Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour de France 2012

Guess what started Today?!

I got into it about 3 years ago and hooked my husband. I think I started watching it at the gym. As I watched those cyclists I pushed myself harder on whatever I was doing because they were so inspiring.  I told myself, "look at what they are doing. If they can do THAT, I can at least go a little harder and sweat a little more and hurt a little more too."

I have some favorite teams, Team Radioshack, with riders, Frank Schleck (no brother Andy this year), Fabian Cancellara, Andreas Kloden and Yaroslav Popovych are some of the famous names that I recognize. 

Team Garmin, another favorite, which used to be Garmin-Cervelo, which is now Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda. Their "better" known riders are, Ryder Hesjadal, Tyler Farrar(I believe he's a good sprinter), Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, David Miller, Tom Danielson. 

I like a lot of them. I like Team Lampre's "outfits," but that's just a girl perspective. I like Team BMC, with it's leaders like Cadel Evans(winner of the 2011 Tour and winner of the Yellow Jersey), George Hincapie, Tejay Van Garderen and Phillippe Gilbert- everyone on the the team is important and each play a vital role in the success of the team.  

Here are some other big names you might recognize Tomas Voeckler, the vivacious little Frenchman(Team Europcar), Samuel Sanchez(Team Euskaltel-Euskadi), Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Edvlad Boasson Hagen(Team Sky Procycling), Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Andre Greipel(Team Lotto-Belisol), Mark Renshaw(Team Rabobank), Levi Leipheimer, Jerome Pineau(Team Omega Pharma-Quick Step). There are of course a lot of other riders out there, I am just not as familiar with them. I don't follow cycling as religiously as some do.  I am also not familiar with some of the teams either, or rather am unfamiliar with any of their riders. 
There are 20 stages in the Tour with two days of rest the first after stage 9 and the second after stage 15, two time trials, 9 flat stages, 4 medium mountain stages( me a mountain is a mountain), 5 mountain stages and 1 prologue. 
Check out the elevation map!
 Someone added those "le_____", not me.

The longest ride is 140 miles stage 12 from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay DavĂ©zieux on Friday July 13th.  

The shortest are the time trials and the prologue. 

I always get super nervous when they are going downhill because they go SO fast. Me, going down hill it's squeaky breaks all the way. I have no desire to eat road.  I'm pretty sure I would die both going up and down the hills. Wait, correction, I wouldn't make it up the hill.

The peloton is the main big group of riders usually behind those that have decided to sprint ahead.  

Jerseys are as follows:
Yellow: Leader of general individual time classification.
Green Jersey: It is worn by the leader of the points classification. The points can be won on intermediate sprints and at stage finishes. Polka-dot Jersey: Best Climber
White Jersey: Best young rider under 25 in general individual time classification.
These athletes are incredible, their stamina and energy. Some even get back on their bikes after falls. It's incredible. Last year a television car clipped two riders, as it was swerved to avoid a tree, Juan Antonio Flecha was hit and knocked into Johnny Hoogerland who went flying off into a barbed wire fence. They both got up and ended up finish that stage. INSPIRING!

Will you be watching the Tour?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Anniversary Weekend Part 1

As of June 24, 2012 I have been married to my best friend for 6 years! C-R-A-Z-Y, but not crazy bad. Just crazy how time flies (especially when you are having fun).  I'm excited to see what the next many years will bring!

For our anniversary this year, we decided to stay local and head to our old favorite stomping ground, NYC.  Ahh yes, the city that never sleeps, the BIG apple.  

We stayed in The Grand Hyatt, above Grand Central Station at 42nd and Lexington. I've stayed there before.  It's not one of the cheaper ones, but it's also not the most expensive.  It's also very convenient 4 blocks from 5th Ave 6 or so from Times Square. Just a hop on the 4, 5 or 6 to get down to Chinatown/Brooklyn Bridge. Plus, the hotel is nice and modern which I like. have a view of the Chrysler Building, if you are on the correct side.  
King Size-upgrade-before Gary flopped on it! 
 Cozy little reading area, with random table in the middle, but it works.
 Flat screen, thank you and cute little lit shelves.  Behind the cabinets are a mini fridge and a safe. Closet to the left
 VERY important for me to have a clean bathroom. I get uber skeeved out if it's gross. I mean you are supposed to get CLEAN in a shower!
 We had lunch in Grand Central because we were starving.  Although I wish I had held out because there was a great street fair right outside of our building with all kinds of delis looking meats.
I chose to eat at Hale and Hearty Soups.  It is great, but a little intimidating.  Intimidating because the lines are long and you have to order quick or they get annoyed and people behind you do too. It kind of reminds me of eating at Pat's Steaks in Philly, order quick and don't be weird about it. I think Philly is more intimidating. Wit or Wit out?
 They chop it for you if you want. This was the small salad with corn, carrots, cucumbers, avocado and chipotle salad dressing. I was attempting a southwest salad just without the protein apparently.
 Gary loves falafel and schwarma
 P.S. This day was VERY warm. I almost didn't make it through the day.  It was the humidity that was killing me though. I can do heat, not humidity. Thankfully it thunder stormed and took some of that away.
Street fair- Spices- may be a little gross to be out in the open, but they were pretty.

 Mozzarella and sweet corn cake- y'all know I love cheese, but this was meeeh.  I felt bad for all those vendors sweating over the hot grills.

Anniversary Dinner: Thank you Living Social! 79$ for a 4 course meal and a bottle of white/red wine @ Nino's Tuscany Steakhouse by 58th and 7th. There were A LOT of living social users there that night. The food wasn't bad, the atmosphere was nice, wine was good, service was good (refilled my water plenty).
 We both started off with bruchetta as well as bread/oil
 Gary's appetizer and mine, of course with shrimp

Gary's homemade ravioli 

 Veal topped with prosciutto and mozzarella with fresh green beans and mashed potatoes(weird choice and those weren't very good).

 I felt kinda bad. Being a blogger I take pics of everything. And...since the restaurant was very dark I kept having to use my flash. This is why most of my food looks uber white and washed out. 

 Dessert: Gary got ricotta cheese cake (which wasn't as creamy as it would have been with say cream cheese or mascarpone)

Here's where I committed a dessert sin: I didn't finish my chocolate mousse(insert *gasp). It was extremely rich and delicious, but I was just too stuffed. One too many breadsticks I guess. 

Grand Central past midnight= less people and Beautiful (always is, but just easier to see everything without getting run over)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Apologies and Sick!

Sorry, I've been MIA for a few days. We were away for the weekend and I have some posts to follow on that.  I also got sick on Monday, who gets sick in the summer? I'm not sure if was the cold, or the flue(24 hour bug), but it wasn't pleasant.  I think too many late nights and early mornings. I might blame NYC for getting me sick too.....just a lil. I laid on the couch all day Tuesday, then worked yesterday and thankfully don't have to work today so I can hopefully fully recover. Although, I guess that I would rather be sick during the summer than during the school year so that I don't have to take of work days and feel guilty. 

These guys have been my best friend for the past few days!

Puffs plus with lotion (a MUST in the Enchelmaier household). I buy in bulk at Target. *Note how much are already gone after 3 days- UGH

A comfy blanket- thank you 5$ at ON on Black Friday.

Fluids- plenty of....filled the Nalgene and keep it coming with a packet of raspberry lemonade.

Oh yes, advil and afrin (had to kick the headache/chills and breathing was not optional)

Do you ever feel that when you get sick you revert to your inner child? I do, I always wish my mom was around. Gary does a good job of helping me out, but there's just NOTHING like a of course I called her to make me feel better LOL.  

I also may....may pull out some stuffed animals when I'm sick. I KNOW I KNOW I am a GROWN woman! I'm sorry, but.....
  1.  I still buy stuffed animals, usually just pandas for my classroom
  2.  I love Stitch and I bought him in Disney World
  3.  I love the Phillies and the Phanatic should bring anyone joy when they look at him
  4. I would snuggle with my cat, but he doesn't snuggle and he sheds ALL over creation, these guys don't shed, nor do they scratch when they want to get away.... 


Friday, June 22, 2012

Does it make you cry?

What makes you cry? 

Do TV shows make you cry? Specifically realty shows? I know that The Biggest Loser has made me cry, so has So You Think You Can Dance.  Lately Gary and I have been watching Master Chefs. It's on Monday and Tuesday night, followed by Hells Kitchen, both Gordon Ramsey's shows.  

Master Chef is the show where aspiring chefs try for a chance to win money. People from all walks of life, career changes, stay at homes, students.....all cook their best dish and have 5 minutes to prep it for the 3 judges, Gordon Ramsey, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich.  If the judges like it than they get an apron and get to move on. If the judges don't than they get sent home.  

My tears were flowing here too
I always have favorites, as do most viewers I'm sure. For some reason I always tend to root for the Asians, unless they are not very nice....I'm a little partial.  This season they have a woman, Christine, who has gone blind.  She's such an inspiration.  She does have an aid who helps her pick out ingredients and describes how things look, but other than that she's on her own.  I am so impressed and how she has overcome her handicap and not let it overcome her.  She has an excellent palate, as she must to be a good cook, since she has to rely on her other senses to help her master her dishes.  
On Monday their team lost the main challenge and so they had to cook apple pie.  I've made apple pie many times, but I have to hang my head in shame, I haven't made my crust from scratch. I never even thought about cooking my apples before baking my pie....note to self, next time. I assume that it probably helps with the cooking time so that the crust doesn't burn.  I mean, I have enough trouble using a peeler with both eyes working.  She had to chop her apples and cook them.....and to top it all over cook her crust so that it cooked all the way through and make sure that it was browned on the top.  Her aid had to be her eyes!  
How did she do? The crust was perfect! Golden and the sugar on top made a great glaze. The pie came out in a perfect slice, no drips, nothing falling apart.  And.....She ended up getting picked for 1 of the top 3!  She cried, I cried. They complemented her....

Tuesday nights challenge was to use either tongue, lamb head, testicles  

Christine was one of the top three! She cooked panko breaded sweetbread with bok choy and a dipping sauce (unmentioned).  I mean I burn myself when I fry things from the splatter. I can't even imagine doing it without the capability of being able to see what I am doing.  

Now, the winner of this challenge got to choose what people were going to cook either live crab, or canned.  The winner is a guy I can't stand, he's overly confident and cocky, the type of person I CAN'T stand. I don't mind people who are good, or confident, but mean people make me mad!  SO of course, he gives Christine a live crab! She ends up cutting herself on the shell when she was trying to open it.  He makes me so mad! Who does that?! MEAN people, that's who! But, she arises to the occasion and cracks that sucker and gets out the meat. 

She made a crab ceviche- You Go Girl! Gordon Ramsey told her that it was beautiful and then asked her if she was really blind!  Then, he made Ryan taste it. She's not vindictive, she doesn't talk behind people's backs (at least not that I know of).  Integrity is the word that comes to mind.  Who got first place? Josh and Christine! They are the new team captains for the next challenge.  

Team Christine! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Tonight was another grilling night. Like I said, I want to do lots of grilling this summer, especially with fresh food. Not that we do a lot of grilling with un-fresh food.
Dinner was on me tonight and consisted of grilled steak, grilled sweet potatoes and grilled corn-on-the-cob! I LOVE summer, have I said that already?!
Grilled Corn-on the-Cob

In the past we've had some issues with grilling corn, it burned or the corn doesn't cook fully.  This time I soaked the corn, husk and all- this way the corn steams itself.  The husk may burn and can even catch on fire, but man, the corn was good tonight! Hip- Hip- Hooray!   Cook for 30 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes or so. 
I know, it looks completely charred and dryed out- but it WAS NOT!

Grilled Sweet Potatoes!

For the sweat potatoes, I skinned them and sliced them.  Then to speed up the grilling process I heated them for 5 minutes in the microwave. Sometimes our veggies, specifically the potatoes don't fully cook through.  The nice thing is that because the potatoes were hot, the 2 Tbs. of butter melted right quick. I also added 2 Tbs. of brown suger, cayenne pepper(there's my heat- surprise, surprise!), some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. I then poured them onto aluminum foil and wrapped them up.  Then grilled for 30 minutes 15 minutes on each side. 

For the steak, I prepared this before hand so that it could marinate.  I pounded it a little and then I added EVOO, seasoned salt, garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper. I did this to both sides, then put it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.  We grilled it for about 15 minutes.  We seared it on each side to "lock" in the flavor.  

Everything finished at the same time! I'm so pleased. Nothing had to be left on longer and we were able to eat all the food at the same time. SCORE!

 Different angles!
 Also, I forgot, cherries for dessert---mmmmm

Oh and I also made fresh mint tea, per Gary's request.  He didn't even end of drinking it. Yours truly did. Ahh perfectly refreshing on a 100 degree day!

Look who also wanted some of the deliciousness! 

What are some of your Summertime favorites?!
What's your favorite thing to grill?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summertime and the Grilling is Easy

Okay, so my goal this summer is to utilize the grill, A LOT!

I don't grill for just me, so it has to be when both Gary and I are home.  Apparently tonight he is grilling kabobs! YUM!  I mean when we use the grill we don't heat up our place and there isn't too much mess.  
So, tonight, along with the chicken kabobs we will have grilled peaches and grilled asparagus! I LOVE summer fruits and veggies! I can't wait for nectarines to be at the market!
I also love Eastern Market which is where we like to buy a lot of our fresh food. It's a little more expensive, it's kinda kitchy too, but we area also supporting local farms which I like.  
Gary made grilled chicken kabobs with grilled pineapple----Mmmmm! The chicken was moist and the pineapple gave it a nice refreshing summery taste. The asparagus was grilled perfectly. I love the smaller asparagus more than the thick. I don't like crispy was seasoned with EVOO, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I washed it all down with an icy cold glass of water with lemon!
For dessert I grilled peaches and glazed them with a sugar, balsamic and freshly ground black pepper reduction. The recipe called for a sprinkling of bleu cheese, which one we don't have and two I don't like, but....we had feta, so I thought why not?!  It actually tasted pretty good. Gary even ate a half a peach. He doesn't eat peaches, so at least this is a step in the right direction!

 I was a little unsure of how the balsamic glaze would taste, but it was yummy! Loving Summer! Bring on more grilling!

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