Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gorgeous weekend

It was nothing short of a spectacular summer weekend here in Minnesota. Comfortable temperatures, low dew point, and sunny skies. A far cry from most of the week, which was something of a dreary washout.

Saturday morning started with a 16 mile run. Temperatures remained in the mid 50's the whole time, so running was absolutely delightful. Winds were calm as well. I took this shot from the trail during my Saturday run.

Saturday morning. Not a ripple on the lake. And do I detect a bit of fall color in the leaves? :)



I saw a few different things on the run. Cedar waxwings seemed to be everywhere. I suspect these nomadic birds are snacking on the abundant assortment of berries along the trail. I also saw numerous egrets and herons in flight (they seemed to be headed in a southerly direction...hmmmm). And for furry creatures, I spotted a mouse an a mink!

Because it was too nice to be inside, I took a hike around the neighborhood on Saturday afternoon. I ended up being gone for two hours. Butterflies and grasshoppers are all over the place, and the goldenrod have added a pretty yellow tint to the meadow. I discovered the intricate little swamp smartweeds have started to bloom. And again, the lake looked awfully pretty this day.

A swamp smartweed blooming along the edge of the trail



Another shot of a lake on a glorious summer day. Not a cloud in the sky!



Sunday was much of the same, except shorter distances; 5 mile run in the morning, and an hour and a half walk in the afternoon. Equally as beautiful of a day, and slightly warmer in the upper 70's. Extremely pleasant!

Yesterday I did not cook; so I got Chinese take out for dinner. But tonight, I cooked! I made Tyler Florence's baked rigatoni with Italian sausage and eggplant. I followed the recipe closely in terms of the amounts. Differences include that I used ground Italian sausage (homemade, at that) instead of links, baked the eggplant chunks instead of sauteing, topped the dish with sliced cherry tomatoes, and I jazzed up the tomato sauce with white wine, fresh oregano, and lots of crushed red pepper.

Baked Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Eggplant



These baked dishes with short pasta never seem to look all that attractive once dished up on the plate; but take my word for it that this was really tasty! Nice way to cap off a good weekend of running, hiking, and eating!

Until next time,

Jean
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