Weekend fun and food…

Well, sorta. As I write this, Tennessee is in it’s 5th day of reopening. Hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, retail, many restaurants, parks and outdoor venues are all out there with doors wide open. The weather is great and the masses are restless with pent up demand.

In this house we are resisting the urge to participate. You could say we are dragging our feet about reintegrating into “normal” life. The prevailing attitude is “wait and see”; wait 15 days and see how the pandemic is growing going. Maybe some hiking and other activities soon but meanwhile I have been keeping myself plenty active.

Over the past couple of months, I have made good strides with my running pace and VO2max. Regrettably the last seven days have been very lackluster (sigh) and I have lost a bit of my hard fought gain. The temperature is on the rise after what has been a cool, damp spring and I struggle adjusting. I know, I know, I live in Tennessee where heat and humidity are summer companions but I prefer not to accept responsibility for my performance, instead I will just blame it on a myriad of other things.

So, Saturday morning I got out for a later than usual run and it appears my heart was not in it. For some reason, I deviated from my neighborhood route and took the hilly, scenic one. I actually don’t mind this section of greenway as my legs have become noticeably stronger and I love the reward of running downhill, but today it got me. What was planned as a 4-5 mile run turned into a 3 miler at my slower March running pace. I was discouraged!

Running a section of the Will Skelton Greenway along the Tennessee River.
Heat, humidity and suntan lotion.
I seem to have my mouth open a lot when I run and hike, gasping for air most likely. As of recent, I have been working on breathing through my nose. For me it is not as easy as it sounds cause I feel like I am suffocating. But, like other things running, I am making progress.

After the run, I retired to the veranda to enjoy a cool breeze, an ice cold glass of water and to lick my wounded ego.

This is not a happy face.
This is a happy face! Watching birds and squirrels is grand.

Later in the afternoon I decided to go for a bicycle ride. After all, when the run fails, maybe the bicycle will be a success; I am a better cyclist than runner. Better that is when I cycle regularly, which I haven’t been doing.

I didn’t really want to tackle riding up the big hill we live on so I drove the bicycle down in the car and parked in a flat, shady area. My plan was to circle the main street numerous times and take a few side roads to break the boredom. My mental goal was 12 miles. Ha!! I should say here I haven’t been on my bike since early January.

My legs felt strong and the ride started out great. I wondered why I hadn’t been on my bike recently. Slowly I realized that I had picked the wrong day and time to be cycling. With great weather and shelter at home restrictions lifted, the neighborhood kids were out, lots and lots of kids. There was a gaggle of five girls on bicycles riding five across the road against traffic, a small group of three, unsteady girls riding their skate boards in the middle of the road, boys in the road with hockey sticks, little ones tagging along with older siblings. You see my problem here. The kids tended to scatter when cars appeared but could care less about a single bicycle making loops around the boulevard.

The ride became an exercise in speed up, slow down and hit the brakes. My inner Grinch came out and I knew it was time to give it up. People were rightfully enjoying this spring day and my attitude continued to deteriorate. After one last ride to the river, I loaded my bike on the car and drove the short distance home. Total miles cycled: 7.

On a bridge over a tributary of the Tennessee River.
Kayakers and paddle boarders on the above tributary of the Tennessee River. I counted over 30 people out on both sides of the bridge. Usual count, about 5….pent up demand.

Saturday night was about food. We had pizza dough thawing in the frig and I was looking forward to a good, homemade pizza. Unfortunately the dough was purchased at Fresh Market and turned out to be a do not repeat.

Prep started with rolling out the dough on a cutting board that was way too small. John, watching from the sidelines, suggested I move the dough to the granite counter top. W-e-l-l-l-l-l, even with flour, the dough stuck. Not a good beginning for the pizza.

In steps John for the rescue with a big spatula to help loosen the dough and transport it to a cookie sheet, also too small. I had in my mind that I wanted a rectangular pizza so we ended up transporting the dough again to a sheet pan with sides to contain the dough.

Toppings included hot Italian sausage, andouille sausage and low fat turkey pepperoni. We also included spinach, onions, mushrooms, Kalamata olives and mozzarella and Parmesan Reggiano cheeses. Olive oil was the pizza base.

I forgot to take a picture till we had already eaten part of the pizza.

The toppings were great but the crust was like a biscuit or, in our case, two biscuits. I am guessing I did not roll it thin enough. I wonder if the dough would have made two pizzas. Next time I will experiment with homemade crust.

With the pizza, I added a light lettuce salad with homemade white wine vinaigrette. Yum! We were stuffed.

Sunday morning I did not have the remotest motivation to run so I decided to ride my bike again but in a different location. As it turns out, this stretch of greenway was no better than riding in my neighborhood. No need to be lengthy here, miles before I threw in the towel: 7. I spent the afternoon reading.

Looks like I need to clean up my handle bars! Unused hardware and loose electrical tape need to be removed.

Sunday was another evening in the kitchen, this time sushi. John had in his mind that it would be fun to serve homemade sushi to his son and girlfriend this week. We needed a practice run. It has been a while since I made sushi at home, even longer since my sister and I took sushi making classes. I had a slight panic as I attempted to locate the rice recipe but it finally surfaced.

First step was preparing the “stuffing” for the sushi. We cut up such things as cream cheese, imitation crab, cucumbers, carrots and smoke salmon, While the rice cooked, I attempted to cover the bamboo mat in plastic wrap. The wrap did not want to adhere to itself which makes rolling the rice difficult. This was not a good start and I realized I was in a bit over my head.

With the rice cooked, we transferred it to a glass bowl and fanned (yes fanned) while adding a mixture of sugar-mirin. Now it was time to start the assembly process. Placing the rice on the nori and flipping was fine, but I couldn’t remember the placement of the ingredients on the nori sheet to make it roll correctly. Took a roll or two to get the process right.

In the end, the sushi was ok but I am not ready for sushi entertaining right now. These rolls were not as good as rolls I have made in the past and I need to do some reading, recipe adjustments and practice runs before inviting people over for sushi. That said we will have carryout pizza (good pizza) and salad with Daniel and Tess this week.

This entry was posted in Bicycling, COVID-19, Food, Life, Outside, Running, Weekend. Bookmark the permalink.

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