Pie Season, Kale, and Deadlifts

It’s been busy. For proof I offer that the original opening line of this post discussed the imminence of Thanksgiving, and my sincere excitement about the arrival of what I like to call pie season. But I could also call it busy season. Busier season? A couple weeks ago Way back in October I had a few spare minutes to ring this most delicious of seasons in with an apple pie, following a long and challenging workout. Which brings me to my “new trick,” which isn’t really a trick at all or new to anyone but me.
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I have finally discovered the sumo deadlift. I just never tried it before it started coming up in my recent workouts – and lo and behold it 1) builds hip strength, which I need, and 2) puts less strain on the lumbar area and is generally considered a good choice for people whose spines have attitude. As you might guess from the name, the pulling sumo involves a wide stance, toes turned out. The hips are brought to the bar and the torso stays much more upright than with a traditional deadlift (which is why there is less lumbar stress). It was fun but those first few reps were awkward – this stance seems to require more precision than traditional, and it’s important to take the slack out of the bar at the start of the rep or there’s a real sticking feeling (and it’s probably not great for the body!)

Unfortunately, I’m in another “recovering” phase after getting myself out of whack – but it will pass, and when it does I’ll continue to be on that hip stability bandwagon.

At least, in the meantime, there has been more pie! I don’t want to sound like I just hang out and eat dessert all day and then try to pretend to be healthy on a blog – I don’t – but pie is more fun to talk about than the brussels sprouts we had with dinner.

But just so I don’t sound like a complete junkfoodie – I’ve begun sharing my spinach-in-everything love around with frozen pre-chopped kale. I made a kale-pumpkin-turkey chili two weeks ago that I was very happy with, and it worked great in last week’s bean-tofu-tomato chili as well (chili, like pie, is a theme these days). But I know you’re probably here for the pie.

Clearly I am thoroughly omnivorous, and I have no dietary sensitivities of any kind (except the part where I am sensitive to good food and want to eat it). My fiancé, however, is vegetarian and prefers to avoid animal products in general – dairy in particular now included. That new inclusion threw a big wrench in my plans to make my favorite heavy-cream-laden pumpkin pie this weekend. The recipe gives you the condensed milk option but I’m telling you – if you do dairy, do the cream, it’s awesome (when is heavy cream NOT awesome?)

I know we had our share and more of pies last week, but at least in my family (and it seems true elsewhere as well) pumpkin pie doesn’t get the love. I blame barely-spiced renditions and the pre-made maybe-sat-next-to-a-cinnamon-stick-just-once grocery store set. I’ll try more substitutions out as time goes on, but for this go-round we were able to find some almond-milk creamer that I mixed 2-1 with oil (because the fat in the cream plays an important role). I’ll admit my expectations were low, and I said a lot of not-complimentary things about vegan baked goods this weekend but… the tastes great! (It is not actually vegan since free-range eggs are still on the table.. yolk yolk yolk. Ok I’m sorry, I’ll stop).
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We topped with coconut whipped cream, which… yum. I could just eat THAT for desert (it’s SO Delicious Coco-whip… and it actually does taste similar to their coconut ice creams which I also enjoy.)

I’ll have to have a butter vs. vegan cookie show down this year, I guess. I have a feeling I know which kind will win, but half the fun of baking something is being able to share it.

ALL the fun of deadlifting is being able to DO it – so as I work it back in I will be focusing on form, and on not neglecting a variation that will target one of my biggest weaknesses.

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