Adventures in Cooking

It was a good day for cooking! It was really cold out, so I happily spent a few hours in the kitchen. I didn't get in a run, which I feel guilty about, but I WILL run my own personal Turkey Trot in the morning before we head out. It's going to be cold, but I'll do the best I can.

I think 2 out of 3 things I made today turned out well, and the third I messed up but hopefully it isn't too awful. Here's what I made. None of it is diet-friendly cause it's Thanksgiving. Duh. :P

This pumpkin cheesecake recipe is always great. Next time I'm going to try the Pioneer Woman pumpkin cheesecake, but I didn't have all the ingredients for it this time so I went with the same recipe as last year.

Here's what the cheesecake looked like as it went into the oven:

Here's a picture with the vanilla sour cream topping (the little flecks are vanilla beans).

I've never made a pecan pie, but I wanted to try it this year. I started out with this crust. The only thing I changed was I added some vodka. From what I understand, the vodka makes the crust easier to work with but it evaporates in the oven so the crust doesn't get soggy. It looked so pretty!

I used this recipe for the pecan filling. I did make a mistake, though. It called for one heaping cup of pecans. That didn't seem like anywhere near enough to me. I used well over 2 cups. That was too much, I think, because it boiled over which made the pie not look very good. :(

This is what it looked like going into the oven:

And this is what it looked like after the whole boiling over disaster (it looks worse in person):

I also made these honey yeast rolls. I've made many quick breads (pumpkin bread etc), but I've only made "real" bread with yeast once. They turned out ok but had ZERO flavor. It was like eating cardboard. These were much better! I had extras, which we ate with dinner tonight, and they were GOOD.

Making bread is a pain. I wouldn't say it's hard, but it just takes soooo long what with the rising and the second rising and all that nonsense. They were so good right out of the oven though, and I'm hoping they'll be good when they're re-heated before dinner tomorrow.

Here are the finished rolls:

Decorating Update

I've been working on a couple little projects in the master bedroom. I'm happy with how they turned out so I thought I'd share...First, I made a starburst mirror. I followed directions from this awesome home bio. It was pretty easy and I love the way it turned out.First, I went to Michaels to pick up some supplies. I got a round wood shape thing for the base, dowel rods, 4 packs of small mirrors, a bigger mirror, hot glue sticks, and silver leaf paint.
First I drew on the back of the round wood piece and split it into 16 equal-ish pieces. Then I glued the dowel rods on with hot glue.Then I glued bamboo skewers in between the dowels (I already had those at home). Then I attempted to silver leaf it, which was a major fail, so I just used the silver leaf paint and that was WAY EASIER. Then I glued on the mirrors.

When I was done, I attached a picture hanging thing and that was it!

Then it was time to attack our Boring Beige master bedroom. Picture beige carpet, beige walls, beige bedding, black furniture, and white curtains. I was going to post a picture, but I don't have one right now because I need to work out this iPhoto issue.

One way to ditch the bedding was to add color. But most of the bedding I like is neutral.

Here's the bedding I like from Anthropologie:
The duvet cover + 2 shams comes to $306. Yeah.
Here's the other bedding I wanted from Anthro for something like $370...

Then one day, I was walking through Target and saw a duvet cover and shams that looked an awful lot like Anthro Option 1.... but on clearance for $40!! SCORE!!

To add color, I decided to just take a risk and paint a bold accent wall. I wanted some kind of turquoise, but something more bold than the silver sage in the guest room. I decided on Tropicana Cabana from Benjamin Moore.

It's hard to get the color to look right with the camera on my iphone, but this is the best I could do. And BTW I just realized I never took the tags off the lamps. Oops.

This picture is probably the most accurate as far as color goes:

I wouldn't consider it "finished" yet but we're on our way! I LOVE the accent wall! On the other wall, there's a dresser that needs to be painted black, and I want to hang some black shelves and add some accessories. I need something else on this side too... maybe I'll recover the lamp shades, or add some accessories or throw pillows. The lamps look really tiny in these pictures, which is something I never thought about before. They are very practical so they'll stay for now. If anyone has any ideas, please share! :)

Go Me!

Fourth place! Sweet!

I had a terrible 4 1/2 mile run tonight. I kept going even though it completely sucked, and after 3 miles it got better. I did 8 this weekend (not terrible, but a far cry from last weekend's 12). I also started writing down everything I eat again cause it's time to lose another 20 pounds. Go away, fat. I hate you. I'll probably start posting a lot more updates to try to hold myself more accountable.

I Did Not Forget About You, Little Blog

I've been really busy since school started. Basically I get up, get ready for work, go to work, come home and run, cook dinner, do more work, and go to sleep. Then I wake up at about 2 or 3am from some work-related nightmare and attempt to get more sleep. Then the next day I'm even more tired. Repeat.

When work first started back up, running was a nightmare. My calves were burning, my legs felt like lead, and I could hardly fight my way through 3 miles. Fortunately, my weekend runs have gone phenomenally well and weekday runs have gotten better. Last weekend I ran 11 miles! Without stopping at all! I ran 82 miles in July and 74 in August.

I am in need of some gear. My iPod arm band is awful. My sweat gets in and has nearly broken the iPod twice. Also my hydration belt doesn't hold enough water for 10+ miles. I need either a camelback or one of those hydration belts that holds more, and I really need to figure it out soon. It also needs a zipped pocket to hold my phone and emergency powerbar. If anyone has any recs, please share!

The last Nike+ challenge ended, and I ended up in the top 10 which I was thrilled about. The new challenge started Aug. 15th and I'm currently in 6th. SWEET!!!!

I'm also joining a challenge that I co-worker told me about. The goal is to run or walk 300 miles between Labor Day and New Year's Day. That's a really hard one because it gets so hard to run outside when it's cold and snowy. I need to figure out if I should get a punch card to the rec center again or look for some sort of cheap gym membership somewhere. I don't want to pay for a gym membership when I don't want to use it from May-September.

Food is going so-so. I'm doing better on lunches since I'm back at work and am doing better with drinking water. I still struggle though. Running burns a ton of calories but also makes me REALLY hungry.

Still hanging in there!


For now at least...

Where do I go from here?

(Yes that is the title of one of the songs from Buffy: The Musical and I know every word. I'm a geek or possibly just a loser.)

I started running a little over a year ago and I could only run for 60 seconds. Barely. 2 days ago I ran 8.2 miles without stopping. Crazy! I used to HATE when someone said something stupid like "I ran 2 easy miles" because I could not imagine a world in which entire miles could be "easy" to run. Tonight I ran 4 easy miles. Seriously, it was easy. And fun! Weird.

Big Hairy Goal #1 was the Bolder Boulder. Yes I was slow. But I did it and ran the whole way.

Now what? I thought I wanted to work on my speed, but that's been pretty much impossible. I'm slow. I can improve my distance, though. The next big milestone would be a 1/2 marathon. That's 13.1 miles. That's a LOT more than 10k. And it's a LOT more than the 8 miles I can currently do. But a year ago, 10k seemed completely impossible so who knows?

I've been doing 3-4 miles 2-3 times a week, and a longer run once a week. When I looked at the Hal Higdon training programs, I'm right about at week 6 in the intermediate half marathon training program. Maybe I can do it?

I'm actually not sure the ouchie disc in my back can handle it. At 8 miles, it was really hurting and it hurt the next day. Today, it was fine and I did the 4 mile run without a problem. But I'm not sure I can keep improving my long runs at the rate of 1 mile a week. I'll just do the best I can and see how it goes.

It's definitely time for an update about the Nike+ Challenge.When the previous challenge ended, I was extremely proud to end up in 8th place. Since then, a few more girls joined, and everyone started running more to train for summer races. I was sick the first week. When I checked my place and I was in 18th!! Since then I've been clawing my way back up to the top 10. Here's how things are looking tonight:
That's me in 10th! But I'm having a battle with Shannie11. She has this magical ability to predict how many kilometers I will run, and she will run 1 more than me. SO FRUSTRATING! And SO MOTIVATING! Ha! 8th place is clearly out of the realm of possibility, but 9th place girl, watch out! (And Shannie11, you might have a crystal ball, but I am very stubborn and won't go down without a fight.)

UPDATE: Please disregard my last post. Apparently, I do run in the rain (just so it's a light rain and not a downpour accompanied by lightning). And I like it.

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