Home Fries

It’s kind of amazing when your birthday falls on a Monday, because it gives you an excuse to celebrate all weekend. And celebrate I did, in between my randomly jumping up and down, clapping, and yelling “It’s my birthday weekend!” like a 5-year-old to anyone who happened to be around. I’m sure Dave wasn’t annoyed with that by my actual birthday after hearing it 20 or so times. (This picture is from my birthday a few years ago, with my sweet Kentucky friends. Why? Just because I miss them. And, because the pretty lady in the white t-shirt next to me shares my birthday, so happy birthday to her, too. #BirthdayBuds)

We started off Friday night with an impromptu, low-key dinner with Dr. Jones. He loves bourbon, so I made up a recipe for grilled honey-bourbon salmon, roasted some asparagus and mashed some potatoes. He supplied the desserts. After dinner, we played Scrabble and, despite my laying down a 7-letter word TO START THE GAME (it was “animals”), Dave still beat both of us. I was shamed. And I can’t be sure, but I think Genay took a little too much pleasure in seeing me beaten at a word game by an engineer.

Saturday I took some students to the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Dahlonega. So, that didn’t really count as “celebrating” since it was technically a 12-hour workday that started at 6:30 am, but they made me super proud since they represented Georgia Highlands so well at the conference. It was our first ever appearance there, and they did a great job presenting their research. Plus, my Honors students are fun, and they kept me entertained by doing things like taking pictures with random dinosaurs on campus.

(I cropped out my students’ faces, just to protect the innocent.)

Despite being exhausted when I got home on Saturday, I had major business to attend to: the preparation of a pre-half-marathon meal with Lindsey. We always eat the exact same thing the night before a big race: angel hair with tomato sauce, a small salad, and one glass of red wine. It’s been our good luck meal ever since our first Peachtree Road Race. And we generally stay the night with each other the night before a race, so that we can carpool and ensure that the other one gets up in time. It worked out great this year, since the race started about 5 minutes from my house and we got to sleep in longer than we ever have before a major race!

We were freaking out the night before since it was (a) cold and (b) rainy, which were the exact same conditions on the most miserable run of my life, which was the Lexington Half Marathon.

(photo credit: Alyssa. I’m in the blue jacket; Lindsey’s in the black to my left. Pure. Misery.)

Neither of us was excited about the prospect of dealing with freezing rain for 13.1 miles again, but luckily, the weather wasn’t terrible on raceday. It was cold, but only slightly rainy. We had our fastest time ever: 1:55! I can’t believe we broke 2 hours.

We used that as an excuse to stuff our faces with brunchy goodness, as seen here:

In fact, it was thinking of this brunch that kept me going for those 13.1 miles. My mantra on this race day was, “2 hours until mimosas.” On this plate (which is actually Lindsey’s, since mine was already destroyed by the time I decided to take a picture) are: a biscuit with McCutcheon’s apple butter, a sausage, pepper & onion frittata, home fries (recipe in a moment) and a mimosa. What’s not pictured was this beautiful pear & apple tart that Lindsey made for brunch dessert. She is a dang good apple & pear slicer, and I think Ina Garten would’ve been proud of the beauty of the dessert.

I’m sharing the recipe for home fries here so I won’t forget how I made them. They were super easy and didn’t take nearly as long as I thought they would, thanks to a  tip from Smitten Kitten’s website.

Home Fries

Small dice 5-6 red potatoes. Microwave them in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons butter, covered with plastic wrap, for 5-7 minutes, stirring halfway through. Immediately add to a nonstick pan with some olive oil, and toss with salt, pepper, tons of paprika, chili powder, and oregano. Cook over medium high heat until the outside of the potatoes is crispy and they’re fork tender, about 7-10 minutes.

That’s it! Home fries are done! I could’ve eaten my weight in them, had I not been stuffing my face with the other deliciousness we created.

After brunch, Shaun & Chris came over, and we started strategizing about a triathlon team we’re putting together. The thought of me on a legitimate athletic team is a little scary, and I think their perception of me as an athlete must be skewed. But, it was fun to be creative for a while and come up with some ideas for races this summer. Then, my family came over (invaded?) and brought me one of my favorite foods on the planet: Whitt’s Barbecue. I got to gorge myself a second time that day on bbq pork and turkey, just like I did every Sunday for lunch while I was growing up. And, it was great to spend some time with my family.

And the fun didn’t stop there! On Monday, we had dinner with the Subers at Antico Pizza. Since it was the shortest dinner of all time (had no idea that place was so efficient), we even got to go back to their place to chill for a few minutes before heading back home.

I swear, my birthdays keep getting more awesome every year.

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