March 23, 2012

Playing House

Even though I’m no longer in school, I was beyond excited for Spring Break to come this year. The Boy was headed north to Southern Indiana. For an entire week! We’ve become so accustomed to the 48 hour weekend dating life that we were both pretty darn excited that we’d actually get to see each other on a weekday…in “real life.” Walking around the block after dinner, folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, grocery shopping…how very conventional :)

We managed to squeeze in a ton of fun into the week – March Madness, St. Patty’s Day shenanigans, a 10K race, 4-wheelers, and football to name a few. Probably one of my FAVORITE parts of the week was attempting to make homemade pizza and wings…from scratch…

For the Pizza - You'll Need:
1 Package (.25 oz) of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water
2 tbsp of canola oil
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar
3 cups of all-purpose flour
15 oz of pizza sauce
**We cheated and bought the pizza sauce pre-made…the dough was adventure enough for one night :)

Our Favorite Toppings:
½ Pound of ground sausage (cooked & drained)
LOTS of pepperonis
1 medium green pepper – chopped or sliced
1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese (or more if you’re named Kim or Justin)

Here’s How You Make It:
1) In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
2) Add the oil, salt, sugar, and 2 cups of flour
3) Beat at medium speed for about 3 minutes
4) Stir in more flour to form a soft dough

5) Spill flour onto the kitchen counter (this is the easiest part :))
6) Knead dough for about 6-8 minutes until smooth
7) Place the dough in a greased bowl – turning once to grease the entire dough ball
8) Cover and let rest for 10 minutes

9) Divide the dough in half (this recipe makes 2 medium sized pizzas)
10) On the floured surface, roll each portion into a circle
11) Attempt to throw pizza dough into air and catch it (this step is optional, but highly recommended)
12) Transfer to greased pizza pan & build up the edges slightly
13) Sprinkle parmesian cheese onto the dough (thanks to mom for the awesome tip!)

14) Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes – or until lightly browned
15) Spread sauce over the crusts
16) Cover with toppings of your choice (I’m a pepperoni & green pepper fan. The Boy likes sausage & mushrooms. Luckily for us, this recipe makes 2 pizzas!)
17) Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted

Onto the Hot Wings – You’ll Need:
2 lbs of chicken wings
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
2 tbsp of hot sauce
2 tbsp of canola oil
1/2 Stick of butter
1 ½ cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of buffalo wing sauce
Non stick canola oil spray

Here’s What You Do:
1) Place the wings in a large bowl
2) Add in the salt, pepper, hot sauce & oil – toss to coat evenly
3) Put the flour in a plastic grocery bag and pour in the chicken wings
4) Twist the top of the bag closed and shake to coat wings in flour

5) Cover a baking sheet in foil & spray with canola oil
6) Place the floured wings onto the pan & spray the tops with canola oil
7) Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes
8) Turn wings and bake for another 30 minutes or until crispy

9) While the wings are baking, melt a half stick of butter into the buffalo wing sauce (props to The Boy’s dad for the secret ingredient!)
10) Remove the wings from the oven and put them in a large bowl
11) Toss with the buffalo sauce while the wings are still hot
12) Transfer to serving plates and let the wings cool for 5-10 minutes

PAY ATTENTION -- this is probably the most important step in the process...
While the wings are cooling, open a bottle of wine, turn up the summer songs playlist and prepare to enjoy the best homemade pizza and wings of your life :)

Oh, and Kari is awesome

March 3, 2012

Nothin' Like A Runner's High

As a person who often wears jeans and a hoodie when it’s 75 degrees outside, I have been especially thankful for this mild winter. There have been very few mornings that I had to warm up my car, snow has not delayed any of my winter travels, and there has not been one day that I have been forced to run inside on a treadmill (because of weather…late nights at hotels is another story. Blah).

This winter was perfect (and I seriously hope I’m not jinxing us all) for running. For the past few years, I’ve participated in The Polar Bear Grand Prix here in Louisville. I love this series of races. It’s perfect for staying active and competitive in the winter months. My goal for the PBGP was to blow my last years times out of the water for all three races. Now only did I dominate over last year Kim, I won my age group for all three races and the series overall (time for a little bragging…go me :) ).

Now that the winter series is over, it’s time to focus on the Triple Crown and begin training for the DerbyFest MiniMarathon. I set a couple big goals for this spring...all part of the plan to make it to New York in the fall.

The Anthem 5K was this morning. My goals: Under 22:00; Top 10 in Age Group; Top 100 Women. Today's results: 21:56; 4th in Age Group; 55th in Women; 415th Overall (out of 8,496 finishers!). I was pumped. The weather was perfect, the course was flat, and I finally got to run with the gang again. 
 Chuckie's Duckies are AWESOME!

Here are the goals for the rest of March...wish me luck!
Rodes City Run (March 17th): Under 46:00; Top 5 in Age Group; Top 100 Women
Papa Johns 10 Miler (March 31st): Under 1:18:00; Top 5 in Age Group; Top 100 Women

Since I’m talking about running, I have to share these "Motivational Posters" from Runners World. These posters make me laugh, because we've all had those days :)