June 12, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Oatmeal Cake (and a 1929 news story)

While I was browsing through my heritage cookbook, I was going to try not to pick another baked good/dessert recipe--but when I saw who submitted this one, I knew I wanted to make it. I have an interesting story from July of 1929 to share. Normally, I don't like to write a bunch of stuff before the recipe because I know how annoying that is when you're going to a website for recipes! This heritage series is a bit different, though, as it's as much about heritage as it is about recipes (to me, anyway).

If you're just here for the recipe, here is the printer-friendly, no-nonsense version!

Otherwise, please bear with me while I explain the who's-who of this story.

This recipe for Oatmeal Cake was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Marge Robillard, in memory of her mother, Agnes Woodcroft.

Backstory: Until I was 15 years old, I lived next door to Theodore (Ted) and Marge Robillard, an elderly couple. They had grandchildren who stayed with them (a lot--for months and even years at a time). The oldest (Brian) was my age, and the middle one (Mike) was my younger brother's age. They had a younger sister as well.

Anyway, I was very good friends with Brian and Mike. When I talk about my "childhood friends", Brian and Mike are two of them. I remember playing at their grandparents' house when I was a kid, but I honestly cannot remember anything about Marge. When Ted and Marge had both passed away, Brian and Mike's mom and dad moved into the house.

Here is a picture of Brian and me. I wish I could remember what the heck we were doing! Hahaha.

The following story has nothing to do with Marge's recipe, but it's actually about Marge's (future-at-the-time) sister-in-law. In 1929, Ted Robillard (Brian and Mike's grandpa) was 12 years old. He had a 13-year old sister named Goldie. Goldie was invited to go to a beach cottage for the weekend with her friend's family... and her friend just so happened to be DeLand Mercure (does that name ring a bell? That's my grandpa!).

I'm going to include the actual The Monroe Evening News article here, dated July 1, 1929. I had to type it out because the photocopy of the article is kind of hard to read.



Body is Recovered After Two Hours; Efforts at Resuscitation Fail

While hundreds of resorters looked on and many made frantic attempts to rescue her, Goldie Robillard, 13-year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morise Robillard of South Rockwood, drowned shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday while bathing in the dredge out at the mouth of the Sandy Creek, just south of Detroit Beach. DeLand Mercure, aged 13 years, her companion, narrowly escaped death in attempting to save her.

The children had hurried home from a moving picture show to the Detroit Beach cottage of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Mercure of South Rockwood, parents of DeLand, where Goldie was a week-end guest. Goldie went wading along the short, and for a while was content to practice the swimming strokes which she had just learned at the Girl Scout camp at Manitou Beach.

Apparently without realizing it, she edged out into the deeper water from which she had been warned, both by DeLand, who is an excellent swimmer, and by Mr. and Mrs. Mercure, who had come down to the lake a few minutes before to make sure the youngsters were all right.

As soon as the girl got beyond her depth young Mercure came to her assistance and struggled for several minutes to bring her back to shore. She pulled him under several times and as she became more and more frightened she made rescue more difficult. By this time scores of men, women and children were attracted to the scene. Several of the bathers went to the assistance of the struggling children and one man, whose name has not been learned, reached the girl before she went down. She grappled with him, tore his bathing suit and scratched him badly, and in his efforts to break loose from her grip he lost his own hold and the girl went down.

In the meantime, the boy had become exhausted and was in danger of drowning. He was rescued by Walter Kunder, a life guard who was attracted by the screams of the girl. DeLand was so far gone that it took many minutes to revive him and for a time his life was thought to be in danger. He was taken to the cottage of his parents, where he is still suffering from the effects of his experience.

A call was put in for Coroner George Huber and another for Dr. W. W. Bond. Both responded promptly, but were unable to do anything because the body of the girl could not be recovered. It was not until members of the South Rockwood post of state police arrived with grappling irons that the body was brought up, shortly after 8 o'clock.

Efforts were made to revive the girl, but they were entirely without avail. The newly purchased Huber pulmotor was used but the girl had been in the water too long to make it effective.

The channel in which Goldie Robillard was drowned has long been regarded as dangerous. A number of drownings have occurred there, although none within a period of more than a year. Cottagers from neighboring beaches have been warned to avoid the place, which is more than 20 feet deep in places, and, like all creek mouths, full of treacherous currents. The dredge cut is apart from all the beaches, but many bather are attracted to it because it is deep enough for diving.

The Robillard and the Mercure families have been neighbors and close friends for a good many years. Goldie Robillard was a week-end guest at the Mercure cottage at Detroit Beach. On Sunday she had been invited to extend her visit to a week, had obtained the permission of her parents and had accepted the invitation.

The Robillard girl had just graduated from the eighth grade and was to have entered the South Rockwood high school in the fall. She was a member of the Campfire Girls, and also of the junior choir of St. Mary's Catholic Church of South Rockwood. The girl, who would have been 14 years old in October, had a wide circle of friends both among children and grown-ups.

Besides her parents, she leaves three brothers and two sisters, all at home. They are George, aged 22 years, Mildred, aged 19 years, Theodore, aged 12 years, Joseph, aged 8 years, and Naomi, aged 4 years. Mr. Robillard is a clerk of Berlin township, and has served for 23 years as a section foreman on the Grand Trunk railway.

Isn't that simply heartbreaking? I was stunned when I saw this recently while asking questions about my grandparents. This is such a tragic story--and it makes me think about how hard that would have been for my grandpa, seeing his good friend drown at just 13-years old. That's not something you can ever get over. I don't know if he kept in touch with the Robillards afterward. My being next-door neighbors to Ted was entirely coincidence.

Anyway, Goldie's brother Theodore (Ted) grew up and married Marge. And Marge is the one who submitted this recipe for Oatmeal Cake to the Historical Society.

NOW, on to the recipe...!

This was a unique cake--not only because of the oatmeal, but because of the "frosting". I put that in quotes, because it's not a typical frosting. You spread it on the cake and then put it under the broiler, which toasts the coconut and nuts, and caramelizes the sugar. 

As usual, I made this recipe exactly as written (which I will post word-for-word below). Any notes or clarifications will be in my notes after the recipe.

Oatmeal Cake

1-1/4 c. boiling water
1 c. raw oats
1/2 c. soft margarine
1 c. sugar
1 c. firmly-packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Pour water over oats. Let stand 20 minutes. Beat margarine; gradually add sugars. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, soda, salt, and spices. Stir in oats. Blend well. Pour into greased 9x9-inch pan. Bake at 350 F for 50 to 55 minutes.


1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. coconut
3 T. light cream or milk
1/2 c. nutmeats

Melt butter. Add sugar, milk, nuts, and coconut. Spread on cake. Broil until bubbly. Very good!


This was another pretty straight-forward recipe. As far as ingredients, the "soda" is obviously baking soda; and I learned in a previous recipe that nutmeats are just nuts (I chose to use pecans). It didn't specify sweetened or unsweetened coconut--I had unsweetened coconut on hand, so I used that.

The cake part of this is very moist and tastes just like zucchini bread--it's delicious! The frosting gets crispy under the broiler, so it's a different texture than what you'd expect on a cake. I'd actually think this would be just fine without the frosting/topping. I would have liked a more typical frosting texture.

Now that I think of it, there is a recipe in the heritage book for "banana filling for a cake" and I always wondered what kind of cake you would use that for. Well, I think this one would be perfect! I'll be making this cake again in the future and I'll try out that banana filling as well. The cake is very tall, so it would work out to split it and put a filling in there. Or, it could be baked in a 9x13 pan to thin it out a little.

Regardless, Marge was correct when she wrote this cake was "Very good!" on her recipe ;)

The batter before going in the oven:

I couldn't find any toothpicks, so I stuck a butter knife in to check if it was done--that's why it looks a little butchered.

This is the topping before I put it in the oven. I realized just now that I forgot to add the milk! I was supposed to have added 3 Tbsp. of milk, which would have thinned it a little--but not by much. I'm assuming it wouldn't have made a huge difference.

After putting it under the broiler for a few minutes (I watched it like a hawk! I was sure I was going to burn it. I literally laid on the floor in front of the oven watching it under the broiler.)

Just for fun, since I shared that news article about my grandpa (Pippi), here is a "recipe" that was included in my grandma's (Gobby) recipe collection:

Salmon Balls

One Friday, Pippi asked Gobby
what was for dinner.
Gobby said, "Salmon Balls."
Pippi said, "I didn't know salmon
had balls."

The more I learn about him, the more I wish I could have known him! Here is a picture I saw of him only recently:

June 11, 2021

Friday Night Photos

It's Friday night, and I have the house all to myself (well, for a few hours, anyway). Jerry's working, Noah's working, and Eli is staying at a friend's house because he is leaving early in the morning to go on a short fishing trip tomorrow. I'm really excited for him--he's been talking about this trip for a year! They had wanted to go last year, but with COVID, things changed.

Anyway, I have no fun plans for myself--I just plan on mending a bunch of clothes that have been piling up (hemming pants, stitching loose seams, stuff like that). This is my photo haul for the week... nothing too exciting, unfortunately!

Noah brought this mocha + chocolate flavored KitKat home from work and gave it to me. It didn't sound very good, but I tried it and oh, wow--it tastes a LOT like a Coffee Crisp bar! My very favorite candy bar is called Coffee Crisp, but it's a Canadian product (I'm sure you can find them in specialty stores here and there in the States, but I have never found them outside of Canada). Whenever any of my family members goes to Canada, it's pretty much mandatory that they bring back Coffee Crisps for everyone ;)  I can't even remember the last time I had one, it's been so long... but this KitKat tasted a lot like it. (The Coffee Crisp is still better, though.)

Remember the project I said I was working on in the garage using the 2x4's I had from the workbench I built (and then disassembled)? Well, this is it! I am SO tired of chasing after Phoebe every time she sneaks out of the house. (She hides by the door, and the very second it's opened, she darts out.)

I've been wanting to build a "catio" type outdoor enclosure for the cats. Ideally, I would connect it to the house next to the window, so the cats could go in and out as they please. However, lumber is so expensive right now that I'd have to sell a kidney to have the funds to build the catio. So I used what materials I had (I even had the screening) to build this little thing. I made one of the sides on a track so it could slide in and out. I put a little bench in there and I sewed a hammock to hang.

And a few days later, I disassembled it... ugh! For as much as Phoebe wants to be outside, I thought she'd be thrilled to get to hang out in there--but she wanted nothing to do with it. So maybe someday, I'll build one that connects to the house--I think she'd like that better--but for now, I'll just have to keep chasing after her.

This. If, somehow, I could transmit smells through this blog post, you would be retching right now. Remember when Eli caught his dream fish--a 47-inch muskie? He released it, but was thinking about saving his money to get a taxidermy version that is made by using the measurements and photos of the actual fish (that way, he could have a memento but the fish wouldn't be harmed).

Well, a few days ago, my dad found an enormous (dead) muskie that had washed up from the lake behind his house. It was 50 inches long! He suggested to Eli that he could clean up the skull--an impressive thing to have, I guess. Eli thought it was a great idea and started researching how to clean bones. We even watched a Dirty Jobs episode where Mike Rowe is a "skull cleaner".

Eli started by boiling the head to get all of the meat off. This fish had been sitting on the beach for a couple of days, so it already smelled so bad I couldn't even stand near it outside without a mask on! I told him that there is no way that he can do it in the house, nor can he use one of my cooking pots. I bought a big pot from Salvation Army so he could use that and then throw it away.

Once all of the bones were clean, he started working on whitening them--we've tried baking soda, vinegar, peroxide, and bleach (not all at the same time). Now they are drying out and once they're completely dry, he has to piece the skull together with superglue. (The bones separated once the tissue came off.)

Eli was so mad when I was taking this picture--he kept gagging from the smell and he couldn't get a grip on the skull. The joys of boys! ;) 

Poor little Duckling... he SO badly wants to befriend Estelle and Phoebe (but especially Estelle). Estelle is like the popular mean girl in high school and she totally snubs him. He tries so hard, too--he follows her around like a little puppy dog, and when she looks at him, he immediately rolls over onto his back and looks at her like, "Wanna play?" She glares and hisses at him, then walks off. 

Duck just doesn't give up! In this picture, Estelle was sitting on top of one of the cupboards in the kitchen. Duck sat on the floor and just watched her for the longest time. When she got down, he went up there and took her spot. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?

I was washing our bedding, and naturally, when the bed looks different (no sheets) the cats are drawn to it. Estelle was napping up there, and Duck was pacing around, watching her. I could tell he wanted to go up there with her. He finally got up the nerve and jumped up next to her. He kept inching his way closer to her until he was practically touching her.

Until he was all up in her business, haha. He wanted to cuddle with her so badly--and I'm shocked that she let him touch her.

This was from today. Estelle and Phoebe were chillin' on their throw pillows/beds near the window and I could see Duck watching them, trying to figure out where he could fit. So I brought over one of the other cat pillows and set it down next to the "cool kids"--and Duck found a way to feel like he fit in ;)

Meanwhile, Chick was content hanging out with the misfits (i.e. Joey)...

Look how huge Chick has gotten! He's such a pretty cat.

When I was cooking dinner, Eli asked Jerry if he'd go outside and play catch with him. They do that a lot while I am cooking dinner and it warms my heart. But I was shocked when I looked outside and saw Noah playing, too! He is not interested in playing baseball anymore and there are many other things he'd rather be doing. I loved that the three of them were playing. So, I took my time making dinner!

My book choice for June. I'm about halfway done with it and I like it! I'll write a review after I finish.

I babysat Luke and Riley last week, and when it was time for me to leave, they ran to the door and put on Jerry's steel-toed work boots and Eli's shoes. It was funny watching them walk around like that.

You know I'm not a salad person, but I was in the rare mood for one, and I made the most delicious salad EVER. I marinated the chicken in a chipotle marinade and it was amazing. And I lightly coated the lettuce with an avocado ranch dressing. This was heavenly. (I will have to post the recipe for the chicken--I use it for burrito bowls and for quesadillas, too.)

Jerry's been going disc golfing with a friend lately and I love that he's getting out and doing that again. He was talking about wanting a hobby, but he couldn't think of something that he was interested in getting into. He and his friend both love disc golfing, so I'm glad that they've been going together. (If you're not familiar with disc golfing, it's basically glorified frisbee--but don't ever make the mistake of calling it "frisbee" to a disc golfer, because you will never hear the end of it! Haha. But really, it's actually a very challenging sport.)

And that's all I have for the week! Have a great weekend :)

June 10, 2021

Fruit Salad

I've been racking my brain trying to think of something to write about today, and I'm completely blank! So, I'll just post this picture of a fruit salad I made this morning.

Not exactly exciting, but since I've been obsessed with fruit over the last couple of weeks, I just bought a ton of it and threw it all together: cantaloupe, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and grapes. Between Noah and me, this bowl will be gone in probably two days ;) 

June 09, 2021

Weight Loss Wednesday

I'm not turning "Weight Loss Wednesday" into a thing--but it has a ring to it and since I'm going to write about weight loss today, it was fitting. I always used to do my weigh-ins on Wednesdays--"Wednesday Weigh-In"--and I can't even remember the last time I did one! It's been a very long time.

I haven't kept it a secret or anything that I've gained weight, so it's not like I'm trying to hide that fact. The reason I stopped doing the weigh-ins is because I wasn't losing anything. I knew what I needed to do to lose the weight I'd gained, but I wasn't doing it. It was depressing to post another weigh-in showing that I'd gained or at least not lost anything.

I'm definitely embarrassed about the weigh gain--I always wondered if it would happen to me and I was very careful not to use statements like, "I'll NEVER be overweight again". Because I simply didn't know what the future held! Nobody loses weight with the intention of gaining it back. I'm just grateful that I haven't gained back all of it (or even half of it).

Seeing people again after a year of only going out to the grocery store here and there, thanks to COVID-19, I am very self-conscious of my weight. I actually hadn't gained much over the last year--I gained it in 2018-2019, I believe--but I just became very aware of it after the lockdown.

I was scrolling through Instagram one day and saw someone's post about a DietBet. I'd done one before several years ago and it really helped me to get back on track. DietBet is a website that has different "games" you can sign up for--the basic one is that you bet $35 (you pay up front) that you will lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks' time. At the end, everyone who has reached their 4% goal splits the pot (AFTER DietBet takes out their large fee). DietBet does guarantee that you'll get back at least 100% of your bet as long as you reach your goal, though.

I signed up for a 4-week game that was $100. (The more I bet, the more I'm at risk of losing.) It runs from May 25-June 21.

When I did my initial weigh-in for the DietBet, I nearly died. Eventually, I will write the actual numbers, but I feel vulnerable enough just writing about all this--so I'll give it a little more time. I was horrified at my initial weigh-in, so I started immediately with calorie counting and the Couch to 5K plan.

I'm over two weeks in now, and I have stuck with it 100%. The last time I was this disciplined was the first month of 75 Hard last year (July-August). I've tried numerous times over the last few years to feel determined again, to have the discipline needed to make uncomfortable changes in order to develop better habits. I had gotten out of all of the good habits I'd developed, so I was starting from scratch. And it's HARD. You all know how hard it is to change habits! We all know what to do, but actually doing it seems impossible sometimes.

Anyway, the scale has been moving downward (a significant amount!) so my hard work is paying off. I don't know what it is about this DietBet that has really lit a fire under me to just do this. Getting back to counting calories wasn't as bad as I was imagining. Having the calories from all of my recipes already calculated and saved in the Fat Secret app helps a lot.

I've been eating a ton of fruit this week--it reminds me of when I used to post my food logs, which included millions of grapes, and a couple of people always commented that grapes weren't any better than candy--just "diabetes in a bowl", hahaha. Well, grapes are my secret weapon ;)

Since the DietBet is only four weeks, and it's going to take significantly longer than four weeks to get my weight back down to a comfortable number, I actually decided to sign up for a six-month DietBet. 

You pay $35 per month (or $175 up front--if you pay all at once, you get a month free and you still split the pot equally in the end) and you have to lose 10% of your weight in 6 months. You have to do monthly weigh-ins and if you fail to reach a certain point each month, then you lose (that's to prevent people from starving themselves in the last month in order to reach their goals).

The reason I like this idea is because of the accountability of each month's weigh-in. If it was just a weigh-in at the beginning and then one more at the end, it wouldn't be as helpful (for me, anyway). Having to weigh-in once a month will make me much more likely to stick with it. That's the whole point of doing the DietBet, anyway--I want a tool to help me get back to a comfortable weight, and for whatever reason, this is helping!

I wanted to start one that would overlap my current one, just so that I don't "take days off" in-between. I want to do this for the long haul so that I can feel good about myself again. Even if the change isn't noticeable now, I DO feel better about myself--just the fact that I feel in control again and not entirely hopeless helps a lot!

(Since I'm pretty sure someone will ask, this is the six-month DietBet I'm participating in. It runs from June 14-December 13.) I'm hoping that in a couple more weeks, I'll be confident enough that I'm in this for the long haul in order to start posting Wednesday Weigh-Ins again. For now, I'll at least try to post progress and updates on Wednesdays.

For those of you that joined the 4-week DietBet with me, how are you doing? Has the accountability helped?

June 08, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #30

I'm down to the last couple of transformations in my inbox. They're great ones(!) but now I need to beg for  more so I can continue Transformation Tuesdays. I look forward to putting these posts together every week. Opening the Transformation Tuesday emails is kind of like opening gifts on Christmas--not knowing what kind of transformations they hold, but always feeling inspired :)

This first one has a long story with it, but editing it down would take away from the extent of the transformation. Enjoy!

I live in the Boston area, and with the pandemic it has been nearly impossible to adopt a pet--so many people adopted, shelter pets are scarce. Several of our (really terrific!) shelters "import" pets from high-kill shelters in other states (Florida, Texas, Georgia, etc), to try to meet the demand. However, just getting an appointment to *see* any adoptable cats was like finding a vaccine appointment--nearly impossible--I'd applied and been on the "approved adopter" list for several shelters since late January and was still waiting.

Anyway, in mid April I was looking at one particular shelter website and saw a cat called an "unfurgettable friend"--which is "shelter-speak" for a shy/scared cat that needs some extra attention, and I emailed an application immediately. I had applied for other cats at that shelter before, so I didn't get my hopes up.

However, that day (April 15th), I got an email asking if I could meet this cat at 10:30am the next morning (schedules are strict due to COVID protocols)--the shelter folks were really nice, but if I didn't take that appointment I knew that it would go to the next suitable adopter.

(Of course it was heavily snowing (!) the next day (April 16th), and the shelter was 45 minutes away and I don't like to drive in the snow--but it makes for a good story.)

I met the cat, who was an owner-surrender, just over a year old. She'd been in different shelters for almost seven weeks, because even though the shelter in Georgia had said she had a sweet personality...at the Boston shelter, she was upset, scared, angry--it took weeks for her to start to calm down-- weeks in which she sat in her (soiled) litter box, hissed, swatted, and growled. This girl was not good with change, and I can relate.

By the time I saw her, she was rubbing her head against the bars of her cage to try to get pets and reaching out to touch me. But because of her temperament, they wouldn't let any visitors take her out of her cage (I understood.) My heart broke: this cat needed to be in a home.

The shelter has 5 or 6 animal behavior experts on staff, so the next step was for me to meet with one of them to talk about how best to help her feel safe and to adjust (and to make sure I was safe). Part of this shelter's promise is that I can speak to/meet with anyone on their behavior staff for the rest of this animal's life, they really want to make adoptions work--and then they brought her out to me already in a carrier.

I named her Gilda, and she lived in my bathroom for nearly a week. She has *never* hissed, swatted, tried to bite or scratch me, but it was clear she was terrified. She has really unusual coloring-- I've never seen a cat quite like her-- hard to tell in the photos, but her fur is almost white, with some black hair mixed in and with pale peach patches--her whiskers are black and white.

She is a mess and I love her. She has some skin and digestion issues (so many black heads, ugh). The first night she was with me she peed in the bed I bought for her--and, well, let's just say she was too scared to use the litter box. She moans when stressed out and growls when she hears an unfamiliar noise. She is terrified of towels.

But it's been nearly four weeks and: she's never missed the litter box since that first day, she figured out what her bed was for (and decided sleeping with me was okay, too), she loves crinkle-ball toys and little mice and constantly rubs her cheeks on my nose. The first night she was brave enough to leave the bathroom, she jumped on my bed and slowly maneuvered her way into my armpit--so that her face was resting in my neck. While she was purring, I was crying from happiness.

We have a ways to go: my mom tried to meet her and Gilda hid in the tub; she also needs to have her medical issues addressed. We have a vet appointment next week and I have anti-anxiety medication for her if I can get her to swallow the pill, ha! She and I have been "practicing" with her carrier-- I put toys and treats and an old smelly t-shirt in there and she seems ok with that.

Enjoy the before and not-quite-after (maybe during) photos!

- Michelle, New England

The adventures of the summer cottage continue! I was fortunate the tenant left me all her furniture for $1000--all of the beds, couches, the works. First project: paint the walls this Cuba-inspired color “Dinner Mint”; get the trim back to white; and paint the bookshelves the distinct coral and purple! (Here is the link to the transformation of the outside of the cottage.)

- Lindsay

Michelle, I LOVE that you adopted Gilda--you are the perfect person for her. It requires so much patience and compassion to understand the needs of a cat like Gilda. She's clearly very comfortable with you and is slowly letting her guard down. What a sweetheart!

Lindsay, holy smokes! The cottage looks so happy and fun. I have to admit, I never would have chosen those colors (I have a terrible eye for design) but you couldn't have picked better colors for the place--it looks amazing! Also, you did a great job with the before and after photos--seeing things from the same angle always adds to the "WOW" factor ;)

Thank you so much for sharing! Remember, I'm always looking for more transformations to post, so if you have one to share, please send me an email at: Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Include a before photo and an after photo, as well as your name and a description of the transformation.

June 07, 2021

Couch to 5K : Week 2 Recap

It feels like much longer than two weeks ago that I began the Couch to 5K plan (again) and started participating in the DietBet. Like I mentioned, after seeing my initial weigh-in, I was so stunned and horrified that I immediately began the Couch to 5K plan and counting calories in my food.

I've stuck with the calorie counting right to a T. I can't even tell you how long it's been since I've done that! I'll write more about my diet/weight loss/DietBet stuff on Wednesday. For now, I just want to recap the Couch to 5K so far.

Each week of Couch to 5K has three workouts. The workout for this week (on all three days) was:

6 x (run 90 seconds, walk 2 minutes)

On paper, that looks like a piece of cake! I've run full marathons, so getting back to running 90 seconds at a time? Easy peasy.

Well. I was in for a surprise.

I took Joey with me (it's so hard not to when he gets crazy excited to see me with my Garmin and getting my shoes on). He's actually gotten really good on the leash, so I don't mind having him run with me. Actually, on my third run of the first week, I sent a message to Roomba's "mom" (Roomba is a black German Shepherd that became Joey's best friend when we were walking every day). I told her that we'd be out for a walk if Roomba was free to play.

It was SO CUTE. I wish I'd taken a video of Joey when he saw Roomba (it was the first he'd seen her in months--ever since we stopped our daily five-mile walks). He lit up like a kid on Christmas morning and started jumping around. I let him off leash and he FLEW across the street to see Roomba. They immediately started running circles around Roomba's house--this always cracks me up because Joey will be chasing Roomba, but she's much faster, so eventually she comes up behind him. He gets so confused, haha!

Anyway, seeing their reunion was so fun. I'm going to make it a point to take him out there more often (it's only three miles round trip from my house).

For Couch to 5K Week 1, I had to run 60 seconds and walk 90 seconds (repeat 8 times). Even that felt really hard to me. Still, I figured that 90-second intervals this week couldn't be too bad. I don't know if it was the hot weather or just being really out of shape (probably both) but it was a struggle for sure. I am basically starting from scratch, and I had forgotten how hard it was to get started running.

I took this picture after my run to show how RED my face was--it looked even redder in person than in the picture. 

I know from experience that the answer is to run slower. I was always telling the kids on my cross country team, "If it feels too hard, slow down". My pace was slower this week (due to the longer intervals). And I imagine my pace will get slower each week as I run longer intervals.

My main goal at the end of this is to be able to run three miles at an easy pace. That's it! I remember feeling like an "easy three-miler" was nothing--I could do it in my sleep. Now, it seems like a big mountain in the distance. I know I can get there again if I do the work, though.

My second workout this week was really rough. I was super tired and I think that had something to do with it. And then my third one was on the treadmill (it was insanely hot outside, so I chose to run indoors). I don't love the treadmill, simply because I cannot get my Garmin to read correctly; I have to manually edit the distance later.

There isn't much info to gain from the intervals this week, because they are so short. But this is what Week 2 looked like (each workout--not counting the warm-up--is 21 minutes in Week 2):

Next week, the workouts are: 2 x (run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds; run 0.25 miles, walk 0.25 miles). This week, my running intervals were only about 1/8 of a mile, so jumping up to a quarter mile is going to feel so much longer. But I just have to remember to slow the pace, and I'll be able to finish!

June 06, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Drömtårta (Swedish Dream Cake)

My kids have been requesting that I bake a dessert--they have loved this heritage recipe series because I've been baking--something I never used to do! I don't think I've gotten any better at baking (you've seen my screw ups) but I'm learning and some things turn out really good.

This drömtårta is one of them. Holy smokes, this is amazing.

Drömtårta means "dream cake" in Swedish. And after making this, I described it to the kids like "you know, those Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls that I used to buy"? (This is really embarrassing, but before I lost the weight, I would eat a whole box of those in one binge.)

This recipe is basically a very delicious, rich, authentic, Swedish version of a Swiss Cake Roll! It's not sickeningly sweet, either--the filling is very rich, but that's mainly due to the butter. There is relatively a small amount of sugar when you compare it to the amount of butter. Because the filling is so rich, I found that one piece of this (one-eighth of the roll) was extremely satisfying--I literally wasn't even tempted to eat more.

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Marion Fields, in memory of her Swedish grandmother, Gerda Svenssen.

As usual with the heritage recipes, I am going to write this out exactly as written and follow the instructions without changes or substitutions. You can read my notes for anything that is unclear. The printable version is the recipe written out with any clarifications.

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Drömtårta (Dream Cake, Authentic Swedish Recipe

3 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cocoa

Beat eggs until foamy, gradually add sugar. Beat 10 minutes. Sift together twice the salt, baking powder, cornstarch, and cocoa. Sift dry ingredients over eggs. Fold in carefully. Pour into lined jellyroll pan. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes. Turn out on waxed paper sprinkled with sugar, leave pan on. Cool. Remove pan and paper. Spread with filling. Roll up lengthwise jellyroll-fashion.

3/4 c. butter
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 c. cocoa

Cream butter with egg yolk, vanilla, and cocoa. Beat in sugar.

My notes:

This recipe was really straight-forward. I knew all of the ingredients well and had them on hand. I had to look up the size of a jellyroll pan, because I didn't know if I had one--it's a 10x15 inch size, and I was in luck!

The only thing that gave me pause was the egg yolk in the filling. I know that eating raw eggs is a no-no, so if you are concerned about that, then you'll have to find a substitution. I, however, sampled my share of raw cookie dough, brownie batter, cake batter, etc. in my lifetime, and I'm probably immune to all illness that come inside of a raw egg. (I'm kidding! About being immune, I mean--I know the risks of raw eggs.) So, staying true to the recipe, I went ahead and made the filling with the raw egg yolk.

Interestingly (to me), there is no flour in this recipe! I have no idea how that works, but it does.

Here is what it looked like, step by step:

The sifted cocoa ingredients...

Lined jellyroll pan...

The texture of the batter before adding the cocoa mixture...

After folding the cocoa mixture in...

Just before going into the oven...

I thought maybe I'd made a mistake with the filling, because it definitely didn't look like enough (what you see below is all of the filling). However, once spreading it out, it was perfect.

I'm HORRIBLE at spreading frosting on cakes because I get crumbs everywhere. I cannot, for the life of me, frost a cake without getting crumbs all up in the frosting. However, maybe because there is no flour in this recipe, the filling didn't pull any crumbs off the cake! I was still careful while spreading, but the cake stayed intact while I spread the filling.

I rolled it up and trimmed a little off the ends, so you could see the swirl...

I sliced it into eight pieces, and I think those were the perfect size. Very satisfying, but not too big.

June 05, 2021

A Non-Post

Well, this is going to be a non-post... I have a headache and nothing I do seems to be helping. Also, I completely forgot about cooking a heritage recipe today! I picked up some groceries this morning, which would have been the perfect time to buy whatever ingredients I needed for a recipe, and I guess I just lost track of what day it is. (I hate these "non-posts" that I do sometimes, but if I skip days of writing on my blog, I'll get back in the habit of rarely writing--and I don't want that.)

Thankfully, I managed to get in my run this morning. I'll write more about that on Monday or Wednesday. I'm still working on Couch to 5K. Joey is as out of shape as I am--this is what he did as soon as we got back today (and it was only 20 minutes of run/walking):

Anyway, I am going to look through some recipes in the morning and hopefully make something tomorrow. 

Have a great weekend! 

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