Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Perspective


I haven't talked about running lately because, overall, it just hasn't been going too well. I've actually renamed this post twice already...

First, it was going to be "No More Distractions."

The bun rack has left the kitchen...

Back on the back porch, ready to get covered
 
The Fair ended on Sunday and I went and picked up all my ribbons on Monday...
 
Probably my best year ever!
 
... and last week I started seeing a physical therapist for twice a week therapy sessions. I was ready to buckle down and start training! But then I felt like my physical therapist "broke" me ...
 


Week 7 Summary ( 8/10 - 8/16)
Sunday - 10 miles, I just put one foot in front of the other and got it done.

Monday - No running; Maple Syrup Contest at the Fair

Tuesday - Got up at 4 am to run with the group. I thought I was going to die after 3 miles. My hamstrings were on fire as soon as we started. We stopped at 3 miles to let the stragglers catch up and I was done. Problem was that I was no where near my car. I found someone who was running a shorter distance and ran with her back to the fitness center so I did 5 total. I went and did my initially PT session later that morning before I went to work and got some exercises to do.

Wednesday - No running but I did all my sets of PT exercises I was suppose to do: clamshells, single leg bridges, and press ups, before going to work.

Thursday - Another PT session. I had some Graston procedures done on my high hamstring/glute area and it felt pretty good. We are also working on the plantar fasciitis in my right foot so I had some tissue worked on in my right foot and calf. Then my PT wanted me to do some other exercises for my right calf - single leg calf raises. I did 20 of them successively in the office without a problem. I had an uncomfortable feeling though that I was going to have a problem. They are very similar to a ballet exercise that girls do when they first get their pointe shoes. I demonstrated them continuously for a class years ago and ended up with a mild compartment syndrome in my calves where I could hardly walk for days...

I was a little sore after PT but it was my day off and I got out and ran 5 miles that evening.

Friday - This was suppose to be my long run. I had 15 planned. My right calf was killing me when I woke up - tight and in a big ball. I was hoping it would loosen up during my run. I got to mile 6 and I felt like there was a 20 lb ball of weight on my right upper calf and it got worse with every step. I got back to my house at 7.5 miles and bailed on the rest of my run.

Saturday and Sunday - My right calf hurt so much I could barely walk. It was so tight I couldn't fully extend my knee. I worked all weekend in compression socks and just hobbled around.

Week 7 Total Miles: 27.5

The second title for this post was going to be "Monumental Decision."

After my horrible weekend hobbling around, I had pretty much decided that the Monumental Marathon wasn't going to happen. I was incredibly frustrated. I went to PT to try and get better and now I could barely walk. I still hadn't been able to get a decent long run in after 7 weeks.

I went out Monday to try a long run. Maybe if I could get a long run in on Monday I could still do this. Nope. Legs were burning less than half a mile in. I pretty much figured I was done, I just couldn't post it.

Tuesday - Another PT session. Now what do I do? I have bi-weekly sessions scheduled to the end of the month. Seems like a waste of time if I'm not going to do my marathon but I guess I need to get my legs better anyway. So I go. More Graston. Some new exercises. And then my PT says he wants me to keep running (I didn't tell him my doubts about Monumental) and see how it feels on a long run. And, he schedules me for a gait analysis... so I guess I can't quit running quite yet.

I worked all day after the PT session. When I got home, I could have thrown dinner on the table and rushed out the door to try and get a run in but decided I just wanted to sit with my family and enjoy dinner, then hang out with my kids... so no run on Tuesday. Still thinking about throwing in the towel on doing a marathon this year.

So now we come to today...

I went to try a long run. I wanted to report back to my PT how my legs felt. Aside from ever doing those calf raises again, I've been religiously doing ALL my PT exercises every day. The weather was hot, humid, and iffy for thunderstorms so I decided to hamster track it. It was safe. I could bail at any time on the track.

I ran 5 miles. Everything felt fine. I did 5 more. Still OK. I still had time before the kids got home. I ran 5 more. YESSS!!

I had a lot of time to think crap out too... and that's how I got to "Perspective."

It really comes down to perspective. How far is a long run? My brain says long is further than a half marathon. Probably not what most people think.
What's the difference between discomfort and pain? Sometimes I feel like I've been so uncomfortable for so long I have a hard time telling the difference and tend to stop running through the discomfort that I've run through before. Maybe it's time to suck it up some more.
How lucky am I to be able to do this? There are those that struggle with a 5K. I just laid down 15 miles for practice.

Yeah... I just laid down 15 miles. Funny how your whole perspective on things change. I think I still might be able to pull this out. However, this is the middle ground I've come to... it won't be the end of the world if I don't BQ this year. I enjoy running without a watch. I just want to get some miles in at this point. If I can keep putting some miles in, I'll work on my time after that.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bourbon Maple Baklava

They had me at bourbon...

I went to the Dupont Pavilion  at the Indiana State Fair last week in search of some Burton's Maplewood Farm maple syrup for the Maple Syrup Contest that was this past Monday. The rules stated you had to use at least a quarter cup of maple syrup in your recipe. The contest was sponsored by Burton's Maplewood Farm but it wasn't required that you use their maple syrup.

Anyway, I figured it would be best to use the sponsor's maple syrup and I knew they had it available for sale in the Dupont Pavilion. As luck would have it, Burton's was doing a tasting that day. The representative explained the differences between Grade A and Grade B maple syrup, and also had some of their bourbon maple syrup to sample too.

Grade A is made from the sap obtained in early spring while Grade B is made from sap obtained later in the season. The Grade B is noticeably darker and has a deeper maple flavor. The bourbon maple syrup is syrup that has been aged in 7 year old Kentucky bourbon whiskey barrels. It was wonderful! It has a distinct bourbon flavor without actually having any bourbon in it.  I decided I would make baklava using the bourbon maple syrup as my contest entry.

Bourbon Maple Syrup
 
 
Bourbon Maple Baklava
 
1 lb phyllo dough
3 cups walnuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 sticks of butter, melted
1 cup water
1 cup bourbon maple syrup
1 cup sugar
 
Line a 13" X 9" pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
 
This just makes it easier to get your baklava out of your pan later.
 
Pulse walnuts and cinnamon together in a food processor until walnuts are coarsely ground. You can chop walnuts by hand and stir with cinnamon if you don't have a food processor.
 


Photo won't load the right way but this is how big the walnut pieces are.
 
Place a sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of your pan and brush with melted butter. Top with another sheet of phyllo dough and repeat until you have 6 layers.
 
One sheet down; damp towel in the background is covering the rest of the phyllo dough.
 

Top with 1 cup of walnut mixture and shake it around your pan so all the phyllo is covered.
 
 
 
Repeat layering phyllo dough and walnuts two more times. Finish by topping with 10 layers of phyllo, then brush top generously with melted butter.
 
Cut through all layers with a sharp knife into bite size diamonds. I used a ruler and made my cuts 1.5" apart here...
 
 
 
Preheat oven to 330 degrees (yes, three hundred thirty) and bake for 50 minutes until tops are golden brown.
 
 
 
While baklava is baking, mix together water, maple syrup, and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until slightly reduced. If you want to make traditional baklava you can use honey instead of maple syrup in this step and add a teaspoon of lemon juice.
 
Let baked baklava cool. Cool syrup too. Pour your syrup in a large measuring cup if you have one.
 
 
Run a sharp knife through the baked baklava again to make sure all the pieces are separated. Pour your syrup over the baklava letting it soak in all the spaces while coating the top of he pastry as you pour.
 
 
Let the baklava sit uncovered for at least 12 hours before serving. Here was my baklava, plated for competition.
 
 
 
The challenge to this competition was making a product that really tasted like maple syrup. In the end, I felt like you could sort of taste the maple syrup in my baklava but it really didn't hit your taste buds front and center.
 
I am really glad though that I used the Burton's maple syrup. The contest ended up being judged by Tim Burton's parents and these people really knew their maple syrup. They could taste all the subtle differences in the syrup and it was pretty amazing to hear what they were noticing. I was really happy with the quality of the open judging. I ended up with an honorable mention. There were multiple really amazing looking products where the comment was that they couldn't taste the maple syrup. The winner was a maple syrup bundt cake (congrats Robin!) that had maple syrup plus homemade maple syrup candies in it, plus I think there was maple syrup in the glaze. Second place was a carrot side dish with maple syrup and pecans. Third was a cheesecake with maple syrup and sweet potatoes.
 

 
I really enjoyed this contest. This was the first year for this contest but if Burton's sponsors it again next year, I already have an idea. Plus, I think they got me hooked on their maple syrup. If you're interested, they actually have a nice collection of recipes - including mixed drinks - on their website HERE. Look under "Kitchen Recipes" on the left for the recipes and "Maple Mixologist" for the drinks.
 
Fair ends tomorrow. This was my last contest this year so life will go back to "normal" next week :)







Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Day at the Fair - Pies and Bacon

It used to be, the kids and I would spend a couple days every year enjoying the State Fair. Now that they go back to school in July, we had to cram it all in in one day. So this is how G and I spent our day at the State Fair...

Pies were due in between 7:30 am and 11:30 am Saturday morning. The Bacon Contest was also Saturday with check-in between 9 am and 12:30 pm and open judging at 1 pm. I ended up bringing two pies - my regular go-tos - Blueberry Crumble and Dutch Apple (recipe HERE).

tagged and ready to go
 
For the Bacon Contest, you had to choose between a sweet or savory dish. I picked sweet and made Bacon Date Scones (recipe coming soon).
 
Bacon Date Scones
 
 
G and I actually made great time driving to the fairgrounds and got everything checked in earlier than expected at 9:30 am. Now we had three and a half hours to kill before judging time.
 
First on the agenda for G was a Grilled Blue Cheese and Cheddar sandwich from the Dairy Barn.
 

 
We then wandered to the Ag/Hort  Building to see what time the watermelon seed spitting contest was held. We were going to do it if it was at 11 am. Unfortunately, it was at 1 pm - same time as Bacon judging. Oh well, no seed spitting this year. Instead, we got a strawberry shortcake...
 



   ... and some fried cheddar nuggets


G decided she wanted her face painted. She didn't like any of the design choices that the booth offered but found one online (off my phone) that she liked and this lady was able to replicate it on her face.

 

We're having fun now!
 
 
G insisted she play one "rip-off fair game" so she got to play an impossible ring toss game.
 

 
We were getting hot so we wandered into the DuPont Food Pavilion where we sampled Burton's Maplewood Farm maple syrup - that I purchased for the Maple Syrup Contest tomorrow - and ogled all matter of other good Indiana made food. Then it was back to the Ag/Hort Building to look at decorative gourds, then into the Home and Family Arts building to look at all the art before heading downstairs for the food judging.
 
The Bacon judging was fun to watch. All the different things you can make with bacon... although I think the judge said "interesting" - which I think is code for either "OMG I hate it" or "I can't think of anything else appropriate to say" - a bit too much. Anyway, I didn't place so we picked up our scones and put them in the car. Also bought this year's recipe book on the way out. Actually, it's the recipe book the fair publishes every year of last year's winning recipes.
 
I buy one every year
 
G wanted to ride the White Water log ride before we left. We left that for last because I knew we would get wet. Well, I ended up riding in the front and I didn't just get wet, I got completely soaked - like shoes and socks sopping wet and shorts soaked to my underwear!
 
 
 Then G wanted "real food" - kinda... by that she meant a corn dog...


... and I got an apple cider slushie.


And now, since it was 4 pm, I figured the pie judging would be done. Might as well stop back in to the Home and Family Arts Building to check on my pies.

Dutch Apple didn't place
 
Blueberry Crumble got Third
 
NOW it was time to go home. We spent 7 hours at the fair. Got to ride a ride, play a game, get G's face painted, see some exhibits, and eat a ton of fair food. Time to go home and kick our feet up for awhile.
 
G crashed. I went and ran 6 miles. That was the least I could do for all the fair food I ate!
 



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Jeremy Wright 5K and Week 5 and 6 Summaries

I feel like it's been one step forward and two steps back as far as running goes. This is how my life has been lately...


Yup, lots of food and not a lot of running!

Week 5 was going to be a big comeback week...

Sunday - rest
Monday - 5 miles, felt good but there was a little niggle just lateral to my right knee when I got done
Tuesday - 10 miles; ran the Low Gap Trail at Morgan Monroe... and my right knee hurt like hell every time I went downhill... so lots of ice and Motrin as soon as I got home
Wednesday - I ran less than a quarter mile and the knee started hurting again so I bagged the run and got on an exercise bike. Did 9 miles in 30 minutes then called it a day.
Thursday - 5 miles; I was a bit apprehensive about running but the knee was fine
Friday -  It went downhill from here. I was going to do 15 but didn't get out to run. Too busy finishing cakes for the fair then had to go to work.
Saturday - Same as Friday. Dropped cakes off to the fair and went to work.

Week 5 Total Miles: 20

Week 6 didn't go much better...

Sunday - worked all day
Monday - had the day off but was too tired to run
Tuesday - worked all day but got out and did 3 miles at 9 pm
Wednesday - felt horrid and bagged my run after 2 miles
Thursday - peeled myself out of bed at 4 am and met the 5 am running group at the fitness center. Did 6 miles at a descent pace. I really need to do this more often! Then I got the 90 minute massage I've been dying to have all week. It was not 90 minutes of bliss though. It was 90 minutes of "OMG I need a rag to bite on!" My legs have been killing me so I had 90 minutes of deep tissue work on just my legs. They feel somewhat better but I'm not gonna lie... they still hurt.
Friday - 5 K at 8 pm after baking all day
Saturday (today) - spent 7 hours at the fair (posting tomorrow about that!) then ran 6 miles this evening just so I'd have some miles this week!

Week 6 Total Miles: 20

So, not a lot of miles as far as marathon training goes. Heck, I haven't even run a marathon distance in 4 weeks!

I ran a 5K last night so I'd get some type of hard workout in. I had no idea how it was going to go since I've not been running well lately.

Mile 1 - 7:30
Mile 2 - 8:05
Mile 3 - 8:18
last 0.1 - 1:10

Official finish time - 25:03 (8:03 pace)

I was disappointed I didn't go under 25:00 but I was really sucking air that last mile and was going as hard as I could go. All things considered, I guess I should be happy I'm only up 26 seconds from a month ago.

Tomorrow starts a new week and I'm going for 40 miles. I also have two physical therapy appointments on the schedule for my legs. I'm back to not being able to sleep at night because of the pain so I hope PT will help!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Indiana State Fair - Cakes and Clabber Girl

Today I went to the fairgrounds to compete in the Clabber Girl quick bread competition. This is a very broad category competition - basically anything goes as long as it is a quick bread that contains at least 1 teaspoon of Clabber Girl or Rumsford baking powder.

I personally find that quick breads are very difficult to compete. If you make a loaf, the judges don't want it to be too brown or have any ridges on the edges. If you make muffins, you can't make them too tall or, God forbid, have any kind of "muffin top" overhang on top like the huge bakery muffins.  A lot of times, it seems the winning entry is determined more by what the product looks like even before they taste it. As far as taste, they want it moist but not dry. Not too dense or heavy. All your ingredients need to be evenly mixed in; no fruit or add-ins sinking to the bottom, etc., etc...

Initially, I was going to compete a date walnut sour cream coffee cake. I wondered whether a coffee cake counted as a quick bread. In the regular State Fair categories, coffee cake is in the quick bread section and, I believe, last year's Clabber Girl winner made a coffee cake so I decided it was OK.

I had the vision. I had the recipe. I just didn't have the time to tweak it. I made it for the first time yesterday morning before going to work. The middle was underdone and it sunk. I didn't have time to try another one. Instead, I made cornbread muffins. I used a jalapeno cornbread recipe I had won with before and made them into muffins. I didn't think they were unique enough to stand out for a win but that was what I could get done before I had to go to work.


I got home from work at 3 am so I was dead tired this morning. Did not feel like going to the fair at all. I think the only reason I went was to find out how my cakes did.

Saturday, I dropped off two cakes...

Chocolate Espresso Stout Cake
 
Coconut Macaroon Cake
 
I had to drop the cakes off then go to work. As I was dropping them off, I found out that they were going to open judge two cake categories at 12:30 pm. There are 27 different cake categories. My Chocolate Espresso Stout was in the "Other multiple layer cake" category and my Coconut Macaroon was in the "Other single layer cake" category... and these were the two categories that were going to be open judged. Go figure! I spent the rest of the day dying to know what had been said about my cakes.
 
First thing I did today was go check on my cakes...
 




The cake that beat my Chocolate Espresso Stout cake ended up taking the Sweeps for cakes so I had some pretty stiff competition. Pretty happy with the results overall. I think though that after the Open House, pretty much everything else at this year's fair is going to be anti-climactic.

I was so tired by the time the Clabber Girl judging started at noon I almost felt sick. Then, I realized that one of the things you were suppose to write on your recipe was the source or inspiration of your recipe. Ooops. Totally forgot to do that. I printed out my recipe right before I left the house and forgot about that statement in the rules. I figured that pretty much eliminated me from the competition right away. Ugh. Needless to say, I didn't place.

So far, here's the aftermath in my kitchen...

 
My family might need some insulin...

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pineapple Iced Coconut Macadamia Cookies and State Fair Open House


So you know there is something REALLY wrong with your cookies when you bring them to work in the ED and no one eats them...

That was the case with these cookies last weekend.

I created this recipe in 2011 for the Ellison Bakery Cookie Contest at the Indiana State Fair. Back then, Ellison Bakery (the company that bought out Archway) sponsored a contest where you had to make an original recipe home style cookie - something that they could potentially mass market to their customers.

They picked 20 finalists. The finalists then had to bring 10 cookies on a white paper plate to the open judging that was done on the main stage at the Home and Family Arts building. There were 3 judges on an elevated stage and they made comments about each cookie as they tasted them. Then, the judges turned off their mikes and started sorting cookies - picking up plates and moving them around the table, eliminating and picking... Since the stage was elevated, all you could see were the plates they were moving around but not the cookies. I hadn't been able to fit all 10 of my cookies on a round paper plate. The rules only specified white paper plate so I had put mine on an oval plate and mine was the only oval plate up there. Therefore, every time they picked up my plate I could tell it was mine and my heart was beating out of my chest. Finally, they announced that they had picked the top 3 but were going to go backstage to discuss the placing... then one of them picked up my plate and left the stage! I ended up placing third and I was absolutely thrilled.

Here is my original recipe...

Pineapple Iced Coconut Macadamia Cookies
 
2 1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
 
Icing
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pineapple juice
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 1 1/2 cups toasted macadamia nuts in a food processor and process with cutting blade until fine. Add 2 tablespoons oil, then sugars, shortening, egg, corn syrup and coconut extract and mix until smooth. Pour into mixing bowl. Mix in flour and salt until well blended. Add remaining 1 cup macadamia nuts and coconut. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet, then flatten into disks before baking. Bake for 12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool.
 
Mix icing ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. 

So there you have it. A pretty simple cookie to make. So what was wrong with my cookies? As I said in my last post they didn't taste right and I decided not to take them on Friday and remade them, bringing them on Sunday instead. Doubly doubly glad that I went with my instincts! As I discovered, I had omitted the sugar (!!) the first time.

This is the first time I've competed these cookies in the regular (meaning not a sponsored special contest) fair. I went to the Open House last night to see how I did.


They won the Cookie Sweepstakes! That meant it took First in the Nut Cookie category that it was entered in, then it beat out 20 other First place cookie category winners for the best overall cookie. Cookies are a huge Class at the Fair so I am totally thrilled!!

Moving on to find my other entries, I found my Honey Pecan Bars...


OMG!! I won the Sweeps for Honey Cookies too! There are only 4 categories in the Honey Cookie Class so not as big as the regular Cookie Class (where there are 21 categories) but still thrilled beyond words.

My Biscoff Cookies (No Bake category) and Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies (Filled Cookie category) did not place. My Raspberry Cream Cheese Tea Cookies ended up third in the Dairy Cookie category.


The Pumpkin Pecan Rolls did not place. I think they were either too dry or there was too much icing on them.

Remember the Honey Oat Bread that I remade on Sunday morning?


Glad I remade that too! I still think it looks a little flat on top but apparently it tasted just fine.

Finally, I went to find my Loaded Potato Rolls. My go-to yeast roll recipe.


                                                      ... and it took the Sweeps in the Yeast Roll Class!

I have never won this many Sweeps ribbons in a single year. Last year the only Sweeps I took was the Sweeps in the Yeast Rolls for the very same rolls and I said then that I'd be happy if I didn't win another thing for the rest of the Fair since I'd won a Sweeps. I have to say that in triplicate now! I am SO SO  happy! I only brought in 8 items which is the least amount of items I've brought for the opening weekend since I started doing this... but I placed five of them with four firsts and a third, and three of my firsts also took their respective Sweeps. Unbelieveable.

Today is Opening Day of the Indiana State Fair. I have to go to work in a couple hours so I am staying home. I have two cakes to turn in tomorrow morning before I go back to work. I had three cakes entered but I trialed my Honey cake recipe yesterday and it was inedible. Not kidding. I pitched it, then decided I was scratching out of that category. I was up til 1:30 am working on the other two cakes, then got back up at 5 am to pick my husband up from the airport... so I'm a little tired. Goal today will be to finish up my cakes then make it through my shift at work.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Indiana State Fair - Round One

First weekend of State Fair baking is done and I'm still sane! Yeah me!

As I mentioned earlier, I really scaled back and I'm glad I did. My original plan was to turn everything in this (Sunday) afternoon. However, G had 3 art entries to turn in and those could only be turned in on Friday or Saturday. Since going to the fairgrounds Saturday was out, that meant I'd have to turn her things in on Friday. So new plan - make my cookies on Friday and turn them in. Bake all my breads on Saturday after work and turn them in today.

Most of the recipes I'm using this year are tried and true ones that I've entered before. I had 5 cookies to make on Friday...

First up were the Biscoff (no bake) Cookies. Recipe HERE (Thanks Isabelle!)
No problem.

Next was a Meijer shopping run for everything else I'd need this weekend. They had an mPerks coupon for 5% off grocery items so I had a list and waited til Friday morning.

Second in the line up were Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies. Recipe HERE.
I remembered from earlier to make small balls of Nutella and put them in the freezer overnight so everything went off without a hitch.

Up next were Honey Pecan Bars. Recipe HERE.
For some reason the first crust I made came out of the oven with huge cracks all over the bottom like it was too dry. I remade the crust before pouring the filling in, then finished baking them and put them on my bun rack to cool.

My fourth cookie of the day was the only new one and it was something I had trialed on Thursday night, then decided to tweak on Friday. It was for the Dairy Cookie category where you have to have two dairy ingredients in your cookie. I decided to make cookies using butter and cream cheese and sandwich them together with raspberry jam. My mom used to make cream cheese cookies when we were kids. She used a box of cake mix and some cream cheese. I don't know what else was in them but they were a really sweet cookie that she squirted out of a cookie press and sandwiched together with raspberry jam.

I thought the cookies I had trialed on Thursday night were too thin. I added more flour and an egg on Friday and tried again. This cookie came out definitely thicker but tasted doughy. Visually it looked good, but I wasn't thrilled.

Moving on though, I went ahead and made my last cookie. Pineapple iced coconut macadamia cookies. Recipe coming this week.

This is a very easy cookie to make as you mix almost every thing together in a food processor, then dump it out in a bowl and add flour, then scoop it onto a cookie sheet. I remember putting a teaspoon of salt in and thinking that seemed like a lot of salt. I took a little taste of the batter before adding flour and it was salty but I went ahead and finished making the cookies. Once the cookies came out, I tasted one... and they were salty. Hmmm. Maybe they were salty because the pineapple icing is really sweet? I made the icing and ate another cookie. That didn't fix the taste. Next I covered the entire cookie in icing. Moderately better but the cookie just didn't taste like I had remembered it.

Now it was time to go. I had decided I was leaving the house by 5 pm at the latest. Entries were being accepted until 8 pm but I didn't want to wait until the last minute. I was plating my cookies when I decided I was not going to take the cream cheese raspberry cookies or the pineapple iced coconut macadamia cookies with me. They just didn't taste right.


This is what I turned in Friday night: Nutella, Honey Pecan, and Biscoff
 

After turning my items in, I came home and cooked a pound of bacon to prep for Saturday then went to bed as I had to be up at 4:30 am to go to work.
 
Saturday, a small miracle happened and I got off work on time!
 
I made Loaded Potato Rolls as soon as I got home. No problem.
 
I remade the pineapple iced coconut macadamia cookies while the potato rolls were rising. SO glad I remade them. They came out just like I remembered and I figured out why the first batch was so awful... I'd forgotten the sugar!
 
Next were Pumpkin Pecan Rolls. I had made these for the first time on Thursday. They turned out pretty good.
 
I remade the raspberry cream cheese cookies while the pumpkin pecan rolls were rising. Still not 100% happy with the taste but decided they were presentable enough to turn in.
 
Finally, I made my Honey Oat Bread.
 
The only "problem" with baking breads for the fair is how time consuming it is as you have to wait for the dough to rise at least twice for each recipe. Usually I will start the first rise of my second recipe during the second rise of my first recipe. Since I'm making other baked goods too, I will try to squeeze in less time consuming items like cookies during the rises. I have a double oven so sometimes I have two ovens going at the same time too. It's multi-tasking to the max and sometimes I get confused...
 
Last year I put some rolls in the oven to rise. I thought the oven was off and I was going to use the residual warmth to help my rolls rise. Well, the oven was actually on. I didn't realize it until the plastic wrap covering my rolls started melting and smoking... stuff like that...
 
So this year, I was pretty happy that I didn't have to do too much multi-tasking and I was feeling pretty sane... but then I messed up the rise on my Honey Oat Bread. I think I actually let it go too long and the middle collapsed during baking. By now it was after 1 am. The bread was not presentable. Last year I stayed up late baking bread items. I had one last thing I was trying to make and I fell asleep on the couch... then slept through the oven timer going off (deets HERE, and hey, looks like I had problems with that darn Honey Oat Bread last year too!) I decided the prudent thing to do was to go to bed and remake it in the morning.
 
I popped out of bed at 7:30 am today and remade the bread. I tried a different size pan but I'm still not happy with the rise. It looked better than the first loaf though so it went to the fair.
 
This is what got turned in today...
 
 


Top row: Honey Oat Bread, Pumpkin Pecan Rolls, Loaded Potato Rolls
Bottom row: Raspberry Cream Cheese Tea Cookies, Pineapple Iced Coconut Macadamia Cookies
 
 
My life has been so busy this summer I didn't even try to put out a garden. My neighbors tonight gave me two bags of fresh tomatoes. I gave them loaded potato rolls and pumpkin pecan rolls. I then caught up on who was running what this weekend. I'm a little sad I didn't race this weekend but, in reality, I don't think there was any way I could have gotten everything done.
 
Cakes are up next weekend but I'm going to get back to running this week too.
 
How was your weekend? It's the last weekend before school for us Center Grove families :(