Tag Archives: family

Getting it Done in an Hour on the Trails

9 Apr

Peg Leg LOVES to run.  You all know that by now.  But for me, it means a lot to reiterate it nowadays.  In the past week or so,  I have run one hour plus with both my running pals on different trails and different days.  I am content…kind of.  To catch up with my weekly trail pal was awesome…slow…but awesome.  We covered everything from sweet (ahem, annoying) husbands to seven year old birthday parties to college tours for Juniors in high school to varicose veins…all in one hour and ten minutes.  Did I mention we were warned by another runner about a bobcat?  I had a blast.  My foot was sore and tired and not happy afterward, but a few days later my other run pal was in town from Nor Cal and we hit the trails.  We hashed out work, kids, vacation, MAJOR extended family troubles and eyelashes…all in an hour.

Runners are efficient.  We cut to the chase.  When running, you don’t have to face the person next to you, so probing questions, amidst heaving breathing and high heart rates, are easier, they flow, we don’t concern ourselves with edicate and proper manners.  Put your head down, push the pace and ask, “Who the hell does your husband think he is dealing with?”  This is par for the course on the trails.

These conversations refresh and renew the spirit.  The spirit of the runner and the spirit of the woman.  I am sad these refreshing, renewing runs will be only one hour now, but I am grateful for how much we can cram in.  I am bossy and I can get it done.  Run Happy.

Food is Love

12 Mar

While working away on the elliptical machines the other day, Mscooksalot and I discussed the new study showing how food shows love in our culture.  No big surprise, right?    Since way before we had little ones, I have cooked and baked as a way of showing my love, appreciation, support.  What makes someone feel more loved than fresh baked cookies, piping hot with melting morsels inside?  The olfactory experience alone makes one feel warm and cared for.  I always make lunches for my family (yes, to the mortification of my friends, even my husband) every day.  I feel this is a loving way to send them out into the world each morning.  They hopefully feel a little love when they see what I’ve made and I have the benefit of knowing they have a nutritious meal while they are gone.  But the study also points out that this idea of showing affection through food can lead to obesity.  I’m not sure on this one.

First of all, my family is not the slightest bit overweight.  Secondly, I kind of think the study has gotten it all wrong.  Food created and cooked in a kitchen at home is almost always more healthful than snacks or meals purchased pre-made or from restaurants.  There is not much love shown by going through the drive through anyway.  When we cook at home, we generally use fresh ingredients and much less sugar and salt than packaged food or food from a restaurant. When cooking at home, we also don’t use preservatives.   In fact, I think if more of us took the time to prepare fresh meals as a way of showing love, we may have less obesity.  A dozen donuts does not make my family feel loved, but some homemade, hot granola muffins sure do.  Maybe it is our definition of “love” that has become skewed along with our hurried culture.  Treating your family to ice cream is nice and fun, but it does not show love in the same way as preparing a family member’s favorite dinner recipe.

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Here are some of my family’s favorites.  I cook them as a way to show them love.

Sirskatesalot’s PB Choco Chip Cookies

1 c. margarine or butter

1 c. peanut butter

1 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

3 c. flour

1 c. milk choco chips

1 c. semi sweet chips

1/2 c. sugar for garnish

Mix butter and sugar.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Stir in flour and soda.  Mix in chips.  Drop by heaping scoops onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Wet the bottom of a water glass with water and dip in garnishing sugar.  Gently press down on cookie dough to flatten slightly.  Bake 350 for 12-14 min.

Princessenpointe’s Favorite Cauliflower Cheese Soup (From Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian)

2 small heads cauliflower

(I add 4 peeled potatoes

2 tbsp. butter

1 large onion chopped

1 clove garlic, minced (I use two)

4 cups vegie stock

1 tsp. dry mustard

pinch of fresh nutmeg

1 1/2 c. milk (I use fat free half n half)

2 c. shredded sharp cheddar

fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Cut  1 cauliflower into 1/2 inch florets.  Fill saucepan 3/4 full with water, salt lightly and bring to boil.  Add florets and simmer 10-12 min. until tender. Drain well.  Set aside.  Cut second cauliflower into two inch pieces and set aside.  In soup pot, melt butter, add onion and garlic and sauté.

Add stock, reserved raw cauliflower pieces (and chopped, peeled potatoes if you choose), mustard and nutmeg and bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until cauliflower is soft, about 30 min.  Remove from heat.

Working with 2 c. at a time, blend in blender until smooth and light.  I use my immersion blender in the pan.  Once all soup is pureed, stir in milk, bring to simmer.  Add cooked cauliflower florets and cheese.  Stir for 3-5 min. until cheese melts.  Season with your favorite spices and salt and pepper.

Serve topped with extra cheese and garnish with green onions.

Princelightningbolt’s Granola (loosely based on Dahlia Bakery’s granola)

2 c. oats

1 c. steel cut oats

1 c. shredded coconut

1 c. chopped pecans

1 c. chopped almonds (if you have time toast first)

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. sunflower seeds

1/4 c. sesame seeds

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. canola oil

1/4 c. orange juice

1/2 c. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. honey

2tsp. vanilla

Dried fruit of your choice

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl.  Stir together wet ingredients.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir to coat.  Spread on two, large, greased baking pans.  Bake 300 for 50-60 min. stirring every 10-15 minutes.  Cool in pans on wire cooling rack.  Store in airtight container.  Serve alone, on yogurt, with milk, etc.

A New Nest

11 Mar

We have a potted ficus on our porch where a hummingbird has built a nest and filled it with eggs for the past two springtimes. This is a brave, brave mama bird.  The ficus is right by our front door and our house is a busy, noisy house.  Loud kids, loud friends, loud dogs, loud slamming of the door, yet this mama is remarkably tolerant.  I have no idea why she chose this location because I am certain our neighbors (one without kids, one with only one baby and a few who are retired) are much calmer and quieter than my raucous household.  But for some magical reason, she feels safe enough with our crazy family to raise her babies here.

This year she threw us for a loop and we found her dismantling her nest.  We were concerned as the nest we have lived with for two years was torn to shreds.  Was this a statement about our home?  Were we inhospitable?  Was our porch for some reason uninhabitable or an inappropriate place to raise babies?

Then, Sirskatealot and I started noticing a hummingbird buzz by at the end of the walkway.  After  a week or so, I spied the little gem of a nest in a schefflera plant in our jungle.  This perfect little baby home was reconstructed from the original on the porch but with fun new elements, like a shred of toilet paper hidden amongst our plants from years of being tp’d by girls because of Princelightningbolt’s charms.  There are two perfect, jelly belly sized eggs inside.   This mama hummingbird is the hardest working mama in the world. We are thrilled for our spring surprise.  Watching the mama keeping her eggs warm, watching the slow hatching process and the growth of sweet little birdies is a thrill.  Last year we even snapped some pictures as one left the nest.

Spring means new and great things. I am running (ahem, “lightly jogging”) a few days each week.  This peg leg is feeling ready to move on.  I walked on the beach with an old friend today for over an hour without much pain.   I have a new work out partner at the gym.  Track season for Princelightningbolt has begun.  We have had some rain…and a couple beach days.  Princessenpointe is counting the days until summer.  The time change happened last night.  We are ready for newness, growth, a renewed sense of who we are and what we want to do while we are here.

I’ll keep you posted on our baby birds.  We have one tom cat left in our hood (last man standing against the coyotes).  He’s a formidable opponent, but with the freshness in the air and a mama’s determination, I think I will have pics of new baby birds for you soon.  In the meantime, I hope you have a spring in your step.

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