Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bitter-Sweet Softball

Well last night was the first game of softball season, finally, and Snack Monkey's goal for the season was to get on base with every at-bat.  He had 2 doubles, 2 triples, 3 singles, and didn't hit out or get tagged out once.  He also had 3 RBI's, 2 outfield catches, one infield tag and crossed home plate 3 times.  They play 2 games back-to-back each week so he's extremely happy with those stats!  He plays on a co-ed team called the Awesome Pickles and there are a lot of new players because many of our players from last season joined winter leagues and didn't come back.  But most of our favorite players returned with the exception of two of our friends Monty and Amanda (the couple we went to paintball with) who are taking this season off and will be back in the spring; and Lauren, this hilariously awesome chick who isn't afraid to let the Blue's know when they've screwed up.

Piper and I hung out to watch the first inning or two, then took three laps around the field.  It turned bitter cold and the sun was already down by the time we got to the field so after three laps we stopped to take a break because the dog was shivering.  I put her heaviest jacket on her last night but she's still just so sensitive to the cold so I kept stopping to put her inside my jacket all zipped-up where she could warm up from my body heat.  Then we did three more laps, took another break, then did the last four just about the time that the second game was ending.  In spite of Snack Monkey's awesome stats and two out-of-the-park homers from his team mates his team lost both games; the first by 4 runs and the second in an amazing final-inning shoot out by 1 run.  They were actually down something like 9 runs and then had this incredible final inning where they got 11 runs which put them up by 2 but the other team had the last at-bat and scored 3 runs before the Blue called the game.  It was a fun game to watch even though we lost.

Greek Chicken Salad
Last year Snack Monkey and I would stop at Taco Bell, Subway, or Carl's Jr. before the games every single week and Snack Monkey made it quite clear that he was wanting Carl's for dinner last night.  So I had him start some chicken breasts in the oven for me while I was still working because he got off work before I did.  He baked them in the oven in a glass bread pan with a teaspoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar.  Then I chunked them up when I got off work, added a bunch of veggies, seasonings, and some red wine vinegar and tossed it all into a big salad.  I dished up a serving into a tupperware and took it with me to eat at the park for supper.  This is a Greek Salad recipe from Cook This, Not That! and it was so good that even Snack Monkey thought it was tasty.  However, I could easily see some ways to improve it without upping the calories.  For example, the recipe doesn't call for garlic but I firmly believe that a few cloves of fresh, crushed garlic could have gone a long way on the flavor meter.  It also could have used some lime juice or some other kind of citrus to balance out the dense flavor of the garbanzo beans; and even though it calls for oregano, salt and pepper, I think there could be a few other Mediterranean spices such as chervil and coriander.  Here is one other tip, if you decide to make this and want to improve the flavor profile on it.  In my family, any time someone is making a salad that involves oil, fresh/dried herbs, and spices we always go straight for the faithful wooden bowl.  I used to have a perfect bowl for these salads but Snack Monkey (who's concept of caring for cookware astounds me) left it in the sink with about 3 inches of water in it last year which caused the wood at the bottom of the bowl to swell while the wood at the top stayed dry resulting in a resounding and sudden POP ... the bowl couldn't take the pressure and split horizontally about half-way up.  I'm still trying to let go of that one.

Anyhow, bowl care and purpose.  You need a wooden bowl that does NOT have any kind of clear coat or lacquer on the inside, just pure smooth wood.  You put the oil and spices into the bowl and then you take the back of a spoon and massage the spices and oils around the inside of the bowl, pressing them with the spoon and rubbing them along the bowl up the sides all the way around and all along the bottom.  This "seasons" the bowl which marries the flavors of the herbs together so that they add more to the veggies when you toss it all together.  You want to let the herbs and oil marinade in the bowl for at least 10-15 minutes before tossing in your veggies but if you're cooking your own chicken like I did I would even go so far as to suggest letting the herbs marinade while the chicken is cooking.  Also, when you've emptied the bowl rinse it out with a little bit of water, no soap, and wipe it out with a paper towel.  This will allow the seasoning in the wood to build up in the bowl so that the flavors intensify in it over time.  I learned all of this from my aunt who has a very similar recipe to the one I made last night but I warn you, the perfect wooden bowl can be very hard to find.  Enjoy!  Oh, p.s.!  I found that the salad was even tastier when I pulled it out of the fridge AFTER the softball games than it was when I dished some up in tupperware to take with me to the games so making this dish a few hours before dinner, or even the night before, might be good also to increase flavor.

6 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee w/creamer
1 breakfast crepe (made by Snack Monkey)
>>Crepe recipe from Cook This Not That
>>1 egg scrambled
>>1/4 cup mushrooms
>>1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 serving Greek Chicken Salad (left over from last night)
2 slices home made pizza (from "The Book")
>>Home made dough (by Snack Monkey!)
>>Home made sauce (by Snack Monkey!)
>>shredded cheese, sliced chicken breast
>>roma tomato, mushrooms, olives
>>onion and garlic sauteed in EVOO
1 cup low fat pudding
Daily Caloric Intake: 1499

Walking: (outside) 3.25 miles
Went around the jogging track at the park 3 times plus a few laps from the starting point to the picnic area at a brisque pace: approx 19 minutes per mile.

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