Tips for Bending Wood Using Microwave Oven

 

One method for quickly adding heat and moisture to small pieces of wood is to use a microwave oven. As long as the wood and a means of keeping the wood moist can fit into the oven, this is an extremely efficient method for softening wood. Through experimentation, I have found there are several things to take into consideration when steaming wood in a microwave oven.

 

A microwave oven works by focusing tightly shaped radio waves on the water molecules within whatever is placed inside the oven. The molecules become slightly agitated and as a result, they give off heat. A dried piece of wood will heat up quickly when placed into the oven because it still contains enough water molecules to create heat. When the wood is removed, it is very hot, but it dries out very quickly because the water molecules have broken down and so they easily evaporate. This process actually makes a microwave oven a good tool for drying small pieces of wood for turning and other small projects – but only if the moisture content is lowered slowly enough to prevent cracking.

To make the microwave useful for bending, you need to add some moisture to the equation, just as you do when steaming wood. There only needs to be enough water present to surround the wood. Any extra water will just slow down the process. Wood can be wrapped in a soaking wet rag or placed in a shallow microwave-safe bowl with just enough water to cover the wood. There is no set time for heating wood in a microwave, so a little trial and error will be needed. Usually 5 to 10 minutes will do the trick. Keep a close eye on the progress, because if all of the water evaporates …

Carbo-loading & Plantains

It’s once again taper week!  Today I shake off my holiday weekend vices (aka big gulps and fro-yo).  I’m trying to keep my Nalgene filled with water and glued to my hand to stay hydrated (and avoid any Diet Dr. Pepper cravings).  My schedule for this week is/has been:

Sun –  6 mi
Mon – 2 mi
Tues – 3 mi
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – AM yoga
Fri – AM yoga + 2 mi shake-out after work
Sat- AM yoga
Weekly mileage: 17
Sun – Race Day!

Today, let’s talk a little about carbo-loading.

2-3 days prior (so Thursday and Friday for me) you should up your carbohydrate intake to increase your storage of glycogen (glycogen is your body’s most easily accessible form of energy).   I never go all out carbo-loading with pasta dinners or bagel breakfasts, but I do enjoy eating more sweet potatoes and Japanese yams guilt-free.  Plantain chips are not recommended for a low-carb diet, howeverthese are perfect for pre-race “carbo-loading.”  I’ve got these prepped and ready to be my go-to snacks for the end of this week.  If you’re just looking for something to dip and scoop, these baked plantain chips (not fried) provide a healthy alternative to regular potato chips.

How to pick your plantains: unripened plantains are starchier, and ripened plantains have higher sugar content.  Green plantains = firmer, yellow = stickier.  I opted for unripened plantains to ensure that they were easier to cut.

Paleo Plantain Chips
From Fed and Fit
INGREDIENTS:

2 plantains
2 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil
Pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the plantain, and make 3 shallow slits, just through the skin (this

Paleo Mayonesa

Growing up we were always a “Miracle Whip” family.  To be honest, I don’t even really know what Miracle Whip is.  All I know is that it was sweeter than real mayonnaise, and supposedly “better for you.”

Anyways, both Miracle Whip and mayonnaise contain the same basic ingredients of eggs, soybean oil, vinegar and water.  I am/was/still anti-all mayo-types, but I think Paleo mayonnaise might change my mind.

How do you make mayo paleo?  Remove the soybean oil and substitute it with some real fat.  Bacon fat.  In this case, bacon does make everything better!

Paleo Mayonnaise
Adapted from 21DSD
INGREDIENTS:
1 large egg yolk (pasteurized)
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 cup bacon grease (from 1 packet of bacon)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard.
  2. Very slowly, using a 1/8 measuring cup, pour in the oil while consistently whisking.  Continue to add oil and whisk until the mixture has thickened (about 8 minutes).
  3.   Cover and chill for up to 4 days.

I plan to use this mayo in an upcoming paleo-rendition of a broccoli crunch salad.  Stay tuned!…

Eating for the Season: Tropi-Kale Smoothie

It’s time to get back on track and eating right.  Yesterday I went for a run after traveling 6+ hours.  I was worried I was going to be sluggish and that my running was going to be affected by my change of (poor) eating habits for the past few days.  However, I felt really good, and my legs just wanted to keep moving.  It was so refreshing to be back by the big blue ocean.  I did a 4 mile run, that included my first sub-7 minute mile at 6:44!

Ok, so now back to this week’s edition of eating for the season: another kale recipe.  This is the perfect drink to help detox your system and make you start feeling right again. I’ve gone through phases of making and liking green smoothies, and then not.  They usually start out nice and mild, but then I become a mad scientist in the kitchen.  They become increasingly more brown than green, and the flavor becomes less than appealing.  However, the other day I got a great green smoothie from the Whole Foods juice bar which jotted my memory.  “Hey, I can do this!”

Tropi-Kale Smoothie
This recipe is Whole30 and Paleo-approved
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup kale
½ frozen banana
9 frozen mango chunks
¼ cup frozen pineapple bits
12 oz. coconut water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender.
  2. If you don’t have a Vitamix (like I don’t), I usually set the blender to “chop ice.”
  3. Once everything has been broken down a little bit, I alternate between the “puree” and “liquefy” speeds.  Tip: If it’s hard to get moving, just add a little bit more coconut water.
  4. When it’s all blended, you should have a nice and thick, tropical tasting, green smoothie.

Fall in Food

Happy Friday!  What says Fall more than pumpkin and squash? NOTHING.  Maybe vibrant, colorful leaves, but you’re not going to eat those unless you’re Piper…are you?

Here are a couple of recipes I would love to make.  And probably will make in the near future.  But as of now I’m in the same position as you, cleaning up some keyboard drool.

    1. For my running group we sometimes have to play name games.  The last one was your name and your favorite food. Answer: Kabocha Squash. I finally had a brainchild and decided  to look up some recipes other than just roasting it!  Sake-Steamed Kabocha Squash with Miso – The Year in Food
    2. Donuts. And Pumpkin.  That is all. Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Maple Almond Butter Glaze – Taylor Made It Paleo

  1. There’s nothing I love more than cornbread.  Seriously, I ate it so much last year, eventually I had to stop because I started to gain weight.  This looks like a pretty good option; flavorful and still healthy.  Put anything like honey and sage in my butter and I’ll eat it.  Pumpkin Corn Muffins With Honey Sage Butter – Running to the Kitchen 
  2. This needs to be a on a restaurant menu somewhere so I can go out and get it NOW.  Paleo Butternut Squash, Kale & Ground Beef Breakfast Bowl – The Healthy Foodie