Author Archives: workschooleatplay

No Time = Crock Pot Time

I was stressing about how I would manage to cook something healthy with no time to spare, so I decided it was time to break out my crock pot!  And what better to make in a crock pot than chili?  Unfortunately I completely underestimated the size of my crock pot and made way too much, which means I get to make another batch later on with no extra work!  It came really good, so I’m not complaining!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken (turkey probably would have been better but I had chicken)
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes undrained (I used one can fire roasted and one can no salt added)
  • 1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request Tomato soup
  • 1 bottle dark beer (I used Guinness)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large bag of frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a skillet, brown the ground chicken and chopped onions.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Add chicken and onions, and put mixture in crock pot
  3. Cook for 9 hours on low heat
  4. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy!

I served this with baked potatoes but it was so good and filling that we didn’t even want the potatoes.  This isn’t hot (it’s actually a little sweet) so if you like hot chili you’re on your own!

 

Bethany

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I Don’t Want To Wake Up At 5:30am!

So training to start the season hasn’t gone as well as I’ve hoped. I have a 5K race next week which I would like to win and I’ve only had a chance to run a few times, I have 60 mile bike ride on May 20th and have yet to get on my bike…or even put air in my tires (or take a spin class because I quit the gym!) I have a sprint triathlon in June and have yet to get in the pool (my bother-in-law Dan is probably going to beat me and he’s never even done one)…Not a good start to my season. I guess I have to come to the realization that you can’t really train for a triathlon while working 5 days a week, going to school at night, coaching a tennis team, trying to see Andy much as I can (he’s in bed by 8pm), and trying to make time to go out and spend time with Jess (she’s in bed by 9:30pm haha). I do have some time on the weekends but working out for 2 days in a row and then doing nothing for 5 isn’t what I call “training.”

Right now, my free time during the week is as follows: Monday nights, Wednesday nights, and the weekend. Monday night is my night with Andy because I get home early and Jess doesn’t get home till 9:30pm. So if I want to train, I need to start at 9:30 which means I won’t get to see Jess that night. That sucks. Tuesday night I’m in class and don’t get home till 10pm. Jess is sleeping already but I’m not starting to work out after 10pm. Wednesday night is ball night (balllll niiiight- Mike and Tony know what I mean). I guess you can say that I am working out because basketball is great exercise, but it doesn’t really help in the distance-running, biking and swimming departments…. “So don’t play ball….” My problem is I love playing ball on Wednesday nights with my friends. While I was training for the Half Ironman, I gave up ball (officially retired) because I didn’t have time to play and I was really nervous to injure myself and have all that training go down the tubes. I don’t want to be Brett Favre and keep retiring and un-retiring from the game and I’m not giving up ball night! Plus, now that tennis season started most of matches are scheduled for Wednesday nights so I barely get to play ball as it is! Thursday night is class again. Woohoo- there’s my week.

What? The gym opens at 5:30am and there is a spin class twice a week at 6?? Yea ok.

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May the Force Be With You

While balancing such busy lives its important to find time just to relax and jump into small passions that are really designed just for your enjoyment.  As you can tell from this blog, most of our time is spent dedicated to our profession, education, family, cooking, significant others, kids that once in awhile you have to find something fun an enjoyable.   Preferably something that requires as little thinking as possible.

A personal passion point for me is I am addicted to Star Wars.  I have the movie series on blue-ray and when I have a few minutes just to do nothing I watch Star Wars. Thanks to XBOX Kinect which I mentioned in an earlier entry Stars Wars has delivered a new way for me to find a few minutes to myself…and by the way I can wield a light saber at the same time!

Kinect Star Wars allows you to podrace, try a ton of different capaigns, and whether you’re racing or in the middle of a lightsaber battle its tremendous fun.

You have to check it out and may the force be with you!

Spencer

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Welcome Baby Kess!

Here is how it all went down.

A few weeks ago my 39 weeks pregnant wife wakes up with lower back pain. Her due date wasn’t for another week, so we thought nothing of it. After all, an additional 30lbs on anyone, let alone a pregnant woman might give you back pain.

The work day was surprisingly quiet, thank gawd.  The night before I had 2 papers, and a presentation due at school and I was toast. Fo’ realz.

Around 4pm she IMs me and tells me that she thinks the lower back pain actually might be contractions, and maybe I should get my butt home to help her ride out the pain.

So I rush home, heart pounding, thinking that the baby is going to be delivered on the floor of my living room. Before I walk in the door, I get some fat stack (Sorry, I’ve been watching Breaking Bad – that means cash) and move our new Nissan Rogue closer to the house. I traded up for my Mini Cooper a week prior. (Nice timing, huh?)

I walk in the door to find my wife is pacing back and forth until a contraction came, which meant that she was doubled over in pain holding onto our crappy Ikea kitchen table.  From this point on I was bouncing off the walls triple checking our “bring to hospital list”.  She was the one in labor but she was telling ME to relax.

Me: Do you have your iPhone charger?

Her: Yes.

Me: Do you have your Kindle?

Her: Yes.

Me: Do you have your Kindle charger?

Her: Yes?

Me: Where is my iPhone charger?

Her: I don’t know.

Me: Where the fuck is my phone?

Her: It’s in your pocket.

Me: No it’s not.

Her: Yes it is.

Me: Oh right, it is. Do you have extra socks? Where are the snacks? Should we call the Dr? Should I call my parents? What about your parents? Its rush hour on Friday. We’re fucked. What’s the hospital address?  Is the EZpass in the car? Do I need my checkbook?  I’m hungry. Are you hungry? What’s in the fridge? Should we order something? Should I go get it?

Her: CALMMMMMMMMM DOWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNN!

Ok, ok. You get the point. After I sat on a bowl of ice (meaning “chilled out”, get it), we dealt with her contractions until 2:30am. It wasn’t fun.  She was in pain, we were both exhausted, and it was only going to get worse. We finally called the Dr. to let her know what was happening and of course, we were forwarded to an answering service. Wouldn’t you know, when the Dr. called back I missed the call – probably because I was keeping track of the contractions with an amazing iPhone app. When we called back, and then she called back (again), she was annoyed that we missed the call. I wanted smack her in the scrubs for being so condescending. Excuse me for being an almost new parent who has no idea what to do.

She told us to come in to the hospital, so I lugged our two overnight bags, bags of snacks, car seat, and everything else we thought we might need into the car and off we went. When we got to triage, wifey face wasn’t even close as far as dilation was concerned. On top of that, the Dr. was just as mean in person as she was on the phone. I looked at my lady and I was like, “Oh no she di….int.” She responded with, “Oh no… I HAAAATE her.” We still had hours to go, but the contractions were getting worse. They almost sent us home which was NOT happening. They had us walk around the hospital letting gravity do its thing for 5 hours.  At 3:00am, when your wife is screaming in pain every 5 minutes and you have to walk around for hours in a circle, you tend to get a bit tense.

After that misery, they re-checked her shiz, and woohoo!  She was 5 cm, which meant, DRUGS!!!!!!!!!!!  Luckily Dr. had taken a nap before returning to our room and was in a much better mood so I didn’t have to kill her. She had even called the anesthesiologist (or as wifey calls him – her new best friend) and he was waiting outside the door. She had made it through… Rain rain, pain go away. Granted we still had hours to go, but at least Mrs. Kess wasn’t suffering anymore.

I made a few calls and sent some texts to semi important people to give them the news about what was happening. After some insane screaming, a bunch of cursing, and some powerful visuals (go watch a birth video!), my son Logan Reid was born.  Boom!  I’m a father.

Best feeling in the world.  Go do it. It’s amazing. Now I’m up to my ears foul liquid coming from all sorts of places on my son’s body.  But I don’t care at all. He is the best. And I love him with all I got.

I’m out!

Kess

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Budovideos.com

This isn’t a post. It is  just to inform you that some of the martial arts gear that I have purchased over the years has come from Budovideos.com.

For example….the below item is on sale for $39.95 USD.

Shock Doctor Long Compression Legging with BioFlex Cup – Black #32356

 

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Travel and Stay Healthy

Tomorrow I’m off to travel internationally which got me thinking…there has to be a way to enjoy the sites, sounds and yes, even tastes of travel with out gaining 10 pounds in a week.  Well there’s a way!  Lonely Planet produces  a series of informative books about ways to enjoy the culinary delights of other countries while still keeping on a moderate diet.

Check out this fantastic book should you ever be traveling out all the way to Asia and India.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wosceapl-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1740591445&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Spencer

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True Life: I Love Hamburger Helper

Really. There are a ton of flavors that I would never be able to create in a “limited” kitchen- I have very few spices. Because I’ve had nothing but overwhelming success with regular Hamburger Helper, I decided to try Mexican Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chicken Helper this week.

A major issue with Hamburger Helper and all of its spinoffs is that it’s not very healthy.  Luckily, I healthify everything so I was up for the challenge. It came pretty good but was a little bland, so next time I’ll add more salt, fresh cilantro, and, if I can muster up the courage, a little bit of hot sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Chicken Helper: Mexican Cheesy Chicken Enchilada (contains rice and seasoning packet)
  • 1.5 pounds uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ chunks  (listed on box)
  • 1 cup skim milk (listed on box)
  • 2 cups hot water (listed on box)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, chopped (they were out of green so I doubled up on red)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (needs more salt than I would have thought)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Saute onion and peppers in oil until soft
  2. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes.  It should not be cooked through yet.
  3. Stir in hot water, milk, seasoning packet, rice, and tomatoes.  Heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally or rice will stick.
  4. Add black beans and cook 5 more minutes
  5. Remove from heat and uncover so the sauce can thicken
  6. Make sure you salt it or its boring!

I would have switched the box rice for my brown rice but I was out of brown rice… oh well! I served this with a large helping of vegetables and it made about 8 servings.  I also swished the hot water in the tomato can before I put it in the mix to pick up any of the flavor and pieces that might have been left behind. Enjoy, and go forward knowing that you too can enjoy Hamburger Helper.

Bethany

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Balsamic Pasta Salad

For some reason, there were beef hotdogs with cheese in the middle in my freezer.  I decided I could only make them if I could come up with something healthy to eat on the side.  I was VERY motivated because I love hot dogs- maybe that’s how they got in my freezer…  This pasta salad was really fast to make (about 30 minutes- I chopped all of the vegetables while the water was heating and the pasta was cooking) and is delicious.  And it is healthy enough to eat with beef hotdogs with cheese!

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 box pasta (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne)
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 box grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 bag spinach (I would have used the whole bag but I ran out of room in my pot!)

Dressing:

  • 1 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • freshly grated parmigiano reggiano  cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to directions on the box.  Two minutes before the pasta is done, add broccoli to the boiling water (This may or may not be called blanching).  Drain when pasta is done cooking
  2. Cool pasta/broccoli by running it under cold water
  3. Mix in all of the remaining salad ingredients
  4. Whisk together all of dressing ingredients, pour dressing over salad
  5. Salt to taste, and grate more cheese on top
  6. Done!  Now you can go back to your life and I can go back to studying

Bethany

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You’ll Get Better- Trust Me

I can’t wait for triathlon season. I actually started training this week for my first race in June. Here are a few tips for first-time triathletes:

1. Start with a shorter distance and work your way up. The first 2 triathlons I ever completed were sprint triathlons. This distance is great because it is short, quick and you get to learn the ins and outs of racing and transitioning from swim to bike and bike to run, plus, what exactly you need in order to finish the race. When it comes to triathlons, there’s a ton of equipment and it definitely gets confusing. It’s not like a 10K race, where you can show up with shorts, a shirt and sneakers and be ready to go. Also, by starting with a shorter distance, you will realize how much you need to train in order to get to the next level.   

2. Get familiar with the course. For the first race, make it easy on yourself and choose an event close to home. If the event is within easy driving distance from your house, it helps reduce race-day stress and hassle. You can also do some of your workouts on the course, increasing your confidence and your familiarity with the race. One time during a 5K race, I accidentally made a left instead of a right because I didn’t know the course at all…I was actually in first place at that point and finished in 4th place because of that stupid mistake. Don’t let that happen to you! (unless your racing against me, then it’s fine).

3. A swim-suit and goggles is all you need. If you do not own a wetsuit, no problem! Most people think you need a wetsuit in order to compete but I can attest you really don’t…I am usually one of the few out there in just a swim suit and goggles and it works out well because I can find myself easily in post race pictures! Sometimes however, races do require a wetsuit because the water is freezing and in that case you can always rent one if you don’t want to throw down $300 on a brand new one. Good goggles however, are a must. I’ve tried to buy a cheap pair of goggles and ended up regretting it since the straps come loose and the lenses fog up which makes for a brutal swim.  

4. Any bike is fine. Any working bike you have will be just fine whether it’s a road bike, mountain bike or hybrid. When I first started, I did my first 60 mile bike ride with my Trek mountain bike. Needless to say, I was the only one there with a mountain bike but who cares! It was definitely tougher on a heavy mountain bike but I still finished. Also, try and train on the bike you will be riding during the race rather than borrowing a bike on race day. It’s really important to be comfortable with the bike you are racing with. Make sure you know how to change a flat tire just in case!

5. Running sneakers are actually important. If you do not currently own a pair of running sneakers, you need a pair. Jackrabbit in Manhattan/Brooklyn is a great store that specializes in triathlon sports. They have treadmills in the store and can help you find the right sneakers for you. They should ask you questions about your feet, running history and watch your gait while walking and running.

6. It doesn’t take as much training as you might think. If you are in good running and biking shape you shouldn’t have a problem finishing a sprint triathlon. I’m not saying you’ll come in first place, but you should be able to finish. Getting to a pool is the main issue. Once you find a pool or lake to train in you should be money. You don’t need to be training 20 to 30 hours per week. You can be ready for a sprint-distance race on less than five hours per week of training. Most weeks are less than five hours. 

8. Transition time actually counts. I was surprised by time it takes to change from swimming to biking and from biking to running (known as transitions, “T1” and “T2”). All of the time between the start of your swim and when you cross the finish line at the end of the run counts! Make sure you practice your transitions and have your transition area set up in a way that makes sense. After the swim, have a towel to dry off, make sure your change of clothes is in order, sneakers or bike shoes are open and ready to go and your helmet is on your bike. For T2, I am usually in the top 10 in this stage because I don’t have clips on my bike. It saves me almost 2-3 minutes because I literally get off my bike, take my helmet off and go! In a sprint triathlon 2 years ago I had a T2 transition time of 16 seconds- good for Number 1 overall!!    

For your first race, try to keep things simple. Once you get hooked on the sport, you can look into ways to get faster or go longer. Once you do get hooked, there’s PLENTY of gear such as Garmin heart rate monitors, odometers and GPS systems, specialized triathlon bikes, and a ton more…If you do your first triathlon this summer, please be sure to let me know how it goes! (Thanks to Gale Bernhardt at active.com).

Evan

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This One’s For Wrigley

I am a huge dog person.  Love ‘em, can’t get enough of those four legged creatures.  Last year I rescued my dog who’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  The dog is completely attached to me and my life.  His name is Wrigley and we can’t imagined what we did around the apartment before we had the little guy.  Cavaliers are known to have heart conditions.  Furthermore with Wrigley being a rescue this puts him at an even further risk of having a poor condition.  Luckily this was not the case for me.  However in the spirit of health, here are some tips for Man’s Best Friend:

2. Chew teeth-cleaning chews or biscuits and have his/her teeth brushed 3 times per week.

3. Avoid people food as much as possible.

4. Get his/her vaccinations and visit the veterinarian for regular checkups.

5. Take his/her medications as prescribed by the veterinarian, if applicable.

6. Eat only the amount of dog food necessary to maintain an ideal body condition, measured with a standardized measuring cup, and monitor body condition regularly.

7. Exercise or play actively at least 3 times per day for at least 15 minutes each time.

8. Be trained to respond to my commands most of the time.

9. Be safe in the yard, on walks, and on trips by using protective barriers and gear such as fences, leashes, and dog carriers.

10. Be happy!

The last point is my favorite.  You can find more information on pet health here: http://www.realage.com/pet-health/

Spencer

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