Lemon Vodka Drop

Last weekend my husband and I were having some new friends over and I was really excited to try out my new bundt pan so I found a great recipe on Pinterest.  One of the ingredients was limoncello and I got to thinking about creating a new mixed drink with limoncello and Lemon Vodka Drop was the result!

Ingredients:

  • Sprite
  • Limoncello
  • Citron Vodka

Directions:

1. Fill your glass mostly full with ice cubes.

2. Mostly cover your ice cubes with vodka.  I use Svedka because it is affordable but high quality.

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3. Add a splash of limoncello.

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4. Fill the glass the rest of the way with sprite.

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4. Enjoy!

The drink does go wonderfully with the cake as well.  Here is the link to the recipe:   http://vikalinka.com/2013/10/24/raspberry-limoncello-cake-with-mascarpone/

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-Callie Ham

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Garlic Infused Grapeseed Oil

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Years ago I bought garlic grape seed oil at a winery and loved using it to cook.  I have been on the hunt for another bottle since running out and have been unsuccessful in countless grocery stores and specialty shops.

A few months ago I decided to go ahead and try to make my own.  I bought a small bottle of grape seed oil (8.45 fl. oz.) and coarsely chopped 4-5 garlic cloves and shoved them in the space remaining in the new bottle.  I left it to sit for 2 and a half months and tried it for the first time this morning.  It worked out wonderfully.  When you cook with this oil the garlic gives the kitchen a wonderful smell and it gives your food a mild garlic flavor.

The grape seed oil has a high smoking temperature so you can use it for almost anything.  This morning I used it to heat up some sausage links and then added some butter to the pan to cook eggs over medium.  It is also really good for roasting vegetables, sautéing fish or for dipping crusty bread in with some cracked pepper added of course.

-Callie Ham

Raspberry Vinaigrette Shrimp Salad

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Ingredients:

  • Spinach leaves
  • Lemon Juice
  • Broccoli
  • Red Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Shrimp
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Olive Oil
  • Unsalted butter

Directions:

1. Chop all of your veggies.  I liked the combination of the veggies listed above but any of your favorite veggies can be substituted.  Arrange your leaves and veggies on your plate and spinkle some lemon juice on top.

2. Heat a skillet on medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter.  When the butter is melted, add the shrimp and cook until pink.  Pour the shrimp over the veggies on your plate.

3.  Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and top off with your favorite store bought raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  I like a little fresh cracked pepper on top as well.

If you are making a salad to go and plan on transferring it to a plate at work or such then there is a little trick I like to do.  You build the salad upside down in a tupperware container with the salad toppings put in first and spinach leaves last.  At work you flip the tupperware upside down onto the plate and wah-la, salad the right side up.  This is especially good trick to do with microwave leftover lunches that you don’t want to microwave in those tupperware dishes.

-Callie Ham

Triathlon Training for Pleasure Seekers

I have done a few triathlons.  My first one was an Olympic distance and I did it in the summer of 2007 in Boulder, Colorado.  Since then I have done several different variations of triathlons.  I have done another almost Olympic distance triathlon, a half iron man and a 6 and 12-hour adventure race.

Adventure racing is similar to triathlons but you have a 2 or 4 person team that you have to stay with and the added challenge of navigation is included.  The swimming is replaced with kayaking, the road biking is replaced with mountain biking, the running is replaced with trail running and there are other fun outdoor activities sprinkled in.  In the 12-hour race I did we got to rappel, ride an alpine slide and go caving.  With that being said I have some experience but I am by no means an expert at triathloning.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I am currently training for an Xterra Triathlon, which is kind of a cross between a regular triathlon and an adventure race.  There is no navigation component but you get to trail run and mountain bike instead of road run and bike.  Which is kind of perfect for me because I am horrible with the navigation piece and I enjoy mountain biking and trail running over the road biking and running.

I have found that when training for events, it is good to start early but give yourself breaks or cross train with other activities so that you don’t burn out with the training.  My Xterra triathlon is going to be at the beginning of August and I have already started training but I took a week off in February because I needed a break from the routine and I frequently substitute snowboarding or snowshoeing for workouts to change things up.  Because my motivation for doing these events is to have fun, challenge myself and stay in shape – with more of an emphasis on having fun and challenging myself.  I have tried to come up with workout plans without an end event in mind and I never end up following through.  I think it is because I have commitment to doing the event.  If my goal is to ‘stay in shape’ solely there is no climax and it is a never-ending process to ‘stay in shape’ which is very de-motivating for me.

The training book that I use to get workout plans is called “Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide: Plans, Scheduling Tips, and Workout Goals for Triathletes for All Levels” by Matt Fitzgerald.  I have looked at several books and cruised the Internet and I like this book the most.  It includes workout plans from a sprint triathlon all the way to a full-blown Iron Man with 7 levels of training intensity for all the distances.  It also has heavy and light ‘off season’ training workout plans which is what I am doing right now since the triathlon I am doing is months and months away.  So right now I am ‘suppose’ to be working out 6 days a week.  I am doing one swim, bike and run and on the other days I am doing strength and flexibility training.

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Current weight: 140.5

-Callie Ham