(Half) Marathon Mondays: Here we go again!

by Shawnda on July 14, 2014

in Running

There can’t be too many things on this earth that are more masochistic than training for a half marathon in July in Texas.

Like pushing a jogging stroller holding a 38lb turkey through the “feels like 103″ convection oven that is training for a half marathon in July in Texas.

Things that might come close? Jumping in a pool of rubbing alcohol 2.8 seconds after shaving your legs or remaining friends with people whose idea of a good time still involves a gigantic block of ice and a bottle of goldschlager [gaaaag].


Our big run yesterday was interrupted by me having a very public sobfest on the side of an extremely busy street because it was just so hot and I just couldn’t understand why I do this to myself over and over again. So I hate-walked the rest of the way home and tried to tell myself over and over: It sucks now. A LOT. But running in this heat is going to make you totally f&^%ing fast come late October.

We are (I am) slow. SLOW. Some of that is the jogging stroller, some of that is the completely oppressive heat, some of that is constant fussing at Landry to keep up on the days she insists on riding her bike for 2 miles. But mostly? We’re (I’m) just slow.

Jason and I are registered for 2 half marathons, the Houston Half in October and the big fancy schmancy Chevron/Aramco Houston Half Marathon in January (which might turn into a full – we’ll see).

And later this week, we’ll be registering for the inaugural Katy Half Marathon in our new hometown.

Because I clearly hate myself.



DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

The first time I made it, I called it “Cheater’s Cherries Jubilee.” For a few nights more in a row than I’ll admit on the internet, I pitted ~2 dozen cherries into a small bowl, dropped a piece of orange peel in, and popped it in the microwave for 90 seconds.

I scooped the still-warm, slightly-tart cherry sauce over a bowl of vanilla ice cream and borderline inappropriately oooh’ed and aaah’ed my way through dessert.

But only borderline inappropriately.

DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

90 seconds. That’s all it took for a quarter-pound of fresh cherries to cook into a borderline magical dessert sauce. No butter, no booze, and most importantly: I still have both of my eyebrows.

After a couple of nights of making single-serving cherry sauce in the microwave, I buckled down and pitted an entire pound of cherries for a larger, “yogurt topping” batch.

It took two 90-second trips through the microwave with a couple of pieces of orange peel, a little cornstarch to help it “gel” just a bit more, and a few drops of liquid stevia at the end just to sweeten it enough to take the edge off my morning bowl of plain Greek yogurt. (When I make it for ice cream, I dodn’t add sweetener at all.)

DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

Making your own fresh cherry dessert topping couldn’t be easier. I mean, maybe it could… but I think you’ll be happier with a DIY version than opening up a jar.

And it’s applications are endless: top pancakes and waffles, scoop over ice cream, swirl into your favorite brownie batter, serve over plain cheesecake, swirl into yogurt… I could keep going. But then I’d have to make another batch.

DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

Fresh Cherry Sauce

Fresh cherries are turned into a decadent ice cream or yogurt topping in just 3 minutes in the microwave.


  • ~1 1/4 lb cherries, pitted to yield 1 lb
  • 2 1x3-inch lengths of orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • Sweetener of choice (optional; I used 4 drops liquid stevia)


  1. Place cherries and orange peel in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over top.
  2. Microwave on high for 90 seconds, stir, and heat for another 90 seconds - the mixture will bubble up so don't walk away! Or better, place a paper towel under the bowl.
  3. Add any sweetener, if desired, and let cool a bit.
  4. Scoop the still-warm sauce over ice cream for Cheater Cherries Jubilee or chill completely and swirl into yogurt.
  5. Will keep at least a week in a jar in the fridge.


Yields: 2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 15 minutes



Peach and Plum Galette

There are two things of which I am certain:
1) God intended a ripe, bruise-it-just-by-looking-at-it peach to be consumed in the heat of July, straight from the tree and
2) Plums get the shaft when it comes to pretty internet recipes.

But if God didn’t want something like this to happen, surely he wouldn’t have let the Pilgrims invent buttery, flaky pie crust to share with the natives on the First Thanksgiving*

*That is possibly not historically accurate.

Peach and Plum Galette

We’ve talked before about how “galette” was just a fancy French word for throw &^%$ together (as well as another way to consume wine). And if this recipe doesn’t exemplify throwing *&^% together, man, I just don’t know what does.

I took three of the ripest peaches I could get my hands on and three of the juiciest plums I could swipe before Landry ate them all. I sliced those up, piled them into a rolled-out pie crust that I found at the bottom of the freezer (while I was making room for another bag of pitted cherries, naturally), and then hit it with an egg wash and a sprinkling of sugar.

What went into the oven was an almost-pretty pile of improvisation. What came out of the oven was a beautiful, bubbly concoction wrapped in a flaky, buttery pastry crust. And at about the same temperature if I had grabbed a peach off the tree in the backyard.

Peach and Plum Galette

I used as little sugar as possible. I could tell you that this was to let the natural sweetness of the fruit shine. But that’s kind of a load. What I was really trying to do was save the carby carbs for the ice cream I planned to serve on top. The creamy vanilla ice cream cut the slightly tart galette perfectly for dessert on the patio.

Not too shabby for a barely-a-recipe recipe.

Peach and Plum Galette

A quick and easy fruit tart highlighting two of summer's best fruits: peaches and plums.


  • 3 medium peaches, skin-on and sliced*
  • 3 plums, skin-on and sliced*
  • 1 pie crust (this is my favorite recipe)
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • *I quartered the fruit, removed the pits, and then sliced each quarter into three pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roll out your pie crust on lightly floured parchment paper.
  3. Arrange the sliced fruit in the center and working your way out, leaving a ~2-inch border of crust.
  4. Fold the crust edges up and over the fruit (you can lift the sides of the parchment to fold the dough over if it has gotten too soft to do it by hand).
  5. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet.
  6. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  7. Bake for ~30 minutes, until the fruit center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
  8. Serve topped with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.


Yields: 8 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, pie crust from The Pastry Queen

Estimated time: 45 minutes



Margarita-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Everyone has someone in their family that is the go-to person for cooking a specific dish. In my family, I am not that person for ribs.

But I have not given up.

Margarita-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

At a cookout in 2011, with a Fine Cooking magazine in one hand and a margarita in the other (possibly my problem), I slapped my very first rack of ribs on the grill while a hungry group of people salivated.

30 minutes later, I was in the kitchen trying to pick off scorched foil from scorched meat – or maybe it was bone… it was all black, hard, and crusty and there was very little distinguishing the two. And Jason was outside trying to prevent the garage from catching fire.

It wasn’t a total loss. Just maybe half the ribs. And 7/8 of my pride.

Margarita-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

This year, with my trusty ol’ Fine Cooking magazine in one hand (I still had it and just dropped it into the recycling bin today) and a margarita in the other (clearly not the problem!), I slapped my I-have-lost-count rack of ribs on the grill while (fewer) hungry people salivated. And then 2 hours later, I texted my little brother: My streak of not burning the ribs and my house down is at 3 years!

These are, hands down, my very favorite ribs that my little brother doesn’t make. And only partly because the recipe uses 4 shots of tequila.

Baby back ribs are marinated overnight in a tequila-citrus-chile powder marinade that’s reduced with – wait for it – more tequila and citrus. The grilled, fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs are finished with the “margarita glaze” before they are inhaled by your family and everyone is left staring at you wondering why you didn’t make more.

Margarita Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Tender baby back ribs are marinated and glazed with tequila and citrus.


  • For the marinade:
  • 2 racks (~4 lbs) pork baby back ribs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • Juice of two limes, zest from 1
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. Cut each rack of ribs in half and place 2 sections each in a gallon zipper bag.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour half into each bag.
  3. Seal the bags, turn to coat, and place in a baking dish in the fridge.
  4. Let marinate overnight, turning a couple of times.
  5. Transfer the marinade to a pot and add the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. Reduce glaze to a thick sauce.
  7. Heat grill to 250-300 degrees.
  8. Wrap each rib section in a foil pouch and cook (indirect heat recommended but my grill isn't big enough to accommodate two racks over indirect heat).
  9. Cook for ~90 minutes and tear into one of the pouches to see if the meat is tender and is pulling from the bone.
  10. Carefully open the foil pouches and glaze the ribs, leaving the foil peeled back so the sauce will caramelize.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes and then glaze again.
  12. Repeat and then transfer to a foil-tented platter to rest for 10 minutes.
  13. Cut ribs and serve any remaining glaze on the side as a sauce.


Yields: "12" servings (don't count on it)

Barely adapted from Fine Cooking

Estimated time: 14 hours 30 minutes