Friends and Fellow Bloggers To The Rescue (aka I actually read all of your Comments!)

I started blogging as a way to share a little bit about what’s going on in my life with my family and a few really tolerant and supportive friends (Hi Sarah!) – and maybe add a tiny drop of insight and/or inspiration in the already crowded world of athlete bloggers.  What I didn’t realize – but soon learned – is that I could *also* use it to tap into the collective knowledge of my smart and generous readers.  I think about you guys every day now.  Let’s just take a peek into this past Wednesday…

Friends Can Teach You How To Disguise Your Bleach Mishaps:
Earlier this week, I added a photo of a favorite pair of pants-turned-capris to this post, and asked if you all ever modified ruined clothing so that it could be worn again.  Two fellow biology/chemistry folks (we spend a lot of time in proximity to bleach) informed me that bleach spots on black clothes can be fixed with a Sharpie. !!!!!  I’ve done this on black dress shoes before, but never even *thought* to use the same trick on clothes.  Thanks to fellow Drewids Elena & Meg for that handy little tip!

Fellow Bloggers Can Recommend EXACTLY The Product You Need:
Thanks to an all-day outdoors adventure this past weekend (more on that to come), I was nursing a beautiful collection of bug bites earlier this week.  Some of you may recall that, a few weeks ago, I unsuccessfully tried to find an anti-itch product in the grocery store.  Again – you all responded.  Heather suggested meat tenderizer (which I have to admit still makes me feel like a steak), and Kim (a third Drewid! Drewids ROCK!) suggested Smith’s Menthol and Eucalyptus Balm as the only anti-itch ointment that works for her.  She even generously offered to send me a tub from the US.

Then Jules, who blogs over at Sweaty Escapades, piped up.  She used to live in Southeast Asia, and recommended a product called Mopiko.  And what do I stumble upon a week later, while looking around the drugstore for tweezers?  Why, Mopiko, of course!



The price of a small tube of Mopiko was just $3 SGD, so I figured it was worth a shot.  Especially since…Do you know what the active ingredients are?  Menthol and camphor!  Kim, it sounds like a local version of your favored balm!  So far, it’s done a pretty good job on my newest batch of itchy bites.  Win!

Food-Loving, Slow-Cooking Friends Can Share Their Recipes:
Awhile back, I solicited your favorite slow cooker recipes.  I intend to try them all, in time, but just happened to start with a chicken soup recipe that Elena suggested.  First of all, let’s just agree that the slow cooker and breadmaker are a great pair:

Am I a great matchmaker, or what?

Am I a great matchmaker, or what?

Now, Elena posted a good – but approximate – recipe.  Which I followed – approximately.  The best suggestion – for which I can’t thank her enough – was to put balsamic vinegar in the soup before cooking.  This might not be for everyone, but I’m a vinegar lover, so to me, this was a genius idea.  In fact, she suggested that vinegar + soy sauce + water could replace chicken broth.  I tried it.  It worked!

Chicken and veggies over pasta, with parmasean, and a side of fresh bread.

Chicken and veggies over pasta, with parmesan, and a side of fresh bread.

However, thanks to approximations of approximations, the final product was good, but not amazing.  The fault for that is all mine, though, not hers.  I made a few substitutions that weren’t the best, and I definitely didn’t use enough liquid at the start.  I’m still learning how much liquid to add, and how much liquid my veggies will release, so that I end up with the correct amount of liquid at the end.  But I’m still learning this, and this time, I totally under-estimated the liquid needed.  So we actually ate chicken and veggies with a little broth, rather than chicken soup.  Next time, more water!  And when I get the recipe ironed out, I do promise to share.  But most of the credit (just not the measurements) will go to Elena.

Other advice I took on Wednesday?  My husband’s.  After BodyPump and yoga on Monday and an intense spin class on Tuesday, I was contemplating joining him for another spin session on Wednesday night.  Knowing I had a long run my schedule for Thursday morning, he gave me a look at said, “You can do whatever you want, but what would you suggest to one of your clients in the same situation?”.  For the record, this is a very effective look.  I opted out of spin, and settled for back-to-back Hot Yoga and Yin Yoga classes.  This was definitely the right decision.  Thanks, honey.  🙂

So basically, in conclusion, I’m a lucky gal to have such smart people in my life.  Thanks, ya’ll!

If you love vinegar as much as I do, please suggest some other delicious way I can use it on my food.
[I already know that vinegar fries are the best.  Thanks, Seaside Heights and Mom, for teaching me how to eat ’em that way!]

Have you received any really good advice lately that’s worth sharing?  

24 thoughts on “Friends and Fellow Bloggers To The Rescue (aka I actually read all of your Comments!)

  1. charm

    Mopiko’s great, and it’s good as a muscle rub too. We also use SOOV Bite, can get it at Guardian Pharmacy, it’s quite expensive but I am told it’s good for really really really itchy bites.

    Have you tried a thermal cooker?

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Muscle rub…hmmm…will have to keep that in mind for the next time I over-exert some muscle group. Plus, I’d smell super…fresh? 🙂

      Have not tried a thermal cooker. Little bit scared of the mushiness factor. Better than a slow-cooker?

    2. Mom

      Don’t normally read/appreciate forwarded emails spewing advice, but sometimes one happens my way at a time that is particularly on target. I was sitting by the computer while my mom was going through her inbox when she opened one of these. It included over 30 little gems of wisdom, 2 of which I am saying as a mantra,
      1. K.M.S. Keep Mouth Shut
      2. You are NOT the General Manager of Everything

      I do have to keep repeating them, because sometimes I act contrary to what they advise.

  2. Kim

    Aww! Glad the anti-itch stuff worked! And that soup does sound good! I patiently await the recipe with quantities! My favorite vinegar recipe is to use rice wine vinegar with a tiny bit of sugar and pour that over cucumbers. It’s probably something everyone does, but I completely love it. I also make a mean stuffed mushroom with balsamic vinegar. I sauté spinach in balsamic and then soak up remaining liquid with bread crumbs. (If there’s not enough liquid, I add more vinegar) I mix that with sundried tomatoes and top with mozzarella. If I’m stuffing portobellos, I soak them in balsamic first as well. Good luck!

      1. Kim

        I suspect that they don’t do well sent and/or frozen, so you’ll have to make them yourself. I usually use chopped frozen spinach and squeeze out some of the liquid. After assembled I bake them at 350 until the cheese is melty.
        The Mopiko sounds exactly like my Smith’s stuff. It’s also supposed to be a muscle rub. I found out that Chinese Green Oil (I’m not sure of a brand?) is the same only in liquid form. I prefer the semi-solid because of mess.
        I followed your tennis ball advice! My arches hurt so I bought a can of tennis balls. Worked like a charm! Thanks!

        1. Holly KN Post author

          Keep it up – even when they don’t expressly hurt. It’s very good for your feet! Sometime this week (I hope!) I’ll be sharing some calf and Achilles stretching exercises, which you should also do. Everything is connected in your feet/legs, so sometimes foot problems manifest as a result of tight calves. Add some calf stretching in a few times a week, and you should be golden. [Oh and..erm…leave the heels at home? Sorry!]

  3. Meg

    This was my “I don’t feel like cooking but I need to eat *something*” meal in Bangladesh: chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, a bit of finely diced onion, with balsamic vinegar, a bit of olive oil, and pepper over it. Took about 5 minutes to whip up and was tasty!

  4. Chrissy

    I love vinegar too. Two recipes i make a lot in the summer are a simple cole slaw and vinegar cucumbers.

    For the cole slaw, chop a green or red cabbage and add a few julienned carrots and thinly sliced onion or green onion. Toss with vinegar (i have used apple cider, white, or rice wine), olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of sugar or maple syrup for a touch of sweetness. Do this all to taste. Yum.

    For the cucumbers, peel and thinly slice them and cover them with a vinegar of your choice, depending on the flavor you want (i use white or rice wine). Add salt, pepper, a splash of olive oil, a sprinkle of sugar, and a few shakes of red pepper flakes and dill, all to taste. Let this sit a few hours and enjoy over the next few days, refilling with more cucumbers as needed. Mmmmm…this makes me long for summer.

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Ooooo. Those vinegar cukes sound amazing… Pickles are pricier here than the US, so I don’t buy them as often. This sounds like a great, fresh substitute. Plus, we get these delicious long, skinny, super crunchy Japanese cucumbers here for really cheap – they’d be perfect for this vinegar-ing. I will be trying this next week, no question! Thanks!!!!! [I’d offer to send you some, but don’t think they’d arrive in very good condition…]

      1. Elena

        YES! i made quick pickles allll the time last summer – pretty much the same as Chrissy’s recipe, but then I started putting in basil leaves and lemon rinds and mustard seed. Pickled basil is awesome on sandwiches. I also pickled bell peppers.

  5. Jules

    Hurrah! Glad you managed to find the Mopiko! 😉

    O so this is a really timely post. I have been looking at slow cookers recently, deciding on whether they are worth the space they will occupy in my tiny kitchen. Just wondering – do you know what volume you have (and do you find it sufficient?). Thanks!

  6. Elena

    Oh man, I still don’t get the liquid measures right every time either (maybe if I meas– nah, eff it). I dunno how much you made, but the other thing is that I generally have a large amount left over and the veggies / chicken tend to drink the broth after it is in the refrigerator waiting to be eaten at subsequent meals – so yeah it turns to mush (or very thick stew, would be a nice way to say it). When I re-heat, I add more water (and maybe vinegar and soy sauce, depending on how it tastes).

    I’m excited you tried my recipe! I use that vinegar / soy broth for EVERYTHING. It’s really good in lentil soup, and in braised collard greens.

    1. Elena

      Oh and, I don’t know if this was in my original “recipe” (har har) but I usually need to pretty generously salt the chicken soup after cooking. I get afraid to add salt to the slow cooker for fear that it will taste like ocean (especially with the soy sauce) but it usually needs it. I like things pretty salty though, so YMMV.

    2. Holly KN Post author

      I used 3 chicken breasts (another reason it came out not-as-nice, since they’re a bit drier), and veggies in amounts that seemed normal and according to my taste. So I definitely didn’t measure those, and probably won’t next time, either. [Who uses “one cup” of carrots? I’m not going to leave half a stinkin’ carrot in the fridge so as not to overdo the carrots. Carrots are quantized. You get one, or two, or three. Not “one cup”.] I put in less liquid than the final product needed, because in the past I’ve been surprised by how much liquid is released by the food. I should’ve at least covered everything…

      But we’ve been eating the leftovers without the expectation of any liquid, so the absorption has been OK. Gonna give the whole thing another shot in the next few weeks. Will report. 🙂

  7. Elena

    Oh yeah, while chicken thighs are one of my favorite foods, chicken breast ranks up there with some of my LEAST favorite foods.

    Yes, carrots are discreet variables.

    1. Elena

      So one of the other reasons for chicken thighs besides personal preferece is that they are fattier and will make you a much heartier, satisfying soup, so that could be the missing element from yours. It’s best with bone-in chicken thighs but since those also generally co-occur with having the skin on, I use boneless, skinless thighs. Because I hate ripping the skin off of chicken before cooking it. Because GROSS.

      1. Holly KN Post author

        Funny story: I can’t seem to find boneless thighs at the market here. I considered skinless, bone-in thighs (which ARE available), but didn’t want the trouble of having to pull everything off the bone at the end – even though it would probably pretty much fall off anyway. So I went for breasts. They’re dry, but for the amount of chicken we eat around here, I can’t always be cooking thighs, so sometimes we go for the trade-off. Shredded up with veggies, etc – they’d never pass as thighs, but they were OK. Will probably try thighs the next time around. 🙂


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