Thursday, April 29, 2010

Call me crazy!

I love to run. I think it's in my blood. My dad enjoyed running when he was younger, and I remember him competing in quite a few 5 and 10Ks when I was a kid. I entered my first race in sixth grade and caught the running bug. I was on the cross country team for a few years in high school, and was never in the front of the pack, but I did ok, and I enjoyed it. I didn't run on the team in college (even though the coach tried to talk me into it), but I still kept up with running on my own and occasionally with friends. And I've continued that in the years since college. Running helps me stay healthy, challenges me, gives me an outlet for my frustrations. And this introvert appreciates that it can be a group or an individual activity. I love running with friends, especially those who push me a little harder than I would. But sometimes I just like to go out by myself, so its just me and the road/trail and my music or thoughts or sometimes even prayers. Lately I've been feeling motivated to challenge myself a bit more. Since starting seminary, I've run the half-marathon (13.1 miles) in Philly twice. This weekend I'll run the Broad Street 10-mile run with 30,000 people. And... I have officially registered for my first full marathon. That's 26.2 miles. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I decided I have the time to train, I've run more this month than I ever have, and I want to do this before I turn 30. And I might be crazy, because not only did I register for one, but I registered for TWO marathons. I've got friends running both, and they're spaced a good amount of time apart so that I'll have time to recover from the first but still maintain my training. So I'll be running my first marathon in Akron, Ohio in September, and my second in Philly in November. I'm excited. I'm scared. I may be crazy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eating More Simply

Several of my bloggy friends have been writing lately about eating more "real" food, as in food that is either bought and eaten as is (fruit, vegetables) and food that isn't processed and pre-packaged. I think it would be very difficult to get rid of all processed foods from my life, and that's not what they're doing either, but it isn't hard to make a few changes here and there. Some of it is just realizing I actually can make some of things I buy in the store, like granola. So that's what I made! I recently purchased the More-with-Less and Simply in Season cookbooks from the Mennonite community.

More-with-Less basically does what the title says, and gives a lot of "real" food recipes. That's where I got my granola recipe. There are a few different granola recipes in the book so I looked at them and adapted them to my tastes. It was VERY easy to make, and as someone who doesn't really
love baking/cooking, I like easy! I'll likely experiment with different ingredients in the future, but for this batch, I did the following:

Preheat oven to 325

Mix together in large bowl:

4 c. rolled oats

1 c. wheat germ

1 c. sliced almonds
1 c. sunflower seeds

Bring to a boil:

1 c. honey

1/2 c. oil

1 T cinnamon

Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread on 2 greased cookie sheets. Bake about 30 minutes, stirring often. (*I stirred every 10 minutes, and ended up only baking for about 25 minutes.) Watch closely toward the end, not allowing the granola to become too dark. Allow to cool, then break into chunks.

This made a batch probably about the equivalent in size of two of the boxes I would buy in the store, and I still have leftovers of all the ingredients for future batches. I have raisins, and bought some dried cranberries, but didn't include them in the mix because I figure those are things I can add in as I eat it. It's tasty, easy, better for me, and (I'm pretty sure) more economical.

I look forward to trying out making my own
yogurt next! I'm also hoping to try some of the spring recipes in the Simply in Season book. The idea for this book is also probably obvious by the title, it's focusing recipes around produce that's in season. Some of the produce in season in spring that I especially enjoy are strawberries, lettuce/spinach/greens, peas, and mushrooms. Do you have any favorite recipes that highlight spring produce?

Monday, April 12, 2010

P is for Productive

For the first time in a while, I had a whole weekend free! Add to that, the weather was gorgeous here in Philly so that helped put me in a good mood. And my roommate was away for part of the weekend so I even had the house to myself for a bit (I love my roommie, but every now and then it's nice to be alone.) All this added up to my being very productive, especially around the house. The things I accomplished included: dusting, organizing/filing some papers, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, laundry, cleaning off the porch and the furniture out there, planting some lettuce in a "window box" for on the porch, making some birthday cards, running 10 miles (3 on Friday, 7 on Saturday), walking to church, playing some basketball, reading for classes, and making granola. The weekend was capped off Sunday evening with chicken and potatoes cooked on the grill on our back deck. I'm thankful for times that I can get things done and feel like I accomplished something, and still do things for myself that I enjoy, and spend some time outside.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Family Fun

First, before I get to anything else, (and I'm sorry I made you wait so long) the winner of my giveaway was Nen over at Living the Small Town Life. She has been doing a lot of cute sewing projects lately as well, you should check it out. Congrats, Nen! And thank you to everyone who commented, and welcome to any new readers!

I had a week off from classes for Easter, so I went home to western PA. I spent most of the time with my parents, but also went to Cleveland for a few days to visit my aunts and cousins. I got to see my cousin's band play Thursday night and then got to see Tim Barry on Friday night. I also got to spend a lot of time with my adorable 2 1/2 year old cousin.

She's holding one of her stuffed fish in the picture. Her dad is big into fishing and she carries her two fish around all over the place and will tell you that they are a "salmon" and "brook trout". She talks constantly and is probably the smartest kid ever.

Family time isn't without its moments of frustration, but I am always grateful for the time I have with them. And I am so thankful to have them in my life and to know that I am loved and supported.

I am back at seminary now for the home stretch! 5 more weeks of classes and 43 days until graduation... but who's counting? ;)