ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Eat Healthy and Live Dangerously

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Living Dangerously is all about rejecting the norm. It's about deciding you're not going to take the simple path. As Robert Frost would say, I took the one less traveled by. Is there danger with doing things other people don't do? Some people think so. To them the very idea of change is dangerous. I've been doing it for so long danger is the norm.

I need change.

I reject commonality.

I want to be different.

So as you noticed in yesterdays post, I explained how a 4 day vacation resulted in 4 pounds gained. Most people would lock themselves into a fall out shelter and eat oatmeal and smoothies the rest of the week. That's the easy way to lose the weight. The dangerous way is to confront the food. Eat well. Eat healthy. And exercise.

Here's my menu for the week:

Monday - Leftover cauliflower fried rice with leftover bbq pork ribs. That's like a double leftover meal. Served over steamed cabbage.

Tuesday - Scrambled eggs with onions, capers, white wine, garlic and fennel. Served with a sunburst tomato and mint salad. Yes, you can have eggs for dinner.

Wednesday - BBQ Chicken Salad with leftover bbq chicken breast, grilled corn, black beans, onions, lime, cilantro and low fat blue cheese dressing.

Thursday - Grilled Trout with Sardinian Couscous with steamed clams. I caught the trout but haven't made the couscous before. But I do have a recipe so we'll see how it turns out.

Friday - Farmers Market Pappardelle Pasta with Pan-seared Scallops. I love this pasta. Drizzled with a simple sauce of meyer lemon olive oil it's going to be fantastic. I might use shrimp instead if scallops are too expensive.

Saturday - Out for Dinner with a friend from out of town.

Sunday - Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Quinoa Salad. I love love love grilled salmon. I could have it every day. The cucumber quinoa salad is a nice bright fresh accompaniment.

Notice what you don't see. You don't see any beef or bread. You don't see anything premade or processed, which usually contain unholy amounts of sodium as well as other unsavory ingredients. You don't see anything cooked in butter. I'll use EVOO instead.

What's for breakfast? Usually coffee, yogurt and a piece of fruit.

What's for lunch? Either a salad, soup or leftovers. Small portion.

What's for snack? Fruit. We have 4 pineapples cut up in the house this week. I graze on that.

And of course, exercise. Yesterday I burned 600 calories by doing a spin class and lifting weights. Today I'll probably run and burn about 400 calories. It's important to exercise every day, if only just a little.

So what are you eating?

Are you living dangerously?

Or are you living safe?

Come on, live dangerously. I dare you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whoops! What Did I do? Need to exercise Quick!!!

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We took a mini-vacation to Jerome, Arizona the last four days in celebration of yet another of my mother's 21st Birthdays. We had an incredible time, especially our stay at the Surgeon's House Bed and Breakfast. You know you're having a great time when you're still there and trying to figure out when you can come back. Yeah, it's that sort of place.
One of the Brekkies we had at the B&B

I managed to exercise only once during the four days by doing some stretching and yoga exercises as I stared across a thirty mile view. It was stupendous. 

But alas, with all the food and lack of exercise and wine -- oh boy was there food and wine -- I gained four pounds. One for each day, I suppose. Good thing I wasn't there for a week.

But no regrets. This was a vacation. You're supposed to enjoy yourself.

I don't regret the 12 oz NY strip.

I don't regret the almost pound of shrimp I had for breakfast one day.

I don't regret the 1/3rd pound venison burger or the heaping French Fries.

I don't regret the copious amounts of wine I drank.

You know why? 

Because I'm allowed to cheat every now and then.

But you gained four freaking pounds? What are you going to do about it?

I'm not going to panic. I know my body and I know how to exercise. Here's what I'm going to do for the next week-
  • Limit my carbs
  • No beef
  • Watch salt content
  • Eat yogurt for breakfast and take probiotics
  • Increase fresh veggies and fruit intake
  • Drink lots of water
  • Daily Exercise
I mean, Who Can Say No to a Venison Burger
The last one (Daily Exercise) means I have to do something every day. For me, something constitutes at least 400 calories burned during a session. I have a Suunto Ambit 2 watch, so it tracks it for me.

Today I did a spin class and some bench presses, burning 600 calories. Tomorrow I'll probably do a long yoga workout. If my legs aren't killing me, I might run and then do a short yoga workout.

It's all good.

No reason to panic. 

I bet that I'll be 4 pounds lighter by Friday.

Easy Peasy Japanesey!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Trout Fishing on the Lower Provo

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Accidental selfie.

You can't live dangerously without a little fishing. If you're a follower of this blog, then you'll remember when I posted the blog about fishing when I was in Afghanistan called When I Used to Be a Fisherman. Somewhere along the way I'd stopped fishing. No more.


Ever since I came back from Afghanistan in the fall of 2013, I've been trout fishing where I can. We have a little alpine lake close by that has rainbow stockies. Really no more than 9 or 10 inches if you're lucky. On day I latched onto a school of them and caught 30 8 - 9 inch trout (or maybe there were only two and they took turns leaping onto my lure). But these fish are small and hard to find. The best part about Parker Canyon Lake is that I can take my fishing yak on there. Now that's fun.

My son and I went up to Silver Creek last fall. We tried to fish, but a deluge and subsequent flood spoiled that for us. Seriously. The creek flooded within 30 minutes of us arriving. Sigh.

I recently tried to fish the Lower Salt River in Arizona and was skunked. Nothing. It was a freezing morning and no one was catching anything.

Then in January I tried to fly fish the Lower Provo River in Utah. I'm not a very good fly fisherman yet. I tried nymphing. But again. Freezing. And nothing. Not even a strike.

So when I returned to the Lower Provo River this time, I decided to fish the way I normally fish and that's with spinners. Only question was which spinner to use. And oh yeah. In the middle of April it snowed and got down to --you guessed it-- freezing.

But the day I went fishing dawned nice and beautiful. No snow and the temp raised to the mid-50s. So I hit the river, found a spot and began working through my spinners. First one I tried was one the guy at Cabellas told me to use. Ten minutes and nothing. The next one was a spinner mimicking a rainbow. Nothing. Then the next one mimicked a little brown trout. Still nothing.

I was beginning to wonder if I'd lost the touch. I'd done my research. I'd read the blogs. I'd bought what others had said worked. But still nothing.

Sigh.


Then I noticed that my lures were a little large. I also didn't like their action. So I tried a little spinner mimicking a brown trout. Three casts in and a fish rolled it's belly towards the lure, showing me the yellow and white of the brownies tummy. My heart leaped into my throat. I told myself to move slow.

Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

Don't fumble this.

I was working my way up stream with waders, casting up towards the deeper waters at a 45% to 60% angle. I cast over where the fish rolled, retrieved the spinner, and BAM! It took it with only about ten feet of line left, so near I saw it take the lure and try and run with it.

Oh the joy and excitement. There's nothing like it. Catching a fish, especially a big fish like this after so long not catching anything is an almost indescribable feeling.

I brought it in, took a picture, then released it.

Funny thing. I've never done catch and release before. But I was traveling. Hell, my suitcase had my two travel rods, two reels, my lures, my Simms waders, and my Korkers boots. What was I going to do with a fish? Stuff them in my socks? I had to let it go.

Of course before I left my wife had said, You spend all this money on fishing gear to catch a fish just to let it go. You're so weird.


I thought it would bother me not keeping the fish. But you know what? I enjoyed it. And yeah, dear, it did feel a little weird.


That first brownie was not the last. Over the next six hours I worked different parts of the Lower Provo and caught and released ten fish.

Let me share them with you.

2nd Fish caught about two minutes after the first.

3rd fish caught about ten feet from where I caught the second. I was constantly inching upstream. 

I think this was the 3rd fish's brother.

Last one at this location. Then I moved on. When I returned to my car I met a fly
fisherman who'd come all the way from Switzerland to fish. He was in for a great time. 

This one wasn't as fat as the next one, but it was long and rangy.

I caught this one on a first cast in a place where I knew a lot of people had passed.
Just goes to show.

This is the same as the last one. It was a huge fish and fought the hardest of all of them.
I was pleased to return it to the river.
This one was barely a keeper but it fought like it's big brothers.

Two guys were about thirty yards down stream fishing
from a bridge. I walked up and first cast. Boom!

How'd this Rainbow Get here?? About 15 inches.
So that's it folks. After the rainbow, I called it a day. I drove around a little looking at spots I might try next time. 

Here's my Gear:
  • Akuma Trio High Speed Reel
  • St. Croix lightweight Travel Rod
  • 6 pound test
  • Simms Waders
  • Korkers Boots
  • Licence from Cabellas
  • and some lures.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grunt Traitor Gets a Cover Blurb

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As a young man, I remember leaning against the inside of  the TC turret of my armored personnel carrier and reading a new book called Legion of the Damned by this author named William C. Dietz. I really should have been watching the road, especially if we were about to be attacked, but Legion
of the Damned was such a damned good book (see what I did there?) and really something new to hit the military science fiction streets in ages, I couldn't put it down.

Lucky for me, we were just driving the APCs from the rail head at Yermo to the cantonment area at Fort Irwin. There were no real bad guys who were going to attack us. At least not until the exercise at the National Training Center started in a few days. So while every other TC ate dirt and stared squinty-eyed at the vehicle ahead of them, I wore a dust rag around my face and descended into a world where the dying or incarcerated could have a second life as cybernetic soldiers. I was so entranced, that I barely noticed the 104 degree heat. Okay, that last bit wasn't true. The heat had bitch slapped me good and proper and was an unrelenting hell of a gal. 

But at least I had Legion of the Damned. 

Fast forward 22 years - God, has it been that long? - and I'm writing my own military science fiction. Grunt Life was the first in my new series. I had the temerity to send it to Mr. Dietz. We'd corresponded a few times (he asked that I call him Bill). So I sent him a copy of Grunt Life and after some time, I received an email that I could not have imagined receiving those 22 years ago riding in the hatch of an APC in the middle of the Mohave Desert. 

He'd sent me a blurb.

This is what's going on the front cover of Grunt Traitor, the sequel to Grunt Life.

“Add Grunt Life to your list of must-have books.  
This is action adventure at its best.”
 —New York Times bestselling 
author, William C. Dietz

To say that I am honored is beyond words.

To say that I am stunned is obvious.

And to think that a young corporal with dreams of becoming something more, managed to do so.

One of the best things about growing old and becoming a successful author is being able to make friends with those whom I've grown up reading.

It's an awesome benefit to a ton of hard work and inspiration.

If you haven't yet pre-ordered Grunt Traitor, you might think of doing so. Selling out the first print run means I can write more books.

If you haven't yet red Grunt Life, then what are you waiting for. After all, if William C. Dietz likes it, then you know it's great.

You can pre-order them from the links on the right, or you can order them from Mysterious Galaxy or Mostly Books, who both have signed versions of Grunt Life they can ship to your door.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lamb Merguez Sausage Rigatoni - Recipe

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Lamb Merguez Sausage Rigatoni
Author: Living Dangerously
Duration: 30 minutes
Average Cost: $12.00 US
Serves: 4-6

I discovered Lamb Merguez Sausage last year and I don't know where it's been all of my life. Seriously. As a lover of lamb, this North African spiced sausage is just wonderful. Plus, to find it out in the wilds of my little corner of Arizona is truly miraculous.

This is the brand I use. I see that you can order it online if necessary
Here's what happened. We go to the nearby town of Bisbee a lot. It's a cool little town with a lot going on. We always stop at the High Desert Market. They have a freezer with super expensive cheese, some goat, sometimes some Halibut, and other sundries. Clearly many of these things have been requested by some locals so the market likes to keep them in stock. One day I check and find five completely frozen packages of Lamb Merguez Sausage. Not knowing if it's good or not, I grab one. We go home and I cook it up throw it in some pasta with red sauce and then I get to experience how damn good it is.

The next day I drove thirty miles back to Bisbee and bought the other four packs. HA! Poor dude who had them order it for him was probably wondering what happened. Now there are two of us!!

Ever since, whenever they have the Lamb Merguez Sausage in stock, I buy every damned one of them. Sometimes they are not in stock. for weeks I wonder if it's that dude doing the same thing to me.

Lamb Merguez Sausage wars!!!

So the other day I was jonesing for some Lamb Merguez Sausage. We were having company over, so I decided to make it with some pasta. I knew I wanted something hollow, so I pulled some rigatoni mezza out of the pantry. This is perfect because it lets the ingredients coat the inside and the outside. I also didn't want to use any cream or any sauce. I wanted this to be rustic. This is the best version of it so far and with no butter or cream it's about as healthy as possible.

Ingredients

     Bag of Rigatoni Mezza or similar hollow pasta
     6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (I use Meyer Lemon)
     6 fresh Merguez  sausages cut into very small pieces but not minced
     8 ounces mushrooms, sliced4 spring onions, thinly sliced.
     6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
     Freshly ground pepper
     2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I prefer yellow sunbursts because of the color)
     1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
     1/2 cup white wine
     1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.
     2 oz goat cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

Meanwhile, heat 4 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any of the larger pieces with a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add spring onions and cook until softened, about 3 more minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the last 2 tbs of olive oil.  Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 more minutes.

Add the wine to the skillet, then the broth to the skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the pasta and cheese, adding more wine to loosen, if necessary. Fold the mixture together completely so that the rustic ingredients get into the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. 

This is a terrific meal. Serve with a salad if you want. Something light and green. Hold the tomatoes because this has that wonderful taste in spades.

What's in merguez? Always check the ingredients, but our friends at wilipedia say this:  Merguez is a fresh sausage made with lamb, beef, or a mixture stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing. It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or Harissa, which gives it its characteristic piquancy and red color, as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic.