Happy Birthday Pumpkin & Pi {and Pi Day}

How are my baby kitties already 4 years old!?!  This year few by and they still as cute as ever.

Princess Pi.  Not particularly photogenic...
or I could just be a terrible photographer.  Yeah, lets go with that.

Pumpkin is ready to play!

Pi cleaning Pumpkin.
He usually returns the favor a little, but Pi definitely is more giving.

"OMG...I am trying to sleep here!
I'll let you know when I'm ready for my 5 second petting session. K?"

He really wanted to go in the shower one morning after me.  Weirdo!

Aaawweee!  He can be quite the sweetie too :)

Again, Happy Pi Day!  Have a great weekend and St. Patrick's Day too for that matter!


Aramco Houston Half

Second half in the books!

After the Houston Half in October I was ready to take a break from long runs.  I really like to run a 6 or 7 miler once a week and it's usually a weekend thing.  When I have to run more than an hour though, it takes a lot more effort and often I'll want need a nap after...it just takes more from my day than I'd like.  So, I took a two week break in November and then casually ran a few times with Mr. PnP until Thanksgiving.  That week I won a free bib for the really big Houston half in January.  Sweet!!! I love free stuff, and this is a pretty expensive race to begin with.  The only problem was getting back in shape! :)

I immediately mapped out my long run plan.  That gave me just about two months, if I started that weekend (I did), and even have proper tapering time.  My overall training was a little lackluster...not as much speed work or weekly miles as the October half, but it was still nice to be training for something.

Almost done!

The race.  The day was perfect (1/19/14). It was easily shorts weather as the start, even before sunrise.  It's kinda weird now that I think about it.  Most Houston races start in the dark.  Everyone trains in the dark too because it's so freaking hot out the majority of the year.  It's also probably due to the shorter winter days during race season...Now I'm off track!   

The race started, and we were off.  My first 5k was pretty fast.  I had a group of girls in my sight and hung on to them for almost 4 miles.  They had bright pink shorts and were easy to find even a few meters back.  By the second 5k I was more settled into my race pace and was feeling mostly good.  I completely missed the water station at mile 2 so I was really thirsty at 3.5 where the next one was.  I had a gel just before that water station and overcompensated with three waters.  That left my stomach a little sloshy for a bit.  After getting over that, I felt pretty good during those middle miles.  Then a "fun" side ache hit around mile 9/10.  Boo...  I never quite shook it off either.

Fortunately, when I turned for the last long stretch through downtown, the sun was bright, and directly in my face.  Now, this would be super annoying most of the time, but I used it to zone out and just push.  I couldn't see very far ahead, so it was easier to motivate myself through each small goal.  The next intersection, the next skywalk, etc.  It also helped that the crowds had grown and everyone was cheering.  Our race bibs had our names on them, so I even heard a few "go Amy's."  As cheesy as it sounds, it really does help me go faster (or maybe just give up less).

Running with my eyes closed...
I seriously did this for a few seconds at a time to get over myself.

All in all, I finished in 1:54, which I am mostly happy about.  I always want to do better, but it was solid for my effort.  I think there will be more halfs in my future, but for now I'm going to do more 5/10k training and see where that takes me.


Genius New Recipe

I am a genius.  Okay, not really.  I'm actually a big idiot that was resourceful enough to salvage a boxed baking mix.  Let me explain...

Krusteaz makes some really good (and cheap*) boxed baking mixes.  They have pancakes, muffins, bars, etc, and I haven't tried one I didn't like yet.  So, yesterday I had a bit of time on my hands and the lemon bars sounded good to me.

"Easy to Make" my ass...jk.

I started by following the first instruction...turn on the oven...good.

Then, I whisked the eggs and water for the lemon filling...done.

This is where the magic doofusness occurred.  In the lemon bar box, there are exactly two pouches of white stuff.  One is the crust, the other is the filling.  Guess which one I added to the eggs?  Yep...the wrong one!  F$#@k...

This is where the creative (smart) baking Amy comes back into play.  Instead of two layer lemon bars, it became an all-in-one layer bar. :)  I added a bit more water (an extra 1/4 cup or so) since I thought the crust would soak up too much of the initial moisture.  I'm not sure what it is with me and lemon bars, but we do not seem to do well together.  I attempted making them home-made last year and ended up with three layer bars...

My other concerns were whether the new mixture would stick too much to the pan, and how it would actually bake.  To solve both of these concerns, I portioned it into silicon lined muffin tins.  It made about 15 "muffins."  I then baked them.  I peeped in at the "muffins" after 15 minutes and they were actually rising! :)  They were still very yellow though, so I gave them an extra 5 minutes to slightly brown on the edges.  Perfection Acceptable!!

Silicon liners are really awesome.

They actually turned out surprisingly well.  Like I said, they rose decently and hold together so you can eat them by hand.  The texture is interesting.  It's like a dense, slightly gooey/sticky, but still a little fluffy cornbread muffin.  i.e. edible and functional as a lemon dessert!

Just like the box picture!
They only need a little powdered sugar.

Worst case, I would have scrapped them and just eaten girl scout cookies...but those can now wait a few more days.

*By cheap, I mean like less than $2 most of the time and they often have in-store coupons at HEB making it even better.  Also, they don't require much in terms of extra ingredients unlike a lot of Central Market mixes.

Pumpkin visited the photo shoot.
I'm pretty sure he already thought I was crazy.

What the best recipe wreck that you were able to salvage?

I find that the more I try new recipes and experiment, the more wrecks occur and not all are able to be saved.