August 11, 2011

Gorgeous day

When I woke up yesterday and stepped outside for a minute, I was shocked at how perfect the weather was! I put on jeans and a sweatshirt and sat outside on the porch for a long time while the kids rode their bikes on our street all morning, and then I took them for a longer bike ride. That's why I didn't write a blog yesterday. I really didn't have much to say anyway.

The kids both had doctor's appointments for physicals in the afternoon. They were SO HYPER. I was kind of embarrassed that I had "those" kind of kids, running all over the place and making all kinds of noise. But they're 5 & 7 years old--and BOYS, at that--so that's what boys do, right?  They each needed a vaccination, and they took it like little champs. So after their appointment, I took them to a frozen custard place to redeem coupons for free cones.

When I got home, I had to do my scheduled 4-miler. Since it was so gorgeous outside, I kept thinking how perfect it would be for a run. However, I had no one to watch my kids, so I had to settle for the dreadmill :(  Since it was an "easy" run on the schedule, I decided to set the speed on 5.6 mph (a 10:43/mi pace) and NOT TOUCH IT the entire time. See, normally when I do the dreadmill, I want to get it over with as fast as possible, so I start at about 6.5 mph and then keep increasing it until by the end, I'm at about 7.5 or 8.0. I'll finish 3 miles in about 25-26 minutes. Needless to say, it's exhausting! And of course I'm miserable the whole time.

So by setting the speed at 5.6 (and leaving it there), I truly felt like it was an "easy" run and I actually didn't *hate* the 4-mile run! I wore my Garmin just to keep track of my heart rate, and it stayed in the right zone for an easy run. When my kids asked me questions, I wasn't barking out answers--I was able to speak in sentences. If I go slow and easy like I'm supposed to on the easy runs, I honestly don't mind the dreadmill all that much!

After my run, I quickly showered and got ready to go to Jerry's softball game. I dropped the kids off at Vacation Bible School and then went to the game. His games are always fun, but yesterday the guys were really going at it with their making fun of each other, and I was cracking up the whole time. At one point, I was talking to the girlfriend of one of the players, and the guys all started yelling "Heads up!" which scares the shit out of me when I hear it. I noticed that they were looking my way, and when I looked up, I saw the softball way up in the air coming straight down to where I was sitting. I covered my head and cringed (yes, I should have moved, but I was frozen). The ball came right down on the arm of my chair, but didn't hit me.

I've been meaning to post this Baked Ziti recipe for a while, so I'm finally getting around to it. Don't be fooled by the lack of ingredients in this--it's SO GOOD. I was trying to imitate the baked ziti at Sbarro's. When I was a teenager, I loved Sbarro's baked ziti at the mall. So this is what I came up with. Trust me, I tried adding all kinds of Italian herbs and spices and different cheeses and all that... but I always come back to this recipe. My kids even clean their plates when I make this.

Baked Ziti

8 oz. (dry) ziti or penne pasta (I wouldn't recommend whole wheat pasta here)
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 (15 oz) can plain tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. In a 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish, combine the ricotta, 3/4 of the tomato sauce, and all of the parmesan cheese. When the pasta is done cooking, add it to the dish and stir well to combine everything. Top with the rest of the tomato sauce and spread it around. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes, until hot.
Makes 4 servings. Nutrition info per serving (using Smart Taste pasta):

What is your "perfect weather" day?  I love love love sweatshirt-and-jeans-type weather. Fall in Michigan is the perfect time of year for me--the colors are gorgeous, the temperature is in the 50-60's, and it just SMELLS like fall.


  1. I love fall, when it gets crisp and the temps drop. Unfortunately here that happens in late November and only lasts for a month, but what can you do. One day I will live up north again...

  2. We don't have much of a Fall here in Texas. But, I do love when I can throw on a sweatshirt with my shorts.
    You can send us some of you gorgeous weather! 102 degrees in Houston today. UGH. I do my running at 4am & it's still hot.
    Your baked Ziti looks good. I'll have to put it in my recipe rotation next week. Yum!

  3. October is my favorite month here in East Texas. The weather is absolutely gorgeous the sun is still shining but the air is cooling off and blowing a nice steady breeze. The trees are all beautiful hues. There are leaves on the ground dancing through the street as each gust of wind picks up.

    and hooray for baked ziti! Thank You Thank You Thank YOU! :)

  4. My favorite weather is fall too. I love weather that is not too hot, and not too cool. If it could be between 50 and 70 all year round I would be happy! But I was pretty excited about yesterdays weather here in Michigan. It was definitely gorgeous! =)

  5. Fall is my favorite time of year. October is my favorite month.

    The perfect weather though is around 70-75 degrees. I'm not a fan of it any hotter than that!

  6. I'm with you--Fall is my favorite season. I love the crispness in the air. Sometimes I will come out of the building after work, and it is so beautiful, I say to myself, "This is why I put up with the shitty winters and summers in Nebraska--because once in a while we get a day like this!" Today is one of those days, are we getting Fall early this year? Because that would be fine with me!

    I took a 6-mile bike ride last night, I saw you had gone 6 miles plus, so I said to myself, if Katie can do it, so can I. I had gone 5.5 miles in the past, but 6 miles was a new distance record for me, even though I realize it's NOT very far. It took me 49 minutes. The absolute best part about riding that bike is the coasting. When you can coast down a hill for a bit, and feel that cool air blowing in your face, it's simply glorious. That is my happy place!

  7. I love fall too. Cool, crisp, dry air - it's so refreshing! I think the changing seasons are great -and love having all 4 here in Wisconsin...Winter's a little too long, though.
    BTW - found your blog recently, really enjoy your insight on weight loss/maintenance - after all these years of gaining and losing I still have something to learn from others experiences. Your writing style is nice, too.Have a nice day!

  8. I can feel that fall is right around the corner, the mornings and evenings are much cooler than they were last month. I love to go hiking in the mountains in October - love the colors and the sound of the crunching leaves. Unfourtunately it does lead to winter!! :o)

    Your baked ziti recipe looks awesome, I'm gonna try it!

  9. You know what I did on my first "fall" like day back here in Michigan? I sat on my deck all day and read... enjoying the breeze... I love it here.-- Vanillamama

  10. that baked ziti looks amazing!!!!!


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