Bountiful garden

Our late start on the season meant that most of our tomatoes didn’t ripen before the threat of the first frost. To avoid losing the tomatoes completely, I picked most of them, and I’m hoping they’ll ripen in the house… However, to deal with that tomatoes that are ripe, I decided to make very basic tomato sauce and freeze it. Keep in mind, I’ve never made tomato sauce (I always buy it in a jar).  I hope this experiment turns out okay.


Ripe tomatoes


Green and almost ripe tomatoes


Boiling water for 15s to loosen skin


Ice water bath to stop cooking process

Skin and seeds removed


Chop chop


Making into sauce

Now, what to do with all of the jalapeno peppers that I picked?


Better late than never.

We were late to the gardening game this year because we needed to do some prep work to build up the retaining walls to create a vegetable garden.  However, now that everything has been planted, and tended regularly, we’re starting to see the fruits of our labor.

Our jalapeno pepper plant has been steadily producing peppers all season.  It started in a pot so it had a bit of a head start on our other veggies.  Now, the yellow squash has started producing and we’ve already eaten two squash from that plant.  We have three more that are almost ready to be picked.  Soon, our tomato plants will be ready.  We have three different types of tomato plans and they all have green fruit on them.  Just a little bit longer until those are ripe and ready for picking. Lastly, we have four yellow pepper plants.  These plants still seem quite small and, until now, haven’t produced anything.  I was beginning to think they were a failure, but yesterday I noticed one very small but cute green pepper. I am assuming that it will turn a bright yellow when ripe and I can hardly wait.  Hopefully, more will follow!

When I was growing up, my family never had a garden.  In fact, we ate very few vegetables and those that we did eat came from a can. Now that I’ve developed my own tastes and preferences, I just can’t bring myself to eat canned vegetables anymore. I prefer fresh veggies (though can sometimes be persuaded to eat something that has been frozen).  As Cliff said to me this morning, it’s amazing to think that humans have been growing vegetables for years, but we’re just now experiencing the joy and satisfaction that comes from growing your own food and knowing exactly where those vegetables came from (and what has or hasn’t been sprayed on them)!

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Time in the Kitchen

I haven’t ridden my bike since the last race of the season at Montrose.  Instead of spending time in the saddle, I’ve been spending time in the kitchen.  One of my new favorite recipes from this winter is roasted butternut squash with mustard vinaigrette from Real Simple.  We’ve also been roasting vegetables rather than steaming them: peppers, brussel sprouts, asparagus.

Now we’re pulling out the crock pot because I’ve had quite a few late nights and I’m hoping that a few crock pot meals will keep us well fed without having to cook when I get home at 7 or 8pm on weeknights.  Tonight, we’re trying slow cooker beer-braised pork and black bean soup.  If this recipe tastes as good as it sounds it could be a nice addition to our sunday crock pot rotation during cross season.


This weekend is the last opportunity to get the early bird discount for the End of the Year Cross Banquet

Registrations postmarked prior to December 7 are just $15 per adult.  After December 7, the price goes up to $20 per adult.

End of the Year Cross Banquet

I kept putting it off, but I finally registered today for the End of the Year Cross Banquet.  I’ve heard that attendance has been pretty poor in the past, so hopefully people will get excited and come out this year.  If nothing else, let’s support EJ’s Place (owner, EJ Lenzi, sponsors many teams as well as the junior cross entry fees).

Don’t delay… sign up today.  Registrations postmarked prior to December 7 are just $15 per adult.  After December 7, the price goes up to $20 per adult.  You can even register online!

2008 Lansing Cross

Enquiring minds wanted to know… “What’s in the crockpot?”  I heard someone yell this as I was running through the sand pit this afternoon.  If I’d had the energy, I would have yelled that I didn’t put anything in the crockpot, but that I had manicotti waiting to go in the oven when we got home.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the energy.  Hell, I barely had the energy to yell at the idiot who stopped in the middle of the course during our race, forcing the leader to run right into him.  Idiot.

I have the best teammates ever.  As I was warming up before my race, Mark convinced me to try his tubular tires.  I was pretty worried about hitting a barrier and ruining his wheels, but he was so low-key about it.  During the warm up, I didn’t really notice much difference between Mark’s wheels versus what I was used to with my wheels, but once I got going, I could really feel the difference on the corners.  Those babies cornered like they were on rails.  It might have been my imagination, but I sure had fun in the corners!

Between Mark’s wheels, and my new super-fast shoes from the team, I was styling!  Too bad they didn’t really make me fast, but they were certainly more comfortable than the shoes that I have been wearing.  The only issue I had was with the brand-spanking new cleats which were sometimes difficult to disengage from the pedals.  I almost went down a couple of times.  My old cleats were so worn in that I often pulled out of my pedals, so these new ones took a little getting used to.

I took a lot of pictures today.  Since Jack won his race, I worked backwards to get the 4s up first (sorry I didn’t get a better shot of you coming across the finish line!).  Those are posted here.  Congrats,  Jack!!  And, great job to all the other Pony Shop racers who came out today!  Only two more ChiCrossCup races to go (then we’re off to Mexico for a week)!


Jack celebrating his win in the 4A race

Jack celebrating his win in the 4A race

Sunday dinner?

I think I’ll make a baked pasta dish for dinner on Saturday, but I’m not yet sure of what to cook in the crockpot for Sunday.  Any suggestions?

I love coming home from the race on Sunday and finding that dinner is ready because I planned ahead and put something yummy in the crockpot before leaving the house on Sunday morning, but I’m quickly running out of ideas.  We’ve done chili several times already, as well as pulled pork, enchiladas and meatloaf.  Any other good ideas out there?