Thursday, February 27, 2014

February Running Round Up

Do not adjust your calendars. It is still February. There are hours left of this horrific month. I'm posting my miles today because I've been sidelined from running for a week due to a back issue. I will spare you the gory details but heed my warning. If you have a small bump on your body that rapidly triples in size, there is a problem. No worries. It's not serious but it was quite painful for a time and I'm still dealing with it.

2/1: 4 mi, 37:23
2/2: 5 mi, 47:04
2/4: 4 mi, 37:22
2/8: 4 mi, 37:40
2/9: 4.5 mi, 42:42

2/12: 4 mi
2/15: 4 mi, 37:43

2/17; 4 mi
2/19: 3.1

36.6 total miles

Guys. I am not proud of a single one of these runs. I would have hit 50 had I been able to run this past week but unfortunately, that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'm just going to vow to come back strong in March and forget the slow times and lack of motivation I experienced this month. Let's blame winter. Maybe March will even grant us a couple warm days to run outside. A girl can dream.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Dinner

I have been having a heck of a time finding awesome books to read lately. I'm just not crazy about anything that's ever available through my Kindle libraries. When I came across The Dinner by Herman Koch, I selected it for one snippet of a review that said "a European Gone Girl." Well, I loved Gone Girl so that was recommendation enough for me.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "Over one meal, two families struggle with the hardest decision of their lives. On an Amsterdam summer evening, two couples are united by their sons, aged 15, their horrific joint deed. Behind banal polite discourse in a restaurant, knives are sharpened, friendship disintegrates. How far will adults go to protect those they love?"

What I Thought: That was a pretty short synopsis and though the main action does take place at dinnertime, we do hear more about their everyday lives as well. While I liked the writing style and found the characters intriguing (thought not really likable), I kept waiting for something to happen and it never really did. The story was wrapped up neatly but the ending was anti-climactic. I don't know what I was hoping for but it wasn't that.

Rating: * *

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Recipe Reblog: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

I have been reading about the benefits of using coconut oil for awhile now and decided it was fate when I saw a jar on clearance at Target last week. Coconut oil comes in solid form and is typically melted for use in baking and cooking. It doesn't really taste like coconut but it imparts a nice flavor to your meals. Even though it has saturated fat, it's much better for you than plain old vegetable oil. According to Dr. Oz, it helps with good cholesterol levels and can help your body use insulin more efficiently. You can even use it to make your hair shiny! It has other benefits too but I can't remember what they are.

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies: I wanted to bake some cookies for game night (which sadly got cancelled -- more for me!) I am not a very good baker because I don't do it that often but I thought I'd give it a shot. This recipe swaps the oil for butter. It did not have you melt the oil first and creaming together the white and brown sugar with the hunk of coconut oil took a really long time. Also, I refrigerated the dough to bake off later in the day. When I pulled it out of the fridge, it was rock solid. I'm going to blame the coconut oil on that one too. I let it warm up a bit and ended up hacking off chunks with a knife and forming them into balls.

The suggested baking time was not long enough. I probably ended up at 20 minutes as opposed to the 10-12 listed. However, the cookies were soft and moist and had a good flavor. John said he tasted the coconut but I didn't. I'd like to give it a shot again with another recipe that does have you melt the oil first.

I'm making stir fry tonight and think I'll use the coconut oil for sauteing in that.

And now I'm looking at 2 dozen cookies. Anyone want to come over for milk?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


*I bought a new mint green case for my iphone. It's pretty much the happiest thing I've ever seen and makes me smile all the time.

*13 Things Only Perpetually Cold People Will Understand. This is me. ALL THE TIME.

* Two weekends ago, it hit the mid-40's in southern Ohio and the world rejoiced. John and I headed to the outlets for the first time in months which felt like a small victory over winter. We also had a small victory in the Lindt truffle store when they were actually passing out free samples. This never happens.

* I am officially tired of all my winter clothes, especially my work wardrobe. Normally, I wear a healthy mix of skirts and dresses along with pants. Since it's been so cold, I haven't really felt like pulling out my tights. Thus, I'm now tired of all my pants too. The other day, I resorted to pulling pants from the Goodwill pile to wear. I looked like a clown. It's never a good sign when you wear clothes that were once deemed no longer wearable.

* Those self serve frozen yogurt stores have their racket down. It is impossible to know how many ounces you've added to the cup once you start loading it up with Oreos, cookie dough and Reese cups. Before you know it, you've got yourself one pound of dessert and a cringe worthy moment at the cash register. I did try mochi for the first time though and it was delightful!

* Could anyone else eat several pieces of fried chicken right this very instant? Just me? Don't judge.

* John sent me Valentine's tulips three days early. Does this guy know me or what? 1) Can enjoy them for  longer at my desk ahead of the holiday, 2) Knows roses are for hacks and tulips are where it's at. What a guy!

* I bought cheap seats to go see the musical Memphis in April. They were only $10 each! So, we won't be able to see anything and may leave with altitude nosebleeds but.....budget date night, y'all!! Buying tickets to something is my favorite because you get to look forward to it. We all know how I love to have plans on the schedule. I pretty much get as much joy from writing it on me calendar as I do attending the actual event.

* Speaking of plans, still don't have a single trip planned for 2014 yet and it's mid-February. Unacceptable.

* Have I told you about the Target cashier I keep running into who always makes me tell him the "most exciting thing I'm doing that weekend"? Unfortunately, I have disappointed him several times now as my weekends haven't been all that exciting. He kind of stresses me out and now I'm avoiding him.

....Have a super day, everyone.......

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sycamore Row

Sycamore Row is the latest offering from legal fiction juggernaut John Grisham. I have read lots of his work in the past and was looking forward to revisiting the characters from A Time to Kill. This story follows Jake Brigance, a few years after his groundbreaking trial chronicled in that book.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. 
The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?"

What I Thought: As I read, I kept waiting for things to really get going and they just never really did. I suppose it was more about the journey to the trial than the actual trial itself. Grisham also showed too many details of the twist too early on and I figured it out well before it was revealed. That never happens to me and I didn't like it. I prefer the element of pure surprise. It was a clever little story but if you're looking for a meaty drama, this is not it. If you haven't read A Time to Kill, check out that one first. Or any of his other earlier books.

Rating: * * 1/2

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Recipe Reblog: Spinach Dip

Like the rest of the country last weekend, I used the Super Bowl as an excuse to eat mass amounts of food that I would never touch on a regular day. (Hello wings!) In light of that, I tried to healthy up the spread a bit by making homemade spinach dip. I love a good spinach dip and I have nothing against the powder packets you would typically use in them. However, those are chock full of sodium and just aren't that great for you.

Spinach Dip: This recipe comes from the blog Brown Eyed Baker. I loved the swap in of greek yogurt for an added punch of protein. It calls for cayenne, pepper, garlic and parmesan cheese, all of which I had in my cupboard. It mixed up quickly and was delicious with carrots. If you're looking for a good home made dip recipe, this is it!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Beer Me: Stout & Porter

A couple weekends ago, John and I turned our wine night into a beer night with a Stout and Porter theme. The frigid temps outside had us craving a warming brew for the winter. The stouts were plentiful. The porters were a little more difficult to come by, which we were surprised about. Nevertheless, we found plenty to taste. Let's dive in to a couple, shall we?


Deschutes Brewery has just recently come to Ohio from Oregon so when we saw a single bottle of their porter, we snapped it up to add to the stash.

From their site: "With a dark beer as our first and flagship brand, Black Butte defined Deschutes as a radical player. A slight hop bitterness up front enhances the distinctive chocolate and roasted finish. It’s prized for its creamy mouthfeel and intense complex flavors."

We all thought this was a porter that drinks like a stout. Not nearly as heavy as you'd normally find in a typical porter but definitely worth trying. Only 30 IBU's so not bitter at all.


Bell's Kalamazoo Stout

I picked this one out because it said it had a licorice flavor. Even though I don't like black licorice, I thought that was an interesting flavor to add to a porter.

From the site: "Kalamazoo Stout represents stouts in the Bell's year-round roster, offering a blend of dark chocolate and coffee flavors with just a hint of brewer's licorice. One of our oldest recipes, it balances a significant hop presence against the roast malt body."

The licorice flavor did not really come through on this at all. My concerns about it being overpowering were quelled with the first sip. As a whole, it was just so so and I probably wouldn't buy this again. Not our favorite Bell's by any means which is a shame. They usually produce such winners.

There were others we tried too but that's all for today!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January 2014 Miles

The first month of the year is in the books! I, for one, am not sorry to see it go. The weather has been unrelenting and while I know February will likely be no better, at least we are working our way towards spring. Suffice to say all of January's miles were logged in the comfort of my basement on the treadmill. I finished the first season of Orange is the New Black and have moved onto Parenthood. I LOVE having Netflix back. Give it a few months and I'll have watched everything I care about though.

1/2: 4 mi, 35:29, 9:21/8:57/8:37/8:34
1/5: 6.5 mi, 59:22
1/7: 4 mi, 35:34, 8:51 avg
1/9: 5 mi, 43:18, 9:23/8:53/8:29/8:22/8:11
1/12:  7.1 mi, 63:??, 9:02 avg pace
1/14: 3.3 mi, 29:37
1/16: 3.4 mi, 31:40, SLOW
1/19: 4 mi, 38:28
1/21: 3.3 mi, 31:22
1/23: 4 mi, 37:57
1/25: 3.5 mi, 33:30
1/26: 4 mi, 37:51
1/28: 4 mi, 37:52

Total Miles: 56.1

Not proud at all about those times but I ran them, right? Need to work on getting my mojo back.