Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A new treat, and training updates....

I decided to experiment with a new treat for our Superbowl Party.  I've seen several times on blogs and Pinterest examples of cookies made with various types of candies...and I just had to make my own version.

I started out with my family's recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  However, before adding the chocolate chips, I divided the dough in half so I would have some "chipless" dough.

My candy of choice for this trial

From February 2012

These are to die for good...better even than Reese's.  They almost have the consistency of a peanut butter truffle...yum.

I scooped some of the plain, not yet chilled cookie dough into a spoon...

From February 2012

Formed the dough up around the PB cup,

From February 2012

added a little more dough on top, and molded it into a ball.

From February 2012

I chilled the dough for a couple of hours, and then I had to bake a couple to see how they turned out...

From February 2012

They baked exactly how they were supposed to....

From February 2012

These were AMAZING when they were warm and melty, and still really good after they'd cooled.  They were a hit with most the people at the party (my own kids informed me they prefer the regular chocolate chip cookies).

I would definitely make these again...and can envision all kinds of candy combinations that sound yummy....

As for my training updates, I've had a good month.  I exceeded my January goal of 9 miles each week actually running at least 10 miles every week but 1. On advice from some of the runners I work with, I did cut my mileage back just a little one week in January and only did 7 miles.  I didn't want to do too much too fast and risk getting re-injured.  

February has been good so far.  I've increased my mileage, and every week I'm running about 12 miles.  The week I was sick I only got in 10.6, but considering the stomach flu took me out for 3 days, I felt glad I could run again.
I took a day to "cross train" and went skiing at Snowbasin...even by myself, I had a wonderful day...

From February 2012

With a morning like this, I was pumped for a beautiful ski day...

(in my super cute new hat)

From February 2012

See that cloud behind me?

From February 2012

It settled over the top of Strawberry, which is my very favorite place to ski in the mornings.  Visibility was almost nonexisitent until about 1/2 way down, and not being able to see what I'm skiing on makes me really nervous, so I spent most the day on various runs accessible from the Needles lift.

(I had to change to my goggles because of the intermittent cloud cover)...

From February 2012

I had a fabulous day, and my run the next morning, the first with my new Garmin 405, was amazing.  I am quickly becoming addicted to information on distance and pace that it gives me.  It makes it easier for me to push harder, because I can see that I'm going faster.  When I ran yesterday, I had a goal to run less than 12 minute miles, and with the Garmin on my wrist, it was easy to see when I was slacking and give myself a push.

I'm feeling really good about my training, and considering setting a pretty major goal for June...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January, Week 2 Progress

Well, good and bad things happened during week 2. 
Monday 1-9   I ran my normal 3.2 mile course around my neighborhood in 21 degree temperatures.  I felt pretty good until mile 2, when my legs started to get cold.  At mile 3, I started to feel unstable on my cold legs, so I walked the rest of the course. 

Tuesday 1-10  I had a "Brilliant" idea about 3/4 of a mile into my usual course...the track at my kids' elementary school looked completely ice free, so I thought I'd do 4 laps there (= to 1 3/4 miles), then just take my normal route home...which made my miles almost 4.  It was a great plan...until I got to the part of the school's track that cuts across the playground.  That part was a solid sheet of ice.  Crap...but I was committed so I just walked that part and ran the rest.  It felt really good, and I got in nearly 4 miles.  When I got home however, my right calf was a little sore and my left knee was having a few twinges. 
Wednesday 1-11  I skipped my planned yoga session and went afternoon skiing instead.  I had a fabulous time...the snow was pretty good considering it's all man made.  I did have this little problem where my pole got caught on something and I fell...I hit my head and slid down the hill.  Mostly it just hurt my wrist, but I took it easy the rest the afternoon. 
Thursday  1-12  I gave myself a rest day because of my skiing fall.  My neck was aching and I didn't want to hurt myself more.  I rested on Friday as well because it was the 2nd day of my 2 shifts in a row.  Friday night at work I ran on a code, and I could really feel that I strained my calf more.  Shoot.  I iced it immediately, and it felt better.  It felt so good I decided to run on the treadmill after working. 
Saturday 1-14  4am  on Saturday, I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill...and it sucked.  After working 12 hours, and straining my calf, the entire run just seemed really hard.  Funny thing was, my calf didn't hurt at all while I was on the treadmill...just as soon as I finished. 

I took the rest of the holiday weekend off.  I've been icing my calf a few times a day, taking my anti-inflammatories, and today I got a massage.  I also went and got my feet evaluated at Striders.  I have a neutral stride, and really high arches.  I bought some insoles that will hopefully help with my persistent Plantar Fasciitis, as well as my calf issue.  I also got some KT tape and instructions on how to tape up my various injuries. 

I also bought a foam roller this week.  I usually do yoga at least once a week, so I wasn't expecting to be especially tight.  I WAS WRONG.  Oh my gosh, my IT band was extremely tight, as were my calves.  I am a foam rolling convert, I could feel the tight spots releasing. 

Overall, I'm really pleased with my progress this month.  Now, if I could just heal up these injuries....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Goals and Weekly Progress

I have lofty running goals this year (for me).  I really want to run a 10K.  This is a big deal for me, and it scares me a little.  I'm for sure going to do the Classic 10K in September, but I'm currently contemplating running the 10K that's part of the Utah Valley Marathon.  The very idea both invigorates me and gives me anxiety. 

My running goal for January is to run 9 miles each week.  Check for week 1.  I was able to run 3 days this past week, and by the 3rd day, I ran 2.5 miles without having to stop for a recovery walk.  My endurance is definitely coming back, I'm really pleased.  The course I have mapped out in my neighborhood is 3.2 miles (according to my car), leaving me about .2 miles to walk home as a cool down. 

Another goal for January is to get in a weekly yoga workout.  Gotta keep those muscles nice and loose.  I got in an express Ashtanga practice on Wednesday. 

I also got some new shoes.  I've been running on K Swiss tubes, and I LOVE them.  I really wanted a pair to have at work, so I took the older model to work, and got these ones...
Click to Zoom In
They're almost identical to my other ones, and they feel great.  I'm a little sad they're not purple (the older ones are), but I wear a LOT of purple, so maybe I need to branch out a little. 
I'm excited to get back on the road this week.  It snowed here today, so I'm a little worried about the cold...historically, I can keep my upper body warm, but even with several layers my legs get really cold.  I'm glad about the snow, though, I'm headed up skiing next week :)
Did you keep your New Year's goals or resolutions this week? 
What kind of shoes do you like to run/walk/cross train in? 

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I started this blog as a way to showcase my creative endeavors.  Scrapbooking, baking, decorating, crafting...I wanted a place that was separate from my family blog. That hasn't changed.  This blog is about all the things that I'm doing to develop myself and my talents.  So it's also going to showcase some of the things I'm doing to improve my physical self. 

Namely...my Running Journey. 

For as long as I can remember, I've loved the idea of running, but hated actually running.  Maybe I just wasn't mentally ready for it...I've never been a fan of exercise in any form.  In my 20's I discovered yoga, which I love, but I've still had a difficult time committing to a consistent practice.  However, as I've watched my children grow, I've realized my choices will influence theirs.  I've always struggled with my weight, because I hate exercise, because I love to bake, and because I love high fat comfort foods.  It doesn't help that I dislike vegetables.  I don't want my children to struggle.  I think that finally gave me the stimulus to commit. 

I started walking last summer, worked my way up to running a 5K in September.  October I was plagued with injuries (not all of them running related), November was ok, but December was horrible with the crappy inversion and the sub-freezing temperatures.  My body couldn't tolerate running below 25 degrees...even with multiple layers of technical clothes, I couldn't keep my legs warm enough. 

Although I'm hoping for lots more snow (I do love the slopes, and I hope to be up there a lot this winter!), the warmer temperatures this week have let me get back to running.  I've lost some endurance.  On Tuesday morning, I was able to run about a 1/2 mile, then I had to alternate running and walking(mostly walking).  I've been fighting a mild cold, so my chest was really tight and I only did about 2 miles.  Wednesday morning was better, I alternated running and walking for my entire 3.2 miles.  I felt really good afterward. 

Last night, my cold settled into my chest, so I skipped running this morning.  I'm feeling pretty good now, so I'm hoping to be able to run tomorrow. 

My ultimate goal for this coming year is to be able to run The Classic 10K in September.  It was the race I ran the 5K last year, and I really want to be able to run the longer race.  I see a 1/2 marathon in my future, but probably not until my baby is in school all day...right now, with working night shift, and 3 kids that need me, I just don't have the time to do the longer runs in the training.  It won't be long, kindergarten is next year. 
My goal for January is to run 9 miles each week. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I have a teenager now....

...and just how was I supposed to decorate a birthday cake for my 13 year old son!?  He wouldn't want anything "babyish" or remotely girly.  Also, with the added possibility that my definition of girly and babyish might not coincide with his definition...

I remembered a cake that Amanda from I Am Baker made a while back...multi colored "dots".  I decided to use Kyle's favorite color (green), as well as a deep blue and and orange. 

From December 2011

First I crumb coated the cake with uncolored vanilla buttercream, and let it set up  in the fridge for an hour. 
Then, using the Wilton 1A tip (Thanks, Rach, for letting me borrow yours so I could have 3) I alternated colors til I had a good idea of what the pattern was.  I didn't plan on the "spiky" effect, but I liked the dimension it gave the cake...

From December 2011

I was really happy with how it turned out, and it tasted divine!  Plus, my 13 year old was really happy with it, and that was the most important thing.  :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sugar Cookies

Since the beginning of our marriage (16 year ago!), every year at Christmas my husband bakes sugar cookies.  I'm a great baker, and I love it, but sugar cookies are something I've never been good at.  I'm just fine at making the dough, but the rolling pin and I are NOT friends.  Many years ago, we just frosted the cookies and called it good.  However, over the past couple of years since I've gotten into this decorating thing, I've taken over the frosting of the cookies...
From December 2011

The idea being to make it as easy as possible to decorate, while still making them pretty...after all we did around 7 dozen cookies. 
From December 2011

I used my special butter cream frosting recipe....and lots of it!
From December 2011

Quite possibly the prettiest cookies I've ever decorated...I was almost giddy with excitement over how the snowflakes turned out!

Christmas Trees
From December 2011

From December 2011

From December 2011

And of course, the 3 Wise T-Rex's....
From December 2011

(I was running out of green frosting at this point, so the frosting job sucks, but the T-Rex's are for my kids, and they're not picky.  For the story on the 3 Wise T-Rex's, check out my husband's blog)

I know that sugar cookies frosted with royal icing are typically "prettier", but there is just something about biting into one of these soft sugar cookies loaded with butter cream frosting that transports me to gastronomic heaven! 

For frosting, I used the Wilton Star tip (21, I think).  All colors were Wilton as well. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Halloween Treats

I had a lot of fun preparing for our Halloween Harvest Party.  The idea for these dipped Oreo's was conceived on The Idea Room, but I wanted to give some specific instructions and tips that helped me.  I've dipped oreos for years, but always in various forms of chocolate.

Wilton Candy Melts in White, Orange, and Green
Ghiardelli Chocolate Chips (I used Milk Chocolate)
Pretzels (for Stems)
Double Stuf Oreos
Lollipop sticks
Wilton Candy Eyes

I started out by putting the sticks in the Oreos.  Immediately, I ran in to some minor problems.  Even gently twisting the sticks into the cream, if I burrowed the stick deep enough inside the cream, the cookie would break, and I knew that if it wasn't in far enough the cookies would fall off as I dipped them.  Then I got this idea...
From October 2011

I "glued" the sticks inside the oreos with some of the candy melts, and let them chill in the fridge until set up.

Then I started the dipping process...
From October 2011

A little note on working with candy melts...I know they say on the package that you can microwave them, but I did that with the first batch of orange and was NOT happy with the consistency.  Using a double boiler (in my case, a glass bowl on top of a pan of boiling water) provided a much smoother texture and consistency.

For the pumpkins, I broke straight pretzel sticks into pieces, and placed them in the freshly dipped oreos..
From October 2011

For the leaves, I put the Wilton Leaf tip on a decorating bag, and using melted green candy melts, piped on the leaves. 

From October 2011

The mummies were much of the same.  After "glueing" the sticks in, I dipped them in the white candy melts.  I let them set up until mostly firm, then piped the "bandages" using a decorating bag that I cut the tip off to the size I wanted (do it a little at a time until you get the size of strip you want). 

I got even smarter by the time I started the chocolate spiders...I used the oreo container to prop the sticks while they set up...
From October 2011

From October 2011

I used the pretzels for the spider legs as well, but it was a little problematic.  They kept catching on things and breaking off...on The Idea Room, she used candy strings, but I couldn't find anything like that at Walmart or Target. 

The finished product...
From October 2011

I'm sorry it's practically December, but I can't seem to catch up...:)