Wednesday, October 14, 2009


ok. It's time to do this.

I will admit, I have been putting this off for sometime, mostly because of some internal struggles on the outcome of the marathon. For the last week I've been saying, "At least I finished!" but truthfully, I felt like a loser inside. For two years I have
been training and hurting over this run and because of my silly pride I ended up finishing with mostly older folks, that were just cruising by me.

But I've come to realization that I DID IT! Yes, maybe not the speed I wanted but I DID IT!

So now, I'll just toot my little horn.

Toot, toot, toot, toot.....

The run itself was gorgeous. When I was able to focus on what was around me, the view was incredible. To pass by actual volcanoes is a very humbling thing. Yes, they are inactive, but still humbling.

When it comes to marathons, I've decided the commrodory is what it's all about. To be up at 4 o'clock in the morning with thousands of other people just as crazy as you, if not crazier (one guy was doing his 20th st. george run!), and to instantly have something in common with everyone surrounding you. Noone was rude or grumpy from the cold. To see so many strangers huddled around campfires, enjoying one another's was great. It gave me the sense of belonging...even if it was my first time.

I'm not going to go into mile by mile details, but just to inform those that are curious, St. George Marathon is NOT all down hill. I've decided this is some cruel joke that people like to tell first runners...maybe it's just to give us hope.?? Luckily, the biggest hill is near the beginning, so it's over with fairly quick.

Some of the things I learned along the run:

  • Gu is still the top gag-inducing product one can take for supplements on runs (yes, this is a comparison to the jelly beans, gel balls, and power bars)

  • Orange slices are literally little slices of heaven

  • Peeing in the brush really doesn't cover anything. (at that point I really didn't even care)

  • running backwards intimidates those behind you, even if you reassure them it makes the knees feel better

  • You can scream out any random word and people will cheer along with you

  • wrapping a knee that already hurts will do nothing

  • 26.2 miles is a LONG way

I am so overwhelmingly grateful that I was able to do this. That despite my pride, my Heavenly Father answered my prayer and sent me a little running buddy (thankyou Neshelle, wherever you are!). I am so lucky for all of the love and support of my family. I can't believe that they would drive all the way to St. George to cheer me on. It meant so much to me and I probably really didn't convey that, that day. I love you, my family. Look at all of the beautiful people that came to cheer me on.

Thankyou also to everyone that wanted to be there but couldn't. I am so grateful for just how many people were cheering me on. Thankyou so much for your support and love.

And thankyou, Papa Jones.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Food

Some awesome recipes to warm a fall afternoon.
This first recipe I fell across while looking for an awesome grape jelly recipe at the library. We recently were lucky enough to go grape-picking at the Pinkal's house. After this visit, I am determined to one day have my own beautiful garden and become self-sufficent. The Pinkal's really are an inspiration to me and if you haven't met them, you really should.
Grape and Walnut Schiacciata

from Outstanding in the field by Jim Denevan

  • 3/4 c. warm water

  • 1 pkg. (2tsp) yeast (I use Saf yeast. it speeds up the rising time)

  • 1 tsp + 1 Tb. sugar

  • 1/3 c. olive oil, plus extra for brushing

  • 2 c. flour (I used unbleached, all purpose)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 cups stemmed small seedless black or red grapes

  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (not a fan of walnuts, so I used sliced almonds)

Combine the water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in a small bowl. Whisk briefly to combine and set aside for 5-10min. until foamy. Whisk in 1/3 cup of the olive oil.

Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and gradually pour the yeast mixture, using your hands or fork to incorporate the flour little by little. When the dough begins to come together, add half of the grapes and mix with your hands to incorporate them into the dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 5 min. until smooth, breaking the skins of some of the grapes as you knead.*NOTE: The book did not state or even elude to just how sticky this process becomes, so I would stress on folding the grapes into the dough as much as you can...seriously.* If grapes roll out of dough, knead the dough without them and then work them in quickly at the end.

Alternatively, use an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. After the flour and salt are whisked together, beat on low and gradually add the yeast mixture. When the dough comes together, add half of the grapes. Turn the mixer to med-low speed and mix until smooth, about 2 min.

For the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Brush the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until the dough has doubled in size, 1 1/2 - 2 hours. (Not only did I use Saf yeast, but I also microwaved a rice bag, wrapped it in plastic, oiled it, and set it with the dough, cutting the rise time to around 30 min!)

Brush a 13x9in baking sheet (or casserole dish) GENEROUSLY with oil, including sides. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Sprinkle walnuts (or almonds) and remaining cup of grapes on top and press down to flatten into dough. Brush top with oil and set aside to rise for additional 30 min.

While dough is rising, preheat oven to 425 F. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tb. sugar over the top of dough and bake for 20 min.

Reduce temperature to 350F and bake schiacciata for an additional 10 min., til golden brown. Let cool for 5 min. in the pan, then turn out onto a cool rack or wooden board and serve warm.

This next recipe was taught to me by my friend Tamara, out in Norfolk. She cooks like you wouldn't believe and her philosphy with cooking was to not be intimidated by recipes and to just try. I'll be adding some other recipes I learned from her in the future, like her awesome pie crusts (yum!), but for now on to something entirely too good to pass up.

French Onion Soup

from Tamara (serves 6-8)

  • 4 large sweet onions, peeled and cut into rings

  • 1/4 c. butter

  • around 4 Tb. flour

  • 6 c. beef stock ( I use the beef boulion granules, so 6 c. water with 6 tsp granules)

  • 2 c. water

  • 3/4 c. creamed sherry ( you can use plain sherry, but I'd suggest creamed. Sooo much better! thankyou, Tim!)

  • around 2 tsp salt, plus whatever to taste

  • french bread loaf, or baguette
  • mozzerella cheese, shredded or sliced

Melt the butter in a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion rings and stir to coat rings in the melted butter. This is the longest part. The longer your onions are cooked and browned, the better your soup will taste. In the beginning, your onions will fill the pot like this

at around an hour of cooking they should look like this.

When your onions are nicely sauteed down and brown, add the flour and stir together til you get a oatmeal-like consistency.

Add your beef broth, water, salt and sherry. Bring to a boil and keep at a low boil for about 4-5 min, stirring occasionally. If you can still see some flour bits, whisk the soup a little til they break up. At this point, taste and add more salt if you'd like.

Slice your bread and place one slice into every soup bowl. Place your cheese ontop of the bread and then ladle the soup overtop, melting the cheese.

If you have oven proof bowls, ladle the soup in first, place the bread slice ontop of the soup, topped with the cheese and broil til your cheese is nice and melted.