Get Out N Play Newsletter
Stepping Back and Satisfaction
May 2012
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Stepping Back and Satisfaction 

I receive immense satisfaction from stepping back and looking at my accomplishments. One of the many reasons I enjoy cooking is to hear the delightful sounds of pleasure as someone enjoys my cooking. Most evenings, Ken is very complimentary towards my efforts in the kitchen. On Thursday evening, we hosted some friends who were traveling from DC to Maine. Our home was the perfect stopping point. That morning I added ingredients to the crock pot  I returned home to delicious smells and a meal that was almost ready for the kitchen table. As I assembled the cabbage salad, it was fun to talk food and explain my logic and philosophy surrounding cooking to our guests. They suggested I create a few cooking videos. This is an idea I've been toying with, especially now that we have a proper kitchen. 
Our veggie garden is another project that has allowed me take a few steps back and admire our work. From the start of its creation with the 2x6's to the last harvest before the late fall frost, this endeavor will hopefully provide its share of pride, as well as tasty veggies and herbs.
Some people work in professions where they lack the ability to step back and say, I did that. At the end of the day, what have you accomplished? If your job is to write code as you sit in a cubicle it can be tough to find that sense of pride. That's why it is so important to find that outlet outside of your career. When was the last time you stepped back and said "I did that"? This summer I encourage you to build, create or tackle some project, task or triathlon that allows a smile to creep across your face and let satisfaction seep into your soul. 
Race Report: Jersey Shore Kick Off 

On Saturday May 5th, I raced the Jersey Shore Multisport race, Kick Off in Tom's River, NJ. I did this race last year in hopes of qualifying for Nationals. I went back again this year with the same goal in mind. The weather on race morning was perfect, low 50's with a sky full of sunshine and calm winds and waters. Despite my nerves, there was little pre-race stress. In part this is attributed to the race director's skills and the small field of 175+. Ten minutes before the race start I waded into the 64 degree water, to get accustomed to the temperature. The males started promptly at 6:50 AM with the women starting 3:30 later. The size of the women's field was considerably smaller than the men's. From the start, three or four pink caps were ahead of me. It was smooth sailing through the swim.


Into T1, I had to remember to look for my new white bike. When I did my pre-race walk through, I was scanning racks for my red Trek. Funny, I'd spent 10 years coming into transition looking for that bike. Now I needed to remember to look for my white Cannondale Slice. Grabbing my new bike, I dashed out of the transition area, hearing from a spectator that I was the fourth heading onto the bike. The bike is a pancake flat, out and back course with three right hand turns. I felt solid on the bike.


On the run, since it was an out and back course, Ken gave me the update that I was in third. At the turn around, I saw first with a very clear lead, second in her blue kit, was possible to catch and fourth, in her yellow tri top, was coming in quick. The last 1.7 miles were going to be interesting. The girl in yellow came up and passed me, I stayed on her hip for a few hundred yards, but I just couldn't match her pace. Fortunately the age on her calf revealed she was not in my age group. Now I was in fourth with the girl in blue in view and I was gaining ground. With about a quarter mile to go I caught up to her, saw that she was also not in my age group, and felt a sense of relief. My next thought was, whoever crossed the line next was third place. Summoning every bit of mental toughness and mantras, I surged ahead and crossed the line in third, missing second by one minute, but getting third by ten seconds! After some post race smiles, I anxiously scanned the crowd for the women in the gray kit, who won the race. Oh happy day, her calf displayed the lovely number 41! I was in! I got my spot! Nationals in Burlington here I come. It is wonderful to know now in May that I have my spot. I can now map out the next 12 weeks of training to peak at Nationals. It's gonna be a wonderful weekend!

Square Foot Gardening
Currently the inside tasks are put on hold, as we move our efforts to outside. I was excited to add some color to the back deck with some vibrant containers of flowers. My wonderful husband gave me the gift of a garden for my birthday. I knew that I wanted a raised bed, given that our soil is so sandy. I had heard about square foot gardening before and a conversation sparked a renewed curiosity about the novel gardening technique. In one afternoon, I read Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening, cover to cover and knew that this was the garden I wanted to create.
I sketched out the garden and created a materials list for Ken. Together we went to Home Depot to purchase the supplies. While he created the boxes, I shopped for plants and the soil. With square foot gardening you work in squares, not rows. With a 4x4 box, you can easily reach into the garden to weed and harvest. This accessible size eliminates walking paths and the resulting soil compaction that follows with extensive footfalls. This soil has a wonderful texture and lightness to it. The soil is a blend of 1/3 peat humus, 1/3 blended compost and 1/3 vermiculite. Each box is divided into 16 squares, separated by a network of wood. The fully grown size of the plant dictates how many plants are within each square. A large plant like a pepper or broccoli takes up an entire square. A smaller plant like radishes allows you to plant 16 plants per square.

Stay tuned for updates about this unique type of gardening. 

The Ten Basics of Square Foot Gardening:
  • Layout - Arrange your garden in squares, not rows. Lay it out in 4' by 4' areas.
  • Boxes - Build boxes to hold a new soil mix above ground
  • Aisles - Space boxes 3' apart to form walking aisles.
  • Soil - Fill boxes with Mel's special soil mix: 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite.
  • Grid - Make a square foot grid for the top of each box. A MUST!
  • Care - Never walk on your growing soil. Tend your garden from the aisles.
  • Select - Plant a different flower, vegetable, or herb crop in each square foot, using 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants per square foot.
  • Plant - Conserves seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole. Place transplants in a slightly saucer-shaped depression.
  • Water - Water by hand from a bucket of sun-warmed water.
  • Harvest - When you finish harvesting a square foot, add compost and replant it with a new and different crop.
Recipe: Chipotle Beef Tacos with Cabbage and Radish Slaw 

I served this crockpot recipe to our company on Thursday night. I believe they appreciated a home-cooked meal more than going out to dinner. The prep time in this recipe was minimal. It took about 15 minutes before work and then about 15 minutes after work to complete this spicy version of tacos. I get spoiled with tacos like this. Ground beef...seriously?!


Chipotle Beef Tacos with Cabbage and Radish Slaw 
  • 3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-3 tablespoons canned chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sea salt
  • 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 1/3 medium cabbage) 
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 12 6 inch corn tortillas
  • Sour cream, for serving


  1. In a 4-6 quart crockpot, toss together beef, onion, garlic, chipotles, oregano, bay leaves and salt. 
  2. Cover and cook until the beet is very tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for for 3.5 to 4 hours. 
  3. Twenty minutes before serving, heat oven to 350. In a large bowl toss together the cabbage, radishes, cilantro, lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Wrap the tortillas in the foil and bake until warm, 5 to 10 minutes. 
  4. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl (reserve the cooking liquid) and shred, using 2 forks. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl with the beef and toss to combine. 
  5. Fill the tortillas with the beef and slaw. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges. 

Source: Real Simple

Thank you for spending the time learning to nourish your health.

Aubrey Schulz
Get Out N Play

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