Today was the Pittsburgh Great Race!! It's an annual 10k race that goes through a lot of neighborhoods and finishes at the Point in downtown Pittsburgh. Last year, Rick and I ran it together but this year due to no babysitter I couldn't run it with Rick. But not to be deterred, Rick found another running partner and I decided that the kids and I would do the 5k walk.
This was just after the race but it makes such a nice first picture don't you think?
The kids and I not quite awake yet but ready to go!
Minutes before the 5k run and the 5k walk started. The 5k started an hour before the 10k started on the second half of the course.
Getting to the top of the only 'serious' hill we had to walk. Last year when Rick and I ran the race we saw a couple of people pass out on this hill!
Refueling is very important. Between the two of them, Tristyn and Maia consumed 3 bananas, 2 bagels, 2 bottles of water and 2 large cookies.
Here we are after our walk. I'm a little tense because some random guy is taking the picture with my new pink Blackberry that I am very fond of.
Tristyn and Maia after the race.
We did our 5k under an hour so we had a good bit of time to kill before the 10k runners started coming through the finish line. Plenty of time to work our way up to the fence and snap this picture of Rick!
Rick with our friend, Adam, after the race. Don't they look like the could do another 10k??
Hold any of those type of thoughts--I promise you I have a shirt on underneath my jacket! And yes, that is pizza hanging out of Tristyn's mouth.
Tristyn had off from school yesterday and we spent the whole day together which is something we rarely get to do. Right now, we are a one car household because of mine being in the shop, so first on our agenda was to take Rick to work in order to keep his car. From there we went to Starbucks.
It sounds strange to say a 9 year old likes going to the coffee shop but he really does. We chose a table outside taking care to make sure it was under the umbrella because who wants a table with no umbrella. Then, we both pulled out books and sipped and read together in a very companionable quietness. For Tristyn--Indiana Jones + clementine soda + rice krisipie. For me--The Fairy Godmother (not very heavy reading there!) + tall, nonfat raspberry mocha.
The neighborhood we were in, Squirrel Hill, has my children's favorite toystore in it and no trip is complete without stopping in to browse. S.W. Randalls is a small shop that contains a large variety of different things--some found at the 'regular' toy store but most not. Every inch of that store is packed with lovely things and one can easily spend--even as an adult!--an hour browsing.
LIttle's Shoes is my Squirrel Hill must-stop. The service you receive from the employees is the old-fashioned kind you rarely find anymore. Even when the store is at its most crowded it's never a long wait before you are approached by a sales person who seems to always know if you want immediate service or prefer to browse alone for a little bit. They will listen to what you want, make appropriate suggestions, measure your feet and then bring out your shoes. Then, they seem to have an unfailing ability to determine if they should put the shoes on your feet or if you are the type that would rather do so for yourself.
I can't help but think of my grandmother when I go to this store and I say this because some years ago I took my grandmother to Kaufmanns. She wished to purchase a new pair of shoes along with some other things and was appalled at the customer or rather lack of customer service she received. To her, Kaufmanns had always been the place to go for shopping and her disappointment was palpable. She asked me if all stores were like this: spend ten minutes chasing down a salesperson only to have them half heartedly point you in the right direction or toss a box of shoes at your feet. I told her yes this type of 'care' was the norm and often if it was even worse.
Little's has exactly the type of service my grandmother was looking for. I'd love to take her there but I don't think she would want to leave the suburbs to come to the city. =( My last words on Little's and then I'll stop rambling about them this morning: They have a great selection of REAL QUALITY shoes that they stand behind. Not to mention an out of my price range fabulous pair of boots that I'm lusting after!
We also play this game while we eat. Needless to say, it takes us a long time to finish our pizza but it saves us from burning the roof of the mouth!
The rest of the afternoon was spent cozily snugged up inside a movie theater watching this Star Wars cartoon movie that Tristyn had been dying to see. (I feel asleep but don't tell him that!)
I'm not sure what was more rushed: shaping, topping, baking this bread or taking this picture! I think it must be the latter because my family was perched to begin dinner when I yelled 'Wait! Wait! I gotta take a picture!'
Not necessarily the best way to start eating dinner that you have about -oh I don't know, 5 minutes? to eat before dashing off to soccer practice. And PTA meetings. And back home again for homework. By the way, do you have your 1st grade spelling words down? Test today! I do! Here they are:
chip, chin, inch, such, catch, match, wish, shop, saw and were. I recited those from memory because that's how many times I've looked at that list of words.
Anyways, back to the bread. It's not quite pizza. It's not quite foccaccia. But it's highly portable. And tasty. Versatile, too, if you are interested in swapping out rosemary for another herb.
Here's the recipe:
2 cups warm water
1 3/4 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4-5 cups of bread flour (this one will depend on the weather/temperature. I needed slightly more than 5 cups when I made it yesterday)
4 garlic cloves sliced thin
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped OR your choice of fresh herb chopped small
Sea salt & Fresh ground pepper (I forgot these two things because I was in such a hurry! I can say with authority that they can be omitted and won't be missed)
Extra virgin olive oil.
In a bowl, combine water, yeast, olive oil sugar and salt. Add in the flour one cup at a time and mix until smooth. Let rest 15-20 minutes in the bowl. Remove from bowl and knead for about 5 minutes or so or until smooth. The dough will be fairly soft; don't worry if it's sticking to you just a wee bit.
Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with oiled saran wrap and place in the fridge until it's time to bake. You can and should leave it in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours (or even overnight) for maximum taste but it's not necessary. It will taste good even if you take it out after an hour. Anyways.
Remove bowl from fridge and let come to room temperature. It will take about 90 minutes and the dough will also noticeably rise. Preheat oven to 500. Prepare your baking stone if you are using one. Remove dough from bowl, being careful NOT to degas the dough (and never punch dough down! That's just really, really mean) and place on lightly floured counter. Divide into four pieces.
Shape each piece into a 8 inch rough circle. Be kind and don't overwork the dough. Think rustic. If not using a baking stone and just using an ordinary cookie sheet/pan, place dough onto lightly oiled pans. Sprinkle with garlic and rosemary and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake approximately 10 minutes until golden brown--or just starting to turn golden brown like mine because you are running out of time and will end up consuming most of it as you walk laps around the track watching your son/brother at soccer practice!
I think I've mentioned this before: I don't like raw tomatoes. They are gross and the innards look like something I'm not going to describe because it's too gross. Unfortunately I had an overabundance of them due to my garden and CSA box and needed something to do with them. Fortunately, when I poked around in my garden and saw all the peppers I knew just what to do! Make salsa!
Here we go:
Collect vast quantities of tomatoes and peppers. About 7 pounds of tomatoes and about 15ish peppers. If you have a few more or less, I don't really think it will matter. I was intent on using up every ripe tomato and pepper in site---and another huge bowl of them not in site!
If you like a hot salsa, you'll probably want to use a combination of anaheim, polbano chili peppers, jalapenos and serrano chili peppers. If you have someone in your household with weak tastebuds you'll want to stick to sweet peppers and the such.
Make your tomatoes naked.
Gut 'em. Then, put them in a large pot and cook them at a simmer for 45-55 minutes or until they are thick and chunky. Meanwhile--
De-stem, seed and chop your peppers. If you are using really hot ones, you'll want to wear gloves at this point. And I hear you're not supposed to ever rub your eyes. I wouldn't know because three of us--not me!--won't touch hot stuff.
Chop 2 cup of onions. *Curious tidbit about me: My eyes don't water when I use onions but I sneeze exactly one time each time I chop onions.* Mince 5 cloves of garlic.
Assemble peppers, onions, garlic, 1/2 cup vinegar (not pictured because I can't abide the smell of it for that long!), 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 1/4 cup cilantro (or parsley).
Dump everything in the pot. Return mixture to boiling and cook for no more than a minute. Take it off the stove. Can or freeze excess as desired.
This is a whole wheat roll with an interesting shaping technique.
First, you begin with a ball of dough and you flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. Then you dip one side in warm water followed by poppy seeds. Again, you flatten the ball slightly as you press the poppy seeds into the dough. Then, you set the ball on the counter and using the short end of clean credit card you cut three intersecting lines in the dough ball. You want to be sure that you cut all the way through the roll to the counter below but be careful NOT to cut through the outer edges of the of the dough ball. If you did it right, you should should have a star shaped series of cuts. I think it looks more like how you want draw the stick figure equivalent of a snowflake.
Using your fingertips, you want to gently push upwards on the cut part of the roll pushing the ends apart from one another. Keep pushing/manipulating until you turn the entire thing inside out! Set the dough poppy seed up on a pan, proof and bake.
Look at this picture I managed to snap through the
prison bars fence! It's Maia at recess!! Maia's school is adjacent to the park and as I was leaving the park I realized I could hear shouts, laughter and really high pitched squeals and when I turned to see what the commotion was I could see that it was the children having recess. Immediately, I knew I had to go over and investigate to see if Maia was in the group.
And she was. Her school, in addition to nature walks/science class in the park, has two recesses daily. The school alternates between the paved lot and the grassy play space next to the school. Lucky for me, Maia was in the paved spot and I got to go over and say hello to her.
I must say I felt a bit creepy going over to the fence to talk to her. It felt like I should be saying something like 'Hey little kid...d'ya want some candy??' Yikes!
It was such a treat to see Maia AND to see that she was happy to see me. =)
I've been waiting for this treat ALL weekend. A tall, nonfat raspberry mocha from Starbucks + a chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting that I made this afternoon.
A rundown of our weekend:
Friday--Maia had a half day at school and after she came home we both had a 'playdate' with our friends. Katie came down with Macey and Atticus and we had a nice afternoon together. Rick and I ended up hosting a sort of impromptu dinner party and had a fabulous time doing so! We had a full table--there was 11 of us altogether. Dinner was Grilled Cheeseburgers, homemade mac n'cheese, glazed carrots and applesauce. Dessert was homemade vanilla ice cream and Oreo Cupcakes (which I didn't have time to take a picture of)
Saturday--The larger part of our day was spent at the soccer field. Tristyn had his game first, then we had a picnic lunch followed by Maia's game. There's something about spreading out a quilt underneath some trees lounging around with friends (Yay Katie and Chelsea!! You guys have no clue how much better good company makes soccer spectating for me!)
Then--LOOK what we found.
Rick is calling him Buddy. Our neighbor told us that a dog got his mother the day before and he's been hanging around since. Buddy is very friendly, full of fleas (currently being rectified) and not terribly bright; it was his attempt to curl up in a pile of leaves in the street that made me decide to take him in.
He doesn't play too much and prefers to eat and nap. He does seem to like the sticks and leaves Rick and Maia provided for him. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to find out how to take care of him until he is able to fend for himself and also what to do to make sure he is ready to be on his own away from humans.
He gets back to sleeping in a hurry.
Sunday--A day spent tending to house, family, and squirrel. Kids dashing in and out and all around. Dinner on the deck. Exhausting but enjoyable.
Or breakfast just the right sized for little ones.