Monday, August 29, 2011

Broccoli Slaw (& a weekly rundown)

Yes, a vegetable. After my last three recipes being cinnamon rolls, milkshakes, and brownies, it must come as a surprise that we actually eat vegetables in this household. But we do. Usually in the form of spinach salads or steamed broccoli. Not too adventurous. However, this recipe is pretty adventurous. Heh, a whole five ingredients.





I first ate this slaw when I was home at my parents a few weeks ago. My mom got the recipe from one of the markets up in Door County - the original recipe called for cherry poppyseed dressing.






Well I wasn't about to pour the majority of my $6.95 bottle of cherry poppyseed dressing into coleslaw, so I made some improvisations. 


This slaw is a great combination of crisp veggies & chewy dried cherries, with a sweet dressing & salty sunflower seeds. It seems that my favorite recipes combine the sweet & salty flavors together... what can I say? I think it all stems from mixing my m&m's with the popcorn at the movies when I was a little kid. Mom taught me that one.






Oh... and it's super easy. And quick. So even if you think you can't cook, you can make this salad. Promise.


What you need:


Green onions & broccoli slaw.

Dried cherries & sunflower 'nuts'. Or seeds. Whatevs. Just make sure they're salted.

All mixed together.

Then the poppyseed dressing!





Broccoli Slaw


  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ⅔-¾ cup creamy poppyseed dressing

Method

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Stir well. Store in refrigerator.



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And now for last week's wonderful week of training.


I somehow surpassed my mileage goal by over 6 miles... whoops. I also got in the dreaded 5-mile tempo run! Woooo! And some fun easy running too. Can't wait for the half on October 16.



Weekly Rundown (August 22-28, 2011)
Goals: 40-45 miles, 5-mile tempo or 5x1-mile repeats, 11-12 mile long run

Monday: 8.1 miles easy (64:14; 7:55 avg)
Tuesday: 5-mile tempo (34:05; 6:49 avg); 7.6 miles total with warm-up & cool-down
Wednesday: am - 6.3 miles easy + hills (52:58; 8:24 avg)
                          pm - 2.7 miles super easy w/ XC team (25:15; 9:20 avg)
Thursday: 12 mile LR (1:39:00; 8:15 avg)
Friday: 5.4 miles easy (43:00; 7:57 avg)
Saturday: 5 miles with the bride! (41:00; 8:12 avg)
Sunday: 4.2 miles easy (33:49; 8:03 avg) <-- didn't plan on running, but could not get myself to wake up! A couple easy miles did the trick.
Total: 51.3 miles

Next week's goals:
  • 40-45 miles total (guess I can skip my planned 50-mile week since I got it last week!)
  • 4-5 x 1-mile repeat workout
  • 11-13 mile long run
  • maybe a fartlek for fun? we shall see...
Yay for running! Off to foam roll my IT band... my Business Man is getting a little tired of massaging it every night. I have such a good husband. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fun-filled weekend + new brownie recipe!

My goodness. What a week/weekend. Combine the first week of school + an (out-of-town) BFF's wedding + making 1000 chocolate-covered pretzel favors for said wedding = one happy, but exhausted Sara! I almost need a weekend from my weekend. Heh. Just kidding.


I had grand plans of doing a huge recap of the fabulous wedding... but am waiting on a few more pics to come my way. So here's a recipe instead. I made these to celebrate the first day of school. I am very excited to have people to bake for again! (Not that I can't bake for just my Business Man & myself... but we don't plow through it too quickly. Unless it's cinnamon rolls.)






I've had these Peanut Butter Fudge Pretzel Brownies bookmarked from How Sweet It Is ever since Jessica posted the recipe. Salty pretzels + sweet chocolate + peanut butter? Only like the best combination ever. (Ever heard of a Take 5 bar? My absolute favorite candy bar.)






I doubled the recipe to fit a 9x13-inch pan since I was taking them to school. I would say just make a single batch unless you're feeding a crowd. These are pretty rich so a little goes a long way. 


The crunchy pretzel crust is made up of just crushed pretzels and butter.


Gave me another chance to bust out this baby.


Then the light chocolate brownie batter. Not too rich... this went well with the peanut butter topping.


Note: It is very thick! Not like typical boxed brownie batter. Don't be concerned!

Spread into the pan.

I forgot to fold my chocolate chips into the batter so I improvised. It works, right?




Then they are baked. And then the last step of deliciousness is added - a peanut butter topping, a ganache of sorts. Which I do not have pics of because at this point it was 9:30pm the night before the first day of school.



A quick trip in the fridge, and they're ready to go! Here's the breakdown.






Yum! These were a hit and I don't see how they couldn't be. And the recipe!



Peanut Butter Fudge Pretzel Brownies


  • Pretzel Crust
    • 1 ¾ cups crushed pretzel pieces
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Brownies
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • 1 ½ cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
    •  cup chocolate chips
  • Peanut Butter Ganache
    • 1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter
    •  cup powdered sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with foil, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine pretzel pieces and melted butter in a small bowl until moistened. Press pretzels into the prepared pan, forming a crust.

To prepare brownie batter, beat butter and sugar with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. On medium speed, add flour, salt, and cocoa powder, mixing until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Using a spatula sprayed with nonstick spray, evenly spread brownies on top of pretzel crust. (This might be a bit tricky - it might help to spray your fingers with cooking spray and spread by hand.) Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted 1-2 inches from the edge comes out clean.

When brownies are almost done, melt peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted. Once melted, stir in powdered sugar and mix until no lumps remain. When brownies are finished, remove from the oven and spread evenly. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours; cut into bars and serve.


Source: How Sweet It Is

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Here's a couple snapshots from the weekend... stay tuned for a full re-cap!


Multiply this by about 22.




Me and the BEAUTIFUL bride! (There are zoo animals on the wall because we got ready in the church nursery.)


And our road trip eats today... yummy Cracker Barrel and delicious lime-ades from Sonic. Life is good.


I think could drink this syrup straight up. Syrup shots, anyone? Heh.

Why don't we have Sonic in the Bean Town?
Adios! Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twas the Night Before School Starts...

Yup... school starts tomorrow. Time to say hello to working 40 hours a week. And early wake-ups where I actually have to do something with my morning rather than sit on the couch and watch the Today Show. And spending my days with teeny-boppers and their drama. And trying to teach them math at the same time. 

Oh, and making milkshakes?


Not so much for school. More for my Business Man. One night when I was browsing Pinterest he spotted a picture over my shoulder. For Cake Batter Smoothies. Of course the recipe linked the picture to a healthy recipe. Using all these crazy ingredients like frozen bananas (ok not so crazy), coconut oil, xantham gum, guar gum, cashew butter. What the junk?!

So off we went scouring the internet for a non-healthy recipe with ingredients we already had. Heh. And we found one over at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. And this is definitely not a healthy milkshake. And yes, it is now a milkshake, not a smoothie.

Yes, we have sugar, cream, processed foods, with a side of more sugar, cream, and processed foods. Oh, and the milk! That's dairy!
For one milkshake, you need:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white or Funfetti cake mix (or 'Party Rainbow Chip' if you're a Betty Crocker fan like myself)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla frosting
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • whipped cream & sprinkles (for garnish)

It all goes into the blender, and voila! You have a Cake Batter Milkshake.



And yes, it's sweet. Very sweet. So sweet that I had 2 sips. And stopped. That's sayin' something.



But my Business Man has had one the last 2 nights... he's in love. I kinda want to try a chocolate version. Or red velvet. Mmmmm....

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So school starts tomorrow. Today was our teacher workday. I thought I'd share some pics of my classroom because I have finally taken the time to organize and decorate. (After a whole year of teaching.) I'm hoping to have at least some semblance of organization this year... at least for the first couple weeks. Ha!

Here's my desk. Pretty clutter-free as of today. That will soon change.

Can you spy my cute lil' cupcake candle?
And the side of the room where I have my supplies. I actually have supplies this year. I bit the bullet and bought a classroom set of rulers, protractors, scissors, markers, crayons. It should make life a lot easier.

I got a lot of 'summer decor' items at Meijer for 75% off that I am using as storage bins/containers. Such fun colors!
The back table for group-work.


That bowl of candy will not be staying there. It would be gone within 20 minutes.
The whole classroom. We are going to try sitting in partners. We shall see what happens.


And... last but not least, my bulletin boards.

We have a new bell schedule this year. I am hoping our kids all make it to school by 8am. (Last year's start time was 8:18am.) 
Classroom expectations - I got this graphic from Pinterest and had it printed on a poster. I like it. :)
So, that's it! Here's to a great first day tomorrow. I'm excited to see some kidd-os from last year and meet my new students for this year!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back in the Dirt Divas... and a Weekly Rundown

Well friends, this is my last Sunday before school starts up again. (Though I have tomorrow off still... gotta ease back into the school year with a short week.) I am excited for fall and football games and big pots of chili. Oh, and pumpkin spice lattes. The start of the school year isn't too bad.


The start of the school year also means the start of cross country season. Last week, there was an Open Cross Country Race in a town about 15 miles from here. So of course I participated. How could I not, it was only $2 to enter!


Putting my Dirt Divas on... all photos courtesy of my awesome Business Man.


The purpose is mostly to give high school teams a chance to have a 'practice meet' before the official season starts. I think there were only 2 or 3 people in the race that were not high school athletes. Heh. But I didn't really care.


At the start.
The race went well - but I forgot how hard cross country races really are! It'd been about 2 years since I'd raced on the grass. It' so much more difficult than road races or track 5km's. 


Trying to run the tangents. Don't want to run any further than I have to.
I went out with the lead girls, not knowing quite what to expect. Well, they eventually took off ahead of me so I just stayed where I was. Nice & comfy in the third position and stayed there the rest of the race. Here's how the race broke down.

  • Mile 1 - 6:26 (felt harder than this pace!)
  • Mile 2 - 6:40 (getting tired...)
  • Mile 3 - 7:03 (yeah... real tired)
  • Last 0.1 - 0:43 (and we finished up a hill)
For a final finish time of 20:52.

The last 100 meters. Why I chose to wear a cotton t-shirt to an evening race in the middle of August, I do not know. I don't recommend it.
So clearly I did not negative split this race. Heh. But I was third out of 105 girls, so I'll take it! It was a lot of fun. I'll be back next year for sure.

Oh, and my arches are so sore! I guess not wearing spikes for almost 2 years and then randomly whipping them out will do that to ya.

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And now for the Weekly Rundown for my Columbus Half-Marathon training. (Just 8 weeks away!)

Last week's goals were to run 40-45 miles, a 5-mile tempo and a 10-12 mile long run. I achieved all but the long run, but I ran 9.5! Close enough, right? ;-)

Weekly Rundown (August 15-21, 2011)
Goals: 40-45 miles, 5-mile tempo, 10-12 mile long run

Monday: 6 miles easy (52:30; 8:45 avg)
Tuesday: 5-mile tempo (33:44; 6:45 avg); 7.7 miles total with warm-up & cool-down
Wednesday: 5.9 miles (46:53; 7:56 avg)
Thursday: 5km Cross Country Race (20:52; 6:42 avg); 6.4 miles total with warm-up & cool-down
Friday: 6.6 miles easy (51:50; 7:51 avg)
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 9.5 miles LR (75:00; 7:54 avg)
Total: 42.1 miles

Next week's goals:
  • 40-45 miles total
  • 11-12 mile long run
  • 5-mile tempo or 5x1-mile repeats
  • Adjust to actually working everyday again... ahhhh!
Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Good Ole' Allen County Fair

And parade. Oh, yes, it has been a day full of celebrating the lifestyle of the Midwest.


Emma is such a good dish washer.
Oh, and we had visitors arrive last night! I now have a little helper in the kitchen doing dishes. (My Business Man's family is visiting... his mom & dad and his two little sisters Sarah Beth & Emma.)


We've been fortunate because there's actually a lot going on in the Bean Town this weekend. Yesterday kicked off the first day of the Allen County Fair, and today there was a parade downtown to celebrate.


My parade buddy.
We'd never been to a parade in the Bean Town and didn't know quite what to expect. There was lots of interesting things to see.


We waved hello to Ronald McDonald. Unfortunately he was not handing out fries or McFlurries. Boo.



We saw the policemen & women on their horses. Emma commented that it was a bit smelly. I didn't disagree.



We cheered on the Lima Senior High marching band!! I tried to catch the eye of a few of my students but didn't want to distract them too much while they marched.


There were lots of cars with various types of royalty sitting on the back and waving... such as the Poultry Queen, Pork Princess, Rabbit King, Goat Queen. Not really sure what that was all about - the 4H competition at the fair maybe? It was rather humorous. 


And we saw a super-cute puppy. What's not to love?




We were actually pretty impressed with the parade... it was an hour and twenty minutes long! And Emma came home with a whole sack-ful of candy. Too bad they didn't hand out Dove chocolates or Reese's... just Tootsie Rolls & Dum-dums.


After resting up a few hours, we headed out to the Allen County Fair to check it out.


Sarah Beth & Emma got armbands so they could do unlimited rides all afternoon. My Business Man and I chose to forgo the armbands for fear of throwing up all afternoon. Spinning rides = not a good choice.




Somehow they got their mom & dad to ride 1001 Nachts... it was super-fun to watch from the ground. ;-)

Wheeeee!

Captured while they were at the top of the ride!


After watching for awhile, my Business Man & I roamed the fair for a bit. It wasn't too long before we needed sustenance. We decided on some homemade chocolate ice cream.


Who woulda thunk... we chose to get ice cream?


We ended up running into our good friends Amber & John - so spent a while catching up in the Republican booth where they were volunteering. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a pic.


After meeting back up with my Business Man's fam, we checked out the livestock buildings


We saw some cute little bunnies. I sort of wanted to take one home. But really I'd rather have a puppy.






And some sheep. Sarah Beth photo-bombed me on this one.



These guys were prepared for winter in their Under Armor. Too bad it was like 87*F today. They might have been roasting a bit.



After the livestock buildings, we made our way home. And went out for Thai food. Yum. 


I'll be back tomorrow for my weekly running recap! And to tell about my cross country race Thursday... fun fun.


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Oh, and a side-note - I noticed that the past couple weeks I hadn't been receiving any comments. Which was a bit odd. Then I realized that I changed the settings so there would be a different format for the comments... which was not allowing people to comment. So I am sorry! Commenting should work fine now! Heh... I can be a bit silly sometimes.


Have a great rest of the weekend!

 
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