Cinnamon Toast Graham Cracker Cookies

What's that you say? Each of those big gooey cookies only has 75 calories? Oh okay, then I feel less bad about the 3 I demolished today ;)

I have a lot of ideas. Sometimes they turn out okay, sometimes they turn out terrible, and sometimes I want to bring cookies to absolutely everyone I know so that they can enjoy the deliciousness. Sometimes I even surprise myself with how delicious something can be, while still being moderately healthy. I mean, these aren’t a great source of nutrients. They are dessert. However, with only 1/4 cup of light butter and 1/2 cup of sugar in the entire batch + being whole grain, I’d say they’re not too shabby on the health scale.

What's that you say? Each of those big gooey cookies only has 75 calories? Oh okay, then I feel less bad about the 3 I demolished today ;)

My very favorite thing about the way these came out is the texture. Slightly crunchy on the outside, while gooey and doughy on the inside with the crunch of graham cracker throughout and an extra crunch of cinnamon cereal on top. Happy birth week to me!!!! Yes, I like to celebrate my birth for months weeks at a time. What can I say? I love my life, and I feel like it’s something to celebrate. To celebrate you wonderful people who are in my life, the goal is to do lots of baking this week. My way of saying you all make my life feel worth celebrating!

Cinnamon Toast Graham Cracker Cookies

yield about 2 dozen cookies

inspired by this recipe

  • 1/4 cup light whipped butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey apple butter (I was out of apple sauce and I ended up LOVING this substitution!)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Splenda
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cinnamon whole wheat graham cracker crumbs
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • approx 48 pieces organic whole grain copy cat of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (my fav is Cascade Farm Cinnamon Crunch)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Beat butter, cream cheese and apple butter together in a large bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar and Splenda, and beat until fluffy.
  4. Beat in vanilla, egg substitute, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  5. Add flour and graham cracker crumbs and beat until just combined.
  6. Use a cookie scoop (or your hands) to drop dough onto a large baking sheet in about tablespoon amounts. This dough is not super sticky, so you could also just spray a wide tablespoon and use that.
  7. Flatten slightly and press 2 pieces of cinnamon cereal on top of each cookie.
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes until just set, then remove and let stand 5-10 minutes to finish baking themselves.
  9. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Disneyland Road Trip Day 1

Apprently, a pitcher is a crap ton of beer for two people. Who knew, huh?

I remember going through all of our wedding gifts the day after the ceremony (the only thing that could ease my sadness about my house suddenly being so empty!) and seeing a stuffed Minnie and Mickey bride and groom. I turned to Steve and I was like “What kind of present is this?!” like a spoiled brat, then we looked into the box and realized that several of my CGST friends had all chipped in and gotten us DISNEY PASSES!!!! I felt like a big jerk for about 3 seconds, then forgot because I was so excited! Well, almost a year later they were getting ready to expire because I am the world’s worst person at scheduling vacations and taking time off work, so Steve and I quickly found a weekend where we could squeeze in a trip before my Spring schedule got into full force.

Saturday afternoon Steve picked me up from rehearsal so that we could immediately be on our way to California. It’s about a 6-7 hour drive from here depending on traffic (which is always bad once you get anywhere near LA), and we I have no patience so we wanted to get there as quickly as possible. Most of you have never been on a road trip with me. You are the lucky ones. As we all know, I have the maturity and attention span of a 1st grader with ADHD, so the entire 6 hours consisted of me singing along to almost every song and asking if we were there yet about 100 times. I’m not really sure why Steve married me.

Finally, we arrived at our hotel and we were both super hungry. I asked the front desk lady where she would recommend for a good local restaurant. She gave me a Disney tourist brochure with everything at downtown Disney. I was like “Oh no, we have a car so we can drive somewhere. Where can we get some local food.” She flipped over the brochure and said “Oh there’s better places on this side” to which I responded “Del Taco?” Seriously. That was the first restaurant I saw on this “better side”. Her best suggestion was Red Robin, so we got on yelp instead and ended up at a German restaurant called The Jagerhouse. We’d never really eaten German food and I liked it because their photo on yelp was a picture of beer.

I started to order a glass of their dark draft, but when Steve said he was going to get one too, I suggested a pitcher. I thought it would be equivalent to about 3 glasses. I was pretty surprised to see our waiter turn the corner carrying this

Apprently, a pitcher is a crap ton of beer for two people. Who knew, huh?

Look at that, we each have a glass and there is still so much left! It's like it's refilling itself--how awesome would that be!

"There is a problem, I have too much beer."

"I know! I will drink some!" For this photo, Steve insisted that we did all sorts of embarrassing manuvering and posing in the middle of the restaurant while everyone stared and thought we were nuts. I guess that's what it means to be a food blogger.

And then, all of the sudden, this happened

"How on Earth did that happen? Good news! Crisis averted--I no longer have too much beer." Okay, don't judge. We shared, and it was vacation! ;)

Obviously I hated the beer. The food unfortunately wasn’t as awesome in my opinion. Not bad, just okay–nothing I would go back for, but maybe that’s because I ordered a boring old salad.

This is my salad that I could have made at home and probably better. I was really excited that it came with garlic bread, but the garlic bread did not end up being super exciting.

Steve’s food is much more interesting, but actually I feel like it looks pretty gross…

I feel like it's possible that German food may just not be my thing.

To be honest, by the time the food came, I didn’t really care much anyway. I was just enjoying being away with my favorite person :) I really enjoyed myself, then enjoyed myself more by more belting at the top of my lungs all the way back to the hotel, and continued to enjoy my evening all the way up the stairs to our room. Clearly.

"Stairs are fun! I like vacation!"

Honestly, I just don't know why I decided that should happen. Stretching obnoxiously in the stairway is actually really cool. Anyone whose anyone stretches on the hotel stairs.

Stay tuned for day 2…! And no, I did not wake up with a hangover :)

 

Bethany’s House & Vintage 95

Cute, cute, cute and NOT cookie cutter! YAY!

Guess what, guess what., guess what!! My very best friend Bethany is buying a house! What? You’re not jumping out of your seat with excitement like me? Okay, well that’s probably because you don’t know Bethany. If you could imagine the person you know that is ridiculously patient, kind to everyone, always knows the right thing to say, listens to everything you say like it’s their job, and deserves the very best things always…that’s Bethany!

The whole process has been moving super fast for her. She started looking, fell in house love, made an offer, got it accepted and all of the sudden our group met up to take a look last night! I can’t even tell you how amazing this is for her. Bethany works so hard for everything in her life and buying this house on her own is such a big accomplishment! Look how pretty it is!

Cute, cute, cute and NOT cookie cutter! YAY!

There are a list things I’m jealous of

1. The fireplace

I hope that super cute chest comes with the house!

We don’t have a fireplace :( Fireplace and pool were on our list of It Would Be Really Awesome If…., but not 100% necessary. We got the pool.

2. Big grassy back yard

Winston and Clementime would LOVE this!!!!

I love that our backyard came with a pool, and I thought I would love the low maintenance of desert landscape, but with the puppies, I really wish I had a space to go out and run around with them. It’s okay, I’m sure aunt Bethany will let the puppies come visit and play ;)

3. Huge master bathroom. Our master bathroom sucks. I can’t wait to remodel it!

After seeing the house, Steve, Bethany, Jason, Nacho and I headed down to Vintage 95 for dinner.

We weren’t quite sure where to eat dinner in the area, so Steve got on yelp to find us a restaurant. Funny story…when I was looking for a day job, I applied to work here before it was even finished being built. They never called me. I have zero restaurant experience, and I hope that continues for the rest of my life. Anyway, I remember telling Steve that I wanted to try it once it opened, but completely forgot until he reminded me it was the place. Now that it’s finished, it is sooo cute!

Two fireplaces in one night. Steve, can we make a fireplace to make my lie complete? And by we, I mean you ;)

I had absolutely no idea what to order. Everything on the menu looked delicious. I asked the waitress what she would get between like 6 different things (I’m a really annoying orderer) and she definitely did not steer me wrong! I ended up with Thanksgiving. And by Thanksgiving, I mean a sandwich with turkey, cranberry sauce and brie with sweet potato fries.

I am so thankful for carbs and the fact that running gives me a little more sanity about eating massive amount of them like this.

And I also ordered this baby

When there is a sweet dark beer on draught, I can hardly ever turn it down!

I tasted everyone else’s food just to make sure it was okay for them, and everything was fantastic! Also, the prices were super reasonable. I would definitely go back…again, and again, and again!

In addition to the restaurant being fantastic, it was really awesome company. It’s been a while since the 5 of us were all together, and I loved getting the chance to celebrate this milestone that Bethany has worked so hard for. Bethy–you’ve come a long way since our days in Desert Mirage! ;)
Vintage 95 on Urbanspoon

Clementine’s First Birthday

Is it silly to feel happy that your kids get along so well when your kids have fur? Whatever, it totally warms my heart!

Can you believe it??? Our little Clementine turned 1 yesterday! It seems like just yesterday that Amelia announced on facebook that her family would be giving away mini dachshunds. We got her when she was just 8 weeks old and could hardly walk around the house, and now she is practically a grown up. That little wiener brings so much joy to our home and I honestly don’t know how we ever got along without her. Winston is so much happier too! He was really jealous when she first arrived, but now he LOVES having a playmate and an other puppy to snuggle with.

Is it silly to feel happy that your kids get along so well when your kids have fur? Whatever, it totally warms my heart!

Clemmie’s day started out with a birthday treat.

"Mom!!!! You said treat, you said treat!!! Where is it?!?!" Also, I think in a contest for longest tail, Clementine would win. Look at that thing!

"Yum"

Or two…

"I shake."

And a nice walk.

"Brother!!! Wait for me! It's not fair, I have really short legs."

"If I ruled the walks, they would be fast and no one would tell me not to bark at the big dogs. I can take them, just you wait and see!"

To really get the most out of her special day, Clementine did what she loves most: lots of digging, barking at strangers, playing with her brother, searching for food crumbs, and taking every single one of her toys outside to play with.

Happy birthday to my favorite girl puppy! The most annoying, stubborn and difficult to train dog possibly on Earth, but also one of the sweetest, most fun and loving dogs I have ever met. I love you Clemmie Boo!!!

Running is Like Dancing

Check out that foam!! That is not a latte, and not even technically a misto (a misto is 1/3-1/2 milk). Tall casi cielo with 2 pumps sf caramel, 1 pump toffee nut and topped with steamed soy in a mug. Heaven.

Well, running is kind of like pirouettes (turns), I feel. I remember watching the amazing, beautiful dancers who could do 6 pirouettes and make it looks like nothing while I tried over and over to land a triple. I also remember how the guys could start and all of the sudden be able to do so many tricks and turns, but with that super fast growth, they lacked the control that others had learned over the years. I remember one saying “Today I discovered I can do a triple pirouette, but I can’t do a single.” I didn’t really get it. How is that possible?!?! I’ll trade you! I want to turn lots of pretty turns!!! I never did end up being much of a turner, but I did, over time, discover the balance of power necessary to complete one turn vs 2 or on a great day 3.

Today, as I was running, I kept feeling the desire to go faster, push harder, give more power. I only really wanted to be able to run the two middle miles at a 9:10 average pace, and I wanted that to feel comfortable. I ended up with 9:01 and 8:43 and it was not comfortable. I mean, 8:43 is really awesome for me, but that was not the goal. I was thinking about it during my cool down and realized that learning how much power my body needs to keep a certain pace is a learning experience. I am still so new at all of this and I don’t know what 9:10 feels like, or how much effort that requires, or how to keep the same amount of effort consistently.

I actually found the whole realization really exciting because I’m a huge nerd I learned something new about myself as a runner. I made a discovery that went beyond I can run XX miles! In case you didn’t notice, I am all about self discovery, learning about myself and figuring out how to make myself all around a better person, so any time I can make self discovery is exciting to me.

While we’re on the topics of discoveries (Kelly Q would be so proud if she read this post!), I made an even bigger one this morning. Sometimes, life is hard. Okay, I promise that’s not the discovery. But seriously, sometimes things happen in life that actually are the “big things”, and they are things we have no control over, and often seem unfair and never ending. So often in life, it is important to look at the big picture, but sometimes the big picture can be overwhelming. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is look at what you can do right now. Tackle one small individual goal that can make things even a little bit better. Then try to tackle an other.

There are some things going on in life at the moment that are out of my control. I know that in the end everything will be okay, but the moment you get bad news, it can seem completely helpless, as if there is nothing you can do, but I realized that, although there is nothing I can do that will fix the problem, there is  a lot I can do that can change this moment, and that is not only comforting, but makes me feel powerful and not quite so helpless.

Is there a point to this whole story? Well, this afternoon I talked this all through with one of my best friends, and she said some of the nicest things ever, and made me cry in the middle of Starbucks (thanks Lisa!),  but I figured that maybe if this small discovery meant something to me, and helped me feel a little better, it could help someone else too, and that is really the reason I do this whole blog thing in the first place. Because I hope it will help someone else.

And lastly, because this post needs a picture and because I need to help you people discovery something else that is AMAZING, please take my advice, head to the nearest Starbucks and order the Casi Cielo. It is the most delicious brewed coffee you will ever taste in your life and they don’t usually keep it around very long. Seriously. You will thank me later!

Check out that foam!! That is not a latte, and not even technically a misto (a misto is 1/3-1/2 milk). Tall casi cielo with 2 pumps sf caramel, 1 pump toffee nut and topped with steamed soy in a mug. Heaven.

PS: I have been considering adding a “How to Order at Starbucks” page to the blog. Thoughts?

What is one thing you discovered recently? Big, small, or silly–it all counts!

 

My New Training Plan

This was seriously the sweatiest class ever. I hadn't felt like I'd gone to class and really given 100% in a while because I was taking it easy before the race and then I got sick, but yesterday I totally felt like I was back and resumed my flat road at gear 10!

After completing my first half marathon, the big question on my mind was where is the food?!?!?! what next? Even after registering for The Lost Dutchman 1/2 Marathon, I wasn’t really sure what to do with my training plan now that I already know I can run the distance. All I know is this time I’d like to run it faster, and soon I’d like to run one in less than 2:10, and maybe by next year in 1:XX:XX!!! Is that enough goals yet? Well, I’ve made a decision on one more, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The real question became

How do I get faster and more comfortable with the distance??

I read a lot of blogs. A lot of blogs. Those links are some fabulous ladies that are speedier than me and inspire me to work harder and run faster. I looked at the types of things they seem to do, and tried to copy. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! So, I made a plan, scheduled everything into my phone until race week, and aside from a couple skipped work outs due to sickness, I have stayed on track so far and it’s been going really well!

Here is my plan. It’s the same days every week so it’s easy to remember. Plus every morning my phone goes off and says things like “Yo, bitch! Do a speed run.” Okay, it doesn’t curse at me, but I kind of wish I would have set it to say that because it makes me laugh.

Mondays–Speed work. 3 miles with sprint intervals.

I only kind of thought I was going to die. Sprint intervals are hard, but I can already feel just how worth it they are! Sub 9 min/mi average pace?! That is speedy for me!

Tuesdays–Spin

This was seriously the sweatiest class ever. I hadn't felt like I'd gone to class and really given 100% in a while because I was taking it easy before the race and then I got sick, but yesterday I totally felt like I was back and resumed my flat road at gear 10!

Wednesdays–Tempo run with warm up mile, middle miles shooting for 9 min/mi, then a cool down. That is a tempo run, right? I’m still not sure I completely understand haha. These change distance. Today was 4 (well, 4 cut slightly short on the cool down–whoops), next week is 5, then 6, then 5.

Warm up at 10:17, then 9:01, 8:43 (yes!!!!), and a cool down at 10:02. Not too shabby.

Thursdays–off/upper body

Fridays–Long run. This Friday is 15 miles. Good lord. Anyone want to come along?? Even just for a few miles?? Please! Next week is 12, and then I don’t remember.

Saturdays–off/upper body–maybe if I give myself 2 possible days to strength train I will actually make one of them happen!

Sundays–Spin

I am really loving this so far because it gives every work out a specific purpose. If I just have to do a medium length run, it is easy to skip and say “Well, I know I can run 4 miles, so what is that really going to do for me? I’ll skip it today.” Today I didn’t feel like going. I wanted to be lazy. I laid around in bed for a long time being lazy, and you know what? It felt pretty amazing and I kinda needed it, but that didn’t mean I had an excuse not to make my run happen, and I knew if I had to do a 5 mile tempo run next week, I would be unprepared if I didn’t do 4(ish) miles today.

This will get me through to a hopefully awesome finish at The Lost Dutchman, and then I’m not 100% sure what is on the agenda. I was all but ready to sign up for the RnR San Diego full marathon, but then I was talking to my spin teacher about racing and wanting to sign up for a full and I mentioned San Diego and she told me it was miserable and slanted and humid and that she would NEVER do it again. She strongly suggested that I not do it for my first marathon, and I plan on taking her advice. I would really like to run a full this year, but it feels like the timing just will not be right, and like my best bet is to wait and do the full at PF Chang’s next year. That will give me perfect training weather and a lot of time in between to improve as a distance runner and hopefully complete more half marathons. I wish it wasn’t so far away, but it will be here before I know it and I’m sure I will have lots to do in the meantime!

Skinnified Thin Mint Cookies

thin-mints-004

Remember when I said in celebration of being self hosted I was going to post a recipe??? Taaaaaddddaaaa!

When I saw a post on facebook yesterday announcing it was Girl Scout Cookie Season (yes, this is an event in my mind), I was equally excited and dreadful. Does anyone else harbor memories of eating an entire sleeve in one sitting straight out of the freezer? What? You exercise self control and don’t freeze your girl scout cookies? Well, I think you’re weird. Those things are addicting! In an attempt to satisfy my craving, I made my own skinnified version. I was pretty nervous, but I have to say they turned out pretty awesome. Chocolate, minty, and almost fudge like. They aren’t quite as crispy and crumbly as the original, but the flavors are 100% there, and I feel like they have more of a fresh baked feel, which I prefer anyway.

I used this recipe for inspiration, but ended up changing a lot of things. They suggested rolling the dough into a log (which looked so terrible I refuse to post pictures) and slicing which I tried, but then also tried my roll and smoosh technique which I actually thought were prettier.

See the difference? If you like the cut look better, then when you refrigerate them, shape the dough into a big log and wrap in plastic wrap, but I think the smooshy ones look more like actual thin mints.

Skinnified Thin Mint Cookies

yield approx 30 cookies

For the cookies:

  • 5 oz fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tbs light whipped butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup Splenda
  • 2 tbs egg substitute
  • dash vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat (or whole wheat pastry, or whatever you want) flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs Dutch process cocoa powder (regular unsweetened chocolate will work if you don’t have Dutch process)**
  • dash salt

For the coating:

  • 1/3 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp light whipped butter
  • dash peppermint extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, sugar and Splenda. Beat in vanilla, peppermint and egg substitute.
  3. Slowly beat dry ingredients into cream cheese mixture, scraping down sides of bowl when necessary. Dough will be thick.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or even overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Take about a tablespoon of dough at a time and roll in your hands to make a ball, then flatten to about 1/4″ thickness.
  7. Bake for 12-15 min. Cool completely.
  8. Microwave chocolate chips and butter in 20 second spurts, stirring after each time until melted. Stir in peppermint.
  9. Cover cookies completely with melted chocolate and allow to cool on parchment paper.

Talk about wanting to lick the beater! Yesssss please! Just so you know, this is only about half of the dry mixture added. It should not look like this before you bake it.

I experimented, and frosted just the tops of some and covered the entire cookie on others. It's better if you cover the entire cookie. More chocolate = better cookie. As if there could really be any other result.

Happy Girl Scout Cookie Season!

Self Hosted!

Yes, that is a tie dye snuggie. Thanks for asking. Possibly the best purchase I've ever made. Mac, I hope you're wearing yours over there in the Big Apple!

Hello, friends! I am so super excited right now, because I have officially made the switch over to being self hosted and although I feel like there is so much I need to learn, I am already loving it. You may have noticed a couple little updates and changes to the page, or it may still look exactly the same as far as you’re concerned, but I am trying to learn how personalized I can make things on my own before I shell out some money to get some design work done.

In other exciting news, you may have noticed the Around the Plate Recipe Guru badge that has been on my side bar for the last month or so. Around the Plate is a healthy living website with a huge community filled with “Healthy Living Champions”, “Recipe Gurus”, and “Nutrition Experts”. I was thrilled when they asked me to join and be a part of the community! If you would like to join, visit their community member’s page. As a part of my membership, I have also been able to become involved with their writers club. I recently wrote an article about Paula Deen’s diabetes announcement that is being featured on their home page, if you’d like to check it out!

Most of the past few days have been spent working and getting this transition up and running, but there has also been a lot of super cute puppy action happening lately. I mean, there always is, but these two have been sooooo sweet lately. LOOK AT!

Umm, sorry about my nasty battle wound that made it into the picture. Look at the cute puppies instead. I seriously promised everyone I knew that I would not post gross foot blister pictures on the blog and I really meant to not!

Yes, that is a tie dye snuggie. Thanks for asking. Possibly the best purchase I've ever made. Mac, I hope you're wearing yours over there in the Big Apple!

My favorite.

I also have the best husband ever who made me a seriously delicious dinner of split pea soup after I got stuck in a much longer afternoon than I had bargained for. Check out his cooking skillllzzz!

Okay, so split pea soup is not pretty, but you better believe it was delicious! I might have to start him his own recipe page ;)

To celebrate being self hosted, I have a new recipe coming your way tomorrow!

 

Trusting of Naive?

IMAG0537

Yesterday I went out on my first post half marathon run! Holy crap, my hamstrings are still so very angry with me! Now that I’m finally feeling less sick I really need to schedule a massage.

It was super short and slow, but it felt nice to get back out there and move my feet again. A girl can only take so many days of lying on the couch complaining about being sick. Seriously. I was really hoping to get to Linda’s spin class on Tuesday, but I just did not feel up to it, so I listened to my body and focused on getting better. I still definitely don’t feel 100%, but I feel much, much closer.

After hearing rave reviews about the Lost Dutchman 1/2 Marathon, I decided I was ready for round 2! I texted my fabulous, newly married, speedy friend Lisa and asked if she would be down to do it with me. She wanted to run the RnR, but had some family stuff come up. She’s been a runner for years, but has never done a race. After a few minutes, I finally asked her if buying her the race would be a stupid and crappy wedding gift (the wedding was all of the sudden, and she’s having her reception in March, so I hadn’t figured out what to get her yet…and Lisa, are you even registered? You should do that!) Luckily, she loved the idea and so I took the liberty of signing us both up! Hopefully I will get to meet her new husband (they live up in Flagstaff so I haven’t even gotten to see her since she tied the knot!) and get a chance to do some post race celebrating with both of them. I’m super stoked!!

On a totally separate topic…

Are you someone who trusts strangers, or are you more guarded and suspicious?

The other day I met my mom at The Bux. I go there pretty often to do my prep work since I don’t have an office, and I can hardly ever get anything done at home, plus I am a social creature and need to be around other humans, even if they’re strangers. I left my laptop as we got up to order and she asked “Aren’t you worried about leaving that there?” I shrugged it off and mentioned how many people were around. I’ll often get up, use the restroom and just leave my things because I trust that people have mostly good intentions and that if a stranger saw someone try to take it, they would help. I often brush off things that concern other people, or that some might consider dangerous because I truly like to believe that people are inherently good, and I really don’t prefer to live my life in a state of fear. Let’s be honest, I am an anxious person by nature, I get quite enough of that!

Well, yesterday I walked into The Bux and one of the baristas told me that only a day before a woman had been there with her laptop and this man had been sitting, watching her and waiting. The second she got up to do something, he grabbed the laptop and ran into his getaway car. Seriously, it was 100% planned out. I couldn’t believe it. I tweeted about it, and then heard that at a different location, a woman had her laptop grabbed straight out of her hands and stolen! Are you kidding me?!?! I literally had to take my laptop with me every time I used the restroom while I was there yesterday. It makes me sad that people can be such jerks, and honestly, I don’t really get it. What I want to ask them is why? Maybe that sounds naive, and perhaps after nearly 27 (oy) years on this Earth, I should just know better, but I still hang onto a shred of hope that although some people are legitimately sick, we can, every single one of us, be kind to others.

For right now, however, I think it’s time for me to be a little more careful, because as frustrating as it would be to have my laptop stolen (I really love this baby and it was a Christmas present from Steve), reading this post on running safety, brought up even more concern. I guess although being trusting and generally idealistic has it’s benefits, I may need to re-evaluate how far that trust spreads.

What do you think? Are you trusting? Suspicious? How far do you extend your ‘benefit of the doubt’?

Check, Next?

For the last 4 months, I have had one big goal in mind: 13.1. It’s always weird when you accomplish something and don’t have an other big goal lined up immediately. A gray area with no specific goals, and what feels like a lack of direction. I know that I need a goal, and I know that I WANT a goal. I saw a shirt during the race that said “The finish line is just the beginning.” I love that.

Well, of course I’ve kind of been thinking about what would come next, since I figured out I’d actually be able to make it through the half. I’ll be honest, when I first decided I wanted to do PF Chang’s, I more decided to train than race. I mean, I wanted to race, but I wasn’t anywhere near confident I’d actually make it there. I don’t know exactly when my mind changed, but I think it was when I did my 10 mile solo run. As soon as I knew I could do it, my mind started to wonder “What else did you always tell yourself you could never do?” I knew the answer immediately, and I didn’t make it much of a secret. Let’s be honest, I put it out there for the world to see in my 2o12 goals.

But in case you missed that, let me put it out there for realsies.

I want to run a full marathon.

Duh. I know I want to run a full, and I know that with the right training, I can. The question is when. And that is what I would like help with from you fabulous people. There are two that I am strongly considering, and I don’t know which way to go. I would also be open to a different suggestions :)

Option 1:

RnR San Diego June 3 2012

Pros:

  1. It is sooner rather than later! I’m already on the training bandwagon–why stop now?
  2. It ends at Sea World. ‘Nuff said.
  3. I love San Diego, and it’s only a 6 hour drive.

Cons:

  1. Is it too soon? Would I actually be ready by June?
  2. I’d probably have to drive back that night, or take the entire next week off work and not get paid (it’s complicated, but it’s how most summer work would be).
  3. In case you haven’t noticed, AZ is a HOT place and by May, it’s already in the 100s. Can you imagine doing a 20 miler in those temps?

RnR Phoenix 2013

Pros:

  1. Close to home, wouldn’t have to go anywhere.
  2. Winter training.
  3. More time to work up to it,

Cons:

  1. I said I wanted to do a full in 2012. That is 2013.
  2. Is it too far away to be motivating?
  3. I’m going to run 26 miles and I don’t even get to go on vacation?!
  4. It does NOT end at Sea World.

I know there are lots of other non RnR races out there too, and I would be totally open to trying a different one. RnR just makes it so easy with their little packets and all their course dates, and both of those races fall at times that I think I could make work. I would love to hear your opinions as I weigh things out in my brain for a bit!

I also have an other goal :) I never expected to finish PF Chang’s in 2 hours and 14 minutes! When I first started, I was anticipating something like 2:45! I totally surprised myself and now I want to get faster! I really want a nice, shiny, sub 2:10 finish time. I want to run more half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks and I want to get faster and better and more confident! I’m pretty sure I’m going to sign up for the Lost Dutchman 1/2 Marathon on Feb 19, but that’s all I’ve got so far. Thanks, Diana, for the recommendation! Any other races that I should be thinking of?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

desert-0007

Well, you know I just haaaaddd to make myself a special dessert to celebrate my half marathon :) Recently, I stumbled across this recipe for Reese’s Cheesecake Brownies–ummm, yes please! Naturally, I couldn’t wait to make my own skinnified version! Let me tell you, these babies do not taste one bit skinny! Luckily, I gave half the pan to Kara, otherwise things would be dangerous in my house right now!

Take gooey, fudgey, rich brownie and top it with creamy, peanut buttery cheesecake goodness and you get one of the most delicious desserts that’s ever come out of this kitchen! I wish I could share some of them with you right now. The only thing I love more than making delicious food is sharing it! And did I mention that the prep time took me about 10 minutes? So unbelievably easy, and guaranteed to be a huge hit.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

yield approx 30

For the brownie layer:

  • 1 box No Pudge brownie mix or TJ’s Reduced Guilt brownie mix
  • 1 6oz container Yoplait Light fat free red velvet yogurt

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 box fat free, sugar free cheesecake pudding mix
  • 2/3 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup PB & Co White Chocolate Wonderful
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups Sunspire chips (I used 1/4 cup chocolate, 1/2 cup white chocolate, but any combo would be good and they even have ones that are like m&m’s now!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 baking pan well with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine brownie mix and yogurt. Spread in a thin layer to coat the bottom of your baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, Greek yogurt, pudding mix, sugar, sugar, and peanut butter together. Add almond milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread cheesecake mixture evenly over brownie mixture.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes until cheesecake layer is set in the center.
  7. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely.

Hellloooo, lover.

Is there any better nut butter for baking than White Chocolate Wonderful? If you find one, please send it this way.

Come closer, closer, like inside my stomach close.

The Day After

I don't know why, but dogs sticking their heads out of car windows always makes me smile, and never stops being cute.

Oh my gosh, I still cannot get over what a whirlwind Sunday was, and the amazing kindness and support I felt from family, friends, and readers (oh my gosh it makes me feel like a real, legit blogger to say “readers”–sometimes I can’t believe anyone out there actually reads my little old blog :) ). Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to everyone for recognizing my accomplishment, and making me feel so deserving of all of the celebrating that ensued!

By the time I got home Sunday evening, it was as if everything caught up with me all at once. That sickness I’d been fighting off, the toll 13 miles had taken on my legs, and the realization that this huge thing I had been focused on and training for was over. I crashed…hard. I hardly slept because I felt so sick and then woke up feeling fever-y and achy from head to toe. Not fun. I was determined to try to have a good day, because I had the day off, and honestly, I wanted to celebrate more! We had plans to meet Hank, Charlie and Hermano for breakfast, and so Hank kindly picked us all up and we headed to La Grande Orange.

On the way, there was this cuteness.

I don't know why, but dogs sticking their heads out of car windows always makes me smile, and never stops being cute. That little guy is having his day made right there!

I had heard of La Grande Orange, but never been there until I had a meeting there last week. Unfortunately, I had eaten at home before I left that time and as soon as I got there I regretted it! Not only was the place packed with cool nick knacks to buy, but every single thing coming from the kitchen looked delicious! They have breakfast, lunch sandwiches and salads, and even an attached pizza section! I did make sure to try something from their coffee station, and that’s when I was hooked. Sugar free almond soy latte. The best coffee I have had. In my life. Ever. You better believe that I made sure to order it again this time!

I got too excited and drank too much of it before this picture (I couldn't help myself), but it isn't just delicious, it's like a work of art! They make pretty leaves and designs in the foam which is perfectly steamed and thick, not bubbly!

The croque madame. It was delicious, but honestly, I probably would have actually enjoyed the oatrmeal I almost got even more. I just really like sweet breakfast!

The commuter sandwich. I kinda also wish I would have ordered this. Those english muffins look ridiculous!

Steve never orders breakfast food. He's so weird. But I must say, this sandwich was delicious!

After we ate, I convinced the boys to order from the coffee bar, and I’m pretty sure they fell as much in love with it as I did! It’s a good thing this place is a 20 minute drive, because not only was my latte almost $5, but a latte is also like 4x the calories on my nice little drip coffees topped with steamed soy at The Bux.

I felt bad, but after breakfast, all I wanted to do was go home and lay on the couch. I felt terrible, and I was more than a little grumpy about it. Poor Steve. Seriously, poor, poor, Steve–why does he put up with me?! I was in rare form for most of the afternoon. Crabby, complaining, and literally whining like a 3 year old that he couldn’t magically make me feel better and announcing that not making me better made him annoying. In case you haven’t at this point decided that I’m a lunatic and stopped reading my blog forever, let me openly admit that I don’t do sick well. Sick combined + sore + a little sad = I suck. I’m not proud of the fact that I am sometimes an a hole, but I aim for 99% a hole free behavior, and at least some of the time ;)

In an attempt to cure my sickness (or at least the mental part), Steve hung up my now 2 (!) race medals on either side of my new race bib holder that was an AMAZING holiday present from Hermano! Seriously. he totally rocked the present giving this year!

Now every single that comes into my home can see what I've done!! Not that I like to brag about myself or anything...

My first medal

My favorite (so far!) medal

I remember telling a friend of mine that I had never won anything before. So many people win awards in school, or lots of my friends have won voice competitions, or AriZoni awards, but not me. At the end of that summer, my friend Diane made me an award for being awesome at my job. It was one of the most sweet and thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. That was in August of ’09 and you better believe I still have that baby! But now I have 2 medals for things that I accomplished on my very own. Sure, I didn’t win in the literal sense of the word (my sister in law asked if I won and I thought it was super cute :) ), but I did win in a figurative sense. I won the accomplishment, the satisfaction, the happiness, and the gains that have come in my life because of running. I’ve met new friends, been reunited with old friends, gained confidence, and found a healthy outlet for my hyper-focused brain, all while discovering that I am capable of more than I ever knew. Maybe some day race medals won’t be a huge deal to me, but right now, they actually mean a whole lot in this little world I live in :)

 
La Grande Orange Grocery on Urbanspoon