Public celebrated Opening at the Brickyard Saturday, March 12, welcoming spring-like weather in early March and crowds of green-clad patrons excited for Irish fare and Irish beer.
But I did not get an Irish beer.
I know, I know! I should have ordered a Guinness or an Irish Red or something… but I really wanted an IPA, and Sculpin IPA by Ballast Point out of San Diego was on tap.
Of course, I had to have one. (It was awesome, by the way.)
I also had to have Corned Beef Hash, and I’m a lucky duck because I got to watch my meal being made by Public Chef and Owner Travis Russell in the Brickyard’s super awesome food truck — a refurbished trailer that I think really needs a name.
Super tender beef. Amazing flavors. I want to eat this everyday forever.
I happily also ran into a friend and listened to some pipers!
My husband and I also celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on the actual St. Patrick Day with a kilt, a checkered hat and a Wichita State University game.
Last weekend, I went on a road trip through Eastern Kansas to gather information and prepare for an upcoming guest blog post.
I’ll tell you about that later…
What I want to talk about now is my Fitbit Charge, and how I’m really really glad I waited through the weekend (full of beer and food I didn’t want to calculate) before considering logging calories consumed and burned.
I put 502.9 miles on my car and racked up more than 41,000 steps in two days. Sounds great, doesn’t it? All those steps!
Unfortunately, my goal alarm buzzed on my wrist after I’d been driving for an hour both times. After the first 10,000 “steps,” getting 9,000 or 12,000 more wasn’t too hard, especially because I was driving for hours and hours and hours.
Fitbit Charge isn’t supposed to track steps when you’re not stepping, and it isn’t supposed to track floors climbed when you’re driving through the Flint Hills.
According to Fitbit Charge, I climbed 393 floors this weekend. Somehow, I’m still walking…
Your tracker is a smart device that has been designed not to pick up your steps in these activities. It has been tested against driving, buses, trains, and other public transportation and should not give you extra steps when you’re traveling. On bumpy roads you may get extra steps but these should not make a big difference in your overall stats.
I’m going to take a guess and say that more than 41,000 steps and nearly 400 floors has affected my overall stats substantially.
So I had to go delete everything, which wasn’t easy.
There’s no way to delete steps and floors. Instead, you have to negate them. Basically, I had to enter “driving” as an activity to remove the extra steps and floors my road trip earned me. Since I don’t exactly remember when I left each location — I was ahead of schedule most of the trip — I had to wing it in how long I was actually driving.
After a few attempts, I’ve settled on about 4,600 steps each day and 10-15 floors each day, which wouldn’t be inaccurate considering most of the locations I stopped at had second and third floors.
Unfortunately, I cannot delete the badges I’ve earned.
I haven’t reached 20,000 steps in a day. I don’t deserve this badge, but I can’t get rid of it.
I guess today is a lesson on how to fix steps and floors climbed and miles traveled on your Fitbit Charge.
Mostly, I’m just a little upset that the tracker didn’t figure out I wasn’t stepping.
To get the most out of your Fitbit Charge, you have to enter certain information manually, such as your calories consumed and burned and how much water you drink and whether or not you slept when you weren’t wearing it.
I did really well at tracking my water and my workouts for the first few weeks. I’d happily drink 64 ounces of water just to tap those little blue cups! I honestly don’t know why it was so satisfying.
Unfortunately, I’m terrible at keeping records of calories consumed and calories burned.
I’m especially terrible at keeping track of calories consumed when I eat food that I make.
Because I made it.
I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not good at calculating these things, but I am trying.
Well, I’m going to try.
Next week. (No one starts things on Fridays.)
Luckily, Fitbit Charge does track steps, floors and sleep automatically. (If it didn’t, no one would buy it.) From what Charge records of my daily activity, I climb a lot of floors just to sit down for hours.
Look at all those floors!
My office is on the third floor in my building, and I climb the stairs at home often enough to make this reality. Today, especially, because the water in my building has been shut off for maintenance and I had to go to a different building to… use water services… and then climb back up to my office.
So. Many. Stairs.
Look at none of those steps… I have only hit 10,000 steps twice in the last 28 days. TWENTY-EIGHT DAYS. Face-to-palm, that’s depressing!
I vaguely recall thinking this would be easy. (Not so vague, actually, I said it.)
Now, I’m swallowing my words.
Getting 10,000 steps a day should not be this difficult, but then I remember that I have an office job, and my office job happily plants me in front of a computer for eight hours a day. I might be a wind storm of picking up, doing chores, cleaning and cooking when I get home, but after it’s all said and done, I sit back down.
One day, I walked around my house at 9 p.m. picking things up one at a time and putting them away just to hit 5,000 steps that day.
What’s worse? My sleeping.
Lately, I’ve had just the worst time falling asleep and getting up in the morning. When once a 5 a.m. wake-up call was doable (still really awful), now a 6 a.m. wake-up call is IMPOSSIBLE.
I hit snooze for days.
Sometimes I do fall asleep quickly. For instance, last night I went to bed at 12:07 a.m. — stayed up too late, I know — but it took me exactly zero minutes to fall asleep.
And I actually remember this! I put my phone down, turned off the light, and then nothing… Usually, I have thoughts roaming around in my brain distracting me from sleeping.
Not last night.
Last night? Done.
Not even a dream (that I can remember).
Now, I also see that I only got five hours and 37 minutes of actual sleep. Red littered throughout the blue timeline noted as restless is just me getting hot, kicking off the covers, getting cold, going to find the covers, getting hot, repeat — all in a fog of still pretty much asleep.
Why was I so tired? Not only because I stayed up too late, but also because of LIVE ACTION BASKETBALL!!!
My dear, sweet, lovely, amazing friends took me to the very first Shocker basketball game I’ve been to since my undergrad at Wichita State University.
I must admit… my husband and I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day.
One year, he sent me flowers Feb. 13 with a note that read “Valentine’s Day is dumb so here’s flowers for the day before.”
Another year, I got him a card Feb. 15 that sang some love song or another that read “Valentine’s Day is dumb so here’s a card for the day after.”
So, in true spirit of our marriage, we made last-minute date night plans for… yesterday.
Our mission: Eat tacos. See Deadpool.
Our success: We got tacos at District Taqueria. I ordered the Chips and Queso I’d fallen in love with during Wichita Restaurant Week, and we each ordered two tacos.
I got the Barbacoa and the Carne Asada. My husband got the Barbacoa and the Pork Carnitas, which I again failed to order.
The tacos were delicous. The service was perfect — seriously amazing service — and we were in-and-out in less than 30 minutes.
Our failure: All showings of Deadpool were sold out.
Because my husband and I have worked weekends and nights, we don’t usually go out on Friday and Saturday nights. Instead, we prefer a nice Tuesday or Thursday date night because there are generally less people everywhere.
At the movie theater last night, I realized I’d forgotten there are actually a lot of people in Wichita.
And they all wanted to see Deadpool, too.
Our day-before-Valentine’s-Day date night might have been a little ruined, but I slept for 12 hours last night and have been working up a storm for the better part of the morning at Reverie Coffee Roasters.
I’m prepping a guest blog post, and I’ll give you a little hint to what it’s about:
Here’s to the road trip I’m about to enjoy most thoroughly and to you, a delightful Valentine’s Day.
Doesn’t usually matter what the food is as long as “spicy” is a key adjective.
Cooking spicy food is my forte. I am SO. GOOD. at spicy food it’s hilarious and sometime inedible. Whipping up a quick pasta dish with chicken, peppers, onions and a whole lot of Cajun spice fit right into my main event menu.
1-2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz. rotini pasta, cooked to al dente
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 onion, diced
~ 1 cup chicken stock or broth
~ 1/2 cup milk or cream
1 Tbs. butter
Cajun Spice Mix (see below for homemade!)
Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside while following the rest of the instructions.
Cube the chicken and toss with Cajun Spice Mix. Set aside.
Dice the onion, green bell pepper and jalapeno and saute on high heat with olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Dress with salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste. Once they’ve sweat, push them to the sides of the pan so you’ve got a ring of flavor.
Add more olive oil to the center of the pan, and then kerplop the spiced chicken right in the middle.
Cook until nearly completely done. You don’t want to overcook the chicken, and it’s not done with the heat yet.
Once the chicken is nearly cooked through, add 1 tablespoon of butter about about a half cup of milk or cream to the pasta pot. Toss the pasta on top, and then stir to melt the butter and coat the pasta.
Add the chicken, peppers and onion mix to the pasta pot. Stir to combine.
Use the 1 cup of chicken stock or broth to boil off any yummy bits stuck to the cast iron pan, and then add it all into the pasta pot.
Heat the pot on medium-low, cover and simmer until flavors combine. Kill the heat and let it sit uncovered for five minutes, or until the liquid has thickened.
Serve with chopped green onion, diced crisp bacon or all on its own. Enjoy it while it’s hot and spicy!
Cajun Spice Mix: 2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, 1 tsp. thyme-dry, 1 tsp. oregano-dry, 2 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Add another dash of red chili flakes to kick it up a notch! Makes enough for the recipe above.
There are avocados and beets in this sweet smoothie, and I’m not going to lie. It definitely tastes like beets… but in a good way.
There’s also coconut water in this smoothie, which I tried for the first time – not in the smoothie, just drank some – huge mistake.
It. Was. Disgusting.
Luckily, in the actual smoothie, it’s fine. Can’t even taste it.
I adapted this from oh she glows’Pink Power Detox Smoothie, but I didn’t have strawberries, and I needed my celery for a soup I’m making later… so it’s mildly different.
Hence the adaption.
Also, I made way more than four cups.
Like, hilariously more. I filled five of my little milk bottles way past the actual full line.
SO MUCH MORE that I made a mess.
Avocado Beet Smoothie adapted from oh she glows serves 5 really full 8-oz. milk bottles
2 16.9-oz. containers of coconut water (Maybe not the whole bunch of them.)
2 large organic avocados
4 small organic beets, chopped (I definitely steamed these before blending like she recommends. I don’t have a Vitamix.)
2 cups frozen berries (I used blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. coconut oil
Blend and enjoy! Recommendation: Put the solids in before the liquids so you know how much room you’ll have in your blender.
I had about 4 oz. extra (which might have been more had I not spilled a bunch on my freshly cleaned and sanitized counter top). Save to pour over yogurt and granola for a morning snack or, if you’re like me, drink it up as you clean.
Now that I’m home for lunch and dinner, I can finally post some recipes! Before Wichita Restaurant Week, my husband and I “grilled” up this new take on Honey Sriracha Beef… with venison.
Remember when I said I had two deer worth of meat in my freezer? Well, I wasn’t joking. I haven’t bought beef yet this year, and I don’t think I’ll need to with the rich, red, clean meat my husband brought home in December.
I imagined slow cooking deer into a delightful barbacoa featured by Tasty by Buzzfeed, but I haven’t quite worked out a time to do it. Instead, I decided to try my luck with honey, Sriracha and soy sauce and grilling indoors.
My husband cut the backstrap into inch-ish cubes — mostly because I didn’t want to — and waited for me to mix the marinade, which is really more like a sauce.
Honey, Sriracha and soy sauce are all you need for this recipe. And wine — see picture above — because who cooks without wine?
(Note: The wine goes in you, not the sauce.)
I also chopped up an onion and a green bell pepper, dressed in salt, pepper, olive oil and golden balsamic vinegar to grill alongside the meat.
Usually, you would want to kabob these nuggets and turn them over an outdoor grill.
When the temperature is 25 degrees F and the Kansas wind is being a mad bro, you don’t really have the option of cooking over open, burning charcoal.
The neighborhood would go up in smoke.
Instead, my kitchen did.
And with every fan in the house spinning on high, plus a stand fan aimed at the wide open backdoor, the house was still full of smoke.
Kids, don’t grill indoors.
Even if you’re just using your stove…
Smoke or not, these little nuggets were gold.
Honey Sriracha Deer
1-2 lbs. venison backstrap, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Tbs. Sriracha
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for the onions and peppers
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. golden balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 red onion, cut into large sections
1 green bell pepper, cut into large sections
Chop the onion and pepper and toss with salt, cracked black pepper, golden balsamic vinegar (apple cider or white wine vinegar also work in a pinch) and olive oil.
Heat a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil and saute the onions and peppers until they’ve just got a bit of crunch left. You don’t want them to be shmushy.
Salt and pepper the venison, with the white pepper, and then coat it in Sriracha, soy sauce and honey.
Coat a cast iron grill pan with VEGETABLE or CANOLA oil — probably don’t use olive oil unless you have a powerful range hood — and heat to crazy hot.
That pan needs to be hot, hot, HOT — smokin’ before you put the meat on it.
Grill the venison in batches of six to eight pieces to medium rare.* Remove from the heat and set aside.
Once everything is cooked, load the plate with deer and a bowl with the veggies and chow down with your spouse or a friend. Two forks and several napkins required.
*My husband checked both deer to ensure they were healthy, without disease and safe to consume at medium rare. If you have not ensured your venison is consumable at this temperature, please understand that deer is susceptible to the same gut bacteria as beef and needs to be cooked accordingly.
Sharing those delicious deviled eggs, that perfectly pulled Venezuelan pork sandwich, the charcuterie board and decadent Tres Leches cake with a friend was the perfect lunch experience, and I bet sharing one of their larger boards — I mean, have you seen these things? — for dinner would be just as astronomically amazing ;)
I hope Wichita Restaurant Week has done its job of fundraising for Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas — I can’t wait to hear the results — and I also hope it has shown the Wichita community all the amazing local flavors just around the corner.