Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Party

Tom, our host, the Fly.

The Fly attacks Darrah. :-)

Casey, impressive as Bam-Bam, and me as Spooky Lady.

Banana-man, the Fly, Geisha, and a dog named Poo-poo. (No joke)

And the rest, sans costumes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More pictures from Casey's 1/2 IronmanTriathalon

Coming out of the water at full speed.

Bad-boy on the bike!

Running strong!

Subtract 23 minutes from the clock. His age group was one of the last waves to start.

Smile! It's done. I'm so proud of him. :-)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pumpkin Cherry Bakery-Style Muffins

These are based on Cook's Illustrated Best blueberry muffins, but ended up having the butter content of their Light muffins. I've been craving pumpkin, so I substituted some of the butter and yogurt for pumpkin puree and modified the spices. They rose nicely and had that fabulous tender interior and firm exterior that you expect from "Bakery Style" muffins. Plus, the cherries plumped up and were a huge flavor burst. (I don't know if the plumpness came from being in the fridge over-night, though). But to avoid any worries about it, you could easily use chocolate chips instead. ;-)

Pumpkin Cherry Bakery-Style Muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice

4 tbsp unsalted butter, soft
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain low fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup dried cherries (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl.
Cream together butter, pumpkin and sugar in a large bowl, adding eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternate yogurt and flour into butter mixture, ending with the flour and working in 2 or three additions. Stir in cherries (or chocolate chips).

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling them slightly higher than the top and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 large muffins.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The State Fair!

We love the Fair. It's more than just Big Tex and fried foods.
-800 lbs of butter turned into a giant statue of King Tut. I know you're impressed.
-A petting zoo. Come on. You want to pet the zebus. And the baby goats (so soft), tortoise, baby pig (I got to see them was cute!), camels (very soft necks), emus (one tried to eat dad's shirt), baby and adult ostriches (adults softer than babies), 4-horned sheep (looked like the devil), mini donkeys, llamas and various other docile fuzzies.
-See incredibly varied breeds of chickens, turkeys (one really looked like the ones we used to color in kindergarten), and prize-winning goats and cows. And the world's fattest pig. 1300 lbs. All he ever does is lay there. It's a little depressing.
-All kinds of exhibits and shows. We saw dancing dogs (two of which were really good.) And a cooking show where we got lobster tail paella, key-lime pie and $20 gift certificates afterward. And other various freebies and samples.
-Some very interesting people watching, especially on the Midway. It was an incredibly crowded sensory overload. But, in a good way. Rides, games, and lots of teenagers in funny outfits, but I think they didn't mean it that way.
-And of course, the tasty goodies: cotton candy, Belgian waffles, chicken-fried bacon (okay, I didn't try any...but I did have to see it).

I also saw some very scary tattoos. The girl that tattooed "Jessica" across her thigh, if you're reading this, I want you to know that you are not sending the sophisicated message you intended. You scare me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

7 Fillings, 2 Crowns

Yes, I was at the dentist for 3 1/2 hours and received the above dental work. It was not really painful...but that much drilling is never pleasant. Nor is trying to eat oatmeal without any feeling in your tongue.

Moral of this story? Get regular teeth cleanings. Don't procrastinate. Bad juju.

Monday, October 6, 2008


When I saw another recipe for No Knead Bread from the New York Times, but this time, faster, I had to try: Speedy No Knead Bread. Yes, ha! Bread in 5 hours or so. Excellent.

I love the fact that yeast is alive and growing and bubbling in my bread. Mostly, because I know it's working...but still it's cool.

And the final product:

Does that count as making dinner? Because I don't think it's going to make the night. We love us some fresh, crusty bread.

Longhorn Half Ironman Triathlon

So, we went to Austin this weekend so Casey could compete in the Longhorn Half Ironman Triathlon. Of course, Bevo was in attendance. He did not do the tri, though. Not a step. Lazy cow.
Casey did great though. It was a hilly, windy course, and he beat his previous time by more than 30 minutes! 5 hours 27 minutes. Wow. He's trained really hard and it paid off. I was really shocked to see him coming across the finish line so early!

Friday and Saturday were very fun and restful. Casey had a doctor's appointment, so I cruised around Austin's Central Market. It was so fun. I loved taking time to look at all the different foods. Some people enjoy watching sports; I enjoy looking at food. I loved the Halloween candy...the holidays are fun! Plus, Austin people are decidedly different and you could feel the wacky, earthiness. Old ladies in cowboy hats. Rock on.

And we laid about, chatted, read, watched tv. It was great.
Except when Casey smushed my banana. I don't remember what I did that he would smoosh my banana...but he did, and then had the gall to photograph me. Dweeb.

Also, while Casey did the swim and bike, I treked around the dusty, uninteresting area surrounding the race course trying to get in my 20 mile run. It stunk. I got the miles in...but there's only so many times that you can run past unceromoniously dumped trash while chugging up the million hills of Texas's beautiful (dusty mess) Hill Country. The drive home was pretty rough...the both of us, tired and sore. Thank goodess for the kolaches of West, Texas. And thank goodness for Cindy, Casey's mom. We stopped at her house to shower and relax a bit. That was really nice.

We're very happy to be back home and back with our puppies. They're still lazy, though.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Playing hooky

My students are at school...2nd period is about to start, but I'm not there. Surreal, strange, a little guilty. I must be there, they will not function without me there!

But they will. I'm in Austin. Casey has an half Ironman triathlon. I will post more details and pictures soon. I'm excited for him. This is his third race of this length and he's been training a lot and gotten better/faster in all three categories. Plus, last time he was injured (but ran it anyway). He contributes his better running to running with me, since I an full out training for the marathon.

Yeah, somewhere in this weekend I have to get in a 20 mile run. That will be interesting. We're thinking the best time is during the race, while he's swimming or biking, to run the race's loop. That way, I can watch him start, and probably be done running by the time he starts running, and I can see him, hopefully, and cheer him on. It's quite a long race for him...he's hoping for 5:45-5:30 to complete the one mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13 mile run.

Running 20 miles sounds less crazy doesn't it?