Sunday, January 24, 2016

Homemade Adventures Part 1: Cinnamon Rolls

While Jonas was out there whipping snow and ice around I've been staying cozy inside and taking advantage of this downtime - until having to finally shovel today. As I was heading to bed Friday night I realized it might be a good time to see if I could knock off some of the things on my 101 in 1001 list. I started this list in October 2013 and at that point, a deadline of summer 2016 felt so far away. Now it's almost here!

After spending so much tim and energy this past year on marathon training, our house, and new business ventures, very little was checked off in 2015. So I took a good look at the list and what I could work on for this weekend and came up with the following for a to-do list:

  • Make homemade cinnamon rolls
  • Make homemade marshmallows
  • Make gnocchi from scratch
  • Watch five Audrey Hepburn films (one down before this weekend, four to go!)
  • Successfully complete a Sudoku puzzle (ha - this should be hilarious)
Can you guess where I started?


As I looked up recipes for each thing I wanted to make I had to include "without [insert some random ingredient]" to each search. For cinnamon rolls it was yeast, because who really has that just lying around in their pantry? But I mean I did have packets of plain gelatin in my pantry for the marshmallows so I guess yeast wouldn't be too crazy!

I found this recipe from food.com and it was incredibly easy. Naturally I didn't look at how much of each ingredient I had before I started (one reason I'm so much better at cooking than baking), so for the cup of brown sugar I needed for the filling I had about a tablespoon and a half. Whoops. So I used the amount of butter called for, the last dregs of my brown sugar, and an entire spice container of homemade cinnamon sugar. I think they still turned out just fine, but I know they would have been so much more gooey with the brown sugar. Guess I'll have to make them again sometime.


Other tips and tricks for this dough...I used almond milk and they came out just fine. The dough was a bit sticky coming out of the mixer so I rolled it around in a bit of flour to make it easier to work with. Make sure to liberally flour your working space so that you'll be able to roll the sticky dough out. Also, have a good amount on hand to use as you spread the dough out into a rectangle. 

When it came to the icing, I should have known better but I went by the listed amounts for powdered sugar and milk (again, used almond milk and it was just fine). I had to end up adding in so much more powered sugar. So just use the amount of sugar called for and add in a little bit of milk at a time until you get to the consistency you like. 

Overall, this was super simple. I mean, I know my way around a kitchen and bake frequently, but don't tend to do many recipes with bready type dough like this and it was super simple. They cooked quickly and were delicious, hoping that they'll reheat just as well. What I'd be curious about is if you could make the dough the night before and refrigerate it to then make the rolls in the morning so there's less prep time when you're hungry and want to eat.

Now I'm going to try and not eat the entire pan...the woes of baking when you're home alone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2015: A Year in Review

Yes, it's January 19 and I'm reviewing the past year. At this point in life I've learned that I will never sit down to reflect on the year before it's actually over, and I also won't formulate any new goals or resolutions until well into the New Year. You can't just force this stuff to happen - I have to find the right time when my mind is ready to sit down take some time to think. Yesterday was the perfect day for this - why can't every weekend be three days long?

I had some lofty goals for 2015, let's go back and see what happened with these...


1. Read at least 20 books.
Check and check! Even though I didn't pick up and read my first book until June (don't judge me), once I started I was on a roll. Check out what I read here, my favorites were Crazy Rich Asians (and sequel - China Rich Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan is a genius), The Girl on the Train, Wild, and Big Little Lies. I also reverted from my Nook back to real books and fell in love with the drive-through window at my local library.

2. Run three races. 
"They can be of any length and of any variety." When I wrote that I did not yet know I'd sign up for a full marathon three months later. But run, I sure did in 2015. A full marathon, a half-marathon, two four-milers, and a three-miler - not to mention all of the training. My running rack is full of medals and I could not be more proud of myself. Marathon recap is still on it's way, it takes a while to wrap your head around 26.2!

3. Get back to meal planning.
Must have spent too much time reading and running (see above) as I think 2015 was the worst year of meal planning yet.

4. Institute Meatless Mondays.
Nope and nope.

5. Intentional reflection.
"At the beginning of each month I vow to sit down and reflect." I'm actually laughing at myself for thinking that I could do that. So cute. But no, that did not happen. Lots of reflection - but maybe it will be more intentional this year.

6. Establish a regular activity oriented date night.
Another no. However, for 2016 we've already come up with a list of one super fun date for each month that we'd like to do.

7. Launch Dogwood Brides!
Who even could have guessed the crazy ride that this goal would take. Launched a blog and four months later took over another business and merged the two. Maybe this is also why there are lots of things on this list that I'm laughing at thinking that I could have kept up with last year.

8. Learn and develop a new creative skill.
Well, I took a photography class and had an introduction to calligraphy...and then they collected dust. I sure have learned a lot about social media, Wordpress, Squarespace, and Canva. Does that count?

9. Save mo money.
Spent it all buying a house. But we did do well building savings back up, have some more specific goals coming about this for 2016.

10. Move more.
See number 2. Certainly did a lot of moving, but also did a lot of sloth-ing. More coming on this odd phenomenon.

11. Organize memories.
Not quite. I did clean through some old pictures and momentos and have a long to-do list of how I'd like get them all together this year.

12. Create a space that inspires me.
Yes! One perfect little bedroom in our new house was turned into my office and I LOVE her. Will have to get some pics for a good office tour this year, she is my little lady sanctuary.

13. Social media purge.
Kinda. I did go through and clear out a lot of people I was following on Instagram and Twitter for a cleaner feed. Need to continue here, but a good start.

14. Re-establish a morning routine.
On some days, but not enough of them. Need this back in my life like woah, this year has been a good start.

15. Carve out happy time. 
Again, not quite but I think any extra time went to a few of the things on this list that I did achieve.

BONUS! Complete Project 365.
Big 'ole check right here! Took a picture every freakin' day last year, even if it was 10pm and I had to find random crap sitting around my house to look Insta-worthy. Check out #project365ay to see them all, if you didn't know what that hashtag meant everyday I used it last year the mystery is now solved.

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So what did I learn? I learned that just having a few hefty goals might work better than many kinda smaller, but still time intensive goals. I learned that you can achieve some things, but you can't achieve everything. That if there's something you really want, you can do it. I learned that there really are on 24 hours in one day, and one of me.

Looking at what I've just written I'm learning that if I paid more attention to a few areas that got a big fat "NO!" for completion, I would have probably increased overall wellness helping with all of my goals.

What were your biggest accomplishments of 2015? How do you create goals or resolutions that you can stick to?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Marathon Training - It's Still Happening

So the funny thing about all of this running is that I spend so much time thinking about blog posts and things I'd love to share. However, as y'all have picked up on...this has been the longest blogging break I think I've ever taken. These days I do actually do a lot of blogging, just not here. This summer was a big one, bigger than anticipated and there's quite a bit of catch up I have to do but have decided to start here.

So many running pics to catch up on to, lots of gorgeous sunrises!
Marathon training has started to feel like planning a wedding all over again. "How's marathon training going?" is starting to come as frequently from everyone in my life just as "How's the wedding planning going?" once infiltrated my life. I so appreciate all of the support, but just as with wedding planning I don't feel like I'm where I should be with marathon training and it certainly makes me anxious. It also lights a fire under my butt to keep moving so that's a good thing.

This past week I finally got into double digits and while I made it through I didn't feel as strong as I wish I did at this point. So far the farthest I've run in life is 13.1 for my half-marathon, and when I trained for that race 10 miles was the farthest that I got. That 10 mile run was 15 minutes faster than what I did this past weekend, but I just have to remember that it's the same distance.

Ice baths for the win
At this point I think I'm going to get to 15 miles before the actual race and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. That is 11.2 miles less than a marathon. That's a lot. An extra 3.1 on top of the 10 miles I had gotten to with half-marathon training felt so much longer than I had anticipated so I can only imagine how another 11.2 miles will be.

I've been doing a lot of Googling of "how to train a marathon without really training"and "how many miles do you really need to run before a marathon". I know that I can do this, but I definitely know that it's going to be tough. Like, really tough.

Love/hate relationship with this guy right here #hurtsogood
Obviously my mind has now shifted to prepping the ultimate playlist for that day because something is going to have to keep me going. 5.5 hours is a long playlist to make so comment with some upbeat or fun throwback songs you think I should include.

More updates to come on life in general and the rest of training - I've missed y'all!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Final [for now] Move

We have officially moved into our house. Ours. Surreal.

And a definite after-move Monday it is. Seems like the only clothes I brought to the house were pajamas, socks, bathing suits, and then just a few things from the far back of my closet. One of which I had to wear today. Fluffy hair since my straightener is still at the old house and a necklace found in my gym bag that luckily matched the one dress I had to wear.

I didn't think we'd never buy a house, but I really didn't think we'd be able to do it this soon. Does this mean I'm an adult? Shockingly this entire process was so much easier and quicker than I thought, but I don't want to jinx myself for the next time it happens. A bit later I have some quick tips to share on prepping for the house hunt.



But we'll still miss this house, it is the place that has really been home in Richmond. Where we've finally felt settled, where we've found great neighbors, where we planned our wedding, and brought our sweet Georgia kitty home. 

This was where I came home after running my first half-marathon, and the neighborhood where a majority of my training runs took place. It's where I actually kinda sorta started to like running hills, just a teensy bit. 

It's where we could walk to the cute old school pharmacy for breakfast and hear Friday night football games in the fall at the high school just down the street. 

first glimpse of the new house
Since I moved out of my parent's house for college in 2005 I have moved 15 times. In a decade. Maybe that's why I'm always so tired?

I moved into my residence hall freshman year, then back to my parent's for the summer. Back into an on campus apartment sophomore year, then to an off campus apartment with my friend Whitney that summer. Then back to campus I went for junior year in the sorority suite, and in May 2008 to my first big girl apartment. After graduation I headed to Raleigh for a month where I moved back in with Whitney and another sorority sister.

The next year could be counted as one continuous move. Left Raleigh to head to Woodstock, VA for the summer before heading off to travel the US for the year in my first job. Then moved back in with my parents for the summer before grad school. Went down to Columbia for school and into the only place I'd ever life by myself (and I urge everyone to do it at least once in life) that was full of pink and green girly goodness.

That summer I moved most of my belongings into storage and headed out to Texas for an internship and then back to Columbia where I moved into a friend's apartment for two weeks before I could then move into my new place. After grad school we made the move to Richmond, where we are now, and into an apartment together before finding a rental house where we've been for the past two years. The only place I've consistently lived in since 2005 for more than 12 months.

Phew!

Well anyways, we made it yet again with lots of caffeine and so much incredible help from my parents. Without my dad we would have no blinds, bathroom fixtures or curtains. Really need to get him to start teaching Mr. Young...

A house tour to come as we get settled, stay tuned for more!