Wednesday, September 26, 2012

KatyInTheKitchen: Late Summer Peach Pecan Pie

Believe me, no one is more aware of the fact that it is no longer summer. Autumn, glorious autumn is pushing her way into New England and I couldn't be more ecstatic. A few weeks before fall, however, while reading a food blog, I came across a recipe for Peach Pecan PieThe author was raving about this quintessential late summer treat and suddenly I was overcome with the urge to bake one. Never mind that, in all my years, peach pie has never marked the end of summer for me; or, that pie isn't really a favorite treat of mine. I felt as if this pie, made entirely from scratch was imperative to bid farewell to sultry summer and make way for fall. 

I scoured two separate farmers' markets for the appropriate peaches, and made sure to stock up on some last minute ingredients. Then, last Wednesday, I embarked on my peach pie journey. 

Everything went swimmingly, especially the fun part about pouring the custard mixture over the delectable peaches! The pecan topping was supposed to be a yummy crumble. . .

and here is where I discovered a fun fact. 

My oven is apparently on the fritz. My crumble slowly melted into a pecan crust much to my dismay. This happened to me a few weeks ago while I was making some zucchini muffins with a crumb top but I figured my proportions were just off. Now, I'm thinking my oven temperature is off!  Naturally, this would happen right before fall and the holidays. 

Nonetheless, my peachy pie was a delicious way to end the summer. On Thursday, a friend joined me for a hearty dinner of pot roast with slow cooked veggies and then we stuffed ourselves with some of this fruity tart for dessert. Yum. . .with summer ending so deliciously, I'm almost sad to see it go. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fair Season

Fair season is one of my favorite parts of late summer in New England. I don't know what is is about county fairs that makes them so thrilling to me, but I always look forward to September!  Saturday, my friends Rachel, Sarah, and I made our traditional trek to the Big E: "The largest fair in the Northeast". We spent a relaxing day enjoying some delicious fair food, checking out livestock (no, this is not a typo, see piglets below), and strolling through the brightly lit midway at night. We also stopped by on of the many arenas at the fair to watch out a horse jumping show. The arena was filled with cheering, gasping, and constant commentary about how well each contestant did or didn't to. You wouldn't think three women could make so much noise but we managed. I mean, no one else was making any noise, you'd think they'd want to encourage the jumpers! Or, maybe it's supposed to be quiet like tennis. . . (Joking, joking. We weren't that loud. I hope.)

P.S. I apologize for the chaos you might have noticed going on with my blog design the last week or so. Sometimes, blogger likes to do the opposite of what I tell it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bye Bye Betsy

This week I am officially saying goodbye to my first, and best, little red car. Betsy.

Thanks to my gracious parents, I received Betsy even before I had my license. She didn't have electric windows or locks or even a CD player, but I couldn’t have cared less. I remember the way she smelled, the way it felt to roll into school those first few days in junior year. I remember when my Dad and I installed my new Kenwood CD player and I thought, surely, I was the coolest cat alive.

Betsy has been my two ton safety blanket through my final years of highschool, a move to college,a crazy job in Western MA and finally my move to Boston. Just before my move here, though, Betsy apparently decided she wasn't cut out for city living. Her engine and a myriad of other functions went south. Despite some gentle suggestions from friends, I forced her to the city and kept her running, albeit barely, because I couldn’t handle not having the independence of my car.

Finally, however, I've decided it's time to let Bets go. She's made every effort to let me know her wishes, believe me (you can read about some of those messages here and here).

Undoubtedly, the "Hallelujah Chorus" is playing loudly in every one of my close friends ears right now. Mostly because for all the inordinate amount of stress Bets has caused me these last few years, I've counteracted it by talking to them about all her problems . Non stop. Much to their joy, they'll never have to hear about Betsy and her failing transmission/radiator/speedometer/exhaust stystem again!

And while I have had a few pity parties, and my fierce independent streak is having to die to itself so I can ask for rides here and there, I am mostly reminded that people go carless in Boston every day. People that include some of my closest friends. And they still manage to get where they need to go and it's not the end of the world. Oh, right. NOT the end of the world. Funny, that. Because I'm pretty sure I've spent the last two plus years dumping lots of money into that old gal thinking that when she died it would be.

So there is it. Rest in pieces, Betsy Too. These last 7 years were great (OK… not so much the last two).

P.S. Has anyone ever written a more dramatic post about a car? I think not.

Betsy is going to be sold for parts to help the Special Olympics (because I love the Olympics)

Monday, September 10, 2012

20 Minutes

25 Seconds? 25 seconds left! I did it!

My brain jolted in shock and surprise, giving a peppy little bounce to my last few jogging steps as the timer ran down. For the first time in my life I had just run for 20 minutes straight without stopping!

For all you runners out there, I know what you're thinking. "Whoopdeedoo, a whole 20 minutes. I run, like, twice that every day."  But, people, this is for real exciting for me!

I've spend a lot of my life wishing that I could be a runner. In middle school when the state used to make us do our "fitness test" which involved running a mile, I was always one of the slow, chubby kids at the back of the pack that ran for about half a lap before giving up (by the way Connecticut, forcing kids to randomly run a mile once a year doesn't actually have anything to do with making them healthier. It's mostly just embarrassing.) As I got older, and actually found I liked working out, I still never quite took to running. It was hard, and I felt like I was nailed to the pavement everytime I tried to run. I stuck to speed walking, aerobics (maybe that's where I got my affinity for shiny leotards. . .{kidding!}), and late night dance parties in my apartment. . .if those count.

Still every time I'm outside on a brisk walk and some athletically blessed person blasts by me, I can't help staring at them wistfully. Longing to be them: hair streaming in the wind, pounding around on toned calves.

I've heard rumblings about The Couch to 5K running program for awhile now, and when a friend was looking for a training program a few months ago, I suggested it to her. Every day at work, I'd hear about how miraculous the program was. She was running!

Enter me and my competitve self deciding I was going to try it too! About 6 weeks ago, I began the progam which involves interval training for 3, half hour workouts a week. Super easy, super short, and great because if one day I didn't get to it, or did some other exercise instead, I wasn't completely off the program!

my feet aren't really this disproportionate to my body. Awkward angle, I promise. 
Thus we arrive to the miracle of all miracles: Me. Running 20 whole minutes! It might not have been pretty, and I probably looked like one of those people you see barely moving on the side of the road and you wonder why they don't just stop and walk. Now I know, they probably don't because they're doing a running program and their stubborn streak refuses to let them. And now I'm one of them. A runner!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Labor Day weekend

Leave it to me to post about a weekend…the weekend after it already happened. Sometimes, life just gets busy!

Did you all have a fun Labor Day Weekend? I sure did! I got to spend it making lots of fun little trips:

To Salem with my grandma, cousin and younger sister. We enjoyed an Ansel Adams Exhibit here, lunch on the water, and my grandmother's memories about growing up in Salem as a girl. I always love visiting there with her!

 To my favorite East Coast spot. MAINE! If you haven't noticed, I find excuses to visit south coastal Maine a lot:

 And I didn't take pictures, but had the opportunity for a good B&N chat with two lovely pals who I never get to see enough (especially since I used to live with them both and see them EVERY DAY)

Now that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, I'm getting the autumn itch. Meaning I want to deck my house out with all my fall decorations, burn spicy candles, and bake, bake , BAKE. I'm trying to hold out one more week before that happens though. Since, you know, it's still summer. . .