Category Archives: Dessert

Snowmass

Greetings from Snowmass, Colorado!

I realize I have been MIA for the past week, but things were a little hectic with trying to fit in running, preparing for my weeklong absence at work, and getting ready for our annual snowboarding trip.

We left Sunday afternoon, after I squeezed in one last trail run on a beautiful frosty morning.

We flew out of Milwaukee without a problem, and had a two hour layover in Denver before connecting to Aspen. My ice cream radar directed us straight to Ben & Jerry’s at the airport, where I enjoyed a waffle cone with a scoop of Coconut Seven Layer Bar ice cream. It’s a good thing I’ve never seen this flavor at the store, or it would be all over.

We landed in Aspen just a little while before it started snowing, and heard they were closing down the airport shortly after. Thank goodness for not getting stranded in Denver overnight.

Monday morning we headed out to the mountain. Our day of snowboarding started out very unfortunately when Steve’s mom fell on the way down to the gondola while trying to avoid a kid on a snowboard. I saw her tumble forward, her skis flew off, and she was holding her knee. Uh oh. Ski patrol was called and she was taken to the clinic, where Steve’s sister Jamie met us.

Steve and I headed out snowboarding as there was nothing we could do at the clinic, and we waited for an update. Eventually we got the bad news that his mom had a plateau fracture in her tibia and would require immediate surgery. She was taken to Aspen hospital and the surgeon was able to repair the fracture. Luckily she will be able to ski again next year, because at first the doctor was not sure. The whole thing is such a huge bummer.

Steve and I were still able to enjoy what turned into a beautiful sunny day on the mountain. It had snowed on Sunday night, so there was a mix of powder and groomed runs.

We ended the day with the most incredible chocolate chip cookie known to man.

The cookie was so fresh that I had to wait for it to come out of the oven. It was hot, gooey, crispy on the outside, melty on the inside, and 100% delicious.

You can almost smell it, can’t you?

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Filed under Dessert, Food, Fun, Travel

Five things Friday

Since I missed Three Things Thursday this week out of sheer laziness, I preset you with Five Things Friday. I hope the two things bonus will make up for my motivational failure. Without further ado:

1. I am racing an 8k tomorrow, and not looking forward to it for several reasons. I feel like I have completely lost all sense of speed in my legs over the past few weeks. Also, it is going to be cold, like really cold. And windy. Wind chills approaching -20. And it’s been snowing all day. Crap.

However, I am going to suck it up and not think about any of that, because tomorrow’s race will be about something much more important than myself and my incessant complaining about the weather. I will be dedicating the race to Sherry Arnold, a 43 year old wife, mother, and teacher from Montana who went out for a run on January 7th and never returned. There is a virtual run planned in her honor, and more information can be found here. Consider printing out your own bib and dedicating your workout tomorrow to Sherry. It doesn’t have to be running, it can be anything. Just move your body and think of Sherry. Simple.

2. I managed to try several new recipes this week worth mentioning:

Easy Nutella Brownie Cups - I brought these to my running group’s “holiday party” and they were devoured. Only three ingredients. Make them.

Quinoa Burgers – One of the best “burgers” I have made at home!

Curried Greek Yogurt Egg Salad - I have been craving hard-boiled eggs. Craving = satisfied.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread – Yes, just yes. I found a wonderful use for my pb cups. Check out this pb to chocolate ratio:

I don’t know if I can ever buy Reese’s again.

The last one is not so much a recipe as an amazing snack combo that I have enjoyed every day this week:

3. As I mentioned, my Tuesday night running group had a “holiday” party this week. There was so much delicious food it was ridiculous. Pretty sure I ate at least eight homemade cookies, along with chips, guacamole, salad, bread and beer. Wednesday night I ran with the local trail running group. I brought the aforementioned Peanut Butter Banana bread to share after the run. This was the treat table:

You may notice my bread at the bottom right. The huge container in the back contains an entire tier of red velvet wedding cake. There were also about seven different varieties of cookies, macaroons, and baked goods. But don’t worry, there were some grapes to balance everything out. I don’t understand why I never lose any weight from running so much. Weird.

 4. I think I am going to stop at Target today for a couple of items. Necessities like paper towels, Chobani, shampoo, and perhaps a little Kleenex or TP. Does this happen to anyone else at Target?

How do they do that??

5. To the person that found my blog by Googling “ate too many pretzel m and m’s,” welcome. I feel your pain.

Tell me something totally random. And…go.

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Dessert, Food, Miscellany, The run, weather

How did those get in my cart?

I had plenty of energy after fueling up on French Toast Sunday morning to tackle a huge shopping trip to Costco. I got all of my staples, including massive amounts of produce, salsa, eggs, cheese, etc. When I went to check out, imagine my surprise to find that a 3.75 lb bag of peanut butter cups had somehow accidentally fallen into my cart.

Not sure how that happened. So weird.

Oh well. Guess I will have to find a use for 150 nuggets of deliciousness now.

I used them as a comfy pillow last night, don’t judge.

Since I did my Saturday long run on the roads, I knew I needed to hit up the trails on Sunday. I waited until the afternoon when it was 40 and sunny, and headed out to the Ice Age Trail, the same trail that Steve and I ran on a few weeks ago. I made some sweet custom shoes to deal with the ice that I knew would be covering much of the trail.

Old trail shoes + sheet metal screws = cheap ice shoes!

I was so glad I did this, I don’t think I would have made it on the trail today without them. It was a mix of snow, mud, mud soup, and sheer ice. I took it slow and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. Afterwards I was caked in mud.

Pretty sure I still have some stuck underneath my toenails. That rounded out a great week of running: 52 miles total, with 14 on the trails.

The remainder of my Sunday was spent in serious food prep mode. I made a huge batch of granola, roasted 3 full trays of veggies, cooked a big pot of quinoa, and baked up some brownie bites for a little treat. I love having all of this stuff on hand during the week, it makes throwing together dinner so much easier.

Around 6pm I realized I was missing the Super Bowl commercials. When I asked Steve to turn it on, he informed me that we do not even get regular TV because we are not hooked up to an antenna. Oh. Bummer. So we spent the night watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Have you seen that show? We discovered it just recently and I am in love. It is very similar to The Office, and Amy Poehler just cracks me up.

Do you usually prep food on the weekends?

Important – tell me how to use up my peanut butter cups. (Besides the obvious straight-to-belly method) Thanks!

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Filed under Cooking, Dessert, Food, The run

Newest family member

Apologies to my family, but this is not an announcement of an impending baby human.

No.

But we do have a new family member in the house! Um, I mean, in the garage.

Oh yes…

Ain’t she purdy? Apparently that is my barefoot running form. Nice.

Steve and I have been wanting a treadmill in a bad way. You see, out here in the burbs it gets shockingly cold at night, so much more so than downtown Milwaukee with the natural insulation that is Lake Michigan. The cold temps I can handle. The resulting blanket of ice covering the roads and running trail every morning I cannot. 

We are no longer a 3 minute drive to the gym, and it’s all I can do to get my run in and get myself ready for work on time without trekking 15 minutes across town and back to run on a treadmill. I know, such  serious problems I face.

Steve found this beauty for a steal on Craigslist. Bought in 2009 and only 68 miles on it. I guess the guy bought it for his wife and then she joined a gym and never used it. Score one for us.

Steve went and picked it up today, and got to work on re-assembly.

My photo-posing skills have rubbed off. I am so proud.

The whole thing came together really quickly and easily. And now we can run in the freezing cold comfort of our garage while staring at the beautiful plywood backdrop. I think I need to plaster some cool running paraphernalia up there to motivate me. 

By the time we were done with assembly and testing out the controls (built in speakers and iPod dock!), I was chilled to the bone. The only way for me to warm up was with a nice big mug of hot chocolate.

By that I mean the mug was half full of hot chocolate and mostly full of peppermint whipped cream. I impulse-bought that can for 50% off  since it was a seasonal item and it was probably my best decision of 2012 so far.

Important question: What should we name the treadmill? Yes, he/she needs a name. Please help.

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Filed under Dessert, Food, The run

Door County Fall 50

This weekend was the Door County Fall 50 Relay, an event that I have been looking forward to since registering for the race back in May. Our team, the Beer Chasers, was made up of me, Steve, and our friend James. Teams can be up to five people, but we decided we wanted to make it a little more of a challenge.

We also decided to camp for the weekend (my bright idea). Yes, it was just a wee bit chilly. No, we probably will not camp again next year. Friday afternoon we arrived at Peninsula State Park and got to work setting up camp.

Once the tents were up, we went to get firewood. I totally pretended to load some wood into the car so it would look like I was helping.

We got four bundles of wood because we knew it would be quite chilly, and we would need a raging fire to keep us warm.

We went out for dinner on Friday before returning to the campsite and making s’mores by the fire. We were bundled up in our tents shortly after 11pm to try to get some sleep before the race.

Our start time for the relay was 10am, so we were able to sleep in until around 7:30. We reluctantly got out from under our warm sleeping bags and got ready to run. Steve put the finishing touches on our team car before we left by drawing a foamy beer mug.

We drove up to Gill’s Rock, the tip of the Door Co Peninsula for the start. Here is the course map:

We snapped a pre-race team photo before I set out on the first leg.

Leg #1 was 4.8 miles, and I planned on running around a 7:45 pace. Well, I was feeling great and ended up running the first leg in 34:00, or 7:05 pace. I handed off the timing bracelet to Steve, and I knew we were off to a good start.

James and I drove to the next exchange point and waited for Steve to arrive. He came in faster than expected, and handed off to James.

We decided that after the first three legs, we would each run a double leg to minimize the amount of stopping and starting for each person. I was assigned to legs four and five, which ended up being 9.43 miles total. I got to run through Peninsula State Park, right past our campsite, and through the town of Fish Creek. I knew my pace would be slower than the first leg, but I couldn’t believe how fast I was still running. I ended up with a 7:20 average pace for those miles. When I finished, I immediately stuffed my face with a pb & banana sandwich, a chocolate chip cookie, and some M&M’s. Gotta keep the energy up!

Steve ran legs 6 & 7, while James and I manned the vehicle. I snapped a photo of Steve running as we drove by and something freaky happened with the camera.

James ran legs 8 & 9, and I couldn’t believe how fast the day was passing by. Before I knew it, I was up to finish the race by running leg #10. I had no idea how I would feel after already running two speedy legs and sitting around for a couple of hours, but I ended up surprising myself once again. At first when I took off I was a little stiff and my chest was tight, but after a few minutes I loosened up and ran my fastest leg yet.

Steve and James met me about a half a mile from the finish so we could all run it in to the finish line together. I was passing people left and right, and I pushed it as hard as I could. My average for the last 4.7 miles was 7:00, with the last mile being at 6:47 pace. I was amazed that I was able to run that fast with nearly 19 miles on my legs for the day.

We finished in a total of 6:09:46, which is a 7:24 average pace. Pretty speedy for 50 miles if you ask me.

This may be the only time in my life where I can say I ran 19 miles in one day with an average pace of 7:11. The Beer Chasers came in 6/148 in the mixed open teams division. Seeing as we only had 3 people and most teams had 5, I am really happy with our result.

There was a great post-race party with unlimited beer and pizza and a DJ. We took full advantage of the free beer, and then it was time to show off our bling.

I told Steve and James to look all gangsta’ and this is what happened:

I’m just gonna leave that one alone. I went triple-bling for the next shot.

Aaaannnnddddd…..we managed to take one normal photo as well.

Overall this race was more fun than I could have imagined. The people were so fun, there were great team costumes (note to self for next time), and it was basically just one big party all day. I think the Beer Chasers will definitely be back next year.

Back at the campfire, there was only one way to celebrate.

Yes, that would be a s’more made with a Reese’s cup in place of the Hershey’s chocolate. Genius, I know.

Oh yeah.

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Filed under Dessert, Food, Friends, Fun, Races, The run

Birthday love

I was feeling the love all day yesterday between Facebook messages, phone calls, texts, and special treats. I have the most amazing family, friends, and co-workers! When I got to work I was greeted with a birthday balloon which I proudly displayed on my chair all day long like a five year old.

My boss managed to find the single most appropriate birthday card ever.

The inside says “And that doesn’t just apply to your Birthday. That’s everyday good advice.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Another co-worker brought me a special birthday treat.

Chocolate peanut butter rice krispie heaven on a plate is what I’m going to call it. He knows me well. I could not stop sampling bite after bite after bite.

After work, with a belly full of treats and a beer, I headed over to the running trail to meet up with my Tuesday night running group. How else would I want to celebrate my birthday than by running twice in one day and eating sweets? Since I ran a 5k in the morning, we decided to make it a 10k for the evening. I ran mostly with my friend Cara, and we ended up running crazy-fast by the end of the run. Love when that happens!

Afterwards we hung out with the group, and everyone brought snacks and treats to share. Cara and Mike were celebrating their 3-year wedding anniversary. Again, running is the best way to celebrate anything!

Eventually we headed home and Steve gave me my birthday present.

Could it be any more perfect? This is the first “nice” watch I have ever owned and it is hot pink. I will be wearing it daily from now on. Love.

This morning I slept in until 7:30am, probably my body’s way of telling me it needs to recover from several days of mass sugar consumption. Excuse me while I go find something green to eat.

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Filed under Dessert, Food, Friends, Fun, The run

Door County Half Iron Triathlon

Steve, James and I headed up to Door County, WI on Saturday to race in the half iron distance triathlon on Sunday. I was excited for this mostly because Door County is one of my favorite places on earth. As soon as we got into town, we headed to the race site to pick up our packets. Everything was well-organized, and there were a few tents set up selling clothing and gear. We walked down to the water to check out the swim start.

I’ve never seen a start line out in the water like that, but it was only about thigh-deep out there. We drove up to the town of Fish Creek where we were staying and checked in to our motel. After a quick trip to the bike shop across the street for CO2 cartridges, it was already time for dinner. We headed to a little Italian restaurant called Villagio’s. They boast about their famous marinara sauce, so I went for the spaghetti.

The sauce was very tasty, even though I am not too much of a pasta fan. After dinner we headed back to the motel to relax. Steve and I hung out on the swinging bench in the courtyard.

I was hydrating as much as possible in preparation for the extreme heat the next day.

Race morning I woke up at 5am and had to make my Starbucks via packet with hot tap water. The motel was lacking slightly in amenities (it didn’t even have a hair dryer), but it was cheap and in a perfect location, so I can’t complain. We loaded up the bikes and were on the road by 6:10. We pulled in to the race parking lot about 20 minutes later, and it was already hot and muggy. We picked up our timing chips and headed over to transition to get set up.

After that it was a lot of waiting around. The race started at 8am, but I was in wave 13 and wasn’t scheduled to start until 8:43. Steve and James were in wave 8, so they had almost a 20 min head start. The start was organized very well. One wave would wade in to the start line, and they would line up the next wave on the beach. Before I knew it, my wave was on deck. I entered the water with 68 other women in my age group, and we were off.

Swim – 1.2 miles – 43:12

I was a little nervous going into the swim because my shoulder has been bothering me a lot lately, and I haven’t been swimming as much as I should. Things were a little crowded out to the first turn, and then I found a rhythm. I felt like I was gliding through the water, and I knew that we had to be swimming with the current. Sure enough, when we turned for the back stretch of the course I was immediately hit in the face with some chop and almost choked. I tried to find my rhythm again, but it was tough. I felt like I was going nowhere, and I started to get passed a lot. It felt like I had been out there forever by the time I saw the last turn buoy. This was the most well-marked swim course I have ever seen, with plenty of buoys so sighting was never a problem. I was so glad when I reached the shore, and relieved that the swim was over. I got my wetsuit stripped by the great volunteers, and ran to my bike.

T1 – 2:48

Socks and bike shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses on, bib number on. I have no idea what took me so long with this. I remember having trouble with the straps on my left shoe. Velcro is hard, you know.

Bike – 56.3 miles – 2:58:48 – 18.8 mph average

I really enjoyed the bike course. The first 10 miles seemed like a gradual uphill, but the roads were smooth and I was feeling pretty good. I made sure to start taking in my nutrition right away, and plenty of water. It was starting to really heat up out there. I saw James and then Steve coming the other way when I was around mile 16, which was fun. I would say I passed a fair amount of people, probably because I am such a slow swimmer and had some ground to make up. I didn’t check my time once during the bike, but I thought I was moving pretty good. The last 10 miles I felt great, and was passing more and more people. I finally checked my time during the last half mile, and I have to admit I was disappointed. I thought I rode faster than that. I reminded myself that I was not working with fresh legs coming into this race, and I was doing my best.

T2 – 1:54

Bike on rack, helmet off, shoes changed, running hat on, gels in pocket. This time I had trouble with my shoelaces,  because tying is hard. Maybe I should look into those quick-yank laces.

Run – 13.1 miles – 2:00:58 – 9:14/mile average

By the time I started running it was around 12:30pm and oppressively hot. Temperatures were in the 90’s with a heat index over 100 degrees. I decided to run without my garmin, because I didn’t even want to know. I started plodding along, passing many people who were already walking the first mile. I took a gel around mile one, and drank as much water and gatorade as I could stomach throughout the run. My legs felt fine, but the heat was killer. I stopped at every aide station and poured water over my head and dumped ice in my shirt when it was available. The built-in sports bra in my tri top was perfect for this, because it would hold the ice cubes right on my chest and back.

There were shaded areas here and there throughout a lot of the run which was nice. There was a pretty steep hill at mile 6 that I walked up, and then “the bluff” just before mile 10. The bluff was no joke. It was so steep I’m not even sure it was possible to run up. I walked that entire hill as well, and stopped at the aide station at the top. Miles 10-13 were brutal. We were out in an open farm field, no shade, blazing sun. Most people were walking. I kept running along because I just wanted to finish the damn race. Given the amount of times that I stopped at aide stations and walked up the hills, I think my pace was actually pretty decent. The last quarter mile was a steep down hill to the finish line. I passed a woman in the finisher’s shoot and crossed the line with plenty of energy. I felt like I could have given so much more in this run, but it was just impossible with the heat.

Total time – 5:47:41

214/1087 overall

38/329 females

13/69 age group (F30-34)

I am happy with the race overall, but it definitely showed where my weaknesses are (ahem, swim and bike, ahem). Out of my age group, I was 46/69 in the swim, 23/69 on the bike, and 5/69 in the run. Out of all females I was 162/329 in the swim, 76/329 on the bike, and 21/329 in the run. See a pattern here? I wish I liked biking more, because that is the area where a big improvement would matter the most. I have a lot of riding to do before Ironman, so hopefully I can work hard and gain some speed.

I would like to give major props to the race staff and volunteers, who worked their butts off to make sure there was enough water, ice, gatorade, and dunk tanks in the extreme conditions. There was a 91% finishing rate, which I think is amazing. Nothing beat the ice cold dunk tanks at the finish line. I hopped right in and instantly felt so much better.

After hanging out at the finish area for a while and drinking some beer, we grabbed our stuff out of transition and loaded up the car.

I made Steve turn on the car and blast the A/C while we were loading the bikes so it would be nice and cool when we got in. I didn’t want to feel the sun again for a long time. After getting cleaned up, we enjoyed a few local Door County beers in the gazebo at the motel.

It took a while for a table to open up at the restaurant across the street, and by the time we sat down to eat, I was ravenous and a little tipsy. We started with some sangria.

What I really felt like:

For dinner we chowed down on some delicious salad and pizza. I had the veggie pizza, which had artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and goat cheese. So good.

Please check out my bicep in the above picture. Either that pizza was really heavy, or I am totally ripped.

After dinner, we did what anyone would do.

Frozen custard, duh.

Look at how concerned the lady behind me is. Don’t worry lady, I will finish it. I got the “Door County Inferno Snowball” sundae, which had tart cherries on the bottom, vanilla custard in a chocolate shell, and whipped cream. It was a totally random thing that I wouldn’t usually order, and to be honest it wasn’t that great. By now the rain had moved in, so we enjoyed our custard under the gazebo. I am sad to admit that I did not in fact finish my sundae, but not because I couldn’t have. It just wasn’t that stellar.

One day later, and the good news is that I am not really sore at all. Because of the heat, I wasn’t able to push it on the run, so my legs feel fine, just slightly tired. I am ready for a big training week starting tomorrow with tons of biking. It is going to be in the 90’s all week, but I guess I am ready for that now!

 

PS. If you want to have a really good chance of winning some Gotein, enter my giveaway here. It seems nobody wants it, so your odds are good Smile

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Filed under Dessert, Food, Friends, Fun, The bike, The run, The swim, Triathlon