Beach Picnics Part 2 – Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

shortbreadfail

Oh, the Pinterest Fail. Nothing snaps me right back to the reality that I am not crafty at heart than those two words muttered at the end of a project via Pinterest: Nailed it.
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Behold, the angriest shortbread ever. Forget thumbprint cookies and make an angry balled fist instead!

1. Make a recipe for lemon rosemary shortbread you found on Pinterest.

2. Have it come out too crumbly, so wrap it in log shapes and refrigerate like you would normally do with shortbread.

3. Wake up the next morning to find no progress in the texture.

4. Furiously mash piles of shortbread dough together in your palm. Emphasis on the furiously.

5. Bake for twice the time in the original recipe until they look golden around the edges.

6. Let cool and enjoy!

shortbreadfail

But really, give this a recipe a shot. Even though it didn’t quite work out for me perfectly, they were still delicious and were a great addition to my chicken salad sandwiches for my beach picnic way back last summer.

2 cups of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 lemon zested
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and white using a hand mixer or stand mixer.

3. Add your lemon zest and rosemary and mix until incorporated.

4. Add your flour and mix until incorporated.

5. Pat out the dough into a ½ inch rectangle and cut into your desired shapes.

6. Place onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

There has been a huge shift in my derby life. I can’t wait to get to the rink and lace up. I look forward to constructive critique. I adore my teammates. We come, we skate, we go home. We don’t sit around and gossip in the parking lot after practice about other teammates or the struggles with life/derby balance. I enjoy having the fresh meat around, no matter how many times they trip up the pace line, blatantly cut the track or backblock their way through walls.

I started coaching junior roller derby.

I’m sure there’s been some eyebrows raised over the last few months when I made the shift from skater to coach. After all, who in their right mind would let me around kids?! I’ve only received 1 MVP Blocker award in a bout yet named Life of the After Party two years in a row. I’m better at offending people with my obnoxious comments and sailor vocabulary than I am at holding a jammer. I’ll be the first to admit that even after skating for nearly 5 years there is a lot that I haven’t accomplished.

Giving up being a rostered skater was a decision I didn’t entirely make for myself. Between working longer hours, my mom’s passing, fear of re-injury, other goals and fostering a relationship with my boyfriend (now fiancé) I let derby take a smaller and smaller chunk of my life. It was an extremely bitter pill to force down, and its lodged still in my throat.

So I coach. It gives me the chance twice a week to lace up my skates and hang with some really cool people. I still see some of my old teammates as they come in for their practice, I have some of my old coaches helping me out and I have some of the NSOs and refs that I’ve known for years aiding me with practices. My group of kids are nothing short of awesome. They range from 3 years old to 17, and I mostly work with the kids who have had a little time on their skates. Thanks to some amazing coaches before me (Skatey Spice, Green Megs & Slam and Elle O’Kitty, among others) we have some top notch talent already. Thanks to some amazing coaches alongside me (Truth or Darron, Robusta Brews, and others) we’ll have the incoming freshies bout ready in no time.

And my heart explodes every time I show up. David Lee Wrath giving me my first whistle. Putting a freshie jammer out and watching her give the veteran kids a run for their money. Seeing five year old brothers and sisters knocking each other down with hip checks. When I had to miss 2 practices in a row and the kids were like, “Punk, where did you go? We thought you left us!”

If the aforementioned statement is not enough reassurance that I’m doing something right, I can always rely on Johnny 3:16 to remind me of how well I’ve adapted to coaching. Apparently even the parents dig my style as well. I also amaze myself at how well I turn sailor mode off.

Since our practices are Sunday and Tuesday late afternoons/evenings, I have to make sure I have dinner recipes that either Tim my fiancé or I can execute fairly quickly/easily. I’ve finally jumped on the spaghetti squash bandwagon last year and I love how versatile it is! I like this recipe in particular because you can do a lot of the prep work beforehand and have the lasagnas ready to pop in the oven after you put down the gear bag and before you hop in the shower. By the time you’ve gotten the derby stench off your body, you have a healthy and delicious home cooked meal.

Make this!

2 spaghetti squash
½ cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 pound of a protein of your choice. I like lean sausage crumbles or diced chicken breast.
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut your squashes in half and scoop the centers. (I like to save the seeds for roasting and snacking later!)
2. Season squashes with a little salt, pepper and olive oil and lay cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Tin foil makes clean up a breeze. Bake these suckers for an hour.
3. Cook your protein of choice while your squash is baking. Set it aside.
4. After the squashes are done, let them cool until you can handle them. Take a fork and flake away the meat of the squash from the skins. Be careful not to rip the skins, since those are going to be delicious boats to Flavorville once you fill them back up.
5. Toss the spaghetti part of the squash with about 2/3 of the jar of marinara sauce, or more if you’d like.
6. Fill each squash shell with the sauced “spaghetti”, a layer of chicken, a layer of ricotta and then a layer of mozzarella.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

All of the cheese

7. If you’re cooking these now, pop them back in the oven for 20-30 minutes until bubbling hot and melty. If you’re saving these for later, throw them in the fridge and when you’re back from derby practice they’ll be ready to cook!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Fresh herbs make everything fancier

DerbyGirlsEat – PhDiesel Edition

Wow, it’s been a hot minute since I posted here! I won’t lie; I skated in my last bout a few months ago. I say the term “last” loosely, since there is still a huge chunk of me that won’t fully accept the fact that I might never strap on my skates for a derby practice ever again. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this blog and where it’s going to go. Who wants to read a blog called “derby girl eats” that’s written by a girl who is not even a skater anymore?   sad_face

Well turns out people do, and friends have convinced me to continue endeavors. Once a derby girl, always a derby girl they say. It’s a good feeling!

Aside from a crazy busy schedule at work that initially took me off my skates, I was dealt a hearty blow with the passing of my mom on November 1. In short it has sucked the life out of me and although it was 6 weeks ago I’m still not 100% all here. For the first 2 weeks after that, I was a hermit. I lived in the same sweatpants and hoodie for a solid 4 days at one point during my week off of work for bereavement and my beloved boyfriend would pick up take out when I finally had an appetite and would remind to do things like brush my teeth.

My beacon of light was getting out to see State Wars in Daytona Beach. I finally felt OK to leave the safety of my couch and Netflix and see so many of my friends and watch the sport that had dominated my life for the past 4 years. If you didn’t make it out to State Wars, you missed some of the finest derby this state has seen since Franky Panky back in the summer. It makes me so happy that we pack so much great derby in this state. Between housing D1 powerhouses like Jacksonville and Tampa and D2 teams like Gold Coast and Ft. Meyers we have some damn fine talent. With Gold Coast’s Beach Brawl, Tampa’s Franky Panky and now State Wars we have a slew of world-class tournaments right here in our own backyard that you can access easily in 3 hours or less.

But aside from the amazing track action, derby peeps are just fun to be around. We’re a festive bunch! Between hearing Quadzilla and the boys from Team Texas giving side-splitting trackside commentary to seeing my all-time derby crush Tracy Akers showing up everyone with her twerking skills, I couldn’t help but have a good time. who weird al

The best part, though, was cheering on my friends and extended derby family on Team Florida as they played some amazing derby. Team Florida vs Team Denver (or Denocky as we stared calling it) was a real treat to watch, although every game was fantastic.excited 2

Though Team Florida had a robust and deep jammer rotation with the likes of Jamsterella and Little A (both former Team USA skaters), I was really looking forward to seeing PhDiesel do some work. Affectionately known as Diddy for short, PhDiesel is solid lean muscle that allows her to plow through walls and propel herself around the track. Why, yes, she does hold her doctorate in Kinesiology and is currently an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She teaches in the Physical Education program and just published a book that focuses on sociocultural issues in physical education with the goal of helping teachers become more aware of teaching and connecting with their students that might not share the same cultural background. No big deal.

Aside from landing a spot on Team Florida, she is a key jammer for Tampa Ro10476073_687716924596799_3400169225970794745_oller Derby on the track and helps develop their off skates training program. I was fortunate enough to train with Tampa for a short while before work took over my life, and once you’ve experienced their off skates training it’s easy to see how they’ve earned spots in Division 1 playoffs for years. Although 2013 wasn’t as strong of a showing as the team would have liked, 2014 told a different story. They defeated hometown favorites Santa Cruz, hungry and determined Blue Ridge and Terminal City who put up quite a fight in a nail-biting back-and-forth game. They played a very physical Minnesota and lost in what Diddy describes as one of the toughest game of their season. After coming in as the 7 seed, they left D1 Playoffs in Sacramento in the 5th spot. Again, no big deal.

Name: PhDiesel

Number: 2

League: Tampa Roller Derby

Tell me about yourself! When did you start derby?
I’ve always enjoyed being physically active – I ran track competitively in high school and college, and trained for half marathons and triathlons after grad school. I took a job at the University of South Florida in 2010. While out for drinks with a friend that was moving away one Saturday night, we ran into some derby girls and I asked some questions. Their next “meet and greet” was the following Monday. My friend convinced me that her “going away present” to her could be attending that meeting. That was July of 2011, and I think I’ve spent more time at our rink than in my office since that day!!!

What cool things have you done with your derby career? Where has it taken you?
I could never have imagined the cool people I’ve met and the amazing experiences I’ve had as a result of playing roller derby. I’ve visited some very cool cities with my travel team, competed against some LEGENDS of the sport, pushed myself to achieve things I didn’t think were possible, and experienced tremendous personal growth as well. It sounds extremely cheesy, but it’s absolutely true!!! Derby will change your life!

How has derby changed the way you feel about food?
I can definitely tell a difference when I’m eating “clean” and when I’m not – powering through a tough practice or driving a blocker out of play is a lot easier when I’ve had lean meats and veggies for dinner instead of something super processed, greasy, or fried. I definitely appreciate the “cheat” foods much more, and know what I can and can’t get away with if I want to perform at my best.10669263_577254685739943_4231087171482205089_o

What healthy foods can you not live without?
When I’m heavy into training, my fridge is stocked with raw veggies, hummus, cottage cheese, and greek yogurt. Steel cut oatmeal and sweet potatoes are must-haves in my pantry!

What is your guilty pleasure?
SWEETS! All of them! Ice cream, brownies, and peanut M&M’s especially. Although I’ve never met a french fry I didn’t like, either. Wheat beers. Red wine. Oh geez, I didn’t realize I had so many “guilty pleasures.” I’ll stop…

How do you cross-train off the track?
I like to do interval workouts that include exercises for strength, agility, and speed. I was a sprinter in high school and college, so I love the challenge of stair repeats, hill runs, or “suicides.” I’ve really scaled back on the amount of distance running I do during the season, because it feels counterproductive. I once made the mistake of training for a half marathon near the end of a derby season, and my body was NOT happy with me. My brain knew what I needed my legs to do, but my poor legs just couldn’t do that much when I was logging 10365316_946019882091767_638582284770806615_o40 miles a week. Lesson learned.

Any special pre-bout meal that you swear by?
I’m a creature of habit, so I’ve figured out an “eating routine” and what my body responds well to before a game. For breakfast, it’s oatmeal with almonds or dried fruit and brown sugar, a banana, and coffee (half-caff if our game is early). Even if we’re travelling, I can usually find that either at a grocery store or a coffee shop. For lunch, I usually stick to something that won’t weigh me down, like a turkey or chicken sandwich, which seems to have enough protein and carbs to fuel me. I usually have a coconut water about an hour before the first whistle (I know the research says that coconut water isn’t any more hydrating than regular water, but it makes me feel more hydrated, so I’ve stuck with this ritual!). If our game is later at night, I’ll have a Clif Bar to hold me over. My teammates tease me because I have a little insulated lunch bag that I bring with me to the bench with my water bottle, a gatorade, energy chews, and a banana (for halftime, of course). But I can throw my skate tool and chapstick in there, too. And now that I wear a faceshield on my helmet, I carry a small towel in there, in case I need to wipe off fingerprints or sweat. (I think they’re just jealous of my snacks!)

Tell me all about D1 in Sacramento… What are some things that you did to prepare, and what did you take away from Playoffs?
For our playoffs in Sacramento, I knew there was a chance that we wo10631296_946019342091821_4684561371912955622_ould face the #2 seed, and I’d need to be on top of my game to get through their blockers. I was really disciplined about my diet and training for the 6 weeks leading up to playoffs. I planned meals and snacks carefully throughout the day to make sure my body was getting the energy it needed for all of the extra training we were doing. I cut out alcohol altogether, which was tough, but not impossible. My sweet tooth is insatiable, so I had small portions when I did indulge so I didn’t go on any crazy binges. Besides, there’s calcium in ice cream, right??? Weekly grocery shopping and meal prep became a priority so that I wasn’t forced to eat any of my meals “on the go” and be faced with limited (or unhealthy) options. Our whole team had a training calendar to keep ourselves accountable and motivated, so I knew that there were 15 other skaters doing the same things I was doing.

We went in to playoffs as the number 7 seed, and ended up in 5th place at the end of the weekend. It was a great way to top off a really challenging season. We were so ecstatic! All of the “food sacrifices” that I felt like I made were really worth it, because I felt fantastic. Maybe it was all the adrenaline, but I know that eating well really contributed. Finishing the season the way we did only makes us more motivated for next year.

What is a go-to recipe that you’d like to share?
I’m not great about cooking nightly, so I really like crockpot recipes that I can eat throughout the week. One of my favorite recipes is a pesto lasagna with spinach and mushrooms! Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen, chopped spinach
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I think I used baby Portabellos)
½ cup commercial pesto
¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
¾ cup shredded provolone cheese
1 15-oz. carton fat free ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 (25.5 oz) bottle tomato basil pasta sauce
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
Cooking spray
1 (8 oz) package precooked lasagna noodles (12 noodles)

Combine spinach (thawed/defrosted and drained), mushrooms, and pesto in a medium bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.

Combine mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and beaten egg in a medium bowl, stirring well to combine. Stir in ¼ cup Parmesan and set aside. Combine the pasta sauce and tomato sauce in a medium bowl.

Spray 6-quart oval crockpot with cooking spray.

Spread 1 cup pasta sauce mixture in the bottom of the crockpot. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce mixture; top with 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup spinach mixture.

Repeat the layers, ending with spinach mixture. Arrange 3 noodles over spinach mixture; top with remaining 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup pasta sauce mixture. Place remaining 3 noodles over sauce mixture; spread remaining sauce mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup Parmesan.

Cover with lid; cook on LOW 5 hours or until done.

DerbyGirlsEat – I.M. Pain Edition

This year has been nothing but top-notch derby in the state of Florida. We’ve got skaters on Team USA, multiple teams going to playoffs and we’ve been bringing in more out-of-area teams than you can shake a skate at. Tournaments seem to be the big draw this year, and the ladies of Gold Coast Derby Grrls took things in one giant step forward by hosting Beach Brawl 2014 back in May. This was a great event that not only boasted some amazing line ups, but also gave several international teams a chance to get some serious bout experience against a slew of teams stateside. Overall, 6 countries and 24 teams were represented and we got a preview of Team USA.

Tampa Roller Derby did it again this year with Franky Panky, named in honor of mascot Frank the Flamingo. This derby tradition on our west coast has been going strong since 2010 and has brought Florida spectators bouts such as Jacksonville v Atlanta (2012) and my personal favorite Tampa v Philly (2013). 2014 was not a year to sk1270840_819884428041993_5245423649863925130_oip out with Tampa, Jacksonville and Charm City among others slated to play. Charm City has been a team I had admired from afar via WFTDA.tv and I couldn’t wait to see Nuckin’ Futz’s fancy footwork in person.

Another person I really wanted to see was CCRG All Stars Captain I.M. Pain. She really lives up to her name and bursts through packs with power, fueled on speed. She’s a very physical skater as most of her pictures show; she’s either in the air, throwing hits or flying around opposing skaters. Here she shares with us a little bit of her speed skating background, what its like to move from a local-level team to a WFTDA league and a tasty recipe.

 

Name: Kacey “I.M. Pain” Cappallo

Number: 1618 (Actually, it’s 1.618, but I had to give up the decimal point a while ago!)

League: Charm City Roller Girls

When did you start derby?
I went to my first practice in the Spring of 2009 with New River Valley, but then I had to take a short break to concentrate on the end of the semester (I was in grad school at Virginia Tech at the time) and a summer study abroad to Istanbul. So I didn’t really get going until the end of the Summer in 2009. I tried out for Charm City at the end of May 2010, after I graduated and moved to the Baltimore/DC area.

Like many skaters currently playing for Division 1 teams, Charm City is not your first league. What were some of the big changes that you encountered when you switched to CCRG from New River Valley?
NRV was a really small league when I started skating with them. They’re still on the small side, but back then we were lucky to fill a 10535695_821848804512222_7781574792322101276_oroster. That was a great way for me to start though. I had the skating background, but knew nothing about derby, other than that a few of my friends from speed were doing it. I hadn’t been on quads in a long time. I actually skated my first few practices on rentals. Moving to Charm, there was a huge difference. More practices, about 4 times the skaters, more than two officials, more responsibilities, and a much higher level of play. Skating in a smaller league (before they were even WFTDA apprentice!), I was able to get away with a bit more. I don’t mean that in a legality sense. I mean that I don’t think I really knew how to play derby before I came to Charm. I could rely much more on my skating ability. So, moving to Charm, it was an awakening. I’m pretty sure I just about died the first time Dolly Rocket hit me! I still obviously rely on my skating ability, but at some point, I actually had to learn how to play derby!10293756_777263025637467_7110165414662916901_o

You’ve been a speed skater for longer than some derby skaters have been alive. What drew you to the sports of speed skating and then roller derby?
I can hardly remember a time before I skated. I started competed in speed skating in 1988, when it was on quads. My dad’s parents met at a roller rink, so that’s why I think he started taking me so young. He grew up skating too. If you would have asked me 6 years ago, I never would have guessed that I’d be playing roller derby now. I was at speed nationals in 2008, chatting with Racer McChaseher from Detroit. She was telling us all about this new movie that she got to be an extra in (Whip It!). It was pretty exciting. After Nationals that year is when I found out I’d been accepted into grad school. I tried to keep speed skating, but the closest team was just outside of Roanoke, which was about an hour away from Virginia Tech. I couldn’t balance that drive, with the hours required for speed training with Grad School. My degree obviously had to take priority. I decided to just check and see if there were any local roller derby leagues, since Racer made it seem like a lot of fun. Turns out NRV was only 5 miles away. I didn’t actually contact them immediately, though. I ran into them out at a bar in Blacksburg, and they convinced me that night to join the team. So, I always joke that the way I got into roller derby is that I got picked up at a karaoke bar!

As we see more speed skaters crossing over to the world of derby, what are some words of advice that you can share?
Advice for the speed skaters joining derby? Don’t be afraid to hit back! Learn how to take the hit and keep going. Speed modulation! Advice for the non-speed skaters already in derby on how to deal with speed skaters joining derby? Take away their speed!

What are some of your favorite moments of your derby career so far?
I would say my favorite moment was making it to Champs (in 2010) my first season with Charm. That was also the first time Charm had made it to Champs. And then, skating at Champs that year in Chicago. My mom lives there, so she was able to come and watch us win our game the first day, against Minnesota. I was also very proud of the fight we put up against Rocky Mountain in the second day. That was the year they went on to win, so I was very proud of our team for doing so well against the would-be 2010 WFTDA Champs!

One of my newest favorite moments was skating at RollerCon in the East vs West All Star game. That was a lot of fun! It was such an honor to get to skate with and against some of the best in the world, and it didn’t hurt that the East won!

Do you even bother with additional cross-training anymore?

YES!! Always cross train! You can’t ever take it easy. The minute you rest, or think you’re good enough, that’s when someone passes you by! You have to keep raising the bar for yourself. Especially since derby is still evolving, there is always room to grow.

What are some key foods that you rely on to keep your energy up for practices and competition?
I eat a lot of hummus with vegetables, bananas, almonds, peanut butter, grapes. Really, anything that is easy to pack and stays good for long periods of time without refrigeration Bout days are always long, so I try to keep things that like on hand. At Champs in Chicago though, we always got back to the hotel so late that the only thing usually open was the Dunkin Donuts across the street. I ate a lot of bacon egg and cheese bagels that weekend! Since I had a pretty good showing, my husband and I joke now about that being my super food! 10387144_777264535637316_4249877214107703467_o

Any guilty pleasures we should know about? Can someone wave a chocolate chip cookie on turn 3 and hope that you’re distracted mid-jam?
I’m pretty focused during the game, so it’d have to be a pretty big chocolate chip cookie to get my attention! I’ll definitely take it after the game though! HA. I would say my biggest guilty pleasure for food is beef jerky!

 

 

Is there a favorite recipe that you’d like to share with readers?
Yes! This is one my husband and I found a few years ago that is pretty healthy, easy to make and super cheap!

Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and White Beans

2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (19 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
10 ounces fresh spinach, washed and chopped
8 ounces penne pasta (we switch up the shapes – lately we’ve been using Cellentani for this recipe)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (though we often use Parmesan because we have it on hand)

We add garlic, basil, oregano, black pepper, and whatever other spice we’re feeling at the moment. I would also add mushrooms in, if my husband didn’t hate them!

Sometimes we add tomato paste to the recipe as well – if so, we also pour in some red wine.

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and beans in a large non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add spinach to the sauce; cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly.

4. Serve sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with feta.

Beach Picnics Part 1 – Chicken Salad Sandwiches

The last couple of weekends I’ve been lucky enough to have Tim free on Sundays. Since we sometimes work opposite schedules, it’s a real treat when we both have a day off. We had been making a routine of hitting up brunch at The Hammered Lamb over on Ivanhoe Row. It’s the only place that has been able to break me of my standard eggs benedict and mimosa meal. Now I always order a BLT and their bloody mary bar. I’m definitely one of those classless assholes that tops their bloody mary with four pieces of bacon, two skewers of blue cheese stuffed olives, a few artichoke hearts and a stick of string cheese. I tried their BLT on a whim, since I’ve had a very strict policy ever since I was a toddler that bread and vegetables like raw tomato and lettuce should never meet. Sometimes food just beckons you, I suppose.

There is also a very distinct flavor in their BLT. They use an herbed mayo that is rife with thyme. I love herbs on my eggs, and its not uncommon for me to sprinkle herbes des Provence on eggs when cooking breakfast at home. I feel like you usually find thyme in much more rich and savory dishes, like French onion soup or anything else where beef is simmered for hours. But thyme also has a wonderful flavor that works well with lighter dishes, like eggs and chicken.

The Florida summer has really had me yearning for the beach, however. I usually never go because I got in the habit of only going for 2 or 3 hours and then heading home. When I was growing up in New Smyrna Beach, that was fine. Now that I live in Orlando and it’s easily an hour before I can even put a foot in the sand, I’d rather make a day of it. Tim and I took our brunch money and invested in all the tools necessary to make us look like every other Orlando resident that I grew up annoyed by yet thankful for; my beach umbrella, cooler and chairs a reminder of my time working at Mon Delice where I’d make sub sandwiches and box pastries up for the tourists.

I had been wanting to hit up Playalinda in Titusville. To keep us on the beach, I decided I’d pack the cooler with a great picnic spread. First, I’d make big chicken salad sandwiches on wheat buns. I chopped up some cucumber slices and celery sticks to go with hummus. For dessert, I made rosemary lemon shortbread cookies. Those actually turned out to be quite the Pinterest Fail, and I’ll be sure to post all about that so you can enjoy. For good measure I grabbed the vodka and a bottle of bloody mary mix.

Chicken salad is one of those recipes that I always forget how much I like. Although it can be labor-intensive, I enjoy how few ingredients it takes. Its also pretty cheap to make because I take bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and roast them in the oven. Not only are they half the cost of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but they have so much more flavor and moisture when you cook them.

The labor-intensive part is standing in the kitchen pulling the meat from the bone and shredding it by hand. Not only will you be able to make sure you separate the little bones and bits of cartilage, but I think the long shreds hold the sauce nicely and give a different texture. I also have made this recipe with salmon I’ve cooked. Salmon goes wonderfully with either herb, but especially with dill. Again, you’ll want to flake the salmon apart by hand; that will keep the thick flaky texture instead of mushy like bad tuna fish salad.

There are other ingredient swaps you can use in this recipe. For the mustard, I have Dijon listed. I’m also a big fan of stone ground mustard or even deli-style mustard with chicken in particular. I like to use a combination of half mayo – half low fat Greek yogurt to lighten it up. I’ve also made this with just Greek yogurt, but we like the extra richness the mayo gives. Play around with the proportions that you like, or even try with a vegan or paleo mayonnaise. Get funky.

dancing gif

2 Chicken breasts with the bone in and skin on, or about 3 cups of cooked shredded chicken
1 Cup celery, diced
½ Cup Mayo
½ Cup Greek Yogurt
¼ Cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Thyme or Dill
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. If you’re starting with uncooked chicken, bake the chicken breasts skin-side up in an open pan at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Let them cool until they are cool enough to handle with your hands.

2. Discard the chicken skin… Or snack on it like I do while I make this! Its like chicken bacon.

3. Shred the chicken using your hands.

4. Combine all ingredients except the salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

5. Check the mixture for seasoning. Some mustards have different flavors, so get a feel for where your flavors are at before adding additional salt and pepper. I usually will add about 1 teaspoon of salt at this point.

6. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least an hour before making your sandwiches.

Haters Gonna Hate

The first time I left a league, it was bittersweet. When you start out as fresh meat, it’s not that unlike falling into a deep teenage love. You shout to the world that you’re a derby girl. You draw hearts and rainbows and skates on every sheet of notebook paper. You write your derby name you’ve picked out in several ways until you find the one that you love best.

Punk in Drublic.

Punkin Drublic.

Ms. Drublic if you’re nasty.

 

Punk N. Drublic.

You pass your skills test and are drafted to a home team. The loss of virginity has happened, and you can’t see yourself loving anyone else than this team for as long as you live. You will skate forever, and you will always, always, see this group of girls as your home. You belong here.

And then the rose-colored glasses are crushed.

You see the cliques. You smell the drama thick in the air, like your wrist guards that have spent too many nights shoved deep in your skates after practice. People you think are your teammates lie to your face. Girls move away, girls quit because of injury, girls quit because of burnout. You get tired of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the people do 80% of the work. You get tired of being sneered at because you’re one of the 20%. You get tired of feeling like you’re more and more alone as the league gets larger and larger. Sometimes you make your bed, and sometimes you’re just an innocent bystander.

The first time I left a league, I was scared. A few of my leaguemates had made a mass exodus and went on to start another league. And as more and more of those girls that I looked up to for so long left, the more drama stirred up at the league I was a part of. Rumors were going around. Shit was being talked that I knew wasn’t true. The mentality “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” was oozing out of every single girl as we all waited with bated breath to see who would be the next to turn.
When my time was up I knew what would happen. I let my team know at a dinner we were having that I was leaving because of injury. It was true, and I had actually been off my skates for a little while because of a herniated disk. It probably came as no surprise. But I added that I was planning on coming back to the track after I had surgery, however I would be coming back to skate with the other league.

“I know I only have a few more years on my skates left, and I want to skate where it matters,” I remember saying. Where it mattered. As in the fact that I didn’t want to be a big fish in a little pond. As in that I knew that if I surrounded myself with girls that were better skaters that I would become a better skater, too. I wanted to skate where derby was more than just a hobby for the majority of the girls.

That was the last night I spoke to several of those people. My good-bye post to the team filled with encouragement and support felt more like a suicide note, and as soon as I had posted it to the team Facebook group I was removed from it. Over time I’ve noticed how many of my former leaguemates have un-friended me, the ultimate social media bitch slap. I went to one of their practices for a little extra on-skates time about 3 months ago. Girls wouldn’t even look at me. Girls I never had a single problem with in the world. Girls I was under the impression that I was friends with. Girls that still showed up for our season opener and ate the free food at our after party. I didn’t realize just how many people I would lose as friends/’friends’ just because I tried to make the best decision for me. If you’re not with us, you’re against us. But I wouldn’t have done anything differently, because skating with Orlando Area Derby Revolution was the year that I really grew as a skater and I’m forever grateful.

Now that OADR has disbanded, I’ve made yet another huge jump in my derby career. I’ve been skating with the WFTDA league Tampa Roller Derby.  It was a heartbreaking decision at first, but I’m also excited to see where things take me. People think I’m crazy because I’m making the 75 minute commute to Tampa. I don’t. Every time I step onto the track and see that 3 of the 4 blockers are Trantrums and the other blocker and jammer are on the Bruise Crew I know that I’m going to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I’m starting to live for that adrenaline rush.

So wish me luck! And since I’m not quite sure what kind of a recipe could possibly follow this, I’ll just leave you with this:

winning

DerbyGirlsEat – Blaque Jac Edition

In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, Florida roller derby is not to be messed with. Packed in our state we have no less than 6 WFTDA leagues: Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Gold Coast, Tampa and Fort Myers. A few more leagues have been added to the WFTDA Apprentice program, and there are several more local leagues all over the state. We’ve got no less than 85 women coming to try out for Team Florida for the upcoming State Wars tournament this Sunday. Yours truly will be there, though I have no expectations of making the final roster. When you’re trying out against the likes of Little A (former Team USA skater) and Ms. Jax’em (world champion speed skater) you tend to just be happy if you can show up and maybe make a block or two.

However, the best part about Team Florida is not the amount of concentrated skating talent that we have, but rather the support that we all have for the leagues. When someone posts an open scrimmage, you’d better sign up fast because those slots are going quick. When you go to a game, you’ll see at least 3 other leagues coming to show love to the 2 teams playing. Tampa is playing Jacksonville on Saturday, and it’s blowing everyone’s mind. It’s like trying to pick one bestie over another; you can’t really predict who will win even if you wanted to.

So in the spirit of showing some love to Team Florida, I’m starting out a new spin I’m putting on DerbyGirlEats by featuring some recognizable names in the derby community from right here in the Sunshine State! My first interview is with the most feared booty on the west coast of Florida. I think my favorite moment watching this girl skate was during Franky Panky 2013 when she gave a slay ride to Antidote of the Philly Roller Girls on turn 3. It was like seeing that clip of Beyonslay and Rice Rocket for the first time, but in real life and at eye level. Gorgeous.

daaaamn

And, of course, who can hate on those dance moves? Bitches be stealing that shit. The first time I saw Lloimincia Hall’s floor routine I thought, “I’ve definitely seen Blaque Jac do that already. On skates.”

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Name: Jacqueline “Blaque Jac” Thermitus

Number: 21

League: Tampa Roller Derby1532077_706499196056705_879210174_o

Tell me about yourself! When did you start derby? I started derby in March 2009 in Bradenton with the Bradentucky Bombers and transferred to Tampa Roller Derby on March 2012.

Aside from being sponsored by Bont, what cool things have you done with your derby career? Where has it taken you? One of the super cool things that I have done was travel to Los Angles for the LA Derby Dolls annual Banked Track Bootcamp where I got to play in front of thousands of derby fans and with tons of amazing skaters all while playing on the banked track. Being on the Tampa Roller Derby all-star travel team, the Tampa Tantrums, has taken me all over the US as well.

How has derby changed the way you feel about food? As I became more and more competitive in roller derby, I have been more and more aware about my food choices. As a thicker girl then most derby players, I still have to eat right but s1396800_612174085490292_1247098647_otill eat enough to fuel my body for practice and game day.

What healthy foods can you not live without? Baked Chicken is a must! Broccoli and asparagus are my two favorite greens. I’m starting to not live without water… I know funny right, but being a Pepsi drinker quitting soda altogether was a hard challenge for me.

What is your guilty pleasure? Publix Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

How do you cross-train off the track? I try to do different things. I really like going to either a kickboxing class or cross training boot camp.

Tell us a little bit about your game day juice! My “crack juice” is Celsius! I drink one of those per game or sometimes I even mix it with water. I like that it gives me that boost of energy right when I need it.

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Tell me all about D1 in Richmond… What are some things that you did to prepare, and what did you take away from Playoffs? To prepare for Richmond the Tampa Tantrums did a lot of team bonding. I know you weren’t expecting that answer, but to be a unit is very important. We of course amped up our off-skates work outs and came up with the strategies and tactic to help us perform. Leaving Richmond we of course didn’t come out the way we wanted but we went back to the drawing boards and became an even better team.

Click here for Blaque Jac’s favorite chicken and asparagus bake!

 

Lemon Lentil Salad

If anyone can give me the secret to getting rid of sea legs, I will give you a high five. I’ve been back on land for over 24 hours, but I still can’t shake the inevitable feeling that I’m rocking back and forth on waves not suitable for vacationing on a cruise ship. Luckily I’ve tamed the acid reflux from too much food and even more Mai Tais with vodka floaters. Pro Tip: Don’t even bother getting drunk on a cruise ship. You’ll blow through your budget and your stash of smuggled booze faster than you can make your way from one end of the dinner buffet to the other. There just isn’t enough real estate in your stomach, and your liver is too busy processing the plate of bacon you had for breakfast and the plate of roast beef you had for lunch to even bother with that $8 pina colada you just bought.

Speaking of $8 pina coladas, let me recap a few things that happened to annoy the shit out of me on my long weekend!

1. If a drink is described in great detail on a menu, please serve it to me that way. I knew better than to get caught up in drinking cruise ship beverages. But when I bellied up to one of the bars with a stunning view of the ocean just as we had set sail, I took a gander at the bar menu and saw a lovely sounding beverage. Why not kick off the trip with a little something besides bootlegged vodka mixed with the lemonade from the soda machine? There was a Hendrick’s gin rickey of sorts that boasted fresh limes muddled together with fresh raspberries and simple syrup. The price seemed reasonable so I went for it. I was handed back a glass filled with Mr. Boston’s well gin and syrupy margarita and raspberry frozen drink mixes. Oh, and a lemon garnish. For $8.XX (because gratuity is already added).

bsi

I did remind the bartender that I ordered the ultimate gin rickey… You know, the one with Hendrick’s in it and the fresh ingredients. The boyfriend offered to drink the first one, and I watched the bartender make the ‘correct’ one. Sadly, the correct one still came to me made with the syrupy junk from the carton. With a lemon. And I still got charged $8.XX. Later that night I tried ordering another lime-based drink and was informed that the entire ship was out of limes. Good thing I had listened to NPR a few days ago when they ran a story about the international lime market and how global demand for the fruit has jacket up the street value and made them hard to find. I still wish someone would have told me when I placed my drink order that there were no limes.

On the third day of the cruise I treated myself to the festive Mai Tai. Again I ordered the fancy one off the bar menu, because why not. It had Disaronno and some Pyrat special rum that the boyfriend said was particularly good. I’m watching the bartender make the drink. In goes the Disaronno. Then he tops the whole glass off with fruity juice from a big jug and hands it to me. I politely say, “Oh, I’m sorry… Did you add the rum?” He chuckles back and says the rum is already mixed in the juice, and suggests I try it because I can taste it. Sure enough, I do taste it. But deep down I’m furious that I’m again being charged for top-shelf liquor and being served the opposite. I take my drink, enjoy half of it, and then try to justify the situation by pouring some of my smuggled vodka into it.

2. When a pool is designated as the grown ups’ pool, please keep your goddamned kids out of it. The adults need a place to chill out sans kids too. When you’ve finally dropped the babies off at the nursery for the afternoon, or you’ve snagged one of the last chaises by the pool and you’re about to crack open a good book, or you’re just a lone traveler trying to enjoy a little ‘you’ time, do you want to deal with five year olds doing cannonballs? Having the whirlpool tub overrun by unsupervised preschoolers? No! I want to read Chuck Palahniuk and listen to this symphony cover of Celine Dion and enjoy my third lox and bagel from the breakfast buffet.

Those unexpected days at sea are the worst. We were unable to tender in to the cruiseline’s private island (our second and last stop of the trip), so we were left to fend for ourselves on board. Needless to say the pool deck was packed. It was the only afternoon where there was sun, so there was not a chair in sight. Getting into the pool was not a possibility; the kids had abandoned the children’s pool and opted for the family pool and there was a swarm of about 20 kids bobbing around in snorkel gear or diving in on top of each other. The boy and I checked in the grown up’s pool. Not ideal since it’s a solarium-style and I wasn’t sure how much sun we’d end up getting, but beggars can’t be choosers. Sadly, everything was taken. There could have been more seating, but some families decided it would be great if they could just tote their kids along. Eventually the boy and I found 2 chairs that another couple had just abandoned on the public deck and were able to get sunburned and listed to the reggae band play covers in between asking the kids not to do handstands into the pool.

3. Put some damn clothes on your kids. There have been a few times where I’ve stopped, cocked my head to the side and have wondered what in the hell some parents are thinking when they let their kids leave the house. But when a kid is under the age of 5, odds are pretty good that you dressed your kid yourself. This is not a matter of your 13 year old unzipping their hoodie to reveal a tube top. This is a 4 year old running around in micro-bikini and you put her in it. Seriously, I don’t even think that one of the triangles would have covered one of my nips. It was downright disturbing, and the thought that all one pervert had to do was snap a picture on their cell phone was too much.

I'm all like

I’m all like

dafoe

Creepers be all like

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from coordinating what time to hit the dinner buffet before our sit down dinner, the boyfriend and I talked about what we will and won’t allow our kids to wear for the better part of that afternoon. Glad to know he and I are on the same page.

4. Don’t make me pay three times what I’d pay on dry land and then give me a sales pitch. Another thing I knew better was not to spend money in the spa. I wound up spending over $100 on a ‘manager’s special’ treatment that was a scalp massage, foot massage, and a hot stone back massage. I could have gotten a Groupon! And if the price tag wasn’t unsettling enough, try relaxing when the spa is directly located under the weight room of the gym. All of the bro’s on the ship (and trust me, the boy and I counted at least 20 bro’s) were all working out at the same time, slamming their weights down on the thin floor above me. But the real cherry on top was the sales pitch. Talk about bursting what little bubble of relaxation I had. I had a feeling it was coming… I had sailed once on this cruise line a few years back and had the same thing happen to me. As soon as you’re handed your cup of water and still nekkid on the massage table, your therapist explains in her heavy accent about the types of oils she just rubbed you down with. Then she tells you how to use them at home. Then she says, “So which ones will you be purchasing today?” I’m sorry? I just overpaid you for the least relaxing massage I’ve ever had and you’re asking me to purchase these ‘exclusive’ beauty products?

no-effin-way

So that’s my rant.IMG_0579

At least now I’m home and slowly working good things into my body, like water. I’m already feeling some of the bloat going away, and last night when I finally found my appetite again all I wanted was something light but flavorful, and preferably with ingredients I already had in the fridge. There is a lemony lentil salad that I really like, and its great for lunch or as a side with dinner. It would also be good for taking on picnics because it doesn’t contain mayo and is great hot or cold.

 

Eat this and feel good!

1 ½ cups of green lentils
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice from ½ a lemon
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
3 Tbs quality extra virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup diced red onion (optional)
1 clove of garlic minced or grated on a micro plane
Salt to taste

1. Boil your lentils in water for about 15 minutes, then drain.
2. In a mixing bowl, add all of the other ingredients except the salt.
3. Add in your lentils and toss together until everything is coated evenly.
4. Salt the salad to taste. Sometimes Dijon can add a little saltiness, so you always want to salt after.
5. Enjoy either warm or cold!

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Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake

Remember when I said I wasn’t good at baking?

Apparently I lied, or so proclaimed Tim after he took his first bite of this pound cake. He proceeded to scold me in between shoveling forkfuls of warm, coconutty goodness into his mouth. He mumbled a few more times while chewing. I’m pretty sure he was telling me how amazing I was.

I actually was pretty impressed with myself, to be honest. I’ve never been good at baking. For my first real crack at making something completely from scratch, I was sold. I quickly proclaimed that I would bake two new cakes a month as part of my New Year’s Resolutions. I proudly stated this along with vowing to write a new blog post at least once a week.

For all of you who are still reading this blog, I’m sure you’re all saying, “Bitch, you ain’t written shit! I’ve been waiting for your take on cauliflower crust pizza and all I see are pics of your new cat and all of the beer you’re drinking late Saturday nights at Cask & Larder on Instagram! Your cat does not need her own hashtag!”

I vehemently thank you all for sticking with me through my slacking, and my posts of #MaeWestKitty. And the only other cake I’ve baked since this pound cake was a beautiful triple berry bundt cake with a lemon glaze. Stay tuned, because I’m sure I’ll post it on here in the next three to seven months. Its worth the wait, I promise.

So to keep with the theme of slacking, here is a recipe for all of us who slack once in a while. I don’t think there is anything wrong with treating yourself every now and again, and rather than going and picking up cake from anywhere with who-knows-what ingredients, I like to justify this recipe on the simple fact that when you make something you have control of the ingredients that go into it. You can use cage-free eggs, organic butter, and turbanado sugar if you like and you can always pronounce all of the things that you’re about to eat. For my pals that are on stricter diets out there, feel free to try this recipe using your favorite alternative baking flours. I’m curious to see how it adapts!

Enjoy!

Cake
1 ½ cups of shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of baking soda
½ tsp of salt
¾ cup of softened butter
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of buttermilk

Glaze
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 Tbs of buttermilk

1. On a baking sheet, toast your coconut until it is brown in the oven. Get ready for your kitchen to smell amazing. When it’s done, let it cool. Reserve ½ of a cup of coconut for topping later.

2. Turn your oven on to 350 degrees.

3. Sift together your flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

4. Cream together the butter and sugar until the butter is light and fluffy. I like using my hand mixer for this.

5. Slowly add 1 egg at a time into your butter and mix. Add in your vanilla.

6. Add a small amount of flour followed by a small amount of buttermilk in alternating portions, mixing well in between. You should do this about 3 times.

7. Fold in your toasted coconut.

8. Pour your batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

9. Cool your cake in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.

10. Remove your cake and place it on the wire rack. Pour your glaze on top of the cake and then top it with your reserved coconut.

Veggie Breakfast Frittata

I was in one of my Kitchen MacGuyver moods one Sunday morn. I had a 1/3 of a bag of wilting spinach, half a container of little cherry tomatoes that were staring to shrivel and my last 6 eggs in the fridge. If anything will make me feel like an Iron Chef, it’s one of those situations. I’ve become very fond of making frittatas because they are so versatile. They are a great vessel for those little bits of leftovers, cooked or uncooked, that you need to use up in the fridge. You can also save leftover slices and have a tasty breakfast ready to be warmed up throughout the week in a matter of seconds. If you’re feeling particularly swanky, pair a slice with a salad for what the fancy people like to call a light lunch. Or if you’re strapped for cash (like myself), you can call it not-tuna-salad-again-because-I-get-paid-in-two-more-days lunch.

One thing I have been sneaking into my cooking lately is this crazy blend of spices called Berbere. It’s a north African blend of spices that is really robust and give a complex and distinct flavor. It has lots of cayenne pepper, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and a few other things. I picked up some at Penzy’s, but any specialty market might have it. If you can’t find it, a good pinch of cayenne pepper and turmeric might do the trick.

Side note: Remember to use a pot holder when removing your pan out of the oven and after. Maybe you all are smarter than me, but I can’t stop burning myself because I keep forgetting that the pan came out of a 375 degree oven and I just grab it as if I were making an omelet or something.

Veggie Breakfast Frittata

Veggie Breakfast Frittata

1 cup spinach
½ cup cheery tomatoes, halved
3 whole eggs
3 egg whites
1 tsp Berbere spice blend
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat your garlic and oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat.

3. Just as the garlic starts to get a bit of brown, add your tomatoes and spinach. Sprinkle in the Berbere spice and toss to wilt the spinach and cook the tomatoes.

4. Whisk together your eggs and egg whites. Add them to the pan.

5. Gently stir the bottom of the pan with a spatula to move the veggies around in a uniform layer.

6. After the eggs cook for about 4 minutes on the stovetop, place the ovenproof pan in the oven to cook the eggs longer. Bake for 10 minutes, until the eggs have set.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and slide out the frittata on to a cutting board for cutting.