Easter Baking

Sometimes people ask me why I run so much. And yes, I run because I like to challenge myself and see what new goals I can meet. But I also run because I really love to bake and eat delicious food. We had a pretty low key Easter Sunday, but I did make some carrot cupcakes (recipe from Smitten Kitchen). Here are some photos of the process and the yummy outcome!



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Happy Easter!!!

Summer Recap

I know, I’ve been a bad blogger.

It’s been a long, long time since my last post. I’ve logged in and started to write posts but didn’t know where to start. Well, I figure no time like the present to get caught up on my blog. I thought about doing a separate post for all the events/things we have been doing, but instead here’s a bit of what we’ve been doing since May (yep it’s a long entry).

Wedding Planning
Not surprisingly since I’ve been out of my course work for the summer I have been focusing on the wedding. We finally have a DJ (yay!) but still have lots to do. I had my first dress fitting a few weeks back (and will have another one on Friday) as well as talked flowers and decorations. My mom, Susan, Olivia, and Tara have some AMAZING ideas!

Engagement Photos
In June, my amazing friend and mom-to-be Punam took engagement photos of Kevin & me. They are great. Here’s a teaser shot, but you can see her blog post on them here.

Bachelorette Weekend
The weekend after the engagement photo shoot, four of my close friends and I went to Sonoma County for my bachelorette weekend. It was perfect, complete with beautiful views, hiking, dogs (you know I love dogs!), delicious food, and wine… lots of wine! One of my best friends, Tawny, planned the whole thing and I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better time.

We’ve Been Here, There, & Everywhere (yeah, I totally used one of my favorite Beatle songs here)
Kevin & I have been traveling all over the place this summer. I think one or both of us was gone every weekend beginning in mid-June until, well, now. As mentioned earlier, I was in Sonoma County in June, Kevin’s sister and his niece and nephews visited the following few days, then we flew off to Texas (more about that later), then we drove up to Washington (with a pit stop in Oregon to see one of my best friends), Kevin’s uncle visited for a week or so, then I went home to wedding stuff, Kevin went off to Taiwan for work… and now we’re laying low. Of course, we’ll be traveling here and there again soon :) During that time, Kevin also celebrated the big 3-0!!

Showers
While we were in Washington, Kevin’s family threw us a wedding shower. And when I was in So Cal my best friend threw me a bridal shower. Both parties were so much fun and it was great seeing everyone. We really appreciate that everyone came out and celebrated with us. Plus, my mom brought an old high school photo album that my girlfriends and I had a good laugh at!

                                 

Dan & Juliana’s Wedding
As I mentioned earlier, Kevin & I went to Texas this summer. Why? To attend Dan and Juliana’s wedding of course! I love this couple, they are fun and sweet and a perfect match for each other. I also got to catch up with some of my old high school friends, as well as visit some of the best that San Antonio has to offer: Alamo, River Walk (ok we barely did this), San Jose Mission, Cavender’s Boot store, and some serious BBQ (the boys ate it, I just stared in amazement).

The newlyweds

Outside the cathedral

The boys & me outside of the Alamo

BBQ!

Summer School
In addition to traveling, planning, and partying, I also worked as a teaching assistant for the first session of summer school at UCSC. I had the pleasure of working with an amazing teacher and fellow grad student who I definitely look up to. This was a class I had TAed for before, but I learned a great deal from above-mentioned-instructor and her great teaching style.

Cooking/Baking
As usual, I’ve spent a great deal of time cooking and baking. I made a yummy batch of cookies-n-cream/cookie dough ice cream (yes together, in one delicious, sugary bowl!). I failed at my first scone making attempt (that’s what I get for last-minute recipe modifications). And I made homemade pasta for the first time, yum!

Drying pasta

Running
I’ve still been running with a few races here and there. Since my last post, I ran 4 races (see my results here). I did take 1st in my age group for one of them, always a nice feeling! And tomorrow, I’ll be running the 1st half of the San Francisco Marathon. Since running the Big Sur Marathon I’ve been pretty slow on my long runs, so I’m not expecting to be very speedy tomorrow but I think it will be a lot of fun. And I have to admit I’m pretty darn excited about getting an Irish Coffee after the race, now that’s a treat I can look forward to post-run (the run is early, like 5:45am early, so I’ll ready for that warm beverage!). Here are some photos from my recent races.

Silly me, throwing my hands in the hair! Crossing the finish line at She.Is.Beautiful 10k on May 22

Post race at Nisene Marks 5k, very rainy race :)

Coming up to the finish line in the San Lorenzo Train Run 10k

Pre-Race Wharf to Wharf 6 mile (surrounded by 15,000 other runners!)

Well, I think we’re all caught up. I will try to get back into my normal blog routine in August.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: A Frigid Thanksgiving

Brr! It has been a cold couple of days here. I had planned on making this chilly Thanksgiving week a fruitful one. I decided not to go home and instead use the time off from classes to get caught up on grading, reading, and research. Instead, I spent time with good friends (old and new), raced, tasted wine, baked, learned to knit, and got some work done. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…

My holiday plans began the Saturday before Thanksgiving with a Turkey Trot. Kelly (who is sadly moving far away) and a couple of her friends also ran the race. Instead of shirts, the race gave out socks. How festive! I also took 3rd in my age division. After the race, we went wine tasting, since it was Passport Day! Despite the cold and rain, the wine was delicious and the company wonderful. Kevin joined us at the end of the day for dinner at a new friend’s place.

A few friends from school who also opted not to travel agreed to have Thanksgiving

together, hosted by the love Dustin & Erica. I made apple pie (from scratch), mashed potatoes, and sans-turkey stuffing. I baked the pie on Wednesday and left the rest for Thursday. Thursday morning I woke up to freezing temperatures (literally, 31 degrees!). I put on my running clothes, and headed to San Jose for the Run, Turkey, Run 10k. (Yes, another race… but hey, I had to burn some calories to make room for all the food I planned on eating later in the day.) I improved my time from Saturday by 20 seconds, but only came in 4th in my division. Once home, I peeled the potatoes, took the pup for an adventurous walk, and finished up all my Thanksgiving baking.  The afternoon/evening was wonderful, just what Thanksgiving is all about: good friends and good food. Oh and in case you wanted to know, my pie turned out delicious! I am so proud of myself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following day one of my oldest and most dear friends, Sarah, and her husband came to visit. They are expecting their first child and it was so great to see her glowing! We went out for some delicious food (complete with pizza throwing entertainment). The next

day we went to Mystery Spot, since they had never been before. Unfortunately that morning it had rained and rained and rained, not ideal conditions for rooming up a mountainside and an old wood cabin. Sarah also experienced extra queasiness from whatever it is that makes the spot mysterious. Sarah and Scott stayed for lunch and some Patagonia shopping and then continued on their way through the central coast.

I finally started to get some real work done, grading 30+ papers on the History of Sin and reading about the early Christian church. But then time for more fun, learning to knit! I have always wanted to learn to knit and finally had set up a time to learn some of the basics. Kelly introduced me to a fun little knitting shop in town. She also gave me some knitting needles and an introduction book. The shop was having a sale, so I bought a lot of yarn… hopefully to give me incentive. Despite some mishaps (adding extra loops and a few holes), I think I got the basic stitch down. I’m going to attempt to knit a little each day (a welcome break from work) so I don’t forget what I’m doing!

All right, I know this is a long blog… but what can I say? I had a busy week!

Encyclopedia of Meg: B

B is for baking! Or books… how does one choose?

I can’t! So I’ll write a bit about both.

I love baking, especially this time of the year

when the weather cools down. While I try to bake healthy food to save us money and eat better, I love making desserts and mostly cookies. There is something wonderful about sweet cookies backing in the fall. And thanks to my stand mixer, I can whip delicious treats quickly. I want to try to make my first pie (by myself) soon too. I just finished some tasty pumpkin pie and am looking forward to making one myself.

Part of the reason that fall brings out the baking besides the cooler temperatures and falling leaves is that it also marks the beginning of another school year. Somehow all that work increases my cravings for buttery, sweet, delicious, home-baked goods. And hence there is a connection between my two B encyclopedia entries.

The school year brings not only the desire to bake more but the piling of books to read over the next 10 weeks. Recently we added a new bookshelf to the office (thanks Mom!) and it is quickly filling up with new books and library books to try to tackle soon. While I read all the time for school, I do love books. I love the feel and the smell of a book, new or old. You know the feeling. You buy a new book, you run your fingers along the pages, and flip through. You can smell the new paper and ink. I realize that environmentally and economically, ebook readers make more sense… but they lack the romance of books. Yes, it’s easier to bring [insert your ebook reader of choice] with you on a plane but is it as nice to curl up with a cold screen? Absolutely not! I love holding the book, with a steaming cup of coffee, and a fresh-baked cookie curled up on the couch with the fireplace crackling (I don’t have a fireplace, but I imagine having one some day).

So baking and books – they belong together and they represent B in my encyclopedia.