Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's for (Easter) dinner?

Marathon quote~  “We are different, in essence, from other (wo)men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” - Emil Zatopek

{the best part of this post is at the bottom, so don't miss it}

I had two fun days of cooking during Easter weekend. I cooked a lot of items but I did some on Saturday and actually had a very un-stressful dinner prep (thanks in part to the 3-hours that Sam took the kids hiking on Sunday morning).

Apple Cheddar Scones (by request). Recipe from the amazing Smitten Kitchen.
Hand-made napkin by my friend Sarah.  :)

One batch of Creamy Balsamic Dressing.  Your salads will never taste so good.  This recipe is via Suzanne via Mindy via Mindy's mom. 
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/3 c. olive oil
1 (6 oz) container of plain greek (I use Chobani) yogurt
1/8  c. honey
1-2 gloves garlic pressed
salt and pepper to taste

Our Easter salad was simply mixed greens, beets, and this dressing.  Yum.

Snacks while cooking and sipping wine.

Salmon and Asparagus Frittata (that I made without asparagus b/c Sam doesn't like it, which I just don't understand.) I added chives.
Another recipe from Suzanne:  Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers.  Suzanne gave me the excellent advice to make the filling ahead of time because it is quite a bit of chopping and it makes the actual stuffing and roasting of the peppers much easier if it's all done ahead.  I would only add to the recipe that you go a little heavy on the cumin because it is so good.  Here is the link to Suzanne's post with the recipe.
All together:

And for dessert, Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.  For this recipe I skipped the hazelnuts and used vanilla extract instead of real vanilla bean.  Served with vanilla ice cream.  Eaten while watching the Red Sox win.  Happiness all around.

I also made another big batch of my granola and then packaged it up for a bunch of lunches (the perfect serving size to be mixed with Chobani and fresh fruit). 
Bonus:  we had leftovers of everything!

Turns out, my family's passion for food has spread to my nephew Cameron, my sister Liesel's oldest.  He is 10 years old, and he wrote an essay about their recent trip to Oahu over April break.  Check out this excerpt where Cameron describes a restaurant they went to.  Cameron is a voracious lover of life, can't you tell?  I think we may have a future food blogger on our hands.

I love the pause after "the sauce" as if he is re-tasting it in his memory.  {I love you, Cameron.}

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter mornin'.

Today's marathon quote:  "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right." - Henry Ford

And now, some Easter photos.

Monday, April 25, 2011

monday head.

The best thing about Reed's longer hair is that he wakes up with these tremendous hair sculptures that cannot be tamed with a comb. 

Vacation is over and it's back to work.  I'm really ready for this last stretch of the school year.  It's actually my favorite time of the year because there is such a flurry of activity and wrapping-up that it moves really quickly.  The seniors have so much excitement about graduation.   I actually enjoy the balance of trying to get in everything that I can, while also letting up a little and letting them enjoy the last month of high school.   They are totally going to quote me on that.

The kids had a great week and got filthy-dirty playing outside each day; I am always sad to send them back to school after getting them to myself all day, but I think the routine is good for everyone.

Last evening something amazing happened.  Since the kids were born, Sam and I have often talked about how tiring the evening routine can be, and we would fantasize about what it would be like to say to the kids: " go take a shower!"  Last night we tried it out with Skyler, and she did indeed (after checking with me to make shampoo goes on before conditioner), went upstairs, took a shower, combed her hair and put on pjs and came down.  She was SO proud, and we were too. 

But just to balance out this step toward independence, Skyler has started to get quite a big-girl attitude when she gets into trouble.  We had some words with her about something this weekend and she marched up to her room in protest.  I said to Sam:  "I think we are in the stomping-away-mad stage."  Sam said:  "Don't worry, that will only last until she's 40."  So very true.

I'm pumped for marathon taper and am in a generally very happy and excited mood, for there are many good things on the horizon.

Here is the first of many favorite inspirational quotes in prep for the marathon.

Whatever you can do,
Or think you can, begin it.
Boldness has power, and genius,
And magic in it.
- Goethe

Friday, April 22, 2011

week 15: check

Suzanne and I tackled our 20 miler on Friday morning on a cool but sunny day.  I'm not going to lie:  It felt good for a while and then it felt really, really bad.  I am boring even myself with all of the thoughts that I have recylced and regurgitated so many times already, so I'll spare you and keep this short.

The course was really lovely, quite hilly, but pretty.  Suzanne, who mapped the run, announced that the course only had 3 big hills.  I would like to amend that statement and suggest that the course actually had 4 gigantic hills and 99 medium-big hills.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Up and up and down.    Amy found us at mile 10 and gave us cold water and bananas and her always-kind words,  and Suzanne had planted a cooler at mile 14 with more cold water and bananas.  These things really helped.

 I felt like I was barely moving during the last 4 miles and I had deep and painful aches in my quads and hips and the arches of my feet.  Our splits reveal that we actually did fine overall, and didn't slow down as much as it felt like we did, but damn.  At mile 19, I was getting myself into a very bad place when all of a sudden Amy and Jen were standing in the parking lot of the pool waving their arms around and cheering and it gave me just enough of a boost to get me home.  The whole last portion of the run, I imagined myself lying face down on my driveway as soon as I got there, and I would have except that I had to drive Suzanne home, because she ran to my house which made her total a whopping and impressive 22 miles. (how rude, she was not interested in walking home).

Running 20 + miles is hard for me.  Period.  The end.  

BUT.. it's taper time!  3 more weeks until the marathon.  That should be enough time for me to develop a more positive attitude about running the thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

family vacation, day three.

We're home from our trip and I've got the post-fun-trip blues. We had such a nice time in Boston and enjoyed all its flowering-treed glory.  This morning I ventured out for a short run.  I had my Boston map in my hand and I almost got hit by two different cars, so it's not like I was looking like a local or anything, but I did find my way to Newburry street and ran there for a while before landing on Commonwealth Ave and running up and down the tree-lined narrow park that goes for about 6 city blocks.  It is so lovely to run in a new place, especially this place.  I was going through my usual "I want to live here" stage that I always go through when I visit someplace cool.  

I didn't run with my camera but when we drove past the park again on our way to the Boston Commons, I took a few shots out the car window, so these don't really do it justice but you get the idea.
 It was fun to run on parts of the marathon course.  After my run, I met my friend Caitlin for a short but great visit and coffee at a cool book store/ cafe on Newburry Street.  I am so deprived of the urban life, that I am so easily pleased just to window shop at hip boutiques,  visit coffee places that offer soy milk and see women on the street that I don't know and think:  "Wow.  I love her outfit."  Those things don't happen around here.

We spent our last couple hours in the sunshine at Boston Commons and Boston Gardens.

I almost wept for the willows.  They are just so darn green and pretty.

And then we drove home.  We endured the kids' CDs that have songs like "Skidamarink-a-dink-a-doo" and "Puff the Magic Dragon" and even resorted to:  "Whoever stays quiet the longest wins."  Other than that, it was pretty painless. 

I just asked the kids what they liked best about Boston:

Skyler:  "the hotel pool, the aquarium, and the hotel room."
Reed:  "feeding the ducks, seeing the diver in the tank, the creatures, the sharks, and all of it.  Everything."

Me too, Reed.  I liked everything.

Okay, Maine, you can warm up for good now.  I have a big, fat run in the morning and it's pretty chilly out there.

family vacation, day two.

imitating the seal
touching the stingrays
patiently waiting for the shark to circle back around.
way too much dessert
sugar high
At the Aquarium today we chose to institute a one-on-one defense, and I lost the coin toss so I got Reed.  I didn't see Skyler or Sam until the end of our visit because we quickly lost them in the crowds. 

It was awesome to explore with Reed and to see his reactions to the sharks, the stingrays, and (his very favorite part) seeing the divers feeding the fish and sharks in the giant tank, but I'm lucky we didn't lose him.  It was so packed in there and he was just happily and cluelessly wandering from exhibit to exhibit while I tried frantically to stay with him.  Thankfully, we got an early start and only waited 40 minutes to get in.  We heard from others today that the wait was 2 hours + just to get in later in the day.  That's some serious dedication to aquatic life, people. 

We've noticed some cool things on this trip as a result of our kids being a little bit older:  I sat in the hot tub next to the pool yesterday for an hour while the kids swam.  I could see them both, but I didn't need to be right next to them in the water.  Also, they are handling themselves in restaurants.  It's not totally smooth, and there are still stern reminders about how we don't climb under the table and how we use our inside voices, but they are pulling it off and it's not completely stressful for us.  We ate at the Cheesecake Factory which had a kid's menu but was still sufficiently fancy to make them think it was a terrifically big deal.  You know our standards for vacation have lowered when Sam and I are both thrilled to see that the restaurant serves milk in cups with lids.

At dinner I was saying that I love vacation because I don't have to think about dishes or laundry, so when we have down time, I don't feel like there are 99 things I should be doing.  Skyler added:  "Yeah, and you don't have to scrub the lamps!"  (??)  I guess all I needed was a break from all of that lamp scrubbing.

It's been pretty cold and gray while we've been here, but we hear it snowed or hailed or something in Maine yesterday, so that's just fine.  We've been so busy taking in the sights to mind the weather much.  Off for a run.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

have map, will travel

 Reed is totally blowing our cover and making it very clear we are tourists as we made our way around the city today.  He is all of a sudden very interested in maps and has carried his Boston map with him for every single step today.

This is where we were headed for dinner;  Reed led the way.

We're having a ball.  We successfully navigated our way around on the T,  enjoyed an awesome day at the New England Aquarium,  and we are all ready for an early bed tonight.  I have an early start tomorrow for a run and a coffee date with my friend Caitlin.  We are headed home tomorrow afternoon but we are expecting some much needed sunshine tomorrow, so we have some more time planned in Boston.   More photos soon. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

family vacation, day one.

 We drove down to Boston today for a family vacay.  I'm very happy to be surrounded by new scenery, and I'm loving every minute of seeing the kids' eyes all wide to a new place. We have a nice view of the Boston skyline from our hotel and they are fascinated by the city lights.  I swear that driving through the tunnel on 93 south into the city was enough of a thrill for them, especially Reed who was gasping with delight the whole time. 

We spent our afternoon settling in;  then  Sam and the kids swam in the pool while I ran on the treadmill (it was raining) and then my dear friend Jae (college, NELP, San Francisco, life) who lives in Boston picked us up and took us out for Korean food. 

 Jae ordered all of the food for us.  I love to let someone else make all the decisions (occasionally), and the food he chose was delicious.  We had seaweed salad and a tofu dish (below) and then a huge platter of Korean chicken, some really spicy, and some in a soy garlic sauce.  The kids chowed the chicken.  Yum.

Skyler as photographer.

Jae swung us by Fenway on our way back to the hotel.  The Sox are out of town, but we said hello to these guys anyway.

You can tell by this picture what a good guy Jae is, can you not?  I love him.
There are a lot of people in our hotel wearing Boston Marathon jackets sporting their post-marathon glow and I'm trying really hard not to corner all of them in the elevator and say:  "oh my god, how was it?  was it amazing?  did you love it?  are you so happy?  did you PR?"  I am jealous of their cool jackets, and they all seem to be really good looking too.  

The kids are tired, and I'm somehow poaching free internet in our hotel.  Day one:  success!