OK, so I spent the weekend kinda sorta camping. But not really at all. Home camping. Is that such a thing? Well, it is now.
And I don’t mean pitching a tent in the backyard…even though that was fun when we were ten.
I am not going to get into the particulars of the weekend because, well…it wasn’t flattering. For anyone involved. To put things simply, my parent’s home was hit by the storms over the weekend. Trees came down, holes in porches happened, and power lines were severed. Leaving the residents of our small town (and pretty much the entire state of Ohio and beyond) without power. And in my small town, no power = no water. The wonders of well water people. Enter this overwhelming sensation of camping, but not. Maybe if we had made s’mores or built a campfire…but we didn’t.
A few tidbits to keep in mind when your power goes out…
1) This is the time when it is totally OK to eat all that ice cream in the freezer. It will be the first to go. So, invite neighbors and have an impromptu ice cream social…what else are you going to do?
2) Know where your UNO cards or Monopoly board is…this may be your only entertainment.
3) Learn how to open and close/lock your garage door without electricity. Do this now, when you have power…you will need this skill. Promise.
4) If you aren’t a fan of roughing it…buy a generator. But that is cheating.
5) Always keep fresh batteries in your flashlights. It will get dark inside fast. Like, real fast.
6) Candles are a great light source….and make the whole situation more romantic than it really is. Oh, and if you had a grandmother like mine, great entertainment for children.
7) Find the funny. Otherwise you will focus on the unpleasantness of it all.
8) Know where your car phone charger is…your phone will be your only distraction, keep it charged.
9) You can totally make coffee using a grill. Add Bailey’s to that coffee and your day without power will start much smoother. Promise.
Thankfully, my parents got power back on Monday evening and besides losing a tree, a bit of damage to the porch, and losing the entire contents of the fridge/freezer…they are OK. It definitely could have been worse. Much worse.
You wanna know what is great during a power outage? Cake. How about black raspberry and peach cake…yeah, sure why not. When making this, I didn’t have a power outage in mind…nopers, I was thinking of eating this poolside all weekend, with maybe a dollop of whipped cream…but instead we ate in the dark with warm diet coke. So much for plans!
Black Raspberry and Peach Summer Cake
Makes a 9 x 13in. cake
- 1+ 1/2 Sticks (3/4 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 2 + 1/4 Cup White Granulated Sugar, divided
- 3 Eggs
- 1 + 1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
- 1 + 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 + 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 + 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 + 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 4 Medium Peaches; peeled, pitted, and evenly sliced
- 1 Pint Fresh Black Raspberries
I believe the best naps are taken on the couch, in your work clothes. With your shoes still on.
I believe that beer tastes better from the tap and worst from a bottle.
I believe chocolate should always be close at hand, in the purse, in the cupboard, in the desk, or in your locker.
I believe an afternoon of watching Dirty Dancing will make the world right again. Same is said for The Sound of Music.
I believe that lip gloss and mascara is all a girl really needs…less is totally more.
I believe comfortable silence between two people says more than chatty conversation.
I believe in loud music and singing along, so I can’t hear myself and the wrong lyrics that escape my lips.
I believe shoes make an outfit.
I believe green beans will make my hair grow longer, faster.
I believe God is good. And people are crazy.
I believe in laughter.
I believe that bbq isn’t properly eaten unless you have sauce from ear to ear.
I believe that Diet Coke is liquid crack and popcorn is air popped crack, lightly salted.
I believe ants and spiders should live outside and let me live inside. Alone.
I believe drinks taste better when slurped through a bendy straw.
I believe berries taste like summer. And summer taste like berries.
I believe in celebrating the little things in life, along with the big stuff. Milestone birthdays and Friday evenings. New jobs and new shoes. First steps and first dates.
I believe Friday’s should be celebrated. With cake at work and cocktails at home.
Makes 1 Cocktail
- 6 to 8 Blackberries
- 8 Mint Leaves
- 1 ounce Rum
( I used coconut rum, gotta use what ya got!)
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- Juice of half a lime
- A few ice cubes
- 2 to 3 ounces Club Soda
In a glass, combine the sugar and mint leaves. Using a muddler or a pestle, break down the mint into the sugar, releasing its oils and aroma. Add blackberries, rum, and lime juice and continue to muddle the ingredients together. ( I used the back of a spoon to smash the blackberries). Add a few ice cubes and top off with club soda. Garnish with extra blackberries and mint sprigs.
Guess what is less than 10 days away?
26.2 miles. My first. I haven’t spoken much about this race since I signed up for it, just a few short months ago. Man, 4 months ago, 16 weeks of training felt like an eternity…but it flew! Like, seriously, the days, weeks, and months sprouted wings and flew!
Each week, I have slowly increased my mileage and I have been quite the stickler about my training schedule. My days have been planned around when and where I will run. I have scheduled my runs around work. And I have scheduled my time with friends and family around running. It has taken quite the priority in my life. If I was going to do this…I wasn’t gonna mess around. And I haven’t. So, for my first marathon, I think I will be as prepared as I can be. The unknown is what I find to be so frightening/anxiety-inducing. I don’t know how my legs will feel at mile 22. Or what my digestive track will be thinking at 24. Or how mentally stable I will be at mile 23. I have read and received tons of advise, but each person has a different experience…and so, I wonder/fret/worry what mine will be. I keep visualizing awesomeness.
While on my long runs ( twenty being the furthest), I have learned a bit about what my body needs before, during, and after a good 3+ hour run. I bought a fuel belt (think fanny pack for runners) that holds two water bottles, for ya know, hydration and a small pouch for keys and a few dollars. It is dorky, I love it. Gel packs or GU are great fuel for the road. I found I need 1 pack every 5 to 7 miles. My favorites include Jet Blackberry and Cherry Limeade. Quick question? Does anyone eat the mint chocolate or pb? YUCK! I found that frozen peas are best for icing my knees post run. I prefer to listen to podcasts over music…they keep my attention longer. I drone out music and concentrate on the pain in my right big toe or the tightness in my quads. Joy the Baker and The Because Show are my favorite. They make me laugh. It is easier to do anything when you are laughing. An old Indian’s hat (free from Opening Day) is my head-gear/sun protection…because I sweat like a monster and sweat burns when it hits my eye balls and I wanna keep my skin cancer free for as long as possible. Kind of a big deal. And my favorite night before carb dinner? Waffles.
I am not sure if carb loading actually works, but I am not one to argue. I mean, someone is actually giving me the go ahead to eat carbs, guilt free. I would be crazy to argue. And I am not crazy. Maybe a little, I am running 26.2 miles by choice. And my big purchase last week was a twenty-dollar waffle maker that made me immensely happy, one because it was cheap and two, because it made waffles that tasted like a million bucks. I am not sure what I will register for if I ever get married. Is it rude to just ask for money?
Any who…waffles. Blackberry and lemon waffles. I know, another blackberry and lemon recipe? Yep. I am in a bit of a phase right now. It’s cool. I don’t think blackberries and lemons will ever go out of style. These filled me up without weighing me down. The lemon, refreshing… the blackberries, sweet. The texture light and fluffy and with a nice crisp exterior…just the way I like them. And while I added maple syrup, because I can’t resist pure maple syrup, it wasn’t exactly necessary. But then again, I needed the carbs :)
These are weekend waffles…make ‘em for fellow runners or fellow non-runners – we all love waffles! And we all need waffles from time to time. Race or no race.
Blackberry + Lemon Waffles
Makes 2 Belgian Style Round Waffles
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 egg, separated
1 Cup Buttermilk, well shaken
3 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1+1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
about 1 Cup Fresh Blackberries (2 handfuls)
Preheat waffle iron according to manufactures directions.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Measure brown sugar and lemon zest out onto a clean, flat surface and with the back of the spoon, rub the zest into the sugar. This will release all of the flavor/oil from the lemon zest. Add the lemon zest/brown sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg yolk, buttermilk, and melted butter. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Mix just until everything is incorporated, do not over mix. It will be lumpy, this is good. Set aside.
Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. (since it is just one egg white, this won’t take long.) Once soft peaks form, gently fold egg whites into the waffle batter. Again, fold just until everything is combined. Do not over mix. Lumpy is alright. (over mixing causes a tough/chewy final product).
Pour batter into your preheated greased waffle maker and sprinkle a small handful of fresh blackberries evenly over batter. Close lid and cook waffles according to your waffle makers directions.
Top with extra fresh blackberries, butter, and maple syrup.
Can be stored in the freezer, once completely cooled. Pop them in the toaster or oven at 350°F for about 5-7 minutes until warmed through and crispy on the outside.
As much as I like warm and sunny spring days….gray and rainy spring days make me even happier. I am talking a constant rain/downpour/drizzle and overcast gray clouds – the kind that makes it feel like dusk from morning to, well, dusk. And fog, well I wouldn’t complain.
These days aren’t my favorite because I like to stay in bed and nap all day. Not at all. I like to crack the windows in the house and let the soft scent of rain fill the house. I enjoy the soft pitter patter of rain against the windows. I like the streaks of rain running down glass panes. I like to watch rain drops fall into puddles…ripples are hypnotic. I like how the grass appears greener against the overall grayness. I like how a cup of coffee tastes warmer and more rejuvenating on a rainy day. I like how any book becomes a page turner. And most of all, I love to putz around the kitchen.
Nursing a cup of coffee, flipping through a few cookbooks, and taking stock of my pantry/fridge. The fun is creating something out of what I have on hand…because I am not venturing out if I don’t have to…rainy days are to be spent at home, not running errands … in sweat pants and fluffy socks, not jeans with wet hems and soggy socks.
Today was a rainy day. I had to work. I felt cheated out of my calming rainy day. Am I weird to wish for rain on my days off? Probably. If you have a rainy day in the future, I recommend making these blackberry pie bars. Just stock up your fridge with blackberries and lemons, oh and watch the Weather Channel so you don’t have to leave your house.
Pie bars, where the crust is more of a shortbread cookie – so no pie crust, hallelujah right? A filling that is studded with fresh blackberries. And then there is the crumble topping. Holy moly these are off- the- charts- good. So good, that after I ate 3 rather large portions, in quick succession (like 5 minutes, not joking)…I shoved them in the freezer. I couldnt’ trust myself, home alone with these pie bars. I have a very weak spot for pie or anything resembling pie…
Oh and hey, I bet your mom would like these on Sunday. Can you believe it is Mother’s Day already?
Blackberry Pie Bars
Makes 8 x 10in.
(it is an odd size, if you use an 8 x 8 pan, the baking time will be longer, and the bars will be thicker)
1 + 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
pinch of salt
1 + 1/2 Sticks butter, cold. Cut into cubes.
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
pinch of salt
3 Cups Fresh Blackberries
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking dish, set aside.
Combine granulated sugar and lemon zest on a cutting board or clean countertop and using the back of a spoon, rub the zest into the sugar. Voila, lemon scented sugar. This is a great trick for adding flavor to dishes!
In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon sugar, flour, salt, and cubed cold butter. Beat the ingredients together until they form a crumbly mixture. It will look dry and crumbly, but will form a ball when pressed together. Reserve one cup of the mixture. Press the remaining mixture into the baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool (about ten minutes).
When crust is cooling, make filling. Whisk together eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, and salt. Whisk until smooth. Gently fold in blackberries. Pour filling onto the cooled crust – you may have to spread out the blackberries so that they are evenly scattered. Sprinkle the reserved crust evenly over the filling. Place in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until the top begins to brown slightly and the filling is set.
Remove from oven and let cool before slicing. This might be the hardest part!