About TwoGreenParrots

Bird-loving cooking enthusiast with a running problem and an addiction to Disney races, bad puns, and mixed drinks.

Lazy Veggie Pasta

This was a random successful experiment that somehow worked out.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggplant (cut into thick slices, salted, and placed between paper towels for at least an hour)
  • 2 zucchini 
  • 1 package orzo
  • 1 cup or more canned artichokes 
  • Handful of Costco meatballs (or other frozen meatballs of your choice)
  • 1+ jar of tomato sauce (I like White Linen brand)
  • Mozzarella and parmesan to taste
  • Salt 
  • Garlic powder 
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut up the zucchini into slices and eggplant into cubes, toss with olive oil, and spread out on a pan. Salt or garlic powder can be sprinkled on as well, at this point if desired. Bake for half an hour or until well-roasted. Set oven to 350. 
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions  (al dente) and drain. 
  3. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add oil, then meatballs and artichokes until everything is warmed. Add pasta sauce and pasta and stir, then turn off the heat and add the zucchini and eggplant and a handful of mozzarella/parmesan. Stir until well-combined. 
  4. Put cheese on top to taste and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, remove the lid, and cook for another 15 or 20 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, and serve. 
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How I Ate to Lose Weight

So a few people have asked me this question over the past few months, and I always hemmed and hawed to avoid giving a straight answer because it is complicated and mostly the answer is “I trained for, and ran, the Dopey.” However, there are a few other things I did to lose the weight (and keep it mostly off) over the course of the last couple of years.

First principle: Make everything as easy as possible because, frankly, you’re lazy.

Eat pretty much the same few things every day and you don’t have to think about what kind of calories you’re consuming. Does it get boring? Sure. Do I know exactly how many calories I’m eating without worrying about it? Yes. Do I go get Starbucks with coworkers periodically? Sure, because I know that I have wiggle room. I’ll eat whatever someone else cooked if I’m at someone else’s house, or if we go out to eat, I’ll splurge, but I keep to the same few options during the week.

Second principle: VEGETABLES.

You cannot overdo the vegetables, so eat them before you eat anything else to fill up. I eat an unholy amount of zucchini, eggplant, and Costco’s “superfood salad” which is not superfood but is tasty and easy and costs me about $5/week for a lunch that also provides me some food for my parrots. My smoothies are half spinach. My lunches are salads. My dinner is at least half veggies. It makes it a LOT easier to keep to small portions of meat or carbs if you eat a lot of vegetables first. Snacks are usually whole wheat crackers (exactly 1 serving) with some cheese, a ton of fruit (so, so many cherries) and/or a Kind bar. It will vary depending on whether I’m running that afternoon.

Third principle: If you’re going to eat junk, go for a run first.

This can get a little bit hairy for people with disordered eating, but since I am not a disordered eater, I keep to it. The more junk, the longer the run. This works for me because my long runs fall on weekends, so I will do 10+ miles before I go out for Italian with my family. Cheesecake factory? Better be a 20 mile day. It probably isn’t the *best* strategy…but it has worked for me. I can sit down at the table at Fogo de Chao and enjoy my unholy amounts of meat because earlier in the day I pounded the pavement. I get my money’s worth at that place after marathon training. Also…grilled pineapple is amazing.

DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE ANY HISTORY OF DISORDERED EATING, OKAY? OKAY.

I lost 20+ lbs over the course of a year, which felt frustrating at times but now when my weight goes up a little (stupid Utah) I know I can get it back off without too much trouble. I’d like to lose a little more weight, but it is pretty clear my body doesn’t like going under this set point, so I’m reluctant to push it.

 

 

Copyediting Rates

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$5/1000 words- sample for first time customers

$0.01/word- two passes for mechanical editing and major clarity issues 

$0.02/word- three passes for mechanical editing, clarity, style, and major content issues 

$0.04/word- non-native English speaker or major rewrites 

I do offer discounts for repeat customers or referrals! 

Protein Powders/Shakes I Have Loathed…Evolve Vanilla Shake

I wanted to like Evolve’s vanilla shake. I tried to like it. I did not like it.

Pea protein is weird because it always ends up tasting like you’re licking the underside of a lawnmower or are mixing pea soup with your vanilla milkshake no matter what you do to it. Hemp protein suffers the same issue, that said, and is always somehow worse. I usually mix any pea protein powders with a lot of frozen fruit to drown-out the lawnmower, but with Evolve it is already a liquid and in a bottle and I was drinking it after the Yosemite half marathon with no access to a blender. It isn’t an offensive taste or aftertaste but the pea is there and I wasn’t a big fan. I scribbled some notes in my phone and forgot I drank it…for about twenty minutes.

I drank one the day before the race and had no issues at all, but the one I drank after the race gave me what I will delicately refer to as “poots”, and will indelicately refer to as “pea farts.” The farting on the bus was uncomfortable and embarrassing, but the accompanying stomach cramps were the real problem. I genuinely thought I might throw up or die on the twenty minute bus ride back to Oakhurst from Bass Lake. I made it to my rental car and just sat there in the air conditioning for several minutes trying to figure out where my life went wrong.

Back at our hotel, my best friend and her husband watched with a mix of sympathy and amusement as I staggered into the shower and then staggered back out. Thankfully, after years of swim team, she was unphased by my incessant farting for the next half-hour. Her husband, being a man of simple tastes, thought it was hilarious.

I tried a third Evolve later when I got home with the same results, so I’m going to stick to Vega or whey.

Protein Powders I Have Loathed: Vega One Vanilla Chai 

Potpourri. No. Seriously. That’s what this both tastes and smells like. I like a chai latte once in a while and this is… not that. It does somehow avoid the weird chalky texture of the Vega Protein and Greens, so maybe the straight vanilla version of this will be better? But yeah. This is like blending and guzzling your Christmas Cinnamon Dreams Spice candle and maybe that’s your thing but it sure isn’t mine. It also got weirdly thick in the 40 minutes it took to drive to work. Like milkshake thick. 

I have questions. 

Calories: 170

Protein Powders I Have Loathed: Raw Organic Fit

This one has another odd aftertaste and I can’t put my finger on what it is. It is almost like cinnamon but not? There’s still fake sugar and vanilla, but it is less cloying than Vega. It mixed up fairly well. I dumped most of it into a smoothie after I tasted it mixed in water, and it is fine when mixed with fruit or kefir. It is meant for weight loss but it doesn’t do much for hunger after more than an hour or so. 

It has 170 calories so I guess it is nominally a meal replacement. 

Verdict: it tastes fine, mixes well, but doesn’t do much for hunger. 

Stay tuned for aaaaaaallll of these things. I bought $80 in supplements at Sprouts on Friday because they were 25% off. 

Just Because You Can

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via Daily Prompt: Fry

The hottest run I’ve ever been on was in Louisiana. It was Memorial Day weekend, and we were down there for a wedding. We’d been invited to stay at a camp (vacation home on the bayou with AC, WiFi, four showers, and satellite TV) owned by my mother’s best friend, and in my infinite wisdom I decided I needed to go for a run on the levee. I knew I’d have to go early, but fate and coffee slowed me down. By the time I made it out (my mom in tow) it was 10 am and hot. I had water and was wearing as little as possible, but I was still drenched in sweat by the time we’d managed to walk to the levee. As we jogged along, my mom was cursing as much as I was. She had grown up here, but two decades in Colorado had killed her ability to tolerate humidity. The only reason we’d forced ourselves to go out was the boudin, crawfish, cracklins, and other fattening foods we knew awaited us in the camp. We’d been eating like pigs all weekend, and would continue to do so through the wedding.

We went out and back for 2 miles, but it took us nearly an hour because we kept having to slow down or stop. When we finally got back to the camp, my not-uncle had a cigarette in one hand, a margarita in the other, and was sitting on the screen porch. I don’t recall him laughing out loud, but the smirk as he took a drag on the cigarette was enough to tell us what he thought of our nonsense.

We staggered inside (where there was AC) grabbed our own margaritas, and went to take showers.

Then we ate a metric ton of boudin.

 

Protein Powders I Have Loathed: Sprouts Vegan Vanilla

I take back every complaint I had about Vega Protein and Greens. I am so sorry. This is worse. This is so. much. worse. It is chalky and tastes kind of like Playdoh smells and it is just terrible. Their vanilla whey was by no means perfect but it was very drinkable. This is just bad. I think the aftertaste may be that heavy-duty Stevia that Vega doesn’t completely mask but at least drowns out.

Followed instructions on packet and mixed with 8oz of water in a Blenderbottle.
Calories: 120
Taste: awful

Facial expression:

20170420_080007

Protein Powders I Have Loathed: Sprouts Whey Protein

Vanilla flavor again. This was an impulse purchase because they sell single serve packets in the checkout line. Drank it mixed with water in a blender bottle and it is the same as any vanilla flavored whey I’ve ever had. No weird Stevia aftertaste and no chalky texture problem like the Vega had. It mixed up pretty easily. 

90 calories per serving when mixed with 4 oz of water. 

Cost: $2 for a single serve packet, will look into a full container of it

Rating: Would consume again if in checkout line at Sprouts

I bought a vegan version as well so that will be tomorrow’s test. Stay tuned!

The Dopey 2017

I wrote most of this post months ago…right after I returned from Disney World. I then promptly forgot to post it because I was waiting for our photos to become available. Whoops!

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It was 4 am and I hated myself but I stood in the damn line and I got the damn photo. This was not the coldest morning of my life. That came later.

First thing I’m going to say is this: the Dopey Challenge is not a good idea. It will eat your life for months and make you cranky. It will cause you to change your diet, your schedule, and then cost you shit tons of money. This stupid dwarf caused me to lose almost 30 lbs. And that was all before I got on the stupid plane. The races themselves are way too early for any normal human. The morning of the marathon was a cold, painful nightmare. I stole towels from the hotel in an effort to keep my fingers from going numb because it did not occur to me that I’d need the same gear I use in Colorado. The half didn’t even happen because LIGHTNING, so I had to run it on the boardwalk and the path between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

All that said… I’m glad I did it. I proved a lot of things to myself over the course of the last year. I went through a lot of shoes and I spent a lot of money, but I absolutely do not regret running these races.

Lots of people have written extensive summaries of all 4 races so I won’t mess with that here, but I will make several points:

  1. The Disney photo system is great. Pay the $150 and get all the photos you ever wanted from the parks and the races. I VASTLY prefer this to Marathonfoto.
  2. Disney did the right thing cancelling the half and they made good to people caught up in the whole mess. No complaints. My running friend transferred to the full and suffered horribly, but it was a voluntary suffering! And she got 2 medals and 2 shirts! I got a refund in a gift card and will just spend it on the hotel for the marathon next year. I am a goddamn junkie.
  3. The 10k is still my favorite distance and I love running through Epcot at dawn.
  4. The marathon course is AMAZING. I would not make the Dopey your first marathon, but if you do the marathon by itself you really will not regret it. I enjoyed it immensely and got to plenty of characters you don’t see often.
  5. Port Orleans, Riverside and Yacht Club are both very comfortable. Beaches and Cream at Yacht Club is the best post-race meal. Boma is still awesome.
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I love this photo. Worth it.