Thursday, January 26, 2012

MMM, Black Bean Brownies, and Ski Trip BOOKED!

I feel a long post!  I have tons of things I have been meaning to write about, not had the time (with my whole trying to be a better mother/housewife thing).  However, I still feel like I am not getting everything done.  We have had some major time consuming things that we have been working on, such as getting our ride/race schedules nailed down, a bit of experiementation in the kitchen, and trying to coordinate a family ski trip.  All of those items (except for the cooking) have made for lots of time on the phone and some on the computer.  The kids hate it when I am on either too much, and become extremely obnoxious, and I tend to be a bad parent and kick them out of the first floor of our house.  Yeah, it just happened a few minutes ago too.   I guess I am feeling a bit worn down with my marathon training ramping up and it being winter.  It has been mild, so that has been good, but honestly, I am struggling with getting everything done AND getting good sleep.  That makes me grouchy, AND hungy....

Enough whining, and onto what everyone wants to know about (or I think people want to know about)

First, I signed up for the Michigan Mountain Mayhem ride in June.  It is burly!  They have several routes, the furthest being a 200K and I am signed up for the 100K.  If you do the full 200, you have 10,000ft of climbing.  It is going to be totally hard.  Why am I doing this?  Well, if everything goes well, it will be my first overnight trip with Ryan WITHOUT THE KIDS!  The weird things I do to get away from my kids, I know.  However, because I am totally nuts and my family knows it, when I say, "hey can you watch the kids so Ryan and I can go ride our bikes together for a change" family actually says, "hmm, I think we can help you."  I am sure it also helps that we are not close anymore so opportunities for sleepovers with the kids are not very often anymore.  The ride should sell out any minute, but if you want some pain, you can sign up here.

Second, I love chocolate.  I am not afraid to experiment with my chocolate.  I do it all the time.  Ryan is quite afraid (like Colleen) when I start baking "healthy brownies".  He has some grounds for this.  I made some really scary flax seed whole wheat brownies that were like chocolate grass.  Not brownies.  They also had way to much fiber to eat before (and I mean like a day before) running.  Blech.  I had intended last year to do a whole post on healthy brownies, and even took lots of photos of brownies last year and their boxes and was going to rank them all, and then I kept finding new recipes to try, and it seemed like I could never finish it because there was always something else to try, and then I got into race recaps.  I did nothing with it, and then stopped doing a lot of baking healthy for the holidays (when I just bake tasty things), and then I wasn't baking at all because we had eaten too much of everything and bought too much candy.  FINALLY, we are at a point where I can bake stuff again.  On Sunday, I baked a pan of really good brownies that were super rich, and then once those were gone, I made brownies with BLACK BEANS!  Ryan was SOOO grossed out by this, and that was fine with me.  MORE FOR ME!  Amy, who is a Kona competitor and nutritionist, sent me this super easy SUPER TASTY recipe: 
1/4 cup water
1 can undrained black beans
1 box Betty Crocker Low Fat Brownie mix
Preheat oven to 325 and grease 9x9 or 8x8in glass pan
Combing water and beans in blender and blend
IN A MIXING BOWL (unless you have a large capacity food processor or huge blender), stir beans into brownie mix.  I tried pouring the box of mix into our stardard Waring Pro blender on top of the beans, thinking I could just make the whole thing in there, and it didn't really fit, so to avoid making a huge mess, I had to use a mixing bowl.  The batter is not nearly as thick as traditional brownies (and especially not most low fat ones that are downright pasty trying to put in a pan), but not quite as thin as a cake mix.  I baked mine for 45 minutes, and the edges were perfect, but the middle a but gooey.  That was fine with me, though.  I should have taken a picture to post, but we ate them all.  Ryan could not believe that there was a whole can of beans in there.  The kids had no clue.  They were awesome, even compared to the others I made earlier in the week.  I want to try this with a couple other brownie mixes, specifically the Bear Creek whole wheat brownie mix and the Ghiradelli triple chocolate.  I'll let you know how those go.  Basically, the beans take the place of the water, egg, and oil. 

Finally, we are skiers.  Before kids, we would spend a week or so skiing in Utah hitting up Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitute, and maybe Canyons.  It was expensive, but we were DINKs, so it worked.  We also stayed with friends and family to make it work.  We took Keira out to Utah twice and put her in daycare out there even.  When Soren came along, things had changed and flights were not what they used to be.  Baggage fees, expensive flights, 2 kids needing daycare/ski school made the costs outrageous.  The past 3 years we skied in northern Michigan at Crystal Mountain.  We rented a ski in ski out condo on the mountain, and split it 3 ways with my parents and Ryan's parents.  Someone would hang back in the condo with the kids and we would rotate.  We also did most of our cooking and eating in the condo, to further save costs.  Now, being in KY, driving all the way to Crystal Mountain for mediocre skiing was not appealing at all.  We looked at going to a place in WV that was about 6 hours away, so not terribly far.  I talked with my parents and we got dates and I started working on booking it.  It was too far for Ryan's parents, and they already had a trip booked to Utah so they were going to pass this year.  Well, this resort in WV was getting very expensive when I started add everything up.  They didn't have the same packages where skiing was all inclusive as a houseguest like at Crystal, and it was going to cost us over $1000 for 3 days of skiing (including ski school for Keira).  What?????  There is no way I am spending that kind of money to ski anywhere other than Utah.  They guy on the phone even asked me why I was going there instead of Utah.  Um, flights?  That is when I online and checked flights.  I found one for $265/each, if we flew on random days.  Those random days, however, just happened to coincide with days that Ryan's younger brother's family from NYC would be there staying with my sister in law's family.  We also overlapped a couple days with Ryan's parents.  Hmm, this could work.  After a lot of thought and some painfully long time spent trying to actually find flights with seats, we pulled the trigger.  We are going to Utah to ski!  I was so happy I wanted to cry.  Am I worried about getting hurt skiing before Boston?  Not really.  Nor am I worried about taking a week off from running.  I think it will be good for me.  It is a real workout to ski out west, and I will be doing mad cross training.  It will be awesome!  I can't wait!  This will be the no frills ski trip I love.  We won't be living it up at the resort (like at Crystal, which was more about the resort than the skiing) because we will be tearing it up on the slopes.  I am not sure if any of  you saw the article about f/b making people sad because they see happy people.  I must admit, this has been true when I saw people skiing in Utah.  That was one thing I missed so much about my pre parenthood life.  NOT THIS YEAR!  We are making it happen.  Yes, the costs are starting to add up.  The rental car is turning into quite the expense.  We estimated it before we booked, but then when we went to book that, there were a ton of extra fees that weren't shown, plus a coupon code that ended up making it cost more- WTH??  We are still working on that, but with the OT Ryan has been putting in, this is the year to go!  I don't need new tires, I NEED A SKI TRIP!  We don't need new countertops and a faucet, WE NEED A SKI TRIP!  We have family that has not even seen Soren, and since our family from NYC will be there, we can see them too, and meet our newest neice.  I really stoked about this!  Even if we didn't ski, it will still be super fun.  We have not been out to Utah since early 2008.

Up for this weekend, 16 miles!  Whew, these numbers are getting big!  I am going to have to switch a recovery week with a building week for the ski trip, so it is just going to go up from there before I get to take a "ski break".  We are pulling Keira out of school, which is less than desirable, but hey, it is kindergarten.  She has only missed 1 day so far, and between this trip and Boston, she will still be OK in terms of days missed.  I may even be able to get Boston approved if I hurry up and do that before the ski trip.  We used to get winter break in MI off school, and that is how our cousins will be out there for 2 weeks!  They are missing 1 week of school + winter break.


Matty O said...

wow you have been super busy lately! Awesome that you are able to get everything done w/ the kids and all.

I have not been skiing since high school :(

That MMM ride sounds BRUTAL! 10k feet of climbing, OUCH! haha.

Heather loves baking... A LOT, which scares me because I always end up eating all her stuff in 2 days :(

Colleen said...

Yay! You know my feelings on healthy brownies, but these are on my list to try! :)

The ski trip sounds awesome! I'm jealous.

And I think it's great that you signed up for the 100k and that you and Ryan will be able to have a weekend together, alone, without the kiddos! How fun!

Laura Boll said...

I'm all about healthy brownie recipes, too! I've heard about the black beans trick, but haven't tried it yet... I have made a blondie brownie with white beans and chocolate chips that were yummy. :)

Anonymous said...

You might be thinking it would be just as easy for them to make their way to the bathroom sink. Consider the fact that they will have to travel through the house with filthy hands and faces while leaving a trail of dirt behind them.