Monday, August 31, 2009

My Go To Dessert

English Trifle has always been a favorite dessert of mine. I remember requesting it as a kid and bringing it to school as a treat. It is easy to make and just makes me happy.

The basic ingredients include: cake, pudding or custard, jell-o, and fruit. I love my trifle bowl, we got for our wedding, and it gives me yet another incentive to make the dessert. I just use what fruit I have and layer all the goodness in the tall, glass bowl. Make it early in the day, so it has a chance t o set-up a bit and chill thoroughly.

Here is my basic recipe for
English Trifle

2 large packages pudding, prepared according to package.
I like "cook and serve" better, but instant works just fine. Typically I use vanilla, but I have used lemon as well.
2 large jell-o, any flavor, prepared according to recipe, but don't let set-up.
4-5 cups fruit, fresh or frozen.
Strawberries, peaches, raspberries and blueberries are great choices. Bananas are good too, but get mushy after the first day.
1 angel food cake.

I layer cake, jell-o before it has set, pudding, fruit and repeat 2-3 times. You can top with whipped cream, but I usually don't. Let it chill for a few hours so the jell-o sets up.


Thursday, August 27, 2009


I was recently inspired by a very creative friend who is awesome at sewing and refashioning and all that jazz. So, I decided to refashion a little myself.

I have tons of running shirts and only a few bike shirts. I like my bike shirts because they have pockets to carry essentials when I am working out: cell phone, food, jelly beans, etc. But most of my bike shirts aren't great for running and are of the bike jersey variety and are loaded with brand sponsorships. I have lots of cute running shirts that are plain, but they lack the pocket. And even when I run, I need a pocket for essentials. Plus, I love to do triathlons and need something that can go from bike to run and carry all the essentials.

So, I decided to put a pocket into my running shirts. I went to Walmarts and found the loudest and most obnoxious spandex print they had (and lucky for me it was on sale for about $2.50 /yd). I looked at the variety of pockets on my bike jerseys. And with the help of my sister, I fashioned a fun double pocket on my running shirt. Now my running shirt has been refashioned into to a tri-top / long dsitance running shirt / bike jersey.

I plan to put pockets on more of my shirts in the future. I will probably use the same fabric until it is gone. But I plan to make some small pockets, just big enough to hold some Jelly Belly's for my long runs. And if I ever get an mp-3 player, an mp-3 pocket somewhere might be nice. And this same creative friend said she has put pockets on to her shorts as well. I might have to try that, too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Layered Brownies with White Chocolate Caramel

I need to make up for all the calories I have been burning working out.

My sister, Suzanne, spent the week with me two weeks ago and discovered this brownie recipe in the latest Bon Appetit.

The were not necessarily easy to make, but I think they were well worth the effort, especially since it was my sister making most of the effort. I also think the recipe could be greatly simplified. The brownie layer was simple and delicious. The white chocolate caramel was not as easy, but was divine. The caramel crystallizes when the cream is added and it took a while reincorporate all the bits back into creamy caramel. I think if you added the cream very slowly it might work out better. The ganache was simple and very good. Our pecans didn't candy very well, but were still great. I think it might be easier to just bake the pecans with sugar until they candy.

Simply moist and dark brownie plus creamy, sweet white-chocolate caramel plus rich, dark and smooth ganache plus crunchy candied pecans equals heaven on a plate.

All in all, a great recipe and an even better brownie. I am still eating a small brownie every night a week later and they still taste great.

Click here for the recipe. I doubled it, by the way.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Utah Half Race Report

The Utah Half Triathlon was quite an experience. It was not easy. I wanted to quit a few times. I was almost in tears a number of times. But after I crossed the finish line, having given every ounce I had, it was so worth it.

The morning began early, but calm and cool. But as the morning progressed, the weather turned worse. The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. The cold front was supposed to move through Friday night leaving a cool, but calm morning. But the front decided to move though the morning of the race. As the athletes walked toward the lake, the wind got fiercer and fiercer. The men started to get in the lake and the rest of us shivered on the dock. Luckily, the swim was held in the protected harbor. Views of the actual lake, brought agonizing fear to me. Huge, ocean-sized waves crashed in the main lake, while smaller white caps disrupted the harbor. Race officials postponed the swim as the weather was checked, buoys were replaced after being blown away by the wind, and I shivered from cold and fear with my best friends.

Finally, after about an hour of waiting, race officials decided to start the race between two cold fronts moving through. The swim was cut in half to allow both the men and women time to get through before the second front moved through. The men started and I got in the water. The water was choppy, but not cold. The gun went off and I started toward the giant orange buoy. I was swimming directly into the waves. For every stroke I took, a wave hit me in the face. I panicked. I basically survival swam out to the buoy. I side stroked most of the way to keep my face free from the water. Many swimmers were turning around early, but I was determined to make it. My training buddy, Carol, was tempted to quit, but I encouraged her and we both carried on as best we could. Finally, I made the buoy and began the easier swim back. However, the wind was blowing at an angle and although I was swimming with the waves, I was blown way off course and had to stop to figure out where I was when I thought I should have been done. The finish buoy was no where in sight. I raised my hand to signal a kayaker to help me figure out where to go, but no one saw me, Luckily, I wasn't actually drowning. I followed an island toward the shore until I could see the buoy. I made it out, safely, and one of the very last ones.
Swim-1000m: 28:45 (pathetic, I know)

T1: 2:46
I hustled the quarter mile to the transition area, stripping my wetsuit as I ran. As I entered the transition area to almost no bikes, I was a bit discouraged. Ashley was long gone because she rocked the swim. Carol and I transitioned together. I grabbed a drink, put on my socks and shoes and got on my bike. I grabbed my arm-warmers and some food and put them in my super cute pocket (post on those to come soon). . I got on my bike and started the 56-mile windy trek. The first few miles weren't bad, because I had a tail wind, but when I turned and had a cross-wind or headwind, it was awful. I caught my training buddy Ashley close to the turn around as we tunneled directly into the wind. Luckily, the course was flat, but my legs burned from steadying my bike in the wind. The 28 miles back were all either in to a headwind or cross wind. And when I though it couldn't get any worse, it started to hail, yep hail.

It stung, but I didn't want to stop to put on arm-warmers. The hail stopped and turned to rain. I was soaked through and pretty cold. One advantage was I didn't need to drink much. And the advantage of being almost dead last out of the water, is I got to pass a lot of folks without a single person passing me. By the end of the bike leg I counted that I was in close to 20th place.

Bike-56 miles: 3:00:19

T2: 1:27 (4th fasted female, thank you very much)
I was freezing at the start of the run. I couldn't even get my helmet off because my fingers were numb. I stuck the strap in my mouth and bit the clasp open. I took off my soggy bike shoes and put on soggy running shoes. I felt surprisingly good at the start of the run. I stopped for a potty break and had to wait in line. I figured I lost 2 minutes there, but I had to go.

The run consisted of two loops and a number of little out and backs. I thought I would hate the out and backs, but they weren't too bad, because I could see who was in front of me and if I was gaining anything and if I was losing anything to those behind me. The wind had calmed and there was just light rain. By the third mile, my extremities had warmed and I was feeling great. I was pretty consistent the whole run and felt pretty good. I only had 1 mile over 9 minutes and had one right at 8 to make up for it. The course was spectator friendly and I got to see Tom at least 4 times. That really helped my morale.
The last three miles were hard, but I pushed myself harder and tried not to slow down. When i crossed that finish line, I truly didn't have an ounce of energy left.

Run-13.1 miles: 1:52:48 (8:34 miles)

I ended up in 16th place, 8th in my age-group, with a time 5:26:06

I am so ready to try another one. I am even tempted to do the full-ironman, but realize that is impossible with little James at home. But I am glad I did it. I am a little disappointed with my swim, but now have something to look forward to improving next time. I plan to work on getting my bike faster, but am content. And I am super happy with my run, I couldn't have expected to run any faster, but will still try to do better next time.

I feel like I put the training in, and got a great result. Hard work does pay off and now I get to focus my energy on the St. George Marathon in October.

Here is my good friend and training buddy, Ashley. She looks hot and rocked it!

Here is my other good friend and training buddy, Carol. She is 45 and crazy! She rocked it and will rock the full Ironman in May.

Click here for full results and click here for photos, my number is 65.

Back to School

Two of my kids are in school now and it is wonderful. They both love it and are doing well. I just wanted to share my cute kids on their first day, it is one of very few days they actually look cute.

Porter has Ms. Tanner (an intern) with Mrs. Hendrickson for 2nd grade. He has many friends in his class and seems to be doing well. When I have had the chance to peak in on him in class or on the playground, he is happy, well-behaved and interacting well with others.

Eliza has Mrs. Sorenson for kindergarten. She always seems so shy when I see her in class, but she comes home happy and excited about her day.

On her thrid day of school she had a pretty major crash on her bike. Her face was scratched up and swollen, but she is back on her bike now. She just walkes it down the steep hill.

School is over a mile away, but both kids are cheerful about riding their bikes. Porter has buddies to ride with and Eliza and have a great time getting to and from school.

Happy Back to School!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A New Adeventure into the Unknown

In less than a week, I will experience where my physical and emotional limits reach. On August 15, I am going to compete (I use the word loosely, I just want to finish) in the Utah Half Ironman in Provo. I will swim, bike and run farther than I ever have before. I have completed each individual distance with no problem, but put all three in a row and I just might die.

First, I get to swim 1.2 miles in the bug-infested and fairly gross Utah Lake. Two years ago, this would have petrified me and is what kept me from entering such an event. But somewhere between then and now, I have learned to swim in the open-water, freestyle and not die of exhaustion or drowning. I am confident in my ability to swim the distance, thanks to my awesome wetsuit. And I am confident that I probably won't be the last out the water, like I have in previous triathlons. And I am confident that I that I will have energy left to move onto the second leg of the triathlon, thanks to my slow methodical stroke.

Next, I will strip off the wetsuit and strap on a helmet as I mount my bicycle for 56 flat and hopefully, fast miles around Utah Lake. I like to think the bike leg is my strength, but feel it may not be this time because of the flatness of the course. I lose all my advantage when there are no hills. But at the same time, I am grateful there are no hills because hopefully, my legs will have some juice left in them to carry me through the last leg. My bike is, as we speak, in the shop, getting a tune-up. I just installed new aero bars (thanks to my brother) and I am waiting for my new tires to arrive. If they don't get here, Tom is going to let me use his new ones. So my bike should be pimped out and ready to go! And I am going to be pretty pimped out, too: cute new shorts (that are a bit more flattering then my old ones), new helmet, new bike shoes, fairly new running shoes, and I am trying to figure out how to sew a fun pocket onto one of my tanks (very few of my running shirts have pockets and i need somewhere to put my energy so I bought some wild spandex and will try to figure out how to get it on).

The last leg, 13.1, luckily flat miles, is the most daunting of the three legs. Every time I run a half marathon, I am exhausted by that last tenth of a mile. What makes me think that I can do that half-marathon after having swum 1.2 miles and biked 56? Especially, since I swim mostly with my legs (I think pigeon-toedness gives my kick a little motor-like feel to it and I don't really know how to stroke with my arms super well.) and bike almost solely with my legs.

I feel a little crazy for entering such an event, but excited to give it a try. I have always said I would do a half-ironman, just didn't think it would be so soon. I registered for it when I was still high from my Utah Summer Games Triathlon experience. I have trained some but probably not enough. My only true brick workout was a week and half ago, and I literally almost died on it. I was over-heated and dehydrated (thanks to the horrid lady at a restaurant in Leeds who refused to give a dying girl a glass of water). The last mile of the 1 mile swim, 37 mile bike and 10 mile run workout was one of the hardest miles of my life. I made it thanks to my training partner running by my side.

I guess I need to remember my goal for this race is just to finish. Of course, I have a time goal in my head and there are other competitors I want to beat, but I need to make myself happy with just finishing the race. But, this is the unknown so hopefully I can do that and do it with dignity and smile on my face. And maybe not be the last one to cross the finish line.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Porter's 7th Birthday

For Porter's 7th birthday, we decided to do a track meet instead of the standard party. I think it was a great idea and plan to do every year.

There was very little pre-planning. We made simple flier-like invitations and took them to the kids a couple weeks early so they could start training. We bought prizes, a costco cake and gathered up a few supplies needed for the events. We printed time-cards that they could keep with the times and distances of all the events, so they can try to beat their marks next year.

The kids seemed to enjoy themselves. Many ran 1 mile, many of whom have never gone than far. Enough parents stayed to help the event run smoothly, which was absolutley necessary with 28 3-12 year olds. Next year, I'll ask parents before hand to stay to make sure we have enough.

We divided the kids into three groups: 3-5 year olds, 6-7 year olds, and 8+. The three groups rotated through the long jump, softball throw and 100m sprint. We kept track of all their times and places within their groups and wrote their times on their cards.

After the kids had a chance to catch their breath and grab a drink, we lined all 28 kids up for the mile-run. I encouraged all the kids to start the mile and to go as far as they could. All of them did at least one lap and 15 finished the entire mile, including my two.

This 12 year old was actually beaten by the 7 year old. First place finished in 7:23 followed by second in 7:30.

Porter's stats: Softball throw: 22', 100m sprint: 28.44, Standing long jump, 2'8", 1 mile run:12:24
Eliza's stat's include: Softball throw:10'9", 50 m sprint: 20.21 (Dansies and Fishers are not sprinters), Standing Long Jump: 2'5", and 1 mile run: 15:23. I am m ost proud of her mile. She ran every single step of the entire mile. And I even told her it was ok to only do only 1 lap. She was determined and did it, beating three kids much older than her.Here are some highlight of the mile run. We forgot to take pictures of the rest of the meet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Eliza's Zoo and Lots of Monkeys

Eliza decided to have a zoo party for her 5th birthday back in June. We only do friend's parties every other year, so I try to make them special and memorable. She has a lot of friends, so it was pretty crazy. I think we ended up with 18 kids, plus my own. But I loved the Zoo theme. It was fun to and easy to work with.

For the invitations, I used die-cuts from the library. The general idea came from my mom, and I just fine-tuned it because of what I die-cuts I had available to me.

Many kids came dressed as zoo animals. When they arrived, they made animal masks out of paper plates and paint, etc. They got animal tattoos. Then we played a bunch of animal games. We played "chase the tail", had a flamingo standing contest, a monkey bar race and a snake slither.

After games, we enjoyed otter pops and cupcakes and free playtime at the park. The biggest downside to the party was the lack of water. The drinking fountain was broken and we didn't bring any water. But the kids survived and I think they even had fun.