Tri Season Begins [and Ends]

This year’s triathlon season began this weekend in Green Lake, Wisconsin.  Since it was my only tri of the summer, I was really looking forward to the weekend!  Sadly, I had a cold leading up to the race but was so happy to wake up Sunday with an unstuffed nose and a clear head.  We had a fantastic day on Saturday playing on the lake before Sunday’s early morning rise.  The sun was just creeping up over the trees and the lake looked calm and peaceful.

 

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Note to self…don’t ever forget to bring oatmeal for out of town races or you’re breakfast will be this hodgepodge of brown rice, almond milk, banana, and blueberries.  Luckily, it tasted a little better than it looked!

 

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We headed down to the pier to load our bikes onto the boat.  I thought it was neat to drive to packet pickup in a boat, but arriving at a triathlon by boat…EVEN COOLER!!!

 

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I loved the wind in my hair as we bounced across the lake heading towards the race site.

 

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Look who was leading the way and even more excited to arrive!

 

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We unloaded our bikes at the pier and made our way to the transition site.  The Ripon Medical Center triathlon is a small (around 200 people) community race.  The transition area was easy to access and the other races were warm and friendly.

 

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The best part about the morning was watching the sun rise over the lake!

 

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It was stunning!

 

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Our pre-race pictures!

 

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Just before the boys entered the water, my parents and the BOY got dropped off to watch the race and cheer us on.  I was feeling a little nervous before entering the water.

 

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The boys went in about 10 minutes before me making the swim look easy (because for them…it is!).

 

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Finally it was our time…

 

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While I was out in the water, the boys came out of the water and went into transition.  My Dad got some awesome action shots along the way!

 

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What felt like hours later (although it was closer to 16 minutes), I finally excited the water and strolled my way into transition.

 

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My thoughts on my swim…the first 5 minutes went wonderfully. I was calm, my stroke was strong-ish, and I channeled my inner Olympian. Then I hit the first buoy, slowed down a bit, rounded the second buoy, and my goggles fogged up completely and I had no idea where I was going. I was able to make my way back to the beach, but my goggles were already starting to leak. I finished the last few feet breast stroking with my goggles on my forehead before dragging myself out of the water. My swim was slow, but steady and I was thrilled that I stayed calm and actually had some fun this time.

 

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I took my time in transition feeling excited to have the bike and run ahead of me. It was a gorgeous day to be out for a bike ride!

 

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I mounted my bike and rode off towards the 1 mile long hill that started the 15 mile bike ride. It was a tough transition powering up the hill, but once I made it to the highway, I hit my stride. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride and I love biking through the rolling hills surrounded by greens and farmland. The miles flew by, and I got a lot of practice switching my gears. I passed a few people around my age around mile 5 and then was on my own for most of the bike, except for the speedy guys on aerobikes whizzing by me. The ride was hilly, but for me the hardest part was riding the one mile back down to transition along the winding hill at 25mph.  I kept one hand on the brake and my eyes fixed forward hoping that I didn’t fall.  I arrived safely to transition about 15 minutes after my brother…

 

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Before heading out for a hilly 5K run.  Didn’t my dad get some incredible photos?!

 

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When I made it back to transition, there was only one portion of the race left and it was my favorite! I hit the run at full speed and then realized that I was headed back up another huge 1 mile hill.  Yikes!  The 5K was non-stop up and down, and I was happy that I had been training in the hills this summer!  I saw my brother right before the half way turn around point, and my parents were waiting for him at the finish.

 

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A few minutes later, it was my turn to sprint to the finish.  With the help of the hill, I had whole lot of momentum (and some adrenaline) to carry me across the finish line with the Fam cheering me on the whole way!

 

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During the last uphill portion of the run, I felt the strongest that I had all summer.  It was an amazing feeling!  It’s been a year of ups and downs and a few weeks of stress, but climbing up that final hill, I finally felt like a triathlete!  When I crossed the finish, I was in great spirits.  I loved everything about this race.  It was well run with some of the friendliest and most enthusiastic volunteers that I have ever seen.  And…who doesn’t want to dig into a huge slice (or four) of watermelon when they’re done?!  Not to mention that I did beat my brother by a full four minutes : )

 

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Post race…we were all smiles!!!  And, planning to return next summer to compete in the Green Lake Triathlon again!!!  I hope to see some of you there!

 

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We boarded our boat to head back home for some food and a victory beer!

 

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Plus a few handfuls of chocolate covered raisins…one of my post race favorite snacks!!!  All in all, it was such a fun and exciting weekend, and I am thrilled to have competed in my third tri season.  Even though it was the shortest of the three, it was definitely a weekend to remember!  I am huge fan of the sprint distance triathlon, and I see many more in my future : )

 

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A few days post race, I am feeling incredible!  My shoulders are a little sore (will someone please refer me back to this post next summer when it comes time for training in the pool?!), but I was back on my bike this morning for a leisurely ride, and I am looking forward to my family visiting this weekend.  Saturday, it is back to Wisconsin for the Rugged Maniac Mud Run!

 

Final Results

Swim: 16:00

Transition 1: 2:40

15 mile Bike: 55:49

Transition 2: 1:40

5k Run: 24:43

TOTAL: 1:40:50

Overall Place: 71

Division Place: 3/10

Female Place: 16/73

This Weekend in Wisconsin

Despite my cold, this weekend was fantastic and I’m not even sure where to begin.  I guess the best place is to thank everyone for your support with this weekend’s race.  I so appreciate the texts, emails, comments, rides, dinner, bike concierge, help with my gear, cheerleading, and photography (Dad…you did great work with my camera!).  I was smiling all weekend!

 

On Friday, we hit the road for Green Lake, Wisconsin.  We have close family friends with a house on the lake.  Their son, my brother and I were all doing the short distance triathlon on Sunday.  The three of us have never done a race together and after a year of talking about, I was excited for the weekend!  I knew that we would have a lot of fun hanging out (because we always do) and that this no-pressure race would be a fun way to be active and see more of Green Lake.  On the way up, I saw the biggest (and by that I mean the widest) rainbow that I have ever seen in my entire life.  I swear you could see every color clearly, and this picture doesn’t even do it justice!

 

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The BOY and I arrived a few minutes after my family just as the sun was setting over the lake.

 

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By the time we unpacked the car, my Mom already had a dinner spread set out for everyone.  We tucked into the couches to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  I guess I should warn you that I LOVE the Olympic games.  I used to think that I was going to be an Olympic gymnasts…crazy, I know…that is a story for a different day!  We dug into all of the sweets that I had made for the weekend and had a great time watching the parade of countries, trying to guess the sport of the flag holder, before the final torch was lit. 

 

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We went to bed at a reasonable time and were up early for some fun on the lake.  We all piled into the boat before breakfast to enjoy the beautiful weather and watch my brother do a wakeboard run.

 

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After the boat ride, our friend and I went out for a 30 minute run.  When we got back, most of the gang was awake, so we went over to the sand bar to hang out and throw around a football.

 

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Then zipped across the lack for packet pickup.  Coolest way to travel to packet pick up EVER!

 

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I was feeling less congested which was great, but my energy was totally shot!  I am surprised how much this cold took out of me.  I was starting to feel a little nervous, especially as the competitive talk between my brother and I began.  When we arrived at the site, they were already starting to set up for the race.  The three of us (my bro, our friend, and I) headed up to get our packets.  The boys had done this race in the past, so they knew exactly where to go.

 

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It was a gorgeous day and the views from the race site were impressive!

 

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We arrived home to find the pups catching up on the Olympic games.

 

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I jumped in the shower and then headed down to the pier for the ceremonial pre-triathlon braiding of the hair while the BOY, Mom and I sipped on a cocktail.

 

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With skirt steak on the menu, the BOY was pegged for grilling duty.  My contribution to dinner was the pasta, which I took care of quickly.  Unfortunately, the grill was a few burners short, and so the rest of dinner (minus the pasta) took much longer than expected.  I strolled down to the dock to watch the sun set (and take a few dozen pictures) before dinner.

 

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Dinner was incredible!  I had salmon, pasta, grilled veggies with olive oil, and ramen slaw and was seriously stuffed by the time I crashed on the couch.  I had zero room for dessert, but everyone else dug into the fudge and puppy chow.

 

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Despite taking an afternoon nap, I was wiped out from my cold and the day.  I watched a little of the Olympics, trying to channel my inner Michael Phelps and Park Tae-hwan for the triathlon swim.  Then, packed up my gear (checking everything for a second and third time) before heading up to bed around 10.

 

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As I lay in bed, I went through the morning’s race in my head trying to remember all of the details of transition and mentally preparing myself for the swim.  I did two tri’s last summer, but it’s been almost a year since my last one, which left me feeling a little rusty.  Although I felt well-trained, I wasn’t sure how much the cold would wear me out, and I knew it was going to be a hilly race.  Despite my nerves (which are pretty typical for me the night before a race), I slept great!  Until 5:20am on race day when my alarm went off before the sun was rising…

 

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Coming up next…Race Day in Green Lake, Wisconsin!

 

 

Can’t wait to read about this weekend’s triathlon details?  Here are last summer’s tri posts:

TREK Women’s Triathlon Part I

TREK Women’s Triathlon Part II

Bang’s Lake Olympic Distance

More Triathlon Photos

No Alarm Friday

I can’t figure out why the cashier at Trader Joe’s asked me if I was having a party this weekend???

 

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Don’t normal people buy this much booze on Thursday night?

 

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I can tell you that normal people don’t stand in the Trader Joe’s parking lot talking pictures of the inside of their car, but we bloggers really are an interesting bunch!

 

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Although I would have liked to have indulged in some of these tasty beverages, I did not…not one drop!  Because I have a pretty bad cold!  Summer colds are a total bummer, but after two straight weeks of work and class, the stress has finally gotten to me.  The saddest part is that it is finally the weekend, and I don’t want a stuffy nose for my trip to Wisconsin and my triathlon this Sunday.  These are the joys (insert sarcastic facial expression here) of working with kids.  They are always passing you some sort of bug! 

I started wondering today what will happen if I can’t breath through my nose during the swim…I guess that’s why they created the doggy paddle. I think it is safe to assume that it won’t be my most successful race, but I know that it will be a fun one.  Which brings us back to the booze…I have a few bottles to take up north with me this weekend and then stocked up my house for out of town guests and a Chicago feast the next weekend.  With all of this fun, I best be feeling better SOON!  The first step on my road to recovery…SLEEP!  I slept a wonderful 10 hours last night.  My body probably could have used a few more hours, but my brain was awake and ready for a day off when I crawled out of bed at 9AM today.  The BOY was already awake and keeping himself busy with some important phone calls to AT&T, so I went straight to the kitchen.  I had a whole bunch of nasty bananas that I turned into my most beautiful banana bread EVER which will be perfect for company next weekend.

 

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Then I got to work on some sweets.  Since I need to hit the road 5 minutes ago, I don’t have time to share all of the recipes, but I did make another batch of Cake Batter Fudge.  Just a note…one cake mix has ~4 cups which is perfect for two rounds of this addicting fudge!

 

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This time, I just added in some walnuts and then covered the fudge with festive sprinkles, a few walnuts, and the last couple of caramel chips that I had left.

 

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By the way, it is okay to lick the bowl, spatula, and your fingers before cleaning up!

 

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Around 11:00AM, I realized the BOY was still battling AT&T and despite my stuff nose, I decided to get out for a bike ride.  It is one of the most beautiful summer days we’ve had and between my busy schedule and the rain I haven’t been out on my bike since last week.

 

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The sunglasses are necessary to cover my tired eyes!  I decided to ride once around the path.  When I got on my bike, I was shocked at how high the resistance was.  Then I realized it was at its usually place, but legs were feeling worn out. I think worse than the stuffed up nose and cough, this cold has really drained me of energy!  Although I wasn’t feeling as strong, I powered through the almost 10 mile path enjoying the fresh air before making my way back home.

 

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The BOY and I went out to lunch and picked up a few things at Whole Foods for the weekend.  Before we knew it, it was 3:00 and time to shower and pack.  I sliced up fudge bars taking just the smallest taste to make sure this simple recipe tasted good (and trust me…they are amazing!)

 

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I took the bars to go along with some wine and the other homemade goodies before helping the BOY pack up the car.  Ok, that’s a lie…before telling the BOY what to put into the car.

 

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I have to go do my final check that I have all of my tri gear and then we are off to Wisconsin.  See you later!

 

 

Chocolate Cake Batter Fudge

Adapted from Cake Batter Fudge

 

2 cups chocolate cake mix

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter

 

Place cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the milk, top with stick of butter, and microwave for 2 minutes. Immediately begin mixing everything together – the butter may not be fully melted but will as you continue mixing. Lastly, mix in the rainbow sprinkles, then pour fudge into a greased cake pan. Chill for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

I Dream of Chocolate {Cake Batter Fudge}

I know I wet your appetite with this post yesterday…did you guess the last recipe yet???

I have been dreaming about this recipe forever!

 

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Ok, that is an exaggeration, but I have been thinking about it, planning for it, and talking about it since I first discovered Cake Batter Fudge in June.

 

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I had a whole bunch of leftover chips (and nuts) to choose from to stir into my cake batter fudge.  Decisions…Decisions…

 

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Not really tough when the answer is all of the above!  I threw in some chocolate chips, caramel chips, and pecans and then topped the fudge with some white chocolate chips and a few more caramel chips (because you can never have too much caramel…right?).

 

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I considered adding in some sea salt, which I think might have been amazing!  It is definitely on the list for next time!

 

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The only bad thing was that I used parchment paper instead of foil, so my fudge couldn’t spread out evenly along the bottom of the pan.

 

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As long as you don’t mind the uneven margins, the fudge looks amazing!

 

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And it tastes just as good as you think it should!

 

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I brought the fudge to work where everyone LOVED it! I can’t say I’m surprised because what is not to love about chocolate cake batter, caramel, and pecans? It tastes like you’re licking the bowl of your favorite cake recipe (or just diving in head first)!

 

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The BOY is also a huge fan, and I’m hoping to make another batch to take up to Wisconsin this weekend!

 

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Maybe I will even add in some sea salt!  Yummmmm!

 

 

Chocolate Cake Batter Caramel and Pecan Fudge

Adapted from Cake Batter Fudge

 

2 cups chocolate cake mix

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup caramel chips

1/2 cup sliced pecans

 

Place cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the milk, top with stick of butter, and microwave for 2:15 minutes. Immediately begin mixing everything together – the butter may not be fully melted but will as you continue mixing. Mix in the chocolate chips, caramel chips and pecans.  Don’t over stir or chips will start to melt.  Pour fudge into a greased cake pan (or pan lined with foil and cooking spray). Pour white chocolate chips and any extras that you have over the top and gently press them in to the batter.  Chill for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

What Day is it Today?

If you’ve bumped into me at all over the past week (or I slept over at your house), then I’m sure you’ve heard me ask this question.  Why have I been asking such silly questions?  Because as you could tell from this last post, I am a bit out of sorts!  Why am I a bit out of sorts?  Well, I worked last Wednesday…went to class Thursday through Tuesday (I think that is today)…and then am back to work on Wednesday (tomorrow)!  It’s like a week went by and I am back exactly where I started.  What a crazy week!

 

We got out of class early today, which was fantastic!  I made it home quickly while the sun was still shining and a beautiful evening was emerging.  This was a far cry from this morning’s thunderstorms.  I had more than enough time to pull together a quick bread for this weekend, so I walked in the door and started slicing strawberries.

 

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I had a few juicy strawberries left in the fridge and some old bananas.  I have been drooling over Averie’s Strawberry Banana Bread since she posted it this spring, and I finally had everything that I needed to make it.  Won’t this be perfect for after this weekend’s triathlon?!

 

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This bread has a few simple ingredients starring this bright red berries.  It is easy to make in only one bowl, which I always love!

 

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I decided to add in some extra banana because one just didn’t sound like enough!

 

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I also used some extra strawberries, poured the bread into the pan, and covered it with some more sliced strawberries!

 

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I threw the bread into the oven while the BOY and I headed out to the path for a walk.  It was so nice to be outdoors and enjoy some fresh air!

 

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We got back just in time for me to pull my bread out of the oven.

 

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The BOY and I changed out of our sweaty clothes and headed out the door for dinner.  During our walk, we discussed the plan of BBQ chicken, but quickly abandoned it to try the small, local sushi restaurant instead.  It was a great decision!  We had a fresh and delicious sushi meal.  When we walked back in the door, the house smelled incredible.  Even the BOY, who won’t touch a banana,  commented on it!

 

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This bread looks and tastes like a sweet and fruity Dutch pancake!  I only had a small bite form the end that fell off, but I can’t wait to dig in!

 

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For now, the bread is heading into the freezer until after the triathlon this weekend.  I’m not sure I can wait that long!!!

 

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How many days until Sunday???

 

 

 

Strawberry Banana Bread

From Averie Cooks

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 medium banana, divided (mash half – about 1/4 cup mashed banana; slice the other half – about 10 thin slices)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg white, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup strawberries, diced

 

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan by either lining it with foil, allowing for overhang to easily lift out the bread or by spraying well with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and stir to combine. Slice a banana in half and mash one half with a fork and slice the other half into thin discs. Add the mashed banana to the dry ingredients and stir. Add the oil, beaten egg white, vanilla and stir until just combined. Gently fold in 3/4 cup strawberries. Pour batter into prepared pan and top with 1/4 cup strawberries and banana slices, pressing them very gently into the surface of the batter. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean (Depending on moisture content bananas and berries, cooking times may vary from 40 to 50 minutes). Allow bread to cool before removing it from the pan. Slice and serve as is, or add butter, cream cheese, jelly, or frosting, if desired. Store extra bread in an airtight container on the countertop or store in the freezer for up to three months.

1 Week To Go

The TOUR is over, but sadly my class is not : (

 

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Even though I’m back in class tomorrow, I stayed up a little later than expected tonight to watch the exciting finish to the Tour de France.  It was fun to view this impressive race over the past three weeks, and I have a whole new knowledge and appreciation for this international spectacle.  I am all hyped up for the Olympics and more importantly, my first (and most likely only) triathlon of the summer next Sunday!

 

Although this weekend has not been ideal for training (or blogging), I have been able to get in some bike rides (Hello Bike Commuter!) and runs.  I am slacking on the swimming (story of my life), but since there is no expectations or pressure for this race, I’m not stressed, just excited!

 

Speaking of stressed, spending 6 days in class (instead of my usual 3 day weekend) has been rough on me.  Luckily, the BOY was in charge of dinner tonight, and he prepared us an amazing dinner or shrimp fajitas.  He made one spicy version using a salsa pepper from my friend’s garden and one less spicy.

 

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Both were incredible!  We combined them with grilled veggies…

 

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And added in the fixin’s needed for a tasty dinner!

 

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We even had enough leftovers for me to take for lunch tomorrow.  For dessert, we had a special treat.  The red, white, and blue bottle was awesome looking and the champagne even better!

 

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Since I’m in charge of the course breakfast tomorrow, I made a fruit salsa and by request, some fig and date bars tonight before settling in to fold some laundry and finish the tour.

 

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The fig bars also made a great dessert tonight!

I apologize for post of random thoughts, but that is just where my brain is at right now.  I think they call that fried!  Only two more days of class and then two more days of work and then we are off to Wisconsin for the triathlon weekend.  Hooray!

 

 

Race Countdown: 1 week to Triathlon Time!!!

Commuter

I have a serious desire to be the type of person who commutes by bike instead of wasting countless hours behind the wheel of my car.  With 30 miles separating my work from my home, this isn’t a realistic option.  However, when it came time to planning for this week (Thursday-Tuesday) in class including my reservation to stay with the P’s and carpool with my coworker, I jumped at the chance to ride my bike.  Although class is 15 miles away, my coworker lives only 6 miles from my parents.  Since I needed to get in some biking in anticipation for next weekend’s triathlon and time would be tight, riding to my friend’s house sounded perfect!  I planned ahead packing up my bike and my bike gear, and last night, I set everything out so I”d be ready for this morning’s commute.

 

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Over breakfast, I planned out my path with a few alternatives.  Luckily, I know my way around town pretty well, so I had a few options to choose from.

 

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I also explored the new Map My Ride Ap that I recently downloaded after watching hours of the Tour de France.  This super cool application allows you to track your bike route via GPS.  At the end of your ride, it will tell you your distance, speed, miles, and calories (although I’m not sure how accurate this is).  I easily hooked up the ap to my Google account.  I pushed the green play button before my ride, and by the end I had a map, pictures, and stats.  I’m sure it does even more, and I can’t wait to figure it all out.

 

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I was (surprisingly) able to fit all my clothes, face wash, and a snack into a pack on my back (although taking a picture of this proved to be more difficult than expected).

 

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I prepped my bike, and hit the road.  Since I didn’t know what to expect for the ride, I brought my hybrid so I wouldn’t have to clip in and out often at the stoplights and could handle the bumps along the way.

 

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It was the perfect morning for a bike ride.  Many degrees cooler than it’s been all summer with a comfortable breeze and cloudy sky.  Just 1 mile into my ride, the sun was starting to emerge, so I stopped to put on my sunglasses and take a few pictures of the lake.  With the dry weather and the leaves on the ground, it almost looked (and felt) like fall!

 

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Who wouldn’t want this view on their morning commute???  It was a real treat!  A few miles into my ride the BOY called, and I was able to chat with him briefly while I maneuvered my way the along the path with a few other riders.  I rode the 6 plus miles to my friend’s in under 30 minutes and took a few extra minutes to enjoy a ride through their neighborhood before pulling into her driveway.

 

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It was easy and quick to wash my face, change my clothes, and be ready for a ride to class.  We had a long day of learning, but by the time class was over, the sun was shining and the weather was gorgeous.  I was definitely looking forward to my Friday commute home (which is a far cry from how I usually feel on Friday workday afternoons).  For my trip home, I took a different route.  There wasn’t as much sidewalk as I had expected, so I wandered my way through some local neighborhood roads.  I hit one dead end before finding a shortcut that I haven’t seen since my junior high cross country days. I was happy to have my hybrid instead of my road bike to handle the bumps, turns, and off road experiences.

At one of the bigger intersections, I stopped for some water and had to laugh to myself watching as the cars zipped by since usually that is me sprinting for home!  From the side of the road, I had a strong appreciation for this leisurely ride back to my parents.

 

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I took an extra lap around the lake enjoying the fresh air and the cool breeze.

 

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The lake was filled with walkers, riders, rollerbladers, runners, sailors, and even some guys kayaking along the water.  I tried to take a few photos on the go while holding on tight with my other hand.

 

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It was an awesome ride home, and I loved every minute of it!

 

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I forgot to reset my bike computer before making my way home and was pleased to see that I had gotten in a 15 mile ride today.  It didn’t even feel like a workout, yet my heart was pumping and I was sweaty.

 

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I definitely worked up an appetite for dinner by the time I made it back to my parents. 

Look at my post-bike ride glow!!!  This is the face of a happy commuter!

 

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To complete my healthy, earth friendly day, dinner started with a salad topped with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from my close friend’s garden.  This fresh salad (complete with my CSA greens) was crisp and delicious!

 

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It was the perfect pre-dinner salad, and I’m looking forward to taking my leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  If you have to spend all weekend in class, it is important to have an awesome lunch!  Sadly, there will not be any leftover salmon for tomorrow as my Mom and I devoured the entire piece.

 

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After dinner, my mom and I took a stroll through the neighborhood, but first we stopped to check out my parent’s garden.  My dad wanted me to scope out his zucchini plant, and my mom was impressed with her peppers.

 

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It really is a great looking garden, and I just can’t wait to get my hands on some of those zucchinis!  With all of the stress of work and school and life, it was such a treat to be able to unwind on my laid back commute home.  Although I’m not sure when I will be able to take my bike to work/class again, I’m hoping to work something out soon!  Or at least take the bike to some local stores in my neighborhood….anything to spend less time in my car.

 

Here is what I learned from today’s journey…

 

The negatives of commuting by bike:

-I didn’t get in a pre work wake up shower

-It takes a little bit of planning

-It is hard to carry anything big with you

 

The positives of commuting by bike:

-Less pollution

-Decreased stress

-I loved the fresh air!

-Much better view

-I was able to get in 15 miles of riding

-I worked off this afternoon’s latte which was necessary to keep me awake through neurophys

 

The most important things about commuting by bike (except for the helmet, of course) is having a plan and being confident on the roads.  I can’t wait to do it again!

 

Have you ever commuted by bike?

Do you have any biking aps that you use?

 

 

For more bike commuting fun, you have to check out these blogs…

EcoVelo is all about sheek bikers on the go.

BikeyFace is a hilarious cartoon version exploring the world of commuting by bike.  Any time you are having a rough day, check out this blog for a good laugh, including this illustration of the biker’s wardrobe!

Fig, Date, Nut Energy Bars

So I can’t believe how much I liked these Date Bars.  They have the perfect texture, and they are sweet and filling.  I have been talking about them non-stop and have shared the recipe with everyone that I know will listen. 

Have you tried them yet?  What do you think?

 

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Well, I was so inspired by these bars that I went out and got more ingredients to make a double batch.  And this time, I added a few things.

 

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Like dried figs!!! 

 

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I may have processed my dried fruit a little too long, and I have to admit that just the dried fruit tasted fantastic all on it’s own.

 

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But even better with the addition of nuts and coconut!!!

 

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With a a drizzle of agave to pull everything together…

 

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These incredible bars are complete and full of protein, healthy fats, and energy.   They come together quickly, which is perfect as the temperatures are back up in the no bake zone!

 

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The bars need about 2 hours in the fridge.  I suggest finding something to do to keep yourself busy because you will want to be sneaking bites.  One suggestion…checking out some of my favorite recipes!

 

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When they are set, these bars have the same great texture of the plain date bars…

 

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But the added fig flavor, which I LOVE!

 

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Can you say…new favorite energy bars?!

 

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I thought that the date bars were good, but this version turned out even better!

 

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I shared a few bars with my coworkers today who were all super impressed and excited to make their own batch!  No joke…you need to try these!  I will definitely be packing up a batch to bring to class starting Thursday.  I know that I will need the energy to make it through the weekend!

 

 

What is your favorite homemade energy snack?

It would be great to get a collection going, so please share your links!

 

 

 

Fig, Date, Nut Energy Bars

Makes 12 bars

 

1 cup dried figs, roughly chopped

1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup coconut

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Agave, maple syrup, or honey (optional)

 

Place the figs and dates in your food processor just until combined.

Add in nuts, coconut, salt, and cinnamon.  Pulse until everything is combined and a sticky dough is created.  If the bars remain dry, then stream in 1-2 tsp of agave, maple syrup, or honey if desired to help the bars stick together.

Remove the dough and press into an 8×8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper.

Refrigerate for ~2 hours until set.  Cut into bars and store in the fridge.  They won’t last long!

 

Note: Get creative with this forgiving recipe.  You can add quinoa, dried fruit, chocolate, flax etc.  If the mixture is try, then add in some oil or syrup to help everything stick together.

 

Also, I haven’t tried it yet, but I have a feeling these bars will freeze well.  Enjoy!