Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I JUST … Ran a 5K (and took a ride on Bella too)

Actually, I ran the 5K on May 19th but have been busy since then and haven’t gotten this up.  May 19th was the FlorenceRhodedendron Festival in Florence, OR.  They have a 5K/10K Fun Run and I decided that it would be my May Run.  Josh was in Denver and everyone else was busy so I packed up my food and running gear in Bella’s saddlebags and rolled out of the cul-de-sac at 6am. 
The route was backroads until I got to Shedd (there was a detour at the RR tracks and I had to ride 2 blocks in gravel – yuck), then I hit 99W and took that to 36 at Junction City.  I’ve never ridden past Cheshire on 36 and it turned out to be gorgeous.  I turned off at Poodle Creek Road and took that South to Hwy 126.  I’ve driven that road many times on my way to diving classes at Woahink Lake in Florence, so I was looking forward to seeing how it has changed in the past five years.  It was great!  The rhodies were blooming and the traffic was light.

Once I got to Florence, I found the Events Center and since I had an hour and a half before the race, I found a booth at the Dunes Café and ordered some Hot Cocoa to warm up.  I was cold and shaking.  The hot chocolate eventually warmed me up and I ordered a “Mini” stack and a side of bacon.  This place does mini like it does sand dunes – HUGE.  The side of bacon was 6 thick strips.  I only ate about a third of the pancake and a strip and a half of the bacon, then packed it away in my saddlebags for later. 
I headed off to the Events Center, parked Bella in the back of the gravel lot (yuck), got out of my gear and into my running kit, then picked up my bib and shirt. 
The route is a fun one, the Events Center sits on a hill, then you head down the hill to Bay Street, along Bay Street which is lined with Harleys for the Festival, then through some residential areas and back up a hill to the turn-around.  Then you go back the way you came.  There were people lining the whole route, out on their porches, sitting in their lawn chairs with their coffee and at the little bakeries and coffee shops in Old Town.  I loved it and everyone was really friendly and happy.  I made it out of that run and shaved 7 seconds off my Hillsboro time.  As soon as I was done, I threw back my chocolate milk and ate my Power Bar, put my riding gear back on and hit the road.  As I said, Old Town was filled with Harleys and only more were coming so I wanted to take advantage of the empty road up North and head up 101.
Bella’s light came on at 160 so I got gas in Yachats (ya-hawts) and rode on into Newport.  The bay was clear so riding over the bridge was really neat.  I stopped at the Quilter’s Cove Quilt Shop and checked out the inventory – they have a TON of patterns. 
Then I wandered down to Nye Beach to check out a place Troubador and Trobairitz have recommended, The Chowder Bowl.  It is a cute little place and I grabbed a seat by the window so I could see the people walking by and relax a little. 
I ordered a cup of chowder ($4.95 – ouch) and a plate of Fish and Chips and was kinda disappointed. 
The chowder was so-so, the fish soggy and the chips – eh.  The best part was the tartar sauce!  Oh well, I tried it and it’ll do in a pinch – much better than Mo’s Annex (but I’ll still take the drive to Lincoln City for Mo’s if given the chance).  Then I headed down to Newport’s Bay Street to pick up a birthday gift for a co-worker at Newport Bay Candle Company.  I saw these great glasses – Redneck Wineglasses – that were Mason and Ball Jars on wine stems.  They were perfect for Frank and Alma so I had to get them a pair.  On my way back to Bella I ran into some pirates and had them pose with Bella – arrrgh! 
Then it was back on the bike and on home.  Hwy 20 was pretty clear, only me and two other cars the whole way home.  I rolled into the garage at 2:30pm after 217 miles and was beat.  The girls were in Beaverton so I crawled on the couch with Molly and napped the rest of the afternoon.  Good day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I JUST ... Found the Wocket in My Pocket

Over at her blog, Trobairitz' Tablet, Trobairitz challenged her readers to see what is in their riding gear - what we take with us when we go on a ride.  I figured I better get this out before I get too far behind.  My Joe Rocket Jacket has two outside pockets and two hidden inside and my REV'it Riding Pants have two, but I still don't manage to carry a whole lot - most of what I carry goes in the saddle bags and I am not dumping them for a photo!

What I've got in my jacket: All-Purpose Leatherman Tool, Doublemint (gotta keep the helmet smellin' fresh), phone, lip balm, wallet and ear plugs.
What I've got in my pants:  Ear plug holder w/a set of ear plugs and key for Bella.  Yeah, I have some AFROTC gear - how am I supposed to work there and not have the gear too?!?!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I JUST ... Pieced a Row Robin Row

The quilt guild I belong to, Santiam Scrappers Quilt Guild, is doing a Row Robin this year.  The concept is fun and has given me a little bit of an impetus to get cracking on my pattern designing.  Here's the lowdown on a Row Robin:
Owner creates a row for a quilt - their theme, their ideas, their wishes.  The original row is passed to another person who creates a row to go with the original using the Row Robin Theme for the month and the owner's ideas, theme, wishes, etc.  This continues month-to-month with the quilt rows being passed on to another person each month with a different Row Robin Theme.  At the end of the Row Robin time frame (for us it is six months), the owner will have 6 rows to put together into a quilt.  There will have been 6 people who contributed to the quilt which means a lot of variety and creativity.
This month is the third month and the theme is Triangles.  I have Marjorie M.'s rows and she had red, white and blue fabric and stars as her only theme ideas.  I added the yellow to match a previous row and made the pinwheels in a wavy pattern.  There are six blocks total with three pinwheels apeice.
Here is a close-up of two of the blocks.  The smaller pinwheel is floating in the background and all three pinwheels are different sizes so this wasn't an easy-peasy slap together row.  It was challenging to get them to fit, but I enjoyed myself.
The journey of the pattern will be in future posts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I JUST ... cooked Chili Macaroni

Chili Macaroni is a lighter, non-cheese version of the regular chili macaroni.  I add a little hunk of cheese at the end when I eat it because I love cheese.  The ingredients - as usual are simple: ground turkey, chopped onions, green beans, diced tomatoes and chilies, tomato juice, chili powder, garlic salt and elbow macaroni.
The first step is to brown the turkey and onions.  Then you add the tomatoes and spices.  When that is bubbling, add the macaroni and beans and cook for 15 minutes.
Here is the finished product with a small hunk of cheese we got at the coast: Tillamook Smoked Cracked Black Pepper White Cheddar.  Uh, can you say yum?
The recipe can be found on the Recipe Tab above.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I JUST ... cooked Dirty Rice

This is a pretty basic Dirty Rice recipe - I like it because it has the basics of Cajun cooking, but I can mellow it out and customize it to my tastes.  The ingredients are pretty simple: chicken sausage (I used kielbasa because I go to the store and saw "sausage" on my list but forgot what I was cooking.  The kielbasa works in everything the first time!), chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, minced garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and brown rice.
After I browned up the sausage, I added the veggies - looking pretty already!
Added the spices and then the rice.  Covered the skillet and took it off the heat.  I came back and this is what I had - can't wait!
The recipe can be found on the Recipe Tab above.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I JUST ... made Spinach, Tomato & Orzo Soup

This is a great soup!  This is the first time I made it and now know that I will be adding all kinds of things - depending on the season.  One of those great "dump and go" soups.  The basic ingredients are:  diced tomatoes (I used the ones with roasted garlic and basil), chopped onion, minced garlic, baby spinach, chicken broth, water and orzo.
After you cook the onion and garlic until the onion is soft, you dump everything but the orzo in.  Get it boiling, then add the orzo and cook for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, I turned the heat off and covered the pot.  I went about my business while it cooled (NEVER EVER put food in the fridge warm/hot) and when I came back, the orzo had plumped up and thickened the soup.
The recipe can be found on the Recipe Tab above.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I JUST... Made Dal

Dal is an Indian dish made with lentils - simple and easy.  The original recipe doesn't call for the onions and peppers, but I wanted to add a bit more to mine since the first time I made it it was pretty boring.  The ingredients are prettyy simple: lentils, ginger, garlic, onions, bell peppers, mustard seeds, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and salt.
I cooked the veggies a little to soften them up, then added everything else. 
Covered them with about an inch of water, put the top on the pot and simmered them for about 30 minutes. 
I like to serve mine over brown rice to make it a rounded meal and it really fills you up.  I also add a small chunk of butter after I heat it up - it adds a creaminess to it that just makes it that much better. 
The recipe is on the Recipe Tab at the top.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I JUST…made Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls

Since I’ve been trying to eat better (read: more whole foods and less processed foods) I have come across a lot of recipes, some a I like some I don’t and some I have loved into heavy rotation. This is going to be one of the heavy rotation ones. It is light and easy to make – two things that go very well with a lunch or light dinner before a run. To start off with, make the couscous. Add the couscous to the boiling water, remove from the heat and let sit until you are ready to use it – at least 15 minutes. The most challenging part of the whole recipe is the cabbage leaves themselves. I didn’t have any Savoy cabbage so I got a head of regular green cabbage. Peeling the leaves apart is the biggest hurdle – the heads are tight and tricky to tease apart (think Aqua Net and the movie Grease).
After I had 8 leaves (as whole as possible), I started a pot of boiling water and boiled a couple at a time for about 8 minutes – until they were tender. Some people don’t trim the spines of the leaves, but I do because it makes rolling them easier. Just take a knife and slice the main rib flush with the whole leaf. After each batch was done, I placed them on a paper towel to drain and cool. While that was happening, I made the filling. I took the cooked couscous and dumped it into a bowl with the chopped mint and feta, using my hands to mix it since the couscous was clumped together and the feta needed to be broken up a bit more. Leave the cheese alone if you like the bigger chunks.
After the filling was done and while the cabbage leaves were still cooling, I made the sauce the rolls simmered in. Since it isn’t quite tomato season yet, I used a 29oz can of diced tomatoes and left out any salt in the recipe. In a large skillet, I sautéed the garlic for about 30 seconds, then added the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and cinnamon. I stirred it all together and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. While that was going, I made my cabbage rolls. Taking a cabbage leaf and laying it rib-side down, I put a spoonful of the filling in the center and rolled the leaf up like a burrito: roll up once, then fold in the sides and roll the rest up. Voila! Cabbage Roll. I rolled the rest of the leaves and filling, trying not to break any.
When they were all rolled the sauce had simmered a while, I nestled the rolls in the sauce, covered and simmered for another 30 minutes. Serving size is 2 rolls and some sauce. The longer you cook them in the boiling water or the sauce (or both), the more tender the leaves will be – I am going to boil them longer, it was a pain to eat them with a knife and fork in a small Tupperware at my desk. Enjoy!
Recipe is under the Recipe Tab above