Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Flower Fields: Strawberry Rolls

I love that spring is so full of flowers.  And we take complete advantage of it.  Trips to the desert to see the super bloom, and of course, the flowers a little closer to home.

I look forward to our yearly trips to the Flower Fields.  Who wouldn't?  There's something about the bright colors and beautiful flowers that just puts you in a good mood.

How can you not be happy when you're looking out over fields of flowers?

This year, because of the rain, it seemed as though the ranunculus were even more full and even more bright.

It's also a really easy family field trip.  One of these days these boys are not going to be up visiting a field of flowers.  So I'm soaking in these moments they still get excited about.

Of course, it helps that the Flower Fields has a lot that is interesting to these kids.  Like ice cream.

And playgrounds.

And gem mining.

And when it's all over, we grab a flat of strawberries to take home.  Or eat in the car.  A lot were eaten in the car.  But enough were left to fold into strawberry rolls.  And begin our foray into San Diego's strawberry season - always early, always delicious.

These strawberry rolls are a twist on cinnamon rolls.  I actually made these before Passover, but didn't want to share them, because the last thing I want to think about during Passover is doughy rolls, covered in cream cheese icing.  But we're back to eating bread in this house, so it only seemed fair to share with you.  Hurry - they go fast!

 Strawberry Rolls
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp instant yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar, divided
7 Tbsp butter, divided
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup strawberries
1 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  1. Sprinkle yeast over milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine egg, 1/4 cup sugar, 4 Tbsp butter, flour, and salt in an electric mixer. Mix until the mixture resembles small peas.
  3. Add in the milk/yeast and mix for an additional 5 minutes.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough has doubled in size.
  4.  Combine the strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and let sit for 20 minutes while you prepare the rolls.
  5. Spray a pie pan with baking spray.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 12 x 18 rectangle.
  6. Spread the jam over the rolled out dough, leaving about 1/4 inch border. 
  7. Scatter the strawberries over the jam.
  8. Roll up the dough like a carpet, starting with the side farthest away from you.  Press the seam into the dough roll to seal.
  9. Slice the roll into 8 pieces and place each piece into the pie plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.  Let cool.
  11. While the rolls are cooling, combine the remaining butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioners sugar in an electric mixer.  Mix until the desired frosting consistency is achieved.  Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Sunday Runday: Sharon's Ride 2019

Welcome once again to my Sharon's Ride race recap.  We've been taking part in this race for years now, and so there's not as much of a need to recap the same thing over and over again.  As usual, Thatbaby was all about getting his face painted.

The new experience for me this year was running with Thatkid.  Which, in itself, wasn't such a new experience.  We've been doing this race together almost since we first started doing it.  But this year, he really got into gear.  He always either rides his bike, or scooters, but ends up complaining after a short while and being dragged on his scooter by me.  I typically think of this as a walk more than a run.

But this year, the kid took off on his scooter and basically disappeared from sight.  I had to run at top speed and I still couldn't keep up with him.  This picture?  It's him passing me on his way back before I even got to the turnaround.  And then he was gone again.  Luckily I found him waiting for me beside the finish line when I finished.   And after all that running, I was only too happy to sit beside him and wait for Thatboy and Thatbaby to finish. 

After the race we stopped off for some free shaved ice.

There's always some treat after the race  (and before the race) but shaved ice is definitely my favorite!

Face paint - check
Fast race - check
shaved ice - check

Another successful race!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Play Ball!: Individual Lime Sherbet Punch

One of my least favorite days of baseball is the day when all the Pony League teams across San Diego go to the ballpark together.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good day at the ballpark as much as the next guy, but all those kids?  It's so overwhelming. 

Plus, it's a pretty long day as we have to get there hours early in order for the kids to line up, to march around the field before the game starts.  A march in which you inevitably can't even see your kids, because they don't bring them where the parents are allowed to stand and watch.

So why do we go every year?

Because look how happy it makes my kid:

He just loves it.  He loves going on the field.  He loves watching the game with his friends.  He loves every minute.

The good parts?  Every year Pony League day seems to coincide with Military Appreciation Day, so we get to see some really cool preshow stuff.  This is the second year in a row that we've had Navy Seals parachute into the stadium.

Thatbaby was also very into cheering - whenever the bigger boys cheered.

One of the best parts of Petco Park is how kid friendly it is.  The last couple of innings we brought the kids over to "Park at the Park" and let them run around a bit until the end of the game.

I always take advantage of the fun drinks while we're there.  One of our local breweries opened up a distillery and they always have a presence there with a bunch of fun themed drinks.  Since this game we were playing the Giants, I got my hands around the "Giant Crusher."

I am all about fun drinks for the summer, even better when I can make something easily translated from alcoholic to non-alcoholic, depending on the occasion.   The idea of an individual ice cream punch was mine - because sometimes you don't want to make a huge thing of punch, you just want something for you to enjoy.  The flavor was picked by Thatkid, who wanted something green and REALLY limey.  We talked about using lime sherbet and strawberry lemonade, or watermelon cooler, but in the end, his vote for "lime, lime, and more lime" won out.

And the best part of the drink is that to "adultify" it, all you need to do is add a shot (or two) of gin.  It then becomes a really fun take on the classic lime rickey.

Individual Lime Sherbet Punch
1 cup lime sherbet, softened
1 1/2 cups limeaid
2 cups lemon-lime soda
*optional - gin
  1.  Place 1 scoop of sherbet into 4 glasses.
  2.  Top sherbet with 3/4 cup of limeaid per glass.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of lemon lime soda to each glass.
  4. If you wish to make this a grown up drink, add a shot of gin to each glass.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Runday: Napa Women's Half Marathon

The first I heard about the Napa Women's Half Marathon was when they were advertising for a ridiculously cheap entry.  And I got really excited, because the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon is one of my bucket list races.

And it wasn't until months after I signed up that I realized that this was not that race.

I'm not sure why I thought it was - I'm fairly certain it said "inaugural" all over the race advertisements and sign ups.  But here I was, all signed up for a race.

Luckily, I had a lot of friends who also signed up, and we decided to make a girls' weekend of it. 

We headed up on a Friday afternoon, and got in on Saturday morning - to be fair, it had JUST turned Saturday morning moments before, but still.

After we all got a little sleep, we headed for breakfast, and then to pick up our bibs.

And then, well, when in Napa...

There was a little wine tasting...

Not too much, because we all had a race to run the next day.

But we couldn't be in Napa and not take advantage of the wineries.

We called it an early night so we could get up the next morning.  And get up early we did.  Up, dressed, and ready to run, we headed out to the start line. 

The race had a lovely start as we ran across the bridge and through downtown Napa. 

Right after mile 1, my calf started acting up.  Which was unusual for me.  I've had plenty of other aches and pains, but never had calf issues before! 

The course was rolling hill after rolling hill - which is my second least favorite type of course (after straight uphill ;-)) but I decided to just take it easy on pace and enjoy the view.  With all the rains, the wineries and fields were just the most vibrant shade of green.

And there were plenty of cool things to stop and look at.

My biggest course complaint, however, were the lack of port-a-potties.  As one other runner said to me, "it's a race for women, most of whom have had kids, of course we need port-a-potties!"  For me, I don't usually have to use the bathroom during the race, but my bladder has never fully recovered from my second child, so if there's anything in there, it finds a way out.  I use the port-a-potties mostly to empty my bladder to prevent this.  So it's not a necessity, just a way to not embarrass myself.  The lines were so long though for the few port-a-potties, that it didn't pay to stop.  I finally did at mile 9, because there were only 3 people in line in front of me, and it still added an additional 17 minutes to my time.  (The difference between my app, which pauses when I stop, and my official race time).

I will say, those last 4 miles were definitely comfortable at least!

My friend, MV passed me while I was waiting for the port-a-potty, figuring I would catch up to her when I finished.  I didn't, but that meant she was there to capture my finish!

And pick up our finisher wine glasses!

MV and I sat and watched the band while we drank our first glass of wine, then went to watch all of our friends finish.

And once all our friends finished, we sat and drank more wine with them!

The race finished right beside Oxbow Public Market, so we all headed over there to grab lunch before heading back to the room to shower and rest up a bit.  The original plan was to fit in a few wine tastings, but we were all pretty exhausted, not to mention we didn't actually have reservations for any tastings.  So instead while we rested, I spent the time finding us a fantastic restaurant for dinner.

I cannot say enough nice things about The Charter Oak.  We were initially drawn in by the female chef, Katianna Hong.   Because if you're doing a girls' weekend, you might as well go all in on the "girls" part.  But then came the fact that the menu looked accommodating to some of our food restrictions in the group.  Once we arrived, we learned what "accommodating" really meant as the waitstaff and kitchen went out of their way to ensure that everyone's dietary needs were being met, even offering to create dishes if none struck our fancy on the menu.

But strike our fancy they did - from the very first brussels sprout laid on the table, all the way to the mochi cake at the end, the menu had more than enough choices.  And everything we chose was amazing.  We were giddy as each new dish arrived and left full and happy.  And all of us planning our return.

The next morning we made a quick stop for coffee and were on our way home.

We did make one little stop to pick up some presents for the kids at home...