2 hours 11 minutes with an average pace of 9:56min/mile. last year i finished in 2 hours 12 minutes. not that it's a whole hell of a difference, but i beat my time by one minute! and this year i didn't train and ate like crap. last year i trained for three months and cut out desserts from my diet. i truly can't believe i did that with as much ease as i did. seriously. how??? i am SO glad that i chose to do the half rather than the 10k. i would have felt like i shorted myself. i feel strong. i feel awesome!

for my own future reference: my race results and video

Sunday, August 28, 2011

recent happenings


nearly a couple of months ago, this little cutie turned 1 year old! although i don't get to see her very often, it's awesome seeing her learn new things. my favorite new thing that she does is when she see's something tasty she goes "mmMmm" with inflection. it's so cute!

she obviously had a lady bug themed bday...

baby cakes!!!

Lia, Jerilyn and myself

me, Jerilyn, Lia and Ciara

it's hard to believe that i've known these three ladies for over six years now. we were fast friends when we all endured the radiology program at KPSAHS together. in fact we became friends so quickly that within our first week of school we all got notes to go into the teachers office for talking too much. we spent long grueling school days together which turned into real friendships. recently we've all had things to celebrate. Ciara was moving (and has since) to New Orleans, a place where she feels free and can get some time to relax and take life slowly. Lia was (and has since) gotten married to the man who is truly her best friend. we went out to celebrate these two before some big life changes. we went out for some drinking and dancing, which is always a good time with these girls. 


Comedy Jam!!!

i feel that stand-up comedy is one of the best ways to spend your time. true, a lot of comedians are horrible and feel like a waste of time, but sometimes there's that set that gets you physically slapping your knee and clapping your hands uncontrollably. those are the ones that make sifting through the bad ones worth it. every year i look forward to the Wild 94.9 Comedy Jam. this year they had Gabriel Iglesias, Kat Williams, Dave Chapelle, Jo Koy, and Chris Tucker, along with a few lesser names. 

Crystal, Laura, Jeremy, Darrick (covered by Jeremy's big head), and Jason

Jerilyn and i

Stefan and i

Dave Chapelle! 

i finally i had the chance to see Dave Chapelle. ever since his show went off air, it has been on my list of things to do/people to see before i go. i was warned that he replaces rehearsed stand-up with a lot of him just talking and observing. he used some old stand up and then talked some but i didn't mind. he was still funny. but who surprisingly stole the show was Jo Koy. i've seen that guy on Chelsea Lately a bunch of time and have never really thought he was that funny. but at the Comedy Jam i could not stop laughing while he was on stage. i think the difference between thought out practiced jokes versus the impromptu blurt of random jokes and funny faces he does on Lately spans completely opposite ends of the funny spectrum. 

comedy is best shared in a crowd of people roaring with laughter. it was crazy packed on the lawn at The Shoreline Amphithearter. people stepped all over our blankets to try to get through, the slant of the hill was a killer to our backs over the five hours we spent sitting on the ground, and the cold air was rough. but with everybody there for the same reason, it seemed like a giant picnic. the cold weather, aching backs and foot print covered blankets didn't matter because once a comedian said something hysterical, it was all forgotten. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

kale, sausage and white bean soup

a simple kale soup is the perfect thing to warm you up on those cold, foggy days where you just want to curl up in your snuggie (not that i'm the owner of one, but kinda wish i did) and watch reruns of Full House or Punky Brewster. okay, so maybe not everybody loves Full House or Punky Brewster, but they will always hold a special place in my heart! it doesn't matter. what we're talking about here is soup, really. this soup is hearty as it's full of fibrous kale, protein and healthy legumes. it's easy and doesn't require a lot of simmer time so it's perfect for days when you really don't want to spend more than 20 minutes making dinner.

kale, sausage and white bean soup
adapted from this recipe


- olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups kale, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 hot links
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tbs half and half


1. cut hot links into bite sized pieces and brown with olive oil in pot on medium high heat. set aside.
2. cook onions in the same pan until translucent
3. add in garlic and cook for another minute
4. add chicken broth and bring to a boil
5. drop in bay leaf and stir in kale
6. cook until kale is wilted (about 8 min)
7. stir in white beans and sausage and heat through (about 5 mins)
8. add in half and half

Thursday, August 18, 2011

50/50- a must see!!

i like to do random things. lucky for me my good friend Helen likes to invite me along to preview screenings of movies i've never heard about. free movies are my thing. i don't even care if i have no idea what the story involves. if it's free, why not kill a couple of hours being entertained? the worst that can happen is that the movie bites and i walk out.

so there's a movie coming out on sept 30 called 50/50 that i was fortunate enough to watch the other day. the storyline is simple. the gist is that Joseph Gordon Levitt's character finds out that he has cancer and the movie follows him through it. had this movie not been free, i may have never gone out of my way to see it, but now that i've seen it i can't stop thinking about it. it's the most awesome dramedy!  there is nothing that i didn't like about it. it is simple, heartfelt and comical. it had me laughing the whole time while still maintaining it's integrity with a serious focus on cancer. i want to do my part to spread the word about this movie. so please watch the trailer and go see it when it comes out. Joseph Gordon Levitt is sweet eye candy and Seth Rogan is funny as shit!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

chronicles of a chunk: II

--as a child i ate Hungry Man frozen dinners for snack time after school. again. as a child i ate Hungry Man frozen dinners. a meal meant for a burly grown adult male sufficed as my after school acitivity. but of course i wasn't limited to just that salt laden meal as my afternoon pick me up. other examples of my afternoon snacks included a whole can of chili with a half bag of Tostitos, Marie Calender's frozen chicken fettucini alfredo, Totino's pizza rolls and of course Bagel Bites dipped in ranch dressing. i think the serving size for bagel bites is like two or something measly. me? i ate twelve. seriously, fat kid Regina could potentially have given Kobayashi a run for his money.

--on occasion my parents would go to Reno for the weekend and let my brother and i stay home alone. it was exciting for us to act like big kids able to take care of ourselves. for my brother, Jeremy, the best part of them leaving was the freedom to play video games or do nothing at all the whole weekend. for me, the highlight was that they'd leave us food money and we could walk down to McDonald's or Pizza Hut. one of those weekends my brother and i headed out with ten bucks in hand to walk to Pizza Hut to score some delicious dinner. we walked for what seemed like ages and i huffed and puffed. i felt like the pressure in my chest was going to make my ribs burst open. by the time i got to PH i couldn't even imagine ordering. i didn't have enough energy in my body to do anything but try to get some oxygen running through it. i couldn't breathe! i remember it distinctly feeling like i had a giant fish bowl over my head and i was breathing in nothing but stale useless air. i thought i had developed asthma! i looked at my brother amazed that he was roaming around the arcade area not feeling the same way i did. we had gone the same distance. why was he fine and i was about to die? oh, yeah....it's probably all that extra chubs. my huge puffy cheeks probably took up space in my face causing a stricture to my windpipe. and you know what makes this story most embarrassing? the walk from our house to PH was only about half a mile away downhill. when my parents returned i told them all about how i needed to see a doctor because i had developed asthma. then i was told i just needed to start running. true that.

in case you care to read more about my childhood chub status:  chronicles of a chunk: I

*i write these chronicles because being a chubby kid has been a huge part in forming the current me. they're things i remember that i now think are funny. and to be quite honest, i figure someone out there can identify with the same things. if they ever come across these chronicles and have felt the same, i hope they, too, are able to laugh it off as they live their currently healthier lifestyle.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Marin Century

me being a goof on the bike. i didn't want to pay for these pics so i just took them off the website. 

one day a few months ago Stefan asked if i wanted to ride the Marin Century and without thinking i responded "sure." now please understand that's ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE MILES on a tiny little hard bike seat! at the time i didn't think much about it but when i tried to recall last year's ride i could only remember it not being sooo bad yet proclaiming that i didn't want to ride my bike for at least three months after the ride. everything else about the ride i had wiped out of my memory.

now because my mind tricked me into thinking the ride was easier than i thought, i had no real desire to train for it. between last year's century and this year's century i probably only got on my bike a total of 15 times or so. that really is nothing as far as keeping in good cycling shape goes. i decided to rely on my ability to endure. slow and steady wins the race, right? but in this case it just gets you to the finish line in one piece.

early in the morning we headed out to Marin. we got our bib numbers and headed out to the starting line.  we began our ride at 7:55am surrounded by the cold dewy morning air. i had on a tank top meant for cycling and a pair of those funny shiny butt padded pants that cyclists all wear. i also wore a long sleeved shirt that i was willing to throw away in case the sun decided it wanted to come out later in the day. i had my running shoes on with my feet in the pedal baskets and lacked sunglasses. i didn't look like a cyclist. and i'm not one. i just like to ride my bike.

wow. creepy rider coming through!! 

it was a cold first few miles but soon after riding your body begins to heat up. nine miles into the ride we hit our first rest stop. they provided us with plenty of snacks and hydration but after only nine miles of riding, i didn't feel the need to fuel up. we stayed for less than five minutes and took off. you don't really want to rest too long anyway because your body quickly becomes cold, making starting again harder. the next fifteen miles or so felt fine, although i didn't remember the ride being as hilly as it was last year. but then again, i was in much better shape last year. (a year ago i had been training for a half marathon, running an average of 25 or so miles a week, cycling and doing other exercises. i had also cut out desserts for a couple of months at that time). as we rode on we encountered plenty of rolling hills that weren't that fun but not too challenging either. the second rest stop came at mile 27. again we stayed only a few minutes, filling up on water and orange slices and pb&js.

off we went again. this portion was much flatter but around mile 53 or so there was a substantial hill that made me think "why did i sign up for this again!!! last year i didn't ride my bike for three months after! this hill is a jerkface!!!" i really began to regret even starting the ride. throughout the ride thus far i felt like my bike was sluggish. i kept thinking that it shouldn't be this hard to push on the flat parts and the hills seemed harder than they should have. but then i thought about it and realized i couldn't blame the bike. it was obviously me that wasn't quite as in shape as last year.

i reached the third rest stop at mile 57 feeling defeated. i was crazy tired and almost contemplated telling the people who organized the ride to drive me back to the finish line. i figured Stefan could go on ahead without me and i could wait happily for him at the finish. i mean, i'd already gone nearly 60 miles. that's pretty damn good. when i found him at the rest stop i learned that he was pretty tired himself. we took the opportunity to take a real break this time. we refueled and rested for about 30 minutes. i ate a ton of trail mix and chips. they also had some rosemary raisin foccacia that tasted like heaven, so naturally i scarfed down a few of those. after resting i felt better. there was only about 45 miles left and i've definitely done 45 miles fairly easily before. plus, i'd done this ride just last year. i knew i could do it again.

Stefan fist pounding the camera. haha! it was an accident. 

to my dismay the moment we left the rest stop we reached a hill that was steep as all hell. i rode most of it but towards the top i had to hop off my bike and walk about 300 feet. know that i hate getting off my bike. if i'm going to do something, i want to do it without handicap and i felt like walking was a little slump in my ride. i felt like i'd given up. sure, it was only 300ft out of 105 miles, but i hated that i had to get off. again i couldn't help but replay my own voice in my head, "whyyyyyyy did you do this to yourself? note to self: do NOT sign up again next year!" but you know what? after i reached the top and descended, i continued to ride. and i knew i could complete it. by mile 75 i told myself that there were only 30 miles left and that on a normal day 30 miles doesn't even seem like that big a deal.

i rode and rode and didn't feel like i hated the ride anymore. i just wanted to complete it. it wasn't fun per se, but the accomplishment of completing such a long ride always feels good. at about mile 90 i felt physically fine but mentally i didn't care to ride anymore. i just wanted to finish the last fifteen miles, get in a position that wasn't upright fetal and eat the meal at the end. at mile 93, just when i could see the light at the end of the tunnel, i got a flat tire. GAH!! forreal?? i called Stefan to come to my rescue and like a good boyfriend, he came back to save me. unfortunately he doesn't have too much experience changing tubes. fortunately for the both of us a stranger who knows much more about cycling than we do came and helped me. upon inspection we found that the tiniest piece of glass was slowly letting air out of my tube. this got me wondering whether the glass was in my bike somewhere at the beginning of the ride. remember throughout the ride i kept thinking that my bike felt sluggish. could i have been riding around with a flimsy tube this whole time?? seriously? oh, i just rode 93 miles with a semi-inflated tube, no big deal. NOT! geez! i wonder if i would have had a better ride if i'd found that glass earlier. with a new tube in, i finished the ride. we got to the finish line in the afternoon and i couldn't have been more happy for the ride to be over with. we got our lunch and i finished it off with a much deserved Hagen Daaz ice cream bar.

at this point i was pretty tired and didn't really want an ugly face on the internets for the world to see. 

even though the ride seemed harder than i recall it being last year, i'm glad i did it. it's always nice to be able to say you did something that not everybody can just get up and do. and even with no training whatsoever, i managed to complete 105 miles on a bike for the second time in my life. will there be a third time? who knows! we'll have to wait until next year to find out.