Random? Me? Never!

I was raised Catholic, but for a variety of reasons I gave up the faith in college and now toe the line between agnostic and atheist. I think I lean more towards atheist, but all atheists I’ve known have been complete and utter assholes who flaunt the superiority of their (non)beliefs while criticizing others for flaunting the superiority of their’s. I think it’s a personal matter and therefore keep my opinions to myself. That being said, today is the beginning of Lent, and although I’m no longer Catholic, I’m definitely not one to back down from a challenge. Give something up for 40 days? BRING IT. It’s more than the challenge, though–I think it’s important to remind yourself that you do, indeed, have control over your actions and behaviors, and sometimes we need to do something drastic to get that control back. I’ll be giving up meat for the next 40 days. Yes, I’ve tried it before, but I hope to make it this time. We shall see… (And, ok, maybe it isn’t that drastic, but this girl loves her little bacon cheeseburgers. BUT NO MORE. Veggie burgers all the way!)

Also, I’m not usually too much of a girlie girl in terms of make-up (mainly because I lack the skills to successfully apply liquid eyeliner without looking like a 1990s-era gothic wannabe), but I was on the waitlist for Birchbox and was able to sign up today. Yay! It’s actually pretty cheap, and they send you samples (nice samples, at that) in a fun pink box (pink!) each month. As Courtney from The Bachelor would say (are you watching that? If not, you should be. That sh*t’s crazy), “Winning!” Anyway, I’ll let you know if I actually learn anything about beauty and whatnot (let’s hope they can do something about these dark circles under my eyes!), and in the meantime you can check it out here.

Oh! And I ran a race this weekend! I totally forgot. It wasn’t a PR, but it was still a solid race and it felt good to be racing again. I like smaller races; I wonder if maybe I’m ready to give up the long course and switch to short course? Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling you get after long runs and after a marathon, but I just don’t know if I have the energy to train for them every few months. We’ll see. I already have at least two, possibly three, marathons scheduled for 2013, so I’m not giving it up just yet… ;-)

Fattening up cupid

True to form, Valentine’s day was celebrated with a run, followed by a cheap and easy meal (sweet potatoes, black beans & mixed greens) and champagne. I’ve never been one much for dropping a sh*t ton of money on prix fixe meals in overcrowded restaurants, and although I like flowers, receiving them on Valentine’s day is far from original. While we were waiting for my forerunner to power up, we noticed the Edible Arrangements truck parked across the street. A note to all the men out there: Women read into everything, and getting her fruit shaped to look like flowers will only cause an argument. (What? You think I need to lose weight? I don’t deserve the standard box of chocolates every other woman in America is getting?)

Although I’m admittedly somewhat of a cynic as far as Valentine’s day is concerned, we  actually did celebrate over the weekend via a hands-on “couples cooking class” at Culinaerie. It was the bomb dot com and I now know how to make hollandaise from scratch!

the set-up

TVs to better see what the instructor is doing. Professional, no?

Whisking action with the hollandaise.

Crab cake and poached egg sprinkled with a bit of panko and parsley. And the plating, people! Get a load of that action! Yours truly got creative with the hollandaise and a spoon…

In addition to the warm, gooey goodness that is a poached egg with hollandaise over a crab cake (the crab cake was also made there, although as a Marylander I can say with authority it lacked Old Bay), we also made cinnamon muffins, prosciutto-wrapped pears with balsamic reduction, and fruit salad with simple syrup. And as if all of that food wasn’t enough? Mimosas and house wine were poured (and generously, at that) throughout the three hour class. It was a ton of fun and you get to go home with the recipes, so I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a little something different to do in the DC area. Luckily, training for the Alaska marathon starts “officially” this week, so I’ll have an opportunity to work off all of the calories.

I hope everyone had a happy Valentine’s day!!

TWD: White Loaves

I was super excited when I found out that the Tuesdays with Dorie ladies picked Baking with Julia as their next cookbook to work through together. I baked a few recipes with TWD back in my Run Bake Read days, and am thrilled to be able to pick up the spatula with these ladies again over on my new blog. Plus, it’s a little extra thrilling to be able to start with them from the beginning of the project! The rules are a little easier this time: Two recipes per month–an easy one and a slightly more difficult one. February’s “easy” recipe was Julia’s “White Loaves,” and for the most part, it went well. I have a feeling I might have to learn to love old school kneading by hand, because my mixer about blew up after the ten minutes of working through this dough, but all was good apart from that. Once the dough rises (twice–a proof and a rise), you roll it out to form a loaf. When I read that some of the other bloggers were adding a cinnamon sugar swirl, I couldn’t resist.

In retrospect, I could have put on a hell of a lot more cinnamon and sugar, but I was still pretty happy with the end result!

I also made a standard loaf with no swirl, and I tried the recipe again this past weekend with a cheese swirl (that batch didn’t turn out so well at all; the dough just never came together! I still like the concept of a cheese swirl, though, so I’ll be trying it again at some other point, I’m sure.)

The second February recipe promises to be all sorts of chocolatey goodness–just in time for Valentine’s day! Keep your fingers crossed that I can pull out a more complicated recipe…