Tuesday, December 8, 2009
There's still time to donate! Just visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/md/wdw10/adjwiley to make your tax-deductible donation.
PLEASE MAKE ALL DONATIONS BEFORE DECEMBER 22nd!!!
Also, remember to send me the names/photos of anyone whom you'd like me to run in honor or memory of during the race.
I'll let you know you how things look after Saturday. Wish me luck!
Friday, November 6, 2009
So I finally got some race experience under my belt and entered - and actually finished - the 2009 Baltimore Running Festival Half-Marathon. It took under 3hrs for me to cross the finish line and about another 40minutes before I could feel my legs properly. Overall, it was absolutely worth it - even the f*cking ridiculous number of hills peppering the trail, which are detailed in the route elevation chart below:
The first wave of the race started around 9:45am. As I was running in the last wave of participants, I hit the trail a little after 10am. Right around the same time it started to rain. Seriously. And thus began one of the longer 3-hr segments of my 31 years. Here's a quick recap of some of the trail highlights:
Miles 2-3: I bid farewell to my running partner, Monica, who is charging up the many hills while I am content to walk a fast pace and pick up speed at the bottom. Mile 3 is also the first water stop, marked by a band that is playing on a stage set up to the side of the road. Spectators graciously offer free high-fives to runners as they pass. This is also the point where the route for runners completing the full marathon merges with the half-marathon route.
Miles 5-6: I notice the first costumed participant - a dude dressed as a can of Miller Lite - running as part of a relay team. This is the first water stop in the route that also has PowerGel available to runners. I take one and quickly realize that eating while running is not a good combination for me. Considerable willpower goes into not being sick on the trail in front of race spectators. I later repeat this lesson around Mile 10 when I try to ingest a Gummi Bear offered by a cheerful race supporter.
Miles 7-8: The path takes us aside and follows the outline of the picturesque Lake Montebello. Jason, Monica's husband who is clobbering my pace, apparently sees me while entering the park while he's exiting. Not that I notice anything outside of my breathing pattern. And the photographers who seem to be setting up around the lake to take photos of runners for later purchase. I try to smile while maintaining a decent running form when I see them. This plan does not even remotely work (as I look competely WORKED in the shots) and, consequently, I do not purchase said photos and hope they never see the light of day.
Mile 9: The race route takes us through the neighborhood surrounding the Hopkins Homewood campus. Residents come out of the woodwork to support the runners. On one block I see a gentlemen encouraging the athletes by blasting "Eye of the Tiger" from his SUV's sound system. Bonus: Man is actually dressed as tiger while standing on his vehicle's rooftop. I also receive additional, just-for-me cheers from a now 17-year-old Justin Knight (who received help from LLS after he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at age 6) and his mom.
Their cheers inspire me to pick up my pace. My right leg/knee/ankle, while appreciating the sentiment, wants no part of this increased running speed and makes its displeasure known in no uncertain terms.
Miles 10 -11: I can see the Howard Street Bridge, the last of the friggin' hills on the race trail. As I am about to slow down to a walk a Team in Training coach from another chapter pops out of nowhere and runs alongside me, checking in on how I'm feeling and - this is where my heart sinks a good bit - to help me run up this last hill. I am near tears at the very idea but somehow make it up the incline without falling over. It's a downhill (or at least an even level) run from here.
Miles 12 - 13: I get a morale boost at the last water stop, which is sponsored by Team in Training and LLS. Thank god, because I am feeling all sorts of beat up by the previous 12 miles. The end of the route is attended by more spectators. A lot more. While some are encouraging (which is always nice to hear when you've realized that 13.1 miles is WAY longer than you ever imagined possible), others quickly work my nerves. Like the fat guy in the Rascal telling me to finish big or the group with lit cigarettes in hand telling us to run not walk to the finish line. God help me it's all I can do not to veer off track and kick them with what little stamina I have left.
Mile 13.1: I manage to smile and raise my arms up triumphantly for the last photographer, who's perched on a cherry picker above the race path. (It ends up being my one decent picture.) The last 10th of a mile goes through Camden Yards and ends up at M&T Bank Stadium. I've never been so happy to see a finish line in my LIFE. I cross just behind a fellow finishing the full marathon who's wearing a Ben Roethlisberger jersey, which is double-ballsy given the amount of heckling I'm sure he received over the past 26.2 miles. I manage to run across the finish line and receive my runner's medal. I catch up with Tony, Monica, Jason, and Dexter (Monica & Jason's dog) and we walk back to Federal Hill to pick up our car and head home.
P.S. I finally take that ice bath as soon as we return to the house.
So that's my first endurance event in a nutshell. It was by far one of the hardest things I've completed and it still haunts me to think that not only do I get to do this again, but I need to do it twice in a row. At least Walt Disney World, from what I understand, is a flat trail. And besides, I've run several miles past that 13.1mi distance since then and managed to survive.
Still, it's kind of thrilling to look at my little crab-shaped medal and know that I've done something not many have done before. And I'm helping out others at the same time. As of today, I've reached my minimum fund raising goal (woo hoo!!) and I still have another 6 weeks before the TnT deadline to bring in the remaining funds.
61 days until the big run. Keep wishing me luck - I'm still going to need it...
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Registration Confirmation for:
Congratulations! You are now registered for 2010 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend - Team in Training. Please check the event's official website for updates: http://www.
Thank you for registering for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! Please be sure that you have met all criteria as set forth by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training Program. If you have not, you will be removed from this registration list. We look forward to hosting you in January!
|Date & Time:||01/09/10 - 01/10/10|
|Location:||Walt Disney World® Resort (Map)|
Looks like there's NO turning back now! :)
p.s. Just a little bit more until I reach my fund raising goal. (woo hoo!) Be sure to spread the word!!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Anywho, in nutshell, here's where things stand as of this week:
(1) You can't spell pain in the ass without "IT": The pain in my knee and ankle turned out to be the result of a poor IT band, which is the muscle that stretches from your hip down your leg to the knee.
Mine has always been weak - I can actually hear my knee pop when I walk sometimes - so the workouts were stressing out my knee and my ankle tried to compensate. Et voila! Leg pain bad enough to make the walk down the stairs as challenging as my long runs. I made it to a walk-in sports clinic and the good people at Towson Sports Medicine gave me some stretches and exercises that have helped build up strength in my band, which lessens the pain. They also recommended a knee brace, which I have yet to find and pick up.
(2) Ice baths: They're not for the weak: Ok, I actually wouldn't know a thing about that, since I have yet to take an ice bath. But it looks like it's only a matter of time before I need to grow a pair and take one. Since my longest run will be this Saturday (13.1miles/21km), I have a feeling I'll be able to report on the experience by Sunday. As my friend Suz tells me, your heart only stops for the first few seconds.
(3) 13.1 miles is, amazingly, only half-way there: This Saturday Baltimore hosts the 2009 Baltimore Running Festival. Since I have yet to run with a big group, this seemed like a good opportunity to see what it's like to take part in an actual running event. So yours truly will set reason aside and run the half-marathon around the neighborhoods of Fells Point, Canton, East Baltimore, Wyman Park, Homewood, Bolton Hill/Mt. Vernon, and the Inner Harbor. I've been told that the Baltimore marathon trail is one of the hardest IN THE WORLD due to it's many, many high angled hills. Of course, I didn't discover this until after I had paid the $90 registration fee. Awesome.
I pick up my registration packet tomorrow (the 8th), which includes my number and this nifty digital tag that records my time as I run. I'll be sure to post photos of the event. It'll also be on tv and online (www.wbaltv.com). Just look for the little brown-ish woman who looks like she's about to fall over :)
(4) Almost to the goal! So I am half-way to personal goal (and more than halfway to the minimum amount I need to raise) for the January event for LLS. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DONATE if you haven't had a chance yet! Any amount is greatly appreciated and will help me and Team in Training raise awareness and fund research to combat cancer. Just click here (http://pages.teamintraining.org/md/wdw10/adjwiley) or contact me for details. (Donations, of course, are completely tax deductible.)
The half is this Saturday, October 10th, staring at 9:45am. I'll let you know how it goes.
Wish me luck!
Monday, September 14, 2009
(1) Ankles are a surprisingly sensitive area of the body.
(2) 8 miles are a LOT harder to run through than 7. Running into a giant spider web does not help make the distance any easier.
(3) Nothing helps haul one's bum into gear like dropping $88 in registration fees to run a half marathon through the city of Baltimore. (October 10th if anyone wants to cheer me on!)
(4) Motivation to run is hard to come by after a full day of work and crappy weather conditions. Is this part of the mental wall I've heard so much about?
This week is my "easy" training week, which I think means I don't have to run too many runs before this weekend's long run. We'll be running with the team that's training for the Baltimore full marathon (also Oct 10th, so they're doing a 20mi run), so this will be the first time I get to practice eating goo and stopping for water/hydration breaks during a run. I've heard some fairly entertaining tales about varying levels of success people have drinking/eating while running, so this ought to be interesting.
I'll try to take pictures.
Based on comments on my last post, I will definitely be sending SASE with my fliers. If you'd like to help out (and ANY amount will help) please send me your mailing address at email@example.com and I'll send a flier along post haste.
Thanks, y'all! :) And thanks for all the support!!!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Here's my conundrum: Do I include an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) with my flier or save myself the $0.47 per mailing?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Despite the overcast skies, it was comfortable training weather. Not too hot and not raining, though the humidity certainly wasn't doing anyone any favors.
We ran North Central Rail Trail, which apparently used to be part of the railroad system and goes all the way up to York, Pa. (A 20 mile run, which I will be working up to prior to the marathon. Hoo-ray again.)
While half-marathoners completed 4 miles today, Kevin had those of us running the full complete 6 miles.
I'm pretty sure my heart dropped directly into my stomach after he made that announcement.
About half of the full marathon group keeps a 9min-mile pace and they were soon well out of sight. Meanwhile, I stayed back and practiced my makeshift Galloway method since I still need to by a running watch and timing with the clock on my cell phone proved a tad awkward.
Still, I was able to keep a good pace - roughly a 12min-mile, which was incredibly satisfying. Turns out that I can run a faster pace when I'm running in segements.
Granted, the boys cross country team that passed us mid-run, bounding like f*cking gazelles without breaking a sweat, didn't do much for my ego. Oh well. I'll leave those track events to the young.
I'm feeling exhilirated post-run. I've never run 6 miles before! I'm also feeling quite exhausted for pretty much the same reason.
Next weekend I'm in Pittsburgh, so I'll need to figure out a way to run 7 miles on my own. No small feat, believe me. I'll let you know how that test of personal will works out.
And thanks to everyone for the words of support!! Keep 'em coming - something tells I'm going to need it :)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Actual Running: Turns out, I'm not as awful as I anticipated. I'm not the fastest by any means, but I'm also not the slowest. This is an unexpected blessing, as I've discovered that in order to compete in and complete the WDW Marathon you have to maintain a minimum 16mph walking pace for the entire event. Now, that doesn't sound like much, but 16mph can seem like Olympic time trial speeds after 26 miles. Right now I'm at something like a 14/15mph, which is sloooooow goings, but when I try to speed up my coach is right there to remind me that I'll be doing this for 6 or so hours, so keep it at a pace that won't cause my lung to burst.
Team Training: The first TnT training was actually pleasant. Not that I expected my teammates to be abominable, but I was worried about how I'd do on the track. Nothing like punking out on the first day. But all went well. Kevin (our coach) had us introduce ourselves to each other and then went over some basic stretches. Then it was onto some quick laps around the high school track we were using that day. 1/2mile of learning to pace myself, which is much easier when you have people to chat with while on the course. A quick break followed by more running - just another 1 1/2 miles - followed by Q&A. Kevin explained some various running methods and techniques (I quickly glommed onto the Galloway method of run/walking the event), as well as basics on hydration, calorie maintenance, and running gear. There's a shoe clinic on Thursday that I'll have to miss because Lina can't take herself to the vet, now can she?
Saturday is the next team workout, and should prove more challenging. We'll be sharing the trail currently used by groups training for the October Baltimore Marathon. It'll definitely be more than 2 miles. Here's hoping I finish some time before Sunday.
Cross Training: Kevin is a big, big, big advocate of cross training at least twice a week to work out muscles that come in handy during endurance events (i.e., knees, back, abs - that sort of thing). I've been mixing it up with a Yoga-lates (it's a Pilates/yoga hybrid) and an exercise bike, which seems to be helping strengthen my knee, thank God. Unfortunately, I'm using the Hopkins gym for many of my workouts. It's not that the gym is sub-par; the gym itself is great. Plenty of workout options, including a climbing wall and an indoor track. Not-so-great are the television options in front of the machines, including the bike. This week I suffered through 4miles' worth of MTV's Next.
Has anyone ever watched this show? Contestants vie for the attention of one guy or gal by performing acts of what I can only politely describe as extreme public humiliation for a brief one-on-one date. It has this whole Roman amphitheater/gladiator v. lion quality to it, but with elements of speed dating thrown in for giggles. The episode I endured included a young man who really likes football, so his initial challenge for the interested ladies (the ones he didn't reject upon first viewing them) was to dress them up in super-padded football uniforms. The girl then had to run as fast as she could to make a touchdown before a K-9 unit police dog (a foaming-at-the-mouth German Shepherd) was released, with the directive to attack and tackle her.
I kid you not. The dog took out the first girl, which made the young man laugh so hard he nearly herniated something. ("That was fun...for me!" he cried out. Charming.) The second girl took one look at the dog and promptly turned around and ran back to the bus/makeshift green room holding the other contestants. The third girl made the touchdown, but was still tackled by the dog who proceeded to maul the back collar of her uniform. While she was still wearing it. Apparently Prince Charming thought this demonstrated her skill and commitment (and her seeming low standards) and they went on a one-on-one date that consisted of feeding each other nachos.
How is this entertaining again? Ladies, I have certainly made my share of questionable relationship decisions in the past, but I think I have enough sense to say that if the man you're interested in thinks that it's hysterical to watch you earn his approval by letting a member of a K-9 unit damn near rip your face off, just let him go, hon. Let him go.
More to update after Sunday. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So far I've been working on fast walking my miles, since my last attempt at running really did a number on my knee. I'm hoping trainer Kevin will be able to show me the how-not-to-cripple-yourself method of finishing a marathon. (Apparently the run/walk method marathoners have made some excellent finish times.)
I'll let you know how well/laughable this turns out on Sunday.
FUNDRAISER UPDATE: LLS (the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) is sponsoring a one time raffle with the following prizes!!
- A 2009 Lexus 250 (AWD) or $20,000 CASH
- $7,500 CASH
- $2,500 CASH
Tickets are $200 each. Half of the money goes towards my fund raising goal, but ALL of it goes to LLS and it's mission!
The drawing takes place Tuesday, September 22nd at 12th Annual Ruth's Chris Sizzling Celebrity Golf Classic for Leukemia
Ticket sales close soon, so contact me for more details!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Matthew Valenti was 2 years old when doctors determined that his severe anemia was a symptom of B-Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). Here's what Matt's dad has to say about his little guy:
Oh, Matthew turned three years old on February 9th, 2007.
Matthew started the second phase of his treatment on April 23, 2007, which is called delayed induction (DI) and we hope he will be in long term maintenance by July of 2007. The DI is pretty difficult on everyone as Matthew won’t be able to leave the house except to go to the hospital until it is over.
When Matthew is stuck in the house, he loves to play with his older brothers, Jack and Zackary. They are a lot of fun and they really are a blessing with helping out, keeping Matthew in good spirits and occupied His brothers are very good lacrosse players and are teaching Matthew to play; he can cradle and shoot the ball already (he loves to score goals). Matthew’s most favorite things are his matchbox cars and playing with his Granddads.I'm also running in honor of 19-year-old Justin Knight, who was also diagnosed with ALL at a young age. From age 6 to 9, Justin endured intense chemotherapy. Thankfully, Justin responded well to treatment, and recently celebrated 8 years of remission without chemotherapy in March.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I'm also becoming accustomed to the fact that I need to invest in some quality gear. The shoes I've got - thanks to the kind folks at the Running Store in Georgetown, I found out that I over-pronate (i.e., I roll my feet when I walk). Thus, I ended up with a nice new pair of Asics. Now I just need to pick up the proper undergarments - the regular sports bras I've had since undergrad just aren't going to cut it - and I am set!
The Kick Off Breakfast where I get to meet the other runners and tri-athletes is a mere 2 weeks away. I cannot wait! I'm really looking forward to seeing who else is willing to sacrifice their weekends, shins and knees for a great cause.
Speaking of which, I've decided to up the ante for my donors!
will receive an LLS Canvas Tote Bag!
Gold level donors ($250)
will receive a TnT Duffle Bag!
Remember to spread the word!
Orlando Run: 150 days and counting...
Thursday, July 30, 2009
But I'm casting my old ways aside for the time being and signing on to do something I've talked about doing for some time now:
I'm going to run a marathon.
You read it right the first time. I - the woman whose previous expereience with endurance events didn't extend past long car trips - will take part in the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Florida.
I'm running and training with a group called Team and Training (http://www.teamintraining.org/), a national organization dedicated to raising funds to educate, treat, and cure various types of blood cancer.
I've lost a lot of people I love to cancer in my lifetime : my godfather, my cousin, and other friends and relatives who left this world much too soon. And while I made one personal donation earlier this year to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths Program (my husband is still reeling from the loss of my hair), I've decided it's time to do something more substantial. More challenging. And by all accounts, more satisfying.
So I'm inviting everyone to follow along as I prepare for my January event. I'm going to regularly update my training and fundraising progress up until and just after the run. It should be entertaining, informative, and - lord willing - somewhat inspirational.
I'm also asking everyone to spread the word. I have a lot - A LOT - of funds to raise before December. $3,800 worth to be precise (74% of which goes directly to furthing T&T's mission activities).
And remember: NO donation is too small! (Seriously!)
If you happen to know someone or some group who might be interested in supporting a corporate sponsorship, send them my way! I am more than happy to share the details and benefits with any and everyone!
And of course, feel free to comment, ask questions, poke fun at, or support me at any point along the way. I've got a feeling that this is going to be a long trip to Orlando, and I'll definitely appreciate the company.
Thanks in advance for your help and wish me luck!!!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Seriously, it's cute enough to make you sick. But instead of normal sick, you vomit rainbows and butterflies.
See the video below for an example...
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
This actually makes me a little sad.
Okay, this one is actually legit, but everything after the jump isn't. They're the kind of questions that make you want to bathe with a toaster (or SPOILER ALERT: poisonous jellyfish). I assume some of them are fake, but I sadly guarantee a good portion are serious. And, well, *pouring out a little liquor* it's been real, humanity.
Hit it for a dozen or so of the worst questions ever asked.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The fastest tortoise on THREE legs: How injured Tonka races around on her toy truck
Last updated at 3:23 PM on 27th May 2009
Meet the tortoise on wheels who could give any hare a run for its money despite having her leg bitten off by a dog.
When vets found the female wild red-footed tortoise her left front leg was in tatters and they feared she would never be able to move properly again.
But after patching her up one rescuer had an ingenious idea to help the little reptile - using wheels from a child's toy truck.
Tonka the tortoise had one of her legs savaged by a dog, but was given a new lease of life after her new owner strapped her up on the wheels of a child's toy truck
Now she has gone from three legs to four wheels and been named Tonka in honour of the toy which gave her a new lease of life.
The reptile is able to roam with ease using her back legs to push her along while steering with her front right leg.
Tonka was found in the hills of San Mateo County, California, USA, by a resident, who dropped her off at the local SPCA branch, Peninsula Humane Society.
Local resident John O'Dea, 35, has now adopted Tonka and said she loved nothing better than roaming in the vegetable patch and going for 'walks'.
John O'Dea is now the proud owner of the red-footed tortoise who was found injured in the hills of San Mateo County, California
'She has a particular fondness for tomatoes.
'I take her for 'walks' regularly around my neighbourhood, I think she likes the speed but I do get a few funny looks.
'We don't know how old Tonka is because she was a wild tortoise, and her species can live for up to 50 years, but she seems happy with her new life.
'When she has the wheels on she can move herself quite well and I think she must be the fastest tortoise around.'
Scott Belucchi, from the Peninsula Humane Society, said that fitting Tonka with the wheels seemed like the best way to give her back her quality of life.
He said: 'We didn't have to operate on her or anything like that, it was just a case of strapping the wheels under her with a tie over her shell.
'It was the first time we have done an operation like this, but it was a great success.
'I think this is certainly unusual but she seems to really like her wheels and even though there are still some dogs out there I think she could make her escape now.'
Red-footed tortoises are usually native to South America, but populations are known to survive in the wild in California.
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group
© 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Fatal crossing crash driver 'ignored warning bells'
A truck driver failed to heed flashing lights and warning bells when he ploughed his semi-trailer into a train in Victoria killing 11 people, including a New Zealander, Australia's Supreme Court has heard.
Christiaan Bernard Scholl, 50, is standing trial in Bendigo, facing 11 counts of culpable driving and eight of negligently causing serious injury.
He was driving a semi-trailer that crashed into a Melbourne-bound V/Line passenger train at a level crossing north of Kerang on June 5, 2007.
The dead included furniture salesman Nick Parker, 32, from Wellington.
Prosecutor Peter Rose, SC, in an opening address, said Scholl's driving had been grossly negligent.
Mr Rose said Scholl was travelling at the 100kmh speed limit as he approached a level crossing on the Murray Valley Highway, north of Kerang.
Mr Rose said Scholl saw a large truck and other vehicles stopped on the opposite side of the crossing.
Scholl's Kenworth truck skidded onto the crossing and crashed into the centre of the second carriage of the three-carriage Swan Hill-to-Melbourne train, which was carrying 34 passengers.
Mr Rose said Scholl was aware of the crossing, having crossed it "many hundreds of times", but failed to keep a proper lookout.
The truck driver was not travelling at a speed that would allow him to brake safely if necessary, he said.
"It's the crown case that the accused driver was grossly negligent in the manner he drove his vehicle," Mr Rose said.
He said red flashing lights, bells and a yellow sign warned drivers as they approached the crossing.
The trial before Justice Stephen Kaye is continuing.
Justice Stephen Kaye has told the 13 jurors it's natural for jurors to feel sympathy for the family and loved ones of the victims.
But he says it's most important to set aside their emotions and decide the case through a proper and fair assessment of the evidence.
- with AAP
Nick was one of my flatmates when I lived in Wellington. His passing came so suddenly that it took a while for me to process. The trial of the fellow who caused the wreck that took his life just brings all sorts of emotions back up to the surface. It breaks my heart to think that Nick died in such a pointless accident, and it really, really pisses me off that he died because of the actions of one incredibly inattentive motorist. I'm not sure how the legal and criminal systems in New Zealand work in comparison to the States, but if old wounds this deep (especially those of Nick's family and loved ones) need to be re-opened 2 years after the fact, I can only hope that it's for a good reason and for an equally just outcome.
I guess I just miss my flatmate. He was a great fellow and if his passing did anything it made me appreciate the friendship with my surviving flatmate all that much more.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Courtesty of Jess at Chubb Kitchen (http://chubbkitchen.blogspot.com/2009/04/perfection-in-bar-samoa-bars.html)
Monday, April 27, 2009So Girlscout season came and went, and all I was left with was one box of Samoas, my all time favorite girl scout cookies. Sure, tag-a-longs are good, and thin mints are a close runners-up, but be serious. Samoas are the best. Coconut, caramel and chocolate is possibly the most awesome flavor combination there is. While perusing Tastespotting, as I do almost daily these days, I kept noticing gorgeous pictures of homemade samoas, and then samoa bars. Samoa bars...yum. All the flavors of samoas without having to use two completely different sized cookie cutters and rolling pins and other kitchen equipment I was simply not inspired to use at the time. Sometimes I love a good complex recipe that allows me to show off my creative genius. Other times I just want something quick, relatively easy, and oh so fulfilling. This recipe definitely fits into the latter. I used a homemade Samoa cookie recipe by Baking Bites.
- Keep the dough as thin as possible while maintaining some structural integrity. I know this is a tough line to navigate, but I did feel like the shortbread was a bit thick on my cookies. Also, I may use the shortbread recipe on the actual Samoa Bar recipe Baking Bites has, and not the recipe for the cookies. The shortbread recipes are a little bit different, and I think using the bar version will lead to a shortbread that sticks together better when cut and dipped, as mine had a tendency to fall apart, especially when dipped in the chocolate. (Still tasted great though, once you chew it a couple times it all gets to the same state of destruction.) The dough will puff slightly as it cooks, so I would even recommend erring on the thinner side than the thicker one.
- Pour the coconut mixture on while the shortbread is still rather hot, and while the caramels are still hot and melted. Mine started to cool just a bit too much and it made it difficult to spread evenly. I ended up with a thick part in the center. Reheat the caramel/coconut mixture if necessary to ensure easy spreadability. The thicker this layer, the harder to cut- leading to fragmented shortbread, and the harder to chew, leading to sore jaws.
- Keep the chocolate as hot as possible. I'm not sure if there's a way to thin out chocolate, but if you know the secret, please, let me know and use it to dip the cookies in. The chocolate was so heavy (for lack of a better word) that the cookie would stick to the chocolate and fall apart instead of sticking to the coconut.
- Be careful. Once you eat one, you'll want to eat the whole batch. They're THAT good.
Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Makes 30 bar cookies.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
But, I digress.
Yesterday during a last minute grocery run, my younger sister pointed out an end-of-the-aisle display which sported an inflatable matzoh ball. That was entertaining for a few minutes. But then we noticed some of the other items available for the kiddies:
Ten Plague Masks and matzoh ball salt and pepper shakers were also available.
I'm not going to lie. While seeing another religion taken down by some soul-less corporation makes my heart hurt (you're next, Ramadan!), I am, admittedly, incredibly jealous. Easter has candy, true, and several other contradictory references to various pagan symbols, but the religiously themed toys? Seriously lacking. It's not like there's some kind of toy for the Catholic kids where they can make Jesus disappear and reappear at the push of a button. Which would be an AWESOME game, by the way.
The children of Israel definitely came out on top of the toy holiday toy department this season.
Friday, April 10, 2009
The following conversational snippet comes courtesy of my younger sister:
Me: "I don't understand why you're hating on octopi."
Sis: "I just don't like how devious they are. They're sneaky. They have an agenda!"
Me: *dubious pause*
Sis: "THEY DO!!"
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009