Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tamale pie

Eat Live Run had this simple In-A-Hurry Tamale Pie recipe that looked interesting, so I gave it a try earlier this week. 

We were in a hurry (ha!), so I neglected to take any pics. Here's one from the ELR site:

It was very easy and really good - a keeper for sure! Give it a try :)

1 polenta roll
1 can pinto beans
1 c Mexican cheese blend
Corn from 1 ear
1/2 c salsa
1/2 t salt
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1/4 t cayenne pepper
cilantro, sour cream and additional salsa for serving

Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet or 9-inch square pan with a little olive oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the corn kernels, salsa, pinto beans (and their juice - just dump in the can) and spices. Stir well to combine.

Slice the polenta into 1/4-inch slices. Cover bottom of skillet with overlapping slices. Pour bean mixture on top and top with cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Serve with minced cilantro, sour cream and salsa.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All smiles

I don't know what got into me this afternoon, but I was high on life!

Work was just so-so... nothing too exciting. Except Mom and I did the final design on a new soundboard cart for the marching band. It was good fun for band nerds like us.

You know how some people get all gloomy when the weather turns? I'm the opposite. I get all giggly as fall returns each year. Seriously. I think today's cool clouds contributed to the smile I couldn't wipe away.

Eryn picked today to get back into running, and I invited her to join me on my 30-minute workout.
I needed a slow run, so it worked out perfectly. She did awesome, running straight through without any walk breaks. We did the first two-thirds above a 12-minute mile, but she pushed it hard at the finish and ended with an 11:54 average!

Good job, Sis!
Then I headed to WinCo for some last-minute snacks for our trip. A hay-truck fire on I-205 had area traffic completely screwed - nearly gridlocked in some places. It took about 45 minutes to reach my house, which is just a couple miles away.
BUT... I was still all smiles. Aw... look at those clouds!!
I caught the eye of several other drivers and got some smiles in return. And I started laughing when the women next to me put on her parking brake and changed her pants right behind the wheel!

I hope today found you smiling, too! :)

Picture day


Monday, August 29, 2011

Fun-filled summery weekend

Signs for the Tualatin Farmers Market caught Brad's attention during his daily motorcycle rides to work. He thought it would be a fun Friday evening activity, so we jumped on our bikes and peddled the couple of miles to check it out.

A live band was playing across the lake, and we were surveying the food options when we spotted this lovely family:
My cousin Amy and her crew! They moved just two weeks ago to Tualatin from Colorado and were also spending the summer evening checking out the market.

We had an impromptu family reunion and spent quite a while catching up. It was such a fun surprise!

Saturday was a typical weekend day full of chores and relaxing. But in the evening we met Brad's parents at Cafe Allegro in downtown Tigard to celebrate their 41st anniversary.

I did not take any pictures. Blogger fail!

Brad had more fun summer activities up his sleeve, and we drove to Portland after church to explore the Portland Sunday Parkways event. It's sort of like a mini Bridge Pedal when they shut down the roads and let bikes take over.

The rotating event was held this month in Southeast Portland. We decided to leave the bikes at home and just go by foot, starting by checking out the Hawthorne Street Fair. Brad grabbed a $2 pulled-pork sandwich from the street:
He said it was very yummy!
Among the sights was this old guy playing some rockabilly and blues on the corner. He was great - I almost bought his CD!
We eventually made our way onto the actual parkways route, which was dotted with lemonade stands, neighbors with garden hoses and musicians. I almost bought some homemade vegetarian sushi from a couple kids set up on a street corner but Brad was scared of food poisoning.

A recorder band:
A happy tree:
It was a very fun day, and we are really excited to go to next month's event in Northeast Portland. This time we'll bring our bikes for sure! Join us :)

When the temperature cooled (a bit), it was time to run... our last "long" run of our training.
As the sun set, we ran 4 miles in our neighborhood - 39:16 minutes, a 9:49 average.
I'm a bit burned out on the running, and it was a great feeling to know that my training is nearly over and I can choose to focus on other activities if I want.

I hope your weekend was full of exciting fun, too!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just a shorty today

Just a 15-minute run today - woohoo!! Good thing, too... because it's HOT out there!

I took my gear to work again and left straight from CE2. I did a couple loops in the neighborhood and then returned to school to grab my bike and ride home.
I did just over 1.5 miles - a 9:58 average. I wasn't going for speed. Just trying to keep my muscles moving.
I dreamed last night about our race. We were at the starting line and I realized I didn't have my sunglasses and I'd forgotten to make my gels. Some anxieties coming through :)

The details are all coming together and it's almost time to go!!!


Real adult, real fast

Another good one from "The Office" calendar:

Michael: I have it on good authority that you said the following. Can you read it back to me?

Andy: "Andy have a boo-boo tummy."

Michael: Mm-hmm.

Andy: Would you rather me say, "Hey guys, my irritable bowel syndrome is flaring up."

Michael: Okay.

Andy: "Crazy diarrhea happening right now." Because things can get real adult, real fast.

Can you just hear it?? LOVE IT! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red velvet goodness

I've been sorta obsessed with red velvet cake since first trying it awhile back. SO GOOD!

I rarely bake cakes from scratch but thought I should give it a try for our Wednesday picnic dinner with friends. I searched the Web and settled on a Martha Stewart recipe. But I wanted cream cheese frosting and chose one from Joy of Baking.
It's ugly but tasty! I'm very happy with the way it turned out. And, for a Martha Stewart recipe, it was surprisingly simple, quick and easy!

Red Velvet Cake:

2 1/2 c cake flour
1 t salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c canola oil
2 large eggs
1/4 c red food coloring (I used a full 1 oz bottle)
1 t vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk
1 1/2 t baking soda
2 t white vinegar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter or spray two 9x2-inch round cake pans. Sprinkle with flour and tap out the excess.

2 In a medium bowl, whisk cake flour, salt and cocoa.

3. With an electric mixer, combine the sugar and oil and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add food coloring and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

4. In a small bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar until combined. Add to batter and beat for 10 seconds.

5. Evenly divide batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and return to the rack to cool completely.
We took the cake to Aaron and Irene's house for a summer picnic and pool party. I was too busy eating, chatting and relaxing to take pictures, but I did manage to get Jesse in his ducky towel.


Made me laugh

Laughed out loud when I just read this on my "The Office" calendar:

Michael: I assumed that you want me to be happy because I want you to be happy.

Pam: Michael, let me make this very easy for you. I could give a s_t about your happiness. Stop dating my mother!

Michael: You know what? I'm going to start dating her even harder.

Pam: What's that supposed to mean?

Michael: You know what it means.


Can't wait for new episodes to start next month. I hope it doesn't suck without Michael Scott :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hot taper

I'm officially in taper mode!

We ran 8 miles Monday evening and now have just a couple shorts runs left before our Disney Half Marathon. The idea is that running hard in the last weeks before a race doesn't help. Muscles need rest, so that's what they're getting!
It's hot here. Summer weather had eluded us for months but is now in full swing. And it's really humid - possible thunderstorms tonight.

I took my gear to work so I wouldn't bag out. I changed right after 3 p.m. and headed out into the neighborhood for a 30-minute run.
The stuffy air made it challenging but I survived. I walked up the big hill toward the end of the route and did just under 3 miles at a 10:08 average.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No. 24

Just zipped through another Sue Grafton book. Very good mystery.

But like the other one I recently read, I thought it was unbalanced... lots and lots of buildup with just a page or two of wrap up. I think a good conclusion is important with a mystery - my mind's been working on it for 350 pages and I need a little more explanation and resolution.


Monday, August 22, 2011

8 miles... no sweat!

Actually... LOTS of sweat. I told you, I'm gross.

I'm still battling some kind of cold - lots of sniffs and sneezing. And it was SO hot this weekend. So we put off our long run until this evening. It had to be done... and we did it!
I did not wet my pants. It's just sweat. I told you, I'm gross :)

We ran through Cook Park to Tualatin Park, around Tualatin Commons, around Durham Park (Practically got high just breathing the stinky air. I could just picture the stoners crouched in the brush smoking weed) and back up through our neighborhood.
8 miles in 1:26:43... a 10:50 average including our walk breaks. It was work, but it felt pretty good - doable. And I made it past the dreaded 6-mile/1-hour mark without bonking - woohoo!!!

It was much cooler this evening, and a small system brought cloud cover to shelter us from the sun. Nice!


Jar pies

Eryn spotted this awesome recipe on the Internet and passed it along. As soon as I saw it, I knew I'd be making these single-serving pies in jars!

Brad is a pie fiend and wanted me to buy supplies ASAP!
I washed the new jars and set out all the ingredients, and we spent Saturday morning making the cutest little pies you've ever seen.

Basically, you make any pie crust and then take little bits and push it into the clean jars. Then you take whatever filling you want and load them up.

We made blueberry, strawberry rhubarb and cherry rhubarb with farm-fresh produce.
Then you top with more crust or a crumb topping. Brad prefers crumb, so that's what we did.
All but one went into the freezer for future baking. That one went into the toaster oven and into Brad's tummy.

He said it was very good and very fun. He did think there was too much crust and said we should make it really thin in the future. Good to know.

Click HERE for all the instructions from Our Best Bites.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back in the swing...

I survived my first week of work!

I got lots done, including learning some of my new responsibilities in the library. Because of budget cuts, my sister is now the only librarian! (There were FOUR of them when she started 12 years ago!)

I will be helping Eryn out and covering her lunch break every day. Yesterday, I helped process brand-new, shiny biology books. And I managed to drop one on my boss's foot (oops!!) Good thing Neff was wearing closed-toe sandals ;)

My sleep schedule must be sinking in because I woke right up at 6 a.m. today. I couldn't go back to sleep, so there I am!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Cookie dough is not good pre-run food


Surprisingly, raw chocolate-chip cookie dough is NOT a good pre-run meal. Who knew??

I got home from work and whipped up some cookies to take to my grandparents' picnic tomorrow. I have almost zero will power and ended up eating too much dough. And a couple cookies. A small grilled cheese sandwich also made it into my stomach (gotta have some protein!)
I waited as long as I could, then headed out for my 40-minute run, instantly getting a side ache and regretting the pigout.

It eventually went away, but then my intestines started cramping. A little later, I thought I was going to hurl. Nice.

Still, I managed to have a good run. Run 20 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 20. I did 4.43 miles in 41:23 minutes... a 9:21 average overall.
And I had negative splits: first interval 9:17, second interval 9:09!

My takeaway from today: Cookie dough babies are no fun during or after a run.

I think I'll go shower and slip into some stretchy pants now :)

I need your help!

It's that time again... Race for the Cure!!! I will be running Sept. 18 with tens of thousands of others - to raise money and awareness. Our goal is to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help me reach my fund-raising goal of $500 -- even a small donation makes a difference! Click HERE.

THANK YOU for pitching in for the cause!
-Liz :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I've been well all vacation. No summer colds. No allergies. I'm back at school for two days and I wake up with a scratchy throat :(

I must be allergic to work!

I'm at that stage when I just feel "off" - no real specific symptoms... just "off". Something's coming. I leave for my race in two weeks, so I hope that whatever this is either doesn't materialize or goes away quickly.

We opted to skip last night's run and go to sleep at 8 p.m. I fell right asleep and slept hard - another indication that something's brewing. But we got up early and did our short run in the rising sun.
2.18 miles in 20:02 minutes - a 9:10 average. It felt good. A 20-minute run is really easy after a 2-hour run!
After thinking about this race for a year and a half, it's finally right around the corner. I'm getting excited! It's almost time to get my gear in order and start packing!!!

WOOHOO :) :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I was sulking pretty bad after my Sunday training run.

While down at the coast, we set out to do 11 miles at Bay Ocean - my last long run before my half marathon next month. But, as seems to be the norm for me lately, I started crashing after about 6 miles. I struggled to get back to the car and only managed 10 miles. Very slow miles.

I was really upset. I've worked SO hard since February to get ready for this race. I've followed the training program. I've tweaked nutrition and hydration. I just don't know what's wrong.

Then Brad reminded me that I'd just run 10 miles! (on a trail, no less - that's much harder!)
That's right... I ran 10 miles! I decided I needed to reframe my thinking and focus on the positive. Ten miles is pretty awesome :)

All that being said, I still need to figure out what to do to keep my momentum going. We talked it through and realized my problems seem to happen around 6 miles - about an hour in. That's when my natural fuel stores are exhausted.

BUT, I've been religiously eating some gel every 20 minutes to combat that problem. So why isn't that working?? My digestion system is really screwy - maybe it's taking too long to process the calories and such.

Any runners out there who have good ideas??


Monday, August 15, 2011

No. 23

After a month of climbing trips, Brad was eager to spend a weekend relaxing. After a month of boredom, I was eager to do something exciting. He won out, and we spent a couple days lazing around at the beach house.

There were tons of festivals and fun stuff going on, but we stuck close to the house and hung out. I finished No. 22 and then started and finished No. 23:
I've never read J.A. Jance, but it was very quick, entertaining and fun. I will try more of her mysteries.

The beach was gorgeous! It was much warmer and sunnier than we expected. I even laid out on the deck for a few minutes to soak up some vitamin D.
We went for a long run Sunday morning and later celebrated with an outing to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for free cheese:
And ice cream!
Now, after a few weeks of summer break, I'm headed back to work. School starts soon, and I must help get everything in order :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

No. 22

Made it through another CE2 book: The Old Man and the Sea.
I wasn't super impressed at the beginning, but once he got into the battle with the big fish, I couldn't put it down. It was oddly stressful to read - I was nervous for him!

I fell asleep once while reading it and continued to "read" in my dream. Maybe Hemingway IS some sort of literary genius ;)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Running from Mickey

Since I did intervals yesterday and am preparing for 11 miles this weekend (my last long run before my big Disney race!), I was happy to slow it down a bit and run with Mom this morning.

She's training for the Disneyland 5K the same weekend as my half and has been dealing with a chronic foot injury. MAJOR bummer. I'm helping her increase her speed so Mickey doesn't haul her butt off the course :)

She did great - staying under the time limit. But we only went just over halfway. She's got some work to do in the next three weeks, but I KNOW SHE CAN DO IT!

I sprinted to her house and back (though I could definitely tell I sprinted yesterday, because my all-out was a lot slower today!) and ended up with 3.32 miles in 40:30 - a 12:13 average.

Go Mom, go!!!! :)

Weekly Wednesday: pancakes, donations and clothes

Breakfast at Elmer's was first up for our last Weekly Wednesday of the summer: Free food is the best! Next up: Bi-Mart to buy school supplies to donate. We stuffed Mom's car!
We decided to drive to the Woodburn outlet mall for a little more back-to-school clothes shopping. Eryn did not buy this hat: There were some get deals, and Mom and I ended up with some cool new duds. It was time to eat again, so I snagged a Jamba Juice with a free coupon and Mom and Eryn got pretzels with a buy-one-get-one coupon they found on the ground... SCORE! Duty calls, and I must return to work Monday. Sadly, our weekly outings must come to an end. Until next year... :)