Friday, June 29, 2012

friday senses....!

this post is brought to you by 700 exclamation points!
eating: stir fry. This was my pre-race dinner last week.
I love dishes like this because it's so easy to cook up whatever veggies I have on hand, and we have a quick and healthy meal. Sometimes I add chicken.....sometimes I don't.
Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry with Wild Rice
Stir-fry some chicken (cut in to small pieces) in a little bit of coconut oil. 
Remove from pan after cooked all the way through. 
Add some more coconut oil if needed, and a little bit of sesame oil to the pan, and sautee' veggies. 
I used:
-broccoli greens
-bell pepper
-summer squash
when veggies start to get tender, add:
 -grated ginger
-minced garlic 
-chopped scallions
-pinch of red pepper flakes
-soy sauce
-juice of a couple limes.
Add the chicken back in and cook for a few more minutes.
Serve over your favorite rice and top with chopped basil

wishing: We recently took a little drive over the mountain to Midway, and I know that I need to live soon as possible. Do I have any readers out there? How can we be neighbors? Anyone want to rent/buy The Little Red House? Wait, I am a little bit serious. 
Move in now and you will have 1 bazillion tomatoes come August.
"whistle while you work"
alternative title "child labor is the best"
alternative title "why I should have 10 children"
yoga-ing: I attempted firefly for the first time this week. While I was surprised that I even got lift off, how in the WORLD are you supposed to get your legs straight???!!! wow. not even close. 
smelling: fires. Our whole pretty state is on fire, it's so sad. PLEASE everyone be careful and cautious and smart and not idiots with your campfires and fireworks next week!
harvesting: One week ago I found this teeny yellow cherry was hiding. 
I ate it all by myself. It was warm from the sun. 
Sunday we had one of our tomatoes on our burger
We had two little ones's starting!
also harvesting: so apparently broccoli takes forrrrrrrrrrrrrever to grow. 
And it doesn't help that I also planted late (first year for trying broccoli). We finally have the teeniest tiniest most adorable broccoli that we are waiting on. But for now I've been chopping up the leaves and sautéing them for dishes like the stir fry above (the leaves are alot like collard greens)
anticipating: cousins coming! we love cousins! 4th of July! such a fun time of year. 
someone pinch me.
making: tie-dye.......nothing white is safe......I am ready to douse everything in color. 
(how-to coming next week on the blog)
reminiscing: this time last year we were packing up and headed to the Redwoods. 
We played among giants (here)
+rw7 copyrw3 copy 
and celebrated the 4th of July on the beach (here). summer.beach33 copyeach29 copy
aaaahhhhhh memories.
planning: our family road trip for this year, happening later on this summer. CANADA! 
Anyone been to Banff? Lake Louise? Where do we eat? What should we do? We are so excited! 
I was born to roadtrip.
Bribing: I mean, Rewarding: My kids. We are doing a reading chart, and with minutes read, they earn prizes. So far we've gone to Frogurt, and I'm about to owe them a movie at the dollar theater. 
I love this stuff.
Working Out: I've had another question asked quite often about my weekly "training" schedule and what types of workouts I do. I'm not sure the best way to post that--it really varies week to week, depending on our family schedule and what I can get in. I would rather be undertrained than hog up all our family time. I suppose for now, I can post it here, and maybe do a post every now and then to talk more does that sound?
This week I took it pretty easy since I just raced. Although I wanted to keep moving to get my body stretched out. I also have no races on the schedule right now--the rest of our summer is pretty full of family and fun, so I'll just be working to maintain.
Mon-4 mile family bike ride. Tue-Hot Vinyassa. Wed-my favorite circuit class at our gym. It's weights and cardio and it kills me every time. I even got some sprint work in. Thurs-NOTHING! Fri-Hot Vinyassa. Sat-I'll be on the trail bright and early--probably 8 miles or so. Sun-I always rest on Sundays:)

feel free to play along with friday senses in the comments or over on your own blog! 
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


It's the moment you've all been waiting for. 
Or....most likely, you haven't.
I now have a Frequently Asked Questions Page. 
See it HERE
I did my best to put together the most common questions I get on a weekly basis. 
If you like, check it out.
Happy Thursday to you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The One That Almost Killed Me

this is how it all ended (it did, eventually, end.) just in case you thought I didn't make it.
 Here is my (very long) race report for the Wahsatch Steeplechase
For all you runners I included what I ate and some other mumbo jumbo.

For those that aren't so into running I always provide a short version:
I ran up the steepest mountain. ever. There was puking and curse words flying (neither of which were from me). I climbed over some rocks and avoided falling to my death. I ran down the mountain. Things were going smoothly. And then they weren't. My legs broke. They almost fell off. But I finished. Barely.

From their Facebook page:
"The annual Wahsatch Steeplechase is a sacred ritual in celebration of Summer Solstice. The unique and hazardous nature of the race course includes raging streams at full flood, wicked sagebrush, poisonous snakes and precipitous crags."

You want to sign up now, right?

The day before the race I laid low. I wanted my body rested and well fed.
Breakfast: Smoothie with mango, banana, strawberries, kefir, honey, ground flax, chia seeds, almonds, coconut oil.
Snack: Trail mix
Lunch: Zucchini Fritters with a spinach salad. I'll get a photo of these and a "recipe" posted sometime...I LOVE them, and they are super easy. Shredded zucchini +garbanzo beans+goat cheese+onion+cilantro+lemon+egg+breadcrumbs or oats as a binder. Sautéed in some garlic olive oil.
Naptime: I knew I wouldn't be sleeping very well (nerves), and I also had to get up at 4am (4AM!!!) so I took a little nap.
Snack: apple+cheese
Dinner: I usually go meatless pre-race but I was really craving a little bit of chicken. We had stir fried veggies (carrots, broccoli, peppers, broccoli greens, squash) and just a few pieces of chicken in mine, over a wild rice blend. (I'll post a photo/recipe of this Friday)
I had a Nuun to drink after dinner.
Stretched and held a few yoga poses--downdog to stretch my calves, pigeon and fire log pose for my hips, headstand for my mind.
lots of water all day.

self explanatory.

4am. It was 80°
Whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter, honey, and chia seeds, and a tall glass of orange juice.
lots of water.
45 minutes before: banana. nuun. ibuprofen (my mouth was still sore from surgery, and I wasn't really sure how it was going to react.....)
15 minutes before: GU

I wore my very favorite shorts in the entire world. If you like your shorts shorrrrt and super light, then you most definitely want The North Face Better Than Naked shorts. I LOVE them. (these aren't on their website any more--so if you can find them somewhere grab them before they are gone!)
North Face did not pay me to say such wonderful things, but hey North Face, I will take stuff from you any day.
I borrowed an Ultraspire hydration pack from my friend Tanae and I LOVED it. It was light and comfortable (no bouncing or rubbing), and the pockets in the front were perfect for all my stuff. 
I need to get one-it was perfect.
I wore my Brooks Cascadia 7s which I have been super happy with the last two months.

During the race I fueled with:
EFSGUNuun, lots of water

3.2.1. HERE WE GO! I was so excited I was able to do this race. We started out on the road-a nice gradual hill--it felt so good to be running again-that two week hiatus was tough. Thanks to my last two races I had my nerves a bit more under control, and I could ease into the start. We ran for about a mile on the road and headed on to the trail (yippee!)

From here we started to climb. Ups and downs. Nice roller coaster hills. Some running. Some hiking. Some in between. I quickly found myself with a really comfortable group to run with. Their pace was great and I didn't feel like I was pushing too much (if you are just tuning in, I had my wisdom teeth out two weeks prior to this race (smart, right?) and I got a lot more sick than I had planned on, and basically didn't train, or even move, AT ALL for two weeks). I wanted to make sure I had energy all the way to the end, so I made sure not to push too much on the uphill. 
I knew I could let loose on the down.

We continued winding up and around hills, through meadows of yellow wild flowers. The sun was coming up over the mountains and bathing the hills in gold.


Then we ran RIGHT into the sun.
Blinding orange light.

It was tricky--the sun was so bright in my eyes, but it was still early--shadows stretched across the trail and the contrast of the darkness and light made it hard to see where to step.

It also made it hard to see the GIANT MOUNTAIN that was looming in the distance.

I knew we had a big climb coming up (even though we were gradually climbing the entire time, I knew were in for a much bigger treat.)

I remember hiking up a pretty steep part of a hill, thinking to myself, 
"I'm sure it won't be much steeper than this"

ha. haha. ha.

For a second the sun ducked behind the hill. Except that it wasn't a hill I was about to climb. 
It was Little Black Mountain......and it was not little.

"Surely that can't be where we are going", I thought.

From behind me, I heard a word my mom taught me not to say.

So yeah, that's where we were going.

I could see the leaders of the race--little dots on the mountainside slowly making their way up.
I looked behind me to a steady trail of runners--all wondering the same thing....

what the......


We started to climb.
and climb and climb and climb.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any did.
Then a teeny tiny break of some downhill (or was it just flat and felt like some downhill?) I forced my legs to run so they could stretch out.

Back to climbing.....somehow, even steeper than before.

In my last two races my calves have cramped up near the end of the race. Both times it happened right after a steep climb switched over into a steep downhill. Both times were extremely painful but I was able to shake them off and finish the races with no problem. I figured it must have been dehydration, and made sure that for THIS race I would be fully hydrated with plenty of electrolyte replenishment.

As the hill got steeper, I felt my calves start to cramp. It wasn't terrible--it was always the downhill that made it hard. I marched on. And then my quads started. I looked down, and right above my knees, on the inside of my quads it looked like I had a bouncy ball under the skin of each leg.



I rubbed them out as we hiked and hiked and hiked. It didn't make sense.....I was fully hydrated, and had already taken a few shots of EFS. I should have been fine.

The pain was managable so I tried to focus on getting up. How steep was this hill you ask? Well, had I stood up straight I would have fallen down backwards. No joke. I have never been on such a steep hill IN MY LIFE. I was almost hilarious. Almost.

More words my mom told me not to say, escaping mouths on all sides of me.

A guy puking. 

And then......finally.....

thank you thank you thank you to greg norrander for this shot!! check out more of his work from the race here and his blog here
(as you can see it was a bit windy)
This is why I signed up for this race. The Crags. Sharp jagged rocks reaching up out of the earth that we get to run along, climb over, swing down off of, jump off of......all along the ridge. One slip and you'll fall one bazillion feet to sudden agonizing death. (well.....maybe you'd fall and break your leg or crack your head, but I like to exaggerate to seem hardcore.).
So. Much. Fun. I only wish it had lasted longer, but as much as I wanted to stay and play, we had to begin....

The first mile or so of the downhill was just hillarious. So so so very steep. Rocks to go over. Roots reaching up and grabbing at my ankles. Powdery, slippery dirt flying out from underneath my feet. I'm not ashamed to admit that it brought me down hard.... BOOM! Hello tailbone. I sat in a dust cloud. Tiny little steps shuffling my way down, careful not to fall again.

Running downhill is my absolute favorite thing. I have slowly started to learn the art of letting gravity take over and allowing my body to flail mostly out of control (yet somehow still in control) down the side of a mountain. It feels wonderful. My legs were so happy to finally stretch out and move, and for a few blissful miles my knotted calves and quads eased up. I had this.

THE FINAL DESCENT (that lasted forever)
As the trail down became less steep, I really started to feel my legs again. I had finished my EFS, and had kept up on GU every 30 minutes or so. I was keeping plenty hydrated with Nuun in my backpack, and filling up a small water bottle with water at the aid stations. Yet the knots continued to grow and grow. It felt like my tiny calf muscles were actually giving birth to more calf muscles (I wish). It was terrible. I focused on the trail. I knew I would finish--there was never a doubt. I just really wished the pain would ease up a little bit. I tried a longer stride. Shorter stride. Rolling through my step the whole way to try and stretch out my calf. A few times it got so bad I actually had to stop and massage the knots out. I still had miles to go.

I wasn't prepared for this.
I WAS prepared for some kind of mental block. This race was harder, steeper, and longer than any other race I'd done. I spent two weeks sick right before. I just assumed my brain would start to do some crazy things, or hit some kind of wall. Hallucinations! anything but this.
I WAS prepared to feel tired in my hip flexors (always where I tire first).
I WAS prepared to feel  heavy and slow. Even exhausted maybe.
But all these things were fine.
Everything else felt great.
Except for these stupid, stupid knots in my legs.
My pace kept getting slower.
I got in to The Zone. I just had to get through it. My time would be lousy, but I had to get through it.
I don't listen to music when I run, but Young the Giant's "My Body" was blaring in my head.
While I'm pretty sure they aren't talking about running, it was absolutely perfect.
"My body tells me no. But I won't quit, 'cause I want more. I want more."

I won't quit.

1 mile to go. I don't think I have ever experienced this kind of pain. My legs just weren't working right. Something was wrong. Quads. Calves. Even my feet started having muscle spasms. A girl caught up to me, she gave me a few words of encouragement (I was obviously about to die), and I MADE myself keep pace with her. I pushed and pushed. I tried not to be angry with the fact that I would have normally ran this section at about 3 minutes per mile faster.

I was crawling.

I kept up with her.
But not for long.
Without any warning both legs seized. My feet spasmed so hard that they literally curled in my shoes. My calves and quads were so knotted and heavy they buckled beneath me.
Man down.
Have you seen the videos of people coming in for a marathon or ironman finish and they fall RIGHT before the finish line and have to crawl across?

That was me.
Legs done.
I fell. Frustrated. Everything totally out of my control.

I stood up. After one step, I fell.
My legs. They wouldn't go. They were not my own.

For a moment I panicked. A quick moment of doubt that "what if I couldn't finish".

You know it's bad when the sweetest lady somewhere in her seventies with a cute white bob, is out for her morning jog, and stops to ask if "honey, are you ok?"

"I'm ok. I'm almost done"

I sat and rubbed my knotted legs. They loosened--a little bit--but enough.

I stood. Wobbled. Walked. Slow.

Half a mile. Half a mile. Half a mile.

I started to jog. "I have to finish"

I passed the white haired jogger.
I passed a few runners.

Legs burning. Tight. When am I done? Knots. Spasms. It's all I could think about. Spasms. Knots.

Another runner caught up with me. We talked. She was ready to be done. She was an Ironman athlete. I had just hit the furthest distance I had ever ran. But we both needed someone to run with.
"I have to keep up with you or I won't finish".
"Let's finish together." With those words, she saved me.

I was somehow able to match her stride. She was tall. I was not.
Pushing pushing.
My feet started to spasm again.


I went into this race without any goals or expectations--I was very happy that I could do it, considering just one week before I didn't know if I'd be able to participate at all. That being said, I am always a little bit hard on myself, and it's hard knowing that I could have done so much better. 
I wanted to fly.
That's what next year is for.......right?
ELEVATION GAIN: 4500ft up!! (and then all of that back down again!)
TIME 3:39
18/65 women.
148/262 overall.

I sat with my legs in the icy cold creek.
But just during the short car ride home they quickly became immobile. I stretched and stretched and attempted a downward dog. No luck.
They were pretty broken.
I wasn't that hungry right away, but I knew I needed to eat something so I had a little leftover stir-fry from the night before.
I took a hefty dose of IBU profin, put some ice on my chicken legs, and woke up from a little nap STARVING.
So Settebello it was.
I felt like I deserved some kind of amazing treat but my body was too tired to make anything 
(what?! no treat!? absurd)

After lots of Googling and other such research, I am wondering if my cramping and knots and spasms were a result of my body being low on sodium. Everyone sweats just a little bit different, and while most people are fine replenishing their salts with gels and sports drinks, some people actually take salt tablets for long runs. I'm also curious about compression socks. Has anyone had experience with any of this? Salt? socks? anything? I am absolutely terrified of it happening again, and want to be prepared next time. Yes,  next time.

As crazy as it all was, I would do it again. The course really was awesome, and the runners I was with were so friendly and encouraging. 
Everyone helping each other out along the way--this is why I LOVE to race! 
Who's with me next year?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


today was very.........normal. 
and normal was good. 
It's the first week in what seems like one bazillion years that no one had school or homework or projects or groups or meetings to worry about. 
So we did normal things. 
Didn't set an alarm. 
Ate some granola and yogurt for breakfast. 
He went to work.
We ran some errands. 
It was hot. 
Like, sticking-your-armpits-in-front-of-the-car-AC, hot. 
And that was already happening in the morning.
Did some laundry.
Sweat a little bit more. 
Kids in the sprinkler. 
ME in the sprinkler. 
Made some salsa. 
Made a quick dinner with minimal cooking (hot)
We had burrito bowls (added some zucchini and cabbage into the mix). 
Kitchen cleanup (blasting music)
Everyone helps.
Out in the yard. 
I mow. 
He trims. Edges.
The Littles scoop the poo.
Popsicle payment.
Sun is going down
"Should we go for a ride?"
So we do.
I like normal.

Monday, June 25, 2012

a summer burger

note: I LIVED through my race!! (only almost died once) 
It was awesome and amazing and terrible all at the same time. race report coming soon.

I want to share a little something about myself. 
I really, thoroughly, truly, love, appreciate, and drool over,  and loooovve a good burger.
I went probably 5 or so years burgerless. (It was during my fat free stage of life--remember?)
A couple years ago I started researching and learning about quality of meat. 
How it was raised, what it ate, all that good stuff. 
Around the same time I was becoming a lot more active--adding more miles to my running, as well as starting yoga and weekly strength training. 
I was hungry.
We were at the farmer's market, and I decided to see what this whole
"grass fed beef" thing was all about.
We grilled burgers, 
It actually tasted good. 
really. good. 
The burgers I'd eaten before had been dry and "boingy" and just tasted bad. I never thought I'd eat another burger, and I was totally ok with that.
I can't really explain the difference in good quality meat--all I know is that you simply must try it. 
I still don't eat a lot of beef--I'm not really a fan of steaks or ribs or any of the other cuts that I have no idea what they are called......but I'm sure if that's your thing, a good quality and fresh steak would be hard to beat. 
(remember we eat LESS meat, so we can afford the better stuff. read more HERE)

Burgers get a bad rap of being unhealthy, but the important thing is that you don't eat them constantly--there is no problem with an occasional burger (everything in moderation!) And a lot of it also depends on what you are having WITH your burger. 
We love to grill burgers sometimes on the weekends, and it's always fun coming up with what toppings we want to go on them. The summer is the best because we can always pull fresh ingredients from the garden to go on our burgers. 
Here is what we had yesterday.
A Summer Burger
bolded ingredients we grew ourselves.....I LOVE summer
-yummy, happy, grass fed beef--local if you can find it--check your farmer's market! salted, peppered, and grilled
-gouda cheese (put it on the burger the last few minutes of grilling)
-our FIRST (woo-hoo!!) tomato of the year
-caramelized onions
-balsamic and basil mayo (chopped basil and balsamic vinegar mixed into your favorite mayonnaise)
-all on a toasted whole wheat bun

we paired it with a salad of spinach, spring onions, goat cheese, pine nuts and a quick lemon dressing (fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, lemon thyme, dijon mustard, salt and pepper)


What do you like on YOUR burger?

Friday, June 22, 2012

friday senses

this post is GIANT.

eating: Last year I posted about raw oats. With all the fresh berries available right now I am back to eating raw oatmeal non stop again. I love them for breakfast, pre or post-workout, or a bed time snack. (yes, I have bed time snacks)
To make raw oats you need 
-raw rolled oats
-any kind of milk (I used vanilla almond)
-any kind of fruit (I used strawberries)
-any kind of nut (I toasted some almonds)
-any extras you want (I added ground flax, chia seeds, and coconut oil)

let your oats soak in the milk for as long as you like--the longer you let them sit, the softer they will get. 
Add your fruit+nuts+extras and you have a great little dish.
harvesting: so many radishes! They are just about done and most have started to flower. I don't even love radishes, but I always plant them because they are the first thing to grow. 
I have been roasting them just like potatoes, and they are really quite tasty. .
Pickled Radishes
I've also been "pickling" them. They aren't official pickles, but they are super addicting to eat this way. I just slice them thin and then cover them in vinegar and add a little salt, a little honey, and maybe a few herbs sometimes. They can sit for about 30 minutes or even over night. They are a great addition to salads, or even good just plain.
also harvesting: We've had some peas here and there, but I planted too late this year so they didn't do so hot. We are just getting our first squash and zucchini....mmmm.....
running: well you guys, I guess now would be a good time to say my goodbyes. You see, I am running in a race tomorrow. A race I have been so so so very excited for-I've been wanting to do it for the last few years. I got in, training was going well, and then my wisdom teeth drama happened and put me out of training for a few weeks (because you can't really call laying in bed watching netflix and eating ice cream, training).....and now it's race time......uh-oh. I have never felt so un-prepared for a run, and it's my biggest race yet. Clocking in somewhere between 17-18 miles (at least that should cover that pie) with 4000+ feet (or so I hear) of elevation gain in the first HALF. hahaha. haha. ha. So it was very nice knowing you all. If I die, please find my children a wonderful, fun, happy, loving mother (but can you make her a little bit ugly;) Did I just emoticon wink? I did.
wanting: a juicer. do you juice? what you you use?
tasting: basil. in my smoothie. That sounds weird, doesn't it? But my sister-in-law recommended it, and let me tell you, it is GOOD.
reading: I finally have a little bit of time to read, I am currently enjoying The Life of Pi. I think I am the last person on planet Earth to read it (I usually am a little late when it comes to books), but I'm so happy I picked it up.
FAQing: I am finally working on a Frequently Asked Questions page! I will let you know when it's done. For camera equipment info check my about page for now.
feeling: so completely in love with summer. I just can't get enough.
celebrating: He is officially DONE with school!! No more papers, no more projects, no more late nights and early mornings. No more class. no more no more!!
riding: I GOT A BIKE! The last time I had a bike was my freshman year of college. I should tell you stories some time about that, because they are pretty great, and I'm surprised I didn't swear off biking. But I am so excited that I have one now! We have been going on family bike rides which just might be my new favorite thing. I'm also excited to get it out on the trails with Robby and see how big of  wimp I have become in my old age.
facebooking: Come follow me on facebook! (HERE!) I often post links to articles as well as quick breakfasts and lunches over there. Feel free to post a link to something you think I might be interested in as well. I want it to be like one big awesome conversation over there. It is also much easier and quicker for me to answer a question over on FB than it is for me to get to it in the comment section here, (which I am trying to be better at that as well)
instagraming: I am asked over and over several times a week where you can follow me on instagram.....and the answer is, you can't. I keep it private--how uncool, and very un-2012 of me, I know. But I have decided that I will share a few favorite shots here each's that?
bedtime stories
making dreams come true: Again thank you so much for taking the time to fill out the survey. I won't be making any huge changes around here, but I did get some really good ideas and plan on adding a little more here and there. For example, I didn't realize how many of my readers are runners (yay!) so I will be sure to post more details on my runs and workouts. If you have any specific running questions I could cover in a post (there were a lot requests for nutrition) ask them here and I will see if I can work them into a post somehow. You also requested more easy lunches and dinners. I don't post a lot of these, only because I like to eat WITH my family, rather than taking time to take a picture, but if you are happy with a quick instagram shot, then I would be happy to share more.
pinning: ok so here is the deal. I really like Pinterest. I like it alot--just like you do. It's so easy to keep track of ideas, photos, and recipes I like. But what I don't like is when I see MY photos that I took being pinned and repinned (oh, 1000s of times) and they don't link back to the source--just some teenager's tumblr. So PLEASE pin with love and kindness and care and all that, and make sure when you are pinning something, that it links back to a credible source.
And as long as we are on the subject, if you see this image floating around (it's evvvvvverywhere right now), and you feel like re-pinning it, could you link it back to it's original post (HERE).
thank you, gracias.

feel free to play along with friday senses in the comments or over on your own blog!
Happy Weekend to You!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

a thank you, an apology, and an ice cream pie

First: a thank you
Thank you to all (so many! wow!) of you that took the quick minute to fill out the survey I posted. 
(miss it? it's still available HERE)
It was very helpful to me--I just want to make sure that what I'm posting here is relevant to at least someone out there. 
And THANK YOU!!!! for those who left such sweet comments as well, I really, truly appreciate it. 
Next: an apology
why you ask?
because the recipe I am about to post is like eating a big giant piece of......I don't know...... death.
or something similar.
It will kill you I tell you! 
There is nothing I love more than spending an afternoon making a dessert.....and you know I like cake. 
But Father's Day had a temperature climbing higher and higher and closer to 100°, and there was no way I was going to turn on the oven.
I was glad I remembered this recipe--we used to have all the time when we lived in California near Robby's family. Someone was always making it, and the rest of us were always devouring it.
It is incredibly easy, quick to put together, (little hands-on time, just some freezing time) and will always be a hit, I guarantee it. 
warning: I recommend that you make this when you can take it somewhere and leave it. 
Otherwise it will sit in your freezer, tempting you every time you open the door.

I had about 1.5 seconds to steal a picture of was melting like crazy.....
but you get the idea.
and now, drumroll: the ice cream pie
Hot Fudge and Ice Cream Pie
this can be doubled an made in a 9x13 pan

one 18oz package of your favorite chocolate sandwich cookies (about 35-40 cookies)
1 stick (8TBS) butter, melted 
crush cookies (I used the food processor), add melted butter, and press into bottom of a round cake pan and freeze for about an hour. (this can be halved for a thinner crust)

3oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
4TBS butter 
1 cup evaporated milk
 1c powder sugar 
Mix over medium high heat and boil for 8 minutes (stirring constantly) 
Remove from heat and add 1t vanilla 

I used butter pecan, and it went so very well with the fudge sauce.
But you can really use any kind.....just think of the possibilities! mint! peanut butter! oh my.
Let the ice cream sit out and soften so you can scoop it out easily and spread it evenly over the crust.
Add a few giant scoops and smooth over the crust.

Here is what I've found when adding the hot fudge: 
you add the hot fudge right after you make it--so it's still pretty hot. 
-If you spread your ice cream over the crust, and then let it freeze and firm up, and THEN add the hot fudge, all the hot fudge will stay on top. 
-If you add your hot fudge to the ice cream when it is still soft a lot of it will sink down below the ice cream. (I did it this way and it was wonderful.)
It's up to you.
I topped ours with toasted pecans.
After you add your hot fudge, return it to the freezer for a few hours and let everything set up. 

Now get rid of it before you eat it all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

strawberry jam with honey

Do you make jam? 
If should start.......this week. 
It really is the EASIEST thing you can make at home, I promise. 
Get yourself some berries, some jars, and some pectin and you are set. 

I was so excited to finally find pectin that you can use honey with instead of sugar. 
(I found Ball No-sugar needed at the grocery store.)
Before this I used cane sugar, so it was a bit less processed than regular old white sugar, 
but I loved the idea of using honey. 
Depending on what pectin you use, amounts may vary, but here is what I used:
for every 2 cups of fruit you'll need 1 1/2 TBS of pectin and up to 1/2cup of honey.
follow the simple instructions on your pectin and you will have jam in no time.

I have a question for YOU though. 
I love raw honey, not only for it's flavor but also for all of the nutrients it provides.....but when you make jam and it cooks--even though it's only a few minutes, all those honey nutrients are cooked out.
Have you used honey in an uncooked jam? What pectin are you using?
teach me, please.
..... I just need some homemade bread. 

peach jam here

a quick minute......

Could you do me a HUGE favor and take this survey for me? It will take you 2 seconds (ok, maybe 60) and will be very helpful to me. Thank you!! I promise to post a super easy INSANELY delicious summer dessert as a thank you. 

Survey HERE

Monday, June 18, 2012

all in 26 hours

My plans to drive up to Montana fell through last week (still pouting about that one) and Robby was buried in a final project for school.....our weekend was looking to be pretty lame. But after a (very, very) last minute decision we decided to go camping for the night. We very rarely go camping for just one night--after all the efforts to pack up and set up, it's so much more worth it to stay a couple nights. But thanks to homework, and my lingering nausea from those stupid wisdom teeth (still holding a huge grudge) we only had one night to spare. 

So we just did it. 
We were away from our house for a total of about 26 hours--and even though it was quick, it was very much worth it. The perfect escape.

In 26 hours we:
...drove to the Unitas.....such a pretty drive that I never tire of. 
...found the PERFECT campsite.....I still can't get over how pretty it was....
meadow. lake. wildflowers. 
...unpacked. set up our site. 
...braved the WIND. so funny setting up a tent in crazy wind.
....fetch with charly in the lake.
...dutch oven dinner
...more crazy wind. cocoa. in jammies, giggling in the tent. 
...nightime. fire. stars. us two.
...ghost stories in the tent.
...birds wake up around 4:30am. 
they get louder
and louder 
and LOUDER. 
so many birds!!!
...tent starts to warm.
...charly up. kids up. we're up. breakfast. run around through the meadow. fishing. fishing. 
...more meadow and lake play.
...playing catch.
...packing up. breaking down camp.
...goodbye perfect campsite. through the mountains.
...pit stop at Hi-Mountain Drug in Kamas
yes it's a drug store, and yes it has great burgers and shakes. home.

all photos taken at Trial Lake, Utah
..1..triall.ake1 .opy....
How to Camp
I have promised posts on how to play outside, and I will do my best to give some camping tips. 
It's a little bit hard because we have both camped our whole lives, so we just kind of know what works best for us. 
If you have never camped, here are a few very basic tips. 

I won't get into a lot of gear details--as far as gear goes it really depends on how comfortable you want to be. You can bring as little as a sleeping bag and a pot to cook oatmeal, or go all out and bring everything--a tent, air mattress,a giant camp stove to cook up a feast, an extra table, a tent for the kids, a portable's really up to you. 

We keep all our camping stuff together, and have a giant tote of necessities so we can load up the car quickly and go.
Some of the items in our tote include:
-dishes, silverware
-vinyl tablecloth
-pot, pan, a few utensils
-a kettle to heat water
-dutch oven
-tub for washing dishes, soap, brush
-small rope for a clothesline to hang wet clothes/towels
-small one burner stove
-first aid kit
-a grid we can put in the fire to cook/heat food on (similar to this)
-rain ponchos

other necessities that I pack up before we go:
-mosquito repellent (ALWAYS pack this, no matter where you are going)
-some washing supplies-soap, baby wipes, a washcloth and a towel
-fishing gear/binoculars/balls/frisbee/any fun activity your family likes to do
-flashlights/headlamps (the kids LOVE their headlamps)
-lots of water
-firewood (most campsite hosts sell firewood but if you have wood at home you save a lot of $)

I LOVE cooking over the fire! 
Here is what we ate--I will share our other camp meals throughout the summer as well.

Dinner (see photo and recipe below): Dutch Oven Chicken Tacos
Breakfast: Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
-scrambled eggs (we add a few slices of ham to the eggs while they cook)
-melted swiss on whole wheat english muffins (with a little bit of mustard) toasted over the fire
Lunch: we kept it easy and brought stuff for sandwiches
I packed a few kinds of fruit, some chips, and a few other snacks as well. I also like to pack whatever veggies we have from the garden to wrap in foil and cook with dinner.
Dutch Oven Chicken Tacos
this fed my family of 4 
you'll need:
2 chicken breasts (cut in half so they'll cook a bit faster)
1 can of black beans
dutch oven and charcoal briquettes 

Chipotle Sauce (make at home)
in food processor combine:
A few ripe tomatoes (or one can of diced tomatoes)
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 chile in adobo sauce (or even 1/2 a pepper if you don't want it too spicy.....those things are hot)
a large handful of cilantro
splash of vinegar and pinch of salt

take it for a few spins in the food processor until it's smooth and then add to chicken and beans in a container with a lid.
You can pull this out of your cooler at the campsite and dump it in the dutch oven and you are ready to go!

taco toppings
I put small amounts into little containers to save space in the cooler
-shredded cheese
-sour cream
-tortillas (we wrapped these in foil and warmed them in the fire)

With charcoal briquettes on the top and bottom of the dutch oven, it only took about 30 minutes to cook. We shredded the chicken and served it in warm tortillas.
A few more camping tips:

Never been before?
Consider doing a "practice" campout in your backyard. 
This will ensure that you have what you need, and get your kids used to sleeping in a tent if they never have (they will love it)

Let it be known: your kids will be filthy. 
Let them be, and don't worry about it. 
I always heat water at night to wash hands and faces, and there's always hand sanitizer to use before meals if you want.
Camping is dirty--but it's all part of the fun. Have them wear older clothes that can get dirty and wet. 

Bring extra shoes for your kids. 
Feet will somehow always end up wet and that can make for a miserable time for little toes.

Share Responsibilities
Give everyone a job! The kids helped haul wood, gather kindling, and pack and unpack the campsite.
They searched for rocks to hold down the tablecloth, and combed the site for garbage after we packed up.
Give them some of their own "gear", so they feel big. A water bottle, a headlamp, a compass.....they love it.

Bring lots of layers. 
Temps can range from 40s-80s up in the mountains in just one day.
bring extra jackets and always bring warm hats for evenings/mornings.

Leave No Trace
I can't stand seeing trash on the ground when we are out in the mountains. 
Pick up your campsite! Even if you find trash that isn't yours--pick it up!
thank you. there are a few basics. 
If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer right back in the comments. 
And PLEASE feel free to add your own camping tips--
what makes it easy for you?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

summer is here

and so it begins....
well.....I guess to be all "official" we have about another week until summer. 
but for us, it's here.

this is what summer means to me:
swimsuits. all day. 
new freckles.
no shoes
dirty feet (see above)
staying outside to watch the sun go to sleep
homemade ice cream
mountain picnics
early early morning runs
sleeping on a mountain top under a billion trillion stars
road trips
bucket loads of zucchini
juicy red tomatoes, dripping down my chin
farmer's market
eating outside at lone star
family bike rides
cooking over a campfire
jam making
....aaaaahhhhhh summer. 

what's on YOUR list?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

remember that time my husband went to south africa?

Well.....I survived the whole wisdom teeth far.
This really is no fun at all, is it?
(except for all the ice cream....that part isn't bad, I won't lie)

I've been sitting around halfway delirious and mostly drunk from pain meds, and decided to finally go through all of Robby's photos from his trip to Africa.
He got to go last month for the end of his school was a required class...not bad, right?

I thought I'd share a few of the photos he took--I love them all, and it was so hard to choose which photos to post. I especially love the photos of all the people.
It really makes me look around and realize we all have waaaay too much stuff.
Stuff everywhere. Why can't we live more simply?
Robby talks about how happy everyone he met was.
Happy and kind, and yet they lived in shacks with dirt floors, and hand me down clothing.
why can't we all be more content?
....something to think about.

all photos taken by Rob Jibson
in Capetown South Africa, Soweto South Africa, Johannesburg South Africa, Pilanesberg South Africa, Gansbaai South Africa, Victoria Falls Zambia, Chobe National Park Botswana
note: all photos were taken with a 50mm lens--no telephoto so those animals were close!
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below is my absolute favorite! so happy and pretty
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the end.