Monthly Archives: July 2016
Welcome to the Country
This weekend was all about that country livin’.
So one thing I’ve done for as long as I can remember is create my expectations based off of movies. And movies make living in the country look so charming. This past weekend, from the country fair to the farmer’s market, I felt like I was in one of the country movie scenes.
After work on Friday, I drove to my friend Shelby’s house. I rode with her over to the fairgrounds, through all kinds of farmland and corn fields with barns and tractors along they way. Once we entered the fair, it became pretty apparent that my maxi dress and flip flops were a little out of place. Note to self: next time, jeans and boots!
A big part of the fair was the agriculture competitions. People brought in their livestock for farm animal beauty pageants. I’d never seen such well-groomed cows before :)
Speaking of things I’d never seen before….we got there just in time for the Goat Obstacle Course! The best part? Their guides through the course were little kids! 6 and 7 year-olds decked out in boots and belt buckles and country shirts, pulling their stubborn goats along balance beams and teeter totters. The goats weren’t having it. Imagine a game of tug o’ war between goat and small child.
And then I met this cutie!
Meet Potato. We came across this tiny little calf waiting her turn for the contest, and we had to sneak in her pen. She kept licking my hand, which felt like a sheet of sand paper.
After the cow cuddles, the main stage had a country concert with Tracy Lawrence. One of his more popular songs that you might recognize is Find Out Who Your Friends Are. The concert was actually held where they have rodeos (what would the name for that be? Arena?). Soooo many plaid shirts. I didn’t recognize the majority of his songs but I love the atmosphere of country concerts! The sun sets pretty darn late up here, so at the end of the concert it was the perfect golden hour lighting. The fairgrounds are close to a college campus, and the sunset lighting on the rows of trees and brick buildings was gorgeous. We had to take a little walk through the deserted campus before heading back home.
This small-town living is drastically different from the city and suburbs I’m used to. It’s a whole different world to be surrounded by farm land, where no one locks their cars, and guys walk around with a gun on their hip in plain sight.
Saturday morning was an early one. It was going to be 102 degrees, and the Boise Elite running team had an intense track workout on the schedule. We met at a local high school for a speed workout: 20 x 400 meters. (400 meters is one lap around a track, or 1/4 mile.)
This was my first time running on an actual track since I graduated college and it felt surprisingly easy! Muscle memory is a real thing. We stayed extremely consist, and “hammered” the last few intervals. Our times per lap ranged from 79-85 seconds. For comparison/reference – an 80 second lap is the pace for a 5:20 mile.
20 laps is just as much mentally challenging as it is physical. I finished feeling really accomplished, especially because I haven’t run any real speed workouts since my collegiate running career ended. But my workout for the day was just beginning…
The country theme continues. My parents bought a new home as it was still being built. This past weekend they moved the final load of furniture in with a U-Haul. We must have climbed the two flights of stairs over a hundred times combined, with heavy awkward furniture. I was dripping sweat and exhausted by the end of the day. The delirious kind of exhausted. I think the physical labor of packing and unpacking for 6 hours was way more intense than the 20 x 400s earlier in the day. We earned this wine!
We finally opened a bottle from the wine tasting we did on Mother’s Day! I typically prefer the sweeter white wines, but I like the look of reds. This one wasn’t too dry and we had no problem finishing a couple of glasses. By the time we called it quits for the day and sat down on the couch to watch a movie, I fell asleep in about 4 minutes. Then I slept for 11 hours straight! My body must’ve needed some serious recharging.
The view behind my parent’s home is unbeatable. We get to see the gorgeous colors of sunset through their huge picture windows, and the farm behind their property has picture-perfect hay bales scattered about the land. There’s a Christmas tree farm off to the left in the distance, and birds and quail are constantly walking along the backyard fence. It feels country.
We even had a new neighbor stop by with his adorable puppy poodle, and other stop by with some homemade zucchini bread to welcome them to the neighborhood. I love when real life is just like the movies! ;)
Just down the street, a family sells their produce right on their farm and property. We stopped in on Sunday morning for some peaches and nectarines. We also saw a crate of spaghetti squashes, some white and some yellow. I grabbed a giant yellow one. We asked the lady at the front counter what the difference is between white and yellow spaghetti squash is. She looked at us. She goes, “This is a melon.”
Apparently it was a Canary Melon, something we had not seen before and was identical to a squash. She said, imagine if you hadn’t asked me that and you went to make some low-carb pasta without knowing it was a melon. Hah!
And since we’re on the topic of country and I haven’t linked my favorite music video in a while, I’ll leave you with this latest Brett Eldridge song. Try not to drool on your keyboard.
Bye, y’all! ;)
4 Years Strong
The length of time we are in high school. The interval between the Olympic Games. The duration of a presidency in the United States. It’s a significant amount of time. Strong Like My Coffee and I have been at this blogging game for four incredible years today.
Imagine how much you grew and changed from your first day of freshman year to the day you graduated. The transformation through the four years of college is even greater. That’s how I feel about my four years of growing Strong Like My Coffee. What started out as a side project while I recovered from surgery has grown into a significant part of my daily life. I started with a cheap little point-and-shoot digital camera, and began learning to use the DSLR Canon (along with some iPhone photos when necessary). I still cringe when I read through my first recipes but I won’t delete or edit them. We never start off perfect!
I’ve never quite answered the question I pose every year: is it a blog birthday or a blog anniversary? Our annual celebration is called for regardless.But what kind?! I typically create a coffee-inspired recipe to share on July 27th. In this 100+ degree heat wave, I hardly felt like committing to a baking experiment. And we’ve been spending every free moment out and about, adventuring in our new state. A comfortable girl’s night in with my old stand-by healthy habits sounded pretty perfect for me. So that’s what we did. Boring isn’t how I can describe my life very often, so sometimes “boring” is very very appealing.
My celebratory day included a typical trip to Target with my mom. We bought healthy snacks and makeup and some furniture for my next apartment. We listened to country music, drank green tea from a wine glass, and cooked a fresh and colorful clean meal.
Sweet Potato and Turkey Hash to be exact. It’s similar to my Bachelorette Stir Fry with a little extra veggies and lean ground turkey. Dicing up the vegetables and picking out the spices is relaxing. And I swear it’s much more fun to drink tea from a wine glass.
We watched episodes of Gilmore Girls and brewed decaf coffee and ate new limited edition chocolate chip cookie Oreos. To be honest I was not thrilled with a lot of their funky new flavors they rolled out this year. I actually had to throw away the Strawberry Shortcake and Cinnamon Roll Oreos. But these were a game changer and I consider the fact that I limited myself to just 3 cookies a very proud victory.
I went to bed by 10 and even though nothing earth-shattering or Instagram-worthy occurred, it was a happy happy day.
Judging by the amount of change and surprises that I have encountered over the past few years, who knows where I will be four years from now! I’ve lived in 3 different states in the past 4 years. I’ve had 4 different jobs. I’ve had…..well, I’m not going to say how many boyfriends ;) I’ve traveled to 7 new states. I’ve written nearly 400 blog posts. My plans for the future don’t really extend past October (and that’s only because I have a vague idea of what I want my Halloween costume to be…), but I think it’s safe to say that the blogging thing isn’t going anywhere for a while.
One of my running teammates has her eyes set on the 2020 Olympic Trials for the marathon. I’m definitely not publicly committing to the same goal…..but since we are training together, I won’t completely eliminate it from the realm of possibilities either. I’m open to whatever is in store! The past four years have strengthened me quite a bit. Obviously I’m hopeful that I won’t need to test my strength quite so much moving forward. But I think over all Strong Like My Coffee has given me a lot more than a public platform to preach my granola bar recipes through.
Thank you for reading, thank you for following along, and CHEERS, FRIENDS! xoxo.
Surprise In the Middle of Nowhere
Yesterday was my 2 month anniversary of moving to Idaho. Some days it feels like I’ve been here forever and other days it feels like I just moved yesterday. I think you can tell that I’ve been making the most of my time here….Idaho has made quite the weekend warriors out of my family. Yesterday we celebrated with a breathtaking day trip to Shoshone Falls (with a new friend)!
Who knew that two hours through farmland and fields in the middle of absolutely nowhere would suddenly drop down to this – a massive canyon hiding these gorgeous waterfalls. You’d never expect it!
100 miles outside of Boise, after a loooooong stretch of open land, is the Snake River. It runs through a deep dark canyon with dozens of little waterfalls spilling out the sides. The Perine Bridge crosses the canyon. It’s a popular base jumping spot, but the winds were too strong yesterday for jumping. Oh darn ;)
On Sunday morning, my parents picked me up to drive out to Twin Falls for our day trip. I invited Shelby, a friend I met here in Idaho through an elite running team, She is equally as obsessed with long distance running, coffee, country music, and taking pictures as I am. We’ve run probably a total of 100 miles together already so we became fast friends!
The day before, Shelby and I headed out for our long run along the Boise River Greenbelt. Since my longest run of the year hovered around 10 miles, I didn’t intend to finish all 14 miles with her. I planned to drop off after 11-12 and stretch while she covered another couple of miles. But she talked me into running a little farther and my body felt good so I went for it. We ran 14 miles at a 7:35 average mile pace and were on a runner’s high for the rest of the afternoon!
Needless to say, Sunday was a welcomed rest day and the most exercise we got was a leisure walk around the rim of the canyon. With many stops for photos!
There is a paved pathway along the rim, and we loved looking down on the paddle boarders and kayakers in the river. Next time, I would love to kayak in there. You would feel so tiny in that tall canyon. One chain link fence had started the “love locks” that have become so popular in touristy cities like Paris and New York. It’s got a little catching up to do ;)
The Shoshone Falls is about a 6 mile drive from the Perine Bridge and visitor center, so we decided to stop in town for iced coffees first. We ended up at the super cute place called Java and sat inside for a while.
In true vacation mode, we were too tempted by the homemade bakery counter and ordered a massive Morning Muffin that was so full of seeds, nuts, millet and citrus zest. The four of us split it and hope we can find a recipe to remake at home.
We headed off to the main event after our little sugar and caffeine boost, driving another six miles through rural farm land. We were wondering “how the heck is there going to be a massive waterfall out here?”
And then BOOM.
Shoshone Falls is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States. It drops 212 feet into the Snake River, nicknamed the “Niagara of the West.” This is pretty late in the year, and apparently it is most powerful around May and June. But the view was stunning and we enjoyed the picnic lunch we packed with this view.
Summer fruit is THE BEST. I packed us a cooler with fresh pineapple, grapes and apples, some veggie & hummus sandwiches, and rice crisps. We laid out some beach towels on the grass and totally relaxed for an hour. That’s an easy thing to do in Idaho because it’s so quiet and peaceful.
(Until a ten-year old with a sling shot comes up trying to shoot a squirrel behind you…..)
Before we headed back to town, we stopped at Dierkes Lake. It was pretty crowded for how in-the-middle-of-nowhere it was. We were a little too full from lunch and nervous about “river monsters” to jump in yesterday. Shelby relocated to Idaho from California too with her husband and daughters, and we were saying the only thing we miss about the golden state is the beach. But I honestly like this lake and river life better. So we are perfectly happy here :)
Happy 2 months Idahoversary!