Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Baking in 2014...

This has been a big year for me when it comes to baking. Back in January I was thinking that I would be done with baking, but then February rolled around and after an order for 100 Valentine sugar cookies it has just taken off from there. We have also learned what happens to Penny when she eats a dozen sugar cookies. She is okay for the first 24 hours, but after that it's gas and discomfort for Crazy Penny.

There was a little re-branding, with my new name and logo. It was not easy coming up with my new name, Sugar Shenanigans, I really feel like I have grown into my new name. (Plus I LOVE the word shenanigans.)

We have slowly turned out breakfast nook into my baking area.

I now own two Kitchen aid mixers.

I am the proud owner of a bun rack. Really, it makes me laugh every time I say it. I wonder if that will wear off.

These are just a few the Shenanigans of 2014...

  1. Olaf/Frozen cookies for Avery
  2. Sock Monkey cookies, I am sad I didn't make these for Carson when she was younger.
  3. Love and Dragon Flies for Dan & Judy's anniversary
  4. Ice Cream and Cupcakes
  5. Flowers, and the first cookies I sent in the mail.
  6. Ladybugs, Cows and love.
  7. Pokemon for my girls' birthday.
  8. Dr. Seuss cookies, I can't wait to make more of these.
  9. Peeps! Way better than actual Peeps, in my opinion.

  1. Superhero cookies for a 3-year-old's birthday
  2. More love cookies for an engagement party.
  3. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!
  4. Angels and gold starts. I really love these angels.
  5. Arkansas cookies, I love the hog cookies. I made OU, OSU and WVU cookies too.
  6. Elf on a Shelf. My kids missed the whole elf on the shelf craze, and I was nervous about these cookies, but they turned out great.
  7. Thanksgiving. Love the turkeys made with flower cookie cutters.
  8. Music theme cookies.
  9. Pigeon cookies, my kids are too old for this character, but I hear the books are very popular. These cookies were a big hit with the kindergarten class.
There have also been a few cakes and cupcakes sprinkled in here and there.

German chocolate cake for my father-in-law's birthday. Seriously, I think I used up every dish in my kitchen with this one.

Dark chocolate nutella cake for my mother-in-law's birthday. (I see a theme developing here.)

I have tried out some new things this year. I aspire to make macaroons. I did make one batch and I think they turned out good.

I think the theme is chocolate and not in-laws.

It's been a year full of baking, and I hope that 2015 brings even more.

Goodbye 2014...

 There are just a few hours left of 2014, so what better time to be nostalgic about the year that has passed then now? No big plans for the evening, except a few extra teenagers, a little take out, and a midnight run planned for later.

There has been a lot of baking this year, but how about everything else?

There has been some running...

  1. Chicago Marathon, definitely a bucket list race, I got stung by a bee, and I'd like to do it again and run stronger.
  2. OKC Marathon, the last time I ever run the full in OKC, it was brutal.
  3. National Running Day, that day that I didn't actually do any running.
  4. Route 66 half marathon, the horrible half that turned into an upper respiratory infection and pneumonia
  5. Sooner State Games trail run, the day I seriously thought I was going to be last.
  6. Strides of March half marathon, my second fasted half ever, and the reason I decided to run the full at OKC. What was I thinking?
  7. Birthday running, I love birthday running with the girls.
  8. Walking the Turkey Day 5k, got Josh out of bed to walk that with me.
  9. Scorcher half marathon, the wettest race I've ever ran, and my last race in the 35-39 age group.

 And some other fun stuff...

  1. My 40th birthday, when my aunts and great aunt flew in to surprise us.
  2. Joshs's 41st birthday and one of those times he did a shot of tequila on his birthday.
  3. Rochelle's birthday celebrating at Blu.
  4. The girls' birthday at the Melting Pot in Dallas
  5. Food basket deliveries for the Elks Lodge before Christmas.
  6. The tailgate after the crappy OU game Josh and I went to.
  7. The Daddy Daughter dance, only one year left...
  8. Spring break in Branson, or that time we tried to go to Silver Dollar City and it freaking snowed.
  9. Birthday celebrating for Sarah and Rochelle.
By the numbers:
  • 1,047 total miles
  • 7 100+ mile months
  • 2 marathons
  • 3 half marathons
I think I ran my most miles in a month in October with 147 total miles, and my least amount of miles this December when I logged only 9 miles. That is quite a drastic change. Two marathons in one year is a lot. 

I am looking forward to a fresh start that the new year brings. Time to get back on track, set some new goals and decide what comes next. I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Not So Much Running…

By the time I got home from the Tulsa half marathon three weeks ago I was completely worn out. I took a nap, which I try to never do on Sundays, and I was still tired. When The Walking Dead was on later that night I had a cough and could barely stay awake long enough to see one of my favorite shows.

Monday rolled around and I called my doctor and got in to see him Monday afternoon. The diagnosis? Upper respiratory infection. Armed with a z-pak, prednisone and cough medicine with codeine I was on my way. Thinking I would be feeling better in a day or two.

I knew that I was in no mood for running. I had decided during the half marathon that I was going to take a little break. I was worn out and not having fun and really needed a little break.

Thanksgiving was a couple of days later, which meant the Turkey Day 5k. I had so much fun at this race last year. I was bummed that I was not going to feel up to running, so I talked Josh into signing up and going for a 3 mile walk with me.

The weather was wonderful!
He’s smiling even though I made him get up early.
Rochelle stopped by after her 8+ mile run to walk a few blocks with us.
There was a Tim sighting at the OK Runner water stop!

It was a great day, I just love seeing friends out at local races. While I was sad to not run that day I still wasn’t really missing running, my motivation was about zero. That’s fine though, with my hacking cough I thought it best to take it easy.

The following Thursday, I met Rochelle and Patti for a nice easy 4.5 mile run from my house. I was fine when we were moving but whenever we stopped I would again start hacking. It had been a week and a half since I had been to the doctor and I still had a cough, felt tired, and just didn’t feel like myself. I stuck to other non-running workouts and lots of baking until last Tuesday.

I called my doctor and told him I still wasn’t feeling better. He called in another antibiotic for me, which was filled by my pharmacy about the exact time Josh got home from work and swinging by Target to pick up more cough drops and Mucinex. Nothing better than a husband that will turn right around and drive across town again to pick up your meds.

The antibiotic was one I had never heard of and I could tell after just a few minutes that it wasn’t going to work for me. My tongue, ears and face started getting very itchy and while I tried to convince myself that maybe I was imagining it after a little bit of it not going away I had to take two Benadryl and turn myself into a walking zombie for the rest of the evening.

I again called my doctor and went to see him last Wednesday. Turns out my upper respiratory infection had turned into Bronchial Pneumonia. No wonder I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I left armed with another antibiotic and an inhaler. I even took a sick day last Thursday. I spend the day catching up with The Newsroom on HBO just in time to see the last episode of the series air last night.
It’s been three weeks since I started to not feel well, and how do I feel now? Not fabulous. I have gone through more tissues than I can count. (I actually ran out at work today.) I am completely sick of coughing until I feel like I might throw up, I am tired of feeling like I can’t take a deep breath, and

I am so tired of feeling tired.

And I am starting to be bummed about my lack of running. After three weeks off I am going to have to get back into shape before I can run with any of my group. It’s so frustrating.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another Route 66 Half Marathon…

It has been crazy busy the last three weeks! That paired with the fact that I feel like I have had the plague the entire time it has been hard to keep up with everything.

I ran the half marathon in Tulsa again this year. I love this race, it’s the fifth time for me to run it, and even though I was didn’t feel prepared to run a strong half this year I still registered for it. I have been less trained in the past and it’s been fine. Spoiler alert! It was a very hard day for me. Probably the hardest of all the previous years.

We got lucky and it was not 19 degrees this time, there was no ice storm two days before the race, and it was not raining. My luck pretty much ran out.

There were pictures before the race, but they seem to have happened on someone else’s camera and I have not managed to get them.

My goal was the same as last year, just run by how I feel and go with it. No goal times or pace. I’m really not sure what happened but it was just so hard to keep running. There were many walk breaks and there was a side stitch that nagged me in the second half. I just felt tired. I had done an almost 11 mile run the week before the race and felt fine, not great, but almost good, so I had been confident I could go run 13.1.

I was again plagued by guilt at knowing everyone else was waiting for me at the finish line. I really need to get over that, but it’s hard when you feel like your forward progress is slower than a snail’s pace. I did keep moving forward, and if there is one positive from the day it is that I didn’t quit.
They changed the route AGAIN this year. This is one of my favorite races, but seriously they need to pick a route and stick with it. I enjoy the six miles of hills at the start of the race, but in the past you always know that it’s going to level out when you get by the river. Not this year. It was like they wanted to have as many hills as possible, and they managed to get in a lot.

I must say that the little out and back on the bridge once after running by the river before you headed into downtown was probably my least favorite part of the whole race. It seemed so pointless and stupid and I am not a big fan of turning completely around like that in the middle of a race unless it’s an out and back and you know it’s half way and you get to go back the same way you came. Might just be me, but it’s hard on my legs/knees/feet.

Anyway, the finish was the same place it was last year, and while I like that you don’t have to worry about taking a bus back to the start to get in your car, I kind of miss the finish in Veteran’s Park. It just seems so crowded when we finish downtown.

I finished up, running my slowest half marathon to date and found my super speedy friends for finish line pictures.
Tiffany, me Sarah, Lauren, Rochelle, Lauren and Kara.

Aside from the actual running it was a great weekend. We got to hang out with the in-laws and celebrate Josh’s birthday with Mexican food on Friday night.
Some of the best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten, and the guacamole was amazing.

And they gave Josh a shot of tequila for his birthday.

We drove home after the race and by Sunday evening I knew that I was getting sick, I just didn’t know that I would still be sick three weeks later. But more on that later.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Birthday Running…

I think that almost everyone I know has a birthday in November! There is no better way to celebrate a birthday, in my opinion, than to wake up early and meet your friends for a run.

Last Thursday was Sarah’s birthday.
Me, Ro, Cornelia, Anne, Britney, Lauren and Sarah.

Today it is Rochelle’s birthday.
Again with my mad photography skills! Me, Anne, Rochelle and Britney! We had a hard time finding enough for this group selfie, we parked in a spot that has very little light at the crack of dawn.

It was a bit chilly.
The air temperature was 7 or 8 degrees colder than Tuesday, but the winds were only about 13 mph instead of 25 mph. It felt colder today. It was not an easy run. My legs felt cold and heavy. It was nice to not feel like a wind gust was going to blow us off the I-35 overpass though.

We ran, what I assume will be, our cold weather route. Only run east and west, that’s how we beat the cold weather her in Oklahoma.

How about a little #tbt?
Rochelle and I ran on her birthday last year. I don’t think it was quite as chilly last year!

Happy Birthday, Rochelle!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WIAW Two Weeks In A Row…

I am managing to do a WIAW post two weeks in a row this time! AND I actually have some food that I ate, and I thought I would throw out a soup recipe that I am loving because it is Freaking Freezing here today! Seriously, it was almost 80 degrees on Monday and it was 22 degrees when I got to work this morning. It’s like Mother Nature is bipolar!

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to make macaroons. I made up a batch of dark chocolate ones with chocolate ganache filling and realized I had NO IDEA what they were supposed to taste like. Don’t get me wrong, I think they tasted fabulous, but I also think that chocolate ganache would make cardboard edible.

After a little research I found Dana’s Bakery and ordered a dozen macaroons for taste testing.
These were good, but I wasn’t a big fan of the sweet potato. (Crazy, I know!) I can’t wait to do a little more experimenting with macaroons.

On the advice of my sister, Josh and I started reading a book called The Fast Diet. If you aren’t familiar with it, you fast two days a week, and on the fast days you consume 500 calories (600 for men). While I am not done reading the book, I am fascinated with the science and the benefits to things like cholesterol. I inherited high cholesterol and I am willing to work hard to lower my bad cholesterol if it means I don’t have to be on medication the rest of my life.
This is one of my 500-ish calorie meals, veggie soup with a grilled cheese. This happens to be one of my favorite meals of all time. Soup and grilled cheese.
I was in the mood for sliders the other day, so I whipped up a batch of sweet potato/quinoa/navy bean burgers. Perfect with a little pickle and tomato.

One of my favorite things right now is being able to just grab homemade soup, or beans, or orzo pasta right out of the freezer and throwing it in my lunch in the morning.
This is my favorite soup right now, and I am about due to make another pot to throw in the freezer. It’s so easy and so tasty.

Sweet Potato, Barley and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Sauté onion, carrot, celery, red pepper in a little olive oil. Add some garlic and chopped sweet potatoes. Sauté a few minutes more and then throw in veggie stock (I usually do two 4 cup boxes). Bring to a boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are nice and soft. Add either navy beans or chick peas (I usually do a couple of cans.) and then blend until smooth. Simmer a little longer and then add a cup or so of barley. Once the barley is cooked, add some roasted cauliflower.

I like to simmer it a while longer, because who doesn’t love the smell of homemade soup simmering on the stove? I divide it between individual sized Tupperware containers and throw them in the freezer. I either pop one in the fridge the night before I want it, or just throw it in with my lunch in the morning and microwave it when I’m ready. Couldn’t be simpler!

So there you have it, I’ve had some good eats this week! I thought I would leave you with Rocky, looks like he was laying down when he was eating his dinner the other day.
It’s a rough life!

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Whole Lot of Not Running…

I can’t believe it is Monday again. It feels like the weekend just flew by! I don’t feel like I sat down at all this weekend. Well, sat down in my own house. We were on the go the entire time!

Friday night’s trip to the grocery store, followed by dinner at Chuy’s with the family left me not feeling so well on Saturday morning. I actually crawled back into bed rather than head out to the east side hills for my Saturday morning run. Crazy, right? It’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore.

It was nice to just not run though. I might regret the decision in two weeks when I am on the hills in Tulsa, but oh well. You only live once, and it’s less fun if you feel like you have to do it.
That brought my weekly mileage to 6. I don’t know when the last time I ran six miles in an entire week was. I might want to get back on the ball this week. I know I am not racing Tulsa, or planning on any kind of a spectacular PR, but I still am going to log the 13.1.

Josh and I headed to my first OU home game in a couple of years. I can’t even remember when the last time I sat down in Memorial Stadium was.
We were hoping to see a good game, but what we saw was a lot of disappointment. I hate to leave early, but in the third quarter when we had had enough we headed over to meet some friends that were tailgating. Best. Decision. Ever.
Rochelle’s sister Shaundra was in town for the weekend, she got to tailgate and she gets to head back to Arizona before it gets crazy cold around here tomorrow.
The cold wasn’t bothering Avery at all on Saturday. I don’t know how kids can run around in no coat and no shoes when I am bundled up in a coat, scarf and boots!
11 am kick-off makes for a very early bed time for me. I was up and ready for some baking at 7 am yesterday. On the menu, a birthday cake. Sarah said she loves all things sugar related and said I could experiment with her birthday cake, so I made her a funfetti cake. The whipped frosting was amazing! And who doesn’t love sprinkles?
Rochelle’s birthday is on Thursday so there will be more birthday celebrating coming up this weekend. How is it that everyone I know seems to have been born in November?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

End Of The Year Plan…

This year of running has been much different that 2013, some good, some bad. If you had asked me in January if I would be running two marathons in 2014 I probably would have laughed at you. But now the year is starting to wind down, and my family is getting very irritated by the Target Christmas commercials that are ALREADY on tv.

So with the holidays just around the corner, I thought I would take a minute and see what’s next. Because as a runner, there is always a next, right?

Well, first of all, what is NOT next is another marathon. It will be a while before I jump into another 26.2, and I have let all my friends know that if they pick another marathon PLEASE let it have a half marathon. I don’t want to even consider a 3 hour training run for a long time.

So what is happening next is Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, where I will be running the half. I am mostly running this for nostalgia, this will be my fifth year in a row. It was my first half, and while it hasn’t always been a great race (read: it was below freezing last year), I love this race.

We go up, hang out with the in-laws, and I go run a little with my friends and then we go home and get ready for Thanksgiving. Sounds like a great weekend to me.

What kind of expectations do I have? None. Last year I was coming off injuries, surgeries and accidents. This year I am coming off about six months of pretty horrible running. I am in search of my love of running so I will lace up, hopefully not have to bundle up too much, and go run for the fun of it. Plus the medals this year do this little spinny thing like my first medal in 2010. I do have a couple of friends that are running the marathon, so there might be some marathon stalking after I cross the finish line.

After that there will be the Turkey Day 5k. The inaugural race was last year and it was so much fun.
Plus I didn’t have to drive All The Way to OKC, it was practically in my front yard. Need I mention that they gave us long sleeved cotton race shirts, and Christmas ornaments?

Then there is talk of some of my friends running a marathon in December. If that happens I would definitely up for going with them to run the half, but we will see how that turns out.

Running for the fun of it, seems like such a novel ideal. I am hoping to get my head on straight so I can set some goals for 2015.

One of my favorite things about running is birthday runs! I love that my friends love to get up on their birthdays and log some miles as the start of their special day! We celebrated one yesterday, in fact.
My friend Sarah turned one year better. (Not older!) We had to take pictures!

When I posted this on Instagram, I managed to cut most of my fact off.
I have mad photography skills. Anne’s son Pace said “I can see Becky’s eye!”

Finally, I posted that I didn’t have a copy of the pictures we took after we finished Chicago. Almost immediately my friend Lauren texted me the pictures.
What a great shot of Chicago in the background! Notice that they all have on their comfy clothes and look well rested, while I look horrific. Oh well!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Royal Icing Transfers…

I was recently making sugar cookies for a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. The party was at Hey U Hayrides, so the western theme called for horseshoe cookies.

I don’t own a horseshoe cookie cutter, and I had some ideas for the cookies that didn’t really call for one. I decided to make my own royal icing transfers. I had made some previously to use as cupcake toppers.


I thought they worked well with the sports theme I had been using.

So now horseshoes. I will first say that even though I was really happy with how these turned out, I really should have made them the day before.

First I found a horseshoe design that I liked (thank you Google). I was going for simple. I placed the design under a piece of wax paper and with my brown royal icing I piped out the boarders.


After the boarders set for a while, I filled them in with thinned royal icing.


Then I waited for as long as I possibly could stand it. I knew if they weren’t completely dry I would be in trouble when I tried taking them off the wax paper. So I waited, and I even got my heater out to help them along a little bit.


After they were dry I got out my gold glitter and a tiny paint brush to doll them up a little bit. After rolling them off the wax paper, and letting out a huge sigh of relief, I piped and flooded my square scalloped edge cookies. I let the icing sit for a few minutes and then I just popped the horseshoes down on them and let them dry overnight.


I was quite impressed with myself. Not bad for someone as un-crafty as myself. It’s amazing what you can learn on the internet. I like that if I need something like this again I can plan in advance to have the hard part done. What a time saver!

I wonder what I will do next.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Non-Running Part of Chicago…

Even though the running part of Chicago wasn’t fabulous, it was a really good weekend. I have said it before, but I love Chicago. It really is my favorite city. I did like that it was much warmer this time than it was for Christmas last year.

We flew out early on Friday morning, so we got to Chicago pretty early.


We dropped our bags off at our hotel, headed out for lunch and then hit up the race expo.


The expo was huge! Very efficient packet pick up and we shopped around a little bit.


And had our picture taken in front of a giant pink bra.

On Saturday morning we headed out for a shake out run right by the home of Josh’s favorite football team.


I hate the the stadium looks like a space ship landed on top of it.


We got to meet Bart Yasso…


And Deena Kastor.  How cool is that? We ran an easy two miles and headed back to the hotel to relax.


We did wander the city a little bit. Rochelle and I headed to the Navy Pier. I had to take a picture of the Ferris wheel from Divergent! I sent that one to the teenagers and got no response. I guess they weren’t impressed.

We opted for take out and dinner in our hotel room and called it an early night.

After the race on Sunday we headed back to our hotel to rest up a little before we ventured out for food. We headed to Giordano’s for deep dish pizza. It was right by the Sears (Willis) tower.



I was so glad that Jordan came and hung out with the crazy runners.


We ended the evening with drinks at the top of the John Hancock building. The drink was fabulous and the view was amazing!

We had a later flight on Monday so we got up, grabbed breakfast and headed to the bean, or as it’s formerly known Cloud Gate. I am surprised I’ve never been there before.


After we hit up Lululemon, got rained on and road the train again we headed to the Art Institute. With our race bibs/medals/registration info we got in for free.


We saw some beautiful art, and a whole lot of runners hobbling up and down the stairs. I’d like to go back when my legs aren’t killing me because there was plenty we didn’t get to see.

It really was a great trip, and I can’t wait to go back to Chicago.