Work Outs: March 28 – April 3, 2021 (Hoover Stew)

We saw this recipe for Hoover Stew from The Wolfe Pit and I thought it might be amusing to make a pot of it. As chance would have it I had all of the ingredients on hand, including some plant-based hot dogs, since my husband has been eating plant-based for quite some time now.

Apparently Hoover Stew was one of many pot luck type of recipes, popular in the United States during the 1930’s, where the idea was to feed a family very cheaply. It was named after the American president, Herbert Hoover, who was in office when the Great Depression kicked off in 1929, which was a worldwide phenomenon.

Kudos to hubby for repairing the handle on my favorite pot with J-B Weld!

I mentioned Hoover Stew to my mother and she said she had it and many variations like it under the common rubric of “Pot Luck Stew” where the ingredients were simply whatever was on hand. She said they called it “Mulligan Stew” if there was a lot of potatoes in it, which there commonly were since my grandparents grew potatoes commercially up until the mid-1980’s.

So it seems to me that this recipe for Hoover Stew is simply a base that can be varied greatly depending on what you have on hand. My mother said they most often had it with beef because hot dogs cost money while they had large quantities of beef because they raised cattle. I knew this because I ate much of this sort of thing growing up too, both because my mother had learned habits of frugality and because money was tight in our family, as it was for many, during the 1970’s.

I followed the recipe from The Wolfe Pit using the ingredients listed below, but you can add pretty much anything you think will work and omit anything you don’t like.

Ingredient List

  • 16 oz. box of Elbow Macaroni
  • Two 15 oz. cans of diced or stewed tomatoes (with juice, if any)
  • 15 oz. can of corn (with juice)
  • 15 oz. can of cannellini beans (with juice)
  • Eight hot dogs
  • Optional: Bouillon to taste. I used Better Than Bouillon brand “Roasted Garlic Base.”
  • Optional Wolfe Pit extra: Granulated garlic and onion to taste. Fresh would be good too, I bet.
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste. I also used Italian seasoning. (The video presenter instead used tomatoes that came with spices.)

How to Cook (more or less following Wolfe Pit directions)

  • Cook elbows for about half the time it says on the package. Drain but do not rinse.
  • Add tomatoes, beans, and corn to pot you cooked the pasta in as well as whatever spices you want to use.
  • Mix in pasta and hot dogs. The presenter just added them in cold, but I pan fried them first to give them some character.
  • Add some water if needed. The idea here is to have the finished product resemble something like a stew but not so much water that it is like a soup. Also, you’ll want to have some liquid to help finish cooking the pasta.
  • Simmer until heated throughout and pasta is done however you like it. (We like it al dente.)

We thought Hoover Stew wasn’t bad though I can see where it would be bland if one didn’t have some spices on hand. I might try making it again but instead of hot dogs using TVP. I think it would also be good with chicken, beef or pork and any kind of vegetables, such as say broccoli or cauliflower. Whatever you have sitting around, really. I’ve got the remains of a package of edamame that is just itching to go into a pot luck stew!

Sun, March 28th: Calories: 2596, Protein: 153 g.

Mon, March 29th

  • Morning Walk: 2.98 miles.
  • I spent much of the day doing yard work. I was tired enough that I decided to hold off on the weights until tomorrow. My hands were pretty warmed up though from all of the hacking, cutting, toting and hewing so I did some hand work.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = Closed x 0 + 5 reps
  • Board Pronated Hand Holds (each hand): 1.75 lbs. x 4 sets x 30 seconds. The pronated grip works the thumb in an interesting way.
  • I worked the Muay Thai “Jab” lesson and also did a set of 100 left jabs. Then I did the “Cross” lesson, which touches on the right cross punch. Afterward I worked on Taekwondo White Belt Drill #1. All of this comes from the globalmartialarts.university site.

Calories: 2088, Protein: 150 g.

Tues, March 30th

  • I warmed up with some miscellaneous yard work and mowed the Lower Fifty. After that I did some more warm up work with the indian clubs and steel mace.
  • Arnold Presses: 35 lbs. x 8 reps, 30 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps + following exercises 10 lb. mace (ea. side):
    • (Set Three) Grave Diggers x 15 reps
    • (Set Four) Pike Push Ups x 10 reps
      • I’m not satisfied with my form on these. I’ll have to do some research.
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 36 reps + 64 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • I worked on some Muay Thai footwork and the left jab. I did some upper body stretching to end the workout and a little more stretching in the evening.

Calories: 2208, Protein: 120 g.

Wed, March 31st

Morning Walk: 2.29 miles. Calories: 2257, Protein: 162 g.

Thur, April 1st

Morning Walk: 2.9 miles.

I took an hour archery lesson in the early afternoon to see what I needed to work on after over a year of not shooting (except for last week) what with the range being closed and all. I had a lot of things I needed to address but I think we did make some progress.

The instructor let me stay and shoot by myself afterwards for about a half hour. I shot a somewhat harder target (though still not a particularly difficult one) than last time. I had some nice rounds and some pretty ugly ones too but I did have this one round where I did very well indeed. It was as if I had been touched by the breath of Artemis and was pulling a +3 bow and letting fly with +2 arrows. Now if I could just bottle that moment!

  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 0 + 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 6): Left = 4 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • I did better than usual with my left hand but worse with my right. Although I didn’t feel fatigued after my archery session, I suspect my right hand was a little tired from all that shooting.
  • Board Pronated Hand Holds (each hand): 1.75 lbs. x 4 sets x 30 seconds. (Thirty seconds rest between sets.)
  • Did a little stretching in the evening.

Calories: 2252, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, April 2nd

Afternoon Walk: 4.76 miles. Calories: 2254, Protein: 142 g

Sat, April 3rd

Afternoon Walk: 5.25 miles. Calories: 2986, Protein: 153 g.

(I gained 0.2 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 30 lbs.)

Work Outs: January 24 – 30, 2021 (Storms Over Santa Cruz and Chickpea Tagine Meal)

I’ve made a chickpea tagine dish for dinner a couple of times in our instant pot and we quite liked it. According to Shinta Simon, who wrote the article, tagine is “a flavorful stew made with spices, veggies and occasionally, meat, with origins in North-African cuisine.” I found the recipe on the Caramel Tinted Life website and paired the tagine with basmati rice. The next time I might serve it with naan.

I made the stew this past Friday and changed a few things this time around.

I used a full 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes instead of the called for 5 ounces because I didn’t want a bunch of left over canned tomatoes. Also, my husband greatly favors those lovely, red fruits as do I. I used low sodium vegetable stock in place of the water from the canned chickpeas and I added a big dollop of Harissa paste instead of the teaspoon the recipe called for.

It was good with the changes, but it wasn’t really any better than Shinta’s original recipe. Just different.

Also, the stew wasn’t hard to prepare. Just cutting up some stuff, sautéing the ingredients in my trusty, thrift store wok and then dumping everything into the instant pot.*

Although the recipe is pitched at non-carnivores, I do think it would also be good with chicken, pork or lamb if you are so inclined.

(Photo by Shinta Simon, used with permission.)

Sun, January 24th

We went for an afternoon walk of 2.81 miles. In the evening I stretched for about 35 minutes while watching television and then did some restorative work with the foam roller, Thera Cane, and so on.

I set a new goal for myself of being able to hook the tips of my fingers together behind my back à la mode de Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) like the woman in this article is doing. I’ll work on the whole pose during my stretching sessions, but for now I’m mainly going to focus on the arms portion.

Calories: 1834, Protein: 162 g.

Mon, January 25th

Morning Run: 3.2 miles (5 km). Five kilometers is the longest distance I’m going to run for now. I will continue to improve by decreasing the amount of time it takes me to run this distance with an eye toward participating in local 5K “fun runs” again someday. In the evening I stretched for 30 minutes and then did some restorative foam rolling, etc.

We’ve been having quite a bit of stormy weather here lately in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Last week, when I was out jogging, I ran across a lot of tree limbs and other debris on the trails and the fallen tree below. I took it as a sort of minor, functional fitness challenge and went through it as quickly as I could, contorting myself in as effective (but probably comic and ungainly too) manner as I could muster at the time.

Note the sawn trunk to the middle right from where a tree had fallen some time in the past.

We had a few days off from inclement weather but apparently the trees didn’t get the memo because today, when I was out running again, I ran across this scene below. This time, keeping with my previous attempts at semi-functional fitness, I duck walked under the trees and continued on my way. I thought about bear crawling but I didn’t want to get my hands muddy. One has to draw the line somewhere.

From the cut marks it looks like someone ameliorated the situation a bit so people could still easily use the trail.

Calories: 1904, Protein: 142 g.

Tues, January 26th

  • Morning Walk: 3.10 miles.
  • I spent most of the day deep cleaning and then rearranging our living room. I kept not liking how I had arranged things and doing it all over again. Finally I was happy but by the end of the day I felt like I had gotten in a full workout indeed. No weights needed!
  • Stretched for 30 minutes in the evening.

Calories: 1981, Protein: 154 g.

Wed, January 27th

Today I worked with indian clubs using this video and this one. I’ve been interested in learning more about the clubs for a long time in a “keep forgetting about it” kind of way, but I stumbled across some light, plastic clubs at the second hand store, that were cheap, so I grabbed them.**

Don’t know how far I’ll get into training with them but I can see right off that they’d be a fun way to warm up for my workouts. Also, they introduce more circular movements into my training, which is probably a good thing. One take-away from the session is the clubs don’t have to be heavy to get a good workout with them. A good thing I don’t have delusions of following in the footsteps of the mighty Iron Sheik!

I also found an interesting “fitness mace,” for cheap that I grabbed at the same time. More on that when I get around to using it, which will be when the weather clears up and I can use it outside so I don’t take out the pipes in our basement with an errant, overhead swing. In the meantime, I can always keep it handy in the living room for home defense in case we’re invaded by hordes of Dendra-clad Mycenaeans or perhaps Landsknechts.

I stretched for 30 minutes in the evening. Calories: 1890, Protein: 139 g.

Thur, January 28th

  • Recumbent Bike: 33 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s. I listened to some of Agnes Obel’s music to make the time go by faster while I pedaled. Her music is good for stretching or doing Yoga too, I think.
  • While my legs were still warm I did some stretching with an eye toward maintaining my ability to do a side-lunge stretch with my shod plant foot flat on the floor.
  • I finished off the morning session by working the “Stances,” “High Block,” and “Switching” Taekwondo lessons on the Global Martial Arts University website.
Those cut trees are new casualties from the recent and current storms. Note the tracked vehicle marks.
  • Warmed up using indian clubs doing the exercises in this video. The little head nod thing made me chuckle.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 9, 8 reps, [(30 lbs. x 6 reps + 25 lbs. x 3 reps) x 2 sets]
  • Incline Push ups with scapular mobilization (3rd stair): 4 sets x 9, 9, 8, 8 reps
    • I have noticed that doing these often makes my lats sore. I asked the chiropractor about it and he said it is a sign that I’m keeping my shoulder blades properly retracted during the movement so “it is a good thing.” Glad to clear up that mystery!
  • DB Bench Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9, 10, 10, 9 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: (15 lbs. x 5 reps + 12 lbs. x 5 reps), 12 lbs. x 3 sets x 10, 10, 9 reps
  • DB Front Raises: 10 lbs. x 2 sets x 12, 13 reps, 12 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Tricep Push Downs: 50 lbs. x 12 reps, 55 lbs. x 2 sets x 8, 7 reps, 50 lbs. x 10 reps
  • DB Hammer Curls: 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps, (25 lbs. x 5 reps + 20 lbs. x 3 reps), 20 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Exercise Complex) FOUR ROUNDS: [Indian Club Chest Flies with head turn: 12 reps, DB Bent-Over Rear Delt Row: 15 lbs. x 8 reps, DB Wrist Curls with finger roll 25 lbs. x 12 reps, Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg) 10 reps, DB Reverse Wrist Curls 8 lbs. x 12 reps, Front Kick Stretch (ea. leg) 10 reps] Allow for a short rest only at the end of each round.
  • (Super Set) One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm): 12.5 lbs. x 13 reps, 15 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps +
    • (Set #1) Shoulder Abduction with External Rotation Exercise (orange band): 12 reps
    • (Set #2) Full Squats: 20 reps
    • (Set #3) Wrist Circles with indian clubs: 20 revolutions each way
    • (Set #4) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 26 reps
  • Stretched for 35 minutes in the evening and performed some restorative work.

Calories: 1878, Protein: 152 g.

The wind storms last week really did a number on our yard, in addition to knocking out the power and internet for most of the week. At least our area didn’t see anything like three years ago when the hills came alive and a tree came to visit. Our property was littered with all manner of redwood-based (and other culprits too) fragments and flotsam, from little needles up to branches some ten or twelve feet long, that when they fell could have dented in a car roof or done an injury to some hapless walker in the wind.***

The pictures above are from the end of one of the aforementioned twelve foot branches. This one missed our car by only a couple of feet. It interests me to think that huge trees like redwoods have such tiny, delicate-looking cones. Reminds me of the old saw about acorns and oak trees.

Fri, January 29th

  • Recumbent Bike: 33 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s.
  • Did a little stretching and worked the “Front Snap Kick (Instep)” Taekwondo lesson on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • Finished off with a few quick exercises: Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 20 reps, Hindu Squats x 20 reps, Standing One Legged Calf Raises (each leg) x 8 reps, Bend & Reach x 12 reps, Alternating One-Handed Russian KB Swings (2-ct) x 15 lbs. x 12 reps
  • Visited the chiropractor later in the day.

Calories: 2151, Protein: 140 g.

I was impressed with some of those larger redwood branches in my driveway when I was sawing them up into manageable pieces. I suspect a couple of them had been up there minding their own business for a long time indeed before finally letting go. At least the greater organism — the redwoods themselves still live on. Nothing lives forever, at least not without bringing metaphysics into it, but redwoods do have the potential to live for thousands of years and that ain’t bad.****

Interesting to look at the rings and observe the yearly growth variations of the limb.

Sat, January 30th

I followed along on “Day 1 – Invite | BREATH – A 30 Day Yoga Journey,” a video by Yoga With Adriene. I noticed that I’m weak for doing planks so following my philosophy of paying extra attention to my weaknesses rather than just focusing on my strengths, I’m going to start introducing some plank work back into my regime. I was a little surprised because I used to be good at planks, but I haven’t done them in quite awhile. Use it or lose it!

We went for a nice, afternoon walk a little later for 3.28 miles. I noticed a couple more lumberjack’s log marks that I added to my growing collection. I like the one on the right. It reminds me of something you’d see in a Euclidean proof or in the context of sacred geometry or in a Freemasonry setting.

In addition to the wind storms last week we had some more storms this week, this time with a lot more rain. There was talk of evacuating some areas near burns scars, caused by the CZU Lightning Complex Fires this past August. Fortunately that never materialized and amazingly, we didn’t even lose power or internet at our house during the second round of storms.

We did come across two good-sized tree falls blocking the trail within maybe a hundred yards of each other as you can see in the picture below. I would have hated to have been wandering around the general area when these trees let loose!

Calories: 2075, Protein: 149 g. (I lost 2 pounds this week, so my total loss is 23 lbs.)

Next week I’m going to get started on the roundup post for the “First of the Year” painting challenge. The challenge ends on January 31st, but it’ll be fine if you get me your pictures over the next few days. In the meantime, I’m going to try and produce something for Alex’s yearly “Fembruary” and Dave Stone’s “Paint What You Got” painting challenges.


* Trusty and also slightly rusty!

** I suppose if I had been on fire to learn about the clubs I could have just used a couple of empty Pellegrino bottles or a couple of appropriately-sized sticks or something else to get started with some makeshift clubs.

*** I developed a great love of walking all over town in bad weather, lost in my own thoughts, from the earliest memories of when I was allowed to wander off by myself. Snug in my yellow raincoat, immune to puddles (no matter how deep) in my rubber boots and having to share the sidewalks with hardly anyone because the only people out where those who had to be, and strange children like myself who enjoyed rescuing worms from a watery doom during their alone time and still do even to this day.

**** One of these days I’ll have to put up some pictures from a display at the park we walk in a lot of a tree that while it is said to have met its end by falling and not via human hands, managed to do pretty well for itself nonetheless.