Saturday, July 30, 2011

Running, Picnics, & a Fish Boil!

Every year that we come to Door County, there are certain things we absolutely have to do. Yesterday we accomplished three of them!


My favorite thing to do running-wise is to run from our cabin down to Fish Creek, then run through the Peninsula State Park all the way to the lakeshore beach. It's a good 8.5 miles (all downhill), so I always coerce one of my sweet sweet family members to drive down and pick me up. Because, first of all, I'm not running 17 miles on vacation. That's just crazy. And to run 8.5 miles downhill and return and run 8.5 miles uphill? No thank you.


Beautiful lake in the morning.
So yesterday, I made the trek bright and early and ran down to the beach. I had some extra time before my mom was due to arrive, so I added on for a total of 10 miles. Perfect long run by the lake. 


I could run with this view all year long and never complain.
Second thing we did yesterday was a picnic lunch! We returned to the beach area for some essential laying out and wading in the water. And a picnic!


Getting ready to CHOW!
Have I mentioned the weather here is gorgeous? High of 85 with little to no humidity, which is amazing compared with what we have been experiencing in Ohio.



Business Man: "Sara... it's just a picnic. We don't need 203942 photos commemorating it."

And because it's vacation, we had to have lunch dessert. My Business Man & I stopped at this cute little pie shop for some 'fresh yesterday' slices. 


My dream is to have a cute bakery like this someday. Sigh.
That three berry pie was sooo good.
After a bit more time at the beach, we returned to our lodging for some laying out by the pool. 


I know, it's a rough life. Too bad my Business Man refused to be our cabana boy and refill our drinks.
The last must-do activity we partook in yesterday was the good ole' fashioned Door County Fish Boil.





It's kind of a Door County tradition. Various restaurants hold them, but the White Gull Inn is the best.





The fish boil man gets a big pot of water boiling. The same guy has been doing it for as long as I remember. Probably one of the coolest jobs ever. When the water is ready, fresh-caught white fish from Lake Michigan and red potatoes are placed in a wire basket, then lowered into the water. The only seasoning used is salt, and that's just to raise the specific gravity of the water. (Whatever that means? Thank you, Wikipedia.)


Best. Job. Ever.


Once the fish oils rise to the top of the pot, the fish boil man adds a small amount of kerosene to the flames, which causes a big fire-like thing to happen and the oils all boil over the top of the pot.


Whoooosh!
Then it's ready to eat! A couple of guys come out and lift the big wire baskets out using a long pole-looking thing.




They take the fish inside, then we all follow them to eat.


Bad lighting! But delicious food.
And then you pour clarified butter all over everything. Which cancels out all the healthiness of the fish, but whatever, we're on vacation. :-P They also gave us coleslaw and yummy sweet breads but those escaped the camera. Oh, and cherry pie & ice cream.


After the fish boil, we headed down to watch the sunset.




Nothing like a sunset on the shore.


Today we're off for some sailboating and S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G! Wheee!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Door County, the wonderful land of cherries and running

Okay, I might have added that last tidbit on that phrase. Definitely the land of cherries, but maybe only the land of running to me.


Car ride iced mocha... sporting the Door County tee. Lots of excitement.
My Business Man and I drove a little over halfway to Door County last night and spent the night in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This morning we made the final 4-hour trek up north!


My parents have a timeshare up here at Little Sweden in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. We've been coming up ever since I was a little girl, and I just love it here. My Business Man has been along in 2008 and 2009 (when we got engaged), and has also visited as a kid.


Valkommen!
At Little Sweden, we have a half-log cabin all to ourselves. Living room, dining room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. We could fit a lot of people here if we tried.


With a pull-out couch even! And cable TV! This is the life.

Dining room & kitchen.



My Business Man and I's room. Yup, we've got two beds. I guess if we get mad at each other we can have our separate sleeping spaces.

Loft area with futon.

Master bedroom where my parents sleep... one day we will get to stay up here.
Sun porch... awesome place to sit and read. Or drink iced coffee. Or do anything really.
It's completely equipped with pretty much everything you could want. Grills, tennis courts, swimming pool, hiking/running trails, and of course the beloved wireless internet. 


Back patio with trail going across behind.
First thing we did when we got into town was to hit up the local cherry goods store for some... well, cherry goods. Dried cherry nut mix, cherry juice, fresh rainier cherries, cherry cheese spread, and dark chocolate-covered dried cherries. We don't joke about the cherry food items.




Second thing on the agenda? Go for a RUN! I love running up here. There's beautiful trails, beautiful houses... did I mention that Lake Michigan is basically within view at all times?


I went for an easy 5 miles before coming back to a pre-dinner 'mocktail' of sorts.




So refreshing! And definitely healthy for you... cherries have loads of antioxidants.


I swear there's no vodka in there... I'm just squinty. :)
We're gonna grill out tonite and head into town for some shopping and ice cream eating... yum!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tempo Tuesday and... another trip!

I've decided that for this training cycle, Tuesdays will be dedicated to tempo runs or threshold mile repeats. (These two workouts basically work the same system.) I've never really liked them, so if I can get them over with early in the week, it is wonderful. And alliteration makes everything more fun, right?


Source
Yesterday I set off on a 4-mile tempo run. Tempo pace is about 20-30 seconds slower than your 5k race pace, so my aim was to run between 6:50 and 7:00 minute miles. I don't have a fancy schmancy Garmin, but I do know roughly where the mile marks on a specific route. Usually I come home and map it online to find my exact pace.


I started with a 10-minute warm-up jog, a few leg swings and then I was off! I felt good for miles 1-3 but then the pain settled in for mile 4. Fortunately it was the last one!


Mile 1 - 6:50
Mile 2 - 6:40
Mile 3 - 6:42
Mile 4 - 6:48


An average pace of 6:45, right where I want to be! Ideally I'd like to get up to running 6 miles at this pace, which seems so crazy right now, but I think I can get there over the next 2-3 months. I also ran a 15-minute cool-down, and got in about 7 miles for the day.


Needless to say, after that workout yesterday, my legs were not happy this morning when I discovered my running group was running hill repeats. Five repeats of a rolling hilly loop. I'm certainly tired now... looks like the next couple days will be slow and easy.


Speaking of the next few days, my Business Man and I are off on another trip! We will be meeting my parents up in Door County, Wisconsin (the land of cherries!) for a few days of rest and relaxation.





My parents have a time share up there, and we've been going ever since I can remember. It's quaint, relaxing, full of fun little shops & great restaurants. Lots of fun foodie things. There's also a beautiful state park with lots of fun trails to run and ride bikes along the water. 


Enjoying dinner at a restaurant that is outside on the lake!
Unfortunately this year, I won't be running any races while we are there.


I ran a 5k while visiting in 2009! It was so much fun.


And I probably won't be getting engaged while we're there, either. (Been there, done that.)


My Business Man proposed down on the lake on our visit in 2009.


But I can't wait to eat ice cream! There are so many good ice cream spots.


Wilson's, my favorite place EVER. Look at that newly engaged smile on my face.

And it's looking like the temps will be in the 70s, which will be a completely welcome change from our 90+ temps with 110% humidity.


Now I need to go pack! Of course I stocked up on some of my favorites to take along...


Yes, I am taking our Keurig on vacation. I am obsessed with this iced coffee!
See ya from Wisconsin!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quesa-Grillas?

Ehhh... I know. Lame title.


But we grilled quesadillas! Which then makes it a quesa-grilla!



Ever since we got our new grill, I've been super excited to grill some non-traditional foods. Fruit, romaine, and pizza are all on the "must-try" list. Last night we thought we'd try our hands at grilled quesadillas.


I found a recipe for Steak Teriyaki Quesadillas in the latest Taste of Home magazine and went with it.




The steak is marinated in a teriyaki style marinade, then grilled to perfection.




It's then sliced and combined with chopped green pepper, red onion, and fresh pineapple. 






Then stacked onto a tortilla and topped with mozzarella cheese! (And some bacon because we had some in the fridge... mwa ha ha...)




Then, it's just returned to the grill for a few minutes to melt the cheese.




Oh, and get those beeeautiful grill marks.




Sweet from the teriyaki, smoky from the steak, crisp on the outside, gooey cheese on the inside. It's a winner!


(Scroll down for the recipe.)


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As for other news, I worked on a fun project yesterday afternoon! When we were at IKEA, we purchased a plethora of inexpensive white picture frames, hoping to do a collage of some sort on the wall of the baking nook.


Showcasing the following: Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes, Lemon Supreme Cupcakes, Irish Creme Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcakes, Chocolate MoussePB-Stuffed Hot Fudge Cupcakes, and S'mores Brownies. Whew!
Ta-da! All pictures by yours truly. I started by cutting out a white piece of paper the size of each of the frames, and mapping out where they would go on the wall.


Then all I had to do was choose the pictures and have them printed.

In perspective to the whole room.
Total cost? Less than $15... not too shabby if I say so myself. 

Steak Teriyaki Quesadillas


  • Marinade
    •  cup soy sauce
    •  cup chicken broth
    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
    • ¾ tsp. ginger
    • ½ tsp. onion powder
    • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • Quesadillas
    • ¾ lb. beef top sirloin steak, 1-inch thick
    • ½ cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
    • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
    • ½ cup finely chopped green pepper
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 6 flour tortillas, (8-inch)

Method

In a small bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients; set aside 3 tbsp. for quesadilla filling. Pour remaining marinade over steak in a large zipper bag or sealed container. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Drain steak and discard marinade. Grill steak, covered for 8-11 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness.

Remove steak from the grill and let rest a few minutes. Cut into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, combine pineapple, red onion, green pepper, and steak.

Sprinkle half the cheese over three tortillas. Using a slotted spoon, top with steak mixture. Drizzle with reserved soy mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; top with remaining tortillas.

Grill over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges; serve immediately.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

IKEA, cheesecake, and a little bit of running

Yesterday my Business Man and I got a little bored in the Bean Town and decided to get outta town for the day.


We'd been eyeing a bar-height table for two at ikea.com for our little baking nook, so decided to head down to IKEA in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the table was not in stock. :(




We still got the two chairs to go with it though! Hopefully it will be in stock soon and we can actually purchase it.


I also got a super-sweet poster print for my classroom. Geek much?


It goes the other way. Just turn your computer screen on its side.
After our long and exhausting one hour of shopping we were obviously famished and had to re-fuel with some straight sugar, by sharing a cinnamon roll and a Diet Pepsi. 


Brunch/lunch of champions!
We then moved to the next destination of the day.




We've always just driven by these outlets on I-75 and finally decided to stop. I just love outlet malls! I got some really good deals on some summer tops from Banana Republic Outlet... my fav! 




Then, onto the final destination: the Cheesecake Factory. Probably one of my most favorite restaurants in the world. Whenever we eat here, we try to come late afternoon, between 3 and 4pm. We never have to wait, and we don't feel so crowded/rushed.


We started with the bread. Oh the wonderful bread.




Then we deliberated the menus. After a good 15 minutes, we both decided on our usuals.


Bang bang chicken & shrimp for my Business Man.





BBQ Chicken Pizza & salad for me.



It was delicious. Once we got home, I told my Business Man that I wasn't allowed to order pizza next time. I love it, but there's over 100 things on the menu! I'm sure there's other things I would love, too, I just need to step out of the box.


Yes, I had a wardrobe change. I was so excited about one of my new shirts from Banana that I changed in the car. No shame.
Sadly, no cheesecake for us yesterday. We were too full. 




When we got home I got started on a little project for the bakery nook. You'll just have to wait and see!


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Weekly Rundown


Now that I've started "training" for my two halves this fall, I figured each Sunday I would wrap up my week of training.


Goals: 40 miles total; 9-10 mile long run; 4-mile tempo


Monday: 6.3 miles easy
Tuesday: 4.5 mile tempo run (31:07, 6:54-avg); 7.8 miles total with warm-up & cool-down
Wednesday: 6.8 miles easy
Thursday: 5.5 miles easy
Friday: 8x400m @ 5k-pace (98, 96, 97, 96, 97, 95, 95, 93) w/ 400m jog; 6.5 miles total with warm-up & cool-down'
Saturday: 8 mile "long run"
Sunday: Off
Total Miles: 40.9 miles


My long run wasn't as long as I hoped, but the humidity has killed me this week! Three of the six runs were on the treadmill, hence the two speed work-outs. Going easy on the treadmill is so boring! Gotta spice it up with intervals. Next week I'll get in a 10-mile long run!


Next week's goals: 45 miles total; 4-mile tempo; 10-mile long run

 
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