Friday, November 30, 2012

November IG

Thought I'd share some IG pics. 

Discovered my IG was hacked by this girl, her smile and her cup of tea.

Poor kid. I just mug him every time. Who can blame me?

Ay Yi Yi! Our driveway. The mud. 

It was a little chilly one morn for a run. Just call me the pink ninja.

Giant puppy is what we call her. She's slowly getting back house privileges.   That makes at least two happy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Living History Farms, '12

This past Saturday was the 34th running of the Living History Farms Off Road Race. Our friends, Joe and Jacqui and their girls, came down for Joe to run with Bill and I. 
*note- If you want to run in this race, you have to sign up pretty much the night the registrations begin. Last year it was filled in 3 days. This year- 1 1/2 days!!*

*another note- Don't wait 'til the last minute to hit the toilet. With 7500 runners, there isn't enough time. If you are a guy- great, here's a tree. If you are a girl- hold it in. I guess you could squat, but I squat so infrequently that I decided not to test it out. *

*another, another note- If you really want to run the whole thing, not walk because the crowd won't let you run, start towards the front.*

On to the running. It was super gorgeous weather. Just slight wind, sunny and about 42 degrees. That is kind of cold for onlookers standing still- but just right for a good run without needing to shed layers.

The tunnel was not congested when Joe and I passed through, though some nice teens decided to stomp through the puddles ahead of us. Joe called it "roost". Soon after that, Joe and I split. I wanted to kill my time and Joe didn't want to be killed. Bill had blazed way ahead of us at the start, so now we were running singularly (if you can call 7,500 runners singularly).

Also running singularly was a buck in the field next to me. I saw it racing pass me, it's eyes orbs of terror. I don't know how to count the points on a buck's rack, but he was older-ish and I'm sure he considered that morning to be the worst morning of his life, short of actually being hunted. I kept going, but wondered how he and the crowd were going to work out.

The first creek crossing was fun. Last year, I had time to decide when and how I want to cross. This year, I just wanted to get across as fast a possible. So I chose a straight, steep line, which proved a little too steep for my 5'4" frame. After a few attempts, I got a boost from the rear (literally) from another runner and pulled/slightly dragged up from a runner on top. That's the only crossing that is a little difficult. The rest, you can pull yourself up with a rope or climb, etc. After the reaching the top of a couple crossing by almost climbing with my hands and crouched down body, it reminded me of my worst running dreams. The dreams where I literally can't run- but somehow I can crawl.

Five miles in, I spotted a portable. I decided I should empty my bladder. My time was good and if I stopped here I could press on full speed for the last two without worries of warming myself. Plus, there was no line! Guess what? When your heart rate is at about 75% max and you suddenly decide to stop, it takes a while for other functions to happen. That over and done with, I felt much lighter and pressed on. I caught up to the pack of jailbirds that I wanted to pass and kept up with the high school boys who dragged me up the creek bank. The only guy I couldn't keep up with was a swift-footed, smooth as butter barefoot runner. The sombrero donning, maraca carrying, poncho clad group made for a nice swish swish sound in cadence to our tromping and labored breathing.

Right here, I'll admit I had to stop again. This time because I had to catch my breath. I was so mad about it. I had to step to the side and suck in some big breaths because I couldn't focus, I couldn't pull myself together and I couldn't force myself up a hill that was the last hill before the home stretch. Next year, I WILL NOT STOP ON THAT HILL!! That's all I can do about it now. 

I looked a terrible, painful fright. Last year, I smiled for every camera I saw. This year, I hoped they never took my picture. I forgot to focus on my form when I got tired, though I did manage to tell myself to open up a little on the last hill, once I got going. The focus thing again, got me.

Despite two breaks of about 2 1/2 minutes, I stepped across the finish line with over a minute to spare from my goal time. I finished 28th in my age division, just a little over a minute from breaking the top 25 which was another goal of mine.

I grabbed some water, chocolate milk and a donut and directed my weary self back to the race course to find my cheering section. Thankful for Erin and Molly's coats, I wrapped my chilling body up in them and watched the costumed and non-costumed runners go past. 
After Joe and Bill returned from the car, we headed back up the hill to slurp down some beef stew and warm drinks. 

Here are some pics Audrey took. Unfortunately the white balance mode was off (she didn't know it) and so all the pictures have a blueish tint to them. Let's just call it artistic photography 'cause I'm really glad she came to the race and took pictures.

Mustard beat Bill

But not by much!! Bill in his lucky green shirt. No worries, I wash it in between races.

No one knew Sponge Bob had secret running abilities

Audrey's friend, Abby (in the white shirt) and her dad (in the hat) tearin' up the race course, as usual.

Those are the best legs I've ever seen on Dorothy. The flying monkey- wait- does Dorothy bring back one from Oz? Did he sneak in her basket with Toto? Is there are sequel to the story I don't know about? Is this the next Broadway musical? 

Me. I don't even look like I'm running. Should have been driving my knees forward. I guess I really was in one of my nightmares.
But when Luke saw this pic, he said I was the best. He's my favorite kid now.

I overheard him say "Pbth, Blh! Hombres, my mustache is in my mouth!"

Is green face paint more aerodynamic? 

Under his shirt and tie it should say Super Dad

How do the runners around him feel? A crab is beating me.

His sign says- Will run for stew. Whatever it takes, buddy.

Joe proving that the color of your legs, his being MN white, has nothing to do with performance. :)

You may want to seriously consider taking that costume off once you cross the finish line. Post-race runners are ravenous!

Was he really running or just pretending?

06 and 12 are the daughters of my friend, Tori!
Joe, me and Bill smiling much bigger post-race than pre-race!

This is my favorite runner in the whole wide world!

Come join us next year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shoebox Gifts

Drop them off
Cornerstone Church is available

or Find a location close to you

Do much with your little

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Council Bluffs Hare Scramble

We, meaning Bill and Ben, just finished the last hare scramble of the year. It was in Council Bluffs, a new course for us. It was another early morning, even the sun was still in bed.

This course was set against the MO river and we had a little hike to get to it. Ben's track ran through a section of woods and over a kid's motocross section.

 He's just a couple lengths behind the kid in first and race him hard. Both Ben and Max had to ride perfect- Ben to keep up and take advantage of any mistakes Max might make and Max to keep Ben just out of reach. 

My favorite action shot- the guy is serious!
In the end, Max kept the lead over Ben and they finished 1st and 2nd.
Love this shot here- Max and his dad, in the blue coat. Ben and Bill. Ben is worn out!!
 Ben, did you have a good time? The answer is yes. His smile is a worn out from racing smile.
 Also notice the little collar around his neck. That is a Leatt brace. It keeps riders' head from snapping too far forward or back in a collision. Expensive, but worth it. And believe me, we saw one 85 rider hit a hidden stump as he was in a flat out race with two other riders. He went AIRBORNE!! The kid's bike stopped dead, he was hurtled through the air in a cartwheel manner before landing. An instant exclamation of shock rifled through the crowd, half of us rushed forward a couple of steps and then most of the mama's pulled the rest of their babies close. The kid popped right back up, got on his bike and rode through the check point to have his lap count before calling it quits.

Bill's race got to run through some very sandy sections. It was tricky for most of the riders. Here's a sequence of pics I took during one of Bill's laps.

He made it through each time okay, going down only a few times. 
Also, notice new clothes for him. More importantly, not white pants for him! I kissed him for that!!
Bill had a great raced and finished 6th, just shy of an award, but we don't really care about that. We're more excited because Bill's now hanging at the top of his division. Next year- podiums, baby!! (Ok, I sort of care. I'm competitive. But now that the season is over, I've worked through it. :) )

We are definitely supporting Bill's work with all the Command Adhesive strips we are buying for this kid's walls. 

While watching Bill's race, this little flying contraption was set up next to us. It has a camera attached to the bottom of it!

I asked the guys what it was called and they said it didn't have a name. I was shocked. I told them, you always start with a name! Ok, well, maybe you don't always start with a name... It was run by two different remotes, handled by two guys. Haven't seen any pictures they took with it, but it was definitely cool. 

Even though the race season is over, the boys will still be riding as long as they can. And we already know the race schedule for next year. And we have to get Luke on his 50...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Abuse Instagram

That's right. 

I took a picture of this recipe and posted it to Instagram. I said that I love any recipe that calls for catsup because it reminds me of my grandma. That's what she would call it- "Catsup" with the emphasis on the "cat-sup". (I don't call my ketchup catsup; it's ketchup.)

My 14 year old daughter noticed me doing so and exclaimed I shouldn't do take that picture- it was abusing Instagram!!

To which I remarked that taking a picture of a one's self beside a telephone booth must not be abusing IG. 

"No", she said, "because I was re-creating a picture!"

So the moral of this story is that if you take a picture that reminds you of something nostalgic, such as the way your grandmother said catsup, and not of something current, such as the latest boy band infatuation, you are probably abusing Instagram. 

You would know this if you had a teen in your home.

Here, you can borrow mine. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mangoes and Sweet Potatoes

Two/Three recipes are up for today's Pinterest Test Kitchen

Mango Habanero Chicken Simmer
source: via Pinterest
First off is Macheesmo's Mango Habanero Chicken Simmer. I know, it's a mouthful. I affectionately labeled it spicy mango love on my Tastes Like... board. Little did I know what was in store for me.

I collected the listed ingredients and chose to go with boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of a whole cut-up chicken. Then I cut up ingredients, including three mangoes. Oh, mangoes, how I love thee. Fragrant, juicy, succulent... mmMMM! I said a little prayer for all those who don't like mangoes. 

Once everything was cut and chopped and prepped, I started the onions and peppers, per instructions. Leaned over the saucepan to get a whiff of onions cooking, mmm..., grabbed the habaneros and dumped them in, let them soften a bit before taking another sniff, "Ohmygosh, I think I just burnt my nose hairs!" 

*Confession: I've never used habanero peppers before. I know they are hotter than jalapeƱos, which I've used plenty (stick them on an It. sausage pizza- pound your fist awesome!), but how much hotter? No clue.*

From here on out, I was a little worried. The kids will eat a little bit of heat but not much before they declare that it "spices their mouth". I added the jewels of chopped up mango, praying again that those who love mango would also love the union of sweetness and fire. I was banking on two things. One being that my kids don't like sauce, so they'll only have to eat what clings to the chicken after its been cut. Two, I'm also serving rice, which they'll pile up high on their plate and blanket in brown sugar- Chicken? What chicken?
Dinner's served. Kids/hubby? No complaints but no "Please pass the spicy mango love concoction" either. Me? It was definitely hotter than what I normally make and I had to wipe my nose a few times, but I couldn't stop eating it. Later, I paid for my love with heartburn that kept me up in the middle of the night.

Macheesmo's recipe calls for 5 habanero peppers and in the side note he says he'd do more next time. Dude probably doesn't have a stomach lining anymore. But then again, I'm pretty much a wimp when it comes to heat in my food. At the bottom where the recipe is sourced from-!!!

My advice? Make it- just go easy on the habaneros unless you know what you're getting into. 

Next up is another recipe. I have craft projects pinned. I have craft supplies purchased. I'm just using my crafting time making signs or other things. But we always have to eat.

Martha Stewart's Sweet Potato Biscuits made with Sweet Potato Puree
source: via Pinterest
*Confession: I have over ten years of Martha Stewart Living magazines on my shelves. My mom bought me a subscription every year for Christmas. I read every single one and I've made plenty of recipe and crafts from those magazines. Don't hate Martha.*

Ok, simple enough. Make a biscuit dough, which is like scone dough and add in pureed sweet potatoes. Wait a sec, sweet potato puree. Where? How? Oh, peel and boil some sweet potatoes until soft, drain, throw in food processor and puree. Easy. And truly, it was easy.

*Hint- Sweet potatoes are a pain to chop! Use a cheese knife. I know, weird, but it really works. Thank you Iowa State Fair Cutco Demonstrator!*

Like I said, biscuit dough is like scone dough, which I make a hundred times a year. Flour and whatnot with butter cut in and then liquid stirred in. Couldn't be easier. I read in the comments of the biscuit recipe that the dough gets pretty sticky with the sweet potato puree added. Great. Who wants to then wrestle with more flour, a rolling pin and hope for a light flaky biscuit in the end? So I pulled out a trick from a recipe I picked up a long time ago and made them that way. I followed the directions up to the rolling and cutting. At that point, I dumped the biscuit dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, kneaded it just a little to get the dough formed together a bit more, sprayed a rubber spatula with cooking spray and patted the dough out into a rectangle square rectangular-ish shape. Then I cut biscuit sized squares, ah, you get the point, through the dough, shoved it in the over and declared myself the winner. Sort of like when 'i cut scone dough, except I didn't pull the pieces apart and then bake. I just left it altogether.

Dinner's served: Served alongside a crockpot full of sausage and beans (kids choked it down), the Sweet Potato Biscuits, or as Luke called them, scones, were a hit. (And not just because the only other thing to eat was sausage and beans.)

Verdict: Totally make them. Go the whole distance and get yourself some fresh sweet potatoes and puree them. You won't be sad.

I'm linking up with Keeping Up With the Johnson's again for another month of Pinterest Test Kitchen. Join us.