Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The 5k & Antique Shopping

There's a part two to my last post about dreaming big that's in the works. I have some new theories :) Before that, though, I thought I'd share some recent activities.

Early Sunday morning--No, wait: E-A-R-L-Y Sunday morning, some friends and I ran a 5k. It was a little bit of a joke because there was this big triathlon going on both days this weekend, and we were like the pre-game show with our little fun-run. Plus, I hadn't even been running very much lately due to my 4 jobs and a recent cold. Yet, miraculously, all three of us ran like the wind and came away with great times!

Here's the action shot. I was rounding the corner to start my final lap. In the background you can see my time for the first 2 miles. I ended up finishing in 28:35, which is the fastest I've ever run a 5k.

Later that day, after breakfast and a long nap, I went with a friend to Santa Cruz. Before we left, I checked some events calendars to see if anything in particular was going on. I saw an "antique fair" listed, but it didn't strike me as something we should try to find. We ended up just walking around downtown and accidentally finding this fair after all, and it turned out to be pretty interesting.

Something in particular caught my eye:

Right? Doesn't every writer want a typewriter? Did you know that typewriters are no longer being manufactured anymore, anywhere? I decided to take a picture of them instead of giving into impulse and buying one.

Other highlights included records, rotary phones, player piano music rolls, some Corningware that I was oddly attracted to, and a Catwoman mask (that some crazy person referred to as Batman). Is this what antiques are all about? I always thought they were much older and more fragile items, but this stuff was all from 1940s--1970s. I'd call it "vintage" before "antique," but maybe I'm misinformed. It ended up being a good way to spend the afternoon and a fantastic day overall with good people.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Adventures in pumpkin!

I was excited when I saw that pumpkin puree was on sale recently at the grocery store, so I picked up two cans. I make a mean pumpkin bread, don't ya know.

Of course, what I really bought at the store was pumpkin pie filling, not puree. Imagine my disappointment, especially considering that I'm not a big fan of pie. What to do! This isn't the first time this has happened, either, and substituting pie filling for puree in pumpkin bread doesn't work (trust me). I decided to experiment, and here's what I came up with.

Kate's apple-pumpkin crisp:

For the gooey part
1 15 oz can pumpkin PIE FILLING. Not puree.
2 smallish apples, cut into bite-sized chunks
about a spoonful of brown sugar (my apples were a little tart, those naughty fruits)
ground cloves, cinnamon, and allspice to taste

For the crumbly part
3/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of butter, softened

Combine the ingredients for the gooey part in a saucepan and cook on the stove until the apples are softened.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the crumbly part. I use my hands for this, but I'm sure there's a daintier and more sanitary way to do this. Anyway, you should end up with little crumbly balls (heh heh) when it's ready.

Lightly grease a square baking dish. Sprinkle some of the crumbly bits on the bottom, then add the gooey mixture. Then sprinkle the rest of the crumbly bits on top.

I ended up fiddling around with the temperature on the oven because I was modifying a larger-portioned recipe. I started at 375 and let it bake for almost 20 minutes. Then I turned it down to 325 and let it bake for another 6-7 minutes. I'd say next time I'll put it on 350, and it'll probably be good to go for 25-30 minutes.

It came out pretty tasty after all. I mean, if you like pumpkin pie, then there's really nothing to complain about here. The apples have a way of dissolving, but they make me think I'm eating something with nutritional value anyway. Also, the gel-like consistency of the pumpkin mix held everything together. I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, and my two friends and I pretty much finished it all immediately, so apparently my baking skills outperform my photography skills.

In related news, friends have made some good suggestions for what to do with the extra pie filling (since I still have another can) including adding it to pancakes. Yes, I'll definitely be doing that.