Monday, March 20, 2023

Weekly Round Up 1 of 2: Life on the Run

A weekly round up: eats, workouts, watches, and reads.  My life was so action packed this week that I've got to break it into two posts.  Today we're going to talk about food, including a McDonald's vs Homemade Bacon Egg n'Cheese Biscuit throwdown, I ran this week for the first time since August (kinda sorta), and I've got another good book.  

This was Boy Scout camp weekend, so while the boys went away, this girl went out to play!  I went somewhere that I never ever in a million years imagined that I would go for vacation and I'll be back with the details about that in the next post.


On the food front I finally got around to trying "Rice Thief" otherwise known as Korean soft tofu.  Rice thief is a term for a food that pairs well with rice and is so good that you keep eating it, so all of your rice gets "stolen" in the process.  If you're looking for a "no cook" dinner that takes 5 minutes to make (5 minutes assuming that you already have cooked rice on hand), this is for you.  Usually I only buy extra firm tofu but after having silken tofu, I've realized that I need to mix it up a bit.

Since I left pretty early on Friday for my trip, I delayed breakfast until I was hungry.  I came up with a craving for McDonald's all things.  I can't even begin to put a date on the last time that I had one of these.

The first few bites were absolutely divine and the rest tasted like cardboard.  Just like I remembered!

I had to cut my trip short due to weather (more about that in the next post) so on Sunday morning I was home alone.  I decided to stack up my homemade version against the real thing.  I love a good bacon egg n'cheese sammie, but most of the time I just put it on an English muffin for convenience.  I helped myself out by measuring out the ingredients the night before so that on Sunday morning all I had to do was mix it up and stick it in the oven while my coffee was brewing.  This is a small batch recipe, and I did my usual MO of baking the one biscuit that I needed and putting the other three in the freezer so that I'll be able to Bake on Demand for the rest.

The end result:

  • If you're on the road, McD is the way to go, since you can't exactly transport the homemade version and have it pipping hot and ready to go on the road. 
  • If you're at home and don't mind the extra effort, you can have the homemade version ready in about the same time that you'd spend making a round trip to the drive through for a fraction of the cost.
  • It was well worth the $4 expenditure to learn that Kraft>cheddar cheese slices for breakfast sammies.  Duly noted.

When I got home from my trip, I wanted a nice dinner but also didn't want to go to the grocery store.  I whipped up a batch of Vegan Korean Fried Chicken (soy curls).  I added some fried rice and Costco eggs rolls from my freezer stash.


Usually the time change doesn't bother me that much.  I don't love it, but I do like getting more light in the evenings in spring and then getting more light for the mornings in the fall.  But for whatever reason the time change really threw me for a loop and I felt it right away on Sunday morning.

That's when it hit me that since you're supposed to take occasional deload/easy weeks, why not line those up with the time change?  Once I got that figured out, I really leaned in to the change.  Instead of getting up at dark o'clock, I slept in and got up at the same time as the rest of my family.  I've been doubling up on the Advent workouts since they're short, but I only had a few left so I just did one each evening.

Last week I complained about two workouts that weren't my jam, so this week I'll even it up and tell you about two workouts that were standouts for me.  I mean in general all of these workouts are excellent, but this upper body workout was extra 🔥  And if you like dogs at all, please treat yourself to the final workout of the series, or at least watch the intro and cool down (but by the time you've done that you might as well just do the workout).

Cardio this week was very different courtesy of our treadmill manufacturer.  I told you a few weeks ago that our treadmill belt had started to fray while it was still under warranty and how happy I was that Sole was sending us a new belt...and the update now is that that Sole didn't bother to tell us that the belt was on backorder, there's no shipping date, and I had to spend a lot of time on hold to get that non-answer.  I'll keep my feelings about that to myself, but all four of us use the treadmill nearly daily so it's not worth it to us to wait around for Sole to honor their warranty on their timeline.  We contacted a local repair company who is coming to replace the belt on Monday - where they got it from we neither know nor care.  Once it's installed I will either ask Sole to comp us for the belt or more likely I'll just move on with life.    

Anyhoo, the belt isn't broken but there are a very drags and jumps here and there and it occurred to me that it's probably not the smartest thing to keep using it.  So I got all of my cardio outside this week for the first time since I stopped running back in August.  

It was cold, windy, and snowing (no accumulation and nothing icy or slippery though) on Monday when I did my sprinting workout.  I've been itching to take this one outside since I know that the treadmill is keeping the sprinting somewhat artificial - yes it's a hard effort but it's only as fast as I feel safe going on the treadmill (currently 7.3)

As I expected sprinting on land is quite the different experience than it is on the treadmill.  The first few intervals were very rude and harsh awakenings but after that I settled into a groove and it's only a 20 minute workout.  Once I got done and saw that my sprints were in the same range as they are on the treadmill, I was a lot happier.  I repeated the workout in better weather on Wednesday and hit 7:xx for many of the sprints which thrilled me to pieces.  With any luck we should be on the last of the winter weather/dark mornings so I should be able to take this workout outside for the next few months.

The thing about the sprinting workout is that you can't do it everyday, you need at least a day off in between.  I skipped cardio on Tuesday (too cold and I just couldn't get motivated) but was game on Thursday.  While I don't plan to take up running again, it is the only way that I can get a decent amount of intensity without a treadmill, so running it was.  Now you can't just take six months off and get back up and at it, so I did 15x of one minute run, one minute walk.  It got the job done in terms of getting my cardio jollies, but it felt pretty ragged.  I might try a few more runs here and there, but honestly the sprinting workout and my treadmill power walking feels good enough for right now.


I rewatched one of my all time favorites this weekend, 42nd Street.  I had no choice, because for the past two weeks since I decided on my destination for this weekend's trip I've had the song "Shuffle off to Buffalo" stuck in my head.

I do love my old movies, but I'll be the first to admit that old movie trailers are not all that and the only reason to watch the original trailer for 42nd Street is if you have insomnia.  Thank goodness someone took the trouble to put together the top ten quotes AND start it off with Shuffle off to Buffalo so that you can get a taste of the goods.  When you're going out there a youngster but you've got to come back a star and it must have been tough on your mother not having any children...



I've got four things to say about reading this week

1. There are some common themes in the comments from last week's post:
  • Most of us are due for a reread of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
  • A lot of us got into trouble for reading at inappropriate times as young 'uns.

2. The hits keep coming!

I finished The Social Climber by Amanda Pellegrino and it was everything that I dreamed it would be.  Normally when I finish a really great book I have trouble "moving on" to the next one but this is the rare case where I've got a success followed by another success.  No sooner had I finished The Social Climber when I got a notification that a hold from Libby had come in.  At first I couldn't remember ever hearing about Just One Look, but I'd sampled it and put in a hold for it so...

Mystery solved, Grace talked about it in passing in her most recent book post.  I think what happened is that I took a look at a few of the books she mentioned and decided that I was interested in reading Just One Look but not interested enough to buy it, so that's why I put in the hold.  While it's not "as good" as The Social Climber because nothing is, it's still a great book in its own right.  Cassie was an up and coming attorney who lost her job due to some as-yet-unspecified event and is now making ends meet in a boring legal temp job.  She inadvertently gets access to an attorney's emails and finds that she can't stop reading them, which sets off an unfortunate chain of events.

3. Imma experiment with a books page.

I always thought that it was good enough to just do a "best of the best" summary of my reading in my annual highlights post.  But since I ended up doing a "here's everything I read last year" as part of last week's post, I kinda like having it all in one place.

I'm going to beta test a "here's everything I read this year" page for the blog.  Right now my intention is to keep it updated in real time and then archive it into a regular post at the end of each year.  If I fall behind or if it doesn't turn out that way that I want it to, I'll just scrap it.  So if you come back to this post later and find that the link is dead, that's why.  I'm not sure if notifications go out when I publish a new page or make updates to it, so that's why I'm mentioning it here.

4.  I'm a trendsetter baby!

There's nothing like being ahead of a curve.  In recent months I've made a hobby of touring Frank Lloyd Wright houses (spoiler, that's why I went to Buffalo!) and I also read the book Loving Frank.  It's a great story but it's fiction and also it's been a while since the book was written, so presumably there's nothing more to be said on the topic.

Oh not so fast!  It turns out that there's a nonfiction book that came out just this week!  I've got my library hold in for A Brave and Lovely Woman.

Peace out!  See you tomorrow with the deets on my Buffalo trip.


  1. After last week's post, you inspired me to buy a lamp for my bedside table. Until now, I was too lazy to buy one for our apartment in Cape Town. But you reminded me that I could get a lot of book reading done before I go to sleep. Thanks for that, Birchie!
    I knew it would be a FLW house! Looking forward to the post.
    And well done on doing the sprints outside!! Even without returning to full running mode, it's great that you do those sprints outdoors.

    1. Excellent! Let me know what you're reading. I bet that ATGIB is high on the list.

    2. Will do! ATGIB is definitely high on the list. I got the book from my mum who got it from her mum... it must be over 60 years old now. It's in Switzerland and I can't wait to read it when I get back!!

  2. Okay, I am super excited because I have the Social Climber on my holds list. Wait, I think YOU told me about that. Birchy, I'm tired, I have no idea what I am doing right now! But anyway, I shall report back. I like the idea of a running book page.
    I have some reading thoughts! I had tea with a friend last week and while we agree sometimes on books, we did not agree on a lot of things, and they were things that surprised me. I discovered that she has a rating system that basically means 5 stars goes to writers who are as good or better than Maya Angelou or James Baldwin. Like, the bar is high. For me, 5 stars go to any book I really loved, full stop. 3 stars means meh, but for this friend, 3 stars meant she liked it and would read again. I don't know why I'm telling you this. Oh wait, yes I do. Will you have a "star" rating on your book page? If so, what do the stars mean?

    1. That's a great question! I will not be using a star system because my ratings are too emotional. It's all "OMG best book ever!!!" and "meh". I see what your friend is saying, but to me a 3 star rating means that the book wasn't that great. It kind of reminds me of my high school art teacher who wrecked my GPA because my art was average.

      I've always been puzzled by people who can take their ratings down to a quarter star...I never know how to take it when a book is rated 4.25 stars.

  3. Your FLW obsession is so fun to watch as it unfolds! Have you considered reading his autobiography? I'm torn between whether it would be super dry and boring OR just a man laying down all the good gossip. I could research this, but I'd rather you do the research for me.

    I keep track of my reading on my blog and I love having a real record of my feelings on books. I would love if it you had a separate page or category for books!

    1. What you said - I'm afraid it would be as dry as dust. The bits of his story that I'm getting from the docents at the house tours are way more interesting.

  4. I should get that FLW book for my FiL. He freaking LOVES him.

    Yay for working out outside and getting those speedy intervals in! Nice work! What pace do you walk at on the treadmill? Totally LOLing at you "keeping those thoughts to yourself" and describing the McDonald's food as cardboard.

    OMG the Korean soy curl dish looks amazing! We were just saying how we haven't had soy curls in forever.

    1. I don't know what it is about soy curls, but I'm in a cycle of discovering that I like them, thinking they're the greatest thing ever, and then forgetting about them.

      My treadmill recover speed is 3.8 and my power walk is 4.0 at 5% with little speed bursts to 4.5. My walking speed outside is more like 3.0;-)

  5. Arg! That korean fried chicken looks amazing- so imagine my disappointment when I looked at the recipe. i don't have an air fryer! I guess I really should get one.
    That sprinting workout sounds great. I read the article and they left out one thing- sprinting helps increase your bone density. I'm not changing anything up now, but after my race next month I want to start doing a workout like this once a week.
    Yes to a books page! On that note I'm about to start Wrong Place Wrong Time. I've heard so much about it, I had to see what it's all about!

    1. YES YOU NEED AN AIR FRYER ALREADY!!! They're not expensive and they are wizard with tofu, tempeh, and soy curls. But you could probably just bake them in the oven for a bit longer than air fryer time and come close.

      Sprinting would be perfect for you after the race. You'll be ready for a 20 minute workout by then!

  6. Rice thief! That's quite an appropriate term ;-) In speaking of's been awhile since my feet and legs have been treated to such a workout. I need to bring that back. I'm hoping with the (assumed) warmer weather coming, I'll be able to get back into a consistent routine of speedwork.

    1. Oh Kim, can we please assume that we'll be getting good weather soon???? Today was warm but it was a total downpour all day so it was a buzzkill. I mean I loved the mild February but let's get this March winter hangover out of here all ready!

  7. That silken tofu recipe looks interesting. So there is a lot of flavor just with pouring the sauce, not marinating? Also... I looked at the book you LOVED and ... for some reason the description didn't resonate. Perhaps I should look again...
    Can't wait to hear about the next field trip! Buffalo? I continue to wonder where the heck you live. :)

    1. Yes, you really take cold tofu and pour sauce over it and bada bing bada boom that's it and it works. I waited for a long time to try this b/c I was skeptical that it would work, but it does.