Wednesday, December 28, 2011

blog superlatives 2011

most popular (/viewed) post: product review: gu chomps

most popular post (written in 2011): product review: sony w-series mp3 player

most entertaining (most popular non-product-review post): ten things i know about suar

most likely to walk down the red carpet: relay with ragnar

bestest blog friends (most referrals): maurlene on the run and angry runner

most studious countries (most readers):
  • united states
  • canada
  • spain
  • united kingdom
  • new zealand

most involved (us readers):
  • california
  • south carolina
  • virginia
  • washington
  • texas

most likely to succeed (common searches):
  • chasing the kenyans
  • gu chomps
  • goofy challenge training plan
  • national m&m day
  • ryan hall

most clueless (randomest search hits):
  • floppy ass running
  • feel wife's boob
  • women who eat red clay
  • a man in a party looking his ipad
  • attitude is everything little dude
  • fat boy cries on rollercoaster
  • hippopotamus vs great white
  • i gave up sugar for lent could this cause my legs to ache
  • i need support for my man boobs
  • my butt claps when i run
  • vanilla orange roctane tastes like smoked ham

looks like we need to firm up those cheeks in 2012!

(concept from running slowly to the finish)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

pumpkin two ways

earlier this month i experimented with making pumpkin soup. it was ok. there wasn't much of a sweet pumpkin flavor to it, but i still ate it all. i didn't really measure (it's just soup after all) and threw random things in willy-nilly. i vaguely followed this pumpkin soup recipe from crepes of wrath (sans shallots).

a couple weeks later i still had some leftover pumpkin puree from the soup experiment, and i got a hankering to try to make pumpkin biscuits.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar (i didn't use any)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons molasses (i used pure maple syrup)
1 teaspoon honey

like my dough cutter?

  1. preheat oven to 400° f. line and/or grease your baking sheets and set aside.
  2. in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. add in the cold cubed butter and mix together with a fork, a pastry cutter, or your stand mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (i don't think mine ever looked like "coarse crumbs")
  3. in another bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, milk, molasses, and honey until well combined, then gradually add into the dry mixture with the butter until just moistened. lightly dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. dust your hands and rolling pin with flour, then roll out to about a 1-inch thickness. cut out 2 1/2-inch circles of dough and place on your prepared baking sheets. continue until you have no more dough.
  4. bake for 12-15 minutes, until set and golden. (yields 8-10 biscuits)
recipe from crepes of wrath.

i had more than 1 cup of pumpkin but tossed it all in the batter anyway. the biscuits still turned out ok, but i assume they would have been flakier without the extra pumpkin. it did increase the yield from "8-10" to 18-20, but we had no problem devouring the biscuits in 3 days (and by 3 days i mean barely managed to save the last two biscuits for breakfast the 3rd day).

they were amazing and i'd eat them again any day. the amazingness could be due to the fact that i haven't had a biscuit in for-ev-er because they usually have sugar / lard (soybean-based) in them. regardless, i loved and inhaled them. i will probably make them again for christmas day brunch.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

little full, lotta sap

to carry on my tradition (founded in 2010, it's long-running), i thought i'd share this year's tree and some of the new ornaments added this year. feel free to play along with my made-up meme - all you have to do is share some of your favorite christmas ornaments or decor.

2011 christmas tree
no reject tree for us this year

recipe for a marathoner
received from meagan via run dmt's ornament exchange

nutcracker ornament
we went to see the nutcracker ballet earlier this month

hand-painted charleston ornament
a hand-painted (from the inside!) ornament
from our anniversary trip to charleston

grandfather mountain ornament
keychain-turned-ornament from grandfather mountain

clemson snowman ornament
and a clemson snowman that coordinates with
the mets and yankees snowmen

what are some of your favorite christmas (hanukkah, kwanzaa) decorations? (does anyone even know someone who celebrates kwanzaa?)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

(not so) cuckoo for coconuts

way back in july i received samples of phenom coconut water. growing up, i was never a huge fan of coconut unless it was on a samoa cookie, but i've since expanded my diet and even tried fresh coconut. i do like coconut milk, and coconut water is proclaimed to have a ton of health benefits, so i figured it was worth a shot.

samoa cookie
coconut i like

i was excited to try coconut water because it is a more natural beverage than gatorade/powerade/etc and the less artificial food/drink i consume the better. it's also higher in electrolytes, which i had to keep a close eye on back in the summer with my magnesium deficiency and heart issues. i was anxious for some variety! (i can only take so many bananas and spinach salads)

phenom coconut water

i chose to sample the blueberry pomme, pineapple punch, orange guava and acai peach flavors.

per the phenom website:
"Does PHENOM™ coconut water taste like coconut?
No. The #1 reason consumers are reluctant to try coconut water is the belief that it will taste like coconut. In actuality, coconut water doesn’t taste like coconut at all, rather it has a refreshing, mildly sweet flavor."
i first tried drinking the blueberry pomme flavor at work one afternoon (after refrigerating it all morning)... one sip, blech. i did not taste any fruity sweetness as the website stated, just the unpleasant (to me) flavor of coconut water. sports drinks typically taste better/sweeter to me after a workout, so i decided to save the rest and try it again after a run. unfortunately it did not taste any sweeter when my electrolytes were depleted. i was disappointed - i had high hopes for coconut water becoming my new go-to exercise bev.

phenom coconut water ingredient label

months later (/last week), josh asked what these boxes are in the fridge and where did they come from? i gave him the acai peach flavor to sample, and he found it to be "alright". he didn't think it was bad, but he also didn't really notice any strong flavor. to him it's basically water with electrolytes and a little bit of flavor, and says it's a good option for people who don't like overly sweet sports drinks.

so, i guess coconut water is an acquired taste. have you tried it? are you on team coco?

phenom water retails at gnc ($15.99 for 6x1 liters). that's the sale price and it still seems a little steep to me. it appears that only the 'regular' flavor is available right now.

disclaimer: i was sent coconut water for free in exchange for my honest review. i know some people who do enjoy coconut water, it just happens that i do not have the palate for it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

in the mail

i'm a whole day early this year (vs last year)! my run with jill blogger gift exchange present is in the mail. once again i spent the required minimum on shipping because i thought flat-rate boxes were cheaper than they actually are. whoops.

unfortunately there was no hit single to include this time as dj ctk has taken some time off, but the good news is van gogh ctk was available...

covered by a fancy kleenex, can't spoil the surprise

cost of running 2011

money is usually a taboo subject, but i've seen others tally up their cost of running for the year and thought it was interesting.

i've never considered the lump sum of race entries and travel expenses, but at least this will be a "light" year since i haven't even been running for the last 5 months. [wow, 5 months? geeeeze lindsay. didn't realize i'd been out of commission that long. time flies.]

ragnar florida keys (race entry): $90
ragnar florida keys (travel/food/lodging): $500 (estimated $200 plane ticket, $30/day for meals)
donut run: free
green valley 8k (dnf): $25
come see me 5k: $20
swamp rabbit 5k: $6
green bay marathon (race entry): $75
green bay marathon (travel/food/lodging): $500 ($250 plane ticket, estimated $30/day for meals)
sunrise 8k: $27.50

total cost of running: $1,243.50

i suppose that's probably a lot for the few number of races i did, but it sure doesn't seem like an expensive habit as you're signing up from race to race. i'd much rather spend money on an experience like these than have more clutter in my house that i have to tidy up and dust, and if finances were tight i'd certainly think twice before traveling to races further away.

edited to add: i am purposely not including the cost of running shoes because i didn't buy any this year. i did buy some new running attire but not much - a few pairs of shorts and 2 shirts (that i recall). that might be another $100 or so. i'm low-maintenance, i still run in cotton sometimes.

how did your running habit affect your wallet in 2011?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

city of angels (la 13.1 giveaway)

win it!
i was supposed to run the los angeles 13.1 last year, but ended up being unable to make the trip and gave my race entry to a friend in la. i would love to take advantage of a free entry for 2012's race but as you may know, i'm not quite in shape to run a half marathon in just a few weeks.

so, i have an entry to the los angeles 13.1 to give away to one lucky reader!

the los angeles half-marathon is described as "a new scenic backdrop along the harbor of marina del rey and the shores of playa del rey. beginning at the venice boardwalk and ending at playa del rey, the half marathon and karhu 5k race will take place amidst miles of inspiring ocean views and iconic scenery. in addition, runners will enjoy course entertainment that includes fire dancers, tokyo drummers, live bands, local cheer squads and volunteer groups."

what: 13.1 los angeles
when: january 15, 2012
cost: $85 free!

to enter: leave a comment below!

giveaway open until midnight tuesday, december 20th (east coast time). winner will be notified via email.

disclaimer: giveaway generously provided by the 13.1 series organization. i receive no compensation for giving away this race entry, but it's a race i would love to do one day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

november 2011: mile high

november 2011
total mileage: 13.44
time spent walking: 4hrs 1min
other exercise: two leisure strolls after thanksgiving dinners; one strenuous hike.
days off: 25
avg temp: not recorded
trip of the month: grandfather mountain, nc

for (part of) my birthday present from josh, we were supposed to go on a trip this fall. technically we were supposed to go on said trip back in february, then march, then april, and then it was postponed til september/october in which it became my "birthday present". now it's december and our passports are not getting any action for 2011. sigh. i have, however, made josh sign an affadavit that we will take a 2-3 week (hah yeah right) vacation next year.

i did approve the downgrading of the "vacation" from somewhere tropical to somewhere within driving distance because of my skin and it's whole situation. it's just easier to stay closer to home / haul your pharmacy with you in a trailer.

so, at the recommendation of fellow life/home decor/crafty blogger katie of bower power blog (who doesn't know me but i may have stalked her for over a year) i planned a little weekend in the mountains of north carolina. specifically, driving on the blue ridge parkway and going hiking at grandfather mountain.

after a lunch at tupelo honey cafe in asheville, we hopped on the brp to "enjoy the leaves".

dead scenery
whomp whomp
(the fail noise again, becoming a recurring theme here)

we made it about 13 miles down the brp before coming to a road closed sign. whoomp whooooomp.

haw creek valley overlook

we turned around and took the road more frequently traveled to banner elk a little "ski" town with sugar mountain and beech mountain nearby. i had reserved a night at the little main street inn, a quaint b&b offering single or double suites with jacuzzi tubs and full kitchens (great value at only $89/night!)*.

little main street inn
(photo from their website)

we arrived after 4pm but it was a little too early for dinner, so we tried checking out some of the local shops. apparently in the winter they all close at 4pm. we settled for a beer and wine shop - i guess that's the only thing to do on a friday night - and then went to dinner at sorrentos bistro (carb-loading for all that exercise i do).

the next morning we hit up breakfast at the sugar mountain cafe and then went to grandfather mountain**. here we crossed the swinging bridge, one mile above sea level, and stood on the edge of the mountain. this whole ordeal was big for me as i am a big scaredy cat of heights. i faced some of those fears, but not all of them.

swinging bridge - mile high

west view from the swinging bridge

the swinging bridge

after checking out the bridge, we started up grandfather trail. i'll let the pictures do the talking. it was intense. i ran into a rock wall and chickened out just feet from the summit.

grandfather trail trailhead

running into the rock

icy rock

climbing out of a crevice

macrae peak
view from almost-the-summit of macrae peak

ladders to macrae peak
what the ladders to the top look like from 1.5 miles away
(with some camera zoom)

in summary, grandfather mountain is a worthwhile adventure.

roughly 1.5 miles in 1hr 18mins

*little main street did not compensate me in any way for the pr blurb. in fact they don't even know i blog unless maybe they googled me.
**grandfather mountain did not compensate me either***. in fact it costs $15 per adult to enter the 'park'. you can however hike in for free from a few different trailheads but i hear those are pretty intense hikes.
***while i'm clarifying/disclaiming, no business mentioned in this blog post compensated me. this trip was fully funded by our own personal bank account.