This morning I set out to run the "M". Last spring I started doing this occasionally in place of my routine morning run. I loved changing it up. Then summer vacation began so the hike-runs ended. Lately the air is changing. Mornings and evenings have a chill to them. I know the days of hiking are drawing to an end. For me anyways...I know there are plenty of crazy people out there who hike in the snow and ice. No thank you, not for me. If I have to put on anything more than a light sweatshirt I will wait until springtime. Anyways. This was to be the first time I went on a solo hike/run after a summer of hiking with my girls. I anticipated some sadness. Instead it ended up being a comical affair. Ending with the breaking of my super cool shades. Insert sad face.
I love these glasses. They are purple and totally dorky in the hipster way. Matt made fun of them relentlessly. They reminded me of such a fun weekend with friends. Now they are cracked and full of dog slobber. Oh well...they were fun while they lasted.
The hike began awesome. The air felt fresh and I set a good pace heading up the steep way. Feeling strong and proud at the top because I didn't have to stop once to catch my breath. I finally found by going up slow and steady I could do this. Usually I start strong and find myself having to stop a few times on that steep trail up. My heart was racing and my muscles tired, but I had done it.
Sitting there, catching my breath, I did feel a pang of loneliness. When I told the girls I was going to the "M" after I dropped them off at school Ava very correctly said "You'll be sad without us there with you". She was right. I love hearing their little voices on the way to the top. The conversations we have on the mountainside I hold close to my heart. However, I have come to terms with my babes growing up and spreading their wings at school. I no longer have babies or toddlers who need me twenty four seven. While they are exploring their new world and growing independence, I have to remember to find mine again. The separate one from mamahood. It is something I can always find on a mountain trail. So after a brief thought of my girls, I put my headphones back on and headed for my run down the long way. This is where it got comical. I had my car key stuck in my arm band along with my phone for music. I picked up my pace and felt like I was flying down the mountain. The run down is the best part. Muscles tired from the scramble up, push through. The view is of the surrounding mountains and our city nestled below them. I was passing people who were on a leisurely hike and with a quick good morning I ran past feeling like an Olympic runner. You get that feeling when running downhill and the wind pushing you on. My thoughts were clear and I felt happy and content. I'm over half-way down when I look down at my arm band and notice the key is gone. Sh*@. I was so lost in thoughts of flying down the mountain, feeling good, rocking out to Imagine Dragons on Pandora I didn't hear or feel them come loose and drop on the trail. I turned around and began to make my way back up, retracing my steps. Thinking...at least there is a red heart key chain on there so it should stand out. Also thinking if I don't find it I know my mom will come rescue me but dang, that key is gonna be expensive to replace. I see a woman coming down and I ask her if she noticed a key. Yes! She had seen it...a little further behind her near the sign for the short cut. I continued on my way, hoping the gentlemen I had passed on his way up the trail didn't also see it and decide to take it to the top to see if anyone lost it. As I approached the sign there was no key to be found. Looking up I saw the guy talking to two girls on their way down. I just knew they must have been talking about the key...but they were too far to yell. They parted ways and I hoped the guy had given them the key and not kept it on his way to the top. I continued my run to the girls and before I got to them, one held up the key with a big smile on her face. Phew. She said she knew it had to be mine because I had passed them earlier and she saw the red heart. (Matt you can stop making fun of my key chain now.) In the midst of this all my super cool purple shades had fallen off and both Sadi and I trampled on them. I had my key in one hand and broken, dog slobbered glasses in the other for my run back down the mountain. This time the smug feelings of flying down the mountain were quieter as I laughed at myself going up and down the trail. All is well that ends well, right? It was still an awesome run.
Our zucchini is going crazy right now. Matt didn't plant quite as much this year because he gets sick of it. It bums me out though because I love having more than I know what to do with. I put it in everything...bread, cookies, brownies, pasta sauce. I did get a batch of lemon chocolate chip zucchini cookies in and they didn't last long. And, I have been squeezing it into most meals. The other night I made zucchini parmesan...
This is the vegetarians version of chicken parmesan. It is so good. I sliced the zucchini and breaded it with panko breadcrumbs mixed with basil. (Dip it in a flour & salt mix, then beaten egg, then the panko to get it to stick well). I cooked them in oil and then placed on a cookie sheet. Top with parmesan and some fresh basil and bake until cheese is melty. We put them on top of a piece of good bread and then added homemade marinara. (I'll put my recipe at the bottom). I love zucchini.
Layla came running into the kitchen the other day with Matt's new hat on and exclaimed "MOM, I'm going to Michigan"
This got us all talking about an actual trip to Michigan. It is long overdue that we take these girls back to Matt's hometown. For them to meet cousins and aunts and uncles they only get to hear about and see photos of. I'm picturing a cabin on a lake in northern Michigan surrounded by Matt's family and friends. Girls getting a better idea of where their dad came from. You hear that MI friends and family??? Clear your summer schedules and give me ideas of the best places to go...it's time for these Montana girls to head to the Midwest.
(I have a few versions I like to make...this one I chose because I only had tomato paste and not a can of whole tomatoes. And, it's super easy)
Saute some diced onions and minced garlic in olive oil for around ten minutes. Add one can tomato paste along with 2-3 cans of water. Season with sea salt, pepper, and around a tsp of each of the following: basil, oregano, Mariam, sugar. Add a bay leaf or carrot. Simmer covered for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much time your have.