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Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Morning Surprise

Look what I got!  How exciting and what a wonderful surprise.  My wonderful blog friend Tracy at It's An Average Life sent me my first ever Blog Award.  So in keeping with the directions, and in order to keep my crown, I'm giving a shout out to her blog It's An Average Life, award this to ten other blogs that I love, and notify them of their award.

So here are the blogs I've picked for the One Lovely Blog Award:

I'll keep working on being  lovely, and continue to enjoy reading blogs and posting my blossoming life!  

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Hips Are My Weakness

No, it doesn't mean that everything I eat goes right to my hips.  Everything actually goes to my gut!  Anyway, I've gone to physical therapy a few times to help with my leg and I'm learning a lot.  I'm learning that my hamstring was injured because my hips are sadly out of shape.  Not only are they very weak muscle-wise, but it causes me to dip my pelvis and run with a jerky gait.  This made other muscles work harder, and boom!  Pain in the hamstring.  

So, I'm learning new stretches, and most importantly, how to strengthen my hip muscles.  So, no running until my hamstring heals (already feeling much better) and my hips are stronger.  Wow.  I realize now how important weights and strength training are going to be for me the rest of my life.  I am looking forward to seeing how my running differs from the past year when I am in shape again and everything is strong!  I will never train for another race again without incorporating strength training every week.  The two go hand in hand, and make the running enjoyable.  I know this, but this past year I must say I ignored what I knew and just ran with hardly any weight work at the Y.  I think I felt overwhelmed with the running, and just couldn't bring myself to do any more work out stuff than that. 

I am also learning the cruel joke that is Mother Nature:  even if you never have children, your boobs droop, you get stretch marks, and you have trouble with your hips!  Dang it!  And, if you don't use it, you definitely lose it.  Lesson learned!

On a happy note, I did manage to enjoy a bike ride/walk with C-Joy on Saturday.  We got caught in the rain the last few miles, and ended up soaked, but I enjoyed the time spent with C-Joy.  I rode my bike for about 4-5 miles, and walked the rest of the 12 mile goal.  Now we've walked in the rain, we're prepared for inclement weather at the Des Moines Half Marathon.  I'm pretty sure it will be cool, unless we get a freak heat-wave.  It's been know to happen!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Night With the Family

Two of my nephews feeling no pain and definitely not being reserved!

Saturday my niece got married.  Having a lot of brothers and sisters is one of the best things ever, but it means we don't always get to see each other, even though most of us live within 30 minutes of each other.  This was a great opportunity to see my nieces and nephews, who live here, there, and everywhere.  It was much easier when they were little!  Bud and I had a lovely evening; Bud was in high spirits and what can I say?  After eight years together, he can still surprise me.  I'll just leave it at that.  Here are some picts from the evening:
Me and my niece, Amber.  A brilliant woman--takes after her Aunt!

My niece Kelli and I at the church.  It was rainy and chilly--
so thankful for the warm red shawl!

The beautiful flowers before Bud got a hold of them.

The gorgeous bride with all her Aunties--I'm in the grey dress.  Can you tell it's an open bar?

Bud decided that a flower in his ear completed his look.  He had a good time
at the reception and promptly feel asleep as soon as he hit the bed.
My sister with two more of our nieces, Hannah & Laura

My lil' peanut, Cole, busting a rug--this kid can dance!

I have learned one thing about Bud:  apparently, bubbles are not safe around him.  My niece had little bubble favors for everyone to blow as they came out of the church.  Bud decided he enjoyed it so much, he continued randomly blowing bubbles during the reception, at breakfast the next morning, and at the mall.  I must confess, it was hilarious to see little kids running behind him at the mall  chasing  bubbles.  I  think I know what to get him for Christmas--a big bottle of bubble fun!  I like bubbles of a different kind--the kind found in champers, of course.

So another child all grown up and married.  It is strange to see my brothers and sisters as "parents of the bride/groom".  And two are already grandparents.  I will continue to enjoy all their offspring as they grow up, get married, and start their lives as adults.  But, I will always remember them as the sweet little kids they were.  And, of course, keep reminding them that I am their "favorite Auntie in the whole wide world!" Man, an Auntie's work is never done :)  Now I must go recover.   Nighty night!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Holy Bechamel Sauce, Batman!

Tonight I was, again, a single girl.  Bud was hunting, so no Friday night on the couch with my sweetie.  I have eaten absolute junk all week; fast food, bad salads, tons of cheese (thanks Eva!) and nothing good and hearty.  So, with my plans for the evening needing a tune-up, I decided I was going to make something I haven't made in a while:  Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.  It is probably my favorite meal.   I always requested it  for my birthday supper as a kid, along with chocolate cake with chocolate frosting ( and not the stuff in a can!).  I must confess, I  always made it like my Mom made it, which kinda looked sad.  It tasted great, but visually was a mess.  She didn't make a sauce, just tossed flour, pats of butter, and S&P in with the layers of potatoes and ham. And no cheese at all--a crime against humanity! Then poured milk on it, stuck it in the oven, and baked it.   I loved it, and would eat until I was sweating potatoes.  (this is painful, by the way.)

Enter the bechamel.  I got a bug up my rear and decided I was going to make a bechamel sauce, toss in some cheese, and construct the all new Ms. Caboo version of Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.  Did I need to please anyone else?  Heck no.  Free reign for me in the kitchen.
The Mighty Bechamel Sauce

After a quick look at the internet for a recipe, I constructed my sauce.  Looked good.  Added some nutmeg and a little salt, and stirred until it was good and thick.  Too much cheese last night?  Oh no.  More cheese needed today!  I added about 2 cups of shredded swiss cheese and dumped in some shredded parmesan and stirred til it looked smooth.  I layered my sliced yukon gold potatoes,  ham, and sauce until the baking dish was full.  Popped it into the oven for about 70 minutes--I think.   I forgot how long I had it in; 45 minutes didn't cook the taters in the middle, so I stuck it back in for another 20 minutes and upped the temp to 400 degrees.  Soon, it was bubbling merrily away, browning nicely.  And most importantly, it SMELLED the way it should!  

So can I tell you how fan-flippin'-tastic it tasted?  Hot and bubbly, with just enough cheese to make it taste even better.  Oh my gosh, what I have been missing all these years not making this dish this way.  The bechamel sauce isn't on my Cooking Bucket List, but I have conquered it anyway and the sky is the limit!  Hollandaise--holly who?  Not afraid of you!

Leftovers are in  the fridge; my tummy is full.  A great meal for a cool fall night, knowing I don't have to work tomorrow morning.  A side of roasted broccoli kept the casserole from being too much.    Here's to trying something new in the kitchen on a random night.  Most times I just eat the disaster I create, but tonight it was simply divine--happy happy girl!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Just One of Those Weeks

Looks Like A Great Place To Be!
We all have those weeks where they seem endless, full of stress, and not so much fun.  This is one for me.  I'd love to be sitting in that chair for the whole week, inhaling some lavender and being peaceful.  I think it's time to work on a 40 day mantra to clear out the messies that seem to be surrounding me!  

Yesterday was my day off.  I had a hair appointment, some errands to run, and a plan to make a lovely dinner for Bud and I.  It was a busy weekend, and I was looking forward to seeing Bud and relaxing.  Well, the brakes on my truck weren't working very well, and I  came thisclose to having an accident.  Freaked out, I drove to Bud's shop, where in tears, I told him there was something wrong with my brakes!  Ok, so we'll bleed the lines.  Ok.  Maybe not so easy.  Bud dropped what he was doing (running a business!) to work on my truck, while I called my hair dresser and rescheduled my appointment.  An hour later, the brakes were still not cooperating, and Bud loaned me one of his trucks to drive.  Both of us were very frustrated, and I could see the day was just not going to cooperate!  And I felt horrible making more work for Bud.  This seems to happen a lot lately.

I finally caved and went to see my doctor about my leg.  Yes indeed, I did injure my hamstring, and  yes, I should forget about running or even  walking my half marathon on Oct. 17th.  Set up an appointment for today to go to a physical therapist to learn some new stretching for my leg, and find out exactly what kind of exercises I can do.  I made it all day until yesterday evening without losing my cool and crying over it.  But, it's kinda hard to keep crying when you're in a car wash watching your boyfriend lie on the concrete blasting the brake fluid from the undercarriage of your truck!  And Bud is quick to say "It will be ok, just take it easy for awhile."  

After going to my hair stylist, I returned a few items at the store, and realized I had forgotten to tip Sara. I was horrified, and will fix this ASAP.  Picking up some dinner for Bud, I drove back to his shop, where he was working on my truck.  Now it's 7pm, and the night is done.  It appears the brake part Bud had replaced earlier was defective, and after much effort, the new part put in, the brakes bled again, and test driving the  truck, it looks like we're back in business.  A quick kiss to Bud, and an assurance he was leaving work to go home, and I drove home.  I had washed my bed pillows earlier in the day, and after two runs through the drier, they were still damp!  I took them out, put in my sheets, and waited for them to dry.  I was a bit too impatient, and took them out, walked upstairs, and realized they were still damp.  Deep breath.  I found a clean sheet in my closet, said F*** it, and went to bed.  

So today is a do-over.  I have to work, and go to my physical therapy, and probably won't see Bud tonight.  My sheets are still damp, and it's very gloomy outside.  So, that lovely picture is keeping me calm.  I think when I get home tonight, I will take a lavender scented bath and have a glass of wine, along with a caprese salad.  That will keep me going all day.  I have some time off next week, and besides starting the opus Wolf Hall, I'll be taking care of some Fall clean up.  Scrubbing my kitchen floor seems like a good stress reliever!

Sometimes, we just have one of those weeks.  I'm looking forward to Saturday, seeing all my family, and spending a night with Bud away from home.  Relax?  Hope so!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review: Georgia's Kitchen

I know, I usually review books on my other blog: bookalicious babe, but I couldn't help but share this one with everyone!  Here's my review on Barnes and

A Yummy Food Lover's Novel

Reader Rating 4 starsSee Detailed Ratings

Posted 09/21/10: Georgia's Kitchen is a great read for anyone who loves novels that combine the worlds of food and fiction. Georgia is a woman I think many of us can relate to--you think you've got it all, then find out maybe it's not what it appeared to be. So what do you do? Go out and reinvent your life! All of the characters are fully developed, the descriptions of the food are delicious, and anyone who has ever wanted to go to Italy will devour this book in one gulp. I couldn't put it down. Perfect for reading groups who like to concentrate on food-themed books. The book includes questions for discussion and a chat with the author. It's going on my Staff Recommends at my B&N pronto!

So what more can I say?  Poor Georgia.  Working for a lousy lothario has gotten her unemployed and humiliated in the cooking world of New York City. She moves to Italy for the summer, working at a friend's new trattoria near Florence.  Time to think, time to plan, time to have a smoochy smoochy with a gorgeous Italian wine maker.  I adored everything about this novel, and hope author Jenny Nelson continues Georgia's story soon!  A new author I will look forward to reading again--just hurry up and write!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Day for Pretty Pictures--Just Because

I feel like showing pictures today, so enjoy!

Pretty in Pink

Robust Lilies

A lovely butterfly

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dress Update

I got my dress!  Yeah!!  And, it's boyfriend approved.  And I got shoes, too.  Phew.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Miss My Running!

Seriously, this is really bumming me out!  I haven't run for almost two weeks.  I didn't realize that I ran some miles every week pretty much all year.   In the winter, it's the treadmill at the Y.  As soon as the snow melts, and it hits 45-50 degrees outside, I'm out running, breathing in that sharp cold air.  It feels so good to get outside after a long winter.  Not a lot of miles, but even just a few make me feel better.  I delude myself into thinking  I'm pushing back Mother Nature's time machine!

I checked out some hamstring injury websites, and all said the same thing:  it takes time.  Sometimes, 6+ weeks.  Well dammit.  My half marathon is in 4 weeks.  Keeping off the leg, and not doing anything strenuous was the overwhelming advice.  Gentle stretching.  No lunges, crazy weight lifting, or anything that could set back the healing process.  Easy biking, swimming, and stretching.  The Y has started new Spinning classes, and I would love to try one next week, but I'm a little hesitant.  Does anyone have any advice?  Should I wait longer?  I've decided to wait another week before trying a gentle jog.  Been stretching with the towel, and I can feel the difference in my right and left legs; namely, my right leg doesn't hurt, and my left does!  I also found my receipt for my latest pair of running shoes, and saw the date:  March 31st.  Whoa!  I think it's time for a new pair.

My wish for a Garmin Forerunner 110 has been put on hold.  Without running much at all, and cold weather approaching, I really won't need it until the Spring.  More time to save that cash!  It will be something to look forward to after--let's all pray-- a mild winter.

So for all my fellow runners, keep running!   All the running blogs I follow have amazing runners, and people who are setting goals and breaking through every week.  I'm thrilled for all of you.  And my friend C-Joy, who is training to walk her first half-marathon; I am so proud of her and her recent 10 mile walk.  Looking foward to Des Moines next month, no matter if I hobble, walk, or trot to the finish line.  We'll have pictures to share!

Here's a pretty picture to keep  us all cheery!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dress Shopping--Where Have All The Dresses Gone?

My niece's wedding is next weekend, and after trying on the two dresses I have (haven't worn a dress since the last family wedding two years ago), I realized they just didn't fit.  Either my boobs got bigger, or really, I just gained more weight.  Or both.  So, off to the mall to find a new dress.  This is what I found when I could locate a dress section in a store:

Too matronly--I am not feeling it!

Over the Top
Quite frankly, I was astounded at the lack of decent dresses available.   I did try on a few, but nothing looked good on me at all!  I must confess, I am not in the know when it comes to dress fashion, but really, it seems they are either too tight and short, or made for retirees.  Where are the dresses for women in the middle?  Women who don't have a perfectly thin figure, have boobs, and a bit of a tummy?  I'd love to wow Bud, but I'm having a hard time finding anything that will "wow" me.  

This is what I'm looking for:

Talking to Bud last night, he also is having a wardrobe issue--this is a man who lives and works in jeans and dark blue t-shirts.  He hasn't worn anything requiring a tie for years.  I think  a trip to the bigger mall down the interstate may be required.  I did find a grey skirt that I liked, and I bought it, thinking I have to go back and find a cute top to wear, and black heeled boots to wear with it.  My idea of spending money only on a new pair of heels (no, I don't even have a pair of heels)  has disappeared, as I realize I will have to go new head to toe!

It is my luck that I met and fell in love with a man who prefers me dressed in casual gear, not dripping in perfume, and says I look more beautiful without makeup than other women who slather it on.  But I still want to look like a woman who made an attempt to look feminine for once.  I can't wear running shorts and sneakers!  Wish me luck in the great dress hunt.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hey! Hamstring Still Hurts! A Craptastic Attempt To Run

I'm normally a middle of the road person--optimistic sometimes, pessimistic others.  Not really leaning towards one or the other.  I'm beginning to think the positive thinking thing is working against me, dammit!  I had silly "positive reinforcement" images in my head all morning, as I looked outside at the beautiful morning and planned on giving running another try.  It's been a week, and the leg feels better, but not 100%.

I drove to the park, and walked about 3/10 of a mile, hoping to warm up my legs.  Then I began to jog.  Bad idea.  The leg immediately seized up, and memories of the half marathon pain came flooding back.  But, I wasn't ready to quit.  I started walking again, stopped to stretch my legs, and kept trying to run a bit.  I looked like a lumbering gimpy cow!  The only positive things were  the warm weather and listening to my Ipod tunes that I haven't listened to for the past week.  I was pissed.  So, I kept walking and attempting to run short distances, thinking "surely this will get better!"

I made it three miles before I realized the hamstring wasn't going to stretch out and be comfy, and quite frankly, I was tired of the pain in my leg.  I would have liked to continue, cause I was hitting all my favorite songs on the Ipod, and I didn't want to stop listening.    But,  I stopped, called Bud, and reported my results.  I'm going to wait another week to try running again, and hope it's healed by then.  I will go to the gym and try the elliptical, and ride my bike.  We'll see how it goes.  I can't just not do any exercise; I already feel like a schlump.  I think my cravings for Ho-Ho's and no exercise are directly related.  The less I exercise, the more I want those delicious little treats.  And I know where to get them at about 5 different locations within moments of my house.

I did come home and spend about 15  minutes pulling weeds and picking up sticks in my back yard, so that helped with the angst and I got some tasks done.  When I mow, I won't have to spend any time before hand picking up the yard.  There are still lots of weeds, but not as many as before!  And, tomato  plants are now in the Yardy, ready to become compost.  I picked quite a few seeds off my Morning Glory vines, and bagged them up to try planting next year.  I'm going to be very unforgiving and mow down most of the garden, too.   A hot summer, a back yard full of construction, and no time from me made this year's garden my most disappointing.  I will sing songs to the plants and apologize profusely as I whack 'em down.  I promise next year to do better, and I'm already thinking about what I want to plant next spring.  Does Hostess sell Ho-Ho plants?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Plans for the Week Ahead--Probably Won't Stay This Way!

Flowers from my garden taken through a kaleidoscope 
Well, C-Joy in all her motherhood "got it togetherness" has already begun getting organized for the holidays.  Alas, with no child, or husband, I find my getting organized for the upcoming holidays less stressful than she has it.    Although, as one of those lucky retail managers C-Joy mentions, it means working 6 days a week and being exhausted and decidedly non-holidayish.  But, her blog has started me thinking about what I can do now, before the craziness begins, to keep the house and yard from becoming a ginormous mess.  It's amazing what one person can do to a house!

I am already finding some things hard to plan for, since Bud has begun his deer hunting season, and my schedule at work now includes working mid-shifts.  Both can play havoc with planning dinner, a night with friends, time with Bud,  or even my beloved and oh-so-necessary reading time.  Did I mention running?  Still have that half-marathon yet to go in October, and a family wedding weekend at the end of this month.

So starting tomorrow (working 11-7:30 today-uggh), I am making a list of must do this week stuff.  Top of the list:  mowing the yard.  I think it's been two weeks.  Luckily, the cooler weather has slowed down the rate of growth for the grass.  I'm also going to tackle some yard clean up--cutting down dead flowers and attempting to clean up the garage.  I think a bike ride will be in order, too.  And, dare I say, a trial run?  The leg still twinges, so I'm going to take it slow and with no hills.  Having fellow co-workers who also run, but have not this past week, has kinda made me forget a bit about it.  I think that's probably a good thing for my mental game!  Still working on getting all the books in my house up and on bookshelves.  It's harder than I thought.  And maybe, just maybe, a trial run at a cheese souffle this week.

Have a grand week everyone!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mother Nature's Sleeping Pill

I have books jumping through my head
It appears we went directly from the unbearable heat and humidity to perfectly warm days and cool nights.  These cool nights are wonderful!  I found myself falling asleep at 8:30 last night, and just couldn't get myself off the couch and into bed--my bed being about 10 feet from my living room couch.  It was just too darn far; I was all comfy sitting on the couch wrapped up in a quilt.  Knowing bed would be much more comfortable wasn't motivation enough for a good long time. 

After coaxing myself into bed, I settled down to read.  I think I made it two pages in, before I realized I was holding the book and not reading it, but closing my eyes and making up the story in my head.  Ok, ok.  Go to sleep.  This does play havoc with my reading schedule.  It's taking me longer to read, since I fall asleep much quicker than usual.  Making up the story in my head as I fall asleep doesn't count.

I love this time of year.  I really do get the best sleep of the year for a few short months.  The only problem is, waking up in the morning.  Mother Nature's sleeping pill works so wonderfully well, I can't get up when I have to.  More coffee!!

How about you?  The days are getting shorter, and the nights are cooler.  I think our Fall will be short-lived.  Time to get out the sweatshirts and jeans.  I'm already thinking about making pumpkin bread, soup, and lasagna.  Get out the cookbooks now and start marking pages.  I feel a comfort food craving comin' on!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mental and Physical Update!

It's been a few days since my disastrous half-marathon, and today's another day off.  Yesterday I made it through about 2 hours of work before I threw in the towel and came home.  We have a large store, and for the first hour, I was "on duty", which meant every five minutes I was being paged to the cashwrap.  It played havoc with my leg, and limping around was making it worse.  It didn't help that the only ibuprofen I have at home expired last September--oops.   I took some anyway yesterday morning, and I'm still alive, so phew.  But it proved highly ineffective, so I stopped and got some that wasn't expired and came home to my purple couch island, coffee, and sweatpants.   

First order of business:  Ice pack on the back leg.  It felt soooo good.  Next:  food and ibuprofen.  After that:  reading a book, and finally taking a nap to make up for the sleepless night I had before.  I was on my couch island for pretty much the rest of the day and night.  My leg was continuing to give me occasional charlie horse twitches, but the ibuprofen certainly took the edge off of it.  I don't know how runners put up with these injuries all the time.  They are just downright irritating!  Oh grasshopper, you must have patience.  

Last night I finally slept most of the night!  Although I did wake up at 4 AM  (this seems to be a pattern lately).  I keep expecting to see some strange phenomenon standing at the edge of my bed (shades of Amityville Horror!) so I read some more.  Hey, I'm getting my reading done!

I felt better this morning; my hamstring is still sore, but much improved over yesterday.  As long as I don't make any sudden movements, I can hobble around more gracefully than yesterday.  It's a beautiful day, although a bit windy.  I would love to mow my yard, but the sidewalk dudes are in my  back yard (yes, it's STILL not done) and I am not up to being stared at whilst I mow.  I did wash and scrub my front porch free of all the dust and muck from my sanding project last month.  It looks so pretty now!  I will have to add repainting my railings to my spring to do list.  For now, I'm just glad my house doesn't look like a roadside disaster anymore.  At least from the front! Kinda like a mullet--business up front, party in the back!  Yard work and cutting down the dead stuff is on the list for next week.

Anyway, thanks to those who have talked to me and left comments about Sunday.  Love to you all!  I'm taking the week off from any exercise (does Sunday count?  It didn't seem like exercise, just a living nightmare :P ) and getting my leg and brain back in a happy place.  The weather calls out for comfort food, so it's enchiladas tonight with gobs of sour cream.  I could and do eat sour cream by the spoonful.  The enchiladas are just an excuse to eat sour cream.  Is that wrong?  I don't think so.  Damn tasty.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Running Recap

I think my summer running ended yesterday, with the Bo-Fest Half Marathon.  I thought I was prepared, and certainly was excited to run it!  But, I ended up walking pretty much the entire route.  I don't know what happened-- I wasn't prepared well enough, or I had an anxiety attack.  I think it was both.  All I know is that I could not run without having difficulty catching my breath and having my heart race way faster than it should have been.  It was very frustrating for both Bud and I.  Bud was with me most of the way, and suggested that I pull out, but I didn't want to, although it was really close a couple of times.  I finally finished at 3:14.  I am very disappointed, and it has made me think about why I run.  

I realized this summer has been a very hard one for me running wise.  I wasn't running as well as I know I can, and that was something I just didn't want to face.  I lost my joy for running--it became a chore, and thinking about where I was going to run, when I was going to run, and how far I was going to run were the only thoughts in my head.  I was thinking yesterday during my "walk", about my first half-marathon 4 years ago.  I was so excited and happy to run that race; I took in all the sights, talked to fellow runners, and had a smile on my face the whole time.  That hasn't happened in a long time, so it leads me to believe that while I feel better physically after running however far, I don't enjoy it.  It's become stressful.  I started running about 7 years ago because I didn't want to walk--it took too long!  I remember being thrilled when I could run a continuous mile.  Yesterday, I felt like I had never run in my life.  I was shocked that my mind and my body were working against each other so vigorously.  My mind was definitely angel on one side, devil on the other.  As Bud says, and as I very well know, running is 90% mental, and my mental game was shut out completely.  I guess this race was my "come to Jesus" moment.

So after a sleepless night, in which just thinking about running again made my heart race--I think anxiety--what about you--I still don't know what I'm going to do.  I have signed up for the Des Moines Half-Marathon which takes place on October 17th.  My friend C-Joy is walking her first half-marathon, and I am debating switching to walking it.  I know I'll be there to cheer her on, that's for sure.    I did something to my left hamstring yesterday, and it really is painful!  Even if I wanted to run, I don't think I could  or should until I can walk without limping, and bend over without pain.  I'm afraid it's too close to the half-marathon to be able to run it without having problems.  Maybe I'm being forced to stop, and regroup.  And, I am sure walking it with C-Joy would be a lot of fun,  and the first and only time I have participated in a race with a friend next to me the whole way.  Usually, I go it alone.  Or, Kelly kicks butt and races far far ahead of me! :)

Anyway, I think I will stop running for awhile, whatever I do in Des Moines next month.  Bud and I discussed some other options, and I think I will take the fall and winter to try some new classes at the Y, ride my bike before the snow flies, and we'll see in the spring.  I'm pretty sure I won't be doing any more long mileage runs.  Whatever I do, I will keep exercising somehow!  Here's to a new chapter.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pizza Pizza! Cooking Bucket List #3

I haven't forgotten my Cooking Bucket List from July, and last night I finally made homemade grilled pizza.  I used the Williams-Sonoma Pizza cookbook, which my brother Dan swears by, for my recipe.  Unfortunately, it's out of print, but you can get used copies online.  

I made the standard pizza dough recipe the night before, and let it sit in the fridge overnight until the next afternoon, when I could let it sit out and "rest".  It looked the same to me after a few hours sitting on the counter, so the test would be in the actual grilling.  I warned Bud that it may not turn out, and our back up plan (getting take out) was in place.  We both know I can either cook brilliantly, or suck at it.  I was leaning towards the "suck at it" side.  

I managed to make my pizzas look rustic without trying, because I'm incapable of making a decent circle or rectangle:
Pizza: phase one 
After browning on one side, we took them off, flipped them, and added our ingredients.  For us, it's black olives, fresh basil, tomato sauce, and canadian bacon.  It's important not to overload your pizza with sauce or topping, cause these are thin crusts, and the toppings won't cook before the crust burns.
A very proud Bud showing his pizza before the final grill

Finally, we put them back on the grill for a quick 1-2 minutes to cook the other side and melt the cheese.  The grilling part was really fast!  What took some time was making sure the ingredients were all ready to go--just like making chinese food at home.  Be ready to work quickly.
The finished pizzas
We ate both pizzas with some cold beer and a good movie.  Bud said they were great, and I am happy we finally made some pizzas!  I am interested in making one my brother made years ago when I made a trip to New Mexico:  a corn meal crust, with green chiles and ham.  It was delicious.  I think I may have to get a pizza stone to make them inside during the winter months, and have a few days of concocting pizza dough recipes I can stick in the freezer for future use.  And don't feel bad about eating a whole pizza.  The crust was very thin, so really, you don't feel one bit guilty wolfing down a whole pizza.  I didn't even feel very full afterwards.  So I had another beer!  Cheers.