Wednesday, November 30, 2011

12 in 12ish

Well sort of...Dave and Andrew are planning on running 12 marathons next year. They've already signed up for the first three, Miami, Myrtle Beach & Atlanta. Then comes the Knoxville and Nashville marathons in April followed by Pittsburgh in May. June, July and August are slow months for marathons and really, who wants to be running a marathon when it's super hot (really who want's to be running a marathon at all...wait these guys I guess)?

Fall marathons up for consideration are Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, Savannah, Huntsville, and New York. There may be some others, the schedule for the second half of the year hasn't been set yet.

I know Dave needs to start getting more miles in to really start getting ready for the tough schedule next year. He is always in pretty good shape and he started distance training again in October. He is running in the Santa Hustle in Sevierville on December 11th, which is a half marathon that should help in getting his miles up. But he just needs to do better running during the week, other than on the group run night.

We will be chronicling the marathons here on hamtowne and if I can get them to do it, maybe we will even have a few guest posts from Andrew and Dave. This would also be a great excuse for me to get a new lens for my camera. You guys want to see good photos from the races, right? A zoom lens would be excellent to get photos of Dave and Andrew from a distance and at the finish. It would also be a great pain and suffering present, I get super nervous for Dave before a race. Maybe I need to get Xanex and a new lens :)

We are all going to Myrtle Beach and staying a few days. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough to spend some time on the beach! If anyone wants to join us for the marathons let me know. Dave and Andrew love to see friendly faces in the crowd cheering them on!

Let me know if there is anything else you want to know about the crazy year we have coming up!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Thanksgiving that was

It started bright and early at 5:30am with Dylan at my bedside ready to start the day. I intended to walk him downstairs, get him breakfast and then go back to bed until a reasonable hour, but Dave was up just before 6am to get ready for the Turkey Trot so I figured I should stay up and start getting ready for the day. Dylan and I had planned on leaving our house by 7:30am to watch Dave run the second half of the race and finish anyway.  So I made the apple cream cheese danish, which turned out awesome and got Dylan and I ready to go to the race. Boy, was it cold outside! Luckily we were able to park close to a prime viewing location to see Dave, talk to Andrew and then head back to the Jeep to warm up for 15 minutes before heading over to the finish.

Apple Cream Cheese Danish
 Then my Jeep wouldn't Dylan and I headed back over to the finish area and found Dave and Andrew so they could hopefully get my Jeep started. After popping the hood and cleaning off the corrosion on the battery with a little water it started right up! (Only to die again multiple times over the weekend, Dave finally cut the wires and re-attached them to the connectors (I am not a mechanic, I don't know what they are really called) and now we are good to go!). Luckily that little hiccup didn't delay the start of my Thanksgiving food prep!


I started with putting the turkey in the oven at 10:30am (just as my Dad and Step mom arrived)


and made the scalloped corn casserole, stuffing, and green bean casserole starting about 11am.

Then it was on to peeling 5 lbs of Yukon gold potatoes and boiling them for the mashed potatoes (best ones yet!) before I knew it the turkey, stuffing and green bean casserole were done and I was putting the crescent rolls in the oven and making the gravy. 
As much as I prepare and prep it always seems a little chaotic when everything is coming out of the oven and finishing at once!
Carving the turkey
Way too much food for 4 people to eat!

Dave's plate
Pepper was disappointed there was no turkey for her
Dad and Dave relaxing after filling their bellies.
Seriously, no turkey for me?
The awesome Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake. Make this now!
The fancy shot, photo credit to Dave ;)
Even Dylan liked the Pumpkin Cheesecake
Playing soccer with Grandpa

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hot to Trot!

Dave and Andrew ran the annual Hot to Trot race in Knoxville on Thanksgiving morning. They both did awesome as usual. Dave finished 17th in his age group in the 10k and Andrew finished 4th in his age group in the 5k!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two-Fer Tuesday

The mighty Mississippi
A favorite from Kyle and Amie's wedding

What are your Thanksgiving plans? (and a Thanksgiving menu)

Are you cooking a huge Thanksgiving feast? (Raises hand)
Are you heading over to a family members or friends house to celebrate the gluttonous day?

Dave's plate from last years Thanksgiving

 I'll will admit it, I love Thanksgiving and I love cooking on Thanksgiving! Sure, I worry about making sure everything turns out ok and that the food is timed just right to come out of the oven at the same time, but it's still fun for me. I could cook like I do on Thanksgiving every day. Seriously, if anyone wants to pay me to cook all day long let me know!

We will have 5 people at our house this year and while I thought I would be able to pare down the list of dishes we will be having, I don't that that is going to happen. Our family has certain foods that are expected to be served at Thanksgiving including, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course, turkey. The green bean casserole has to be the kind from the recipe on the back of the French fried onions can, although I am very tempted to make this version.

I use an entire 5 lb bag of Yukon gold potatoes to make mashed potatoes along with some half & half, butter and salt and pepper (after running the potatoes through a potato ricer). A pound of mashed potatoes per person sounds about right doesn't it :)

And the star of the meal, the turkey. Since I've been cooking Thanksgiving dinner the past 9 years, wow, seriously 9 years, that makes me feel old, I've made Cooking Light's Apple Cider-Brined Turkey and it's awesome. I also get a frozen turkey and brine it, I know they tell you not to do that, but I haven't had a problem with my turkey being salty. I have seen some dry brine recipes this year too that look pretty good, but I am going to stick with the method that works for me. If you are looking for a brine recipe, you can't go wrong with the one above. I don't make the gravy that is with the recipe though,  I just throw onions, celery, carrots, low sodium chicken stock in the bottom of the roasting pan, strain it when the turkey is done and thicken it with a mixture of flour and water. I also bought 2 boxes of gravy from Trader Joe's when we were back in Iowa. We had it at my sister's last year for Thanksgiving and it was great for non-homemade gravy. Plus it seems like we always run out of gravy before leftover mashed potatoes and turkey, now the problem is solved!

Also on our menu this year, scalloped corn casserole, crescent rolls, stuffing (not stuffed in the turkey though),  Stovetop turkey stuffing (Dave's request..) and pumpkin cheesecake. The scalloped corn casserole is a favorite of my sisters and we had it last year at her house for Thanksgiving (the first year I hadn't made Thanksgiving dinner myself in 8 years!). Dave loved it, so we have added it to the menu this year.

I have made homemade rolls in the past years, but they just aren't the same as crescent rolls, and it's one less thing to have to make ahead or on Thanksgiving. I'll take the help where I can get it. :)

One of my favorite Thanksgiving foods is the stuffing. It's my grandma's recipe and it is almost more like a bread pudding that stuffing. It's sweetened with apples, raisins, dates, cinnamon, sugar, cloves, and nutmeg. While nothing can compare to the stuffing that comes out of a turkey, I'd rather not deal with stuffing a turkey so I just throw the bread and spices in a loaf pan with chicken stock to moisten it, bake it at 350 for 30 minutes or so.

Dave is a Stovetop Stuffing fan. I am not, or really a sage fan either, there will be no sage on my Thanksgiving table. But for $0.89 I am happy to get Stovetop for Dave!

On to dessert! I usually make a traditional pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I've made my own crust and bought pre-made crusts, but this year we are going a different route. Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake! A few years ago when we had quite a few family members at our house for Thanksgiving we had pumpkin cheesecake and it was excellent. I am using a new recipe this year though, so hopefully it will turn out as good as it looks!

What's on your Thanksgiving menu this year?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wedding Weekend

We had a great trip back to Iowa for Kyle and Amie's wedding. Dylan did great during the 14 hour car ride (other than having to stop to pee ALL THE TIME). We arrived in Council Bluffs on Wednesday afternoon and had some time to relax and stretch out after being in the car for a while. Amie and Granny B came over to Carolyn's for dinner and Dylan had fun seeing everyone.

 Thursday was a busy day! We ran to Target to pick up a few last minute items, to Men's Warehouse to make sure Dave and Dylan's tuxes fit ok and then went to Trader Joes! I am so jealous that Omaha has a Trader Joes. Luckily I was able to stock up on Charles Shaw wine, turkey gravy, tea, chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels and more! After our busy morning we headed over to Bruce and Sherrie's for lunch. Josh, Brenda and the kids were there, it took Dylan a few minutes and then he was busy running and playing with his cousins. Kyle and Amie also came over for lunch and opened up a few wedding presents.
The Great Grandchildren: Gabe, Kaelin, Granny B, Madison & Dylan
Dylan's suit!

Kyle loves the new dishes!
Thursday night Carolyn watched Dylan so Dave and I could go out to dinner with friends. We chose a new place, Cantina Laredo, in the midtown area of Omaha the food was really good, however we were not impressed with the margaritas. They had nothing on Chez Guevera's! After a catching up at our friends house after dinner we headed back to Carolyn's. Dylan and I had lunch at Cellar 19 on Friday before I got my shellac manicure (still going strong on day 7!) and Dave and Kyle headed to Quaker Steak and Lube for wings.

Friday evening was the rehearsal, Dylan was a great listener and walked down the isle with the other ring bearers. Other than Dave and I walking down the isle on the wrong sides the rehearsal went great. Dinner was at Riverside Grill. We had an wonderful buffet of chicken, steak and sides. Carolyn made everyone favors for the rehearsal too, the trivets/coasters turned out great! Dave gave a short speech and then Kyle and Amie handed out the wedding party gifts. Dylan loves his trucks and they kept him and Gabe entertained for the remainder of the dinner. Among the items in my bag was a fun bracelet that all the bridesmaids wore at the wedding. Dave got a mug and shot glass for his groomsman gift.
Ready to practice walking down the isle.
Custom favors
The girls were up early on Saturday to get our hair done. Luckily my mom drove over to Council Bluffs on Friday so she could help us with Dylan on Friday and Saturday. I rode out to the church with the other bridesmaids and Amie. Dave and Kyle came out later and Dylan got to catch a ride with Grandma Carolyn. He made it just in time for wedding party photos! He did great getting his picture taken and gave us the cheesy smile too. Kyle and Amie looked wonderful and the ceremony was great.

Kaelin getting her hair done.
Ladies getting their hair done.
Amie with hair and make up done!
Amie's awesome custom bouquet!
Another shot of her bouquet. 

Gabe looking handsome in his suit.
Madison, Kaelin and Jenna
Dave putting on Dylan's boutineer. 
Dylan and Kyle
GQ Dylan
 After the ceremony Kyle and Amie were showered in rose petals, took a few pictures in the beautiful light and then hopped on the party bus with the rest of us to get photos taken at a park in Omaha and to grab a drink.
After the ceremony photos, gorgeous light and couple!
Amie and Ashley

Paul and Dana flew in from Chicago for the big day!
When we arrived at the reception everyone was announced and Kyle and Amie cut the wedding cake. Dinner, speeches and dancing rounded out the night. We had such a great time being part of Kyle and Amie's wedding and were so happy they included Dylan as well!
First dance! Congratulations Kyle and Amie!
Want to see ALL my photos from the wedding weekend? Visit my Flickr page!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011