Hey Whitney (@whitneynjackson)-
You’re funny. We like your style.
Congrats on winning the fan contest!
Thank you to everyone who entered and thank you to those of you who ignored the contest rules but still sent me photos of awesome signs anyway…
I’m looking at you, Matt Diller.
It looks like the girls are having a blast and that’s what it’s all about.
I like their style too!
I received many other fan sign photos that would be politically incorrect for me to post here but it seems that most of you know my sense of humor so just know that I appreciate the laughs.
Happy cheering on the Reds this season!
If you’re going to the Reds game on Friday, I have a challenge for you. Fans who make signs to bring to baseball games are typically pretty awesome. I like awesome fans so I’m asking you to be one of them.
To make this request fun, Mat and I decided to announce a contest. Rules: Email me a picture of you with your sign showing support for the Reds at the ballpark on Friday to enter for a chance to win tickets to a future game.
Email address: DallasLatos@Reds.com
Odds are, you guys will come up with too many awesome signs for us to declare a single winner and I’ll have to treat this situation like a Halloween costume contest. “Funniest”, “Creepiest”, “Cutest”, etc. No matter what, someone will win. Just don’t be surprised if I get too excited.
Entries will be accepted until Saturday at midnight, standard Ohio time. Winners will be announced on Monday.
Come at me, bro.
(p.s. who says that? HA!)
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The other day, I went to the gym and worked out for an hour and a half. In that hour and a half, I had a minor epiphany… Going to the gym for an hour and a half is freaking lame. Skipping the gym entirely is also lame. Feast or famine. Restrict or binge. Go hard or go home. Where did these idioms even come from?
The more I thought about how many times I skip working out because I only have 30 minutes (or the hotel gym sucks) and cardio is no longer the hip way to get fit, I realized that reading too many health studies published by non-experts has taxed my spirit. Everyone is a guru with a magic trick. Everyone has the key to looking better than you did when you were 9. Everyone makes you feel like a loser if you aren’t being a freaking lunatic and counting your almonds into snack baggies (I totally do this).
You cant out-train a bad diet and this is the part of the realization where I really got pissed… I found myself looking at restaurant menus and thinking, there’s a bad choice I won’t really like or a worse choice that I will- screw it… PIZZA! (etc.)
I can’t explain why I suddenly had a rational thought in my mind because we all know these are isolated incidents, but I can say this… If you’re still reading my jibber-jabber, you might understand where I’m coming from. If you don’t, you might find yourself in psycho shoes one day so hear me out..
BALANCE IS KEY.
Health is a personal journey that everyone is trying to sell you. The good decisions you make will all add up eventually just like the bad ones did. Cut corners where you can. Get that extra action in even if it means using the stairs when there’s an escalator. Don’t let people writing about the right way to do things make you feel bad.
For example: I had anxiety about eating a banana while traveling the other day because of “ALL OF THE SUGAR” that most “health” writers warn you about. That is not even cool.
STOP FREAKING OUT AND START MOVING YOUR BUTT, ‘MERICA.
For some of us, trips to the ballpark are a mini-vacation. A few hours to get our minds off of things. To relax. To cheer. To eat a hot dog and drink a beer or 9. To go bananas. To laugh. To cry. You know… a chance to really just do what we want… we might order that cotton candy, grab that lemonade and hand all of our brain waves over to the guys on the field. It’s whatever. For others, entering the ballpark may be a little more thoughtful process. Perhaps you’re a season ticket holder. Perhaps you’re a crazed fan possessed by the 9 inch ball on a budget. Perhaps you’re married to the game. Perhaps you’re me and the ballpark is just your second home.
Whatever your issue may be, you might just get hungry at the ballpark some day. I know it’s crazy but hey- it can happen to any of us.
I have this terrible ailment that causes me to assume that any time I have company in town (or Mat is pitching or I’m traveling or the sky is blue) that I’m on some sort of self-proclaimed vacation. On these vacations, I tend to eat more carbs, drink more adult beverages and miss work outs. Not a good combo, said my pants… Abs are made in the kitchen and when you don’t even have one for about 2 weeks of every month, lord have mercy. Everything seems like a bad decision.
While I’d like to imagine this vacation mindset developed because I have nothing important to do, that’s an entirely irrational thought. Despite my self-deprecating tweets and shameless affinity for vodka drinks, consider me the glue of the collective Latos circus; a glue that has to remain flexible and relatively unemotional. Super glue can’t even do that.
Maybe vacation brain exists because baseball has turned me into an even bigger vampire of the night than I was before. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly stressed. Maybe I’m just making excuses and you know what- everybody does it but my goal of this season is to be more accountable to myself.
Blah, blah, blah… The point of this post is this- If you get hungry at the ballpark and happen to be feeling health conscious on that day, you may be faced with a really serious dilemma. If you’re unlike me and you wear a badge of good decisions 24/7, congratulations! Stop being an overachiever and live a little. After all, you can always spend 4 hours on a treadmill to work off a cheeseburger and fries, AM I RIGHT?!
While I don’t intend to list the ingredients of hot dogs as I’m not even sure the Reds media department will let me use such dirty words on my blog, I am going to make it my mission to point you in the direction of good choices at various ballparks in the event that you ever feel the need to make them. I am not a nutritionist, I didn’t buy a certificate to frame from an online school, I don’t particularly advocate any single way of eating because everyone’s body is different but I do have years of informal “education” on health matters and will simply be suggesting what I would do if I got to the ballpark and didn’t feel like a foot long coney with all of the toppings was a reasonable afternoon snack. (Note: I never feel like this but to each their own).
Unrelated: It’s a well-known fact that I love going to the Holy Grail across from the ballpark before games and people often ask me my favorite thing to eat there. The Reagan salad is great but I rarely order it because of the cheese and salad dressing. Instead, I order a plain chicken breast, turkey burger or black bean burger (without a bun) with a side of veggies. To wash it down, Tito’s vodka (gluten-free), water and a lemon or a splash of cran. You can skip the vodka, I’m just going for full disclosure here. For the record, you can pretty much order this mundane but functional cuisine at any restaurant so never hesitate to let your freak flag fly and make special requests.
Since I’m writing for your sake, I’m asking you to let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to look for in particular in the comments of this post (calorie count, gluten-free options, low carb, etc.).
Captain Do What I Say, Not What I Do.
Contrary to popular opinion, MLB players do not have free tickets to hand out for every game. If they did, I’d be doing twitter ticket giveaways way more often because I’d love to get more people out to enjoy a ball game. Instead, we are allotted 4 family tickets and 2 friends tickets to purchase at around 40% of their face value, which varies from ballpark to ballpark.
One of my golden rules is to not discuss money with strangers but rules were made to be broken and there’s no other way to bring this situation to light. In 2010 (Mat’s first full year in the big leagues), we left tickets for every long lost cousin’s estranged best friend without even thinking twice. It didn’t seem like a big deal and we were just happy and excited to have support in the stands. At the end of that year, it was brought to our attention by our financial advisor that we had spent a collective $14,000 on tickets. Fourteen. Thousand. Dollars. That’s a huge insanity pie no matter which way you slice it. It was at that moment and without hesitation that we decided we would never do that again.
Before the start of the 2011 season, we unapologetically explained the situation to our family. We offered to leave tickets by request to people who were willing to pay us back what we were charged for a ticket at any given ballpark and everyone was more than happy to do so because hello- discount! Also, in most cases, even our family and friends had no idea that we pay for tickets and most felt a little guilty- totally not our intention. You live and you learn.
If you are a baseball wife and you’re reading this, I strongly advise that you lay down the law quickly. It is one thing to leave tickets for parents and close family but it is quite another to pay $90 a ticket for someone you haven’t seen in 6 years to bring Jolly Jilly Loud Mouth on a first date to root against the opposing team in your own family section. I won’t get into that one but you can use your imagination to figure out how annoying that experience was.
The bottom line is this- no matter how much money you make you should always be mindful of your spending and to quote the late and great over-used phrase, “Nothing in life is free”.
Stay humble. Stay grateful. Be kind. Be mindful.
It’s that time of year again! I’ve been tweeting about being the worst packer in the history of the world while trying to sort my belongings into destination piles and you all have your countdowns to Opening Day. Upon really realizing that spring training is coming to an end, I also realized that my designated time window to write more, work out more, and be an all-around better human before getting swamped with another baseball season is coming to an abrupt end. Sadly, I’ve hardly posted a peep on here, I don’t have a freaking six pack and I still don’t get along with alarm clocks. Drat.
Because I like to believe that negative thoughts are draining and should be avoided at all costs, I have decided to post a list of positive things that happened this spring.
1. Mat and I successfully watched seasons 1-5 of Big Bang Theory from start to finish. I may not have a 6 pack but my butt probably looks more like a couch and couches are comfy. Bazinga!
2. We all shared that really fun comradery during MLB Network’s Face of MLB competition on the Twitter. It showed me that we can all get along and agree on something as a fan base- refreshing and RAD! (get it, comRADe?)
3. I potty trained our cats to use the toilet while we were in Arizona. Now there is no need for speculation, I really am a crazy cat lady.
4. I may have had a panic attack and 3 too many vodka drinks in the 7th inning alone but Mat didn’t break his ankle in his last start. Thank goodness.
5. They still haven’t been able to find Bigfoot on Animal Planet so we don’t have to really worry about him eating us or seeing us naked (since he’s obviously invisible) any time soon.
6. Connecting with fans via the jersey signing thing was a really fun experience for Mat and I. After all, who doesn’t like cat toys and vodka showing up in their husband’s fan mail?!
7. This list is getting silly so let me say something kind of serious…
While I’m borderline disappointed with the things that I did not achieve since we arrived in Goodyear, I believe in the power of being able to laugh at one’s own short-comings and above all, let go of the wish to please everyone at once- it is impossible and I have finally accepted it so.
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches”. – Dita Von Teese
I could have said that in my own words but this quote is perfect and if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
Bottom line- things don’t always happen as we plan and the most important person who will ever love you is yourself.
Have a happy week, friends.
For whatever reason, kale is currently the face of leafy green vegetables and I feel annoyed about it. Sure… I eat it, I drink it. But it’s everywhere and I don’t even know what private interest group funded the movement. Rude.
No matter where I turn, it seems kale is what the kool kids eat.
The other day a friend reminded me of an awesome leafy green veggie- rainbow chard. It’s so much more fun than kale, it’s no wonder vegetables want to pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s way more colorful than kale… Prettier than kale… And why doesn’t Brutus just stab Caesar?! (Mean Girl reference, not very fetch, I know.)
Anyway… Rainbow chard is fun because it’s colorful and you can cook it any way you’d cook the old green staple, spinach or the new girlfriend, kale.
I cooked it in the following steps and then I ate it all. Do you dare?
1 bunch rainbow chard
1/2 cup veggie stock
1/4 cup white whine
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
Pepper to taste
(Note: if you use a sweet wine, skip the sugar or reduce one ingredient)
(Note 2: I was trying to keep fat intake down/avoid oil but if you’re feeling froggy, leap)
Step by step, day by day:
2. Chop the leaves and separate the ribs. Cut them how you want but you’ll see my method in the upper right hand figure.
3. Turn stovetop to just above medium heat and add veggie stock and pepper to pan.
4. Put stems of chard in pan and cook for 4-5 minutes
(Add the rest of the ingredients some time within this period as you see fit)
5. Start adding chopped chard to the pan and sauté for about 2 minutes.
6. Place lid on pan & steam for 2 mins.
7. Put on plate.
7 eight 9.
I’m not good at recipes but if you’re lucky, you’re good at remixes.
Grocery shopping at Sprouts yesterday was a panic attack waiting to happen. I didn’t go with a list or any comprehensive grocery acquiring plan. I was hungry and even worse, I was so tired I made my mom drive me back to our apartment in fear that I’d pass out or spontaneously combust at the wheel. All you need to know about this situation is that it was a shit show. If that still isn’t registering, recall that scene from My Girl where Vada is nonchalantly throwing random cans of food in the cart. That was me today- only more thoughtless and wandering around in circles looking for hummus for at least 12 minutes.
While I was shopping near the meat section, I came across cedar wraps. I asked a butcher if he had ever used them and he replied in a rather short, snappy tone , “No. But they keep things moist. Moist is good. *grunt*”. I may be making up the grunt part but the dude clearly wasn’t in the mood for polite conversation. I cheerfully annoyed him by saying, “Cool! I’ll totally have to try them!” in my best “I’m as dumb as I look” voice.
Side note: playing the overly enthusiastic blonde card is always a good idea when people are grumpy and you’re temped to be grumpy back. You end up feeling better and they feel more confused.
Moving right along…
By the time I made it home to put away the groceries and cook dinner, I had no idea what we actually had in the kitchen. I knew one thing- I was using that stinking cedar wrap no matter what.
After little deliberation, I decided I would marinate some chicken breasts in a marinade I frequently concoct for the grill, wrap those breasts in bacon, put some asparagus on top and wrap that whole shebang in cedar wraps. While it would have been way more delicious on a grill, this is spring training and I’m limited to a stove top and an oven- I just make it work.
The following is what I came up with on a few hours of sleep and with little brain power. You could stretch this recipe to the moon and back. Use prosciutto instead of bacon. Add some goat cheese. Maybe some brown sugar. Baby spice. Sporty Spice. Posh Spice. Get creative! Recipes aren’t meant to instruct, they’re meant to inspire. (Unless you really suck in the kitchen… In that case, read this post carefully and follow it like food paparazzi).
2 large Chicken breasts
6 strips Center cut bacon
12 stalks of asparagus
(Forgot to tell you.. Cedar wraps are usually near the meat department. If you don’t see them, ask the butcher & hope (s)he’s more friendly than Mr. Moist)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons mesquite seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or about 2 cloves)
1. Mix all ingredients for marinade
2. Rinse & trim fat from chicken breasts
3. Combine. Marinate chicken breasts for 30-60 mins
4. Soak cedar wraps and butcher string for 30 mins
(In order to keep the cedar wraps submerged, you may have to get as crafty as I did and put something on top of them. I marinated the chicken in a smaller Pyrex than the one I soaked the cedar wraps in so I stacked them. BOSS)
ALERT: DON’T FORGET TO PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 375!
5. Lay your cedar wraps out with the bacon on top. The following photo was my first idea… It was awful. If the chicken breasts I was working with hadn’t seen Dr. 90210, this might have worked.
This idea however… much better.
The bacon is laid so that it’s flush with the right edge, I put the breast on top, then I wrapped the bacon around.
NOTE: smaller breasts wont require 2 pieces of cedar wrap but these breasts did.
6. Add a bit of the marinade on top of the bacon.
7. Lay 6 asparagus spears on each bacon wrapped breast.
8. Add another cedar wrap on top and wrap it all around the meaty short stack.
9. Tie the butcher string to make it appear like a parcel of foodie goodness.
10. Put them in a Pyrex dish with about a cm of water at the bottom.
11. Bake your breasts according to size. Like I said, these were on Pam Anderson’s level so I put them in at 375 for an hour.
I left the bottom cedar wrap on the plate to make it seem like I did something fancy. To my knowledge, that tactic didn’t have much impact.
-Cedar wraps seem more suitable for grilling but does cool tricks in the oven too. Mat said the flavor was phenomenal and cooked all of the way through the meat.
-I should have put the breasts back in the oven for 5 minutes on broil to make the bacon a little more crispy but no one complained.
-I now have 49842 million ideas for cooking with cedar wraps. It was fun.
Let me know if you find yourself experimenting and I will do the same. I need a broader audience. My one picky eater is starting to stifle my creativity.
That’s all for now folks!
Peace, love and I miss bacon.
Chris is 39 years old and has been married to his wife Laurie for 15 years. They have three young children; Chase (8) and in the 2nd grade, Rickson (2) and Alani (infant) who was just adopted this past September right before Chris became sick. Chris has worked for the Cincinnati Reds the past 15 years and was recently diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a rare form of blood cancer. His only cure is a bone marrow transplant. Presently, no donors in the bone marrow registry match Chris. A match must be found to save his life. Without it, his wife and children will lose him to this battle.
Chris and others need a matching Tissue Type…not a blood type match.
MARROW DONOR REGISTRY DRIVE, AGES 18 TO 44
Friday, February 22nd
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Great American Ball Park
(Reds Hall of Fame Museum)
Event flyer: Bethematchdrivereds
Fill out a Registration form and have the inside of your cheek swabbed
to have your Tissue Type tested
Contact info: Dannie Terre Moore, Be The Match Recruiter email@example.com or Michael Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional drive: Pattison Elementary School, Milford
Saturday, February 23 from 9am – 3 pm
Event flyer: Bethematchdrivepattison
And if you don’t live in the Cincinnati area you can still register for the Bone Marrow Registry here:
www.bethematch.org Use promo code: REDS03MATCH
Mat has become rather fond of breakfast burritos. I tweeted about it the other day and was asked for the recipe… It’s not very impressive. I will say that he thinks my breakfast burritos are “bleeping phenomenal” so maybe you should eat one (I’ve never tried them because I’m trying this new thing where I don’t eat animals).
If you’re looking for some fancy burrito secret, I don’t have one. He’s a picky eater and I often cook with pretty simple ingredients so don’t expect to be scouring the isles of Whole Foods to find something you’ve never heard of if you want to try to recreate Mat’s favorite breakfast burrito of this off season.
I shall call it: The Spicy Don’t Eat This If You’re Watching Your Girlish Figure Breakfast Burrito
(I figure this is only appropriate because it’s a mouth full… Get it? Hahaha)
1/4 small yellow onion – chopped
3 slices of pepper jack cheese – cut into thin strips (see photo) (unless you can find it shredded- I couldn’t)
4 slices of bacon- cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Jimmy Dean Spicy sausage- (I use about 1/3 of a package)
Butter or something like it (I use smart balance)
Salt & pepper
1 Tortilla (flour, burrito sized)
Note: there are about a million ways to make this more healthy and/or diet friendly. Think center cut bacon, turkey bacon, reduced fat sausage, egg whites, taco sized tortillas, reduced portions, etc. This is the extra fat version. Eat at your own risk and maybe run the stairs or something if you’re into that sort of thing.
Prep your cheese and onions.
Cut your bacon into small strips, cook in skillet, set aside.
Cook the sausage as you would cook ground beef, set aside with bacon.
Melt about a tablespoon of butter or something like it, add onions to skillet, cook for about 1 minute, add eggs and a little salt & pepper, scramble.
When the eggs are almost fully cooked, add bacon and sausage back to the skillet.
Fold it into the eggs to get a nice mixture going on.
When the eggs are cooked, remove pan from heat, sprinkle cheese on top.
Heat your tortilla! You can do this however your little heart desires but when I’m making a burrito, I get both sides of the tortilla wet, stick it between paper towels and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. This keeps your tortilla from drying out and also makes it pliable and burrito friendly. It’s good to be burrito friendly. Trust me, I’m from California.
Go back to your skillet and sort of fold the cheese in so it’s nice and melty. (See photos)
Put your tortilla on a plate, put the stuff in, fold it, eat it, boom.
Some like it hot but if you don’t, I hear using the regular Jimmy Dean sausage & cheddar cheese is pretty delicious also.
p.s. turkey bacon is so rude.