Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recipe Recap: Peppermint Oreo Brownie Pie

Have you seen the new Peppermint Oreos?  Target had my number.  The store put the seasonal cookies on an end cap, and I couldn’t resist buying them.  I like the Mint Oreos better, but these were good enough and the best part was that they inspired a super yummy brownie-pie-dessert-thing.

I used a boxed brownie mix.  I put half the batter in my spring form pan, then topped that layer with quartered Oreos.

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I covered the Oreos with the rest of the batter then popped the pan in the oven.  The “pie” cooled while I was at the Y so it was ready for the piece de resistance, the white chocolate peppermint buttercream, courtesy of Becky, who I’ve just seen is my neighbor, when I got home.

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It’s not the prettiest dessert ever, but what it lacks in looks it more than makes up for in taste.

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The McHusband certainly didn’t wait to dig in.

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Ironically, I took some pictures of the pie slices outside the next day in between running Kim’s 5k and making that healthy quinoa-veggie soup.  It was pretty hard not to gobble up that piece once I was done with the photoshoot but I stayed strong.

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Are you a cakey brownie or fudgy brownie person?  I like my brownies fudgy almost to the point of being underdone.  I think you can see in these pictures that I baked these pretty much perfectly for my tastes.

You gotta love a dessert where the frosting’s just as thick as the cake layer (whether that’s cake, brownie or blondie – I’m not one to discriminate).

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{Girls, for those of us doing our Christmas dinner and gift exchange next week, you have this pie to look forward to for dessert.  Yeah, you probably want to go ahead and add a few minutes to each gym session between now and then.}

I won’t lie – I’m REALLY looking forward to eating this again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Triangle Expressway Trot

The McInlaws left our house at 12:15; we waved them off then hurried up to leave ourselves as we had Kim’s 5k to run that afternoon.

I’m referring to it as Kim’s race for two reasons: first because it’s a road that’s been a project of hers for quite a while and second because she helped organize the race.

The McHusband and I parked by Leigh and Mickey who had also just arrived.  That worked out well because I had my camera so Leigh was nice enough to snap a couple photos of us.

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We ran the race on a 1.5-mile stretch of the turnpike.  As far as 5k’s go, it was a fairly boring one since we weren’t going through interesting landscape or contending with any hills.  After my half-marathon and its inclines, though, flat and boring was fine with me.

I finished in 24 minutes, and the McHusband crossed the finish line in 26:33, which was a solid 30 seconds faster than his goal of about 27 minutes since he was shooting for an average of a nine-minute mile.

I may make a runner out of him yet!

You might notice that we’re not exactly dressed for November weather.  Sure, NC has a pretty mild fall, but that weekend was out of the ordinary for us.  The high that day was somewhere in the mid-seventies, almost uncomfortably warm for a 2:00 start time.

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We saw 17 people, who were either participating or spectating, that we knew out there.  I’ve run a number of races like this and I don’t think I’ve ever known more than 5 or maybe 7 people at them.

This was probably my last race until the spring, and I was glad to end my running season on a high note with good weather, a decent time, and no injuries.

Monday, November 28, 2011

20 tons of fun

The McHusband’s parents got a new toy. A 4o-foot (or so) toy.

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They drove it up to our house a couple weekends ago. Here, I’ll give you a tour.

When you climb in, you’re in the cockpit so this is to your left: the main living space, then you walk through the bathroom to the bedroom, which has a king-sized bed in it.

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I made myself at home on one of the Euro chairs while the McMom set up house for the remaining 18 hours or so they’d be parked in our driveway.

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Of course, the boys couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to find something to mess with. Actually, they were checking the antennas that made contact with the bridge they went under as they came through Apex that afternoon. For those of you familiar with that area and that bridge – yeah, we’re all breathing a sigh of relief that the antennas are all that touched the bridge. We sent them home a different way as no one was willing to chance the RV fitting under the bridge on the other side.

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Morgan checked out things a little lower. “Good to go down here, guys!”

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That night, we went to Poole’s Diner for dinner.

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I’ve been wanting to try Poole’s for a while now, but they don’t take reservations and it’s a pretty small place that gets and stays busy through the dinner hour so it just hasn’t worked out for us to go there with our usual group of friends. I appreciate the McHusband and his parents accommodating me and letting me dictate where we ate that night.

The menu is pretty small because it depends somewhat on what’s locally available and changes often to demonstrate the chef’s culinary creativity. As such, the menu is written out on chalkboards hung in a couple different places.

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We didn’t get a full group picture; the McHusband and I just took turns behind the camera.

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The McMom said we were sitting next to John Lennon.

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We went home for dessert (Brownie Pie with Peppermint Oreos and White Chocolate Peppermint Frosting, yum!) and a movie then the McInlaws made the 25-foot commute to their RV for bed. They came back in the morning for breakfast: a hash brown-egg-cheese casserole that I cooked in the crockpot overnight and some blueberry muffins from the newest issue of Southern Living. {Recipes coming soon}

The McInlaws left at 12:15 on Sunday, almost exactly 24 hours after they arrived. The McDad backed their vacation-home-on-wheels out into the cul-de-sac then did his pre-travel inspection. Looks like they’re good to go!

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Thanks for visiting, we enjoyed seeing you guys and checking out the new toy. And as they say in the south, “Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?!”

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A little technical difficulty means you get this video of the McInlaws arriving at the end of the post instead of way back up at the top.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Chicken Stew ‘11

Chelle and Jeremy had their annual Chicken Stew a couple weekends ago.  As always, a good time was had by all.

Cliff and Sara made it so Henry can add “First Chicken Stew” to his list of milestones.

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Sara’s friend Tricia knitted Henry’s little hat.  Cute, right?

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Mike can also claim this as his first Chicken Stew.  His hat isn’t quite as cute as Henry’s though.

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If we aren’t all sticking close to the fire, we’re in the garage with the food.

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Jovyn sandwich!  And why wouldn’t he have a big smile on his face?  He’s got a gorgeous blonde on either side of him.  Life is good.

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The McHusband has his own blonde.

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A silly self-portrait with Kendal and Jovyn.

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We were glad to see Amy at the Chicken Stew; it’s been a while since we caught up with her.

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Back out at the fire.

Dr. Vanessa and Scott.

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Someone else got ahold of the camera so there’s actually a picture of me NOT taken from an arm’s length away.

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And here’s our lovely hostess.

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And we’re back in the garage.  Looks like everyone needed a refill.  Well, maybe not EVERYone, and maybe more WANTED than needed…

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Thanks, Chelle and Jeremy, for another Chicken Stew and a night of fun with friends.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

IOU

I have the Chicken Stew…

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A visit from the McInlaws…

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Some puppy portraits…

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And last but definitely not least, some yummy treats.

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But it’s all gonna have to wait.  It’s 10:30 and I’ve been busy all evening.  I’m ready to go into full on veg-mode with my couch and TV.

Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Recipe Recap: Veggie and Quinoa Soup

So you know that the McHusband and I are new fans of quinoa.  We’re not tired of the quinoa and black beans that have become a staple side in our kitchen, but I’ve been looking for new ways to prepare the quinoa. This soup seemed like a great option – not too difficult to throw together, healthy, and it made enough to have some leftovers for lunch.

Look at all those veggies.

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Once they cooked over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, I added the chicken broth (I couldn’t find vegetable stock at Walmart), tomatoes and quinoa.

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I let the soup do its thing for about 30 minutes then I pureed half of it in the blender and stirred it back into the pot.

I really liked the consistency of this soup.  It had some weight behind it, and I enjoyed that some of the vegetables were still in chunks.

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The flavor was good, but I think it could be better.  A cook more adventurous than I needs to tweak this recipe with some spices and kick it up a notch.

Overall, though, I’d definitely recommend this soup if you’re looking for something hearty and healthy.

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The McHusband and I both agreed that a grilled cheese sandwich alongside the soup would be good, but that’d kinda defeat the purpose of eating a fairly low-calorie (1.5 cups has just about 200 calories) bowl of soup for dinner.  And since we’re coming off of several weeks of bad eating on the weekends and heading into the long Thanksgiving weekend, it seemed best to stick with just the soup for dinner.

{Recipe Here}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

TGIF {with Tucker!}

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We’re looking forward to visiting with the McInlaws, trying a new (to us) restaurant (Poole’s Diner) for dinner on Saturday, and running Kim’s race, a.k.a. the Triangle Expressway Trot, on Sunday.

Hope you guys have as interesting a weekend on tap!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halloween IV

The McHusband and I changed up our costumes a little for our second party in the ‘hood.

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The McHusband kept company with another cowboy (previously Mike Tyson).

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I hung out with a Maid Marian-type and a cougar.

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I made a couple of treats to share at this party: Halloween Bark and Candy Corn Sugar Cookie Cupcakes.

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The Candy Corn M&Ms were a limited edition variety sold only at Walmart.  They were candy corn-colored but had a vanilla-ish filling.

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Once the chocolate set up, I used my big butcher knife to cut the bark into pieces.  The best part was all the crumbs that needed a purpose.

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I used orange candy melts and semi-sweet chocolate.  The combo looked great and tasted even better.

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I shared some leftovers with the medical office in my building.  This stuff was so tasty that one lady said she bit down wrong and the toffee layer made her chip a tooth. 

She told me this right after she asked me for the recipe.

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I think I’ve found my plain cupcake recipe.  I saw this one in my Reader the day of the second Halloween party and knew I had to make them.  I even had everything on hand to throw a batch together immediately.

I dyed half the batter yellow so my layers were white cake, yellow cake, then orange frosting (traditional vanilla buttercream).

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I had some fun staging my cupcakes outside and taking pictures of them so just bear with me.

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Uh-oh, who invited him to this party?

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Rats, skulls, ravens – oh my!IMG_2381

There you go – that’s if for Trick or Treat Twenty-Eleven.  Took me long enough, huh?

Hope your week’s off to great start!