Friday, July 20, 2012

Food, travels, cemeteries and more food!

I think I've been MIA due to the heat the state's experienced. I also try to think of how I ever survived my childhood on the farm. . . during the drought of the late 1980s. I recall those hot summer days, enjoying running around, taking a soak in the freshly filled cattle tank on a hot day, the nice breeze from the south in a house with no a/c. Yes, you read that right, people survived this weather before there was air conditioning! Heck, even my high school had no a/c. . . though teachers were allowed to turn off the heat producing lights, open the windows and run fans for air circulation (and there was always the 'get out early due to heat' excitement). 

Last week I had some chicken breasts I needed to use. We didn't have a lot of groceries in the house, as we'd just been out of town and were going out again, but The Mike realized we had ham and some cheddar cheese, so I made these chicken rolls. I layered the chicken breasts between two pieces of parchment paper (I've read that wax paper is suppose to work, but it usually rips on me) and pounded away with the item on top of the cutting board.  The cats were scared to come in the kitchen for a while.  I placed two pieces of nitrite/nitrate/preservative free ham on each flattened breast, as well as a few slices of cheddar cheese (I'd have used Swiss if I'd really been planning this dish).  Next I folded in the edges and rolled them up, tying each with some kitchen twine/yarn (that stuff is awesome).  

To finish off the dish, I added a can of diced tomatoes and topped with some oregano and basil from the patio herb box. 

As it came out of the oven.  I wrapped in a foil packet, baked for about 45 minutes and then let the roll ups rest on the cutting board for a few minutes. 

Presentation is everything, right?  Sliced and served with fresh basil which was a great way to finish off the dish--each bite of the roll up could have a little bit of the fresh basil. Yummy!  

Last weekend we were near the center of the state. Mike had a gravel road ride to do, I think it was 120 or 140 miles, with some other folks.  I had a 15 mile run to do (but only managed to get 14 in).  I ran through the town and out to the country . . decided to follow the 'short hilled' road instead of the long climb I could see.  Interesting path, as it took me on the edge of the town with country landscape on one side and new houses on the other, including near a new lake.  It was a great place to run, a small breeze managed to come up and I was feeling good jogging along until I had to do the 'heeby jeeby' run/dance step.  A GIANT frog, dead, on the side of the road. Only his hind end was damaged and this thing was larger than my hand, probably larger in size than the bottom of my clothes iron!  Then, of course, the little girl who played in mud went back and had to stare at the frog. I just couldn't believe it was so big. One of the cyclists said it was probably a "bull frog". I had no idea they got so big! I've only seen toads and frogs the size that fit IN my palm. 

Coming back towards the hotel, I ran on a loop road through the industrial park to get some more mileage in.  Back there, between the road and parking lot for the businesses were huge fields of Queen Anne's Lace, clover, and a few different types of yellow flowers.  So very pretty to see. I could imagine a miles and miles of fields looking like this. 

Later, for a birthday present,I went for my second massage, and first hot stone massage. The Mike's been trying to get me to do this for about five years (yeah, I know!, what is WRONG with me that it has taken me soo long?).  I could have stayed home this day, since it was my birthday, but I knew if I stayed home I'd never do the massage.  Instead, I went with him to this town, then drove thirty miles to the casino/spa and for a Hot Stone Massage (nothing like stopping on your long run to call the spa for an appointment as soon as they open, HA).  On my drive up I took in 'the road less traveled' and enjoyed a spot of the Lincoln Highway.  If you ever travel coast to coast and want to see real America, and the towns that are and were, drive the Lincoln Highway, or U.S./Federal Highway 30. It's a great road that reminds you there are more important things than getting from point A to B asap.  President Abe also owned two pieces of land in Iowa. He never visited either one, but it's a nice bit of history.  You can check out the information here

As I was driving up the roadway, I could see the clouds building north, but figured they'd all go north (then I got excited, thinking that at home we just *might* get some rain finally). However, as I turned onto the highway it was evident the dark clouds weren't the rain producing ones.  Rather, the light colored ones had a large amount of water to let down.   

Thankfully, I had left my rain coat in the car!  I donned that and sprinted into the spa (does that count towards my workout?). I hung up the coat and then went to play the slots a little (up/down, up down, even!) and then headed for the massage. 

Oh MY GOODNESS. What took me so long with getting that hot stone massage?  (probably knowing I'd want one once a month!) 

I had passed two signs for "Prairie Cemetery" on my way north. As I headed south, I stopped at one (the other was through a farmer's pastureland).  I was so saddened by what I saw.  A relatively--for the time--large lot of land being mowed, and only about 1/4 of it had any headstones.  This one had been fixed. 

But others weren't, including the next photo, where the pieces had been stacked atop each other. Some had the name scoured away by time. Others had such amazing detail that is rarely seen today. 

On my way back into town I stopped by the cemetery to take a photo of this headstone I saw on my run.  All sisters buried /to be buried together, with their spouses. I have never seen anything like this and it was large and quite nice with detail.  

I got back to the hotel just after The Mike did.  We decided to head out with a couple of the cycling dudes he was with during the day for the Mexican restaurant up the street. I'd heard fabulous things about them and was quite hungry.  I managed to not eat anything real all day!  I was out of Tanka bars (none in my purse) and I had chocolate milk, white milk, and a protein shake after I finished my run, and  didn't eat in the afternoon.  The cycling guys, meanwhile, had stopped at convenience stores along their route and a sandwich shop for lunch.  All I know about my dinner was that it was "combo 35".  Steak slices, bacon wrapped shrimp, chicken, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cheese. YUM.  The Mike took over with the rice, as I focused on getting protein in the body. (and why do I never make bacon wrapped shrimp at home--soooo goood!).

Afterwards, we tried to go to the ice cream parlor in town, it was closed, we tried going to Dairy Queen (photo below). .  and it was "closed for the season".  Seriously, that is what the sign in the window says.  

Thus, we wound up at the golden arches next door. They all had various concoctions (cafe drinks for two, a mcflurry for hubby--and the spoon broke through the bottom of two different cups while being mixed); I had a hot fudge sundae with caramel.  Afterwards, I recalled driving past another local ice cream shoppe on the way into town, but the guys didn't want any more ice cream.  Back to the hotel for chatting and then called it a night.  The end to a fabulous day about nothing outside a run, a massage, and food for the body. 

Many thanks to my fabulous hubby who got a wonderful present for me and a fabulous birthday. There's no way I would have relaxed at all on my birthday had I stayed at home. I would have been cleaning, gardening,  doing everything except relaxing, probably.! 

This week the temperatures have gone down slightly.  I still got up early (5am) to run this week:  it was 73º to 75º Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I believe Thursday was a chilly 68º. Then, I awoke today, Friday, to DEW on the cars and the phone/weather saying 60º! WOOHOO! It was cool. A great morning for a run around the lake.   I spied a Blue Heron and tried to take a photo. Those things are quite attentive to the complete surroundings. he flew low and to the right as I took the photo, and I don't think any portion of his wings were visible between the water and prairie flowers. 

 Sadly, the water is down about two feet, minimum, due to the drought of the state/country.  Hopefully we'll get some much needed rain in a gentle form before the next few weeks are out. 


  1. You live in a beautiful place :) That run with the flowers must have been amazing. I love scenic runs!!
    And I am very jealous of your hot stone massage. I'm sure it was even better than I can imagine!
    p.s. I found your blog through the comments you have left on mine, and I just want to say thank you for all of your support and kind words. They mean so much to me. I hope you know just how awesome you are :) 14 miles is great!!
    xoxo Haley

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Haley. A hot stone massage, I believe, is a must for almost anyone (I suppose people who don't like hot baths, saunas, might not enjoy). I wasn't sure if it'd be good or bad after the run; however, with a few hours in between it was great.

    I slow down on my runs to enjoy the scenery at times. I know my run time hurts, but I need to enjoy the nature we're given. This morning, on my bike, I was looking to my left and missing a deer that must have been in the middle of the road. Saw her tail end as she leapt into the right ditch!