Time For Some Much Needed Change....A Facelift Adventure!!





I'm only 37!! Not my face.....my bedroom needs a facelift!!!
This was my bedroom on Saturday morning............................The walls were chocolate brown and we have loved them for the last 5 years but I decided I was ready for change........ I wanted to brighten it up, make it look and feel bigger..........................

It is our master but it is not that large, 16 x 16, and the dark color, although cozy and warm, sometimes made it feel so dark and small. The furniture is all matchy, matchy from like 8-10 years ago ( which is not my style now) , but its still modern and in great shape and new furniture is not really in the budget, so this will really just be a face lift.... a little paint, linens, curtains....etc

Lets see what my little creative, budget friendly mind can cook up!!!


sneek peek:



That's all you get for now, but I will tell you that I painted the room Lowe's Valspar color Gravity ( a beautiful grey)- 28.87 per gallon Primer + Paint and there was a $5 rebate - needed 2 gallons, soooooo for about $50  it looks like a totally different room. I am loving it!

I just picked up my fabric ( $7 / yard - not too shabby) for my new curtains today and will be sewing  3 panels in the next few nights so u will get a better look at the progress in a few days!

I am really needing some artwork ideas....... I will need several pieces and one to tie the bathroom in with the bedroom so once you see the new room, I will post pics of the adjacent bathroom and I would love to hear your ideas.......More to come soon!!!

BTW, I made it to bootcamp 4 days last week and did 2 short runs!! I am trying so hard to stay in shape.......... but I soooooo love to eat.....anyone else have this problem????

Happy Running,

No Magic For Me! And My New Newton's!

So, girl's night out was fun, the sushi was awesome but Mike was not so magic for me.........

We only took one picture....I really need to get better at this. This was us before the show, I'm on the right, we look so happy.



All I can say is that my already marred view of Matthew McConaughey, only got worse. Every time he opened his mouth, I cringed, literally.......He was extra slimy in this movie, and although he was in shape and his body was pretty cut, he looked really old....EWWWWWWW!!!!

Channing Tatum, on the other hand, not only was he really in shape, but the boy could dance!! I mean, really dance, clothes on or off really didn't matter, he exuded all kinds of sexiness just in his dance moves!

There was really not alot of plot, the movie was pretty awful and definitely NOT worth almost $10 to see!! The worst part were all the grown women in the theatre acting like teenagers, whopping and hollering..... pure craziness!!

Have you been to see Magic Mike?? Let me know your thoughts!!

BTW, went to bootcamp on Saturday after a week of no exercising, the emphasis was biceps, triceps, chest, back and core.....I'll just say my arms and chest are so sore I'd like to cry and because of intermittant knee/IT band issues, I haven't run in almost 2 weeks, soooo I go back to bootcamp tonight and I'm gonna attempt a short run in the morning.

I just bought these shoes .......
Newton's Women's Neutral Gravity Trainer W00212


What Newton says: Newton Running's top-of-the-line neutral performance trainer is the ultimate shoe for Natural Running. Get a fast, flexible ride with greater energy return and less impact. The Gravity incorporates patented Action/Reaction Technology™ in both the forefoot and rearfoot. Extremely breathable and form-fitting upper. This shoe allows you to run naturally — faster with greater efficiency. Ideal for any distance.

I am supposed to ease into them and I have done a few short runs in them, but I find myself concentrating so hard on my stride and foot placement, instead of just running.......I have Vibrams that I am up to about 4 miles in, and the forefoot placement comes naturally in those....does anyone wear Newton's? If so, any tips for me??? I may end up sending them back if I can't get used to them!! I feel all kinds of awkward in them!


Happy Running,

She's Back............................

Hello, is anyone out there?? I think I hear crickets chirping.................

Yes, it's me. Busy Running Mama, and yes, it's been 1 year and 5 months since my last post! Really? How can that be?? I have been very busy, I have been running, I have been doing boot camp, I have been nuturing my children and watching them grow up to be a 4th grader and a 7th grader, I have been loving my hubby of almost 14 years, and I have not been blogging! Obviously!

I am going to be making a return to blogging and hopefully filling your screen with running recaps, crafty DIY projects, recipes and other fun things.

I first wanted to check in to see if I even have any followers......give me a shout out if you are still out there.....

 In a few hours I will be heading out for a GNO, to see the opening night premier of "Magic Mike". I think I am more excited about the sushi beforehand than the movie.......am I the only one??

I really do not like Mathhew McConaughey, I can't stand to hear him talk, he's just never done it for me, and Channing Tatum is okay, but he really doesn't do it for me either.........so I think I am going to the movie because it means a girl's night out and who can pass up a GNO??, I mean really??............... I think this puts me in some kind of rare group of women......thoughts? feelings??

I will let you know how it goes though!! Pictures of GNO coming soon!!!

Happy Running,

Holy Italian Sweetness.......

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

PANNA COTTA


Giada's Vanilla Panna Cotta


Ingredients:

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.





2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).



3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.

4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.

5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.
 
 
 
FLORENTINE COOKIES
 
 
 
 
Nestle Florentine Cookies: Recipe from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”, and their website.


Ingredients:

 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter 2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate



Directions:

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.

2. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of yourtablespoon, or use a spatula.


 
3. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

4. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).




5. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).

6. Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

This recipe will make about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).



AFTER EATING THE PANNA COTTA, I COULDN'T EVEN TRY THE COOKIES.EVERYTHING WAS SUPER SWEET....AND AFTER RUNNING 4.5 MILES TODAY...1 DESSERT WAS ENOUGH!

BOTH OF THESE RECIPES WERE EASY TO FOLLOW AND FAIRLY QUICK!





Happy Running,
TOBI

Don't remember how.....

I just pulled up my Google Reader for the first time in a month......"it said 1000+ posts"  Ummmmm, I guess it stops counting after 1000. I marked all as read and closed the window. I really want to know what is going on in all of your lives, but I don't have time, energy, motivation.......

Thought I should throw a post out there, almost didn't remember how......... to let you know I am still alive, but as usual, life is in full force and no time for blogging ( breathing or going to the bathroom for that matter).

I have run once in a month and I am coming to the realization that I don't necessarily love running anymore. It is hard now, after 2 surgeries,it makes me hurt, and I just can't devote the kind of time that I would like to it. I am still trying, and may eventually get back to it, but for now.....???? So if you are following me for the sole purpous of my blog being a "running" blog, I will not be offended if you "un" follow me........you will be missed, but I understand.......

Since my last post,

I got braces
Took my 2nd EA exam and I have the 3rd and final on Saturday so I have been studing like crazy!
Tax season started.......which means my next day off is April 23rd....... hence why there have been no posts!

That's all really!

Don't expect too many posts in the next 3 months and when I get back on April 23rd from tax hell....I will be changing things around here a bit.....probably less running and more of other things.....A different focus......

I'm not even sure yet....... Life's been handing me some lemons lately and I am trying to find a good lemonade recipe, but so far I still have extra lemons.........

The one thing I am sure of is my husband, who loves me more than life itself ( even when I am mean :0) and grumpy) and my beautiful boys ( they would hate to hear me call them beautiful)............ other than that, I am totally winging it and hoping for the best!

Chat at ya later!!!

Happy Running,

3 weeks....

 It's been three weeks since my last post and 3 weeks since my last run and 3 weeks since I've had a chance to breathe. I really need to get back into the swing of things, but no matter how hard I try, I always have a million things to do.....

So here is what's been going on:

1) One of my best friend's father, took his own life 2 weeks ago. I can not explain the feeling you get when you see your friends name on your cell phone ( she lives 8 hours away), you pick it up, and all you here is hysterical crying and no words......awful, trying to find out where she was and if she was oaky, such a scary feeling......I spent the entire week with her and her family, helping in any way that I could.......they have a such a close knit family and her parents were about to celebrate 40 wonderful years of marriage.....so extremely painful and sad, my heart is hurting for her so much.......

2) The same week, I was scheduled to take part 2 of 3 tests to get my EA ( Enrolled Agent) designation. These tests are 4 hours each and a really big deal! I was sooooooo stressed out trying to balance everything. But, the good news is,  I passed!! yay! 1 more to go!

3) Another stressful event that has been going on is that I discovered a lump in my neck about 8 weeks ago. I kept thinking it would go away and that it was just a swollen lymph node. So far, it is still there. I went in for blood work and a Cat scan with contrast, and both came back normal. Although that is great news, I am still concerned. I will be making an appointment with an ENT for a second opinion, even though my General practitioner says that there is nothing to worry about......

4) I have been shopping online, like crazy!! I have been shopping so much that when I received a big Target box on my doorstep yesterday, I had to stop and try to remember what I had ordered from Target. Well, I couldn't think of anything......hmmm, have I really been shopping so much that I can't remember what I bought........go ahead, judge, crazier things have happened around here............but, I opened the package, and it was a gift! Yay! I love surprises!! It is a cool popcorn popper ( which my hubby is in love with), that you can add butter and hot sauce and spices, etc........, from my BIL and SIL!! Suck a great surprise and I am happy that all the shopping hasn't made me crazy!!

5) Today, I hosted my first House Party. It was sponsored by Athenos Greek Yogurt..........
I made several fruit dips and a smoothie and then we all went on a walk and had some fun doing some Dance exercise on Exercise on Demand......here are some pics!








Lots of cool giveaways, coupons and girl time, but BTW, I HATE Greek yogurt!!
Everyone is always ranting and raving about Greek yogurt, but I just don't like it. I DO like that it is thicker and creamier than traditional yogurt but it has a bitterness that I just really don't like! Oh well!!!
Happy Running,

November Daring Bakers' Challenege

CROSTATA


The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.


This is my very first bakers' challenge. I absolutely love to cook and to bake. I heard about The Daring Kitchen blog and challenges and headed over to sign up!

I learned a few things......I make a mess in the kitchen when making dough.......and......I am a terrible food photographer...................so bear with me and watch me learn and grow through this monthly baking process.....

I used the pasta frolla Version 1 recipe below:


Equipment required:


bowls, as needed
fork
knife
bench (or pastry) scraper
rolling pin
pastry brush
9 or 9.5-inch [23-24 cm] fluted round tart pan with removable bottom, (I didn't have this so I improvised....note to self: add this to Christmas List)  about 1 inch [2.5 cm] high. (Note: If you don't have a tart pan with a removable bottom, don’t worry! You can make crostata using a 9-inch cake pan or even a 9-inch pie plate. See the Additional Information section for information on using different pans.
a food processor is useful, but not required


Version 1 of pasta frolla

Ingredients:
1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note 1) or a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar

1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour

a pinch of salt

1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

grated zest of half a lemon (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option, see Note 2)

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Note 1: Superfine sugar is often also referred to as ultrafine, baker’s sugar or caster sugar. It’s available in most supermarkets. If you cannot find “superfine” sugar, you can make your own by putting some regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and letting it run until the sugar is finely ground.

Note 2: There are different ways of making vanilla sugar. I keep vanilla beans in a jar half-filled with sugar until I need to use them, for example, to make vanilla ice cream. After I remove the split bean from the custard that will go into the ice cream maker, I rinse it, dry it and put it back in the jar with sugar.



Making pasta frolla by hand: (I did this)

Step 1: Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.

Step 2: Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.

( I grated the butter and stuck it in the freezer...it makes it much easier to cut in)


Step 3: Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).




Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.

Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.

Step 4: Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.

Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.





Making pasta frolla with a food processor:



Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix.

Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.

Empty food processor's bowl onto your work surface

See step 3 above and continue as explained in the following steps (minus the lemon zest, which you have already added).

While the dough was in the fridge for 2 hours..................................I made this.

This Cranberry jelly was a recipe I found over at the Pioneer Woman Blog...Please tell me you've been there, she is amazing!! An amazing cook and photographer and mother and wife!!!!

So first, I should learn to read the title of the recipe.....like this one says "sauce" , not preserves or jelly......you'll see why this is important later....but the recipe....amazing....and I put the leftovers in popsicle makers in the freezer for fresh cranberry pops later!!!!

Recipe: Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce


Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 12



Ingredients

1 bag (about 12 To 16 Oz) Fresh Cranberries

16 ounces, fluid Pomegranate Juice

¾ cups Sugar, More Or Less To Taste



Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mixture will thicken as it cooks, and will thicken more as it cools.

Cool in a jar or bowl in the fridge. Serve with Thanksgiving turkey, ........or not.

After sauce was made and in the fridge....................It was back to the pasta frolla.........

Assembling and baking the crostata di marmellata: ( this is what they call the Crostata when you put preserves or jelly in it )


1) Heat the oven to 375ºF [190ºC/gas mark 5].

2) Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away ¼ of the dough. Reserve this dough to     make the lattice top of the crostata. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base.

3) To help roll the crostata dough, keep the dough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the dough and can also help when transferring the dough to your pan. You can also use parchment paper for this. However, you can also roll the dough directly on a work surface if you prefer.
.....this did not work for me - the dough totally stuck to the plastic and I had to start all over!!...............

4) Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface (if you’re rolling directly on a work surface) with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.

5) If the dough is very firm, start by pressing the dough with the rolling pin from the middle to each end, moving the rolling pin by a pin's width each time; turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat; when it softens, start rolling.

6) Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.

7) If you used the plastic wrap or parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.

8) Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Press the remaining dough around the border into the sides of the pan making sure the border is an even thickness all the way around.

9) Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.





Take out of the fridge the reserved pasta frolla you had cut away earlier. Roll it with your pin and cut into strips or use cookie cutters to make small shapes (this is not traditional, but it looks cute); or roll with your hands into ropes.

Spread the jam or fruit preserves evenly over the bottom of the crostata.

....This is where my "sauce" was too runny........Crisis averted, I added Low Sugar Strawberry preserves into the sauce and filled the Crostata!!................It's like a triple berry delight......right??? Ugghhhhh...........


Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes. (Note: You can use dough scraps to make cookies: see the Additional Information section for some pointers)

Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs. You can add a drop or two of water to the beaten eggs if you don’t have enough liquid.



Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, check the tart and continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue. (Note: Every oven is different. In my oven it took 34 minutes to bake the tart until golden.)

When done, remove the tart from the oven and let cool. If you have used a tart pan with a removable bottom, then release the tart base from the fluted tart ring. Make sure the tart is completely cool before slicing and serving.




Not the most beautiful thing in the world, and because I didn't have a tart pan with a removable bottom and the filling was a bit "saucy", I couldn't slide it out of the pie pan.......So I stuck it in the fridge, the filling firmed up, and I served it chilled...............It was actually pretty yummy!!

Lessons Learned:

1) Bakers "challenge" is named that for a reason........It was definitely a challenge
2) The word "Sauce" most likely means it can be poured...If it can be poured, It will not substitute for a preserve or jelly....lesson learned.
3) Food photography is NOT easy.....all of you foodie bloggers out there....my hat goes off to you....you make it look easy....and it isn't....I will keep working and practicing....If you see random food photos on my blog..I apologize ahead of time!


Happy Running,

Hi, its me Tobi!

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