Best Baked Potato EVER

Disclaimer: This is not my recipe AT ALL. Thank Kelli.

Preheat oven to 450.

Stab a potato (ANY POTATO) with a fork on top only 2-3 times TOPS (I prefer sweet)

Put directly on rack in the oven.

Grab a drink and relax for a while.

1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes, skin is crispy, insides are like butter.

Eat. That’s it. Seriously.


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Jalapeno Beef Goodness

If you are a spicy food lover, this recipe needs to be in your wheelhouse. So easy, so delicious.

1 Chuck Roast (I’m guessing it was around 3-4 lbs)
2 Fresh Jalapenos (sliced round-keep seeds)
1 can Rotel with green chilies (or whatever kind of tomatoes you have; I had a can and no fresh ones)
1 yellow onion (sliced thin)
3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups broth (I used vegetable bouillon cube w/2 cups water b/c it’s what I had)
3 TBS Chipotle Chili Powder (this stuff is unbelievable!)
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp oregano
Black Pepper & Salt to taste

Mix all dry seasoning together. Rub some on roast til coated. Throw roast in crock. Throw onions and garlic on roast. Tomatoes on top of that. Jalapenos on next. Dump rest of seasoning on everything. Cover with broth. Turn on low. 8-10 hours. I recommend the longer the better. Use two forks to shred beef and spicy goodness awaits for days.

We served this with tortilla chips since we didn’t have taco shells, a gluten free cornbread mix from Bob’s Red Mill, and the most delicious baked sweet potatoes ever! (Thanks Kelli for that!)

I’m documenting this here, because I often take a million different recipes and pick and chose what I like about each one, then never remember what I did.

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“The Perfect Death”

“The Perfect Death”

So yesterday in a yoga class I take with one of the most beautifully spiritual teachers I have ever experienced, I misheard her during a guided meditation. The meditation is one I have done with her guidance before, so I was familiar, but she, as most people, don’t read from a script, so it is a little different each time. This particular meditation is about planting a seed, a seed of something that you would like to manifest in your life: more fruitful relationships, a loving partner, ability to cultivate creativity, stability, abundance, freedom, love, or even something more tangible like a new home. That seed can take on anything you can imagine, but usually she suggests that you focus on something that you want to manifest in the next 6 months or so. She guides her students to plant this seed in the most fertile ground, in your heart, in your womb (or reproductive center for males), the third eye, throat, etc. (if you know anything about chakra centers, you can probably imagine placing that seed in any of those 7 areas, but whatever your mind wants to visualize as your most fertile ground for planting the seed). An area free of weeds and rocks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean these areas were always free of trauma or other distractions; it just means that you have cleared the way for a seed to grow. Then she asks you to dig the ground and then place the seed, nurture, tend to the area, care for and watch it grow. In her guidance, she is usually very literal with the planting process, digging the hole to the perfect depth, covering the seed with the soil, and so forth. This time, I didn’t hear her say “the perfect depth,” I heard her say to dig the hole for “the perfect death.”  I became confused at the analogy that veered from the usual literal planting of the seed, yet surprisingly delighted. I figured out my mistake pretty quickly, but my visualization was already in a tailspin, imagining the seed going into the ground as one witnesses a burial. Sure there aren’t tears and sadness as we watch the seed be lowered in the ground as when we watch our loved ones who have gone from us. But when we watch a funeral, we are saddened by the loss and sometimes more than sad when they are taken away tragically or too soon. But why the differences in the similarities? It is because we are not attached to the seed; we have no history, no memories, nothing to ground sorrow in, but isn’t the burial of the seed, a dying in a way?

So what can burying seeds help teach us about burying our loved ones? The death of a seed brings life to the fruit, just as the death of the caterpillar brings life to the butterfly. With this in mind, can we see the death of our mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, friends as a chance to bring life to some beauty that couldn’t have come without the seeds of their bodies and souls being buried? With seeds, we plant, take care and let go. It should be the same when we bury our family; be sad, but let go and watch what grows. It is “the perfect death” when we practice non-attachment, because we are able to see the life that it produces.

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A Chicken with Its Head Cut Off

My daily challenge for Monday, May 16, was to pick a theme song for the day. While I didn’t get the challenge or pick the song until about 3 p.m. this afternoon, and I only picked the song because it was in my car’s CD player and it is Track One, I’m pretty sure it fits in more ways than I even imagined. From The Magnetic Fields album 69 Love Songs, “A Chicken with its Head Cut Off” is the first song I ever heard from this band and the guy’s seriously deep voice and strangely appropriate analogies hooked me from the very first 10 seconds.

As it applies to today, or rather Monday (as it is 1 a.m. the 17th at this exact time), never occurred to me until I realized what today signified for me: day one of three weeks student free, day one of 30 Day Shred Level 3, day one of no particular agenda…

It’s the latter that most appropriately correlates with today’s theme. I don’t know what to do with myself when I have nothing to do. Continue reading

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End of Level 2, co-ops, rainy days, champagne cocktails…

A grouchy German is a sour kraut. A sour kraut with a grapefruit & champagne cocktail is my Sunday companion. Seriously, how can I not love my life when I get to hang out with this guy every day? So maybe a Level 2 celebration with Three Monkeys brunch and champagne cocktails isn’t quite on Jillian Michael’s list, but I’m more worried about having a good time with the time I have than having the perfect body. I just do Jillian to afford the opportunity to enjoy these cocktails and not really worry about the extra calories. Besides, this was fresh grapefruit from the Holly Hills co-op that Bill and I juiced using our new Breville juicer, so they are healthy cocktails…and this juicer is AMAZING.

The rain kept me away from the Tower Grove free yoga this weekend, but I still spent quite a bit of time outside: removed the walking path and ground cover from the garden to make way for tilling…when the ground dries again; met up with Leslie & Steve after their 5K at Benton Park; then found Andrew at the Tour de Grove and supported the US Handcycling part of the event. These athletes braved some pretty nasty (I suppose it could be worse) weather, rain, wind, and a chilling 52 degrees. How was it 95 degrees three days ago? I was wrapped up in a scarf like it was the middle of winter, but had no socks on (wasn’t the most prepared).

This is why we don’t turn the air on until July.


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Half way: Days 11-15

High of 95 today. Although I don’t think we reached it, its been quite muggy the last couple days. It’s spring in the Lou: snow storms, floods, tornadoes, and high humidity. Well, I suppose that’s any time in St. Louis; we did have a tornado to ring in the New Year. High humidity in the spring means anything I do inside is uncomfortable because Bill says the A.C. will not be turned on until July. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but when Jillian Michaels is in the mix, this makes for rough mornings.

While I welcomed the change of the new level, I wasn’t prepared for day one. I recommend watching the exercises before attempting. The up and downs in this level WILL make you dizzy. I know I said that before, but I really mean it. It has gotten better since the first day of the level; it helps knowing what’s coming next.

Also in level one, I had time between sets to take a swig of water; so far in level two, I can’t catch my breath to swallow the water, so I’ve stopped trying. Now I just wait for the sweat dripping off my brow.

Going into day 12, my body was sore, my butt hurt; I could barely walk stairs, but I powered through and finished off with free yoga in the park. Thought that would be relaxing… Continue reading

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Blog Slacker, Not SHRED Slacker…

Just popping in here to let you know that I have not ended my challenge. I have currently completed 3 days of Level 2, which means I have 13 of 30 days under my belt. I have just had a VERY FULL and fulfilling weekend, which included ending-of-semester grading (60 essays), attendance reports, yoga, farmer’s market, house-buying celebration, mom’s day brunch and dinner. I will give a more detailed account as I find time.

For now:

  1. Level 2 is HARD; makes me nervous for level 3
  2. My abs finally feel like they are getting worked during the workout AND the next day.
  3. If you have even a mild form of vertigo, beware: the up & down will make even the most balanced dizzy.
  4. The muscle soreness is a welcomed sign that I’m getting stronger.
  5. The 30 minutes is easy to fit in; you really have no excuse (although you WILL need to shower after).

Until next time,


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