Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crockpot pot roast

With everything going on these days - wrapping presents, last minute shopping, big meal planning, cooking, baking, cleaning, card writing - I don't seem to have much time to cook the regular meals.  So this weekend, instead of caving in to Chipotle or Dominoes, I did a swing through the meat section while at the store and threw a roast in the crock pot.  The house smelled delicious all day, plus this recipe couldn't have been easier.  And by dinner time, we had a delicious and reasonably healthy meal waiting for us.  I love the crockpot, and I'm really enjoying trying out new recipes.  It's such an easy alternative to slaving away on a big meal in the kitchen! 

Easy Crockpot Pot Roast
(from My Life as a Mrs.)

Makes: 6 servings  Prep Time: 10 minutes (if that)  Cook time: 8 hours

28 ounce bag of mini potatoes, rinsed and pierced with fork
1 onion, quartered
2 1/2 pound boneless chuck roast (Wegmans didn't have chuck roast, so I used beef shoulder - it was probably a little tough, but still tasty)
1 packet onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
cracked black pepper
1 small bag of carrots (I used baby carrots)

Spray Crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Add Potatoes and onion quarters then top with chuck roast. Add onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, red wine vinegar, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours. (I was late getting started, so I did about 4 hours on high and the last hour on low) During the last hour of cooking add the carrots, making sure they are submerged in the cooking liquid.

Place some of the meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions in a bowl and ladle broth on top. Enjoy with some warm crusty bread if desired!

This is delicious and we will certainly be making it again this winter!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekend snapshots

Time is flying, I can't believe it's December 10 already!  Luckily we were in town this weekend and able to get some good Christmas decorating done!

Friday night we hung around our area - first we met some friends for a happy hour to celebrate one girlfriend's completion of grad school - wooo!  That's such a huge accomplishment, especially to do it while working and having a life!  Then we headed to Dogfish to have a couple of yummy beers and dinner.

Saturday morning we lounged a bit, ran errands, and headed out to Christmas tree hunt.  We decided to try a new place this year, Joe's in Chantilly.

We had a bit of a challenge finding a tall tree - having a 6'1" husband is a good judge when looking for a big tree!  We finally found one, and while M was cutting it down, I happened to notice what looked like a birds nest or something inside.  So once it was on it's side, I reached in to get the ball of leaves out.  As soon as I moved the first handful, I saw these 2 beady eyes staring back at me!  ANIMALS!!  After a little scream and getting my courage up, I looked back in at a little mama mouse protecting her 2 babies.  I felt awful that we'd disturbed their home!  After a little encouragement (and some light shaking) we got them out of the tree, and they scampered off to another one.  Wow, am I glad we found them in the field rather than our living room!!  

Sunday morning bright and early we headed downtown to meet some coworkers for the Jingle All the Way 8k.  Somehow I keep getting talked into doing these races!  My coworker Nichole is very persuasive :)  Despite the cold, rainy morning, we had a good time at the race.  Well, all but the running part!  It was fun to see all of the costumes that people came up with - Santas, a full nativity scene complete with 'Jesus in the manger stroller,' all of the reindeer connected pulling a sleigh, and even a guy playing Christmas carols on a tuba! 

It was the longest race I've done, and happy to say I didn't do too bad...maybe I will run a bit more before the next race and do even better!  But that requires more we'll have to see about that part.

Back home Sunday afternoon to watch the REDSKINS beat up on barely squeak by the Ravens!  Then we turned on some Christmas music, poured some wine and got into the holiday spirit...and actually decorated the tree.  

Cady supervised...and then was forced to join in the fun!  Although...not sure she'd consider this fun, but we sure did, and I know Grandma enjoyed receiving all of the photos of our little reindeer!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving in Richmond

One of my favorite holidays of the year is Thanksgiving, and I can't believe it has already come and gone.  Time this year is just flying by.  As we do every year, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Richmond.  We split time with both parents, and then my mom hosts my aunt, uncle cousins and kids for the big dinner on Thursday.

The delicious turkey and cousin Jason's creative and beautiful turkey plate

The calm before the storm dinner!

Cheers to another wonderful meal!

Makes me hungry again just looking at it!

When cousin Kristin and husband Steve showed up wearing their favorite sports jerseys for the big Skins-Dallas game that afternoon, Dad dug in the back of his dresser for this beauty.  I proudly wore it all day - Go Skins!

After all of the delicious food, it was time for dessert!  Including the ice cream turkey.

I made MK's delicious pumpkin spiced cannoli dip - it was a huge hit!

Quick family photo op

You can't forget cutie Pearly Sue, my parents sweet dog.

Cady was definitely tuckered out after the big day chasing kids, playing ball, and catching any food before it hit the floor (or Pearl got it).  She slept for days after Thanksgiving!

There's so much to be thankful for this year...I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

And before we know it, it'll be Christmas!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Western States 100, part 2

Part 2

So it's about 9:15 or so on Saturday night - I walked back along the trail about a mile to meet M, and left Tom to collect himself and get together anything he would need for the night, plus put together a bag for me to bring to the aid stations for him.  Once M came up the hill and out onto the road, we ran the mile back together as it was getting darker by the second.

Quick pitstop at the Forest Hill school aid station
At this point he's run 62 miles, and it's time for Tom to head out with him through the night.  I saw them off, getting to walk a bit down the road with them before they turned down the trail.  With lots of people out waiting for the runners, it was fun to run down the road with all of the cheering for them.  

Back in the car for me, I had a bit of a drive over to the parking lot for the next station.  Once I got there, I had big plans to get a couple hours of sleep....but once I got in the lot, the line for the shuttle was ridiculous.  At this spot, you took a shuttle for a couple of miles, then you had to walk another mile or so to one aid station, and then 2.5 more down to the river.  Most people didn't go all the way down to the river, but I wanted to see it.  So the attendant told me to plan on a couple of hours from the lot to the river...which meant my nap would be cut severely short.  

Parked, car off (and yes Mom, locked), I snuggled up in the front seat to get as much rest as I could.  I set my cell phone alarm and woke up about 90 minutes later.  I checked the line, and luckily it had gone way down.  So I packed up all of the stuff, chair, and layered up to head out.  He was expected to be to the river around 2am, so it was about 11pm now.  I waited for a while for the bus with other crew members, who were all starting to get a little cranky.  Apparently one of the 2 buses they had for this station had broken down, so it was taking much longer than expected...

We finally got on the school bus, drove the mile or so, then started the trek down to the aid station.  It's pitch black, and we're walking down what seems to be like a fire road, down the hill.  (you know what going down means...)  Luckily I met a couple of other crew members to chat with, so it wasn't a bad walk.  Once at the aid station, I set up the chair and some stuff with the others, and set off to the river...about 2.5 more miles down the mountain.  In the dark.  

My new friends were at the river already when I got there, they didn't stop at the aid station.  It was really dark - you can see in the photo below the lights from the aid station across the river, and then the runners in the water.  There were people in wet suits stationed along the way to help, and a big rope to hold onto.  I waited for a while, and we all kept trying to see who was coming...finally I heard from across the river "LINDSEY!!!" I shouted back "TOMMY!!" and was so excited to know they had made it, and were on their way across.  They had been 16 miles since Forest Hill.  

The best part about walking down to the river was that I got to walk back up with them!  I was very impressed with the energy and excitement that they both had - it was great to really spend some time the three of us together!  I know it motivated me for the rest of the evening, hopefully it did them too.

Once up at Green Gate aid station, we did a little changing, put on a jacket, gave the camera our 'hard face' and headed off into the night.  

I think this was about 3am, if I remember correctly...I packed up our chair and all of the gear and walked back up to the bus stop.  Again, only one bus was running, so the wait was a long, cold one.  

While they ran on, I drove back down the mountain to the next spot.  We were supposed to shuttle again, but I decided I was over the shuttling, so I found a parking lot along the highway, right next to where the aid station was.  Perfect!  I had some time to kill, so I snuggled up for another 90 minutes or so of sleep.  Once I got over to the aid station and started talking with a few of the other crew members, I'm so glad I got that parking spot.  Again, apparently they'd stopped the shuttles for a few hours, and had issues with them.  What a mess!  

The runners came down along the hill up where the fence is, and crossed the highway where the flags and cones are.  We are at mile 93.5 here at Highway 49 aid station.

Of course he had to be weighed in again.  He was very consistent with his weights throughout the night, but it was a little off from the very original one the day before.  This woman, appreciate her concern, was a little over zealous ... 

So just to appease her, we made sure he had quite the array of food before heading on.  At this point, "I've run 94 miles, I'm finishing this race!" was our mentality.  I think this was about 7am, if I'm remembering correctly.  

Buffet of goldfish, strawberries, smoothie, some Coke, and freshly grilled pancakes did the trick. 

93.5 miles in, just over 6 to go!  I packed up the car and drove over to the town of Auburn.  The race finish line was set up at the high school.  So I took some time cleaning up and rearranging the car, getting out clean, post race clothes, and then made the final trek to Robie Point, about a mile from the finish line.  

A couple of awesome pictures from Tommy's camera out on the course.

Robie Point is an area in the town of Auburn that is a mile from the finish line.  The neighbors all come out the weekend of the race and have an all night block party, decorate, grill, sing, and cheer on the runners as they make their final climb out of the woods.  

Up the hill he came, smiling and clapping for all of the supporters who were out cheering him on.  Tommy was close behind, taking photos along the way.  What a moment, and super cool sight to see.  In my attempt to get both a video and photos at the same time, this is a bit blurry....

99 miles 

So we all ran the last mile through the town together to the finish line, chatting and laughing every step of the way. 

When we got to the track at the high school, T and I bailed off to the left to run across the field and get in position while M went around the track to do his 'victory lap.' 

They announced each runner as they went around the track, saying where they were from, if this was their first Western States, or first 100, or some other fun facts that you had submitted.  

At 9:42am, he crossed the finish line of the Western States 100.  

Once he received his medal and posed for a couple of photos, he was weighed in one last time, and gave blood.  They were doing testing on every runner to study the effects of 100 miles on the body.  

After we hung around the track for a bit and the boys showered, we loaded up the car and headed over to Sonoma for a couple of days of celebration and rest! 

2012 Western States 100 miler
28 hours, 42 minutes and 17 seconds. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

A bit of catch up...

This year is just flying by - I can't believe Halloween is over, it's November, and I've already done my first grocery store run for Thanksgiving!  Yes, maybe a little early for that, but with the 3 Thanksgiving meals I'm looking forward to, I wanted to plan ahead :)  Nothin' wrong with that...

Anyway.  Instead of trying to literally catch up with the last month 4 months on the good ol' blog, I figured I'd just do a bit of a photo dump....and then just continue from here.  Here's a bit of a peak into what all we've been up to, besides Europe-tripping, since the summer!  I know some of you are anxiously awaiting the second part of Western States, and some more trip pictures....I'll get there eventually!

Dewey Beach to celebrate the bride to be, Amy!
Meeting adorable baby Nathan
Elon Alumni Softball at the CAN tournament

Yeah...softball isn't my sport...but I tried!
Went to as many Nats games as we could get in
Dinner at Little Serow in DC for M's birthday - hottest food I've ever had in my life. 

Celebrated with the bride and groom!  Congratulations Amy and Nick!!
Wedding fun!
Call me CRAZY! 
CF staff did the 4.7 mile Run Around the Lake for the Wounded Warrior project, in the rain
Nats make the playoffs!! 
After they won game 4!

Cady's had some visitors lately ....

Old 97's at the 9:30 Club
Elon alumni outing at the newest VA winery, Bull Run

Dirty River Boys and Reckless Kelly at State Theater

Even though I've been a bit disenchanted with blogging lately, struggling between having good, fun, entertaining posts and feeling the need to photograph and document everything we do, I really have enjoyed this blog for the last couple of years.  I don't plan on going anywhere...just might not try to post several times a week.  Maybe then it won't seem like such a daunting task, and I won't go radio silent for weeks on end.  I promise to do better :)

And a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my bff Lola today, too!!