Under Pressure. Marathon Pressure.

>> Thursday, September 30, 2010

I realize with our upcoming race that there's been a lot of marathon talk on the blog lately. I also realize many of you are newbie runners -- and I'm thrilled we've been able to help so many of you find your stride. So, today's post is for you!

Last night on Twitter, I asked our followers the following question:

Why ask this question now? Well, because I dealt with this issue when I was starting out, when I first fell in love with running. However, back then, the blog world was pretty much nonexistent. Now, I feel like everywhere I look, someone is running a 10K, half-, or full marathon. There are splits scrawled and total number of miles logged for every workout run. Elevation charts illustrated. PRs listed. (Of course, by now you realize I'm guilty of contributing to the problem, too.)

NOTE: All these measurements and public displays of confidence are most typically out of intense enthusiasm. Love for running. Love for achievement and personal growth. And that's fantastic. Don't get me wrong. It's crazy inspiring. But if I put myself back into my shoes as a newbie runner, I can see how it's also super intimidating!

When I started running as a freshman in college, I would leaf through the pages of Runner's World during my lunch break (I worked at the campus library. There were lots of back-copies around). RW has a TON of fantastic advice, but -- at least 8 years ago -- I felt it was more targeted toward "real" runners. Step back a moment. What's this "real" runners crap? Let me clarify: That was my opinion/feeling at the time. It was a title I didn't think accurately described me or my sloppy slogging around the neighborhood every other night (or so). (I've since learned that a "real" runner is ANY runner, so long as that person is devoting himself or herself to the sport.)

Anyway, I'd go to 5K races or group training runs and hear other runners talking about how the race was just a warm-up for their "real" run later in the day. Or listen to exactly how many fall marathons they had penciled into their calendars. I'd secretly soak in their tales of 10, 15, 20 mile training runs that put my 5 milers to shame.

Oh, the humanity!

Part of it all was a good pressure. A much-needed motivation to run longer and harder (for example, after completing some 5Ks, I extended my training to the 10K distance). I took the stress and made it healthy stimulus. I gradually added a mile, then two to my weekly long runs. I started visiting the nearby high school track to do a bit of speed work. I started doing more races. Running with friends. I accomplished new goals. And I felt great.

But you've heard about all of that before. And that's not what I want to write about today.

Part of it wasn't so great. Not. At. All. That's where I'd like to shift the focus.
  • Like the times I ran through the pain of shin splints because I thought I needed to get more miles into my week.
  • Or when I'd be at the gym in college and crank up my pace to match the treadmill of the girls around me.
  • Or that one time I showed up the morning of a local half marathon having only run a single run over 1 hour and 20 minutes in my life.
Yeah. That same girl now preaches conservative approaches to training. A true case of "do as I say, not as I do."

One important reason to heed my advice? Overuse injuries crop up due to pressure (and, admittedly, enthusiasm). A few too-much-too-soon injuries include shin splints, runner's knee, stress fractures, and iliotibial band friction (ITB) syndrome. (To read more about these injuries, check out this article on About.com: 10 Common Running Mistakes to Avoid.) For me, I developed a nasty case of tendinitis during that first half marathon which kept me from running for over a month.

I can't even count the number of times I yelled (out loud and inside my head) at myself for letting my desire to run a long race -- with motivations that were at least half outside my own goals -- get the best of me. I keep my hefty medical supply store boot around as a reminder.

After that particular incident, though, I have tried my best to not let the pressure get to me. It was surely a wake-up call. I learned (and, really, always truly knew) if I didn't take care of myself, my body -- I may not be able to run at all. I may never reach those ultimate goals. Not in the now. Not in the ever. So, if you've got pressure plaguing you (from friends, magazines, blogs, yourself, etc.), there are some things you can do . . .

1.) Resist the comparison trap. Oh, goodness this one's hard. By nature, we humans compare ourselves to one another. Sports are competitive, even for recreational athletes. However, one of my favorite parts to running that I've truly embraced in recent years is the emphasis on the PERSONAL achievement. Most of us don't win races. But if we train hard, we can beat our previous records. Or if speed isn't the thing, there's usually progress that can be measured in one way or another.

At your next race (or during your next training run), think of one thing you'd like to improve with your running. Something that can't be measured in race times or other numbers is best. Maybe it's running without stopping for two miles. Climbing a hill that's always scared you. Or just FEELING strong. That's something you can't stack up against your competitors.

It's never easy, but think of all the things you can do with your running that don't involve a gold medal or photo in the local paper. You can better your health and extend your life. You can lose weight and tone your muscles. Best yet: You can inspire others around you to live healthy lifestyles. And -- hell -- people in the back of the pack usually have way more fun at races anyway!

2.) Do your own thing. It's great to have goals, but where you and I are in our training is totally different. And where you and another reader are is likely even more different. Now, this may be a weak analogy (because I'm not great at coming up with them), but it's like I'm a senior in high school and I want to go to college. And person A is a sophomore and person B is a freshman. They also want to go to college. BADLY. It's all they hear about. It's all they can freaking THINK about.

So, I've already been in person A and person B's shoes. Taken all the classes, tests, and other requirements. It's been a LONG road. I succeed, graduate, and write home about my new and wonderful life. Person A and B are excited at my journey. Maybe even a little jealous. They decide they want to skip and take the tests to advance and get to college sooner. (Because in my analogy world, there's a magical test that allows them to do so.) Person A fails the tests and is upset. Person B passes. And goes to college.

They both studied, tried, but had vastly different outcomes.

Alright. Again. weak. BUT substitute the marathon for college in there . . . and training years for grade levels. I think you get the point. We're all different with different abilities and strengths. We've all been running for different periods of time. Now think of it this way: If person A and B did skip ahead to college from their underclassman status, they'd miss out on so much. Football games. The prom. Senior week. All the stuff that would make them whole as they grow. I hope this is making sense.

We're all on our own fitness journeys. Only you know exactly where you are with yours. But along your path, you need to do your own thing. Take time to enjoy the unique stuff going on exactly where YOU are with yours.

3.) Surround yourself with support. Though competitive friends and/or significant others can sometimes push us in the right direction, they can also be the biggest sources of pressure. Sometimes without even realizing it! Stephen's speed is sheer insanity to me. When he runs with me (maybe once a week), I almost always get very upset. He doesn't mean to, but he always speeds up. Before I know it, I'm panting and feeling awful. For a long time, I let this get to me -- our differences in speed. But now, I use it as a tool.

I'll run with Stephen on my speed day. If he gets too fast, I'll tell him to slow down. I was open with him about how I feel when he runs a shoulder ahead of me -- and he was surprised because he didn't realize he was doing it. Now, he's incredibly supportive and runs my speed, with a little kick to get me going. He told me once that he was so happy that I told him how I felt.

Whether or not the people in your life are athletic/runners/etc., you need to create a network of people who encourage YOUR goals and YOUR goals alone. (Sure, you can share goals -- but only if that's OK with you. Only if you're open about it.) For all others: I think we all have a friend (or two) who is constantly trying to one-up us. It's the worst! As my mom always taught me, it usually comes from some kind of deep-seeded insecurity. And we're all a little insecure. Instead of letting these people get to you, think of yourself first. Don't get caught up in someone else's drama.

4.) Listen to your body. How many times have I written this on the blog? Many is right! But it's always true. If something hurts. You likely shouldn't just run through the pain. Evaluate your situation. If the pain is something that happened acutely, like a rolled ankle, you should definitely get it checked by a doctor. If it's more a nagging pain that has increased with time, with each run -- back off a bit. Look at your training and what you've been up to. Usually adding speed, distance, or other intensity is to blame. With a couple days of lighter activity and a little backing off, pain should get better.

If not -- again -- consult a trained medical professional. (Though, we runners often think all the reading we do about our bodies/aches and pains can suffice for a medical degree. It's not at all the same thing. Sorry!)

Listening to your body is also about taking care of yourself before problems occur, too. In the example with my first half marathon, I should have NEVER signed up and completed a race I wasn't ready for. One I hadn't trained for. I knew in my heart that I wasn't ready, but I let my desire to finish the distance cloud my judgment. I paid dearly. Though I am relatively injury prone, don't think you're immune from this life lesson!

That's enough for today. I think this topic is one that we'll write more about, perhaps for a series on personal goals, personal motivations, and resisting pressure. I've also been continually inspired and captivated by the stores of self-made athletes in our Fitspiration series.

So, if you haven't read any of them yet, now's your chance.

Have you dealt with external pressure related to your running? Ever find yourself chasing a goal that may not be your own? How do you deal? Please, tell us your story! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Autumn Harvest Cupcakes

Favorite from the METHOD archives:

I came across the whole Iron Cupcake phenomenon on Flickr . . . and, I must say, what an awesome group! Using my baking skills to make treats using strange and -- as with last month's choice of basil -- unusual ingredients is not only fun, but also challenging (that's the idea, I suppose).

This month's ingredient is cheese . . . so, I tried inventing a weird, but yummy combination using feta & vanilla, or cheddar (with this chocolate my husband found with hot peppers in it), etc. But when I thought about what I'd most like to eat, and brie came to mind immediately. It may be playing it safe, I'm not entirely sure.

I just like brie. Plain and simple.

Luckily, my mother-in-law was in town visiting this weekend, and she helped create the rest of the recipe. Originally we planned to use zucchini. But the grocery store was out for some odd reason, so yellow squash made a great substitute. Then, we thought pumpkin might be nice (it's autumn, after all) . . . and cider . . . the list grew and grew with all those favorite fall staples.

So here are our Autumn Harvest Cupcakes -- to be eaten with or without the dark chocolate frosting.


What you’ll need . . .

. . . for the cake part:
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1-1/3 cups natural sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour (unbleached)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded yellow squash
. . . for the cheese part:
  • 2 rounds of brie (16 ounces in all)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (we're talking HEAPING tablespoons, here!)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or however much you’d like to add, depending on your love of chocolate)

Method . . .

. . . for the cake part:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, cider, one teaspoon baking powder, and vanilla extract. Beat well with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Fold the yellow squash into the batter.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners half full – no more, as you’ll need room for the cheese, as well as extra batter to top it with.
  7. Make the cheese mixture (instructions below).
. . . for the cheese part:
  1. Cut off the top (rind) of the cheese rounds and scoop the soft cheese out into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add the honey and mix the two together using a fork (until nice and soft).
  3. Feel free to add more honey (or use less) to taste.
  4. Add the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop a teaspoon-ish amount into each cup. I found that once I was finished, I would have liked more cheese in mine, so you may also do the first 12 with 2 teaspoon-ish amounts of cheese, and the next batch without cheese. It’s up to you!
  6. Top each cup with a bit of the remaining batter – until cup is three-quarters full.
  7. Bake for approximately 23 minutes (or between 20-25). Let cool. And eat plain (my husband and his father preferred them this way) or frost with the following . . .


What you’ll need . . .
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or butter substitute, whichever you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup Hershey’s “special dark” cocoa (or whatever dark cocoa you like)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or soy milk -- even when I don't bake vegan, I tend to make it as non-dairy, etc., as possible)
Method . . .
  1. Cream the butter and vanilla together with an electric mixer on low to medium speed.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture until fully integrated. Slowly add the milk to the frosting until you have reached your desired consistency. (You may very well not use all the milk.)

Wow. That post is ancient! (My photography since then has improved quite a bit, too!)

I made these cupcakes (and, by the way, the recipe makes 24 of 'em) two years ago. Yes, they are rather involved. Yes, they're worth every minute. I mean, what's better than spending an entire Sunday afternoon baking? I plan to make these treats again sometime soon.

Do you experiment with "weird" ingredients in your baking? Ever put cheese in cupcakes? Chocolate in pizza sauce? Or -- here's another question -- is this recipe just way too involved for you to want to try it? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Super Sauces, Nut Butters, and More

>> Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gina writes:

"Hello, Ashley and Stephen! I've been reading your blog since the makemethod.vox.com days! My question is about condiments. When you added your recipe archive, I noticed that you like to mix together different sauces. I'm wondering how you get the ideas to combine flavors (for example: the parsnip dumplings with the maple and balsamic sauce). Either I'm not that creative or you two may know some secrets I don't know. Regardless, I'd love some info!"

Hi, Gina! First, we were SO happy to hear you've been reading us since Method. This blog has WAY more going on . . . and I think we've grown quite a bit, not just in readership, but also with the content. Anyway, you're right. To add flavor to breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, we use a variety of sauces in our cooking and baking. More often than not, these condiments are haphazardly created with whatever we have on hand. I'll say that in another way: They are rarely planned. A quick whisk with a fork, a few dashes of salt and pepper, and a bit of tweaking later, we're 9-times-out-of-10 satisfied with the end result.

But how exactly do we get our ideas? We definitely don't have some secrete method of coming up with flavor combinations. We just take what we like, use what we have, and think of what we know works (from restaurants, past meals, and friends) and improvise. It's part of what we love so much about being kitchen-crazed foodies.

I think experience helps when crafting weird sauces, like the maple-balsamic on you referenced, but even a novice can find the perfect mix. Otherwise, how will you gain experience? Yes. It takes a bit of guts to get to the glory, but we'll share some of our tips so you can try it out for yourself without feeling too far out of your comfort zone.

First, here are (just a few) recipes that utilize sauces we've randomly mixed together:

And here's how we come up with them:

We try to keep several types of oils, vinegars, nut butters, jams, spices and sweeteners on hand. Here's a brief list of the items in our pantry right now. It may seem like a lot, but you can assemble an army of taste-enhancers by slowing picking up a couple jars and bottles here and there on your trips to the grocery store.

NOTE: Best of all, these items last a relatively long time . . . and you only need a few teaspoons or tablespoons to create a good sauce:

Maple Syrup
Agave Nectar
Peanut Butter
Almond Butter
Earth Balance (butter substitute)
Olive Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Sesame Oil
Coconut Oil
Yellow Mustard
Grainy Mustard
Kosher Salt
Cayenne Pepper
Sesame Seeds
Red Pepper Flakes
Frozen Fruit
Strawberry Jam
Raspberry Jam
Greek Yogurt
Hot Sauce
Balsamic Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
White Vinegar
Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Canned Pumpkin
Garlic Cloves
Cocoa Powder
Parmesan Cheese
Coconut Milk
Lemon Juice
Almond Milk

WOAH, NOW! That seems like a lot of stuff. But, trust us, none of these ingredients are terribly expensive. How do we go from these seemingly dissimilar parts to create a whole tasty sauce? As I mentioned above, it's a ton of experimentation and tweaking.

The mental process goes a little something like this:
  • OK. We're making pancakes for breakfast. I'd like a sweet, but unique sauce. Maple syrup is typically used on pancakes. Well, so is peanut butter. Perhaps combining maple syrup and peanut butter -- oh, plus some cinnamon and a bit of cloves -- would work.
  • Hmmm. This stir-fried tofu and veggies would sure taste a lot better with something saucy. I've used soy sauce before, but I remember how I really liked that garlic-ginger dish we had the other night out. It was sweet, so honey might help it thicken and satisfy my sugar craving.
  • This seitan sandwich could sure use a little tang. I've had vinegar put on them before. And I usually get yellow mustard. Maybe I should mix the two to make a sauce. Oh, yeah -- and horseradish has a nice, robust flavor. Sesame seeds will add some texture, too.

Really. It's that easy. Think of dishes you've had before. Think of flavors you KNOW go well together. And then mix them up. (Or perhaps something that sounds CRAZY, but good. I mean, what you see above has pomegranate juice in it -- WEIRD!) Ratios are a bit more difficult to determine. My trick is -- start small and slow. I like to start with a tablespoon of something. Then add in the next thing half-teaspoonful (or so) by half-teaspoonful.

Think about it this way: You can always add more, but taking away and compensating for WAY TOO MUCH cayenne pepper, for example, id much more difficult.

For less common combinations, you may need to think outside the box. Really freak out, man! Risk making something that you won't use. (I hate wasting food, but it happens all in the name of flavor.) Once, I made a grainy mustard peanut butter (yeah, ICK -- what was I thinking?!) that just WASN'T good at all. But now I know. I've learned from that experience. On the other hand, if I had never tried to combine beets, cocoa, and Parmesan cheese, the ever-so tasty Beetza with Cocoa-Beet Sauce wouldn't have been born.

Which reminds me: What you like is what you like. Your friends, spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends, cats/dogs may not agree. Oh, well. That's OK.

Do you feel your inner saucier coming out to play yet? Well, if you're still a bit hesitant, just start with simple sauces.

Like what exactly?
  • Equal parts almond butter mixed with honey. Another time, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat. If you want to use it on a stir-fry, add some coconut milk the next time.
  • Equal parts canned pumpkin mixed with maple syrup. The next time, add some minced garlic (for savory) or cinnamon/cloves (for sweet).
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt mixed with a teaspoon or two of grainy mustard. On another occasion, add some horseradish for extra punch.
  • Equal parts Earth Balance mixed with strawberry jam. The next time, add a bit of ground pepper. Maybe even some chopped basil, if you're feeling lucky.
So. That's our process, if you can call it that. Nothing mysterious. Nothing tricky. Just using certain ingredients in sloppy ways to make our taste buds happy. We've been loving the results of our adventures -- and we think many of you like them, too -- so we'll keep mixing together like with like and like with unlike until we strike out so many times we're sick. But I doubt that will happen. A little flavor never hurt anyone . . . right?

Do you have any saucy secrets? Any advice you would like to share with Gina about how to be bolder in the kitchen? Perhaps we forgot some ingredients on our go-to pick list. We'd love to hear from you! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Random Thoughts and More Spiders

I didn't do a weekend recap on Monday, so I thought I'd do sort of a what's-going-on-with-Ashley-and-Stephen post for all those random thoughts.

My finger is finally returning back to its normal size. Swelling has gone down so much that I won't need to wear the splint to the marathon (the splint is way too big now -- take THAT mean doctor!). YES! However, the pain is still majorly there. But I'm going to wean myself off Tylenol (I've developed quite a habit) for the rest of the week. Things should get interesting.

Just to give you an idea of how big it got. This photo was taken over the weekend. The digit had swelled to the size of my thumb. Ahhhh!

What else? Well, this morning, my friend Chris shared with me an elevation chart he created (using his Garmin) for the last 24 miles of the Wineglass Marathon. (Thanks, Chris!) The course boasts a pretty impressive downhill trend -- if you really examine it, though, it's not exactly straight down hill. But it's much less up-hill than many of my long training runs.



20 MILE TRAINING RUN (My Most Recent):

I'm still just hoping to finish the race, but my legs are feeling great -- so if I could accomplish goal A (from our Marathon Taper post), I'd be ecstatic. Last night I went for a easy, breezy, beautiful 5K run in 24:50 (7:58 pace). I feel confident. I feel ready.


We have received some questions in our inbox like "What on EARTH is Earth Balance?" and "Can I substitute 1 egg for 1 Bob's Red Mill replacer?" etc. So, we created a handy conversion chart specific to the ingredients we most often substitute. You can always find the chart on our new Recipe Index. But, just in case you'd like to see it now . . .

So, if you haven't yet checked out our Recipe Index, now's a great time. We have added pretty much everything to the list now. And we have also marked what's vegan (which, surprisingly is A LOT of the list!). If you happen to come across anything we've mis-marked, don't be shy about letting us know. We want you to find the eats you want in the fastest way possible.

Now . . . some fun photos we took yesterday afternoon. Remember those spider photos we shared a few weeks ago? The critters are back! And we've decided to get friendly with them.

If you haven't had a chance to read yesterday's post about our desperate dishwasher situation, we'd love for you to join in on the conversation. We had no idea so many of you were either in love or apathetic toward your, at least what we feel is, most critical appliance.

We're just waiting for Stephen's next pay day to roll in, and then we're ordering our little 18-incher. Now if we could only find space for it in our tiny kitchen. That would be great. As I told Stephen, though, we'll MAKE space.

Have you (or someone you know) made one of our recipes? If so, have you blogged about it? We'd love to compile a list of recipes our readers have tried (successful or not). If you'd like to share, you can simply leave a permalink to your post in our comments section. Or if you'd rather email us, shoot us a note at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Omelette Rings and Desperate Dishwashers

>> Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eggs. I have this love/hate relationship with them. I mentioned in the Becoming Un-Vegan post that I started eating eggs again about two years ago. Since then, I've probably eaten less than two cartons. So, no. They aren't a staple in my diet. It's not that I don't like how they taste. I just go back and forth with the texture and concept of what I'm eating. There are days when eating a once-over-easy is A-OK with me. And other days when toast dripping with yolk could make me hurl.

I'm having an "I-LOVE-eggs" week this week, though. So, when we couldn't decide what to make for dinner last night, I thought I'd take advantage of my positive feelings toward them. And why not?

There's fantastic nutrition in these incredible edibles:

One egg has 13 essential nutrients in varying amounts – including high-quality protein, choline, folate, iron and zinc – for 70 calories. Eggs also play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more. (Source)

OMELETTE RINGS (with white-whole wheat loaf toast)

What you'll need . . .
  • 2 green peppers, sliced into thick rings
  • 1/4 cup shredded potato
  • 1/4 to 1/3 shredded jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded mushroom
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder -- to taste

Method . . .
  1. First you'll want to soften/char up your green pepper rings (cutting the peppers gave us 6 good-sized rings, we saved all the parts we couldn't use for rings for other stir-fry dishes). Simply heat them on the stove over medium-high heat with a little oil until they don't have much crunch (though, a little crispness is good). Maybe 5 to 7 minutes total. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and Greek yogurt. Add in the shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  3. We chose to cook our potatoes, onions, and mushrooms before adding them to the egg mixture. A couple minutes will do. But don't add them to the eggs right away, only when you're ready to cook everything. (Prevent the heat from the veggies from pre-cooking the eggs.)
  4. When you're ready to cook, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Put a little oil on the pan and start with just two rings. Toss them on the pan, then fill (but not to overflowing) with a couple spoonfuls of egg mixture. Let cook for a few minutes (around 5 or so) until the bottom is browned.
  5. Then, carefully flip. It may get a little messy, but we didn't have too much trouble. Let that side cook until browned on the bottom, too. Then continue flipping until you reach your desired done-ness. (I like mine pretty well done, that's why they're so dark.)
  6. Continue with the rest of the rings. We were able to do four at once! Then serve with hot sauce and toast. Hash browns would be another great side item!

You see the photo above of the egg mixture? This is what that area REALLY looked like during the whole process.

A d.i.s.a.s.t.e.r. is the best word I can find to describe it.

Yeah. We don't have a dishwasher.

And most of the chopping, mixing, and fixing is done on a large wooden cutting board I slap onto the sink. It's where the best light is in the kitchen. It's where the most elbow room is, too. Many people have told us we should just install a dishwasher. But . . . if you've viewed our kitchen tour, we don't really have cabinet space to devote.

Our kitchen is a tiny 1950s style. Before sprawling kitchens took the spotlight at the center of the house with open views to the dining areas. Nope. Ours is closed in. And filled to the BRIM with every appliance, mixing bowl, spoon/spatula, and pot/pan we need. (To run a cooking blog, you need want MANY.)

Thankfully, I've discovered the world of portable dishwashers. They come in tiny sizes, too. We may just need to pick up this little wonder -- it can scrub up to 8 place settings and gets good reviews, and we can find parts to repair it at Part Select if anything were to happen to it. Though we still don't have a lot of space, I feel like we can carve out enough to accommodate 18 inches. So, hopefully sometime in the next week or so, we'll order it.

(((Stephen . . . can we, can we, can we?)))

Do you also not have a dishwasher? Or could you not at ALL imagine your life without one? We'd love to hear your thoughts. So many people are surprised to learn we're without this "basic" or "essential" device. It's definitely getting old -- FAST! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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