Happy Memorial Day!

Hi friends!  Sorry I didn’t post yesterday—I was actually VERY busy with blog stuff, just not writing.  I have taken the plunge to self-hosted, registered me a fancy domain and such, and am in the process of getting the new site up, running, and pretty.  I’m hoping it’ll be live within the next week or so.  Whee!

Here is what I did yesterday.

I attempted to make “chocolate chip bread” in my bread maker.  Epic fail.  It burned and the yeast never activated.  Into the trash it went.

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I took a quick break from bread baking for a run.  And holy hell, it was a hot, hilly, and awful one.

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The good news is my shoes feel good (but don’t they always, the first few runs?).  The bad news is that I chalked this one, also, up in the fail category.  I ran a mile and a half (in 88 degree heat) and then started to feel my chest constricting/asthma acting up, and walked home.  Tim snapped the photo above upon my return home.  I am NOT a creature of heat.  But, I suppose they all can’t be good runs, you know?

I then baked a more successful loaf of bread—challah this time.

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Buttery and eggy and yum.

This afternoon, I decided to avenge yesterday’s bad run, and ran 2 miles in 19:20ish.  It was still hot, so I didn’t want to stay out too long, and I’m kind of getting back in the swing of things still.  I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  It was a good time for being a hilly run!  Unfortunately, once I took my shoes off, my right leg just seized up on the inside from my foot to my ankle and up my shin.  I suspect it’s because of the orthotics—I didn’t wear them yesterday, just to get a feel for my new shoes, and put them in today.  Anything with a lot of arch support tends to do that to me.  Luckily, I iced and it’s feeling much better.  But…gah.  Why can’t this be easy?

Today, Tim and I bought a grill!

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We prepared delicious burgers and grilled mushroom skewers. 

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YUM.  The beef we’ve been eating lately is local and delicious.  I also had a little fruit salad on the side!  Since getting back from vacation, Tim and I have consumed almost an entire pound of strawberries, a whole pineapple and a whole cantaloupe.

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Oh, and Fat Tire.  Have I mentioned that I LOVE beer?  All summer long I crave beer.  I can’t drink a LOT of it in one sitting, but…beer is good.

I also wanted to give my new KitchenAid a whirl, so I made Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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They are packed and ready to be sent in to work with Tim tomorrow!

Verdict on the KitchenAid?  I predict many, many happy hours spent together.  But is it just me, or is making red velvet cake 10,000 times messier than making other kinds of cake?  It looked like a massacre in the kitchen when I was done!  And my iPhone is coated in powdered sugar from the icing.  Whoops.

Anyway, this week will yet again be a little crazy—tomorrow is a normal workday, but Wednesday I fly out to Fort Lauderdale until Sunday.  Onward and upward!

What’s your favorite kitchen appliance?

Good eats

I feel like I spent all day in the kitchen today!  But it felt GREAT.  I’ve been gone from home and busy the last several weekends, and it was nice to do some baking and cooking again.  I can’t wait to use all my new pots and pans, though!

Lunch was leftovers from last night.  I’m usually a plate cleaner, so I’m glad I saved half this time!  (It was shell pasta with marinara sauce and about half a meatball.)  Please note the floor plan for our reception in the background!

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Re: the seating chart.  We’re still waiting to hear from ten people, but our count right now is 94 yes, 99 no.  We got a surprise “yes” from one of Tim’s old college friends today, which I’m really happy about.  I’m antsy to hear back from everyone else so we can run some hard numbers and figure out our final upgrades!

I stopped at the grocery store for a few things, and they were out of my beloved cantaloupe.  But, giant pineapples were on sale for $2.99, so I risked it!  I got a ton of chopped up fruit out of it for us to munch on all week.  It was really good!

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I also had to do some baking.  I work at a university, and during finals time, the faculty and staff all bring in treats for the stressed students.  I decided to bake two things, and send some to work with Tim.

Peanut butter brownies… 0425 003

And the return of the infamous cake balls!

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All day I simmered a giant roast in the crockpot.  This couldn’t be easier—about a two pound roast, some beef broth, a few cloves of garlic, and let it go on high for about 6 hours.  Pull the roast apart with forks as soon as possible!  We made sammiches out of it.  This was Tim’s.  (Mine was smaller, on a sandwich thin!)

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And now we have dinner for at least the next two nights!

I decided to be a little creative with the side dish.  The other day when I went out with my boss, we had wonderful Portabella “fries.”  I tried to make my own version today, and it turned out pretty good!  We only had regular mushrooms, and they were about to turn, so I’m glad I got to use them.  I didn’t measure—I just grilled them on a griddle with a little EVOO until they softened up, then dipped them in an egg wash, then dipped them in a mixture of Italian breadcrumbs, whole wheat flour, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and put them back on the griddle until they’d crisped up a bit..  They turned out great!  Tim even asked for seconds.   I’ll definitely make these again!  I love all things mushroom.

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I also managed to finish up a last minute DIY project for the wedding.

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Directions: raid Michael’s cheap flip flops.  Buy lots of ribbon.  Remove ugly tags and tie together with pretty ribbon.  Spray paint clearance basket from Michaels.  Attach ribbon and sign with glue dots.  Enjoy.

I don’t know why I did this other than that I think it’s cute. 

Anyway.  I’ve got a fridge full of delicious shredded beef, pineapple chunks, and sweets.  I’m a happy camper.  Normally, I’d at least try some of the sweet stuff, but I’m on my absolute best behavior until the wedding—it’ll be a scoop of fro-yo for dessert for me tonight!  Also, I’m happy to announce I’ve been coffee and Diet Coke free for…four days now, I think?  Not going to lie, I’m craving both here and there, but it helps not keeping it in the house.

I got really excited today when I realized that by the time our gallon of milk expires…we’ll be married.  See?

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I’m off to finish getting ready for my last full work week before the wedding—we’re officially getting married next week, y’all!  I can’t wait to get back to the gym this week—I hope hope hope my leg feels better so I can get some running in.  I feel lazy!

What things do you bulk cook? I love making a full roast or chicken on Sundays to eat all week, and usually cut up fresh fruit too.

Pretzel bread!

Today I went and picked up my race packet for Sunday’s 10K!

I got there just as it was opening and the crowds flooded in.  I have to admit, I felt pretty cool to be going to the 10K side rather than the 5K side.  Woo!  It was pretty busy, since online registration had closed and they have to cap the entrants because it’s an indoor race.

I upgraded to a tech shirt for an extra $10 or $15 when I registered.  I’m so glad I did!   This is a Brooks shirt and it’s so soft.  It reminds me of my childhood blankie.  I haven’t worn short sleeve shirts to the gym very often, but this is light enough I think it would be fine.  I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

After work I decided to try a recipe my aunt had sent me.  I don’t know where she got it from, so if you figure it out, let me know.  Awhile back I mentioned on Facebook that I was craving pretzel bread, one of my favorite Chicago foods I haven’t seen here in Kansas City.

I mixed together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 1/2 T. salt
  • 1 c. warm water

And let it rise for an hour.  (Best way to make dough rise?  Microwave a cup of water for two minutes.  Then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it in there.  The steam and contained environment keeps it cookin’.  It hasn’t failed me yet, anyway.)

Then, I boiled 5 cups of water and 1/4 c. of baking soda.  I formed the risen dough into little balls and dropped them in the boiling soda solution for about two minutes, then transferred them to a greased cookie sheet and baked them for 20 or so minutes at 400 degrees.

Pretty?  No.  Delicious?  Yes.  It tasted like the freshest hot pretzel you’ve ever had.  It was more pretzel than pretzel bread, per se, but still awesome.   I sprinkled a little salt on before I ate it…yum.

Other than my baking adventure, we are having one of those wonderful relaxing nights at home–homemade pizza, television, reading, and animals.  I’m going to do some foam rolling–my quads are still a bit sore–and some reading.   (Now that I am on a set schedule, I’m becoming a huge reader.  I love it!)

What are your hobbies other than fitness?

Spaetzle and Scones

Back to work tomorrow.  Boo, hiss.  This was such a nice, relaxing weekend!

I kind of screwed myself by not running yesterday.  It’s still freezing here, but I really wanted to get out and run…but then I realized I’m officially on my half marathon training plan, and since I’m OCD about staying on schedule I can’t run tomorrow.  Oh well.  It was super slippery outside anyway.

I decided that obviously the best way to combat the “long weekend is over” blues was to cook a huge dinner and bake.

I keep seeing scones on blogs, and I’ve never had a scone.  So I made scones.  I used this recipe, but added a little extra orange juice, and threw in some dried cherries for good measure.  We split one and ohmygosh they are really good.  I’m going to pack one in my lunch for tomorrow and send the rest to work with Tim.

I also simmered a pot roast in the crock pot all day.  My “recipe?”  About 2 cups of beef broth, about 1 cup of red wine, 3 chopped cloves of garlic, and half an onion.  And a giant pot roast.  (Guess what we’re eating all week?)

Tim was enamored with the spaetzle my Uncle Don made at Christmas dinner.  Since I have a real German spaetzle maker, I decided to give it a shot.

The recipe is pretty basic.  Mix together:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1./2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. water
  • sprinkle of salt

You may need to sprinkle in extra water or flour until the dough is elastic-y.  (It’s still a wee bit watery in this picture.  I added more flour.)

Then, bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil.  If you have a spaetzle maker, put about half a cup of the batter in it, and circle it around the pot while you squeeze the dough through to make noodles.  (A potato ricer works just as well as a spaetzle maker.)  Wait until they float, and then fish them out with a spoon.  Serve with butter and/or salt and/or gravy!  They taste like chewy egg noodles and are are really awesome.  (The first round usually won’t be too great, like with crepes.  Make sure the dough is thick enough–they should be like spaghetti noodles!)

Yum.

Spaetzle is one of those foods that will always represent a very specific feeling and memory for me.  Until I was old enough to cook, it was a once a year treat at Christmastime, and every time I eat it I think of my Uncle Don telling us about his childhood in Germany over a big pot of boiling water, while my mom makes a big salad and I’m shooed away to set the table.  I doubt I’ll ever be able to distance the food from the memory!  (But why would I want to?)

What food in your life is tied to a memory and what is it?

Christmas Party!

Well, poodles, I’m beat so this will be a quickie!

I slept in and ate a giant breakfast.  Halfway through said giant breakfast I realized, “Crap, I was going to go running.”  I finished said giant breakfast, looked at the weather report feeling sluggish, and decided, “ah, hell, it’s going to be warmer tomorrow with less to do anyway.”  So, I’m running tomorrow instead of today.

Tim and I then went to the bank and I ran a few errands.  Including but not limited to buying my tacky holiday sweatshirt for our family get-together this year:

It’s glittery.  With bears.  (I’d had a few glasses of wine before taking this picture.  Obvi.)

Then I spent the afternoon with these puppies:

55 invitations are totally done and ready to be mailed.  Okay, that’s a lie, because I have to put stamps on the RSVP postcards and slide those in, but mostly almost done.  40ish to go!  I will finish these tomorrow if it KILLS me.

Then we got ready and headed to our first and only holiday party of the year with Tim’s family.  I didn’t photograph dinner, but this is the aftermath:

I consumed many many pita chips with pesto-stuffed Brie, and endured equally many jokes about me being spread on a cracker, taking a bite out of me, et cetera.  Dinner was a delicious green salad, beef tenderloin, potatoes, and bread, and dessert was a delicious Grand Marnier soaked trifle with lots of fruit and pudding.  Yum!  Oh, and I may or may not have had a glass each of chianti, cabernet, and pinot grigio.

I loved the centerpiece!

Balllllls.

After dinner, a few presents were opened and I handed out the boxes of baked goods I made for everyone.

I am not sure why my photos turned out so crappy.  Sorry, dudes.

We had a lovely time.  Tim’s family is so much fun!  I wish we got to see them all more often.

Anyway, the agenda for tomorrow is church, run, finish invitations, ironing, and preliminary Crimmus packing.  One or more of those things will probably not happen, but hey, shoot for the moon!

Have a great night!

What’s your go-to wine to bring to parties? I love Kenwood Cabernet–I hope everyone else liked it as much as I did!

Friday traditions

Happy Friday!

First things first: the random winner of the Chobani giveaway is Hallie!  Congrats!  E-mail your mailing address to thefitbride at gmail dot com and I’ll send it away so you get your free case of yogurt.  Enjoy!

Today I beguiled my co-workers with my baking skillz.  Red velvet cake balls, German chocolate cake balls, peppermint brownies, and peanut butter cookies.  Nom!

I may or may not have had a peanut butter cookie myself.  It was delightful!  The peppermint brownies are also a big hit.

Anyway, as predicted, I’m verrrry sore from my lifting yesterday.  My quads and back muscles, especially, are whining.  I usually don’t get sore in the back, which makes me happy, because that means I’m working it well.  Those lat pulldowns can really be a killer.  I’m happy today is a rest day!

Not too much to report here–we’re planning a nice easy night of bumming around the house.  As per Friday night tradition indicates, we’re going to make homemade pizza and catch up on our Tivo.  If I can muster up the energy, maybe I’ll work on wedding invitations a little.  (MAYBE.)  I am so ready for these stupid little suckers to be done with!  I’ve been working on these intermittently since FEBRUARY.  I don’t think I’ll ever be more happy to mail something in my entire life.  I stopped at Michael’s to pick up the last stuff I’d need (hopefully) to get them done, so we’ll see.

Have a great night!  Do you have any weekly traditions?

I’ve been on a soup kick lately.  The old school, plain, chicken noodle and tomato soups, straight out of a can.  I don’t know why, but I find them so filling!  Maybe all the liquid?  The heat?  Who knows.

Productivity!

I didn’t work out today, but I feel like I did.  I’ve just been so gosh darn productive it’s mind-boggling!  My feet hurt and my shoulders and neck are tense and sore.

First, Tim and I got up early and went to church.  We both like going to church, but it’s a struggle to get out of bed most Sundays.  We made it, though, today, and it was really nice!  The decorations for Christmas were gorgeous–tons of poinsettias and a beautiful Christmas tree and there was really nice Christmas music going on.  It definitely helped get me in the spirit!

Then we made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up the necessities for my baking extravaganza.  I always do a TON of baking at the holidays because a) I love to bake and b) I love giving away what I bake!  I’m bringing a lot of stuff to school tomorrow for a special holiday thing, and then on Saturday we’re having a Christmas get-together with Tim’s family in Kansas City.  I figured it would be perfect to make up a little something for everyone to take home.

First up? A triple batch of cake balls.  I started these last night, but didn’t finish them until today.  These puppies are LABOR INTENSIVE, but so good.  I did one batch of red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and two batches of German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting.

Then, I tried my hand at dog baking.  I made these pumpkin & peanut butter treats to include the four-legged family members in the holiday festivity.  (Milhouse actually needs to put on a few pounds!)  This recipe was super easy and Milhouse loved the results.

Next up?  Peanut butter cup cookies.  I made these once, forgot about them, and then remembered (thankfully).  Again, somewhat labor intensive and finnicky, but delicious nonetheless.

I love peppermint and chocolate together, so I decided to try making peppermint chocolate bars.  I haven’t tried one yet, but I predict they’ll be good!  (The batter and frosting were, anyway.  Whoops.)

Somewhere between the peppermint bars and the PB cookies, Tim left.  He’s traveling for work and will be back either late tomorrow night or late Tuesday night.  So, I’m living like a single girl for awhile!  This means lots of wedding/girly shows on TV and canned soup for dinner.  I’m also watching a girly-ish movie from Netflix, 7 Pounds, but it’s pretty bad.

I also managed to do two loads of laundry, tons of dishes, all my ironing for the week, several dog walks, and a bunch of invitation cutting.  Okay, I’m trying to talk myself into invitation cutting still.  God, this project sucks.  Is it over yet?

Get excited–tomorrow morning I’m starting a most excellent giveaway!

What’s your favorite holiday baked item? I can’t be loyal to just one, but my mom’s caramel brownies are high on the list.  Every time I try to make them myself they turn out horrible, but hers are always perfect.