Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Go, Speed Racer!

Even after a full day of watching speedskaters at Sis's first competition, I still can't get over how the skaters tilt so far to one side that they put their hands on the ice and still manage to crossover their feet!  Sis isn't quite at that level--she can crossover but isn't low or titled enough to touch the ice--but she still won a gold in her novice division for girls.  We were all exhausted but proud.

While Sis was racing around the track--three laps in just about a minute for one event!--and cheering on her teammates, Mama and I were volunteering to help the competition go smoothly.  I was in hospitality, helping with feeding about 35 officials and volunteers; Mama worked with the official race steward tallying times and points.    We had breakfast foods, sandwiches, salad, desserts, plus six or seven slow cookers going--soups, chili, stew, and a very popular Slow Cooker Chocolate Souffle--and blew the fuses more than a couple of times.  And lots of coffee!  Because the rink was very cold.  At least the hospitality room was warm.

A few things we learned about skating:

  • the Zamboni cleaning is called an "ice cut";
  • there is usually a heat box, where you wait--it's good to show up a few heats before your own;
  • a cap gun signals the start of the race but a whistle midday signals a stop (in case there is a major injury or false start); a whistle at the end means everyone finished the laps;
  • races tend to fall in 111, 333, 555, 777, or 1500 meters--I can't recall the different names for rounds of races of the same length (set, I think, or maybe event);
  • results are posted by time, adjusted for any penalties, but awards are given based on points over the whole day;
  • the novice category is for any skater who doesn't have a recorded time, including Sis (she stays a novice this season, I believe, but moves up next year);
  • while skaters compete by gender for standings and places, they often race in mixed groups (there were more boys than girls, at least 3:1);
  • skaters are docked for "impeding" if they get within 1/4" of another skater (I think);
  • if skaters are sitting or lying down on the ice for more than 4 secs because of a fall, they are disqualified (not that they'd ever catch up);
  • if a skater hits his or her head, they are removed from the rest of the meet as part of the concussion protocol.
Thankfully, there were very few falls and no real injuries.

Sis also picked up some tips from the other skaters--staying warm between races (they essentially where body length swimsuits, which aren't warm, so they wear Uniqlo or Under Armor underneath and wear jackets and blankets around them), staying hydrated between races, wearing goggles to avoid ice spray and chips at the starting line, eating fruit to keep up energy and avoid cramping.  She also showed great sportsmanship when a skater in her race fell and got back up; she checked with him after the end.  She was usually in the back of the pack, sometimes last, sometimes lapped, but she stuck with it, did her best, and left her heart out on the ice.

She had a marvelous time and is jazzed to compete later this season in another competition.  Mama and I are pretty excited, too.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Souffle

1 box  triple chocolate fudge cake mix
1 1/4cups milk
1/2cup vegetable oil 

1box (4-serving size) instant chocolate pudding and pie filling mix
2 cups milk1bag (12 oz) 
milk chocolate chips (2 cups)

Spray 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat Cake ingredients with electric mixer as directed on cake mix box. Pour into slow cooker.
In medium bowl, beat pudding mix and 2 cups milk with whisk as directed on box. Pour into slow cooker over cake batter. Do not mix. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours or until cake is set and pudding is beginning to bubble out of cake.

adapted from Betty Crocker

Slow Cooker Lava Cake
This one is much sweeter than the one above; I first had it at a friend's party.

1 box triple chocolate fudge cake mix
1 1/2cups water 
1/2cup butter, melted 
1tablespoon vanilla
1box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
1container whipped milk chocolate frosting
Vanilla ice cream, as desired

Spray 4 1/2-quart slow cooker with baking spray with flour.
In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and pudding mix with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Pour batter into slow cooker.
Fold frosting into batter in slow cooker with spoon, leaving ribbons of frosting running through batter.
Cover; cook on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours or until cake is set in center. To serve, spoon hot cake from slow cooker, and top with scoops of ice cream.

Adapted from Betty Crocker and Pampered Chef

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