Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chewy oatmeal cookies.

Yeah, I know they're not gluten free.  Didn't say I ate any, did I?

Note: you must plan ahead for making these as they MUST rest at least a few hours before baking.  This is part of why these bake up as chewy, delectable (not dry! not crumbly!) oatmeal cookies.  Just a touch of crisp crunch in the immediate exterior-- but the rest is truly chewy, stick-together deliciousness.

You can substitute 1 cup of raisins and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg for the cranberries/white chocolate if you're wanting a more traditional oatmeal raisin cookie.... or my personal preference, substitute milk chocolate chips and hazelnuts....

I got this from the Serious Eats blog.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 6 1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (about 6 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips, put in the freezer for 20 minutes
  1. In a small bowl, combine oats and water; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. As soon as it's melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar and brown sugar. Add egg, stirring quickly until incorporated. Add flour mixture to the pan and stir to combine. Stir in oats, cranberries, and white chocolate. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  2. Adjust oven rack to lower and upper middle positions and preheat oven to 350°F. Drop cookies by the rounded tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheets and bake until just starting to brown on top, 11-13 minutes- they might look a little raw in the cracks in the center, don't worry.  They'll finish cooking with the residual heat of the pan when on the counter. Let cool completely before moving.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guest post from Brian McLaughlin-- Metamoris commentary

Hope you enjoy this guest post by Brian McLaughlin, a BJJ black belt, boxer, and mixed martial artist who runs Precision MMA in the Hudson Valley area of New York.

"Metamoris was the first submission-only BJJ tournament featuring the top grapplers from today. The event has a lot of people talking about the different philosophies surrounding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and where the sport is headed, in part because of how it highlighted the different paradigms and approaches that BJJ artists take when all eyes are on them.

 Safety First

Ryron Gracie made it his mission to stay out of danger and avoid getting caught. He did a masterful job of evading danger, but in the process did not engage in the typical battles within the war. He did not defend the pass or fight the mount, but rather acquiesced to the inferior position so long as he was prepared to thwart an attack. His movements were seemingly always reactive and rarely first initiated. Some called this the “playful approach” – however, in my estimation, being playful assumes taking chances and experimenting with different positions. The two most “playful” competitors were definitely Jeff Glover and Ciao Terra. Flowing into exotic guards and exposing themselves to attack in the hopes of pulling a rabbit out of the hat. Ryron’s approach from an offensive standpoint took very few chances and instead used efficiency as a weapon waiting to capitalize on a mistake that Galvao ultimately never made.  

Position Before Submission

Although the only path to victory under the Metamoris rules set was submission, a few grapplers took a position-minded approach. Andre Galvao focused his attention on strong passing and knee on belly and mount transitions. Ultimately this was the path to a draw rather than submission. One might speculate that Galvao was accustomed to opponents fighting the position which in turn put them in a position to be submitted.

 Seek and Destroy

The element that made Metamoris a success was the grapplers that truly made achieving the submission their only concern. Kron Gracie, Rafael Lovato and Xande Ribeiro all went for broke. Lovato stated that he wanted to simply push the pace for every second of the 20 minutes. Kron showed this same mentality, never losing sight of his goal even when the clock was against him. Xande may not have been successful with his submission attempts, but he never stopped pursuing the finish and made this (much like Buchecha) one of the most crowd pleasing jiu-Jitsu displays.

Metamoris was a bold step not simply in the rules set, but also in the marketing and professionalism of the production (aside from the considerable delay at the onset). This is truly what is necessary for Jiu-jitsu artists to flourish as professional athletes. The question on most people’s mind is, what’s next? Will this continue as an outlet to showcase the world’s best submission fighters? Will we see Marcelo Garcia, Pablo Popovitch, The Mendes brothers and other BJJ aces of the world step into this arena? What are the chances that Metamoris does away with time limits entirely and makes the event a true submission-only affair?

Regardless of the next step, Metamoris was good for the art and a step towards having a true professional submission league."  

Brian McLaughlin is a black belt under Rob Kahn (a Royce Gracie Black Belt) and is considered one of the top instructors in the Hudson Valley. He holds competition wins over Ryan Hall, Wilson Reis, and Enrico Coco, among many others. His new website Learn to Grapple seeks to bring black-belt instruction to the masses, for free. Stay in touch with Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

5 tips for better performance

Just read this in a Livestrong email and thought it had plenty of application to jiu jitsu.  What do you think?  

Author and performance coach Doug Newburg, Ph.D., has worked with thousands of elite performers in all fields. You can read more about his work on
"Recently, two amateur archers approached me about how they could improve their game. They showed up with stacks of graphs of their performance results, wanting an analysis and diagnosis of what they were doing wrong technically and mentally.

"We're engineers,” they said. “We're very analytical."

Yet they'd brought me all the wrong data. I asked them to take two weeks and collect the data that mattered—not what they had been doing, but what they hadn’t.

See, the difference being good and being great, or between being stuck and getting better—no matter whether you’re a runner, swimmer, lifter, baller, archer, or any other kind of athlete—isn’t always found in the hard, fast numbers. In fact, sometimes what we know actually gets in the way of what we need to do.

Before I sent the archers away to collect this different kind of data (which you’ll read about below), I asked them a simple, but challenging question—a question I’ve asked 10,000 people over my career: Does how you feel affect how you perform?

Almost everyone says yes, but the archers were skeptical at first. The "touchie-feelies," they called them.

But what they found—what everybody I’ve worked with has found—is that feel is different from feelings. Feel—intangible, yet so powerful—actually holds the key to better performance in any arena. My archers learned it, world-class athletes I’ve worked with have learned it, and many other folks in all kinds of professions have, too.

Here, the five steps to tapping into feel—and thus learning the secrets to better performance.

STEP 1: Focus on Play, Not Performance

Most athletes I’ve worked with come to me because they’ve lost that sense of play and placed too much emphasis on goals and outcomes, thus losing sight of why they perform in the first place. The reason most people stop playing? Because someone told them they were good, told them if they worked harder, they’d be successful. In return, they stopped playing and focused more on performing.

When Jon Lugbill was 14, he won his first of five world canoe championships. He’d had the chance to watch the best C-1 canoe competitors in the world. His first thought? “I can beat these guys,” even though no American had ever done so. His response was to play more, to experiment in his training, to “play” with and redesign his equipment, and to invent new strokes. Rather than bear down on what he already knew, simply doing it more often and harder, he learned and experimented and in his own words, “played and paddled more often.” He did his training, did the work, but he always made time for playing—not being bound by regimented schedules.

In every field I’ve worked in, play is critical, because it allows you to let go of the outside pressures to perform—and find new (and sometimes better) systems that work for you. (Even surgeons constantly practice tying knots, sewing their socks, playing with faster and better ways to “throw a stitch.”)

DO IT YOURSELF: The best way to incorporate more of a sense of play into your training is to let go of some of your tangible goals and suspend any of your traditional measurement of what you’re doing (times, weights, reps). Run or bike without a watch or take a new route, and focus on the feedback from your body. Define intervals by how you feel instead of how long you go, testing yourself instead of pushing yourself. As you get more comfortable with play, add back in the measurements, the watch, the mileage, but only look at them after you’re finished. This allows your body to help guide you to make better training decisions—that eventually will pay off with better tangible results, too.

STEP 2: Learn the Skill of Feel

Unlike feelings (which you really can’t control, but are valuable in terms of connecting with what we do and who we do it with), feel is actually a skill that you can control and develop. Understanding this difference was critical to the success of Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Jeff Rouse. Like most of us, he'd never consciously made the distinction between feel and feelings. Yet, one 24-hour period in the Barcelona Olympics taught him why this difference mattered.

The world-record holder and favorite in the 100-meter backstroke, Jeff listened to the talk that his legacy as a swimmer rested on winning the Olympic medal. He believed it when people told him without the gold medal, he'd be a failure. He worried about losing and, as a result swam not to lose. He tried harder than he usually did, and in his own words, "died" coming into the finish, losing by six one-hundredths of a second.

He couldn't believe it. He beat himself up mentally and was physically beaten up from the race. He was exhausted. Worse yet, he was scared. The next day he'd have to lead the U.S. into the 4 x 100 medley relay, a race they'd never lost in the history of the event.

He didn't sleep well and worried about letting down his teammates, his family and country... again. Five minutes before the race, teammate Pablo Morales grabbed him and told him to "swim the way he swam to get there."

In a single moment, that “feel” took the place of Jeff's “feelings” and he broke his own world record and went on to win two more golds in Atlanta.

DO IT YOURSELF: Feel is the byproduct of play, the testing and touching of those things that capture our attention. Feel is found in shooting, hitting, running, swimming for the feel of it in practice until you know that what you feel matches what you want. It’s quality over quantity. And to get it, you have to play (see Step 1). How do you find it? Feel is found in not leaving the gym until you’ve made 50 shots that felt right and went in, not counting the ones that went in, but felt bad. Feel is running or riding the hills until you find the rhythm of shifting gears that’s just right, attacking the hill without losing the momentum of the slope you’ve just left behind. Feel is finding and holding the glide in each stroke in the water that lessens the drag. Feel isn’t about working harder or trying to hit a certain number in a workout goal; it’s about experimenting to find what works best for you. And then when you find it, you know how to get it next time.

STEP 3: Remember the Why

The performers I’ve interviewed had a pretty simple, though not always easy, formula for success. They chose their sports (or careers) because they liked how doing that thing made them feel when they did it. Most of us assume that by chasing what we want (say, a marathon PR or a win on the tennis court), we'll also get what we like. But we can lose sight of what we like when chasing the actual goal.

Many years after working with Jeff Rouse, I talked with the guy who broke Jeff's records, Aaron Piersol. Aaron told me, "You can't ever forget why you're swimming, why you're doing what you're doing."

“I started swimming before I could walk. My family loved the water. It was like throw-the-kid-in because we were always around water. At a pool, at a spring, at the beach. That was how we spent our days,” he said.

“Competitive swimming is a very narrow definition of swimming. I’ve tried to explain that to other people and there are a lot of other opportunities to be comfortable with the water. If you want to be a good swimmer, you really want to know why you’re doing it. I just developed an appreciation for the water. When I go to the beach it’s beyond words. It’s just a feeling I get. It felt natural.”

Too often, we chase what we want at the expense of doing what makes us feel the way we like. We dress it up as being dedicated and hard working. That can lead to excuses, to replacing what we really like or want with the appreciation of others for how hard we worked. Or it can break us because what we like is no longer aligned with the work to getting what we want.

DO IT YOURSELF: When we were kids, we played and we liked. We played with those things and those people we liked. We had the freedom to like, a freedom fewer of us seem to allow ourselves. Instead of the pressure to “love” that comes with adulthood, as little kids, we were free to “like like” someone. What do you like about what you do? What do you like about running or cycling, playing hoops or golf or even your job regardless of where they lead you? My work consists mostly of reminding people how they like to feel and those activities and people that make that happen. I don’t need to remind people that they love what they do or that they want to achieve. My job is reconnecting them with the “like like” of a little kid that bridges that gap between what we like and what we want and doing the work it takes to get there. How do you get it? Try telling your story to someone or writing a blog post (or journal entry) about you sport—how you got into it, how learned to “like like” it. When you re-visit the roots, you remember how it felt to want to do it day after day. It’s a useful exercise, especially when you reach plateaus, hit a rough training spot, or just need some extra motivation.

STEP 4: Develop Trust, Not Confidence

What’s the difference between the two? Confidence is the belief that will get what you want—the outcome. Trust is knowing that you’ve done the work to allow you to do what you want to do. It’s subtle, but important—because trust actually can help you perform better, even when you’re not feeling confident. The best example of this came out in my interview with Grammy Award-winning musician Bruce Hornsby.

Bruce sat midcourt at his piano at the NBA All-Star Game, waiting with Branford Marsalis to play the National Anthem. As the lights went down, the cue for them to begin playing, a little red light went on over the television camera indicating they were live-- all the way to China. Bruce's hands resting down by his side, started to shake. He couldn't remember this happening before and his usual confidence hesitated.

He did what great performers do, even when their confidence escapes them-- he put his hands on the keys. Why? Because he trusted his hands to know what to do once they felt the keys. His hands could stay in the moment. He'd done the work well enough to allow them to do what they knew, to do what they could control without worrying about the outcome.

DO IT YOURSELF: Developing trust is the result of the relationship to what you do and how you do it. Trust comes as much from playing as it does from training or reps. Knowing your “thing” whether it’s a bike, a ball, or your shoes, play allows you to test them out, to bend them, move them, shape them, control them until they’re your friend. Toss the golf or tennis ball in the air sitting at your desk. Ride your bike instead of driving as often as you can. Wear your shoes until you know them and love them and feel that they fit you, not just your feet. Whatever it is, play with it—and this is key, away from your training—to get that feeling of trust.

STEP 5: Stop Judging

Accountability is literally taking responsibility for your results. How did you do? Judgment is how you feel about yourself based on how you did and is too often informed by your feelings. Great performers first and foremost hold themselves accountable for how they did, but really work on getting away from judgment.

A national team golfer was having problems landing a ball softly without rolling it too far away from the hole. So I had a suggestion: I’d stand in front of her while she shot.

“Hit the ball over my head,” I told her, “and make it land right behind me.”

Her eyes popped out of her head as if to say, “You want me to do WHAT?”

She’d told me about the judgment, the worry, the pressure she felt to perform. She’d shared how golf had gone from the wonder at that first time she got a ball up into the air as a girl, breaking a window of the family farm back home, to the worry of what she’d lose if she didn’t play well-- the scholarship, the education, the opportunities that being good afforded her.

She’d tried the visualization and relaxation techniques, the focus training, and simply hitting more balls, but couldn’t escape the self-judgment. She worried more about what she might do wrong than what she had actually done right or how to get better. She needed to just play golf and stop judging herself.

So I stood ten feet in front of her, between her and the fifth hole, and told her we weren’t leaving until she hit the ball over my head and landed it near the hole. We weren’t leaving until she felt what she needed to feel.

She squirmed over the ball, twitching, moving, uncomfortable and scared of hurting me. I smiled. I knew that if she could do this, she would learn what she needed to learn or at least experience what she needed to.

She sculled the first ball and I ducked as it whizzed by my head and into the creek. She covered her nervous laugh with her hand over her mouth. I laughed, and that made all the difference. She knew I wasn’t judging her.

The next shot was too soft and it landed gently in my hands. We played around with the club, laying it flatter on the ground and something fell into place. She stopped squirming and set herself like all of a sudden she knew what needed doing. And she just did it. She hit the ball high over my head and it landed softly behind me, then rolled within a foot of the cup. A huge smile, almost a giggle.

We stayed and played with the shot, with the ball, experimenting to see what worked. She played with it. She embraced the accountability-- that the ball was doing exactly what she made it do. And when it didn’t do what she wanted it to do, she played with it some more until it did exactly what she wanted it to do. No technical or mechanical thinking. Just playing and feeling. No judgment or pushing, but experimentation, creativity, and results.

I saw her a month or so later. She’d been playing well and I asked her why.

“I figured out what mattered,” she said.

DO IT YOURSELF: Getting rid of self-judgment requires the discipline of play, of creativity and experimentation, testing yourself instead of pushing yourself. You have to create those meaningless moments on purpose with your friends or teammates or people who couldn’t care less about the results, who just like spending time with you, who like playing with you and give you the freedom to be yourself. Really, it’s like being a kid again—running through the woods, swimming laps as you’re pretending to be in the Olympics, biking like you’re saving E. T., or taking the game winning shot and missing, then pretending you got fouled. Doing these things allow you into what seem like effortless moments until you realize, soaked and exhausted, it’s only the self-judgment that’s missing, not your resolve to do what works, to win, or to be better."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Exclusive interviews with Roger Gracie!

Check out London Real's exclusive full one-hour interview (and a 3 minute trailer) with BJJ champion Roger Gracie-- Here's the trailer:

The hour-long one:

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I'm gluten-free again (going back to NY end of November for another round of egg retrieval!)  So these aren't for me.  They're for houseguests during Thanksgiving to enjoy for breakfast. :)

Makes 12 muffins
If fresh cranberries aren't available, substitute frozen: Microwave them in a bowl until they're partially but not fully thawed, 30 to 45 seconds.
Streusel Topping
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, softened
  •  Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 1/3 cups (6 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups pecan halves, toasted and cooled
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (7 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1. FOR THE STREUSEL: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Process flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, and salt in food processor until mixture resembles coarse sand, 4 to 5 pulses. Add pecans and process until pecans are coarsely chopped, about 4 pulses. Transfer to small bowl; set aside.

2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Spray 12-cup muffin tin with baking spray with flour. Whisk flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt together in bowl; set aside.
3. Process toasted pecans and granulated sugar until mixture resembles coarse sand, 10 to 15 seconds. Transfer to large bowl and whisk in eggs, butter, and milk until combined. Whisk flour mixture into egg mixture until just moistened and no streaks of flour remain. Set batter aside 30 minutes to thicken.
4. Pulse cranberries, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and confectioners’ sugar in food processor until very coarsely chopped, 4 to 5 pulses. Using rubber spatula, fold cranberries into batter. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups, slightly mounding in middle. Evenly sprinkle streusel topping over muffins, gently pressing into batter to adhere. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin on wire rack, 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The ABCs...

It's been a while since my last political post.  And since I interrupted my viewing of Metamoris fights last night to watch the second debate between Mitt and Barack, I thought I'd share some thoughts on both with you.

On Metamoris:  I only watched two fights so far... of course, these would be Roger v Buchecha and Ryron v Galvao.  I was amazingly impressed by them both as far as fights go.  I was not thrilled with the bullsh*t artsyfartsy camera work-- I don't CARE what their facial expressions are, I am watching for the JIU JITSU, and thus the very very close-up shots AND the far away, capture-the-big-picture scenes are both detrimental to my ability to follow the grappling.  I was not as impressed by the Ryron/Galvao fight mainly because I thought Galvao should have been able to make something happen-- Ryron did (as Rener noted) seem a little too relaxed at times-- and yet I did think Ryron was extremely sport-jiu jitsu focused because if someone was pounding on his face during this, his lackadaisical comfort on the bottom would have evaporated.

Then the debate came on and I turned off youtube.

Today I found some "ABCs" of the debate and liked them so much, decided to share a select few.  They were written by journalist Erin Gloria Ryan on Jezebel.


And, only two letters into the alphabet and not long into the debate, Mitt Romney gift wraps and delivers the event's most meme-able moment.  As the story goes, when Mittens Romney was governorbot of Massachusetts, he told his staff that he wanted more women in his cabinet. But there weren't any qualified applicants! So instead of just hiring all dudes, like he'd always done, Mitt urged his minions on in a relentless search for women. They followed them to the bus stop. They found out where they liked to get coffee. They watched them read books in the park. They sent love poems to their email, elaborate edible bouquets to their offices, and dead birds to their boyfriends. Mitt Romney ate, slept, and breathed women. BINDERS FULL OF THEM.
Except the story is a big crock of piping hot homestyle bullshit. The real story of the binders is that before the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial elections, a group of 40 or so interest groups in the state formed a coalition to find women qualified for upper level jobs in the state government. Leading the charge was the bipartisan Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, not Mitt Romney's made up ah-hyuck aw garsh, where are all the ladies? antics. On Mitt Romney's first day in office, he was presented with the list of women the coalition found. So not only was it a weird thing to say, it was a weird thing to say that was also a lie.
Veracity of the Binders story aside, by the end of the debate, Romney's story had spawned,, and my personal favorite, Binders Full of Women, the Tumblr.


When a dark haired, olive complected woman named Lorraine Osorio asked how the candidates would deal with law abiding undocumented Americans, Mitt Romney sensitively referred to them as "illegals." At least he didn't talk about "self-deportation" this time.


Audience member Katherine Fenton struck lady voter gold last night when she asked the candidates the question that finally got them talking about what we've been waiting to hear from them — equal pay, which ended up spawning an awesome response by the President about how abortion and birth control are economic issues. Here's his response, in part,
A major difference in this campaign is that Governor Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington decide the health care choices that women are making. I think that's a mistake. In my health care bill I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured because this is not just a health issue, it's an economic issue for women. It makes a difference. This is money out of that family's pocket. Governor Romney not only opposed it, he suggested that employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage. That's not the kind of advocacy that women need. When Governor Romney says that we should eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, there are millions of women all across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood for not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings. That's a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country, and it makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work. When we talk about child care and the credits that we're providing, that makes a difference in terms of whether they can go out there and earn a living for their family. These are not just women's issues. These are family issues, these are economic issues, and one of the things that makes us grow as an economy is when everybody participates and women are getting the same fair deal as men are, and I've got two daughters, and I want to make sure that they have the same opportunities that anybody's sons have. That's a part of what I'm fighting for as President of the United States.
F*cking finally.

L is for LIBYA

Pundits are saying that this is the moment when Romney lost it— he accused the President of refusing to call the Libya attacks an act of terror, when in fact the day after they happened, the President referred to them as an "act of terror" during a speech in the Rose Garden. And Candy Crowley provided the live fact check.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I think it's interesting the President just said something which is that on the day after the attack he went to the Rose Garden and said this was an act of terror.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's what I said.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an attack of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that. It took the President 14 days before he called it an attack of terror.
MODERATOR: Let me call it an act of terror. He did call it an act of terror.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
MODERATOR: He did call it an act of terror.
Then the audience applauded.


While answering a question about keeping assault weapons off of the streets, Mitt Romney offered an unorthodox, but predictable prescription to solve America's crime problems: let's not pass any new gun laws. Instead, let's get unregulated women off the streets. When single parents ("single parents" is dog whistle talk for "single mothers") exist in a state of unmatrimony, you see, they raise children who grow up to shoot dozens of people in movie theaters. If only women would get married, all of the problems would be solved!

During his stern Ward Cleaver lecture about how American gals shouldn't bring children into circumstances that statistically lead to crime — single parenthood, poverty, etc — what he didn't say said a lot more than what he actually said. The irony of the Romney's weird, meandering solution to the gun problem was that it didn't register that defunding Planned Parenthood and outlawing most abortion would likely lead to more children being born to unmarried women. Does Mitt Romney have a plan to personally visit each and every one of those women and try to bully them into giving their children to a nice, Mormon family?


[Note: this is one I really got mad about-- 99% of my facebook status update outcries during the debate were about this one.]

Don't worry, ladies. If Mitt Romney is President, he'll make sure that your boss lets you be home to make dinner for your kids. He knows what it's like for employers to hire women. You've gotta let them get to their god-ordained servant duties, or it all goes to shit! From the debate transcript,
Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But number two, because I recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.
She said, I can't be here until 7 or 8 o'clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o'clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let's have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.
To Mitt Romney, that's what workplace equality means — the ability for women to continue to do household chores while working a full time job. We can only assume that if elected, Mitt Romney will replace the Lily Ledbetter Act with the Make Me A Sandwich Act.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Comfort food tonight.

Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Sherry-Olive Pan Sauce
Serves 4-- 320 calories/serving

8 boneless, skinless, thin-cut (1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick) chicken breast cutlets (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 lb.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sherry, preferably medium dry, such as amontillado
1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and slivered
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly and cooled

Season the chicken on both sides with about 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working in two or three batches to avoid crowding, cook the chicken until lightly browned on both sides and just cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer each batch of chicken to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm. If the pan seems dry at any point, add 2 more tsp. of oil.

Reduce the heat to medium, add 2 tsp. oil, and then the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sherry and chicken broth, increase the heat to medium high, and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the olives and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and spoon the mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.

Monday, October 15, 2012

what's new?

Well, I trained one day last week, on Monday, and it was AWESOME being back!  The warmup didn't kill me as I'd feared, though 15 burpees did suck so I know I have lost some fitness.  I really enjoyed the positional sparring, and I noticed that some old habitual behaviors have slipped away... for instance, we were told to start in closed guard and only try for submission-- no sweeps.  I learned initially from a leftie, so I always start with my left hand in the collar (even though I am a rightie.)  But this time, for whatever reason, I threw my right hand into the collar.  I don't mean to say that was the Golden Egg of Success or anything, but I did think it interesting that I have apparently forgotten? lost? some muscle memory.  In any case it was fun to be back.

And then on Tuesday, I had a consultation with a new doctor, because I needed another laparoscopy to remove endometriosis... and fortunately for me, he had an opening in his surgery schedule for the very next day.  So that was that for training-- I recover quickly from laps, but I know better than to push it.  Boo.  I'll be watching class tonight and hopefully back on the mats later this week-- as soon as the incisions are fully healed.  Nothing worse than popping out some intestines or whatever on the mat.... ew!

I got to meet and hang out with Chris O'Dell, president of Datsusara MMA, and his lovely better half Maria this weekend... they were in town from California and we had lunch and caught the UFC together.  I am just about done with my review of the 2.0 version of their hemp gi... and was shocked to learn that Chris is mainly a nogi guy!  Haha :)

I missed Metamoris this weekend.  I wanted to get it, of course... but we found out my husband's company might be doing a 30% layoff in the next week or two.  Yikes.  So, I cancelled our lovely Farmhouse Delivery of local, organic produce... and no Metamoris..  I will say, the Farmhouse delivery was a nice idea and we really loved about 3/4 of each delivery.  The food was always very fresh and the service very easy to use.  However, there was enough unappealing stuff that the cost margin became a little iffy in my opinion.  I don't mind trying new stuff if I end up liking it-- but I wasn't crazy about getting a bag of green persimmons (they're still not ripe)... didn't care for the butternut squash... and this week, the collard greens were yellow overnight (too bad because I love me some greens.)  Also I've never had French sorrel before-- it's a lemony-ish soft green leaf thing that is supposedly good for salad.  I tried a bite and wasn't thrilled, but I need to eat it and not waste it, so I'll be tossing it around with baby spinach and a strong dressing.  On the plus side, we have FOUR ears of corn for dinner tonight.  Yum.  Plus local Gala apples, new potatoes, radishes, spring onions... it's high cotton for salads in my household :)

Here's a recipe they posted, for Grilled Chicken and Sorrel Salad with Creamy Dressing...

For dressing
  • 1/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For salad
  • 1/2 bunch sorrel, coarse stems discarded and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 pound hearts of romaine, torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
  • 1/4 pound frisée, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh tarragon, leaves coarsely chopped if large
Make dressing:
Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
Make salad:
Toss together all salad ingredients with dressing in bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

And here's their recipe for Sorrel Vichyssoise-- too bad I just made a pot of Potato-Leek soup last week or I would have tried this...

1 cup finely chopped white and pale green part of leek, washed well
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound boiling potatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 pound fresh sorrel, stems discarded and the leaves rinsed, spun  dry, and shredded coarse (about 8 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives, or to taste, plus, if desired, additional for  garnish

In a large saucepan cook the leek and the onion with salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, add the potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, the broth, and the water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender. Stir in the sorrel and simmer the mixture for 1 minute. Purée the mixture in a blender in batches, transferring it as it is puréed to a bowl, and let it cool. Stir in the cream, the chives, and salt and pepper to taste, chill the soup, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight, and serve it sprinkled with the additional chives.  Also good warm.

Anyway, we are of course totally freaking out about the layoff.  It couldn't come at a worse time-- our doctor in NY wants me to come for the next egg retrieval shortly after Thanksgiving to take advantage of the laparoscopy, and that's a LOT of money to throw out of the bank when you're looking at mortgages and so on with just my state-employee salary.  *sigh*  If you aren't sick of praying for me yet, toss another one our way please.

Lastly, big congrats to my team for astounding successes and LOTS of bling this weekend at a local tournament... I didn't go, but I see lots of sore necks from holding up medals in the photos.  :)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

IVF update...

Good news from NYC... Dr. Braverman is wonderful :) 

We (um, I) produced fewer eggs than expected (7, and only 4 were ripe/mature-- compared to last time, in May, when I made 11 eggs, 9 ripe) -- however, they were higher quality this time and we ended up with 3 blasts (this means blastocyst stage or an embryo that is more likely to be chromosomally normal and therefore capable of making a baby.)  So they're all frozen, and now I will probably begin the medications necessary for quelling my overactive immune system so that we can transfer some embryos back in sometime next spring.  It's possible we'll go through another stimulation cycle to make more eggs, but we haven't discussed it yet.

Very, very good news and totally a blessing from God, Dr. Braverman, and the embryologist Carlo.  Big relief.  Of course, the embryos have to survive the freeze and the thaw and then my killer uterus... but we're one step closer.