Riding High and Riding Low

Working as a nurse, or in any profession where you are scheduled to work every other weekend, one tends to savor the weekends they do have off. Of course, being the person I am, I decided to go to work on Saturday (they were short staffed) missing what might have been one of the most gorgeous autumn days we have had to date. I recall seeing a fellow colleague who rides and having a short conversation about how devestating it was being inside with the perfect riding conditions just outside.

Yes, the weekend was cut short, but I was able to bring X on my northern Dutchess County/ Southern Columbia County folliage tour (or as I call it “foilage”) the next day as we had planned on doing the day before when I chose to go to work instead (smacking my forehead). Ok, I promise, these are the last photos of trees for this season. The weather was not as amazing as the day before, but it was still enjoyable. And, I need to give my riding companion credit for taking some of the photos. Obviously, the tour guide cannot do everything. 

Sheep

Nourishment is key on long rides. One whole serving of fruit in this.*Note: the caps are a hazard to children under three.

Sometimes the tour guide gets a little lost….

…And you cannot forget the mountain biking, which I definitely feel I am improving at. I (for the second or third time since “the incident”) made it over bridges that I have a fear of biking over. I was on cloud nine at the fact my tires moved swiftly over the bridges, effortlessly. I was so excited at the fact that afterwards, continuing on my route, I ran straight into a tree and fell. I guess with the “biking highs” come the “biking lows.”

I’m pretty sure another key point of mountain biking is actually trusting the bike. Like when you rock climb, to trust your feet. For heavens sake Mols, your mountain bike has FULL suspension! I realized that having a death grip on the bars makes it harder for the bike to move the way it wants to move. And the less control you attempt to have over the bike, the easier it is to actually move over obstacles.

My ultimate riding motivator at Jockey Hill

Someone created something new at Ferncliff

Mountain Biking Bliss

Part Two: Baking/Cooking

In an attempt to continue on my “Fall baking challenge” I have succeeded in creating a couple more fall-themed baked items, they are not, however, on the list I mentioned in one of my posts.

Yesterday after the realization I had forgotten my muffin tin that I needed in order to bake the maple cupcakes I had planned on, and frantically searching X’s cupboards for a baking dish of any kind, I decided to bake a maple cake with maple frosting instead. This cake recipe has real maple syrup in both the cake mix and frosting versus other recipes I found which used maple flavoring.

During the kitchen raid, I proceeded to find a handheld mixer which, I swear, is some sort of psychotic mixer whose slowest speed caused a hurricane of butter and sugar to splatter the walls of X’s kitchen.

As some of you may know, I dislike cakes and cupcakes. But if you like pancakes, this is the cake for you (thank you to The Baker’s Daughter website for the recipe). The aroma of maple pancakes filled the kitchen after I took the finished product out of the oven. I was caught in the act of frosting the cake–the part of cake decorating I am still working on.

Yup, frosting the cake.

Maple Cake, with Maple Buttercream drizzled with maple syrup

The finished product was, if I may say so myself, pretty incredible. And, if one of X’s co-workers shows up with some of the cake in his mouth saying, “Your girlfriend is a keeper,” than I guess it really was a good recipe.

Lastly, I need to tell the world that there are a couple food items my man can make which are drool-worthy (the pita chips for one, that I mentioned in a previous post). The other is guac (which I might have mentioned, but actually have a photo), home made pizza, and his grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty hard to beat. But, I did manage to make my first quesadilla ever, and think it turned out well (okay okay, make-shift quesadilla…more like a grilled cheese in-between two tortillas).

Perfect post-47mile ride snack for X

And now, X’s creations….

PS. For the record, let it be known to the world that for the first time in months, I got dressed up in something other than scrubs or athletic attire for a “night out on the town.” At 6:30pm after dinner, exhausted, I kept asking X how long we had to wait until it was “socially acceptable” to go out on a Saturday night–knowing that usually I’m in bed by 9pm now a days (complete opposite of years in the past, huh?) anything later than 8pm causes me internal stress…Okay, slight exaggeration. Anywho, going out, blow drying my hair, and “dressing up” is such a rarity, not only X is surprised, but, apparently, family members are as well: “So, I guess Mol cleans up pretty nicely, doesn’t she?”

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Flavors of Fall

Mid-mountain bike ride break at “the Beaver Pond”
*Note: this is the name the Geuss family nicknamed the pond.

In my last post I briefly touched upon my appreciation of spices in the kitchen during fall. To be honest, it is more than an appreciation. Cooking in the fall (and winter) is a love of mine. I melt inside when I smell a pumpkin muffin baking in the oven; I drool over the scent of a fresh apple pie, tears of joy run down my cheeks when I bite into a warm, soft apple cider donut.

Okay, so maybe the last one was a bit much, considering I dislike donuts and cakes. But, unless you are made of cold stone, the smell of them will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling all over.  Not to mention warm, homemade gingerbread with moist maple cream cheese frosting…Ouu that’ll knock your socks off.* Even fall beverages make me giddy as a school girl. Ginger tea, and pumpkin spice lattes–the one flavored coffee I can tolerate? (However , I just researched the nutritional content of this beverage, and upon learning that it cannot be made “skinny,” resulted in a very sad Molly walking out of a Starbucks with no beverage in hand…I think the Barista thought I was nuts…Not to mention it was the first time I have been in a Starbucks in a couple years). Then, of course, there is the pumpkin ale. Mmmm.

Hmm, maybe my lust over fall baking/drinks might be making my man jealous…

Anyway, the baker in me, for some odd reason, seemed to have disappeared for awhile. I remember going on baking sprees in college and the first couple years living alone, where I’d bake cookies, brownies, muffins, different type of cookies, cupcakes…You name it….And, this would happen in one afternoon, usually the day before a final exam or something highly important in my life. Of course, living in a house full of females who would faint before they dared eat one of my baked goods (that, or spend hours at the gym on an elliptical), did not help disperse the plethora of sugar and spice I had created. Then again, I developed friendships with all the males I knew. Seriously, guy+ unbelievable homemade cupcake= friend for life. Note (mainly to my man if he reads this): don’t worry, I no longer speak to any of these guys…Or girls for that matter.

Once the stresses of college and work left, my baking dwindled to an odd cake or cake pop here or there, or the batch of brownies for nurses at work (whose famous last words are always: Ouuu brownies? I shouldn’t…I’m on a diet…Well, I will start the diet tomorrow and consume three servings over the course of a morning. I admit it, I have said those words too).

This fall, however, is different. Maybe it is because of the man, and my female internal instincts to make sure her man is well fed and nourished. Or maybe it is because I cleaned and organized my closet and realized how much baking ingredients I actually own. Who knows really. What I do know is, I want to experiment with the different flavors of fall this year. That means, go out of my comfort zone and create/bake new foods I have never baked before. No, I am not in college (however, am studying for the GMAT to apply for school) and I no longer have hundreds of hungry male college friends to feed (that was an over exaggeration). But, I do have my man’s work and work colleagues who now give me an excuse to bake for, as well as stressed nurses at work.

It has already begun…Pumpkin bread. The pumpkin cookies mentioned in my last post. Halloween, or should I say, ‘a-month-before-halloween-halloween’ themed cupcakes for the man’s work (who actually witnessed an almost “Molly Baking Spree” last night when I made Orange cranberry bread, and spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting–also for his work friends).

The cow teapot says they are “Moooooocho bueno”

I have a long list of other things I want to try baking this season, including:

Homemade pumpkin pie pop tarts

Apple cider cupcakes with caramel frosting

Pumpkin pecan cranberry cupcakes

Pumpkin pie from scratch…meaning, puree my own pumpkin

(which I have only done once in third grade under adult supervision)

Apple caramel scones

…And the list continues, but I do not want to overwhelm myself right now, or cause you to drool on your keyboard…Sorry did I say ‘you’? I meant ‘I.’

To finish this post, I must give credit to my man, who makes amazing homemade applesauce. Many months ago, I, myself dabbled in the art of applesauce making, under his strict supervision that is…In other words, I only cut the apples, and he did the rest. After taste testing two different sauces made by different types of apples, I have concluded that Shizuka (say that really fast**) apples make  hands down amazing applesauce! Well done, K.

Winning applesauce is on the right…Please ignore the “finger-dipping” marks.
Neither were made with additives or coloring…Nor the harming of anything except for apples.

Happy fall cooking!

*Yes, I do associate gingerbread more with winter cooking.But, that is a post in itself.

** I really have no idea what happens when you say “Shizuka” really fast, but if you actually did when you read this, I am secretly laughing inside.

When was the last crazy post written?

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