Mike’s Chili Recipe: Adapted for Low Carb

June 4th, 2013 Comments off

Ok, this one goes out to Sean, the proud owner of a brand new Crockpot. I mentioned that I have a great, easy slow cooker chili recipe, and he forcibly demanded that I post it to the blog. He can be a real jerk like that… Ok, so he asked nicely. And it was a month ago. But it’s here now, and that’s what matters.

This is actually a take on Lauren’s dad’s chili, but I’ve bastardized it to make it low carb. Due to the intricacies of marital intellectual property law, I am required to name this after Lauren’s dad. Without further ado, here goes:


Mike’s Chili ™


Ingredients List:
  • 2 lbs Hillshire Farms Spicy Sausage
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 Pack – Celery Hearts
  • 1 Pack – Whole Mushrooms
  • 1 Giant Can Peeled Tomatoes (or 2 normal sized cans, however you get to 28oz)
  • Chicken or Beef Stock (1/3 of box)
  • Cumin (a normal amount)
  • Roasted Red Pepper (probably too much)
  • Garlic Powder (some)
  • Vegetable Oil (enough)

Actual Cooking Part:
  • Slice the sausage into small-ish rounds (the smaller they are, the faster they will cook)
  • Dice the onion
  • Slice the celery into 1/4 inch chunks
  • Put some vegatable oil in a sautee pan
  • Put the stove on medium high
  • Add sausage
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes until it starts to brown
  • Add in cut vegatables
  • Cook for 5-10 more minutes until the vegatable are softened
  • Remove from heat

After it cools, put it in the fridge (If you need to make it farther in advance, I have no idea how long this will last, I’m not a food scientist. Just don’t push it.)

The next morning, when you’re running late for work, put the sausage/veggie mixture in a crockpot with the rest of the ingredients (except mushrooms, see note below). Add enough chicken stock to bring liquid level halfway up the side of the crockpot pot. Set it for 10 hours on low. Boom, done. Makes 4-5 servings. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and your preferred hot sauce.

If it’s possible, add the mushrooms 1-3 hours before it’s finished (or at lunch when you go home to let the dog out), but if you have to add them up front, they might be a bit soft, but they’re still mushrooms (i.e., delicious).

And if you don’t care about carbs, you can add 2 cans of beans. I like a combo of 1 can of black beans and 1 can of kidney beans, both drained, added with the tomatoes and spices.

There you go, an easy, delicious, and healthy chili recipe.

Now get off my back, Sean.


Categories: Cooking, Diet Tags:

168 Hours in a Week

February 10th, 2013 Comments off

I always used to make fun of people training for the Ironman who would count backwards from the number of hours in a week to figure out training times. “That’s crazy, I’ll never be one of those people.”

I’ve become one of those people.

It turns out there are 168 hours in a week – and for the next few months I’m going to need all of them. For me, without a concrete plan, I completely fall apart. “I don’t know, I think the plan is to run tonight… maybe” will eventually become “nah, I can watch 2 hours of West Wing tonight, and run tomorrow – or the next day”. And then I’m in a bad place.

With the full marathon quickly approaching (one month?? when did that happen?!) and the Half Ironman shortly afterward – it’s time to get serious about training. To that end I’ve come up with a schedule that let’s me get enough exercise time in.

But, it’s funny, but in order to have time to run at night, I have to leave work right at 5pm. To leave work at 5, I need to get there right at 8am. To get to work at 8, I need to go swimming at 5am. To get to the gym that early requires a 4:30am wake up time. And the only way I’m ever going to wake up that early is to do it everyday, even weekends – I don’t even know who I am anymore…

The big downside to a 4:30am morning is that it requires a 9pm bedtime. Shutting my day down so early will be the toughest part for me – also waking up in the mornings – also actually exercising. Ok, it’s all going to be the toughest part. But if it wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be any fun, right?

Categories: Fitness, Ironman Tags:

A Journey Begins

November 9th, 2012 Comments off

Well, I did it – I signed up for the 2013 Florida Ironman! Which, even that proved challenging. The 2012 IM sold out in 16 minutes, so I knew this one was going to be quick as well. Sunday morning I was sitting at my computer frantically refreshing the registration page. Good thing, it turns out, as the 2013 IM sold out in under a minute. Whew. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, it’s all easy from here, right? :)


With Lauren’s birthday on Monday, I got a late start on the training plan. In fact, I didn’t do any physical activity until this morning. Which was a pretty successful run, and I’m proud of myself for being able to wake up at 5 am and run in temps in the mid-30′s. I guess it’s only going to get colder from here, but as I hate treadmills, it’s the lesser of two evils.


I haven’t yet put together the full training plan, but I know long runs will be Sundays and long bike rides will be Saturday. I’m not very excited about riding my bike in the morning in winter, but getting to 56 miles by May is going to be tough if I wait for nicer weather.

Categories: Fitness, Ironman Tags:

NaNoWriMo: Day 01

November 2nd, 2012 Comments off

Well, time to get this show on the road! I’ve known it’s been coming for a few weeks now, and ready or not, it’s time to kick off the NaNoWriMo.


November, the perfect time to write 50k words in a novel form. The weather is chilly enough to discourage doing any other outdoor activities (except for training for that marathon-thing…) and perfect for spending time writing in a coffee shop :)


The daily goal of 1700 words is proving to be quite tough, and today’s total so far is 850. Granted I started writing around 11pm, and as it’s past midnight, so I probably should stop for tonight.  The tiredness is having an adverse affect (or is it effect, I can never remember) on the words I’m trying to string together. I’m finding as it gets later and later, there are move and more passages that I don’t even really remember writing.


Since tonight won’t be a goal-hitting kind of night, it’s going to make tomorrow pretty tough: 2,500 words. Whew, that’s going to be a big writing day. In addition to needing to create 2,500 words out of the ether, there’s still lots to prep for our annual turkey fry / LSU v. Alabama game. Cleaning the house, yard, and brining the turkey are all also on the docket for tomorrow. Thug Life.


Post Script:

I had to edit this post the following morning, apparently being really tired and blogging aren’t a great idea – who knew? :)

Categories: Uncategorized, Writing Tags:

Unity Build 02

October 19th, 2012 Comments off

Here’s the link to newest build: Right here!

Build Notes:

Added Spawn Diversity – randomized X and Z coordinates every time a new enemy is instantiated. Y is height, so it stays at ground level. Though the idea of cubes raining from above is pretty awesome…

Score System – keeps track of how many enemies the player has killed, and resets on level reload.

“Q” Menu – playing around with the GUI, so I added a reset button to the menu (which can be viewed by holding “Q”).

Added a quick and dirty “crosshair” – which is just an “X” placed in an invisible box in the center of the screen.

Flashlight starts defaulted to “Disabled” – Middle Mouse to re-enable.

Added Large Cube Enemies – similar to the small cubes, only larger.

Hid the mouse cursor when the game starts (unless you hold “Q” for the menu). This turned out to be in the HTML code for the Unity player. There may be a way to adjust the default template, but I haven’t looked into it yet.



Need to add/update:

Large Cubes have too large hit-boxes (colliders)

Player Health

Spawn “Safe Zone” – so that the cubes can’t spawn right on top of the player

Constrain Mouse Cursor to Game Box

Pause menu


Categories: Game Dev Tags:

Unity: Test Build 01

October 18th, 2012 Comments off

My first exported game!! (Well I suppose “game” is probably more appropriate) You can try it out here – note: the first time you run it,  it will prompt you to download the web player for Unity, but it’s a one-time thing :)

It was pretty easy to start – the 3D scene viewer makes adding objects and understanding the game world a breeze.


I started out with adding a 1st person controller to a flat plane. From there, I added 4 walls, a big tree, and textures (all from the Standard Assets library). I made a prefab for the dastardly cube enemies, and made them spawnable with a right click. Here is the code for actual spawn:

var instanceEnemy = Instantiate(prefabEnemy, Vector3(0,0,0), transform.rotation);

Instantiate creates an object, named prefabEnemy, at location x=0, y=0, z=0, and uses the standard rotation (which I think is direction that it faces).


Pictured: Said Dastardly Cube


The flashlight mechanic is in this build as well (middle-click) to toggle on/off. The “flashlight” itself is just a directional light source parented to the main camera, while the toggle is simply light.enabled = !light.enabled;

The other lights in the scene are point lights with varying levels of range and color. When playing around with different colors, I liked the nighttime-feel of the blue, so I left it in :)

In testing out the reset mechanic, I used a sphere as the test object, so when you walk into the sphere, the level starts over from scratch.



The next few things to add are a score system, hide the mouse cursor, and a make a varying spawn system, so the enemy cubes don’t all spawn in the same spot. Though I will say it is a lot of fun to frantically right click, then line them all up and mow them down, literally like ducks in a row :)

Categories: Game Dev Tags:


October 17th, 2012 Comments off

Ah Novemember, it brings crisp fall air, changing leaves, the food onslaught of Thanksgiving, and it’s National Novel Writing Month. I too was surprised at the last one. Everything has a month now – how are we supposed to keep up?

Every November, a non-profit called The Office of Letters and Lights (nope, no clue why they’re called that) holds a competition affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. The challenge they lay forth is to write a full 50,000 word novel in the month of November. The trick is that it’s not a competition with anyone else: just you, the keyboard, and the 50k words you can dredge up in 30 days.

It works out to 1,667 words per day, which is an audacious goal, but one I think I can tackle. And to make sure I stay on track, I’ve personally (and now publicly) challenged my friend Colby to do it with me. Well, it’s a bet actually. The stakes? Taking an inspiration from Trading Places, the bet is: the first one to finish gets one U.S. dollar.


In addition to the weighty 1700 words per day, I’d like to add an extra 200 words to the blog every day – just to keep my progress updated. But I guess we’ll see how it shakes out in two weeks when the competition gets started. Wait, it’s only 2 weeks away?? I’d better go get started planning!


Categories: Writing Tags: ,

Learning Unity

October 16th, 2012 Comments off


A few weeks ago, I volunteered to work at the Southern Interactive Entertainment & Game Expo (which I’m pretty sure is just a backronym for SIEGE), hosted by the Georgia Game Developers Association. It was a great event, with lots of industry professionals looking to network with students looking for jobs in the games industry. While there, I attended a few panels with really great game designers and programmers.

Chris DeLeon, in particular, was excellent. Sidebar: in looking for a link to add to his name, I found out he has a Unity tutorial on his site here, so I’m definitely going to be watching that! Anyways, he brought up the idea of quick iteration and rapid game development, which struck a chord with me and my quick-to-switch-projects nature. So hopefully, Unity’s quick learning curve and rapid prototyping will help me stay interested in it enough to see a project all the way through.


So what exactly is “Unity”? Unity is a 3-D game development engine – that is, software that helps you create and run 3D video games. It’s similar to the Unreal engine, Quake engine, or the Source engine , but simplified and streamlined – making it the perfect choice for a first-time game designer. Unity uses scripts written in C#, JavaScript, or Boo (which I’ve never even heard of). According to the Unity subreddit, C# is the crowd favorite language to use for new programmers, so that’s what I’ll be going with.


I’m going to be posting any examples or test games I make, along with some commentary about what I’ve done and how I did it. Hopefully over time I’ll be able to look back and see the improvements I make. In the mean time, check out this Unity tutorial from InfiniteAmmo:


Categories: Game Dev Tags:

Delicious Sugar Cookies

August 1st, 2012 Comments off

Though I’m struggling to keep strong with my diet, America’s Test Kitchen’s sugar cookie recipe is threatening to derail me. They should really be ashamed of themselves…



Why did I watch the whole video when I’m already hungry?!

But seriously, don’t those look incredible? As soon as I hit my goal weight, these are going to be the first things I make – that’s right, I plan to celebrate an accomplishment by doing my best to undermine that accomplishment =)

America's Test Kitchen

Categories: Cooking Tags: ,