Saturday, August 30, 2014

Some Seriously Hot Stuff! Pickled Jalapeno Relish

I've been making my own pickled jalapenos for a while now.  What got me interested in doing so in the first place was a jar of hot pickled "dilly beans" my Wisconsin bff Diana sent me that her husband Jeff made.  The bean were delish, but it was the vinegar they were canned in that was even more amazing!  I needed more hot vinegar so I had to start making my own!

I started with this basic recipe I found online;, it also comes with a video.  The only difference I make is that I use fresh dill instead of oregano.

In my opinion the vinegar is the most valuable IF you like hot foods!  Hot pepper vinegar in salad dressings is amazing, but one of my absolute favorite things to do with the vinegar is to submerge boiled eggs in it and brine them in the spicy liquid! I got that idea from a facebook friend of mine, I believe it came from Jon Gibson.  I make my eggs in the PC (pressure cooker) and peel them when they are still warm, then quickly get them into the pickle vinegar, usually six at a time.  When I pack them for lunch I cut them into quarters and arrange a big crunchy jalapeno ring on top with a pinch of kosher salt!  If I only need a snack I'll pack two, if it's a meal I'll pack three.

I use the spicy vinegar in all kinds of salads and deviled eggs, even soups!  Jalapeno rings are rather large and I often end up dicing them to add to egg or tuna salad, so this time I decided to make a kind of relish and do all of the dicing first.  I added red bell and carrot because, why not?

As many times as I've diced jalapenos I still don't wear gloves and this batch of peppers were especially HOT!  My fingers are burning as I type this post!  I've got to be careful and not touch my face....or maybe start wearing gloves?  lol

I can't wait to try this batch out!  Do you pickle?  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Indian Spiced Glazed Carrot Soup

I never think to make carrot soup.  Who makes carrot soup?  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, carrots used to be a vegetable I was afraid of because I kind of placed them in the same category at potatoes, a starchy root full of sugar.  I got in the habit of only buying two or three carrots a week, at most, mainly to use in mirepoix or maybe to shred one in a salad.  So imagine my surprise, when taking inventory in my fridge looking for possible ingredients for a batch of soup or stew, I looked at the four large carrots I had in a different light.

I had made carrot soup a couple of times but it has been years (due to the fact I was afraid of them, lol), and in fact I wrote two blog posts about it;, and
This time I was curious about someone else's take on carrot soup so I took out my favorite cookbook, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by Mark Bittman, and found "Glazed Carrot Soup".  Well, I knew how to glaze carrots, it's one of my Xmas dinner side dishes, and I knew how to make soup, and yes, it was simply combining the two methods together!  Glaze the carrots first, and then continue on and make soup!

Since I wanted a deeper more substantial meal I knew I wanted to add red lentils, just about 1/2 c. and I also decided to give it a bit of an Indian spice twist using garam masala and red curry paste (1 tbl each). Mark's recipe suggests sugar, honey or maple syrup as the sweetener for the glaze, and I thought honey would be the appropriate way to go, given the rest of the ingredients.  I did use my pressure cooker, but this could easily be done without, and only taking about 15 minutes longer.

Indian Spiced Glazed Carrot Soup

1 tbl each, olive oil and butter
1-2 tbl sugar, honey, or maple syrup
4 lg carrots
1/2-3/4 c. water

combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until carrots are slightly tender, about 5 min.  Take cover off, increase heat to med high and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick glaze, about 5-10 min.  Add

1 tbl garam masala
1 tbl red curry paste

Stir to coat carrots and cook until fragrant.  Add

1/2 red lentils (rinsed if you like)
4-6 c. water

or if you want to make more it decadent

1 can coconut milk, either full fat or "lite", and water totaling 4-6 c.

I thought about doing this version, but I really wanted to taste the merit of the soup without the flavor and fat of coconut milk, not to mention the calories!

Bring back to a boil and cook until lentils are done, about 25 minutes, OR if using a PC, Lock the lid on, bring pressure to high, lower heat and cook 8-10 min.  (let pressure come down naturally or release pressure, how much time you have to finish the soup is the only factor)

Red lentils do not hold their shape and will dissolve into the soup, which is fine because this is a blended soup anyway.  An immersion blender is the easiest and fastest way to make smooth, but if you have to use a traditional blender you need to let the soup cool down a bit, but still be careful when blending hot or warm soups.

This soup was sooooo good the only thing wrong with it is that it only made three servings!  (2 c. each, 200 calories per serving approx.)  I can't wait to make it again, I think the spice measurements were perfect, no changes need to be made at all.  Of course you can make it without any spices and still have "Glazed Carrot Soup"!  Give it a go and let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Month Everybody's "51"!

I've been doing "51" workouts all month and so far I'm loving it!  (until we get to Meg's "51" workout, lol).  In fact I've been digging it so much I'm thinking about redesigning the next Swing Quest into "51" themed workouts!  OR maybe continuing on all year with "51" swing workouts!  But before I get all crazy with it let's just do the next one together, shall we?  These video demos are two "double rounds" of five total. A double round has two sets of 51 reps.  Here is the order of reps and sets:

10 reps x 4 sets
11 reps x 1 set
20 reps x 1 set
31 reps x 1 set

You can do all sets with only two hand swings which is what we did in our first and last double rounds, or you can apply any of my one hand swing progressions to the the rep counts.  We practiced them in order starting with 5/5:

5/5 x 4 sets
5/5 + 1 rep x 1 set
5/5 + 5/5 x 1 set
5/5 + 5/5 + 5/5 + 1 rep x 1 set

In the first video we demonstrate the next progression, which are my one hand swing ladders:

2/1 sw ld x 4 sets
2/1 sw ld + 1 rep x 1 set
4-1 sw ld x 1 set
5-1 sw ld + 1 rep x 1 set

The third double round we did transfer swings:

10 tr x 4 sets
10 tr + 1 rep x 1 set
20 tr x 1 set
30 tr + 1 rep x 1 set

The fifth and final round we went back to two hand swings only, but increased the bell to a 24kg (from a 14kg)

10 reps x 4 sets
11 reps x 1 set
20 reps x 1 set
31 reps x 1 set

510 swing reps, 25 minutes

Maribel and I start out our 5:30am workout with a 30 minute heavy double clean/double swing workout that I've posted on Youtube but have yet to post it here on my blog.  I recently started my own Youtube channel (separate from Markrif's channel) so if you are interested in checking out all of my videos you will find them here: 

The next few "51"'s are already up on my channel, but I'll be back to post the details in the next blog post.  Until then, enjoy this one!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Belated Birthday Workout (s)

I have no idea how many workouts I can design based on the number 51, but I've got an entire month to have fun with it!  My first idea was to do simple 10 x 10's adding one extra rep onto the 5th and 10th sets of ten, and that's fine, in fact I like it a lot! But at a certain point doing all sets of 10 reps is...well, hard!  This first workout, part #1, starts out with four rounds of 51 reps done 10 x 4 sets + 11 x 1 set.

2 hd swings
tr swings
2 hd swings

204 swings, 10 minutes

I wanted to do a full 25 minutes of swings, 10 rounds of 51 (510 reps), but I got to the studio 5 minutes too late!  Class starts at 6:00am but I managed to swing every minute I could for a total of 459 swing reps in 9 rounds of 51.  I wanted to post the 22.5 min workout uninterrupted, but Youtube wouldn't let me, so here is part two.  Four rounds of 51, done 20 x 2 sets + 11 x 1 set, and ending with one more round of 10 x 4 + 11 x 1.

The last two rounds ladder up and down my swing progressions so have fun with it because there is much harder workouts coming soon...really soon!


20 2 hd sw x 2 sets + 11 2 hd sw x 1 set
5/5 + 5/5 x 2 sets + 5/5 + 1 x 1 set
20 tr sw x 2 sets + 10 tr sw + 1 x 1 set

10 2 hd sw + 5/5
10 tr sw + 5/5
11 2 hd sw

10 2 hd sw
10 tr
11 2 hd sw

255 swings, 12.5 min

Speaking of much harder workouts....  In last week's 10 x 10 if you haven't been introduced to my "1/2 swing ladder"  and my "2/1 swing ladder" here you go!  It's what I consider an Intermediate/Advanced swing progression only because of the added concentration it takes to complete the ladder perfectly.  1/2 is the uphill progression while 2/1 is the down hill, and since I always teach downhill first you will find only practice that one it in this short workout.  Please repeat it as often as you want to (need to) as this morning's workout builds on this one and the 4-1 swing ladder I posted last week.

My special treat on my birthday last Tuesday was Meg leading me through a "51" workout she designed and lead the entire group through, and let me tell was hard!  It was soooo hard that over the next couple weeks left in my birthday month I'm going to post a few more workouts that lead up to the last day, the 31st, in which Meg and I will repeat her workout again to post for you all to join us!  Super hard, that's all I gotta say!  One little has tons of my favorite swing.....ouch.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's My Birthday Month! And the theme is Fifty One! (10 x 10 transfer swing practice videos)

Before we get to the more complicated stuff...last week's 10 x 10 was about making sure we keep our abdominal muscles contracted and tight at the top of the transfer swing.  I've demonstrated this before way back when we started two hand swings, but it's much more important with the one hand swing and all of it's variations.  More torque is created through the midsection while having to stabilize a moving weight on only one side of our body and if not practiced correctly with the two hand swing it can be much more difficult to master when graduating to one hand swings.

Like the demo I did the week before about finishing the glute / hip contraction during a transfer swing, it's easier to forget, or to lose the tension, while the kettlebell is "floating" from hand to hand.  Of most importance, keeping our midsection tight helps to protect the lower back and is a skill we must always practice in proper kettlebell swings.

Yesterday's 10 x 10 I take you through 5 of my swing combinations; 2 hd sw (two hand swings) 10 R (one hand swings right hand), 10 L (one hand swings left hand), 5/5 (one hand swings right and left, switching on reps 5), and tr sw (transfer, or hand to hand swings).

Transfer swings are taught last as you get used to anticipating moving the bell from one hand to the other progressively.  First you must be comfortable starting with two hands, then dropping one of them and continuing on with only one hand on the bell.  We practiced these combinations (both R and L) in the weeks after the second Swing Quest (April-June).  We then strengthened our one hand swings by starting to practice them 5 at a time not using two hands at all and  touching the handle at the top of each rep to anticipate the transfer swing.  Ten one hand swing reps without any switching from R to L further strengthened our skill and stability of one hand swings.

Now we have strong two hand swing AND strong one hand swings so it's time to have some fun!  That's where transfer swings and swing rep ladders come in! And just in time for my birthday month workouts!  Before you try the new swing rep ladder at the end of this post, quickly review the five swing combinations we have learned during this year's 10 x 10's!

I've posted these swing rep ladder sets before, but it's been a while.  This set of 20 swings fits into my progressions in between 5/5 + 5/5 and "swing/transfers" or "transfer swings".  So the downhill swing progression would be:

10 R/10 L
5/5 + 5/5
4-1 sw ld (swing ladder)
10 sw tr ( swing transfers)
10 tr sw (transfer swings)

In this video I only demonstrate 5/5 + 5/5, then introduce my 4-1 swing ladder.

switch hands on the 4th rep R/L
switch hands on the 3rd rep R/L
switch hands on the 2nd rep R/L
switch hands on rep 1 R/L

This set equals 20 reps total!  This swing ladder set is worth practicing because you will be seeing it again during my birthday month workouts.  Since I'll be 51 years old on Tuesday, the 5th of August, the theme of my workouts will be "51".  Fifty one swing reps is quite a lot, in fact it's just over 1 min 15 seconds of continuous swing reps if done in one set...which I will be doing.  But I hope to come up with some other creative ways to keep the theme of 51 so stay tuned!