Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Health & Shitness

If I were standing in between a witty person and a cat licking itself, and the witty person began to talk about health an fitness then the odds that I would immediately redirect my attention to the cat licking itself are great. The very mention of the topic itself has the ability to send me into a fit of locked-in syndrome, leaving me with my only method of communication through the blinking of my left eyeball. Health is boring, and fitness is even more boring, and so for many years I have simply abstained from such boring activities.

So, I think it was sometime in April when my husband and I were driving home and I kind of casually mentioned that I had started the Couch to 5K program.

"And I'm doing it in the hills, with the double stroller and that way I'll be super duper buff by the time I'm done! You should do it too, because I think we need to get into shape, you know, for the children. It's really cool, I even downloaded the app. Did you know that there's an app for that? Yeah, me neither. Get this, a voice actually tells you when to run. I mean, that's like some next generation type of shit right there..."

By the time I stopped talking, my husband had fallen into a state of Locked-in Syndrome and was blinking his left eye at a cat licking itself outside. I delivered a hardy "fuck you" sigh and promptly dropped the subject.

Two days later I woke up to an empty bed, for a moment I wondered if I'd even had a husband at all and had simply been living in a schizophrenic state for the past three years, but then the bedroom door flew open and in the doorway stood my husband dressed in socks rolled up to his knees, basketball shorts, a tee shirt with the sleeves cut off, wrap around sunglasses and a bandanna with bright red and orange flames up the side. "C25K, week 1, day 1. COMPLETED, FOOL!" I threw the comforter back over my head and muttered something to the effect of "I really hope you don't expect me to wash and fold that tee shirt now that you've cut the sleeves off of it, jerkface."

That weekend we headed to the outlets to by some new running shoes. In my mind we wouldn't be able to run effectively if we didn't spend money on our new endeavor. "I read an article that says you absolutely HAVE to take care of your feet if you want to run. You MUST take care of your feet! I think I want mine in pink." The husband nodded his head next to me "Yeah, feet... I'll get mine in red!" Hours later we were leaving the mall, each with a brand new snazzy pair of running shoes. I. Was. Ready.

Exactly three days later I was wishing I could deliver the inventor of the Couch to 5k program a gigantic kick to the nuts.
Me running and hating running

I remember the precise moment when I gave up for the first time. I was standing at the bottom of a seemingly endless hill, with that fucking double stroller, wondering why I was even bothering with this shit. My two year old was screaming at the top of her lungs, it was 95 degrees outside and I was seriously contemplating running up a steep ass hill. Let me tell you, the mind has the distinct ability to work for you or against you, and mine was definitely working against me that day. But I did live to run another day... and quit another day as well. As a matter of fact, I've probably been convinced by my overactive mind to quit my running venture half a dozen times at this point.  A few days will go by, and then it's as if I'll suddenly come to and think to myself "why did I quite running again?" and I'll lace up my shoes and begin cursing life all over again.

The Hill of Doom

At this point in time I'm still running, and despite all of my failures, I'm very close to being able to complete a 5k run without wanting to vomit. I've abandoned that fucking C25K app because it just wasn't working for me. I don't take well to being told what to do by a machine and on multiple occasions have seriously contemplated feeding my Ipod to a mountain lion. Additionally, I do not think the Couch to 5K app is celebratory enough. I just ran for 8 minutes straight, I want some goddamn balloons or something at the end of my run. Instead it simply asks me if I want to post my workout on my Twitter account as if I actually have any followers who would give a shit. I no longer run the hills because, hello dumb idea, meet HILLS. Now I run at our local stadium (a little known place called The Rose Bowl), which is substantially more gentle on my mental state. Sigh. Meanwhile, Mr. Overachiever has already completed his 5k program and is now attempting to work his way up to a 10k. I hope he stubs a toe.

 I'm still not convinced on the running thing. Truth be told, it's hard. It takes everything out of me, mentally and physically. Some days I want to quit forever. But then again, on occasion, I walk away from a run really proud of myself, or thanking the stars that I just got a good workout in so I can go out to eat or have a drink without fretting too much about my sedentary state. I'm not great at it, but I'm beginning to see that the benefits of running might just outweigh the suckiness of it all.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Make Baby Food Not War

The human baby (for the sake of this post, lets just call her Indie) turned six months old on the 15th making her eligible to start eating solid foods. I tried to get her to eat an almond joy, but she just turned her nose up at it. She's probably one of those weirdos who prefers Mounds. Blech. I said "Beggars can't be choosers, Indie. You're gonna have to meet me half way on this one. I get it, sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't. But today you better feel like a G-D nut, BECAUSE THAT'S ALL I GOT, KID!"

She looked at me blankly and then spit up.


And off we went to make the duchess some baby food.

When I had my first daughter, I decided that I would make her baby food from scratch come hell or high water. It was one of those things that I was absolutely determined to stick with. As it turns out, making baby food is ridiculously simple and affordable, plus you get the added benefit of actually knowing what has gone into the food that your kid is consuming. Sticking with homemade baby food, incidentally, required very little hell or high water. In the years since my first daughter was born, there have actually been a quite a few advances in baby food. You can find tons of organic stuff out there that are seemingly free of additives and other crap that you wouldn't want your offspring chowing down on. These products are convenient, but also quite pricey and so I tend to only use them when we are out of the house if at all.

Let me tell you, homemade is where it's at. At my baby shower I received a spiffy newfangled baby food machine that will steam and puree your food for you. It's mildly gimicky because, lets face it, you could get the same results with a steamer pot and a food processor. But it's a machine that is adorable, and so I use it.

You should cook foods for your baby that are vibrant in color and have different textures and flavors. Some food, like potatoes, cauliflower and apples, require cooking before they can be mashed. Some foods, like peaches, plums and berries, require no cooking at all. Foods like bananas and avocados should be mashed on an as need basis because they will turn brown after a while, and brown food is gross.

 I will typically steam a vegetable in a small amount of water, and then puree it with the cooking water. When you think you have pureed it enough, puree it some more. Once you're done, you're ready to store and freeze. I like to make a few mixes like broccoli/cauliflower or plum/sweet corn. Feel free to get creative with it.

 I borrowed (read: stole) some of these pumping bottles from my local hospitals NICU. That sounds bad. I should say I borrowed (read: stole) these pumping bottles from my local hospitals NICU while my kid was a patient there. I had quite a few left over so I've stored my first batch of baby food in them.

 Baby food can be stored in any old freezer safe container, but do be sure to use it in 3-6 months.

Once you're done, walk into the living room, and thank your husband for doing the dishes. Lock self in bathroom.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

All Things that Grow

 You've got to love summer. Everything in my yard is in full bloom right now, and I can't even justify spending a moment indoors these days. This year I decided to beautify my yard with some nice floral beds and a potted garden on our patio. The potted garden is still a work in progress, although I may need to wait until next year to perfect the skill. Up here in these hills,  the heat becomes oppressive in late June and planting for survival becomes a fools game. Last year I even managed to kill water-wise, heat tolerant plants simply by waiting to long to plant. I won't be making the same mistake again because gardening is expensive, y'all. I LOVE these Zinnias that I started from seeds. I fully intend on planting them again next season. They were super easy grow and even survived me attempting to murder them on multiple occasions.

I also have encountered a multitude of volunteer plants this year. I don't recall planting dill this year, and I definitely haven't planted sunflowers. Yet here they are, taking over my beds, lookin' so fine.

The few perennials that I did plant last year, appear to be the show stoppers this year. My Artichokes overwintered and are now producing like crazy. Word to the wise, though. If you decided to grow artichokes, then be sure to drown your crops in salt water before cooking them. I have earwigs, and they love to hide between the artichoke leaves. It's fucking gross.

The Raspberries are also cropping up all over the place. My Blackberries, long thought to have died in the great husband trampling of 2012, are not doing nearly as well, but I'm hoping that by next year they'll catch up after receiving a healthy pruning.

Gaura. I love this plant. It's the strange goth kid in class. I've planted white and pink on opposite ends of a bed in my back yard. One gets lots of water, one gets very minimal amounts. Both are doing amazing. If you have drought issues, I'd highly recommend this guy, he adds so much texture to the landscape and his blooms smell like angels ought to smell.

The Sweet broom is definitely the boss man in the bed. It was never intended to be, but I really love how wild and out of control it looks. Last year I planted three and a gopher ate two. I was pissed. But I like having just the one because it turned out to be a very distracting plant. So, thank you Mr. Gopher. This still doesn't make us cool, though.

TWINNY PEACH SNAPS!  I don't care who you are, you need to plant these guys! Look how gorgeous these blooms are. The color, the fullness, the way they look at you so longingly. I will plant these snaps forever and always. Don't over water or they will flop to the ground in a dramatic fit. Plant these! You shall not regret it.

My Mother in Law bought me a Myers lemon tree a few winters ago as a gift. It sat in a rather large pot over the years and moved all over the place while we tried to figure out where to settle down. It has yet to set a single piece of fruit. This year it finally went into the ground, and if I don't get one god damn lemon from this fucking tree, I'm going to have a full on tantrum on my front lawn. YOU HEAR THAT TREE?! YOU HAD BETTER GIVE ME SOME LEMONS OR I WILL GO COMPLETE PAUL BUNYAN ON YOUR ASS!

 Lastly, these things grow like weeds. Plant at your own risk. THE END

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Gimme Sugahhhhh!

Have you ever paused in the middle of doing something utterly ridiculous and then thought to yourself "Well, shit I'm definitely going to hear about this from the spousal unit." and then immediately continued on with whatever foolish thing you were doing because "Fuck that, I'm a god damn adult and I can do whatever I want." and then a week later as said spousal unit is passing through the kitchen he casually says something like "I can't believe you ate that entire Costco sized box of Oreo's." and you're all like "Um, it was the kid." and he quietly mutters "Yeah, okay." As he walks into another room and you scream at the top of your lungs "Fuck you, I'm an adult, that's what!" and then he comes back and looks at you like you're a lunatic. Then it suddenly dawns on you that you may have over-responded to his "Yeah, okay." which might actually be a greater indicator that there is a serious problem and not the fact that you just ate 90 Oreo cookies in a week and a half, and then the thought enters your mind that you might just have a sugar addiction, not only because you're suddenly over-responding to things, but also your hands are beginning to sweat and you're really wishing you had some fucking Oreo cookies right now?

My name is Sandy and I am a sugar-a-holic. I've made excuses for years, namely that it's one of the finer qualities genetically bestowed upon me by my father. All three of my older brothers appear to have the same affinity for the good stuff, and according to all of the stories, so did my dad. I'm not sure that there is science to back this theory up, but lets just say there is because Oreos.

Six months ago, after I gave birth to the human baby, I decided to wean myself off of the junk and lead a healthier lifestyle and while I'm not really sure what the benefits of my giving up sugar are, I bet they are magical and glitter-like. It's not going well, there are probably a dozen other stories much like Oreogate. I'm clearly sick and need help.

I have many reasons for pursuing a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Namely the kids. Because someone's got to think of the children! I really would rather they not share in my sugar swilling habits. It's a simple miracle that I've never been overweight, my blood sugar is normal, and I didn't get my first cavity until I was in my thirties (and even now it still remains at one). I don't know if my girls will be so lucky with the genetic predisposition and all the miracles. They need a better model than I have been to them. Additionally, I'd really like it if my weight and blood sugar actually stayed where they were and also that that one cavity never gets itself a friend because getting your face drilled into by a complete stranger is about as fun as drinking chlamydia.

So anyway, Monday begins the overhaul. I shall post the product of said overhaul on this here blog, and ye shall see my results. Wish me luck, good friends! Details to come.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bears, BEETS, Battlestar Galactica

If you are not a beet person then you need to get on that. Beets have become one of the most hyped up vegetables in the food world over the past few years and you can find them on nearly every decent menu these days. Not for nothing, of course. when prepared correctly, beets are damn good and ridiculously versatile. So eat your beets. Anything else would insinuate that you hate America. The end.
 I started growing beets last summer when we moved into our house and I decided to dig up half the yard to take up gardening. I guess you could say that it was one of the first things I planted. Really, I didn't know what the hell would grown in my yard so I just bought the prettiest packets of seeds. Beets were it. They grew beautifully. This year I decided to grow them again.

The best thing about beets, much like wild unicorns and baby seals, is that you can use every part. Nothing goes to waste. I will typically trim and scrub the beetroot, drizzle them with oil, wrap them in tin foil and roast them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The skin should slide right off once they cool. You could make a suit (I'm not the weirdo for saying it, you're the weirdo for considering it).

The leafs can also be trimmed, much like you would chard or kale. I then roll up the leafs and cut them into strips. Beet greens are freaking awesome. I don't mean that they are awesome in a "Rawr, rawr, rawr. I EAT GREENS CAUSE POPEYE SAID I SHOULD!" kind of a way. They actually taste better than any other green I've ever had. Also they don't cook down to nothing like most greens, so you aren't left with a soggy pile of wimpy greens when it comes time for dinner.

Saute those suckers with a little garlic and oil. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of apple cider vinegar and you're donzo! I will toss mine in a Ziplock bag to save for later in the week when my husband isn't working. This awesomeness must be shared.

Back to the beets. I put mine up because why the fuck not. I'm not as skilled at canning as I should be so this first round of beets went right to jar. I will let you know how they turned out in 3-7 days when the pickling process is complete.
The trimmings and stems all went to compost, and that, my friends, is how real food is made! Mrs. Roffman, OUT!

Monday, June 10, 2013


When you realize that your husband has been inadvertently drinking from a flower vase for weeks... maybe months.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

How to Get Some Shiny Ass Pots and Pans!

If you are like me, then odds are you are likely winging it 90% of the time. Which is why, if you are like me, then you have no idea how to clean a pot or pan and have been living with something like this for the past three years:

When we got married a few years ago we received some really nice All Clad and Cuisinart stainless steel cookware. I thought I'd look like a bad ass in the kitchen with my snazzy pots and pan. Exactly 1 fried egg later, approximately 100% of our cookware looked like the above. I chalked it up to the fact that I cook like a maniac and was probably being too hard on my pans. From time to time, over the years, I'd attempt to roll up my sleeves and scrub the shit out of a pan using soap, hot water, and steel wool. This would often result in a slightly less grimy pan and me shaking my scalded, pruned fist at the sky screaming "WHY?!"
My husband, cooks only two things very well. Eggs that look like they came from a hotel and the bottom of my shiny frying pans. This is not a complaint, but it is what finally motivated me to do something about my sad, pitiful, disgusting frying pans. A single fucking Google search yielded the answer to the question that I have been asking for three god damn years. How do I get my pots and pans clean?

Enter Bar Keepers Friend. You can buy it at Crate and Barrel, or if you, like me, have no compunction about handing your money over to the deadened souls of American corporate you can just buy it at Walmart. It costs less than $3 and has saved me from melting my fingerprints off in hot water. So totally worth it.

During this rehab project I tried a few different sponges, but had the best luck with this guy. It did the job well and without scratching up my pans.

First I got my pan wet and gave it a hearty sprinkle of Bar Keepers Friend. Then I used the scrubby side of the sponge and created a paste, moving in circular motions.

Now, I'm not particularly faithful to many household products, but I can honestly say that I will never wash my pots and pans with another plain old soap and water again. I hardly broke a sweat as I zoomed through all of the frying pans in my 17 piece set.

Full disclosure, this project did take me a while. I'd say maybe four hours total. But, dude, my pans where in horrible shape. I imagine that keeping them clean should be a substantially easier task since my discovery of Bar Keepers Friend.