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Showing posts from December, 2011

Warm Spiced Cider - A Special Holiday Treat!

Image from For my birthday this year, my sister outdid herself. She bought me these Mason Jar Mugs from Pottery Barn, one of the most magical places on earth.

But beyond that, she provided me with the ingredients to make this fabulous, Hot Spiced Cider (recipe displayed above). It is too delicious not to share. This is certainly something you will want to try at any holiday parties or with family on Christmas Eve. This recipe serves 6.

Hot Spiced Cider
6 Cups Apple Cider
3 Cinnamon Sticks
30 Whole Cloves
8 Slices Crystalized Ginger
3/4 cup Calvados or other Apple Brandy  In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cider, cinnamon sticks, cloves and crystalized ginger. (I crushed the spices with a mortar and pestle before throwing it in the saucepan.)Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes.Ladle the cider into mugs, adding some of the spices to each. Stir 2 tbsp Apple Brandy into each mug and serve immediately.
What ar…

A Reassessment of Goals

A year ago, I was preparing for the holiday season weighing about 15 pounds more than I currently do. I was proud of myself for having lost 15 pounds up to that point, but I knew I had a lot further to go. I did not have any set goals other than to look great on my wedding day.

I modified my goals as we got closer to the big day. I focused on being fit, rather than being skinny, incorporating weight training into my everyday work outs. I decided that weight was just a number on the scale, and that I should measure my success by how I feel.

Shortly after the wedding, I made a commitment to myself to push further than what I thought I was capable of and to complete a half marathon. The thought of completing a half marathon was daunting, but if I did not try, I would never know. With a few 5ks under my belt, I signed up for a half marathon and created a training schedule.

With training for a half marathon, as with most things in life, you have to be prepared to adapt. For example, last w…

Foamies Craft for Baby

I had great success and popularity with the Established Family craft I posted back in October, both in the blogosphere and with those whom I gifted this craft to. Such success, that I decided to recreate this as a craft for baby.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Foamies Craft for Baby! Oh how fun!

This particular craft was created for baby boy Trevor, expected February 2012. His loving parents have created a jungle oasis for his nursery, complete with banana tree wall decal, and plenty of greens and browns to make the tiniest monkey feel right at home.

This project follows the instructions given in The Established Family craft post (found here), with the addition of a few steps and a fun material that I had never worked with before: Foamies Sticky Back Foam Sheets.

Available at most craft stores, I picked up a multicolor pack of Foamies like the one pictured from JoAnn Fabric and Crafts. Also from JoAnn, I grabbed a pack of pre-cut flowers and vines. I may not have worked with foa…

Wednesday Weighin... sort of...

This past week has been a balancing act. Work, meals, cleaning, decorating, spreading Christmas cheer... the work is never done. I am so proud of myself and the way I have balanced all of my responsibilities, lately.

I have not missed a beat with training. I am proud to report that I continue to increase my mileage and my pace on the treadmill. I completed a four mile run this weekend, which has been my longest treadmill run to date. It was a constant mental battle, but I finished, and the three miles I ran today were a breeze because of it.

This week's training schedule:

Now, my diet... or lack thereof... well it is the season. But still, if you are going to consume holiday treats, you want to make sure they are worth every calorie. What follows is exactly that. A holiday treat that is worth every calorie and never fails to leave you with a smile. Consume in moderation, and at your own risk. (I have been allowing myself one, one-inch-square a day.)

Creme de Menthe Brownies


Recipe on the Run

Now that we are in the middle of the holiday rush, do you feel like the sky is falling down? Don't know what or when to cook dinner? Here is a slow cooker recipe that is quick to throw together and produces fall-off-the-bone, juicy chicken!

Slow Cooker Chicken
2-3lb Chicken
1 Chicken Bouillon
Salt and Pepper
Aluminum Foil
Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

Wad three to five pieces of aluminum foil into three to four inch balls and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.Place the chicken bouillon in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour over two cups of water. Clean the chicken with cool water and pat dry. Season the chicken with the paprika, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.Place the chicken in the slow cooker on top of the crumbled aluminum foil.Set the slow cooker to High for 1 hour, then turn down to Low for about 8 to 10 hours, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.This is the perfect recipe to prepare in the morning and let cook while you…

All I Want for Christmas is my Garmin 305...

The basic joys of running are pretty simple. Everyone has the ability to do it, you can do it anywhere, and it is free. That is, until you start signing up for races, putting mileage on your shoes and decide to invest in expensive training equipment.

Over the years, the contents of my Christmas list has varied. When I was younger, the N64 was the big ticket item. When I was in college, I wanted a nice winter coat and purse to keep up with the cool rich kids. Now that I am an adult (arguably), my hobbies have changed, and invariably so has the Christmas list.

Instead of handbags or Nintendo Wii games, a Garmin Forerunner 305 tops my list this year. Granted, it is not the most fashionable accessory, but it beats carrying my phone to use my Verizon GPS whilst I run through the sketch scene that is my neighborhood.

And while we are on the topic of running through the neighborhood, an iPod shuffle would do nicely to cover up the sounds of catcalls from passersby. If ever you feel down abou…