Monday, June 28, 2010

Return to Running

The last time I really RAN was last April (2009) at the Nashville Music Marathon where I completed the 1/2 marathon in 2 hours and 40-something minutes (Can't find my official time!)
Here I am with my motivator right after crossing the finish line....
The day I ran in this 1/2 it was blasted hot! I had been training in 30-50 degree weather in Memphis. The morning of the 1/2 it was in the 70s and reached the 80s very quickly. My body was definitely not ready for the heat - but I trucked through it and finished. There is a feeling a runner has after running a 1/2 that is unexplainable, it's emotional. Prior to Nashville, I ran the year before in the St. Jude 1/2 marathon - with almost the same exact time. I hope to do another 1/2 within the next 6 months - - we'll see! All of that, to say this...
After spending this past Saturday evening with our neighbors behind us, Matt and Shannon, I got motivated to start running again. I've been in grad school for the last year and it sucked the life and energy out of me. I never want to run... but I'm going to get my run back!
Saturday night, Matt actually brought out his Vibrams.... they were a glorious site to be seen. I have always wanted a pair, secretly. I tried them on and ran around in them around their pool (in my sundress, might I add). If you're not sure what Vibrams are, they are five-fingered sock-like shoes. From talking to my neighbor and reading about them, they actually give you a better work out. They make your legs work a little harder, while lifting the booty all at the same time. I'm nearing 30 and could use this lift! They say its better to not run in cushioned athletic shoes, but to run in a more natural way. If I continue on my running journey and get back into it like I had been in years past, I just might have to get me some Vibrams!
Anyways, I ran tonight - it was hot! But I did 2/2's for 20 minutes. Meaning, I ran 2 minutes and then walked 2 minutes and continued this interval for 20 minutes. It felt great to be back out on the road and hope I can continue! I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hearty Hashbrown Casserole

Last night we enjoyed some family time over at my sister's house. We supplied symphony brownies and hashbrown casserole. The hashbrown casserole was a HIT! I thought I'd share it with everyone as it was shared with me by my fabulous mother-in-law, Debbie! She doesn't think she can cook - but after I ate this at her house, I just knew she had to have been Paula Dean in another life ... enjoy!
Creamy Hash Brown Casserole
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can cream of celery soup
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (30-ounce) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups crushed Lay's potato chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9x13 casserole dish.

In a small skillet, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Pour mixture into a large bowl. Add the sour cream, cream of celery soup, cheese, garlic powder, hash browns, and salt and pepper. Combine until well blended.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Top evenly with crushed potato chips. Before I top it with potato chips, I like to sprinkle Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning on top.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Far Away Father

Dad & Mom (Christmas '09)

My father is serving some time with the USDA in Afghanistan. I am so proud of him and his efforts. He always does good when he travels to these far away places. I wanted to share with you what he does:

Heat Advisory in Effect

Myrtle and the deck. Greg, why so serious?

Well today was blasted HOT! We reached 96 degrees, with a heat index of 105 degrees. It is inhumane. Tried to stay indoors, but got out for a few minutes with Greg to look at our deck work and our beautiful crape myrtles.
You see, Birdie, our precious darling dog, ATE the deck lattice around the bottom of our deck. Last weekend Greg decided to get some fence posts to put in place of the lattice. We, yes WE, measured, cut, and drilled the fence posts into our deck. The guy who sold us the house painted our deck with house paint, so it is chipping and looking pretty bad these days. We are calling it the "distressed" look. So the deck has a ways to go, but it is coming back to life.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bird is the Word

Greg and I are outside today, working on our deck. You can see how much work I'm getting done. I couldn't resist a photo opportunity with our Birdie girl. She loves when we're outside with her. Look... she's smiling!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Little Bob Ross

Aunt Becky and I got a wild hair and decided to attend a paint party where we'd learn to become artist. I really enjoyed it, due to the fact I felt a little bit like my hero - Bob Ross - as I "swooshed" my trees. I actually have hung my painting in our home and it looks great! A fun night out! Greg thinks its the most amazing piece of art he's ever seen. Thats why I love him!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mamaw's Chocolate Cobbler

So, I often tell Greg that I married him for his grandmother's cooking and their lakehouse (which they no longer have). Good thing Mamaw can cook! She has a true passion for baking that I hope to have one day ... when I'm retired. She makes pies, cobblers, cheesecakes, puddings. I could go on and on, but my favorite is her Chocolate Cobbler. You'll want to go purchase all of the ingredients when I tell you how easy this is! So here goes...

6 TBSP butter
1 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in an 8x8 in baking dish while the oven preheats.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 TBSP cocoa. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Spoon this batter over the melted butter in the baking dish.

Stir together the remaining cup of sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Sprinkle over the batter. Now here comes the important part -- slowly pour boiling water over the top of the mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until set. Serve warm with ice cream. Or if you're really having a sweet craving- serve it up right with ice cream, caramel sauce, and chocolate sauce. A cup of coffee goes great with this sinful delight! Enjoy...

Aidan's Arrival

Don't fret... I haven't been hiding a baby from you.
This is my sweet baby nephew, Aidan James Howard.
He was born on Mother's Day this year, appropriate, eh?
My sister, Amy, has waited qui
te some time for this little man - and boy what a gift she got!
He is amazing and has added a whole new outlook to life.
Greg and I are very proud to be his uncle and aunt.


I hardly know them, but I am definitely in love with this band - needtobreathe.
They've been together for over 10 years, how have I never heard of them until this year? They are made up of 4 guys from Possum Kingdom, SC. Who wouldn't be intrigued with a band from a town called Possum Kingdom? The bands influences are Wilco, Tom Petty, and Pearl Jam.
Released in 2009, the album "The Outsiders," is full of inspirational upbeat and slow songs. I'm in the midst of listening to some of their other albums.

Check out some of their songs -
#1, #7, and #8 are a few of my favorite off of this album.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Smells Goods

So I must share something very personal with you now... get ready, wait on it - my shampoo & conditioner. My hair always looks amazing (laugh), and I want folks to think I spend a lot of money on hair products. This is far from the truth. My latest hair craze is Suave Professionals Rosemary Mint Shampoo & Conditioner. I seriously can not wash my hair enough when I'm in the shower. My hair feels and smells like I've been to some posh spa. The best part is they are only a couple of bucks at Target and WalMart. Go buy some of this stuff! Your hair will thank me.

Holy Chut!

What's chutney you ask? I have no idea, but it's terrifyingly amazing!
This is a simple dip that is great for a night in with friends.

Mango Chutney Dip

What you need:
1 cup mayo
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup FINELY shredded cheddar cheese

Mix these ingredients in a bowl and spread in a small dish. I used a pie dish, who cares!

THEN you take the whole dang jar of Major Grey's Mango Chutney and spread it on top of the creamy mixture. Don't look at it too hard, you might find a few random raisens in there - don't touch! Just let it happen... go with it.
THEN you'll spread Oscar Meyer bacon pieces on top.

These you can find in the aisle with the salad dressings.

Where do you find Chutney? It was on the top shelf in the condiment aisle - near the olives and mustard. Ask your local grocer, he'll be able to take you right to it!

Bake this for 30 minutes on 350.
Serve with Wheat Thins, enjoy!