December 15, 2010

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

1 bunch of broccoli - broken into florets
1 bunch of cauliflower - broken into florets
1/2 cup raisins
6 strips of bacon, crumbled
thinly sliced red onion, to taste

1 cup mayo
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Got this reicpe from a neighbor and it turned out pretty good! This was a nice side dish to have with some grilled chicken and it would also be good with a good option to take for a pot luck dinner to share with others. What I like about this dish was that I was able to pick up some locally grown veggies from an indoor farmers market, so the raw broccoli & cauliflower together were very fresh and crunchy. It took no time to throw this together and I did think letting it sit in the fridge before it was served helped all the flavors come together nicely. I do think I'll make this in the future, but I'll be playing with the dressing a bit - maybe cutting back on some of the sugar and mayo. Whether you make it following the recipe or you decide to put your own twist on this salad, I hope you enjoy it!

December 13, 2010

Food, Fun, and Bling!

A few weeks ago, my Mom and I gathered up a few friends and hosted a Premier Jewelry Party. It was the perfect opportunity to break out some of the fun party hosting dishes I have and serve up some delicious snacks. I made Spinach Dip and some Creamy Chicken Pastry Pockets, which were fantastic. And the big hit of the "food party" was the milk chocolate fondue - so many fun dippers, all of which were great! Mom brought brownie bites, fruit, graham crackers, pretzel sticks and my favorite...drum roll..."naked buckeyes"! That's right, she made up the insides of buckeye candies and then we dipped those in the chocolate fondue!
I can't say enough about how easy it was to host the jewelry party - all I had to do was come up with a list of friends and the Premier consultant did most of the leg work! See all that fun, sparkly jewelry she brought for people to try on - it's all laid out on the table behind her. I liked how she brought several of the pieces from the catalog - I think seeing jewelry in person helps people decide if it's something they will wear.
And see all these shiny sliver boxes - all 12 of them - those are all free pieces of jewelry we received as party hosts. Since my Mom and I split the hosting duties, we split the free benefits too and both got some great new jewelry to show off this holiday season!
Nothing like a new pair of earrings & necklace to to spice up some of the clothes already in your closet!

December 02, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Race Photos

The start of the race - with the poncho and shower cap...

The shot below is around mile 4 - not the most flattering photo...

And the crossing the finish line with my friend Julie.
We were both ready for some warm, dry clothes at this point!

November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Race

This is what I planned on wearing to the Thanksgiving Day Race...
Short sleeve race day shirt, arm warmers, running pants, and my new Asics running shoes...Below is a picture of the additional items I wore the morning of the run...
That's right - it was quite the rainy morning on Thanksgiving Day, so I added the poncho, a baseball hat and a shower cap to the race day outfit!

As it turned out, the majority of the rain came down in the hour leading up to the race, so when we crossed the start line it was only a light sprinkle. Once the race started, I warmed up quickly so I ditched the poncho between mile 1 - mile 2 and the shower cap came off between mile 3 - mile 4. The race was pretty fun despite the rain and I enjoyed seeing all the girls from my training group on Thanksgiving Day!

My time for the race was very similar to my time for my first 10k, so I didn't go breaking any personal records with the Thanksgiving Day Race but it was an awesome accomplishment to finish a second 10k this year. My official time was 1:23:38 and my pace was 13:30 per mile, so I was right on track with my timing all through my training runs.

I enjoyed seeing all the runners and spectators along the race course who were shouting out "Happy Thanksgiving" and other words of encouragement. Some people wore the turkey or pilgrim hats, others had on full turkey costumes - overall, it was a great way to kick off the Thanksgiving Day holiday!

November 24, 2010

A Day to Give Thanks

Warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving this week to all my dear blog readers out there. When trying to decide on a blog post about Thanksgiving, I came across the poem below and wanted to share it with you today. May you have a relaxing and peaceful day with your loved ones this Thanksgiving holiday.

by Douglas A. Cox

Thank you for the water
That soothes my deepest thirst
Thank you for the folks who see
The best and not the worst

Thank you for the air I breathe
The earth on which I stand
Thank you for the miracle
Of one hinge in my hand.

Thank you for my family
My friends who've come to know
That our words shape the life we live
They are the seeds we sow

So speak the words that heal the wounds
Of prejudice and hate
Replace the words the cynics choose
Before it is too late

Say thank you in your silence
Say thank you right out loud
Say it in your deepest heart
And shout it to the crowd

Thank you Lord for all these gifts
For giving me the choice
For helping me to see the good
And giving me a voice.

"In our joyous Thanksgiving may we find the path to peace!"

November 17, 2010

Update: Running Group

A quick glance at the blog lately and it seems that all I've been doing is cooking, baking and eating with all the recipes I've been posting! While these things have been the theme these last few posts, I've actually been up to a few other fun things lately.

I'm still participating in the running group and will run in the 101st Annual Thanksgiving Day Race this Thursday morning. The running group has been going pretty good this fall, but I will admit that I've not been as committed to the training as I was back in the summertime. Not sure what's been the reason behind this, but it is a lot more enjoyable to run in the fall temperature versus the hot summers ones.

A few weeks ago, I had my first running "issue". While out on a Saturday morning run, I was about 3 miles into a 5 mile run and out of no where my left hip started hurting with severe pain. The pain came on fast and was so intense that I had to hobble a few steps to catch my balance and not fall over. I tried to stretch it out and finish the run, but when the pain wasn't going away, I decided to walk in the rest of the way back to the car. I was glad to be with the group on this day because it was good to hear other's opinions and ideas on how to treat the pain. I treated my hip that day with ice and took some advil. After about 3 or 4 rounds of ice, things got to feeling better and I was back to running like normal by mid-week.

After talking with my chiropractor, it was mostly likely an IT band issue. The IT band runs along the outside of the leg, from the butt area down to the knee, and is a common muscle that gives runners trouble. Many people experience problems down near the outer knee area, but the pain and tenderness is also known to run all along the outer side of the upper leg. When I was at my doctor's appointment last week, I mentioned this issue to him and he showed me some exercise that can be done to stretch the IT band. He recommended using a baking rolling pin and rolling that down the side of the leg, staring up by the hip and pushing down on the muscle as you roll the baking pin down to the outer leg all the way down to the knee. I thought this was a great suggestion and a great way to use a resource that you probably already have in your home.

We did a training run that covered the entire 6.2 miles of the Thanksgiving Day race course, so I'm feeling very ready for this Thursday morning's run. Let's just hope the weather isn't too much a of a pain - right now the weather people are forecasting rain all morning long, so we'll see what it's like in a few days! Either way, I'm excited to take part in this run. It's a very well known race in Cincinnati and what better way to start out on a holiday than participating in an event that gives back to the community. This year the proceeds from the race will assist many charity groups like The Ronald McDonald House, Girls on the Run, Children’s Hospital, St James of the Valley, Kilgour School, Roger Bacon, and more. I'm really happy to know that some of the funds will go to the Girls on the Run group - I just did my first volunteer event with them this past weekend, so I'll be dedicating some future blog posts about them to share some more information with you about this awesome organization! So that's it for today's "non food" related post - have a great day!

Creamy Chicken, Bacon & Cheese Pockets

I made these yummy appetizers this past weekend for a party. The recipe comes from Our Best Bites and I thought they turned out great. A few thoughts on working with puff pastry - I found it a little hard to manage - I don't have a large area to roll out the dough, so I was trying to dust my largest cutting board with flour and roll out the pastry dough. It worked fine, but I was thinking about how nice it would've been to have a big counter space to work with for pastry dough. All in all though, I had no major problems with these and I'd recommend them for your next get together! Here's the recipe from Our Best Bites:

Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pastry Pockets
1 box puff pastry (2 sheets)
1 8oz container Philadelphia Chive and Onion flavor Cream Cheese
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 C cooked shredded chicken breast
1/3 C cooked crumbled bacon
3 Tbs finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 egg
1 Tbs water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Microwave cream cheese for 20-30 seconds to soften. Place in a mixing bowl with mozzarella cheese, chicken, bacon, and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir to combine and set aside.
Defrost puff pastry sheets according to package directions. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll one sheet at a time into a 12 x 12 inch square. Cut 4, 3 inch strips each direction to make 16 squares, 3 x 3" each.

Place about 2 teaspoons of cream cheese mixture onto each square. With your finger, brush a dab of water around the edges of each square and fold over diagonally to make a triangle. Press edges together and crimp with a fork to seal. After stuffing and folding each pastry, place on a baking sheet. Whisk egg and 1 tablespoon water together and brush over the top of each pastry. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before serving - they can also be served at room temperature.
One more thought - I did have some of the left over chicken mixture, so I improvised and put it in a shallow casserole dish, topped it with some of the shredded mozzarella cheese and baked it for about 10-15 min at 375. It turned out to be an awesome dip and it was a great snack to have with some triscuits while watching college football.

Overall, I'd say give these a try - they were a big hit at the party...Enjoy!

November 15, 2010

Breakfast Success

After a long run on Saturday morning, I was really hungry - in fact I had pancakes on the brain. That's all I really wanted, but once I drove home from my run I wasn't in the mood to go drive back out to a restaurant, so I whipped up what ended up being one of my new favorite breakfast treats.

I surveyed the fridge and my plan was to make scrambled eggs with veggies and bacon. When I opened the vegetable drawer there sat a huge portabella mushroom that was totally calling my name! I sauteed that baby right up in some olive oil and threw some diced red onions and green pepper along side the mushroom cap and pulled them all off the heat once they were done. Trying to keep the dishes to a minimum, I wipped out the pan and scrambled up two eggs with a dash a black pepper. Once the eggs were ready, I added the veggies and some shredded mozzarella cheese and mixed that all together. When the cheese was melted, I topped the sauteed mushroom cap with the egg mixture and sprinkled on some more cheese and it was fantastic!

This was a really fast and easy breakfast to make. It also seems like a great way to come up with new ideas if you use the mushroom and eggs as starter many good combos come to mind - diced ham & cheddar cheese, spinach and feta, breakfast sausage with onions and peppers. Basically just pick some of your favorite omelet "fillers" and see what tasty combinations you enjoy!

November 01, 2010

Shrimp & Veggies with Pasta

One website I enjoy checking in on often is The Pioneer Woman - she's got tons of recipes and often has awesome give-a-ways too. While reading her blog one day, she told readers about a guy named Ryan who was going to be doing a guest post for her. Turns out Ryan runs a blog called This is Reverb and he's a pastor at a local church here in Cincinnati. Apparently, in addition to being a Pastor, Ryan is also quite a cook . So, this part of this recipe comes from his blog and it gets two thumbs up in my book!

Spicy Orange Shrimp:
  • 24 pieces (26-30 Per Pound) Deveined Shrimp
  • 2 cloves (to 4 Cloves) Garlic
  • ¾ cups Orange Juice
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons Salted Butter, Divided

Thaw and peel the shrimp. Thaw them by running them under cold water for a few minutes. Dry the peeled shrimp by draining them on a paper towel or two.

Thinly slice your garlic cloves. Add the garlic to ¾ cup of orange juice. (I used the minced garlic from the jar for this part, but I'm sure freshly sliced garlic is a better choice!) Use a nice high quality orange juice. Measure out and add all of the spices to the orange juice as well.

In a large skillet over high heat melt 2 tablespoons butter. Once butter has melted add your shrimp. Cook them for about 30-60 seconds and begin flipping them over starting with the ones you placed in the pan first so they don’t get overdone. Cook for another 30-60 seconds. Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan, leaving the heat on high.

Once the butter and drippings begin to smoke ever so slightly add the spicy orange garlic mixture to the pan and give it a good stir. Add the last tablespoon of butter to the sauce and after a few minutes of cooking and occasional stirring your sauce should be slightly thicker.

Return the shrimp to the pan and give them a nice toss to coat them in the sauce.

Roasted Vegetables:
This is a really quick side dish to fix when you've got some vegetables that need to be used up quick. The night I made these veggies, I used mushrooms, red onions, red peppers and broccoli. Drizzle the veggies lightly with olive oil and season with a dry herb seasoning.

The finished product - I served the shrimp and veggies over some whole wheat pasta - Enjoy!

October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Cheers to a safe and fun Halloween weekend to all - this year Halloween at our house has been pretty low key. We didn't spend time or money recreating this year's most popular costume. What is this year's most popular costume you may ask, well according to Google the answer is there's a tie - that's right a tie between Lady Gaga and the cast of the Jersey Shore. Now obviously, those two options are for adults and I'm sure there are many other choices for kids that are topping the most popular lists.

What I find interesting about dressing up in costumes for Halloween is how those costume choices change over the years as we age. As infants, parents dress their precious little bundles of joy up as bumble bees or tiny pumpkins. As kids, many want to be super heroes like Superman or Wonder Woman. When we enter our younger teen year's, choices might navigate towards what we want to be when we grow up, like a doctor, or you start to trick or treat in groups with friends and everyone dresses up as the same thing - you've seen this, there will be like 5 or 6 girls all dressed up as disco chicks or something like that. Now, for most older teenagers, they're going to opt for the more scary costume - dress in all black, put on some freaky face paint and a wig and that's all you'll get for their costume. Some teens still pull out the more creative side, which can be fun to see what type of costumes they come up with - most will pull from the celebrity side of things, like impersonating their favorite actor or movie figure. Then as adults, when we're invited to Halloween parties, we come up with all kinds of creative ways to make people laugh when we let go of our in habitations and let our fun side show every now and then to come put with some great get ups.

Now, on to the Trick or Treat part of this post. When are people too old to go around trick or treating? I find this to be an interesting questions as I've recently started flipping on the porch light and passing out candy these last few years. I love seeing all the cute kiddo's come up to the house and open their bags or holding out their plastic pumpkins, saying trick or treat for a piece of candy. Some of them brave and confident on what they are supposed to say, others getting right up to the house, then looking back at their parents at the end of the drive way, looking for encouragement on what to say. These are the years of innocence - when there are no worries in life, when you are protected by parents and just out to have a good time! But all that changes when the next group of "kids" knocking on the door is a bunch of sometimes "obnoxious" teens who hold out their pillow case and don't even speak to you. They expect you to just reach down in the bowl and continue to fill their bags up to the brim with more candy. Those few sentences may make me sound like someone who's bitter about passing out candy - like if I'm going to have the porch light on, then I should just be okay with anyone and everyone who comes around trick or treating. What I've learned over these last few years as a home owner, is to have fun with those older kids. Not too much fun to the point where they'll make note of your house number and return to egg your car, but just to make it fun for all parties involved. Case in point - if you are a teenager who doesn't really put any effort into wearing a costume, then expect to do some "tricks" when you roll up on our house. JJ and I will make you stand far back from the candy bowl and you'll have to catch the candy as we toss it to you - or if you come up to the house and don't say "trick or treat" and just hold open your pillow case, then we'll ask you what is that that you want. So, my point to this post (or rant) is that if you are going to participate in the trick or treat game, then play the part - get a costume, dress up, and say the "trick or treat" phrase - it isn't that hard and it's usually fun too!

I hope everyone has a safe, fun and Happy Halloween tonight. I leave you with a few photos from last year's Trick or Treat night in our neighborhood. Even Miss Ella got into the spirit of dressing up!

October 21, 2010

Bagel Dip

This is one of the easiest appetizer's out there and it's a pretty big crowd-pleaser too! It's simple - one block of cream cheese and one 5 oz jar of Old English chedder cheese. Throw them in a bowl, stick the bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften, then mix together with a mixer until you get a smooth texture. Cut up some bagels - I went with plain, but I bet onion, whole wheat or everything bagels would be great too - and there you go, that's it! Take this to your next gals get together or a tail gate party and be prepared to give out the recipe (if you even want to call it a "recipe"). Enjoy...I bet this would go great with some of those fresh bakery soft pretzels...Mmmm!

October 18, 2010

Dressing up for Dinner...

Located in the Mandalay Bay is a wonderful "progressive American cuisine" restaurant where JJ and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Aureole - pronounced with the "O" emphasis like "Oreol" - has been a fixture in Las Vegas since New York City's Master Chef Charlie Palmer expanded his culinary roots out West to open this location back in 1999. The restaurant eludes a sense of sleek sophistication the minute you walk through the door and see the four story wine tower housing the nearly 10,000 bottles of wine they offer. As you walk down the stair case surrounding the wine tower, you are welcomed to the dining room where crisp white linens and fancy china adorned the tables which are lit by candle light.

We were greeted by a gentlemen who offered us the choice of the Chef's fixed menu or a wide selection of a la carte menu options for our dining experience. We were also given Aureole's wine list. This was a bit overwhelming actually because their wine list is not presented on the traditional paper menu, there are so many choices offered to patrons that the wine list is stored on an e-tablet type computer. According to their website, they use the world's first electronic wine list to track their extensive collection. Luckily for us, once we narrowed our choice down to an Italian red wine, the restaurant's sommelier came to our table to help make a wonderful selection of a blended wine to compliment our dinner selections.
Watching the servers and house staff glide through the restaurant was like watching a tightly choreographed dance routine. Each table has several dedicated staff members attending to the table, always making sure items are removed as soon as they are used, while not being too over bearing. This finely crafted service allows guests to sit back and enjoy a wonderfully romantic evening.

My entree selection was the grilled New York strip steak served with a Mediterranean ratatouille and rosemary garlic pesto, which only has two words to describe the way this dish tasted - simply delicious. JJ went with the seared sea scallop minestrone prosciutto tortellini, which was beautifully plated and tasted wonderful. In addition to our entrees, we shared the truffle mashed potatoes and the buttered asparagus, both offering a great compliment to our entree selections. We splurged for the dessert sampler too, where we enjoyed small bites of meyer lemon creme brulee, mocha chocolate cake, strawberry shortcake - all amazing. We were also treated to the variety sampler of sorbets, including pineapple, watermelon and orange flavors - again, each one was amazing.

As we enjoyed our evening at this fine restaurant, it was a real treat to watch the wine tower in action. You see this four story tower not only houses the wine bottles, it includes a complex pulley system where "wine angels" glide up and down pulling out bottles of wine as they are selected by guests. For more details on this unique feature check out the wine angels who were featured on Oprah's dream job segment - click here for the video.

If your travel plans ever take you to Las Vegas and you're looking for a place to splurge on a wonderful evening out, do your self a favor by making a reservation at Aureole. It's the perfect place to dress up, sip wonderful wine, indulge in delicious food and enjoy a night out on the town.

October 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Celebrating our 1st anniversary at our pool side cabana...

Watching the NFL games all day and soaking up the sun...

Cheers to my love - thank you for making me the happiest girl in the world!

Viva Las Vegas, baby!

October 05, 2010

Walking for a Cure

A few weekends ago, I participated as the team captain for the Wendy's Warriors team in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure walk in Cincinnati. We had an awesome time doing the walk and raising money for the fight against breast cancer. Enjoy some of these photos from the event!
A big thanks to everyone who traveled to Cincinnati for the walk. Together the Wendy's Warriors team raised over $3,500 for the Susan G. Komen foundation. If you'd like to continue to help us raise money and awareness for all the great things the Komen society does, please click here to visit our team page.

One last photo I'd like to share with you - below is a picture of me and my college roommates. We all share the wonderful bond of true friendship, a bond that runs deep into our hearts. We've supported each other through getting married, having babies, getting new jobs, and now we are supporting each other as our best friend Wendy battles against breast cancer. True friendship calls on each other to be there for one another during the good times and the bad, much like a marriage. I am proud to call these ladies some of my best friends. In the first few days of our friends diagnosis, we yearned for answers to questions like how could this happen and why did it happen to her? How can we help her or what can we do for her and her family? That's how "Wendy's Warriors" was formed - friends coming together to help one of their own during an unspeakably difficult time. None of us pretend to know what it's like to be in Wendy's shoes, but all of us plan to continue to walk right next to her in her journey to beat breast cancer. Thanks for listening as I've shared with you the reason why I was involved in this year's Greater Cincinnati Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure!

October 03, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf

1/2 small onion, chopped
small amount of minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup ketchup + 2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onions and garlic in the olive oil on low heat.

*In a medium bowl, mix together ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, salt & pepper and sauteed onions & garlic. Once everything is mixed together, form meatloaf and place on a foil lined baking sheet.

*In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tbsp of ketchup with 2 tsp worcestershire sauce and brush this mixture on top of the meatloaf for a tangy glaze.

*Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes. Slice, serve and enjoy - I served this with some roasted potatoes and peppers. Of course, it would go great with mashed potatoes and a seasonal vegetable too!

This was my first time making a turkey meatloaf and both JJ and I really liked this recipe. Using the ground turkey is a great option when trying to cut back on red meat and because the turkey is so lean, there was absolutely no grease like there is when I've made a meatloaf with a ground beef/ground pork mix. I would recommend checking on the loaf as it nears the end of the cooking time to make sure it's not getting too dry. Let me know if you try this recipe and if you & your dinner guests enjoy it. I think it will be replacing the beef/pork meatloaf we usually make in our house!

PS - the above picture doesn't do this meatloaf justice. I tried several times to get a "good" picture of this dinner and I've decided that there is just something about meatloaf that doesn't offer the most appealing photos. But I assure you, it tasted very good!

September 21, 2010

Cincinnati Style Chili

1 1/2 lb of lean ground beef

1 (29oz can) tomato sauce

1 (14 1/2oz can) diced tomatoes (whatever size you like) - I used petite diced

small onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp.. chili powder

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 toe of garlic

3 bay leaves

Brown meat - cook onions with meat - drain grease. Place meat and onions in large pan or crock pot. Add rest of ingredients. Cook slowly 4-5 hours covered. Remove bay leaves and garlic before serving. Serve on a bed of spaghetti and top with grated cheddar cheese. I also like to put onions on top. We also like it as a coney sauce for grilled hot dogs or you can just eat it in a bowl with crackers.

This recipe comes from a new "friend" of mine and it's fantastic. I used the word "friend" in quotes because I've never actually met this friend in person but we've been chatting it up on facebook for about a month! Readers of the blog may remember my awesome new beach bag I got this year and the maker of that bag, 2 Moore Stitches, is the holder of this recipe! She tells me that she thinks the chili is actually better the next day. She also posted that she often makes a double batch of chili and freezes the leftovers.

JJ is a big fan a Skyline Chili and used to eat it almost every night of the week when we first met. As of late, he doesn't eat it as often and when he does he usually subs out the chili for their rice and bean mixture as his topper for the noodles smothered in cheese. However, he's always up for me trying new recipes, so he was totally on board when I suggested having this for dinner one night. It probably came as a big surprised because I've just recently started to even like Skyline.

He took me to Skyline on one of our first dates and I couldn't even finish one chili cheese coney, that's how much I didn't enjoy the taste of Skyline. But about a year ago, I decided to give Cincinnati style chili another try and found that it wasn't so bad after all. With this chili recipe, I tried to crumble the meat up as small as I cook as I was browning it to get a very thin texture similar to the original Skyline chili. The only small change I made from the recipe above was using 1 tsp of minced garlic from the jar, other than that, I followed the directions above and it turned out great. I had a nice sized portion for my dinner and JJ ate 2 plates full, so clearly it was a hit at our house. So thanks 2 Moore Stitches for your Cincinnati Style Chili recipe, I think it will definitely become a staple in my recipe book for many years to come!

September 19, 2010

Finishing the Air Force 10k

Yesterday was an amazing day. I finished my first 6.2 mile run with a better time than I expected. The weather was wonderful, the energy was awesome, and all of that was shared with some great friends! We meet up in the dark hours of the morning, 5:30am to be exact, to car pool up to Dayton for the Air Force 10k run, which was at the Wright Patt Air Force Base. All morning long, huge military aircraft were flying over head, buzzing though the sky with such great force, giving me chills every time one flew overhead. I captured this shot right as the sun was starting to rise over the buildings on the base.
Once we got through the traffic madness and made a pit stop at the porta john's, we headed to the starting line to take off for the 10k. The picture below show the military planes that are all along the finish line for the races.
During the run, I felt pretty good for the most part. There was a pretty big hill between mile 1 and 2 and our group agreed to power walk the hill, which helped us not be totally wiped out for the remaining 4 miles. We stayed with our 3 & 1 intervals of running and walking during the entire 6.2 miles. I did start to have some doubt around mile 4 about how strong of a finish I was going to be able to have. Mind over matter, that's a popular saying, right? That's what I had to do, I leaned on my friends, who were right there encouraging me along, and pushed though some of the mental doubt that was starting to creep up on me.

Coming up to the finish line was such a great feeling. I knew that JJ and my parents were going to be in the crowd of people cheering everyone on as they finished and I couldn't wait to see them. As we turned the corner to head down the final stretch of the run, it was really emotional to see all those planes lining the way for us as we pounded our feet towards the finished line. About 100 yards out, I spotted JJ and my family and heard them shouting out my name, encouraging me as I crossed the finish line. As my running buddies and I crossed the finish line, we threw our hands up in the air and cheered out as all three of us had just completed our first 10k run. Right after finishing, we were presented with our medals by members of the Air Force, which was a pretty special moment.
The numbers break down like this - my total time for 6.2 miles was 1:22:15. My goal was to finish in 1:30:00, so it was a great feeling to have beaten that time. My pace per mile was 13:26, which is good for me. I finished number 1260 out of 1701 runners and in all female runners, I finished 641 out of 967.
Thanks to my running girls - Beth and Julie - for pulling me through miles 4 & 5 and pushing me to the finish. A big thanks to JJ and my parents, who showed up and fought the traffic to make it to the finish line to watch me accomplish this big goal of completing my first 10k run. Having you guys there was really great and I am thankful for your support!

September 18, 2010

Crossing the finish line...

Check out this video that JJ got of me and my running girls approaching the finish line for the Air Force 10k run - my first 6.2 mile run!

September 11, 2010

Floating down the River

On Labor Day weekend, JJ and I took a little adventure and drove out to Morgan's Canoe Livery and enjoyed a 3 mile canoe ride along the Little Miami River. We went to their Fort Ancient shop, which is in the town of Oregonia, just about 30 miles northeast of Cincinnati. According to their website, the Morgan family built the livery in 1969 and "chose this secluded section of river for its natural beauty and protected isolation, as well as being the best canoeing section on the Little Miami."
It was another beautiful day in Cincy and I've really been wanting to go canoeing all summer. Some how it always seems that every weekend fills up during the summer months and before you know it, time has flown by and we're heading into fall. Now, don't get me wrong, fall is my favorite season and probably a great time to canoe, but I really loved being out on the river soaking up some the last few rays of summer sun. It was pretty crowded that day with lots of other families taking the opportunity to get in some quality time along the river. Our 3 mile trip was nice and relaxing and there hadn't been much rain around, so the canoe actually scrapped some rocks a time or two. Truth be told, most of the very relaxing 3 miles canoe ride for me was spent like this:
Laid back with my feet propped up while my awesome husband did all the paddling. Am I not the luckiest girl in the world, he's the best!

September 10, 2010

Balsamic glazed salmon

2 salmon fillets
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1tbsp honey
1tbsp white wine
1tsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
dried parsley

Make 2 aluminum foil "boats" and place salmon fillets in center. Mix ingredients and poor over fish. Marinade salmon for about 30 minutes.

Grill salmon (in foil "boats") for about 10 minutes on medium heat. After 10 minutes, transfer fish directly in grill for 5-10 more minutes to finish cooking. (I recommend getting some non stick grill spray to use so the fillets don't stick to the grill - Weber makes a good spray option). Fish should easily flake with a fork when done.

Serve with rice & veggies or over a Caesar salad!

September 08, 2010

Sugardaddy's is So Sweet!

On a recent trip to Columbus, I made a stop at Sugardaddy's bakery. This spot was featured on the Food Network show "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and ever since hearing about this store, I've wanted to check it out. Now, most who know of Bobby Flay would probably agree that he's not know for his confectioneries, but he was willing to take on the challenge of competing against the fine folks at Sugardaddy's for a "throw down" on who could make the best brownie. Now that's my kind of competition! Sugardaddy's is know for their "couture brownies", which is is a phase that has been trademarked by the owners. The shop in Columbus definitely has an upscale "couture" feel and is a fun place to check out. Here's some shots from inside their shop near the Polaris shopping center.
The staff at the store was super nice and very helpful while I was mulling over all the fabulous choices. "My new friend", aka the Sugardaddy's employee, told me all about their brownie flavors, how they can package the brownies if you're giving them as a gift and she also shared with me that they've started to use their brownies as crust for cheesecake. I had a sample and it was some seriously out of this world deliciousness. The case full of fresh brownies:
After a great trip to this fun store, here's a shot of all the goodies I purchased on my first trip to Sugardaddy's:
6 brownies:
1 American Beauty Brownie (no nuts)
1 Rich Mint Brownie (My favorite!)
1 Dark Berry Brownie
1 Cinnamon Blondie
2 Strawberry Blondies

1 bag of "Pocket Change" - American Beauty brownie bites. Sugardaddy's cuts their brownies into circles, so they have tons of left over crusts. They've cleverly bagged up those left overs and sell them, which my new friend at the store tells me is the most economical option when purchasing their sweet treats.

Cheesecake with Dark Citrus Brownie Crust - definitely check this option out if you're a fan of brownies and cheesecake (and who isn't a fan of those two things!).

So, who won the "Throwdown" of Sugardaddy's vs. Bobby Flay?

Sugardaddy's, of course.

Go ahead, order some - you know you want too!