Posted by: Michal | May 21, 2012

Sun”day in the life”

I’ve been really enjoying these “day in the life” posts around the blogosphere, and I want to tell you about my Sunday anyway – isn’t that convenient? (inconvenient: deciding to do this kind of post halfway into the day, so not having pictures of most of it. Oh well!)

This morning my alarm went off about 6:20. Breakfast was Love Grown granola with strawberries, bananas and almond milk. I ran out at 7:20. The drive to the County Fairgrounds was supposed to take 20-30 minutes, but my brain was not on this morning – unusual for me. I was worrying – I hadn’t hydrated enough or brought water with me – so I was distracted and I missed my exit. So I ended up getting to the Fairgrounds at 8:25 and running straight to packet pickup with just 5 minutes before it closed. Then I got water and found my group.

It’s sort of funny that I don’t even consider today – my first 5k – a race, but for me it really wasn’t. Today was the Girls on the Run 5k. I’ve been reading about them for months on Caitlin‘s blog and wanting to get involved. Then I found out that one of the local Jewish day schools had a group, and I really wanted to get more involved with the community and to spend time with kids again. So I signed up as a Buddy runner.

I have to say – all my anxiety from the drive pretty much dissipated when I got my first glimpse of hundreds of girls and balloons. The pre-race looked so much fun – a great soundtrack while a leader led the girls through a fun warm-up, everyone psyched for the race.

I was paired with a 9-year old whose parents attended, but couldn’t run the race with her. She was really excited – last season she didn’t have her “own” Buddy, so my being there made her feel special. Hopefully I was up to snuff. :-)

Until I went to the practice run last Sunday, I had no idea just how hard it is to convince a 9-year old to run. I have an even higher respect for teachers than before. Girls on the Run focuses on positive self-image, so I wanted to avoid anything that even touched on negative comparison with others. Instead I tried to suggest goals – “let’s start running again at that telephone pole” – and a little silliness, like when my girl buddy decided she wanted to “run-run-run-skip” (which, by the way, took us way farther than plain running – ha) and a little bit of racing one another or catching up to her friends. When we came towards the crowds and again to the finish line, I used a lot of “your parents will be so proud” and “your parents will want to get a photo of you running.” In the last stretch to the finish line I finally resorted to “think about the pizza you’ll be having later, and how much energy it’ll give you.”

Don’t get me wrong; I was fine with walking parts. But I knew she could run some of the race, and her mother asked me to try and get her to run. All in all, it was a lot of fun – and I think she enjoyed it. I hope she did!

I love how 9-year olds (at least the ones I know) don’t worry about being “cool.” They want to be liked, yes, but it’s so much simpler before things like dating and choices about sex, drugs, alcohol, etc come into play.

I have to give a shout out to these women:

They ran backwards, cheering on the girls. When they passed us the first time, they called out “There she is, #1025!” It made her feel so special and her face just lit up every time someone cheered her on.

After the run I managed to find my way back to my area and went straight to Whole Foods for groceries… then Giant for some more. Got home, dropped stuff, made a timeflow of what I had to get done, made lunch. I am currently obsessed with kale. Here’s the thing with kale: I tried making kale chips once and they were a huge fail, so I decided I hated kale. But a friend made kale salad recently and it was AMAZING. So when I planned my Shabbat menu, I literally went searching for kale recipes. I made this huge and amazing kale salad and a kale-mushroom phyllo wrap. Lunch today was a huge serving of leftover kale salad. While I ate, I caught up with my parents on Skype. The brother was eating dinner, so I started cleaning while I waited for him and played lots of Lindsey Stirling, who you should check out if you haven’t already.

Dishes, counter. I clean my counters and table with Windex, ala My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Doesn’t everybody?

Skype with the brother, quickly run down to water my garden – which is suddenly covered in tiny weeds – run back up to dress for dinner. In the midst of all the above, I make my first cup of caffeine for the day and steal moments to read On the Banks of Plum Creek (shout out to Jenna!). I started re-reading the Little House on the Prairie series over Shabbat. I keep thinking about Jenna’s kitchen wall prints of Little House recipes and wanting to try some of the recipes described in the books….

I needed my biggest bowl to make a double pizza dough recipe, but the dishwasher was still in heat-dry mode, and I figured the heat in the metal bowl would fry the yeast. So I stuck it in the freezer for a minute. Quick solve!

Toss together the pizza dough. I have special towels specifically for covering my dough. Is that strange? My mother gave them to me and that’s how she always used them; they wouldn’t be good for wiping up spills, but I imagine they let the dough breathe. Then I make the pesto and prep the potatoes.

In case you’re wondering, “Pesto? Why pesto?” Here’s the story: A week or so ago, I had the urge to cook for people. So I invited Pat and Megan (Pat’s response was, “Michal wants to cook for people? Shocking!!) and we decided to have pizza. Apparently Em was thinking along the same lines, only reversed, because she emailed me and said “We should get together for dinner.” After I agreed, she added “I don’t really have pots or pans or anything.” So she brought a salad, my roomie made garlic bread and bought sorbet, and I made this pasta with pesto. I’d never made pesto before, but I wanted to try it. Then I emailed Pat and Megan and said to them, “I just made pesto. I don’t care about you, but it’s going on my pizza.”

Well, no, actually I put it to vote, and the vote was to do half pesto, half sauce. Then it became two pizzas instead of one, so I thought I’d make one all pesto, one all sauce. I thought about doing both half and half and then realized it would make no difference to the final ratio of pesto:sauce pizza. See, I can do math!

I had no idea how much pesto to make to cover a pizza, but the good thing about pesto is that you get to eat the leftovers. I decided to quadruple the recipe.

Laptop on top of dough = more warmth for dough, right? It’s also atop the “heat-dry” dishwasher. Innovation, folks, innovation.

I’ve never parboiled french fries before, though I’ve heard it does wonderful things. But since I wanted to be sure the fries and pizzas were done at the same time, I used parboiling to cut down on the baking time. I followed these instructions, more or less. Thinking about the fries made me realize that I could only fit one pizza at a time into my oven…. so we went back to the half-and-half approach. But then, staring at my pans, I had another insightful moment: deep dish pizza is awesome. So…. we now had: one regular, big pizza that’s half-and-half; one smaller, deep dish pizza all pesto, and one smaller, deep dish pizza all sauce.

Then the goo monster grabbed my hands, so I don’t have a lot of photos of pizza-rolling. I guesstimated wrong which of the two last quarters of dough was bigger (one deep-dish pan is bigger than the other), but that was an easy fix: I stole “trimmings” from the smaller one that had more dough and patted it down over the thin areas in the bigger one.

So at 3:30 I had pesto done and sitting in the blender, potatoes coming to a boil, three pizzas rolled out and waiting for sauce/pesto/cheese/toppings, and caffeine in my system. Life is good.

At 3:35, I had three sauce/pesto-covered pizzas and potatoes beginning to boil. I tried to remember that less is more with the pesto but it was a struggle. Pesto = crack. In a healthy kind of way. Also healthy crack? Daiya cheese.

At 3:40, my phone rang. Pat was here. Megan arrived shortly after. They both said over and over how beautiful the pizzas were, and we prepped the toppings and salad together. They both stayed til 7:30 and we had a wonderful time. Friends, pizza, fries. What more could a girl ask for?

When they decided it was time to head out, I grabbed my keys, camera and little shovel (whatever you call it? Hand shovel?) and walked them out. A storm was threatening to blow in, but I walked around to the back of my building to tackle some of the weeds I saw popped up all over my garden earlier. One of my neighbors was there, and we chatted while we worked; she offered me some bib lettuce, and I offered her some beans in return. She showed me a wild plant she said was lemon balm, and complimented my much-more-chaotic-than-hers garden. She also had an extra stake so she gave it to me and suggested I put it by my pepper plant for when it gets heavy with peppers.

These “weeds” have popped up all over my garden suddenly, and they really remind me of purslane. I pulled as much of it as I could, but I’m going to google it. Purslane is awesome and I’d love to transplant some to an indoor pot – just not to have an entire garden of it.

Then I thought, “It would be so nice to be able to say on my blog that I did all the dishes that night.” So I did. More or less. Way to go, accountability. I cut the two deep dish pizzas into individual servings to freeze – I may have less Shavuot menu planning to do than I thought! – and put away all the leftovers – mostly pesto. :-)

By this point I was pretty tired. Going on 9:30, so I quickly resized the photos from the run and sent them to the coaches. It still seemed early to sleep, so I worked on this post for a bit and started By the Shores of Silver Lake, the next book in the Little House series. I resized all the photos for this post, but by then it was 10 and I really was tired, so I closed up shop and headed to sleep.


  1. It’s good seeing my old pizza pan! I’m sure both pizzas were delicious. I wish I could see the garden – more pictures please. And a great run – I’m sure your buddy had great fun.

    • Haha, I’ve been taking pictures but didn’t want to overload with garden blog posts! I’ll post more pictures this week. :-)

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