Bulls on Parade

I went to Dixon, IL, yesterday, for a gravel (bicycle) ride which was more of multi-surface ride with a mixture of various levels of gravel and road. It was a great ride, just a shitty day. The wind was windy and cold. The sun was hidden and also cold. I rode 118.7 km (73.76 miles) which did complete Strava’s May Gran Fondo challenge.

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I’ve blogged in the past about my difficulties with an athletic watch manufacturer and decided to go the Forerunner route, paying extra money for a Garmin Forerunner 235. It’s pretty sweet. I can track my rides as it is a Garmin. I can track runs, if I ever did run. I do not run. This watch monitors my heart rate and also my sleep.

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Last June, I attempted to track exactly what I did that entire month and put it into a blog that no one read.

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June 2015 Time Science

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It is and was extremely hard to monitor sleep manually. Next month will be a different story. Technology is our friend, but it is up to us how close of a friend it will be. But, first June has to get here. And June has to conclude to document an entire month of data and lifestyle.

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Yesterday, on this gravel ride, I rode new roads, I drank a couple of new beers, met new people with some of the same passions and I RODE WITH A BULL. I also ate out at a deli, deliciously, confidently Ⓥeganly. The day sums up this way. You take an excellent cut of Bike Ride layered generously, Vegetable genocide of all sorts, being outside in nature with animals and life, garnished with an array of Good Beers adding character and flavor – STUFFED between two pieces of Good Bread. Consumption of a sandwich of this magnitude is VEGGHEAD BEERCYCLIST. And this is the good life.

Happy Sunday!

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(No animals were harmed:)

Illinois Brews & Baseball

Congratulations to Cubs fans everywhere. Congratulations to Cardinal fans in Illinois for seeing a truly stellar team this year in the Chicago Cubs take away their pride. Since 1876 the Chicago Cubs have won 1197 games against STL and the Cardinals have taken 1147 from the Cubbies during regular season play. And in the all-time post-season the Cubs are 3-1 against STL. According to Wikipedia.

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I’m very excited to see and try many Illinois brewed beers and creations. For me, anyways, true local brews give you a sense of untouchable refreshmentism before even considering the smell, taste, feel or notes. Perhaps that is due to the freshness, but I believe it’s more along the fine lines of a thing called pride! Like rooting for your local high school football team, it may not be the best, but damn it, you’re happy to see it and experience it.

  
Breweries come and go, bought out and sold out. There are craft breweries now directly competing with the (has-been) big dogs Miller and Bud. I want to concentrate on the Illinois breweries who are not selling out. All of this information is from Wikipedia. Apologies if any info is incorrect.

  
My first favorite Illinois brewery:

  

  • Big Muddy Brewing opened in 2009 in Murphysboro, IL.

  
My go-to Illinois brewery:

   
   

  • Revolution Brewing out of Chicago since 2010.

   
   
Mead:

  

  • Wild Blossom Meadery – Chicago, IL.

  
Most versatile arsenal Illinois brewery:

   
  Destihl 2007 Normal, IL.

   
 Super local Illinois Valley breweries:

  

  • Radium City
  • Starved Rock Brewing

Most impressive Illinois brewed beer:

  

  • Tighthead Irie IPA- Mundelein, IL 2011

   
 I was watching the Cubs on Monday night and wanted some easy quick (Vegan) food. I tweeted Jimmy John’s, half inebriated. And with their awesome help, I was able to conclude and acquire a Vegan delivery. Their bread is not Vegan. I paid $18 for two lettuce wraps that were delicious and not so much filling. I was impressed with how well Jimmy John’s interacted with me via twitter and did not cower like a company that puts beef fat into their fries and probably soda. That was the first time that I have ordered out in quite a few months.

   
   
Try some Illinois brewed beers or mead and try some Illinois baseball! The Cubbies are something else this year.

Chili EⓋolution

I finished this blog this morning spending two hours on it only for WordPress to fail and erase a huge chunk of data. So, I went for a ride.

Friday Morning Ride


  
I’ve been making kick-ass Chili for at least (well documented) five years now. It has only truly been documented a few times, but I mastered my style of chili probably ten years ago I just never knew it until around 5 years ago. I used to make this kick-ass DIP (for chips) using nothing but chicken and actual veggies working in a restaurant kitchen. You know, against the rules kitchen food, to feed the staff. And from there after plugging the concept in with chili type ideas, my style of Chili was born.


I cannot believe I had the mindset, at more than one points in the past, to keep my cheffing secrets, secrets until they made me millions. I have now forever retired from a kitchen that I do not own. Might as well share and help someone develop their own style.


October is kind of a HUGE month for me. The month includes or almost includes: 

  • Trek HulkRip 2nd Birthday (Sept 22nd)
  • Trek Darth Vader 1st Birthday (Oct 30th) 
  • 1000 Vegetarian Day (Oct 26th)
  • 100 Vegan Day (Oct 16th)

When your own personal well-being is healthy and you truly feel well, it makes life much easier. I feel when healthier than not, stress levels are down and energy levels are up.


Since making a Vegetarian lifestyle change, I’ve noticed extremely better health vitals and weight loss without a true workout routine, other than cycling. Every time that I donate blood (Double Red Cell), I am assured my once moderately high blood pressure is still low. My gym is adventure. My gym is outdoors.

Chili Secrets:

  • Use Vegetables instead of powders
  • Use lots of Vegetables
  • Chop everything yourself, don’t be a lazy ass
  • Marinate on lowest of simmers for hours
  • Drink a good Beer

It shouldn’t necessarily be about ourselves as it should be about the animals, about the environment and truly realizing and comprehending the bigger picture. There is an impact bigger than just one person, cutting out meat/dairy or even just consuming less.


 Chili ingredients (2009):

  • Ground Turkey, eewwwwww
  • Bell Peppers, diced
  • Hot Peppers, diced
  • Onion, diced
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Water sometimes Chicken broth
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes, stewed, diced or chopped (can)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Cheddar Cheese, gross

I’ve made different variations through the years. Creating a creamier sauce with adding Cheese until last year. I made Lentili without butter or oil and almost Vegan. I think I added Cheese that wasn’t completely Vegan.


 Ever find an artist (music band) that makes you super excited after you find out the length of their discography to listen to. And only an eighth of their music is what you want and the rest is garbage. I really appreciate good bands that can stay consistently different through the years. Not sounding the same on every album, but not changing their roots either.

mewithoutyou


 Yam Lentili ingredients:

  • Garlic, diced finely
  • Onion, diced
  • Celery, diced
  • Carrot, diced
  • Hot Peppers – Jalapeño, Serrano, Poblano, Chipotle (in Adobo), diced
  • Bell Peppers – Green, Red, Yellow, Orange, diced
  • Veggie Broth, splashy
  • Tomatoes, deseeded & chopped
  • Day, mmmmmm
  • Kale, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped or frozen cubes 🙂 lots
  • SeaSalt/Pepper
  • Parsley, chopped
  • BalsamicVinegar/Sriracha/Sugar
  • Sweet Potato, chopped and baked on parchment paper
  • I think I added Mushrooms, sliced
  • Lentils, Red (split) & Green 🙂


  
  
 I ain’t here to give cooking lessons. Use your imagination and have FUN! I did also make kick-ass Vegan Corn Bread. Seriously, play with your food!


  
 Ⓥ Cream Corn ingredients:

  • Corn, kernels
  • Cashew ‘Milk’
  • Earth balance, ‘Butter’
  • SeaSalt/Sugar/ChipotleP/Onion&GarlicP/NutritionalYeast
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Flour
  • Onion, diced
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Corn Meal
  • Parsley, chopped

I just mixed everything together, covered and set out for a good hour.

  
  
ⓋornBread ingredients:

  • Balsamic Vinegar & Sriracha
  • Flour & Sugar
  • Corn Meal
  • Poblano Pepper, just a little & diced
  • Cilantro, diced
  • Baking Powder & Soda
  • Ⓥ Cream Corn

Simply mixed together and baked.


Lentili Colcannon ingredients:

  • Yam Lentili
  • Potatoes, red & russet roasted
  • Cashew ‘milk’
  • Daiya, mmmm
  • Onion, diced
  • Jalapeño, diced
  • Garlic, diced
  • Corn
  • Parsley & Cilantro, chopped finally finely
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • SeaSalt/Pepper/BalsamicVinegar/Sriracha
  • OnionP/GarlicP/Sugar

 

Balls & Strikes:

  • I dry roasted and did not add any oil. I used one pan with PARCHMENT PAPER:) Added things at different times because not all veggies roast in the same time. I then mixed everything together and topped with Yam Lentili. I did not roast the Grape Tomatoes. I heated them up in the Cashew ‘milk’.

10.07.15 I’m taking my love for Chicago-style dawgs and Vegan lifestyle to another level tonight as the Chicago Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates in a wildcard matchup. The Cubs, not being in the post-season since 2008, are a stellar team this season.

10.08.15 The Chicago Cubs won and Jake Arrieta threw a complete game SHO (shutout). Jake has shown a poise that I’ve never seen from a Cubs pitcher. His confidence and simply his persona on the mound sometimes gives me goosebumps. The Chicago Cubs acquired Jake (and Pedro Strop) from the Baltimore Orioles on July 2, 2013 for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman. At the time I was sad to see Feldman go, but heard both Arrieta and Strop had potential. Arrieta pitched well the remainder of 2013 and 2014. He went 14-7 with a 2.81 ERA (Earned Runs x 9(innings in a game) ÷ IP (Innings Pitched)). And his numbers are in for 2015 with a whopping 22 wins to only 6 losses. Having the best stats ever after the all-star break. Baseball has been around since the 19th century. Baseball has been a game for a few minutes.

I have created the Ⓥ Jake Arrieta’s. Ⓥ=Vegan. I made five of these monsters being strong, consistent & extremely healthy. The Ⓥ Jake Arrieta is a friendly neighborhood Char Dawg.


Chicago-style Relish ingredients:

  • Tomato, deseeded and diced
  • Cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • Onion, diced
  • Hot Peppers (Poblano & Jalapeno), deseeded and diced
  • Celery Seed
  • Celery Salt
  • SeaSalt/Pepper/ChipotleP/OnionP/GarlicP
  • Poppy Seed

MIX 🙂

Since being close to 100 days Vegan, my body has skyrocketed to amazing well-being and health. I’m going to live for 300 years. And I think that I am shrinking while still being very strong. I can ride a bicycle so much better and faster. My energy level is through the roof. And I feel AMAZING.


Ⓥ Jake Arrieta a Ⓥegan Chicago-style Lentili CharDawg ingredients:

  • Chicago-style Relish, mmmm
  • Buns, bigger the better
  • Daiya, mmmmmmmmmmmmm
  • Vegan Hot Dog (I use Lightlife Smart Dogs-JUMBO), charred
  • Mustard, organic 🙂
  • Lentili, mmmmmmmmmmmmm
  • Chipotle Powder, mmmmmm

Extra Innings:

  • Cut the ends of your smart dogs to keep from blistering.
  • Bake/Broil until your level of char or you patience allows.
  • Add already warm Lentili and Daiya and broil.
  • Broil Buns if desired, I’m a char-head.
  • Top with Chicago Relish, Organic Mustard and Chipotle Powder


  
I also came up with a salad concept of Roasted Veggies mixed with Romaine and Lentili as the ‘dressing’. It was good. I made Sweet Potato chips with my first batch of Ⓥ Jake Arrieta’s, but I was a little too tipsy to take a decently good pic. Hopefully today is much better with the art of photography. I also made three Dawgs a little different, yesterday. I feel like I’m forgetting some stuff. DAMNIT.


  
  
The Cubs play STL in a best of 5 NLDS and I’ve been saying all season that if the Cubs want to win big, they have to be able to destroy STL. And they can. Go CUBBIES & Happy Friday!


This Will Destroy You

And it is now Saturday.. HAPPY SATURDAY!

I came up with yet another Lentili concoction. This one is a Lentili Spudwich.

And these are a concept of eating Lentili without utensils, being Potato bowls filled with Lentili and Daiya!

Ⓥ Souper

  
My choice of Vegan lifestyle obviously started with the easy decision of Vegetarianism close to three years ago. And while maintaining 100% Vegetarian lifestyle, I progressively made Vegan adaptations.

  
Social media is a tool and often a tool for me to reference statistics or dates. Today I’m gonna search through my social diary in Twitter. At some point in my life, I want to write a book with basically just my tweets.

  • First purposely #VeganVriday was 1.9.15
  • First purposely #VeganVeekend was 5.29.15

I did not survive every VeganFriday and I think I failed only one VeganWeekend after starting. I did, however, notice a difference in my digestive system and stomach between Vegetarianism and Veganism. Ultimately bringing me to the no-brainer decision of upgrading vegetarianism into Veganism as of 7.8.15.

  
I have finally found my love for Earth Balance Vegan ‘butter’. “Better late than never.” Says everyone.

  
I made SOUP for the first time in this colder turning time. And I was going to name it Souper Ⓥ Supe, but chose to shorten to Ⓥ Souper.

  
I found out that Sweet Potato skins are very edible and very good.

  
I resurrected my very first “real” bicycle in honor of his second birthday on September 22nd, in a 2014 Trek CrossRip. I’ve named him the HulkRip. I’ve ridden him through hell and back at over 7,000 km. He needed new cables, brakes, chain, cassette, chain ring and tape and pedals which I put on. He sat up at the bike shop for a good month awaiting a chain keeper. I’d like to keep HulkRip rideable for a long long time. And rode him for the first time in months yesterday. Happy Birthday, HulkRip!

   
    
 Ⓥ Souper ingredients:

  • Tofu, soft
  • Soyrizzo, had to add another ‘z’ because I’m a cubbies fan
  • Mushroom, sliced
  • Sunflower Seeds, shelled & I used non salted
  • Garlic, minced
  • Radish, sliced
  • Onion, Diced and julienne sliced
  • Green Pepper, shorter julienne sliced
  • Tomato, beefsteak diced and grape-whole
  • Spinach
  • BalsamicVinegar/Oil
  • Earth Balance ‘butter’, mmmmm
  • Jasmine Rice, cooked
  • Lentils, cooked
  • Kale, frozen & NonGMO mmm
  • Eggplant, chopped
  • Zucchini, chopped
  • Sweet Potato, chopped w/ skin
  • Red Potato, chopped w/ skin
  • Russet Potato, chopped w/ skin
  • Cilantro, frozen cubes mmm
  • SeaSalt/Pepper/Cayenne
  • Serrano & Hot Peppers, diced
  • Veggie Broth

Insanity:

  

I actually started out making a breakfast stir-fry and severely enjoyed it before later making into soup.

  

  • Cook Rice and Lentils together while stir-frying and later drain before adding.
  • Heat Oil and add Garlic, Hot Peppers, Potatoes, diced Onion and Eggplant.
  • Add Tofu, Soyrizzo, Sunflower Seeds and diced Tomato. Cover and sauté.
  • Add Seasonings, Rice/Lentils and BalsamicVinegar with generous Earth balance! Cover
  • Always stir occasionally…duh
  • Add Kale, Zucchini, Green Pepper, Julienne Onion, Radish, Mushroom, Cilantro& Grape Tomatoes
  • Can’t forget the SPINACH
  • Cover and simmer low

  
I served the stir-fry w/ wheat toast with Earth balance. I FREAKING LOVE EARTH BALANCE.

  
Rano Pano – Mogwai

  
To make Soup, I honestly just added Broth as it mixed and thickened extremely well. Very flavorful! And powerfully nutritious!

   
   
Go Cubbies as it’s almost playoff time! Have a good beer, take a good pic and ride a bicycle before the cold hits! Happy Thursday and Happy Weekend! Do something out of the ordinary!

  
  

Ⓥegan Pasta

  
Yesterday was my very first experience buying, cooking and consuming Earth Balance Vegan ‘butter’. It was extremely enjoyable and I’m officially now a lifelong customer. Along with Vegenaise, Earth Balance is better than animal-based dairy. SERIOUSLY. It could be the evolution of my palate, but serious tastiness anyway you consume these wonderful plant-based products is a no brainer.

   
   
Saturday night, immediately after work, I went for a ride via towpath to drink some beers and make a small night out of it. I noticed the super moon and was extremely impressed with the visuality of a normally immensely dark (death metal) towpath. I still used my light, but would’ve been fine without my NiteRider Lumina 700. When the moon casts shadows, you (me) know its close to our earth. For the second time this year, I completed a (my) local bars Hall of Foam where you get your name on a plaque for drinking 50 different beers. It was a great night! (Warning: not all in one night)

   
   
Here in northern Illinois, it has been unseasonably warm this September. And yesterday was the first Fall-like day this year (2015:). Chili (and Soup) season is HERE! Last night, after work, I had to make a buttery pasta with the amazing Earth Balance. I decided to make a Mexicano (Ⓥ) Pasta and I’ll just go ahead and call it Mexicano Ⓥasta.

   
 Mexicano Ⓥasta ingredients:

  • Earth Balance ‘butter’, mmmmmmmmm
  • Garlic, minced
  • Carrot, sliced small longways
  • Onion, (red) diced
  • Sweet Potato, WITH PEEL ON (try it!) chopped
  • Oil/BalsamicVinegar
  • SeaSalt/Pepper/ChipotleP/Cayenne/C.R.P./Paprika/FennelSeed
  • Cilantro, I used frozen cubes
  • Kale, frozen & NONGMOProjectVerified
  • Corn, kernels
  • Tomato, grape sliced
  • Rice, Jasmine & cooked
  • Lentils, cooked
  • Radish, sliced
  • Mushroom, sliced
  • Eggplant, chopped
  • Squash, Zucchini & chopped
  • Angel Hair pasta, cooked al dente & not rinsed
  • Thickening agent, instant mashed potatoes

  

T minus ______ until blastoff:

  • Added a bit of Oil to heated pan and sautéed Garlic with Carrot, Sweet Potato, Onion & Eggplant while cooking Jasmine Rice and Lentils on another burner.
  • I added seasonings, Corn, BalsamicVinegar & Zucchini, covering for a few minutes.
  • Once Rice/Lentils are done, I strained and added with Earth balance ‘butter’, Cilantro, Tomato, Radish & Mushroom, covering on a simmer.
  • I cooked Angel Hair (Capellini for those Italians:) al dente and strained. If you’d like, a little Oil on pasta…
  • I added a few pinches of instant mashed potatoes as a thickening agent and served over plated pasta!

  
I couldn’t stop eating this pasta. Not literally, but just about. I might eat the leftovers for breakfast!

  
I hope everyone is having a great week! I also hope no one witnessed any crazies during this Super Moon.

  
And go Chicago Cubbies! Happy Wednesday!

  
I also made Sweet Potato Chips 🙂 (to be mastered)

Labor Day Mayhem

  
The thing that I miss most about not being Vegetarian and even not being Vegan is, I think, that gross euphoric sense of accomplishment of consuming something that took time off of your (my) life. I believe I’ve been trying to recreate that sense with Veganism, but any way I go about it, Veganism is super healthy without that sick feeling. Even Vegetarianism provides that sense that ultimately contributes to obesity and copes with horrible days.

  
I’ve been Vegan for over two months and this Monday (Labor Day) brought myself urging for that disgusting sense that would make a bad day, good? I had the worst ride of my life.

  
I lost a screw to one of my cleats to one of my cycling shoes right off the bat and I also was stranded with a flat tire and a failed patch kit in BFE. I chose to be dropped off 60 minutes from home and ride home in round-about fashion. I had a gravel climb that made me stop and change my auto-pause speed to 2 km/h instead of 12 on my Garmin Edge 1000. 

  
That climb also made me want to quit cycling forever. And that was part of an oncoming gravel ride later this month. Being labor day, most assholes didn’t have to work and were all driving around like assholes. I had to cross a bridge over a bigger sized river with no freaking shoulder. I took the wrong way on a highway without a shoulder where it was super busy. I had to backtrack and I saved my life by walking back on the nonexistent shoulder.

   
 I found a really cool area of rolling gravel roads and obtained that flat. I believe it was a pinch flat… And made sure to bring tools, but when i was ready to use my patch kit, the glue was all dried up. I had to walk (of shame) with a bicycle on my shoulder for 90 minutes before I could even get service where I could call to be picked up in the closest town. 

   
 The entire time I was pissed that I used my only spare tube in order to replace a slow leak in an old tube putting different tires on and keeping tubes in my (now off) road tires and dreamed of justifying the day by crushing a cheese pizza.

  
I brought just enough water and two Smart bars and was eventually picked up.

  
It’s set in stone that I’ll be Vegetarian for the rest of my life. Not so much with Veganism (yet). I did not crush a cheese pizza, but made a big batch of chinese-style noodles and a Vegan Mayhem sandwich. I found squeezable ginger that had me super excited until I saw the bullshit preservatives added. I still had to buy it.

I was so hungry and exhausted that I had energy to make a huge batch of Vegan Ramen. Noodles are Vegan, seasoning is not.

  
Ⓥegan Ramen ingredients:

  • Ramen Noodles, seasoning discarded
  • Potatoes, diced and boiled (or roasted)
  • Broccoli, fresh or frozen florets-blanched
  • Garlic, minced
  • Ginger, minced
  • Soy Sauce, Vegan
  • SeaSalt/Pepper
  • BalsamicVinegar/Sriracha
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Peanut Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Sunflower Seeds, shelled 

Chopsticks to mouth:

  • Cook Ramen slightly undercooking, draining and leave separate seasoned with Soy Sauce and Sriracha.
  • Cook Potatoes and blanch Broccoli and leave aside.
  • Add Oil/Garlic/Ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes before adding everything else and mixing.

  

    Vegenaise Upgraded ingredients:

    • Vegenaise, mmm
    • Mustard, organic
    • Cucumber, diced without seeds
    • Onion, diced
    • Tomato, diced and strained

    MIX

      

    Ⓥegan Mayhem:

    I then panfried two Vegan Boca patties and a Ciabatta bun (insides down). I put the two patties on the bottom bun and added noodles without any Broccoli and put a scoop of Vegenaise Upgraded on top and broiled for three minutes.

      
    It was tasty and still healthier than anything animal based. Perhaps I didn’t achieve that early death feeling, but I honestly didn’t need it. My ride was horrible, but I took a few good pictures, rode in the rain and wasn’t hurt in any way. #RideOn