Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Dream Day: Long Runs and Cooking Stores

Well, as you've probably gathered from the title of this blog, I'm a runner. And it just occurred to me that I haven't talked about running AT ALL so far. That must be a record for me, considering I can barely take my rest days off, I'm so in love with it. Running is just awesome. And I'll tell you why.

Feel the wind at your back (or if you're slightly less lucky, at your front) blowing away all the cares and concerns that have been brewing throughout the day. Hear the dull thud of each step as you pound along the pavement in a beautiful, easy-to-find rhythm. Let your mind wander wherever it may, because right now, you are simply in touch with YOU. Every muscle, no... every CELL, every MITOCHONDRIA, every ATOM is alive and propelling you on to destiny.

I can be a bit melodramatic at times.

But I whole-heartedly believe in what I just wrote. Going for a run is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself on a daily basis. And it's FREE! (provided you don't get swept up in all the junk...heart monitors and calorie counters and fancy watches and shoes and shorts and shirts and leggings and compression socks and, well, the list goes on...)

So the best part of my day thus far was my run. Even though I got lost on it. Maybe ESPECIALLY because I got lost on it (that made it longer than planned.) You see, living in a tiny neighborhood, I don't have many options of where to go when I run. I must have covered the same route hundreds and hundreds of times, and as much as I love it, I've got to say.... it can be kind of boring.

Today I ventured off the beaten path, quite literally, by going to some newly-discovered trails that start a mile and a half from my house (part of why I've never been is just that... by the time I run to them, I usually need to turn back because in my busy, AP-class studded life, there isn't time for long runs). I glanced over the map posted at the start of the main trail and briefly considered taking a copy to go just in case...and then decided I was too cool for that. Ha. Serves me right.

I think I must have gone all over that network of trails today before finding the one that I wanted (I did remember the specific colors of where I needed to go. That gives me some credit, right?) and it took me at least 50 minutes. It was pure, exhausting bliss. I got scratched by thorns, my calves and thighs were screaming, I was getting a little bit anxious...but it was all worth it. I'd do it again. Except now it wouldn't be getting lost. It would just be having a long run.

Speaking of things I love, I got to go to the mall for Connecticut's tax-free shopping weekend. I went to a cooking supply store, and I must admit, I found a small haven there as well. If only I had unlimited access to all the funds I needed, then I would have gone on a MAJOR shopping spree. No joke. There were some really nifty gadgets I would like to try. Like this one:

Or the Yonanas (my friend has one and I adore it. I mean... healthy ice cream? What more could you want out of life? And it's totally delicious! I've tried the DIY version but it doesn't yield the same texture at all. Speaking of which, my food processor broke! I'm in mourning.)
And here is the wall of measuring gadgets, whisks, spatulas, timers, food scales, and everything in between. It was so TALL, and packed with different options. I wanted them all.
But, since I needed new school clothes, alas, no new kitchen gear for moi. That's okay. Christmas is only 4 months and 3 days away. But who's counting? (me! me! pick me!)

Time for a delicious recipe! I was trying to think of something creative that would embrace the good mood I was in today, so what better than a DESSERT? I know you're getting tired of all the berry posts, like the Summer Lovin' Salad and the Very Berry Pancakes, but hey, it's not my fault the fridge isn't working. And this one is different. It's DESSERT, for crying out loud.

4 servings Nilla Wafers, Crushed to Fine Powder (About 32 cookies)
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Very Ripe Bananas, Sliced
1 Cup Ripe Strawberries, Sliced
12 oz. Red Raspberry Preserves
1 Cup Ripe Blueberries
1 Cup Flaked Coconut
1/2- 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Extra Nilla Wafers for Crumbly Topping

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Crush Nilla Wafers by placing in large plastic bag and rolling over (closed) bag with rolling pin. Place butter in 9x13 pan and pop into the oven until all butter is melted. Swirl it around to coat all the pan evenly, and then pour in your nilla wafer crumbs. Coat all crumbs with butter and press firmly into pan. If you need more butter, USE IT! Evenly distribute sliced bananas and berries over crust. Drop preserves over everything by spoonfuls so they, too, are fairly evenly distributed. You don't need to spread them with a knife, however, they will even out more with baking. Sprinkle on coconut and desired amount of white chocolate chips. Pour sweetened condensed milk over whole thing, making sure that it too is poured EVENLY. Bake for 40 minutes or until milk is no longer gooey. Allow to cool and sprinkle with additional nilla wafer crumbs, or even chopped pecans if you like! ENJOY!

They look kind of patriotic, don't they?
Here's a little laugh for the day, just something I saw in the mall parking lot (it fits with my them of getting lost, too, coincidentally) :)

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