"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer is Ending

Summer is ending and I'm savoring every minute of it...

Last weekend we grilled out...my favorite summer cookout meal of burgers with grilled pineapple and muenster cheese and grilled asparagus on the side.

And we played some golf.  That is my ball on the left.  I was a foot from the hole, as close to a hole-in-one as I'll ever get!

I hope you're enjoying the last few weeks of summer.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coconut Shrimp

I always loved coconut shrimp.  Take me to a seafood restaurant and I look for it on the menu first.  When I came across the recipe for coconut chicken on Our Best Bites, a food blog I look at on occasion, I gave it a try. I just made a few substitutions.  Instead of chicken, I used shrimp and instead of bread crumbs, I used crushed Wheat Thins.  (I forgot the bread crumbs at the store and didn't feel like going back - it worked though!)  I also left out a few of the ingredients because, well, I just didn't have them.  Luckily, it turned out well!

It was pretty easy too!

To start, preheat the oven to 450 and start by combining these ingredients in a bowl.

1 cup sweeted coconut flakes (you can chop these to make them smaller)
1 cup bread crumbs (this is where my crushed wheat thins came into play)
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayene pepper (even I liked the kick this gave it)

Crack one egg in a bowl and set it out with the bowl of coconut mix.  Beat the egg.

Dip the shrimp into the egg first to coat it, then place it in the coconut mix and put it on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake them for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

They were delicious!!  I had some left over coconut mix, so I sliced up a zuccini, coated it just like the shrimp, and baked them for 5 minutes.  I think they might have been better than the shrimp!

Any other easy meals for me to try?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet Salt Air

The past few days have given me reason to think.  A lot.  One of my oldest friends is going through a pretty tough time.  She is an amazingly strong person but right now, she is in a really tough place of uncertainty.  It's crazy when we think of all the things that medicine can cure, that it's almost impossible to believe that there are still things out there that are beyond it's reach.  Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers.  I really wish I could teleport myself to give her a huge hug.

Needless to say, I've been talking with my mom a lot, and with my friends, and this has made me a bit homesick.  This stuff can happen to anyone and I think I am grasping onto my family with the thought that it could be them.  So far, I've just been a lucky girl and for that I am very thankful.  (Now is a good time to plan a trip home.)

With all of this weighing on my mind and very little to keep me occupied, yesterday, I headed to the beach.  It has always had a way of setting me at ease.  It was a beautiful day.  The weather was perfect; it was hot enough that you could feel the sun on your skin but the breeze was cool enough to keep you from sweating.  I think I have "Irene" to thank for that.  The waves were huge!  Let's hope this storm calms down before it hits North Carolina.

I came home relaxed, and slightly burned.  I think it was a success.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Road Trippin’ Weekend

This weekend we headed up to Virginia with our friends Mandy and Cameron to go to Busch Gardens.  It was a blast.  I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. Several times.  It was one of those weekends that reminds me what it was like to be a kid.  We all became versions of our younger selves and got excited about roller coasters, water balloon fights, and even the log flume.  
Warning…we took a ton of pictures!  I tried to narrow it down for you all, but I really just couldn’t.
Waiting, like little kids, for Cameron to get off work.
Finally, headed to the park!!



We rode every coaster in the place.  I can’t even remember the last time I rode a roller coaster!  And I even did the up-side-down ones!  There were almost no lines until the afternoon and the weather was beautiful. 




We walked a lot.


We mashed some grapes in Italy.


We rode the Sky Buckets.


We acted like we were 5 years old again.


And we rode a ton of rides!!


In the afternoon we changed and went back for the water rides.  We were absolutely soaked.  Good thing we had the waterproof camera.






I don't know how anyone get's off that ride with a dry spot on 'em.

We had a water balloon fight.  


And we finished off the day with the log flume.


Yes, we posed for the camera’s on each ride.  Mandy grew up in Virginia and used to have season passes…she told us exactly when to strike a pose.


After we got cleaned up, we had a nice dinner and played some putt-putt.  Mandy and Cameron each got 3 hole’s in one!!  Derek and I had zero between the two of us.

I have to say it, for the record, Derek did beat me.  That is the first time Derek has ever beaten me at putt-putt.  I am devastated.


Sunday, we walked around colonial Williamsburg, had lunch, stopped by the candy store, and then headed home.  It was an absolutely fabulous weekend - I am still recovering.  It was tiring!



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Training for Life


The other day when I was about to start my run on the Tobacco trail I overheard a conversation nearby.  An older woman asked a runner who had obviously just finished a long, intense run, "what are you training for?"  It seemed like a reasonable question to me, but I was surprised and intrigued by her answer.  She said, "I'm training for life."  hmmmm.  I'm still not sure how to take that answer, and I really don't know how she meant it (remember, I was just eavesdropping), but I think there are lots of different interpretations and in reality, it's probably a good idea to want to be in good shape just "because".  I actually thought about this for a bit on my run today. Obviously, I'm training for the marathon, but there are a lot of other things I'm training for too; health, weight management, a feeling of accomplishment, energy, etc.

This morning was a long run so it's good I had some things to think about.  These mornings are always hard for me.  I know that they are exciting, and very necessary for my training, but before you've started, a long run can be a daunting task.  Sometimes, I drag my feet a little on these mornings.  For example, I woke up at 6:15 today but didn't actually make it to the trail until 7:45. I made a new playlist yesterday and I decided before I began that I was not going to watch my pace.  If I was going too slow, I didn't even want to know.

Lucky for me, I eventually made it to the trail and it went well! I finished 15 miles in 2 hours and 42 minutes.  I averaged about a 10:48 pace.  Not awful - I'll take it!!  Now I am lying on the couch and hydrating until this afternoon.  I might even get a nap in.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Birthday Weekend

  Derek and I had a wonderful time this weekend with Paula and Matt.  It was relaxing, filled with lots of laughing and lots of great food.  I was sad to see them go last night, but hopefully they'll come back again soon!  (warning: picture overload)
Friday we ate at Tribecca Tavern and then played some darts.

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On Saturday the the boys went golfing while Paula and I went to the flea market, explored Raleigh a little bit, and grabbed lunch.  In the afternoon we all met up at the pool to rest.

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{Photo courtesy of Derek}

They spoiled me with gifts - thank you!! - and then we went to Sushi Blues downtown for dinner (it was delicious! – even Derek liked the sushi) and met up with a bunch of my friends.  Our favorite roll, by far, was the "Wolfpack".  How fitting?!


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On the way home, we stopped at Snoopy’s because sushi wasn’t quite enough to fill Derek up.  It was a nice little Raleigh treat for the Chicagoan’s.

Sunday we slept in and met Derek’s family for lunch.   (And this is about when we started forgetting to take pictures, I do believe Paula got one on her cell phone though…if it turns up, I will let you know.)  I was so glad we got to see them.
It was a great weekend, I feel very loved, and I was spoiled by everyone.  You are all way too nice to me.  Thank you.  I did not get to see my parents or Catherine, but I talked to them a bunch and they were there in spirit.  (I miss you!)
I’m thinking 27 will be a good year...It’s off to a great start.