Sunday, February 13, 2011

From London to Dakota - Saving the World

This weekend I was fortunate to run in another 5K for a great cause; Dakota's Run was sponsored by the local FCA and held at my friend Veronica's church.  This run raised money for a little girl who is fighting leukemia.  Early Saturday morning, HRH and I got in the car, picked up Veronica, and went to church!
This was my first real experience using the jogging stroller.  Um, wow.  Totally harder than it looks, although when you think that I was pushing a contraption that weighs about 10 pounds (-ish?) and had in said contraption a 27-pound Wee One, that puts things into perspective.  My time was a great deal slower than my inaugural run at the Undy 5000, although part of that was the four small stops we made because HRH needed... well, something, I don't know - you know how toddlers get.
But I can't complain; one woman, Dakota's mother, actually, was pushing a double jogging stroller!  Two kids!  Including Dakota, who is 4 years old!  So not only am I not able to complain about my precocious little girl insisting she was "all done outside" before we even hit the halfway marker, I am not able to complain about the additional weight I was lugging around.  Again, I am so fortunate to have health for myself and for my child.  As we ran together for part of the way, I learned that Dakota's mom has run in 6 half marathons in the past year.  All I can say is WOW.  What an amazing woman.
It was a great way to begin the weekend, and I hope that the crowd that gathered in orange (the color that represents the fight against leukemia) helped offset the family's medical costs and give them hope that they have a large and loving support group no matter what.
After an exhilarating and exhausting morning that also included a lavender lemonade for me when I grabbed our weekly veggies, we went out to dinner.  We do not celebrate Valentines' Day in a traditional manner; instead, each year we have dinner with friends.  This started about ten years ago; a large group of us made it a "date."  This year, there were two of the original five couples.  HRH spent the night at Nana's house, so it was actually a real date for us.  We had dinner (sushi - sorry, no pics - we were too excited to eat it, but maybe next time) and a movie (The King's Speech - amazing).  While I know there will always be a market for random chocolates in cardboard boxes shaped like hearts, I don't need a requisite day for my husband and I to offer rhyming sentiments to one another.  But it's always great to go out to dinner in the company of great friends.
Other than that, bread and pectin were on the agenda for the day today.  I have a new basic bread recipe from my friend Christie that makes three loaves, so I'll be using that to experiment with fun flavors (she keeps telling me to stop kneading by hand, though, and I'm just not sure I want to give up that exercise!).   This time I used half bread flour and half whole wheat flour.  There are still a few slices left in the plain loaf I made last weekend, so I have to wait and see how it turned out, which might actually be a boon.  We are nearly out of peanut butter, and I happened across a recipe for homemade, so I am already slobbering over the thought of homemade bread topped with homemade peanut butter and homemade lemon marmalade.
I was told that the finished
product looks like a urine
sample; I don't want to alarm
anyone who looks in my
And the pectin - I am really excited to have discovered the website Punk Domestics!  While dinking around on it, I came across this recipe for homemade pectin (OK, so not really recipe, as it's not that involved, but still - and there are other recipes for lemons on that link), and I was delighted to also learn that I can freeze it.  I'm planning on taking full advantage of the Schnepf Farms U-Pick orchards during peach season, so I am envisioning a shelf full of glistening orange jars.  But I digress.  Making the pectin was a perfect way for me to start using those leftover pithy parts from our limoncello project.  I've frozen the remaining rinds and plan to make more pectin as I need it.  What a great way to 1) cut down on waste (I used those lemons three ways!) and 2) cut one more item off the shopping list; pectin certainly isn't that expensive, but if I can make it from rinds and water instead, I've got that money still in the bank.  I just really wish I could find a use for rinds after that - it's really not good to compost that many rinds (too much acid).

Here are a few photos from this weekend's projects.

Before I peel an orange, I'm starting to zest and dry/save it.
The lemon zest - at least thus far - has come from a few lemons
I had to juice to finish off the preserved lemon jars.

Pork chops with a cinnamon-cumin rub on top of a
potato-daikon radish hash and topped with the
rhubarb-lemon-chile preserve as well as chopped
pineapple and oranges
This weekend was also tinged with some sadness; I learned today that one of the two benefactors of this year's London's Run, Breanna Pena, passed away late last week.  One of my co-workers received the news from her son's school, where Breanna went last year.  I am struck at the loss of a child whom I never had the opportunity to meet, and I grieve with those who loved her.  Like Dakota, London, and the other children who fight all forms of cancer each day, Breanna will serve as a reminder that I have an absolute duty to help fight and defeat this disease.  May Breanna be at peace.

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