Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Mocha Brownies: Of all the recipes in the book, I was MOST excited about making this one. I love sugar. I love coffee. I love chocolate. This recipe was choc full of all of the above. I was in a hurry to put these together to take to a family bonfire and so I rushed a couple of steps. I'm blaming my rush for the failure of this recipe. I shouldn't say it was a total failure, but it was much too sweet and the texture wasn't great. The icing was TOO much. I think there were about 3 brownies eaten out of the whole pan. I may try this again sometime when I have more time.
Pico De Gallo: Very simple and simply awesome. I'll make this all summer. Ronnie doesn't like onions and Scout isn't wild about tomatoes so I ate the whole batch myself. This was not a problem. :)
Guacamole: The kid made this for me and it was awesome. Another recipe that I'll make all summer.
Iny's Prune Cake with Buttermilk Icing: Scout came in the kitchen when I was making this last week and said, "Mom, I thought you said you were going to lay off the PW recipes because your butt is getting big?". Well, yes, but I get seduced by the beautiful photos and intriguing stories and next thing you know, I'm back at it. This was so delicious right out of the oven. Ronnie and I loved it. Scout on the other hand, said it tasted like goat something or other. I think it's because he saw the prunes cooking on the stove and it scared him. I didn't like the cake as much on day 2 which was really a blessing to keep me from eating the whole thing.
Katie's Roasted Corn Salad: Whoa. I'm not a fan of corn. This recipe has been the biggest surprise so far. It was AWESOME! Very fresh and very healthy. You grill the corn, red pepper, onion, and squash and then de-cob the corn and dice the veggies before adding the tomato and the very healthy dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, BASIL, and garlic. I'll make this for the rest of my life. Ronnie didn't like it but fortunately, Holley came by the house that night and validated my opinion that this was a keeper.
I've made the chocolate sheet cake 2 more times since the last time I posted but I make into cupcakes and use a white frosting. Love.
I've also made a few more things from her website that are not in the book.
Marlboro Man's favorite pasta: GREAT
Fried mozzarella: GREAT
Cinnamon Toast: MONEY
I am slowing down a bit with the cooking but I may just make it thru the book as planned. I love Pioneer Woman.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Bronda and I rode down with Larry Long and we were able to catch the big charter bus of Runner's World folks and wave bye to them before they headed out. Got to the city around 2ish and toured the Expo after picking up our run packets. Let's stop here for a sec. Let me say, Bronda has a fractured foot, but is determined to finish because this will put her at Marathon Maniac status. Same for Larry...but he has a pulled groin muscle and has difficulty walking, much less running a marathon. The foot and leg were doing better after Happy Hour at Toby Keith's. Before dinner, we hung out with the RW group at their hotel. It's so fun to be there with this group that has logged tons of training miles together in preparation for this. I love em.
Bronda, Larry, Dale, and I went to Zio's for dinner and then I met up with Ronnie and we checked in our hotel. I was asleep before 10, then up at 4something. I was terribly sick after the Mardi Gras run so I tried to do things a little differently this go round as far as what I ate and drank the week before and morning of. For one thing...I decided to steer clear of Oysters Rockafeller the night before. Ummhmmm. Wise move. Ronnie dropped me off to get be in the RW picture at 4th and Robinson. PortaPotty/National Anthem/Gun....I felt really good. My first mile was cake. Ok, well...12.1 to go! Bricktown, cool lofts, The State Capital, ....going well. Between mile 5 and 6....GIIITTT URRRRR GUNNNNS UP! Pistol Pete! A house all decorated with Orange and Black. Woohoo! I had my phone and I stopped to take a few pictures at various points. The crowd support was awesome. Belly Dancers, cheerleaders, Bands, DJ's, families, a few people out in their Snuggies. Kids on the side giving high fives. My Achilles was hurting from about mile 3 on so I stopped and stretched a few times. I also walked thru some of the water stops, and yes, I walked up Gorilla Hill. I was hurting at mile 8 and I don't know what the heck is in GU, but after I ate my GU pack, I went from near death to playing air drums to Bon Jovi. Thank you to the man that made me run faster to catch his high five at mile 10. And thank you to the man that said, "huh uh sister....pick it up...we're following your pace and we're counting on you to keep it going". It was fun knowing that my family would be there at the finish for the first time ever. I asked them to come about 4 months ago and it was fairly obvious that they weren't really fired up about making that drive. I KNEW they would love it though, and it was important for me to have them there for at least one of my runs. They don't always understand why I have to make schedule adjustments to fit in my training. They don't particularly understand why we travel to do these runs. I think they have a better understanding of the lunacy now and let me tell you...my MOM, my DAD, and my SISTER committed to training for and running the Route 66 quarter marathon in August! So... I saw them just a few feet from the finish line and it was great.
Sir...with the Texas flag, "More Cowbell" shirt: Well done. Call me. I want that shirt.
Ma'am, with the "sexy doesn't have a speed" shirt....LOVE IT!
Girls with the sequin skirts! HOT!
Crowd support wearing Snuggies...Please don't do that again
Those of you who were out there running that I didn't see today, I was thinking about you! Congratulations to the Marathon Maniacs: Bronda, Larry, and Simone! Congratulations to those who ran their first ever half marathon: John, Larry, Nedra, Emily (Marilene's daughter)-who all smoked me by the way! Congratulations to all of my Runner's World friends. Thank you to my RW friends that didn't run but were there to support! Congrats Brian, Kirsten... Congrats to the relay teams (Jeff Dorsey...Whoot!) Congrats to the Asburians and the CRCCr's! Congrats Pastor Tiffany for your first ever marathon!
- The Cause:
I passed a ton of people that had photos of OKC bombing victims pinned to their back. I passed a couple that had a picture of a young girl pinned on their back and I was wondering if it may have been their daughter. I wondered if they were runners before this Memorial Marathon. We walked thru the Memorial after the run and there were medals and race bibs placed on the individual memorial chairs. There were medals and bibs pinned to the chain link fence. It is very moving. Runner's World names this marathon one of the "must run" marathons in the world and it's obvious why.
It was a lovely day for a run and I'm so glad to have been there.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I was heavy all thru childhood and I'm so thankful that something just snapped one day in college and I have been very conscientious about the food I eat ever since then. It was the very typical issue of life revolving around food. I was sad...I had donuts. I was mad..I had chicken fried steak. I was happy...I celebrated with cake. Those habits die hard but for 17ish years, I've managed to stay within a much healthier range than my younger days. There are some years where I'm much tougher on myself but since I started running, I allow more leniency. It's not easy being the family nutrition Nazi in my house. Ronnie doesn't care about GI Index foods or cholesterol. I like 100% whole wheat bread. He likes Wonder Bread. I like skim milk and he likes whole. I say tomato...he says, "make me a german chocolate cake".
And then there's Scout who frequently dines at the Texhoma Sale Barn and spends the majority of his time around the best cooks in the country.
Ok...so my family thinks I'm a little obsessive.
Enter Pioneer Woman. AWESOME food, loaded with fat.
Enter Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I watch. I become so impassioned that a tear comes down and I jump up and yell, " want to be a part of his team". I swear it has more to do with admiration for his cause and less to do with the fact that I have a crush on Jamie. Ronnie said, "calm down"...and I said, "would you mind saying that with a British accent and slight lisp". He rolls his eyes.
So what's the deal? What do you do? Is it ok to throw in some indulgences here and there, or should we shift our mindset to be conscientious of everything we put in our mouths? This is the issue I'm working thru. I went to Jamie's Food Revolution site this week and signed the petition to make changes in the school cafeterias. The amount of processed foods they serve is ridiculous! And chocolate milk? Shhhheeeeez. What? Kids won't drink plain milk? So you have to serve chocolate? You know what Jamie says? He suggests we just start pouring sugar over everything that kids don't like. HA! If you care to have a conversation on the virtues of flavored milk, bring it on. Warning...I may punch you out.:)
Continuing my panic...this week at staff lunch, a friend of mine reminded the gals at the table that it's not a good idea to eat like the Pioneer Woman unless you have spent the day working cattle. UGH. She's right. I need more balance. On my way home that night, I bought a bag of whole wheat flour and a bag of zucchini. I bought salad ingredients, strawberries, and a ton of broccoli. I'm on point to rein this thing in. Hit it!
Jaden's Beef Brocolli. The sauce for this was very,very,very,good. I found the recipe on PW's site.
Chef Meg's Zucchini Muffins. This was a little TOO healthy for Ronnie. He wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole. If you are ok with whole wheat flour and no fat, you will be ok with these. They were a good afternoon snack in leiu of something processes. I baked a big bunch and then froze most.
Annnnd, yes...I do have more PW recipes to tell you about. :) I made her pizza dough last week and we had a "make your own" pizza party. Ronnie doesn't like pizza, but he liked that he could control how much sauce was on his and said he would like to have that again. Dad said he wasn't really sure about the make your own pizza thing, but he said it turned out really great.
Egg in the hole: Bread, Egg, Salt, Pepper, Butter. No high expectations. This was so good! Loved it.
Soooo... you surely detect an undercurrent of obsession on my part. Sha. I'm food obsessed. Food/water: essential to life. How you approach food with your family will no doubt shape their future health. It IS a big deal.
Via Con Dios.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Last Friday night our family went to the Asbury Service of Darkness and I had everyone over for a Pioneer Woman dinner beforehand. Here is the review.
Perfect Pot Roast: Best pot roast ever. It will replace any pot roast recipe I've cooked in the past. You brown the carrots, onions, and roast first, then slowly bake in the oven with broth, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme. Everyone loved it. I really like that she doesn't cook potatoes with it. I hadn't really thought about it, but it's true that they can get a little mealy. Instead, I served mashed potatoes on the side.
Rosemary rolls: This isn't in the cookbook but you can find it on her website. I will tell you...if you make one thing of Ree's, please, please...make these rolls. They were easy and so good. I'll make these often. In fact, I think I'll try to grow a rosemary plant so I'll have some on hand whenever I need it.
This was an easy meal but very homey. My 2 little nephews even liked it.
Last night I made another PW meal. I loved it enough to add to my regular rotation, but Ronnie wasn't a huge fan. Linguine with clam sauce: The first thing that stood out about this dish is how cheap it is to make. Like....really...the whole thing was about $7! Another fantastic thing was the simplicity. It took just a few minutes to prepare and it had a very rich flavor. Ronnie ate it but said he probably wouldn't request it again. I served it with salad and garlic bread.
Good Morning Muffins: Another recipe from her website but not in the cookbook. I made a batch of these last week. They have orange marmalade in them and a cinnamon sugar streusel on top. Ronnie really liked these.
Oh...On the subject of cooking...I should give a shout out to my Shumard family. We spent Easter in Ada and our visit was long overdue. No one can put together a meal like my mother in law and my sisters in law. It was a great visit and a happy Easter. :)
Monday, April 5, 2010
I don't think I'm brave. I have been blessed to have avoided any real run in with danger thus far in my life. Well, ...except for the time the loony guy busted out our back door frame to steal....(are you ready for this?)....my undergarments. Gross. We were checking in to a hotel in Las Vegas and Ronnie received a call from the BAPD. Really, there are two important things to know about this crime. #1) Since we were out of town, 4 people ended up at our house, dealing with the police report, etc. My mom. Bronda (Ronnie's ex-wife). Greg Pittman (our pastor). Andrea Pittman (Greg's wife). I'm in Las Vegas and picturing this bunch gathered in my living room, identifying my...ahem...undergarments. #2) I would NOT go to the police station to retrieve the evidence but the guy had to pay restitution. That's all I'm gonna say about that.
I've taken off on several adventures by myself. I've explored cities by myself and hiked a few trails on my own. On a recent group trip to Wyoming, I talked my mom into dropping me off at a Teton trail head and made arrangements for her to pick me up later. Some of our group was back at the camp, fishing. The rest of us had been horseback riding in the Bridger Teton Forest and they were tired and not up for a hike. I convinced Mom that it was a busy trail and I'd be fine. What I didn't realize was that I took the very last ferry across Jenny Lake, so the traffic had wound way down and I was alone on the trail most of the way. The trail was easy, but it was situated between the lake and the Tetons and, you know, ...I started thinking the bears may be heading down the mountain to go for some early evening fishing. In an effort to ward off any encounters with animals, I sang out loud. Probably a Barry Manilow tune. Or Eminem. It was awesome fun and I'm so glad I did it. It was totally worth all the trouble I got into with the rest of the group when they found out what I did.
Last fall we went to Mountain View, Arkansas with Ronnie's family. I discovered that the Ozark Highlands Trail is right there and there was no way I would be able to miss an opportunity to experience it. Another journey on my own. It was beautiful. I only passed 4 other hikers on my trek.
Now...the last few weeks of running in my home city have me rethinking my sense of security. It all started with a run in with a dog. I was running thru a Jenks neighborhood and had a couple of dogs chase after me. One little dog got a fang in my leg. A mail man came to my rescue, chased them off, and gave me some pepper spray. Oh my gosh! I didn't know what to do! I knew there had to be protocol here. Don't you like, have to get shots in your stomach? Take the head off the dog? Have a section of your spleen removed for testing? Like, really,...I had no idea what to do. I ran to the police station and filed a report. The Sargent said, "ok...ma'am..the warden has the suspect in custody and he's on his way now so you can positively identify him". BAAAHAAAAHAAAAAAA. I tried to text that very statement to Ronnie but I was crying too hard from laughing. The doggie was clean. No rabies.
Fast forward to this last Saturday. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY! I have had a cold and thanks to a cold medicine hang over, I overslept and missed the opportunity to run with my group. I really wanted to experience the Katy trail so I took out on my own. I parked at Veteran's Park, headed across 11th, and across the railroad tracks. We're not in Kansas anymore. Everything was going wonderfully, until I cut off the trail early to avoid a scary looking guy. I ended up in a B A D part of town. Really, really, really bad. I had the good sense to take my Ipod off and slip it in my spy belt. Several of the homes had gangs of pit bulls swarming about. There were homeless people everywhere. There was a suspicious dude driving an ice cream truck that I was certain probably had methsickles. I was praying the whole time. I was sick to my stomach to think that people live like this in our city. We go to Mexico for STM's, but there is a tremendous need for major relief and development just a few miles from riverside where families are picnicking and throwing Frisbee's. It was disgusting. I was sure that the gear I was wearing for a simple Saturday run was worth more than they have invested in their living rooms (if they have living rooms). I was consciously aware of how I presented myself. I was petrified of how they may view me. Poverty has many levels and just because they are materially poor doesn't mean that I am better. I ran past one guy and smiled. He smiled so warmly but then growled out the scariest man grunt that made me suddenly wish I was wearing a turtleneck and long pants . I ran past a girl that was hunched over and something was coming out of her nose. A man was patting her on the back. Dear Lord help them.
I was so thankful to make it back to riverside but you can bet that this experience has made an impact on my life. For one...I will remember the needs in our own community and try to plug in more often. Second...I will quit being a giant DUMB DUMB by getting myself in these situations! Third....I WILL BE PACKIN' (heat, pepper spray, mace....somethin')!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Here's the lowdown:
Twice baked potatoes: These were very good. I think it's actually healthier to cook potatoes this way rather than mash them because Ronnie likes A LOT of butter. This way, I can control that.
Pineapple Upside Cake: Whoa Nellie. This was a catastrophe of epic proportions. I burned the brown sugar and butter for starters. Made toffee. Strike one. I'm pretty sure that my cast iron skillet is too small but at least I had the forethought to use a backup cookie sheet to catch any spills. It did run over. Sheesh. Then, when I thought it was done, I flipped it over on the cake pedestal. The dumb thing was not done. Dilemma, dilemma,.....I maneuvered the heavy skillet back over the cake and tried as best as I could to flip it back in to cook a little more. In summary....I'm not cut out for the baking of the pineapple upside down cake. Moving on....
Chicken Fried Steak: Mommy. This was good. I have cooked chicken fried steak a few times, but the double dipping made all the difference. Ronnie and Jonathan give a thumbs up on this one.
Spicy Pulled Pork: I had high expectations for this one. I made it for a super bowl party. The verdict-it was great. The method for creating the rub was different. I didn't bring much home so that's a good sign. I like that she suggests serving it with lime wedges (and tortillas, of course).
Chocolate Sheet Cake: I made this for my friend Chris's birthday. Several people requested the recipe. I thought the icing was a little thin. I think I like my trusted chocolate sheet cake recipe better.
Simple, Perfect Enchiladas: Be prepared to throw your fork across the table. These were magic. I'm 3/4 Hispanic so of course I'm going to love these. Well, I don't genetically have any Hispanic blood, but my heart is 3/4 Hispanic. Jes, it is. The end result made up for the fact that they were a little tricky to roll. The whole dipping of the corn tortilla in hot oil, then in the sauce, etc was a challenge. Bethany was standing near by and she said, "oh Jennifer...don't give up...you can do it".
Comfort Meatballs: Scout helped me make these and we had to work fast since we were expecting company. I prepared the meatballs (which are kind of like mini meatloaves vs the Italian variety) and Scout made the sauce. Mom is on a strict diet and training program and I think she nearly fainted when she walked in and saw me frying these in oil. She and Dad liked them and Ronnie asked why we hadn't ever had them before. Great with mashed potatoes and salad. (...and garlic cheese bread...and ice cream)
Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich: Scout pretty much made this on his own, with a small amount of direction. According to him, this was "life changing". He will be making this again but he said it needed more Tabasco next time. On a side note, I got another lesson from my cowboy son about selecting beef, including some rambling about myoglobin...er...something globin.
Recipes on the website, but not in the cookbook:
Quesadillas De Camarones: I really like the shrimp and spinach quesadillas at Los Cabos. These were really good. Better than Los Cabos.
Monday Night Stir Fry: This was another thing that the kid helped me with. There was a lot of prep work and you have to work fast once you start the cooking. Stir fry will never be high on Ronnie or Scout's list, but hey...they ate it! She suggests adding cilantro before serving. Magically delicious.
So, how's the running going, you ask? You didn't ask? Oh. I finished the Mardi Gras half marathon in February. It was a blast and I'll post a story about that this week. I've had to run a lot of miles to make up for the calories in PDub's food. I've also started a new program today. Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. More on that later. I will say, I'm SORE today. Yeehaw.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I fixed P Dub's hot artichoke dip on NYE. We had some friends stop by the house before we went to dinner at Osaka's. They gave it a thumbs up. I gave it a big ol' thumbs up. It was good. So good that I had to ship it off to a family New Year's Day celebration so I wouldn't eat the left overs. I heard they enjoyed it. We didn't go that festivus because Ronnie and I had some stuff to do that day. Uh, Jennifer Aniston movie marathon and football games, hello. Earlier in the day, we had the kids and Holley, Kourt, and the boys come by for our first annual NYD pancake breakfast. This was a cool idea that I stole from Karen Bryan. :) We were shocked that Jonathan was the first to arrive. 30 minutes early! I cooked P Dubs pancakes, but not the ones from the book, so this doesn't count as a mark toward my countdown. They were good though. I hate to say...I think Rachel Ray's plum pancakes hold my mark for top pancakes. I still have to make P Dub's sour cream cakes, so that may just put her back on top.
Tonight, we invited Jonathan over for meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls. I'm nutritionally conscientious and definitely tend to cook on the healthy side, but you know the deal,...I said I would do this thing, so I'm doing this thing. Bacon and all. Do you want to know what I thought? Well, if ever I were told that I could have one last meal before I die, THIS IS IT. There are no words. I couldn't figure out what made this so fantastic but apparently, when you combine parsley, Parmesan, beef, and BACON...and a tomato sauce with mustard and Tabasco, you get FLAVA FLAVE! Oh, this stuff is money. Jonathan said he wasn't very hungry and asked for a small piece. Oh, he went in for seconds. Umhm.
Ronnie asked me when the next PW meal was.