Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

So here I am - 29. Its going to be my last year in my 20s and I hope to accomplish a lot this year. I am working on many of those things but here are just a few. Kind of like a New Years resolution, because after all it is a new year of ME. I know I am a bit obsessed with me right now, but today is the only day I get to be. Birthdays are always a day to be selfish and self absorbed. Its the fun of it! OK, so back to my list of things I hope to accomplish this year before I turn the dreaded 30 - I know oh so old (J/K)!
  • Run a marathon - I am well on my way with my training and am scheduled in just over a month, but its still a goal
  • Continue some sort of regular running schedule after the marathon is over. I have never been this dedicated to exercising in my entire life. I have worked out now 3 days a week for 4-5 months and am proud of myself for it. I just don't want to loose my good habits when I don't have a schedule or a reason. Maybe I'll train for another one - haha!
  • Enjoy change - I am starting a new job on Tuesday and its a totally new thing. I am working as a grants coordinator and it is a bit frightening to me. I have no experience, no knowledge and I am afraid of failure. Its a change and I just want to embrace it and enjoy it.
  • Go to an OSU football game - this might be crossed off this weekend (cross your fingers)
  • Get pregnant - I know this is easier said than done and its more in the fate of biology than anything, but I will cross my fingers and hope that by this time next year my belly is bigger and not because I am not training for a marathon.
  • Decluter - We have so much junk and I want to get rid of some of it, I am just so lazy about this task. I would love to be more on top of it.
  • Travel to someplace new - we are going to CA for a wedding but I also want to go someplace else. It doesn't have to be exotic, just someplace I've never been before. Like this year it was Nashville. Next year hopefully - Texas....

Ok, that's enough goals for now...reasonable, not totally measurable, but I will give myself time to plan, do, and reflect - oh teaching has taught me so much about goal setting. Now back to that teaching thing. Today is the last day for awhile - so sad!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The smell of fresh baked bread

I'm not talking about the smell of dad's honey wheat of mom's pumpkin and chocolate chip. I am talking about the Wonder bread factory. We only live a few blocks from it and a few times a month when the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can smell the bread baking. Its always late in the afternoon and the smell is divine. For some reason, today the smell was especially lovely. It made me want to go buy some Nutella and break open a jar of peanut butter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Training Update

We are now exactly 2 months away from the big marathon. Training is going great and better than ever. I am able to run for over two hours without stopping and surprising myself. I would not still be training (I would have given up long ago) if I was not doing this for a cause and because so many of you have supported me. For that I thank you. You keep me motivated and going strong. I am not going to qualify for the Boston marathon with my speed but I will cross the finish line, before they tell me to clear the course.

Here is how I am doing. I completed a 10 mile race a few weeks ago in just over 2 hours. This qualified me as second in my category - I am an Athena if you are familiar with the running world. I am running a half marathon this Sunday and then on Sept. 28th, I will run my longest distance before the actual marathon - a 20 mile race.

I practice 3 days a week, short runs (6 miles now and 8 miles closer to the marathon) on Tuesday and Thursday nights and a long run on either Saturday or Sunday. Columbus is a great place to train for a first time marathon b/c there are great places to run and a lot of training runs available to race.

Let me not forget though, why I am doing this and why I chose Team in Training. Please continue to read on about the stories of those close to me. For they are the real reason I am running this marathon!

For more information, please see my fundraising page

Monday, August 18, 2008

Whip it Up - Week #7: Smoky Shrimp and Parmsean-Polenta Cakes

So normally when I get Cooking Light, I always find a few recipes I want to try. This month wasn't such a hot month for recipes. A lot of the magazine had Asian dishes that require a sauce or sauces that I don't use all that frequently. I would buy them if I knew for sure I would like the recipe and make it again, but I don't always like to take that kind of risk. Also, J doesn't LOVE Asian food, unless its sushi, so I am especially hesitant to try something new on him.

So in this month's issue (The Sept. '08 issue) I found Smoky Shrimp and Parmesan-Polenta Cakes. There is no link to the recipe b/c apparently they don't post new recipes in the year they were printed - hmm...interesting. After looking over the ingredients I realized I actually had everything (don't ask about why we had a tube of polenta. Just know it involves J and grocery shopping - enough said.) Also it seemed like things we like - shrimp, polenta, fresh we were good to go. J and I had each done over a half hour on the Wii fit and we were hungry.

So here is the recipe (good thing its not long b/c I have to type it all in myself - ugh!)


1 T olive oil
1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1/4 C dry white wine
1 T chopped fresh chives
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 t Spanish smoked paprika (we just used regular paprika)
1 17-oz. tube polenta, cut into 8 (1/2 inch) slices
cooking spray
8 teaspoons marinara sauce
8 teaspoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Here's what you do:
  1. Preheat broiler
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan; saute 3 minutes or until done, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in wine, chives, juice, and paprika, tossing to coat. Keep warm.
  3. Place polenta slices on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Top each slice with 1 teaspoon sauce and 1 teaspoon cheese; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Place 2 polenta slices on each of 4 plates, top each serving evenly with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

Question time:
Was the recipe easy to follow? It was only 3 steps. How hard could it be? Well, I almost messed up the shrimp and white wine step. At first I thought I had to add the wine, chives and paprika to the pan, but then I read on and realized I should just add it to the removed shrimp. Ok, problem solved.

Did the dish taste good? As J said, it wasn't memorable. I think that pouring the wine and paprika sauce that was leftover onto the shrimp and polenta was overkill. I also could have done without the marinara sauce (although without either it might have been dry).

Would you ever make it again? I may try it again just to try to improve upon it, but with so many good recipes and so many new ones to try, why waste the time.

Try it and let me know how it turns out.....

The Omnivore's One Hundred - as seen at Columbus Foodie

So I saw this at Columbus Foodie and couldn’t help myself. I love stuff like this. This was created by Andrew at Very Good Taste actually looked interesting.
Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

* J put a star next to things he has tried because he likes things like this.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison *
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros *
4. Steak tartare *
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding *
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush *
11. Calamari *
12. Pho *
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart *
16. Epoisses - ? Maybe
17. Black truffle *
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - ? Maybe
19. Steamed pork buns *
20. Pistachio ice cream *
21. Heirloom tomatoes *
22. Fresh wild berries *
23. Foie gras *
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper
27. Dulce de leche *
28. Oysters
29. Baklava *
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas *
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut *
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar *
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O *
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail *
41. Curried goat *
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk (I had it when it was made into cheese - does that count)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more *
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala *
48. Eel *
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone *
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal *
56. Spaetzle *
57. Dirty gin martini *
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (we just call them gravy fries - so yes)*
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores *
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake *
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain *
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho *
72. Caviar and blini *
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie *
78. Snail *
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini *
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict *
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef *
86. Hare *
87. Goulash *
88. Flowers *
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam *
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish *
95. Mole poblano *
96. Bagel and lox *
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee *
100. Snake

J and I have tried a lot of things on the list. Another trip to Asia and we could knock them all off practically. What about you?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I ran 14 miles today!

Yes, you read that right, 14! Make it even cooler was I ran it in 2:38 (I know that's what the Olympic men finished their entire marathon last night ) but it was great for me. I think I might be able to run the half marathon in 2:30 next weekend. That would be a great goal and a great accomplishment for me.

So to describe the run, it wasn't horrible. It was long and I did sweat - A LOT, but it seemed manageable. Could I have done another 12.2 - not yet, but I'm working on it. I got to the end before some others who always finish before me (they stopped at the water stops) and that made me really proud.

Running is boring to watch though. I tried to watch the Olympic marathon last night and I just couldn't do it. I feel bad that I am making J follow me around to cheer me on in October. He is going to be so bored!


Funny side note - this morning when I got up, J sat up and I told him to go back to sleep. He looked at the clock and said, no, its OK, I have to get up soon. He thought it was Monday morning not Sunday. I love when he does cute, funny things like that. Its probably b/c we had such a nice relaxing day at home yesterday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Baby's Sick

So last night J and I experienced just a small taste of what its like to have a sick baby. Bear is very sick. He has this horrible cough, that we are treating as kennel cough. It causes him to cough really hard.

Well last night this coughing woke him up - A LOT. To make it even worse, the coughing would occasionally cause him to need to hack stuff up. Well, he knows that our bed isn't the place to do this so he kept jumping down off the bed and then back on to try to fall asleep again. This up and down and loud hacking caused J and I to wake up - OFTEN. I know this is nothing compared to a sick human baby, but that's why we have Bear, he's getting us ready.

Hopefully the antibiotics and hydrocodone (BKA - vicodin) will help him get over this pain soon enough...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whip it Up - Week #6: Pioneer Woman's Crispy Yogurt Chicken

So I love the cooking, pictures and recipes that the Pioneer Woman makes. Her food always makes me drool. So today I had no plan for dinner and the recipe for Crispy Yogurt Chicken looked good and I was up to finally try one of her recipes. I think driving by all the farms this weekend in KY and TN made me think of her and her life and how I can't believe she left the life of a city for the life of a farm...but that's another post.

So I didn't take pictures of my process in making this because Ree just did and her pics are way better than any I could ever put on this site (at least now) and I will let you go see her pics there. If you did not see this recipe originally or you haven't ever gone over to the Pioneer Woman, I strongly suggest you do - its so much fun to see how someone lives such a totally different life.

So here is her recipe - I edited out some of her comments but left some of them in. I added in some of my own, those are in blue.


Chicken (I used legs, but any piece of chicken will do), Plain, Unflavored Yogurt, Garlic, Parsley, Lemon Juice, Salt, Butter, and Panko Bread Crumbs.

  • Begin by throwing 2 cups of plain yogurt into a mixing bowl.
  • Now peel a couple of cloves of garlic. And mince them very finely.
  • Now throw the garlic in with the yogurt. Now grab some parsley. It gives a nice, fresh flavor to the chicken.
  • Chop the parsley finely. Then throw it into the yogurt. Give the mixture a little stir.
  • Now cut a lemon in half. Then squeeze in the juice, stirring well to combine. My lemon was very juicy - we'll see if that effects the taste at all
  • Now go thoroughly rinse the chicken, and salt it well.
  • Pour some Panko breadcrumbs into a second bowl. I start with about 2 cups.
  • Salt the breadcrumbs just to give them a little more flavor.
  • Now, in final preparation for our landing, go ahead and butter a baking dish. First, place the chicken, one at a time, into the yogurt mixture. Turn it over to thoroughly coat. Then roll in the Panko breadcrumbs. They’ll adhere really well—just make sure to coat all the areas of the chicken thoroughly.
  • Repeat until all the chicken is breaded and place in the buttered baking dish.
  • Then, place a slice of butter over the large part of the chicken. This is a very important step, as the Panko breadcrumbs tend to get pretty dry without the moisture of the butter. (I used butter spray to cut down on the calories).
  • Now cover in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, removing foil for the last 15 minutes to allow it to get nice and golden. I actually had to bake mine for almost 1 hour 15 minutes this time, so be prepared to keep going until it’s nice and golden and sizzling. You’ll want the breading on the underside of the chicken not to be soft and mushy, so pay attention to it.
  • Serve it with a big, green salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing. I did not make the dressing. I just served it with a salad with Gorgonzola, dried cranberries, red onions, and candied rosemary walnuts from the Green Grocer at North Market - I love these things!

Question time:

Was the recipe easy to follow? Because the Pioneer Woman does such a great job taking pictures and breaking down the recipe visually, yes it was totally easy to follow. I didn't include her pictures and if you decide to make it, go to her site and follow her directions.

Did the dish taste good? It was OK, a bit soggy even though I cooked it for well over an hour. I think I used too much yogurt.

Would you ever make it again? Probably not, but I'm glad I tried it. I have it for leftovers tomorrow if I want to eat it again.

Nashville, TN

So for our summer vacation we took a trip down to Nashville, TN for a long weekend. We aren't huge country fans - frankly J hates country but we went anyway. We ate a ton of great food and experienced some of the things you just had to see in Nashville. We also got to drive through Kentucky - a first for me. There is no need to go back - its pretty boring! Here is a recap of our trip in photos:J loved these motorcycles...the cruisersThe corn at the gas station we stopped atDinner Thursday night at Watermark. That's the Nashville skyline in the background.Our first big Nashville landmark, the Ryman AuditoriumWe didn't sing on stage, but J did play a littleWe stopped for drinks and listened to some music. Too bad J doesn't like or know any country music.A few humorous shots from around the bar...The Wildhorse Saloon was closed for a private partyDinner on Saturday at LimeAmos Lee in concert - my third time and I still love the guyThe porch of the Belle Meade plantationJ just likes the rocking chairOur visit to the Opryland Hotel...the Disneyland of TennesseeThis is one of those living statue ladies except instead of being gold or silver, she is dressed like vines and has extended limbs. She was very cool - remember this is inside the hotel - think the mall area of Cesar's Palace in Vegas.This is the waterfall and we are at the bar that rotates within the atrium at the Opryland hotel.Then I convinced J that we really needed to take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry. A Nashville tradition. Don't ask who any other these people are. I didn't know any of them, except the girl at the end. You should all recognize her."Giddyup - Rawhide"Your American Idol winner - Carrie Underwood. J hoped she would sing the Heart song she sang in American Idol, but much to our dismay she only sang songs from her albums - none of which we knew. She was so real though. During commercials she shook hands with fans and signed autographs. One fan even gave her a poster and she joked that she didn't have pockets so she didn't have a pen and someone lent one to her. She even posed for a few pictures for people in the front rows as she walked offstage at the end.

At that ended Saturday night. Sunday was an awesome brunch at Margot's and then the 6 hour drive home. Now I just enjoy my last few days as an unemployed person, because I got a job....oh yea - just not as a teacher - so sad :(

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Whip it up: Week 5 - Fried Green Tomatoes

So I have quite a few tomatoes that have been green on the vine for a few weeks. My worry about these ripening, is that they will all ripen at the same time and J doesn't really like tomatoes so I was thinking of new ways to use these lovely orbs. We're about to travel to Tennessee so I thought we could try these to get us in the mood. I found a recipe over at the Whistlestop Cafe site, not that I've ever been, but I think I will need to go back and explore soon.
Fried Green Tomatoes

3-4 green tomatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
vegetable oil

Mix together flour, cornmeal, salt & pepper. Add enough milk to create a thick batter. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet. Batter each tomato slice, and wipe off excess. Carefully place in hot oil, browning on both sides. (may or may not need turning, depending on the amount of oil) To cool, drain in a colander to keep tomatoes from becoming soggy. Salt to taste.

Question time:

Was the recipe easy to follow?
The recipe was easy, although I don't like the vagueness of the amount of milk.

Did the dish taste good?
Well....The tomatoes were very sweet and J thought the batter tasted good, but I did not do a great job of making these and I think I was doomed from the start. There was no planning in the preparation of this recipe. We only had whole wheat flour, I didn't use milk, I used a combination of fat free half and half and water (the only milk like product I had in the house...) so I was doomed from the beginning.

Would you ever make it again?
I want to try to do it again, but do it right this time. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard. Maybe I'd try a recipe that calls for an egg dip, really not sure. But its a great use of green tomatoes. I'd love to try it with a fried egg on top???? hmmmmm ;-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rainy Days....Gotta Love 'Em

So as much as I dreaded my alarm this morning at ten to six, I pressed snooze a few to many times and dragged myself out to run by 6:30. I had a nice 6 mile run planned and it was a cooler than normal morning here in the capital city. It was cooler than normal, because last night it rained - HARD! Lightning that lit up our bedroom and thunder that shook the house - J of course slept through it all.

After my run that I happily finished in 70 minutes (and I ran it all happily), I took Bear to the park for our 2 mile morning walk, and now I am happily sitting on the couch, drinking my coffee and playing on the Internet. I might even break out some of the scrap booking things later this morning. I have nothing else to do.

Laundry is done, sheets are new (as of Saturday), floor was mopped on Thursday (although I could vacuum again), I could clean the bathrooms before our trip, but hey, why have all our fun now. I should save some for later. And what makes me happiest of all, is I don't have to make dinner! Maxwell's parents have invited us over for steak and corn (boy Ohio corn is awesome!) as a thank you for babysitting him last week. YEA - happy me!

BTW - the bedroom disaster is not quite over, the new rail split on J yesterday when he went to put on his sneakers. Not happy! It will take 3-4 weeks before the new part (luckily under warranty) will arrive. UGH!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Ohio State Fair

So the Ohio State Fair was everything is was supposed to be.
Pig races....

Butter sculptures....
Cows...And awards given to prize cows...The Budweiser Clydesdales and other animals....
Fun rides like the barrels of fun...and the monkey rides. J's favorite!The Batcopter - we didn't ride it but we saw it flying...The giant Ferris wheel and the views from above...
And of course the food - this was the bulk candy shop (we didn't get any)Ice cream from the dairy house - J got a chocolate shakeand I got a mint chocolate cone - this was a small
J got Lemonade and I got unsweetened iced teaThese were our lunch of loaded ribbon fries - cheese, ranch dressing and bacon bits - awesome but I will never do it again!Our deep fried snickers barJ really liked this, but we only got one to share (good idea)
J wanted to buy a Hot Dog from the Fort National Bank of Hot Dogs, but we didn't - they even had a ACM - Automatic Condiment Machine

In the end we enjoyed the Skyglider
and our experience at the Ohio State Fair! a once and ONLY experience!