Monday, June 18, 2012

Orange you glad ...

While oranges are a winter fruit, and I never even bother to look for good ones in the summer, I think of creamsicles as the ultimate summer flavor.  Orange popsicle and vanilla ice cream all in one yummy bite.  In fact, my freezer currently contains 2 treats for the kids, fudgesicles and creamsicles.  My mom called them 50/50 bars, thanks to the Good Humor trucks of her youth.  For a while when I was a kid, they sold a checkered orange sherbet, vanilla ice cream combo in 1/2 gallon containers.  Awesome.

Last night #2 said, "I'd like to make some cookies."  Sure, I said, sounds great.  "Except I'd not like to make them myself, but have someone else make them for me.  I'd just like to eat them."  (She was playing 15 going on 5.)  So I made cookies.  I rarely need arm-twisting. 

I've seen a great-looking creamsicle cookie recipe, and fired up Pinterest to hunt it down.  But the only flavoring in the one I'd pinned was orange zest, which, being summer, I am fresh out of.  Many of the other recipes I found on-line looked like they'd turn out a cake-y product, and while those are okay, I was looking for soft and chewy.  I finally settled on pimping out a chocolate chip cookie recipe which used dry vanilla pudding mix as an ingredient.  I added more pudding, lots of orange flavor, and white chips.

The final product was perfect.  Just what I'd been looking for.  And they were a big hit with the kids and with Larry.  I used orange juice out of a container, but if you have fresh oranges, that's what I'd go with, for sure.  I didn't pay close attention to the yield, but it was at least 6 dozen. I imagine these would also be very good with chopped walnuts, if you're into that sort of thing.

Orange Chip Cookies

1 c butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 (5.1 oz) vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp orange extract
Zest of 1 orange, and 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed juice (or 2 Tbsp orange juice)
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 c white chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars.  Mix in pudding, eggs, extract, juice and zest.  Stir in flour, soda, and chips.  Drop spoonfuls onto ungreased sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, until just barely starting to brown in spots.  Let set 2-3 minutes and remove to cooling rack or counter-top.  Store in an air-tight container.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The LionHeart

... Well, that's what my 5K training app calls me anyway.  LionHearted.  For starting to run.  The first day.  And that's how I felt.  Today, on day three, the app awards the Determination Badge.  But I don't feel determined.  Just old.

#3 is a talented, kind, intelligent, awesome kid.  Unfortunately, along with her great musical ear she also inherited her athleticism from her mother.  I had none of the latter to give.  When she was 5 and 6 she played on the local AYSO team, and liked the idea of being part of a team.  Actually playing and practicing?  Not so much.  After a couple of years of listening her complain from about week 2 of the season on, we decided to go with her interests and strengths and focus on music.  She has thrived and excelled with that.

#3 does not want to give music up, but she is really wanting to get involved in a sport now that she is in the throws of middle school.  I understand.  I had that desire, too.  I didn't do a whole lot with mine, however.  She is determined to join cross-country in the fall.  And I am ecstatic for her.

To that end, we decided to start a training program.  I installed the app mentioned above.  I knew I'd be a better partner for her than #2.  #2 conditions with a 5 mile run "warm up" followed by sprints, crunches, planks, etc.  #3 is nowhere near so fit.  Neither am I.  We are also nearly the same height. (I won't mention who is taller.) Good partners, right?

Well, in theory, that would be true.  The first day we were definitely on the same pace.  Day two we both felt like we were getting our trash kicked.  Day three ... well day three we were both still really feeling it, but during the last half of the workout, times we were supposed to be running #3 could go quite a bit faster than I could.  I'd watch her sprint ahead, and I'd long to catch up, but there was no way I could make myself go faster.  No way I could make my legs stretch further.  I'd call out to her when it was time to walk, and she'd walk back to me while I walked forward and we'd continue on from there.

Now, I'm not stupid.  I have 26 years on her and 20 extra pounds on my frame.  I figured that there may come a time when she would out-pace me, when we may need to put the app on her iPod and we'd train together, but not side by side.  I guess I was imagining that day coming after a few weeks.  Not after day three. 

Which brings me to what is really bothering me.  I wanted to do this to help my kid.  To train with her so that she can be (to quote her) "super fast and super awesome" this fall ... or at least so that she can keep up.  This is not the first time I've started a 5K program.  I've never gotten past the first 2 weeks.  I frequently decide to start up with walking 4 miles per day or with a Zumba class or with something.  I just don't stick with it long enough to make any sort of habit.  Today is Saturday.  We had planned to go running at 9 am.  I did not want to get out of bed.  The only reason I did is because I knew #3 was waiting for me.  That she needed me.  We got going (only 15 minutes late) and as it turned out, she didn't need me.  I need her.  And I'm holding her back.  Already.

Next week: Week 2 training.  THAT is when I will need courage.  THAT is when I will need determination.  And that, frankly, is when I will need humility to continue on, realizing that even at different paces, maybe some good will still come to #3 because I am there behind her, cheering her on and training my hardest to "help her" get in shape for the fall.