Friday, February 26, 2010


It's Friday, and I can totally feel it.  We had Book Club last night (and discussed A Catcher in the Rye) and I think I have a food hangover today.  Seriously, I didn't drink anything (because I still felt dehydrated from boot camp) but was STARVING.  So... yum yum yum, I ate.

I made Chocolate Popcorn, from a recipe that Martha shared with me.  It's good, but I probably can't make it for a while, because the majority of it went in my belly.  A girl has to taste test, right?


Anyway...  it's simple.

2 bags popcorn
3 squares almond bark.

Pop the popcorn.  Sift out the kernels (because ouch).  Melt the almond bark.  Pour over popcorn and mix.

Yum.  I actually did 3 squares of the "vanilla" flavored bark and 1 square of the "chocolate" flavored for good measure.

I thought it was heavenly.  And then I looked at the labels for the almond bark and realized that each square has 300 calories.

Now, I think it's sinful.


We're driving to KS tonight for the K-State/Mizzou basketball game.  Get excited!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Since David is so seldom out of bed when I leave for work, he sent this to me.  Apparently, I'm missing a whole lot of beauty by getting out the door so early.

Back off, ladies.  He's mine.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Darcie's Speedy Focaccia

On Friday, David and I had some friends over for dinner.  I was a cooking fool (and David was a cleaning fool in my wake), making baked shrimp with tomatoes and feta, focaccia bread, and mocha chocolate cake with mocha cream cheese frosting.

Man alive, that food was good.  And I didn't take any pictures.  Boo!

However, due to the rave reviews on the bread, I promised to share the recipe.  I am also sharing because I like to post blogs feel special.  

Thank you for making me feel special.

Alright, moving on.....

Darcie's Speedy Focaccia!

1.5 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1.25 teaspoons salt
3.5 cups flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (I use dried...just a little less...)
0.5 teaspoon garlic salt or kosher salt

Lightly grease 9X13 pan and drizzle with small amount of olive oil.  Combine all ingredients except the rosemary and garlic/kosher salt.  Beat at high speed for 1 minute.  Scoop into pan, smoosh down, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour at room temperature. Poke dough all over with finger and drizzle lightly with olive oil.   Sprinkle with rosemary and garlic/kosher salt.
Bake at 375 for 35049, until golden brown.  Remove, let stand 5 minutes and then turn onto cooling rack.

For the dinner party, I multiplied everything by 1.5 and used the same size pan.  This gave some height to the bread.

Yum yum yum!  I love carbs!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why I run

or, more specifically, why I train for races.

I've had a couple of conversations in the past few days that got me thinking about this, because I know a lot of people see the amount of time I spend running as a little excessive.

I love to run.  I didn't always love to run.  Heck, people that knew me way back when would probably have voted me least likely to run a marathon or even around the block.  The thing is, I was obese for the majority of my life.  I dreaded P.E. like a cat dreads baths.  In terms of birthdays, I was at my heaviest when I turned 25, on the downward swing when I turned 26, and have been maintaining (roughly) since my 27th

Running was something that I attempted only after a couple of months of seeing a personal trainer and building up some confidence.  And, man alive, I hated it at first. I would always walk to my gym (about 4-5 blocks from my apartment) and, one day, decided that I could run a block and walk a block.

It sucked.  But I did it.  Pretty soon, I was up to running the whole way and decided that I was going to train for a 5k.  That sucked too.  But I was hooked.  I ran my first half marathon through the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Team in Training.  They taught me a ton and coached me through my freak-outs.

Because I am not and will never be an "elite" athlete, I don't necessarily love to race (my competitive nature doesn't let me forget that I didn't win).  I love the process of preparing for what seems like a daunting task and working hard to accomplish it.  I love that I can start a run with a headache and a bad attitude and finish my scheduled miles anyway.  I love that it's a constant in my life--I can do it anywhere--on a cruise, in an ice-storm (with yak tracks, of course).

I love that running is time away from everything.  It's where I work out problems in my head or come to peace with things that are bothering me.  And, when nothing's bothering me, I still finish feeling more centered than before I started.  I alternate between a couple of mantras while I run, depending on my need for the day. When I'm having a rough body-image day, it's always "I am fit and I am strong."  Any other day, it's usually "Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner"  (totally learned that one in my commitment class at church).  I practice interview questions and have one-sided conversations.  I spend a lot of my day distracting myself through tv, books, internet and it's nice to know that I still have original thoughts.

While I love the solitude of running, I also love the companionship that comes with running.  I've formed some awesome friendships while running...because it's hard not to open up when you've been jogging beside someone for an hour.  Even when I'm out running alone, I still feel companionship. Everyone you pass on the trail waves hello and smiles.  When I finished my run on Monday, a girl passed me and yelled out good job.  It's so nice to connect with strangers...especially in a world when it's so easy to avoid acknowledging anyone that isn't in your circle.

I love that running makes me feel like a bad ass.  There's a tiny braggart inside of me that really likes being able to tell people about why I was late to Mardi Gras because I had a 9-miler to complete or that calls David on my way home from shorter runs to tell him that my time improved.  Just to let you know (and to make me feel like more of a bad ass), I ran my best 4 mile pace on Sunday--8:02/mile.

Most of all, I love that I feel like this after running!
(In case you're not sure, that's a picture of me feeling good.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Saturday, a day of food

We went to a trivia night Saturday with some, after my 9 mile run (woot, woot, 8:48 pace!), I spent the rest of the day baking and attempting to do laundry.

I started to make the pizza roll-ups (that I had made for book club) and had a brainstorm.  Since rolling up things is no fun, I used mini muffin tins.
Oh yeah, pizza-y goodness.  And healthy!

Well, one is healthy.  The amount I ate, not so much :)

I also made a roasted red pepper dip (that I didn't end up was "funny") and some mocha chocolate cake.  Oh and cookies!  It was Kelly's birthday later that night, so I made up some heaven cookies for her.

I'm always so proud of myself when I manage to package something nicely.

Anyway, at trivia night, the entire spread looked like this.  Notice Tara seeming happy, for some reason.
Wait, I know the reason.  Do you see all that food?  Seriously!  Yummy.  
That fantastic cake I made is on the yellow platter on the center.  Goodness gracious, I want a piece now.

Now I'm just going to throw in some pictures of me and people.  Because that's how I roll.
Like a dork.  That's how I roll.
In this last one, I had stolen Laura's bracelet and rings...and was probably smacking David.  Probably for looking like a fool in the shot above this one.

After trivia finished up, we headed to Valley Park to celebrate Kelly's birthday.  We got there a little late, and the crowd was, um, really well-hydrated.  Some girl was puking in the bathroom with the aide of her mom.  (I love my mom, but think if I was puking in a bar it might not be her job to clean up after me.  I'm just saying.)

Here's David and me with the birthday girl.  For some reason, I'm standing very awkwardly behind her.  Not really sure why.
Laura, Jess, and I.  Note my signature sexy-lady-with-mouth-open pose.  
You can borrow it for your own pictures.  It looks smashing in every situation.

Check out the guy behind Kelly.  He was one of the well-hydrated patrons, and very proud of his signature pose.  It involved standing around and shuffling back and forth while raising the roof.

He seemed to think it's as sexy as my mouth open thing.
Jess did not think so.

Thumbs down, drunk man.  Thumbs down.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mardi Gras!!!

Saturday was Mardi Gras in St. Louis... apparently, our celebration is the second biggest in the nation, right after New Orleans.

Let's go St. Louis!  Woo Woo!

Most people start drinkng/partying at 8:30 or 9 in the morning, but I had a group run scheduled, so I opted to run first and then catch up later on.

So I ran 9 miles with the Parkway training team... it was a beautiful morning, not too terribly cold.  I ended up running with an English teacher from the high school.  I was slightly intimidated to run with Michelle, because this girl is buff.  Not an ounch of body fat and super-dooper long legs.  Kind of on par with my sister-in-law Cher in terms of genreral bad-ass-ness (and if I didn't think Cher would mind, I would totally post a picture of her in her bikini to illustrate).
Anyway, I was scheduled to run 9 miles, but Michelle was scheduled to run 6...she said she would just try to do my 9 with me...but then I whopped her ass and she had to drop out after 6 miles.

(Insert picture of me running to the Rocky fight song here.)

I know it's a small victory...but I so seldom consider myself athletic that I have to take the victories as they come.

Anyway, I came home, showered, and headed down to Soulard to have fun. 
Parking was a nightmare, but I eventually made my way in...and promptly had to take a picture of this girl in her homemade wings.
She informed me that, yes, she did make them herself. 

I am totally making that for myself next year...but probably not with Miller Light.

The lines for the bathrooms were LONG, most men ended up hiding behind dumpsters.


I spent most of my time during Mardi Gras people watching...
and decided that I HAD to have a picture with this girl who was passed out.

I kind of felt bad for her friend, though.  He was in charge of propping her up.
We took some cute, normal pictures. 
Right after this, some guy informed me that my vest of obnoxious.
He was wearing a Cookie Monster outfit.
Steph threatened to punch him.  Gotta love Steph!
I was willfully refusing to touch this costume.
Doesn't it just look dirty??
So, it wasn't terribly cold on Saturday, but there was NO WAY you could get my outside without layers and gloves.  This girl must have been FREEZING.
On the way home, we decided it was time for pizza, but Martha couldn't wait for a picture...
...there, this one's better.  Yay pizza!
Nick and Austin insisted I take their picture.
Then, for some reason, all of these people jumped in it.

All in all, Mardi Gras was a lot of fun.  I'm too old to go as crazy as most people are, but it's good just to go people watch.  We ended up getting home by 5pm...planning to go back out later.  For some reason, I took a nap and then baked muffins instead.  I am a blast, huh?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Yesterday was a crazy day for me, but I somehow managed to get everything done.  Work was a bunch of meetings, intertwined with David stopping by for a little visit on his way to Columbia.  It's cute...people at work always get so excited when a *boy* visits me.  I tell them that he's not a boy anymore...we're married.

After work, I did a 6 mile run at Queeny Park.  I don't go to this park often, but since it's by work, I decided to give it a shot.  MOST of the snow was melted, but it was still a little slick and slushy in areas.  I was devistated that I hit a puddle of mud since it was only my THIRD day wearing my new shoes, but oh well.

I changed and deordorized in a gas station bathroom (classy!) and then headed to dinner at Red Robin with Danna, Mike, Debra, and Liam.  I'm still amazed at what a good baby Liam is, especially in group settings.  It was fun to venture out with the in-laws, and not at all scary like David predicted :)

Since David went to Columbia for a basketball game, I went to Ash Wednesday services by myself... I don't really mind, especially since I ran into a friend or two at service.  This year, I'm giving up mints and gum.  I find myself mindlessly munching on them ALL THE TIME and, since I'm pretty on track with eating and have already given up soda, I figure this is next on my healthy list.  So far, it's been rough!  I think David's giving up chips and fries...good luck to him!

What did everyone else give up?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day... hearts and love and junk

David and I had a lovely Valentine's Day.  He had been working on a HUGE journal article that was due at midnight on Saturday, so, luckily, he was completely done and free for Sunday.

Saturday, after Mardi Gras, I made some blueberry muffins for him.  I don't really like blueberry anything, but he keeps talking about how much he likes blueberry muffins, so I was trying the good wife thing.

Man, it's tough to be a good wife.

Anyway, I wrapped up the suckers in cling wrap and left them on the kitchen counter overnight.  I woke up to this...
Do you see it?  Some BAD KITTY had eaten the top off of THREE of David's six muffins!

I was so mad at that cat.  Now, Veronica is locked up at night, either in our bedroom or in the basement.  There will be NO cats on my kitchen counter.


I got over my anger.  I've moved on.  I am still a little mad at Veronica Breadbasket, but I'm just internalizing it. 


So, after feeding David a muffin and giving him his present (AN AWESOME BODY PILLOW!), I went on a run and let the poor baby sleep.  I even let him sleep while I went to church. 
Man, I am such a good wife, right?

David's a good husband too.  See what he bought me?
It's a white chocolate blackberry cluster from Godiva. 

Yummmm nummm nummm.

Don't worry... he didn't just buy me one.  But one is all that survived long enough for pictures :)
We're also going to an Erin Bode concert sometime in the spring.  I love Erin Bode!! 
And some 8 lb weights.  Because I asked for them.  I'm weird like that.
It's cool, last year I got a GPS/heart rate monitor for Valentine's Day.

We went to Kobe Steakhouse for dinner... and it was a blast.  We shared a table with the cutest family of 6.  Seriously, when we have kids, I hope they're half as well behaved as these ones. 
Happy Valentine's Day..only a few days late!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cliff Cave Park

On Friday afternoon, Martha and I took our fur-babies on a walk/hike in Cliff Cave Park.  I had never been there before, but Maggie and Wrigley seemed to enjoy our 5 mile jaunt by some cliffs and the river.

I'm trying really hard right here to get Maggie in the picture.  Turns out she's camera shy.
Poor puppy dog.

It was C-O-L-D by the time we finished our walk, so Martha and I decided to warm up with some light shopping.

So we went to Kohl's, Gordmans, and Big Lots. 
Do we know how to live or what??
We did find these ROCKING storage ottomans...but neither one of us could find a spot in our homes for one.  Trust me, we spent a while pondering...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Running Roo

Yesterday marked Maggie's triumphant return to the world of running dogs.

She was not thrilled, but I was.  It was a beautiful day and warm enough that I didn't need tights or gloves.  Roo-Bearski and I knocked at 4 miles at an 8:09 pace...which might have been a little speedy for her.  The last 1/2 mile I talked to her the whole way.  She needs a little encouragement.

When we got home, I popped in a Jillian (EVIL, I tell you) DVD while Maggie "rested."  It only took her 45 minutes until she was ready to start licking my face during the mat portions.
This is Maggie's "I'M EFFING TIRED" face.  Poor baby.

Today at work, I had an awesome surprise...
...FLOWERS from my amazing husband!

Look at the thing to the left of my flowers... It's the Using Data Coach's Pocket Organizer.  
I am such a nerd. 
Here's a picture without data...
Oh wait, there are surveys in that picture.  Can't get away from data!

Anyway, I love getting flowers delivered to work.  It makes the whole day so much more pleasant.

And reminds me how much I love my husband!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Year's Resolution-- Update

When I was in Kansas, I ransacked the house and my parents' business looking for the set of hot rollers I had in high school... with no luck. Maybe they broke or got thrown away--who knows. We have a tendency to save things unless they're broken, so I was really expecting to find them!
Saturday afternoon, the parents and I ran to Topeka to get some quick errands done...and I talked them into a set of hot rollers.
Thank you!
Sunday when I got home, I decided to take them on a test run during the Super Bowl.

Yes, I am very exciting. I am also very indifferent to the Super Bowl. A few years ago, I used to work every Sunday evening from 3-11pm at a homeless shelter. Randomly, one Sunday evening I called my friend Erin just to chat. We're talking and I could hear noise in the background. I asked if she was busy and needed to go and she informed that, well, she was a little busy, being that I had called her smack dab in the middle of the Super Bowl.
Oops. I didn't realize.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I have hot rollers now, and am very excited. Susan complimented my hair today at work, so I took a picture, showing off my best Blue Steel.

Oh yes, I'm a keeper.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day!

Yesterday, we had a snow day!

Let's all just give a bit of thanks for the unplanned joy that comes with a snow day.


It started snowing on my drive home from work on Monday...but I decided to go ahead and run because my favorite path would probably be yucky for a few days.  I busted out 6 miles at a 8:31 pace.
Getting faster!

I came home, went on a quick walk with Roo-Bearski, and then put her in the car to run some errands with me.  She's still getting used to her schedule change and has been a little needy.

Poor baby.

Anyway, Tuesday morning, I work up to this!
And promptly went back to bed...until 7:30.  Rebel!

I spent the rest of the day doing our taxes (and being eternally thankful for returns), and whipping up a present for a bachelorette party I can't make (sad, sad, sad).
Then, because I don't have proper boundaries, I took a picture of myself wearing the present.  Let's all hope Shelley doesn't read the blog!  Even if she does, let's hope that she's properly distracted by my dusty counter and poor photo skills and will still be happy with the final result.

I ran out the door about 3 to go to the post office and pick up some groceries...only to find that my car wouldn't start. 


AAA was my savior, coming to jump start my car and informing me that it was "running on 4 bars."  I'm not sure what that means, but I paid the nice man to give me a new battery.  It's better than being stranded, right?

Other than that, my snow day was pretty low-key.  Since it was too snowy to run outside, I did one of my evil Jillian Michael's DVD's.  I hadn't exercised at home with Maggie there for a while, and forgot that she likes to sit right next to me and attempt to lick me every 30 seconds. 
Cute at first, but kind of gross by the time the hour video was over!

Monday, February 8, 2010


On Friday, I drove to Kansas. The first half was horrid, mostly due to the snow storm I was driving through. However, I made it to my parent's house by mid-evening. They greeted me with a glass of wine, Christmas presents (thanks!!) and a trip to visit my fur-baby, Maggie.Oh goodness, I had missed her. I'm sure everyone is tired about hearing me talk about how much I missed my baby.
Saturday was Maggie's 4th birthday, which, incidentally catches her up to me in human years. 28 for both of us! I gave her a nice present and all the love I had been storing in my heart for the two months she was on "vacation" with the parents.
And then I cleaned out my car. Woo!
After Mom and Dad got off work, I went out to do my long run for the weekend. I ran 8 miles (at an 8:42/mile pace!!!) and Mom walked 3ish.
Then I showered. Because, apparently, I stink after running.
I conned Mom into making BATCHES of my favorite muffins ever while I was home. They're Applesauce Oatmeal and SO GOOD! When all was said and done, we had made SIX recipes worth of this muffin...
That gave us a grand total of 92 muffins. No worries, though... they were in the "freezes beautifully" section of my cookbook.

Sorry for the random Steele Magnolias quote. Anytime I think about freezing food, that pops in my head.

Sunday, I woke up early and did a quick 4 miles (in the best pace I've seen in a while--8:10/mile!!) before heading back to St. Louis. The drive was much better than Friday's drive, but still long. I was happy to be out of that car.

David opened presents from my parents when we got back... and was thrilled with his massaging slippers. Thank you Mom! Now I'll never have to refuse to give a foot rub again.
Seriously. Foot rubs are sick.

The fur-babies were happy to be home too!
Really. Maggie was happy. For some reason she always looks sad in pictures.
David and I decided to stay in and watch the Super Bowl at home...mostly because I was exhausted and didn't want to host....and didn't want to abandon the babies so quickly after getting back.
Look how happy we all are!!