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Monthly Archives: September 2012

  • Hooters 2 Hooters 10K

    2010 was the year I ran three different 10Ks in three months: Midnight Run in Dunedin, Moss Park in Orlando and Ace of Clubs in Clearwater.  Out of the three events my least favorite was the Ace of Clubs.  The race course goes through the beautiful Ream Wilson trail, however I wasn't a big fan of the hills.  I know what you are thinking, I live in Florida, there are no hills.  Let me tell you, there are hills or at least 10% inclines throughout this trail.  In addition, to start the Ace of Clubs you had to run on the Booth Mullen Road overpass.  I was not a happy camper.  As if that wasn't enough, in order to finish, you once again go over the Booth Mullen Road overpass and while to your right you could see the finish line, you were instructed to go left for what felt like 3 more miles.  Maybe it was 1/2 mile, I don't remember.  All I know is that I was so deflated after sprinting over that overpass only to be told I had some more miles to go.  Again, I was not a happy camper.

    Fast forward to a few months ago I found out about the Hooters 2 Hooters 10K.  As I understood it, the race was supposed to be from the original Hooters location on Bay to Bay to another Hooters in Clearwater.  The concept sounded interesting.  The idea of eating chicken wings after the 10k was the extra push I needed to sign up.  Little did I know, this was just the old Ace of Clubs 10k rebranded.

    I must admit, I was a bit skeptical at first, but decided to go ahead and sign up.  The Ream Wilson Trail is mostly shaded and it would be a change of pace from running around the lake at our community.  I convinced a friend of mine to sign up and got my family to come cheer us bright and early on Sunday morning.

    The drive to Clearwater wasn't too bad as there wasn't a lot of traffic at 6:00 am.  There was a bit of a breeze so I was glad to have packed my Ego Girl hoodie, thanks Ericca!  Just like any other race, there was the line for the packet pick up, a line for the chip and of course the potty line.  I had planned on running with my camelbak and was debating whether I should keep it or not.  So glad I listened to Leigh!

    The race started about 5 minutes late, which wasn't too bad except my legs started to feel sore.  One of the best things about going to races is the people watching.  You get to see what other gear/shoes people are wearing.  And of course there's always the people playing dress up.  When we noticed these guys running around dressed up like Hooters Girls it was hard not to laugh.

    Even though there were still some hills, this new course was much better.  I'm not sure if I've become a better runner or just having run that course before helped me, but I got my first 10K PR of 59:41.  Sure, I didn't win my age group, but I won my race.  I went back to a course I hated, and I came back with a PR.  Not bad for an early Sunday morning!

     

    Have you or would you return to a race you didn't like the first time?

     

  • Parkesdale Strawberry Cookies Debut at Central Florida Bloggers Conference

    One of the benefits of working at the market, is being able to promote not just Parkesdale, but Plant City.  This past weekend was just that.  On Saturday, I travelled with the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers to Orlando to attend the Central Florida Bloggers Conference at the Orlando Science Center.  By the way, if you have not been to the Orlando Science Center and you have young children, I urge you to go now!  It was a great experience.  So much, that I wish I had brought my girls with me.

    Dino Room at the Orlando Science Center.

    Ok, back to the point of this post.  Travelling in a car filled with our Parkesdale Strawberry Cookies all the way to Orlando was a bit of a challenge.  Making sure the trays didn't tip over was our #1 priority.  Getting to the Orlando Science Center was a bit of a task because there was a Heart Walk going on while we were trying to park.  However, the Orlando police were very helpful in guiding us in the right direction to the unloading docks.  Also, the Orlando Science Center event planners were extremely helpful with unloading the precious cargo: 600 strawberry cookies, bushels of apples and bananas.  Thank you!

     

    Parkesdale Famous Strawberry Cookies

    Once we got the table all set up, thank you Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers, it was time to split up and attend the conference sessions.  One of the great things about this conference is the way it was targeted to both bloggers, media and business owners.  There were great topics presented whether you represented a brand or you were trying to become a brand.   The Keynote Speech was presented by Lou Mongello, an expert on Walt Disney World.  His main point was "Be everywhere, Be consistent, Be connected, Be authentic, Be yourself".  This was reiterated through the day.  I also listened to Rachelle Lucas presentation on Twitter, who also spoke of the importance of being genuine, friendly, resourceful, consistent and efficient.  These are just two of the speakers who I knew nothing about prior to attending this conference.

    To say the event was a success it's an understatement.  The level of organization, the quality of speakers and variety of topics surpassed any expectation I had set for myself.  As a Parkesdale representative, I was very happy to have chosen this event to promote not only our business but our community.  To me, reaching out to the Orlando community is like calling on our next door neighbor.  We are so close that we might as well help each other out.  The level of gratitude and excitement over our Parkesdale Strawberry Cookies was a bit overwhelming.  Who knew those chewy strawberry sugary bites covered in powdered sugar would win over such a diverse crowd!  By the way, starting in November, we'll be able to ship our Strawberry Cookies anywhere in the US.  They make great Christmas presents...hint hint. :)

    Have you tried our Parkesdale Strawberry Cookies?

    When was the last time you visited Plant City?

  • Baking with Grandma Parke

    A year ago, I made plans with Grandma Parke to make her yeast bread this summer.  Her “famous” bread is so fluffy and sweet, every time she would make it I would ask her to show me.  Finally this past Monday I remembered to ask her during our Monday night dinner.  Lucky for me she was able to show me how to do it.

    When I got to her house, all the ingredients were lined up: active yeast, flour, sugar, salt, and shortening.  More importantly, a weathered hand written index card with Great-Grandma Parke’s recipe.

    I have to say, the first thing that jumped at me was the lard listed on the ingredient list.  It brought back memories of my trips to the grocery store with my grandmother.

    First step was to prepare the yeast.  We simply followed the instructions on the yeast package.  Make sure the water is not too hot; otherwise you’ll kill the yeast.  While the yeast is dissolving, mix 8 cups of flour, heaping ½ cup of sugar, a generous teaspoon of salt and about 1/3 cup of shortening.  These measurements were a bit unnerving to me.  I’m so used to measuring everything.  Yes, it might be the Virgo in me, but I do like to make exact measurements.  I’ve always been told you need exact measurements especially when baking.  Oh well…not today.

     

    This is where the fun begins.  Start mixing all the dry ingredients; then make a “funnel” in the middle to pour the activated yeast.  Mix all the ingredients with a spoon until it dries out, then get your hands dirty by turning the dough around and around in the bowl.  If the dough starts getting a bit dry, add a splash of room temperature water.  Once the dough is of a consistent texture, it is time to start kneading.

    This was my first time kneading dough.  Growing up in Puerto Rico we would go to the local bakery daily to pick up our bread and pastries for dessert.  Baking of any kind was unknown at our household!

    Once the bread is kneaded for a while, its time to let it sit in a greased bowl.  Make sure to check the dough for sponginess.  You should be able to make a slight indentation when pushing with the tip of your fingers.  It should slowly rise back up.

    Let the dough rise for about 3 hours.  Knead some more and let it sit for another 1.5 hours.  Knead some more and cut pieces for the baking pans.  Make sure to grease your baking pans.  Our dough filled 2 loaf pans, but it could have been stretched some more. Then with a fork pierce the top a few times deeply into the dough.  Let the dough sit in the baking pans for another hour or so.  Put in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for a good 30 minutes.  Or as Great Grandma Parke would say, “till its done”.

    This was all done yesterday while I ran from the market and back to Grandma Parke's house to tend to the dough.  Fortunately, her house is only about 5 minutes from the market.  I must admit on my first trip to her house I almost missed her house, because I was on auto pilot going straight for the girls' school.  At the end of the day, I had to pick up the girls from school and take them to swimming lessons.  Grandma told me she'd leave the dough ready for me to put in the oven.  No big deal, I thought to myself.  I could come in after the girls' swimming class and once more tend to the dough.  To my surprise, as soon as I open her door I could smell the sweetness in the air coming from her kitchen.  Oh my!  She went ahead and baked it for me.  To top it off, my daughter's expression when I told her we made the bread was priceless.  I'll never forget the look in her eyes.  She was so proud of me, and I have Grandma Parke to thank for that.  Thank you for an amazing lesson.

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