Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Chocolate Pudding Pops


Earlier this summer when Thatkid and I were running the San Diego Fair 5k I remarked to him that we were running on the same track the horses run on, and he had no idea what I was talking about.  It had been a couple years since we'd been to the races, Thatbaby hadn't ever been.  And I remember how much Thatkid loved it when we took him when he was little.   So we made plans to make sure to attend this summer.

The first weekend we had free, we headed over to Del Mar.  Thatkid was a little disappointed the fair wasn't there, or more importantly the rides and games weren't there.    We got settled into some seats and the lack of rides and games was quickly overshadowed by the fast running horses.


Just like his brother, Thatbaby loved watching the horses run fast.  And Thatkid loved picking the winner...after the race had ended.

On the weekends, the Del Mar races has a kids area, which is awesome.  Not rides or games, but bounce houses, inflatable slides, face painting, and pony rides.

Thatkid made it his mission to experience every inflatable they had.






Thatkid was a little intimidated at first by the big slides, but there was a smaller one for little guys.  And by the end, he was going down the blue slide just like his big brother.


The line for ponies was a little long, so the boys went and got their faces painted while I waited in line for them.



Thatkid has ridden a pony/horse twice before, but this was Thatbaby's very first time!



Thatkid was so nervous his first time on a pony.  I thought Thatbaby might be the same, but as always he proved to be my oppobaby.  Not scared at all, he jumped right up on that horse and rode like he was born on a salad.







I thought for sure the pony rides would be the highlight of the day.  But on the way back to the car both boys declared their favorite part was watching the races themselves.  Such a successful day!


What made it even more successful was the weather cooperating.  It was cool and overcast, which has been especially unusual for this summer.  It has been a hot summer.  With no signs of cooling down this week.  I even tried to get the kids to play in the sprinkler after school today, but Thatbaby just wanted to stand in his swimsuit and whine.  One thing they are completely embracing is popsicles.  Every moment of the day.  Thatbaby wakes up asking for popsicles.  In fact, over the weekend I found him trying to set up a folding step stool to get to them on the top shelf of our freezer.  Never trust a quiet child.

We make most of the popsicles in our house.  It's easy enough to pour juice or a smoothie into a popsicle mold.   Chocolate pudding pops are a little more labor intensive, because you have to, you know, make pudding.  But pudding pops are such a nostalgic part of my childhood, they have to be made.  I grew up on the J-E-L-L-O variety, but homemade is so much better!


Chocolate Pudding Pops (From Cooking Light)
2 1/2 cups reduced fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

  1. Combine milk, sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, egg yolk, and a dash of salt in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisking.  Cook 8 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly.  Remove pan from heat.
  2. Stir in vanilla and chocolate and stir until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and place over a bowl filled with ice.  Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap and cool.
  3. Spoon chocolate mixture into 6 popsicle molds.  Top with lids and insert sticks.  Freeze 4 hours.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Thatkid's Butter Pasta

"Chores" is a word that's loaded more than it should be.  There's debate about at what age what chore is appropriate, whether allowances should be tied to chores, what chores kids should be doing...

This is not where I'm going to get into that, although trust me, I'm just as clueless as you are.

This is where I talk about our decision on one "chore" in particular.  Although maybe chore isn't the right word.  We like to talk about our family as people who help each other out.  Thatboy and I don't really have assigned chores, although there are things we like doing that have kind of become "our chores" and things we don't like doing that we both avoid as much as we can (like making the bed with clean sheets).  But in general, the idea is that we all pitch in.

Now that Thatkid has started kindergarten, we wanted him to pitch in a little more than he does.  Which means he has been assigned dinner duty one night a week.  This has the added benefit of giving him some good life skills, because everyone should know how to cook.

The deal is this: One night a week he makes dinner.  And he is in charge of all of it.  He picks what he wants to make, picks out the ingredients at the store, makes dinner, serves dinner, and then cleans up after.

For the past two weeks, (and possibly the foreseeable future) we have been having butter pasta. Since this is becoming his signature dish, I thought I would share it with you.

The ingredients are simple - a bag of pasta, 2 Tbsp of butter, and 2 Tbsp of parmsean cheese.

1.  Thatkid fills up the pasta pot with water.  Given it's weight, I then transfer it to the stove for him.  He turns on the burner and brings the water to a boil.

2.  Thatkid dumps the pasta into the pot.


3.  I set the timer for the appropriate time for the pasta.  When the timer goes off, we go back and he checks the pasta for doneness. Then he stirs in the butter and the cheese.


4.  He scoops the pasta into our serving bowls.  He always portions Thatbaby and myself first, smaller portions.  Saving giant portions for himself and Thatboy.


5.  He brings everyone's pasta over to the table.  His usual job is to set the table, but since he's doing all the cooking, I've been having Thatbaby get everyone their forks.


6. We eat.  Every week Thatkid has expressed his extreme pleasure in getting to make and eat his favorite food.


7. When Thatbaby goes to take a bath, Thatkid brings the pot over to the sink and washes it and his serving utensil. (I dry).



I'm not going to lie.  Buttered pasta is not the most exciting, tasty, or nutritious dinner.  But it's one night a week.  And the confidence he's already getting is pretty much worth it.  He loves making dinner for us and feeling like he's contributing.  He likes the praise he gets.  Last weekend when I told him how much I love having a night off, he asked if there were any other dishes he could wash.   The benefits far outweigh the relatively plain dinner he creates.  And I'm still hoping that one day he'll branch off to making something else!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Runday: Fit Foodie 2017 and Discount!

YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS!

I'M GOING TO BE A FIT FOODIE AMBASSADOR AGAIN!

Whew.  Now that I got that out of my system, let's talk.

This will be my fourth year running the Fit Foodie 5k and my fourth year as an ambassador.  It remains one of my all time favorite races, so I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of it.





New to the blog/San Diego/or just have a terrible memory?

The Fit Foodie 5k bills itself as "The Most Delicious 5k" which is exceptionally true.  A partnership between Cooking Light and Health Magazine, the race features the 5k paired with a "Finishers Village" filled with cooking demonstrations, samples, and vendors from some of the yummiest brands out there.  Of course, there are also fitness demonstrations and mini-classes, as well as health and wellness brands.  It's got everything!


New this year they are also promising "bites at each mile."  I'm not sure what that means, but I'm sure looking forward to finding out!




Also new this year?  The location.  I'll admit, I'm a little sad about not running along the Embarcadaro, because I love it so much, but I've got another run there later this year, so I'll be okay.  Plus, I haven't run a race at Liberty Station since I was pregnant with Thatkid!



Speaking of Thatkid, also new this year is my mini-ambassador.  Not officially of course, but this year Thatkid is running the 5k with me.  He's been watching on the sidelines for years and last year, after greeting me at the finish, he announced he wanted to run it with me.  It will not be the first 5k we've run together, but I really want it to be a good one, and not one where he complains the whole way (although the bites every mile will help with that), so I've decided we're going to get in some training runs.  So stay tuned for updates on those.


And now the fun part - the part where you come run with us.  Trust me, you want to come run with us, eat with us, drink with us!  Use the code KAYTORADEFF for $10 off.  Until September 4, the price is $35.  Which means for $25 you can get race entry, festival entry, and the chance to meet some awesome fitness celebrities.  The goodie bag you get at the finish line is worth $25 in itself*(*estimation based on the amount of goodies in it).

The details:
October 7, 2017
6:30am
Liberty Station NTC Park
Register at http://www.fitfoodierun.com/san-diego-california.html

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad


"I remember when August was when you got the best, sweetest watermelon."  Thatboy told me as he grabbed a piece from the fridge last week.  His remark was a commentary on the fact that watermelon has been pretty lackluster this year.  We've tried it from all different sources, including going to pick our own.







Those watermelon pictured above had all the hallmarks of a "good" watermelon.  Hollow sounding, a creamy yellow patch...but cut them open and they were white.  Not because they were some weird white varietal, but because they were just not ripe.

But we've also bought watermelon that when cut into, raised our hopes.  Gloriously pink, as though they had been photographed for the very definition of summer melon.  And they were completely lacking in flavor.

It wasn't just us who couldn't seem to get a handle on watermelon this summer.  On our way home from camping we stopped at restaurant for lunch where Thatboy was drawn in to the watermelon and beet salad.  And the watermelon was just as flavorless as those we had been finding all summer.  That salad had other flaws as well.  With gorgonzola and a balsamic reduction there were too many competing flavors.  Especially given that those flavors were each really heavy.  It was not the watermelon salad I would have made.  It was not the watermelon salad I have made.

Typically my watermelon salads are low on ingredients.  Watermelon, mint, and feta. Skip the balsamic and do a basic dressing with lime and olive oil.  Light and fresh.

This watermelon salad is slightly more complicated, but only slightly.  I love beets as much as the next girl, but their earthiness doesn't match the lightness of watermelon.  Peaches and tomatoes are a much more complementary addition.  The salty feta gets replaced with a more mild goat cheese.  And instead of just lime and oil, this dressing is almost mojito like with its honey and rum!  Which is perfect for those less than sweet watermelons.

Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad (From Cooking Light)
juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp white rum
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
1 1/2 cups sliced peaches
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/4 cup torn mint leaves
2 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
1 lb heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Whisk lime juice, olive oil, honey, rum, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl.
  2. Add watermelon, peaches, onion, mint, basil, and tomatoes and toss gently.  Refrigerate 2 hours.
  3. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Starting Kindergarten

This is one of those posts where I'm sharing experience, and not advice.  Because y'all, we are only 3 days into this kindergarten thing.  There's more I don't know I don't know, than things I know.

When last we left our kindergarten saga, Thatkid had got into a better school in our district.  And that was pretty much it for a while.  It's been quiet on that front.  And then August rolled around and it was time to prep for starting school!

Back in May, we had our "school assessment" where they provided us with the list of what we needed for school.  The list was small - pencils, crayons, and scissors.  That's it.  Everything else was provided for.  And the school specifically requested we not send the kids in with backpacks.  I later learned that the PTA provides tote bags for all the kindergartners to use in lieu of backpacks.  Because kindergarten is only half a day, even a lunch box wasn't required.  So our back to school prep was pretty non-existent.

I've already said I am NOT the guru in this department.  I called up one of my friends who has been there, done that twice before with her sons and had her walk me through what we should be doing. She told me that she got backpacks for both her sons when they were in kindergarten, and used it to store a pillow and blanket for rest-time in the after school program.  This is also where the lunch box would come into play.

With this in mind, we were off.  We started with the hallmark of school - the backpack.  Thatkid picked out a blindingly neon green number.


He's fairly well set with clothes, but school shopping is a rite of passage.  And so I let him pick out some new outfits for school.  His idea of "new school clothes" is a little different than mine.  He picked out some graphic tees and basketball shorts.  I managed to throw in a pair of khakis and convinced him to add another pair of pants and some dressier shoes into the mix.  A new lunchbox, socks, and pencil box which we filled with crayons, "rainbow pencils" and a pencil sharpener, rounded out the shopping trip.



And then came the stressful part.  A little over a week before school started we got a letter in the mail assigning Thatkid to....afternoon kindergarten.  Afternoon kindergarten is from 11-2:20.  There is no morning care on campus, and the of campus care programs don't transport to the school.  Which would mean I would have to get him to school myself every day at 11.  (*Well every day except Thursday when the afternoon kindergarten went in the morning)  This wouldn't have been terrible on days I worked from home, but would be really inconvenient on days I was in the office.  And impossible on days I traveled to LA or Oakland.   Nothing is ever easy in Thathouse, huh?

So when school opened the following week, I went to the school to talk to them.  Which didn't seem like it was going to work.  They basically informed me he was on the waitlist for morning and nothing could be done until school started.  I'm not ashamed to say I cried, begged, and pleaded, but they were unmoved.  But somehow, by the end of the day he had moved off the wait list and into morning kindergarten.   We still went through a couple more classroom/teacher changes that week, but on Wednesday of last week he finally started school!


The day before, we had gone in to meet his teacher, see his classroom, and get his first homework assignment - decorate that totebag!  Thatkid used glitter paint to draw his family on the bag.  We found his seat, and thankfully noted his best friend was sitting at the other side of the class.  The two of them wasted no time in acting crazy as I had them do a couple run throughs of coming in, hanging up their bags, and finding their seats.

Wednesday morning he was still very high energy and crazy.  We ran into a bunch more friends while waiting for school to start and he was very happy to see them.  We headed over to his classroom and waited there until his teacher opened the door to greet her students.  And that's when that craziness and energy faded.  His eyes got big, he got quiet, and he asked if I would go into the class with him.  So I walked him in while he hung up his bag and put his lunch bag in his cubby for snack time.  A couple kids had already made their way over to the rug, so I sent him over to sit with one of his friends, a girl who had been on his baseball team, before I headed out.  I managed to snap a quick picture on my way out the door as he sat nervous and quiet.


The first week has definitely been a learning curve.  School itself has gone great.  He comes home every day with "star cards" which are for exceptional behavior.  He's gotten a "responsibility" ticket for doing something responsible (he can't remember what).  And he really likes it.

Aftercare however....the first day he already was getting in trouble for roughhousing with one of his friends.  The third day he "forgot" he brought his lunch and went to the cafeteria to buy lunch instead.  This kid LOVES buying lunch.  I think he's most impressed with the chocolate milk that "comes in a bag you can't open, you just poke it with a straw."  Although I'm sure the corn dogs, tater tots, and chicken nuggets are fairly big selling points too.

And after aftercare, he's been a bit of a mess.  This is the first time he hasn't napped.  Yes y'all, my nearly 6 year old still takes naps.  And needs them.  Of the three days he's been in school, he has only taken advantage of "rest time" once.  Which means he's a tired, cranky, emotional mess in the evenings.  So.Much.Crying.  He got in a couple of good naps this weekend, so hopefully that will help?  Gosh I wish you could store sleep (she said thinking of how much sleep she had before her children were born).

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Runday: What's New?

I was realizing the other day that this year has been pretty boring in terms of runs/running/races. BUT I have been using this time to renew and replace.  Which is kinda exciting, right?

So I figured this was a good time to update on these new products that have found there way into my life, and my thoughts on them.


S  A Cell wireless magnetic bluetooth earbuds - You guys, I have the hardest time with earbuds/headphones.  Wireless/nonwireless, I just can't seem to find a pair I love.  I'm going through them like tissues.  This year alone I've had 2 pair stop working, 2 pair break, and a pair that was just...not good.  I got these on Amazon prime day and I'm not sold yet.  I like the wireless feature and they fit well, but I don't love the magnetic aspect of them.  Which I thought I was going to love.  But if they aren't magnetically connected, it just drains the battery.  Plus I find the reception to be spotty.  Like they're not receiving the bluetooth signal from my phone which is less than a foot away.


Nike Free RN Flyknit -  I love these shoes!  UDubb has been instrumental in hooking me up with sneakers, but my go-to shoe was discontinued a couple years back.  UDubb picked these ones out for me, and they are my new favorite.  So when my old pair started wearing down, I picked up this year's model.  I don't like to recommend shoes, because everyone's foot and stride is different, and what works for one won't work for another.  So let me just say that they work for me!



One of the perks of the Craft Classic 5k was their sock trade in.  It was the first race I've ever run that did this, but I love the idea.  After the race we gave them our old, sweaty socks, and they gave us a new pair.  The only problem is that I didn't get the brand, which is nowhere on the sock.  And this is a problem because I love these socks!  They're thin, sweat wicking, and super comfortable for long runs.  I pretty much destroyed them on my trail run, but my feet were in great shape.


Chantelle Sports Bra - I've been a Moving Comfort girl for....7 years?  But with the recent buyout by Brooks, I've found the bras have changed a bit.  I thought it might be time to branch out and try something new.  I'd heard good things about Chantelle as a brand for women with...more up top and they definitely delivered.  I like the lift, separation and support.  I also like the fact there's no difficulty in putting it on.  And BONUS, the top converts from regular straps to racer back, which is extra nice if you have a variety of styles in your running tops.



So what's new in your world?  Anything new to recommend?  Want to tell me about your earbuds which are comfortable, dependable, and last for longer than a month?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Bourbon Baked Beans


It's been a little quiet on the ole blog-o this week.  Which is due mostly to the fact that I've been without internet for the past 5 days.  Why?  Because we've been out in the woods!


It was pretty much a disaster of a camping trip.  I had warned Thatboy in advance that camping with our children wasn't going to be the relaxing vacation he envisioned.  I think the exact words I used were "This is going to be more work than vacation."  

He decided that he wanted to prove me wrong.  Fueled by visions of his own family camping trips (which occurred when he was a teenager and involved sleeping in campers or cabins with working kitchens) he promised to plan the whole thing.  His number one goal was to find a place with a nearby lake to swim in.  He found and booked the campsite.  "There's even a restaurant in town!  So you plan breakfasts, and we'll pick up lunch and dinner.  See, vacation!  No cooking!"

Except as we drove through town we noticed that the restaurant?  She was no longer open.  Closed for business.

And then we pulled into the campground and I asked what our campsite number was.  He didn't have an answer.  "I was going to look it up on my phone."  He didn't even think that maybe we wouldn't have cell service in the middle of the woods.  So we drove around and headed back to town to find someone with cell service to look up our reservation online.

Finally, we were back at the campground and ready to set up camp.


Because the local restaurant was closed, we ended up heading to Lake Arrowhead for dinner - which was about 30 minutes away.  During the drive Thatbaby fell asleep in the car.  


You guys know about the curse of the car nap?  If you're a parent, chances are you've experienced it.  They get just enough sleep to recharge them, making any subsequent sleep impossible.  The entire way home from dinner, Thatbaby sang and talked.  When we got back to the campsite and tucked into sleeping bags, he was bouncing off the tent walls.  It took forever to get him to settle down and go to sleep.

The next morning I went to make breakfast, only to find Thatboy hadn't packed any cookware.  Despite the fact I had asked him to make a list of all the things we had in our camping gear twice, and the fact that my mom had brought us up a cookware set that he claimed we didn't need because we already had one, and the fact that the morning we packed the car I tried to go over a list of "what we had."   Without a pan, there was no way to cook/reheat the food I'd brought.  And without a pot or coffee pot, there was no way to make the hot chocolate I'd promised the kids.  We did our best with foil, but ended up eating semi warm eggs and potatoes.  Thank goodness I had cooked them before we left or it would have been a real disaster.   


After breakfast we went for a little hike around the campgrounds, before getting dressed and heading to the lake for that swimming Thatboy had wanted to do so badly.  Except he hadn't done research to realize that the one part of the lake that allowed swimming was fenced off and no dogs were allowed.

So he and the boys went swimming, while I took Thatdog to a different part of the lake and we just sat and enjoyed the view for a few hours.  


(Between you and I, those quiet hours were some of my favorite of the entire trip!)  We met up for lunch at the "Artisan Faire" the town was having.  Which meant there was a food truck where we could grab burgers and hot dogs.  Camp food not at the campsite! 

While the kids napped, we drove to 2 different nearby towns looking for cookware so we could make breakfast the rest of the time we were there.  When the boys woke up, we headed back to the lake to give the boys their first fishing lessons!





We caught nothing.  Which was okay by me!  We headed to the next town over to grab dinner, only to find that there was no outdoor seating.  Which meant no dogs allowed.  And with the weather in the 80s, it was a little too warm to be leaving Thatdog in the car.  In fact, there were no restaurants for the next 3-4 towns over that allowed dogs.  So back to Arrowhead we went.  And another rough night was had.

Our second morning I was able to cook breakfast AND make hot cocoa.  While Thatboy built our first fire.

Today was hiking day.  And we headed up to the very top of Keller's Peak to the lookout for some killer views.



Thatboy and Thatkid headed up even further to the Peak's Lookout, while those of us with four legs, small legs, and fears of heights stayed down below.




I had found a great nearby hike for the family - National Children's Forest.  It was a little less than a mile loop, on a paved path, that promised beautiful views.  Thatboy wasn't thrilled about the idea of a paved path, but I knew it was exactly right for our little guys.  Including the one who didn't want to walk the entire trip. For 3 days he wanted to be carried everywhere we went.


The older one only made it about half a mile before he started complaining about how tired he was and how much his legs hurt.  Luckily I spotted one of those promised beautiful views and guided him towards there with the promise of a rest and snack.



We sat for a while and ate, and then, miraculously his legs felt better and he wanted to climb every rock in the area.  And the little guy, wanting to do whatever his brother did, decided he could walk a little (and climb) too.


We headed back to the campsite where I entertained the kids for a bit while Thatboy ran and grabbed dinner to bring back and eat there.  Then we managed to actually get Thatbaby to sleep!  We stayed up with Thatkid doing glowsticks and smores.

The next morning was breakfast, more cocoa, and then packing everything up to head home.  The trip felt much longer than 3 days, and we were exhausted from poor sleep, lots of work, and bored children.  The campsite offered no showers or hot water, so we were definitely not at our best in the smell department either.

Things I learned from the trip:
1) Thatboy is not the planner in our relationship.  And I should stay being the one in charge of planning everything.

2) Children 5 and under are not great at "entertaining themselves" with nothing more than a ball and some trees.

3) I used to love camping in tents when I was younger, or when it was just Thatboy and me.  But with young kids?  I don't see the need.  I think we're going to stick with cabins for the next few years.  I mean, we can still get to do all the same thing, but with warmer, more comfortable beds, separate spaces, and a place to cook meals.

In truth, you can have almost all the "fun" aspects of camping without even leaving your immediate vicinity.  We have hiking, lakes, trails, all right here.  We set up the tent in the backyard every year and we have a firepit for making smores.  We even can eat campfood in the comfort of our own yard! Like beans!  A pot of beans has always been "camp food" for me.  Because it's easy to cook over an open fire or camp stove, it's filling, and versatile.  Even Thatboy's family used to make beans when camping and use them for dinners and breakfasts.

These are cooked low and slow, sweetened by maple syrup, flavored by bacon and bourbon.  Served with hot dogs, burgers, chicken, or steak - whatever you love to cook when camping.  As a bonus, they won't leave you smelling like a campfire for days after the fact!

Bourbon Baked Beans(From Cooking Light)
1 lb dried navy beans
3 applewood smoked bacon slices
1 cup finely chopped onion
5 cups water, divided
1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp bourbon, divided
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp cider vinegar

  1. Sort and wash beans.  Place in a large Dutch oven.  Cover with water to 2 inches above beans, cover, and let stand overnight.  Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Heat pan over medium high heat.  Add bacon to pan and cook 4 minutes or until crisp.  Remove from pan, reserving 1 1/2 Tbsp drippings in pan.  Crumble bacon.
  3. Add onion to drippings in pan, cook 5 minutes or until onion begins to brown, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add beans, bacon, 4 cups water, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup bourbon, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, cover and bake for 2 hours.
  5. Stir in 1 cup water, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 2 Tbsp bourbon.  Cover and bake 1 hour or until beans are tender and liquid is almost absorbed.  
  6. Stir in vinegar and season with salt.