Cleaning and baking, oh my!

Today is graduation day here at the U of I and Drew’s dad is coming down for the ceremony, of course, so after I got back from the Kirby Derby, I immediately got to cleaning. I don’t want him to know how we live! So I did many, many loads of laundry, hoovered, cleaned floors and the bathroom, took stuff down to hide it in the basement storage unit, and then after I was done with all of that, I baked a loaf of Whole Grain Strawberry-Banana Bread.

I love bananas because they’re so easy to eat, but I only like them for a teeny, tiny window of ripeness – as soon as there’s even the hint of brown, I can’t eat them anymore. Which means that our freezer is full of frozen, black bananas. The fridge is also full of huge strawberries, so this bread was the only logical choice for getting rid of a lot of both.

It’s so super tasty! Drew and I each had a slice this morning (well, I went back to eat the heel slice – it was worth it, I tell you!) and it’s lovely and sweet and very moist – and it smelled great while it was baking. I think it would make yummy French toast, but I don’t think it’s going to last that long. ­čśë

Triple Crown #2: Kirby Derby

Mom and I are two-thirds of the way to our special Triple Crown sweatshirts! Yesterday was the Kirby Derby out in Monticello and Mom and I did great! They had a great turnout for the race – between 900 and 1000 people! – and the money raised is going to build a 1-mile walking path with stretching stations around the hospital which seems like a good idea and a good cause.

There was a 5K run, a 10K run, and a 5K walk – our goal was to finish before the first 10K runner. And we were sooooo close! SO close! As we were running toward the finish line, up over the hill ahead of us appeared a 10K runner and he beat us by about a minute or so. We actually set a new personal record: 35:25 for an 11:23/mile pace! We did even better than we did at the marathon 5K! I was really proud of us – it seems to be getting easier slowly but surely. I’m sure we’ll plateau timewise soon and then we’ll have to actively work on improving our speed, but for now it feels like a big accomplishment each time.

Mac and cheese with a kick!

We love Mexican food around here, so when I stumbled across this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese with Black Beans and Chipotle, I immediately added it to my to-make list. It ended up taking me a while to get around to making it, but it was super tasty when I finally did! Instead of American and cheddar cheeses, I took the opportunity to clean out our cheese shelf in the fridge and used a combination of cheddar, pepper jack, and queso fresco cheeses which worked just fine (though the queso fresco, known as a melting cheese, just did not want to melt!). I also added some sliced grape tomatoes to add a little cool, crisp flavor to the warm, rich cheese. Tasty!