Kelly the Culinarian

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. It's finally deck season! It's been well into the 80s this week and our air conditioning is getting a workout. We upgraded to a quiet model that's more efficient, which also means we can enjoy our deck while it's still cooling the inside. It's a great time to be alive.

2. Another awesome sign of spring and wonderful benefit of our new home is getting out to bike some miles. We found a PERFECT paved trail near us that I'm sure will get lots of use this training season. It's 13 miles long without traffic. We could easily park and do endless 26-mile loop as we get ready for Ironman Wisconsin. It's only an eight-mile ride there, too.

3. A final sign of spring: 3Floyds moved back the date of Dark Lord Day from ever-rainy April to May. It was all sun shiny skies and smiles this year, which was a first. We ended up staying 12 hours, resulting in a few sun burns, but festivals like this on days like that don't come around that often.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. We went to a party this weekend and while I did not get the memo, apparently I dressed in the crew uniform for the day. Dark pants, white top with lots 'o fabric. It's a thing.

2. And because our life is a nearly constant party, we celebrated Mother's Day with the small ones last night. It's apparently National Barbecue Month, so we destroyed a family platter with all the fixings. I think my favorite was the pulled pork, but who am I kidding, barbecue is life.

3. This may seem petty, but my new purse makes me extremely happy. It's a monogrammed Kate Spade bag that I waited months to buy. I waited until it was on sale and I had a coupon, because we're frugal and all. I've already gotten a few compliments and I like that it's customized to my new initials. Winning!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lessons Learned from Our First Family C2E2

My mom noticed it's been a while since I updated my blog, so time to get back into the routine. My last month has included a family road trip, two business trips, a kitchen remodel, a holiday and a birthday. It's been a wild ride but stick with me on Instagram to keep up.

We've been meaning to attention the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo for a while and never got our act together. My sister goes every year for the duration and we keep hearing from people how fun it is, so this year, we finally bit the bullet and bought tickets for family day. Kids 5 and under are free, and passes for older kids are $10. We figured it was like taking them to a princess show or a theme park, but much bigger.
In actuality, it was somewhere between a nerdy swap meet and one of those kids play places you take your family to when the weather is -50 and everyone is stir crazy. We bought fairy wings for Z and a pikachu costume for B, which ultimately got returned because he wouldn't wear it.

The lines went very quickly when we arrived right when it opened, and we meandered through the stalls. We let the kids buy a few souvenirs, and we check out Family HQ. The conference puts together this little area with lego tables, giant lego statues, and some tables to take a breather and a snack at.

Bringing in our own food and water bottles was the greatest call ever. All that's available to purchase is crappy deep dish pizza and the only water is at fountains in the bathrooms in the middle of the center.

I also carried a backpack so when the kids inevitably decided to get rid of parts of their costumes or sweatshirts, I didn't have to carry it. Smooth move. I wish I would have worn a hat or something else distinctive because it's easy to get lost in the crowd when you're as small as I am.

What I wish I had done was tell them they each got $20 for souvenirs. Everything was incredibly expensive, and I wasn't about to shell out $30 for a stuffed magikarp doll the size of a sock.

The coolest part of C2E2, in my opinion, is artists' alley. There are a ton of very talented people, and they're all eager to show you what they're working on. It was especially fun for the kids to see how people made different drawings.

One thing I didn't anticipate was there were live animals at the show. A reptile rescue was there with a display of animals, and one of the handlers had a snake kids could pet. For a $10 donation, attendees could get a photo with the snake. Color me shocked that the more sensitive child who is afraid of things like spiders and scorpions (we live in Illinois) wanted to pose with the snake.

So based on all of this, I would suggest bringing the following to C2E2 if you're coming with kids:

  • Water bottles
  • Lunch and snacks
  • A bright hat to get spotted easier
  • Cash for souvenirs and photo opts
  • A cell phone battery bank
  • A backpack, not a purse, to leave your hands free

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. It's unicorn this and unicorn that lately. Everything is rainbows. I did not go and get a Unicorn frappuccino because my sister said it tasted like sugar garbage and I didn't really want to be that person at Starbucks, but you better believe I bought these rainbow bagels at the grocery store. "For the kids." They liked them, but quickly realized it's just a bagel with food coloring.

2. It's almost grilling season! Brent smoked these ribs for Easter and they were amazing. I mean, check out that crust. It's drool worthy.

3. I'm going to keep the food theme rolling. I don't buy cinnamon rolls often because they don't have a long shelf life in this household and I don't need to be eating those. But, holidays call for cinnamon buns of fun shapes. I did hearts for Valentine's Day last year, so naturally, I did cinnabunnies for Easter this year. The best part is you get a portion and a half this way.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. A great way to recover from a marathon is a full day of yardwork. Six hours, 50 bags of mulch, 40 bags of rocks and three trips later, we have a very nice-looking yard complete with vegetable garden and a fresh set of perennial bulbs. We're good grown ups.

2. For the past few years, we've celebrated prEaster. It's like Easter, but the weekend before. I make bunny-shaped cinnamon rolls and we hide eggs. This is the bounty for this year's prEaster. I don't know how to adult without the dollar store.

3. Just looking through my photos, I realized that since the beginning of February, I have been to Texas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, and many places more than once. I'm at the tail end of a heavy travel schedule and can't wait to slow down a bit.

Monday, April 3, 2017

2017 Circular Logic Marathon Race Recap

Six-word summary: Awesome weather for my favorite race.

In the past four years of my life, virtually everything has changed. House. Job. Relationships. Goals. I have had few constants. But this race has remained. It's where I attempted a PR and we got engaged and made so many memories along the way.

This is the fourth year I've done the Circular Logic Marathon, a race of 26 one-mile loops in West Lafayette. Each year has been met with small changes and improvements to the course and logisitics. I'm loving how passionate the organizers are at creating the best hometown race possible that boasts an affordable entry fee and full support from volunteers. This is, however, the first year we've had great weather. Shorts weather! Last year (when we got engaged) I thought we'd get blown away, the year before it was 18 degrees and the first year, it snowed. Lucky us.

We've also gotten this race down to a science. We stay at a hotel that's very close to the park and allows for check out as late as 4 p.m. It's not fancy and it sure is a little weird, but that post-race shower makes it all worth it. We got up around 6:30 and had breakfast at the hotel before heading over to the start line.

Something we'll do differently next year is opt for an early start. We were at the park at 8:05, so we could have easily started an hour earlier. We didn't realize anyone could opt for the early start. The problem with the 9 a.m. start is that everyone who is trying to BQ starts then. With one third of the race field trying to qualify, that meant when we finished at a very modest time, it was as ghost town.

We dropped our labeled bottles off at the aid station and set up a box of odds and ends we might want throughout the day: Advil, gels, headphones, phones, keys and tums. Then we headed to the start with Mo and got to moving. For the first six miles, Brent's bib had the wrong name, so we had fun with that to pass the miles. We ran almost the entire first half and were starting to feel pretty worn out.

I took a Gu around 11 and then we started a regimented walk-run schedule soon after that. Mo kept time for when we walked and ran and around the park we went without much incident. By the 15-mile mark, we were far less chatty as it started to get hard. My left knee was bothering me, along with my normal aches and pains. Around 17, Mo and I both took some advil. When it kicked in by 19, we annoyed the crap out of Brent because we started to feel better just as he was feeling worse. Right around that time, we were surprised to see the Philips cheering us on. They were on their way back from Spring Break and stopped to see the end of our race. Their kids played on the newly constructed playground while we finished up.

Mark ran with us for the last 5K as the course emptied out. I felt pretty good at the end of this race, albeit tired and sore, and was happy to be at the deserted finish line. This year, the race organizers opted to eliminate finish-line food in favor of bringing in a food truck. However, one race participant was celebrating his birthday and handed us cake at the finish line. I also saw there were cupcakes someone brought, so there was plenty to go around.

We skipped the food truck and collected our stuff before a quick shower at the hotel, then met the Philips for our traditional post-race Chilis meal. We were spent, and I fell asleep in the car on the way home. Today, I don't have any chafing, but my left foot is killing me. It hurst on the sole towards the outside. Hopefully it's nothing serious, because Ironman training awaits!

Time: 4:40:20
Cost: $65 with a medal and shirt (It was under $30 without)
Pros: It's cheap, easy to get to and well-supported. The medal and shirt are great, and you're rewarded for each subsequent marathon with a charm on your medal.
Cons: The weather is really unpredictable. It's a boring course. A lot of fast people are trying to BQ, which makes me sad because I'm not fast anymore.
Will I do this again? Every year I can move forward.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. When I was at SXSW, I entered all sorts of contests, and I actually won one! Cuisinart partnered with Coolhaus to give away free ice cream sandwiches across from the convention center. I grammed a photo of my treat and viola, I won and ice cream maker and a signed copy of the food truck's cook book. I am in fat kid heaven!

2. We bought our house in late summer and aren't quite sure what to expect from the landscaping. Our HOA covered the lawn care, but we have no idea what might bloom this spring and summer. Our yard is currently a fun science experiment. I think these are daffodils and tulips, but we'll find out together in a few days.

3. On our epic road trip, one of the hotel lobbies had this sign. It warmed my heart.