Monday, November 8, 2010

A Taste of Summer

Well, it's been awhile since I've given an update on other things, so here's a little bit of everything going on right now...

Run Report: Again, not too much new going on. I've kept up with my training and have continued to bring the speed work back into the routine. I hit the local track last week and ran some intervals. I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt. While I had planned on running a 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400 with 400 recovery runs in between, I wasn't able to do that middle 1600. I could instead only do another 800. It was insanely hot and humid though, so I think that's still pretty good for me, especially considering my last track workout was um... in March! Unfortunately though, I have no idea what my times were. I was so distracted that morning, that I put the wrong watch on! I didn't even realize it either until I was just finishing my mile warm up and went to press the button to time my first 400 only to find my "fancy" silver/gold watch on my wrist. DOH! Oh well...

As far as my long run, I'm glad to say that I'm up to 12 miles. I felt pretty good while doing it too. I was super tired the rest of the day though. I usually do a session of Namaste Yoga afterwards to stretch out and I opted out last Saturday. I paid for it! I did it later during the day and it did the trick. I was again reminded the importance of stretching.

This week, I have a planned cut back week and will be enjoying it!


In the Kitchen: I think my all-time favorite summer pie is strawberry rhubarb pie. I was excited to find some rhubarb at my local grocery store so I immediately started looking for a good recipe. I started by looking in my favorite cookbook, America's Test Kitchen's The New Best Recipe and was lucky enough to find a strawberry rhubarb pie recipe -- perfect! I had to find one strange ingredient (arrowroot) but was soon ready to go.

I tried a new dough recipe, also from The New Best Recipe and had a much better time with it. The main difference was that when you add the ice water to the dry mixture, you don't do it in the food processor. You instead do it in a separate bowl and then fold the ice water in. That seemed to work much better for me since I could easily see the consistency of the dough to tell exactly when it was ready. This will definitely be my go-to pie dough making method!

I then worked on the filling which seemed pretty easy and worked on assembling the pie. This is definitely the hardest part for me. Getting the dough from my work surface to the pie plate is a nightmare. Of all the methods recommended, the easiest for me is to fold the dough over itself in half, then fold it again in fourths. Then pick up the dough, put it in a corner of the plate, then simply open up the dough. After wrestling with the dough, I finally had everything assembled as directed, put it in the oven, and crossed my fingers.

After an hour or so of baking and a few hours of cooling, the pie was finally ready to be sliced. I'd show a picture of a nice slice, but that is not possible. Each slice is crazy ugly for two reasons. First, the bottom crust wasn't firm. To fix that, I think next time I will butter the pie plate. I can also maybe place some bread crumbs or graham cracker crumbs to help keep the crust from getting soggy, like Dorie suggested in her blueberry pie recipe. The other reason for the heinous looking slices is that the filling was pretty runny. I think I need maybe more arrowroot next time. I will also slice the fruit smaller. The chunks were a little big for my liking.

As ugly as the slices were, my tummy did not discriminate. The pie was very tasty! It was the perfect balance of sweet and tart -- my ideal taste of summer.


Summer Vacay: The word "vacay" will have a whole new meaning next week. My birthday is this Friday. I'm turning the big 3-0. I have been begging my DH all year to go on a vacation of some sort this summer. All year he has been saying NO WAY! Well just yesterday, he finally spilled the beans. He has been planning a surprise vacation for my birthday all year! He only told me early so that I could get some shopping done and get the house ready, but that's all he's telling me! I know we will be gone for 10 days... I know that I need to bring a few swim suits... I know I need hiking shoes also... but I have no idea WHERE we're going! That is the one thing he wants to keep a surprise until my actual birthday. Tee Hee! I'm so excited! So needless to say, I have no idea what that means for running or cooking/baking challenges over the next two weeks, but I'm not worried about that! All those things will be here when I get back. Until then, I've got some rays to soak up! YEA!

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