Archive for May, 2012
This morning’s breakfast was so pretty that I had to take a picture of it with my phone.
Special K Protein Plus with 1% milk, a diced peach and a sprinkle of Special K Granola. When I’m training for a race, like a half marathon, I love filling up on a mix of protein and fiber in the morning to keep me feeling full. But if you ask me, I think that’s a good formula for any active person.
Smart nutrition can give you an edge, especially if you are training for a race. Here are two books I’ve been reading to learn more about the topic.
The Athlete’s Palate Cookbook is a great resource if you’re looking to better adapt food into your running program. For example, they have a Barley Risotto dish that’s ideal during training and an Asparagus Omelet in a Dill Polenta Crust for a recovery meal. I’m also in the middle of…
I have been guilty of this myself. I’ll grab a handful of chocolate covered peanuts before a 5-mile run, when really I probably don’t need anything if I’m having a normal meal afterward. Yes, some of the information is common sense, but it’s nice to have someone lay out all the facts. Since I’m probably a quarter to a third of the way through, I’ll let you know what I think when I finish the book.
Still, there are times when you do need to refuel before or during a run. I found this link on Runner’s world for DIY energy gels, sports drinks and energy bars. These items tend to cost a bunch (like $1.19 for one GU). Did you know you can actually substitute those little jelly packs that you’d get a diner?
I’ll be taking a blogging hiatus for a few days because I’ll be in Madison tomorrow and Saturday for the Wisconsin Cheese Tour, sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. We’ll be touring a bunch of cheese factories and farms (including Uplands, Hook’s and Chalet), visiting the famed Dane County Farmers’ Market, dining at The Madison Club and enjoying brunch at Graze with James Beard Award-winning chef Tory Miller. The perks of living in Wisconsin, I tell ya.
Question: What is the funnest tour you’ve been on?
What are your favorite pre- or post-running foods?
On Friday I got the most delicious surprise in the mail. Carol sent me some of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter!!!
I literally screamed when I opened my mailbox. And no, it wasn’t because I was hopped up on Bloody Mary’s from happy hour at Barnacle Buds. Needless to say, I immediately dug in.
See, even Oliver was excited.
I’ve been hearing about TJ’s Cookie Butter for months. The nearest Trader Joe’s is about 30 minutes away (by Oliver’s vet). The last time I went in, they were out. The store clerk had no idea what I was talking about and pointed me in the direction of the pumpkin butter. Ummm, not the same thing! I finally got a hold of a manager who told me that it was originally made as a limited-edition item, but the response was so great that they were bringing it back.
The consensus: I had no idea there were actual cookies in there. It almost takes like a gingersnap – you can definitely taste cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. In other words, it was everything I hoped it would be.
The first night I smeared it on some graham crackers. The next morning before BodyPump, I smeared in on a banana. The morning after that, I put it on a homemade sourdough waffle with some marshmallow fluff. HEAVEN! In fact, I can see Cookie Butter starring in an upcoming Fluffernutter sandwich.
I balanced that meal out with some homemade yogurt, fresh blueberries and Special K with Red Berries.
Definitely an A+
Have you ever tried TJ’s Cookie Butter? How do you eat it?
Is there any food that you’ve always wanted to try? Did it live up to the hype when you finally did?
Happy Memorial day!
Yesterday we went to Brittney’s house for a pre-Memorial Day party. Ryan made the best ribs ever – I wish I had a picture! It was also the first time Oliver was going to meet Murphy. I really hoped they would get along!
That morning I took Oliver on a 5-mile run (it was probably about 80 degrees outside). Even still, he had a ton of energy to burn.
We played bags, aka corn in the hole, in her backyard. This brought me right back to my college days – so fun! It makes me pine for a backyard of my own, but at least we have our own balcony at the apartment (I know, it’s not even close).
Great start to the unofficial start of summer.
Today I had quite the productive day. After about an hour of weight training at the gym, I did some writing, recipe testing and bread making – homemade sourdough focaccia. In the afternoon, we headed down to my parent’s house (they only live about 45 minutes away) to grill out for the holiday.
My mom has the coolest chip bowl. I just had to take a picture of it. The dip is shrimp cocktail sauce over cream cheese – amazing with crackers. (Except this man looks like his leg was taken off by a shark attack!)
Dinner consisted of prime rib on the grill, corn on the cob, my dad’s potatoes (one of my favorite things he makes-it has bacon, onions and mushrooms in it), fresh tomatoes and focaccia bread.
And Tristan had his first Memorial Day. He is about 11 weeks old and is smiling all the time. I try to catch it on film as much as I can.
How was your weekend? What’s the funnest thing you did?
Ever since I joined Pinterest a few months ago, I’ve quickly become obsessed. I’ve already adapted some decorating ideas and DIY projects into our apartment. My favorite so far have been my Button Monogram Initials on canvas. (Pssst, you can see the original pin of what I was going for here.) Now that Memorial Day, and the unofficial start of summer, is upon us, I love using some extra free time for crafting.
Here is a “T” I made for my nephew, Tristan – my sister hangs it above his changing table.
And the “A” I made for myself – it hangs in our half bathroom, which I have claimed as mine.
This is an “H” for my friend, Hillary. I still have yet to give it to her, so I hope she doesn’t read this post!
Here’s how I did it: I went to the fabric store and bought a few 9×9-inch blank canvases. Using a staple gun, I attached whatever fabric I wanted to the canvas (I love using the home decor fabrics because they are thicker).
Next, I found a font I liked (not too simple or complex) and blew it up on the computer. I printed it out and used the letter as a stencil and traced it onto the canvas with a pencil. Beforehand, I bought a ton of buttons and would place them on the canvas and arrange the shapes how I liked. Then I used a glue gun to keep them in place (much easier than sewing them if you ask me!). Once the buttons dried, I erased any lingering pencil marks. I then glued two strips of ribbon on the top of the back of the canvas to use as my hanging device. And ta da! Your very own button monogram on canvas.
Question: Have you actually made anything you’ve seen on Pinterest? Feel free to link up the pins you used as inspiration!
Today I’m posting now because I skipped the gym (gasp!). I knew it was going to happen because I felt like a bag of bones yesterday after a 5-mile run on Monday night and getting up Tuesday morning at 5:30 for cardio and strength training at my gym (I also managed to pack in two days of lunchtime walking).
To be honest, a good hour-long yoga session sounds like heaven right about now. On Wednesdays, my gym offers a 7 pm class. I’ve never gone at this time before (probably because it’s weird and I don’t know when to eat dinner). Maybe I should break it up and have a snack before and after? Advice!?
Memorial Day Dessert
This weekend we are heading to Brittney’s house to grill out for Memorial Day. Brenton and I are bringing a dessert, side and, of course, some booze. Since I’ve been thinking a ton about recipes, I thought I would share one that would be perfect for a picnic or party. It’s easy-peasy and includes all of my favorite things – like peanut butter, marshmallows, chocolate and rice krispies.
I found the recipe on Avery’s blog and adapted it based on what I had in my own pantry. love those decadent bar recipes I always see from other bloggers, but I hardly ever take the time to make them (I usually just admire the photos!)
My secret ingredient:
Step 2: Add marshmallows
Peanut Butter Chocolate S’mores Rice Krispie Treats
Adapted from Avery Cooks
Makes 16 bars
5 graham cracker sheets
2 cups marshmallows (I cut the big ones in half)
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 3/4 chocolate bunnies, chopped (or 1 cup chocolate chips)
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 7×11-inch pan with tin foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lay graham crackers down to fit (you’ll have to break one to get in all the crevices). Sprinkle with marshmallows and bake for 6 to 7 minutes, or until marshmallows start to lightly brown.
Sprinkle with white chocolate chips and bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter, butter and chocolate bunny. Microwave for a minute, stirring halfway through. Once melted, stir in the Rice Krispies. Layer PB/chocolate mixture evenly in the pan. Place in the fridge for about an hour, or in the freezer for 20 minutes. Once cold, serve.
Question: What are your go-to party desserts or side dishes? I’d love some links for ideas!
Is it just me or did the weekend seem to fly by at lightening speed? Since work doesn’t start for me until 8:30-ish and I’m an early riser, I love using this time to catch up on the blog and paint my toenails (well, today at least).
For weeks I have been pounding away on a super fun article for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about unique gift ideas to get foodie couples this wedding season. It was finally published yesterday. My blog friend Brittney is getting married in September and was so gracious to let me interview her for the piece (check our her blog at BrittneyBreathing.com). In the online version, the engagement photo with her fiancé, Ryan, is the main art for the piece. You can read the article and get some great gift ideas here.
Speaking of Brittney, we met her and Ryan for a sushi lunch on Saturday. Brenton and I split a lunch dish (with tempura, Alaska and Philly sushi) and some tempura-fried veggies. OMG so GOOD!
And don’t let me forget the eel sauce. I’ll have to look for this stuff at Woodman’s (because if anyone sells it in the Milwaukee area, I’m sure they do).
After lunch, I bought these Gizeh Birkenstock sandals. Since I have flat feet and suffer from runner’s knee, I figured getting a sandal with arch support would help keep my knee aligned when I’m not running.
He’s still very curious about the baby and sniffs him all the time. Since Oliver isn’t great with kids (he gets skiddish around them), I’ve been trying to bring him around the baby as much as possible to get him acclimated. For anyone who has kids, do you have any tips on how you got your pet and baby to coexist?
Did anything fun happen this weekend?
I am a sucker for any banana/peanut butter combination. So when I saw these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Banana Cookies from Peanut Butter Fingers, I knew I had to make them.
I also looked at the ingredients and was surprised to find that these are actually healthy. Only 1/3 cup of canola oil in the entire recipe! (Sign me up!). As an avid baker, I’m so used to seeing 1-2 sticks of butter so this was like sticker shock. I also have never made cookies with oil before so I wanted to see how they would turn out.
Oh, and did they turn out. Even the batter was delicious (yes, I love batter too). I could see adapting these flavors into a batch of overnight oats. They smelled like warm banana bread coming out of the oven. Some changes I made from Julie were adding chocolate chips, subbing chunky peanut butter and using King Arthur Flour’s white whole wheat flour (I’ll never go back to regular whole wheat again!). Julie’s recipe made 4 dozen and mine only made 3 (I used a small cookie scoop). Here is the recipe:
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Julie at PBFingers
Makes 3 dozen cookies
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
Mix bananas, peanut butter, canola oil and brown sugar together until relatively smooth (use a stand mixer if you have one). Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Slowly mix oat mixture into banana mixture until everything is combined. Add chocolate chips and mix again. Place spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy.
You know someone who would love these cookies (minus the chocolate)? Oliver. He adores peanut butter and I always give him the butt-ends of my bananas. Speaking of which, this little guy is turning 3 tomorrow!
I adopted him from the Wisconsin Humane Society when he was 8-9 weeks old. I actually bought him during my lunch hour at my previous advertising job. They had about 10 beagle/shepard puppies that were the cutest things you’ve ever seen. Oliver was the runt and the only tan one with a black mask (all the others looked more like traditional beagles with the brown/black patches). The volunteer asked us if we needed time to make a decision and I said, “No, I want that one.” I think when it comes to picking a dog, you just know.
Question: Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday? Oliver got a coupon in the mail for $5 off at Pet Supplies Plus, so someone will be getting a present! His favorite toys are ropes from the pet store, Nylabones and surgical rags (courtesy of Brenton’s dad).