Strawberry Season!

I love strawberries. Ok not always, but I do now. When I was a little girl my Nana and I grew our own strawberries and I was not the best gardener. In fact I was asked to stop tending to them after killing several plants from overwatering. I just assumed that I didn’t like strawberries after that, I don’t know some sort of self-protection deal.

But recently I’ve rediscovered my love for strawberries and with it rediscovered a dessert that was once a childhood favorite. A frozen strawberry yogurt pie.

Ingredients:

1. Pre-made graham cracker crust

2. 8 oz. whip creamed

3. 12 oz. of strawberry yogurt

4. 1-2 cups of fresh strawberries

To Make:

Mix the whipped cream and yogurt together and pour the mixture in the pie crust. Let it firm in the freezer and top with the fresh strawberries, easy peasy! Also don’t worry too much about the measurements here, so long as there is the general proportion of whipped cream to yogurt is basically the same, I mostly just eyeball it. In addition I tend to like to mince up a few of the fresh strawberries to mix in to bump up the strawberry flavor of it all.

This is literally the quickest and easiest dessert anyone can make and makes such a wonderful dish to bring to potlucks and bbqs over the summer! When you cut it let it thaw just slightly, we still want it to be firm! It helps if you wet the knife with warm water before cutting too. You can certainly choose to make your own graham cracker crust, but I like the ease and speed of this dish with the premade.

Finally because it is mostly yogurt and fresh fruit, it makes a pretty healthy dessert option. The whip cream does add a bit of calories and sugar, but when compared to most desserts the health factor of this is pretty strong.

Note: I haven’t tried this with greek yogurt yet but that’s the next try! I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Our Rules of Running

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-always walk up steep hills (this is the most important and imperative rule)*
-run or alternatively stand still when any wildlife is near by (this includes squirrels and cats)**
-wait until at least mile 7 to ask Allison anything that you think she might otherwise say no to
-just say no to running belts
-embrace the awkward tan lines
-just say no to running sunglasses (raccoon tans look good on NO ONE)
-even though it sucks more than you can express, get up early to do long runs. you’ll regret it if you don’t roughly around the time you can’t breathe anymore and are sweating more than you thought was possible.
-stop and drink at every water fountain (even if this means continually passing the same old couple strolling along the path)
-resist the urge to remove more clothing than is appropriate for the venue in which you are running
-focus on the positive reasons and benefits of running (the main one for us is “so we can eat what we want and not get fat”)
 
What are some of your rules of running (or of exercise in general)??
 
*Marie just informed me that this is a temporary rule and that we will soon be running steep hills. We shall see about that.
 
**This rule largely stems from an incident in which we encountered a man and his two tamed cats.  (Tamed in the sense he was walking them without a leash, not in the sense that they seemed friendly.)  Not only was it creepy that someone was out on a walk with his CATS, the cats had glowing eyes, were able to jump onto his shoulders, and looked like house cat-jaguar hybrids.  I remain convinced that they were genetically engineered similar to the Mockingjay from Hunger Games. Needless to say we decided to run in the opposite direction that day.  

Today I Run Because…

For the past couple of months (2 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days really, but whose counting?) Allison and I have been struggling through training for our first half marathon.  We will be running this May (fittingly) through the dusty roads of a vineyard and hopefully cross the finish line with smiles (unlikely).  I,  personally, am hoping that there will be free wine at the end of this race although deep down inside, I’ll admit this would probably be a recipe for disaster. We’ve been following a 12 week plan (with an injury a piece to sideline us a bit) on a very conservative scale and though neither of us are natural born runners, or even very fast in comparison to most, we are already (insanely) planning for another half marathon after fall.

While long runs have started to feel like the cruelest of punishments, we have yet to meet that elusive runner’s high, this past weekend while we got ready to do our long run together, and after a weekend visit to Boston, I was particularly grateful to be lacing up my sneakers and heading out the door.

It feels almost inappropriate to write about running at all without paying homage to those that were involved in the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  What happened there was undeniably horrible. But after visiting the city, on a failed house/apartment search, I can honestly say I left with such an incredible renewed respect for the city, the runners, and the people that call Boston home.

The support, strength, and love I witnessed in the city after the suspects were apprehended moved me to tears. Boston is truly a city that has embodied the spirit of resilience and perseverance.

The events that surrounded the marathon shook me, but it was the selflessness and spirit that came after that inspired me to get through a rough nine miles this week. After weeks of drudging through training and a recent feeling of dread before longer runs, such inspiration from the city and the runners has renewed my initial gratitude to be a part of the sport. It reminded me that the quotes floating around none other than pinterest about running for the sake of running and how regardless of the distance a running day is always a good day are absolutely true.  This year the half marathon is quickly becoming the most popular race (especially among women!) and we are proud to join those numbers. In a couple of short weeks I will celebrate my first year running with 13.1 miles and am excited by the thought that this spring and summer so many more new runners will be lacing up their sneakers and hopefully joining Allison and me in our next race. Happy running!

*Side note: to donate to the One Fund Boston in support of the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings please go to https://secure.onefundboston.org/page/-/donate4.html

In Which We Make Race Bib Plaques.

This week’s project (instead of studying for classes obviously) was to make a plaque to hang our race bibs on. We saw some cute ones on Etsy but we decided to channel our inner Martha Stewart and create our own. They turned out really well and any imperfections were made up for by the fact that we made them ourselves! We managed to make them cheaply which is good because we’re nearing the end of the semester and our loan money is rapidly running out.

The finished products!
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Materials
-wooden plaque (any size and shape as long as it’s big enough to fit your race bibs)
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-paint (at least two colors – one for background and one for the lettering; contrasting colors are good so the lettering stands out)
-paintbrush (we used the cheap foam wedge ones)
-metal screw-in hooks (we found little silver ones at Target)
-stencils (optional if you have a steady hand/good handwriting – this was not optional for us)
Steps
1. Paint (we painted the main portion first and then painted the outside trim but it really doesn’t matter, be creative!)
2. Stencil (or freehand) the lettering (again you can be as creative as you want here or just go with the simple “just run.”)
3. Hooks (place the bib with the smallest distance between the top holes on the plaque and make tiny marks on the plaque where the holes are; then screw in the hooks where the marks are)
4. Hang and Admire!
Notes
-use more than one coat of paint to make the color more vibrant
-if paint migrates or splats or gets anywhere it doesn’t belong on the plaque (this happened a lot during the stenciling portion), use a q-tip to paint over the mistakes with the proper color
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-using the bib with the smallest distance between the holes ensures that all the bibs will be able to fit
-the easiest way to hang it on the wall (for me at least) is using the damage-free picture hanging strips that the genius at Command created. http://www.command.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/NACommand/Command/Products/Catalog/~/Command-Small-Picture-Hanging-Strips?N=5924736+3294737341+3294857497&rt=rud
-we found everything except the hooks at Michaels
Have fun and get down with your crafty side!

In Which We Attempt a Cleanse.

Marie’s Pinterest addiction and my habit of saying yes before thinking makes a dangerous combination.  Naturally, this resulted in a three-day smoothie detox cleanse.  Three days of smoothies really didn’t sound bad, in fact it sounded pretty good. HA! Thus began the longest three days of our lives.

 We chose to use Dr. Oz’s three-day detox cleanse which entailed a breakfast, lunch, and dinner smoothie plus one more of our choice as a “snack.” So basically we drank 12 smoothies.  Put that way it really doesn’t sound that bad, but by the end all we wanted to do was chew and never look at a fruit again.
We began the Tuesday after Easter mostly due to the large amounts of candy and chocolate that was consumed over the weekend. (I just can’t say no to the Easter Bunny!)  Thursday night we finished with pounding headaches and a serious lack of energy.  Friday was the most glorious day ever.    I have never been so happy in my life to be able to chew something!
Because those three days were a monotonous repetition of chopping fruit, blending fruit, drinking the smoothie, washing the blender, and repeating, what follows is Allison’s general impressions of each day/smoothie and changes we’d make for our next cleanse. (And yes that means that somehow I’ve been tricked into doing another cleanse.)
Day 1 – Breakfast Drink
Pretty darn good. But this could also be because I was so hungry I was starting to see spots.  In retrospect, it probably wasn’t a good idea to go the dentist the morning of starting a cleanse.  I was dentist-stressed hungry and regular hungry.
Day 1 – Lunch Drink
 This drink will go down in history as the grossest thing we have ever eaten in my life.  Not only was it lukewarm (note to self: make sure all vegetables and fruits are frozen/refrigerated beforehand), it was also very chunky and vile tasting.  It made me wonder if Dr. Oz had taste-tested these recipes.  I have decided to call it the “green polyjuice potion.”
Day 1 – Dinner Drink
I was very scared to drink this smoothie after the lunch smoothie debacle, but it was also pretty good.  The color was really not appetizing but I was so hungry that it didn’t matter.
Day 1 – Overall Feelings
Day 1 felt like the longest day ever.  As a result of being hungrier than an elephant, I also realized that I was starting to stare inappropriately at other people who were eating.  My bf felt like it would be a good idea to bring home a tostada salad for his dinner, in revenge I stared at him the whole time he was eating
Day 2 – Overall Feelings
-Because there was no way in hell we would be drinking the polyjuice potion again, we decided to buy green smoothies from Trader Joes instead.  This was the best decision ever.
-I was surprisingly not that hungry when I woke up  but I dutifully drank the breakfast smoothie and an hour later I was back to being starving again.  My head was pounding for most of the day – either from the lack of food or from the alleged toxins leaving my body…the jury is still out on that one.
Day 3 – Overall Feelings
Day 3 consisted of fantasizing about chewing food 100% of the time.  I was so hungry and tired of smoothies that I started crying when someone brought donuts into my internship.  Donuts have never smelled so good.  We also thought it was a good idea to run our scheduled 4 miles on day 3.  Not recommended.   About 1 mile in Marie started seeing spots and due to this and the fact that I would be unable to drag her back to the car, we decided to turn around.  The rest of the night was spent planning what we would eat the next day.

The Pinterest of It All

I’ve developed a love hate relationship with Pinterest. I know, I know, to many people the hate portion of that statement can be read as a cry for immediate help, but it’s true.

When I first started pinning, I loved everything about it. I had a serious crush on the site that developed quickly into puppy love. I was on it all the time. I would spend late nights on pinterest, finding new and amazing uses for everything in my life. As it went on, my love matured. I began to see it as a reliable site for all of my basic life needs and then it took a shocking turn, I began to think about other sites and feel like pinterest and I needed a break.

It was nothing pinterest did wrong, it was me. I spent too much time with it, too quickly. I accept all the blame. But for whatever reasons, as hard as it was, we took a break. Except that those pins left on my boards, so many pins, began to bother me. I just left them there. I told them I liked them enough to pin them, but not enough to follow through. That wasn’t going to work for me.

So Allison and I decided to make pinterest manageable for us. Instead of having to go through 12 boards to find the recipe we were interested in, we separated the recipes by season. Meaning we figured out when either all or the majority of the veggies needed would be in season and set out season boards. Things we could commit to accomplishing each season instead of having all our pins exist in a time vacuum. It isn’t perfect yet, but I want to get all of me pins (except my products, helpful hints, and dream home planning pins) separated in seasons. We feel like it makes it much more probable that we will follow through and try the things we liked enough to take on that initial date for coffee.

With Spring quickly coming to a close, especially in California, we are pushing hard and fast to get through that first board! I haven’t decided how to deal with the board after try the posts, delete them? Keep them? Mark them with notes? Who knew that a simple website could force us into making so much decisions.