Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hunger Walk/Run 2012

This doesn't really have to do with cooking, recipes, or dessert but it does support the Atlanta Community Food Bank which feeds many, many, many mouths across Metro Atlanta.

I set a goal to run a 5K in 2012.  I did not reach that goal yesterday but I had a good time trying.

I knew I wasn't going to run the entire thing.  I have not been training for all that long.  It wasn't realistic.  My goal for the run was to do half of it running and half of it walking.  That didn't happen either.

I have been battling a long term cramp in my left calf muscle.  It's a beast.  It shows up at the most inopportune times.  I'm not making excuses for my lack of running but a cramp is a cramp and there is only so much I can do  to try to fix it before race day.  I tried my darndest.

The other reason I did not meet my 1.5 mile challenge was because I did not spend enough time training outdoors for this race.  Running on a treadmill and running outdoors are two completely different things.  I have learned that now.  I will work on this for the next race.

I do think the ACFB could have worked a little harder though to get a more level race route thank you very much!  :-) Good lord were there slow incline hills.  I hate hills in general but I hate slow incline hills even more!

But the best part about the race was the company.  We say this often but it doesn't hurt to say it again.  Dr. Bob and I have been very blessed to have met some amazing friends in the short time we have lived here.  We are supportive of each others goals, wonderful motivators, and an all around blast to hang out with!  I couldn't have done it without them yesterday:

(The Sunday Funday Crew - we had shirts made and everything)

The race started and ended at the site of the old Braves Stadium.  It's a parking lot now but they paid tribute to the old field by re-creating the original baseball diamond in bricks.

The event had all sorts of activities and entertainment to enjoy.  It was a lot of fun.

That's Turner Field in the back.  For all the Olympic enthusiasts out there, Turner Field was built for the 1996 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies.  It later became the new home of the Braves.

The race started on the main road between the parking lot and Turner Field.  We took an immediate left and was able to run past the Olympic cauldron.  I am such a geek when it comes to the Olympics!  It is so fun getting to see the sights even though the games took place 16 years ago.

Between runners and walkers, there were over 15,000 participants.  The crowds of people just kept coming and coming.  It was unbelievable and inspiring!

Word to the wise though - when you are outside for 4 hours in March in Atlanta....don't forget the sunscreen or choose to leave the sunglasses in the car!  Dr. Bob and I are pretty red at the moment.  Oh dear.

So now that reality has hit, I know what I need to work on, how to train a little better, and how to take care of myself a little better.  Plus it also helps that we are meeting our new trainer on tomorrow so hopefully he can help me get some of this extra poundage off which will increase my ability to run exponentially.

The next race I have in mind is April 22nd.  I think my goal for that is to be able to run half the race.  Then I will set my sights on a third race where the goal will be to run the full course.

I'll get there.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Do I have a green thumb?

The answer has always been a resounding "NO!"  But I am hoping to change that this time around.  Mainly because I am not fully in charge of the growing.  I am an apprentice of sorts.

I have dreams of having luscious gardens, backyard animals, whole meals made from scratch - oh I could go on and on about it.  But I will save that for another day.  

Right now I am taking the first steps and starting to get my hands dirty.  Dr. Bob and I live in an apartment complex with no room for growing so I have to go elsewhere.  Sure I could look into securing a spot in a community garden - but I really have no clue how to get a garden started.  Enter my local homeowner pals.  It came up in conversation with one and I was totally game, then I asked another and possibly another.  I am going to spend this growing season assisting with 2, maybe 3 gardens so I can take notes, learn techniques, and experiment for my future garden.  I am super excited!

So Cicely and I made a date to clean up her gardens this past Saturday and get this year's crop planted.  We had a great time.  This is her 2nd year with a garden in GA and let me tell you how much easier it was for her this year than last year....LOTS!  Last year she had to start by building her gardens - digging holes, building the raised beds, shoveling new dirt in, and then planting - most of this was all by herself - PHEW!  I'm tired just thinking about it.  This year we only had to clear out weeds and old plants, rake some, and start planting.  We flew through the task on 2 of her 4 raised beds:

Backyard raised bed #1:
 Backyard raised bed #2:

In these raised beds you will find: 4 different types of peas, 3 types of swiss chard, lettuce, mesclun, kale, and 2 types of carrots.

Then Cicely indulged me a little so we experimented on something I found on a blog - a potato box!

Apparently this sucker can yield up to 100 pounds of potatoes and only takes up a 4 square foot area in your yard!  I lurv me some potatoes.  If this turns out to work well, I am going to have these suckers at all of my friends houses and we will be doing multiple plantings of these.  According to the article (which was written in Portland or Seattle - much different climate up there), you can plant potatoes in April and again in August.  Here in GA they say you can start as early as January...we could have backyard potatoes all year round!  I am crossing my fingers that these Yellow Fin potatoes are a success!

I learned that these items went in her backyard because they were considered "cool weather plants."  Her backyard does not get a ton of sun so that is why they are grown back here.  The front yard is where she has 2 more raised beds which will be home to those items needing lots of sun.  We are getting together next Saturday to tackle those raised beds.

Okay back to the planting.  Next we needed to get some seedlings planted.  Technically we could have started them at least a month ago but we are all still getting used to the seasons down here (Cicely moved from Boston about 1.5 years ago so we are both not used to such an early start time) - better late than never I say!

We are trying a method where we plant the seeds in trays to get started, then when they start to sprout, we will thin them out into their own little containers to finish growing before they are put in the ground.

Here you will find: a variety of tomatoes, eggplant, celery, cauliflower, basil, thyme, parsley, lavender, sweet peppers, hot peppers, jalapenos, and tomatillos.

We called it a night after that because it was getting late but the day was a lot of fun.

This upcoming weekend we hope to get the raised beds in the front yard cleared out, prepped, and planted (as much as we can until the seedlings are ready, that is).

This is such a fun new adventure for me.  Thanks Cicely for allowing me to help!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Simple Solution

We had 7 of our favorite people over for a Mexican FEAST last night.  We tried some new recipes as well as stuck with some classics.  We had a great time.


With every feast.........



We always try our best to clean up a majority of the kitchen when we have dinner parties but we weren't able to get through everything last night.  I woke up this morning and that's when the light bulb went off.

We have a dishwasher that we rarely use but why can't we use it to dry all of our big dishes??


Why haven't we thought of this before?!?!

What would have taken me all day due to the small size of our dish drainer, is now complete in one wash.  This is AH-mazing!

Have you done this before??  Do you have other simple solutions to share??