Kelly the Culinarian: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

What We Ate: Louisville Edition

My photos of the food didn't turn out well, so you'll just have to imagine what the tasty creations looked like.
After an uneventful drive to Kentucky, Rachael and I hit the expo at Louisville Slugger Field and checked into the Galt House Hotel. It was a massive hotel and the room was nice for the $75 per night I paid. We took a drive through the city and witnessed a guy breaking into a car, so that was interesting.

We also went to Churchill Downs before heading to a super early dinner at Amici Cafe. We were the only people there at that hour, which was just fine by us.

They had sangria that sounded fabulous, but no booze for us pre-race. Sad face. We split a bread basket, which was grilled to perfection, and both got the grilled chicken capellini. The spaghetti was tossed in a white wine olive oil sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and capers, then topped with slices of a grilled chicken breast. It was so fabulous, we both cleaned out plates. What, we were carb loading ...

After the race Sunday morning (race report to come), we went back to the hotel to shower and check out. I called ahead to Toast on Market, which people on Yelp seem to love. We only ended up waiting like 15 minutes when we got there, but I was starving from the run, so it might as well have been two hours. The wait was totally worth it.

Rachael had a rocking Mediterranean omelet with the eatery's signature hash brown casserole. I had two poached eggs, fruit, whole wheat toast and a lemon souffle pancake with blueberry compote. The eggs were awesome, but the pancake was what the restaurant is known for and it certainly delivered. A fluffy pancake was topped with a lemon glaze and a reduced blueberry sauce, which still had blueberries in the sauce. It was like dessert for breakfast and hit the spot post half.

We were only in Louisville for about 24 hours, so we didn't see much, but we did eat the best of the city and didn't go home hungry or disappointed.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Killed It!


More info to come. I feel sore but super proud. About half way through, the cops blocked off the road with crime scene tape. I laughed out loud when I thought that there was going to be a crime scene soon because I was going to kill this race.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What I've Learned About Running from My Dog

Hi friends! Rachael and I are road tripping today and are some where between Chicago and Louisville, Ky. We hope to make it to the expo in Louisville by mid afternoon, then check into the Galt House before dinner and head to bed early. It's a glamorous life.

Because I'm all about taking advice on how to tackle this race successfully, I thought I'd share a little advice I have learned from Napoleon, my three-year-old Yorkshire Terrier. He may be bossy, poorly behaved and the neighborhood mean dog, but Napoleon is also the picture of

So here's the top lessons I've learned from my Yorkie about running and racing:

Find a workout buddy.
Don't forget to stretch.
You can't hide from working out.
Cross train at least once per week.
Consider your nutrition and tailor it to what helps you perform at your best.
Work on your game face. Running is as much mental as physical.
There's no need to slack off on vacation. Running travels with you.
No one cares if you look ridiculous.
There is no such thing as bad weather. Just find the right gear.
Don't let what others think you can do define what you can accomplish.
Rest is important. Each week, take a day to recuperate and enjoy it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Now Accepting All Advice

As I'm sure I've mentioned a million times, I'm simultaneously excited and terrified about my first half marathon on Sunday. At this point, I'm looking for any tips, ideas or tricks to get through this race without getting hurt, puking or otherwise embarrassing myself in front of strangers. Any words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, feel free to send positive thoughts my way or light a candle for me. I need all the help I can get.
In the meantime, I've cut myself off from dairy, pop and junk food. I've made drinking water and green tea a full-time job and have focused on protein since my meeting with the exercise physiologist. I'm starting to pack for our adventure to Kentucky and I'm trying to remember that I've done the work, my body has the ability, my mind just needs to have the endurance to finish this strong.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cake Does Not A Good Run Make

Today's my birthday. I'm 27, which is the same age my mom was when she had me. In the past year, I've traveled to Jamaica, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, Seattle and New Orleans. Tim and I also celebrated our second wedding anniversary. I ran my first 5-mile race, 10k race and 11.5-mile race. I'll be completing my first half-marathon on Sunday at age 27, and I'm looking forward to seeing what races and other challenges I can conquer in the next year.

I've already been celebrating my birthday for a few days. Over the weekend, Tim took me shopping in honor of the day. When I woke up this morning, he asked me how 27 feels. I asked him how 27 has treated him and he said it's been wonderful since he's married to me. *Melt*

I'm very lucky.

I had a great day at work filled with sweet cards, well wishes, treats and a fantastic lunch at
Quesa Broso. This place has rocking enchiladas con mole. So tasty!

When I came home tonight, I hit up the cake I brought home from my mom's house. Last night, I went over to her house for celebrating. My parents got me a ceramic pumpkin for my front porch and a new coat. Katie gave me a hot new running outfit and Mandy picked up

reflective bands and a blinking safety light for me. My mom really stepped up her cake-making game and made this amazing four-layer chocolate cake. After enjoying every delicious, calorie-laden bite, I decided to take my new gear for a run. It was not a plan for success.

I didn't get hit by a car, so the gear is, in fact, working, but cake as fuel is not a great idea. So, no more cake until the race is over with Sunday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Training Tuesday: It's the Final Countdown

*Cue the music* It's finally here! I'm just days away from my first half marathon. Rachael and I are driving down to Louisville Saturday, hitting the expo and spending the night in a nice hotel before taking our spots at the start line of the Big Hit Half Marathon. My goal will be to finish the race in two hours.

While I had a crappy run this weekend, I also had a glorious 5.38-mile run at race pace on Saturday, followed by free yoga. Alas, I made the mistake of looking at all the overpriced gear at Lululemon and am now lusting over a $100 running top. There's no way I can justify the expense ever, so I'm going to vow to not look at the merchandise again.

I would have loved to have an awesome 10-mile run Sunday, but it just wasn't in the cards. Instead, I'll focus on a little cross training this week, a few shorter runs, rest, lots of sleep, hydration and proper nutrition. I'll also be working on the mental aspect of this race, visualizing a strong and painless finish with less than two hours on the clock and planning our Kentucky jaunt.

Mantra: I have run the miles. I have followed the plan. I have laid the groundwork. I will own this race!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cooking with Kelly: The No-Bake Bake Sale

Last week, my Lions club donated baked goods to the SASED Leo Club. We support this group of visually impaired high school students in a variety of ways, including underwriting the cost of equipment for goalball, an adaptive sport that's a bit like a mix of soccer and dodgeball. The ball has bells in it so the three team mates defending the goal can hear the ball coming.

The Leos had a goalball tournament, so we donated the treats for a bake sale so they could raise more money for future projects. I was having a hectic week, so I went with several no-bake options:

Puppy Chow (I blogged about this in 2007! Crazy.)

All in all, my club donated enough tasty treats that I had to get a cart to store it all when the Leos came to pick it up. There were all kinds of cookies, cupcakes and bites. I hope they raised a ton of money and can get even more kids involved in this amazing club.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Lovely Day for a Last Long Run

It's gorgeous outside today: 65ish degrees, clear skies and a nice breeze. I set out for one last long run. All was well, but I got to just short of five miles and stopped to take off my jacket because it was so nice and toasty outside. I don't know what the hell happened, but I think I tweaked my knee in the process (only I could manage this). When I went to start again, my leg hurt bad enough that I cried. I also lost my beloved Clif mocha shot somewhere in the process. Instead of a long run, I ended up with a miserable three-mile walk back home. Sad.

What isn't sad are the deals I got yesterday. Tim said he wanted to spend around $100 on our birthday shopping trip. I love the thrill finding an awesome deal, so we hit the outlets and for
$100, I got three bras (in the bag), a pair of shoes (that are being shipped to me), sunglasses from Fossil, and two complete work outfits from Banana Republic. Unfortunately, that trip involved waiting in lines longer than it took to actually shop for the two tops, dress pants and skirt I ended up with. I had the last laugh with my awesome deals.

In addition to being a lovely day, today marks the three-year anniversary of closing on this house. In those three years, we got married, got a dog, both changed jobs and Tim started a new degree. Funny what three years brings. I remember the closing day: they couldn't figure out how much we were supposed to bring to closing, so we were waiting at a Dominick's until 15 minutes before the closing so we could get a check from chase for the right amount.
We then came back to the house and started cleaning and painting. We painted the kitchen a yellow called Oak Cask and the master bathroom Blue Pool. My sister steamed the carpets while we chiseled greasy nastiness off the cabinets.

We celebrated the anniversary by trying to fix and electrical issue in the kitchen. We are not electricians, therefore, it is still broken. For some reason, all of the outlets that don't have the built-in tester things aren't working. Tim replaced the outlets and fiddled with the fuse box, so I'll be calling in a professional.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dial Up Your Pacemaker, G

Last night was super fab: My Lions club held its annual wine tasting event. Oh, you thought Lions clubs were just for old white dudes? Nope, not so much:

My favorite lyrics? "You got a dry turkey sandwich? I'll mayonaise you!"

Anyhow, the wine tasting went very well. We had three stations with different types of wine and a central area with a generous amount of appetizers. I had mini apple pies, chicken skewers, aprict teriyaki meatballs, grilled vegetables and all sorts of yummies. I also found a new favorite wine: Dr. H reisling. It's a sweet, fruity wine that has a very refreshing end note with a citrus aftertaste. But my palate also super enjoys Taco Bell, so take my critique as you may.

The club brought in a good amount of money (final count to be determined) ticket and wine sales, plus our silent auction and raffles. We'll be reinvesting that money into the community in the form of supporting a food bank, a Leo club (like Lions for kids) made of of visually impaired high school students and sponsoring families for the holidays.

With all that imbibing and appetizer consuming, I had a lot of calories to burn this morning. I left for free yoga early today and went on a run that was just a little more than five miles. I was able to knock it out at my goal race pace of 9 minute miles. Speaking of which, the info e-mail for the JAM Active Big Hit Half Marathon went out this morning. EEEEK.

I hit the free, super tough yoga, then came home for snacks, a shower and cleaning.

I'm super psyched for this afternoon - Tim is taking my shopping in honor of my birthday! I'm excited to spend time together and get a few new things. There's also a dinner in the works, but I'm holding off on that until after the race.

Time to go stimulate the economy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Three Things Thursday

This is going to be a bit of drive-by blogging. Busy day at work, busy afternoon at home and busy weekend ahead.

1. This week is Wellness Week at work. I love it. Seriously, I look forward to Wellness Week. So far, I've gotten a free total blood workup, a free flu shot and a morning snack of an apple and granola square every day this week. Tomorrow, we'll get a body fat test (which the exercise physiologist told me not to put stock in, more on that later) and free toothbrushes. Yeah, I'm a nerd. But a nerd that's really geeked out about health and wellness.

2. My new favorite snack is a protein muffin made with pumpkin instead of applesauce and no chocolate chips. This brings the calorie count down to 114 calories with 11 grams of protein. Topped with 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter, it's an awesome 300-ish calorie snack that packs 20 grams of protein. Since I've been told to eat more protein, this snack rocks.

3. I'm more than a little irrationally angry about the results of my blood work. Last year, my cholesterol was just a little on the high side, with a count of 202 (200 and below is normal). The morning they took my blood, I was at my lowest weight ever and had just finished my 9.3-mile run. My cholesterol was 216. I don't eat that much meat, and I can't remember the last time I bought ground beef. I exercise and eat several servings of whole grain each day. I seriously have no clue what else to do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Video: Easy Italian Crock Pot Chicken

Well, here's something new. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received a few products from Newman's Own as well as a video camera. Please note, I cleaned my whole kitchen for this video. Also, I need to figure out how to not chop my head off while video taping. Check it out:

Easy Italian Crock Pot Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 bottle Newman's Own Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
2 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of your crock pot and top with 1/2 to 3/4 of the bottle of sauce, enough to coat. Cook on low for eight hours. Shred the chicken and top the pasta with a 1/2 cup of the shredded chicken pasta sauce. Yum!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Training Tuesday

It's been a roller coaster-y week and a half here. I was injured, which made me anxious and apprehensive about my commitment to run a half marathon (that's just 10 days away now). As I shared earlier this week, I went on my long run Sunday. As I was laying in bed at 6:20 a.m Sunday (I used to sleep in like a normal person), I was getting even more anxious about my injury, about my lack of mileage in the previous week and about the rain I could hear beating down on my roof.

I got up, had a great breakfast and then decided I was going to hit the streets and see what my legs could do.

And I surprised even myself. I felt strong. I felt happy. I felt fast.

I maintained some mostly negative splits, up until the seventh mile. A great song came on my new favorite Pandora station (did you know there's an alternative rock station under the workout tab? Perfect.) and really opened up on my speed. It left me a little on the empty side, so the rest of my miles were a slower.

However, psychologically, this 9.3-mile run was really important. I finished it in 1:30. Because of this run, I know I can finish the half marathon. My body has the ability to run a sub-two-hour half, I just need to get my head in the game and stick with these next two weeks. I plan to give myself the food my body needs, hydrate like I mean it and sleep like it's going out of style.

On a related note, I had an awesome meeting tonight with an exercise physiologist. I've always loved data and research, so I've volunteered myself as a human guinea pig. In the coming weeks, I'm going to get my body composition, metabolism and VO2 max measured and analyzed so I have solid data about my level of fitness. Does anyone know if I can cram for a VO2 max test?

Anyhow, he mentioned in passing about nutrition, and I told him that my diet would be awesome, if I didn't love Taco Bell so much. He told me that at my training level, calories shouldn't be my main concern, but instead, eating food that makes me feel good and perform well. Best news of the night: he told me if I want the Taco Bell, go for it, but maybe get a salad with a taco instead of my standard meal. He also told me I should monitor my protein intake for muscle building and performance. A good goal for me would be 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight each day. So I'm going to take my homework to heart and start tracking my food again. As much of a pain in the ass it is, tracking calories is how I first started losing weight, so now at least I'm doing it with a goal in mind other than "get skinny."

I'm really excited for the half marathon that's just a week from Sunday. Rachael and I are going to rock this race and show Louisville what we can do. After that, I'm looking forward to finding out more data about my fitness level so I can start training for the next challenge. What's that? Stay tuned ...

Mantra: My feet hurt from kicking so much ass.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cooking with Kelly: Baked Pear Crumble

What can I say, I'm a sucker for a sale. Pears were on sale $.99 for three pounds, so of course, I bought some to make treats.

This tasty crumble is pretty healthy and was so good after my long run yesterday. I don't keep ice cream in the house because I tend to tear through a gallon in three days, but I imagine this would be delicious a la mode. Otherwise, it's a great breakfast or dessert. While I baked this dish in the oven, I imagine it would be easy enough to make in the crock pot.

Baked Pear Crumble
3 pounds pears, halved with cores removed
Splash of lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1/4 cup Splenda
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup margarine

Place the pears in a baking dish cut side up. I used a stone casserole dish, but a glass or medal dish would work, too. Sprinkle the citrus juice over the top to prevent browning. Mix the remaining dry ingredients, the cut the margarine into the dry ingredients using your fingers until you get a crumble with the consistency of wet sand. Spoon over the pears and baked for 45 minutes in a 375-degree oven until the topping is golden brown.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another Long Run Fueling Post

After a week off from running post injury, I went out for my first run. I was really anxious about it because I'm exactly two weeks away from a half marathon that I have no only paid for, but also bought a hotel room for in full. I cautiously hit the road this morning and I felt awesome.

The weather was cool, I found a great new station on pandora and the miles were easy. I even felt fast!

In honor of this fabulous 9.3-mile run, I have another post about what I eat and drink on long run days to fuel and recover.

First, I started with a hearty breakfast of a 1/2 old fashion oat meal made with Splenda, a few shakes of cinnamon, a chopped gala apple, a 1/2 ounce chopped walnuts and enough water to get a nice texture. I microwaved all that for one minute and chased it with two glasses of water and my daily vitamins.On my run, I ended up having two Clif mocha shots with caffeine. I planned to eat one, but I started dragging with only three miles under my belt, so I ended up having one a mile 3.5 and another around mile seven. So tasty ... love these things. It's amazing how 200 calories of caffeinated frosting makes an hour and a half of running so much easier.When I got back, I stretched and took a bossy little puppy out before consuming another 200ish calories in drinks. I consumed, in order, water, a cup of skim chocolate milk, more water and a glass of sports drink (it was some off brand powder from Aldi. It's banana strawberry something or other).Before I hit my ice bath, I made myself a pumpkin coffee. I don't drink a ton of coffee, but I like to have something warm while I'm soaking in freezing water. I made my homemade version of a pumpkin latte with 1 tablespoon of pumpkin-flavored creamer, 1/4 cup skim milk, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 tablespoon splenda and 1 1/2 cups of coffee. I warmed it all together in this cup I got through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. It's made by Tervis and is insulated, so it kept my coffee warm, even though I was impersonating a popsicle in my ice bath.By the time I got cleaned up, it was lunch time. Lunch was more water, a strawberry Chobani with puffed rice cereal and a baked pear crumble. It was so yummy.For my afternoon snack, I made a chocolate protein muffin with pumpkin instead of applesauce. 'Tis the season for pumpkin awesomeness! And yes, I was photobombed by the dog.Along that theme, I also had a candy apple. They were on sale and I love them so.For dinner, we kept it low key with grilled chicken breasts (I topped mine with a little barbecue sauce) and some broccoli pieces.I'm off to drink some more water and ice a little more to keep the soreness at bay.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cooking with Kelly: Slow Cooker Carrot Soup

I love my slow cooker so much. I got it as a wedding present from my parents' neighbor and have certainly gotten a lot of use out of it. It's a larger oval-shaped model that's digital and automatically switches to a warming mode once the cooking time has elapsed.

I also love coming home to a tasty meal that was cooking with love in the laziest possible way. I was in the mood for some soup and had a bag of carrots in the crisper, so I set out to make something that wasn't too heavy but still kept me full.

Slow Cooker Carrot Soup
1 large onion, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
5 cups stock (I used home made turkey stock, but you can use what you prefer)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup of Splenda
1 cup of brown sugar

Place the onion, garlic, carrots and stock into the crock pot. Cook on low for eight hours. When you get home, add the remaining ingredients, stir and cook on high for one hour. If you have an immersion blender, it would be extremely helpful in pulsing this all together. Instead, I used my food processor in batches.

I rounded this meal out with a simple salad topped with Marzetti Simply Dressed salad dressing in the Caesar flavor. I got this sample through the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program. Now that I'm so close to my half marathon, I'm trying to limit the amount of crap that I'm eating, so I appreciate that I can pronounce all the ingredients on this product.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cooking with Kelly: Super Fast Dinner Edition

I had to go to the grocery store the other night, and by the time I got home, my hunger was at code red emergency status, and so was Tim's. Immediately, I started in on the dinner concoction of the evening.

Pork chops were on sale that night, so that was the protein du jour. I seasoned them with spicy curry powder, pepper and salt and threw them on the grill for four minutes per side.

While that was working, I steamed a head of broccoli and dressed it with salt and pepper. Finally, I rounded out the meal with some Simply Potatoes that I got through the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program. There are a bunch of different varieties, but I went with the original flavor. I like that they're real potatoes, but I only have to heat them up in the microwave and serve them. And I'm Irish, so I know potatoes (it's true, if you're on Sparkpeople, you know my user name is ILovePotatoes). They're giving away a year of free potatoes, so if you want to keep carb loading for a full year, enter here.

And in less than 15 minutes, we were eating a healthy, balanced meal that was delicious.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Training Tuesday: Sad Panda Edition

I made several stupid decisions regarding my training that culminated in a painful injury, leaving me recovering today.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First stupid decision: On Thursday, I decided to do my medium-length run to the library. I had a few books to return, but nothing too heavy, and it would give me a nearly eight-mile run. I got my rusty backpack from high school out and packed it up, then set out on my little run.

I regretted my decision less than one mile from my house. Even though the pack was less than five pounds, it felt like 50. Plus, the backpack was rubbing against my lower back in a very uncomfortable way. When I got to the library in a very slow, painful pace, I was spent, but still had to run home. Sigh. I ended the day with a terrible rash on my back and a miserable time for the run.

The second mistake I made was training through pain. I've been having some pain in my thigh, which I really only noticed when I crossed my legs, so I ignored it.

So on my second run of my trailer camping weekend in my awesome new running outfit, I resolved to take a long tour of the country. I wanted to knock out at least 10 miles.

The weather was perfect: the sun was low, I had plenty of time and the weather was crisp and cool. As I ran past open pastures where the mist clung low to the ground and horses grazed, I thought this would be perfect.

And then, the pain started. First, it was just a bit of reduced mobility in the same leg with the thigh injury. Then, it felt like someone had stabbed me square in the side of my knee. I headed back, but not before my phone's GPS timed out. I have no clue how far I went, but it hurt.

The best I can figure is that with the pulled thigh, my other muscles were trying to compensate, leading to more tweaks and strains. As a result, despite the fact that I have a measly 19 days until my first half, I'm easing up on my training plan. I should have made a 12 mile run this weekend, followed by several longer runs during the week. Instead, I'm not going to hit the pavement until Sunday. I did the elliptical yesterday, which I'm doing again tonight. Tomorrow, I'm going to bike around town, then do an Insanity workout Thursday before resting Friday and yoga Saturday. Then, we'll see on Sunday what my leg is doing.

I will finish the Big Hit Half Marathon.

Mantra: Strive for progress, not perfection.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cooking with Kelly: Smores at Home

Part of the deal for the camping weekend was that there would be smores. My mom promised that we would build a fire and I could have the delicious combo of crunchy graham crackers, creamy milk chocolate and toasted-to-perfection marshmallow.

It was as glorious as I thought it would be. There's just something about standing around a camp fire in a cozy hoodie making smores on a crisp evening that screams fall.

I felt a little bad when I got home, though, that while I was enjoying the great outdoors, Tim was stuck inside studying. I thought I'd try to replicate my favorite aspect of camping for him when I got home last night.

My secret to smores at home is smearing one side of both graham crackers with nutella, then add semi-sweet chocolate chips. This gives the whole sandwich a little sticking power when you add the marshmallow. I toasted a marshmallow on our stove and put the whole thing together. I served it all alongside some Cafe Solano from Peet's Coffee. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, the company sent me a bag, along with a bag of the new Cafe Domingo. The Cafe Solano is a medium roast blend of a bunch of tasty coffees that made the whole house smell delicious when we shared a pot. Tim really enjoyed this coffee and insisted that we must buy more. I was a big fan as well and had some with my breakfast again this morning. As for the smores, I made another for Tim tonight, so I think he's a fan.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Survived the Trailer/Quidditch Trip

It was actually a lot of fun! As part of the bribery/ early birthday present, my mom gave me a running outfit. I just happened to match the trailer then. Awesome. My parents picked me up and we drove to the campsite outside of Indianapolis.

We stayed at Riverbend Campground in Noblesville, which was old and a little strange, but hey, it was cheap and just eight miles from the quidditch games. We were right on the water and had plenty of room to set up a screen tent (which was challenging, mostly because we tried to assemble it inside out). The bathrooms were similar to every horror movie I've ever seen, so I resolved to only use the trailer shower.

In case you're wondering (I know I was), here's how the bathroom situation works. Imagine an airplane bathroom, except with a shower. And the whole bathroom is a shower. When it's time to take a shower, the entire bathroom is your shower stall. There's plenty of hot water, but not a ton of water pressure or space.

The trailer sleeps three. There's a queen-ish sized bed at the front of the trailer, a slideout kitchen with a fridge and two burners across from the bathroom and a table at the rear of the trailer. The table also folds down to a single bed. I brought my sleeping bag and hunkered down there.

The only thing about a trailer is that everything has to have a place to go, or else it looks messy. Hence this photo of me in my little nook. It wasn't really that unkempt, we were just moving things around before getting ready for bed.

Saturday morning, we had a little breakfast and then headed out to Conner Prairie, where the 2011 International Quidditch Association was holding the Midwest Cup. The competition included 18 colleges and my sister's school, Purdue, was hosting. That meant that my sister was running around and barely sleeping while organizing this whole ordeal. My parents and I found a shady spot and watched quidditch.

There's a lot of strategy in quidditch because there's essentially three games going on simultaneously; one is a basic scoring system where kids throw a white ball through a ring. The second is a dodgeball scenario where the players try to hit other players with a red-colored ball. The player that is hit has to drop everything and go touch the ring. The final game that's going on is catch: every university playing has to provide a snitch, which is a person dressed in yellow that can run around everywhere and do anything. Each team has one seeker and when the seeker removes the snitch's tail, the game ends and the team that caught the snitch gets 30 points. Therefore, if you're really far behind in scoring, you don't want to catch the snitch, but you do want to make sure the other team doesn't catch it, either.

My uncle lives in the area and met us out at the field. Eventually, we headed back to the campground and had some food my mom made in advance for dinner. She even made me my favorite, turkey chop suey! Yum, yum, yum.

My dad started a fire and I had the smores I was promised. We repeated the routine today, but we packed up the trailer and took it with us to the field, then left from there. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my queen-sized bed and showering in my full-sized shower.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's Fall!

It might not feel like it today (because it's in the mid-80s), but the leaves are turning beautiful colors and I've already put out my Halloween decorations. This process includes me trying to artfully place the decorations Napoleon would like to chew out of reach. He hates Halloween, because it involves me dressing him up, kids ringing the doorbell and toys that he doesn't know what to make of:

Should I dress Napoleon as:

  1. A bee?

  2. An emperor?

  3. Santa?

A "Fun" Family Trip

I'm taking off on a magical trip today. With my parents. In my parents' trailer. To see my sister play in a quidditch tournament.

You can pick your punchline for this one.

I've yet to see this trailer, but if you want a visual, it's an MPG 181. Here's the back story: my dad has been talking about buying a trailer for at least a decade. He always talked about buying a trailer and traveling the country. My mom would either roll her eyes, or whisper to us that we needed to buy big houses so that she could come stay with us. She always assumed this was just one of those things that would never happen.

Then, about two years ago, my dad bought a pick up truck capable of hauling a trailer. Then things got real.

My dad retired this summer and bought the trailer about a month later. I'm looking forward to this trip, even though when my mom invited me, I asked her where I would sleep. She told me the kitchen table turns into another bed, which was met with silence.

Needless to say, Tim isn't attending.

My mother called me last night to say "Enjoy sleeping in your bed tonight, because tomorrow, you're sleeping on the kitchen table. Don't plan on sleeping in, either, because we need that table to have breakfast."

I have been promised smores. There better be a lot of smores.

In order to get ready for this trip, I had to pack: running clothes, running shoes, flip flops, a towel, toiletries, make up, clothes, a flash light, sleeping bag, pillow, pajamas, cell phone chargers (in case I need to call the nearest Holiday Inn) a frisbee and beer. Because beer will be needed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cooking with Kelly: Pumped Up Rice Krispie Treats

I like to bake on the weekends, because Tim studies most weekends and I like to treat him to something he enjoys. I also find baking relaxing and rewarding, so I often end up making something and taking it to work or freezing it.

One of Tim's favorite sweets is Rice Krispie Treats. But I'm not content to just make regular Rice Krispies - I could buy those. So I added some of Tim's other favorite flavors: peanut butter and chocolate. Really, who wouldn't adore this combo?
These freeze well and also keep in the fridge for a while.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Krispies
6 cups puffed rice cereal (because I use the off brands)
1 bag mini marshmallows
1/2 stick salted butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter

In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and marshmallows. Once combined, mix with the cereal, then press into a greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Set aside.

Heat together the chocolate and peanut butter, either in the microwave in one-minute increments or on the stove over low heat. Do not overheat. Once incorporated, pour over the prepared krispies and use a spatula to smooth over the top.

Refrigerate until firm, then use a sharp knife to cut.