Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Madison Half Marathon

I had a great weekend.  I went to Madison, Wisconsin with my family to run the Madison Half Marathon with my bestie, Tamara.  It was her first half marathon and she totally killed it.  We had so much fun hanging out in Madison, eating good food, and celebrating the weekend.  We have already started talking about when we will run our next race!

When we arrived on Friday, we had dinner at Dotty Dumpling's Dowry.  This is a Madison classic with great burgers.  It was delicious.  Then we headed to the Ivory Room where we listened to dueling pianos.  It was a blast.
A beautiful day at the Farmer's Market
On Saturday, we went to the Farmer's Market.  This farmer's market is the king of all farmer's markets.  There are so many great stands and almost all of them are handing out samples.  The veggies, flowers, and cheese are abundant.  We had so much fun sampling things and we even got some scones to take home.  We also ate some famous Stella's Spicy Cheese-y Bread.  Then, we walked down State Street and did some shopping.  I got a super adorable alumni sweater that I am really excited about!  After that, we went to dinner at Cento.  This place was delicious and the perfect place for a pre-race dinner.  Bri and I split a pizza and some risotto and it was amazing!

Sunday was race day.  The race started at 7 am and we finished in 2 hours and 8 minutes.  I was super impressed with Tamara.  Her foot was hurting her, but she wouldn't let that get in the way!  We kept a super consistent pace of 9:47 per mile and we were both really happy at the end.
Some of my awesome support team! 

We celebrated with brunch at the Great Dane downtown.  I got the Huevos Rancheros and we, of course, split some cheese curds (when in Wisconsin...).  It was such a fantastic weekend and it was a great half marathon!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pizza Bagels

Happy Friday!

I am so excited about this weekend.  It is Memorial Day weekend so that means no school on Monday AND I am going to Madison with my family.  I can't wait to see all my Madison friends and my bestie, Tamara, and I are running the Madison Half Marathon on Sunday.  This will be Tamara's first half and I could not be more excited to be sharing the experience with her.  This race was my first half three years ago!  It is a great race and I am super duper pumped about it.  The weather doesn't look so great, but that won't even matter because we are going to have so much fun together!

More exciting news: Brian is DONE with law school!  He has accomplished so much and I am so excited and proud.  I know he has worked so hard.  Now he has to study for the BAR exam, but at least he doesn't have any more finals!  We went to Hamburger Mary's in Andersonville last night to celebrate.  This was the place we went after his first day of law school orientation so it seemed appropriate to end here as well.  The food is great (Bri loves their veggie burger) and they brew their own beer.  It is an adorable restaurant and we always love it there.  Plus, Andersonville is a great place to just wander around to check out shops or other restaurants.

Now, I am just counting down the minutes until the end of the school day.  I can't wait to get on the road and head up to Wisconsin!  To celebrate even more, I am sharing this recipe for pizza bagels.  At my wedding shower, the hostesses gave me a cookbook with recipes from all of the people who were invited.  Bri's mom shared a recipe for pizza bagels and so I decided to make them for him! I had to adapt the recipe based on what I had in the kitchen, but they came up super yummy!  I kept thinking that this is the perfect recipe to make for my future children :)

Pizza Bagels

Ingredients:15-20 mini bagels, sliced
6 oz of tomato paste
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3-4 egg whites, cooked and chopped
pepper and garlic powder, to taste
16 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Turn oven broiler on high and make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven.
2. In a bowl, combine the tomato paste with the chopped onion, red pepper, and egg whites.  Season with pepper and garlic powder and stir to combine.  Pour half of the shredded cheese in and stir to combine.
3. Place bagel halves on a greased baking sheet.  Spread a little tomato mixture over each half and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.  Place in the oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly (about 4-5 minutes).

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wedding Planning Wednesday: Wedding Cake Sugar Cookies and Bridal Shower Gifts

I had my first wedding shower!  It was so fun.  I was super nervous beforehand and it was a great time.  I feel awesome now!

My mom's girlfriends threw the shower and they did an amazing job.  The food was great, there was a yummy and gorgeous cake, and it was wine party themed.  They had 6 wines that spelled out JODIE B.  How awesome is that?  I got some great gifts and it was just wonderful.

To thank my lovely hostesses, I made some gifts!  I got coffee mugs from bed bath and beyond, and then put a Starbucks gift card and a homemade sugar cookie inside.  Then, I printed off a "Thank you a Latte" card and wrapped everything up.  They loved the mugs and the cookies were a huge hit!

Wedding Cake Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour (or gluten free flour)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
optional: food coloring
optional: sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
2. Beat the butter with the powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the almond extract, vanilla, egg, and salt.  Place in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
3. On a clean surface, sprinkle some powdered sugar.  take the chilled cookie dough and roll it out until it is about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with the cookie cutter and re-roll as needed.  Place cookies on the prepared cooking sheet.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes and then let cool completely before frosting.
5. For the frosting, beat everything together.  Then, dye the frosting as needed and frost your cookies!  I used the pearl sprinkles to decorate mine.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Perfect Chicken Breast with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

So I am working really hard to be healthy and get in tip top wedding shape.  I am feeling good about my workout routine, but people keep giving me desserts!  I have some serious issues saying no to free desserts...

This weekend I had a wedding shower, and the hostesses gave me the leftover cake to take home.  It was HUGE!  So, I brought the cake into school and my fellow teachers ate it for me.  It was a really tough decision, but I feel like it really shows growth on my part for doing that...

This dinner is another way that I am working at being healthy and awesome.  This dinner is also crazy yummy so that is even better!  I made some perfectly cooked chicken breast and then I roasted some broccoli and cauliflower.  It was an overall great move on my part!  

Pan Seared Chicken - take a chicken breast and sprinkle both sides with some salt and pepper.  Then, place it between two sheets of saran wrap and pound it with a pan so that it flattens.  Then, heat some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes.  Flip the chicken, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Test the chicken and continue to cook if it is not done.  It should be 160 degrees on a meat thermometer or have NO pink in the middle.  

Roasted Veggies -  Place veggies on a pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Toss and place in the oven at 400 for 20-30 minutes.  

That's it!  This dinner is simple, good for you, and quick!  Go home and make it!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wedding Planning Wednesday

So we are really winding down to the last few things!

The invitations are printed, we are ordering stamps, and they will be ready to be sent out by the end of the week! My friend Alyson designed them and she did an unbelievable job!  I am so impressed with her crazy skills and I just feel that the invites are so special because she did them.  They are truly beautiful and I can't wait for people to see them!

My first shower is this Sunday!  I can't wait!  I am working on some finishing touches for a little hostess gift and then I will be ready!

The biggest project I am working on right now is getting my gifts together for my bridesmaids.  I decided that I really wanted to wear converse sneakers for the reception and so I had some adorable Bride and Groom sneakers custom made for the big day.  Then, I thought it would be so fun to have all the bridesmaids and groomsmen in converse as well!  So, I bought my girls (and guy) their converse shoes!  Then, I also got them a little bling to wear on the big day!  To put all of this together, I found some tote bags and then I saw this great DIY project over at Design Sponge and I decided that it would be perfect!  I am going to decorate and personalize the totes for my bridal party and then put the shoes and jewelry in the bag.

These tote bags can be found through amazon or other suppliers and are about 60 dollars for 25-30 bags.  Then, I am going to get to work on making them look adorable :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Is it summer yet?  I feel like I am just trudging my way towards summer. I swear each school day is a little longer than the previous one.  Any other teachers out there feel me?  I know you do because this facebook link keeps getting shared:

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my job and I love my students and I love my fellow teachers.  I just am also super freaking excited for this summer.  I have a pretty big summer ahead of me and with my first wedding shower (there are 3) this weekend, I just can't focus on anything else.

The weather is also (finally) getting nicer and that makes it extra hard to focus.  The longer days and warmer weather are making me so much happier.  I have also been cooking more because when it is lighter out I just feel less tired.  This lasagna happened because of one of those nights.

You are going to love this.  You roast a TON of vegetables and then you layer them with some pasta and a TON of cheese.  Then you bake it and someone it magically becomes a crazy good lasagna.  Even the vegetable haters out there are going to love this!  I was inspired by How Sweet It Is and then I just used my own vegetables and cheese and had way too much fun with it.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


8 oz sliced portobello mushrooms
10 oz broccoli florets
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, quartered
1 pint red grape or cherry tomatoes
1 pint yellow grape or cherry tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cups light ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
1 burrata ball
1 8 oz container of pearl mozzarella balls
1 8 oz container shaved parmesan cheese
8 oz smoked provolone cheese, shredded
1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce (your favorite)
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles

1. Line 3 pans with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425.
2. Place mushrooms, broccoli, onion, pepper, and zucchini into a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper (to taste).  Spread out the veggies onto two pans.
3. Place all the tomatoes in a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Spread these guys out on the third pan.
4. Place the pans in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes.  Take out from oven.
5. While the veggies are roasting, in a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with half the parmesan, half the provolone, and the basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
6. In a 13 by 9 inch pan, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce.  Place three long lasagna noodles on this.  Spread some ricotta mixture on top and then sprinkle a few mozzarella pearls.  Then, take about 1/3 of the veggies and sprinkle on top.  Drizzle with marinara sauce, and in a few roasted tomatoes, and then shred about 1/3 of the burrata ball and sprinkle over the top.  Place more lasagna noodles over this and repeat with two more layers.  For the final layer, drizzle some marinara sauce on top and then sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and provolone.  Also add the remaining tomatoes on top.
7. Reduce the heat of the oven to 400 and bake the lasagna for 45 minutes.  Let sit for about 30-60 minutes.

Enjoy :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Math Teacher Monday: Computer Programming

So this is my "binomial" post.  Sorry if you were looking for more of the "baker" side.

I am having a lot of fun in math class right now.  I know, I know...it is May.  Teaching in May is usually just the worst.  Kids are checked out, teachers are exhausted, the curriculum is winding down and you have to stay motivated so that kids might stay motivated in time for finals.  I have 19 days (17 until finals) and I couldn't be more excited for summer.

However, we are doing a computer programming unit right now with bootstrapworld.org.  This site is FREE! It connects programming to mathematical concepts and students work through the units to create their own computer game.  It is really freaking cool.

My students are totally being rockstars with this.  They are working in groups, writing their own code, and being super creative with their games.  It is awesome.

I created my own game as an example, but I think it is actually pretty great.  Seriously, anyone interested in publishing this?  I call it OctoPI because, you know, math.  The Pi moves up and down with arrow keys and if you press the spacebar, you shoot out an OctoPi!  You want to catch the green star and avoid the red circle.  CHECK IT OUT HERE!  It is not perfect and I am going to work on making the movement more complex, but it's pretty adorable.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Two Tone Swirled Frosting: Graduation Cupcakes!

Today I am off to Champaign, Illinois for my little brother's graduation!

1. What? How is he already graduating?
2. OMG I think that means I am like officially done with college....I don't even have a sibling in it anymore!
3. Champaign is sort of the worst, but at least I get to go to college for the weekend :)

We have a ton of stuff planned because he has two different graduation ceremonies and a luncheon.  On top of that, we are going to some of his favorite places and I made these amazing cupcakes to enjoy after our dinner on Saturday.  These cupcakes are the perfect treat and a great idea for graduations! You can use the school's colors to make a festive treat and, I promise, it is really easy! 

Zack (the little brother) said his favorite cupcake flavor is chocolate.  So, I made some super simple chocolate cupcakes but then I frosted them like this:

How to do Two-Tone Frosting:

1. Make the frosting: I beat 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter with 3 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tbsp of vanilla.  
2.  Divide the frosting into two bowls.
3. Color the frosting
4. Using two frosting bags, put the frosting into each bag (keep the colors seperate!).  Cut the ends off of each bag. 
5. Put the two bags into a third bag.  This third bag should have the end cut off and your frosting tip inside already. 
6. FROST!  Because the colors come through the frosting decorating tip at the same time they swirl as you frost the cupcakes!  Pretty cool right?

Enjoy :)  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Nashville Adventure

I went to Nashville for a Marathon recently and here is a photo reel of everything I ate...

The best donuts I've ever had from 5 Daughters Bakery. My favorite was the Maple one, but all of them were crazy delicious and the perfect treat to have the day after a marathon! 

A celebratory Bloody Mary from The Frothy Monkey.  This was our day-after-the-race brunch spot.  Breakfast was delicious and it is located on a super cute street to walk around.  

Jackalope Brewery had the cutest taproom...go there! 

A trip to Nashville wouldn't be complete without some Hattie B's Hot Chicken! I went for medium, it was delicious,  and it was the first thing I really ate after the run so it was life-saving as well.  We also got all the sides because Bri is a vegetarian and he loved them! 
Not that special, but we carb-loaded at Bucca de Beppo and I just couldn't believe the size of this dish and the tastiness of those meatballs! 

Country Music Hall of Fame! Do it! 

The Rock n' Roll Marathon Expo was super cute! 

This was a crazy good PB&J that I got at this amazing sandwich shop!  Clawson's Pub and Deli has great sandwiches and a ton of local beers.  This was the day before the race so I did not take part in the drinking, but I would love to go back and try some! 

On the way to Nashville we stopped at the Louisville Slugger Museum.  Bri had a blast and you get to see them making baseball bats! Plus, you get to take a miniature bat home with you! 

We also just walked around the city which is super adorable and we made a pit stop at Acme to check out some Honky Tonk and get a drink.  Overall, the weekend was fantastic and I can't wait to go back another time to check out more that this fabulous city has to offer!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Marathon Training Monday: Race Day! The Nashville Marathon

Race day was a blast.  Well, sort of.  The day started off a little rough.  It was storming and pouring so the start was delayed and instead of starting at 7:15, I didn't cross the start line until 8:15.

Then, I ran through downtown Nashville.  Nashville is just adorable.  There was a lot to look at as we ran through Honky Tonk Central and Music Row.  However, it was also super hilly.  Around mile 11, the half marathon runners and the marathon runners split.  This was interesting because we went from being part of about 40,000 runners to part of about 5,000 runners.  It was nice to have the space, but it was also a little depressing because you know that they only have about 2 more miles and you have 15.  Plus, as we watched our half friends run away towards their finnish, we had to run up a super long hill.

Hills.  Those hills were rough and they were relentless.  Seriously, there really wasn't a flat part of the course and as the mileage went up and up I got really tired.  I had to walk a few times when the hills just were too much for me.  Although the hills were a downer, a lot of the course was pretty cool.  We got to run through a baseball stadium and get on the jumbotron!  We also finished by Nissan Stadium which was pretty neat and we had to run downhill to get there.  Also, the last part of the course was pretty and through a park.  On top of all of this, the bands were pretty great and there was a lot of music along the course to keep us distracted.  

I was bummed about walking, but I truly had a good time.  It was fun to see so much of Nashville and to run with my training buddies from Chicago.  We all finished and that was also great.  I finished with a time of 4:49.  This is 19 minutes slower than my previous time in Chicago, but considering the heat, humidity, and hills, I am actually pretty proud of this time.  The medals were super cool, the shirts were adorable, and then I went and ate all the food.  Nashville ended up being pretty great!