June 21, 2012

Go Twins!

After spending a few days in Iowa visiting family and spending time with my parents; my dad, mom and I headed up to Minneapolis for a Minnesota Twins game.

We had a couple hours to spare upon arriving at the stadium, so we decided to head over to O'Donovan's Irish Pub which is right across the street from Target Field.

We enjoyed a drink and a couple appetizers and then headed to the field to watch the Twins play the Philadelphia Phillies.

It was a perfect night for a game and we had great seats behind home plate.

Although the Phillies scored 6 runs in the first inning, the Twins rallied toward the end of the game, yet still fell short in capturing the lead, losing to the Phillies 8-9. Booo!

My time in the Midwest was great fun and I appreciated spending an early Father's Day with my Dad. He has been one of my biggest fans throughout my life and is often times the first person I turn to when I need help with a decision or have a problem. I am so lucky to have a dad that is supportive and loving, is a great husband and a wonderful grandpa. Thank you Dad for being you. You are the best.

After spending the night in Minneapolis, my parents dropped me off at the airport, where I boarded a plane headed for Denver so I could begin the next leg of my vacation...

Thanks Mom and Dad for a great time in Iowa and Minnesota. 


June 19, 2012

I'm baaaack!

I'm still getting back in the swing of things after being on vacation for a long week...

which means I haven't had time to update my blog...


But, I will say that vacation was a grand ole' time.

I was able to spend a few days with my parents in Iowa...

and attend a Minnesota Twins game the night before I flew to Colorado...

where I drove to Estes Park to meet Matt as he was finishing up day 5/6 of Ride the Rockies, a bike ride across the state of Colorado.

I sent Matt off on Friday morning in Estes Park for the last day of his ride...

and then met him again in Fort Collins at Odell Brewing Company...the finish line for Ride the Rockies.

Matt was in good spirits after peddling his bike over 400 miles (and climbing a lot of mountains!!)...

We drove to Denver on Saturday to meet up with some great friends from college...

and then I flew home on Sunday and Matt headed to Nebraska to visit his family.

Whew! It was a whirlwind of a trip but exciting at the same time. A more detailed encounter of the trip will be shared with you over the next few days...


June 10, 2012

MSP = Home!

I am traveling to Iowa and Colorado this week for pleasure...not work. While Matt is cycling in Ride the Rockies, a bike ride across Colorado, all week, I am spending a few days at home in Iowa before heading to Colorado to spend the last few days of the ride with Matt.

I'm going to post a "picture of the day" throughout the week and then document the trip when I get back to Anchorage.

For the past five years, these doors have meant "I am home." With my parents waiting behind the glass, MSP as the final destination on my plane ticket has always brought a sense of excitement, relaxation and homecoming.

I am ready for a week with my parents, seeing family and venturing through Colorado.

Alaska Run for Women

Leah and I ran in the Alaska Run for Women on Saturday. A 5-mile race that dedicates all proceeds to raise funds for breast cancer research and provide mammograms for low income and under-insured women, over 7,000 women run in honor and/or in memory of loved ones who have battled breast cancer.

Since 1993, the Alaska Run for Women has "showcased the talents of Alaska’s women athletes through an annual women's run/walk event that serves as a vehicle for fundraising, participation, awareness and competition, and grant making to organizations concerned with breast cancer research, education, outreach, prevention and early detection."

(Kikkan Randall (far left, in the pink), USA Olympian in cross-country skiing, won the race)

This is the third year Leah and I have participated in the run. Always running for my grandma, the race provides me the opportunity to show how proud I am of my grandma to beat this deadly cancer...and how she has become an inspiration for our whole family.

Leah and I were a bit late getting to the bus before the race started...

...and unfortunately we were greeted by a very long line...

...so we waited patiently and ended up starting our times run about 15 minutes late. Oops!

The race was still a great time and we both felt pretty good after finishing...especially because we were able to show our support for Grandma!

Have a great rest of the weekend!

June 09, 2012


One thing I really miss about living in the Midwest is grilling. My mom would use the grill almost every night from the beginning of May through the end of October. Fish, beef, vegetables, chicken...everything was cooked on the grill. Not only is the flavor of the food unique, but how about that smell? YUM!

Matt and I decided to 'grill' last weekend. Because we are not allowed to use a grill on our deck, we make shifted our oven into a grill. The oven provided the heat and the broiler pan acted as the grill. What was on the menu?
  • black bean burgers
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • whole wheat bagel (we were out of buns...so I thinned the bagel to make a bun)
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • pickles
  • avocado mayo
The black bean burgers were put on the grill first. In the meantime I prepared asparagus and cut up the veggies. When the black bean burgers were half way through their cooking time, I added the veggies to the grill and put the asparagus on the bottom rack of the oven.

Beautiful, yes? :)

The end result was delightful. The black bean burger was cooked to perfection and all of the toppings and dressings added just the right amount of flavor and texture to the burger. The creaminess of the avocado mayo and the flavor of the veggies complimented the crispiness of the sprouts, spinach and pickles. With the side of asparagus, our meal was complete.


June 08, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

I LOVE ice cream. 

From the time I was very little until I left home for college, my sister and I pretty much had a bowl of ice cream every night before bed. My favorite was Schwan's Cookies & Cream and Leah always requested Chocolate Chip. Hence, we got to know the Schwan's man pretty well.

About a year and a half ago, I realized that ice cream really made my stomach hurt. After denying the fact for some time, I came to the conclusion that I would give up ice cream. My stomach was thankful (except for when I infrequently decided to indulge).

Luckily...I've found an alternative to regular ice cream that definitely satisfies my occasional urge for something creamy and cold. 

What could possibly be an alternative to regular ice cream?


Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

1 banana cut up in chunks, frozen (cut banana in chunks and then freeze in airtight container. bananas can be stored in freezer from months)
1-2 tbsp soy milk (any milk will work fine)
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup rolled oats (optional)

Put banana chunks in food processor. Add 1 tbsp milk. Pulse bananas and milk until chunky (you may need to open the food processor and scrape down the sides and/or break up the bananas). Add peanut butter and oats. Pulse until creamy.

This is a perfect snack on a hot day...or a cool Alaska summer evening. The peanut butter and bananas combine to produce a flavor where neither ingredient overpowers the other ingredient. The oats add a nice texture, something I was used to with the cookies in my cookies & cream ice cream.


June 07, 2012

Softball under the Midnight Sun...

Matt took off for a much deserved two week vacation to Colorado and Nebraska tonight. Although it was a pretty dull day outside, when I took him to the airport, the clouds had cleared and the mountains were sparkling.

Right after I dropped off Matt, I headed for the softball field. Leah and I both play for the Pioneer Bar Dog Salmon...a classy team that truly enjoys hanging out with each other every week while playing a sport we all enjoy...and sometimes grabbing a brew at the Pio after the game. 

Our game on Wednesday night was at 9:45...

yes, 9:45 PM.

...and we didn't play under stadium lights. We played under the sun.

After the game and after talking with our teammates for about an hour, we headed home...but not before taking a picture under the "midnight sun" (it was literally 12:00 midnight). I don't think I'll ever get used to the crazy late sunset in Anchorage...

In other news I read that Thursday, June 7 is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day...

are you going to celebrate?

June 06, 2012

Pub Run

Leah and I ran in the Skinny Raven/McGinley's Pub Run tonight...

Skinny Raven is a running store in downtown Anchorage that sells running shoes and clothing and hosts and sponsors running events all year to "ensure that running continues to be a positive and active outlet for anyone willing to lace up their shoes and hit the roads and trails."

McGinley's Irish Pub is a restaurant/pub that brings "a touch of old Ireland to downtown Anchorage. Providing entertainment almost nightly, McGinley's has an array of Alaska seafood and authentic Irish specialities on their menu and has a variety of local and Irish brews on tap.

The pub runs are traditionally between three and three and a half miles long and loop around downtown Anchorage using both sidewalks and trails. The runs always begin at Skinny Raven and end at McGinley's Pub. The dynamic of the runs is very laid back...literally providing runners with an opportunity to meet other local runners in a relaxed atmosphere... 


...and a reason to celebrate a great run with a tasty and refreshing local brew (optional, of course) from Alaska Brewing Company.


June 05, 2012

fair weather runner

When I can't run outside, I run here...

Unfortunately, over the past week, I have been frequently running indoors because of the rain and cool temps. I guess you could say I'm a fair weather runner...

However, Tuesday evening is the Skinny Raven Pub Run. I WILL be running outside (rain or shine...PLEASE shine) and celebrating my finish with a nice brew from McGinley's Irish Pub.

This will be my third pub run and I'm excited because Leah is going to join me! More to come...

Enjoy your Tuesday!

June 04, 2012

I made (and baked) bread!

Yes, Mom. I made bread. Are you proud? 

My mom has been making and baking bread forever. I remember huge batches of fresh bread coming out of the oven and the smell that filled the house. My favorite part of the process was watching her knead and slap the dough to get out the air. She also seemed to be an expert at getting tons of flour on herself. :)

For a long time, I have been trying to find the perfect bread recipe...a recipe that was hearty and healthy, used 100% whole wheat flour and an alternate form of sugar and was easy to make (duh!). 

Not having much luck, I decided to use a basic whole wheat bread recipe and modify it according to my liking (with the help of a long list of bread recipes I had saved).

The bread turned out great. Matt and I have already eaten half of the first loaf. I have topped the bread with hummus and Matt used it for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We have both enjoyed it toasted with nut butter on top for breakfast.

100% Whole Wheat Seed Bread

  • 2 3/4 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp molasses or agave nectar or honey or omit completely
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 6 cups (max) 100% whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 tbsp dry active yeast
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • rolled oats

Place the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour. Mix. Add dry active yeast. Combine 1 cup ground flax seed, 1/2 cups oats and 3 cups whole wheat flour in separate bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until an even consistency.

Continue to slowly add flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl; however, the dough will be slightly tacky to the touch. Do not over mix or the bread will be tough.

Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise for about 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

The dough will become almost double in size. Punch the dough down until the dough becomes close to the original size. Knead the dough on a floured/oat (adding oats to the surface is optional) surface (I used a silpat mat) and shape into a ball, using enough flour so the dough is not sticky. 

Divide the ball in half and repeat, forming each half of dough into a ball and rolling each ball in the flour. 

Shape the balls of dough into loaves by turning the dough under itself over and over. When the dough is shaped correctly, the sides and ends will be sealed at the bottom of the loaf. The top and sides of the loafs will be smooth. 

Spread seeds and oats on surface. Roll the top of the bread over the seed and oat mixture until covered. Grease two bread pans with nonstick spray and drop the loaves into the pans. Let the loaves rise until almost doubled.  

Bake (in 350 degree oven) for 40 minutes (or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapping on the bottom), remove the bread from the oven and let the bread cool completely (I cut two slices for Matt and me to enjoy immediately...you can't beat warm, fresh bread!). 

Wrap bread in tinfoil and store on counter or in fridge. The bread can also be put in the freezer for long term keeping; however, I would put in freezer safe bag. Thaw bread completely before eating. 


June 02, 2012

Skinny Raven Twilight 6K

I ran in a race Friday night...

I met up with my friend Rachel...who improved her time by 6 minutes from the same race last year...whoa!  The conditions were perfect for running...high 50s, light breeze and a blue sky...

...and this was the post race reward.

(thank you Moose's Tooth...big smile)

After the race, I met up with Matt for dinner and then we picked up Rio and went for a walk around Taku Lake.

To say Rio enjoyed the walk would be a slight understatement...

Cheers to the weekend!!