Monthly Archives:

May 2015


Mishmash Friday

Look at me with a Mishmash Friday like Shelley and Fran!  While I have been writing about my Spartan Race life has been going on behind the scenes.  I did want to show a few pics I took while in Milwaukee.  I had every intention Sunday morning to walk around the lake front, but the weather was iffy – it was lightly sprinkling the whole time I was walking in the morning which wasn’t bad, but then it started getting worse so I decided to cut my losses and head back to the hotel.  Much like bigger cities have pigs, or cows decorated all over their downtown areas, I love that Milwaukee has decorated bicycles with flowers!  The architecture downtown is amazing too – the Federal building as well as the Milwaukee Art Museum.

PicMonkey Collage - MKE

While it was a great weekend, it’s always nice to come home, isn’t it?  Word on the street is that Hannah’s dog Rummy missed me – so cute.


Astute readers will know that my deep fryer died last week.  She’s been with us for about five years, and I washed it so many times that I scrubbed off the number so I was never really sure these past couple years where exactly 350 was on the dial control.  No worries!  I had a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card and with the 20% off discount coupon, I got a new one.  This one is digital, which I love, has three baskets if you are making separate things, and was only $30 out of pocket for me.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately.  Is this a mid-life crisis?  I find myself suddenly cooking with onions!  First with my 30 minute beef bolognese and then earlier this week I made onion rings to top our burgers.  Now, I do have to say, that I am picky about what type of onion I use for onion rings – I only use vadalia onions, because they are sweet.  I sliced an onion, added it to a ziptop bag with 1 cup of Silk unsweetened almond milk that was seasoned with one tablespoon of Frank’s hot sauce overnight.  When I got home, I made my flour mixture – 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Dredge the soaked onions into the flour mixture and fry for about 1-2 minutes at 350.  I made myself a burger salad topped with a few onion rings.  Not gonna lie, this was an amazeball dinner!

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Our weather has been all over the map lately – cool mornings, rain, then humid.  I ended up making a batch of Michael Symon’s Cincinnati chili on Tuesday night to have for lunches.  I always add Bush’s Beans to my chili – Tony used to love just meat only chili, which is why he gravitated toward Cincinnati chili.  I mentioned in my Instagram post that I used Bush’s beans, and of course, they thanked me – ya, know, just helping out National brand to get the word out about their product out  – ha!

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So while my friends Alison and Cameron came to my rescue to get my mower working, and did I great job I might add, we tried several times to get it going and well. . . no luck.  Battery is dead again – I already replaced it with a new one and well, while our yard is a decent size, there really isn’t a good reason why a push mower wouldn’t work, and with three adults living in the house, pretty sure we could do just that.  So I came home Wednesday night, tried to start the riding mower – nothing.  So Hannah was talking a nap because she worked a 10 hour shift, and I told Jacob “hey, going to get a push mower – there is chili in the downstairs fridge if you guys get hungry.”

See, that’s one thing about me.  I can be COMPLETELY compulsive about something and Wednesday night – that was buying something so that my lawn didn’t look like I lived in an abandoned house.  I went to Menard’s, and I am not going to lie, it’s the first time that I used the “widow” card.  I stood in front of the mowers, and an employee walked by and said “can I help you?” and without even batting an eye I said “my husband died and I don’t know how to work our riding mower so I need something simple.”  He could not have been nicer.  Even pulled down the mower showed me how to put it together when I got it home, where to put the oil and the gas.   All I knew was that I wanted big wheels and a self-propelled mower.  I actually don’t even know the brand I bought, other than it has a Briggs & Stratton mower and I was fine with it.  I am sure Tony would have been on consumer reports for weeks before making a decision.  Me?  I spent 20 minutes at Menard’s. Open-mouthed smile

While I was gone Hannah woke up and said “my Mom went where?  was she not hungry?  what about dinner?”   I was on a mission!  I was literally gone all of 40 minutes before I got it going.  I just wanted to do the front of the house and Jacob ended up finishing the back yesterday – along with RAKING the whole yard – he was probably working on the lawn for several hours yesterday since he was off of work.  I so appreciated it and it looks fantastic.

PicMonkey Collage - mow


So guys.  I have got THE summer recipe for you, especially those of you who have gardens and wonder “what the fuck am I going to do with all these zucchinis?!”  I’ve got your answer – ZUCCHINI TOTS!

Now, I did not come up with this idea, but when I searched for recipes all the pictures looked like this – (no offense Gina – I am sure these are amazeballs too!)


Those don’t look like tots to me.  So I came up with this recipe:

Zucchini Tots


  • 1 large zucchini, shredded and squeezed almost dry
  • 1 tablespoon egg white
  • 1/4 cup white corn meal
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cabot cheese (I used the Vermont cheddar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Mix everything in a bowl and shape into the size of a tater tot.  I ended up getting 12 tots with the recipe above.  Now here is the key thing.  Put them on a  plate and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes.  This helps hold their shape when it goes in the fryer.  Heat oil in pan to 350 or your deep fryer and cook for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown.

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That’s not salt, but the white corn meal that shines through that actually gives the tots a nice crunch.  THESE ARE SO GOOD!  You can thank me later.  The only thing I was bummed about was that Hannah was home – she was closing last night. I texted her just a picture of the tots and she said “OMG, what???!!!”  I’ll definitely be getting more zucchini this weekend.


Traffic was a bitch yesterday.  It took me nearly an hour to get home – there must have been an accident or something, so it forced me to take the back roads home.  There is a road that I go down near the horse farms – you can’t drive more than 25 miles per hour and no one was behind me and instead of getting pissed that it was taking so long to get home, I turned on my favorite Sirius station (Coffee House – Channel 31) and stopped and took a picture.

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And I didn’t see it until I got home, but there is Tony’s orb, or what I like to think of as him.  In the millions of pictures I’ve taken for this blog over the nearly 7 years, I’ve only had that green orb show up in pictures after Tony passed away.  I know he’s still with me.  I just wish I could see his face again.

Have an amazing weekend – wish every week could be a short work week!   Come back on Monday – I am bringing back my 101 Days of Summer Challenge!  The first one was in 2010 – can’t believe five years ago already!  Check it out – curious to see who was part of that challenge that still follows me!

Make it a great day!


Blog Meet Ups 2 and 3!

After the kids and I walked around Milwaukee after lunch, it was time to head back to the hotel and just rest.  I had about an hour and a half before I had to get ready before blog reader Kris came to pick me up.  The first hour, not gonna lie, was spent just laying in bed.  The last half hour I took a shower and cleaned myself up – felt good!  Kris is another blog reader that knew everything about me, but I didn’t really know that much about her.  But I was not nervous to meet up with her at all, and it felt like I was meeting an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Kris drove all the way from Dubuque, Iowa to meet me – how nice was that?!  She’s super fit, Vegan and I love that she chose The Comet Café to meet up, because there were plenty of dishes she and I could both enjoy.  Any dish listed on the menu that had a rabbit next to it, the kitchen could make it a Vegan dish.  I, of course, had earned a beer, so I had an Oberon – I told the bartender that I didn’t like bitter beers, and he poured me that is and was delicious.  Carrie, I could have used your expertise on the beer menu!

PicMonkey Collage - Kris

I’ll explain the above collage – me and Kris in front of the Comet sign.  Below that on the left – my dinner.  I was going to get a Reuben, but when the special was a meatball sub, I ordered that – holy balls was that amazing.  The marinara was awesome, the balls were tender, and ladies, admit it, sometimes you like a tender ball, but it was so big I ended up eating barely half of it.  The fries were hand cut, but again, so many, I probably only ate a half dozen.  Kris got the Heaven salad, which I think her protein was tofu?  So what this café is known for is their Turkey Balls – that would be the picture below my sub.  They take all the goodness of a Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing) then make that into balls, bread and deep fry them and served over turkey gravy.

The guy next to me got one (we were sitting at the bar so we didn’t have to wait at a table) and I said “do you mind if I take a picture of that?”  He said no problem, and after I took the picture he said “do you want to try it?”  Yep!  It was pure Thanksgiving turkey in that bite – thanks Justin from Cedar Rapids for letting me taste your balls!  And they are known for their dessert – one of their sister restaurants supplies them all – we ended up splitting a cherry peach pie, and holy shit, it was definitely insulin worthy!  Sorry the pics are so dark, but we were sitting on the bar side and not many windows!

Kris was super easy to talk to, has also lost 60 pounds (but has kept it off!) and has a son a couple years older than Hannah who has graduated and works as an engineer.  I told her next time we’d meet up in Madison so it would be closer to her house, she talked about an amazing farmers market they have there – I definitely know this is the beginning of a great friendship.  She also brought me loot!  Some Milwaukee seasoning from The Spice House, and I can’t wait to delve into this cookbook, I think there are a lot of things I can make Hannah:

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Saturday night I just completely relaxed and I think I fell asleep by 10 that night!  I knew I was meeting up with Mel and Jory, long time blog friends that I first had lunch in January of 2010!  The joys of having a blog that is nearly seven years – you can just search what you did the past 7 years!   Seeing them was definitely like meeting old friends – and they chose Café Benelux.  To say this place was popular is the understatement of the century.  They had an hour wait, but Mel was smart and used an app to sign in at home, and when she saw they were close to getting their table, met me there and we only had to wait maybe 10 minutes before sitting down.  When I first met Mel and Jory, they were just boyfriend and girlfriend, but now they have been happily married for a year!

Jory wanted a bloody mary, and told me about their extensive beer menu – so overwhelming!  When I told him what kind of beers I liked, he immediately ordered me this one.  And they paid for everything which was really so sweet!  Holy cow – this Tripel Karmeliet was the most buttery beer I’ve ever tasted.  It looks like a really big glass, but it has a head on it that is nearly half the glass, so it is probably only about a 6 or 8 ounce pour.  I wish I could have had a second one, but I’ll have to keep my eyes open for it around here – so good!

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I got the triple cheese burger (duh, I was in Wisconsin!) – which was delicious – brie, goat and American cheese and the burger had all these crispy edges on it – so good I think I ate nearly the whole thing.  Mel got an omelet and Jory got a poutine skillet – I don’t know If you can see it, but it has lots and lots of onions on it!  We caught up and it was such a nice lunch.  Sadly, it was raining pretty hard, and I am a nervous driver in the rain as it is, so before I knew it, it was time to hit the road – I promise our visit will be longer next time Mel!

So all in all my Spartan Race weekend was pretty much everything I hoped for!  Great race, great friends and great food!  I am happy that I got outside my comfort zone and did this for myself.  Tony obviously in the last few years of his life wasn’t very social, and I am very social – one of the reasons I am so grateful for this blog because without it, I never would have met the people I did this past weekend.  I have plans for more blogger meet ups soon – just don’t know when or where yet – I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for taking along with me for my #adventure2015 weekend- all the texts, emails, comments of congrats, means more to me than you’ll ever know – thank you!  Now go make it a great day! Open-mouthed smileThumbs upCoffee cup


Spartan Race Recap!

I woke up the morning of race day and I wasn’t nervous at all. I decided not to rock the boat on my food, so stuck with stuff I normally eat – I ended up getting a turkey sausage, egg white English muffin from the Starbucks in the lobby of my hotel, and grabbed a banana too.  The only thing I was nervous about was my blood sugar. Not knowing how long the race was going to take me, I just decided I would skip my insulin with breakfast, and just test it before my heat and just play it by ear. I had another banana and granola with me.

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They suggested getting to the Park two hours before your race time – mine was 10:45 so I got to the stadium at 8:45 (literally a 5 minute drive from my hotel) and by 9:00 I had my chip, my Spartan head band and just waited. It was nice having Hannah and Jacob there to cheer me on – they pretty much had free reign of the whole stadium to watch me.

So about an hour before my race starts I check my blood sugar – 350 – nice! I know that sounds scary high, but I thought it was enough to get me to the end of the race without it dropping too much – my guess was that it could drop a good 200 points. Then 30 minutes later I checked it and it was 469! Holy bat shit! I guess with the added adrenaline, it spiked it even more, so I ended up giving myself 7 units of fast acting insulin and just prayed that I didn’t die on the course.

Just as our heat was lining up, I tapped the woman in front of me and I said “I am going to try to keep up with you!” She asked if I was doing it alone, and when I said yes, she went to her co-workers who were doing it as a group and said “Biz is joining our group!” They were amazing – they truly were a team – some were obviously faster than others, but they would wait for the rest of us to catch up before moving on. So sweet. Shawnta was really funny too and talked the whole time.

So basically since it was a stadium race, we ran a lot of stairs. A LOT OF STAIRS. Like all the stairs on the top part of the stadium. You would run down, across, then over and then after two sections have to pick up a 20 pound sand bag and carry that for two sections. We weaved all through the concourses and stadium seats on the upper level, even crawled up stairwells under webs of netting!

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Here’s the deal with the obstacles. If there were obstacles that you could/or would not do, you had to give them 30 burpees before moving forward. It was funny because at one of the first obstacles a woman said “I can’t do this” and the Spartan volunteer said “it’s your race – make it as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.”

Some of the obstacles:  I stole most of these images off of the internet!

JUMP ROPE: 25 jumps with a weighted jump rope, while wearing ankle bands to keep your feet together.

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WATER CARRY: 45 pound container of water that we had to run outside the stadium with. (Obviously, I walked that!)

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WALLS: Okay, after watching many many videos in advance of this race, the walls made me the most nervous. They ranged in height from 4 – 9 feet. For the taller ones you could get a boost, which I did, but once I got to the 9 foot wall, no fucking way I could have gotten over that, even with a boost. It even had a notch on the side to help, but since I am so short, I would have had to drop about 4 feet to the ground, and I didn’t want to risk breaking an ankle. FIRST 30 BURPEES FOR THIS MISSED OBSTACLE.  The wall at my race was about 2 feet taller than this one below.


PUSHUPS: This was really cool because we got to do those inside the visitors locker room! You had to do a pushup and “hand release” at the bottom, before moving onto the next pushup. These were no problem for me.

SPEAR THROW: No way I was ever going to train for this obstacle – I asked one of the volunteers for advice, and he said “it’s all about balance, not how strong you are.” I got very close – I hit the target, but it didn’t stick, so my SECOND 30 BURPEES FOR THIS MISSED OBSTACLE.


CEMENT CARRY: Yep, that is not a typo – We had to pick up a 50 pound block of cement, carry it 40 feet, drop and do 5 burpees, turn around and carry it back. That was difficult, but once I got the cement block up, I was okay.


HERCULEAN HOIST: You had to pull a heavy sand bag up to the top and drop it down to the ground in control. If you couldn’t do it on your own, you could do it with a partner, but then you had to do it twice. That was no problem at all for me – Shawnta asked “do you need a partner Biz?” just when she saw me finish on my own. 😀


CAGE CRAWL: The only thing difficult about this obstacle was keeping your balance while other people were on this obstacle at the same time – while it was very tall, this was the easiest obstacle for me of the day.


BARBED WIRE CRAWL: After carrying around the water, we had about 100 feet of barbed wire that you had to crawl on. It was on this “grassy” area – I use the word “grassy” ironically because it was mostly dirt and very hard ground. This took me quite a while to get through – I was so nervous I would catch my shirt or hair on the barbed wire!

SEAL CRAWL: Not exactly sure how to explain this, but they had wooden boards with four wheels on them – you had to put your feet on the board, then hold like a push up position – but your object was to pull yourself across the parking lot with your feet on the wheely thing and you had to go there and back. That was really hard and I had to take several breaks before completing it.

ROPES: This was another obstacle that I couldn’t really train for, other than to train and get more upper body strength. I thought I would have had a chance if the knots on the rope weren’t so far apart, so that was my LAST 30 BURPRESS FOR THIS MISSED OBSTACLE.

BOX JUMPS: Shelly, as soon as I saw the box jumps I totally thought of you! We had to do 25 of them, but they had two sizes, so I chose the shorter of the two. 😀

MEDICINE BALL SQUATS: For the women, we had to do 25 squats with a 20 pound medicine ball – this was the very last obstacle right before the finish, and when I started to run to the finish line, my quads at this point felt like tree trunks! (link to video)

Sadly, Hannah and Jacob tried to find me at different obstacles over the course of the 1:54 minutes it took me to complete it, but they would have had no idea when I would get to an obstacle, obviously because everyones pace is different. Right around the hour and thirty minute mark, they decided to park themselves by the finish line, and were able to see me cross the finish line. They said some people would get to the finish line and start puking, so I am glad I had enough strength and stamina to not finish like that!

I got some water, grabbed a banana and checked my blood sugar – all was well – down to 227 so I still had some reserves left in me had I needed it – nice!

We ended up eating at The Milwaukee Ale House. When researching places I thought it could have been fun to eat at a restaurant on Lake Michigan, but turns out there aren’t that many to begin with, half weren’t open at lunch and the two that were, were very pricey.

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So we sat by the river at The Ale House and I anxiously waited for my large ice tea and pulled pork sandwich. Surprisingly, I only ended up eating half of it, because I knew that I’d soon be having my meet up with blog reader Kris in just a few short hours. You’ll have to stop by tomorrow for that recap!

We then walked around and of course ended up at The Public House – I wanted to buy all the sausages!!

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So the number 1 question I’ve been asked? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? And my answer? Absolutely!

Thanks Shawnta for pushing me through the race!


But I have to tell you, as I was running up and down those stairs, it crossed my mind more than once that this would be a lot easier if I were 40-50 pounds lighter! So while there are no other Spartan races near to me, I may just make this Milwaukee one an annual trip and hope that I can beat my time.

BIB # 3287

AGE: 47




IN AGE GROUP: 75 out of 89

TIME: 1:54:45

The fastest female did it in 48:17 – the fastest male did it in 40:12. The fastest in my age group (45-49) was 45 years old and did it in 57:05. Wow. And I noticed that it took a 47 year old woman 6:02 – that’s six hours and 2 minutes – what determination to keep going – I wish I could have met her to congratulate her!

And the last competitor to cross the finish line? A 52 year old woman – who did it in 7 hours and 22 minutes – amazeballs to not give up until she got across the finish line!

So this proves that you are never too old or too out of shape to do something you never thought you could do – BE SPARTAN STRONG!