Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

So yesterday I ran a marathon.  I can't believe I get to say that now!  I completed the Bank of American Chicago Marathon.  My toes really hurt right now, but I am so excited and proud of myself.  My finishing time was 4 hours and 37 minutes and I ran the entire time at about a 10 minute mile pace.  I walked through water stations and stopped for the bathroom, but other than that, I ran the entire freaking thing.  It was so cool.  If you want, check out my thoughts on this whole thing here: My First Marathon.

And here are some of the highlights from yesterday!
Ready to start!

13 miles in!

DONE! 

One refreshing beer...that I had 4 sips of

My running buddy Jana and our metals! 
I was so nervous going into this weekend, that I baked cupcakes for no reason at all.  I just needed something to do.  However, now I am really happy that I did because these Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes are super delicious and a well-deserved treat after the 26.2 miles I ran yesterday.  Make these delicious cupcakes for a yummy fall treat!

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes (I call them Chumpkin Cupcakes)
adapted from (The Kitchn)

Ingredients:
Chai Syrup:
1 cup water
6 tbsp sugar
4 chai tea bags
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
Cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp canola oil
4 eggs
3 tbsp chai syrup
1 tsp vanilla
15 oz pumpkin puree (plain)
Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp chai syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. To make the chai syrup:  Place water, sugar, spices, and tea bags in a medium saucepan.  Stir and bring to a rolling boil.  Lower heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until water is reduced and you have a syrup texture.  Remove tea bags and place syrup in a container.  Place in fridge until cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 and place cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.  I made regular cupcakes and mini cupcakes.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, and cloves.  In a large bowl, place brown sugar, sugar, and canola oil.  Beat until well combined.  Beat in eggs, chai syrup, and vanilla.  Slowly add in the flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in the pumpkin puree until combined.
4. Fill cupcake wells about 2/3 full.  For regular cupcakes bake 20-23 and for mini cupcakes bake for 15-18 minutes.  An inserted toothpick should come out clean.  Let cool before frosting.
5. To make the frosting, beat butter until whipped and then beat in the powdered sugar, chai syrup and vanilla.  Beat until well combined and frost!

Enjoy :)


Sunday, October 12, 2014

My First Marathon

I really can't believe that this day is here.  One year ago, I watched the Chicago Marathon and said, "I'm totally going to do this next year."  When it came time to sign up, six months ago, I still had that frame of mind.  I figured, while I'm young, I should try to do everything that inspires me.

Five years ago, if I told myself I would one day run a marathon, I would have laughed myself to tears.  I was totally not a runner.  I would go to the gym and stand on the elliptical just because everyone else was doing it and then I would get a snack right afterwards.  I wasn't exactly into working out :)  But then, I started jogging with my friend Caryn and this blog and everything changed.  Caryn provided me with the motivation and support to get out there and keep moving.  This blog, taught me to cook.  I know its about food and recipes, but truly it is about me making myself do something good and learn how to eat.  Both of these things helped me to realize that I was always much stronger and disciplined than I had ever realized before.  Both of these things helped me embrace who I am and what I love.

Now that today is here, I could not be more proud of myself for taking on this challenge.  It terrifies me.  I have trained for 18 weeks.  I have run 20 miles.  People keep telling me I am ready and its time to believe in that and have some fun.  I am so excited for today's race even if I feel like I'm going to get sick at any moment right now.  Last night, as I was sitting at dinner with my parents, cousin, Bri, and tons of good friends, I looked around me and realized that I have so much support and love in my life.  This is what is going to carry me through today.  I blog about food because I love how food brings people together.  Last night, we were brought together by two of my loves, food and running and it meant so much to me to have so many people there.

In about 40 minutes, I am going to be picked up by my marathon buddy, Jana, and we will be off to start this crazy adventure.  Wish me luck and thank you to everyone who has supported me in all the crazy endeavors I have taken on!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Marathon Training and a Detox Mango Avocado Smoothie




Here is what you think about when you sign up for a marathon:
1. I'm young, I'll probably be fine.
2. This looks really cool.
3. It's a bucket list thing.

Here is what you think about during training:
1. Geez this is a lot of running.
2. I'm so hungry all the time.
3. My knee hurts.
4. Am I sure I can do this?

And here is where I am at now:
1. I'm totally ready.
2. I'm totally excited.

Last weekend, I ran the Magellan Ready to Run 20 miler.  I was so nervous leading up to the event, but when I finished I was truly amazed.  I ran the whole time at my 10 minute mile pace.  Therefore, I ran 20 miles in 3 hours and 20 minutes.  It was amazing.  I have never felt such relief and excitement at accomplishing anything like this before. I have been training with CARA (Chicago Area Running Association) and it has totally paid off.  If someone told me 5 years ago that I would be running a marathon, I would have thought they were completely insane.  And yet, here I am.  Last year, I went and watched some of the Chicago Marathon and decided that I should do it.  Now, I am two 2 weeks away!!!  I feel totally ready and completely amazed at what I can do.
post-run!
Today, was the first "taper" run.  After 20, you taper (run less and less) until the race.  Today, I ran 12 miles and it was the first time in 6 weeks that I ran less than a half marathon during the weekend.  How insane is that???

Throughout training, I have tried to focus on my health as well as my running and teaching.  However, all this running really does just make me want to eat everything in sight!  To try and avoid eating a ton of junk, I have discovered various healthy recipes.  Today, I am sharing one.  This is one of a few smoothie recipes that I have tried over the course of my marathon training and it really is delicious as well as nutritious.  I highly recommend it as a great way to get your veggies and feel amazing.  If you are running a ton, you will need more than this, so maybe have some peanut butter with toast in addition to the yummy smoothie.

Detox Mango Avocado Smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped fresh mango
1/2 cup sliced avocado
1 cup orange juice (I used Tropicana 50)
2 tbsp lime juice

Directions:
1. Put everything in blender and blend until smooth.  This makes 2 large smoothies.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cookie Dough Frosted Brownies

I can't believe I am a month away from race day! I just finished an "easy" 14 miles.  You may be wondering...easy?  Well, after running 18 last week, today seemed like a breeze.  Plus, the weather was chilly and beautiful.  This made the run a whole lot more pleasant than those others that were in 80 degree heat with crazy humidity!  I feel great right now! I can't believe that next week is the 20 mile run! 20 miles is the longest run before the actual marathon and I am only one week away!

I am running for a charity called Access Living and if you would like to read more about the charity and my running journey, you can find all info here:  Jodie-Team Access Living.

Today I figured we should celebrate!  I am pumped about my running going so well, but I am also grateful for an amazing start to the school year.  So far classes have been great, I love my co-workers, and my students have been a joy so far!  (Let's hope it stays that way!)  I'm also excited about the fact that I have finally finished reading all the current Game of Thrones books.  This was a HUGE project as each book is about 1000 pages, but I finally finished and I can't wait for the next book to be released!  All in all, a celebration is in order and what better way to celebrate than with delicious brownies?  I made my typical Dark Chocolate Brownies, but then I topped them with a layer of cookie dough frosting.  YUM!!!! Bri has already asked that I make these for his birthday this year and thats not for another 3 months!

Cookie Dough Frosted Brownies
Ingredients:
Brownie Recipe
Frosting:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp skim milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp low-fat cream cheese
pinch of salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Make brownies according to directions (or make your own favorite recipe). Let cool completely.
2. In a large bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar, and melted butter until well combined and sugar starts to dissolve.  Beat in the milk, vanilla, cream cheese, and salt until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spread the frosting over the brownies.  You will have a very thick layer.
3. Cover in tinfoil and place in fridge for a few hours to ensure that the frosting sets.  Once chilled, cut into squares.

Enjoy :)