Monthly Archives: January 2017

National Chocolate Cake Day


National Chocolate Cake Day

Hello friends! Could there be any other day as great as national chocolate cake day? Fun fact. I’m not a cake person. I would prefer pie. BUT if I am going to eat cake, it shall be chocolate. I’m not wasting calories on white or yellow cake.

I wanted to celebrate this year but not have an entire cake in my house to eat all by myself. (My husband is diabetic and does not eat sweets.)

What better idea than a chocolate cake in a cup?

Pick a big mug. The bigger the better.  You do not want to fill this mug more than half-way since the cake will creep (bake) up.

3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons water or milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Mix all dry ingredients in a microwave safe mug with a fork, add all wet ingredients and mix thoroughly until its a smooth and running liquid. place mug in microwave and set on full power for 1-2 minutes (I set mine for 70 seconds). After the timer has gone off, let cake sit in microwave for 30 seconds to set. This came out a bit dry but good! I dusted in a bit of powdered sugar, and indulged for breakfast!

Cake in CupThis is a bit dangerous now that I know I can whip up a few bites of chocolate cake in five minutes..

Are you celebrating National Chocolate Cake Day?

Biking 101: Going Clipless

Going Clipless

My biking education and training evolves. Today I went clipless.  What does that mean?  “Clips” refers to the older style of making sure your foot stayed on the pedal, this was straps making a little cage for your shoe on the pedal-there’s a picture below of this. “Clipless” is the newer invention of affixing your shoe securely to the pedal via a little locking cleat mechanism


I upgraded my wind trainer to a CycleOps fluid trainer. Why? The wind trainer was noisy as hell. I literally couldn’t last more than fifteen minutes without going insane. AND I couldn’t hear the TV-a most important component on inside riding.Cyclops Fluid TrainerI bought a trainer tire. I successfully changed the tire on my bike-it involved me kind of laying on the tire in about fifteen or twenty minutes. Getting the cassette back on the bike moved me to tears and needed an assist from the hubs. But it was on!


I bought the clips-or the toe cages-for my bike back in the summer time.  Shoe in Clips One of the little screws fell out, and the cage has been dangling like this for weeks, but it still works to slip my foot into the cage.

Going Clipless

Yes, the cycling world is weird. The shoes that you clip into the pedal are referred to as “clipless”. There is a million variables of clipless pedals and shoes to choose from, which cost from thirty dollars to several thousand.  Being a total clipless newby, I don’t need 0.5 gram carbon fiber pedals-I just need something to try.

A friend via Twitter recommended these pedals to me, and it was good advice as any, so I bought them and shoes off Amazon. (Affiliate link for these!)

Since both pedals and shoes showed up, it was time to become a bike mechanic. This is why I haven’t become a Fred before this; I am not interested in fixing things. I’m not very good with mechanical things. But I am learning. I am embracing bike mechanics 101.

I did it! I’m Clipless!

Shimano SPD Pedals

I did have to get the hubs to come downstairs and loosen up the old “clip” pedals off the bike, but I installed the cleats on the shoes, the pedals on the bike.  I was able to clip in, and (after Googling) was able to clip OUT of the pedals.

Clipped in!

I didn’t stay on the trainer long, only wanted to feel these new shoes and pedals. I could already tell a difference, being attached to the bike on the upstroke as well as the down stroke. I hope to get comfortable clipping in and out on the trainer before the first spring ride outside.

Have you embraced new technology in your sport? How soon will I fall over on this bike this spring?

Time to Start Thinking about the Spring Garden

Time to start Thinking of the Spring Garden!

It’s Time to Think of your Garden!

The seed catalogs are pouring in!
Is this your year to grow a garden? Even a few plants? Having fresh produce right off your kitchen is awesome. It’s time to think of your garden planting.  I can walk out my front door in season and have cherry tomatoes, green peppers, basil, thyme, zucchini at my fingertips, ready to eat.

Dream Time

Italian melon

Now is the time to start thinking about what you would like to grow yourself this spring and summer. Even if you have limited space, such as just containers, you can still grow a little kitchen garden.

Plants for a kitchen garden:

Radishes-I grew these for the first time last year. You literally throw the seeds in the soil and voila, radishes in a few weeks. You can sow these way before you put the tomatoes into the (same) soil.

Cherry tomatoes-if these bad boys get going you will have prolific tomatoes to snack on.  You can freeze them. Yes, they will be mushy, but if you make couscous, or rice, you can throw these right into the pot. To freeze them, all we do is wash them and throw them in a freezer bag.

Basil-if you have tomatoes and basil, you have two thirds of caprese salad.  Basil and tomatoes from my garden!caprese salad How cool is that? (You could also make your own mozzarella too).  Basil is super easy to start from seed. Short cut-buy a plant from the store. Repot it. Cut leaves off daily and use in everything. The plant will keep going and going.

Thyme-also easy to grow from seed and ditto on buying from the grocery store. Thyme is another herb you can clip and cut and it keeps growing.


My current thyme plant

Rosemary-I recommend buying a little rosemary plant from the store. We have a rosemary shrub.  RosemaryIt’s over five years old. Having this much rosemary to throw around has added rosemary to many dishes in our cooking, when you can just cut and clip.

Zucchini is a super easy plant to grow from seed. It requires a bit of space, but one or two plants are prolific. You can plant a zucchini plant in a container to grow, I would recommend one plant to a container.

Plants not Seeds

You don’t want to start seeds? Check out popular seed web catalogs. Many sites now offer plants along with seeds. Many companies have a mix and match policy where you can buy six different plants-voila, small garden! I sometimes buy hot pepper plants instead of starting from seed.

Isn’t it nice to thinking of spring and fresh vegetables now?

Hike Report Lake Clendenning

Lake Clendenning Loop

I was off work today and was able to opt outside and take advantage of some mild January weather. Actually, this hike was to take place on Tuesday, but the 32F and freezing rain made me postpone. I’m glad I did, since I lucked into 50 degrees toward the end of my hike!

Yes I said hike

This was not a run. It wasn’t even planned as a run. The idea was to hike the 11ish mile portion of the Buckeye Trail over at Lake Clendenning.  By parking along the road, I was able to hike 1.6 miles down to the trailhead.  Then I followed the trail which ran pretty close to the lake, back to my vehicle. I need some endurance time on trails if I have any confidence in finishing the Tarawera 62K in three weeks.

Buckeye Trail

I am becoming more involved with the Buckeye Trail Association, which is a group of volunteers who maintain and promote the trail.  On route to building new trail at Piedmont Lake, we drove across the bridge at Lake Clendenning. One volunteer pointed out the blue blazed trail heads, mentioning this section was about 11 miles long, and you could make it into a loop. My little trail ears perked right up. Something that I could do other than an “out and back”?  I made a mental note.

Trail Maps Christmas Presents

Santa brought me several section maps of the Buckeye Trail for Christmas.  I want to start hiking the sections of the BT closest to me-of course the end goal is going to be to section hike the entire BT!  This section of trail is only a half hour drive for me.

New (to me) Trail

There are hardly any words better than “new trail”.  It’s always so exciting and interesting to start down a new trail. You have no expectations and never know what you will run into. The weather was cold at the start. I parked off the road, close to where I would exit the trail back onto  Route 799 (Point 21) .  I then set off for the 1.6 mile (my BT map was spot on!) to the trail head further north on Rt 799 (Pt 18.)

Lake Clendenning Loop

It was a great day to opt outside. A little cool at the start, I had to change out my fleece hat for a warm headband as I hiked up the first hills. Follow the Blue Blazes  This is not a hard section of the Buckeye Trail. There are many switchbacks so there is no big climbs.

White Blazed Trail

I did by accident take the white blazed trail down to the road.  This is the white/orange line on the map.Chimney After I got down to the dirt road, I did pull out my map. It turns out I was now on the road.  Lake Clendenning It was fine. I walked down the road, to the intersection with the BT.


Hmm. If I climb back up the blue blazed trail, it seems this is taking me in the same direction that I just came in. But where are my blazes? I study the map. Okay, I walk down the road where I can see  the signpost. Nope, I think I need to go down the other road.  Sure enough, 1/10 of a mile down, blue blaze!  blue blazeScore! (Note: this intersection just needs one more blaze right in this area.)

Building Foundations and Daffodils

I love to see old building remnants and foundations.  old house foundationI will be back on this section to see if there are any daffodils to rescue.

There was the random boat in the woods that just begged for a photo op.

random boat in woods


This is a good hike. Especially where you can set it up for a loop.

trail head


Were you lucky enough to opt outside on this mild January day?

Happy Birthday Alexander Hamilton!

There’s a million things he hasn’t done-but it’s another birthday! Of course he’s a Capricorn!

(I have a few affiliate links to Amazon. If you click through and buy, I get a few pennies. 🙂 )

Alexander Hamilton Podcasts

Alexander Hamilton is probably THE favorite most popular Founding Father of the day. If you don’t know much about Hamilton-the guy on the ten dollar bill-Ron Chernow has written a great biography about him.

He was our first Treasury Secretary.  That sounds really boring. He set up the way our country functions 240 years ago that we still use today. He invented the Coast Guard.

Lin-Manuel Miranda read Chernow’s biography and wrote, produced, and starred in the Broadway hit: Hamilton An American Musical.

Yes, you can take the life of a Founding Father and turn it into a charming awesome production about an orphan immigrant who makes good-then is murdered in a duel by the Vice President of the United States.


There are four  podcasts about Hamilton and Hamilton An American Musical:

Pod4Ham: Pod4Ham is a podcast that’s all about the musical “Hamilton,” taking it one track at a time. Every episode will features different groups of people talking about a single track from the Original Broadway Cast Recording.  Yes, you can spend thirty or forty minutes talking about one song!

The Hamilcast: I call this the FanGirl Podcast, meant in a very positive funny fashion. From their website: “In this American podcast about an American musical about a bastard orphan, we (your hosts Gillian Pensavalle and Bianca Soto) talk all things Hamilton including how it brings people together, how we find Ham references in everyday life, and the general brilliance of the show.”  

The Room Where It’s Happening This podcast also takes each song from the Original Broadway Cast Recording (don’t call it a soundtrack: it’s not) and discusses it.  Travon Free and Mike Drucker  host this with special super-fan actors, musicians, writers, and comedians,

Hamilton The Podcast on Graphomania

This also is a nice podcast on the musical.  Join Robbie Hurlocker and Vinton Bayne as they discuss Hamilton, a hip hop musical based on the life and times of the first treasury secretary of America. I really enjoy how the hosts are knowledgeable about hip-hop and rap, two music genres I don’t know anything about.


More Hamilton and American Revolution History Podcasts

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Tracy Wilson and Holly Fray have several episodes that if you are interested in the Hamilton era:

Hercules Mulligan  5/9/16 and 5/11/16 Podcasts

The Reynolds Pamphlet Live 11/2/16

You need to check out their listings, it’s extensive and interesting!

The Junto Cast is a podcast with a more scholarly approach, produced monthly.  Each episode features a roundtable discussion by academic historians, Ken Owen, Michael Hattem, Roy Rogers, and guest panelists, exploring a single aspect of early American history in depth.

Several Hamilton episodes:

The Election of 1800  11/5/16

Alexander Hamilton 10/15/2015 and 11/2/2015

Founder in Early American 1/28/15

The Early American Presidents 2/27/2014

Did I miss any Hamilton podcasts or episodes on another show? Please let me know, I would love to listen!

Happy Birthday Elvis!

The King would have been 82 years old January 8.

Elvis Birthday

He died at age 42 in 1977.

Elvis and I share a love of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I’ve always loved this combo,peanut butter and bananaSo me and the King of Rock N Roll have something in common.

Do you like PB & Banana sandwiches? What do you and the King share?

International DeLurking Day

Apparently the first week of the new year is International Blog Delurking Week.  I just found out about it, so hence it’s DeLurking Day!

Blog Delurking WeekThis is where you, devoted reader, “de lurk” long enough to stop by and leave me a comment and tell me you read my blog. Maybe tell me one thing you remember from my blog or some sort of silly epic-ness I have done?

I seem to have an issue with folks trying to leave comments on mobile, so I am trying to look into that. Hey, if you delurk and post a comment via your phone, could you tell me that also?