Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

Wow, it's been a busy month. Much has happened since I last posted: a few races, a few meals, a birthday, the start of school, to name just a few.

We took a mini vacation to Bryce Canyon and participated in the Bryce Canyon Half-Marathon with my dad and sister and camped at the luxurious Ruby's Inn RV Park and campground. No tee-pee this year, just our 300 square foot tent and the occasional shelter of my parents trailer. But we did get to enjoy the traditional Bear Fiddling Festival again including the cotton candy, burgers, and homemade root beer.

But the excuse for the whole trip was the race. It is nice course, with the first half being very fast. The course winds down from Ruby's Inn at an elevation of 7652 down to Cannonville with an elevation of 5800.

My dad took 5th in his age group, despite having a less than perfect race.

My sister, Suzanne finished in barely over 2 hours and placed 8th in her age group and looked hot doing it in her super cute running skirt. Apparently they are all the rage now.

Tom, the speed demon, finished 20th overall in a time of 1:27:14. And this was in spite of being at the end of horrible bug that ripped through our family's tummies.

I PR'ed with a time of 1:41:19 and finished 22nd among 400 plus women. I was very happy. My goal was 1:40, but I don't think I could have gone any faster. The first half of the course is much faster than the second half. I was on or ahead of pace until mile 10 and then I just did my best to not fall too far behind my goal.

Click here for all the results from this year's race.

We officially challenge my sister, Rachel, and her husband to this race next year and anyone else who wants to take the challenge. We want to make this one an annual tradition.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sunday Dinner Standby

There is a meal that I often fall back to on Sundays. It is easy to make. I typically have the ingredients on hand. I can make it in the summer or the winter. The kids will eat it. And most importantly, it is delicious.

Roast chicken with roasted new potatoes is my fall back Sunday meal. Many fall back to a pot roast, but we actually try not to eat beef at our house (ask Tom about it, it's his thing) but we do love a classic roast chicken. Crispy, flavorful skin on the outside protects the inside and keeps it moist and wonderful.

It is meal you can make when it is 30 outside or 100. When it is cool, cook it in your oven and let the aroma and warmth fill the house. When it is blistering hot, cook it on the grill and let your neighbors get jealous as the aromas waft over to their yard while you enjoy iced lemonade in your air conditioned house (83 degrees inside is darn cool when it is 110 outside).

Here are my recipes for
Classic Roast Chicken

1 3-4 lb whole chicken (I love the chickens at Costco. They always seem to turn out perfectly and
they are only 99 cents a pound.)
4 T. butter
1-2 T. minced garlic
salt, pepper, and herbs, to taste

Remove the gizzards, neck etc (if any) from the cavity of the bird. Loosen the skin around the breast with hand. Tuck 2 T. butter under the skin. Place the rest in the cavity. Pile on the garlic and season generously with salt, pepper, and dried or fresh herbs. Place in baking dish, with the breast up (I always do a chicken dance to figure out which side is the breast) and bake in 350 degree oven or preheated grill on medium-low about 1.5 hours or until a thermometer placed between the leg and thigh reads 165. Baste often with the drippings. This is where you get the crispy skin and it helps keep the rest of the bird moist. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes after taking it off the grill. This gives the juices a chance to go back in to the meat, otherwise all the yummy moistness will be in the pan as soon as you slice the bird.

Roasted New Potatoes

2-3 lbs. potatoes (new potatoes are best, but any type will work. I always leave the skin on, even with russets.)
1/2 onion, chopped
A few splashes of oil
2 T minced garlic
1-2 T herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
Seasoning salt, pepper

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch wedges. (I usually cut in half and then cut each half into 4-6 pies slices). Place in bowl, splash on plenty of oil, garlic, and season generously. Give it a good stir and place on a baking sheet or pan in a single layer. The key is a single layer. This lets the potatoes get crispy on the outside, while keeping their softness inside. Bake in 350 degree oven or on the grill with the chicken for about 1 hour. Flip the potatoes once or twice while baking.

Now I need some a good veggie to go with this meal. Sometimes, we do grilled veggies with balsamic vinegar and soy sauce (asparagus, zucchini, peppers). Last week, we had spaghetti squash from a neighbor's garden.

What is your favorite Sunday standby meal?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Apricot Upside-Down Cake

Here is the last of the father's day recipes. Porter wanted to make dad an apricot cake (remember we had an over abundance of apricots) so I found this recipe for apricot upside-down cake. I think I followed it pretty much exactly. It turned out deliciously moist. How could it not, with all that butter.

This might be fun to try in a dutch oven while camping. I wonder if it would work.

Grilled New Potatoes

Grilled new potatoes is a simple yet way delicious side. I used garlic chives instead of green onions and I omitted the oregano. And I accidently forgot the parmesan. It was still good, but next time I will remember it.

I loved the crispiness on the outside, the soft center and the perfect seasoning. A keeper.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Sweet Pepper Harissa

I got a little behind on posting my recipes. I've got lots to do. Here is the entree from father's day: Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Sweet Pepper Harissa.

The original recipe called for halibut, but mahi-mahi was cheaper at Costco and it sounded better to me. I also subbed a variety of sweet peppers for the red peppers. I bought the bag of sweet peppers at Costco. I think they added better color and flavor. I also decreased the amount of jalepeno and it still had enough kick and used lime instead of lemon. Other than that, I followed the recipe.

I will definitely make this again.

Happy Birthday Moms

Two wonderful moms celebrated their 70th birthday only two weeks apart. My mom, Lynda, turned the big 7-0 on June 20, followed shortly by Tom's mom, Shanna, on July 5. Fortunately for us, we were able to celebrate with both of them on their happy days.

We enjoyed an intimate party with my mom where we enjoyed lobster salad, panko crusted chicken with warm pineapple salsa, orzo risotto, and brown butter green beans. For dessert we enjoyed a delicious lime tart with a strawberry-apricot compote.

Shanna's celebration was a bit more high key, thanks to the thoughtful and diligent advanced planning of Elbert. The party involved close to 100 of Shanna's closest friends and relatives, beautiful flowers, a ten-piece band, a party tent, and a delicious menu of blue cheese and apple quiche, wild rice salad, spinach salad with orange vinaigrette, assorted veggies and fruits, a huge assortment of delicious cheese and cheese dips, and an assortment of cookies and FBPs for dessert. The party was grand, to say the least, even though we forgot to serve the birthday cake.

I just wanted to send out a happy birthday to the two best moms in our lives. They are wonderful moms to us and even better grandmas to our kids. Thanks for all you do and enjoy being 70.