In the Kitchen: Cooking Class Edition

In June, I attended another cooking class with my friend, this time making gnocchi! Gnocchi is a type of Italian dumpling and they are super delicious!

We took the class at Kitchen Conservatory, which is the place to go if you are looking for a fun thing to do and you love to cook. They offer an amazing variety of classes, from a cooking basics course to making your own sushi. Some are hands-on classes, meaning you actually make the dishes and some are simply demonstrations, where you watch the cooking and eat the food!

Anyway, back to the gnocchi class.

We made two different types of gnocchi, potato and a puff pastry type. The chef also showed us how to make green gnocchi with kale in the blender. We made the puff pastry type of gnocchi first, since that “dough” has to sit a for a little while before cooking, and then we watched him work a few sauces up using roasted cherry tomatoes and pesto. Once the potatoes were baked enough, we were able to start making the potato gnocchi. Which is really just a mix of mashed potato and flour with a little salt in there for flavor. I suppose you could add other things in or make them with sweet potatoes, but the class kept it pretty basic. Then it was time to cook them!

We started with the pastry puff gnocchi and actually boiled them for a bit first, then crisped them up in a skillet with some oil. We had those with the basil pesto sauce, which was my favorite because it had tons of garlic in it and I LOVE me some garlic! We had the potato gnocchi with the roasted tomato cream sauce and then also in a browned butter sauce that basically looked like a cream or cheese sauce, but wasn’t. It was all so good!

I bought a little gnocchi board so I can make the potato ones at home, since we do eat a soup that has those little buggers in it, so I’m excited to make them at home!

If you want to take this particular class, they are offering it again on August 17th, I believe, so use the link above to access the class list and sign up!

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Kitchen Conservatory does not know me, nor did they compensate me in any way for this post. I simply took the class and loved it and wanted to share it with you guys! All opinions are my own. 

Back From Vacation

So I’m back from vacation! It was a pretty relaxing time, just hanging out with friends and all that fun stuff. We did cut it short by one day because someone just needed to get back to the new house! He was having anxiety being away while so much stuff was going on. It wasn’t too bad, although I didn’t get to go putt-putt, which I was weirdly looking forward to this year.

We had our annual dinner at J.B. Hook’s, which is a really nice restaurant that over-looks the lake area by the toll bridge. Pretty much any table in the place will give your a pretty nice view, but our favorite tables are ones next to the windows.

I used to get this pasta there that I love, but since I’ve developed an, aversion let’s say, to dairy products, I don’t get it anymore because of the cream sauce. So sad…This time around I tried the grouper supreme, and while it was tasty, I probably wouldn’t order it again because the fish wasn’t quite firm enough for my liking. The hollandaise and shrimp that came on top of it were so delicious, though!

Other than that, most of our meals were eaten at the cabin, with the exception of a lunch out here and there. So not many restaurant visits. I did use the Open Table app to make our reservation for Hook’s, and once I use it a bit more, I will post a review on it. It was pretty simple, and it hopefully will work well around home!

I got two runs in, one 4 miler and one 3 miler, both hilly as hell because of the area surrounding the cabin. I’m sure there is a flatter space somewhere, but it’s not in that arm of the lake! Both of them went OK, nothing to write home about, but I didn’t trip and fall like I normally do, so that’s a plus! I also swam laps one morning with my friend Amy, and realized I am woefully unprepared to swim! I had to take a break pretty much between every lap, but I got a little over a half a mile of swimming in 31 minutes. So not too terrible I guess. I definitely need to get my behind in some water and get some swimming in if I want to do ANY triathlons. Then we bummed around town and got pedicures and some lunch, then decided to go kayaking since it was too warm to really go riding.

I’ve been wanting to kayak for a while now, so this was a perfect opportunity and now I’m kind of in love with it! It was not as difficult as I thought it would be, maintaining my balance in the kayak and I even managed to stay in after a larger boat passed by causing some decent wake waves. Pretty sure I’m going to need to invest in my own kayak, so that I can kayak with everyone here at home. And maybe venture out on my own a time or two, depending on someone’s confidence in my abilities!

After we got home, I haven’t done much by way of exercising or anything since we’ve been pretty busy with house stuff and canning all the things there are to can! We helped friends this past weekend pick, juice, and can over 70 gallons of sweet corn, 79 gallons of tomato juice, and 69 gallons of green beans! We have almost 36 pints of green beans at home now, which is good because after having home canned (jar) green beans, neither Matt nor myself were able to stomach going back to tin-canned beans from the grocery store!

Then I’ve mostly been focused on cleaning up the house and catching up on vacation laundry, waiting to hear when our new puppy will be born! Matt finally agreed to getting a new puppy this year while we are still in the old house, so after researching breeders, we found one we liked and sent in our deposit. We chose to go with a breeder rather than rescue a dog since this pup will have a purpose! He is going to be our bird-dog, so we wanted to go with a breeder that has good lines and proven work ethic, rather than rescuing a dog a not knowing what we were going to come up with!

Stitch Fix #3

Stitch Fix does not sponsor or compensate me in any way. All opinions/feedback are my own.

I received my third Stitch Fix shipment last week and it was much better than the last one! If you remember, I was pretty disappointed with my last and kept only one top that I wasn’t overly crazy about just so I didn’t lose my $20 styling fee. This shipment went much better and had several things that I really liked.

So on to the goodies!

Lila Ryan Dorianna Skinny Jeans $98-returned

The fit of these jeans was spot on, but I felt really strange about the tan color. On the style card and the app, they looked more of a dusty pink color, which I was excited for, but then they were tan and I can’t get over the fact that they are so…skin-colored. I feel like people would think I am not wearing pants for some reason if I would wear them, and that made me think that I would never wear them, so I didn’t see the need to spend $98 on them.

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Pixley Eskiva Crochet Cutout Detail Blouse $48-Kept (for my mom)

This top was cute on my mom, I didn’t really care for the cutout detail around the middle. So she kept it for herself.

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41Hawthorn Moni Geo Print & Camisole Blouse $58-returned

This top looks cute enough but it’s really weird on. Like it didn’t hang right or something along those lines once I finally wrangled myself  into it. The tank top was sewn in and I didn’t want to tear those threads so I was trying to be very careful when I was putting it on. I think the metal studs on the front and sleeves were a big part of the hanging problem. I just don’t understand why almost every top has to have those on them anymore.

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Good Hyouman Teighlor Slim Fit Drawstring Jogger Pant $78-kept

Yes I kept what could technically be described as very expensive sweat pants, but you guys!!! The fabric. It’s divine. So soft and silky. I love them. I had actually pinned a similar pair of joggers on my Pinterest, which is linked to my Stitch Fix account and they mentioned in my stylist notes that they had seen it there. So that’s cool. I can’t wait to really wear these out. I have a feeling they are going to be a most worn piece in my closet. Note: The tag on these pants called them the Holly Active pant. 

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Skies are Blue Olano Crochet Detail Top $48-kept

This top is too cute! I like the crochet detail along the edges and the fabric feels really nice. It fit pretty well, and as I lose more weight will fit even better, so that’s exciting! I really liked this top and it will work well for both work and casual outfits.

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So that was this Stitch Fix shipment. Much better this time around! More inline with what I was hoping to see with Stitch Fix. Now just to get the whole Stylebook app sorted out and organized!

Almost Time…

For our annual Lake vacation!

For the past several years, we’ve gone down to the Lake with a group of friends and stayed at our friend’s family lake cabin. Most of the time it’s super nice and relaxing (there have been a few years where I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!) and I am totally ready for it this year. Even though I’m a little nervous because they are going to be starting on a few projects around the new house that I wish I could be there to see. But I guess I will live!

In the mean time, I’ve been skipping my workouts this week because I had a cooking class on Monday that I totally forgot about until Adam reminded that afternoon, then Tuesday it poured rain and stormed complete with thunder and lightning. Yesterday we met with the plumber for a walk through of the house for rough-in purposes. Then we had to run a couple of errands. Tonight I am going to focus on cleaning up the house and packing some of my stuff up tonight and laundering all the laundry to be laundered before we leave. Generally, I’m one of those people who packs totally last-minute, even though I make a packing list days in advance. But I’m trying to be more organized and get stuff done so I’m not rushing around like a crazy person!

I’m really looking forward to using this trip as a time to reset and prepare for the rest of the year. I mentioned in my post yesterday that I needed to buckle back down on my financial goals, but I also need to buckle down on all my other goals as well. I know going on vacation just after declaring that I’m going to buckle down seems a little ridiculous, but this vacation doesn’t cost us a whole lot in the terms that we don’t have to pay for a hotel or lodging, we all split the grocery bill, and while we do go out to eat it’s really only a couple of times during the course of the vacation and everyone covers their own bill. So there’s an upside to it! Plus it will give me time to plan and prepare.

Anyways, posting will be light next week (if at all) because I will try to take little break from the Internets and read books and chill in the sunshine! See you when I get back!

Money Talk

So back in January, I posted about how Matt and I had sat down and gone over our financial stuff since we were building the new house and came up with how we would be handling bills moving forward. So far, the joint account has been doing great! I’ve been in charge of paying the bills out of it and it works pretty well, and we always have a nice balance cooking in there as well as our joint savings account. I always feel very adult when I look at that account and see how responsible we’ve been with it and everything.

Then I look at my account. And I don’t feel so adult.

I did really well for the first three months, keeping track and getting my bill paying schedule down. I even paid off a credit card before leaving for Italy, and have paid it off a couple of times since then. But then I decided I didn’t need to keep track anymore. And of course, everything went to shit.

I got off my bill paying schedule, I went into the negative, I borrowed money from the joint account and then put it back with the next paycheck, but that was asking to start a troubling cycle of constantly borrowing money. Which SUCKS!

So, it’s mid-year and it’s time to buckle down and get back on track with everything. I do have one card that will be paid off soon, because it was the financing for when we bought our new bed a few Christmases ago, and it was offered at zero percent. So the balance on that is actually rather low, and I’m thinking of looking into paying it off sooner rather than later, so that I can have the funds used for that to put towards other debts or just have that extra bit free to use.

Raise time is coming up in September, so that a good thing, too! I always feel like I’m struggling so much! I’ve been trying to budget my grocery money a little better, and menu plan from week to week vs month to month because maybe that will make it a little easier to come up with meal ideas?

At any rate, payday is on Friday, which means I get a chance to get sorted back out and get back on track paying bills and keeping track of my spending. I know at 31 (almost 32!) I should have a better sense of finance, but for whatever reason, be it laziness or stubborn stupidity, I can’t seem to get my shit together on this! It’s so frustrating!

 

Lincoln County Fair 5k Race Recap

This Saturday I ran the Lincoln County Fair 5k. This is my race recap!

Since this race is in my hometown, I didn’t have to get up super early to drive to the start line to pick up my packet. They offered packet pickup two night before the race, but it was during times when I would already be busy at the fair, so I just opted to grab my stuff race morning instead.

 

Shirt design & color

Shirt design & color

The race hasn’t been ran in 17 years! I’ve lived in Lincoln County nearly all my life and had never heard of this race, but that’s not totally surprising since the last time it was run was in 1999 and technology hadn’t really taken off yet! Plus, I was just a wee little high school freshman back in those days, so I wasn’t really on the up and up of the race scene.

Pre-race I downed a bottle of water and a Huma energy gel, while I had my hand-held bottle filled with watermelon Nuun.

Number

Number

I finally bought a race number belt so I wouldn’t have to mess with safety pins and them tearing holes in my workout gear. I like to invest in quality pieces, so it makes me sad when I tear a little hole in my legging or tights because of safety pins. But no more!

The race was supposed to start at 7:30 but we started a bit late because the race director gave a little emotional speech before hand and the police escort cars were a bit late to the start. But it wasn’t too awful. It was a super small race, with only 94 entrants and 80 finishers because some people chose not to come to the race. You honestly couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to run the race. The humidity hadn’t gotten up there yet and there was a pretty decent breeze for most of the race.

I knew most of the course pretty well, and knew that the second half of it was going to be composed of several uphill climbs, so I want to conserve my energy for those so that I didn’t peter out and have to walk a bunch. The first half was slightly downhill, but nothing majorly noticeable. Mile one went through some residential only areas and was pretty shady. I tried to rein it in and keep myself from passing a bunch of people on the get go, which was what I wanted to do, since I was feeling pretty good. I had been worried because Thursday night we poured beer at the auction and I was standing all night and I felt the effects of that in my legs and my back. So I spent most of Friday with some compression sleeves on and I think it helped do the trick! Mile one came in at 14:42 for me.

Course views

Course views

Mile two finished out the residential area and moved into a mostly commercial area with zero shade. It was also kind of a closed in area since there were two big factories and then a retaining wall that ran for a portion of the mile, so it didn’t feel like too much air was moving. The second mile of any race is STILL my struggle point for whatever reason, so I felt like I was moving a lot slower this round, coming in at 15:40.

About a third of the way into mile two, the climbs started. There were a couple short downhill sections and flat parts, but for the most part it was a steady uphill climb. Which is almost worse than a short, steeper hill! I just kept telling myself that someone was standing at the top towing me up with a rope and I think mentally that really helped.

Mile three felt a bit better than mile two, although there isn’t much of a pace difference, considering it came in at 15:39. At this point we were running on one of the main thorough fares in town, so we had to deal with a few passing cars but most people gave us plenty of room. I did not want to mess up my tangents or trip on something unexpected by taking my race to the sidewalk, so I stuck with the roadway and dealt with it. It wasn’t too bad, really. Once we turned onto the road that would take us back into the park and two the finish, the police car that had been there for the race leaders was waiting for us and for a while I got to pretend like I was leading a race running right behind it! Corny right? But it was fun! At this point in time, I realized I had way more left than I thought I would so I began to pick up the pace and battle it out a bit with this girl who was next to me. I had passed her, and then she passed me, and then I passed her again and just started hauling butt towards the finish line. Then it was through the line to have my tag collected and get my medal and a water. img_3041img_3042

I actually stuck around the awards ceremony and it was nice! The race director got a little choked up when he was thanking everyone for coming out and participating, which was sweet! You could tell he really put a lot of time in to the race and that it was his baby. It was such a nice little race and I’m looking forward to hopefully doing it again next year!

Final stats-

Tag Time-47:57

Tag Pace-15:28/mile

Garmin time-47:50

Garmin pace-15:14/mile

Overall placement 66/80 finishers

Gender placement-38/49 Femalesimg_3045