Monday, February 29, 2016

Marathon Training Monday

Marathon training is really getting into full swing.  On Saturday, we had a taper run, which means that we ran less than the previous two weeks.  It's a nice way to keep running while making sure that your body has time to recover in between build weeks.  This past Saturday was 10 miles.  This is still super long so that is always how I now that I am really into training.

This week is a build week and the mileage is really getting up there.  Today, I ran 5 miles.  Tomorrow is 8 and then on Thursday 5 again.  Then, Saturday is 15!  15 always sounds scary to me because is is the first Saturday run that is longer than a half marathon.  It is an intimidating distance, but when it is done I end up feeling super pumped because I know that I can totally complete a marathon.

This is my third time training for a marathon, but it is the first time that I have continued to do boot camp (strength training).  I was nervous about this because I don't want to hurt myself, but so far I am feeling great and I don't get or stay sore for very long.  So that is awesome!  Also, I am getting faster!  Strength training for the win!

I love my boot camp, but I am also looking into other options to do strength training that helps my running.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cheesecake Brownie Cupcakes

Now there is a blog title to get excited about!  These brownies are crazy yummy and they were sort of an accident.

So, on Wednesday my students took a practice ACT during school.  This meant that I just proctored all day and I was able to go home early!  What a win!  Plus, the students did really well!  They started with an average of about 18 on the math section and now their average is above 20!  That is great growth!  I was super proud of them and I had extra time so I decided to bake something for my advisory.  I was also asked to bake for an upcoming Oscar party this weekend.  I figured I would just bake a double batch of something and have enough desserts for both events!

My students told me that they would like brownies or cheesecake.  I decided to just combine the two!  I started baking, but then I realized that I didn't have enough sugar!!! I was feeling super lazy and so instead of going out to buy more sugar, I decided to take a risk and use brown sugar instead.  My laziness ended up being a good thing since these brownies were super tasty and a huge hit!

Now, I am sitting in school and my students just had the brownies.  They loved them and there is only one left!  (Well, actually there is 13 left...I just kept 12 at home for that Oscar party I mentioned earlier).  These brownies are yummy and you should make them!

Cheesecake Brownie Cupcakes

Ingredients:16 tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 plus 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp espresso powder
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
8 oz light cream cheese
1 cup nonfat, plain greek yogurt
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 325 and line your cupcake pan with liners.
2. In a small saucepan, place the butter and chopped chocolate.  Heat over medium-low, stirring constantly, until melted and combined.  Remove from heat.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and espresso powder.
4. In a large bowl, beat the sugars with the eggs and vanilla.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese with the greek yogurt, sugar and flour until well combined.
6. Beat the chocolate mixture into the sugar/egg mixture until well combined.  Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
7.  Place about 2 tbsp of brownie mixture into each cupcake well.  Place about 1 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on top.  Then place about 1 tsp of brownie mixture on top of the cream cheese.  Using a toothpick, swirl the cream cheese and brownie batter.
8.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool.

Enjoy :)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Last night I made breakfast nachos for dinner.  Yep, it has been one of those kind of weeks...However, that means that you all will learn how to make amazing breakfast nachos in the near future!

This week have been really busy, but full of good things!  On Monday, I did not have school so, of course, I went for a 12 mile run.  It had snowed recently and so that 12 mile run left me feeling very sore.  This led to me not wanting to run indoors for the rest of the week.  Something about a treadmill just makes me so angry.  So, I decided to bundle up and run my 2 other runs outside.  I left early in the morning (5:30) and it was actually quite pleasant.  I sort of like being the only one out and about in Chicago.  It is peaceful and left me feeling calm and relaxed.

School has also been going pretty well this week.  We are graphing sine and cosine in the precalculus group and in AP Calc we are looking into applications of integration.  Volume is a tough one, but today one of the calc students took a quiz on it and killed it!!! I am so proud and excited for her.  Planning for both of these courses has been a lot of work, but the students are so great and I really love working with them.  It is totally worth the effort!

Otherwise, the condo stuff is still moving along.  We are signing a boat-load of forms, showing our apartment to potential subletters, and trying to work out and manage all of our funds.  It's stressful, but I am so excited to move towards closing on our place.  I LOVE it!

So, one thing that has helped me get through this week has been the fact that I had a mountain of leftovers from that time I made Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders.  This was one of the rare times that I made a non-vegetarian meal.  This means that I have a ton of leftovers and no one to help me eat them.  So, I have had some pretty delicious school lunches all this week.  The chicken came out great and super tasty.  Then, I mixed some Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing into some Broccoli Slaw and I used that to put on top of my phenomenal chicken.  YUM!  I am obsessed with this recipe and I can't wait to make it again for some sort of sporting event!  March Madness is quickly approaching and it would be perfect!

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

6 chicken breasts
2 bottles buffalo sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
1 1/2 packets of ranch seasoning
Broccoli Slaw, 1 bag
2-3 tbsp blue cheese dressing (I used a Yogurt/Light one)
whole wheat dinner rolls (24-36)

1. Place chicken, buffalo sauce, and ranch seasoning in your crock pot.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  After chicken is done, shred the chicken using two forks and leave on warm until you are ready to serve.
2. Pour the broccoli slaw into a large bowl and toss with the blue cheese dressing.
3. Serve with your whole wheat dinner rolls!

Enjoy :)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Shrimp Sushi Bowl

Sorry for getting a little ranty/ravey on Monday.  I don't know what got into me.  Of course, after I complained about running, I went for a 3 mile run and it totally made me feel better.  I actually did the same thing this morning because I went to see the Revenant last night.  

That movie is insane.  First of all, it's super intense.  Like I was clenching my arms for pretty much the entire movie.  Second, it was gross.  I had to close my eyes pretty frequently so, actually, I don't think I saw most of the movie.  And third, it was long.  I felt like I just ran a marathon or something (well maybe not that long), but I felt drained after.  So, I woke up this morning and I went for a run to make myself feel better and more upbeat. 

It totally worked, I got to school today ready to take on the world! Then, one of my students gave me a super sweet valentine's day mug with some chocolate in it.  Woo!  This is good since I have to fly to Baltimore today for a teaching conference this weekend.  I'm feeling much better and I'm super pumped.

I am also super pumped because we agreed on an offer with the seller of the condo we love! I'll keep you posted, but it looks like we will be able to close on April 1st and then move!! I can't wait!

And, to celebrate, here is a crazy delicious dinner idea.  I saw one of those Tasty videos that circulate on facebook and it was for this cute little sushi thing.  So, of course, I started to crave sushi, but sushi is not easy to make on your own.  I decided to make a sort of "deconstructed" sushi.  And, here it is!  This is a perfect, easy dinner.  Plus if you use gluten free soy sauce, it is totally gluten free!  

Shrimp Sushi Bowl

1/4 cup cooked brown rice
4-5 cooked, cold shrimp
2 tbsp greek yogurt
1-2 tsp siracha
2 tbsp avocado, mashed up
1-2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

1. Cook brown rice according to directions, scoop 1/4 cup of the brown rice into a bowl.
2.  Place the shrimp and avocado on top of the rice. 
3. In a small bowl, mix the greek yogurt with the siracha and then place on top of the rice. 
4. Drizzle soy sauce over everything.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Marathon Training Mondays

I'm not sure what's going on with me, but I am just not that excited about running right now.  I think it is the weather or the season or something, but I am just feeling pretty "blah" about working out.  I just want to sleep!

So...I wrote that, but then I went and ran for 30 minutes and it felt pretty good.  I think that I am just annoyed with running in the dark on a treadmill in the mornings.  I really want to go for a nice run outdoors in nice weather, but I suppose I'll just have to wait a few months...or move to a warmer place.

Speaking of moving, we are looking for a condo and we think we found one that we absolutely love! I'll keep you posted, but we are planning to make an offer today! Woo!

The mileage this week is 3/6/3/12.  I'm not sure if I'll do the 12 since I will be out of town, but that is ok.  I feel like if I miss one long run, I'll be totally fine.  Ok...I'm off to run 6 miles! Have a nice day!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Friday!

I am so excited that it is Friday, my students are taking a test, and I have my friend's engagement party to go to tonight!  I am so excited for Caryn and Max and I can't wait to celebrate with them.

Last night, I went to La Principal in Evanston with some of my friends from my old school.  It was so nice to see them and it really made me miss them!  Plus, La Principal was amazing!  I really hope that we continue to have outings like that in the future!

Today, before the engagement party, a bunch of teachers from my current school are going to a restaurant to celebrate the fact that it is Friday.  I'm excited to hang with them and it will be a nice way to kick off the weekend.

You know what is also a nice way to kick off the weekend?  Cinnamon rolls!!! Cinnamon rolls are my ultimate favorite breakfast pastry.  I just can't say no to them.  I know that the world is on a donut kick, but I still say that cinnamon rolls are the best.  I made crock pot cinnamon rolls recently and they came out great!  I made them a little "healthier" so they are probably not as crazy delicious as they could be, but I thought they were delish and it made me feel better to know that they were lightened up.

Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

3/4 cup almond milk
1 packet instant yeast
1/4 cup + 1 tsp sugar, divided
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
2 and 3/4 cups bread flour
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
dash of vanilla

1. Warm the milk in the microwave for 1 minute.  Pour the milk into a stand mixer or large bowl with a dough hook.  Add in the yeast and 1 tsp sugar and let sit for 8-10 minutes.  Yeast should make the mixture frothy.
2. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, butter, egg and 2 cups of flour.  Beat on a low speed until dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Add in more flour as needed.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.  Then, place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Line a slow cooker with a lightly greased piece of parchment paper.
5. After 15 minutes, roll the dough out into a long rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Spread the softened butter over the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Then, starting with the longer side, roll it up towards the other long side.  Cut into about 12 pieces and place in the slow cooker.
6. Place a paper towel on the inside of the slow cooker right under the lid.  Turn the cooker on to high and let cook for 2 hours.
7. Make the icing by mixing the powdered sugar and milk together in a small bowl.  Once the cinnamon rolls are done, spread with icing or just dip the cinnamon rolls in the icing!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Vegetarian Paella

I decided to take a blog-cation.  I'm not sure that is a real thing, but I am officially making it a thing.  I was feeling a little overwhelmed with how much I have going on in my life and I just couldn't keep up.  It happens.  All the stuff is really good and I totally kept cooking up a storm, but I just didn't feel like writing.  However, I am pretty pumped to tell you about this Vegetarian Paella:

Here is a quick re-cap on all the good stuff that is keeping me occupied.  First, school is busy.  I am teaching the AP Calc and Precalc groups right now, so I have a lot to plan for.  I have never taught these classes before this year and so I need more time to plan and prepare myself.  Plus, this math stuff can be really difficult!  I give these kids a lot of credit because they are learning some tough stuff and doing a really nice job! Then, I also have cheer practice or basketball games after school.  On Saturday, we attended a college basketball game and talked to the cheer team there.  It was really fun and the girls had a great time meeting the college cheerleaders.  We are also getting ready for a winter pep rally and that means lots of practice.  On top of all that, I also had a meeting on Monday with the park district to start preparing for my summer job.  Summer seems really far away, but now is the time that we start planning/hiring for summer camp.  Finally, Bri and I have been doing a lot of house shopping.  We think we found our condo and are getting ready to make an offer!  And, all of this is in addition to wedding planning and marathon training.  Jeez!  
So, needless to say, I just have a lot on my plate.  

I also found out that next year I will be teaching 12th grade.  For any of you who keep up with my life, I am currently teaching 11th grade and this means I will be teaching the same kiddos next year! I am turning into Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World!  This is just awesome since Mr. Feeny is the best! 

How can you not love that guy???  

Well, now that you are all mostly updated on my whirlwind life, here is a fabulous recipe for Vegetarian Paella.  I made this on a weeknight, which means that it takes like no time, and it was crazy yummy.  Please make this and enjoy!

Vegetarian Paella
(adapted from The Kitchn)

1 cup brown rice
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp paprika
5-6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 red peppers, sliced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp hot paprika
1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved
1 can artichoke heart quarters, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper

1. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and the brown rice, and boil for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
2. In another pot, bring the broth to a simmer.
3. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet and saute the onions until translucent.  Add in the peppers and garlic and cook until the peppers soften.  Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tumeric, paprika, hot paprika, and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Let this simmer for 5 minutes
4.  Fold in the green beans, artichoke hearts, chickpeas and cooked rice.  Ladel the warm broth into the mixture until the rice is almost covered.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the frozen peas and let simmer for 5 more minutes.  Then, serve! 

Enjoy :)