Raspberry Vinaigrette Shrimp Salad

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Ingredients:

  • Spinach leaves
  • Lemon Juice
  • Broccoli
  • Red Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Shrimp
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Olive Oil
  • Unsalted butter

Directions:

1. Chop all of your veggies.  I liked the combination of the veggies listed above but any of your favorite veggies can be substituted.  Arrange your leaves and veggies on your plate and spinkle some lemon juice on top.

2. Heat a skillet on medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter.  When the butter is melted, add the shrimp and cook until pink.  Pour the shrimp over the veggies on your plate.

3.  Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and top off with your favorite store bought raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  I like a little fresh cracked pepper on top as well.

If you are making a salad to go and plan on transferring it to a plate at work or such then there is a little trick I like to do.  You build the salad upside down in a tupperware container with the salad toppings put in first and spinach leaves last.  At work you flip the tupperware upside down onto the plate and wah-la, salad the right side up.  This is especially good trick to do with microwave leftover lunches that you don’t want to microwave in those tupperware dishes.

-Callie Ham

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Triathlon Training for Pleasure Seekers

I have done a few triathlons.  My first one was an Olympic distance and I did it in the summer of 2007 in Boulder, Colorado.  Since then I have done several different variations of triathlons.  I have done another almost Olympic distance triathlon, a half iron man and a 6 and 12-hour adventure race.

Adventure racing is similar to triathlons but you have a 2 or 4 person team that you have to stay with and the added challenge of navigation is included.  The swimming is replaced with kayaking, the road biking is replaced with mountain biking, the running is replaced with trail running and there are other fun outdoor activities sprinkled in.  In the 12-hour race I did we got to rappel, ride an alpine slide and go caving.  With that being said I have some experience but I am by no means an expert at triathloning.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I am currently training for an Xterra Triathlon, which is kind of a cross between a regular triathlon and an adventure race.  There is no navigation component but you get to trail run and mountain bike instead of road run and bike.  Which is kind of perfect for me because I am horrible with the navigation piece and I enjoy mountain biking and trail running over the road biking and running.

I have found that when training for events, it is good to start early but give yourself breaks or cross train with other activities so that you don’t burn out with the training.  My Xterra triathlon is going to be at the beginning of August and I have already started training but I took a week off in February because I needed a break from the routine and I frequently substitute snowboarding or snowshoeing for workouts to change things up.  Because my motivation for doing these events is to have fun, challenge myself and stay in shape – with more of an emphasis on having fun and challenging myself.  I have tried to come up with workout plans without an end event in mind and I never end up following through.  I think it is because I have commitment to doing the event.  If my goal is to ‘stay in shape’ solely there is no climax and it is a never-ending process to ‘stay in shape’ which is very de-motivating for me.

The training book that I use to get workout plans is called “Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide: Plans, Scheduling Tips, and Workout Goals for Triathletes for All Levels” by Matt Fitzgerald.  I have looked at several books and cruised the Internet and I like this book the most.  It includes workout plans from a sprint triathlon all the way to a full-blown Iron Man with 7 levels of training intensity for all the distances.  It also has heavy and light ‘off season’ training workout plans which is what I am doing right now since the triathlon I am doing is months and months away.  So right now I am ‘suppose’ to be working out 6 days a week.  I am doing one swim, bike and run and on the other days I am doing strength and flexibility training.

essential-week-by-week

Current weight: 140.5

-Callie Ham

A Heightened Sense of Reality?

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If you would like to read something that makes you think outside of the box I would recommend Carlos Castaneda’s series of books.  I read the first book while I was doing my practicum in graduate school because I was trying to better understand a client I was seeing.  The client was referencing things in therapy related to spirituality that I had no experience with myself.  As a student counselor I was eager to have a successful therapeutic relationship and I read the first book in the week between our meetings.  After I read it the client told me I should have skipped the first book because it is so boring that it would turn you off of the series-which frustrated me at the time because I was trying my hardest as a new counselor.  I just finished reading the third book in the series-Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan and now I am glad I read the first book because it discusses the time period that takes place in the first book but were left out because at the time the author thought they were insignificant.

Castaneda’s books are about his spiritual exploration with his mentor Don Juan Matus who is a Yaqui Indian who he visits sporadically in Northern Mexico.  During his time with Don Juan he experiments with psychotropic drugs, explores the wilderness surrounding Don Juan’s home and encounters various entities.  In the beginning Castaneda’s intention was to learn about the Indian traditional use of plants for healing.  The relationship with Don Juan becomes much more than that.   At times in his journey Castaneda fears for his life and even after reading the books the first hand account seems hard to explain.  Castaneda comes across as a logical thinker who is experiencing the illogical and is desperately trying to explain and understand it.  Don Juan continually tries to get Castaneda to change this logical way of seeing the world.  Throughout all three books I was rooting for Castaneda to succeed in his quest to understand and perceive the still unknown.  Some people have criticized the books saying that they were actually a work of fiction.  Since finishing the books I can’t decide what my opinion about that is but I do know that I liked the way the books make me think outside of the box, and it is intriguing to me to think that there are people in the world that have a heightened sense of perception.  I also know that I will continue to read more books by Carlos Castaneda.

http://www.uazone.org/naph/ccarlos/books/ccarlosbooks.html

-Callie Ham

Equal Opportunity Celebrating

A really easy way to stay in the holiday spirit throughout the year is to decorate for more holidays.  I love Christmas and the festivities of decorating and celebrating.  The people in my life know that I can find any reason to celebrate and holidays are the perfect excuse. This year I am trying to stay in a festive mood throughout the year by decorating for each holiday or season.

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The easiest and cheapest way I have thought of is to make a tablecloth for each holiday and switch them out throughout the year.  I started with Thanksgiving and I have fabric picked out through spring.

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Yet, another reason why I love my sewing machine.  I am not limited to the choices at the store.  I can pick whatever fabric I want for my table clothes and the possibilities are endless. Another idea I have for decorating through the seasons is having seasonally inspired paintings that are changed throughout the year. But, more about that later.

-Callie Ham

Margo Crane – Practical or Barbaric?

Since moving to Washington I have joined a meetup group book club and last month we read Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell.  I was disappointed that more people didn’t enjoy the book as much as I did after leaving our meeting.  Or it possible that the people that did not enjoy it were much more outspoken than the people who did.  There were so many aspects of this book that I enjoyed.  The book tells the coming of age story of Margo Crane.  Margo is somewhat cold but likable because of her independence and unapologetic sexuality.

books

http://www.bonniejocampbell.com

I found it easy to read because the plot continued to be interesting and hold my attention throughout the book; constantly changing and keeping you wondering what Margo would do next and how she would handle her situation.  I don’t want to give away too much so I won’t go into details.

I also liked the realistic and sometimes gruesome details of what it means to be a hunter and live off of the land.  One of the criticisms that most people agreed with was that it was unbelievable that the story could have taken place in recent past.  Although I have never hunted and in the past have not had a desire to do so, this book actually made me more open to the idea.  Margo gets herself into a situation where she is homeless and the only way she knows how to survive is to hunt various animals-deer, squirrels, etc.  Which does seem very barbaric, but when you think about it, it is also very practical.

What I liked most was the overall message that I got out of the book- that it is more important to live the way that you want to than to live the way other people or society tell you- even if the way you choose is to live outside, bath in a river, hunt and eat wild game.

-Callie Ham

Seize the Food!

Getting in a rut in the kitchen is a bummer, and it is easy to just cook the same things over and over, so I have a few ideas for changing up your cooking routine to keep things inventive in the kitchen.

1. Try something completely new that you have never cooked.  Here a few things that I have recently tried for the first time:

My in-laws gave my husband and me a paella pan for Christmas and we recently made our first paella.  Yummy!

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I was cruising on pinterest and found a recipe for pickle soup and thought that would be a good thing to try.  I would cut down on the flour next time but it was yummy as is too.

Dill-Pickle-Soup

http://noblepig.com/2013/03/dill-pickle-soup/

I also recently made pretzels at home for the first time.

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This is the recipe I used for the cheese:

http://www.hgtv.com/holidays-and-entertaining/pub-style-pretzels-and-beer-cheese-sauce-recipes/index.html

And this is the recipe I used for the pretzels:

http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/24272/buttery-soft-pretzels

Pinterest can have bad recipes so I always read the comments to see if people are saying them before trying it myself.

2. Subscribe to a cooking magazine.   

My favorite is Cooks Illustrated and it is the most expensive out of the ones I get but every recipe I have tried from them, I love.  I also like Eating Well; it has healthy and easy recipes.  Bon Appétit is okay.  Sometimes none of the recipes sound interesting to me but I have definitely found some amazing recipes from them.   Sometimes you can even do a trial subscription for 6 months for a low amount.  I signed up to try Food & Wine for $6 for 6 months.

3. Go the library and check out a cookbook (or buy a new one).

I recently checked out a few cookbooks from the library and I think I am going to make it a habit because it forces me to try new recipes and I won’t break the bank either.

4. Watch cooking shows.

Sometimes I put food network on for background noise or while I run on the treadmill and get ideas for new food.

5. Get ideas from your favorite resturants.

Here is another way to save money and bring your favorite dishes to the comfort of your home.  Sometimes the chef even has their own cookbook or is willing to share some of their recipes with good customers.

There are literally endless possibilities when it comes to food so go out and seize the food people!

-Callie Ham

Introducing the Metabolism Project

I have always been one of those people who have not had to work hard to maintain a skinny figure, and for YEARS I have been hearing from multitudes of people that once I hit my thirties that my metabolism would slow down and it wouldn’t be so easy anymore.  I would like to chronicle my emergence into the dreaded thirties with a discussion about my weight, workout habits and my love of food.  On a monthly basis I will post my current weight and how things are going with me in this area of my life.

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As you can see right now I am at about 140.  My weight has maintained between 130-145 since I was in my mid-twenties.  But I did turn 30 in September so we shall see what happens.

As for my exercise habits, I am currently training for a xterra triathlon so I am working out more than normal, but as you can see from my training schedule (pictured below) I am not being super consistent with my routine.  For those of you who don’t know a xterra triathlon is like a normal triathlon except it is mountain biking and trail running for those portions of the race.

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And last but not least eating habits:  I have never and I don’t ever plan on going on a ‘diet’ but I have been trying to eat healthier lately and frankly when I am working out more consistently like I am I crave the healthier options naturally.  I also tend to choose the more fatty and calorie-ridden foods.  For example my husband eats Yoplait light yogurts but I just like the regular ones better.  Also, I drink the full-fledged sugary sodas, but it takes me a months to get through a 12-pack.

-Callie Ham