Wednesday, September 29, 2010

and so it begins...

 half marathon training
At 6:16 a.m., I spent 44 minutes getting ready and talking myself into running. Yes, it takes me awhile to decide this, but all I want to do is win the battle more times than not. (Two quick, hilly miles done and done, just FYI!)

While I've been running here and there all summer, working myself up to about six miles, I had a half mary plan mapped out to begin today (actually yesterday #fail), entered into Monique's calendar, and ready to go. But now I'm having second thoughts. The original plan has more days off, but Hal Higdon's plan doesn't focus on what I think is speedwork. I'm not going to be bound to one or the other, I don't think. I like one short, speedy run or intervals a week, one medium (4-6-8 mile run), 1 long run (8-10-12), and 1-2 days of cross and strength training.

Any insights on this from other runners? All I know, is that I'm less motivated to do a run that looks like this on my calendar:

Just a little intimidating! Hal's program focuses more on strength, which I like. So it looks like, the first day of my training, I will be switching programs. Awesome.

Okay, I need your help. As I wrote on fbook, the best thing you can do to support me is pray, send good vibes, leave encouraging comments, etc. But the second best thing you can do is make me a CD or leave a comment with the music that pumps you up. What gets you over the hump when you're working out, cleaning, tackling something huge at work, or want to get pumped up about a big project?

Thanks in advance!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

epic birthday, part !!!

Where we last left off in part !!, I had just enjoyed a few much-needed days to myself, which left me rejuvenated and energized. (Don't feel sorry for JT. He went to Six Flags and the OU game with his best friend!)

The next weekend, I was really excited about a dinner out on the town. Like the weekend before, I thought about it all week, wondering where he was going to take me and what we were going to do. What can I say? I cherish date nights with my husband, especially when there’s food involved and I don’t have to cook!

Friday night finally rolls around and JT says he wants to rest a little before we go out, but he wants me to straighten up the house a little in case Jason were to come over. (Hey -- something’s fishy here!)

Imagine my surprise when he goes outside to get something and I hear a knock at the door. It was Andrea Cherie and Meseidy, armed with sleeping bags, air mattresses, and overnight bags. JT had planned a surprise slumber party for me and a few of my friends, (Amanda and Darla also came) kickin' it middle school style!

First, Meseidy and I rummaged through the pantry and refrigerator, and she put together an amazing pasta with sweet potato sauce. It was fantastic! All of the girls were so impressed by Meseidy's ability to whip up something with the bare bones essentials in my pantry. (Had I known we'd be playing Iron Chef in my kitchen, I might have prepared a little better!) Not to mention all of the plates were licked clean. Well, not literally. (But maybe in my case.)

Speaking of Meseidy, you should hop over to her blog and check out her latest project, The Next Food Blog Star. She was selected for the second round, which I am very proud of, and I know she would appreciate your much-deserved vote on Monday! While you're there, you might as well check out her amazingly creative recipes! You can thank me later :)


After dinner, we dug into this cake JT bought from Merritt's, this amazing bakery in town. This is my absolute favorite kind of cake and the frosting was divine.

We each saved room for a slice and then headed to Starbucks, where I tasted my very first pumpkin spice latte. I now understand the rave about them! Absolutely delicious! 


While we had lots of chick flicks and activities planned out, we chose to exercise our gift of gab instead. Our old bones stayed up until 2 a.m. talking about everything under the sun. It's so great to have such awesome girl friends and to get to spend time with them!

JT, seriously? How creative can you be? Thank you for pursuing me very creatively this birthday and in life! It was honestly the best birthday yet. Here’s to 94 more!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

farmers market beauties

Only one week left for the Cherry Street Farmers Market!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Thursday, September 23, 2010

epic birthday 25, part !!


This is part !! of my epic birthday recap. Just in case you missed part 1, you know, if you weren’t used to me posting, click here to check it out.

So the Friday after my birthday Tuesday, I was fully expecting JT to plan a fun birthday date for me. Usually this involves some kind of progressive dinner, coffee, dessert event where we basically hit up all of our favorite places to celebrate the best way we know how.

All afternoon, I imagined where he would take me. Was he thinking sushi, which we normally save for special occasions? Or somewhere off the map completely? If there’s one thing I know about my husband, it’s that he’s unpredictable (most of the time).

But I never could have expected what I found when I got home.

On the bed was a card surrounded by flowers, a bottle of my favorite red wine, some bubble bath, my bathrobe, and a card. Inside the card, JT expressed that my special date night was with myself (well, and Sampson). If you know me, you know this is a very special gift for me. The card also came with a list of instructions for me.

First, I was to go for a run. I was so excited! It was a really beautiful day and the sun was starting to set, my favorite time to begin.

so I stretched…


and headed out on my absolute favorite trail


for a glorious SIX-MILE sunset run
it was so good for my soul!

Next, I set out to run my “errands”
first, I was sent to find a book and buy it.
along with some good chocolate.
I stopped in to Bed, Bath, & Beyond to get a few things we needed.
(and some surprises for me and Sampson!)

IMG_1149 then I drew up a nice warm bath
for legs fresh from a wonderful run.

and I just enjoyed my dark chocolate, wine, and book for awhile.
not gonna lie, it was nice! IMG_1155

after my bath, I worked on my manuscript until I fell asleep!
when I woke up, I went on a date with
my little Sampson


to pick up a bouquet of basil at the farmer’s market!


then I came home and watched week one of college football:
the week I’ve been waiting for for MONTHS.


I had a delicious rare Sonic treat, my diet cherry limeade,
to tide me over while I watched my Longhorns win!

Have I mentioned how perfect this weekend was?
What about how much I love my little family?


stay tuned for part !!!
yes, there’s more.

the epic birthday 25

Hello, bloggies! Long time no see! You will be so proud of me. I have been neglecting my little blog for very good reasons you will find out soon. I have been using my creative computer time very wisely, making lots of my 25 for 25 happen. There are lots of wheels turning in my mind, new projects getting some lovin', including my Christian chick lit storyline I've been dying to develop to completion. Well you will be proud to know that with the inspiration of my writer friend and coworker, Amanda, there is a notebook in my purse that has probably 95% of my manuscript outlined in extreme detail with little post-it notes (transportable because I know how often my mind changes as a story progresses). So that and a few other things are what I've been up to!

But I just had to make time this morning to tell you about a birthday so epic that it's gonna need two posts. That's right, two posts! I will squeeze two of the events into this one to let you know just how awesome the people in my life are.

Let's start with my actual birthday:

I arrived at work to find my office in this condition.

To this day, almost a month later (gulp), there are still a few floating around that my ornery boss has not popped. They have been so much fun to kick around. I think they help me concentrate, really.

Then the very same Amanda from before walked in with this gorgeous torte she'd made. 
From scratch.

Rich, butter cake with raspberry jam and cream cheese frosting: it was divine. She promises to get me the recipe, which I will share, so don't dismay! It was a thoughtful (and dangerous) gesture that made me smile every time I saw it on my desk. And every time I took a delicious swipe of frosting, which I was given permission to do because it was my birthday!

That Friday, my boss took my coworkers and I to this awesome new place on the river called The Grille. We sat outside and the weather was so beautiful it was almost like we were on vacation.

Even though we could see our office from where we sat, 
it felt like vacation.

(See the office in the horizon?) 

Then I got smoked at Shuffleboard. 
Apparently my recreational sporting skills have gone out the window! (Along with my iPhone's ability to capture images in very poor lighting.)

So I changed my mind. This birthday will just have to be described in three posts! Keep on the lookout for part two, which will be posted very shortly!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

dear bloggies,

Sampson here. My human is asleep, so I’ve hijacked her blog to tell you a little about myself. Life here has been interesting this week. The girl human has been cooking a lot, and the man human made me wear a funny sign on Tuesday.


He likes to do funny things like that for her for some reason. All I care about is that I got lots of scratches behind my ear, and lots of biscuits for being a good boy.

I just turned five months old, and I’m getting pretty big. Of course, I’ve always thought I was as big as the other dogs, but now I’m growing into my big paws and not so clumsy anymore. My humans enjoy throwing the ball just so I can slide across the hardwoods, though.

My favorite tricks are sit, shake, lay down, off, leave it, gentle, and stay. My favorite toy is my foxy and I can find him around the house when my humans ask me where he is.


rbtaThe girl human says she loves this picture because it focuses on the place she likes to kiss, the top of my head.

My favorite things to do are pet Mr. Turtle, go bye-bye, play with other dogs, lick peanut butter straight from the spoon, chew on my rawhides, and be around people. I am still working on jumping on people. Sometimes I just get so excited and forget.

Looking at that picture makes me awfully sleepy. I have no news to report. I just eat and sleep and play all day. Hopefully this rainy spell will be over soon because staying in my kennel is so not my favorite thing to do while the humans are at work.

Oh, one more thing.

The humans keep mentioning my name and September 29 in the same sentence. They say things like I get to go see my friends at the vet and I have no idea what’s about to happen to me. I guess I’ll find out what they’re talking about on September 29!

Will you be my friend?

Sampson T.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

farmers market pasta

Fresh, easy, healthy, and versatile, I knew this dish would be perfect for a weeknight. Little did I know, this would become one of our favorite meals ever. You can use whatever pasta you have on hand and whatever veggies look fresh, on sale, or just pretty. I have used all of those qualifiers to select produce before.

In fact, when I was at the Farmers Market, I actually planned to use squash and zucchini in this recipe. I wanted to thinly slice half of each and then grate the rest to make the sauce really thick. I promise up and down that I bought some at the same stand where I bought the potatoes and onions. But as you can see in my recap, it's not in my picture. And it certainly wasn't in the refrigerator when I was frantically looking for it tonight.

Anyway, the magic components to this dish are garlic and cheese. A little minced garlic (or a lot if you're cooking for JT) and a sprinkle of cheese transform the vegetables into a party for your palate. Here's the recipe.


Pasta (whatever you have on hand; I used bowtie)
EVOO, salt, and pepper
1 onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 handfuls of spinach
1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
basil for garnish (hopefully not purchased at the grocery store like me :( )


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium-high and saute onion with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until onions are glossy and starting to get yellow. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Make sure your cherry tomatoes are about the same size (half the bigger ones) and add to the pan, but stand back. If it's too hot, you could get tomato guts all over you! 

When the tomatoes are heated through, carefully smush them with the back of your wooden spoon so a little juice comes out. Add your spinach in handfuls, depending on how much you want, and start stirring. Remember that it will wilt down in the tomato juices a lot!

Your pasta should be cooked by now. Drain all of it except for a tiny bit of water. While it's still hot, add the Laughing Cow cheese wedge and about 1/8 cup of Parmesan. It helps to crumble the Laughing Cow into a few pieces first. Stir like crazy so the cheese will melt, adding a little pasta water or olive oil to help things along if you need to. I added quite a bit of freshly cracked black pepper at this stage, because that's how I roll!

Toss pasta with your delicious veggie mixture and serve with a little chopped basil and some extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.

*Helpful tip: Remember to add a little salt and pepper to taste with each layer (with onions, spinach, tomatoes, etc.). If you taste it as you go and add seasoning as needed, it will taste so much better than if you decide there's not enough at the end.

a trip to the farmers market

On Saturdays after Pilates, I like to run errands in midtown since I'm already down there. Usually, this involves making any excuse I can to go to Whole Foods. But I've limited myself to going there about once or twice a month for the sake of my pocketbook. Wannabe foodies just can't be trusted in that place. Everything is so beautiful, fresh, and delicious-looking. And samples? I'm not gonna lie. I've gotten full on those samples before I could even cook dinner. Going there hungry is inexcusable, unless you plan on eating at the hot bar, of course.

Okay, geez. Obsessed much?

The only thing better than Whole Foods, I discovered on Saturday morning, is buying local. Our old house was across from a farmer's market. Summer mornings, we'd wake up, go buy some basil and scallions, and then pick up some truffles from the French chocolate shop on the idyllic little Main Street strip. Though I will never forget our Saturday morning tradition at our old house, this week I discovered the jackpot: The Cherry Street Farmers Market.

When I arrive, the entire street was blocked off. There were tons of booths and it was very hard to decide what to get. I'd gone to the ATM (since I am wayyy too practical to ever carry cash) and given myself a $20 budget. Trust me, it's for the better that I gave myself a limit. The first thing I saw was a huge bunch of basil for $2. I likened it to a bouquet because it was that beautiful, and I pay more than that for the tiny carton of basil at the store. But I couldn't just buy the first thing I saw. I was going to play it smart!

Twenty minutes later, I had this beautiful bounty: cremini mushrooms, succulent grapes, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, fat onions, and perfect red potatoes. I also bought this local garlic-flavored cheese made from nonfat yogurt. Missing anything? Yes, I ended up spending the last of my money on the grapes. After tasting one, I was sold.

As I was wandering the "aisles", completely zoned out in a sort of overstimulated reverie, I came up with an idea. Why not make a challenge out of this? Make several meals that showcase my farmers market bounty, sort of a test to see if I could handle a CSA. So I have lots of tricks up my sleeve for the next few days, starting with my Farmers Market Pasta.

I leave you with some close-ups of my pretties.

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