Not Quite Camping

For the last “official” weekend of summer (oh no!!), B and I went camping. Well, not really. We rented a house in the wilderness (40 acres of land!) with 2 other couples (plus a dog and an almost-2-year-old). We had gone camping with them a few years ago, and decided to keep the tradition alive – this time, with a large house. In West Virginia.

Here it is!

20150828_183958

Some photo highlights from the weekend: (linking up with Her Heartland Soul)

Friday night dinner – made by B and me (marinated flank steak, grilled veggies and a corn/bean/tomato/avocado salad) and dessert (custard bars with a fruit compote)

20150828_201112

Roasting marshmallows by the fire (See, it’s like camping!)

20150828_221811

Hiking around the surrounding area – including a river and some waterfalls

20150829_112923 20150829_104250

The rocks and lake (we weren’t supposed to swim in it)

20150829_151655

Girls

20150830_114450

Boys

20150828_221053

The whole group

20150830_115031

4 random facts from the weekend:

The Tygart Lake Dam is not open to the general public.

20150829_152747

You can’t go swimming in Tygart Lake after August 27. So we put on our bathing suits and went to go swimming but we couldn’t. (So instead we went for a “hike” down to the “beach” and back up)

20150829_152007

One pair of Chubbies will fit three different sized men.

20150829_173057

Asking people to make a funny face produces a pretty good photo.

20150830_115059

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Tygart Lake?
  • What do you like on your s’mores?

Cherry Almond Scones

B loves scones. You may know that – I’ve made them before (blueberry buttermilk and pumpkin are my faves), but I’m always looking for new recipes to try out.

A few months ago, B and I were in Cincinnati and we stayed with our friends Teddy and Suzanne. In the morning after we woke up, we were greeted with french press coffee AND freshly baked cherry almond scones. The scones were SO good, that B had to have the recipe. Teddy had baked them himself, so of course he had to share the recipe. And now – I’m sharing them with you!

cherry almond scones-icrashedtheweb

Cherry Almond Scones (a.k.a. Teddy’s scones :))

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon for the topping
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-2 tsp lemon rind (optional)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cut butter into small chunks. Add pieces to dry mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, incorporate butter pieces until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add in the cherries and almonds.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, coconut milk and almond extract.
  5. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the well. Carefully combine, just until moistened.
  6. Place dough onto a work surface, and pat and shape dough into a 1/2 to 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 8 wedges. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Brush with a Tablespoon of sugar and lemon rind (optional) on top.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

cherry almond scones-icrashedtheweb

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like sweet or savory scones?
  • What’s the best scone you’ve ever had? I need new ideas :)

PS- I just realized I went ALL july without posting a recipe!? How the heck did that happen?

WIAW #29: Just an ordinary day

Happy What I Ate Wednesday party people!

First, let me warn you that this day is just an ordinary day. A pretty boring, eat breakfast and lunch at my desk and dinner at home day. That being said, it was still pretty yummy, so here we go.

Side note – did anyone else have this song in their head now? #sorryimnotsorry

Anyway, I digress. For breakfast, B made me my usual. Egg whites with hot peppers plus veggies. Yum yum yum. Tired of seeing this same meal? Oh, those are farm fresh local tomatoes. So. Good.

20150825_085021

For lunch, I basically had last night’s dinner leftovers on top of lettuce, plus goat cheese. So it became a salad! Salad with olives, salmon, tomato, roasted cauliflower, sweet potato, broccoli and green beans. Plus a few nuts. Colorful, huh?

20150825_135844

20150825_172519

For snacks, I had some delicious fruit. Grapes and this apple, which was also local.  I can’t believe it’s practically apple picking season!

20150825_142408

Oh, and of course a pickle! I made pickles this past weekend (they’re so easy!) and couldn’t resist having a few before dinner.

20150824_180817

B made me dinner, too. Yup, breakfast and dinner today .. and we had a shrimp stir fry. We had a few veggies that needed to be eaten (bok chou, broccoli, eggplant) and combined with soy sauce, hoisin, sriracha and fish sauce, it was delicious!

20150825_200035

And for dessert? Some homemade granola. Yum!

20150824_213700

Some questions for you:

  1. I need a new breakfast. Any ideas? What’s your go-to?
  2. Have you ever pickled?
  3. What’s your favorite/least favorite kind of apple? I love so many kinds it’s hard to pick a favorite. Least favorite – red delicious!

 

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Half Marathon Recap

This Sunday I ran a half marathon, the Inaugural Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Half Marathon. It was the first year of the race (thus the name) and the start and finish line were within walking distance from my apartment. How could I say no?

Packet pickup in front of the Rock Hall!

Packet pickup in front of the Rock Hall!

Leading up to race week I was less than ecstatic. My left foot was still sore from hiking/rolling it a few weeks ago (whoops!) and the weather was looking HOT.

Raceday=Sunday=hottest day in the forecast

Raceday=Sunday=hottest day in the forecast

How I spent the night before the race ... compression socks (yes, they're inside out) and ice!

How I spent the night before the race … compression socks (yes, they’re inside out) and ice!

That being said, it ended up being a pretty good race! The heat held off until the afternoon (it was low-70s  instead of mid-80s!) and my foot only hurt the first few miles. So how else did it go?

First, the good news. I PR’d! I took two minutes off my time since the May half marathon I ran – my best time now is about 1:55 …

results

Now, overall thoughts on the race.

The good:

The fuel: There were water stops every two miles on the course and TWO fuel packet (Carb boom!) stops. I was able to grab water nearly every stop without a problem AND the people who were volunteering to hand out water were so helpful and cheerful! There weren’t many crowds on the course, but the people handing out water and Carb Boom were great motivation. Thank you!

Well-organized: While I didn’t hear from the race folks until the Thursday before the race (and yes, I was a little worried), the packet pickup and race day events went very smooth. The porta potty lines at the start were very quick (always appreciated!!).

pre-race selfie with Mary

pre-race selfie with Mary

The course: The course was relatively flat – which was great! It had a few minor hills (two in the beginning and 2 semi hills in the end), but elevation was probably the flattest of any half marathon I’ve ever run. So it was very PR friendly :)

ended up being a gorgeous day!

ended up being a gorgeous day!

The not-so-good:

The course: I know, I said I liked the course above. Forgive me, I’m fickle. I found the last 4 or so miles of the course awful, mentally. It was all one straight away (I do better on courses where there are a few turns I can look forward to), all black top, and no shade. Thank goodness it didn’t hit 80s until later in the day, but I was hot and bored.

The crowds: There weren’t many people out watching during the race. I know this isn’t the fault of the race organizers, but it would’ve been nice to have more people watching and cheering us on. I am so grateful that B and Nicole were out at 2 spots plus the finish line cheering us on!

Nicole made us a sign!

Nicole made us a sign!

Race entertainment: I was hoping for a band along the course or something – but besides the water stops (which, as I said above, were plentiful and cheerful!), there was nothing. And I’m spoiled with bands and music and cheering from other races, so I missed that during this course.

My stomach: Okay, this is all me. I’ve never ever had problems with my stomach during a long run or race before. I know, I must have jinxed it. But I felt sick from miles 10 on. I started feeling icky a little before, so I tried taking some new fuel (I know, a race day no-no) – Honey Stingers Chocolate with Caffeine Gel – and I’m not sure if that’s why, but after that point I didn’t feel any better. I was tired, thirsty, and for the last mile or so, nauseous. :(

 

I don’t have another half marathon in my sights anytime soon – I’m tooling with a November race, but haven’t signed up yet. After feeling ill the last few miles, it’s hard to get myself to register. It took me some time to be able to eat normal food again.

post-race fuel. My fave acai bowl at Restore!

post-race fuel. My fave acai bowl at Restore!

Some questions for you:

  • What is the last race you PR’d in? What’s next in your sights?
  • Do you feel sick during long runs? What’s the cause/cure?

Ladies Craft Beer Society Takes on Pickling (Weekend Update: How to Make Pickles)

This Saturday was our monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society. For those of you who need to catch up, each month I meet with a few lady friends for a few craft beer drinks, and a new craft. (B calls this my witchcraft society … ’nuff said) This month’s craft was pickling! I don’t know if it counts like a craft or not, but it was definitely something I was pumped for.

For you Portlandia fans, here’s what I was thinking about all week:

We had it at the lovely home of Cuoghi – she has a great kitchen and knows how to entertain. I wish I had taken a photo of all the glorious food she prepared – brown butter nectarine bars, two different quiches, homemade hummus, homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert. So. Good. Oh, and some delicious frozen strawberry lemonades  made with the lemon vodka we’d made at a previous LCBS.

frozen vodka strawberry lemonades

ice cream sandwiches

all the igredientsWanna make some delicious pickles? Here’s what you do. First we all made the pickling spice, which was a combination of 1/2 cinnamon stick (crushed), 2 whole cloves (crushed),   2 dried bay leaves,  2 T mustard seeds, 2 T whole coriander seeds, 2 T black peppercorns, 2 t whole allspice,  2 t dill seeds, 2 t caraway seeds and 2 t chili flakes. Combine everything in a jar – easy peasy!

1

Then we made the pickles. She had prepared recipes for both dill and bread & butter, but the dill were more my kind. Here’s what we did:

2

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Here’s what you need:

  • 6-7  kirby or pickling cucumbers
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 T pickling spices (above)
  • 3-4 fresh dill springs or 2 tsp dried
  • optional: 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, chile flakes, sliced jalapeño, you can add another teaspoon of dill seeds if you like them really dilly

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up cucumbers and put in clean jar.
  2. Add optional items. I made one with garlic and sliced jalapeño and one regular.
  3. In a medium sauce pot, put everything else stir, bring to boil so that salt is dissolved, pour over cucumbers, seal jar.
  4. Let sit out for about an hour, then refrigerate.  They’ll be ready in about 24 hours! Enjoy :)
pickling

ladies pickling!

The finished product - spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

The finished product – spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

And that’s it for my weekend update! Coming up next .. a race recap from the half marathon I ran on Sunday. Guess what – another PR!

Meatless Monday!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s something delicious you made or ate this weekend?
  • Have you ever made pickles?
  • What’s something fun you like that’s pickled?

WIAW #28: Camping Eats

It’s Wednesday…which means it’s not only Hump Day but it’s also What I Ate Wednesday!

I’m pretty excited to share with you something completely different for me – today, I’m sharing food from Saturday, when B and I went camping! That’s right, all of these meals are from my time in the woods.

For breakfast, B made some bacon and eggs over the campfire. Plus some freshly “toasted” bread. And grapes. Not a bad way to start the day!

IMG_20150815_094316

i ate these grapes all weekend

i ate these grapes all weekend

We took a pretty long hike and by the time we stopped for lunch, i was starving!  We ended up stopping along the route and eating on a rock with a great view. Bread, cheese, veggies and meat sticks for lunch. Easy, and packed in a backpack!

20150815_140652

Here’s a pic of our lunch WITH the view:

20150815_140649

Dinner was once again over the campfire. While B was preparing it, I snacked on some more veggies and cheese and grapes. Come on, you didn’t think we ate ALL of that for lunch, did you?

MORE CHEESE!

MORE CHEESE!

20150815_194552

camping dinner

And dinner was SO perfectly cooked. I don’t know how he did it, but we had potatoes, onions and steak – all made over the campfire. Such a good dinner!

Oh and don’t worry – we also roasted marshmallows over the fire for dessert. I had two…or four or five.

20150814_213347

Some questions for you:

  1. Do you like s’mores?
  2. What is a typical “camping” meal for you?
  3. How do you like your steak? I like mine rare :)

 

That’s What I Like About Sundays

Ok I know I gave you my weekend update post yesterday,  but this weekend was so great that it needs two posts.

In addition to camping, we had a pretty fun Sunday. We left our campsite first thing and after grabbing breakfast in downtown Ohiopyle, B had a surprise in store- he had made us reservations for a tour of Fallingwater! I had never been there and it was truly incredible.  If you’ve never been there before, I highly recommend it. I don’t want to hype it too much- but it’s a house built basically into a waterfall!  How cool is that?!

The house is literally above a waterfall – you can see the steps in the background of this picture leading to the water:

20150816_113123

And the house from afar:IMG_20150816_114147

That wasn’t all the day had in store. After we made it back to Cleveland, we headed down to Blossom. Blossom is the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra and we had tickets to their British Invasion performance. I love the orchestra and love love love The Beatles and Queen and they played both so I was in heaven. Plus,  we had packed a wine and cheese picnic for the show ….

So many of my faves!

So many of my faves!

20150816_191527 20150816_192322 20150816_195216

It was such a great show. We really lucked out with an amazing evening – great music and weather.

And that, concludes my weekend update posts. What a fun-filled, busy weekend! I feel like I may need a weekend just to recover. Yup, I’m ready for another one, already :)

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Fallingwater or other Frank Lloyd Wright attractions?
  • What did you do this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite cheese?