Weird Weekend Runs/Friend Makin’ Monday

I went running on both Saturday and Sunday as usual this weekend. Both experiences were…interesting.

On Saturday, I went with my trail-running friend to a nearby state park to try some new trails. I have lived here for like 4 years (to be fair, I used to live much further from the park) and I had no idea the state park was so nice! It had a farm (that sells stuff/has educational tours in the summer), a mini water park, a pine forest made out an old Christmas tree farm, and preserved prairie grass! I can’t wait to go back to the park in the spring/summer when Kris visits with Belle. On top of learning that all of this was only 5 minutes from my house, the experience was interesting because it was SO COLD. I think the actual temperature was 15 degrees so who knows how cold the “feels like” temperature was (I can’t remember). It was so cold that my sweat froze into an icy layer all over my fleece jacket and headband!!

Yesterday, I decided to opt out of running with my friend at the park because I’m a wimp. Basically, it was only 8 degrees and we were having our first snow of the year so I chickened out and decided I’d do a short run on the treadmill in our apartment complex gym later. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but that run was incredibly difficult! I could barely keep up my normal easy pace (about 9:00-9:15 per mile) and my lungs were hurting a bit at the end – and I only ran 3 miles! I don’t know if the treadmill was inaccurate (I usually use the other treadmill but someone was on it) or if I am starting to come down with a cold or what. Typically days like this are disheartening because I feel like maybe I’m slow/tired because I’m lazy, not because I am worn down or sick, but this was SO difficult for me that I am more baffled than discouraged. I will just have to see what happens next time I’m out running!


Now on to the Friend Makin’ Monday part of the post. I am very excited about the topic this week – I love new recipes, which would be evident if you ever glanced at my Pinterest (I’m totally going to make ALL those things someday).

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Share Your Favorite Holiday Recipe

Ok, so I don’t have my actual recipe book here in Indiana, so this is going to be a little half-assed. Let’s just pretend I am sharing more the gist of this recipe rather than its actual specifics and then it won’t be such a spectacular fail at recipe-writing. Now, for context: the recipe I am going to share is my Grandma’s recipe for turtles, which she makes for everyone every year, along with numerous quantities of fudge and those Hershey Kiss cookies. It is such a tradition that it was seriously a huge signal of adulthood to me when I received a plate (read: one pretty Christmas plate and then like 3 ziploc bags of stuff that won’t fit on the plate) made up for “Chelsea and Kris” instead of my parents receiving one for the whole family (and I get more now because my mom passes off like half of the butterscotch fudge to me!). I don’t recall exactly how she melts her chocolate/toasts her pecans/how much she uses of each item, but I do know the most important part: she uses homemade caramel. And you would be surprised how easy making this homemade caramel is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag pecans (you might actually need more, I’m not sure how much she uses)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (again, not sure of this, but it seems to make sense)
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • Seriously, that is it, unless you like to add milk when melting chocolate

Directions:

Start by making the homemade caramel. This is the part I actually know how to do. Place your 2 cans of condensed milk (still closed) in a crockpot and completely submerge in water. Turn the crock pot on low for about 8-10 hours, checking to make sure they are still submerged, and adding water as necessary. When it is done cooking, open the cans to find caramel! Note: this always works better for my Grandma than for my mom – it still turns into caramel, but my granmda’s is much thicker – which I am guessing is because her crockpot is older and therefore cooks at a lower temperature. I would recommend making the turtles right away or you will have to heat the caramel up (like in a saucepan) to make the turtles.

In order to make the turtles, start by toasting the pecans (however you like to do it – I usually just do a couple minutes in the oven at 350 or so). Lay them out (individually if you want them small; a couple if you want them big) on baking sheets that you have covered in wax paper. Melt the chocolate chips however it is that you typically do it (if you don’t know how, basically put them in a bowl in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds and stir then repeat until it’s melty, or, if you have one, use a double boiler). Over each pecan (or group of pecans) drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of caramel then 1-2 teaspoons of chocolate. Let them set up before transferring to a serving plate or container for storage. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s question!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the commencts!  Happy Monday! :)

Friend Makin’ Monday

 

 

 

Though it is largely just about food in general, this week’s Friend Makin’ Monday has a fairly serious topic contained within it. I have ranted before about my opinions regarding the “natural food” fallacy (i.e. everything that is not processed is better. Earlier this week, in fact, I was at Walmart with my roommate when we noticed “Aloe Vera Juice” that was supposed to be 100% natural and not processed at all. We laughed about how gross it seemed and she told me to go home and look it up since I’m the health nut to see if it goes in smoothies or something. What I found instead is that aloe vera juice may be dangerous – the kind they give people medically is actually processed in order to remove carcinogens (Source 1 Source 2 Source 3). I know the evidence isn’t 100%, and it could be possible that aloe vera juice is 100% safe (I am willing to change my mind in light of new evidence) but the point stands that everyone will probably drink this without question and believe it is healthier because it is “natural,” even though just the opposite might be the case.

GMOs are not something that is immune from my rage.  I am sort of on the fence about this. I am somewhat opposed to GMOs, but not because they aren’t “natural.” My opposition comes instead from what has occurred because of the industrialization of the agriculture industry – competitiveness, pricing, and distribution have all changed, largely due to things such as special engineering done by large agriculture companies. This is not even getting into the environmental effects. Still, I am not 100% opposed – could we feed the world with old farming practices? Of that I am not sure. You can now see why I am on the fence. From what I understand, however, GMOs are not at all dangerous to eat. I can’t seem to find it right now, but the Washington Post has a good article where they examine the least biased commentary on this debate and can’t find any evidence that GMOs are dangerous to ingest.
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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 Food Matters

1. Are you familiar with GMO’s?  Is it an issue that matters to you?  Yes, and I have summarized my feelings above.

2.  List a few items that are typically on your grocery list.  Spinach, seasonal fruit, seasonal veg, Clif bars, cheese of all sorts, Greek yogurt

3.  What is your favorite place to shop for produce?  I love shopping for produce at the farmer’s market back in Harrisburg – so much selection and so cheap. I just end up getting it at the grocery store most of the time, though. In Indiana, this means Payless (a Kroger brand store); in PA, this means Giant. I really prefer Giant’s produce because it is cheaper and they make an effort to bring in local seasonal produce.

4. Do you eat processed foods?  Yes, though I try not to eat things that are completely lacking in nutritional value. Also, this might depend on your definition of processed, but how is it possible to eat 100% “clean?” Do people seriously make all of their own bread and pasta, for example? I mean, you could even say things like string cheese are technically processed. It’s not like I’m eating nothing but easy Mac but this all seems so arbitrary to me.

5.  Do you look for the “organic” label when you shop?  I get organic if it is cheaper/the same price, but I don’t pay more for it. I should probably look up that list of the most important things to buy organic again, because organic produce is not that expensive in comparison at any of the stores I shop at. Again, I would do this for environmental rather than health reasons. There is no evidence that organic = healthier.

6. What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Oatmeal made with almond milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. I love fall because I get hot cereal 🙂

7.  How many meals per week do you cook at home?  I would say 2 per day on average, so 14 I guess? Yes, sometimes I eat out for both lunch and dinner, but there are days when I don’t even leave the house. I always eat breakfast at home and I try to pack lunch everyday unless I’m having a lunch meeting or am being provided lunch.

8. Do you think that foods that have been genetically engineered should be labeled? I don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea, as I am not against transparency. However, I am afraid it will turn into a fearmongering thing.

9. What matters most to you when you’re choosing a restaurant?  Probably the atmosphere/price: actual quality ratio. For example, my favorite sushi place, while still expensive, has reasonable service and is a  relatively non-pretentious establishment. A similarly priced (actually slightly more expensive) sushi place that I really do not like has the same quality sushi, but is super pretentious in its atmosphere and doesn’t have very great service. I would even prefer fast-food sushi places that charge a bit too much to this place because at least they are fast and friendly and don’t pretend to be better than they are.

10.  What is your favorite meal to cook at home?  I don’t really have one. How about a category? I really love big casseroles that have leftovers that I can freeze and keep eating forever and ever!

Friend Makin’ Monday

After a fairly uneventful weekend, I am glad to say that I started the first week of my workout schedule I created for myself for the rest of the fall semester, and it largely a success. Despite some trepidation about going back into the big kids’s weight room to use the squat rack and then accidentally doing 3 sets of 10 squats instead of 2 sets of 15 squats, it went fine. In fact, it went much better than my first day 1 attempt at lifting, where I was slow confused and slow and half-assing my workout that I didn’t even think it was a real workout. Today I was sweating, especially after all of those squats! Anyway, I hadn’t done a Friend Makin’ Monday in awhile, so I thought I’d participate again 🙂

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

What If?

1.  If you had something in your teeth would you want someone to tell you, or would you prefer to figure it out on your own?  Oh man I would really really want them to tell me. I don’t know why some people think it is more embarrassing for one person to notice and tell you than for everyone to notice and not tell you and then like, laugh about it later.

2.  If you had to listen to one song on repeat all day today, which song would you choose?  Oh dear, I’m so bad at music and pop culture and stuff I don’t really know. Possibly “3rd Planet” by Modest Mouse?

3.  If you could trade places with someone famous, with whom would you trade?  Again, bad at pop culture. Do politicians count? Also, can I pick time period. Like, can I be Hillary Clinton, but only while she was Secretary of State and not during her husband’s presidency?

4.  If you could speak another language fluently, which one would you speak?  Probably Spanish because it would be most useful.

5.  If you could read one person’s mind right now whose would you choose?  I’m going to cheat and choose a non-person: Belle (my dog). I hate that she suffers so much from anxiety and that I can’t understand what exactly is wrong so that I can help her.

6. If you were forced to go back in time, which period of your life would you choose? Well, if I had to go back there, I would want it to be something good. The problem with a question like this is that you think certain parts of your life were more appealing until you really think about them. Like, I was going to say back when I first started dating Kris, but I had no free time, no freedom (lived at home) and no money. Then, if I picked when we first moved out, I had more freedom, but still no money. All of the other times are when I was a kid or in grad school, so just no. I guess I’ll go with the first option – when I first started dating Kris, so I can enjoy being 18 and all of the fun things we did that summer again.

7.  If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose?  Parks and Rec. Remember: it is already basically my life. No, really. I’m a politics-obsessed feminist lady who lives in Indiana and I’m married to a nerdy guy who does data crunching for the government and wears plaid shirts and skinny ties everyday. I’m not sure I’d notice the difference, to be honest. I guess all my friends would be funnier?

8.  If you had to give up twitter or Facebook, which would you choose? Hasn’t this been a question before? I’d give up Twitter because I barely use it anywa.

9.  If you could have a present today, what would you want?  How can I choose just one? I guess a plane ticket to go see Kris 🙂

10.  If you had to choose between celebrating Halloween or Christmas, which would you choose?  THIS QUESTION IS TOO HARD. Seriously, these are like, the best two holidays. I know Christmas is supposed to be more important and all, but Halloween was like the most important holiday in my household growing up. Kids get scared to come to our house! I guess I’d still say Christmas, though, because I like giving presents and spending time with family and the food is better (pumpkin Reeses < Grandma’s homemade turtles and fudge).

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Happy Monday!

Explaining My Hiatus and Friend Makin Monday

Huge apologies for my basically 2 (or was it even 3?) week absence. The short version is that I started a new program here at my university and got so far in over my head that I was doing nothing buy studying or having panic attacks 18 hours a day. I tried to stick it out, because I didn’t know what else to do, but eventually became so miserable that I found a solution. The situation is finally about 99% resolved (I still have to deal with an advisor that I have trouble communicating with via email) so I think I can finally return to a somewhat normal existence.

I have a lot of things I want to blog about stored up from all of that time off, but for today, I’ll just do a simple Friend Makin Monday post.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
 
Relationships and Dating

1.  List five characteristics that you think are important in a significant other. 

He needs to be supportive, willing to communicate, trusting/noncontrolling (I consider this one characteristic, but I didn’t have one word for it), able to take care of himself (not like financially independent or anything – I just mean I won’t be his mom) and as equally clingy as me (so that I don’t come off as being weird). Luckily these things apply to my husband (hi bunny!).
2.  If you had to choose between staying single for the next two years (as in, no dating at all,) or receiving $10,000, which would you choose?  
Well, since I’m married, I’ll just not date anyone else and we get $10K, right?

In all seriousness, if I was a single person, I’d chose the option of having relationships. I don’t like being alone.
3.  What is your relationship status?  Are you satisfied with it?
I’m married.  We’ve been married just over a year and together for 6, with about 4 of that (including a large portion of our year of marriage) being long distance. Being long distance actually helps me to realize how satisfied I am – I wouldn’t put up with this shit if I wasn’t very invested in keeping the relationship alive.
4.  Would you date someone who has children?  

Hmmm, I thought this would be a fun post to do, but it keeps putting me into really weird hypotheticals since I’m married. I love kids, though, so I would be fine with dating someone who had them in this weird imaginary world.
5.  Would you date someone who’s shorter than you?  
Yes, I have in the past. I was more self-conscious about him weighing less than me. Though, to be fair, I was really nervous that my wedding shoes (4 inch heels) would make me taller than Kris at our wedding for his sake.

6.  Would you date someone who has different political views? 
No, I like to discuss politics but don’t like to be mad. Funny story about this – in high school, we had to fill out this form for Valentine’s day where you ranked 25 things in order of how important they were in your significant others. I was the only person in the whole school other than a teacher that filled it out as an example to show us how that put political views in my top 10.

7.  If you were going on vacation together, would you choose the beach or the mountains?  
The mountains. I have a rant for another day about how much I hate the ocean. Ironically, we have been on a beach vacation but not a mountain vacation, and plan to take another beach vacation, because that is what his family does and I enjoy spending time with his family (and seeing him get to spend time with them) more than I hate the beach.  Because as long as I don’t go in the ocean, it can be okay.

8.  How do you show someone that you’re interested in them?  
Apparently I mostly just talk to them a lot and always make sure they are paying attention to what I am saying or something like that. At least that is what Kris says. I was never really shy about just telling guys I was interested in the past, though. Amusingly, I did not do this with Kris – I assumed that he wouldn’t care to know I was interested because I was so much younger than him (he was 21 and I was 17 when we started dating) so he had to chase me down!

9.  Do you prefer to date people who are older than you or younger? 
Older. I’ve always been one of the youngest people around in my groups of friends, so I’m accustomed to spending time with older people and find most people my own age or younger insufferable. If I had continued to date in my 20s, though, this probably would not have been such an issue. I also wouldn’t want to go too old, though, because then guys get into “old enough to be my dad” range very quickly due to my dad’s young age.

10.  Share some details of your dream date. 
I’m really boring. As long as there is food I’m probably ok with it.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Say hello to someone new too!  Happy Monday, friends!