Back in the skinny saddle again...

Sometimes when I'm cooking and the recipe calls for mozzarella I like to repeat the word over and over in a horrible fake Italian accent. It's a fun word when you drag it out in that accent. The Italians really know how to name cheese. Moooozzz-ahh-relllaaah! Try it. Roll that "r". Fun right? Pecorino is fun too. But don't try to sound all authentic like Giada. It's more fun if you intentionally try it with a horrible impression.  Even better if you raise your hands up at the end of the word for extra emphasis.

My those are some nice mozzarella balls you have there.

Night before last I got to do this. I tried a new recipe for Low Fat Baked Ziti. I used penne pasta instead, and I added sausage to it. Scott will moan and groan if his meals don't have some form of meat in them. This is why he never takes me to Sweet Tomatoes (Soup Plantation/Fresh Choice for you Californians), even though I absolutely love it there and crave their Tuna Tarragon on a daily basis. I am totally deprived people. Completely. But back to the baked penne.

It was delicious and so so easy and yes it had the mozzarella.

I've decided to go back to my healthy eating plans since I won't be running 15-24 miles a week any longer. Not running so much means not burning gobs of calories. Cutting back to 9 miles a week will significantly reduce my burn so I had to look for other ways to stay (get) fit. 

One of the ways I'm doing that is perusing, printing and preparing  recipes from . There are some AMAZING options over there. I print out new ones all the time and I now have quite a stack to get through. I've made five or six of her recipes and they always turn out smashing! I even ate spinach last night and it was delicious. You know my displeasure with vegetables in general so this is pretty awesome news.

I'm back in the saddle again...hopefully a skinnier one soon. No more eating cake pops even though they are totally rad. Fruit instead because it's rad too.


Fun with cake!

A few years ago I attempted a baking adventure that didn't really go so well. I blame the fact that I was on crutches, and baking while unable to stand on your two feet can be limiting. Especially when dealing with melted candy that needs to be kept at a fairly constant temp. So the first attempt at CakeBalls was a disaster. They were tasty, but looked so unappetizing I didn't let anyone but Scott see them. I'd link you to the blog post about it but I just reread it and it's quite whiny. I was obviously frustrated by my broken ankle and the disaster that took place in the kitchen that day. No need to really see that recap when you can see the awesomeness that happened in the kitchen today!

You guys!! Have you heard of Bakerlla? If you have not you should go check out her site 

 I would also highly recommend that you purchase her book HERE  if you like to bake or you like cute things, or you like tasty treats that make people smile. It is also available in your local bookstore which is how I purchased it because I didn't want to wait for shipping.

I sat down last night and went over all the things I'd need to get started and read all the tips and tricks. The book is really amazing. Pictures of everything. I love books with pictures.

Then, this morning I baked!

Just a box of cake and some frosting, my little helper Olivia at my feet, balls made, time to dip!

The finished product!


This was the trial run for some Super Mario Shroom pops I'm going to make for my niece and nephews birthday party. I think I'll be able to pull them off now. The trouble will be not eating them.
I thought about typing up a full race report for you (is there anyone even reading these??) but then figured just some highlights would be good enough. No one needs to know that my feet went completely numb at about mile 4 and didn't get back to normal until we hit mile 5. Oh wait, now I guess you know anyway ;)

So yes, I ran my very first half marathon yesterday.

Let's start with some positives:

- We finished the course in less than 3 hours. That was my goal. It's nice to meet a goal you're not quite sure you're capable of.

- The course is beautiful! Parts are in farm land, rolling hills of grass and big red barns on the horizon, parts are in areas that feel like a forest, deep woods with tall trees, ferns, SHADE! Really a stunning place to run.

- I didn't die. Nope, I didn't. Hence me here typing right now. I didn't even hurt myself! I'm sore today but normal long run soreness. Even my hip flexors behaved. Hips + hills = lotsa pain...usually. Perhaps it was adrenaline? Perhaps my hips are used to the beating? Perhaps He intervened on my behalf? Even my allergies held off until we were done.

- Scott and Cheryl and Aaron came out to cheer us on. Due to multiple road closures they had trouble getting close to most of the course so picked a spot where we had about a 1/8 mile left to run. It was the perfect spot. I was starting (not really, it started well before 1/8 miles left) to drag and was even feeling a bit pukey from being so hungry. Charity had already said "When we get to the white gates we're just going to run and not stop", I'm sure my need to walk was frustrating her. But  then I saw Scott and Aaron holding signs and I just felt better. I started to run and didn't stop. Into the stadium we went. Cushy ground in there! Hooray! And we finished. Running, nearly sprinting. It's amazing what speed you can find when you can see the end.

Now for the challenges (yes challenges, not negatives):

- Hills. I know everyone knows about the Helevtia Half Hills. It's par for the course. Hahahahaha, get it, the course. Yeah I crack myself up. So yeah, hills. There are a few of them. I don't run them often. See above hip flexor comments. I didn't exactly train for these. We walked up them. I would try to run up the starts and just lose all energy. Had I been able to run more of them our time would have been oh so much better. Next time. Wait. I did not just type that. I don't intend on there ever being a next time. At least for Helvetia.  Dudes, I am not a runner. I am a reader/gardener/baker. Next time....pffft.

- Hitting the wall. Somewhere between mile 9 and 10 I hit it. My brain had been mush at mile 8.5 when I turned to Charity and said "We only have a 5k to go!" You should have seen the look on her face when she took pity on me and explained that, no we actually had about a 10k to go. Ability to do math lost at 8.5. Another mile or so later and I was tired. The sun came out and it zapped the little energy I had left. I wanted to conserve some for the finish so we walked more than I would have liked. That was frustrating.

So that's the story morning glory. Yep, only two challenges that are signifigant enough to mention. If I ever run another half (there is a plan for the Princess Half in Orlando right now) it will be better because I'll know what to expect.

I do take a few things from this experience.

1. If I decide that am going to do something, no matter how improbable, it is possible.  It is extremely rewarding to know you can do something so physically demanding, even when you are an out of shape, former mediocre athlete. Seriously folks, if my fat ass could do this, yours can too. Not that you have a fat ass. I'm just saying, well you get it.There were people on that course with broken arms and canes!! As an able bodied human I have no excuse not to be out there getting my exercise on.

2. Running is not really the most evil thing on the planet as I had previously thought. Pollen has now taken top spot in that category. But running, well it can be enjoyable. When done in moderation and not in an all out, hurt yourself, kind of effort. Slow and steady actually feels nice, up to about six mile...

3. I have some really kick ass friends. Charity, who is a runner, a real honest to goodness runner, stayed slow and steady with me right from the get go. She was right when she told me that if you have to do this kind of training alone you will probably stop. There is accountability involved but also the shared misery comradery in completing something so grueling.  Not everyone would hang in the back with you and stay patient when they could surge ahead and have fun passing all the slow pokes. Cheryl and Aaron are pretty darn awesome for coming out to cheer us on too (Scott gets points too but he's my husband so it was kind of required). It's a drive out there, it's a few hours out of a gorgeous day to find a spot then stand and wait with signs. I don't know if people really understand how much it means to have people on the sidelines. It's HUGE! Scott (you didn't think I'd leave him out did you?) was a constant support. He let me bitch and moan, but never once made any comment that would imply he didn't think I could do it. In fact, when I wanted to skip a long run it was just one look from him that said "Get out there, you can do this". So yeah, I have some pretty awesome people supporting me. Imagine what else I could do with that kind of support???

I plan to back off from the running for a week or so, maybe just a few itty bitty runs for a few weeks, then head back into some longer runs topping out at 6 or 7. Just to stay in shape. It's so much more work to build up to that, better just to maintain it.  But now I won't bore you (if there is anyone still reading this!) with running stuff all the time.

My finishers medal! The whole reason for agreeing to this in the first place!

Okay, so this was a huge much for keeping it short and sweet with highlights! I gots the word vomits!

How does your garden grow?

The sunshine came out on Friday and just about everything under it bloomed! My little pollen sensitive nose and eyes are quite upset at the moment. My face looks like Will Smith in Hitch when he has the allergic reaction. You know, puffy, gross. General ickyness. Here let me remind you what he looked like.

Okay, maybe I'm not quite that bad but this morning I couldn't open my eyes for the gunk in them and my head felt like it went to a college kegger party without me. Stuffed up and dripping snot at the same time. I'm pretty. Pretty pathetic! Damn the pollen.

So yes everything is in bloom, and while this means I am itchy and agitated, it also means the garden is looking A-MAZE-ING! I took pictures to share. The colors outside just make me so happy. Natures pallet is simply stunning. Colors so vibrant and rich.

The five minutes I spent outside taking these pictures resulted in a sneezing fit to rival all sneezing fits. I had to sit down because I thought I might knock myself over. Twenty-seven sneezes. When Sneezy the Dwarf retires I think I can safely apply for his job.

Pistachio Petunia (this might rival Lantana for my new favorite plant)

Raspberry Petunias

Vining Rose

Pink Peonies (these are now about three weeks behind!)

Tomato plants have blooms! That means we're going to have maters!

Strawberries! Hip hip hooray! We've got oodles and oodles of them!

We've installed a little Urban Fairy door. Hopefully a nice little fairy will take up residence and help our little plants with a bit of her magic dust. I think the gnomes could use a lady in their life too.