Tim Foolery

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Monthly Archives: May 2012

What I’m Cooking: Healthier Chicken Salad

I love Chicken Salad. I’ve been trying to be a little bit healthier lately though.  This easy and (in my mind) healthier (although I have no scientific data to prove that is healthier) take on Chicken Salad has become a staple of my summer time cooking.

You’ll need:

Two Chicken Breasts
1 Avocado, cut into 0.5″ pieces
2 Teaspoons Mayonnaise
1/4 Teaspoon Sage
1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper
Juice of Half of One Lime
Salt and Pepper to Taste
I start off by roasting some bone-in, skin on chicken breasts. I coat the chicken breasts with a light covering of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste then place them in an oven preheated to 350F.  I cook until an instant read thermometer reads between 155F-160F — chicken is fully cooked when the juices run clear or the temperature is 165F.  I find that pulling the chicken out at 155 will allow the carryover heat to bring it to proper temperature.
Let the chicken cool in the fridge for a couple hours or even over night (or two nights).  Cut the chicken into 0.5″-1.0″ pieces. Place in mixing bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix together. In lieu of using much more mayo, the creamy avocado helps bind the whole thing together.  Of course it has a bit of a green tint to it, but you’ll look past it as soon as you taste it.

I think the lime juice and the lemon pepper add a great citrus taste that is so refreshing in the warmer spring and summer months.
Traditionally, I just serve this on a plate surrounded by my favorite fruits (mangoes, strawberries, bananas) and veggies (tomatoes) but it would go wonderfully on a baguette as a sandwich.

Have you updated a classic recipe – attempting to make it healthier?  Have you used avocado as a mayo alternative before?  Do you agree that lemon pepper is an underused ingredient?

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IPNC & PNW: Planning

I’ve written (ad nauseum) about the planning and cancellation of our trip to Vietnam you can read about it herehereherehereherehere and here, following my accident, which you can read about here. We planned on being gone for two weeks; with Vietnam postponed until 2013, we now have two extra weeks of vacation to use. We are taking one (plus) week in Europe, visiting the UK (Olympics), Spain and France.  We’ve got another week we need to use (technically we have more than a week to use, but we have a week we planned to use in Vietnam that we didn’t get to use).

MS has always been a big fan of the State and National Park System — and to be quite honest, I haven’t visited many. He also loves a nice road trip.  Me not so much. Let’s see if I can plan a trip that incorporates some of these things — passions of his but things that I haven’t really experienced.

Last year we spent a weekend at my alma mater (Linfield College) for the International Pinot Noir Celebration. This is a 3 day event full of wine tastings, winery tours and amazing food.  We didn’t opt for the full three day package last year, but we did attend the main event – the Salmon Bake on Saturday night, followed by the Sunday afternoon wine tasting.  I initially didn’t want to do the full weekend package, which includes lectures/seminars — I was afraid these lectures/seminars would be a little too stuffy and take away from the whole experience.  Two friends (EAD and JFB) did the full IPNC weekend last year and loved it.  We absolutely loved the Salmon Bake and the Sunday Tasting.  Let’s do the full weekend package this year!

I figured we could combine these two trip ideas (National Park Road Trip and IPNC) into a nice 10 day trip.  Since we’ve both got friends in Seattle that we’ve wanted to see for a while we figured we should tack this on too.  We are still working on the logistics for the whole week, but so far the plan is to spend the weekend at IPNC, the head down to Crater Lake and spend two nights. Then we’ll head to the Oregon coast, since I haven’t been there in probably 11 years, for a night.  We’ll then head up to Seattle with a day (no night though) in Portland. We’ll see some friends and visit Multnomah Falls.

I haven’t been to Crater Lake or Multnomah Falls before. I know, I am a bad Oregonian, eh?  I think we’ll stay in either Newport or Lincoln City — because we’re coming from Crater Lake and we don’t want to spend all day in the car. I think Cannon Beach is just a bit too far.

What else should we do on this 10 day road trip? Have you been to IPNC? Do you have any suggestions on alternate attractions around Crater Lake or on the way to Newport? What is your favorite destination along the Oregon Coast?

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Dollar Shave Club – Initial Review

Last month I mentioned an interesting website called Dollar Shave Club and how while I was a bit skeptical, I did sign up for it.  Well, 5 weeks later my first shipment arrived.  My credit card was charged the day I signed up, of course.

Envelope and contents of first delivery

Your first shipment arrives in a brown paper envelope filled with 4 blades (depending on the program you sign up for, of course), a welcome note and a handle for your new razors.  The razors cannot be used on another type of handle (that I am aware of) but they throw in a handle with your first purchase.

Welcome Note

 The card is simple and reminds you when shipments are made and estimated delivery time. Nothing all that useful


The handle is pretty big – much bigger than the handles the come with regular supermarket razors. It actually felt pretty good, a nice ergonomic design.

So, how are the razors themselves? Well, I tried them this morning, after 3 days of growth and the razor was pretty good. I traditionally use Gillette Fusion, which cost about $3 from Drugstore.com or up to $6 at Jewel or Target.  These cost just $1.50 each.  If they have the staying power of the Gillette blades then this sounds like a good option.  The razor did do a good job of chopping through my stubble.

What is my final verdict? Well, the price is great. The first shave was pretty good. I think I will give it a month or two and see how it really work in the long haul.

Have you tried this product?  Do the razors actually arrive when you expect them to? How many shaves do you get with a single razor?  How long have you used these blades?  If you want to try them our and you are feeling generous, sign up using my link (using my link will give me a free month of razors).

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European Triad: Why I Hate Barcelona

Everyone I know just loves Barcelona, so why do I hate it?  Well, hate is such a strong word.  Let me walk through my thoughts/hatred.  I visited Barcelona once, in High School. It was my first trip abroad (EF Tours – great operator who really sparked my love for travel) and we visited Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, Monte Carlo, Florence and Rome.  All in 10 days.  I absolutely loved Madrid. It was the first foreign city I ever visited and the first place I was ever able to use a foreign language skill successfully — probably also a reason I love language study now.
It was spring break — March 1996. Madrid was warm (22C) and sunny. It was amazing. Barcelona was cold   (less than 10C). We had to spend more time on the bus that we did in Madrid.  Our jet lag was really starting to kick in while in Barcelona, so we didn’t go out at night.  In Madrid we were out every night – just spending time on the Plaza Mayor and enjoying Chocolate con Churros and people watching.  I even had my first flamenco experience (which I loved). 
— Digressing slightly.  There was a Flamenco Festival (of sorts) in Chicago in March.  I was excited to go see the dancers, hear the music, drink some sangria, but instead of taking a trip to a bar to watch Flamenco, I took a trip down 15 stairs – you can read about that here
Back on topic.  MS, the better half, loves Barcelona. It is his favorite city. He studied there in High School (also with EF Tours, I believe) and returns every couple of years.  After we cancelled out trip to Vietnam you can read about it herehereherehereherehere and here. I was racking my brain to find a great replacement.
I don’t have anything specific that I hate about Barcelona, I just don’t have a memory of loving it. I obviously didn’t get to really experience the city.  I am comparing Barcelona to the other cities on this High School trip, which is completely irrational, I know.
I would have been perfectly happy never returning to Barcelona again. That is horribly short sighted though. Especially since MS loves it.  There has to be something redeeming about Barcelona, right?  I love architecture, so that would be something, right?  It is a major city, so it has to have good food, right? So, I really don’t hate Barcelona, I just need to really experience it.
Have any of you been to Barcelona? We are spending 3 days there over the summer, what should I do? What should we steer clear of? Where should we eat?
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European Triad: Scoring Olympic Tickets

Since I have 2 extra weeks of vacation this year (because we cancelled our trip to Vietnam you can read about it hereherehere, hereherehere and here, because of my accident, read about that here), I needed to find something to do with myself.
Two old friends recently moved back to London from Melbourne and since London is hosting the Olympics I figured now is a perfect time to visit one of my favorite Cities.

My last trip to London was in March of 2011 — and lasted a whopping 12 (+/-) hours and I had a great time.  I figured I’d try to get tickets to a soccer match and plan a trip around the game.  
I visited the London Olympics website and after a quick search I found there were tickets available to the Bronze Medal game in Cardiff. I’ve never been to Cardiff.  It’s a quick trip from London and watching an Olympic match would make a great little trip.
After I spend about 20 minutes filling out online forms, picking tickets and proceeding to check-out I get an error message. Evidently the site I was using was for UK citizens only. Dammit. I’m now redirected to a US site and have to start again. Create a profile, search for tickets and find that nothing is available for soccer matches if you are in the US. Dammit.

Next I decide to email my UK friends and ask them to purchase the tickets for me.  A quick response from a friend confirmed she’d order the tickets right away for me.  Fast forward 8 days. Her new job has kept her swamped. She hadn’t had time to buy the tickets.  I email her and she promises to handle it that evening.  Two hours later I get an email from the US Olympic ticket seller.  80 tickets for the Gold Medal soccer match at Wembley Stadium. Holy crap!  BUY BUY BUY!

Wembley Stadium
I got in withing 10 minutes of receiving the email and managed to buy two tickets (max number per individual).  Gold Medal tickets at Wembley are infinitely better than Bronze Medal Tickets in Cardiff. C’mon, it isn’t even a competition, is it?

I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics and London will be a great host.  I can’t go to the 2016 games as I am boycotting because Brazil beat out Chicago 2016 and I hold a grudge.

Did you get tickets to the Olympics? Which events are you going to? Do you think Chicago should have beaten Brazil?  Isn’t London a much better venue than Cardiff.

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