Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Fruit Galette (Strawberry)

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Tuesday With Dorie Time! Summer Fruit Galette

Michelle of Colorado Springs picked out the Dorie Greenspan recipe this week. She chose the Summer Fruit Galette. By linking to her name you will find the recipe. By clicking on the Tuesday with Dorie on the sidebar of this blog you will find all of the other Galette's posted.

This was easy peasy to create and very good to taste. Troy and Tyler gobbeled it up very quickly. Troy prefers this galette over pie. I would prefer pie and really don't know why one would chose to create a galette over a pie. For a change, I suppose. I said the same about the cobbler. I guess I am just a pie gal, not to mention that I LOVE Dorie's pie crust! The blueberry pie was to die for.

This galette uses one crust and you can use any type of fruit available. I used strawberries since I picked a zillion of them this year. Now I have a zillion raspberries and soon will have a zillion blueberries. We love berries!

Next up is Black and White Banana Loaf. I am going to bake mine today, along with a few new loaves of bread that I haven't yet tried :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

John and Julie..Hammin' It Up and Outposing One Another ( For Zoey )

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Brooke, Tom, Steve, and Jason..Just Chilling at the Finish

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Julie and Jo.. Ready, Set, Go!

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Voyageur 50 Mile Fun Run

As predicted, Voyageur 50 Mile was a party on the trail!

I left home by 315 AM, after 4 hours of sleep and pulled into Carlton a bit early, it was only 6 AM and the race didn't begin until 7.

Plenty of time for catching up with old friends and making new friends. These races are a social outlet for me. Sure, it takes training, but the race for me is really the party..the visiting the socializing. Lots of fun and smiles all around.

The weather was gorgeous, a start of 62F, clear sunny skies, with a forecast high of 83. Pretty sweet.

I had decided to take the race easy, don't push it, don't fall, don't try to PR..but if everything seems easy peasy then go for it. After speaking with Beth Simpson-Hall, 3 time Leadville finisher and will be out there again next month, I knew my plan was on the right track. Easy. Beth and husband Larry had recently returned from Colorado as Larry AGAIN finished Hardrock and Beth paced him for 56 miles. Incredible. She'll be a Hardrocker in the future.

I didn't line up in the first pack this year. The last two times I've run this race I have, just because I then push through the rocky rooty first few miles. I have fallen down each time, too. Yesterday I went more slowly and didn't fall during this section.

I decided to carry one bottle and I added a 'luggage' compartment to my bottle that connected via velcro. I could jam 8 gels and Advil in there. I decided to use a drop bag for the 1/2 way mark were I had 8 more gels and some Hammer Heed. The course uses Ultima, which I didn't think I liked, but as it turned out, it was just fine.

I didn't have any appetite, again, I don't know what is up with this change in eating and racing, but it seems that I am not hungry for pb&j this year as I always have been. I did gels on the 45 minute and drank 24 oz of Ultima every 30 minutes. This is a new phenomena for me as well..drinking more than 24 oz an hour. I did grab a few pretzels, some cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon along the course. The aid stations were well stocked.

The day was just beautiful. The course is a nice blend of rocks and roots, bridges, steep ups and downs, creek crossings, grassy areas, a bit of road and the powerlines where there are 10 or so 350' hills that are very steep and climby. It's an out and back course so on the way back the powerlines can kill a person. Hot and tough.

As I was feeling so great I began to run harder and began to think about that 1025. At about 20 miles I was running hard, coming down a steep creek bank. I came to the bottom, tried to jump across but didn't make it. The ground made a sharp V shape. See that V? My feet were at the top left of it, my butt in the point and my shoulders and head on the top right of it. I some how spun around, was facing the wrong direction. My shoulder hurt the most, I really slammed it. I kind of laid there for a while, stunned. Then I became scared and couldn't get out of my position. I ended up rolling out of the V into the creek and righted myself. This was my wake up call..or my excuse to slow down. I told myself to be careful, Leadville is 3 weeks out, no need to hurt something for heaven's sake.

As I was running along I noticed that my skirt was falling off. The waist has become too large. Oh man. I could feel it falling down off of my hips, exposing my butt crack! How bad is that? Pretty soon Greg..Greg? Olson? It was his first 50, and he introduced himself at the start to me. He reads this blog and told me that I motivate him! He said it is funny because when I began running I would write about these ultra runners that were of elite status, that I was kind of nervous around them, that I felt unsure, and not adequate around them, and he said now here you are, friends with them and running with them! I told him it was I that had the problem with feeling unsure of myself, they were always there, and kind. So, as Greg was following me we were running down down down hill, a real long down hill. I was holding up my skirt. I told him it was falling off. He says "I thought so, but I'm not looking"! I had to laugh. Then I realized I had 4 pins holding my number, I could use a pin to make the waist smaller. It worked! I no longer had to hold it up as I ran. Sheesh.

I measured my waist this morning, it is 2" smaller since I last measured a few months ago. No wonder the skirt, and everything else for that matter, no longer fits.

As I was running down into the turnaround near 25 miles I saw Dawn Long ahead of me. She took a hard fall. I felt badly for her. Her sister was at the turn around so she said she would clean her up and make sure she was ok. Another reminder to me to slow down.

I came into the 1/2 way point at 4:50, grabbed my gels and Heed and got out of there.

I like the out and back. On the way out there I was able to see all of those in front of me. Wynn Davis was winning the race, John Storkamp was about 5, Rochelle Wirth was in 1st and Helen Lavin was in 3rd. I cheered loudly for the girls!

As I came out of the turn around and headed back I was able to see everyone else in the race. I love it! Lots of good jobs and high fives and hugs.

Pierre was ahead of me, I figured I'd try to catch him again. We had been going back and forth on the way out and I enjoy his company. Pierre. If one would have told me a few years ago that I would be brave enough to even talk..much less run with Pierre I would have called him a liar. I never thought I'd be able to run with Pierre, much less, actually be his friend. I have always thought so lowly of myself, that those that are faster, stronger, 'more tough/elite' wouldn't have the time to speak with me. Sad, hu? I'm glad I am trying to get over that..I still have a hard time breaking through that.

Anyhow, eventually I caught Pierre and we ran the rest of the race together. We trudged through the powerlines again, oh man, how tough! It was 2 PM, hot as hell, and our legs were tired. As we came out of the powerlines I noticed that I was freezing. Freezing! I had goosebumps, the hair on my arms was standing straight up. The gal at the aid station said my lips were turning blue. Nuts. Dehydration. I had been drinking 24 oz every 3 miles. I was sweating like crazy. My top and skirt were streaked with white salt. Then I realized I hadn't peed ONE time. Not once! That is so unlike me. I usually pee every hour. I became a little nervous.

We came into mile 39.5 on a 10:15 hour finishing pace. Kim Holak was working the aid station. She just finished Hardrock, too! I told her when I became tired the next 10 miles I was going to think of what she had just accomplished.

Pierre and I trudged on. I was slowing. I no longer cared about the 1015 or the 1025 or whatever. I was worried that I was so damn cold when it was 80F. I was freezing.

We continued on, past the last aid station, thank god, ready to finish up the last 3.4 miles. The last section takes for flipping ever. It's all rocky and rooty, along the river. I was sucking it up. I went slowly, I didn't want to fall, I wanted to come out in one piece. I began to get a bit dizzy, slowing down. I told Pierre to go on, that I was fine. He went up ahead just a bit. I finally saw the bridge that goes to the asphalt bike path. Oh! Happy days. I came out on the bike path and saw Pierre up ahead. I ran to catch him, but wasn't getting too far! As Pierre came to the road he turned backward, running, waiting for me. We ran in together at 1055. I was 8th woman out of 32. A record 139 entrants in total. I don't recall where I fell overall, I'm sure the results will be up shortly.

A spectacular day!

Those that finished earlier than us, were spectation, or had dropped, were all sitting on the grassy hill at the High School cheering. It's awesome! We came in, hugged and asked how everyone else was doing.

John Storkamp finished in just over 7 hours! Holy balls. Helen won the woman's in just over 8 hours! Wow. Crazy fast runners. I'm so proud of them.

Hey, all of us that were at BETA two weeks ago running the SHT, finished Voyaguer today! John and Helen came out on top :)

I took a nice warm shower and sat with the others to cheer on our friends. We swapped stories and laughs. This is one of the best parts of the race. Laughing and being silly afterward. Everyone is exhausted and delirious and out of hand...good stuff.

A nice meal of lasagna, bread and hot coffee..I was satisfied and happy.

At the award ceremony Rochelle Wirth, 2x woman's winner of Voyageur came up and introduced herself to me. She told me that she reads this blog and wanted to introduce herself. I was star struck and didn't know what to say at first. I began to feel unsure of myself. I can't quite explain it. I wanted to say that I was flattered that she read my blog and that she come up and to say hello to me. I did remember to congratulate her. Thank you, Rochelle! I hope I didn't seem cold to you.

After everyone came in we visited a bit and then headed off for home. I wasn't tired at all. I drank 4 cans of Diet Pepsi before I left the race, another 3 on the way and finally at 10 PM I stopped to pee in Cambridge! I hadn't peed since 6 AM. WHAT is up with that? I do not know. It was wonderful to crawl into my own bed post race, curl up with my book and relax, smiling to myself about the day.

I'm drinking drinking drinking water today. I feel very dehydrated and am down 4 pounds. THAT never happens either. I don't get it.

Hope everyone had a grand time at Voyageur yesterday, thanks for the party!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Party on the Trail!

Voyageur 50 mile is tomorrow! This was my second 50 mile race that I did. Ufdah! It was a tough one. I ate 18 Advil; not a very smart thing to do, I know. My knees were giving out and I thought I had injured myself for life. Not so. My body just didn't know what was happening to it! Marie and I ran this race together and yes, her husband Tom, who is NOT a runner..was running faster than us. He came running out of an aid station, down the trail, screaming "Julie and Marie! Come on you girls, you have to RUN, they are going to close the course, RUN RUN RUN!" Tom was running! Marie and I felt like we were running, in our minds, but no, our bodies weren't running.

We ended up finishing last..well over the course allotted time of 13 hours. We were 14:30 or so. The wonderful RD saved us lasagna and even a finishing piece of pottery. Barb is a sweetie.

Since then my body has become stronger and I am running faster. Last time this course gave me a 1026.

Voyageur is a sweet little race. For $35 the finisher receives a piece of hand made pottery, a t shirt, a lasagna, bread, salad and ice cream finishing dinner and a shower! You just can't beat it.

Not to mention the best part: all of my dear friends will be here as well. We'll have a grand time!

The race goes from the Carlton High School into the woods, through Jay Cooke Park, power lines from hell- 350' straight up, over and over and over again, Mission Creek Trails to Skyline Drive in Duluth, across Spirit Mountain Ski Slopes, into the Zoo and back on out again. It's a great race!

Carlton is only a few hours from home and the race doesn't begin until 7 AM. I'll just wake up around 3 AM, and be on my way by 330 AM, run the race, attend the awards and head on back home to sleep in my own bed. Topaz and I can enjoy the trails on Sunday morning. Or will I be back at Hyland or Powder Ridge?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

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The Topping Soaks Up The Cherry Juice

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Tuesday With Dorie

Today is Tuesday; time for another Dorie Greenspan recipe! This week's recipe is Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler. I had never created a cobbler before. I always wondered why one would want to bake a cobbler when you could bake a pie instead. Well, now I know. Cobbler is must easier, more rustic, less fussy and very tasty. I baked this yesterday around 10 AM and by 9 PM I was washing out the pan. All gone! A testament to it's tastiness.

Of course I had to double the recipe. An 8 or 9" square would never be enough in this household, even if we are only 4. I doubled and baked in a 9x13.

1 lb sweet cherries
12 oz rhubarb
1/3 c sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 t ginger
3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3 T brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 stick cold butter
1/2 c whole milk

Mix fruit, sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Stir a bit while creating topping. Put flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and ginger in a food processor (again, I don't have a food processor so did by hand), pulse to pea size pieces. add milk, pulse to form moist clumps and curds. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 20 pieces and gently shape each into a ball. Pour fruit into buttered pan and top with the flour puffs. Bake 35-34 minutes at 375; Remove pan and let set for 20 minutes.

They ate this with vanilla ice cream. Good stuff! You can check out other creations by clicking the Tuesday with Dorie at the side bar. Next week: Summer Fruit Galette. I have been picking oodles of strawberries and raspberries so will use them in the galette. I have never created a galette before. It looks to be a round of pie dough folder over at the edges, with an exposed middle of fruit filling, topped with custard.

I'm enjoying trying new recipes. I have gone back to the beginning of Tuesday with Dorie and am creating the recipes from January, when the group began. Last week I made Quintuple Chocolate Brownies, Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies and Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. I'm partial to the Quintuple Chocolate Brownies-5 kinds of chocolate! Yikes. They were gone before I could photo. I will make another batch though, for sure!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beat. Toast. Fried. Finished.

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Pretty Buck@Hyland

You need to click on the picture to actually view him. Sorry.
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Yet Again; Hyland Hands Me My Ass

This morning I was up and out of the house before any sane person would rise and run. Oh, wait, there are a group of runners at Afton beginning at 10PM or 12AM so, no, I'm not the only one.

We have two neighborhood grad parties this afternoon and we are going to the Twins game tonight. Yeah, are the Twins hot or what? Holy crap. I love 'em. I give Tyler a hard time because he told me they were going to suck this year, with trading off Santana and Tori. I told his he was wrong and negative. Ha!

I had to get in my workout early. I have places to go and people to see.

I reached the Hyland Hills ski hill at 437. Flashlight and cooler in hand I traipsed up the gravel path, over the railroad tracks .. into a downed tree. Gee, it wasn't there last Thursday. I hurt my head. You know what? I have a huge bump on the back of my head where I was hit with a foul ball at Troy's baseball game last Thursday. It hurts badly. It was embarrassing; everyone asking how I was, was I going to faint, did I need ice? I didn't like all of the attention. I was fine, if I wasn't, I would have said something..you know? Anyhow, now the front of my head hurts too. I plowed right into the tree.

Onto the hill. Unpack cooler, fill bottle, spray for bugs, iPod, sunscreen. Oops. Sunglasses which I didn't yet need were on my head and feel off. I stepped on them. Scrunch. Bummer because these Oakleys are my spare pair. I lost my good pair on the way to, from or at Gretchen's last week. Damn. REI, here I come...$$

I felt good and strong..for the first 3 hours. Eventually Frisbee golfers arrived. I hadn't seen them before, when I run the hill on Sundays or Thursdays. I was looking for their Frisbee's for them as much as they were. One guy kept losing his blue disc.

After a few hours Greg Allen arrived. He is running Leadville, too. He's been out two other times and is going to get his finish this time. It was nice to talk with him, to take my mind off of the hill I was doing over and over and over again.

Pretty soon I noticed a man and woman hiking hills around me. After a while I was coming down the hill and singing with Ozzie and man and woman were at the bottom of the hill where I was heading. The man asked "Julie Berg?" "Yes, I am". "Tom Knutson" Oh! Happy Days! Tom is a legend. I told him so. He is very humble and scoffed at the idea of being legendary. He has 4 Hardrock Finishes, multiple Slams and many other incredible feats of legendary status. I was so happy to see he and his beautiful wife, Pam. I had a few more repeats before it was time to loop around so I finished them up and then asked if I could tag along with the two of them for a bit. Pam said it would be fine, that I could talk Leadville with Tom. He spoke of the course, the aid stations, the cut offs, weather, packs, liquids and foods; I'm so happy they were at the ski hill today. Tom boosted my confidence in myself in finishing Leadville. I questioned running the ski hill and he confirmed this is the type of training I should be doing.

When I was feeling strong, a few hours earlier, I had told Greg it seemed LAME-OH to be running a ski hill when others were able to run miles of mountainous elevation. Well, in MN there isn't that opportunity so I guess I gotta do what I gotta do..ski hill is it. Tom said this is right where I should be.

I was soaked. My shorts were dripping. I can't remember a time when that occurred. I seem to be sweating more than ever lately. What's up with that? It is humid, about 75 F is all. Odd.

A few hours later and it was finally time to wrap up the day. I felt nauseated and beat. I did get many more repeats in this week than last, great improvement but man, I was exhausted! I was thankful my session was done.

6 hours on the ski hill is tougher than 11 hours on the Superior Hiking Trail for me. Last week after I finished the 40 miles I was planning the next 20 for the following day. Today I'm thinking about 20 tomorrow and thinking I hope my calves aren't stiff!

I grabbed all my stuff and walked the 1/2 mile to the car. I spotted a buck peeking at me down the trail. Rarely do I see bucks. He was majestic, beautiful and huge.

My calves twiched all of the way home. I arrived here and jumped into the cool pool. Ah, relief. A cold soak in the tub and a warm shower. More relief.

Next Saturday is Voyaguer 50 Mile. The first time I ran V I ran it in 14:30 with my friend, Marie. We missed the final cut off but they allowed us to finish since we seemed to have our wits about us. Paul Hasse was the sweep and followed us to the finish. The following year I finished in 12:30, then 11:45 Last year I didn't run as I ran Vermont 100 the week before. The year before that I ran V in 10:26, my PR for the course. I would like to beat the 10:26 but I keep telling myself this is a final long training run before Leadville. No need to push or rush. Relax and enjoy. I'll see how it goes. 10:25 PR would be pretty sweet.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Deer Flies Conquored!

Each summer, around July 1, Topaz and I are forced from the wooded trail which we run each day. The deer flies hatch and they are relentless. I can usually get by for a few days by spraying DEET every few miles upon myself and covering my face and head with a fine screen.

Topaz, however, cannot take care of himself.

I won't run paved roads with Topaz in the summer. Only a half dozen times a winter do I run roads with him. In the summer the heat is reflected off of the asphalt and he would suffer greatly. Not to mention that he would have to be on leash and the pounding isn't good on either of our joints.

Monday we ran upon the gravel road near my home. It goes through a wildlife sanctuary where Bald Eagles and nesting, living and feeding. There are Sand Hill Cranes, many other birds, many wildflowers, plenty of ponds for which Topaz can soak...but it is oh so boring. 7 miles of gravel, cars flying by, same old same old. I couldn't stand it.

Tuesday we went back to the wooded trail. Oh my heaven's. Topaz was a cloud of deer flies running down the trail with four legs. It was horrifying. He would stop dead in his tracks, roll over onto his back, do a back dance, while snapping at deer flies in the air. It was awful. I felt horrible dragging him out there.

When Topaz jumped into the back of my vehicle I brushed all of the deer flies out of his coat. There were hundreds. They were full of blood after feasting upon him.

When we arrived home I opened up the hatch, Topaz jumped out and there were 36 .. yes, I counted, 36 full, bloodied, dead deer flies that he had gnawed out of his coat. I guess I didn't get them all. I was resigned to run on the gravel.

Yesterday I ran the gravel and the deer flies had arrived there as well. Thousands were landing and biting Topaz. He was going crazy, biting in the air, rolling them off of him upon the gravel, soaking in the water trying to rid himself of them. There were layers upon layers of them embedded in his ears. I wanted to cry for him. I wanted to cry for me. He told me that a day running with deer flies is better than a day of no running at all :)

I went to Marties Farm and Feed yesterday to see if there was anything I could do for Topaz. Sure enough, the owner told me he uses Ultra Shield on his dogs, horses and himself! Well, with a name like ULTRA Shield I had to buy it. I was skeptical. The label reads that 98.40% of the ingredients are inert. It states that it is sweat resistant and waterproof for 17 days! It repels bees, wood ticks, deer ticks, mosquitoes, deer flies, gnats, chiggers, fleas, lice. etc. Too good to be true? Well, it smells good too! It is lightly scented with citronella. It comes in a trigger pump bottle, not an aerosol.

This morning before our run I began to spray Topaz. I sprayed his coat from the back to the shoulders, working the repellent into his coat. For his face I sprayed it onto a sock and then lightly went around his eyes and nose, his mouth. He didn't mind at all. He rolled over so that I could get his stomach and legs as well. It isn't greasy or oily. It actually has coat conditioners including aloe and lanolin. His coat looks nice.

OK, I decided we'd give it a try at the wooded trail. Out he jumped from the car, onto the trail. I held my breath. The deer flies found us. They were ricocheting off of my arms, legs, screen, sunglasses. They were hovering around Topaz. Hover, hover, hover...they weren't landing. THEY WERE NOT LANDING UPON HIM! I couldn't believe it. Oh happy days! We ran and ran. He was still a cloud of deer flies with legs, but they didn't bite. They just buzzed him. He never stopped to roll, he never bit at them in the air. They didn't bother him at all. He soaked in multiple ponds. I watched his ears closely. Would they now attack? No. Not one deer fly landed upon his coat.

I don't know if one application will really last 17 days, I don't know if it will irritate his skin in the future but for today..

I'm sold.

I'm happy.

Topaz is happy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chocolate Pudding

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Weekly Tuesday With Dorie Recipe

This Tuesday is Chocolate Pudding. Nice, plain and simple. Oh so rich and creamy and choco-lot-y. Lots of chocolate taste.

I had never created a pudding that I actually had to cook. You know, I purchase the Jello Pudding that is instant, fat free and sugar free. The boys and I eat it quite frequently for a bed time snack with good old sugar free fat free cool whip. I know. B o r i n g.

When Dorie's Chocolate Pudding was chosen for today I was pretty excited.

I bought whole milk (I never buy whole milk) I bought the good chocolate, the good unsweetened cocoa, real butter-which I have been using a ton of lately, I might add!

The pudding is to die for. It is thick and creamy and oh so chocolaty. I already said that, didn't I. Yesterday I picked oodles of gallons or raspberries and strawberries at the pick your own farm so I added raspberries and heavy whipping cream. I couldn't resist.

Instead of creating six servings per recipe I ended up with two very large servings. So chocolaty that Troy stated the pudding tasted cake-like. Tyler and Troy snarfed up most of the pudding last night during the Homerun Derby where I might add Justin Morneau and Josh Hamilton squared off and JUSTIN MORNEAU won. So, I have to say, I am now ok with the Home Run Derby and quite excited that we have tickets to see the Twins take on the Texas Rangers (who Josh Hamilton plays for) on Saturday. It could be a Home Run Fun Fest.

My chocolate pudding was not very photogenic. I had already covered it with cream and raspberries when I remembered I needed to photo it. Oops.

2 1/4 C whole milk
6 T sugar
2T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
1 egg
2 egg yolks
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and warm
2 T butter
1 t vanilla

I don't have a food processor, oh, the horror! I may have to purchase one for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I used my Kitchen Aid blender instead.
Bring 2 C milk and 3 T sugar to boil, put cocoa, cornstarch and salt into food processor and whirl to blend. Turn out onto wax paper. 3T sugar, egg and egg yolk into processor, blend 1 minute, add 1/4 c milk and pulse to mix, add dry ingredients and blend. Slowly pour in hot milk mixture, process, place into saucepan. Whisk to think wh ile cooking-don't boil, about 2 minutes. Scrape pudding into processor, pulse, add chocolate, butter and vanilla and pulse. Pour into serving dishes and cool.

YUM. Warning: Do not figure our nutrition information. If you are going to consume this you do not want to know :)

Our Weekend Digs

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Near Lake Agnes on SHT, Friday Solo Run

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Poplar River @ Lutsen Section of Trail

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Erie Fog @ Moose Mountain; Friday Solo Run

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Hill Repeats@ Caribou Highlands

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Fueled, Packed and Ready to Run!

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Ready to Hit the SHT

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Holly, Maria, Alicia and Jim; Sonju Lake

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Maria and Alicia at Our Aid Drop

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Rooty Sonju Lake Area..Yeah, This IS The Trail .. Beware During the 100, THis Is The Night Portion of the Race

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Wet Enough for Shrooms

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Nancy's Boquet

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Holly and I spotted a deer on the SHT

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Home for the Weekend..Helen, John, Duke and Pierre

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