Friday, September 19, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

Every once in a while, I make something I love enough to blog immediately. Which is a big deal considering how little I blog, or cook for that matter, lately. 

I needed a salad to take to the church camp out tonight and wanted something a little unique, not potato or green, and obviously delicious. I browsed Pinterest for pasta salad ideas and narrowed it down to a chicken Caesar pasta salad or a buffalo chicken pasta salad. Hubby voted buffalo chicken so I started here ( as always took lots of liberties and made it my own. 

The dear hubby hates celery, so right off the bat I decided to omit the classic buffalo chicken veggie and I happened to replace it with green pepper because I had 4 giant ones sitting in my veggie drawer. Then I decided it needed more veggies and more color so I added more veggies based on what I had - tomatoes, olives, green onion, and of course the classic carrot. I also think it would be good with cucumber or basically any vegetable you like or have.  

I wanted the chicken to have more of a buffalo flavor so I soaked it in the buffalo sauce before putting it on the salad. I also used my home canned chicken because it's simple and handy. Leftover rotisserie, breaded or simply cooked chicken breast would be equally delicious. 

I also used ranch instead ofblue cheese dressing because I always have it on hand and decided lots of blue cheese crumbles would have a better effect. If I had blue cheese dressing I would just as well have used it. 

I opted for frank's red hot wing buffalo sauce. 

I had a jar of the classic franks red hot but wanted a true buffalo flavor. I don't actually know the difference and couldn't tell much when I tasted them side by side. The heat level can be controlled with the amount of buffalo sauce. I made mine on the medium side- too spicy for most of my kids and not spicy enough for Tom and I. Frank's also has a hot buffalo sauce. That might be the choice for spicy lovers without too much vinegar flavor. 

I'm super happy with how the salad turned out. Maybe it's because I'm super hungry right now. And the true test will be how it fares at the camp out tonight. 

Buffalo chicken pasta salad 

One box of pasta, cooked al dente
3/4-1 cup each -green onions, olives (1 can, halved), carrots, green pepper, tomatoes, blue cheese
2 cups of cooked chicken soaked in buffalo sauce (canned, breaded, breasts)
One Cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
1/4 plus cup buffalo sauce to taste
More blue cheese to top

Cook and cool the pasta. Prepare veggies and cheese crumbles and set aside. Mix chicken with buffalo sauce to taste. Start small and add more. Mix dressing with an additional 1/4 c or so buffalo sauce. Combine pasta with veggies, cheese and chicken. Mix in dressing. Top with more cheese. Serve nice and cold. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ironman 70.3 St. George 2014

I haven't written a race report in a long time, but decided I wanted a record of Saturday's race even though it wasn't a PR or even an extraordinarily strong race that I was prepared for.

The day before the race, Tom was able to take most of the day off. We enjoyed a tri club breakfast, picking up our packets and enjoying the expo with Millie. Great way to get ourselves psyched up for the race.

The morning of the race didn't quite run as smoothly. We thought we had worked out everything perfectly (sitter, ride to the start, and everything). We left in what we thought was plenty of time to get to the start without having to go all the way into St. George for the shuttle, but we failed to realize the traffic getting into Sand Hollow. In year's past, we've taken the back road in and had no problems, we all forgot this year and hit a major backup.  It took us over a half hour to get to the entrance to the park which is still almost a half mile from transition. Karrie, Tom and I booked it as fast as our legs would go up the hill to transition. Tom and I barely made it into transition before it closed.  Karrie did not make it and had to jump the fence and she was in the first wave of swimmers. I think she barely made it. We made it in plenty of time since our waves were 30 minutes after the first, but I didn't have time to go pee, forgot to take my salt pills and anti fatigue pills, and forgot to grab a bite to eat.

Swim, 1.2 miles, 42:12
The swim waves are 3 minutes apart. After the gun went off for the previous wave, I had 3 minutes to swim the 100-200 yards out to the start line. I didn't make it, and found out after, many people didn't make it. I figure that added at least 1 minute to my time. The water felt great and not cold. I was able to get in a groove quickly and never panicked. I was only mildly annoyed when I hit the first corner at the same time that the fast swimmers from the next wave did and was kicked and jostled a bit. Still didn't panic, just got annoyed. The swim was a 3 parts of a rectangle. After the first turn was a really long stretch that never seemed to end.  Every time I got to a buoy I prayed it was a red buoy indicating the final turn, but they kept being orange. My lower back started aching really bad about half way. I just kept going and did finally resort to less kicking after the last turn for a bit of relief (which is hard to do for me because most my momentum comes from my kick not my stroke). I was satisfied with my swim considering how little I swam this winter (maybe 10 times all winter with 2 times in the pool swimming 1.2 miles and 3 times in the lake swimming 1/2 mile - 1 mile). I was 2 minutes slower than last year and finished 304 out of 588 women.

T1, 5:10
I suck at transitions. I took my time making sure I had food since I didn't eat before the swim. Ate a waffle, put food in my pocket and bag (I should have had the food already in my bag, but was too rushed before the race to remember), and grabbed a drink. Stuffed everything in my gear bag and took off. I definitely need to improve on my transitions.

Bike, 56 miles, 2:55:26
I was 3 minutes slower than last year, but considering my lack of training again, I am completely satisfied. I hadn't ridden more than 40 miles since November. I did feel confident on Snow Canyon since both times I ridden it this spring, I did it twice in a row. The ride was a tad harder than last year with a little extra hill right out of the gate. Not sure if it really made a difference, but mentally it did to me. It was fun to see Alex and Cherie out on the course photographing. He's pretty amazing. I felt good up nemesis. 3 men passed me, but I passed 2 of them back before the top and no women passed me on the climb. Obviously, many men passed me on the bike as a whole, but only 1 woman passed me the entire ride. My goal was to not let Tom catch me until Snow Canyon at mile 40 (last year I held him off until mile 2 of the run, but I had a 6 minute head start and this year just had 3 minutes). He caught me on Snow Canyon Parkway a few miles before the climb. I was mad, but happy he was having a good day. I knew his swim had greatly improved. I kept him in my sights until the climb. Snow Canyon is always harder on race day than I expect. Tired legs, a little bit of dehydration, and the heat were all factors this year. I did  good job at taking salt pills and anti-fatigue, but only drank probably 24-30 oz total on the whole ride. Oops!  I ate the waffle at the start of the ride and one honey stinger gel. I probably should have consumed double the calories and fluid that I did. I just muscled through the climb and got through it thanks to the Booyah! Foundation. The Booyah! Foundation is a non-profit started in honor of fellow triathlete Braydon Nielson who was tragically killed less than a year ago while on a training ride. His attitude and smile were infectious and he always made every race better. He wasn't the fastest out there (in fact he didn't quite make the bike cut off in 2013) but he was definitely the most excited and determined one out there. He will be forever missed but never forgotten. The Booyah! Foundation made posters of Braydon with some of his inspirational quotes to help everyone up the climb. And they did. Seeing his smile and hearing his words encouraging me up the climb, did the trick. It may have reduced me to tears, but helped me muscle through the pain. My hamstring started hurting pretty bad on the ride and I was worried how it would feel on the run. Luckily, the back pain from the swim didn't bother me. I'm sure the 2 are related. At the end of the ride, I moved up to 139th women.

T2, 3:29
I had forgotten to pee in the lake and wasn't going to stop on the bike and I'm not quite hardcore enough to do it on the bike, so I really had to go now. I will attribute some of my slowness to the potty stop out of transition. I also forgot to grab my anti fatigue pills, but luckily had the 2 I forgot to take in the morning in my pocket. I at half a waffle on the way out. I'm glad I put my Yankz! in my shoes.

Run, 13.1 miles, 1:50:18
I knew the run was going to be hard. It was over 90 degrees, the course is super hilly and it just sucks. My goal was to keep it under 2 hours. I would need to maintain a 9 minute pace. So I knew I would have to sub 9 on the flats, way under 9 on the downs and just get through the climbs. The first 3 miles are uphill. A gradual climb for 2 followed by a steep climb for 1. I was tired, but was sub 9 for the first mile, right at 9 for the second and over 10 for the 3rd. but I was still on track. I didn't walk any climbs, but did walk all the aid stations. I got coke and perform and water at most and dumped ice down the bra. Took an anti-fatigue at the beginning and halfway. Took salt maybe 4 times thoughout. I knew once I got to mile 3, the hardest part was over.

There were still rollers throughout, but the big climb was done and the last 3 miles are downhill. The coolest part about the race was Booyah attitude. The Souhern Utah Tri Club was well represented and anytime we passed one another, we yelled Booyah! to eachother. It was so awesome and made an impact on the other runners. I had a guy tell me that was the coolest thing that we all encouraged each other the whole race. I don't even know half the tri club, but If I saw a jersey, I yelled. I was able to maintain about a 9 minute pace through out. I was a little faster on flats and downs and right around 9 on most climbs or a little over on big climbs. Once I hit the top of the last climb, I knew I had 3 miles of downhill and I just needed to give it all I had. I averaged 7:30 over the last 3 miles. I was happy and felt pretty good. Hamstring was hurting but holding out. Angel, Treasa, Shannon and other random people yelling my name really helped.

Running down the homestretch was awesome. I just gunned it and yelled Booyah! a million times to get the crowd going. Plus T was there and mom and sister. I ended up 110th women by the end of the day and 17 in my division. My run split was 2 minutes faster, but the course was a little short so I was probably about the same.

The finish line was great and seeing all my peeps was great. Everyone did amazing and I am so happy to be part of such an amazing community.

Heather did the 70.3 after being diagnosed with strep and a sinus infection on Thursday and still killed it. Super proud of this girl.

Monica biked a relay after a tough couple of years with back issues. Proud of her and can't wait to do Lotoja with her next year.
Amber is amazing as always. Hurt her back a few months ago so couldn't do the whole thing as planned, but found a relay and killed the run and looked dang hot!
And of course, I couldn't imagine doing this with anyone else other than the most amazing man in the world. He is my rock and I love him to bits! I love training with him and having his encouragement and I love the he is amazing! He PR'd on this course by 8 minutes. He improved his swim by 3 minutes, his run by 5 for a finish time of 5:12:06

Ironman 70.3 St. George, 5:36:35, 110th women, 17th division.
I was less than 2 minutes slower than last year and considering everything I am completely satisfied. As always, next year I will train more ;) 5 extra pounds didn't help. Nor did slight dehydration and being under-trained.

Next up Zermatt Ultra and a 3:18 at the St. George Marathon. Dedicated training starts NOW!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pear Crisp for the "Clean" Eater

I've been making a real effort to eat a lot cleaner. I am trying to cut most processed food in general. I'm trying to eat almost no white flour. And I'm doing my best to cut out processed sugar. It's all hard, but we take baby steps as a family. 

I am making a real effort to just not buy the junky processed food at the store. Very few boxes, frozen dinners, and canned food make it in the house these days.  We've switched to Annie's organic Mac and cheese. I skip the frozen dinner aisle at Costco. I make my own spaghetti sauce. I only buy bread with basic ingredients (luckily Costco carries a great whole wheat bread without all the junk for only $3 a loaf). And I actually try to make my own bread more often than buying it. Daisy sour cream (truly just cultured cream) instead of western family with its unpronounceable ingredient list. Plain yogurt that we sweeten at home with fruit and honey. It costs a little more but I know it's the best choice for my family. 

And I'm far from perfect. I still splurge on Lin Lin potstickers, the occasional frozen pizza for the kids, and I have a hard time giving up cold cereal (I do only buy cereal where the first ingredient is whole grain and not corn). I know I have a long way to go, but like I said baby steps. 

Eating whole grains is fairly easy for us. The kids do get excited if they get to eat a sandwich on white bread. And I do love white flour tortillas. And if I'm making Kalua pig and panipopo, you better believe I'm making those rolls with all white flour.  But for the most part, whole grains are the easy part for us. 

Sugar on the other hand, not so easy. I'm kind of torn on this subject. If I'm making a delicious dessert and splurging, why not just use good old a fashioned processed white sugar? I bought the organic raw sugar and tried it, but really it's still sugar, its still processed and it still has zero nutritional value so why waste my money? We've omitted fake maple syrup from our diet. I use honey to sweeten many things. So in general we eat less sugar, but I'm still not all on the no sugar train. 

But I'm still looking for ways to cut back but still be able to satisfy my many many sweet teeth I have. So tonight I had a fridge full of ripe pears that needed using, and I thought I would try a naturally sweetened pear crisp with all clean ingredients. And I think the result turned out fabulously. 

The pears were so naturally sweet and juicy, the crisp was exactly what a good crisp is supposed to be - crispy, lightly sweet and a perfect compliment to the hot, juicy pears. I think this recipe is a definite keeper. But I'd love to hear what you think. 

Pear Crisp the Clean Way

6 c peeled ripe sliced pears (home canned would also work as long as they were canned in juice or super super light syrup. I make mine with a 10% sugar solution and I figure that would be ok, but fresh is obviously better).

2 T lemon juice
2 T apple juice concentrate (basically sugar, but I figure its better than just putting in table sugar)

1 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 cube cold butter, cut in cubes
1/4-1/2 c honey
1 t cinnamon 
1/2 c unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 c pecans 

Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 2 qt baking dish. 

For topping combine oats, flour, cinnamon and butter in food processor or mix with pastry cutter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add in honey and combine until clumpy but not too sticky. Mix in pecans and coconut if desired. Mixture should be moist but not like a batter. This is where you need to watch the honey. Drop over filling to cover but don't press down. 

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Pears should be bubbly and crisp should be brown and crispy. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lime Basil Chicken Salad

I had an abundance of fresh basil growing in my garden and was in the mood for a fast, fresh meal. The Lime Basil Chicken Salad hit the spot. 

I found the recipe for the chicken on Pinterest and was deciding how to serve it. When I looked in my fridge and noticed all the garden fresh produce, I knew a salad would compliment it perfectly. 

I marinated the chicken for a few hours, grilled it, sliced it, mixed it with the basil dressing And put on top a bed of fresh greens, cucumber and tomato (avocado would have been splendid addition). I topped the whole thing with a roasted tomatillo ranch dressing (which in itself was divine).

Lime Basil Chicken Salad

  • 3 Limes (juice and zest) Divided
  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 T Dijon Mustard
  • 3 T Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 T Soy Sauce
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Minced, Divided
  • 3 T Chopped Basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs Chicken Breasts

  1. Combine the zest and juice of 2 limes, Olive Oil, Mustard, Worcestershire, Soy, 2 garlic cloves salt and pepper in a gallon ziplock. 
  2. Cut chicken into even cutlets and place in a gallon sized baggie.
  3. Mix marinade and chicken, squeeze out all air and seal. Let marinate 1-8 hours. 
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Place chicken on grill and grill for 7 minutes.
  6. Then flip and cook until internal temp reaches 165.
  7. Remove from grill and let meat rest.
  8. Meanwhile combine juice and zest of one lime with extra virgin olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, basil.
  9. Slice chicken into bite-sized pieces and pour sauce over top.
  10. Serve atop a fresh bed of greens and other garden veggies for the world's greatest summer salad. 

Roasted Tomatillo Ranch
2 parts Daisy sour cream, 
2 parts buttermilk,
1 part mayonnaise, 
2 tablespoons of my homemade ranch mix ( parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper) 
2 roasted tomatillos. 

Combine everything in a small food chopper and blend until smooth. 

The chicken was simply awesome-moist and flavorful. The fresh salad was crunchy and great. And the creamy dressing just put it all together.  I will definitely be making this again and again.

Original recipe for the chicken can be found at

Friday, June 14, 2013

Crispy Pinto Bean Tacos

It's been a long time since I've blogged and even longer since I've posted a recipe. Other modes of social media are so much easier, but tonight's dinner is worth the effort. 

I pinned a similar recipe and adapted to fit my needs. It was a hit with the family. Simple to make, easy to adapt and utterly delicious. 

Crispy Pinto Bean Tacos

2 cans pinto beans (or black beans)
2 t ground cumin
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 T chopped cilantro
Grated cheese of choice
1 dozen corn tortillas (costco's uncooked tortillas are awesome)
Lettuce, avocado, salsa, sour cream and limes

Combine beans, spices, onion and cilantro. Smash beans a bit but leave many beans whole. Cook tortillas on dry skillet if using uncooked tortillas. Heat cast iron skillet with 2 T oil. Place cooked tortilla on pan, flip. Fill with a scoop of bean mixture and a bit of cheese. Fold in half and flatten with spatula. Cook on each side for a couple minutes until tortilla is crispy and golden. Depending on size of pan, cook 2-4 tacos at a time. 

Serve with lettuce, avocado, salsa, sour cream and fresh lime. This recipe is a definite keeper. 

Original recipe can be found at

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spring Headbands

I'm offering a Spring special on my no-slip headbands. I've got some great unique prints to help you run cute.

Click here to check out what I have to offer.

Just a sample of my new prints

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Budding Inventor/Musician

Porter is really starting to grow up. He loves to build/invent things. He becoming quite obsessed with Legos and Star Wars. I questioned Tom if it was normal for a 9-year-old to pretend he is character from Star Wars 80% of the time. Tom assured me it was since he did the same thing. I guess he turned out ok.

K'Nex R2D2
He built an R2D2 out of K'nex for a school art contest.

Porter is also becoming quite the musician. He continues to play the violin (he is in his 4th year and really starting to excel). He also took up the piano this year. In this he really shines. He has such a musical ear and is great and figuring out tunes he recognizes. His piano teacher is a perfect fit for him. Porter recently wanted to learn to play "Praise to the Man" from the hymn book. He has perfected the right hand and can play the left hand pretty well independently. But he just couldn't seem to get them together because of their rhythm differences. So his teacher adapted a new version that is beautiful. The melody on the right hand is the same, but he did some fun stuff on the left that I can't play nearly as well as Porter. I love that he has such a passion for things.
Harry Potter/Porter - Halloween Concert

Christmas Concert
He continues to excel at school when he remembers to turn things in and stays on task. Baseball and soccer are his next endeavors.