Monday, September 15, 2014

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread



I love to bake.  And I love all things Fall.  The temperatures here in Houston have been unseasonably cool this past weekend (under 80 - whaaaaaat!), so I used my imagination and pretended that Autumn is actually on it's way and did some baking.   I haven't written about baking here because I usually just make stuff from a boxed mix, but since trying to eat more organic foods, box mixes are pretty much out of the picture.  So what's a girl to do?  Start baking from scratch, that's what!  And I decided to start off with a loaf of homemade, organic Pumpkin Cranberry Bread!

I know baking from scratch sounds pretty intimidating, especially if you're used to using a box mix, but let me tell you, it's super easy and doesn't really take that much more time.  I promise!!!  This recipe took me about 10 minutes to mix (not including the time it took to take pictures, ha!), and then all I had to do was sit back and wait for it to bake.

Here's what you'll need to make your own Pumpkin Cranberry Bread:



  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour - I used organic all purpose flour, but you don't have to
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar - again I used organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice - I'm sure I could find an organic version of this, but the amount used for this is so small it didn't matter much to me
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda - there's not really an organic version of this (at least not to my knowledge)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder - again, I'm not sure this even comes in organic
  • 2 eggs - and you guessed it, I used organic free range eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) - you know, organic!
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil - just pretend I used an organic version of this - I just used what was on hand this time (but plan to replace this with organic when it runs out)
  • 1/2 cup water - orga---wait, nevermind
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional) I don't like nuts, so I didn't use any














See?  Super easy and fast.  And oh so delicious!!!  I've been enjoying mine with some pumpkin butter I got from Dewberry Farm a couple of years ago, but it's also great plain.  Some other ways to enjoy your Pumpkin Cranberry Bread are toasted with butter, or even as French toast!  I bet this would also be awesome bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, too!  So how are you going to enjoy your Pumpkin Cranberry Bread?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Zombie Run 5K ~ Shreveport



I promise, despite evidence to the contrary, I am not obsessed with zombies.  Sure, I did the Zombie Walk in Houston a couple of years ago, I was a Walker with Mom in The Walking Dead Escape, and I train with the Zombies Run! app, but I swear I'm not obsessed with zombies.  Really.  I prefer vampires - and not sparkly whiny bitches (Team Jacob all the way) - real, honest to god, Anne Rice, Vampire: The Masquerade, rip your throat out in a scary sexy way, vampires.  But there aren't any vampire 5K training programs or races, so zombies it is (and they are fun to run from).  Besides, humans would never be able to out run vampires - but now I'm getting weird, so I'll just move on to talking about the run.

The Zombie Run 5K was held in my hometown, Shreveport, and I just so happened to be in town visiting my mom.  I signed up on a whim, and despite the run not being very well organized (but what can you really expect because:  Shreveport), I had a good time and enjoyed the run.

The run was on the jogging trail next to Clyde Fant Parkway which is a great place to run alongside the Red River, but not when there are over 300 people trying to run from zombies.  I will say, this was probably the best place to have a zombie run in Shreveport because the trail has trees and bushes and places for zombies to hide, and there's plenty of non-paved grass for runners to spread out.



Jogging strollers weren't allowed on the course because it was a trail run and not a road race, so I have one of my BFF's, DeNeena, and her daughter, Kylie, come out and watch Jack while I ran.  They ran into some friends who were also running (but I didn't get their names, d'oh!).  The race was at 5:30 pm (the hottest part of the day - WHY?!?  Or rather, why not after dark???)  We were all already sweatin' balls before the start gun.




All the runners wore 3 flag football flags that the zombies on the trail were trying to take - each flag you lost, one minute was subtracted from your official time.  At the turn-around point, you could get back one flag if you had any taken from you.  The first quarter-mile or so of the race was a "safe-zone" without any zombies, and right before you got to the turnaround/water station there was also a safe-zone.  (more about that later...)

The organizers did a good job with putting up signs and caution tape and various other signs of a zombie apocalypse along the running course.  They even had a guy in a golf cart playing sirens and announcing that we were in the contamination zone and to watch out for zombies.  It was hard not to nervously giggle at it all.

things got a little crazy with runners coming back along the trail


notice we're all walking at this point

All the zombies were volunteers and were great zombies....some shambled, some hid and jumped out at the runners, some chased us - it was all around a fun time.  There was a kid zombie in a gas mask and a little girl zombie in a tutu.  One nice thing about having a lot of runners on a small course was easily being able to avoid most of the zombies in the crowd of runners.





I ran my slowest 5K since I started this whole running thing.  But I did manage to come in 16th (out of 47) in my age group and 151st overall (out of over 350), so it wasn't really all that shabby (in contrast, my PR race in Houston I came in almost last in my age group and overall).  I really don't run well in the heat (even with zombies chasing me), and since this wasn't a road race, trail running/off road running slowed me down.  Breaking an ankle would've ruined my day.  The crowds were another obstacle to time, especially since the fast runners had already turned around and had to come back along the exact same trail to the finish line, oh, and it took me almost 2 full minutes to get water from the only aid station along the way (see what I mean by poor planning?)  And I ended up walking a good portion of the way back because of stupid shin splints.



I managed to only lose one flag - well that's not 100% true - I only returned to the finish line with one flag.  I out maneuvered several zombies on the way out, but on the way back, one zombie did manage to nab a flag.  I decided to walk after that because most of the zombies weren't even trying to get the flags of people who were walking and I was just too hot to keep running (I really shouldn't've worn the race t-shirt and just gone topless - I mean sports bra).  When I got to the final safe zone I decided to run again because who wants to walk across the finish line (answer:  no one).  As I was running past a couple who was walking, I heard the guy say, "There's one now" and the chick reached out and grabbed one of my flags.  They were zombies who were heading back to home base and not even acting like zombies - they were just walking and chatting (way to break character assholes).  If I'd known they were zombies I wouldn't have been running so close to them and anyway, I was in the fucking safe zone.  Needless to say, I was pretty pissed about losing that flag and told the official timekeepers, so they only wrote down me only losing one flag.  My official time was 44:35.6 - SUPER SLOW (almost 6 minutes slower than my PR)!!!

Overall, I had a good experience with this run.  It was poorly organized (no water at the finish line???  WTF?!?), and the course was tough to navigate (so many hills!), but I'm glad I was able to participate.  I'm definitely looking forward to Fall and cooler temperatures so running won't be quite so brutal.  Running from zombies is definitely fun, though.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Blog Elevated, Business Cards, and Ball Gowns

 

Well, it's official!  I just got my ticket to this year's Blog Elevated conference!  Woot woot!!!  I know I've been MIA from the interwebs for a while, but I've been busy not doing a whole lot working behind the scenes thinking about the changes I want to make around here.  The first of which was purchasing an actual for realsies domain name!!  I mean, I've only been doing this for over 3 years, so what's the rush, right?  I attended Blog Elevated last year and left feeling pumped!  I hope attending this year will fuel the fire under me to give this little blog a major overhaul (WordPress, I'm looking at you.....)

Knowing the amazing networking opportunity ahead of me, I've spent the better part of today trying to choose business cards to hand out.  I knew it wouldn't be easy (confession - in my past life I think I was a graphic designer, but none of the design skills transferred to this life - just a profound appreciation for aesthetics), and picking out just one design has been next to impossible.....I mean, the pressure of knowing these 500 cards are going to brand this blog, and by way of this blog me has been difficult to say the least.  Add to the mix my almost crippling inability to make definitive decisions about anything, and let's just say it's been a long day.  

I think the most difficult part of the process was differentiating between the designs I liked and the designs that actually felt like me.  I realized I really (and I mean really) like vintage designs.  But there's nothing that vintage about me - hey, maybe I can reinvent myself to be more vintage - after all this here blog is all about reinvention.  Anyway, this is what I decided to order:



I know, I know - there's a feather on the front and the back (which seems to be the new trendy I'm sure it's not trendy anymore way of putting a bird on it), but I like the colors and I do actually like feathers (disclaimer:  I do not have any feathers tattooed on me anywhere).  I just hope I don't end up feeling like I have to live up to the card's expectations of me <---------------whatever aren="" cards="" hand="" handmade.="" have="" i="" least="" ll="" means.....at="" out="" p="" t="" that="" this="" to="" year="">

Other than the AMAZING lectures that are on the agenda for Blog Elevated, I am sooooo looking forward to the Beauty, Bubbles, and Bites event on Friday night.  Like, seriously excited.  THERE'S GOING TO BE CHAMPAGNE AND CHEESE AND A POP-UP SALON AND I GET TO DRESS UP.  That's right, I freaking get to dress up, drink champagne, and get my hair did.  Plus, swag bags.  BRING IT ON!!!  WOOOOO!!!  FUCK YEAH!!! {sorry, Mom}  Now I get to spend the next two weeks talking myself out of buying a new dress and instead trying on everything I own, and then probably still buying a new dress.  Which may or may not match my business cards.....

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