Kerrytown Noms: Zingerman’s Reuben and Monahan’s Fish and Chips

Tamara:

What a fun idea: Meg and her main squeeze decided to take a 50-50 Mini Foodie Tour of Kerrytown in Ann Arbor. She explains: “The ’50-50′ … meant that we would go halfsies on two different dishes at two different places. ‘Mini’ is pretty self-explanatory, in that the tour was short. ‘Kerrytown’ was our destination.”

Meg’s blog is great and this post exemplifies why. I love Zingerman’s (and the Roadhouse), and agree with Meg that their Reuben is outstanding. (Though the tempeh Reuben at the Sidetrack in Ypsi is another fave of mine.)

I have NOT yet eaten at Monahan’s Seafood Market in Kerrytown, but that fish & chips is calling my name. Will have to check it out soon!

Originally posted on Meg Goes Nom Nom:

Have I mentioned how much I love Ann Arbor lately? Well, in case not: I do!

While I was chowing down on my 50-50 Burger (Patty Melt-Style because duh) at Fleetwood Diner

photo 14 (8)_520

…on Friday evening with the huz, we came up with plans to take ourselves on our own “50-50 Mini Foodie Tour of Kerrytown” the next day.

Now you’re probably thinking, Megan, what on God’s Green Earth are you talking about, right now, am I right?

Let me explain. There are a couple dishes in Kerrytown that we’ve been talking about trying for ages, but somehow never have gotten around to it. (And as a result, we feel like inadequate Ann Arborites.) The “50-50”, inspired by my 50-50 Burger (which is half beef and half bacon, by the way), meant that we would go halfsies on two different dishes at two different places. “Mini” is…

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Thursday Thoughts

Thinking-Out-Loud

Amanda at Running With Spoons is hosting a Thinking Out Loud linkup on Thursdays. I’m going to borrow Amanda’s list format for today’s random Thursday thoughts:

1. I miss oats when I don’t have them for a few days. This morning’s simple breakfast (instant steel cut oats cooked in water, frozen blueberries thawed in the hot oats, all topped with creamy cottage cheese) was super yummy and helped me with that aim to eat more plants:

Creamy blueberry oats.

Creamy blueberry oats.

2. Speaking of my Clutch List, there are only two days left and I still want to restring and tune my guitar. I did buy strings and picks, so I will take some pics of those soon, too. Stay tuned for photos (and maybe some videos when I get a little practice under my belt!).

3. Oh, and back to oats: I think I’m going to have them for dinner tonight, too! It’s been a while since I’ve had savory oats, and I’m craving them, big time.

Savory oats = cozy comfort food!

Savory oats = cozy comfort food!

4. My husband and I saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug this weekend. So good! I was impressed with Evangeline Lilly’s acting. She wasn’t bad in Lost, but she’s definitely come a long way.

5. We use a Brita pitcher at home for drinking water, but it doesn’t really have a good seal and I find that the water takes on a flavor from the foods in my refrigerator. I’m thinking about trying out one of these Whirlpool portable water filters. Anyone heard about them or how well they work?

6. On a similar subject (beverage-related kitchen gadgets), I received a Keurig as an early Christmas present, as well as these reusable pods. I haven’t purchased any preloaded decaf coffee pods yet, but I bought some decaf Espresso Roast coffee beans from Starbucks. I’m still trying to figure out the ideal grind, grind time, amount of coffee, and brew size to use to make my ideal cup, but so far I’m enjoying the option of making it at home, since I’ve been addicted to decaffeinated coffee lately.

Do you have a Keurig or another type of coffee maker at home?

How about water filters? What’s your preferred method?

Seen any good movies lately?

NaNo More

This announcement is a bit overdue, but it’s still true: I won NaNo!

I wrote 50,247 words of a novel in November, according to the official NaNo word count validator. (Microsoft Word’s count was a slightly more modest 50,143.) It was a bit of a rough go, as can often be the case. As I mentioned here, I decided to write a prequel of sorts to my 2011 novel, which is the one I want to revise and finish (and revise… lather, rinse, repeat). But for some reason, I couldn’t really get into a flow of good scenes and happenings. I do think there are a few worthwhile bits in there, but only time will tell. Near the end of the month, I also fell off my schedule of reaching at least the daily quota. Once I’d gotten behind and it turned out I needed to write over 8,000 words in the last two days of November, I very nearly threw in the towel. But I didn’t, and I’m glad.

By achieving this Clutch List goal, I brought my stats to ten consecutive years doing NaNo, with six wins. That amounts to whole bunch of words, and while a lot of them are clearly aimed at hitting that word count goal (and a few, written in various states of sleep deprivation and/or delirium, are close to nonsensical!), there are definitely some gems in there. I hope to excavate some of them in the coming year. One day I will finally be able to say I finished a novel, which is an entirely different beast and one I find mighty daunting, to say the least. But I haven’t stopped dreaming about it, so I really should make it happen one of these years. Why not 2014?

On that note, I’m not sure I’ll do NaNo next year. I guess it depends on where I’m at with the revision project and whether or not I want to take a break with a totally new novel. Meanwhile, I read this great post by Jennie Day last month and it got me thinking about some things I often contemplate regarding creativity, productivity, and their mysterious interplay. Jennie had listened to a podcast in which writer Courtenay Hameister cautions aspiring authors against spending too much time (read: too many words) writing for social media:

Can you imagine reading Jack Kerouac’s drunken Facebook posts from The Road?

Or Jane Austen’s blog, ‘Austen-tatious’?

Sure, it would have been interesting, but none of these people would have wanted to have a platform, because what they wanted to do was write. And not write tweets or tumblr posts with blurry Instagrams of their mutton and mead, but books and poems. Not to write about their writing, but just to write.

It pains me to think that writers are pulling from their creative wells to fill their twitter streams instead of pages. If you think about it that way, these platforms are robbing us all of words that otherwise would have been great works of art.

In response, Jennie wrote:

[I]t hadn’t ever occurred to me that maybe blogging is misappropriating my creative faculties, or in some way preventing me writing my Great American Novel.

I found Jennie’s post so interesting because I’ve had similar concerns. Not as much about blogging, but about my employment. As I told Jennie in a comment, I write and edit for a living, and I have used that as an excuse to explain why I’ve not been more productive in pursuing my fiction writing dreams. But then I came to realize that it was exactly that: an excuse. Like anything else, perspective affects the outcome, and I was choosing the wrong perspective. My other writing/projects don’t drain the well, they prime the pump. I just had to decide to look at them that way.

Jennie came to a similar conclusion about blogging:

Blogging is helping to make me a better writer because every week, I sit down at my computer to write and edit and revise and read aloud to make sure my sentences make sense….

Doing a once-yearly writing challenge doesn’t get my creative juices flowing as consistently as blogging does. But we cannot forget that writing is not just about creativity. It takes discipline to actually sit down and turn ideas into good sentences. That’s something the good writers have, or have cultivated, and that’s what blogging has done to make me a better writer.

So now that I’ve taken my work off the table, as far as excuses go, it’s time to dig into some of my others and figure out how to break them down, as well. This novel isn’t going to write itself!

My new (to me) guitar. (I still want to take/post photos of the real thing. Should be able to while I'm restringing/tuning up!)

My new (to me) guitar.

Meanwhile, now that the looming word count goals of November are behind me, I’ve still got almost two weeks left in the Clutch List challenge, plenty of time to restring and tune my guitar. (I still want to take/post photos of the real thing. Should be able to while I’m restringing/tuning up!) My Clutch List achievements have been drifting from my attention a bit lately, and I’d like to finish the challenge out with a bang strum!

Time to reconnect with my Clutch List and treat myself to a strong finish!

Time to reconnect with my Clutch List and treat myself to a strong finish!

Link Love #5

A few of my favorite subjects turn up as themes for my link love today: food, handstands, and mindset. Let’s get into it!

Food

I’ve pinned lots of yummy things lately, including three from new-to-me blog How Sweet it Is. At least a couple of these will help me fulfill my “eat more plants” Clutch List item.

My Clutch List for the inaugural round.

My Clutch List.

I might even attempt making her garlic bread pizza crust, though I’ve never made crust (or non-sweet bread) before. This just looks divine and decadent, yet satisfying.

Never would it have occurred to me to put Brussels sprouts in a veggie burger, but it sounds absolutely fantastic.

I’m a sucker for anything “buffalo” style. This soup pretty much sums up spicy and inviting.

While we’re on the subject of soup, this one from Iowa Girl Eats seems so simple to make, not to mention a delicious comfort food staple. Her recipes always make me drool.

Yes, please. I think I’ll make a salted caramel version, because yum.

Handstands

Moving daily is also on my Clutch List, and I’ve been wanting to incorporate handstand training again as I start to get stronger post-recovery. It may not be a coincidence that this year’s NaNoWriMo novel (which is still on track, at least word count wise) is called Holding Handstands and that the main character is also pursuing a handstand practice.

I just discovered this awesome article with a step-by-step approach to overcoming fear and conquering handstands. The cute Star Wars toys are an added bonus.

Mindset

These posts really got me thinking. I hope you enjoy them!

I love Zen Barbell, and I love the pursuit of acceptance (self and otherwise). In this post, she writes: “Love and accept who you are RIGHT NOW in this moment (even if you are bloated, dirty, having a bad hair day, your jeans don’t fit well, cranky or whatever!). You are so worthy of your love and acceptance.  It is from THAT beautiful space that transformation can really take place.  <3″

I could not agree more!

I had never heard of Lauren Fleshman until someone shared this post with me. I was instantly enamored of her honest approach and her awesome willingness to show the reality behind her photo shoot physique. “Nobody is perfect,” indeed. The sooner we truly realize this, the better we’ll be able to achieve the aforementioned self-acceptance, stop comparing ourselves to others, and live our lives with joy, vitality, and loving kindness.

comparison

Super Slaw

Tuna broccoli slaw with apples and walnuts.

Tuna broccoli slaw with apples and walnuts.

The other day I wanted to make a light, produce-packed dinner that fulfilled the “Eat more plants” entry on my Clutch List and also included some protein. I had a bag of broccoli slaw, the extra good kind with florets (as well as a sweet cole slaw dressing and some add-ons like bacon and craisins, all of which I usually skip because I’m not crazy about them). I also had some pouches of chunk light tuna in water. I figured I could make something yummy starting with those two ingredients and building from there.

I Googled “tuna broccoli slaw” and found some cool posts and recipes, including this one from Simple Fitness. Inspired by her addition of apple, I took that and ran with it, adding a diced Honeycrisp and some chopped walnuts. Years ago, I didn’t care for fruit mixed with my savory meals, but my tastes have changed so much as I’ve gotten older. Most of the things I love to eat these days are things I never ate as a child and young adult!

Fruits, veggies, and nuts. More plants, check!

Fruit, veggies, and nuts. More plants, check!

I also added some baby spinach for extra color and nutrients.

Tuna pouch = protein power.

Tuna pouch = protein power.

Broccoli slaw (with or without apples) would be also great with marinated tempeh, cooked chicken, or garbanzo beans. Protein options abound! That’s one of my favorite things about salads: the variations are endless and you can really get creative.

Simple but delicious dressing.

Simple but delicious dressing.

I used the Simple Fitness dressing as a guide, skipping the cayenne (though I’ll try that next time). Since I didn’t have any fresh green onions on hand, I incorporated some Litehouse Freeze Dried Chives. They rehydrated nicely and added nice color and flavor accents to my meal.

This was an easy, yummy dinner. I’ll definitely make it again!

I didn’t measure everything out, but here’s a basic recipe to serve as a starting point.

Tuna broccoli slaw with apples and walnuts

Ingredients

  • Broccoli slaw with florets (I used about 3-4 cups)
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Medium Honeycrisp apple, diced
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 pouch tuna (I used chunk light in water)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp freeze-dried chives (or fresh, chopped green onions or chives)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add slaw and spinach to bowl. Top with diced apple and walnuts.
  2. Drain tuna if necessary and place it on top of the slaw-apple mixture.
  3. Whisk vinegar, oil, chives, salt, & pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Pour dressing over everything and toss if desired.

Do you make a lot of salads at home? What are your favorite combos?

When was the last time you tried a new food or combination of foods?

Do you like fruits and nuts in your entree salads?

Clutch Pics #3

Eat more plants:

Banana and Justin's Maple Almond Butter. Sweet and simple.

Banana and Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. Sweet and simple.

Hold

Banana, take two: Fage 2% Greek yogurt mixed with PB2 and topped with peanuts. Just incredible! A new favorite.

Apple broccoli slaw tuna salad. Recipe post to follow soon!

Apple broccoli slaw tuna salad. Recipe post to follow soon!

Move daily:

Valband side to side steps. Great for activating the glutes!

Valband* side to side steps. Great for activating the glutes!

*From Valerie Waters’ awesome collection of training tools.

Win NaNo:

On track with my daily word targets! This is from last night.

On track with my daily word targets! This is from last night.

What’s your favorite type/brand of nut butter? Have you ever tried PB2?

Do you have a Valband, Valslides, or any similar exercise equipment?

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo or otherwise written short stories, poems, or novels?

Clutch Pics #2

More snapshots from my Clutch List life!

Move daily (15 min +):

Band walks and DB arm work (under close kitty supervision, of course).

Band walks and DB arm work (under close kitty supervision, of course).

Mobility rocks! My kit: The Grid foam roller, The Stick, and a firm ball (from PetSmart).

Mobility rocks! My kit: The Grid foam roller, The Stick, and a firm ball (from PetSmart).

Yoga in my hot pink Ellie capris.

Yoga in my hot pink Ellie capris…

... and my teal Ellie top with thumbholes.

… and my teal Ellie top with thumbholes.

I also went for another mall walk, but forgot to snap exciting pics of the calendar or winter cap kiosks!

Hoping to get a bit more creative with my photo ops… we shall see.