Sunday, 23 June 2013

They Did it - The Chicago Women's Half Marathon

Today my mum and one of my best and oldest friends Vicki, ran the Chicago Women's Half Marathon and I am so proud of them. It was quite a feat, a long way 13.1 miles and in hot weather too.

They, with Pop, arrived last week on holiday from England, we had a quiet week all in preparation for today, they only managed to get out once for a run in the Chicago climate as both were struck down with a sore throat and cold symptoms, but a few early nights sorted them out enough to be able to run today.

So they were up at 4am this morning, and I in my pyjama's, up before 5am drove them into the city centre with Pop, and dropped the nervous pair off. We then ventured home, the race began at 6.30am ( too early for us) and at 5.45am it was already 23c (73f).

It was a hot day for them, all the week the weather has been up and down, mainly warm but with a few thunderstorms, and on the one day they didn't want to be running in 32c (90f) heat was today and of course it was heating up to be that.

Their supporting team consisting off myself, Mr C, Pop (also known as Mick) and the girls wanted to cheer them on at the finishing line, so we headed down around 9.30am, the marathon had officially been running about 2hrs 50 mins.

Here they come
And the finish line is near
And over the line they go

We nearly cheered on two complete strangers thinking they were Vicki & Mum, but no it wasn't, but we gave them a cheer anyway. It wasn't long though before Pop spotted the running pair and the cheering team got to work, we had the big hands waving and our voices out cheering, it was great watching them run past and over the finish line in their times of 3.07.28 & 3.07.29 - a wonderful result for a wonderful pair of runners.

They looked knackered, they felt knackered, they said it was tough, but they are glad to have finished it, so we celebrated with breakfast at Lou Mitchell's (start of Route 66) before taking them home for a very well deserved rest.

Well Mum and Vicki - I am so proud of you completing a half marathon, you have inspired me, but maybe not as far as doing a half marathon but we shall see.

Now for a well deserved beer

Ps my mum is 60 well done Mum

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Chocolate Chip Cheescake Cookies

Oh boy these are good so good, they are truly my favourite chocolate chip cookie at the moment.

I found this pin on pinterest, pinned it and finally this week I got around to making them, so when I clicked on the pin and it didn't work, I was so disappointed, as this cookie looks seriously good, but not to be deterred I did a quick google search and found this - you want cookies - hooray I had tracked down the recipe even if it had a slightly interesting history behind it - read the link.

So on that note here is the recipe - I have slightly adapted the recipe, as I find Americans do like their food very sweet so I cut back on the sugar and chocolate chips and it was still plenty sweet. I also used light cream cheese.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

2 cups all-purpose(plain) flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda (bi-carb)
10 tablespoons of softened butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons or 142g)
3/4 cup sugar (recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar but I found 3/4 cup fine)
1 egg
4oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup or 7oz chocolate chips any kind we like the semi-sweet variety (recipe calls for 12oz)

Preheat oven to 375f
1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour through to soda/bi-carb) in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a mixer, blend butter, sugar, egg, cream cheese and vanilla.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing with each addition, until all are incorporated.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Grease a cookie sheet/baking tray. Drop dough by the spoonful onto the sheet, at least 1inch apart.
6. Bake for 10-12 mins or until golden brown.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
8. Make a cup of tea or coffee, sit down eat and enjoy.

My Little Helper - Baker Tilly
Tilly has the mixing jobs - all the dry ingredients in here
egg, sugar, butter, cream cheese and vanilla

I had my little helper on hand to make these cookies, and she always does a good job of mixing, weighing and making a mess, but we always have fun baking together and it's a great way to keep her entertained before pre-school. Here we had mixed all the dry ingredients together and got the other ingredients in the mixer ready to be combined.

Tilly adding the dry ingredients to the mixer
Tilly eyeing up the paddle for a bit of licking

Tilly adds the dry ingredients to the recently creamed ingredients, little by little, whilst I make sure each addition is fully incorporated before she adds the next one - it was great team work.

I did have to stop her from wanting to lick the paddle beater -with the promise she could have it once we where finished.

chocolate chips added
finally Tilly gets the beater to lick clean

Final step we added the chocolate chips in and gently folded them in, the recipe does call for 12oz of chocolate chips but I found this far too much, Americans do have a very sweet palate, but 12 oz is a lot of chocolate chips for this recipe, so I measured out 1 cup of chocolate chips (which equated to 6oz) and threw another oz in for good measure.

It didn't take long to dollop them onto the baking tray and cook in the oven - roughly 10 mins did ours just nicely.

look at all that yummyness
They really didn't last long even in the cake stand.

We couldn't wait for the cookies to cool down, so we enjoyed ours slightly warm, they were soft and delicious, oh so yummy.

They did not last long, between the girls, myself and Grannie and Grandad we polished off this batch in less than 3 days ooppps - we didn't even manage to save one for Mr C - who had been grounded in NYC.

I know for sure I'll be making these again very soon and this recipe will be my go to Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Tilly Finishes For Summer....

.....and that's 94 days of summer holidays for Tilly before she goes back to Pre-School.

She has really enjoyed her year at Cherry and has excelled in many ways, it's been a big year for her as we have got her into speech therapy and she is really coming on great, really working on those "s" & "f" sounds at the moment as she has an articulation speech problem.

The kids at Cherry celebrated the end of their year with an ice-cream party and a little show for the parents. It was fab, they sang 3 songs all very cute.

Singing Away
And not forgetting the actions too

They are a really great group of kids, it was a lovely class to be in and Tilly made lots of friends, she really enjoyed "school"

To say thank you to the teachers, Tilly & I made some mini banana bread loaves, and packaged them up, and Tilly made each teacher a little Hama/Perler bead coaster with their initial on it.

Tilly finished off their boxes with a personal Thank You

We didn't quite managed to get a photo with all the teachers but we did get this one, which I think is lovely.

Tilly & Michaela
We are sad that this was her last year at Cherry and not because she goes into Kindergarten (the cut off date here is September 1st, she has to be 5 on or before that date, and she misses it by 29 days) but because we are moving her to a different pre-school, one that is closer to Ruby's school and one that does mornings only so by 9.15 am 4 days a week I will be child-free and hoping to work.

Roll on 94 days of Summer.......

Ps I've just discovered Bloglovin thanks Lesley I love it already here's my link - <a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>