Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saucy Mama Giveaway

Hey, party people!  I just wanted to alert you to a giveawayyyy over on the food blogggg!  Those delicious sauces you see above?  Totally up for grabs!  As part of the Saucy Mama recipe contest, each entrant gets to host a giveaway.  Rock on!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on our giveaway page.  That's it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cooking with Sara: Saucy Mama Recipe Contest

It was almost a year ago that I participated in my first recipe contest submission.  Oh, I learned a lot that time around.  Like, for example, it's probably a keen idea to include the product sponsoring the contest in your final recipe photograph.  Right?  And, maybe I should read all the contest details first to learn what kind of recipe they're looking for.  In other words, don't be submitting an elaborate stew recipe when they've clearly asked for a party food, appetizer-y recipe, mmmk?

I was all excited to take my new-found common sense to action when Saucy Mama invited me to participate again.  I felt so special being asked to participate; almost like when I was voted onto Homecoming Court my senior year of high school, minus the crown.  (Although, I do still have that crown, and who's to say I'm not wearing it right now?)  I had a fun recipe in mind to test out, and then.  Then, I saw the links to all the other recipe submissions entered for this contest.  Ummm.. They're fancy.  And look amazing and delicious.  And, dangit!  Oh well.  I can at least take pride in the fact that I finally learned how to follow directions and give myself a chance to at least qualify this time.  We'll be happy with the improvements over last year, yes, we will.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Open Letter to Parents

Dear Moms and Dads Who Drive:

Please, please pay attention as you drive through intersections, especially those with crosswalks.  There have been countless times that you have driven right through the crosswalk without even noticing that Rory and I are there in the street.  You don't even realize that you're a few seconds away from hitting a person and her dog with your car.

Rory and I love to go running, and she actually knows to look both ways in intersections with me.  We never cross a street with cars until I can make eye contact with the driver, but I need you to know that you rarely even see us there.   You make a rolling stop through the crosswalk lines, all while the crosswalk guy is lit up on the light posts.  You don't even pause to look for pedestrians at the corner.

Parents, I hate to single you out, but nearly every time a driver has driven right out in front of us, it's been a driver with their own kids in the car.  Family cars are the ones not paying attention in the crosswalks.  It really upsets me when a parent is the one not seeing us out there, because I had assumed that parents would pay more attention to crosswalk lights and runners and dogs on the sidewalks.  But, I'm sad to say that no, they're actually the least aware.

Please pay attention as you drive.  I'm someone's child, too.


(image courtesy of Sacramento County)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cooking with Sara: Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet Cake

I'm sorry.  It's barely Monday morning, and look what I'm doing to you.  I'm posting extra large photos of an extra delicious chocolate cake.  I truly didn't mean any harm by it.  I just love sharing so, so much that I couldn't sit still until I got these pretty photos here for you to look at.  Because nobody likes a recipe that doesn't come with photos, am I right?  Yes, I thought so. 

But take heart, my dears.  This cake recipe is so easy and so quick that throwing it together on a weeknight is - to quote my piano teacher from years past - "completely within the realm of possibility."  Actually, it's not just within the realm.  It's pretty much smack in the middle of the do-ability and not somewhere hovering around the perimeters of maybe.

I would mention that it's the most delicious while still warm, but that might push over the edge into the realm of unforgiveability.  So I'll just be quiet and let you mosey on over as best you can on a Monday morning.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Birthday Day!

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

Happy Birthday to Bo!

Happy Birthday to Roger Hargreaves!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cooking with Sara: Asian Beef Skewers

It's Thursday Friday!  So it's my day to cook for the food blog!
Yeah, so I'm a little late posting my recipe - whoops!  Honestly, I got all tangled up in recipe intentions for Cinco de Mayo (which was completely forgotten about when I did my weekly meal planning on Saturday), and then that last-minute intention didn't pull through, and things just got hectic after that.  Oh well, I say.  Better late than never, and better a deeeeelicious recipe than one that's just only iffy. 

This is one of my favorite grilling recipes out there.  It's asian-inspired, speedy-quick to make, and shoot, anything on a stick is just more fun, am I right?  (You people on the fence: click here.)  You can make it with various cuts of meat, just as long as you slice it across the grain.  And, it's also decently portable; Marnie and I used to prep this recipe and then skewer and grill it whenever we tailgated for Chargers' games.  And I must say, we were pretty popular out there in the parking lot.  Even after we told our tailgating buddies that they were eating grilled venison :)  Yes, you can even make it with venison. 

The recipe and more photos are over at the food blog....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesdays with Rory

I adopted Rory a little more than six years ago from a shelter out in Bonita, California.  She was the most calm dog there, and just nuzzled me while I poked my fingers through her pen door.  That plus her caramel eyebrows sealed the deal, and I adopted her on the spot.  But after having spent six years together, while she is definitely a lover, she's certainly not calm.  Well, she's calm most of the time that she's sleeping (bunny dreams are terribly exciting, it seems), but other than that, she's fairly distracted. 

Now, I've always loved the idea of taking her running with me.  It makes so much sense - she gets exercise, and I look like I'm running with a big, scary dog.  People pretty much leave me alone when I run with her, and it makes me feel more safe.  Our only hiccup is that Rory does not listen to me while we're out.  She's a million other directions, spotting squirrels and birds and kids and dogs and twigs and rocks and anything but me.

This wouldn't be a huge problem except that there have been multiple times that her distraction has caused me to trip and fall.  She looks off to the side, her rump bumps into my calf while I'm midstep, and I fly forward into a full, bouncing belly flop on the concrete.  It's not fun, and it hurts more than a little.  Neither are twisted ankles after she's clothes-lined me with the leash.  Beyond that, it's just not good for her to be scatterbrained when we're out, not paying a lick of attention to me and what we're doing. 

Our running struggles reached a near meltdown a few weeks ago, and I began handing her and her leash over to Bo one mile into each run.  I was fed up, frustrated, and my running gate was crooked and tense because of my dealing with her.  I just gave up.  And that alone was even more frustrating.  I don't give up; I work through things, dangit.  Even if it requires work and more work and lots of failed attempts.  I work through it to success. 

Then one Sunday afternoon, I needed to burn off some pent-up energy from having sat on the couch all day.  I was feeling antsy and just craved movement.  I threw on some shoes, told her to come with me, and we hit the trail in the mini-forest behind our house.  And we hiked.  And she fell into line right behind me.  She was off leash, and had an entire field to run through.  And she followed me without one word of direction from me.  She followed me.  As she made me her pack leader, I began evaluating myself at that point.  How was I different?  What energy was I giving off?  I realized that afternoon, that I was feeling happy and my only goal was to work out some pent-up energy.  I simply wanted to get my legs moving and to breathe the outside air.  And because I was calm and focused and content, she followed me.

It was a huge, huge breakthrough for us that day.  I came back happy and hopeful; two emotions I almost never experience when Rory and I are out together.  And I began running in the mornings when there are fewer distractions for her.  And when I'm not reeling from a long day of work and impending Sarandipity orders and the endless lists I have spinning through my mind. 

And I'm consciously working on being a leader who approaches a run as a gift from God - something to be grateful for.  Until a week ago, I've always approached running as a task on my list, a means to an end, whether that end be a marathon or weight loss.  It's always been a chore.  But this morning, as we set out in the gray hush of dawn, I reminded myself how incredible it is that I can run.  That I have a simple, reliable way to calm my mind and work out energy and instill contentment in my soul.  And I tried to keep my mind in the moment and focused only on moving forward. 

I'm a work in progress.  But, as usual, I'm working on it.  And in the correct direction this time.