Thursday, September 30, 2010

My old standby

Yesterday I showed you my new spin workout. I thought I'd also show you my old standby: Tiger Stadium.
Just a few steps from my classroom, it's a perfect way to sweat and burn some calories right after work. In the afternoon it's shaded from the sun, and on a clear day you can't beat the view of Hood from the top:
I love that it's a short, intense workout that really pushes my anaerobic threshold. I sprint up each aisle and then walk to the next one, allowing my heart rate to drop a bit. Then I run slowly down the next before sprinting up again. I usually go about 30 minutes, sometimes serenaded by the sounds of marching band rehearsal, football practice or a varsity baseball game.

For a different twist, I'll wear a weighted backpack and walk up and down. That's a great workout for hiking, climbing and backpacking! I haven't done that in a while... maybe next week.

What's your favorite workout?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fun new workout

THS has brand-new spin bikes to enrich our PE program (I think it was a grant or donation). One of our teachers is a certified instructor and is graciously leading a staff class each Monday after school. I jumped at the opportunity!
I've gone three weeks in a row and have to say that it's the most intense, sweatiest 45-minute workout I've ever had... and I run, hike hills with a loaded pack, run stadiums and climb mountains. Connie (super hard-core!!) is awesome at mixing it up and making me want to work hard. The puddle of sweat on the floor and the soaked towel and clothes testify to the intensity.

Adding the new workout to my weekly routine has been a great!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My lucky day!

Lucky Number Tuesday!!!
Soooo happy!!! :)

Another sweet ride

The THS marching band has a sweet new piece of equipment:
A donation was made to purchase the retired moving truck to help haul the massive amount of gear used to take a competitive marching band on the road.
I went with Mom this morning to pick up the new rig. Our fall tour starts next weekend and goes four weeks in a row. I think we're ready!

Sweet ride!

I pulled into work today and spotted this sweet ride outside our classroom:

One of our subs has a whole collection of amazing classic cars. Because of the promised dry, sunny day, he chose the '59 Corvette for today. Nice!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Slumber party blondies

Busy schedules have kept us from having a summer/fall girls' weekend, but I thought we could squeeze in a slumber party for some female bonding. Brad left for a solo backpacking trip on Mount Hood, and Kendra, Lindsey, Sarah and Eryn came over for eating, chatting and movies.

I baked lazy girl's chocolate chip blondies, a recipe I found last week on Eat, Live, Run.
1 c flour
1 t salt
1/2 c chocolate chips
1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
1 egg
1 2/3 c packed brown sugar
1 t vanilla

Melt the butter and add to the sugar in a large bowl. Stir until well combined and then add the egg, vanilla and salt and stir again.

Add the flour and gently combine, making sure not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the blondies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and turn a deep golden color.

This simple-ingredient recipe came together quickly. The dough, which we sampled before the pan went into the oven, was very yummy. The blondies were really good but not quite right. They were hard, more like toffee candy than a cakey brownie. Because of my history of messing up recipes, I double checked the directions and found that I hadn't biffed it there. Perhaps they just baked too long... though the pan was in the oven less than 30 minutes.

Oh well. At least they tasted good and were enjoyed by all :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Muddy farm day

Fall is a great time at the farm in Newberg, with lots of beautiful things to look at and yummy ripe things to eat. I hoped to find a good afternoon to take some CE2 students to another mini farm day. Friday's weather looked perfect, and the calendars were free, so we filled out permission slips and hopped in my car for a trip to play in the dirt.

Myanna, Nicole, Ashley and Oscar decided they wanted to earn volunteer hours, so we planned to play and work during our visit. First we took a tour, visiting the sheep and cows and picking and tasting grapes, apples, berries and plums.
Nibble, nibble...
We made Oscar ride on the swing. He's a good sport :)
Then we got to work on our project: pulling rocks from the pond in progress.
We also got to work on our driving/backing skills:
I didn't get many pictures because my hands were muddy, too.
While we hauled rocks, farmer Michael moved dirt with his dozer. Then he asked if anyone wanted to try! Everyone was hesitant at first, but we all did it!!
We went back to work, piling rocks in the middle of the dry pond to create a fish habitat. Then, just for fun, we made mud balls and threw then at the pile, hoping for the best splats. :)

We visited the chickens and ducks, feeding the birds from our hands and collecting 13 fresh eggs from the coops. Before leaving, we picked some fresh corn, broccoli, green beans, bell and hot peppers, cherry tomatoes and flowers to take home.

Our trip to the farm was SO fun! We worked, laughed and learned... the perfect combination! I hope to take more students out again for another awesome Farm Day.


PS - Again, thanks to M&K for always being so willing to share their farm with us!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dimply plum cake

Last night kicked off our 'Office parties' -- where we gather with friends to eat yummy food, chat and (hopefully) laugh at our favorite sitcoms (Community, 30 Rock, The Office). We all brought Thai takeout to share and got to sample different curries and pad Thai and other delicious dishes.

On my way to pick up our takeout from Thai Orchid on Barbur, I stopped by my favorite farm stand at Kruse Way and Carmen Drive in Lake Oswego. I bought a couple tomatoes and a bag of giant plums. I'd been wanting to try a recipe I spotted on Smitten Kitchen and thought this was a perfect excuse.

I got home with an hour until we had to leave for Newberg, and that turned out to be just enough time to whip up a dimply plum cake:

1 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I left this out)
5 T butter
3/4 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 c canola oil
zest from 1 orange
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
8 plums (because mine were so big, I used 4.5), halved and pitted

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon (if using).

Beat the butter (I nuked mine first) on medium speed until it’s soft and creamy. Beat in the sugar then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the oil, zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter, pressing down a bit.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Once cool, dust with powdered sugar to make it extra pretty. (Because I left home before it was cool, I skipped this beautifying step)

This cake came together very quickly and easily. AMAZINGLY, I don't think I screwed up anything - even though I was rushing to beat my deadline!

Because I was transporting the dessert and didn't really have an appropriate platter, I did not unmold it. The cake was gooey and very good. My testers said it tasted like fall. Perfect :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy fall!

I'm so happy that fall is here... crisp air, changing leaves, crackling fires, football, marching band, season premieres... So many awesome things :)

What's your favorite part of fall?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Well, that would explain it...

Last week's muffins were yummy but flat, not really rising at all. I was perplexed but didn't put too much thought into it - until I was at Winco yesterday in the baking aisle when it suddenly struck me.

is not baking powder.

Apparently I just reached into the cupboard and pulled out the first cylindrical container I found. No wonder one of my kitchen helpers said something about it being a funny can of baking powder. DUH!
At least the mystery is solved. I will try to be more careful in the future :)

Muffin Wednesday: Cranberry Apple

This recipe was delivered this week to my e-mail in box and called to me. Muffin Wednesday!

  • 1/2 c whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 t finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (I used duck eggs from the farm!)
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1/3 c cooking oil
  • 1 c shredded peeled apple (I didn't peel mine, just 'cuz)

1. Preheat oven to 375. (our CE2 oven is wonky... so these cooked closer to 350)

2. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups. Set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and orange peel. Set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry mixture.

4. In another medium mixing bowl, combine egg, milk and oil. Add all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in apple.

5. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Make an indentation in the center of each with the back of a spoon. Spoon 2 teaspoons of cranberry mixture into each indentation. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from tin. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.~~~~~~~~

Students and staff were very pleased with today's experiment! They were moist and very tasty... a definite keeper.

The recipe was a bit more involved than I expected, but that's just because I didn't read through it carefully before I started. (Have you heard me say that before??) AND I forgot to bring apples, milk and eggs from home. Good thing we had eggs in the CE2 fridge and I could buy fruit and milk from the school cafeteria! I really need to pay better attention :)

I doubled everything except the cinnamon. And I definitely wouldn't want more cinnamon flavor than I ended up with.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fort Stevens anniversary

Brad's folks just celebrated 40 years of marriage... WOW! We thought it would be fun to take them camping at Fort Stevens over the Sept. 11 weekend. We spent some time exploring on bikes:
Then, when we were eating lunch, Michael called and said he was flying to Astoria and would take people up in his plane... OK!!!
There happened to be a Coast Guard open house going on at the airport. So while Steve, Donna and Michael were cruising high above, Brad and I checked out the aircraft and such:
Then the coasties did an air evacuation demonstration. Super cool!
They're back! What a wonderful anniversary treat :)
We all hung out some more, enjoying the beautiful day at the beach. Duck launch fund raiser:
Eventually, Michael flew home and we headed back to camp, catching the end of the sunset on the beach:
Sunday, Brad forced me to go running on the beach. I was really proud of my run. I worked hard on the sand!
The weekend wrapped up with lunch at Camp 18:
Here's to 40 great years! :)