Friday, February 25, 2011

Quicksand & Cowboys

What do you call a person who runs around a dimly lit basement for an hour?

I recently described the problem that has developed on our treadmill. I guess the drawback of buying a treadmill that we could actually afford was that it couldn't quite handle the constant pounding that I put it through.

The intersecting network of cracks in the walking platform (the hard surface beneath the belt) have continued to grow. With each step the platform sinks down an inch or so in the middle. At first it just felt a little funny. Now it feels like I'm running in sand.

We finally came to the realization that this was not going to work. At first we thought that we'd have to get a new treadmill but then discovered that we could just replace the platform. I ordered it a couple of days ago.

So I just have to hold out a few days until it arrives. That sound easier than it actually is because I'm in the thick of training for the half marathon and it keeps snowing outside. I don't have many options and none of them are good. Last night I just decided to endure the treadmill quicksand but couldn't stand it after a mile. Luckily, I have a big, open basement which is why I ended up running figure eights around it for an hour.


After so much frustration I need some good ol' fashioned comfort in the form of sugar. These hit the spot.

Cowboy Cookies

Cream together:
2 cup shortening
2 cup sugar
2 cup brown sugar

5 eggs
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 cup nuts or coconut
2 tsp baking soda
4 cups rolled oats
2 tsp vanilla
1 (12 oz) package chocolate chips

Mix until combined.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Makes a lot.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crack Head

The half marathon training has been going well. It’s quite a bit more intense than other programs I’ve been on but I feel like I’m getting faster and I’ve lost 4 pounds in the last two weeks. All of my running so far has been done on our treadmill in the basement because it’s February in Michigan and it’s freakin’ cold outside (the high was 10 degrees today).

A few runs ago I started noticing that the treadmill felt a little funny as I stepped through the back half of each stride; like it was sinking in. After running yesterday I got down on my sweaty hands and knees to inspect what was going on under the belt. I discovered an extensive network of cracks in the middle of the deck.

Of course, we don’t have an extra grand to go out and get a new one, so I guess I’ll keep using the broken one until it totally disintegrates or until I can escape to the great outdoors when the tundra thaws… in six months.


Speaking of crack...

Cracker Candy

-1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter, divided
-35 to 40 soda crackers
-1 cup packed dark brown sugar
-1 can (14 ounces) Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk
-1 ½ cups (9 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
-¾ cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line 15 x 10-inch cookie sheet (with sides) with aluminum foil.

Melt ¼ cup (½ stick) butter in medium saucepan. Pour into prepared jelly-roll pan. Arrange crackers over butter, breaking crackers to fit empty spaces.

Melt remaining butter in same saucepan; add sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sweetened condensed milk. Pour over crackers.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and slightly darkened. Remove from oven; cool for 1 minute.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes or until chips are shiny; spread evenly. Sprinkle with nuts if desired; press into chocolate. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Remove foil; cut into pieces.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Manly Stitch & Bread Pudding to Die For

I have been a predominantly morning runner for quite some time but I have been running at night lately. Last night I was reminded why. Right now I get off work a little after 4 pm and we have dinner shortly after I get home. By the time I run when the kids are in bed it has been a few hours since eating.

Last night, however, I ate a little later than normal and since we had a guest, I had a nice big bowl of key lime bar with ice cream. Obviously I didn't wait long enough before running because I got the worst stitch after a half mile or so. It wasn't just on a side. It was on both sides and everything in between. It felt like my insides had suddenly decided that they'd much rather be on the outside and they were trying to take the shortest route possible.

I kept thinking that if I just kept going eventually it would go away. It eventually did, at the 3.8 mile mark of my 4 mile run. I felt pretty manly running through such a beastly stitch. Manly or moronically stubborn. Take your pick.


My wife loves bread pudding so we have tried a lot. This is hands down the best.

Caramel Bread Pudding

1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups milk
¼ lb melted butter
1 ¼ lbs white bread (2 loaves) cubed
½ cup caramel sauce (the caramel recipe found here is amazing in this recipe)
Non-stick cooking spray

For pudding: combine sugar, eggs, cream, milk, and butter in a bowl and mix together. Add the bread and fold it in. Put mixture in a 9 X 13 inch baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Pour the caramel sauce over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Check, rotate, and bake up to 30 more minutes more until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and more caramel sauce.

Bread Pudding recipe from the Union Grill in Ogden, UT