Thursday, July 25, 2013

Beer Me: Son of a Peach

I will pretty much try any beer that is fruit and wheat based. Picky is not my middle name. So, when John picked out this peach wheat beer from RJ Rockers Brewery I was all in.

This is Son of a Peach. Cute name? Check. Full on fresh peach infusion? Check.

From the site: "An unfiltered American wheat ale made with real mean peaches. The only thing missing is the fuzz. Savor the anger. Available during the late Spring and Summer months.6.0% abv"

You can definitely tell this is made with real peaches. It didn't taste fake or syrupy at all, which I appreciated. It's just an easy sipper. There are so many lemon shandies out there in the summer that the peach was a nice departure. Not overly sweet, not at all bitter. If you like fruit beers and you like peach, you'll LOVE this one. It retails for about $9.99/6 pack.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I haven't read a good page turner in a long time. Too long. As a lover of literature, I long for those amazing books that you just cannot put down. I like the ones that feel as though they are glued to your hands. Then, along comes Divergent.


Recently, Buzzfeed posted a list of books that are scheduled to be made into movies. Because I love a good book-turned-movie, I picked up and gave it a whirl.

Good Reads' Synopsis: "In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her."
What I Thought: Holy cow was this every intense. It definitely had a Hunger Games feel to it but since I love Hunger Games, I loved Divergent too. Again, I don't care if it's in the Young Adult genre. It's well written and the plot is full of intrigue. Anything that will make you read faster and faster just so you can see what happens is okay by me. I'm onto the second book in the series now and the third installment comes out in October. If you like fast-paced thrillers, then this one is for you!

Rating: * * * *

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recipe Reblog: Cheeseburger Casserole

I feel like it's been a long time since I posted a recipe. I've tried some new ones but haven't hung onto many as recipe binder-worthy. This one though......

One-Pot Cheeseburger Casserole: If this sounds gross to you, perhaps you didn't grow up on Hamburger Helper. I will not pretend that I don't love Hamburger Helper. It evokes a nostalgia in me from many stages of my life. In college, Hamburger Helper was a fancy meal for John and me. Truth. However, it's packed with sodium which is not cool. Instead, look to this recipe from No. 2 Pencil. Take all the things that make up a cheeseburger, add pasta and toss out the bun. You've got yourself a meal! I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef because I really only use ground turkey anymore. It also tells you to use a can of whole peeled tomatoes and then you end up cutting them up with scissors anyway. Take a short cut and used diced instead.

You want to know the best part? Pickles on top! I ell ohh vee eee pickles sooooo much but never buy them for fear I'll eat the whole jar. I'm happy to report, the remaining pickles are still in my fridge. I guess I'm growing up. Anyway, cook this one up! Fun for the whole family!

P.S. I have been an ice cream making fool! I pretty much just make up my own recipes but the most recent one we did, Bourbon Cherry Vanilla, is basically identical to the recipe in the current issue of Bon Appetit. I was so proud of myself! it possible the B.A. editors are hiding in my pantry and stealing my creations???? Probably not.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars

I recently came across a list of books that are currently being made, or about to be made, into movies. Though I have been meaning to read this for quite some time, The Fault in Our Stars was on said list so I decided now was the perfect time to check it out.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten."

What I Thought: OK, I know. It's in the Young Adult genre but I'm not going to defend my English major self for reading it. YA has come a LONG way. Heard of a little world-wide phenomenon called "The Hunger Games?" Well, that is classified as Young Adult lit. So there! Anyway, I liked this more than I thought I would. I've read one other by John Green (Will Grayson, Will Grayson) and was only so so on that even though most people go gaga for it. While some of it is a bit wordy for teenagers to be speaking, the character development here is astounding. And yes, I cried. A book that can make you cry. Well, doesn't that really say it all?

Rating: * * * 1/2

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dad is Fat

The funniest books are written by comedians. That seems like a "DUH" statement but I wanted to throw it out there. If you're looking for a funny book, try one by someone you already know is funny. Enter Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’sFatherhoodDad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home"

What I Thought: This was hysterical! I laughed out like like a fool while reading it and I don't even have kids. I was reading it in a park on my lunch one day and I could not stop laughing and just hoped no one thought I was some maniac laughing alone on a park bench. Gaffigan's stand up cracks me up so I had high hopes for this and it delivered! It was a fast, enjoyable read. I recommend it to everyone, dad or not!

Rating: * * * *

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

June Running Round-Up

June turned out to be a great running month for me. It's summer and the temperatures lend themselves to more outdoor miles. Of course, the outdoor miles are harder than the treadmill but they build character. That's what I tell myself as the sweat forms a river from my hair directly to my eyes. (OT = outside, TM = treadmill)

Jun 2: 6.2 mi OT in 57:45
Jun 4: 4 mi TM in 33:40, 8:35/8:35/8:16/8:13
Jun 6: 3.3 mi TM in 30:05, sore!
Jun 9: 5.2 mi OT in 48:54, HOT
Jun 11: 2.5 mi OT IN 23:31 and 1.5 TM in 12:50
Jun 16: 6 mi TM in 55:45, 9:18 avg pace, tough
Jun 18: 3.4 mi OT in 31:29, so so
Jun 19: 1 mi trail run, pre-bootcamp
Jun 20: 3 mi TM in 27:45, leg pain
Jun 23: 6 mi TM in 53:41, 8:57 avg pace
Jun 25: 5 mi TM in 42:38, 8:32 avg pace- new record!!
Jun 28: 3.2 mi OT in 28:30, fastest 5k outside 
Jun 30: 4 mi TM in 33:45, 8:48/8:27/8:20/8:10

Total Miles: 54.3

I had a sad discovery this month. My latest pair of Brooks is a size 10 and not a 10 1/2 like they should be. What was I thinking!? So, I've been wearing them for things other than running. I realize this is a huge no-no but I want to wear them out so I can justify a new pair in the correct size.

Time to register for a race. I need a goal to work towards........

Monday, July 8, 2013

Big Brother

I haven't reviewed a book on here for a LONG time, guys. Incidentally, I now have 4 books lined up that I've read recently and need to tell you about, much to my bro-in-law's dismay. My book posts are his least favorite. But, he's at the beach this week anyway so we'll press on.


Big Brother is the latest offering from Lionel Shriver. She has several other novels to her credit but the one I really liked (though it was super duper dark) was We Need to Talk about Kevin.

Good Reads' Synopsis: "For Pandora, cooking is a form of love. Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self-employed high-end cabinetmaker, now spurns the “toxic” dishes that he’d savored through their courtship, and devotes hours each day to manic cycling. Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn’t recognize him. In the years since they’ve seen one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? After Edison has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: It’s him or me.

Rich with Shriver’s distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much sacrifice we'll make to save single members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves."

What I Thought: I wanted to like this so badly. And actually, I did like it up until the ending. There's nothing worse than working your way through a story you think you are enjoying and then being sucker-punched by a terrible ending. TERRIBLE. The writing was good and it's very topical considering the prevalence of obesity in society these days. I still like Shriver but I cannot really recommend this book in good conscience. If you do read it, please let me know if the ending disappointed you as much as it did me.

Rating: * *

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Recipe Reblog: S'mores Cups

To me, the 4th of July screams s'mores. It's probably because growing up, we had s'mores cooked over the fire on the beach at our family reunion every year, without fail. This year, we didn't get to go to Vermont but I didn't want to miss out on that graham-crackery-marshmallow-chocolatey goodness. Luckily, I had a back-up plan.

S'mores Cups: These things are amazing. Crushed up graham cracker, butter and powdered sugar baked to make a crust. Melted Hershey's bar, marshmallow and then dipped in more chocolate. They made the perfect amount for 6-7 of us and only have 100 calories each. Plus, anything I can make in my mini muffin tin is okay by me. PLEASE try these. They were a hit at the cookout and only lasted a few minutes.

P.S. Is it raining where you live? Here in Ohio, we are on a serious rainy streak. Rain equals zero pool time equals a sad, pale Ashley. If it's not raining by you, soak up some vitamin D for me!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Weekend

July 1st. Are you kidding me? I say this to myself every month but, seriously. July. Whatevs.

I had an awesome weekend, people. We went back to our hometown for various things but here's the run down.

Belated Father's/Mother's Day celebrations with my in-laws in sunny Cleveland!

We went here.....

Where I had a delicious milk stout and hands down THE best turkey sandwich ever. Nine grain is where it's at, yo! If you're a beer drinker in Cleveland, you are very familiar with Great Lakes but my in-laws had never been to the actual location before so we were happy to oblige.

We tasted some more beer across the street at Market Garden Brewery and then went to get popcorn at Campbell's. I got Blue Hawaiian. No really, pineapple and coconut is where it's at.

Whoops! Started the day with a great run outside. Humid but I was killing it on mile times. More on that tomorrow.

Went to another brewery where I neglected to take pictures so I guess we'll just pretend it didn't happen until I can document it.

THEN! We napped and went to a winery where we had sangria and pink lemonade. Made with wine. Guys. Pink lemonade wine is totes where it's at! It was a marathon day but super duper fun. We dubbed it FaMother's Day. Say it out loud. It's funny.

Saturday, we went to a rock climbing gym for my dad's birthday. It was a surprise. And it worked. He was extra surprised, and nervous I think. But, we had fun. Rock climbing is super tiring and we only climbed for 1 of the 2 hours we were allotted. But, look at my skills!

It's the Cleveland Rock Gym, if you're interested. They were very helpful for us beginners and more than willing to take breaks and chat whenever we wanted. And, you don't have to wear a helmet if you don't want to. No one looks cute in a helmet.

Then, Saturday night, John and I had tickets to something we've been looking forward to since last fall.


We have been DYING to see The Book of Mormon but the tour won't come to Dayton for years, I'm certain. Luckily, Cleveland is a fine choice for theatre and we were gifted tickets for Christmas from my parents. It was amazing! The writing was smart. The songs were catchy. The choreography was energetic. We laughed the entire time. The ENTIRE time. I will say though, if you are not a fan of South Park humor (at least the earlier stuff -- I haven't seen it in years) you may be offended by some of it. It's a funny offensive though. John said it might be in the top 3 of anything he's ever seen (including movies and television). High praise! Anyway, we loved it!

Now, it's back to the dirty D-Y-T for a few days and then back up north for fun festivities on the 4th later this week. What a way to kick off a very busy month!