Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What a Hoot!

Saturday morning, my husband called to me from the study to come see something. He often does this and I'm not always impressed. It's usually something on the computer, like lions chasing down a baby cape buffalo and then an alligator nabbing one of the lions. But I have to say, this time I was awed.
Outside our window was an owl sitting plainly visible in a tree. At one point, he (I think it was a he) was sitting on the porch railing. He was there most of the morning. His neck mobility was amazing. (That's something I need to work on.) A few times he swooped down, but I didn't see if he caught anything (hmmm, strangely reminiscent of the lion video). I was so glad my husband shared it with me. Next time he calls for me to come see something, I'll more come eagerly.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Roasted Red Peppers

My husband and I both love red bell peppers. They are normally a little pricey, but they were on sale this week for $1/each, a third of their normal price. I had fresh oregano on my patio,
so I decided to make one of our favorite summer recipes--Savory Roasted Peppers.

If you have never roasted sweet bell peppers, it's very easy. First, cut the pepper into quarters. Place them skin side up on a baking sheet.

Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until skin is blackened. (You can also place them skin side down on the grill and cook until skin is blackened.)

Remove from broiler and place in a paper bag for 10 minutes. Remove skin from peppers.
At this point, you can use them in any recipe.
For the Savory Roasted Peppers, whisk together the following:

3 T. Soy sauce
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1 T. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 large clove garlic, minced

Add peppers to soy sauce mixture and marinate 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, sprinkle peppers with feta cheese.
Every time I serve these, my husband tells me, "I really like this recipe." Never fails!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Last year, we decided to get a king size bed after 27 years of sleeping on a queen. (I love it. I'm no longer kept awake when my husband tosses and turns, although he's a little far away to nudge when he's snoring.) We briefly considered getting a tempur-pedic mattress, but the price kept us away. So we opted for a traditional mattress. It's been okay, but nothing to write home about.

I noticed several months ago that you can get a memory foam mattress topper for under $200. After reading some reviews online, I decided we had to have one. (I haven't slept well since I made that decision.) I finally picked one up this weekend. It is heaven. When you first lie down, you sink into the mattress. The first night, I slept like a dead man. I remember hitting the snooze button once, but apparently I turned it off three times. I don't seem to move all night long.

If I had been sleeping this well for the past 30 years, who knows what incredible things I might have achieved. Maybe I would have been the one to invent the internet.

Or better yet, Velcro.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The American Gardener

Okay, so I'm not really a gardener. I have some patio plants. I love to grow basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and this year, I've added two tomato plants. There is nothing like fresh herbs in recipes. For the past few years, I've added any extra herbs to a container of kosher salt. As the herbs dry out, they season the salt and I use it in all my recipes. I've also scooped it into cute little jars and given it to family and friends for Christmas. (My sister-in-law returned the jar for a refill.) They make great gifts. I usually plant more basil as the summer wears on. That way I can keep it going well into fall. Recipes with the fresh herbs will follow in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hot Mama

The heat has arrived in Muskegon, Michigan. I had forgotten how hot weather makes exercise more difficult. I sweat more, my heart rate is higher, and every step is miserable. It's called "heat stress". There are more variables than just the air temperature in heat stress. The humidity, air velocity, and the amount of thermal radiation also must be taken into account. Exercising on a warm, sunny day with calm winds is more difficult than exercising in the same air temperature with cloud cover and a slight breeze. Also, the sweat that forms during light sweating contains less sodium and chloride than when the sweating rate increases. A high sweating rate decreases blood volume which reduces performance. Unfortunately, I am a heavy sweater. Even my hands and the inside of my ears sweat. (I can't wear earbuds for my Ipod because the sweat makes them fall out.) I have one sports bra that shows the sweat more than others and for some reason, it seems to collect in two spots on my chest. That bra has gone to Goodwill.
The good news is that we can acclimatize to exercise in the heat. After exercising for an hour or more each day for 5 to 10 days, cardiovascular changes, as well as changes in our sweating mechanism will occur. Could I possibly start to sweat like a normal person after just 10 days of training? Maybe I should have kept that sports bra.