sept. summary

My goal for September was 175.  I hit it with 175.5... I only needed to do 4 miles yesterday and since I was in Marion, it was right before dinner instead of in the morning, and it was pretty windy, I contented myself with doing the bare minimum.  To be honest, I later regretted not working my body a little harder, but I'm sure it's enjoying the rest.  Today is a rest day, so that is the final total!  My goal for October isn't a final number but a weekly sum - right now I'm running about 40 or 41 miles a week.  I'd like to hit between 45 and 50 weekly for October.  I hope the weather cooperates!

I picked up a different book on CD this week - The Best American Short Stories of 2001.  Great things about this: Barbara Kingsolver was the editor.  She also wrote and read the introduction, which was fabulous.  And she has a great reading voice.  One of the stories, while really well written and beautiful, was also slightly bizarre.  A woman kept finding baby parts - real ones - in her house.  Started with a hand, then a shoulder, a torso, a penis, etc.  She stitched them together when she had all the parts but the baby died.  It was... strange to say the least.  But also well written.

This morning I went to the dentist (I am one of those freaks that really loves going to the dentist - you get out of work, you watch tv, you leave with super clean teeth, and you get to talk with really nice, friendly people).  My hygenist informed me that she heard they're calling for a particularly rough winter.  So I checked the farmers almanac.  Read it yourself here, but essentially she's right.  UGH.  I quickly learned last winter that northern Indiana's iteration of winter is about ten times more horrible than anywhere else I've ever lived - the wind! the insane sub-zero temps! the snow!  I'm already dreading it...

Are any of you winter time runners?  What do you do to stay warm running outside when it gets really cold?


soup's on!

Woke up to a very windy, very fall-like day. I was nervous about running in the wind (and my quads felt pretty tight after doing the mini and then running yesterday as well). But I was pleasantly surprised to find I had a great run! Once I started my legs felt loose as they moved, and the wind and cool air felt awesome! I knocked out a good number of miles and came home relaxed.

Since it is supposed to be windy and cool and rainy all day, I decided it was a vegetable soup day. We are having a late lunch of soup - in two different pots. Both of ours have corn, onions, tomatoes, and carrots. Dave's also has beef broth, beef, and potatoes. Mine has vegetable broth, yams, black beans, and broccoli. I found some delicious looking bread at the Kroger bakery that we'll have as well. Hooray for fall!!

At the FW half we got a promo flyer for a 15 mile run in Bluffton, Indiana in the beginning of November. I'm debating signing up... it's a trail run, which is why I'm hesitant. As an avid road runner (more because of what's available than an actual decision toward that), I'm unsure I should jump into a trail run without much practice. But I know the trails are pretty flat and clear... so maybe it would be easy. Any suggestions??

Off to stir the soup! What are your favorite foods for fall?


race day!

I got my goal time! 1:58:23! That's a full sixteen minutes better than my time in May, which was fifteen minutes better than my previous best time! What a good running year!

The FW half was a great race - a decent run with lots of spots for spectators (Dave, Aunt Penny, and Uncle Lyn managed to see me five times before the finish), a run through a park, a neighborhood, and an awesome finish in the new baseball stadium downtown! I will definitely want to do this one again next year!

Richele and I, the morning of the race:

Aunt Penny had the great idea to give us multifunctional socks. 1) to keep your hands/forearms warm in the cool morning and 2) as hankies to blow your nose mid-run before you pitch them away. Great idea! They worked so well!

After the race Richele, Ben, Dave, and I, got treated to Powers burgers by Penny and Lyn. Powers burgers have a FW cult following - they're basically like homemade, glorified White Castle. Actually, Richele and I just stole bites off Dave's and Ben's... we didn't think we could stomach all the grease and onions (although they did smell amazing!).

I still need to get some miles in to make 175 for September... but right now it seems doable!

PS - With all the exclamation points in this post, can you tell that I'm still running on race endorphins?

Also, here's a quote from Born To Run that I reread this morning to keep me going.
Relax enough, and your body becomes so familiar with the cradle-rocking rhythm that you almost forget you're moving. And once you break through to that soft, half-levitating flow, that's when the moonlight and champagne show up: "You have to be in tune with your body, and know when you can push it and when to back off..." You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back; make sure to treat yourself to cool water and a salty snack and ask yourself, honestly and often, exactly how you feel. (Page 69)

I've also found smiling makes me more cheerful and energized during my run, whether I really feel like smiling or not. Today's run was, thankfully, very enjoyable and genuinely FUN. I'm excited to get back out again tomorrow morning.



Down in Marion for my office's annual mini-golf tourney. Different departments set up holes in their offices and people dress up and play 7 holes. We also have a carry-in. One office did a really elaborate western theme - decorated cardboard to look like old saloons and general stores and put it over their cubicles, with cutout, swinging doors. It was awesome (and if I had remember my camera I could show you).

Had another green smoothie this morning, this time with spinach, flax, milk, a banana, half a peach, and four strawberries. It was very good... but also served to remind me to blend it really really well or sometimes I have spinach and peach peel chewables.

Last night we made mini pizzas using Sandwich Thins and homemade pizza sauce from my friend, Patty. Dave's was topped with browned onions, turkey bacon, and cheese. Mine had browned onions and black beans. They were delicious! ...And then I finished the rest of the beans with some extra onions. Yum!

We leave for Fort Wayne soon. The race starts at 7:30 tomorrow and the weather - cloudy, cool - sounds perfect! Fingers crossed for a great race!

What are your weekend plans?


green monster

I stumbled upon another blog (thank you, Google Reader suggestion box) last week that talked about Green Monsters smoothies. I was intrigued and had to give it a try. This girl has done lots of variations, but the one I tried went as follows:

2-3 c. spinach
1T. ground flax
1T. peanut butter
1 banana, frozen
1c. skim milk

Note to self: peel the banana before freezing. I had to use a paring knife to get the peel off, much like peeling an apple. After a little googling I learned that I can peel the banana and freeze it without it going brown or getting gross.

Surprisingly, this smoothie was really good. It made about 8-10oz. and basically tasted like a pb/banana smoothie. The texture was smooth, with only a little residual grittiness leftover from the flax and pb (and not enough to bother me). All in all, definitely worth a repeat. I ate this with half a cup of Kashi Wild Blueberry Clusters cereal and I was full for a good 4 hours. I can see it being a good afternoon snack as well. Any suggestions for other additions I could try? I have some chocolate protein powder I could throw in there I suppose... but it's old, I never really liked it, and I probably should just pitch it anyway (looks like I answered my own question there).

Dave and I also had gnocchi last night, which was fabulously delicious. I used some leftover homemade spaghetti sauce rather than the can of pre-cut tomatoes. Next time I'd like to use whole-wheat gnocchi, but I couldn't find any at the store this time around.

That's two posts for today. Be sure you scroll down to read Dave's report on playing with cats!


guest blogger!

How to Play with Cats
A Guide For Humans
By David Mierau

There are a few key things every cat owner should know when it comes to playing with their furry feline. Allow me to list the essentials:

1. Cats want to hunt, not be hunted
I suppose that could be said for all of us (at least the latter part), but it is especially true for cats. Cats instinctively want to stalk and chase their "prey", be it a string, a toy, or some hapless baby chipmunk in the backyard. One of the classic mistakes cat owners make when playing with their pets is consistently moving the play object towards the cat rather than away from it. If a cat feels threatened or intimidated in any way, it will check out rather than engage. While it is understandable how an owner might want to move the play object toward the cat (come on lil guy, play!), this will typically only serve to reverse the cat's natural instincts of wanting to be on the offense rather than the defense. So, before beginning playtime, remember that it's your job to emulate the prey and your cat's job to be the hunter.

2. Engage your cat's senses
While the standard string is good, a string with something sparkly attached to the end of it and something that makes it create noise is even better. The more you can engage your cat's senses during playtime, the more active your cat will be.

3. Make the cat feel like the play toy is always on the verge of getting away
Dropping the string down in the middle of the floor in plain site of your cat may be novel at first, but your cat will quickly tire of having it's prey so easily available. In general, try not to show the whole object at once. Rather, give your cat fleeting glimpses of it's prey as it slowly moves out of sight. For example, with a string, your cat is generally going to be more intrigued by the last 10 % of the string that's slowly escaping behind the chair than the 90 % it's already seen.

4. Most of the time, the play toy SHOULD get away
You may need to practice this one in order to get good at it, especially if your cat happens to be an expert hunter. But in general, try not to let your cat "win" all the time. Like a truly competitive athlete, cats would rather lose giving it their best than win having an opponent go easy on them. The less your cat can get the play toy, the more your cat will want the play toy.

5. Leverage your cat's curiosity
Cats are instinctively curious. "No duh," you're thinking (yes, I threw out a 90's catchphrase). However, very few cat owners seem to leverage this knowledge productively during playtime. Rather than always letting your cat see the particular object it's hunting, regularly hide it behind something while simultaneously making it create noise. If your cat is like most cats, it will not be able to resist and will soon come pouncing into whichever particular hiding place you've chosen. Mix it up - your cat will thank you and you'll have more fun too.

6. Emulate captured prey
If you've ever seen a cat that's captured real prey, you know that the cat isn't usually interested in killing it off right away. Rather, it wants to toy with it for awhile. And usually, the captured prey will "play" right along by pretending to be dead and then making a break for it once the cat lets go (although I suppose it's not really "playing" when you've got cat fangs sunk into your flesh leading to a slow and miserable death). Your job is to be like that poor little mouse. Play dead, make a break for it, let the cat catch it (if it can), repeat.

7. Eliminate distractions
If there are a lot of new people in the house or loud sounds in the background, your cat will likely be too distracted or skittish to hunt at it's optimal level. Create a safe environment for your cat to play in and it will more likely be fully engaged.

8. Introduce new play toys regularly
Even the best play toys can get boring to your cat after awhile. If you can, mix it up everyone once in awhile. You don't have to spend a ton of time or money to create great play toys for your cat. Just be creative. Here's a recent example of how I did this with a string.

1. Normal string. Cat loved it at first...gradually became less intrigued by it.

2. Normal string with cellophane taped around the end of it. This created the element of sound in the chase and suddenly the cat could not only see the prey but hear it as well. Instant attention. But again, over time it became less intriguing.

3. Normal string with cellophane and a wild feather attached to the end of it. This introduced three new elements: the feather, the smell of the feather (new sense engaged), and the flight of the feather. Suddenly the string that used to be earthbound was now soaring through the air. Our cat couldn't resist...for awhile.

4. Normal string with a round, bunched up Walmart bag taped to the end of it. Oh boy. Watch out. This is the new "hot" toy for our cat. She will regularly start panting after just five minutes of play because she is going after it nonstop. Adding something on the end that she can sink her teeth into has been the killer add-on. Who's knows what the next evolution will be...

In Conclusion
So, there you have it. Some basic tips on how to play with your cat. As you can see, most of it involves playing on your cat's terms rather than your own. Your cat is a cat after all, not a dog, and perhaps that's one of the most important things to keep in mind during playtime. Happy playing!

**Note from Kim** Hope you've enjoyed my first guest blogger (I'm kind of partial to him!). And for proof of Dave's prowess in our house at entertaining Mosie:



Goal 1 was accomplished last night: cooking with squash. I had a... shoot. I forget the name. Butternut acorn? Could that be possible? Butternut dumpling? Anyhow, it said it was a sweeter squash. Thank goodness for Cutco knives, because dang that sucker was hard to get through. (I realize now I probably should have pierced it with a fork and microwaved it to soften it before attempting to cut it.) I cut the squash in quarters, drizzled it with olive oil, then applied liberal amounts of basil, oregano, garlic, and salt. Put it in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. When it came out I sprinkled it with parmesan. We ate our squashes with spinach salads - peas and feta and red wine vinegar for me, taco meat and cheese for Dave. All in all, the squash was just okay. Not bad, not great. Does anyone have some squash wisdom to share - a particular kind I should buy? Different ways to eat it? Please help! I want to be a squash lover!

After dinner I had a frozen reese's pb cup and chocolate chip cookie (leftover from Saturday where Dave and I bought 30 different chocolate chip cookies from 30 different places for my sister-in-law's 30th birthday). Dave made himself a small but Coldstone-worthy sundae: chocolate peanut butter ice cream topped with peanut butter, magic shell, whipped cream, and chocolate chips. My boy knows how to do dessert right.

We watched a movie from the library last night - Another Cinderella Story - which we were expecting to be laughably bad, like most other Disney made for ABC family tv movies. This one was suprisingly decent... about on par with other predictable-but-still-fun-to-watch chick flicks. Having Jane Lynch definitely helped - she makes any movie awesome. And in all the squash preparation and movie watching I totally forgot about Monday night football with the COLTS! Good thing I have all season to make up for it.

Dave and I have started a new nighttime ritual: reading time! Last week Dave suggested we start reading for half an hour together before bed. I was all too happy to oblige! We still had leftover gift card money from the wedding to Bed Bath and Beyond, so Sunday we bought two extra fluffy pillow so we can sit up in bed comfortably. I've been distracted from Kavalier and Clay of late because Dave surprised me with four old Runner's World magazines the library was selling for cheap. They've been hard to put down!

Today's run was much better, although it was summertime humid out there again, which slowed my time slightly. Still, way more of a fun run than Sunday's!



Goals for the week (in no particular order... and really only telling this because it's Monday and I'm stuck in a cubicle and it's kind of cold and boring):

1. Experiment cooking with squash.
2. Clean up my dead plants on the fire escape.
3. Try making this, minus the olives. And adding copious amounts of garlic.
4. Get 2 hours or less in the half marathon on Saturday.
5. Make some serious progress in Kavalier and Clay. I've been moving too slow through it.

I found this recipe and thought it sounded awesome... until I noticed it called for TWELVE TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER. Good grief. This will not be a goal for the week... unless my goal is to not eat 12T. of butter in one sitting, or even in the whole week.

Won't get to run today because I'll be coming back from Marion, but hoping tomorrow's will be less nauseating! Happy Monday (it's half over... at least the workday part!)!


the worst run

I was pretty excited to run today - I didn't have a time crunch, it was cool and beautiful out, I had a rest day yesterday... all of these factors were promising a great time out on the road. I got up and had coffee and an apple with peanut butter, read for a bit while I woke up, then took off.

It was awful. Almost the whole time I felt like I might puke. My legs felt fine but the rest of me felt like it was falling apart. At mile 8 I took a brief moment to lay down in the grass. At mile 9 I knelt down because I was so certain I was going to be sick. I had originally intended to do 13 to 15 miles, but after 11 horrible, slow, exhausting miles I called it quits. Ugh.


fall mornings

Mornings have been beautiful here lately - low 50s, bright and sunny, big blue skies. I've got just over a week until the half marathon - hoping for a similar morning then!

Headed to Mishawaka this afternoon to see Steph and to try on bridesmaid dresses for Bec's wedding in April. Since I'll be gone and since I need to grocery shop, dinner will be barbecue chicken in the crockpot (chicken breasts, bottle of barbecue sauce, little bit of apple juice), which we might shred up onto wheat buns. And a side of beans or corn or broccoli.

Good husband: Dave brought home for me a bouquet of beautiful purple flowers and baby's breath!

We took Mosie to the vet for her second (and final) round of vaccines yesterday. Also got her her second (and final... for now) round of flea treatment. We have one more worm pill we have to give her this weekend... always a treat. Dave holds her while I open her mouth, shove the pill in, and shout "Drop! Drop!" (Our vet told us that cats swallow when dropped.) Generally it takes several times - and some scratches - before we get it down. I don't really blame her - if someone held me down, wrenched open my mouth, shoved their hand and a nasty pill to the back of my throat, then dropped me... I would scratch a little, too.

One more Mosie story: recently she has taken to waking us up around 2:30 or 3, wanting to snuggle, and purring so insanely loud. But it's so stinkin cute that we don't even mind!

Lastly, we started watching some of the BBC Planet Earth series last night, on blu-ray. So incredibly beautiful! We definitely recommend it!


dried basil 4 life

I've had my new basil plant... a week? 10 days? I've watered it here and there (neither too much or too little, I don't think). It's been in a sunny window. I haven't overplucked it. And yet:

Dead. Or close to it. I'm feeling pretty resigned to just using dried basil for the rest of my life.

Had a great weekend in Chicago. Being in Soldier Field was AWESOME. Dave and I enjoyed the four business men sitting in front of us who clearly where there because their corporation bought them tickets. Proof: the guy who asked "so are they supporting a new album or what?" He also sat with his arms crossed most of the time, surveying the crowd with a curious/slightly annoyed expression. We enjoyed that two super-exuberant fans sat in front of him, standing the entire time, dancing wildly, and singing along.

Monday we spent the day walking around Northerly Island, enjoying the sun. Then got in free to the Adler Planetarium and went to a really cool show about stars, constellations, astronomy. On the way home we stopped at Michigan City Outlets... but came away with only a shirt for Dave and a subway sandwich for our dinner.

I don't have any recipes planned yet for the week, or any cravings or ideas. So feel free to supply some! The only thing thus far is probably another batch of red pepper hummus, when we finish this one.


the game. the deer.

Had a great time at the IU/W. Mich. game yesterday - and got our last bits of late summer sun! We were able to meet up with Chad for the game as well. And afterwards we all tailgated with cheeseburgers, hot dogs, my hummus and naan, grapes, brownies, veggies, chips, etc. It was a feast. We enjoyed being outside, hanging out with family, and getting to see Chad down in his new city (although regrettably we couldn't see his new apt.).

We had ridden down to Bloomington with my aunt and uncle - meeting up with them in FW. We got back to FW about 8 last night and passed a dead deer on Stellhorn Rd. - the police were just there trying to figure out what to do with it. About twenty minutes later Dave and I had left my aunt and uncle's and were back on Stellhorn headed for home. We passed the spot where the deer had been and all was quiet. I wondered aloud what they had done with the deer - dragged it off the side of the road, etc. Dave said he knew there were city departments to take care of that sort of thing. At that moment I looked up and in the lane next to us, just ahead, was a pickup truck with the bed open. And there was our deer friend, hanging out the back. We had quite a laugh about our few minute conversation, all the while the answer had been in the lane next to us.

We are church skippers today, as we hadn't been sure if we would be back Saturday night or Sunday morning. Instead we are having a slower morning. I'm about to give Dave a haircut, then heading out for a run. We have lunch with all of Dave's family, then we'll make out way to Chicago for the U2 concert. Still undecided what big fun will await us in Chicago on Monday, but we're excited to explore. Any suggestions? Submit them quick!


thursday's kitchen... and other randomness

Quieter in the kitchen today - we're having dinner with friends, so I'm not planning any meals. We are bringing dessert, so I'll be making two lemonade pies. But considering it's just mixing sweetened condensed milk, lemonade concentrate, and cool-whip, dumping it in pre-made graham crusts, and sprinkling on chocolate chips, it hardly seems like cooking! (Hardly seems like cooking does not mean it is not still fabulously delicious!)

I did make some roasted red pepper hummus today. Dave and I have been on the hunt since August, when we saw my sister and brother-in-law at Kelley's Island. They brought the most amazing red pepper hummus ever. You could just eat it by the spoonful plain! So today I tried my hand at making my own. I actually combined two recipes I found on allrecipes.com. One was for spicy red pepper hummus and used feta instead of tahini. The other was for more basic red pepper hummus. I ended up not being able to find tahini (we were at walmart... gag), so I used the feta from the spicy recipe and then followed the rest of the basic recipe. It's still not as good as Kel and Keegan's, but it's pretty great. We found this delicious naan Indian bread, which is perfect for dipping. I think we'll take this along, and some grapes, to the tailgate party on Saturday in Bloomington. Brats and hummus!

Brief movie review: Duplicity. Don't bother. It was pretty awful. Tried to be Ocean's Eleven and Mr. and Mrs. Smith and definitely missed the mark on both. It was confusing, not very clever, and didn't nearly use the potential of Julia Roberts or Clive Owen. Bleh.

Had a pretty blah 9miler this morning - mentally I just was not in it, and I knew it, and I still couldn't get in it. I did do the loop on the cross country course again, which helped to shake me up a bit since I had to focus more on the grass. I have new running shoes arriving today and I'm more than ready to give them a try. My legs have been feeling tight and kind of stale this week - I'm thinking it's the flat tread and starting-to-wear-through-the-sole shoes I've got. Born To Run recommends beat-down shoes with less support as better for running, and I agree. But since almost all my running is on the pavement, I think I need a bit more cushion. Luckily endless.com (my favorite shoe site) has free overnight shipping and comparable prices. So I ordered my new (blue and silver) Brooks yesterday and they'll be here today. Fantastic!

(Thanks for comments people have left! They make my day! If you ever try any recipes, please let me know how they go for you, or modifications you tried.)


corn heaven

Had the above deliciousness for lunch yesterday: spinach topped with fresh corn off the cob and tomatoes. YUM. (Also pictured: corn off the cob. Because I think corn is just beautiful.) Today I made it even better by taking the same ingredients and rolling them up in a whole wheat tortilla with some roasted red pepper hummus. Amazing!!

Made the corn chowder tonight, with a few modifications. Namely olive oil instead of butter, chicken broth instead of just water. You puree half of the soup in the blender before you finish cooking it so I added a couple handfuls of spinach into the mix - figured it couldn't hurt taste or nutrition! I also added a bunch of garlic. The recipe didn't call for any (!!!) but I hardly know how to cook without it. And a little turkey bacon... because bacon is sooo good. Ta-da! The finished product.

The chowder tasted awesome - really flavorful and summery. Fantastic!

Here's the recipe, with my modifications:

Mollie Katzen's Fresh Corn Chowder

1 med. potato
2 1/2 c. water (chicken broth)
2-3 T. butter (olive oil)
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 t. salt (if you use broth maybe half this)
1 med. stalk celery, minced
1 sm. red pepper, minced
5c. corn
1/4 t. dried thyme (oregano)
1/2 t. dried basil (more, to taste)
pepper to taste
1c. milk (lowfat or soy ok), room temp.
(3 pieces turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled)
(3 cloves garlic)

Dice the potato. Place it in small saucepan with the water (broth). Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender but not mushy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter (olive oil) in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and salt, and cook over med. lo heat, stirring. After about 5 minutes, add celery (and garlic) and keep cooking. About 5 minutes later, add the cooked potatoes with all their liquid, the red pepper, corn, pepper, and herbs. Stir well and cover. Reduce heat and let cook about 5 minutes more.

Use a blender or food processor to puree about half the soup, along with a few handfuls of spinach. Return this to the pot and let it rest until serving time.

Stir in the milk and turkey bacon about 10 minutes before serving. Heat the soup gently - don't cook it any further. Serve as soon as it's hot.

(Thanks to Abby for this awesome cookbook - it's the first recipe I've made from it, but with fall and winter coming up I'm sure many many more soups and chowders and chilis will be had!)


Labor Day

Since we had the day off, Dave and I took a trip to Plymouth, Indiana, to the Blueberry Festival. While there we made some unfortunate food choices. Together we split:

a basket of spiral cut potato fries
texas_twister.JPG (257×193)

a cheeseburger
cheeseburger-1_sm.JPG (545×365)

a blueberry sundae
Candied-ginger-ice-cream-with-blueberry-lime-sauce-.jpg (580×580)

half a bag of kettle corn
img_1604.jpg (499×333)

We came home and immediately took a nap (I actually started mine in the car on the drive home) while our bodies certainly labored to digest. Poor decision making on our part, with that lunch, for sure. Then we watched the movie Big Fish, which was creative and had beautiful colors and fantastic actors, but was a little disappointing in the overall theme and idea of the movie (your life isn't good enough as is - you have to color it up with stories?).

Now we're playing with Mosie. Dave has a meeting later and I'll go for a run. We're thinking a simple, healthy dinner of corn on the cob is in order. We've both been chugging water all day, too, trying to drain the fair food out of our system. Ugh. Nothing like carb and grease overload to drain you of all physical energy.

This is completely random, but I've been reading the book Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. My friend Tyler surprised me earlier this year by shipping the book right to my door! It's only taken me this long to actually start reading it. It's so good!! Unique story, fantastic writing, well-developed characters... I'm not surprised at all that it won the Pulitzer. I'm not even close to halfway yet, but I'd already definitely recommend it.

Hoping to make corn chowder on Wednesday - expect a review!


Friday favorites

The title is misleading because these are favorites for every day of the week, but I liked the alliteration. Here are a few things I'm all about right now:

Honey Nut Scooters. Every breakfast. I buy the 2lb. bag. And an article I just read said that grain cereal with milk is one of the best things you can eat after a run. Ta-da!

Pampered Chef Garlic Press. I use this almost daily. I'm not attached to Pampered Chef, but this garlic press works really well. Otherwise, I'm kind of too lazy to take the time to peel the garlic and slice it up. Plus, I really kind of suck at it. And getting the garlic peel out of here still leaves your fingers smelling like garlic. Bonus!
Janet Evanovich number murder mystery series. Seriously, I'm not sure how I would get through the 1 hour 45 minute weekly drive without these. As an english major I guess there's the chance I should feel some shame about this, since they're not the great literary classics. But I don't. They're well written enough, they're funny, and they keep me from falling asleep and driving off the road or into herds of deer. Winner in my book.
c1129.jpg (300×275)

Sweet corn. I could eat it everyday, in mass quantity. And after the farmer's market on Saturday I will have more. Hooray!
sweet-corn-on-cob.jpg (380×281)

My Brooks Adrenaline shoes. I think I'll need a new pair soon-ish, but these have been my faithful go-to for the last three pairs. They're amazing. And pink!
10942-775183-d.jpg (240×240)
Cardigans. I tend to wear one almost every day. They're light weight but warm. And they're comfortable.
old-navy-twin-set-in-malibu-blue,-26.50.jpg (260×345)
And my bamboo wooden cutting board. The sound of cutting is better, the feel is better, the look is better. Everything about wood cutting boards is better.
bamboo-cutting-board.jpg (280×280)
What are some of your favorite things?


fun run

Had the most fantastic run this morning - 9 miles that felt like 4, most of which I was literally smiling through because it felt so dang good. Goshen College had their cross country path marked out, so I did a mile on grass, which was new and really good for my hips, knees, and ankles (no injuries, either!). Wanted to keep going and going - 11, 12, 13, whatever! - but held back so I could still run tomorrow. Hooray!

Here is my new favorite morning activity: http://puzzles.usatoday.com/ I love doing the crosswords and word finds. So fun!

I think I might make corn chowder sometime soon. Doesn't that sound delicious right now, with the kind of fall-like weather and fresh sweet corn?

Our friends Mark and Lauren come tomorrow and we're so excited. I'll be making my mom's homemade mac and cheese - Dave's favorite. It's First Fridays in Goshen so we'll walk around downtown, listen to music, come back and hang out at the apartment. We can't wait for them to get here!

For lunch today I skillet-ized corn, black beans, garlic, and zuc with a lot of cumin. Put this over spinach and avacados and crisped tortillas that I made in the oven with olive oil and sea salt. Deliciousness. All I needed were tomatoes for a punch of color and juice... but alas. None.