Archive for July, 2013

Super Glorious Morning!

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

We’ve had some beautiful cycling weather here in Davis the past few mornings. I got a lovely little pre-work jaunt in this morning and it was perfect! A lovely sunrise, cool temperatures, not too dry, not too humid, and a gentle breeze. Yesterday morning was about the same, and I also got a quick post-work ride in after work last night. I wish I had stopped to take some photos, but I need to maximize my ride time right now.

Napa Valley Ride

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Yesterday I rode from Napa almost to Healdsburg and back for a total of 87.6 miles. Originally I had planned a century ride, but got a bit of a late start because my alarm didn’t go off in the morning. That’s OK; 87.6 miles turned out to be just enough yesterday. I rode a modified Napa Valley Tour de Cure route: starting from Luna Vineyards up the Silverado Trail to Calistoga, then up Hwy 128 to the Jimtown Store for lunch, then back.

The ride from Napa up the Valley on the Silverado Trail was, as always, beautiful. The day started a little chilly, and the breeze was a little more than expected, but for the most part not too bad on the way to Calistoga. I discovered a great place to stop in Calistoga for a quick break – the Sharpsteen Museum. There was a spot of shade to have a snack, a water fountain, and a clean restroom.

I haven’t been riding hills much recently, and haven’t really done any since the Napa Valley Tour de Cure, so the hills on Hwy 128 between Calistoga and Healdsburg were just right. These are confidence building hills and I think I rode pretty steadily on them yesterday. I’m not going to win any races, but that’s not why I ride.

Lunch at the Jimtown Store …

Icy cold and refreshing!

This fueled me almost all the way back to Napa. I did stop once and grab a quick gel at about 77 miles. The menu at the Jimtown Store looks beautiful, but that foodie adventure will have to wait for a day when I’m not cycling. I eat pretty light when I ride: carbs, a little protein and very little fat.

By the time I got back to the Silverado Trail in Calistoga, the winds had kicked up a bit and I fought a headwind pretty much the entire way down Valley back to the car. I was hoping to get back to the car in time to stop in and pick up a bottle of wine at Luna Vineyards, but the ride back took longer than expected. I got there moments after the last guests were leaving and they had already closed out the register for the day. Oh, well. This is an excuse to head back another day!

 

 

Getting a Late Start This Morning

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Fresh Tuscan Melon, Blueberries, and Raspberries

Originally I had planned to be out on my bike by 7am, but sometimes you just have to sleep in and sleep won out this morning. It would have been nice if sleep had won out over insomnia at about 2am, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

There may be a quick trip to the Davis Farmer’s Market this morning, but that might have to wait until Wednesday at this point. I need to get some miles in today!

Rediscovering Couscous

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Couscous Salad

I got a few good rides in this weekend. Saturday about 50 miles, and Sunday 68 miles. I was looking for a simple, quick, and healthy dinner last night to refresh and refuel for the week. I wanted a salad, but something a bit more substantial, but still light. Hmm … what could be more simple than couscous? If you can boil water, stir, and wait 5 minutes, you can cook couscous.

To make this salad, prepare some Couscous, plain or your favorite flavor. Toss in some veggies and herbs … here I used peas, edamame, fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and some extra virgin olive oil. I used a packaged pine nut flavor couscous, so I did not add any salt, but if you’re using plain couscous, you’ll want to add some salt. Serve this on top of a bed of fresh baby greens and arugula, some fresh tomatoes and avocado, and you have a healthy, light dinner perfect for a hot summer night. And, it makes for great lunch leftovers, too!

This would be great with a light, crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Rose.

Enjoy!

 

Wrapping Up the 4-Day Weekend

Monday, July 8th, 2013

There was some great riding to be had this holiday weekend. I rode all 4 days, varying distances. July 4th was pretty darn windy here, but we got 50 or so miles in. The 5th, I just did about 20 in the morning; it was still pretty windy and I felt pretty beat up from the day before. Yesterday and today were nice – we got about 55 miles in yesterday and 77 today.

We had some pretty good food at home this weekend, too. We treated ourselves to a marinated tri tip on July 4th and enjoyed this with lemony Caesar salad with homemade croutons, and some grilled potato. We were a little too ambitious with food and also grilled a couple of ears of corn, but that ended up being too much, so we saved them for the next day. With the leftovers, we made some upscale tacos.

Tri Tip Tacos

We had some leftover mango-papaya salsa and a really ripe avocado, so I made a pseudo-guacamole by mashing the avocado a bit with some fresh squeezed lime juice and the stirred in the salsa. I made a simple corn relish by slicing the corn off the cob, adding a healthy heaping of chopped fresh cilantro, the juice of one lime, about a teaspoon of agave nectar, and seasoned with salt and pepper. In hindsight, a thinly sliced or chopped serrano chile pepper would have been a great addition. I cut the leftover tri tip into small bite-sized chunks, and sauteed it a bit in a little olive oil over medium high heat. In a cast iron griddle, I heated some corn tortillas, and then assembled some simple tacos. If you can find a local, artisan corn tortilla, it is worth the extra money. I have just recently discovered Mi Abuelita Bonita Tortillas Sonora Style traditional corn tortillas and might never eat “regular” store bought corn tortillas again.

Espresso-Herb Marinated Leg of Lamb

I don’t eat much red meat, but for some reason I was craving it this weekend, so I picked up a boneless leg of lamb at Costco. A few years back I made a leg of lamb with an espresso marinade. I couldn’t remember exactly what I had done, so I did a quick Google search and found this recipe for an Espresso Marinated Lamb Roast. I modified this just a little bit. I happened to have a bit of fresh mint leftover from another recipe, and lamb with mint is a classic combination, so this is my twist on the recipe …

Espresso-Herb Marinated Leg of Lamb

Boneless leg of lamb (about 3 pounds)
2 shots of espresso, cooled
1/2 large red onion, cut into a small dice
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine the espresso, onion, garlic, herbs, honey, and soy sauce in a medium bowl. Stir to mix well.
  2. Trim excess fat from the meat and blot with paper towels.
  3. Place the trimmed meat into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Add a few grinds of black pepper.
  4. Pour the marinade into the bag, seal it, and work the marinade around so that it covers the meat as evenly as possible.
  5. Place the bag in a bowl and then into the refrigerator.

    Medium Rare

  6. Marinate at least 6 hours, but overnight is better.
  7. Grill at about 325-degrees to your desired doneness. Let it rest about 10 minutes before slicing.

We served this with grilled eggplant and squash. It was fantastic, if I may say so myself! The mint stood out a bit more than I expected it to, but it was not overpowering at all. We enjoyed this with a Willamette Valley Vineyards Barrel Select Pinot Noir, 2010. The wine was fairly light, not too fruity, and just earthy enough to compliment the grilled lamb and vegetables.

And then, there was dessert …

Fresh Blueberries and Strawberries with Just a Touch of Salt Caramel Gelato and a Bit of Dark Chocolate

This was all great motivation to get a good ride in today. I hope you got a chance to get out and enjoy some fun and exercise this weekend. How did it go by so darn quickly?

Here’s to a super busy work week ahead. I am feeling reinvigorated and ready to go and will need to keep that motivation for this entire week. I scheduled a lot of appointments and have extra events going on this week. What was I thinking? 

The weather forecast is promising and I expect to get a ride in each day, maybe even a few evenings after work, too.

 

 

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

As we head into this holiday weekend …

Here’s hoping you get lots of chances to ride!

Have a safe & happy 4th of July!

 

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 1st, 2013

I hereby declare 2013 to be Yolo County's Year of the Sunflower.

It is an absolutely gorgeous morning for a ride. With temperatures expected to reach well over 100-degrees today, I hope you have a chance to get out early on your bike. If you’re out there riding in the heat, please remember to stay well hydrated.

Heading into a 3-day work week … a very happy Monday, indeed!