3 Cheese Mac n Cheese

When it is cold and dumping snow outside, nobody really wants to risk the 5 minute drive to the grocery store – especially me! I mean the chance of my poor car sliding on the tiny hill out of my driveway is already too great…

So for dinner last night, I scrambled together the lonely contents of my fridge and cupboards. Surprisingly the end result was quite delicious and a huge hit with M!

Shell or elbow pasta (half a box or more)

Goat cheese, half a log

1 8 oz Havarti cheese, grated on the thick side of the grater

Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup

2 tbsp butter

salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup (or more) steamed broccoli or other veggie leftovers

-cook pasta in salted water until just al dente

-drain pasta and add black pepper to taste (I like to grind it fresh over the pasta while it drains in the colander)

-stir in butter until pasta is coated throughout

-sprinkle one third of grated Havarti in and stir until melted, repeat with the next third and then the last third

-sprinkle half the Parmesan in and stir until melted

-stir in broccoli and any other veggies

-divide amongst bowls and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan

3 Cheese Mac n Cheese

3 Cheese Mac n Cheese

Havarti creaminess courtesy of Arla Dofino and my free sample from Bzzagent

Please don’t make me feel inadequate

Browsing the internet as we are wont to do (was there ever a more effective time suck?), I came across this comic What if Money was No Object?. At first glance, I am inspired to quit my job and go live in the country… as I am inspired every time I read one of these articles, quotes, blog posts, comments etc that flood my Facebook newsfeed on a constant basis.

I can’t help but feel that the incessant reminder that I am not necessarily living my dream or what I am ‘born’ to do, is not so much a positive call to action as a negative ‘Debbie downer’ if you will. Can you imagine if we all went into life with this mindset – I will do only what I love and who cares about money or living or surviving or helping my aged parents or luxury travel or, or or..?

If all humanity lived this way, I doubt we would have enough podiatrists, tax accountants, lawyers, post office workers, housekeepers or bikini waxers. It is doubtful that every highly compensated professional loves their job with a passion – they do not go home and practise filing tax returns for fun. In the same vein, more unattractive professions are often filled by those on their way to something better, or those willing to be paid to do what others do not want to do. It is called an economy after all.

I do envy the entrepreneurs and prodigies who take their dreams and passions and turn them into careers. This rant is by no means belittling those aspiring to do the same. I agree that it is healthier to love or at least enjoy your job since you spend the majority of your awake hours with it. What I do want to express is that reading about how we can ALL do this and how only our fear is holding us back does bring out the cynical shrew in me – is it not a touch selfish to tell everyone else how they are living their lives wrong, now that you own has tracked right? It also gives the younger generation (myself included) a false expectation of life. Surely if you want your dream enough, you can feed your taste for imported cheese with your fingerpainting skills? If you can’t – well then you just didn’t dream big enough, did you…

I am the first one to dream of living on my horse ranch, baking pies and pastries, and effortlessly churning out bestseller novels that pay for my lifestyle. If my visualizing powers are as potent as I believe, this will come to fruition sooner rather than later. In the meantime, being made to feel guilty for not throwing myself free of the so-called shackles of money and its pursuit is not how I wish to be motivated!

 

To each their own

To each their own

Summer Grand Traverse Trail Running Race

As an (almost) culmination to our summer of competitions, M and I completed the inaugural summer version of the Grand Traverse Ski Race. The race starts in downtown Crested Butte and finishes in Aspen 40 miles later (though our GPS read 40.68 miles). Entailing a mixture of singletrack, jeep roads and doubletrack; there were runners and mountain bikers competing.

For our first ultra race ever, I  was happy to finish full-stop, but we definitely weren’t among the top competitors! It pains me to say that I think we didn’t train enough on the right sort of terrain – up and down and up again vs. the usual BIG up we are used to, followed by mostly flats and downhills. My body definitely felt the effects of the brutal day, both during and after the race; and it may be a while before I walk without feeling  the burn in my poor legs.

We started in the early morning light, 6am in Crested Butte. The day promised to be clear and no thunderstorms were forecast – an important consideration with the high mountain passes we would be ascending and descending.

 

Highest elevation of the course - Star Pass

Highest elevation of the course – Star Pass

The first 30 miles I would categorize as relatively easy, we had a good pace and were chugging along nicely – walking the very steep stuff and making up ground steadily. And then we hit an absolute and insurmountable wall…

Aching knees and backs, pulled muscles, sunburn, even mosquito bites (once we descended into the area near the Barnard Hut) and general demotivation made that last stretch pretty miserable. The worst part of the day would have to be the 5 mile descent down Ajax mountain into Aspen. Sounds breezy right? Downhill after miles and miles of running in the heat (of course it was the hottest day of the summer according to numerous observers) should be a treat, right? No such thing – worn out feet and knees took the brunt of the steepest mountain I have ever seen and I would have dearly liked to crawl to the finish!

Still smiling at Star Pass, roughly mile 16

Still smiling at Star Pass, roughly mile 16

Despite all the laments above, I am happy to have crossed an ultra marathon off my bucket list, and the sense of achievement certainly feels tangible. The views were gorgeous and the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness felt remote and wild, despite the dirt bikes and ATVs we encountered on the trails throughout race day. It didn’t take one rest day before M was talking about going back next year to better our position on the field. I am not so convinced.

A finish line never looked so good

A finish line never looked so good

M has a couple of triathlons left this summer and I have one more race planned to do, a measly 11km which sounds blissful compared to what we just endured. After that, we both feel a long break is deserved… lots of reading and baking on the cards me thinks.