Posted in Bicycling

My First Ride

So, today I had my first bike ride (bicycle that is) in a very long time. The last time I did any real distance was in 2010. I was up to 24 miles every other day, and that was a month or two after my back surgery. Today’s ride was only 3.27 miles in like 15 minutes, and, I am so out of shape. This is especially true since I haven’t been to the gym since 2014.

I knew my first ride would be pretty taxing, and probably the next 10 rides, until I get used to working again. And it was mostly my legs. The whole cardio thing was not too troublesom. I am pleased to report there were no chest pains or shortness of breath, which I always seem to expect, but it has never happened. So I’m looking forward to doing it again. The bike I bought is a very good ride (Specialized Cross Trail). I think I will need to get some padding for my ass though.

There is almost nowhere to ride where I live. There are no provisions on the road for bicycles; very narrow to no shoulders. I may have to search out some trails or bike routes and carry the bike on the car to get there. I don’t even think I could safely navigate to work. Believe it or not I’m almost certain I would be seriously injured or worse if I tried.

Anyway, it was good to bike again, and cool to be on a new bike, and I think I want to do it some more.

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Posted in exercise

Finally A New Bicycle

Yesterday, I picked up my new bicycle. I got a Specialized “Cross Trail.” As implied by the name of the bike, it is made to cross from street travel to some off-road cycling. My last bike was also made by Specialized but it was not made for any such function. It didn’t hold up to the punishment I was putting it through. I still have it. I needs an extensive overhaul, which would cost near as much as just replacing the bike. So, I did.

I have always like the shifters and deralers on these bikes from Specialized. However, my favorite thing about this bike are the hydrolic-disc brakes. This bike has more stopping power than I have ever experienced on a bicycle. Previous brake styles have worked well, but this is a whole new level of braking for me on a bicycle.

And who doesn’t like getting something new? I know I do. Some of you might be wondering, “can he even ride a bike with all the bodily pain he complains about?” The answer has always been yes. I have never been without a bike in my adult life. I have always enjoyed bicycling. Not on a level that other more serious bikers do, but, serious enough that I will always have a bicycle and will always ride.

Bicycling does cause some discomfort but not nearly the kind of pain that other exercises can cause. I will probably always love bicycles. It is the one exercise activity that I can still do. Plus, its a lot more fun than most exercises.

I have not even had the opportunity to ride it yet though. With the amount of rain we have had here in the last several weeks it has been impossible. I have barely been able to ride my motorcycle in the last 6 weeks or so because of weather. I hope things will clear up soon. I’m am really tired of the bad weather.

Anyway, I hope to get started riding soon.

Posted in Favorite Recipes

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I know. You’re probably thinking, “if this guy is so worried about his diet and health, why is he collecting such recipes?” Well, just because I want to change my habits doesn’t mean I will cease to be a cook or baker. I love baking and cooking and trying new recipes, and I always will, PERIOD!

If you liked the Chocolate Banana Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Icing, you’re gonna love these. The frosting on this one is pretty much the same, but the chocolate chip cupcake underneath is fabulous. Let me know what you think. I found this one on Allrecipes.com (one of my all time favorite sites). If you are not a member there you should check it out. Enjoy!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips, or to taste (optional)
Frosting:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, or more to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

Combine white sugar, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup butter in another bowl; beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in egg. Mix in mashed bananas. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, stirring after each addition. Fold chocolate chips into the batter.

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and 3 tablespoons butter in a bowl until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth.

Spread frosting over cupcakes.

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Posted in Diet

Chia Seeds

So I have been seeing chia seed in the grocery store, on the internet, YouTube, but never really paid attention. So I started doing some reading. Apparently, it is considered one of the best “superfoods” on the market. It has a good source of protein, high in omega 3 fats, high in fiber and low in calories. And it’s easy to use and incorporate into the diet.

I intend to give it a try. It apparently absorbs 5 times it weight or size in liquid. A lot of people add it to coconut milk with fruit. It turns into a pudding-like texture. I’m guessing it pretty much takes on the flavor of whatever liquid added. It can also be sprinkled onto salads, cereals to add fiber and all the rest of that stuff I mentioned before.

It is also said that chia seed can stave off blood glucose spikes (I think that’s what I mean). I usually just refer to it as blood sugar. Mine is usually too high, but, that’s because I have not been eating the way I should. I guess I go in cycles. It feels like I’m swinging back around to a desire to eat better. For a while though, I just didn’t care anymore.

And it is not that I think this one product is going to do a magic trick and solve all of my dietary problems. It is just something new for me which I hope will enhance my arsenal of better eating habits.

Posted in surgery

Another Surgery

IMG_0566Well, tomorrow morning I am having surgery on my left hand, another carpal tunnel repair. I had the right hand done last December. Right now my right wrist really hurts. I’m not sure what is causing it. I had thought it was driving the school bus. But nearly a month and a half on vacation, it still hurts. Maybe is the motorcycle riding. But I’m not giving that up.

I am still having issues eating right. I am trying to limit my carb intake. My doctor wants me to eat more proteins. I still try to consume more fats (the healthy stuff). What can I say? The high fat, low carb thing was working.

On a positive note, the results of my blood work looked better they have in the past. I still have some work to do yet. Of course, I will continue to fight. I won’t ever give up. Sometimes I just have to give it a break.

So, the surgery on the left hand should go off without a hitch and hopefully heal as well as the right hand did. The Doc said he believes the pain in my wrist could be tendonitis. Whatever it is, it hurts.

Well, I’m off to bed.

Posted in life

Motorcycle Update

2018 Lowrider

A few posts ago I was saying how I wanted a Harley-Davidson Lowrider. However, after going down to the HD dealership I found that the bike was not a good fit. I felt very cramped. The foot controls put my legs in more than a 90°. I am used to my feet being much more forward. On the new Harley, I really felt unstable as I rode, like I could maybe fall off. I don’t actually think that was possible though.

2018 Softail Heritage

So now I’m still searching bikes; other Harley-Davidsons actually. There are several that I like. One, in particular, is the 2018 Softail Heritage. It is on the same Softail frame as the Lowrider, but the foot controls are more forward fitting. It does have an option of a bigger engine, which I would probably get. It also comes with saddle bags and a windshield which make it look like a bigger bike. So the bike will probably be more comfortable for me and have much more power.

If I find that I don’t like this one I guess the search goes on. I’m not ready to make a purchase just yet anyway. It will probably be around 8 months from now, at least I hope so. For now, my current bike (2007 Suzuki Boulevard M-50) will do.

Posted in Favorite Recipes

Sausage and Kale Soup

I will be making this tonight. It is one of my favorites. I think you will like it too.

Sausage and Kale Soup:

1 lb. ground sweet Italian sausage
1 Tbsp. butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
½ medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 cups kale, chopped
½ to 1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground sausage, breaking up the meat. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned and cooked through about 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked sausage and allow to drain on a plate covered with paper towels. Discard drippings, but do not wash pan.

Melt butter over medium heat. When bubbling subsides, add onion and carrot. Cook until onion begins to brown on the edges and becomes somewhat translucent.

Stir garlic into onion and carrot mixture. Cook one minute. Add red wine vinegar and cook until syrupy, scraping up browned bits-about 1 minute.

Stir in oregano, basil, sage and red pepper flakes. Pour in stock and heavy cream. Increase heat to medium-high.

When soup reaches a simmer, add cauliflower and turn heat down to medium-low. Simmer uncovered until cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in kale and cooked sausage. Cook 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until kale wilts and the sausage is reheated.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. The amount of salt needed may vary due to variation in brands of broth.

Posted in Fitness

I Hate Moving! & Not Just Furniture

Today I spent my Saturday moving my son’s and daughter’s belongings to a storage facility. Next year will be my son’s last semester for his undergrad degree. He finishes in December. And my daughter will be in her second year. Their schools are not far apart, so they, well, their mom decided they are going to live together to save money.

So we took my daughter’s things, which she brought from her dorm room, and my son’s things from his current apartment, to a storage unit. And then later, when school starts, we will move their things to their new apartment. What fun.

I have never been so tired. My son had a 3rd floor unit. And there was no elevator. There was only three of us. Gabe, myself, and their step-dad, Robert. And for some reason, the new apartment is on the 3rd floor also. Why?

Toward the end of a very long day, I could not climb those stairs another time. I haven’t moved that much since the last time I was in the gym. Sadly, that was three years ago. I stayed downstairs and loaded the stuff as they brought it down.

We did take a break for lunch at Applebee’s and afterward it seemed twice as hard to do the work. I can’t believe how out of shape I am at this point. Three summers ago, I was pretty strong; going to the gym weight training, walking, biking. My how times have changed.

So now my knees, lower back, and hips are pretty stiff. I will be pretty sore tomorrow. I will definitely be sleeping in. I should probably go to the gym on Monday since I had such a long hard workout today. It would be a good opportunity to get started again.

Well, time for bed.

Posted in Health, surgery

Doctors, Doctors, Doctors

Yesterday I had a CT Scan with a contrasting agent.  Doctors are trying to figure out why I am having pain in my left ear with no infection. The pain has been excruciating. Sometimes I can’t close my teeth together. My ears ring really loudly.

Today however, I am headed to the hospital with my daughter, who is having surgery on her right hand. She got hit with the college level fast pitch of a softball one too many times last season in the same exact spot. Her wrist has been swollen most of summer so far. She has been in pain since the last time she was hit back in April.

The doctors seemed to think it would heal on its own eventually. But Kat wanted it taken care of through surgery. I hope that it is an issue that can be solved surgically.

Personally, I hate surgery. For me it has never worked out the way it should. My lower back surgery, though deemed a success by the surgeon who performed it, has caused me nothing  but pain since 2010. I had surgery on my neck two summer ago but my neck still hurts, though I think the pain I now feel is a new issue. I had carpal tunnel repair this past December on my right hand and my wrist still hurts.

So, I’m not a fan of surgery. Perhaps it will be different for my daughter. She is younger and stronger. And did I mention she is younger and stronger? Yea. Hopefully, she won’t be out of commission too far into the next school year, and will be ready for softball season. That is what she is shooting for.

Posted in Favorite Recipes

Curry Chicken

Curry chicken is a nice recipe for busy weeknights, with chicken breasts, onion, potatoes, and carrots all cooked together in one dish. Feel free to use chicken thighs instead of breasts, and to replace the curry paste with 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons curry powder if needed.

Serves 2 – 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 – 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into chunks about 1 1/2 inches
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, chopped into chunks
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 baby carrots, washed, drained, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste (traditional Indian yellow curry paste is best)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
  • Ground coriander, optional

Preparation:

Heat a wok or deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the heated wok. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Stir-fry until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the curry paste and stir-fry until fragrant. (If using curry powder instead, add a small amount of water to form a paste).

Add the chicken and stir-fry for about 5 minutes so that the chicken is browned and coated with the curry paste.

Add the carrots and potatoes. Stir for a minute and add the chicken broth, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes, making sure the chicken is cooked.

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