"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mouth- Watering Crock Pot Pot Roast

I really just wanted to type pot pot to see if anyone thought it was a typo. Ha ha.

I have to apologize in advance- I got so busy around dinner time that I forgot to take an "after" photo of the Pot Roast all served up on the plate!! But rest assured, it is delicious and will get rave reviews from your people!

PLEASE don't tell Wade that this recipe contains Cream of Mushroom soup!! He loathes mushrooms, yet loves this roast. (It makes me sad that I am the only mushroom lover in the house. Here is what I don't get- the boys will eat CANDY CORN for Pete's sake, but not mushrooms!! Seriously??!)

Here's what you need:
  • Potatoes (either a small bag of red potatoes, or 3-4 baking potatoes peeled and cubed)
  • Carrots (I used a small bag of baby carrots
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup (shhhhhhhh)
  • 2/3 soup can of milk
  • 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup mix
  • pot roast- I've used all different cuts, between 2.5-5 lbs. 
  • a handful of rosemary sprigs (optional, but good)

Throw the potatoes and carrots in the bottom of the crock pot. Plop the frozen meat-sicle on top. You can also use a thawed roast. I usually put mine in frozen, but I have put a thawed roast in and it works just fine!

Mix up the mushroom soup, milk, and onion soup. Pour over the top of  the meat.

Throw the rosemary sprigs in... and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

P.S....... when your dad gives you a roast from his side of beef, make sure there aren't little strings tied around the roast. Because those strings are not delicious. That is all.

I got this recipe from www.allrecipes.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Iced Pumpkin Cookies (...or, I am declaring FALL in 90 degree weather..)

This has been a crazy week!

My truck hates me.

I don't know why it hates me- I love my truck! But alas, it does, indeed, hate me. It keeps refusing to start, got a flat tire..... battery went dead....

It makes me crazy when things don't work! Anything..... electronics, my phone, a plan...... are you that way too??!

Anyhow, on top of the craziness, there is some distinctly anti-Fall weather going on. I bought a few things to do some Fall baking, and was waiting and waiting for the season to assert itself....waiting in vain.

So, here are the cookies that scream "FALL"..... even though it was 85 degrees out today!

These cookies remind me of the awesome pumpkin scones from Starbucks. I love those. They are so awful for you nutritionally, but I crave them sometimes after a long run. And I figure, what the heck, it's pumpkin, right?? It has to be good for you somehow!!

Here's what you need:
For the dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I omitted this. Not a fan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the icing:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk (I subbed 1 Tb maple syrup for one Tb of the milk)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the butter, white sugar, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Look at that dough! Isn't it pretty?? All thick and orange....mmmmmm.....

Drop by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam, and bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated 350 oven. Cool on a rack.

Then whisk together the icing ingredients and spread onto the cooled cookies. If you are frugal with the icing, there will be enough for you to eat out of the bowl later. I highly recommend this method. It made me happy.

See?? These declare Fall, and are far more palatable than candy corn. Candy corn is so gross. Don't eat any. Eat these cookies instead.

I got this recipe from www.allrecipes.com

~BLT sandwiches made with turkey bacon
~pumpkin cookies (duh) :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Long Beach Half Marathon Race Report

This last Sunday, I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon!  It was my first time doing this race, and it was on my schedule as part of my training for Tucson.

My friend Chris and I went down to the expo on Friday to pick up our race packets. So we got our bibs, timing chips, and race tee shirts. The shirts are a nice, short-sleeved tech shirt. Pretty cool.

We (Myself, Chris, and Karen- who is Chris' wife and my good friend) drove down Saturday night and stayed at a hotel near the start. I have heard from a bunch of people that this race is notorious for being a zoo, traffic-wise, race morning. We had dinner and hit the sack.

Sunday morning came, and it was beautiful. The start line was fairly well-organized, there were pacers denoting which runners should be at that point in the pack. This is a huge race, there were thousands of people. (A quick side note- if you are doing this race and tend to need the port-o-potty beforehand, get there early. The lines were atrocious.) The sky was gorgeous! It is a really pretty area, right by the Aquarium of the Pacific, tons of palm trees and a view of the bay.

Chris and I jogged to the start from the hotel, then stretched out. This was my first time to warm up for a race. Since I was running this race for time,(I generally tend to run more for the experience, take photos along the way etc. Training to try and qualify for Boston has been very different!) I followed all of Chris' advice. He is an excellent, experienced runner. So when he said to warm up, I did it!

Start lines in general tend to annoy me - the blaring announcer, the loud music......this was pretty much par for the course. As a very happy surprise, I found some friends at the start line! Isabel, Flint, and Eric, who are folks that I have run with many times. It was nice to be able to chit chat while waiting for the start.

Miles 1-4 sort of flew by, taking in all the people, getting warm, finding a rhythm. I tried to stay with a pacer, but he kept speeding up and slowing down too much for my taste. This race is quite crowded, and you have to weave through quite a few people at the beginning.

Around mile 5 you run on the boardwalk. There is a beautiful view or the Queen Mary with some water fountains shooting up around her. I do have to admit, I really regret not taking a picture of that. It was gorgeous. But I tried to remind myself that taking photos was not my goal for the day.

As the next few miles progress, you run on the beach on a sidewalk/bike trail that is very narrow. This was a bit tough, because you again had to pick your way through the crowd. One REALLY great part on this trail, however, was seeing Karen at mile 7!! I saw her from quite a way off and it was so motivating to have her there cheering!

You get off the bike trail around mile 9. At this point, I was getting tired. I know Long Beach is touted as a flat course but I felt like there were still small rolling hills, and uphills at the end. When I hit mile 10, it is a substantial uphill. I really had to push to maintain my pace. It seemed like the course remained mostly uphill until around mile 12.5 or so. There was a guy at mile 12 with a sign that said, "it is all downhill from here!" I was thinking, "yeah buddy, I've heard THAT one before......"

Miles 10-13 were very much a mental challenge for me. I know 3 miles seems like a short distance, but I had to constantly talk myself out of letting my pace dip down. Right before mile 13, the course veers to the left and you finish on a nice, solid downhill. I could see Karen at the side of the course right before the finish, and it was a great feeling knowing I could stop running soon!

The finish area was typical......they herd you through the finish line, give you your medal, offer a finish photo with the race backdrop......etc. They had some NASTY coconut water at the finish....ugh!! I was thrilled that Karen had a Coke waiting for me, I had gotten nauseated the last mile and it settled my stomach.

Overall I think this is a good race, the aid stations seemed well-stocked, the shirts and medals were nice, the start and finish seemed organized. I didn't feel like it was a super easy course, but that could be because I tend to prefer a hilly course to a flat one. I think the weather was nice, maybe a bit warm at the end but pretty.

Next up on the race calendar..... Nike Women's Marathon!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crock Pot Apple Butter

When we bought our house last year, we had to do a TON of work on the inside. We have started fixing up the yard, which, happily, houses several fruit trees! One of the trees is loaded with apples! Yummy, crispy, tart-sweet ones. (Yes, I know that's probably not the actual variety, but it IS descriptive!)

So I decided on Monday to make some homemade Apple Butter!!

If you have never tried Apple Butter (Wade tried a teeny tiny bit last night, but the idea of it grosses him out. He is weird.) it tastes SO good!! I had mine on a thick slice of homemade bread...... (OK, on TWO slices of homemade bread. I was HUNGRY!)

I put my Apple Butter into these Ziploc container thingys. I have no desire to can things. Please don't try and convince me to try canning. It's like sewing. I just don't want to.

It is ridiculously easy to make this delicious stuff. First, take 5 1/2 pounds of apples- I had to weigh mine on our scale, so first I weighed myself, then held the bag of apples and weighed again. 

Peel, core, and slice them, and throw them in the crock pot. If you are a lucky duck like me, you have one of these awesome apple slicer machine things. They rock!!

Then mix in 2 cups of white sugar, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. salt. You can add 1/4 tsp. ground cloves if you'd like. I am not a huge fan, so I didn't. Also, the original recipe called for 4 cups sugar, but I cut it in half and used 2 and it was PLENTY sweet!!

Cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low and cook for about 9 hours, stirring occasionally. I used my potato smasher thing to squish the apples as they cooked. After the Apple Butter gets reduced by about half and turns brown, remove the lid and continue cooking for an hour, stirring more frequently. Watch that it doesn't burn at this point. 

I made it smooth by smashing it up with my potato smasher- you could also use a fork or the back of a large serving spoon. Just BE CAREFUL- it gets super hot and if it splatters on you it isn't very nice. Don't ask how I know.

I turned the crock pot off and let the Apple Butter cool, then spooned it into containers. I am quite sure (If such things interest you) you could can the Apple Butter at this point.


I adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10/3 Baking Day- Photos and Recipes

What a whirlwind weekend!!

Wade and I took a road trip to St. George, Utah, to watch some friends race in the St. George marathon! It was sort of a turn-around trip- we were there for about 24 hours. It was REALLY fun.

There's always that catch up day, where you have to clean up, do laundry, chores, etc. That came yesterday. Along with baking day. It was a crazy day. ....but it was redeemed by a GREAT run in cloudy weather, with a tiny hint of sprinkles... perfect.

Here's what I made!

I made a batch of Quinoa and Black Beans to have for lunches this week. I LOVE having containers of this all ready to go! It keeps me from eating Kraft Mac and Cheese. 

Sliced and froze some bananas- for my never ending smoothie obsession.....

I made a double batch of Soft Chewy Wrap Breads, because normally when I make a single batch, they're gone by the next day! Hopefully these will last a bit longer!!

I made some chocolate chip cookie bars. Basically, make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, spread it into a greased 9x13 pan, and bake it until the top is just lightly golden, about 25 minutes, at 350. Delish for lunch boxes.

Ok. This stuff is AWESOME!! I made some crock pot apple butter, from the fresh apples off my tree!! I will post the recipe this week- it was SUPER easy and it is SO yummy!!!!!!!!!

I made two loaves of Amish White Bread- to go with the apple butter! And for the Turkey BLT sandwiches that I have on the menu for this week!

I made a batch of Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. One went into the freezer for a later dinner, one I made last night into this:

BBQ Chicken Pizza- So tasty!! There's one slice left over, we'll have to fight over it for lunch today!!

Have a great day!