Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weekly Update, 9/29/10

I am...

Happy that it's Fall!  It's been beautiful so far.  Mr. Handsome-and-Handy and The Things did their now annual "First Day of Fall" trip to the pumpkin patch.  They were Farmer John's first customers this year; they brought home 3 large pumpkins (orange, green and white), several tiny ones for teachers and for me to take to work, and a cooking pumpkin that Mr. H&H grilled with dinner the other night.  Yum!

Happy for My Blog Buddies Doing Awesome Stuff!
  • Brooke of "Smart + Strong = Sexy" had a great first triathlon experience in the Anchor Splash Triathlon!  Read about it here!
  • Josie of "At the Starting Line" (formerly "35 and Shrinking") did her longest race yet: the Miracle Miles 15K!  (The proceeds of this race benefited the Winnie Palmer NICU unit in Orlando.) Her inspiring race report is here, at her newly renamed blog!  (P.S. - Happy Birthday, Josie!)
  • And Biz made it to round 2 of the "Project Food Blog" contest!  Here's a link to her entry for the next round.  
Feeling Injured.  Okay, now's the part where I whine a bit.  I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I seem to have some sort of lower leg pain in my right leg, in the ankle/heel area.  I suspect Achilles tendon, although it's sort of in my ankle, too.  I first noticed it after the long, hilly run I did on the 12th.  It flares up when I run, then I rest it and do other stuff.  It then feels fine, I think, "Oh, goodie!  All better!" and then I run again, and ouch again.  I think part of the problem may be that instead of completely *easing* back in, I've been jumping back to where I left off in my training.

So naturally, I'm feeling really discouraged and frustrated.  I was going to run the Pumpkin Run 10K this year, and it's only 2.5 weeks away.  I think that's out, although I might walk the 5K if I can.  I'm still planning to go to Vegas, but I'm wondering if I'll be able to do the half-marathon's only 9 weeks away, and I was only up to about 4.5 miles in my gradual build-up of mileage.

But even though I'm kind of in that "what if this never goes away?" funk, I'm also determined to do what I can to heal it and work around it the best I can.  Based on what I've read, here's what I can do and plan for the next few weeks.  (Any suggestions or advice would be very welcome!)
  • Ice, Compression, Elevation.  (The last one is kind of tricky, but I do put my foot up at work.)
  • Calf stretching and Achilles tendon stretching.
  • New insoles and arch support in my athletic shoes. (Done!)
  • See the doctor if I'm still limping in another day or so.
  • For fitness, I'll be focusing on moderate stationary cycling and swimming for cardio, and upper body strength exercises.  This is actually a great opportunity to get some more strength exercises into my week.  I'm still planning to do my CardioSculpt class; I went today and told the instructor what was going on, and so I felt comfortable modifying or doing other things when the class was doing lunges.  (Squats without additional weight, for example, felt fine.)

Knitting. "Project Chloe Grace" is going pretty well.  I'm knitting a test square with the main yarn, and it's working well.  Once I finish it and verify that the rows and number of stitches are matching the measurements for the pattern, I can start the actual sweater.

Grateful for Mr. H&H and his mad cooking skills!  I may have mentioned this before, but Mr. H&H is our family's chef.  When his mom went back to school (around the time he started middle school), all 6 of the kids had to take on extra chores.  He selected cooking dinner as one, and he learned that skill well.  Before Mr. H&H came into my life, sure, I could whip up a batch of cookies, but I rarely cooked.  I ate more dinners of  bag of salad with chopped lunch meat, bag of microwave popcorn, and Diet Coke than I care to admit.  And I only ate bacon when dining out, because it was so intimidating to cook.

Well, all that sure changed!  Sure, he lured me in with grilled salmon dinners and fresh fruit and veggie beach picnics, but pretty soon we were whipping up homemade pizza and such Michigan favorites as pasties.

So anyhow, last time I mentioned him cooking up a special dish, it was the boneless stuffed chicken.  But last week, he made one of our comfort food dishes.  Debby tried it and liked it, so I figured I'd share it with you all.  

What is it? (Other than something that could really use better lighting and a cilantro garnish?)  This dish is our attempt to recreate a favorite dish at La Fiesta restaurant in Mountain View. The dish is called "Grandma's Especial," and it's chicken in a creamy sauce flavored with chiles.  The flavor is unique and so delicious!  From research I've done, I believe they use a different chile than is commonly used in canned enchilada sauce, and they probably use more authentic dairy products.  But the dish seems to me sort of like a Mexican version of the Indian Chicken Makhani dish, or the Eastern European Chicken Paprikash. We have what we consider to be a reasonable approximation at home, with easily available ingredients.  I don't have an exact recipe, but if you want to try it, here's how we make it:

  • We cut chicken breast into large cubes. (The restaurant makes this with the whole breast, bone in.) You could use any cut of chicken, really, but be sure to remove the skin. The more chicken you use, the more like a stew it will be; use less chicken, it's more like a soup.
  • Sauté the chicken with chopped onions (about 1 onion) and a can of chopped green chiles. Season with garlic, cumin, and oregano to taste. (Fajita seasoning also works well.)
  • Add a can of enchilada sauce and simmer; 30 minutes seems to work well.
  • Before serving, add sour cream, cream cheese, and a splash of lime juice (go easy on the lime juice!). To incorporate the cream cheese, sometimes it works best to pull a little sauce from the pan, mix it up with the cream cheese so it's more sauce than big lump of cheese, then add it back in.  I think we use about 1/4 cup cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sour cream. I'm sure it would be just as good with plain Greek-style yogurt instead of the sour cream. We've used non-fat and low-fat for the dairy stuff, and either works really well.

I had leftovers in my lunch, and I added leftover green beans and potatoes to it, and that worked really well, too.  There are so many variations you could do - I could see this working really well as an all-veggie stew, or adapted to a crock pot recipe, or maybe even made with leftover turkey. (I have done the crockpot variation - I left the chicken breasts whole, putting them on top of the onions, peppers, and spices, which I  browned in a pan before adding to the pot.  I then added the can of enchilada sauce.  The dairy items are incorporated just before serving.)

Doing good with the numbers. Up .8 pound.  Blood glucose was 107 for 7-day average and 97 for 7-day fasting average.

I want to...

Be injury free.  I want to be able to run again.  I also want to come up with a 20-minute strength routine I can learn and get comfortable with at the gym.

Keep the numbers good.

More knitting!

Try a new recipe.


Anonymous said...

Ooh - that recipe looks good! Always thrilled to hear of Project Chloe Grace updates. :) And boo for the injury. I hope you find the a cure soon.

Love the John Deere picture, looks like it was a beautiful day with the Things.

Sagan said...

"And I only ate bacon when dining out, because it was so intimidating to cook." Had to laugh because that's why I'm a mostly-vegetarian at home... meat in general is too intimidating to cook!

REALLY hoping that you heal up.

debby said...

Dunno if this will help you. But there are two machines that I don't particularly like, but Vicky told me they would strengthen my knees/legs for running. So I am kinda superstitious and try to do them regularly. One is hamstring curl,and the other is leg extension. I do them as a super set.

Brooke said...

even if it doesn't get fixed in time for your half (which it still might) it will get fixed. as my sister told me this past spring - they'll be other races. try not to let this one get you too upset.

Josie said...

Hey girl!!! For starters, thank you so much for your donation. I'll be sending you an email soon for details on what you want on your ribbon! Thank you also for the kind mention here! I SO appreciate all the kindness and encouragement you have shown me over the past months.

So sorry to hear about your ankle. UGH!!! I would really suggest that you go get it checked out by a doctor just to be safe. A friend of mine just got diagnosed with a stress fracture and she thought she just had shin splints. Be careful and keep babying it and I'll be sending prayer and good healing thoughts your way!!!

Kat said...

I can so relate to wanting to be njury free! I think the best remedy is the hardest - rest. I injured my ankle 3 weeks ago and have had almost complete rest from running and other high impact activities. I think it is almost better, but I am concerned about being behind on my training schedule too! I am just trying to take it one day at a time and focus on healing. I wanted to do the pumpkin run too, but think it may be too fast for me to ramp back up. I love that the kids were the first customers at Farmer John's this year. What a fun tradition.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Mmmm does that Mexican chicken dish look good!!

Wish I had some advice on the injury, but the best I can do is: STAY OFF IT ENOUGH AND DON"T BE STUPID LIKE ME!!! I keep going back trying to do too much too soon; someday I hope I grow up and learn to take care of myself properly.

Christie O. said...

That looks DELICIOUS!

How are you feeling now? I think it's been a while now, are you feeling better? Because you're doing all the right things. I had a wonky knee two weeks before my half in June and I babied it, did not train(SUCK!) toward the end and did ok. Time off sucks but I don't think the half is out of the question yet.