Thursday, March 31, 2011

Muffin Wednesday: Bran Cereal

I didn't get to the store in time, so Muffin Wednesday was postponed one day this week. No one mentioned yesterday the lack of muffins, but this morning I heard, "Liz, why didn't you bake yesterday?" - there was definite sadness in Skyler's voice. Pleading eyes were all around me.

Triumphantly, I told them the oven was preheating and I was leaning on my open cookbook as we spoke! I think there were actual cheers :) It feels good to be loved ... at least my muffins are loved ;)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line your muffin tin.

1 1/4 c flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 c bran flakes (I crunched my flakes into small pieces)
1 1/4 c milk
1 egg
1/3 c vegetable oil

1. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, combine cereal and milk. Stir well and let stand for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the egg and oil and beat well.

3. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir just until moistened.

4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

I love bran muffins, so I was excited to give this recipe a try. Ashley and I doubled it and made 24 full-sized muffins. (I'm thinking I should get another large muffin tin so I can make more smaller muffins so more people get to sample!)

This one was very straightforward and came together quickly. And the only thing I had to buy special was the cereal from the bulk section. I love that.

They turned out really yummy! One pan was a tiny bit too dark on the bottoms. I should have checked them a little early but forgot. Student and staff tasters all enjoyed the treat. I would make these again.


Chores, chores, chores

Our lazy No-TV Tuesday was wonderful but triggered a chore-filled Wednesday. Time to fix the trashed house :)

I squeezed in a trip to WinCo between work and spin class. The cupboards are no longer bare!
Dirty dishes piling up:
Four loads of laundry clean but waiting for folding:
I'm happy to report that the kitchen's now clean and the clothes are all tucked nicely away in their drawers and closets!

And I finished my chores in time to get into bed with my book for a while before bed :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lazy No-TV Tuesday

My No-TV Tuesday started with a run in the drizzle. Looks like I wet my pants :)
Muscles were tired from spinning Monday, but I felt good otherwise. The training program called for running 10 minutes and walking 1 minute - 4 times. I stuck with an easy pace a little faster than my last run.
After getting cleaned up, Brad and I ate big salads for dinner. Then I curled up with my book and he worked on taxes. Soon, he joined me in the living room - Snuggie and all :)
A nice, lazy day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Date day

I'm back at work after a week off for Spring Break. It was so nice to have some time to get stuff done and relax a bit - recharge, you could say. Unfortunately, it's a busy time at work for Brad, so he wasn't able to be home with me. But he did take off Friday for a date day :)Armed with gift cards from Christmas (thanks, Mike & AJ!!!!), we went to Bridgeport Regal to see The Lincoln Lawyer, based on a book by Michael Connelly - one of my favorite authors. I'd read the book but Brad hadn't, so we watched from different perspectives - and both enjoyed it a lot!

Greg Oden was entering the theater as we were leaving. Man, that guy is tall! He does not blend in well in a crowd ;)
Next, armed with a Groupon-like coupon, we tried out Fresh Grill near Washington Square.
Fish sandwich for me:
Mushroom burger basket for Brad:
The food was great! And at half-price, it was a good deal. Without the coupon, it would have been a bit spendy.

After we ate, Brad decided that we should go to the mall since we had gift cards for Dick's and Macy's, too. We wondered around a bit but didn't find anything we needed. And we laughed at ourselves for going to the mall :)

It was so nice to just have a day off together for some low-key fun :)

News from Alaska

Friends Chris and Theresa moved a while back to begin a new adventure in Alaska. Theresa just started a blog, and it's so wonderful that I thought I should share it with you all! They are both very talented artists, and I expect Homemade to be full of fun ideas, recipes and stories of their life in Alaska.

Check it out!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dog Mountain (3/26/11)

Brad and I helped out friend James' BCEP class again today with a hike up Dog Mountain east of Stevenson, Wash. I almost bailed after hearing forecasts of constant rain, but I'm really glad I decided to stick it out.

I think we all had visions of cold, pouring rain the entire 5.8 miles. Thankfully, it was drippy but nothing too horrible as we did some get-to-know-you activities and then hiked up the switchbacks and the old, "more difficult" trail (clockwise). Because the forest canopy is thick, the trail was fairly dry and in good shape. Just a few muddy or slippery spots.
As we neared the clearing at the top, it started snowing lightly. We emerged from the trees, and the tiny flakes turned into huge flakes! There was already lots of snow on the ground and trees, and it just kept piling up as the storm dumped on us. Luckily, there was little wind, which is very unusual for the top of Dog Mountain.
We all hung out in the shelter of the trees at the summit as we ate lunch and passed around group treats (a special thanks to Nathan for the amazing brownies and Barb for the fresh fruit - yum!!). We missed the great view at the top, but the snow was beautiful!When complaints of cold started, we posed for a quick group shot and then headed down the mountain, returning on the "difficult" trail (still clockwise). We assumed that the fat flakes would turn into heavy rain as we lost elevation, but it actually dried up as we descended. Just like last week, we really lucked out with the weather!

We met a few more students and assistants this week and had a great time! I'm really enjoying hiking with these guys and look forward to more outings this season :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Self portraits

We walked down to the beach after dinner Tuesday and had fun trying to get a decent self portrait of the fam. Good times :)

No. 7

The CIA's top agents are fighting terrorists - oh yeah! :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What a difference a minute makes

I've said it lots of times: Running is hard for me. Every run is work; every step a challenge. I've never understood how "they" say you're supposed to be able to converse while you run. There's no way.
I almost always hit the pavement alone, but last time Brad went with me. About halfway through the run to Tualatin Park and back, my husband commented that I was working too hard. My defenses went up: Of course I'm working hard... I told you... this is HARD for me! I'm sorry I'm not a naturally gifted runner like you! Don't criticize me.

Later, after I cooled off, we talked about my pacing. I know I can run fast (for me), so I should always run fast, right? If I don't continually improve my speed, I'm a failure, right?

Not right.

Turns out, I've been pushing too hard. As my runs have gotten longer, I'm been really burning out my legs/lungs/energy. Working too hard.

Brad recently found an online calculator based on Daniels' Running Formula. We plugged in my data and discovered that on long/easy runs, I should be running closer to 10- or 11-minute miles! I should be running 9s only when doing speed work. Well no wonder I've been getting so burned out on my runs.

So today I set out on my long run of the week: run 30 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 30 - for a total of 61 minutes. I vowed that I would watch my Garmin and keep it close to a 10-minute mile.
Look at that! In the pouring rain, I ran 6.25 miles in 1:02 - a new PDR for me (personal distance record). And I NEVER felt like I was going to die. It was literally a fun, easy run. No grimacing at all -- I even smiled a few times :) :)
So I learned a great lesson today!

If you're a runner, check out the calculator Web site and see if you're running the right pace for you. It might make all the difference.


Hilly beach walk and cheese samples

I woke early Wednesday to sunlight streaming in the beach house windows. With about half the house still sleeping, I decided to eat some oatmeal and yogurt and go for a walk in the very hilly town of Oceanside.
First I hoofed it up to Maxwell Mountain:
Then down to the beach:
I returned in time to find a big breakfast (lunch for me!) on the table. Good timing :)

We hung out for a while and then packed up the car for home - with a stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, of course:
Time to head home.