Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Community Garage Sale

This weekend was my first experience in garage sales. I spent the last few weeks gathering items to sell, putting a price tag on everything and getting organized. I'd read a lot of blogs and posts on how to have a successful garage sale, and I have to say that the advice out there is pretty spot on!

All of my garments were hung, and had its own cute little price tag. We put signs out on the street, and I made some signs for individual items. I had plenty of cash on hand for change and settled in for a long couple of days.

Unfortunately, we did not get a lot of traffic on our street. I sold a few items and we did end up making a small amount of money in profit (after taking out what I spent on signs, stickers, tags, bags and pins). I think I'll actually take my big $30 gain to Target later and get some storage bins. I'll store everything that I didn't sell in the bins, and maybe try again later this year. I'm convinced that the super hot weather was luring people to the trails, campgrounds and pools - not garage sale buying. So maybe this Fall, when the weather isn't so hot, we'll have better success?

Lobster Rolls

At the grocery, I saw a couple of lobster tails, and thought maybe learning to cook the tails might not make the whole lobster so scary. (The whole lobster boil thing is my ultimate scary meal to cook - I'll get there one of these days - before the year is out for sure!)

Not exactly sure what to do with the lobster tails, I decided to try to make lobster rolls. Seafood salad in a fresh bun, using lobster tails sounded somewhat easy but delicious. Unfortunately, I used too much dressing in the salad, and the rolls ended up too "wet." I am confident that I could have done a much better job, so I will try again. The lobster was easy to cook, and we could definitely make this a simple meal any day. Next time, I'll know better!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lifetime Sprint Triathlon: June 13th, 2015

My first triathlon of the year turned out with great results. Last year, I finished my Sprint in 2 hours and 15 minutes, so this year, I'd set two goals:  1) Beat my time from last year (at least); 2) Finish the race under 2 hours. I'm proud to report that my finishing time was 1:56:30!! I had a very slow swim and first transition, but by time I got on the bike, I was cranking through the rest of the race. I felt amazing on my ride, and strong during my run.

I'm looking toward my next race at the end of July, which is twice the distance in each discipline. I need to get in some more regular swims at the reservoir, and get in some longer rides and runs. I feel that the biggest challenge is going to be getting accustomed to the heat of the summer. The high heat is killing me on the long workouts, but this happens every year... I'll get used to it soon, and then we'll be back on track!

New Flower Pots

We are waiting for our neighbors to do ANYTHING with their lawns, so that their yards full of dirt will stop running off onto our property. Once that happens, maybe we can look at truly landscaping the rest of our lawn... Until then, I have to satisfy my itchy green thumb with some beautiful new flower pots and plants on the porch. At first, I thought doing vegetables in the pots would be the best plan of action, but I really need to be patient and do the veggies in the designated garden, whenever it is ready. Flowers are happily doing the trick for now, and making me excited to do more whenever we can!!

Eggplant Parmesean

Since my husband isn't usually very keen on the idea of eating vegetables, it surprised me a few weeks ago when he suggested eggplant parmesean as one of our new meals to cook this year. It would be a new meal for me too, as I think my experience with eggplant was limited to a single small piece at a lunch in China, where the vegetables all look and taste the same... So probably not a really fair assessment.

I found a simple recipe, and we tried it out a couple of weekends ago. I'm sure the breading, marinara sauce and copious amounts of cheese was what made the meal feel like it wasn't based around a vegetable. And for the first half of our plates, we were both pretty impressed! I even sent a message to my mother-in-law to brag about how her notoriously picky son was eating eggplant!!

I'm not sure that it was my favorite meal ever, and we did end up with quite a few leftovers. Next time, we might make it a combo meal of eggplant and chicken parmesean together...  But it's not off the table to ever have again!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Open Swim Season

I ventured out to the Longmont Union Reservoir this morning for my first open swim of the season. My first tri is all set up for next Saturday, and I wanted to head out to reassure myself that the open swim wasn't quite as scary as I remember. Unfortunately, my first lap in the water proved that open swimming actually IS pretty scary!! I did not react well to the murky, choppy lake water. Instead, I started to experience the same sense of panic that I remember from my triathlon start last year. Swallowing water, unable to breathe with any rhythm, I stopped myself to tread water and calm myself down. I finished the rest of the first lap just making sure that I didn't drown. A little breast stroke here, a lot of side stroke there, stop and tread water again, try the freestyle again, roll over and backstroke, just finish, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

After I made it back to the beach, I was fairly certain that I didn't want to swim any more, and I was totally insane for signing up for any triathlon ever. But the fact is: I have three triathlons on my schedule this year. They're already paid for and I'm committed to doing them. So I swam a second lap. This one wasn't quite as bad. No stopping to tread water this time, but still a lot of random strokes just to get me around the buoys. At least this time around, every other swimmer didn't feel the need to ask me if I was ok...

By time I made it back to the beach the second time, I felt fairly certain that I was done for the day. Then I made myself do one more lap, and I am so glad that I did. Lap number three was much slower than I'm used to, but it was more consistent and less scary. I felt good that I was able to find a bit of a groove before I left the lake today, so that I know a little bit better what will work for me this Saturday. Slow and steady is the method I prefer, so I just need to remember that when the gun goes off, and not let myself get too riled up right away.

Probably easier said than done, but we'll see...

Happy Birthday to Me!

For my 31st Birthday this year, I decided to come up with the ultimate cheeseburger meal to celebrate. I started the day with a slow cooked pork shoulder, which I planned as the perfect BBQ topping to my concoction.

Once the pork had started cooking, I moved over to bake a peanut butter cheesecake. My original intentions were to create a beautiful looking pie, when I realized that I don't have a full-sized springform baking pan. So I had to improvise a little bit... I'd purchased mini springform pans a while back, so I started with those. Unfortunately, I couldn't get all of the batter into them (and I over-filled them as it was, because they rose a little too high and cracked in the end anyway). From there, I went to the cupcake pans.

Over-all, the cheesecakes came out VERY tasty. And best of all, we didn't feel like we needed to plow through an entire cheesecake this past week. Instead, I could keep the smaller versions in tupperware in the fridge, and we have been sporadically enjoying them in the evenings for dessert.

I probably could have counted the peanut butter cheesecakes as my new recipe for the weekend, but I have made other kinds of cheesecake in the past, so I wanted to find something else, too. Naturally, I decided to make home-made, fresh french fries to go with our ultimate burgers! They were delicious, double fried french fries. They turned out better than I could have guessed, so I was happy that we tried this recipe!

The burger consisted of a lean beef patty, white american cheese, BBQ pulled pork, hickory smoked bacon and a fried egg. Between this amazing sandwich, the fresh fries and cheesecake dessert, it was definitely a fantastic Birthday dinner!