Kitchen Catastrophes + Triathlon Updates


I’m alive and feelin’ good! I crossed off another one of my races on my list on Saturday—my first Olympic-sized triathlon…well, my first triathlon of any kind, really. Surprisingly, the only pain I have is the sunburn I have on my shoulders and back from the 5+ hours of being outside on Saturday morning. I almost woke up on Sunday morning in shock that I was in less discomfort and had less soreness than any of the running races I’ve done. I guess next time I need to push myself a little harder. ;)

Tri Collage.jpg

But, boy am I glad to have that behind me! It was so good to have some awesome teammates from my small group around to reassure me, encourage me, calm my nerves, and tell me I’d be fine…which I definitely was.


Even though I had less soreness than my road races, I definitely had more nervous energy leading up to it. The unknown of it all and the fact that I was attempting a full triathlon as my first one made me a little uneasy. Plus, the fact that I had no triathlon “gear,” a bike that was nice but certainly not a bike for an Ironman-training-triathlon, and had no idea how much food I’d be needing or how to carry it (since I didn’t have any triathlon gear) during this possible 4 hour event didn’t help either.


Well, even though I didn’t have the gear (and definitely stood out as a “runner by trade” with what I was wearing), got passed by several people on the biking due to their sleek road bikes (although I’m proud to say I held my own on the hills that were literally everywhere on that course), and had Philip make a jerry-rigged duck-taped “pouch” on my bike to store my goodies (which worked great by the way!), I successfully swam, biked, and ran the whole thing in sub 3:30 hours. And you know what? I actually had fun, felt good (most of the time), and couldn’t help but smile when I crossed the finish line knowing I had accomplished a new feat.

You would think after a morning like that, I’d take it easy the rest of the day. Well, the day just kept rolling and I went right along with it. My parents came into town for the afternoon, so we had a fun time touring the National Mustard Museum—yes, there really is such a thing!—that is right in our very own city (we feel so honored), picked strawberries from a local strawberry patch, and enjoyed the festivities of Madison’s 4th of July celebration.


You know you’re with my parents when….you’re playing the family favorite game—Skip-Bo—on an Iowa State blanket. Yep, it doesn’t get much better than that. :)


Let’s just say after all of that, I slept great on Saturday night (not even the pain of my sunburn kept me up too much). But, of course, because I’m Kara and can’t stop when I’m ahead, I thought it’d be a perfect day on Sunday to get out my canner and can some strawberry jam in the afternoon (because those fresh strawberries won’t last forever, you know). I think I should’ve taken up Philip’s idea to take a nap after lunch first, though, because the weekend kind of went downhill from there. Let’s just say, I had a great post planned out for you guys today, but after my disastrous day in the kitchen, I wasn’t up to it. Instead, I thought I’d turn it into some humor by sharing my day with you and making light of the other disasters that have come from the Hoerr Kitchen—shocking, I know, but even RD in the Midwest has failures in the kitchen—and plenty of them. :)


Well, really there’s not much to say about the canning experience today besides the fact that I burnt it. Okay, maybe I should back up to make it sound more dramatic. I was trying out a new recipe from my new canning cookbook that had several more steps than your basic jam, including cooking the cleaned and diced strawberries (that my mom and I had spent doing before we went to church yesterday morning), draining the strawberries, and cooking down the saved strawberry juice before adding back in the strawberries. Got that?


By the time I smelled burning strawberry juice, I had invested the time of picking the fresh strawberries, cleaning and cutting them, and cooking the strawberries (which are now sitting in my freezer with an unknown outcome for them—perhaps strawberry ice cream? I think yes. It’ll seem like the perfect mistake that way :) ). Not to mention, I had plans to make another (different) batch of strawberry jam to compare which we liked better that same day. Looking back, I think was being over zealous and you know what? I still got 3 cans of great tasting jam out of the day (I made my second—and much simpler—jam after my wonderful husband had comforted me and cleaned up my burnt pan mess for me), so the day wasn’t so bad after all.

Looking back, it’s not any worse than my other kitchen catastrophes that have happened since starting this blog:


The ever-so-popular granola on this blog…on my kitchen floor. This happened when I was trying to juggle too many pans on my counter and one fell, granola-side down, onto the floor. I was not a happy camper for about 5 minutes until I decided to get over it and just eat the dang granola anyway.


Can you make out what this even is supposed to be? These are my homemade egg noodles I made for my Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup…infested with mold (I got over this in about 3 minutes, but don’t worry, I didn’t eat these). Yep, forgot to put my leftover noodles in the fridge or freezer. I sacrificed my noodles for you guys and put that tip on my post so it wouldn’t happen to you. You can thank me later for that one. :)

Moral of the story? Things aren’t always going to turn out. Laugh it off (after possibly crying first because you’re sleep deprived), know it’s just another lesson learned for next time, and to not give up on it—whether it’s cooking, another hobby, or life in general. Next week, be ready for another great recipe from me! Have a safe and happy 4th of July week everybody!



  1. Kara, I made your soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies tonight and they are absolutely marvelous! Can’t wait for my son to taste them as chocolate chip cookies are his favorite.

    1. Donna, I’m so glad you tried them out and that you like them so much! I’m sure your son will like them just as much. :) Happy 4th!

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