Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Runday: OC Turkey Trot Gobble Wobble Kids Dash

This year Thatkid has been requesting a lot of races.  One of those races was the turkey trot he did last year.

The great thing about this turkey trot is that it has kids races,  divided by age.  Which means I didn't have to drag him through 5 miles.  Since there was a separate division for 2 and under I signed Thatbaby up to run too - his first actual race he would run himself!

We arrived early,  and it's a good thing we did,  because the race was much more crowded than last year with lines backed up trying to get in the parking lot.  The nice thing about doing a race near where we would spend Thanksgiving is that we missed all traffic getting there.

All the trouble getting in,  and the extra crowds meant that many of the racers started late,  which meant there were too many on the course to start the kids races on time.

We kept the kids occupied as best we could with the photo booth,  but even that lost its Allie and they got antsy.

Finally it was time to line up.  Except the divisions were totally different than what we registered for. Instead of 2 and under , Thatbaby was placed with the 2-4 year olds.  Which made him very overwhelmed and he turned to me and said "mama you run with me?"  And so I did.

When he finished, we hurried over to see Thatkid off as he started his race.

Success for both my little turkey trotters.

Success and pie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Which is the perfect time to recap Halloween, right? Well whether it is or not, here we are.

I wanted to do a special breakfast, but weekday mornings are hard since I get the boys ready for school.  So I incorporated them in breakfast making.  I used Trader Joe's pumpkin rolls and popped them in the oven while the boys and I whipped up some cream cheese frosting.  A little food coloring and we were on our way!

This is the first year that Thatkid was allowed to wear a costume to school, and he took full advantage.

His school had a Halloween parade and it was the cutest thing ever.  I seriously get such joy out of Halloween.  Seeing all the kids dressed up fills my heart with joy.

After school we got ready for trick or treating.

This year we decided to join forces with the kids' best friends and all go out together.

Thatbaby started out with his little friends.  He got so into it.

Eventually his being so into it meant he didn't wait to wait for his slowpoke friends (someone inherited his dad's long legs and quick stride) and he joined the bigger boys in their candy quest.

After we'd hit a fair amount of houses we retired back to home base where the kids sat around and indulged in their spoils.

It was a pretty successful night.

Believe it or not, the boys have barely made a dent in these buckets.  Thatkid donated a pound of it to send to the troops, and neither of them gets more than a piece at a time, usually on a weekend afternoon.  So we'll have leftover candy for the foreseeable future.

And speaking of leftovers, are y'all ready for Thanksgiving leftovers?  For me, this is way better than candy.  In fact, I love Thanksgiving leftovers so much, I made my own!  Last year TMIL spent Thanksgiving with us, and our usual weekend with my mom turned into just spending the day and heading home after dinner.  So no leftover turkey the next day. No leftover stuffing. This year we're doing the same thing.  But this year I'm prepared. Last week I made a turkey, stuffing, the works!  And I have leftovers! Last night we even had burrito bowls made with leftover turkey.  In preparation for our feast I had bought pounds and pounds of sweet potatoes...that I ended up not using.  It seemed overkill to add to the mashed potatoes I had already made for the four of us.  So I also ended up wit "leftover" sweet potato.

Luckily sweet potatoes are easy to use.  A side that goes side just about everything.  A meal in itself with panfried with some sausage or stuffed with ground turkey.  When cut super thin and baked they turn into the perfect crisp accompaniment to sandwiches and burgers.  A great fall alternative to your regular potato fries!

Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries (from Cooking Light)
3 Tbsp orange juice
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick strips

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine orange juice, oil, ginger, salt, and red pepper in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Combine juice mixture and potatoes in a large bowl, tossing well to coat.  Remove potatoes and discard juice.  
  3. Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Runday: Carrera de Los Muertos 5k

When I ran this race last year, I remember thinking what a great, family friendly race it was.  But October is a busy race month for me, so I didn't think much of it until Thatkid, fingering my medal in the early part of the year declared he wanted to run the race.

I can't really blame him.  Seeing your mom get all dressed up with face tattoos is a surefire way to pique interest.  A super cool skull medal doesn't hurt either. 

So I signed him up.

And the morning of the race, I painted his face so he would fit in.

My reviews on the race had also piqued the interest of some of my friends.  We met up before the race for a quick picture, before splitting up once the race starts.  Because in general, you run faster when you're not running with a six year old.

There were giant stilt skeletons entertaining the crowds.  And the lady one saw us all off at the start line.  Along with the mariachi band.

Her partner in crime was further along the route.

I want to reiterate that Thatkid asked to run this race, because you would never guess it from his constant complaining during the race.  It wasn't long before he had shed his hat and his cheerful, excited attitude.

The gorgeous views of the boats and bay, and the fun dancers and music didn't even distract him from his hunger, fatigue and legs that were going to fall off.

We walked for most of the 5k.

Until we got close to the finish, when I gave him the cue to run run run.


And while we were running Thatboy had taken Thatbaby to get some face painting of his own.

He met us at the finish and snuck into our picture.

The more the merrier, right?

The whole family reunited, we went to listen to the band and watch the dancers.

It wasn't long before the band had the whole crowd on its feet.

With a last goodbye to our skeleton friends, we were on our way.

Thatkid is so hit or miss with his 5ks. Some days he runs the whole thing happily, other times it's nothing but complaints.  But no matter if your mini-runner is happy or whiny, this is a good course for them.  It
s flat, and despite what Thatkid will tell you, it's nice and easy. There are beautiful views and things for the whole family to enjoy.

And of course, there's the kickass medal.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Parmesan Crusted Zucchini Fries

There was only one thing left to do to prepare for Halloween, and we had purposely saved it until last -pumpkin carving!

One year we made the mistake of doing this too early and it resulted in moldy, decomposing jack o'lanterns by the time Halloween rolled around.  Which might be the look you're going for, but it's not for us.  So we save it for the weekend before.

Trash bags taped to the floor, Nightmare Before Christmas on television, we were ready to go.

Thatkid has never been a fan of the scooping out of the pumpkins, but my Oppo-baby couldn't wait to get in there and clean his out.

Both kids got a little carving help from us, but they were the creative directors and project managers.  Thatkid wanted a Frankenstein monster.

Thatbaby wanted a "pumpkin patch" face with a grumpy mouth.  And he added his own special touch by coloring it after.

Thatboy and I waited until the kids went to bed to carve ours.

But there's more! We had such a good time at the pumpkin carving contest last year that we did it again this year. 

Once again we let the kids control the design and Thatkid wanted something related to Dia de los Muertos.  He decided on a skeleton horse.

This year we convinced our friends to join us, and they also put the kid in charge of design.  Their finished spider!

Last year there were very few entries and we made it into the top 6.  This year? There were a lot more pumpkins.

Our little horse, all lit up.

I was pretty surprised when we made it into the top 3.  And when they announced the winners, I was sure we came in third, but nope.  We won first prize!

It was a great start to our Halloween-ing.  And it made me so happy.  I love pumpkins so much.  Even now that Halloween is over, we've got pumpkins on our stoops.  And I have a mini pumpkin farm as our table centerpiece.  But it's really not just pumpkins,  I have a thing for squash.  I may not use all varieties for decorating, but I'm always happy to consume them.  This week's meal plan alone includes pumpkin french toast, butternut squash salad, and parmesean crusted zucchini fries.  It's one of those foods that's filling, tasty, and feels healthy.  Even when you coat it in cheese and bake it until it's crisp!

Parmesan Crusted Zucchini Fries (from Cooking Light)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup panko
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 small zucchini
1/2 cup tomato basil sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Combine Cheese, panko, garlic powder, basil, and cayenne in a shallow bowl.
  2. Place egg in a separate shallow bowl.
  3. Trim ends from zucchini and cut in half crosswise.  Quarter each zucchini in half lengthwise to make 24 zucchini sticks.
  4. Dip zucchini in egg, dredge in panko mixture, pressing to coat.
  5. Place zucchini on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of zucchini with cooking spray.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with pasta sauce.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Sunday Runday: Vista Beer Half Marathon

When I first heard of the Vista Beer Half Marathon I was intrigued. I like beer, Vista isn't too far away, and there's something fun about inaugural halfs.  After the Vista Strawberry Run I was sold.  The race was so well run, and the beer garden at the end was the best I'd ever been to.  I figured the half would be the same, but bigger!

Now, the thing about inaugural races is they usually are a bit of a mess. A lot of logistics to work out, so expectations on the part of the runners needs to be low.  And with that in mind, I'm going to keep this review as constructive as possible, because although the race was a disaster, I think it has promise.

Before the race began, the first signs of trouble began.  There was no information anywhere about hydration, which is worrisome on it's own, but even moreso given the fact the race was taking place during a serious heat wave. I logged onto the event's facebook page where there were several questions regarding whether there would be water stops along the route, with no answer.  The morning of the race I packed as much as I could carry on me comfortably, unsure as to whether anything was going to be provided.

The morning of the race is also where I picked up my bib and hoodie.  One of the perks people were excited about with this race was the promise of a hoodie.  Most races give t-shirts, but few give sweatshirts and they are in high demand.  Except "hoodie" didn't take on its usual meeting and in this case just meant a t-shirt with a hood.  Which further solidified my belief that you should run races for the race, not the stuff you're going to get.

So let's talk about the race.  It was a small and informal start line. Although not as small as the planners anticipated given that there were only 3 portapotties.  Right before we started, it was announced that the medals hadn't made it on time.  We were really running this one for the glory.  This race was almost the opposite of the Strawberry Run, which meant that trail I loved at the end of the 10k was where we started with this race.

My gps alerted me that I had run a mile just a smidge before the first mile marker.  Which isn't all that strange or unusual, but it ended up being a big deal as those little bits continued to add up until I was almost a full mile ahead.

It's probably not good from a psychological standpoint, but I had pretty much decided this was going to be a miserable half for me. The course was hard.  Both the Craft Classic half marathon and the Vista Beer  half marathon had courses that ran by local breweries, and there must be some correlation between hills and hops, because both courses are incredibly hilly.   I knew that going in, and just figured I'd sit back and run it, without worrying about time.  Especially since my training was ridiculously subpar.

At mile 9, the impact of the hills became evident when my IT band decided it was done.  This was especially bad because although my tracker had me at 9 miles, I had just passed the 8 mile marker. Which meant I had 5 more miles to go.  I'd been keeping a fairly consistent pace, but I dropped it down.  I told myself if I could make it to 13 miles, I'd walk that last mile in.

But with all the hills, I ended up walking a lot more than just the last mile.   Especially the long hill down to the trail, which I had to walk down backwards.

Right before the finish, Thatkid was waiting for me, he ran me in, joined shortly after by Thatbaby.  We crossed the finish and I headed right to the medic tent, who told me there was nothing they could do or give me to help with my injury. 

So I headed to the beer.

The beer was one of my main draws for this race.  I was a little disappointed that only 5 breweries were present when there were so many more at the Strawberry Run, which wasn't beer themed. But I was excited that they were giving us a wristband which would allow us a taster from each brewery.  Except the organizers had vastly underestimated the amount of beer drinkers and the breweries did not bring enough beer.  By the time I got to the tents, only 2 of the 5 breweries still had any beer!

I wasn't terribly disappointed by the misleading "hoodie" or lack of medal, but after running a  long hard course, on a race centered around beer, I was frustrated by the lack of medical assistance and beer! The good news is, most of my complaints about the race are easy fixes (minus the challenging course, but really, I'm not complaining about that, I knew about it going in!) so hopefully next year's race will have all the kinks ironed out!