What are some of your 4th of July Festivities? Some of my favorite activities happen to be what I love to do everyday. RUN, EAT, and Spend time with Family and Friends!
Ok……you’re right…..I don’t Run 7 days a week, and to be honest, as much as I love running, I don’t advise doing it daily but I am one of those persons who loves to exercise and I do get up and move daily. Exercise in my opinion is just the right thing to do so even if you only have 20 minutes……MOVE:-)
LET THE FIREWORKS BEGIN!
Seems like every 4th of July I start out the holiday with a run. This year was the Firecracker Run and did we ever have fun! See, we’re all smiles before and after the race. Notice my patriotic headband?? . You may also notice it’s a bit hazy due to the Canadian Fires to our North but it was also very HOT and Humid which is typical 4th of July weather here in MN. The second pic you’ll see is much brighter so the sun definitely came out in force and it was a very HOT run. No surprise here……..for the past few years, it’s been very warm but its still a GREAT way to begin the Holiday weekend.
My brother Aaron did the 10K and My husband Rob and I did the 5K. Aaron had a fantastic run and PR’d. This happened to be Rob’s first race in over a year due to a knee injury he’s been recovering from. He did really well for not having raced for months. I ended up placing second in my age group out of almost 100; not a PR by any means but those are harder to achieve now that I am in my mid-fifties. My fastest 5K was a flat 21:00 over two decades ago and now I am on to a new running journey which is staying injury free and achieving personal bests in my age group. I am blessed I am still running!
Last year I ran in the Red White and Boom Half Marathon in Minneapolis, MN.
Probably the warmest race was a couple years ago when my brother and I did the Green Lake Road Race which is a 12 mile loop around Green lake in Spicer, MN. I remember looking at Aaron around mile 8 as we were climbing a hill saying….”I can’t wait to jump into that lake when we’re done”. We both didn’t waste much time either! Every year I had fun in spite of the hot and humid conditions.
After the run we ducked into the porta potties, ditched our running clothes for dryer street clothes and enjoyed some festivities in Excelsior, MN. Guess what was first on the agenda. FOOD. The town was buzzing with runners and spectators. There were over 1000 runners for the 5K and over 600 for the 10K. Even though it was 4th of July, many of the shops and restaurants were open due to the towns celebration.
We popped into one of our favorite restaurants called Coalition where we enjoyed a very yummy brunch which included these melt in your mouth Cardamon Donuts. They reminded me of the ones my mom made when we were kids.
After brunch my husband and brother went straight for the local Brewery while I had some time to wonder the streets of Excelsior checking out the lovely boutiques, a delicious bakery, a very decadent chocolate shop. It was truly a delightful way to spend my alone time while my hubby and brother were enjoying some good local brews. I’m a wine kind of gal so I just let them have their fun while I had mine?. Besides, I soon realized I needed to be designated driver.
On the way home, the guys dosed off (probably due to the strong beer) while I thought about what I should make for dinner to go with the beer purchased by my brother. I know, typically on the 4th of July the thing to do is grill right? Not this year………..we did pizza. After all, what goes best with Beer, Pizza. A glass of Red Wine works pretty good too by the way!
Many years ago my friend Beth gave me this awesome recipe for Chicago style Pizza and I’ve been making this same recipe for over a decade. Every year I invite friends and or family for pizza and they all say “Karen’s Pizzas” are the best! I am so fortunate to have such kind friends.
The best part about this pizza dough, it’s not only tasty, its easy and doesn’t take a lot of time to whip up. The Cornmeal variation is reminiscent of crusts used in many of Chicago Style Deep Dish. It’s crunch is appropriate with a wide variety of toppings which is why I love this recipe so much. If you spread the dough out into a BIG pizza pan, it won’t be as thick and gets really crunchy. Plus you can top each pizza with a different assortment of toppings and make all your guests happy. This 4th of July I made a large Sausage Sauerkraut for the men and a second pizza with lots of Veggies for me.
Cornmeal Pizza Dough
- 2 1/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup of coarse cornmeal
- 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of italian seasoning (optional)
- 1/4 oz of yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
- In a small bowl, sugar or honey in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir gently until it dissolves (1 minute). When yeast is mixed with water at proper temp, a smooth beige colored mixture results. (If the yeast clumps together and the water stays clear, discard the mixture and star over). Let stand 5 minutes in a warm spot until a thin layer of foam covers the surface indicating that the yeast is effective.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, salt and herbs if using. Add the above yeast mixture and 1/4 cup of Olive Oil. Stir. Knead briefly and cover with a plastic wrap or damp towel. Let set for about an hour.
- To shape by hand, place a ball of dough in your pizza pan and let it stand to soften for about 10 minutes. Than flatten the dough with the heels of your hands and fingertips to cover the bottom of pan evenly. Pull the edge of dough up the sides of pan to form a 2″ lip. Let the dough rise in pan for about 20 minutes before filing or baking. For a thinner crust, fill and bake as quickly as possible.
- Before you bake, prick the bottom every 1/2 inch with a fork. Bake 4 minutes (no longer) on bottom rack. Remove from oven and lightly brush with Olive Oil. Spread the crust with Mozzarella Cheese or (cheese of choice) all over the bottom of the crust. Top with additional toppings, tomato sauce and than sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Drizzle evenly and lightly with olive oil. Place on the bottom rack of oven and bake 5 minutes (no longer), than remove to a rack in upper oven and bake until crust is golden brown, cheese is bubbly and if using sausage, is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove from pan to a cutting board and lightly brush crust with olive oil and serve immediately. Remember to Eat with Love:-)