Friday, December 30, 2011

I'll give it a try...

As you may notice a new background and banner on my blog, I also have a new listing on the left hand side. Taking some inspiration from friends who completed the 101 in 1001 or the 3 in 30 challenges, I thought I'd create a 101 in 505 challenge for myself. You may have heard of the Day Zero project. It is actually a pretty cool concept with so many other people doing it. You can get lots of ideas here.

The 101 in 505 challenge for me are goals, trips, things I want to try to do in the next 505 days starting on January 1, 2012. Why 505 days you ask? It is a little over a year and three months, and I guess I would like to accomplish a few things before another life changing event happens for us. I gave myself a little cushion with three extra months, but I'd really like to accomplish most of these in a year. They are not far-fetched goals like traveling to Europe (which would be nice again!) but things I have to stretch a little bit for but are doable. Many of them are tied to doing something with or for friends I do not see or talk to often, so that is another bit of inspiration to accomplish them. I hope you'll keep me accountable by reading my blog (top thing to do on the list!) or ask me how it is going.

Cheers to a fabulous New Year for you all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just a little tasty goodness to share...

Over the weekend, I attended two Christmas parties of great friends. The first as a fun appetizer party that my friend Jodie and her husband, Lee, hosted. My best gal pal in St. Joe, Robin, gladly attended since my husband-who-seems-to-not-exist had to work. (Yes, Todd really is my husband. We are married. He does exist. Just putting that out there that the poor fellow works nights so we never see each other.) We then went to one of our favorite hang out spots, Foster's, and had a few drinks before calling it a night.

The next evening I spent with good friends, Christina and Paul, and we had a traditional Christmas dinner followed by an outrageous game called Quelf. I made the cheesy corn casserole that is famous at Jack Stack BBQ in KC. I thought I'd share the super easy, but super cheesy and divine recipe:

Cheesy Corn Casserole
  • tablespoons butter
  • 6 slices of chopped bacon (or you can use the ready-made kind for salads)
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic  (add more if you're like me and LOVE garlic)
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of Velveeta
  • 1/2 package of cream cheese, cubed
  • 3  packages frozen sweet corn, thawed

    I have also done this recipe with the paired down "fat" versions, so I've used "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" baking sticks, reduced fat cream cheese, skim milk, etc., and most people cannot taste the difference.


  • Make a simple roux by melting the butter and bacon together over medium heat; Stir in flour and garlic powder.
  • Whisk in milk over medium heat.
  • Heat until thick and bubbly; stir in cream cheese/cheeses. Stir over low heat until cheeses melt.
  • Pour cheese mixture over corn in 9x13 pan.
  • Bake in 9x13 casserole pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Photo courtesy of Jack Stack Barbecue

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beyond excited...

Eeekkkk! She announced the cover of her new cookbook and though Ree, the Pioneer Woman, says it won't be out for a while I am going to just enjoy the blog post she posted today!

The cover of her newest cookbook!
Photos courtesy of: The Pioneer Woman
I have made just about everything from her first cookbook. I love her blog, watched her mini series on The Food Network, and yes, have already DVR'ed the Christmas Special she has coming this Saturday. I am a teensy bit in love with her style, humor and life on the ranch.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It was worth it...

My final race for 2011 at the Liberty Turkey Trot 5K

Last night, I decided a week and a half off from exercising was starting to take its toll on how I was feeling and obviously eating! I went for a 2 mile run around 5:30 pm last night. It was cold, like 25 degrees cold. I bundled up and headed out just as the last glimmers of the sunset were disappearing from the horizon. It was gorgeous! I wish I had more stamina from the cold to run a full 3 miles, but I hope that comes with time in running in below freezing temperature weather. I reminded myself while I was running that I have not posted my HUGE accomplishment (at least for me anyway) for 2011. I have been waiting for this day, or blog post rather, for quite some time.

I set a goal back in March to train for the Apple Blossom 5K. It was a mere selfish reason really; I wanted to prove I could do it and pay one less entry fee for the Junior League that I would have if I had not run. I asked my friend, Hannah, to join me. It was my second 5K that I did after the laughable effort I made in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving 2010. This race really was no different. I was quite upset with myself since I downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my iPhone and began "training" in the middle of March. I gave myself a good eight weeks as they said it takes to finish the program. Maybe I'm just not an athlete or maybe I give up a little too easily, but I had to walk in that first 5K in May. I was so mad, but it was so hard. I really have respect for people who run long distances all the time. I hope one day I am one of those people who can say I finished a half marathon. My body hurt so bad during this "training". But I finished in a little over 33 minutes for the Apple Blossom 5K. Then Hannah and I did something I never thought I'd find myself doing...we set a goal to do a 5K each month until my wedding in October or a total of five races.

At that moment I thought I better get serious about this "no walking" business if I am not going to embarrass myself at every race. In June we did a 5K at the Legends in KC in honor of meningitis. My brother ran that one with me, which you can read more about here and why it was such a special race. I have found that it is easier to finish a 5K with no walking when you have a running buddy who will stick by you no matter how slow you go. It makes it a little more fun and a lot more enjoyable to get through.

I then did two 5Ks in July. Running in July, especially this summer, was miserable. Knowing myself I would have to put on my sneakers and the least amount of clothing to not scare people and run at 5 pm when I got home from work as I knew I would not otherwise do it or find something else to do and make an excuse for why I didn't run that day. I will say that is the worst time of the day to be outside as it is usually the hottest. It felt good to sweat it all out some days, other days I just felt disgusting and could not breathe as it was so muggy and humid. Of course, it does not help that you have no air conditioning in your home so your own solace is the air conditioning in your car. Yep, I did that a time or two to cool off. How sad, right? The other thing about running was I felt so obligated to keep doing it as I was scared I would lose all the hard work I had been working on for stamina. There was not a week I did not run at least three times. It took away a lot of my time I would have spent on my horse, Tigger, but I had a goal. I'm hoping once life slows down after grad school and I don't feel as guilty to get a minimum of three runs in, I can actually get back on him.

August was no different with the heat, but it was unseasonably cool for the Race for the Cure in Kansas City. Again, I ran with a buddy, my gal pal Mallory. She has completed marathons and I have always thought of her as an exceptional athlete, so it meant a lot to me she would sign up to do the race. You can read more about that race here.

In September I ran two more 5Ks. I have to make mention of how much I love small town races. They are usually pretty well organized, but it feels good sometimes to not have so many people so you have a higher chance of winning a medal, if they give medals. During the course of my runs this year, I received two medals for my age group! How awesome is that?! I am such a slow person, so it felt so good to actually hold that medal in my hand and say job well done.

In October, Hannah and I had plans to run a race on the 9th, but due to illness we had to cancel. So that leaves me with 7 races completed before my wedding day. Our goal was 5. I felt that was an accomplishment. With the added Turkey Trot in Liberty on Thanksgiving, I finished a total of 9 races in exactly a year. Here is a breakdown for all you stats people:

Average pace per mile: 11:03 minutes/mile
Average overall race time: 32:50
Total miles ran in races: 27 miles in 9 races
Total miles ran in training: 207 miles over 8 months
Total calories burned: 24,885 calories or 7.11 lbs

I feel proud and even more excited to see what 2012 brings for my fitness goals. My goal is two 10Ks and a race per month from March through November. Wish me luck as I take on even more training, which I'm sure will about kill me, but it's so worth being healthy for.