Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee.: Smooth and nutty without a hint of bitterness

Ultra smooth, nutty cold-brewed iced coffee without a hint of bitterness. Literally THE BEST iced coffee I have ever tasted.

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee.: Smooth and nutty without a hint of bitterness

I think it’s safe to say I have a little coffee problem. I need it, have to have it, can’t live without it, want to swim in a big pool of it and never come out. And let me just tell you, making this cold brew has amplified that by about 1,000%.

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee.: Smooth and nutty without a hint of bitterness

So let’s chat a little bit about iced coffee. There are a few different ways to do it. When you order an iced coffee at Starbucks, they’ve taken their regular brewed hot coffee, poured it over ice and then stuck it in the refrigerator. Don’t get me wrong, I will drink the crap out of an iced coffee from Starbucks, but it doesn’t a candle to cold brew!

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee.: Smooth and nutty without a hint of bitterness

Cold brew is less acidic and bitter, and more caffeinated than drip coffee. It truly is the best of every world. Also, making a big batch means absolutely no work to get your morning coffee. Pour, add water (we’ll get to why in a moment), drink. Simple as that. And with the smooth taste and lack of bitterness, it really doesn’t need a thing. I add a little half and half–yes, the real deal–but that’s it.

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee.: Smooth and nutty without a hint of bitterness

Okay, about that coconut. It doesn’t taste like coconut. At least, not in the way you’d expect coconut to taste. Maybe it’s just me, but I almost always eat coconut in dessert, and it is the sweetness that I associate with the flavor. Have you ever eaten plain old flaked coconut? It is completely different. This means that coconut lovers and non coconut lovers alike will love this stuff!

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee.: Smooth and nutty without a hint of bitterness

So why even add the coconut? The result is a slightly nutty and creamy flavor and literally the smoothest coffee I have ever tasted. Of course, if you want some extra coconut flavor, you can add coconut extract while brewing or use coconut cream as your creamer. I’m pretty sure coconut cream in this coffee would be insanely addicting. Oh, who am I kidding, this stuff already is on its own!

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee.: Smooth and nutty without a hint of bitterness

Alright, remember when I said you have to add water? I brewed this stuff wayyyyy stronger than my other cold brew recipes, and ya know what? I like it even better! I tasted it on without adding water, and it was way too intense even for me. This recipe makes a concentrate and you really do need to add water. I used 1/3 concentrate / 2/3 water and that’s perfect for me. Silky and smooth, but not watered down because that is the worst. I recommend using coffee with a hint of cocoa for optimal flavor, but really any coffee you like will work great! Let me just say, I’m already working on batch #2 and I made triple the amount this time. ;)

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: approximately 12 cups (when combined with water)

Serving Size: 1 cup (combined with water)

Toasted Coconut Cold-brewed Iced Coffee

Ultra smooth, nutty cold-brewed iced coffee without a hint of bitterness. Literally THE BEST iced coffee I have ever tasted.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces ground coffee (preferably dark roast)
  • 2 cups unsweetened toasted coconut*
  • 8 cups filtered water

Instructions

  1. Pour coffee and coconut into a large air tight container (at least 1.5 gallons or larger). Pour water on top and stir lightly to combine. Cover and store at room temperature for 24-36 hours.
  2. Scoop out as much of the grounds and coconut as possible with a fine mesh strainer. Rinse strainer, then cover with a double layer of cheesecloth. Place covered strainer over a 1 gallon jug (or desired container). Use a measuring cup to pour coffee over your covered strainer to filter any remaining grounds. If your coffee begins to have trouble filtering through, change your cheesecloth out for a fresh one.
  3. To serve, combine 1 part coffee with 2 parts water. Add any desired cream or sweetener.

Notes

*To make your own toasted coconut, just place shredded or flaked coconut on a large cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully because it can burn quickly.

http://arismenu.com/toasted-coconut-cold-brewed-iced-coffee/

And to see step by step photos of how this cold brew process works, check out my post on how to make cold brewed iced coffee!

Autumn Spiced Toddy (Cold-brewed Iced Coffee)

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Easy & smooth cold-brewed iced coffee spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice & cloves. 

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Lately I’ve been wondering if it’s time to start acting like a grown up. I can’t even tell you what that means, because I just act like, well, me. The other day someone thought I was wayyy younger than I am (this isn’t even including the almost daily basis in which I’m mistaken for a student), and although this should be a compliment (YAY!! You didn’t notice those lines decorating my forehead!), I immediately got into my head thinking “OMG do I need to start acting like I’m in my *gulp* late 20’s?”

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Again, not that I could even tell you what that means. But sometimes I feel like maybe I need to stop talking like a teenager, getting upset when children beat me at games, and locking my husband out of our room so I can win at the who gets into bed first game. That’s a whole other story that I should probably be embarrassed of, but I’m not because I have the maturity of a 6 year old.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

I find this whole “growing up” and “maturing” business incredibly confusing. I guess I just assumed it would happen naturally, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s something people make a conscious effort to do? You know, like washing dishes (something I find equally appalling).

Autumn Spiced Toddy

But then on the other hand, I go to bed at 9 pm, I make my own coffee and I even pretend I’m fancy and call it toddy. That really is the name for cold brew, but I feel like it’s this secret coffee snob name that no one really knows about. I am totally a coffee snob, but in an all inclusive name. Feel free to join me in my snobbery and use words no one else knows. ;)

Autumn Spiced Toddy

There are few DIY projects I love more than making a huge batch of toddy. It is ridiculously simple, and not a single drop ever goes to waste. It’s one less thing I have to worry about in the morning. My coffee routine is simply fill my glass with ice, pour in toddy, add some almond milk and grab a straw. Nothing to prep the night before, and I never have to worry about running out of time to feed my caffeine addiction.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Of course, sometimes I like to spice things up. One of my favorite local coffee shops offers spiced toddy this time of year (although I’ve never actually tried it there), and it always sounded so delicious. I am a huge fan of pumpkin spiced lattes, and pretty much any fall coffee drink you can imagine, so I wanted to incorporate my favorite flavors right into my cold brew.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to taste the spices over the bold flavor of the coffee, but they shine through without being over powering. You can always add more if you want a bolder spice flavor, but I like the nice hint that adds depth–it makes you wonder what’s different about this coffee, and why it tastes special.

Autumn Spiced Toddy

Adding the spices doesn’t really take any extra time–just add them right into your batch while it sits. I used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. You could also add ground ginger, cardamom (for a chai flavor), or any other spices you want. If you want to see detailed instructions with step-by-step photos on how to make your iced coffee, check out this post!

Autumn Spiced Toddy (Cold-brewed Iced Coffee)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 12-15 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Autumn Spiced Toddy (Cold-brewed Iced Coffee)

Simple & easy cold brewed iced coffee seasoned with warm, comforting fall spices.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb good quality bold coffee, coarsely ground
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 2 gallons water

Instructions

  1. Pour ground coffee into a 2.5 gallon airtight container. Add spices. Top with 2 gallons filtered water. Pat down the top to ensure all coffee is incorporated. Cover and store for 24-48 hours (the longer it brews, the stronger it will be).
  2. Scoop out as much of the grounds as possible with a fine mesh strainer. Rinse strainer, then cover with a double layer of cheesecloth. Place covered strainer over a 1 gallon jug Use a measuring cup to pour coffee over your covered strainer to filter any remaining grounds. Repeat until jug is mostly full, then repeat with a second 1 gallon jug. If your coffee begins to have trouble filtering through, change your cheesecloth out for a fresh one.
  3. To serve, fill glass with ice and add 1-2 inches of water. Add coffee, and any desired cream or sweetener.
http://arismenu.com/autumn-spiced-toddy-cold-brewed-iced-coffee/

Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups {gluten-free}

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

I would like to propose that the United States of America switch to 3 days weekends. Or, at least that my schedule could switch to 3 day weekends. I feel like one day I spend riding my bike all day (not at all an exaggeration! 2-5 hours is seriously allllll day), and the next day is filled with meal prep, grocery shopping, laundry (ew), and various other errands. Cleaning should probably be in there somewhere, but we all know I don’t actually do that.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

Today my husband ran his first 5k!! It didn’t go quite like he would have hoped, but I’m still beyond proud of him for getting out there and making it happen! I also convinced a few work friends to tag along, and two of them did their very first race as well! It was fun to get out there, but it turns out not doing any speed training for almost 9 months is not the way to run at your PR pace. Who knew? Anyway, that was my weekend. 56 mile bike ride Friday (okay so that wasn’t even the weekend yet…), 36 mile bike ride Saturday (my first group ride, I didn’t get dropped, and Strava told me I rode one of the miles @ 23mph!!!), and then a 5k on Sunday. I need a weekend from my weekend.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

The good news is the first day of fall is finally here, and I’m *finally* feeling a hint of it in the air. I couldn’t be happier. It’s no longer hot at 5am. In fact, there is a nice breeze, and the temperature feels perfect. I don’t see any triple digits on the horizon, and pumpkin spice syrup is sneaking its way back into my iced coffee every now and then. And also, my cheesecake.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

I know everyone says it, but I really do love this time of year. There is something so cozy about the fall, and knowing that the holidays are coming (<3 all things holiday spirit!). It just makes my heart happy. Not to mention the flavors. I’ve always been obsessed with the pumpkin spice latte. The last couple of years, I’ve made pumpkin spice latte cupcakes, but I wanted to share something a little different with you guys that still showcases the amazing flavor combination. Every year, I make pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and decided to do a little twist on that. The result? Like cheesecake and a pumpkin spice latte had a love child, and it only got the best genes from each parent. They are ridiculously good, and even include a gingersnap crust with a hint of coffee flavor to bring everything together.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

To pair with my cheesecake cups, Nicole made a spiced pear martini that is bursting with fall flavors. I’m not normally someone who jumps at pear flavored things, but the spices round it out perfectly to create a not-too-sweet, cozy pear drink that is a must try! And of course make sure you check out the latest episode of D&D and please subscribe on YouTube!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups {gluten-free}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 12 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups {gluten-free}

All the flavors of the fall favorite pumpkin spice latte in individual cheesecake cups with a gluten-free gingersnap crust.

Ingredients

    For the gingersnap crust:
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap crumbs (I used gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (start with 1 1/2, and add a little extra if it needs it--it depends on the brand of gingersnap and how much oil is already in the cookie)
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 1 lb reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For garnish:
  • Whipped cream
  • Freshly ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray. Set. Aside.
  2. To make the crust, combine gingersnap crumbs, 1/2 tsp espresso powder and coconut oil in a medium bowl. Place approx 1 tablespoon of crust into each muffin tin. Press down with your fingers, the back of your spoon, or a shot glass. Bake until set, about 7-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
  3. To make the cheesecake, beat cream cheese, pumpkin puree and brown sugar together in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. Beat in vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 tsp espresso powder.
  4. Evenly divide the cheesecake batter between your 12 muffin tins.
  5. Bake until lightly browned and just set, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the door. Allow cheesecakes to sit in opened oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until fully chilled, about 3-4 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and freshly ground nutmeg (if desired) to serve. Store covered in refrigerator for up to one week.
http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-pumpkin-spice-latte-cheesecake-cups-gluten-free/

How To: Toddy {Cold Brewed Iced Coffee}

How to Make Iced Coffee

How to Make Iced Coffee

Have we ever discussed my coffee habit? It’s pretty embarrassing the amount of money I have spent on going out to coffee in my life. I just never got into the habit of making my own in the morning, but I did fall very easily into the habit of going to Dutch Bros TWICE a day. Somehow my bank account and I cannot seem to agree on this habit. Shocking, right?

How to Make Iced Coffee

Anyway, I don’t remember exactly when it was that I discovered toddy–probably a little over a year ago. Toddy is basically the best, smoothest, and most caffeinated way to drink coffee. Pretty much, it wins in every coffee contest ever.

How to Make Iced Coffee

And did I mention it is ridiculously easy to make? It does take just over 24 start to finish, but really most of that time you are sleeping, baking, and eating fro yo. Or…at least that’s what I was doing… ;)

This is literally the best coffee I have ever tasted. Better than any coffee shop, better than any latte. It comes out so smooth with next to no bitterness, and full of bold flavor. It doesn’t need a whole lot–a little sweetener and some almond milk will do ya, but if you like sweeter, creamier coffee, it’s your cup o’ jo! You can make it however you want. Add chocolate syrup and make an iced mocha, blend it up into a homemade frappe, or put some in your brownies!

Okay, let’s get started. The first thing you need is a 2.5 gallon airtight container (or 1.75 for a half batch), and 1 lb of coarsely ground coffee. I like a strong, bold coffee, but use whatever you like. Pour that coffee right into your container.

How to Make Iced CoffeeThen top it with 2 gallons of purified water. If you want, you can also stick a vanilla bean in there to add some flavor. I do sometimes, and I love it!

How to Make Iced Coffee

Give it a little pat down at the top to make sure all of the coffee is incorporated into the water, and not just floating at the top. I don’t mess around with the possibility of losing coffee flavor!

How to Make Iced Coffee

Cover and store for 24 (or up to 36) hours. You can let this happen in the fridge, or at room temperature. It is completely up to you. I usually don’t have room in the fridge, so I stick to room temperature. Once your 24-36 are up, take a fine mesh strainer to scoop out as much of the coffee grounds as possible.

How to Make Iced Coffee

Rinse our your strainer, then set it on top of a 1 gallon jug–you will need two of these because you end up with about 1.75 gallons of coffee when all is said and done. Top the strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. Use a measuring cup to pour coffee over the strainer. You may just pour from your container if you wish, but that sounds like a coffee disaster for an accident prone gal like yours truly. You might be better at that sort of thing than me, however…

How to Make Iced Coffee

Once you’ve filtered all of the coffee, you are DONE! Store your coffee jugs in the fridge. It is important to note, this recipe creates a coffee CONCENTRATE. When you make your coffee, add an inch or 2 of water to your cup to dilute it a bit. Trust me, I love strong coffee as much as anyway, but it does need to be diluted a bit. Do some trial and error to figure out the best balance for you. Serve it over ice with whatever cream and sweetener you like.

How to Make Iced CoffeeI have officially kicked my coffee shop habit to the curb (with the exception of going with friends on occasion–just like eating out is fun occasionally!) with this stuff. I am in love, obsessed, over the moon for it. It’s super easy, full proof, and super budget friendly. It’s about a $30 investment for all the storage initially, but that’s a one time deal, and then you’re set! Not to mention, there is nothing to brew in the morning! I wake up, poor myself a glass, and go about my breakfasting/blog reading. You will love it!

Toddy {Cold Brewed Iced Coffee}

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 12-15 cups (approx 1.75 gallons)

Serving Size: 1 cup

Toddy {Cold Brewed Iced Coffee}

Ingredients

  • 1 lb good quality bold coffee, coarsely ground
  • 2 gallons water

Instructions

  1. Pour ground coffee into a 2.5 gallon airtight container. Top with 2 gallons filtered water. Pat down the top to ensure all coffee is incorporated. Cover and store for 24-36 hours.
  2. Scoop out as much of the grounds as possible with a fine mesh strainer. Rinse strainer, then cover with a double layer of cheesecloth. Place covered strainer over a 1 gallon jug Use a measuring cup to pour coffee over your covered strainer to filter any remaining grounds. Repeat until jug is mostly full, then repeat with a second 1 gallon jug. If your coffee begins to have trouble filtering through, change your cheesecloth out for a fresh one.
  3. To serve, fill glass with ice and add 1-2 inches of water. Add coffee, and any desired cream or sweetener.
http://arismenu.com/how-to-toddy-cold-brewed-iced-coffee/

 

 

Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies

saltedcaramelmochacookies-22

I’ll never forget the year Starbucks released their Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate. It was simultaneously the best and worst holiday season ever. It didn’t take long for this perfect flavor combination to become a near every day occurrence in my life.

Did I mention I was living in northern Idaho at the time? It was cold, and nothing says comfort from the cold like a warm, rich, delicious drink. Except maybe a warm soft and chewy chocolate cookie filled with gooey caramel and topped with coarse sea salt. I knew as soon as my amazing friend Nicole shared some of her amazing caramels with me, that I wanted needed to make these cookies.

Do you feel comforted yet? Once upon a time I used to be the comforting one. I was the one everyone went to when they had a bad day, and I would listen and give tons of advice that I probably had no business giving because I was kind of a hot mess myself, but I was, like, 20 years old and thought I knew everything. You know how it goes. I had (ummm, wait…I still have…) a special “heart to heart” pillow. That’s a little embarrassing. You hold it while you cry then I feed you words that magically fix everything, and at the same time put an end to world hunger. I know, I am so cool.

These days however, I’m painfully aware that I know basically nothing, and so instead of pretending to be smart, I shove cookies in people’s face and call it “my way of showing I care”. Somehow, I think people prefer this.

I may not be a master with words, but I have to say, I am pretty much a master of soft, gooey cookies. I mess up a lot of things in the kitchen (including ending up with things that are kind-of-not-really-at-all-baked on a regular basis…), but I always have soft cookies, and these cookies are like biting into a dark chocolate mocha brownie, finding surprise caramel on the inside, and then getting the hint of salt that cuts through the sugar to provide perfect balance.

I wish I could solve all your problems by shoveling them into your mouth right at this moment. Keep me in mind for the next time, though…   Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies yield 20 cookies

  • 1/2 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process or Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 10 caramels, halved
  • 2-3 tbs mini dark chocolate chips
  • coarse sea salt for topping (such as fleur de sel)
Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking powder and flour. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together apple butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until well combined. Beat in dry ingredients. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Form dough into 1″ balls. Press 1/2 caramel into the center of each ball and roll dough around until it is covering it completely, then place on lined baking sheet. Gently press a pinch of mini dark chocolate chips onto the top of each dough ball, then top with a pinch of salt.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until the edges have set and cookies pull easily off of the baking sheet. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Coconut Mocha Brownies

coconutlattecupcakes-7

There was a time in my life where I didn’t love chocolate.

I mean, I liked it okay, but I always preferred vanilla based desserts. Now? Let’s just say I’m an equal opportunity dessert eater. ;)

My friend Jason, however, has always been a chocolate fiend. He always chooses the chocolate desserts, and it was only through tasting his amazing drink at Dutch Bro’s that I found the perfect post long run coffee drink (Cocomo–basically an iced latte made with chocolate milk + coconut syrup. I get sugar free coconut to make this drink so healthy ;) ).

When Jason’s birthday came around (back in June…), I knew immediately that I had to make something chocolate, and after several post run coffee dates, I was super inspired to make something based off a coffee drink. Espresso makes chocolate sound even chocolatier, and these brownies are ohhhhh so chocolatey. Like, must have a glass of milk chocolatey.

I honestly don’t even know how I did it. I don’t know how I made the gooeyest brownie I’ve ever tasted without using any butter or oil, and I don’t know how or why they tasted so freaking good, but I just know they didn’t taste the slightest bit healthy. I mean, they really aren’t, but they tasted like they had ALL of the bad stuff, rather than compromising somewhere in the middle.

The flavors just all complement each other perfectly, and the melty chocolate chips in the center with the rich chocolate cream cheese frosting are just to die for. They are definitely a little indulgent, but worth the treat, in my opinion.

 

Coconut Mocha Brownies

yield 32 brownies

For the brownies:

  • 1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs espresso powder
  • dash salt
  • 11 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened reduced fat coconut
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
For the frosting:
  • 12 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch process or special dark are best)
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • extra shredded coconut for topping (optional)
Directions:
  1.  Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 pan, then line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together yogurt, chocolate, and sugar, eggs, and extracts until combined. Fold in the flour mixture, followed by coconut and chocolate chips. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-40 min, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean. Let the brownies cool completely, then use parchment paper to lift them out of the pan.
  5. To make frosting, beat cream cheese in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth. Add extracts. Add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low speed, followed by cocoa powder. Increase to medium speed and add melted chocolate. Beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl often.
  6. Frost completely cooled brownies, then serve immediately or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

 

 

Skinnified Sunday: Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Skinnified Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes via Ari's Menu

Every day is a pumpkin day in the blog world this time of year. Luckily (for me, maybe not for you), I am obsessed with pumpkin. I buy canned pumpkin year round, and eat it almost every day. Weird? Well, yes….I am, but pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors, plus it has tons of health benefits and is a great substitute for oil in baked goods!

I confess, I’ve already started adding pumpkin to my coffee drinks, and cheating on my beloved Dutch Bros with Starbucks because I know *exactly* how I like my flavor pumps at Starbucks and I prefer their pumpkin syrup…

You know what, though? These cupcakes are, like, 5 billion times better than either version. That’s an exact number based on factual evidence. Like surveys, and stuff. Things that people with grown up jobs do to test things. If it were me, they would each do an audition, which I guess they kinda did. The cupcakes get the lead fair and square.

The pumpkin makes them perfectly fluffy and soft, while also adding the perfect fall flavor. And don’t even get me started on my serious love for ground cloves. Ummm, best spice ever maybe??? I love me some cumin, but lately I cannot get enough of the cloves. In my yogurt, in my cupcakes, straight out of the little shaker…

Combine that with cinnamon and nutmeg, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. Brushing the coffee on after they’ve been cooked makes a huge difference. It keeps them soft, and brings out a bold coffee flavor that usually gets lost during baking. You can also control your coffee intensity. I sit there and brush those things over and over and OVER because I have a mild ridiculous wallet blowing obsession with my little caffeinated friend, but if you feel less in love with coffee, you can use less. Just never, ever tell me about it. I can’t handle it.

This is actually not the first go around for these bad boys. They first made their appearance on the blog about a year ago, and they looked a little like this.

Womp womp.

Oh the things you learn in a year. I’m still not an excellent cupcake froster, not like this girl, but I’ve certainly learned a thing or two.

The original recipe for these muffins (which includes all the smart brushing with the coffee, and all that goodness) comes from one of my very favorite recipe blogs Annie’s Eats.

Original recipe

My Swaps:

  • Half the recipe (-temptation)
  • White whole wheat flour for all purpose flour (+fiber, +protein)
  • Apple sauce for oil (-fat, -calories)
  • Egg substitute (ie: egg beaters, liquid egg whites, flax egg, or corn starch egg) for whole eggs (-fat, -calories, -cholesterol)
  • Lighter cream cheese frosting for whipped cream (-fat, -calories)
  • Caramel sauce (-fat, -calories, -sugar)

Skinnified Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

yield 1 dozen

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tbs espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee or espresso for brushing

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer if you have one (if not you can use a hand mixer or your muscles!) combine pumpkin, sugars, and applesauce. Add egg substitute, followed by dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
  3. Fill lined muffin tin 3/4 full with batter and bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Pierce each cupcake 2-3 times with a fork, then brush with coffee. Wait 2-3 minutes, then brush again.
  5. Cool completely on wire racks and then top with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8oz package reducated fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In an large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in honey and vanilla. Top cupcakes, or store in the refrigerator.

 

Our First Wedding Anniversary

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I have to admit, having celebrated 7 date-a-versaries before we finally tied the knot, I was not super excited about the idea of starting over at 1. In fact, I asked Steve on several occasions if we could just keep going. As of January, we’ve technically been together for 8 years, so couldn’t this be anniversary 8.1? Well, I surprised myself and ended up totally little girl giddy about celebrating our first anniversary. Turns out it’s kind of fun to start over :)

Steve was able to make a short trip home for the weekend, so that we could celebrate together. We began Sunday morning by heading over to Inside the Bungalow, where we got married. When not being used for weddings, it’s actually a super cute coffee shop. Unfortunately they were closed, so we moved on right away. We went to Cartel to get coffee because so many of our friends have been raving about it.

Any place with foam designs wins my heart.

And they don't mess around with their cappuccinos!

The coffee was great, but the atmosphere wasn’t really my thing. Too much snobby hipster, if that makes sense.

Before we knew it, it was time for work (Yes, I worked on my anniversary…on a Sunday. Sometimes my life is not ideal). Steve drove up to Scottsdale with me, then spent some time with his mom while I was in rehearsal. Once I was finished, we shopped around some furniture store lusting after all sorts of things we would love to buy, then headed to White Chocolate Grill for dinner. That’s where he proposed almost 2 years ago :) We didn’t even bring the camera in, just enjoyed being there together. It was perfect.

After dinner, we came home for the moment we’d been waiting for–the cake!!! Did you know it’s tradition to freeze the top tier of your wedding cake and eat it on your first anniversary??

Is it also tradition to remove the flowers first? Because opening up a box and seeing dead flowers definitely did not enhance my appetite.

I’d actually never heard of this until we were in the planning stage, but I thought it sounded interesting, so that thing has been sitting in our freezer for a year.

We cut out a huge slice from the middle to sample.

  

"What does year old cake taste like?"

"Who cares?!?! I LOVE CAKE!!!! I will take sugar and carbs of any age please."

The result? Not great. Not terrible. The cake part tasted better than the frosting, but it definitely did not taste….fresh. I was surprised at how soft and fluffy the cake still was, but we definitely did not finish our piece, or what was left.

Steve is all present-ed out until Christmas (this past Christmas, his macro lens counted as Christmas and birthday, and I got him the balance on his bike after his 3 year old gift card to get his bike as his early anniversary present), so all I had to do was get him a card, but he surprised me with an amazing gift!

This isn’t just a photo album.

Yes, you are allowed to make fun of our ridiculously dorky nick names for each other. It's okay. I can take it.

We both really loved the movie Up, and when we were in Disneyland, I got him the grape soda pin, and now he got my an adventure book. It starts with a couple pictures from the wedding, and one from Boston with the note that this is just the beginning of our journey. Yeah, I cried. I love him. And I love this gift enough to post this picture even though I’m pretty embarrassed to admit to everyone on the internet that in real life I call him Loey and he calls me Loette. We’re special.

Unfortunately, before we knew it, it was time for me to take him to the airport :( He’ll be back for good in two weeks though, so we’re more than half way through! Hooray!! I’m just really glad we still got to spend our anniversary together. Regardless of how busy or rushed the weekend felt, it was still pretty amazing, and we have many more down the line to look forward to.

Did you/would you eat your wedding cake a year later??

 

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!

 

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

Ari’s Epic Day Off

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Ok, listen, a day off might not sound super epic to you, but after almost 2 months straight of working every single day, I had been dreaming of this day and planning this day for weeks! When I got sick on Monday, I started to fear for the worst, and imagined myself spending my one day laying at home with a blanket on the couch. That may actually sound like a nice day to some of you (minus the sick part) but I am not a girl who likes to lay on the couch! Luckily, by the time I left rehearsal Thursday evening, I could see that things were looking up!

My day started the way every day off should, with pancakes!

Whole wheat oatmeal blueberry pancakes. With a side of yum.

 

Actually, it started even before that. My alarm went off at 6:15–yes I am crazy, I accept this and I headed out for my first run since MONDAY. Oy! My original plan for the week had my long run on Thursday so that Friday would be completely off from everything, but Kara got injured and I got sick and no long run happened. In fact 2 days of no exercise other than physical therapy and a few step touches happened, and I was not feeling like letting an other one go by. So I got up early to get it done and out of the way so I could get on with my day.

Not too shabby, right?

 

Hooray!! I ran! Check me out!! Oh, and no double chins please! Ohhhh and about those holes in my arm pits...I'm a starving artists.

"Okay, now take a shot of me in action!" So realistic. I used Stanislovsky technique to portray the character of "Ari running" College education=money well spent.

So theeennnn, the pancakes finally came. I asked Steve “Should we make breakfast here or go out?” He replied “So I know today is all about you, but it’s also about me in that I don’t want to clean anything.” That meant we were going out, because in this house the cook doesn’t do dishes! Well, more like in this house I don’t do dishes. Anyway, we went out to The Good Egg for some pancakes!

Steve got pancakes too!

Obviously, coffee was the next stop

Grande bold coffee, 1 pump sf mocha, 2 pumps sf vanilla, 1 pump sf peppermint, steamed soy. Just order it, who cares what looks of judgement you receive?

I really really need a new mani. Or at least to remove the remaining orange polish from my fingers…

After coffee we were on a holiday shopping mission! Gifts for other people, decorations for us! We spent the day at some of my very favorite stores. First up was Hobby Lobby. Other than the time I thought I was going to die in the Hobby Lobby which is a story for an other day (short version is overreaction to undercover cop leads to people screaming that someone has a gun at the front of the store and Kara and I being escorted through the back–yikes!), it is always one of my favorite places to be. If there is one near you and you haven’t been, go immediately. Like, right now.

Usually about half the store is on sale for 50% off. I think everything we bought was actually half off and look at that cart full of stuff! They have tons of knick knacky type things (PS: How does one spell knick knack? nick nack? I have no idea.)

Steve: "Act like you're gonna eat it!"

As well as crafty type things and lots of home decor. The entire time we were there I just kept saying to Steve over and over “This is the best day!!” I mean I could go to Hobby Lobby any morning before work on my own, but it’s just not the same as having a day with no schedules where you can do fun things with your favorite person on Earth!

Next on the list of favorite places (in case you didn’t anticipate this one)

Because it is so much better than Walmart, and K-Mart---let's not even go there about that one!

They have some super cute holiday puppy outfits right now, including PET PAJAMAS!!!!

"Why do I have to be in the picture? It's about the pajamas!" "Because I said so!" "FINE!"

Can’t you just picture Clementine in those little PJs!

"I'm cute on my own. I don't need pajamas."

I know I’ve said it about a zillion times, but I just really want this flamingo!

"If I'm going to take this picture, you have to pet the flamingo"

"WAAIIITT!!! I want to pose like it too!"

They also have a ton of other shiny decorations I want to put up outside the house.

Presents!!! My favorite!!!

And doesn't this little guy just put you in the holiday spirit?!

And then I saw the one thing I could not live without. I did not get to buy my beloved flamingo, but I simply could not leave the store without purchasing this.

"Buy me Ari!!! I am a kitchenaid mixer ornament and I just happen to be the exact same color as your own kitchenaid mixer. You cannot leave this store without me. I belong on your tree!!"

Heather, can you believe it?!?!?!!

After spending way too much money at Target and Hobby Lobby, we headed up to the Biltmore to meet Lisa and Ashleigh for lunch at Paradise Bakery. Let me just say that ever since Paradise Bakery got bought out and changed their menu, it is not nearly as good. I still love the tomato soup, but the sandwiches are not my fav anymore. They got rid of the delicious veggie one with the roasted red peppers and havarti cheese. Boo. But the soup and the cookies are still delicious.

Look, the guy drew a cute little smiley face in Steve’s soup with the sour cream garnish!

"I am a happy soup"

I ate mine with half a grilled cheese sandwich, but the soup was definitely the best part! That and the two bites I took of my m&m cookie. Yes, I took 2 bites and threw it away. I REALLY wanted those 2 bites. I did not, however, want an entire 4oo calorie cookie.

After lunch, we shopped around a little more, I got some necessary things done at the Apple store (bought a warranty for my mac book and got my broken ipod replaced). Then I went into Lulelemon and drooled over work out clothes I can’t afford. Steve found this on the outside of the store, which is so me it’s not even funny

Thank you Lululemon for reading my mind. After we finished shopping at the Biltmore, we said goodbye to Lisa and Ashleigh and headed back to our side of town to meet my mom, Hank and Charlie for coffee.

Not only is coffee more delicious in a mug, but did you know you get a 10 cent discount?

I always worry about making fun of my Jewishness on the blog for fear of offending someone, but I do think it’s funny that

1) I’m Jewish and care about getting a 10 cent discount.

2) This post has been almost entirely about Christmas.

After coffee we picked up dinner and beer. Yes, every single meal I ate yesterday came from a restaurant, and I am okay with that. Beer from Whole Foods (so many of my favorite places in one day!) and dinner from Chipotle.

It looks almost homemade if you put it in a real bowl!

When I get take out from Chipotle, I always wait and use my own fat free sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and lower fat/calorie cheese at home. That way I still get them, but not the full fat versions that I don’t want! I got a bowl with a little brown rice, a little pinto beans, fajita veggies, steak (same nutritionally as their chicken. I looked it up), lettuce, pico and medium salsa. Topped at home with fat free sour cream and goat cheddar. Yummmmm.

Then we watched caught up on some of our fav tv shows and brought out the beer!

"I have 2 beers! One in each hand!" :)

We did the mix and match at whole foods. I ended up only trying a few sips of the ones we opened because I didn’t want to mess up my getting better with too much alcohol.

After we finished eating, I decided I needed a lounging on the couch after my epic day off outfit.

"Mom, you embarrass me with all your 80s clothes. I wasn't even born when those were popular."

 

"Mom, you're so weird."

I almost wore my onesie, but leg warmers won.

Honestly, I just had the most amazing day, and although I wish I could have like 5 more days off, I feel slightly rejuvenated and just really happy that I got to spend some quality time with Steve and that I have such an amazing husband who will go along with whatever I want to do to make me feel special and ensure that my day off is absolutely perfect!

Have a great weekend everyone–hope you all enjoy your time off this weekend as much as I enjoyed yesterday! :D

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?

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I have been geeking out over the fact that we would be running a movie title for weeks now. I still haven’t watched the movie, but  I have a new found desire to drop everything and curl up on the couch with the puppies and watch it with popcorn in hand. I even thought about creating an exclusively Eminem play list for the occasion. What can I say? I like themese ;) But a home girl got busy and that never happened. I will give you this, my very fav Eminem song. I love love love it.

Now the part you’ve all been waiting for. Or the part that I’ve been excited to share!

Confession: At about mile 7, we did pause Garmi and go into McD’s for a glass of water. We also seemed to hit every single stop light on the last mile which I always pause Garmi for because it doesn’t seem fair to have my time ticking away while I can’t run! But I think those extra pauses made it a little lot easier to pick up the pace. Still, I feel Fing ecstatic about that time. I almost used the real word, I feel so excited, but keepin it PG for the kiddos up in here. Except I posted Eminem which is full of expletives. Whatev. I ran 8 freaking miles with an average pace of 9:54. And in case I haven’t bragged enough this post, I will show you my next favorite part…the splits!:

Nooooo silly, these splits!

  • Mile 1–11:06
  • Mile 2–10:40
  • Mile 3–10:20
  • Mile 4–10:00
  • Mile 5–9:58
  • Mile 6–9:44
  • Mile 7–9:11
  • Mile 8–8:16!!!!!!!

Ok, yes, mile 8 is where  all the stars aligned and the traffic lights made my life easier, but I have never in mylife seen an 8:16 mile, so we’re going to pretend that was all me. And Kara. Kara even had serious achilles pain the last few miles and stuck it out and ROCKED it!!! There is no way I could do this without her!!

After our run I made us pumpkin pie smoothies (so yummy) and had to rush to my first physical therapy appt. I finally saw a dr for the pain in my hip and mentioned how my achilles pain is worsening and she recommended physical therapy–3x a week for 4 weeks., Oy! It wasn’t too bad. My right hip is def super tight right now and my range of ankle motion is pathetic. My right foot only barely gets to neutral which is not great. Hopefully this will help. There is nothing that I’m going to let hold me back. I am running this race!

Now I’m in my sweat pants and all I want to do is sit here and drink my delicious hot coffee

Fall is here, I think~~~ YAY!!!! Also, on my rush out the door, I realized this loveliness was waiting for me on the fridge

Most wonderful supportive husband ever. I’m so lucky ;) I love that he knew the fridge was the place to catch my attention. Haha.

Okay, so here’s what I learned on my run today

1. No matter what happens, long runs are the BEST part of training. 2 out of 2 of us agree :) Few things in life feel better than completing a long run!
2. The days of no food before a long run are no longer. I ate dinner at about 5pm yesterday and never eat before a run because I have to wait 30 minutes after I take my thyroid meds, and then the idea of waiting more time for my food to settle just does not work for me, but I have to figure something out. Today I actually felt myself run out of fuel at about mile 5.
3. The time to start mild carb loading the night before long runs is here (yay?). Nothing crazy, but if you see above, my dinner yesterday was not working for me this morning. I had eaten out at lunch and felt like my calories were probably pretty high so I had a lightish dinner (about 350 calories) which was long gone this morning.
4. I need to get that gu crap. I’ve been avoiding it because it sounds gross and I don’t want to carry it around, but I need the extra burst of energy to get me through now.
5. The time for ice baths is definitely here. I know for seasoned long distance runners, 8 miles is nothing, but before October, I had never run more than 3. Ever. This is an adjustment.
6. When we started, Kara and I both could only run 3 miles (repeat myself much?) leaving a total of 10 miles to train for essentially. Today we reached the half way mark in our training. The last of the half way marks and we really are almost there.
7. If I had eaten, and Kara hasn’t hurt herself today, we could have gone an other mile or 2. I had it in me. I can do this. I can do anything.

Well I guess I have to change out of my sweat pants to go to work. What’s up with dress codes? I can put them back on before I teach voice this evening ;) The joys of working from home!

Today, I feel really good. I don’t feel overly exhausted. I feel excited and proud and capable. Annnnndddd my last piece of exciting news…!!!!

I’M FINALLY GOING ON VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec 28-Jan 2: Boston

Jan 2-Jan 4: NYC

I have 2 fabulous friends who have agreed to run with me in NYC–specifically Central Park :) Anyone wanna run with me in Boston? I’m planned my trip around being able to get a long run in before I leave (judge away), but I could use a friend to get me through a couple 3-4 milers in the cold or help me not die of boredom on the treadmill. Let’s make that happen!

I hope everyone’s Friday is going as amazingly as mine!! Have a great weekend everyone!