Follow by Email

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Strawberry-Banana Daiquiri Frozen Yogurt

I'm continuing my ice cream making project this week after a few weeks off.  My concoction this week is damn tasty!  Once again I found the recipe in this delightful cookbook:

Get it here

Oh Lord.  This stuff is yummy.  I was going to make an actual ice cream, but when I saw the price of heavy cream at the grocery store I realized a frozen yogurt was the way to go!  Here's the recipe--it's ridiculously easy:

2 ripe whole bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
1 Cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Cups plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup light rum  (you can leave this out if you want)

Put bananas, strawberries, yogurt, sugar, and rum in a blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until cold.

Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions (my Cuisinart says 20 mins).  Put in a container and freeze overnight.

It really does take quite awhile for this to freeze.  But when it does, it is like a rock.  So plan on taking it out and letting it set on the counter awhile to soften up.  I went one step further on the recipe and added chopped strawberries and another diced banana to the mixture as it was nearly done in the ice cream maker:
I am not a neat cook.
I will tell you--the greek yogurt gives it a kick!  I can't taste the rum at all--just the fruit and the yogurt.  And the chunks of fruit in it are delicious:

I am pretty sure Bud won't eat this, so I have 1 quart of this all to myself!  It's a frozen smoothie in a bowl.  Yum.  Just sweet enough with a great tang.  I will make this again and probably with different fruit concoctions:  blueberries and bananas sound good to me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

God, My Life Is So Damn Uneventful

I suppose this is a good thing.  My biggest decision today is whether to mow the yard before lunch, or do it after lunch.  Finish my book first, or put away the dishes.  I've already made the decision to not ride my bike today, since I did it yesterday with my nephew Cole and the fact that I haven't exercised in a month has shown itself this morning by sore legs and aching shoulders.  I have got to stop gripping my handlebars so hard! 

 And then Bud and I walked all around downtown CR last night, then walked around Czech village and the "Bo" area next to it.  We finally sat down at an outside bar and ate cheeseburgers before we went home.  RAGBRAI was in town, and we were looking forward to heading downtown and eating lots of vendor food on the bridge.  Instead, we walked blocks, got to the entrance, and found out it was $35 per person just to go into this area.  Counting Crows was giving a concert at 9 PM and that was included in the price.  Well shit!  We didn't want to see the concert and there was no cheaper option just to go in, walk around, eat, and check out all the bike vendors.  Cedar Rapids, that was really stupid planning on your part!  I am sure a lot of people didn't go because of that--forget taking the whole family--save the money and go on a vacation instead of wandering around on one of the bridges that cross the Cedar River downtown.  Say, go to Minnesota or Wisconsin and go boating instead.  Boo.

Finally one day break in the heat.  Feels wonderful outside.  If I listen closely I can hear the remaining flowers singing show tunes.  They are so darn happy.

Lunch today with C-Joy and nachos planned for supper.  Bud and I saw waaaay too many nacho plates last night and now we won't be happy until we eat them ourselves.  Tomorrow I will get on my  bike early and ride on one of the trails.  I have a tentative date again with my nephew Cole to bike ride again on Monday with him.  He will go with me if I tell him I will buy him ice cream and promise not to make him ride 10 miles.  That way I don't feel guilty eating a chocolate malt--after all, I can't deny my nephew a treat, right?  

So vacation day 2.  Still not sleeping in until noon.  That will never happen.  My goal of reading one book a day: ha!  I probably could do it if I did absolutely nothing else and became a hermit.  Thinking up a game plan to make the piles of books disappear.  Only problem is I have to read them first.  My goal of 125 books before midnight, Dec 31st is looking good and reachable.  Check out my other blog Bookalicious Babe for a book giveaway.  

All my blogging friends who are running mucho miles, well--you've got me thinking I should make that a goal next year.  See, this is what happens when I have too much time on my hands.  I start to make plans that later will make me question my sanity, gnash my teeth, and pull my hair out.  So far I have decided to run a lot next year, completely redo my house, and read 200 books.  Oh.  And write a novel.  And master chinese cooking.  And have super powers.  

Uneventful vacation continues!  Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vacation Coming Up; Food Itch Has Begun

Maybe it's the unrelenting heat, but I think I have snapped in a small way.  I am tired of making the same old stuff for supper!  I know we all get that way, but I have taken it to the point of not wanting to make anything but "new" recipes.  This is a dangerous situation for Bud.  He's walking into my house every night, ready to eat a good supper and relax, and Bam! I tell him we're eating bean sprout encrusted goat cheese stuffed pork chops with a red wine reduction sauce, followed by purple potatoes sautéed in duck fat.  All he wants is a cow or a pig grilled outside and a cold beer.

Doesn't that pork chop thing sound disgusting?  I thought so.  

I have made a few new/old things this week:  cold avocado soup and savory zucchini pancakes with a sour cream dip.  I have left over grilled chicken and some peppers from last night, so I'm thinking of a weird mixture of those, pesto, and maybe potatoes for a salad for tomorrow's "at work supper".  I know Bud won't eat that, so it's all mine! We are for sure having guacamole on Tuesday.  I will have to restrain myself from pushing Bud away from the bowl and eating it all myself.  Tonight I am behaving and making grilled pork chops, grilled asparagus and hobo potatoes. I'm sure you've made hobo potatoes before--here's the recipe I have from my bro-in-law.  It's a throw together kind of thing:

Cut up potatoes into chunks and stick in the microwave and cook until nearly done.  I put them in a microwave proof bowl with a bit of water in the bottom.  I keep the skins on!  And any potatoes will do.

Drain the potatoes, then put in the middle of sheets of foil ( I double the foil for the grill).  Add chunks of butter or margarine--however much you like, but enough to keep the potatoes moist!  Add salt, pepper, and whatever dried herbs you like.  I usually use an Italian blend of herbs.  

Close up the foil packets and make sure they're sealed tightly.  Give them to your boyfriend/husband to put on the grill and watch until the potatoes have a slight brown crust on them.  Remove from foil packets, dump into a bowl, and enjoy!

  I'm thinking root beer floats may go very well as a dessert.  We may be too full for these.  Dang it.  We never get to the dessert part!

Still not running.  My leg is feeling much better, but has twinges that are keeping me from attempting to run.  I figure August 1st will be a good start off to get back into running.  I can tell you I feel gross not running.  Even if I didn't run more than 3 miles on most days, I still felt like I had worked my body a bit.  I must confess I am lazy and haven't gone to the gym at all.  The bike is still sitting in the garage, waiting to be wheeled out to hit a trail.  This is the first summer I haven't run in about 8 years, and I am feeling horrible about it.

I'm on vacation after Wednesday for a week.  Fingers crossed the weather is cooler so I can get that bike out, and I can paint the front steps and finish cutting down all of my dead flowers.  They are toast.  Mulch is down, and pea gravel is down in my corner garden.  It looks much better.  I have to remember to refresh the gravel every few years, not every 8 years.  Oops.  

Bud has suggested I dig up all of my iris plants along my garage to make way for a spectacular new yard display that I can't wait to have.  I will be asking all my friends if they want iris plants.  I don't want to toss them, but it is time for them to go.  

So it's nearly August.  Wow.  Beginning to think of doing NaNoWriMo this November.  Last year I bowed out quickly, so I must come back and write a novel this year!  No pressure.  Nope (she weeps as she types).

Are you looking forward to the Fall?  I know I am.  I'm already thinking about foodie gifts to give for Christmas.  I have to calm down.  This is ridiculous.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Spoketh Too Sooneth

Yeah, that Mother Nature sure is having a fantastic time screwing with all of us in the Midwest!  A few days of decent temps, then BAM!  Back into the upper 90's for this week, with heat warnings out every day.  Thanks lady.  You know how hot it is?  It's so hot I don't even want to make brownies.  Even I have trouble grasping this revelation.  And my desire to hit a Dairy Queen is completely wiped out by the short but extremely hot walk to and from my truck to get to the DQ a mere 5 blocks from my house.  Even with air in my truck.  I'm sweating just thinking about it.  It is saving me some extra calories, though.  And the thought of ice cream does not sound so good.  Belly ache will happen.  I cringe seeing people walk out of the bookstore with all those cold milky frozen drinks.  Blech.  

I've been thinking today about cool soups.  Avocado, to be exact.  There are many variations on this soup, and I think this one sounds good--not too much dairy in it, and no mint!  I am not a mint fan.  This would be great with a baguette for a simple supper.  I will make it this week and eat it when Bud's not around.  He doesn't take to green goo in a bowl very well, even if it is awesome!

Little nuggets of bliss

What else to eat to stay a bit cool?  I've been devouring cantaloupe.  Have no idea why.  I didn't eat much of it for most of my life, but for some reason I got on a kick during my "cleanse" a few months ago and now I find myself eating cantaloupe every week.  I will be in cantaloupe despair come Fall when I can't have any for months.  And--strawberries and blueberries are another favorite combo.  Today I ate both the cantaloupe and the berry combo for lunch.  I am sure it counterbalanced the piece of taco pizza I ate along with it and completely took those calories to zero.  

So really, my summer has been all about eating fruit with my lunch and watering my slowly withering flowers.  I whacked a bunch of them down the other day--thanks again japanese beetles for eating them down to nubs.  Between the sun and the bugs, the poor ol' bees are flying around a bit confused, looking for pretty flowers.  None to be had in Iowa, my little bee friends.  I may be forced to mow this week, not because the yard is a mess, but because the grass is crunchy brown and the weeds are sticking up.  Looks a tad trashy.  So fingers crossed next week will be cooler!  I would like to bike ride and sit on the porch with a book in my hand.  For right now, I'll stay inside and drink copious amounts of iced tea.  I'll have a review of the avocado soup sometime this week.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Now That It's Not Eleventy Billion Degrees Outside...

I actually shut my air conditioning off last night--for the first time in 2 weeks.  Now it's back on again, but it was wonderful having one night with open windows and fresh air.  Summers in Iowa are usually humid and warm, but this summer has been very hot and very humid even though we haven't had any rain for most of it.  So warm that people are becoming listless hermits in their homes.  At least I was like that.

I woke up this morning excited to try a run, since my leg felt good and I didn't have any discomfort yesterday at all.  My run lasted all of about 500 feet before the pain in my groin muscle kicked in and I ended up walking the rest of a mile.  Every time I tried to run I limped.  Shit.  Shit. Shit.  There, I said it.  And as for the old man at the park who told me to run faster, you can suck it.  

I am not going to cry about this.  I will instead ride my bike and do some other cardio burning exercises (hello Jillian Michaels) and patiently wait for my leg to heal.  It is taking a long time.  Longer than I expected.  This summer of running is pretty much a wash.  Patience, patience, patience.  

My yard looks like crap.  The only thing growing are weeds, so I am planning on pulling, spraying, and digging in the next few weeks to keep things at bay.  Now I'm glad I didn't plant a veggie garden.  It would surely be toast by now.  I have quite a few mini-projects listed in my brain (it would help if I actually wrote them down) that I can tackle soon--as long as the weather cooperates and the heat waves stay away.  

On the bright side, I had a great weekend with Bud.  We went to my sister's 25th wedding anniversary party in Illinois on Saturday and all five of us sisters were there.  Great food and I snarfed down a chocolate cupcake right away.  The only bad thing is that you had to drink your beer fast because it was so warm outside it didn't stay cold for long.  Eventually it did cool down enough that it was quite noticeable and so welcome!  

Me and my sisters (I am second from left)

Bud and I did manage to hit the Ikea in Schaumburg, Il.  This was the first Ikea Bud visited with me years ago, and I have to say it was not looking its best this visit.  Lots of renovations being done, but it was messy and the cafeteria wasn't kept up.  This is unusual for Ikea--I've always found the stores spotless and plenty of staff.  Not so this time.  I did buy a few things and Bud and I had a spot of lunch.  Sad to say, swedish meatballs just did not sound good.  I think this is the first time I haven't ordered them at Ikea for lunch!  Damn heat!

We took the scenic route home and Bud decided to scare the hell out of me by stopping on this bridge while crossing the Mississippi and telling me to open my door and look down into the river.  Need I say I didn't do that?  I've crossed the Mississippi so many times back and forth between Iowa and Illinois in my lifetime, but it never gets old.  It is one huge, brown, awe-inspiring river!  I told Bud he can bring a boat down so we can cruise the Mississippi any time.  
The bridge of fear over the Mississippi

Yes, that is a car in the middle of the bridge.

Finally home, I took a much needed nap, grilled steak for supper, and watched a movie with Bud.  A calm lovely weekend away from home with my honey.  My only bitch is that the hotel didn't have any fruit for me to put in my oatmeal on Sunday morning.  

So this week!  Woohoo!!  Bike riding, weed pulling, and book reading.  I can almost keep a handle on this kind of action packed week :0

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th Of July Race From The Sidelines

As you know from my previous post, I bowed out of the 8k I was signed up to do on July 4th due to a pulled muscle that is taking waaaaay too long to heal.  I had no plans to go down to the race, but instead was going to actually sleep in for once.

Then Bud called at 6:30 AM yesterday morning to say "We should go down to the race."  Then he asked me if I had picked up my race packet, which I hadn't.  I figured since I wasn't running the race, why would I pick up my t-shirt and be a big faker with a t-shirt for a race I hadn't run?

To that, Bud said "Oh bullshit.  You paid for it, let's pick it up."  So we stopped at the packet pick up just before the race started, and the people there could have cared less about me not running the race and directed me over to the t-shirts.  So I got my t-shirt--which is a pretty nice bright yellow fancy shirt.  I figure I will use it to run around and it will be a reminder of how I have to take better care and not do stupid things like push tables full of books around by myself.  

So we walked outside (already 80 degrees at 7AM with a dew point at 73--this means I should have been in the tropics on a beach) and missed the start, but stayed near the finish line to watch the elite runners come in around 23 minutes after the start.  I was surprised to see some of the elites come in much later than that--some after the regular runners finished!  I found out from my friend Michael (who came in 4th in his age group) that when they realized they would not get any prize money, they began taking walk breaks and chatting with each other.  Interesting.  The runners came in and all looked pretty good, but exhausted.  Free beer was offered to all the runners, and they took advantage of it--the gatorade and bottled water was not cold and the beer was icy and tasted good--even at 8 AM.  Apparently the refrigerated truck had broken down over night and couldn't keep the beverages chilled.  

So I did go to the race, see my friend cross the finish line, and I did get my t-shirt.  I was not sorry I didn't run.  The heat and humidity was pretty bad.  I asked Bud if he would have been worried about me running in it if I hadn't hurt my leg and had been training these past few weeks.  Expecting him to say "Of course I wouldn't want you to run in this!" instead I heard him say "Of course you should have run it.  You would be used to this heat by now."  No hesitation there.  I can say I would have sucked big time and slowed waaaay down.  

I am always interested in watching others run and see how their strides are and how they put their feet down when they're running.  Do they stand straight?  Do they pump their arms?  Do they kick back really high, or just skim the ground?  Most people I saw had a good kick back.  Most people I saw had legs that were the total length of my whole body.  Those of us who are on the short side cannot kick back quite that much.  Some people looked truly graceful and effortless, while others really struggled and ran hunched over.  It made me really think about how I look when I run--which isn't pretty.  I've seen photos, and I am horrified.  My form is terrible, and I have to really work on getting my legs up and back instead of shuffling.  I learned a lot just from watching and observing.  It was an important lesson for me!

I'm hoping I can get back to running next week.  The leg is slowly healing, and with the extreme hot weather, I probably wouldn't be running this week anyway.  I am looking forward to getting back into running and having a goal.  I really feel like a big schlump; even though I'm not a fast runner, it does make me feel good to do it and that is what I want to get back to on a weekly basis.  

Congrats to all my running blogger friends who ran on the 4th of July!  It's always fun to run on a holiday and especially the 4th of July.  As for my next race?  Who knows?  I'm sure something will come up in the next few months.