Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dearborn, MI here we come...

While friends and neighbors fill their suitcases with bathing suits, shorts, tank tops and flip flops, I fill my overnight bag with GU, bananas, my Garmin and sneakers.  And tights.  And capris.  And a short sleeved technical shirt.  And a long sleeved Icebreaker marino wool shirt.  And a couple (yes, that is 2) jackets.

Instead of heading to sunny Florida to see Mickey and Minnie or to Mexico for a lounge chair and a margarita for Spring Break, my closest running pals and I are headed to Ford Town Dearborn, MI to race in the Martian Half Marathon.  So, I have a hard enough time as it is packing for vacations.  But something about packing for a little overnight and 13.1 mile race has got my panties (and Under Armour bun-huggers) in a bunch.  Wait.  Let me run upstairs and pack those bun-huggers.  OK.  I'm back.

The Weather Channel has been all over the board for this race.  Last week it was sunny with highs in the upper 40s.  I grabbed my capris and short sleeve. Then earlier this week it was partly cloudy in the lower 40s.  I promptly added a long sleeve and a jacket to the mix. With each change in the weather, my clothes pile grew bigger and bigger.

yes, we are staying just about 24 hours there.  yes, i need this much stuff.

At press time (Press time? Who do i think i am, a writer for the New York Times?) the weather forecast is as follows:
AM snow showers. HIGH of 34 degrees.  
The picture even has a cloud with snowflakes on it.

So back to my black bag I went, throwing in tights, yet another jacket, gloves, throw away gloves, neck gaiter, hat, headband, etc.

Because you just never know.

One thing I can be sure of is I am packing these:

And this too.

Wish us luck...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Mother nature is one cruel bee-atch.

Last week we ran in shorts and short sleeves.  The sun shone.  The birds chirped. All was right in the world. It is Spring, after all.

Yesterday snow. Sleet. Ice. Rain. Temps hovering in the 30s.  Treadmill running for 2 days straight. Hell, some schools were even closed (not ours thank goodness.  That would have put me over the edge realllll quick).

So, I wake up this morning to that sun shining.  Those birdies chirping.  And then I look at the temp.  19 degrees.  We ran with the wind whipping in our faces and dodging black ice slicks on the road.  Just cruel.

So I did what anyone else would do after my run/yoga class.  I took a scalding hot shower, immediately put on my PJs (yes, it is 1 pm here right now.  whatcha gonna say about it?), and hunkered down with my book  (Come Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine.  Highly recommend it) and fleece blanket.

But then I got hungry.  So I whipped up some Screw-You-Mother-Nature-Butternut Squash Soup.  It warmed my body and soul.  The weather channel says it doesn't look so promising for the rest of the weekend, so I'd better be sure I have leftovers.  I may have to make some cookies too.

The Stuff:
Olive Oil, Butternut Squash, Sweet Onion, Garlic Bulb, Curry Powder (optional), Chicken or Veggie stock
Spread some olive oil in a rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan.  Slice 1 butternut squash in half and clean out the seed and gunk. Salt and pepper your squash. Place it cut side down on the prepared cookie sheet, making sure it gets covered with oil.  Slice 1 small onion in half, place it with squash.  Take a whole garlic bulb, cut the top off of it, drizzle some oil into it and place on sheet.
Roast in preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until everything is tender (you may need to take onion out earlier).  
Once it is cool to handle, scoop out the flesh of the squash into a processor or your trusty blender.  Add the onion.  Squeeze out half of the roasted garlic bulb (i used probably 5 roasted cloves? just use the pulp, not the papery outside of the garlic).  Add 1 cup of stock broth.  Add salt and pepper to your liking and I also added 1 tsp of curry powder (love curry lately). Blend and gradually add more chicken stock until it reaches your desired consistency.

Monday, March 21, 2011

a playlist to break 2 hours

I am running my 2nd half marathon next Saturday.  That sounds sort of strange considering all the other runs I have done since my first, dismal 1/2 marathon two and a half years ago.  It was my first real long distance run and I was a bit, let's say, overzealous.  I was ready to conquer the race;  Lisa and I started out a little too fast for a 13.1 mile jaunt.  I bonked at mile 11 and was just 1 minute and 43 seconds shy of my under 2 hour goal.  Since then I've tackled a 25K and the big old 26.2, but I haven't gone back to the 13.1.

I thought of not wearing an ipod but I know how much music pumps me up to run.  So I put together a little playlist that is going to make my big old size 9 Saucanys soar through this half.  SO under 2 hours.

Lose Yourself-Eminem (I always start off a race with this one)
Hey Soul Sister- Train
Rhythm of Love- Plain White Ts
Don't Stop Believin'-Journey (don't tell me this song doesn't pump you up my friends!)
Love the way you Lie-Eminem (featuring Rihanna)
Yeah 3x-Chris Brown
Only Girl (in the world)-Rihanna
Fergalicious-Black Eyed Peas
Break Your Heart--Taio Cruz
Boom Boom Boom-Black Eyed Peas
Dynamite-Taio Cruz
Forever-Chris Brown
Till I Collapse-Eminem and Nate Dogg (smack in the middle of the race-inspiration!)
imma be-Black Eyed Peas
Poker Face-Lady GaGa
Low- Flo Rida
More-Usher (this is my "you-better-start-picking-up-your-pace" music)
Raise Your Glass-Pink
Higher-Taio Cruz
Firework-Katy Perry
Just Dance-Lady Gaga
Let it Rock-Kevin Rudolf & Wayne
Bad Romance-Lady Gaga (jeez-i have lots of her on here, huh?)
How Far We've Come-MatchBox Twenty (this is my do-you-see-the-finish-then-give-it-all-u-got!)
Runaway-Bon Jovi (enough said)

Any others that you can think of? I'll need to add another 2 hours worth for Bayshore Marathon...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baking day part deux

There were cookies to be made and by golly,  I made them.
One recipe pulled out of my @#$, the other recipe from the back of the Craisins bag, with a few Kim modifications.  These were made for my kids' teachers for parent/teacher conferences (no, I wasn't sucking up or anything...I signed up to make desserts for them).  I hope there are some left over for that :)

Easy Peanut Butter Cup surprise cookies

The Stuff:
1 package of Betty Crocker Peanut Butter cookie mix
1 package mini Reese peanut butter cups (the kind that are already unwrapped-save yourself the trouble!)

Make the cookie dough according to package directions.  Take a tablespoon of dough and bury a mini Reese PB cup inside.  Wrap dough around PB cup and roll into a ball.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes and immediately cool on wire rack.(i told you it was easy)

Makes about 2-2 1/2 dozen cookies (depending how big you make 'em)

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Pecan Oatmeal cookies

The Stuff:
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Craisins Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

coconut water-the natural gaterade?

So I have had 3 bottles of coconut water in my cabinet left over from my detox this past January that I sort of forgot about.  I have also jumped off of the smoothie bandwagon; when it's all you can have for most of your meals (like I did when I had the joy of wisdom teeth removal a few months back) you sort of lose interest in them.  But today after a particularly hard speed workout with my Running class, followed by an impromptu "easy" run to "pick up a little extra" (I went a total of 8 miles. Eeesh!), I came home needing something.  And in celebration of the sunshine today, I bused out the coconut water and whipped this little number up:

1/2 bottle coconut water (they sell it in regular grocery stores. check in your juice section)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen mangos

Ah.  The tropics. If only I had some rum.  I digress...

So I got to thinking about this coconut water thing and did a little research I wanted to share with you.  Coconut water is natural and perfect for runners; you can drink it while running to hydrate (as you would a sports drink) or you can use it as a recovery beverage.  It has 5 essential electrolytes (including sodium) and rehydrates quicker than water.  It has more potassium than a banana to prevent cramping.  It has no calories, no fat, no added sugars (most sports drinks even have high fructose corn syrup-EW) and low acid.  Not to sound like a commercial, it is nature's little sports drink.

I think it would even be pretty tasty mixed in a little cocktail too...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baking scones with my sickie

It's been that kind of week so far.  A sick kid home from school who, when loaded up with Motrin, acts like his normal 5 1/2 year old self. Yesterday we laid low, cuddled, read, did the whole mom nurturing thing.  You could say we bonded in between battles with evil villains on his DS.  But when the fever came back again last night and the thought of another day trapped at home came over me, I decided today was the day to bake.  And bake.  And bake.

I saw a yummy scone recipe online that I thought I'd tweak a bit and give a try.  Oh yeah.  SO easy and super delicious.  It was my lunch today along with samplings of cookies I made (and will share on later postings so I don't bombard with recipes). And since I had, um, ALL day I took some food pictures too.  Good thing I've got run class tonight because I *just* may have to eat another one of these for dinner.

Cranberry, Orange and Chocolate Scones (makes 8 honken' big scones)
The Stuff:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
6 T cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup cranberries
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips + 1/2 cup chocolate for drizzle
1/2 cup plus 2 tbl of cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter with your fingers and work mixture together until it looks like coarse sand. Add the cranberries, orange zest, and mini chocolate chips. Add the cream and mix with your hands until a dough forms. Make an eight inch circle with the dough and slice into 8 wedges (you can do smaller wedges if you really have to). Place wedges on a lined baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown.
Melt additional half cup of chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every thirty seconds until melted. Put melted chocolate in a small plastic bag, snip off the tip and drizzle scones with chocolate

Monday, March 14, 2011

Power Up Granola

Here is one of my favorite granola recipes.  I found it through Cooking Light but tweaked it a little bit.  What I love about it is that it is simple (i had all ingredients on hand), cheap (granola from the store can be pretty high dollar) and nourishing.  And there are chocolate chips in there.  What's not to love?
Make a batch of this before you head into your kids Cinnamon Toast Crunch or another high fat boxed granola.


  • 2  cups  regular oats
  • 1/3  cup  ground flaxseed
  • 1/4  cup  chopped pecans
  • 1/4  cup  chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1/3  cup  orange juice
  • 1/3  cup  honey
  • 1/4  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  canola oil
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3  cup  dried cranberries (swap for raisins if you want)
  • sprinkle of mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 300°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.
Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in oil and vanilla.
Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat. Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 10 minutes; stir well. Bake an additional 10 minutes, stir again. Bake last 10 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon granola into a bowl; stir in dried cranberries. Cool completely. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired

Note: Store completely cooled granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Girl on a mission

It is hard to believe we are entering into week 8 of our marathon training.  Time for the mid-distance runs to get long and the longer runs to get, well, longer.  And longer.

At this point in the training is when I become the human carbohydrate garbage disposal.   The kitchen is at the mercy of my sweaty hands as I grab fistfuls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, girl scout cookies, jelly beans....WHOA!  Back it up, sister!

I had a revolution in my kitchen this afternoon (as I shoved honey whole wheat pretzels AND green jelly beans down my throat):  Just because I am running 35-40 miles per week, doesn't give me carte blanche to eat whatever I want.  Sure, I can splurge on cookies or some Relli's breadsticks (loove me some Relli's breadsticks) but let's make sure the bulk of the calories are actually fueling my body, shall we?  And if it's "bad stuff",  let's be sure it's homemade, without all the preservative crap-o-la. What a concept!

So for the rest of my training I am on a healthy snacking (for the most part) mission. And you are invited.  Feel free to follow and I'll post whatever things yummy I make.  I'll make some bad for you stuff too, I am sure.  Consider this my move towards food blogging...with a running twist because I am sure I will continue to have stories to share with my Divas!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Before you do anything, make these

So I was a bake sale baking queen last night.  But before I tied on my Betty Crocker apron (no I really don't have one), I had to pop open a little of this:

And then I made a batch of these:
Little Black Balls of Love (don't get dirty ideas now)
I'm afraid they may not make it to the bake sale

Mint Chocolate Oreo Truffles
1 package mint oreos
1 block cream cheese-softened
1 package melting chocolate

Crush oreos in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add softened cream cheese until mixed completely.  Roll into little balls and place in freezer 1 hour until hardened.  Melt chocolate according to package directions and dip.  Immediately top with green sprinkles if you want (or crushed peppermints...thanks Peg!).  I love these little balls of love.

Another easy treat I made (which didn't appeal to me but the kids were going crazy for them) were cupcake ice cream cones.  All you do is line muffin tins with paper liners.  Prepare a box of cake mix according to package directions. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full with batter and place an ice cream cone (flat bottom works best) upside down into muffin tin.  Bake 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Let cool and take off paper.  Frost cupcake and decorate with sprinkles and red jelly bean (for the "cherry").  Cute and easy! (1 box of mix makes 24 of these suckers)

All and all, a good evening:  I was mildly buzzed, had a "few" truffles in my belly, and did my PTA duty.  Running?  Oh yeah, had to do that in the morning.  14 big old miles.  Read here for more on that: