February 23, 2012

Trail Protocol: What side of the bike trail you should be on and why

As a runner and a cyclist I've heard all the arguments.  The bottom line is, there is only one correct way to be running or riding on the trail.  For those of you in Sacramento and the surrounding area, you know that when I'm referring to "the trail", I'm talking about the American River Bike Trail, which we are blessed to have in this area.

If you aren't in Sac-town, but have a bike trail in your area, don't stop reading!  These rules apply to you too.

This post was inspired by a few things: a) my constant surprise at things I see people doing on the trail (or generally things that make me think "WTH is that person doing?  Really?"); b) my love of rules and how British people follow them (more on this later) and, c) the tool-bag who thought it was appropriate to drop an F-bomb on my cousin (who was running on the correct side).


1. Which side is the correct side?
A general rule of thumb is run on the left, ride on the right.

Now, don't get all confused by your left and right, OK?  Just pretend like you're going to run or ride right into this picture.  If you're running, stay to the left, if you're riding, stay on the right.....

Hey.  I never claimed to be an artist.  You get it right?  Good.

Just like the actual road (you know the one with cars and stop lights), you should be riding with traffic and walking against traffic.  The same applies on the trail.

2.  But I thought it was a mixed-use trail?
You are right!  That said, it is primarily a BIKE trail, which means although bikes should yield to pedestrians (aka runners) we runners need to run on the correct side.
3.  ...and the runner that says, "Why does it matter what side I'm on?"
Well, do you want someone to crash into you?  
Because that is what will probably happen.  
It is important for you, runner, to run against traffic so that you can:

a) See who/what is coming towards you
b) Move over when bikes are approaching
The bike is going much faster than you and the rider is probably clipped in.  
It's way easier for you to move.  Trust.

4.  If I'm running in a big group why do I have to move?  Shouldn't the cyclist be able to see us?

Yes, the cyclist's can see you...ALL of you.  Just because you are in an enormous group does not mean the rules don't apply to you.  You...ALL of you, should run as far to the left as possible and move over even farther when you see a bike approaching.  Additionally, it is great to yell "bike up" when a bike is approaching so that those behind can hear, but you still have to move.
To the cyclist riding by a big group of runners - you should move too, if you can, there are a bunch of them, give them as much leeway as possible.
5.  What if I'm pushing a stroller?  I have a baby, people should move for me.
Um well.  Sort of....I guess.  First off, if you and your ladies are having a run and chatting it up, I totally get why you'd be running next to each other, like this:
(except one of those mom's is a dude, but whatever).  Anyway, it's cool to run next to each other but when you see a bike approaching, you should get single file and move as far to the left as possible.  Once the bike passes, go back to your business.  

5A.  ...and the cyclist says, "why do you push your stroller on the pavement instead of the dirt?"
Um hi.  Next time you run 10 miles while pushing a 30+ lb. Munchkin in a 15+lb. stroller, maybe you'll understand.  Yes it's a Bob and yes it rolls on dirt, but it's way easier to push it on the pavement, so that's why.  I moved for you, be nice.
Let's finish this stroller discussion with a bad example.
This chick is totally on the wrong side!

6.  Can I run with my dog on the trail?
Sure, of course.  But please keep your dog on a leash.  Unless your name is Caesar Milan, your dog is not well behaved enough to run on an active mixed use trail without one.  Thank you.

7.  Is the trail a good place for me to teach my child how to ride their bike?

Sorry, no it isn't.  Please teach little Johnny or Susie how to ride in a large, safe open area.  Once they are fairly skilled and know their 

right from left, then cautiously take them for a ride on the trail.

OK, so I think that about covers it.....whoops....

8.  Why do I love rules and how British people follow them?
Both times I've visited London the overall politeness and respect for our fellow man has struck me. It's nice to see people being nice to each other.  Then I started noticing all of these little nice signs...


Mind the Gap....don't fall in the hole when you're getting on the tube!


Look Right....cause we drive on the other side here!


Walk Left, Stand Right....ahhh, no pushing, just stay to the left if you're on the move and stay to the right if you're moseying.

So, I love British people and their rules.  Some rules are meant to be broken, but some are meant to be followed.  The trail rules are meant to be followed.  It's for safety people....and general traffic flow.  Let's take a lesson from the British and follow the rules on this one....and be nice too!


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February 22, 2012

Pinspiration! Recipe Finds

Photo via Pinterest
The Scoop - I was excited when I found this recipe because it looked so much tastier (and healthier) than most crock-pot dishes.  Also, I thought it would be a great meal for the night I do my FIT track workout.  I made it and I was dying to come home and eat it.
The Verdict - Dare I say it was a little bit....bland?!  Seems weird right?!  With such savory and colorful spices like turmeric I didn't think bland was possible.  But it was hearty and tasty after a long workout.
The Fix - If you make this, add more of the spice blend and more salt and some pepper.
Mentionables - I did not use thighs, because I only had boneless skinless breasts; this switch worked fine and the chicken was nice and juicy.  I didn't use the canned corn cobs, instead I got a frozen veggie blend from Trader Joe's that already had the corncobs and some other good stuff

Photo via Pinterest

The Scoop - Wow was this good!  I can't wait to make this pesto for a bunch of other stuff.  The flavor of it really made the pizza.  I've also never roasted eggplant and I like this method a lot for a quick cook.  
The Verdict - YUM!  I will totally make this again. 
Mentionables - I didn't use naan, instead I made this on a fresh (not pre-cooked) pizza crust and made one big pizza instead of individuals.  I also didn't use fresh mozzarella (although that would have been amazing), instead I used what I had which was basic shredded mozzarella.  Last, we had some prosciutto, so I topped it with a bit of that.  We thought the salty-ness of the prosciutto added to the overall flavor.  
Disclaimer - I didn't find this on Pinterest.  I found it on the blog and pinned it to Pinterest myself.
                                              
Photo via Pinterest
Lemon & Dill Chicken                  
The Scoop - I bought dill at the farmer's market and I had a bunch of tasty Meyer lemons in my fridge, so I was looking for something to make.  I searched "lemon, dill" on Pinterest and this popped up.    The Verdict - This was a healthy recipe and it was tasty.  The Cyclist is not a fan of dill, but he liked this a lot.  Mine did not look like the picture, but still tasted good.
The Fix - You may not need this fix but.....my sauce wasn't thickening as I thought it should, so I added a few sprinkles of Wondra.
Mentionables - Pinterest wasn't the first place I looked.  I searched the same thing on the Whole Food's recipe app and all I was coming up with were seafood dishes.  I knew I wanted to use chicken and I thought it was weird I couldn't find any "chicken, lemon, dill" recipes.....but there on Pinterest it popped right up. 

More Pinspiration coming soon!
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February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day, what say you?

Happy Valentines Day everyone.  What are your thoughts on this holiday?

Is it really a holiday or a Hallmark creation?

Personally, I'm for showing love everyday, but being a newlywed I'm having fun with it this year.  I am also blessed to have a little sprinkle of Valentine all the time (thank you The Cyclist, xoxo).

Although, I must admit I hated Valentine's Day as a single person; it's just rough living in a world of hearts and smooches when you don't have someone to share it with.  What I just wrote above would have made me groan.

Anyway, I think that's just how it is - fun when you're with someone, stressful when you're not sure, and sucky when you're single.  So, don't just spread the love to your your main squeeze today, but share it with everyone who you love.  And in the mean time, let's enjoy some tongue in cheek valentine's from somee cards, shall we?





















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February 9, 2012

Restaurant Find - Monsoon Cuisine of India, Sacramento, CA


Let me preface this review by saying we attended as part of a Yelp Elite event.

(Photo from Yelp.)


At the end of last year and for 2012, Yelp gave me the Elite badge.  Being an Elite is pretty sweet because Yelp throws special events throughout the year which I get the chance to attend with a guest (or sometimes guests) and it is coolio to rock the Elite badge.  Anyway, this was our first Yelp Elite event.  It was fun and even better, FREE for us.  That said, I think it's only fair that I tell you we did not pay for any of our food or beers last night, other than tipping the bartenders.

Monsoon is on the corner of 16th & I.

You may remember the location as being Bistro 33 Midtown, then Spin Burger.  Once upon a time at the beginning of our days The Cyclist was a server when the restaurant was Bistro 33 Midtown, so we know the building well.  You might remember the funky-schwanky white rocks and white leather booths from those days.  Then later when it became Spin Burger it was a more kick-back bike themed dealio.  Why am I telling you all of this about the decor?  Good question.  I think Monsoon finally got the space right, a little flashy, but still classy.....check it..





(These are not my photos, by the way, I pulled them from Monsoon's website.)

Let's get to what's really important.  Food!
(again, none of these are my photos, they are all from Yelp from here down.)
Vegetable Samosa Spicy seasoned potatoes and peas wrapped in a pastry
Not the greatest image but you get the idea.  These were tasty.  The spice was present but not overpowering and although they were fried, they were not greasy.  As someone who cooks, I think that fried but not greasy balance is hard to achieve, especially with something that is pretty heavily breaded or wrapped in pastry, like this is.  They served it to us with the sauce you see on the right, I can't pinpoint exactly what it was, but it was good!
Mixed Vegetable Pakoras Crispy light fritters made with fresh vegetables
Nice photo!  Another fried deliciousness dish.  Again, fried but not greasy.  There is not a lot of veggies in these, but if you are looking for a tasty appetizer this is a good one.  They were nicely spiced too.
Chicken Tikka Boneless pieces marinated in tandoori spices and yogurt
OK, this is a guess.  I'm pretty sure this was one of the items on the big hors d'evours tray that had different meats.  I am not typically a fan of tandoori chicken.  Something about the bright pink outside just throws me.  It's not that I think it tastes bad, I'm just freaked by the pink.  This chicken though, was good.  And it was more reddish and spicy looking on the outside than pink.  It was nice and spicy but not overpowering.
Lamb Something This isn't really the name of it, but I don't know what it was other than it was lamb
Yeah, that's right.  Lamb Something.  Pretty creative don't you think?  I'm thinking of starting second career as a menu writer.  So, I don't know what this was on their menu, but whatever it was, it was good.  A nice tender piece of lamb, spiced generously, but you guessed it, not overpowering.  The spice on everything here was done very well.

Naan
I was waiting for some naan all night.  I thought we missed it because as soon as I saw a tray it would disappear just like that.  But towards the end of the evening, some made it our way.  I think we had the plain variety.  It was warm and chewy perfection.  When I go back, I'll order the garlic naan....

The Cyclist & I had a nice little date night.  Here we are in deep conversation, cause that's what us married folks do...

All of the other Yelper's were very friendly, as was the staff and a gentlemen who I believe was the owner.  He made sure we still had food even when the event was technically over.  Although super busy, the bartenders were doing a great job and even let me keep my ticket when they thought I waited too long for one of my beers.

Oh!  Speaking of beer, they've got some great choices, including Lagunitas IPA on tap.

So, if you are looking for some tasty Indian fare in a nice location, check out Monsoon!  You can peep the menu on their website.  Click this link for my review.

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February 8, 2012

Pinspiration

If you have not been on Pinterest yet, you need to check it out!  Pinterest is an on-line pin-board.  You can download their "pinmarklet" and use it to pin images from around the web.  You can also re-pin what you see on Pinterest.  You can organize your pins by creating specific boards to put them on.  Here is a screen shot of my Pinterest page....



I have a habit of collecting ideas and recipes but not always trying them out.  My recipe binder is a good example of this.....overflowing with recipes I haven't tried yet, but I keep adding to it!  Pinterest is just another (prettier) version of this.

I have a few Pinterest projects in the works and I've tried a recipe from the site.  But now I am totally inspired to share them all with you thanks to Delighted Momma and her Pintester series.  So for these reasons I bring you my own Pinterest feature.....


Are you feeling Pinspired?  Good!  So am I.  From now on if I make a Pinterest recipe, complete a Pinterest inspired project or travel to a Pinspired locale, I'll be sharing it here with the Pinspiration tag!  If you have your own Pinterest inspired goodies, please share them with me and the blogosphere!!

Here is a peek at something that Pinspired me....

Bedroom art (for a child)

...it is in the works!  I can't wait to share the finished product, but here is a peek....


...when I debut it I'll explain why my "nyiiiinnnneee" is "boooooooo", but some of you out there already know.
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February 6, 2012

Marinara #3 - Mighty Mushroom


Howdy.  How is everyone today?
Good, I hope.
Do you like mushrooms?
I do.
Especially with onions and garlic.
And of course...sauteed.
Guess what?
I found a nifty new collage app on my iPad when I finally upgraded to iOS5.
I wasn't sure if you noticed.
Hey, by the way, tomatoes are good too.

Especially when you're making marinara.

And when that marinara is Mighty Mushroom,
fancy mushrooms are good too.
I got mine at the farmer's market from Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms.
They also sell these nifty growing kits...
When you mix all that goodness together you get hot, steamy mushroom madness.


Viola!

In other news.  I tried this recipe which was adapted from another recipe.
The blogosphere has been raving about it.
My take:
Not worth the butter!
I think you can make a just as tasty marinara with way less (or no) butter.
And if I'm going to consume 5 tbsp. of butter in one dish, it better be worth it.
Just sayin'.

Mighty Mushroom Marinara recipe below.
Ingredients:

1 8oz. package whole white mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tbsp. dry sherry (or any other wine of your choosing, white or red)
8 cups of tomatoes, chopped (any type you choose)
8 oz. quality mushrooms (of your choosing, about 10 mushrooms)
1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning

How to:

Prepare all ingredients as noted.  
Set aside a small amount of the chopped onions & minced garlic.
Heat a large saucepan to medium heat and add 3 tbsp. of olive oil.  Add onions, garlic (other than the small bit you set aside) and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add dry sherry (or wine of choice), then add the sliced white mushrooms (leave your premium mushrooms for later) and continue to saute for about 4 minutes or until mushrooms begin to cook through.
Add chopped tomatoes.  Continue to saute, stirring occasionally and smashing the tomatoes against the side of your pot with a wooden spoon.
Once the tomatoes are cooked down, dump the entire mixture into your blender and blend into a smooth sauce.
Meanwhile, add an additional 2 tbsp. of olive oil to your still warm pan, along with your set aside onions and garlic and premium mushrooms.  Saute until mushrooms are cooked through.
When done, add the sauce mixture back to the pot with sauteed premium mushrooms and stir.
Add 1/2 tbsp of Italian seasoning.
Presto.  You're done.  Enjoy over your favorite cooked pasta.





**I've shared this recipe at the following sites - follow the links for more great and tasty recipe ideas.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop - Real Food Wednesday



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