Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rock my world

This week has been - to say the least - mind blowing. There have been huge highs, and some lower than low points.
Two surprises - one amazing!
one AWFUL.
I never saw these things coming. Like a deer in the headlights they hit me.
Goals for this week:
Hold my children a little tighter
Let my husband know I love and appreciate him more
And lastly,
get my husband healthy! (his health this weekend was the 3 surprise...)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala w/ Basmati n Tumeric Rice


Jay and I love cuisines from around the world. We are fortunate in that the area we live has many great restaurants, including several Indian places. We have come to really enjoy Indian food! So a couple of weeks ago, I set out to make Chicken Tikka Masala. To say we enjoyed the meal would be an understatement. We loved it! I was very pleasantly surprised at how flavorful it was, especially when I cut a lot of the fat and calories. We have already made it again, so that makes it twice in about 2 weeks. Obviously we liked it :) I hope you like it too!




Chicken Tikka Masala


adapted from AllRecipes


serves 4




Marinade:


1 cup plain yogurt


1 TBSP lemon juice


2 tsp ground cumin


pinch ground red pepper


1 tsp cinnamon


2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1 TBSP miced fresh ginger


**


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces


**


Sauce:


1 TBSP butter


1 clove garlic, minced


1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped


2 tsp ground cumin


2 tsp paprika


1 oz can tomato sauce


1 cup half and half (or 3/4 half and half, 1/4 whole milk)


1/4 cup chopped fesh cilantro (oprtional)




In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Stir in chicken, cover and refigerate for about 1 hour.




Preheat a grill for high heat.




Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard the marinade. Grill until jices run clear. It only takes about 5 minutes per side.




Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Saute the garlic and jalapeno for about 1 minute over medium heat. Season with cumin and paprika. Stir in the tomato sauce and half and half. Simmer on low until the sauce begins to thicken, around 20 minutes. Then add the grilled chicken and simmer for 10 more minutes. Pour over rice tumeric basmati rice (recipe below) and garnish with cilantro.






Tumeric Basmati Rice






1 cup basmati rice


2 cups water


pinch salt


1/4 TBSP (so a little less than a tsp) tumeric


1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed




Pour rice, water, salt and tumeric into saucepan or rice cooker and stir a little. Simmer until done (I use a rice cooker, so I just push the little button down :) )




After the rice is done, mix in the peas, and serve! You could also mix in raisins before cooking if you want to add a little sweetness. If I can convince Jay to like raisins more I will try this next time!








Monday, May 23, 2011

Working It Out

Despite my lack of posts, I have been hitting the pavement, as well as my DVD player :)

I have been limiting my miles to 10 or less per week (shock, gasp!)

It is very frustrating at times, but I have felt this is what I need to do with my other current health "issues."

I have had fun running along the river with my friend and her two kiddos. I am sure we look like quite the site running with 4 kids, and the kiddos passing crackers across strollers while we run. We have had a great time :)

I have also been working with my Jillian Michaels DVD and she kicks my butt every time. Especially with the Hollow Man with Scissor Kicks move. YOWZA!

But my abs and butt are thanking me... I love it when I can feel how hard my muscles have worked.

With all of my double stroller running, it has really improved my solo running time! I ran 4 miles at approx a 7:36 pace. I guess I should have done more of my half-marathon training with the stroller! Next time I guess...


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Feeling Crafty

I saw these cute little cake plates on The Crafting Chicks blogs, and I fell in love with the idea. We love to entertain, and it is always fun to have decorative plates and such. I just made a small tray and would hold petite desserts.

I used:
(1) candle stick (dollar tree)
(1) pretty yellow plate (goodwill)
GLUE - E6000

VOILA!

Ain't it perrtty?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coconut Cream Filled Macaroons

You didn't think I would leave you hanging did you???

Of course not! Salivate no more! Now you can enjoy these decadent little treats anytime.

Something about the name "macaroon" automatically induces "oohs" "awws" and "You made THESE?" by those that choose to have these meet their mouth! I personally am not a fan of coconut (just the texture; the flavor I love!), but I have received countless complements on these macaroons every time I have made them. These reactions and compliments have lead me to continue making them! If you are looking for a quick, easy, impressive, and scrumptious dessert - search no more!

Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons
by Martha Stewart COOKIES

Cookies:
3 cups unsweetened shredded (finely if possible) coconut - I usually use sweetened cause it is all I can find!
3/4 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tsp coconut extract
1/8 tsp salt

Cream Filling:
4 TBSP unsalted butter (in two 2TBSP slices), room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp coconut extract

To Make Cookies:
Stir together cocnut, sugar, egg white, coconut extract, and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate, covered until cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Form heaping teapoons of dough into balls; space 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Gently flatten to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Bake cookies, until edges begin to turn golden, 9 to 10 minutes (you may need to rotate the baking sheets halfway through). Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.

Make the filling!
Put butter and shortening in mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and coconut extract; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Assemble cookies:
Place heaping teaspoon of filling on the bottom of one cookie. Sandwich it together with another cookie! Repeat with all of the remaining cookies. Transfer to platter and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the filling is firm, around 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

DONE!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bunnies Galore!

One thing I have always looked forward to is baking (and cooking) with my kids. I have long awaited the day we could frost, dip and pour in the kitchen! Maister is finally old enough to enjoy this, and we are having a fun time with all sorts of kitchen projects. I have been trying to have a new "treat" for every holiday. I was really excited to make these little cuties with her this year! I took two ideas I found and mashed them together to make a batch of these guys:

Don't you just want to squeeze those cute little bunny cheeks?!

Here is how we assembled them on top:
Dip the frosted cupckaes in coconut to give it that furry look
Large marshmallows cut in half and dipped in pink sugar
mini marshmallow cut in half for cheeks
M&M's for eyes and nose
Small black licorice squares cut in segments (I couldn't find any black licorice rope!)

VOILA!



Maister was quite proud of her little creation. She opted to have no coconut fur on top. She is definitely my daughter :)

For these cupcakes I created a sweet new frosting that I have been excited about! Jay seemed to like it, and he is a pretty good critic! We will definitely be making this frosting again. I hope you enjoy!

Coconut Buttercream Frosting

3 TBSP butter, softened
2 1/2 cups (approx) powdered sugar
1/4 tsp coconut extract
2 1/2 - 4 TBSP milk

In a mixer combine butter and powdered sugar, add coconut extract. Slowly add in milk 1 TBSP at a time until the desired consistency. VOILA!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy Baking

There has been a lot of baking going on around here. Infact, there has been more baking than is even pictured here! Between hosting a baby shower and the Easter holiday, I found myself more often than not, in the kitchen! No compaints here! Here is a virtual "taste" of what we have had baking around here:



Bunny Cupcakes with Cocnut Buttercream Frosting (recipe to come)



Mini Cordial cups filled with vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and strawberries!


Stuffed Brownie Truffles


Coconut Cream filled Macaroons (recipe probably to follow :) )


What have you been baking lately?








Friday, April 22, 2011

All or Nothing

All or nothing
go big or go home
don't hold back
150%


Sometimes I drive myself crazy. You see, all of the above words describe my attitude. When I commit to something I completely DIVE into them. I have to give it my all! In baking, crafting, cooking, teaching, running, etc... I can't rest until I am satisfied. And I will meet my goals! While I usually see this quality as an asset, I think it hurts me at times.

Let me get to the point:
I can't do the same running schedule I was maintaining only a few months ago. There are a few reasons for this. But it is what I think is best at this time. But is so frustrating! I have a hard time now working out 1/2 the amount that I was.

When I am feeling stressed, I want to RUN or have an abs date with Jillian Michaels. It helps me to feel better! I love the way I feel after I get a good sweat on.
When there are so many things right now that I can't control (mainly other health issues!) I feel like my working out and weight are something that I can control - - but that is another post. :)

I wish I could get the same enjoyment out of working out less, but it just isn't the same. I suppose I just need to learn to enjoy my new workout regimen a little more and give IT my 150%. Because that is all I can do. And I can choose to be happy with it! It is up to me and I just need to learn to love my new routine!

Here is to a new found fun in my new workouts -- running (just less miles) included!!

Does it drive you crazy when you feel you can't give something all you have?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken n Waffles

I found this shirt at the Nike Outlet over the weekend. I was a few notches beyond excited when I found it! Jay and I lived in dirty south, A-town, Hotlanta, Atlanta for about a year. We loved it, and we loved all the waffle houses we saw at every freeway exit. We lived about a block from the famous FOX theater, and a block in the other direction from Gladys Knight's Chicken n Waffles restaurant. So this shirt sort of takes me back to the good 'ole peach state. I would have paid a hefty price for this beauty but fortunately (for our bank account) only had to pay $10. DEAL! I would wear it everyday if it wasn't for that whole stinky hygiene thing and not wanting to run my washing machine everyday.

When you buy a new shirt do you want to wear it all the time, or do you save it for a special occassion?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Possible Race

When I become obsessed with something I have a difficult time not talking about it.. A LOT! I like to talk, infact one of my former nicknames was Chatterbox Chandler. It fits. Since running has been a new passion of mine, I have been talking to a lot of friends and family about racing, and why I run. I was even able to connect with my cousins wife who can run a 3:12 marathon, and has 4 kids. She totally inspires me. She even ran the Boston Marathon pregnant... ok ok she was only about 5 weeks along but it totally counts! I have a friend from high school that wants to race with me this Summer and I have challenged my bro to a half marathon, and my Dad even says he is interested. SWEET! Watch out friends and family - - I WILL get you running!!! I think they may all start to avoid me soon. I have a dream about running with my whole HS group of girls and run a race someday! Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants? - in a good way :) OK - there I go chatting again. Anyways, onto the point : I have been talking with my sister in-law about starting to run more. She is a busy professional that is exhausted by the time she gets home, but she really wants to get fit. Plus she lives near (read watches people running from her bedroom window) some of the BEST trails in the whole area and I always tell her she really needs to take advantage of them! She has been showing interest and has committed to running a 5k coming up! YAY! I am so excited for her. This will be her second 5k and this time she is hoping to train more :)


Jay and I are also planning on running this race along with her. I can't decide between the 5k and 10k. The full on 3 mile sprint challenge of the 5k excites me, but I really enjoy a little longer distances, plus Jay is running the 10k. I am torn.


ANY SUGGESTIONS?


I am looking forward to another race in May. It should be a fun time! With kids in tow! Thank you BOB double strollers for making this possible.


Any input would be appreciated!

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Groove

I have been taking things easy on the running front ever since my half marathon. easy= very little running. My knee, calf and shin were taking much longer to recover than I wanted, but what are you going to do? I decided to listen to my body and take a break. I focused more on Turbo Jam and playing with my kiddos. Sometimes you just need to take silly pictures and move on :) For about the past week I noticed I wasn't having any discomfort or painful twinges in my legs... COULD IT BE? i thought. I was a little nervous to find out, but was thrilled when both runs this week left me feeling GREAT! I think I am back to normal... YAY! I am planning on getting back into a better running groove now, but still switching between running, turbo jam, and jillian michaels. Life is good.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fire it up!

There is something about the taste of grilled meat the just makes me happy. I have visions of summertime's past, and dream of the weekend barbecues in the future. When we go on walks and smell backyard BBQ's it makes me want to go home and grill too! With the warm weather that has been spoiling us, I have been itching to get our grill on! Monday Jay spoiled me by firing up our grill for the first time! I love preparing the food, and letting Jay fire it on the grill. It is perfect teamwork. Plus, Gator and Maister LOVE to run around outside with their Daddy.

When I made the fresh hamburger buns, I wanted something delicious to rest on the top. I am big grilled chicken fan, so that is what I settle on. I began throwing things together, and this was the end result of my grilled chicken sandwich experiment:

I marinated our chicken with Lawry's Szechuan Sweet n Sour Barbecue marinade. Then once it was grilled we added 1 piece of lowfat Jarlsburg (similar to swiss) cheese and let it get melty.

THEN:

Sauteed 1/2 an onion, half a red bell pepper in 1 1/2 tsp olive oil.

Once they were almost tender, I added 2 (diced) mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms have reduced I added 1-2 cloves grated/minced garlic and 2 handfuls of spinach. I allowed the garlic to get fragrent - about 30 seconds - and then removed it from the heat.

Add this the the top of your chicken breast, followed by a few slices of avocado and ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HOT {Hamburger} BUNS!

There is something I have wanted to do for a long time. This is of course besides my secret wish to go to culinary school, or become a nurse. Wouldn't it be fun to cook all day, and be critiqued and receive pointers by a professional! Anyways... on to the point:

I am all about making as much as I can from scratch for our family. Even if it has more calories or a little more fat than the ones you buy at the store, I am OK with that because my food isn't stuffed with preservatives or chemicals! I like to try and keep our diet as natural as possible. Not that I didn't down several handfuls of the Easter Jubilee mix our grocery store had in the bulk section....but my obsession with fruity candy can be saved for another day.
For a long time I have wanted to bake my own hamburger buns. When I woke up this morning I wasn't planning on baking these, but as the day went on it just came together perfectly. I looked at a couple recipes, but couldn't pass on the recipe that told me I could be done in less than an hour from start to finish - including baking and rising! I was SOLD!

I was a little nervous, but I was thrilled with the way they turned out, even with the changes I made. * I have a hard time sticking to a recipe 100%. I love to add my own flare to things. *

Here is one of the trays of buns.
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns:
Adapted from allrecipes.com
16 buns

2 cups warm milk (110 degrees F)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup warm water - almost hot, but still warm
1/4 cup sugar
2 packets or 4 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 TBSP water

  1. In a saucepan warm milk until 110 degrees Faranheit
  2. In a large bowl, mix the warmed milk, melted butter, warm water, sugar and yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until it gets foamy.
  3. Mix in the salt, and gradually stir in the whole wheat flour, let it mix a minute or two.
  4. Add the all-purpose flour until you have a soft dough. Divide into 16 pieces, and form into balls. Place on greased baking sheets so they are 2 to 3 inches apart. Let rise for about 20 minutes, or until they have grown a little bigger - not necessarily doubled but close to.
  5. Lightly whisk the egg and water together, and then brush the tops and sides of the buns with the egg wash.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until golden on top. Cool slightly, then split them in half horizontally. Serve with a juicy burger!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Keeping busy

I have to stay busy. If I have more than one day where I don't have something going on, I go stir crazy! I feel completely lazy and get quite grumpy. But if I get too busy, then I get stressed which again means "meet Mrs. Grumpy Pants"...I just need that desirable happy medium. :) With the need to stay busy we have been at the park much more frequently. Now that both of my kiddos are completely mobile and can {somewhat} safely climb and jump, parks have become so much more fun! They both climb on the jungle gyms, go down the slides, dig in the sand, and swing! I am loving every second of it.

The sun has finally decided to make a grand appearance around these parts, and we have been taking full advantage of it. We have spent hours every day outside soaking up the springtime sun. Unfortunately the sun is supposed to disappear later this week. BOO! Taking advantage of the sun led us on a little adventure; last week we went to a fairytale themed park. It was fun for each of us!
Unfortunately this photo is not evidence of all the fun we had...
*Any suggestions on how to NOT look like I am 16???
*

Yesterday was all kinds of busy! We had three different sets of company at our house from sun up to sun down yesterday. To end the evening we had our good friends over for some dessert and Jay requested THE cake. Remember that one? It was a huge hit for the second time!
If you like chocolate and peanut butter, I highly recommend this three tier beauty. Every bite tastes better than the last, and you are left licking your plate clean. If you are interested in the recipe let me know and I will pass it along.

What are you doing to stay busy?

Do you go stir crazy when you have too much free time?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Variety

Things have been, well, BUSY around here. Fortunately the weather has been fantastic, so running has been wonderful this week! I even busted out the ol' jogging stroller a couple of times. I think the kids enjoyed the fresh air as much as I did.

Random Fact:
I am a person that needs variety. In everything in my life I need variety: changing up my workouts, clothes, styles, etc... And as far as food, I crave different things all the time and I feel it my duty to fulfill my crazy cravings...After all, my body has treated me well in holding together while running, so I think I owe it a reward or two :)
There is one exception to my need of variety, and it is THIS:
Baked Oatmeal. I have been known to eat this stuff for multiple meals a day (2 usually)...several days in a row. My favorite fruit additions lately are strawberries, blueberries, and frozen (thawed) blackberries. I have been tweaking the recipe, so I need to update it with all my new changes - only a few - and it is better than ever. I LOVE THIS STUFF. And it is good for you, real good. I have been eating a whole lot of this stuff lately. I can't help it. It makes me excited to wake up in the morning.

For my workouts this week I added plenty of variety! I ran with and without the double jogger, got my groove on with Turbo Jam, and finally I got reacquainted with Jillian Michaels and my abs. They have been screaming at me and burning good ever since. I love working out with Jillian, my only complaint is that the DVD I have is a little longer than I always have time for unless I get up way before the kiddos.

Overall, I am feeling pretty good this week. My knee and calf are both slowly starting to feel better. The only thing I would change from the week is I would knock out a few of the sweets I have eaten this weekend. Really, I have eaten less sweets than usual (I like to think) but they have been calling me by name and I hate to be rude and not respond with a bite or ten :)

How has your week been?

Do you need variety in your life?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Carbs: Whole Wheat Bread

Carbaholic. Yes, that is me. Spaghetti or lasagna served without french bread is like Siegfried without Roy, Seinfeld without Kramer, cutting onions without crying... ok I think that was going down hill quickly. There is only one thing better than finding your favorite bread on sale at the store, and that is baking your own FRESH bread! I absolutely love to have a slice of piping hot bread with honey on it. That is seriously dessert to me...Alright, you caught me! I would still have a scoop of nutella on the side :)

I have been baking many more loaves of my precious bread lately. I always bake two loaves; one to eat on the spot, and one to place in the freezer so we can enjoy the home baked goodness later. It works out perfectly, and thank goodness it thaws quickly too! If you love homemade bread, try this recipe it is QUICK (only has 1 rise) and is scrumptious!



The title of this recipe is "The Best Homemade Bread Ever"
I am not sure I can say it is the BEST, I still have many recipes to try before I can claim that. So I will name it this:

Really Yummy Whole Wheat Bread

yields 2 loaves

2 1/2 cups Warm water (almost hot)
2 TBSP Butter in slices
Put in bowl and let butter melt a little in the water. Then Add:
1 1/2 TBSP Yeast
1/3 cup Sugar
Let sit until foamy. While you wait you can get everything else out. Then add:
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Oil
Mix a little. Then add:
1/2 cup Gluten Flour
Add half of the flour (the whole wheat half) as well and let it mix for a few minutes
5-6 cups Flour (half whole wheat, all purpose/ bread flour)
Add your flour 1-2 cups at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the mixer and is not sticky to the touch. Form 2 loaves and place them into greased pans. Cover and let rise 30 minutes - 1 hour, or until it is about 2 inches above the top of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Your house is going to smell amazing by this point, so get your bread knife out and prepare to start slicing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is this blog?

Was my last post really on Thursday? I have been totally slacking on my blogging lately. It is not about forgetting about this blog. I have thought about it daily...several times a day in fact. A lot of what I have been thinking about is simply, "What is this blog about?"
When I started it at the beginning of January, I thought I knew exactly what it would be about. But I feel like it is changing the focus a little. I think it is a blog for everything I am passionate about! When I named it, I did have that in mind; PLAY {my family} EAT {cooking and baking} RUN {my new love for running}. I am still trying to figure out exactly where this blog is going. So please bear with me as I am exploring what direction I want to take the blog. After all, this blog was made to be an outlet for me. I am excited to keep updating this blog and allowing it to go wherever it may. Thanks for reading!

** as for running, I have been taking a break for a number of reasons, but at the top is to simply take time to FULLY heal my knee and calf. I want to get back to 100% so I can fully enjoy it again! I am still running just not logging nearly the miles I was. I am considering posting the other reasons I am cooling down my miles. -- but we will see

**I have been hanging out with my Turbo Jam DVD and although it doesn't work my body the same, it still feels good to be moving! I have been going crazy on the days where a workout just can't be squeezed in. Those days are hard for me...

I will be back tomorrow with a delicious whole wheat bread recipe! Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I set the alarm to get up and work out this morning. But the alarm was promptly turned off when the buzzer sounded. It was a late night, and I just couldn't get my buns out of bed! I didn't work out today, and I always feel so grungy when I don't work out. I wanted to make up my workout later in the day, but it was BIZ--AY with all sorts of St. Patrick's day goodness.
At the top of that list were these little cuties.

I have always wanted to make rainbow cupcakes, and today was the day! Maister was excited to help out, and Gator was happy to eat the frosting.

The inside. They turned out pastel colors, so I guess I need to add more coloring next time. I wanted them to be a bold red, yellow, green, blue and purple.

All ready to go deliver some holiday goodies to friends. Maister chose who we delivered them too, and she was excited to see her little friends! -- Man, I really need to start doing stuff with my hair...like maybe curl it or style it in some way. I don't think the blow dryer is considered styling it anymore...--

St. Patty's isn't my favorite holiday, but this year it was so much more fun than usual! I love that my kiddos are getting old enough to enjoy green milk, and having permission to pinch those not wearing green :)

This holiday is quickly moving its way up my favorites list. It was FUN day :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From the Kitchen: Healthy Barbecue Chicken Burgers

I wish I had some picture to share today, but we scarfed down our dinner too quickly to take any pictures! I suppose that is a complement from the family. I threw together a little something for dinner tonight and wanted to share it with you! Plus, I need to write it down before I forget :)

Healthy Barbecue Chicken Burgers
Serves 4

2 chicken breasts
2/3 cup barbecue sauce (plus a little more for drizzling) --we used Kinders - DELISH!
3 TBSP red onion, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
4 pineapple rings, or some pineapple tidbits
4 whole wheat burger buns

Place chicken breasts in greased slow cooker. In a bowl mix barbecue sauce, onion, and carrot together. Pour over the chicken and set cooker to low. Let cook for 4-5 hours
A little over half way through cooking, shred the chicken and allow it to continue cooking and marinating in the sauce.
To serve, place some shredded chicken on a toasted bun. Place 1 pineapple ring on of the chicken and then drizzle a little barbecue sauce over top. Place top bun on, and take a big bite!

ENJOY!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Half Marathon - CHECK!

There are many things on my bucket list, like:
Travel out of the country -- CHECK
Go on a Hawaiian vacation -- CHECK
Stay a blonde (even if its fake!) -- CHECK
Become a mother -- CHECK
Eat Nutella everyday -- CHECK

Run a half marathon -- CHECK!!

I went to bed early the Friday night before the big race and felt rested (this never happens!) when I woke up in the morning. I debated what to wear, but decided on BYU BLUE as we were in Vegas so Jay could watch our team play some basketball. (GO JIMMER!)

The route was two out-n-backs. The first one was all paved and was relatively flat.
This is about the half way point. Right on my way "back" from the first out-n-back.

The second half was on a "packed" trail. I did not know that would be the case. And as soon as my feet hit the trail I felt like a total wuss! Props to all the trail runners out there! It was way more difficult than the pavement. The second half had some hilly spots, and I was feeling pretty tired. I almost biffed it going around the corner to a downhill spot...I felt so dumb...
I had GU Chomps in my butt pocket and they seemed to help quite a bit. I also really took advantage of all the water stations and took a couple of sips and poured the rest on my head. It felt soo good in the heat! Unfortunately, after a few hills, I was feeling pretty tanked. I was watching for the last water station and was dying to get that cup in my hand. The guy handing me the cup said something but I couldn't hear him through my headphones. So I just took the cup and took a sip. It was HEED not water... grr! I was so bummed. I really wanted some water! I ran my last 2 miles at a much slower pace, but was thrilled when I got to this point:
WAHOO! I finished. I didn't make the time I was hoping (less than 1:50), but I was still happy that I finished! Considering I was coming off my injury and hadn't run much the week and a half prior I was very happy! Now I have a PR to base some new goals off of. My official time was 1:55:03. 8:47 pace
I came in 8th in my age division! Posing in front of Lake Mead. There was a beautiful view of the lake for the entire run. They had sliced oranges, watermelon, donuts, bananas, oreos and water for the post race food. I loaded up on watermelon, oranges and water. The fruit had never tasted so good!

Showing off the muscles I made during training :)

Posing with my little Gator bug. Maister stayed behind at Jay's uncles home so Jay wouldn't have to chase both kiddos around the trails.
*
So glad I have my first half behind me! I am not sure where I will go from here, but I am thinking about what is best to do next. First I just want the blister under my toe nail to heal, and then I will go from there. YUCK!

MIA

Sorry I was missing this past week. I didn't get on my email ONE TIME while we were on vacation -- this is a big deal people!-- WONDERFUL I can honestly say it was one of the best trips we have had in a while.

I have much to post and catch up on. But in the mean time, just wanted you to know that:

I SURVIVED my FIRST half marathon!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Say it Ain't So

Here is a quick training update:

Saturday: 10.6 miles 8:19 pace

Tuesday: 6.04 miles 8:12 pace

Thursday: 6.16 miles 8:07 pace

Now, to the bad news.
Tuesday I left early in the morning to venture out on my run. I was tired, and not too thrilled to be up running! But I enjoyed the cool air. As I was running, I felt like my legs were on FIRE. While running, I was thinking of what the proper description would be for how my calves were feeling. INFERNO was the best word I could come up with. I wasn't sure why my calves were feeling so crummy. So I got home and iced a little, but thought it would pass, and that they just need to stretch out a little.

Fast forward to Thursday. Got up early again, and as I took my first 2 or 3 strides my right leg was in big pain. I even limped those strides. But right after those steps I was no longer limping and was able to go on with my run with relative ease. That is until I got a 1/4 mile from home and had to stop and start up again at a stop light. Once again, my right leg felt like it could fall off (exaggeration: yes :) ) Looking back, I wish I just would have stopped after the first stride and crawled back in to recover and not do more damage! but I didn't know...

SO - I don't know what is wrong! All I know is that both my right and left legs are dying right now! It is mostly my right calf, and a little in left knee (no surprise as I have babied it for the past 8 years since my ACL repair).

Ice, heat, REPEAT! That is all that is going through my head right now. That, and the fear of not being able to run next week.

I am so nervous about that whole situation. I am supposed to run 8miles on Saturday, 5 monday, 4 wednesday and 2 friday. I am confident that 8 miles will not be happening on Saturday. As of right now, I am planning on resting until Monday in the hopes that things will work themselves out, and then try for 4 or 5 Monday morning.

I believe God answers prayers, and I have been praying all day that I will be able to complete my half marathon next Saturday. This is what I have been working towards since last fall. Then I will rest for longer than a few days. I have some other hopes for right after my half.

If you made it all the way through this novel, THANK YOU!

Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to have a speedy recovery???? What could be going on in my calf?

Chicken Salsa Tacos

As promised, here is yummy, simple, recipe #1 for the week. This is one of my "go to," always have ingredients on hand, recipes. It is quick, flavorful, and healthy!

Chicken Salsa Tacos
1 chicken breast
1/2 cup salsa (I prefer mango)
Put chicken breast in 2 qt. crockpot (I use a smaller crockpot when I do just one breast to prevent burning), and pour salsa over the top. Cook on low for about 4 hours. About an hour before you want to serve, shred the chicken and allow it to really soak up the juices.
We serve in a tortilla with rice, pinto beans, little cheese and more salsa!
I even like to add some of the leftover chicken into my lunch time veggie wraps. Adds great taste!
Hope you like it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Menu

I haven't posted my weekly menu for 2 weeks, but there really wasn't anything exciting, and since it was the last of the month we tried to eat all our leftovers and meals I had previously frozen in the freezer. Here is what we will be enjoying this week. The bolded things are NEW recipes. I will be posting some new recipes to share soon!
Monday - Chicken Salsa Tacos - recipe it come!
Tuesday - WagonWheel Chili
Wednesday - Tuna Pasta Bake
Thursday - Baked Turkey Burritos
Friday - Sweet n Sour Chicken Pizza
Saturday - still deciding - possibly eating out - possibly cooking for 6 adults and 4 kids! But I
won't know until at least Friday.
Sunday - Mexican Fiesta! Birthday dinner for the sister in-law. Including, enchiladas, taquitos,
and more! Plus a MILE HIGH DEVIL's FOOD CAKE!
Obviously I am trying a lot of new recipes this week. So far so good. I am really excited about the sweet n sour chicken pizza.
What are you eating this week?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Change of plans!!

Now, I know originally I said I was going to run my 1/2 marathon on March 26th. But plans have changed... After talking to it over with Jay, I have opted to run here:

Make your old teachers proud, and tell me you know where this is. I'll be honest, I'm not sure I would be able to confidently say where this was if it wasn't on the race website...
i am a little embarrassed.

I will be running the SIX TUNNELS to HOOVER DAM Half Marathon on March 12th!

I am supposed to wear GREEN. I think I need to go shopping... So glad I live 1 mile for the Nike outlet. Jealous? muahhhaa :) This is why I am obsessed with Nike.

I am very excited, but am already feeling butterflies in my stomach. Please tell me these will not last for the next two weeks!

I kept putting off signing up for it on Saturday - even though Jay kept reminding me. * we didn't want to it sell out cause the website says it can * I just always like having an "out," (I know that is bad!) but this baby is non-refundable. Plus the fact that I have to drive 10 hours to get there complicates things a little. * Eating junk food in the car for 10 hours, then shopping for two full days, and trying to get two toddlers to sleep in a new place are probably not the best pre-race activities. YIKES! I am freaking out again!* Hopefully the lure of Vegas buffets won't ruin my race experience!

OK - back to the story - so when I checked my email late Saturday night I had a confirmation email in my inbox. DONE! I was signed up and couldn't turn back. I was so glad he did it for me! I needed him to sign me up, cause my palms got sweaty everytime I started filling out the registration. This is my first Half and I am nervous!

Let the countdown begin. They say I will see some of these on my run:

photo courtesy of Mountain Man Events
That would be sweet. I would like to race one of them. Scratch that - I think they would demolish me. Even better, maybe I could ride on one of their backs for my last 1/2 mile. I am sure I will be ready to rest!

photo courtesy of Mountain Man Events
I am really hoping to strike this pose at some point during my run. I would be willing to give up a little of my stored energy to leap like a praying mantis mid stride, and have it caught on camera!

Less than 13 days and counting.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Keeping it simple

Tuesday - 4.5 mile run

Thursday - 7.69 miles run (family run - WOOT!)

I was inspired by this HungryRunnerGirl post the other day. It really got me thinking. I haven't been enjoying my runs lately. In fact, I have found myself dreading them on many days....ugh! I was starting to wonder if running had just "run its course" (excuse the play on words!) with me. I wondered if it was just getting old to me. My love for running felt like it was fading. And that made me sad. But Janae's post really resonated with me.

Granted, I am only training for a HALF marathon, the strict training schedule was getting to me. I have always been running for enjoyment and health, so I would just get out there and run as far as I could. And it was FUN! So this week I have just been running at MY pace. I have been running as far as I want to, not what my schedule says. And it feels GOOD. No, FANTASTIC! Tonight's run was the best in a LONG time. I found myself singing along to my music again, smiling, and not counting DOWN the miles I had to go, but wishing I had time to ADD another mile or 4 :) I think I am finding my stride again with running.

I am glad I have found myself through running again.

It is good to be back.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pulled Pork Salad

One of my most favorite restaurants is Costa Vida. I LOVE to get their Mango Chicken, Sweet Pulled Pork, OR Fajita Steak Salad (new fave). They are all to die for. After my 10 miler on Saturday I ate the WHOLE thing, whole wheat tortilla and all and was still hungry. And this is a BIG salad!

I have tried several recipes to mimic their amazing salad. I have never been able to find a recipe as delicious as theirs, last night may not have been identical to theirs, BUT last night was FAB-U-LOUS.

Do yourself a favor and eat it soon!

Pulled Pork Salad

Pork Roast 3-5lbs
16 oz Pace salsa
1 cup brown sugar

Mix salsa and brown sugar together. Set crockpot on low and stick roast in and pour the salsa mixture over the top. Let cook on LOW for 18 hours.. YES you read that right! 18HOURS! If you can't let it go that long, just let it go as long as you can. It makes it super tender. Make sure to check it is not burning. If it seems to be, add in some water to get things moist again.

For the salad put a whole wheat tortilla in the bottom ( I like la tortilla factory) and put some cilantro lime rice on the bottom (or even just cook your rice with some taco seasoning) then add black beans or pinto beans on top - as many as you want! Top with romaine lettuce, pork, mango salsa and cilantro! Mix the mango salsa around all over the salad to soak in the flavors.

Eat this soon....PLEASE. Then freeze the leftovers for another meal. That is one of my favorite parts :)

Here is what Jay thought about my meal choice...

Does his reaction make you want to make it, or run screaming?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday Out n About

Saturday came, and since I had decided the night before not to run the race I decided I NEEDED to run. I left in the early afternoon while Gator napped.
RUN:
10.4 miles
8:38 pace
Fastest Mile: 7:11 SCORE!
<-insert biggest smile. I would have taken a pic but I get embarrassed asking people to photograph me>

WOOT! I felt good about this. Though I want my total pace to be 8:00, but I think my Nike+ was off on the last mile cause it said is was WAY slow...like 20 minute mile SLOW. And I KNOW for sure that is not the case....I wasn't walking!

So about half way through my run I had to go to the bathroom REAL bad... How do I emphasize this without being gross?....I will just stick with real bad!
But I didn't want to stop anywhere. I just kept running, and hoping that the time would go by faster. I thought about stopping at a friends house but that just sounded awkward to me. I thought about stopping at the gas station, but by the time I would arrive at the gas station I would only have 2 miles left...so I figured I may as well just keep running and wait for the comforts of my own home... Good decision? I don't know! It definitely made for a difficult last 5 miles to say the least!
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What do you do while you run for potty breaks? Do you push through it, or do you just stop?
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This was my first run EVER I have 'fueled' mid-run. But I am trying to do better at fueling my body properly so I tried Jelly Belly Sports beans. I am not sure whether they helped or not. But they definitely tasted good.

Candy+running= AWESOME


I will probably try them a few more times to decide whether they help or not...

What do you use to stay fueled during a run?

I got home and ate a bowl of cottage cheese and blueberries. I knew cottage cheese had a lot of protein, but I had no idea how much! 15g per 1/2 cup... YES, PLEASE!

I used to hate cottage cheese. Something about the curdled texture totally turned me off as a kid... ok, just the word 'curdled' makes me want to vomit. So moving on..

After my protein packed snacked I moved on to my favorite; Nutella Bread:
Have I shared with you yet my love for nutella bread? It is an obsession gone way to far, I think. My day is incomplete without my piece of nutella bread.

I usually have a slice as soon as my kids go down for bed at night. I don't drink alcohol, so I unwind with hazelnuts and chocolate :)

I love going for long runs, cause I feel like that justifies more than one slice of nutella bread in a day. And anything that can help me to eat more delicious things like this are totally welcome in my life.

How was your weekend? Any yummy treats? Any awesome runs?

ps Thursday was 20 minutes elliptical, and 3 miles on the treadmill---boring

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Too Many Sweets

Maister's birthday is on the 15th, and with Valentine's Day just the day before, and two birthday parties we are on sugar overload! I am craving some crisp vegetables like never before! Unfortunately we don't have many left after all the events from these past 5 days. I ran a little over 5 miles on Monday, and haven't run since...WOOPS! I did manage to get in some turbo jam and ab work (tiny bit) today though! Hopefully things will get back to normal tomorrow...
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On the lack of running, I have been preoccupied making goodies like these:
YUM! I love these little things...

the inside of the southern coconut cake I made for the actual birthday. I know it isn't the most kid friendly, but it was also for our friend who shares the same birthday and she isn't eating chocolate - which is Maister's favorite flavor! I don't like coconut much, but this cake I liked! I was hoping I wouldn't like it...that way I wouldn't go back for another piece tonight! cocoNUT is really good for you right? I imagine it will make me faster or something... At least that is what I am trying to tell myself.
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I still haven't decided on the race on Saturday. I know it is getting a little late, huh?! I wish I could make up my mind... Jay is feeling stressed at work, and is having to work this weekend (just from home) so I don't want to add any extra stress to his already hectic schedule. Of course he says he will support me if I want to race, I just don't know!
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Every time I think about signing up, I get pre-pre-race jitters. Anyone else get these? It isn't a matter of finishing the race as I know I can run 8 miles just fine, but I just get really nervous!
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Do you get pre-pre-race jitters? If so, what do you do to calm them?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Big Run and Company

Like I said earlier, my sweet Mom is in town. Besides having one my best shopping partners around to hang with me, it also means we have unlimited (almost) babysitting! WOO! This also means I can run basically anytime of day - though I still prefer the morning - and Jay can join me for runs without being slowed down my the jogging stroller.

Here is my cute Mom. This was at Gator's 1st birthday party in October.
I love having my Mom around to chat and shop with :)
So last weekend, I knew I had my 10.2 mile run coming up. I got butterflies in my tummy whenever I thought about it. It would be the furthest I had run since October! **In October I learned a good lesson which was don't go that far when you have not properly trained. I had to rehab my knee for a good month before it felt even remotely normal....grr! I learned at great lesson though!
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We set out on Friday - early evening - for a super romantic sweaty sunset run. Right after we left the house I realized I had forgotten my iPod. AH! I about had a nervous breakdown... My iPod is like my security blanket. I tried to keep my cool cause I didn't want Jay to think I didn't want to talk to him. It was no offense to Jay, I did want to talk with him on the run, but sometimes I just need a song or two to get me back in my groove. I took a deep breath and continued 9 more miles with NO music! I was SO proud of myself :) It is the little things in life...
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We ran on some beautiful trails, and happened to be running over a bridge as the sun began to set. Once I wiped the sweat from my eyes, I was able to enjoy it :) We ran 10.23 miles and got home when it was DARK. It was fabulous. Jay is a bit faster than me, so he helped to push me some and I had the vision of pizza in my head to motivate me to hurry and finish! As soon as we got home we cleaned up (READ: changed clothes and put on deodorant so we didn't stink up the restaurant) then headed over to our favorite little pizza joint to celebrate our cute friends new pregnancy! I loved all the baby talk. It just makes me smile. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I couldn't take a picture of the stuffed pizza we had. Just know it was probably the best pizza I have ever tasted!
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Overall, it was great run. I had no reason to be nervous, but I have come a long way from being nervous for my first 4 mile run... so glad 4 miles is a cinch now..
LAST THING: I am thinking about running an 8 mile race this Saturday. It would be the last race before my half marathon next month. I feel like maybe it would help me to feel a little more prepared for my race. But on the same hand it of course costs $$ and I am supposed to run 10 miles this weekend for my training plan...Would you run it? I can't decide and could use some good imput. THANKS!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Motherhood

I am totally craving a run today! But I am trying to stay close to the training schedule, so I will feel fully ready for my 10.2 miler on Saturday. I can hardly wait!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A good friend of mine posted this on her blog yesterday and I loved it. I could completely relate to this. Before you become a Mom, it is hard to know what to expect. I knew it would be hard, I knew my patience would be tried, and I knew it would be fun! But what I didn't know was just how difficult motherhood would be. OR how wonderful Motherhood would be. I didn't know that I would cry more tears of joy than I thought was possible, or laugh harder than ever before. I wouldn't trade being a mother for anything.



What would you tell yourself if you could go back to before you had kids?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thanksgiving in February

Monday Workout: 5.02 miles at 8:05 pace
Tueday: 2800+ step including about 20 minutes of weights
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I am taking it easy this week as I am gearing up for a 10 miler on Saturday! I am sso looking forward to it! Jay might even tag along again :)
__ __ __ __ __ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Is this picture bringing back fond memories of November?
Every Thanksgiving, one of the things I look forward to the most is the leftovers. I get excited to have dinner already "made" for about a week afterwards, and to have turkey sandwiches day after day. This year we went to my bro in-laws house, and that meant we didn't have any leftovers! I was pretty bummed, and I recenly announced to Jay that I would need to make us a turkey dinner so we could have leftovers galore!
Today was the DAY! Our house smelled soo good all day. I could hardly wait for Jay to get home from work so we could start eating! Here is a little of what we enjoyed:

Homemade rolls

Potatoes and Gravy...mmm


Spinach salad with Creamy basalmic dressing (not exactly tradition, just yummy)

Week 6 Menu

I didn't post this yesterday cause we just had leftovers :) But here is what we will be eating this week!

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday : Thanksgiving in February! (I will explain in a later post)
Wednesday: Turkey dinner leftovers or Turkey Chili
Thursday: whatever I don't do on Wednesday :)
Friday: Pizza or OUT (My Mom is coming to town!)
Saturday: "fancy" sandwiches - I buy nicer meat and fancy bread and we make a delish sandwich!
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Any fun dinner plans for you this week?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Fun

This weekend was fantastic! The weather was unbelievable! Blue skies, warm sun, slight breezes. We ate chinese, pizza, watched our team win on Saturday, and really just enjoyed spending time together has a family. That highlight for me was our family run on Saturday afternoon! Jay pushed Maister and Gator in the double stroller, and we ran just a pinch over 8 miles. It is nice to change things up and have some company for a run! Jay showed me some beautiful new trails that I hope we can begin to frequent. Plus we had to run up a nasty hill near the end of our run. It was a doozy! It was a great run, and Jay said he would join me for a run this next week too. SCORE! My Mom will be in town, so hopefully we can steal away for a few runs.

We also decorated valentine sugar cookies on Friday night!
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What did you do this weekend?

More Peanut Butter Please...

For about the past 25 years I have been craving chocolate and peanut butter. Yes, I am only 25 year old, so you can take take that to mean I have always loved peanut butter :) But lately, I have been on peanut butter & chocolate craving overload. A few of our friends have been feeling under the weather (one feeling the nausea that comes with having a baby on the way, and one with some laryngytis) so I jumped at the chance to make them something scrumptious! I wasn't necessarily planning on posting this recipe, but that was before I tasted these bitesize guys:

I got rave reviews from everyone that tasted them. And have been asked for the recipe by both friends. And since I can't help but share something delicious with YOU too, here is the yummy recipe for you to enjoy! Let me know if you try it. I would love to hear how you liked it!


Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP milk
40 miniature peanut butter cups
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Slowly addd the flour mixture, and mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each ball into an lightly greased mini muffin pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool for about 5-10 minutes, and then place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes longer. Carefully remove from the pan.
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Do you eat peanut butter any chance you can?
YES!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Step, step...

Today was fantastic weather, and I couldn't resist busting out the double jogging stroller for a little run today! Maister always gets excited to ride in the jogger, and we even have "jogging stroller sweateshirts" and pants for the kids. Jay takes them out quite frequently, especially when the sun in shining. I often run really awkward when I push the stroller, but I was very conscious of that today and so far I am not feeling any bad effects. SWEET!
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I ran 3.48 miles at an 8:45 pace. I was happy with this considering I was pushing an extra 60-70 pounds! I was feeling so good, I even ran an extra 1/2 mile further than I was planning. I almost regretted that decision as I pushed them up a steep hill to start off that last 1/2 mile. But then I remembered that what comes up, must come down, so I definitely enjoyed the way down the hill as we approached our house!
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The good news:
As soon as I was on the sidewalk, my poor week of running was turned around. I thought to myself, "this is why I RUN!" It felt soo good. Plus it put Gator to sleep, and that is always a bonus.
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When we got home, Gator went down for a nap and I set up my gear to do 30 mins of step while Maister and I watched "Sid the Science Kid." She never gets to watch this, so she was psyched.
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Hear is a peak at my step gear:
Wii Balance Board, and Everlast Aerobic Step

3 pound weights...pumping some iron here people

And my most favorite cross-training shoe. Jay got me these for Christmas, and they are beyond comfortable and make me smile when I see that bright blue!

Maister was happy to hang out with me as I did my thing
Or maybe she was just happy to watch Sid, and learn about GERMS! This episode was right up my alley.
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I did 30 mins step with 15 mins of "pumping" my 3's. I did a total of 2970 steps. Done.
I promptly took a shower, and then it was time to get us all some lunch. Yes, I did not shower until 11:30am. Hey, at least I showered! Remember I had just watched the PBS show about GERMS. Made me want to wash my hands about 50 times...
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Tonight we ate the Spicey Orange Chicken Stirfry, and this recipe is definitely going on my repeat list. It tasted like take out, but was much healthier. I added several more veggies to the mix, and I think that was right decision.
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Do you ever try and make take-out at home?

-I have tried a time or two, but tonights was by far the most successful!