Random recipe: Asparagus Fries

I am addicted to french fries. Chris told me recently that he loves me more than french fries. I guess that means he really loves me, because I definitely love me some amazing french fries. So when I found this recipe for Asparagus Fries I thought we should try them. They will never compare to real french fries, but at least they give you the nutrients of asparagus, and maybe later stinky pee.

Asparagus Fries (from PBS)

Ingredients

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup flour
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 cup panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a bowl large enough to fit the asparagus, beat the egg whites and mayonnaise together.
In a separate container large enough to fit the asparagus (a plate will do), add the flour.
In a separate container large enough to the fit the asparagus, combine the panko, Parmesan, garlic salt, and black pepper.
Then coat the asparagus in the egg.
Dredge a few pieces of asparagus in the flour.
Lastly, coat the asparagus in the panko mixture making sure to press it on.
Repeat these steps until all the asparagus have been coated.
Bake the asparagus in a single layer for 10-13 minutes until golden and crispy.
Serve warm.

They were good. Not outstandingly amazing, but good. Would we make them again? Probably not. They were on the drier side. Chris made them with chicken breasts, where he also sprinkled panko crumbs and parmesan on top. Good but not anything to write home about – and also it really depends on how much you like asparagus.

When you feel heard, you trust…

I have been thinking a lot in the last week about awareness. Being aware. Watching. Being present. After a few day training session at work, I realized how much more I could be aware of my surroundings, my actions, and how I approach situations. Last Friday I specifically practiced awareness, and while yes I was only in day one, I had a very good day. It could have also been because the sun was out, which means that those I was around were in a great mood. Sunshine in Portland in February does that to folks.

Regardless, I focused on listening in each conversation. I stopped, slowed down, and was aware and I enjoyed the day so much more. Sometimes that means I am more focused in my listening, other times it means I quiet my mind and do not say all the things that are happening within it. I am an extremely direct and transparent person, but I am learning that does not mean that I have to say everything that comes to mind. Part of being aware is listening to see if the person you are interacting with needs to talk and share from their own minds.

As I learned last week, awareness takes practice. Just as an Olympic athlete must train every day, so must each of us as we continue to be better and better, or as we continue to learn how to be our best. All we can do is try again each day. Try to be more aware, more present, and listen more. I love a line from this Fast Company article titled: “How One Simple Change Can Make You A Better Listener.”

“When people feel as though they have been heard, they trust you more.”

As well as:

“Ultimately, the ability to extract what people mean from a conversation is one of the most important tools of any leader. It takes a lot of work. And it requires curbing your natural tendency to jump right to a solution to people’s problems.”

I have a lot of work to do. I need to resist my constant urge to find a solution to problems, and start by listening first. Here is hoping I can keep up with my awareness this week. Listen more. Be more aware. Are you with me?

Do not read this post.

Last week I received this email from a local jewelry boutique. The subject line caught my eye. It said: “Do not read this email.” So of course I wanted to read the email. I opened it, and this is what it said:

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You’re a busy person, so we took the liberty to write a note from you to someone who kinda likes you.  We just need you to forward it…

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Hey babe,

So Feb. 14th is Saturday, and although I’ve found several uses for the heart-shaped can opener you gave me last year, I figured I’d give you a little more direction this year. Plus, I know I can be hard to buy for, so save the mind reading for next time I’m pouting and you ask me ‘what’s wrong?’ & I say ‘nothing.’

betsy & iya is my absolute favorite. It’s like if that quarterback you love and craft beer had a baby and that baby made jewelry. You get it? So do me a favor and go there for my gift this year. They’ll help you if you need it, and they’ll even wrap whatever you choose all nice for me. Pretty much you have one job, and that’s to get your fine self there.

You can’t fail at this, I promise. I mean, how sexy would these be on me? In that one dress, right? And I get weak in the knees just thinking about wearing this. Ugh, ok, gotta get back to work now. You’re welcome for the help ;-).

xo hugs xo,
Me

Clever email. It inspires me to try to come up with more creative ideas for work and in my life. We all have it in us, sometimes we just need to dig deeper. The email is a great tactic, and I wonder if anyone actually forwarded it on to their significant other before Valentine’s Day. Either because they thought it was a good email, or if they pretended they wrote it. Even if they did forward it on as a joke, I am sure they still put an idea in someone’s head. Share the clever and be inspired by it.

HELP: Best site for eBooks?

Yesterday I wrote about my treadmill. I love it, with one exception it does not have a book holder. It has a tiny ledge that fits an iPad or eReader. Here is my dilemma: I am old school. I still check out books at my local library. I have investigated and most of the books that are on my list are not available on the eReader app available from my library. So I started the exploration of other paid eReader apps. Here is what I found:

Amazon: You have to own a Kindle ($59 and up), then you can pay $9.99 a month for their Kindle Unlimited Library, but most of the titles that I am looking for you must have an Amazon Prime account ($99 a year). However, you can only check out one book a month with Amazon Prime. If I am already paying $9.99 a month, and their better selection is with the Amazon Prime eBooks, then how is this a good deal at all? Here is a good recap of what they offer.

Oyster: I signed up for a free trial (caveat: their website says the free trial is 14 days, once I signed up the site emailed me and said my trial was only 2 days). It is $9.95 a month, but most of the titles I want to read are not available in their app.

OverDrive: Part of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium, it is free to me, but again the selection is slim to the list of books I want to read.

3M Cloud: Part of the Multnomah County Library, it is free to me, and the selection does not have the list of books I want to read.

I struggle with my dilemma. If I can go to the library and check out a book for free, why is it so hard to find a good selection of free eBooks? I have a hunch if I want to keep reading while I run, I will have to either have Chris rig some sort of book attachment, utilize at least 5 different eBook apps in order to find the book I want to read, or start to pay $$$ for each of the books I want to read. If I can find almost any song I want on Spotify for $10 a month, why is it so hard to do the same for eBooks?

What do you do? Do you have any ideas for me? My goal is to continue to read my average of 10 books a month, cheaply and easily, and potentially now on my iPad. Help!

Valentine’s Day Half Marathon

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day in Portland. It was sunny and nearly sixty degrees. While the other side of the country in New England was about to get another downpour of snow, there were folks in Portland wearing flip flops. I was not one of them, but inside I cannot wait for the day for my toes to spread wide and enjoy some warm sunshine. After a day of hopping around to a few of my favorite places in Portland, we came home so I could go for a run.

A little background — my treadmill died recently. Either I ran on it so much that I broke the main support bar, or Nordic Track just makes shitty treadmills. In any case, the only two options to fix it were to have a welder come out to our house, or for Nordic Track to replace the treadmill. Note to each of you that might be as crazy as I am, if you use a treadmill often, purchase the warranty. In October, we decided to extend the warranty. The treadmill fix it guy frequents our house a few times a year, and with the $150 a year warranty we do not pay for a single part or his time. If we had not paid the $150, we would have had to shell out the cash for a brand new treadmill.

So Saturday. Chris drops me off at home so I could go for a run, and he heads off to do a few more errands. I am in the middle of a really good book, and after hitting 8 miles, I feel great, Chris is not home yet, and I am loving the feel of my new treadmill. So I keep running. By mile 10, I am reminded that Sunday morning is a half marathon that I wanted to do in a neighboring town. I realize I never registered, and even if I had, I should be taking a chill day before a race. So since I have already run 10 miles I decide I might as well just keep going. Chris still is not home yet, and I still feel great, and I would love to finish my book.

Chris drives into the garage as I hit 11.5 miles, and cannot believe what I am doing. His happy, crazy wife. I finish my book at 12.5 miles and push through to 13.1 miles to complete a half marathon on my treadmill. Definitely easier than around the city, but still a good, solid workout. 1 hour 41 minutes is not too shabby.