Yeah, we went a little overboard…

Jillian and I had a TV party a couple of weeks ago, too, and we…went a little crazy with the food that we made.

I made Cherry Cheesecake Scones (white chocolate-cherry scones with chunks of actual cheesecake baked in them), Apple Cheddar Beer (Cider) Bread (very nice – sweet and savory at the same time), Blueberry Goat Cheese Focaccia (also tasty – and pretty easy, too, which was a nice surprise), and a Chocolate Babka (which was unexpectedly and hilariously huge – but also very tasty, sweet but not too sweet, though I think the cream cheese filling could have actually used a bit of sugar). Jillian brought her famous cheesy bread, adapted from this version at Simply Recipes, Shrimp With Fennel (which was very yummy – with a nice bit of heat to it), and gorgeous Corn Cakes With Avocado Salsa (holy cats, yum!).

We could barely make it through two rounds of food, but it was worth the food comas we had by the time we were done. And they didn’t stop us from picking away at thirds (and fourths). Combine all this yummy food with an afternoon of Parks and Rec and Veep and it was very nearly a perfect day!

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Who knew people from Bement were so speedy?!

I’m behind and getting caught up!

Two, wait…three Saturdays ago, Mom and I headed out to Bement to run in the Bement Old Glory Days 5K. It was a fairly small group, compared to the races we’ve been doing – they didn’t even have chip timing, just a bunch of guys at the finish line with stop watches! We all lined up, ready to go, the guy in charge said “On your marks,” everyone took a very professional-looking starting posture, Mom and I said “What the–” and we were off! And when I say off, I mean off – people were sprinting away from the start line. We kept to our usual pace – “We’ll catch up to them, they’ll get tired, you’ll see,” I said. Except we only passed two people! Who knew!

The course was very nice – flat and scenic – but the day ended up being hotter than I’d anticipated when I got up, so I was a bit overdressed which I think really affected my time. We were much slower than we’ve been the last few times. I can’t actually tell you what our time was because they haven’t posted our times yet, but I think it was maybe around 37 minutes or so? So not terrible for us, but not as good as we’ve been doing. But Mom still came second in her age group – I just have to stick with running for 30 more years and then I’ll start getting medals!

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Wanna see something gross?

This weekend, Drew and I drove to Columbus to go to a wedding reception for two of his friends. I got to meet some of Drew’s close friends from MSU and we had a lot of fun at the wedding reception!

Or we did until I got bitten by something. At first I figured it was just a mosquito bite – the reception had been open to the outdoors – and when my foot started to get a bit puffy, I figured it was just because I’d been wearing heels and dancing and generally o

n my feet for the last few hours. When it didn’t go down over the next two days, Drew started to worry and convinced me to go to Convenient Care.

Can you tell which one is the puffy one?

Thank goodness he did – the doctor there said that if I’d waited a day or so longer, they would have had to lance my foot open to drain it! D: As it is, I’ve got some antibiotics and I’m supposed to keep it iced, elevated, and wrapped in an Ace bandage (which I’ll have to get on my way to work tomorrow). If it doesn’t start looking better in the next day or two, I’m supposed to head back in and *gulp* hope they don’t have to lance anything…

Cross your fingers for my feet!

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I didn’t choose the Girl Scout life, the Girl Scout life chose me…

Friday night brought some fairly serious weather to the midwest – I was staying out at my parents’ house since Mom and I were going to be up early the next morning for our 5K and at 10:30pm, the tornado sirens went off. We grabbed the pets and headed to the basement for the next 15 minutes or so during which the wind really whipped up a storm! When all was clear, we headed back to bed, hoping to get at least a little sleep that night.

At 4:30 the next morning we were up and on the road to the SIU-Edwardsville campus for the Thin Mint Sprint 5K to benefit the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. As we got closer to our destination, we started noticing trees that seemed to have been snapped in half along with downed and bent telephone poles. We even saw one or two barns that had been destroyed during the night! By the time we arrived, noticing that the power seemed to be out all over Edwardsville, it was raining again. When we checked in, they told us that, due to storm damage and debris, the half marathon had been changed to a 10K (they would just do the 5K route twice). As the start time neared, they made another announcement – there was now too much debris on the 5K route, so they were busy remarking a new route that the 5K runners would run twice while the 10K runners would run 4 times.

It was still raining, so Mom and I waited in the car.

P to the L to the G to the S! I told Mom to look tough, but she just looks sort of uncomfortable…

There was a bit of confusion about the route once the races started – apparently, the signs that they’d put out to mark the new route blew away and the volunteers weren’t really sure where we were supposed to go either! But I think they eventually got us all sorted out.

By the time we finished, we were soaked through! It was cool but not too chilly since we were moving around. After I accidentally stepped in my first puddle, I gave up worrying about it and just splorshed my way for the rest of the race. When we’d started, we said to ourselves “Well, we won’t be setting any personal bests today, it’s just for fun.” But sure enough, when they posted the results this morning…we set new personal bests! Mom left me behind and finished in 33:17 which is a 10:44/mile pace and came third in her age category and I finished in 33:29 which is a 10:48/mile pace! Woo hoo!

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I made a pie!

For all my baking, pies are definitely not my specialty – I hardly ever make them! But when Kate invited us to a Memorial Day barbecue at their place, I decided the time was right – right for a Strawberry-Orange-Rhubarb Pie. And it was sooooo good!

We managed to polish off about half of the pie at the party and then Drew and I ate the rest of it the next day. It was sweet but not too sweet and a little tart but not too tart and the filling was lovely and jammy, not runny. The crust, which was a butter crust made in the food processor (my usual go-to crust is a Crisco crust made by hand), was perfect – sweet, flaky, tender. I added some turbinado sugar on top of the egg wash which gave it a nice extra sweet crunch. Yum!

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Now that’s my kind of race!

After a disappointing show in last Saturday’s race and a similarly disappointing day at work on Friday, I decided I needed to run a 5K this morning – I felt like I needed to prove to myself that I was still making forward progress in at least one part of my life. So I woke up at 6:00 this morning and headed out to Long Creek Vineyard near Decatur for the JWA’s Run to the Vineyard 5K. Fortunately they had race-day registration and there were even still t-shirts and souvenir wine glasses! After registering, I sat in my car for about an hour reading Laura’s copy of The Great Gatsby (which I’m actually not hating this time around) until it was time to start getting ready for the race. We got sprinkled on before and after the race, but while we were actually running, the weather was clear!

It was a road race – I’ve learned my lesson after last week’s trail run – and, despite there being an uphill section on the way out and on the way back (yes, it was uphill both ways – no, there was no snow), I ran all the way and seem to, unofficially, have set a new personal best for myself! The official race results haven’t been posted yet, but when I crossed the finish line, the 5K clock said 34:33 which is an 11:13/mile pace! I’m slowly getting closer and closer to my 10:00/mile goal!

It certainly wasn’t as fun without a friend to go with me, but I still had a good time – I only wish they’d had a glass of wine waiting for us at the finish line ;)

p.s. – I felt very color-coordinated in my pink and green shoes, pink and green race t-shirt, and pink hair. Even if I’m slow, at least I’m stylish!

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What do you do with questionable celery?

Make Cream of Celery Soup! Soup is so forgiving, it’s always my go-to option for vegetables that are very nearly dead. I did run into a problem in the form of a disgusting potato (even though I’d just bought it) so Drew came to my rescue and ran to the market to replace it (and to get flour and baking powder – who runs out of baking powder?! – which allowed me to make us a dessert, too). It was not my night in the kitchen – I didn’t have enough baking powder for the Whole-Wheat Beer Bread and also had to substitute bread flour for all-purpose in that recipe, I spilled flour and butter all over me while making Orange and Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Scones, encountered the aforementioned gross potato, and may or may not have lost an earring back in a bowl of diced onions (Drew got me an onion to replace that one, too) – but somehow everything turned out all right!

The celery soup tastes like celery, but in a good way and the beer bread is a lovely combination of salty and a little bit of sweetness. Yum!

The scones are tasty, as well – I baked off two of them for us to eat that evening and the other four are in the freezer waiting for just the right moment. Can’t wait!

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