Sunday, October 24, 2010

And A Visitor Arrives!

Another exciting weekend in the Bean Town, as we had a visitor! My mom came out for her first visit since I moved out here after my Business Man and I got married. We had a full weekend planned, and got right to it when she arrived late Friday afternoon.


We took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and went for a walk when she got here. She desperately needed to stretch her legs after being cooped up in a car for 6+ hours, and I can never turn down a walk through the beautiful leaves.


Then, my Business Man got home from work, and we took my mom on a driving tour of the Bean Town. We showed her all our favorite places, and some of the historic sites as well. I might just have to do a "driving tour" for the blog sometime. 

After working up an appetite, we grabbed dinner from Beer Barrel Pizza, which is literally 0.2 miles from our apartment. And, it's the best pizza around, in my opinion. We order an "EBA" (everything but anchovies) and a Greek salad to go and enjoyed it in the comfort of our apartment so we could visit more easily.

It looked a lot like this! (I grabbed this image from their website, haha...)
Beer Barrel is a must-go if you ever are visiting the Bean Town. It's just so good! And convenient, too...


Saturday morning, I enjoyed a quick run while my Business Man and mom got up and ready. We enjoyed some Ray's donuts, including the beloved blueberry and a seasonal pumpkin flavor. The pumpkin was my fav of the day. 


While my Business Man took care of a few things at the office, Mama and I hit up a craft bazaar at a local church. Definitely put me in the Christmas mood! I cannot wait for Christmas music and cookies and lights and hot cocoa... goodness I just love this time of year. I'm already thinking ahead to what I'm going to put in my cookie tins this year. My Business Man thinks I'm crazy.


Anyways, I came home with a new Christmas wreath, courtesy of mi madre. She walked away with a few goodies as well, which is never a bad thing! My parents' home is going to be on the Historical Christmas Tour in our hometown this year, so she needs to make sure that she's prepared! (Any excuse for more 'Christmas crap', as my dad calls it...)


After the busy morning, we headed up to Toledo to watch my XC team compete in their final race of the season. On the way, we stopped at the Toledo Botanical Garden. Nothing compared to the Missouri Botanical Garden, but it was free of charge and a nice place to go walk around for an hour or two!

Mom and I on the bridge! A beautiful fall day.

There were swans and ducks everywhere! And with that, lots of little things you don't want to step in!


Loved these rows of trees. They were more yellow toward the other end, and so so pretty!

Neat-O sculpture. 
And the random life-size beehive in the middle of one of the gardens.

My favorite part of the fall foliage, MUMS!

Saturday night was pretty low-key, and then Sunday morning we made scones! When my Business Man and I honeymooned to Michigan, we stayed at this wonderful B&B with the most delicious breakfast treats. Twice, we enjoyed their scones, and later found the recipe on their blog. They are super-simple, and super-yummy. 

Today, we made a dried cherry and chocolate chip version for my mom... she loved them!

Yum, yum, yum.

We have also made a blueberry version and apple-cinnamon-pecan. I can't wait to try cranberry-orange for Christmas!

And I will leave you with the recipe! Have a great week everyone.

These scones are light and flaky. A perfect breakfast treat, or a wonderful addition to a brunch buffet.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup dried fruit or chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 1 tbsp. white sugar, for sprinkling

Method

Preheat oven to 425*F. In bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Fold in dried fruit and/or chocolate chips. Combine cream with extracts, and add to flour mixture. Stir with a spatula until large clumps form. Using a squeezing motion with clean hands, press the dough into a ball until all the flour has been absorbed.

Place the dough onto a large cutting board or mat, and form into a one-inch thick disk. Cut into 6 wedges, and place on cookie sheet. With a pastry brush, coat scones with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425*F. Then, reduce heat to 350*F and bake an additional 10 minutes. There should be a crispy crust and a moist, light interior. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Football, Fire Safety, and Fall Festivities

This time of year just makes me so happy! I love when the seasons change from summer to fall, and the leaves turn colors, and the air gets crisp. There is nothing better than a beautiful afternoon run during the fall where you get to step on and crunch hundreds of leaves!


This past weekend was a busy one for me and my Business Man. This week was my school's Homecoming Week, so Friday night was spent at the tailgate and game afterward. It was neat how our school provided a tailgate for the community, free of charge! I have never seen that in a public school setting. Of course, donations of the food were made by teachers. I was more than happy to provide some Oreo cupcakes. (We also had these at our wedding this summer!) 

Sadly, I forgot to snap a pic... but just imagine a fluffy white cake filled with chunks of Oreo cookies. With an Oreo cookie on the bottom. And Oreo-infused frosting. Pardon me, while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

On Saturday, I headed out on an 11.5-mile run. (Side note: I am running a half-marathon in Indy on Nov. 6. This was recently decided. So I have been trying to cram in long runs like crazy!) It was a beautiful morning for a run; I ran down the Riverwalk trail here in the Bean Town around the lake down by my school and back.

At one point, there was a little kid who started running after me. I was a little weirded out, but he just wanted to know how far I had run. He then proceeded to ask me about 20 questions, until I was finally able to go on my way. Kids are so funny! "Why are you listening to music? Doesn't that distract you from running?" Duh! That's the point. Haha...

While I was busy running, my Business Man was busy setting up at the Bean Town's 1st Annual Fire Safety Day. There was a big set-up at the mall parking lot, with lots of booths, a fire truck for the kids to ride in, and even the Neigh Bear paid a visit! Oh, and free hot dogs!



My Business Man with the Neigh Bear! (He has actually worn this costume on previous occasions... )
His tent, complete with candy, coloring books, and fire hats for the kids!
I stopped at the Fire Safety Day for a little bit, but didn't partake in the free hot dog action. Just wasn't feeling it too much. I did, however, partake in the free fire hats!


After the big Fire Safety Day, we high-tailed it up to Michigan for one of my best friend's baby's 1st Birthday Party! I had the privilege of providing cakes for the event. I was very excited to bake. (When am I not excited to bake?)

I made a pumpkin-flavored pumpkin-shaped cake. 

Yummy, yummy, with cream cheese icing!
I also made chocolate-chocolate chip cupcakes, frosted to look like candy corn.



They were tasty, but lots and lots of frosting! A little too much, in my opinion. But you can't really get the effect of candy corn without lots of frosting. I actually used 2 recipes worth of frosting, and didn't even get to frost the whole batch.


Cupcakes, pre-frosting. Don't I keep a tidy kitchen? Makin' mom proud...
Frosting, all lined up and ready to go.



The cupcakes were well-received. Surprisingly, though, the pumpkin cake was even more of a hit! I guess it's the season after all. I had actually talked with my BFF about which type of cake to make, and we both wanted pumpkin, but decided we better have a chocolate-option too for those people who are leery of pumpkin-y desserts.

It was also so great to catch up with Kristi and her sweet babe. Too bad I left my running shoes at home! We had great plans of a good run Sunday morning, but had to settle for a long walk instead. 

And when we got back from our walk, my Business Man had prepared us a lovely breakfast of pumpkin pancakes! Ok... maybe he just helped us look up the recipe when we got back, but still very helpful! Honestly though, the best pumpkin pancakes ever. Except we doubled the amount of pumpkin we put in. Recipe can be found here

We didn't make the nutmeg whipped cream either. Just served with warm maple syrup. Next time, I would include pecans in some way, shape, or form. Pecans and pumpkin are just made for each other. (And now I begin to wonder... what about a pumpkin-pecan pie?? That might just be too good to be true.)

And I shall close with a picture of myself with the birthday girl. Isn't she precious? So happy and smiley! With a classy just-woke-up-from-a-nap faux-hawk.


Peace out, yo!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Where oh where did September go?!?

Wow... how the time flies! It has been over 6 weeks since I've last posted!


The beginning of the school year has brought a sudden wave of busy-ness to my life... imagine that.


Like I said in my last post, I am now an official math teacher for Bean Town Senior High. I teach Geometry and Algebra 2. The first 6 weeks of school have been a whirlwind, as I adjust to the life of a full-time teacher. 40+ hour weeks, plus hours outside school planning?? Crazy!


I have also been helping out with the cross country team, which is a lot of fun. The team is small, but the kids have passion for the sport. Plus, it's fun to hang around with runners and have some people to run with once in awhile! There's only about 3 weeks left to the season... hard to believe.


I think I will just give a couple snapshots of what's been going on... too much has happened to go into super-details!


One weekend, the Fab Four (some of my girlfriends from college) and I met up at my parents' in IL. Michelle and Jen raced at ISU in Bloomington, and Talen came down from the Quad Cities, so it would have been a crime if I didn't meet them for the weekend! It was the first time we were all together since my wedding.


We had a lot of fun, just catching up on life. On Saturday morning, we ran the Pumpkin Fest 10km. Well, I was the only one who signed up for the race, the others just happened to be going for a 6-mile run at the same exact time and same exact route. After the race we proceeded to stuff ourselves silly with pumpkin pancakes and sausage. 




Pardon my sweat. I wasn't going to "race" it, just run it easy with the rest of them. Ha, like that happened. If I pay $20 for a race, I'm gonna race it! (Well, I guess my mom paid the race entry fee... my mom's the best!)


We then spent the day shopping, movie-going, and eating some more. Ha ha. It was a great weekend... I miss these girls so much!
Of course, there was much playing with my mom's puppy Maggie, too!
Isn't she precious?
Other noteable things in September...


Ben's family came to visit when they took his brother to college. (Gosh, that was actually August! I'm so behind!) In honor of their visit, I baked chocolate chip cookies. AND, I discovered the absolute best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I will post it later, I promise.






Another visitor we had was Ben's BFF from college Adam. No pictures from that weekend, but it was loads of fun. The boys enjoyed cheering me on at a 5km race, in which I got lost and ran an extra 0.3 miles. Whoops. They accompanied me to the high school cross country meet as well. We tried a new restaurant, Lazeza, but were not too impressed. A positive thing from the weekend were some homemade apple cinnamon scones... I should probably post that recipe, too.


We've tried a few new other restaurants in town... including Thai Jasmine. From the outside, it looks like a po-dunk shady place you'd never set foot in. But inside, it's beautiful! And delicious. We went with some of my friends from school/work. (I never know which to call it!) I shared Pineapple Chicken with Cashews with another teacher. A delicious 2nd experience ever eating Thai food. (The first time being about 3 years ago with a friend in Chicago.)


We have also tried Mark Pi's China Gate, which was delicious as well. I guess we're all about the ethnic foods this month. (What's next, German? I don't think that's a choice in the Bean Town...)


Anyways, that's the bare bones of what's been going on lately. I hope to resume posting more frequently! I enjoy blogging, and I think it's neat to be able to look back and see what we've been up to. 


Until next time... Desperate Housewives is calling me!

 
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