Hey guys! Is everyone ready to stuff themselves silly? I know I sure am! I didn’t do a great job of celebrating Thanksgiving on the blog, so forgive me. This month got a little crazy.
Remember that time I signed up for a half marathon?! Well, it was just over a week ago and it went really, really well! The race was in Vegas and it was my first half marathon and my first time in Vegas. We ate at really good restaurants, went to see Cirque du Soleil, and lost a few dollars to the slots. All the fun, Vegas-y things.
Aside from the race, though, my favorite part of the trip was when we ventured out about an hour from Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park. We hiked through some amazing red sandstone rock formations. The views were seriously breathtaking and photos just don’t do it justice.
The park was classic desert landscape and the colors were so vibrant.
Vegas was a fun experience, but these are the parts of the country that I really love to see. It’s amazing how vastly nature differs all throughout our country.
The culmination of our Vegas trip was, of course, the race! The reason we planned the whole trip to begin with! I did pretty well with my training plan, but my last long run (12 miles) was a complete disaster. I felt horrible by mile 4, did a slow and painful 10, then walked to 11 and called it quits. It was a little disheartening after I felt so great on my 10 mile long run the week before. But I had gotten a stomach bug the last week and hadn’t eaten much for days. It was kind of a recipe for disaster, and I knew that so I wasn’t too nervous going into the race. I knew I could at least run 10, and if I had to walk the last 3, so what?
But the race turned out better than I could have imagined! Everything about the race was perfect. It was completely flat (thank God, since I live and trained with absolutely zero hills), it was the perfect temperature (around 50 degrees… which was freezing while waiting at the start in shorts, but perfect once I started running) and the scenery was awesome! The race started at 4:30 pm (and my corral started around 5 pm), so it was dark. It was so fun to see Vegas all lit up! The race ran up and down the strip, past the Vegas sign, through old Las Vegas and downtown, past all the wedding chapels. It was a really neat way to see all of Vegas in 2 hours.
I ended up running the entire race and finishing in 2:07, about a 9:45/mile pace which is not much slower than my normal 5K pace! Considering I stopped a couple times to snap pictures and was slowed down by crowds in a few bottlenecks, I think that’s pretty freaking great! I definitely did not think I would be able to keep my normal pace the whole race (I didn’t on training long runs), but I guess the scenery and crowds were just super motivating.
I pretty much couldn’t walk for 2-3 days after the race, but it was totally worth it! Bucket list checked!!
So if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen I was gifted with a huge bowl of homegrown persimmons! I’d had persimmons maybe once or twice before, only in baked goods. I wasn’t really even sure if you could eat them straight up. But you can! I think they have the flavor of a baked cinnamon apple but with the crunch of a raw fruit. Mostly just really sweet with a little spice. They’re interesting.
I decided I wanted to bake with them and I vaguely remembered someone bringing some persimmon puff pastry type desserts to a pot luck a couple years ago. And they were really good, so I went with it.
- 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 persimmons, finely sliced on a mandoline
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the puff pastry into 12 even squares. Arrange them evenly on parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheets. Using a fork, press a few pricks into the centers of each square (this keeps the middle of the tarts from puffing up).
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the puff pastry squares.
- Add 3-4 thin slices of persimmon on top of each square.
- Bake 10 minutes, until edges are just beginning to brown.
- Heat the apricot jam until runny. If it does not get runny, mix in a little water. Brush apricot jam over each tart. Let glaze sit for a minute. You can enjoy these hot or cooled!
The tarts were so yummy and tasted like fall! I’m glad I discovered another delicious seasonal fruit! The cinnamon really brought it together and my house smelled soooo delicious while these were baking. I have another sheet of puff pastry in the freezer and I’ll probably be making another batch of these!!
Have an awesome holiday weekend! Eat lots and enjoy your families and friends. 🙂