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?

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New toys

Today I’m pretty sure we used every new wedding gadget we’ve gotten.  Tim made delicious waffles in the waffle iron for breakfast, and I used the bread machine, crockpot and food processor with great success today. 

Meet Super Delicious Salsa Slow Cooker Chicken.

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Ugly, yes.  Delicious, yes.

I basically cobbled this together from various recipes I’d found online.  I dumped the following into the crockpot:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 brick reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. salsa (We used Pace Mild salsa, blended smooth in the Magic Bullet with a small container of Chipotle hot salsa—our favorite!  We are anti chunk.)

Then…you just let it peace out in the crockpot on low for about six hours, and serve over some brown rice.

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Southpaw was stalking Tim’s plate.  Super good and filling, and there’s enough leftovers for dinner tomorrow!

I also made this beauty today:

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We’ll call this…honey mixed nut butter.  Unless anyone else has a more creative idea.  Again, an easy recipe. 

Into the food processor went:

  • 1/4 c. salted peanuts
  • 1/4 c. macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 c. almonds
  • 1/4 c. pecans
  • 1/4 c. hazelnuts
  • 1 T. honey

Blend until smooth.  Easy peasy and delicious.

The nut butter will go on this:

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The loaf of honey wheat bread in the bread machine.  This will probably go in with Tim to work.  But I’m considering keeping it.  Hee.

Also today:  I did about 10 loads of laundry, vacuumed the entire house, cleaned the bathroom, and got the guest bedroom in a state where I WOULDN’T be embarrassed for people to see it.  Our house is finally starting to look like normal again.  I love it so.

And Tim did this!

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Wall mount wine rack!  (He also took my car for an oil change and returned a duplicate gift.  God bless him.)

I am currently decompressing with this.

0516 005 A glass of Gamay Rouge. 

Operation Break In Orthotics has not gone as well as I’d planned.  Mainly because it’s been POURING here.  I’ve tried.  I’m going to do my best to drag my lazy butt to the gym tomorrow after work and hopefully break them in with some run-walk intervals for awhile. 

Four days until we leave for the honeymoon!  I can’t wait!

Six days to go!

I realize my post titles have been a bit redundant lately, but blogger secret: I hate thinking of post titles.  I am just not that clever.  So I’m milking “X Days/Weeks to go!” as much as possible.  Bear with me.

We FINALLY heard back from our last delinquent RSVP-er!  (She’s not coming.)  Meaning…we now have a final count (95 guests coming) and finalized our upgrades.  Here’s the final menu:

Passed Hors d’ Oeuvres

  • Bruschetta
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Mayonnaise
  • Mozzarella Marinara
  • Chicken Saltimbocca Roulade

Salads

  • Italian tossed salad
  • Spinach salad

Entrees

  • Chicken Marsala
  • Beef Braciole

Pastas

  • Rigatoni D (rigatoni in a cream sauce with chicken, mushrooms, veggies)
  • Ziti marinara

Sides

  • Fresh asparagus
  • Garlic mashed potatoes

Dessert

  • Wedding cake (red velvet with cream cheese filling; vanilla chiffon with chocolate and strawberry mousse)
  • Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream
  • New York style cheesecake with strawberries

And four hours of premium open bar.  So, yeah.  There will be no shortage of food! 

But, of course, this meant I had to revise my menus.  Balls.

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Also, the daily weather check:

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Hmm.  Colder.  Windy.  Not ideal, but at least the rain is still gone.  Can we get sunny and at least low 60s, pretty please?

This morning we went to church, and as soon as I got home, I began non-cooking.

Chicken in the crockpot (I specifically made enough for us to eat tonight, tomorrow, and Tuesday, so I hopefully won’t have to cook again until after the wedding):0502 003

All that’s in there is chicken, chicken broth, a little water, and a little bit of butter to keep it from sticking.  Tonight we’ll eat it with some whole wheat pasta, EVOO, and parmesan; tomorrow we’ll toss some of it in salsa for quesadillas, and Tuesday we’ll toss it in BBQ sauce for barbecue chicken sandwiches.  Easy!0502 004

I also made bread in the wedding gift breadmaker from Tim’s co-workers.  (They requested I make a loaf this weekend to share with them!)  I made basic whole wheat.  The house smells AMAZING right now.

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About 3:30, I decided to go for a run, even though I wasn’t planning on working out today because I thought I’d be super busy.  The weather was beautiful and I was bored!  So, out I went.  My Garmin battery died about two minutes in, but according to Map My Run I ran about 2.5 miles.  Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

As far as exercise goes this week—I’m going to be pretty conservative.  I did a 2.5 mile run today.  Tomorrow I’m planning an upper body weights workout at the gym over my lunch hour, and Tuesday I’ll be either running or doing some light cardio.  Wednesday we drive up to Chicago, so the madness starts and I probably won’t be doing too much exercising.  The last thing I want is to injure myself or be sore for the wedding!

I’ll leave you with a lazy Sunday photo.

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Have a good one, everyone!

What do you think of the menu?  Would you be happy?  (Note: there will be special accommodations made for vegetarians!)

Low.

Happy fake Monday, dudes.  It wasn’t a great one.  I stayed up late last night writing thank you notes, and didn’t take a minute to myself from the time I got home to the time I went to bed.  I had a particularly vivid nightmare about being chased by Captain Hook and Mr. Smee that made me wake up in a cold sweat.

This, however, was good:

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Cantaloupe!  Is it in season now?  Because I was inspired to buy one yesterday, and that was a good decision.  It’s one of those fruits that I used to not like but now I do.  Maybe I’ll come around to honeydew soon!

It was supposed to be a morning snack, but I wasn’t really hungry for one, so I waited until lunchtime.  My lunch also included:   0330 002

A hunk of pretzel bread and a Wee Brie cheese.  (Not going to lie, I bought it largely because of the name.)

And a yogurt mess.

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Totally for the sake of the wedding, I finished things off with a caramel.  These are samples for our wedding favors!  They are delicious.  I think the guests will like them. 0330 004

Around 4 o’clock, I snacked on a Kind bar.  It was good, but tasted like a handful of mixed nuts, and mixed nuts are cheaper.  Oh well.  0330 005

Heh.  Nut Delight.  Giggle snort.

Anyway.  My plan was to try to get 5 miles in today.  Mentally, I wasn’t feeling it.  I just wanted a relaxing night at home with Tim and the zoo, but since I can’t work out tomorrow (another dress fitting!) and Thursday (podiatrist!) I went anyway.

I ran 1.25 miles.  And I quit because the pain was so bad.

What pain?  Well, let me preface this by saying I switched from the cushiony insoles from the running store to my regular shoe sockliner because my left knee and hips were complaining after last week’s long run disaster.  I figured the sockliner would make me blister, but at least my joints would be okay. 

Wrong.

Here is what hurt.  A LOT.

  • Left knee.  Less hurty than it was clicky and kind of loose and unstable feeling.
  • Left outside-of-the-shin muscle from my knee down to my ankle. 
  • Top of my left foot.
  • Blister on my right big toe from god knows what.
  • Right inside-of-the-shin muscle.

I haven’t run since Thursday, so my body has had four days off.  And everything from my knees down was just awful feeling.  My head knew that stopping was the smart thing to do.

I left the gym.  I walked to my car and I cried in the gym parking lot.

Oh, hell, I cried most of the way home, too, and when I saw Tim.

I did what Hal said.  But I have serious doubts about my ability to finish this half marathon, and I hate it.  I have given up so much time to training.   It’s days like today that make me want to throw in the towel and sit on the couch and get fat again.

Of course, the first thing I did when I stopped running was fat talk.

You ate so much crap this weekend.  No wonder your body is breaking down, it can’t carry all the weight.”

Who do you think you are trying to run a marathon?  You’re just the fat little kid in gym class.”

You’re not a runner.  You’re too fat to be a runner.  You never will be.  Runners are thin.”

And so on, and so on. 

I don’t know what I’m going to do right now.  I am so glad I have an appointment with a podiatrist on Thursday.  I hope I can get some answers, because I know the root of all these problems is in my feet.  Everything I have tried to make this better has just made it worse.

And so I’m feeling low.  Two weeks ago, I was 100% sure I would be able to finish.  Now I’m not so sure at all.

My kind of town

(Chicago is.)

Well, it would be if it wasn’t raining and 45 degrees and icky.  Nonetheless, I’ve returned to the motherland for a brief jaunt.

I woke up early.  I am not one of those bat-shit crazy bloggers that gets up at 4:30 for 20 mile runs.  Getting up at 6 for work is pushing it for me, and left to my own natural devices (like unemployment) I drift to a nice 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. sleep schedule.  Anyway,  I got up at 5 a.m., beautified myself, walked the dog, had a bowl of cereal and was out the door to catch my 6:50 a.m. flight.  Barf.

Although I am technically a business traveler, I refuse to understand that this means I have to be uncomfortable in lined wool suit pants on the plane.  I would much rather take 5 minutes to change in a public bathroom than feel icky while traveling.  Clearly:

Traveler tip: I always wear a long-sleeved zip up hoodie over a t-shirt on planes because they are either freezing cold or sweltering hot.  This way you’re prepared for both!

Upon landing at Midway, I knew I was home:

While rushing to get my luggage from baggage claim, I ate this Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana muffin that I made last night with a little almond butter.  I was not impressed with this recipe when I swiped a mini muffin right out of the oven last night, but they are quite good cold.  I think I may have overbaked the mini muffins a tidge, but the big ones were just right:

Except next time I make them I think I’ll add a little bit of applesauce or a bit more oil–they’re a little dry.

Anyway, after various rental car related delays, including one that had me crying on the side of the road to the Thrifty telephone operator (the car they gave me apparently likes to slip from “Drive” into first and second gear), I made it to my alma mater.  Awesome!  Here are some pictures.  I love this place so much.

This is where I worked for four years.  Oh, the memories:

Perhaps it’s silly, but Northwestern is a really emotionally fraught place for me to be.  I was a totally different person in college, and I view a lot of it wishing I’d been smarter.  In college, I was in a really bad relationship.  I was with a guy for two and a half years that I worshipped…but he didn’t worship me back.  He also had a policy of “brutal honesty” which included telling me things like “I’m embarrassed to be seen with you in a swimsuit next to my friends’ girlfriends who are all thin and in shape.”  Lovely.  It was exhausting.

BUT.  I do love the school.  I got an absolute top notch education that opens doors for me all the time, and I made great friends that I love dearly.  And now, I’m replacing all those awful memories with great ones because we’re going to be getting married there.  As soon as I’m out from under my piles and piles of student loan debt, I will be donating to them regularly!

After I was done with work, my mom and I got a pedicure!  I made sure they didn’t shave off my running calluses.

It smudged.  😦

Then I checked into my hotel:

Which I picked because they give you one of these at check in!

Chocolate chip cookies.  Warm.  I saved mine for later, though!  They are so good.

Then I went to dinner with my mom and sister.  YUM.  The place we went is also a famous bakery.  Of course I had to purchase a souvenir:

Who brings bread on a plane?  Yup, me.  It is pretzel bread and it is heavenly.  Honestly, it is taking a whole lot of self control to not open the bag right now and rip off a big piece to eat.  Nobody does food like Chicago!

Anyway, now I’m home from dinner and blogging from bed and watching Glee.  Tomorrow will be some likely uninteresting training for work, then a flight back home to KC.  I’ll be blogging late again, I predict.

And, sigh, no blog-nouncement today.  Soon!  I’m just as excited as you are.  (Okay, probably more.)

What’s your favorite city for food? Mine is definitely Chicago!  You can’t beat deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and Rainbow cones!

My (not-so) secret hobby

I love grocery shopping.

We go every two weeks for a big shopping trip, and I get so excited I start making the list a few days beforehand.  I clip coupons and prepare menus.  And when I’m there, I read labels and compare prices and calculate how much things cost per ounce.  My favorite time to go is late in the evening, when it’s almost empty and I can take my sweet time and nobody cares.  T used to go with me, but for his sanity now I just let him stay at home.

So, today I took pictures while I shopped!  My first stop is the produce department.  Today I got honeycrisp apples, bananas, Bartlett pears, carrots, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes:

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We shop at Super Target.  Our other options include Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, and Price Chopper.  Wal-Mart produce and meat isn’t very good in my experience, so that’s out.  Hy-Vee has a nice health food section and bar selection, but they’re far more expensive.  Price Chopper just seems kind of dirty and is a little bit more expensive.  Plus, I like that I can pick up non-grocery things at Target–today I bought two Champion running shirts!  It’s getting a little chilly here, and the temperature for my race next week is probably going to be in the 40s-low 50s.  I generally hate having fabric on my arms when I work out and only have tank tops, but I broke down and got a short sleeved shirt and long sleeved shirt with some mesh ventilation in them.  Hopefully I like them.  But anyway, back to grocery shopping–my cart’s full at this point!

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Close ups:

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At the check-out:

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And all packed up in the trunk.  I have a motley assortment of grocery bags, most of them freebies for various things (blood donations, attending a baseball game, charity walk) but they do the job.  Bonus: I get $.05 off my grocery bill for every bag I use:

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Here’s what we wound up getting today:

  • 4 honeycrisp apples
  • 4 bananas
  • 2 yams
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • cashews
  • Gatorade mix (I’m going to try drinking this on runs)
  • frozen green beans
  • 2 boxes of risotto
  • 1 pound lentils
  • contact lens solution
  • egg noodles
  • spaghetti sauce
  • crushed tomatoes
  • lasagna noodles
  • skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 pounds extra lean ground beef (on sale! I stocked up.)
  • 2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (ditto!)
  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 pound round steak
  • 1 loaf whole wheat bread
  • 1 loaf cinnamon swirl bread (not a usual buy, but I’ve been craving it)
  • multigrain bagels
  • 1.5 dozen eggs
  • cheese of various kinds (mozzarella, Mexican blend, string)
  • 1 gallon milk
  • orange juice
  • 2 large containers of yogurt
  • granola
  • laundry detergent (the cool new sheet kind! I’m excited)
  • ziploc bags
  • biscuit dough
  • beef broth
  • tomato paste
  • deli meat
  • frozen yogurt
  • Annie’s mac and cheese
  • teriyaki sauce
  • 2 running shirts

This stuff should last us roughly the next two weeks.  Sniff.

Bonus!  Check out my guest post on Susan’s blog, The Great Balancing Act, about some fitness-related things I’m thankful for!