Obstacles ahead…Eeek!

Just a quick preview of my Warrior Dash adventure today.

I was nervous in the beginning…

With good reason…these are my clothes after…

It was a great day!  Stay tuned for a more detailed account, I’m a little worn out tonight…

I survived Warrior Dash 2011…


It’s a Running Month

Ok…if you read my last post, then you know I was pretty discouraged by my lack of progress on my 40X40 list this month.  I am happy to report…I can check something off!!

ALMOST checked off #4~Warrior Dash is happening October 30th!  Got the waterproof camera squared away today so hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to post next week.

CHECKED OFF~#19 for this year

I participated in my first 5k run EVER in April 2010.  It was a new fundraiser put on by a new committee that my sister was helping get established, called NextGen…so the best way I could help support the event was to run in it.  I joined a gym and ran on the treadmill 2-3 times for about 3 weeks before the run.  I was the 46th person to cross the finish line with a time of 33:43.  My goal was to improve my time…and while the event got delayed until October 2011~it still happened and I was the 36th person to come in with a time of 32:56.  I improved and that was my goal~~Accomplished!

NOW~the reality of what I initially felt about how I did was completely different.  I was disappointed that I didn’t reach my “secret” goal of completing this extremely hilly but beautiful sunset run in under 32 minutes.  In 18 months; with a year of Bootcamp under my belt and getting first place in my age group for my last 2 runs (I’ll get to those in a second), I thought I’d do better then I did.  Goal for next year~Focus and Run the best I can~no excuses!  Next year I’ll continue to improve my time on the NextGen Twilight 5k!…I’ll make it under 32 minutes…just watch me!

OH…the other two races I mentioned:

Kenwood Footrace 2k was July 4th and I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was first in my age group and I had improved my time by 3 minutes.

I did the The Carousel Fund Run on October 9th, for the first time.  This run has fallen on the same weekend as The Relay for Life event that I do in honor of my Mom and in memory of my Dad.  But this year the run was 3 weeks later then usual and I was able to participate.  Flat and Fast!  That’s what my friend told me about this race, and it was.  I finished this 5k in 26:54…my best time EVER!  It wasn’t until a week later that I found out I was first in my age group for this run too!  I was very excited.

AND for future races…like the Warrior Dash coming up in 4 days, I will focus and persevere!  I’ll be happy at the end of the race knowing that I did my best.

CHECKED OFF~#25 for October

I shopped locally…well, kind of.  I was in Colusa, helping my husband get our trailer set up for duck hunting season…oh, and it was our 11-year Anniversary, so we HAD to be together that Saturday. (hee hee~ok, I followed him around all day)  We stopped at Barb’s Produce Stand and bought some wonderful fresh fruit.

The woman who helped us (Maybe it was Barb?) was so pleasant and informative about all the varieties of fruit.  I will definitely return to this local Colusa gem anytime I’m in the area.

PROGRESS on #14~~Stay posted…this deserves it’s own post!

I started writing on this and found it was over 1/2 this entry…so to give justice to passion, I’m giving #14 a post all it’s own.


I’ve been so busy this month with so many things that I haven’t been able to get out to any parks or do any baking (very sad face with frown).  I’ve been slowly reading Emma by Jane Austen and end up falling asleep after a few pages.  I decided that I’d buy/load as many of the books as I could onto my Kindle.  After looking up many of the books and realizing that it’d be quite the investment to buy all 40 of them, I knew I had to figure out something else.  Borrowing maybe?…but then there’s the obligation to get through the book quickly to return it.  What if I lose it?  I’m then stuck buying a replacement.  Here’s a random thought~go to the library!  I have the great luck of living and working in different towns that both have large libraries.  Within Sonoma County there are more libraries then I knew about…how did I not know this?…yeah, logically every City has one.

I haven’t had a library card since…at least Junior High.  Tomorrow I’m going to get a new library card and then I can set up an online account and reserve books.  I can add every title to my “wish list” and check status of when they are available.  All of this…for FREE!  OK~if I return it late or lose it…that costs, but you can even renew/extend online.  This is fantastic for me.

Before the end of this month, I’ll have a new library card and an online “wish list” that is close to 40 books long!  I even plan to check out a couple books and bust through reading them in my free time next week.


I think of a random act of kindness as something I don’t usually do or want to do…but I do it–to make another person have an easier day.  But how significant does the act of kindness have to be to count?

Does letting someone pull out in front of you count?  After you’ve watched 5 other cars ignore them.

Does it have to involve money?  Paying the toll for the person behind you…giving money to a homeless person.

Does extra effort and/or time for your friends/families goals count?  Shouldn’t that effort just be included in being friends/family?

Ultimately, I know it’s my perception of what I think counts, but what do YOU think constitutes a Random Act of Kindness?

Be Your Adventure!!

Obligations of October

It’s October, what?!?…Wait, are you sure?!?…Where did this week go?…actually, where did this month go?!?

Last night I realized I was so far behind on my monthly goals.  I couldn’t believe it.<head shaking>  I’m usually a good planner with all my lists to check off and follow.  What could have possibly happened that I couldn’t check off a single item from my 40X40 list or the peripheral lists?

I pulled out my calendar and took a look to see what was dominating my time this month…oh gosh, I know what’s going on…I’ve been feeling like crap!  I had ovarian cysts and endometriosis removed in January of 2010.  Seems they got the wrong impression~they weren’t welcome to return.  Kicked out for life…but both are back and hanging in strong.  The last 3 weeks have been filled with 5 visits to Kaiser and an additional outside appointment for a 2nd opinion.  In between the visits have been at least a couple dozen emails and calls; for records, following up on tests, asking questions, and eventually scheduling another surgery. Phew!  Can we please be done now?!?

While I’ve been uncomfortable and physically exhausted, I’ve been trying to be mentally strong and push the body to keep healthy.  This month I have 10 indoor soccer games scheduled, which I’m making it to 8 ½ of the games.  I have three 5k races I’m registered for—one down and two to go.  I’m trying to make it to 5:30am bootcamp at least 3 mornings a week, but this is proving difficult because I’m the most uncomfortable late at night, thus causing me not to sleep good, so I’m exhausted in the morning.

Then there’s actual fun stuff happening this month…6 birthdays, my 11 year Anniversary, opening of duck hunting, a wrap up meeting, an orientation meeting, a fundraiser, a gold party, and a Willow House home party.  Oh, also a dentist appointment but that doesn’t fall under fun…in anyway!  It’s a busy month!

While I haven’t completed anything on my lists YET, I’ve been taking care of a lot of “other” stuff this month.  So that I don’t overwhelm myself, I decided to push off many of the items that I try to keep up with monthly~sorry recipes, parks, and books.  I’ll catch up during the next few months…that’s my plan.

After my long complicated excuse for my lack of progress…here is where I’m at on some of the 40X40 items.

Item #4  Do Warrior Dash~I’m registered and doing it on October 30th.

Ok~guess I’ll be able to check this one off this month, barely!

Item #7  Make every recipe in the Grand Central cookbook~I’ve got 2 recipes ready to be baked this evening…if I have enough time!

Item #9  Learn to fuse glass~bought a Living Social deal that expires in March, so this will happen soon.

Item #13  Go duck hunting once~Well, season opens this weekend so I’ll be checking this off in the next couple of months.  As soon as I buy that duck stamp…I better get on that!

Item #17  Do 8 classes of Hot Yoga~I bought a Groupon that expires in January…I’ll be starting this very soon!!

Item #19  Improve my 5k mile pace~I’m basing this on the NextGen Twilight run and the 2nd Annual is tomorrow (10/21/11).  Hoping I can improve from my time last year of 33:43!  OH…a second item to check off this month!!  Yeah!!

Item #25  Shop at local produce stand or Farmer’s market~I bought some beautiful fruit from Barb’s Fruit Stand while I was in Colusa last weekend.  Drove right by all the fruit trees and to the storage barn and picked out my fruit and was on my way.  CHECK!!

Item #28  Start a blog and maintain it weekly for 3 months~Ok, I’ve been doing this and this blog makes it for me this week…Phew!!  CHECK!!

Item #30  Take a 8 class session of dancing~Bought a groupon for this too!  Expires in March so this will be another item happening soon.

AND…that’s my progress for October.  Not what I’d like it to be, but progress is progress!!

Wish List Baking

While working on my 40×40 list Items #7 and #27, I became aware that I had a list (of course) of some basic items that I wanted to make again and master them.

I’ve made a variation of each of the items. Some with great success and some with mediocre results. I’m looking forward to mastering these fabulous items.

~Creme’ Anglaise



~Caramel Sauce

~Candied peel (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit)

~Candied Nuts (any kind)

~Brown Butter

~Chocolate Bread Pudding

~Candied fruit (Cherries)

~Something with Mexican Chocolate

~Anything with Lavender in it! (I’ve done ice cream…maybe next is a cake or cupcakes)

~Black Forest Cupcakes

~Whoopie Pie

~Bavarian Cream

~Pain Perdu

~Creme Brulee’

~Parisian Macarons

~Tiramisu with all elements from scratch


~Croquembouche (ok, I haven’t made this one but I really want to)

And…anything coffee flavored! That’s it for now!

Desserts~the condensed version

Instead of doing individual posts on the desserts from the last couple of weeks, I’m condensing them all into one.

I’ve made seven desserts and the thought of doing seven posts was starting to be a little overwhelming so I’m doing the short version here.

I did my two recipes out the Grand Central cookbook and got rave reviews.

Raspberry Crumble Tart

This tart was a special request from my husband.  It was so delicious that he requested that I make it again for a BBQ we were attending.

For the BBQ, I thought I’d try the recipe with Blackberries as well.

I also knew I should bring something chocolate.  I’m not a chocolate lover but I do appreciate the right blend of chocolate with coffee.  I made a Chocolate Flourless cake and a second cake with espresso mixed in.  The recipe for this cake came from my time spent at the Santa Rosa Junior College Baking/Pastry culinary program.

The other dessert I did out of the Grand Central cookbook was a Cherry Clafouti.

This simple recipe is super fast and I’ve made it various times with rave reviews.  This was my first time using cherries, but it stood up to the critics as well.

The batter for this recipe is done in the blender.  After soaking your fruit in brandy or your favorite spirit, dump the ingredients into the blender for a quick whirl and pour into a pie plate.  I then place the fruit into the batter and bake it.

I usually soak the fruit overnight but a couple hours works fine too.  Other times I have left out the alcohol all together.  It’s really your preference.

I’ve used blackberries, raspberries, and also mixture of berries in the past.  Even using frozen cherries, I loved the way this clafouti turned out.  I’d definitely make this version again.  Such a great recipe for the last minute dessert!

The last dessert was one of my favorites.  Berry Tart with Vanilla pastry cream with a Sablee’ crust painted with dark chocolate.  This was for my close friend’s birthday.

AND…I’m spent! ha ha! Oh, in case you were counting~I made the Raspberry Crumble Tart twice…that’d make seven!

Raspberry Crumble Tart

Cherry Clafouti

Raspberry Crumble Tart

Blackberry Crumble Tart

Chocolate Flourless Cake

Espresso Chocolate Flourless Cake

and the very special Berry Birthday Tart!

Sponsoring a Wild Child

This woman inspires me!…so I sponsored her!

After reading her 40 list and getting encouragement from her, here I am with my own 40×40 list AND I’m doing this blog.

Beki is working towards running her first Full Marathon in March.  Amazing!  AND she’s also training for Vineman 70.3 in July.  Even more amazing!

Beki’s blog, Wild Child Gone Good,  follows her training progress and she also shares about her life…the good and the bad.

I’m so proud to be the sponsor for the very 1st  mile of her 1st Full Marathon!  I want her to start out the 26.2 mile challenge knowing she’s got so much support.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham


Beki & I ~ Relay 2010

Sneak Peak of what you have to look forward to….

OK…Last weekend was a fun and crazy time.  Many things are going on around here that all deserve the best of my baking abilities.

We had a fancy BBQ to attend~~My husband is cooking up a couple of legs of lamb, a 17 lb. Prime Rib, and Shrimp skewers.  He also enlisted me to make a few desserts.  I was so hesitant…ha ha, that I jumped up and grabbed my 5 favorite cookbooks for him to choose recipes from.  Is four desserts too many?!

We also had my Mother-in-law returning home from the hospital after having a serious surgery.  This, of course, deserved a special dessert for her.  The hardest part~~deciding which dessert deserves the honor!

Then there is the birthday of one of my closest friends.  I’ll call her…Dawn, for the purpose of this post.  Dawn is a fantastic baker and I felt the pressure to make the perfect dessert.

I’ve thankfully remembered to take pictures of everything, but here’s the list of baked goodness that I’ll be posting about through the next week:

40×40 List, Item #7

Cherry Clafouti from the Grand Central Baking

Raspberry Crumble Tart from the Grand Central Baking (ok~I made this twice in the last 2 weeks~it might be yummy)

Blackberry Crumble Tart~modified from the Raspberry above.

40×40 List, Item #27

I added my Culinary recipe binder from the Pastry Chef program at the Santa Rosa Junior College to my cookbook list…

Chocolate Flourless cake

Coffee & Chocolate Flourless cake

Mixed Berry Tart with Vanilla pastry cream, Sablee’ crust with a thin layer of dark chocolate painted on.


40×40 List, Item#2

The decision has been made and 2012 dates are tentatively picked out.  Yikes!  But I can’t quite share which Country yet…you’ll have to patiently await my post…ha ha.

As for the entire list…I’ll be planning out my month of October and I’ll post an update of the progress.

OH…and I also have something fantastic to share…I sponsored someone and I’ll be sharing those details soon too!!

Busy week…Remember to Breath…Inspire yourself!