Monday, April 30, 2012

Fish tacos for the fourth....

Before I get into my recipe babble... check out this guy Matt's mindmaps of instructionals... Seems cool!

 Here's what I made for our fourth anniversary-- a healthy/no-guilt recipe that's fast, inexpensive, and satisfying.

Serves two but easy to multiply to feed more...

4 frozen tilapia filets, thawed
1 tsp olive oil
fajita seasoning
cayenne pepper
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced thinly inside the skin
mango pico de gallo (or regular, and you can add some chopped red onion, mango, and/or pineapple)
broccoli slaw (in lieu of shredded cabbage-- it's healthier and tastes the same!)
low-carb tortillas
1 lime, sliced into eighths
shredded queso fresco or queso blanco, optional

Arrange a buffet-style serving line with the pico, broccoli slaw, sliced avocado, cheese, and lime slices.

Heat olive oil in medium nonstick pan over medium heat.  Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of your fish with fajita seasoning and cayenne to taste.  (I prefer mine without the cayenne but my husband likes it spicy.)  Cook fish about 2-3 min each side until just done (fish will be opaque white throughout.)  Remove to serving bowl and coarsely chop into 2-3" pieces with the side of your fork.

Heat a few tortillas on a towel-covered plate in the microwave, 30-45 seconds, to make them warm and flexible.

I kind of cobbled the recipe together based on flawed memories of other recipes I've read elsewhere-- I know one used a corn-based salsa instead of the mango pico.

This is one of my favorite recipes when I'm trying to maintain or cut weight, because Tex-Mex is a big craving of mine.  But this one lets you get all the crunch, the savory flavor, the creamy avocado, and the tangy lime without all the fat.  I'm full on two tacos.

And for dessert-- guard playing and guard passing, from Xande and Galvao, semifinals, Abu Dhabi Pro 2012.  Watch from about 2:40 on.

Enjoy :)

Coming back from hiatus...

So, the trial in Houston went well, except that (due to unforeseen circumstances) the judge had to adjourn us early, so we will go back at the end of May to finish presenting the evidence.  It's a good thing, because I can always use more time to prepare and improve our presentation.  It's a bad thing, because it means more weeks of 10-12 hour days.  Of course some small fires started burning while I was gone and I have been hopping trying to put them out ever since.  I love what I do, it's always challenging and almost-always enjoyable.  I'm lucky.

Another plus, I am back in the gym.  I actually got in the hotel gym 3 of the 4 days we were gone.  And I went back the day after we returned, and have only taken Sunday off.  I am also back on the mats at the academy.  Frankly I was a little scared to go back-- being all fat and fudgy-feeling-- because I know how much information is packed into each class.  It's not like my experiences elsewhere, where any class is likely to be completely unconnected to the class before or after.  It's more like learning a foreign language, and if you miss a day (or worse, 3 weeks like me) you come in and you missed entire verbs, and tenses, not to mention the vocab.  That was me on Saturday.  However, our curricula are scheduled on a monthly basis, so weeks 1-3 are learning new stuff on a given subject, and week 4 is review.  And in any given week, two days are "install" and Saturdays are review.  It's just a bummer that I'm back on a "first week" instead of the fourth.

It's kind of sad how my mind works-- when I cannot attend class and I miss all kinds of good stuff, it almost deters me from going back when I *can* attend, because I know catching up is nearly impossible.  I just have to recognize that a little is better than nothing, jiu jitsu will always be there, and if I don't learn it this month, I will surely learn it another month.  It's not as though there's a deadline and whatever I haven't learned by then will be lost forever.  Jiu jitsu is forever, or at least as long as I'm alive and physically moving my body.  But it still sucks-- there are some people I used to be reasonably sure I could overcome (because they'd been training two years less than me for example) but dammit, they're catching up or surpassing me.  When you take time off, you come back and have to mentally reorder your lists, you know?  People With Whom You Must Play Your A-Game... People With Whom You Must Be On The Defensive... People With Whom You Can Experiment And Try New Things... People You Must Be Gentle With Because You Don't Want To Overly Crush Them Spiritually Or Otherwise.  I feel like I basically took 9 months or more off, and now I need to be really defensive and not assume anything with everyone all over again. 

Mitch and I celebrated our fourth anniversary last week-- very low key, just a homemade meal (from me) and a gorgeous bouquet (from him)

-- so we're on to year five now!  And we attended our friend Zade's wedding last night -- Merna made a beautiful bride.  Sadly had to miss one of my best friends, Janet's, wedding on Saturday in Virginia.  I wish funds were unlimited! 

And then May 6 I leave for Vegas.  No, not for partying, gambling, and whatnot... for the first cycle of our IVF journey.  I've been stabbing myself in the stomach every morning, injecting minute quantities of potent hormones, and the plan is to harvest a basketful of ripe healthy eggs around the 10th-11th.  Add Mitch's swimmers, create (hopefully) a bunch of embryos, and take one cell from each (they won't know the difference at that early stage.)  When they get to "blast" stage (day 5) they get fast-frozen ("vitrified").  The individual cells get individually vitrified too.  Rinse, repeat in July, and rinse, repeat in September.  With the goal of having a lot of blasts on ice.  Then, genetic testing on each of the single cells... and voila, you know which embryos are chromosomally normal.  The abnormal ones would not make a viable pregnancy anyway, so you avoid the agony of miscarriage so many IVF couples go through-- if you spend all that money, you want to only put back the embryos that will make a healthy pregnancy!  And "banking" the embryos this way saves money (the genetic testing costs the same whether you do it to one cell or ten) and you (hopefully) have a sibling or three on ice for future use.  So, sometime around May 20th we'll know how the first "batch" went.

The nicest thing about going to Vegas is staying with my inlaws.  It will be great family time.  I hope I'm feeling well enough to train while I'm there, too... I hear some stories about feeling uncomfortable and bloated when you're essentially a giant egg factory, so we'll see.  And another good thing, I will be churning out a bunch of reviews just like I did at Christmas. :)

A nice video from Stephan Kesting on 10 ways to finish the armbar.... have a great Monday!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Roll Adapt Win-- we should all be so lucky....

A buddy of mine has gone through this incredible endeavor of starting his own clothing company to meet the needs of the jiu jitsu community.  What's amazing is he made time to do it and train and work full-time and raise his little boy as a single dad!  The shirts look really cool, no skulls or crossbones, and invite curiosity from the general public.  They're reasonably priced (about 25 bones) and shipping is free!  And you get to support a fellow fighter.

Check out this drop seoi nage in mid-flight!  Yup, founders of RAW in action--

So I want to share his dream with you and let him speak about it directly.

Roll.Adapt.Win Clothing was founded on the spirit of jiu-jitsu and those that paved the way. We know RAW embodies the vital principles of the sport, because like you we train and those principles flow through our veins too.

When we roll, we are moving to advance our position. Along the way, we adapt to our opponents' movements, altering our own while setting up counters and submissions. In the end... win or lose, we win because we are steadfast in our dedication to learning the art and bettering ourselves as individuals.

 We are inspired by the creativity and innovation of those that leave their blood, sweat, and tears in the academy daily. Our clothing is just an extension of that creativity, just another medium that can be used to spread the BJJ movement and the ideals of the lifestyle.
Stay RAW.

When was Roll Adapt Win created and by whom?  Roll Adapt Win was created by me (Jei) and my buddy Ethan about six months ago.  We have two partners were were lucky to involve, Sonia and Silent Henry.  We form a pretty unstoppable team with a lot of experience in our respective roles.
What is Roll Adapt Win all about?  Roll Adapt Win is a way of life.  It is a mentality that everyone should have.  When you are rollin', you don't have time to stop and think about what everyone is saying or doing, you just keep moving until you eventually get to where you want to be in life.  We are inspirted by the movers, shakers, hustlers, motivators, medal-chasers, and go-getters in life.  We wanted to create a brand that embodied jiu jitsu, but was clean and classic so anyone could wear it!  My years in design school taught me that the best designs were timeless and had some sort of message behind them.  We try to incorporate those two principles in everything we do.

What made you decide to create Roll Adapt Win?  We had something different to offer.  We had ideas, and a little money saved up, and we decided we were going to stop talking about it and start being it.  We are very aware of what's going on in BJJ and street fashion, and we wanted to do something completely opposite but still remain hip and current.
Visit us at or on Facebook at

Friday, April 06, 2012

Crispy crunchy healthy

Well, I didn't make it to train last night.  I was in the office till 9:30pm.  And though today is Good Friday and we have the day off, I was at the office bright and early (though I brought stuff home and have been working, at the kitchen table, wearing shorts sitting in front of the open screen door... heaven.)

Of course, I'm hungry, but trying not to eat any of the snackies my husband keeps around-- chocolate chip cookies, jalapeno-queso potato chips, honeyed pecans.  DAMMIT!  So I'll maybe get up and make this fresh, crispy, flavorful salad instead. 

Cucumber-Carrot Asian Salad- serves 2, 59 calories each if you use sugar.
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar or splenda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil (or sesame oil if you like the flavor- I do!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber - halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
  1. Whisk rice vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil, ginger, and salt together in a bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved into a smooth dressing.
  2. Toss carrot, green onion, bell pepper, and cucumber in the dressing to evenly coat.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

That Royler pass...

There's a pass one of my teammates has been killing us with lately. I had to ask Donald (our instructor) what it was when I saw it, and last night it was actually part of our curriculum. In short, it's a spinning pass-- you get grips on your opponent's opposite corners, and then you get out of the way while you turn them, like turning a big truck steering wheel.

It's pretty sweet, though I feel like my short little arms have trouble with certain variations of the grips especially if they're in butterfly and they spread their knees out wide. But anyway, it was fun-- until I accidentally kicked a neighboring teammate when I was doing the hip-flip needed. Fortunately she wasn't injured, but the back of my heel-- the place right where your Achilles curves under and becomes the sole of the foot-- is so incredibly tender I almost can't walk on it. Gah.

One of Jason Scully's videos came out today-- 29 sub escapes/defenses in 8 minutes.  Check it out.

Last night, I made pork loin medallions with a garlic-onion-mustard cream sauce. If you've ever eaten a Philly cheesesteak at Texadelphia in Austin, you've probably put their creamy mustard sauce all over it-- and this is a dead ringer for it. I was so excited to discover this-- now I have the perfect addition to my French dip-type sandwiches at home.

Dealing with still crazy deadline pressure at work, but I will be training tonight 9-10:30pm. It will be good stress relief.

Have a good day y'all!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Royler's seminar and Easter dinner, coming this weekend to a me, near me!

This Saturday is the Royler seminar at our academy, hooray! and then boo, I have to do my taxes that evening.

I know we're supposed to come up with questions for Royler.  The bummer is, all I want to ask is "How can I be great like you?"  I know the answer is train all the time, with the best.  What I really mean is-- can someone please link me up like the Matrix and just upload all that into my head?  Instead I'll settle for maybe "how do you do that pass you do."  :)

Then Sunday is Easter-- so I'm thinking about making a ham, which I haven't had in forever.  Not a spiral-sliced one, either (I think they get dried out and the glaze they're packaged with tastes chemical-y to me.)  Just a nice old-fashioned sugar-cured ham.  The glaze I make for ham is so easy-- just put apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup (maybe 1/2 cup worth?)  Add brown sugar and yellow mustard in whatever proportion you think looks good-- the goal is a slurry, not too runny and not too pasty. You can stud your ham with whole cloves, or add ground cloves to the glaze, or both. Then you paint your ham with a pastry brush. It's very yummy :)

A typical spring side dish is peas, but I can't stand them. I'll be doing asparagus instead, and maybe some roasted new potatoes. A fresh green salad to start, and I think lemon ice for dessert.

In the meantime, I'm making this for a snack when I get home from training tonight (it will be late, like 11pm, but I can't eat before class or I'll be sick.)

I got this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine and it's really fresh-tasting. It's a good side dish alongside fish, pork tenderloin, or chicken... you can toss some cooked/shelled/frozen shrimp into the pasta while you're making the gremolata and it will be thawed and tender when you're ready for dinner.  Or you can just eat this on its own.  

Linguine with Hot Chile, Caramelized Onion and Gremolata

Serves 4-6

Gremolata—a combination of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley—adds a nice, fresh touch to this and many other dishes. Try sprinkling it on a creamy pasta, risotto, grilled shrimp, sautéed spinach, or steamed green beans.

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1 serrano or other fresh small, hot red or green chile, seeded and finely diced (wear gloves!)
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into about 5 pieces
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. dried linguine
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano; more for sprinkling

Instead of grating the lemon for the gremolata, use a zester and then finely chop the long strips of zest with a chef’s knife. This zest is a little chunkier and easier to sprinkle.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion and red pepper flakes, season with a big pinch of kosher salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and nicely browned, about 15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium low if the onion is browning too fast). Add the chiles and continue to cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, add the butter, and swirl the pan to melt. Add the lemon juice and another pinch of kosher salt. Keep warm.

Cook the linguine in the boiling water until al dente, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata: Combine the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest on a cutting board and chop them together with a chef’s knife until the parsley is finely chopped and mixed well with the lemon and garlic. Drain the pasta and return it to its cooking pot. Over medium heat, add the onion mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Add the 1/2 cup Pecorino, quickly toss again, and add salt to taste.

Transfer the pasta to a platter or shallow bowls. Sprinkle liberally with the gremolata and more Pecorino and serve.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

How to pass the inverted guard.

2012 IBJJF Houston Open, Andre Galvao (Atos) v. Jim Harbison (Lloyd Irvin).

Clinic on passing inverted guard starts around 6:30.

And random for fun, not necessarily "how to" do anything specific: Gui Mendes (also Atos) v. Pablo Silva (Barra), same tournament.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Tiring training!

So, I finally (but inadvertently) did one of our "training" classes...

See, at the new academy, there's class, and then there's training, and then there's open mat. Class is pretty standard-- 1.5 hrs long, including a warmup, some drills, self defense and sport technique and lots of drilling, and maybe some positional sparring. Usually there's a separately-scheduled optional open mat after the 1.5 hrs.

But training, I'd been told, is more like 60-90 minutes of full-on non-stop sparring. No dillydallying between matches either. We're talking enough back-to-back 8 minute matches to make some of our ripped, shredded, healthy young men puke outside. ("As long as you don't get it on the mats" is the rule.) Our instructor picks your opponents for you, too, so don't think you can just pick on the 130-lb-soaking-wet-guy-with-one-arm for a whole hour. (And I'm only saying that for the image-- if you'd ever rolled with him, you'd realize he's FAR from a rest match.)

Of course, that description made me steer far, far clear of training sessions. I've been attending the 3 class-classes a week, and some open mat too. But then I showed up Sunday, which had until yesterday been a mellow, more open-mat-y kind of training.

Oh no, not this Sunday, not when we had visiting blackbelts from other schools... but I jumped in there with a good will, and did my best. I didn't puke, either! But mainly that's because after a certain amount of muscle fatigue, the limbs, well- they just don't want to move. So my muscle fibers ran out before my cardio did, right about at the one-hour mark. After class, one of my fave brown belts who I haven't gotten to roll with in forever asked me to roll. I wimped out for water and took a few minutes to ask him his advice on a certain thing... but then I gave it a shot. Pretty mortifying that within five minutes, I was statue-still underneath him and had to admit I was just too tired to roll.

It was a great feeling-- like being fully wrung out, like there weren't any spaces between any electrons or other atomic particles in my body-- like I was completely connected, tight and sleek. That might have been because I was so tired, there was no energy left for extraneous motion. I was capable of filling my water bottle.. mopping the mats.. storing the mats (we share space with another gym for now).. and even changing the radio station in the car. But that was it. I got home, showered, laundered the gi, and held the couch down for the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening, until it was time to relocate and hold the bed down.

I didn't even have the energy to sign on to BudoVideos, which kind of sucked. Anyone have a report on what their "mat on demand" thing was like???

One more thing-- one of my favorite competitors, Hillary, at the 2010 Worlds (she won the middle weight brown/black division.)