Friday, March 11, 2011

Double-Stuffed or Regular?

When my Business Man and I got married, he didn't have much of a sweet tooth. Yea, he liked desserts, but not super chocolatey or overly rich sweets. He didn't have to have something sweet everyday.

During the first few weeks of our marriage, he would just chuckle and shake his head when I would scoop up my nightly bowl of ice cream or other dessert-like item. (Yes, dessert is an everyday occurrence in my life. Especially when marathon training. Sometimes even twice a day.)

I think I'm rubbing off on him though. Lately, he's been asking me, "What's for dessert tonight honey?" I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. It's a good thing because it means I can bake more without it going to waste. (Yes, stuff goes to waste around here. It is such a tragedy. We try to take it to work if it's gonna go bad, but sometimes life happens and you just forget.)

However, it could be a bad thing because now my Business Man might be turning into a sugar fiend like myself. Two sweets-lovers in the same house = me having to share ice cream... which might make a not-so-happy Sara.

I've been in the mood to bake cupcakes lately, and since my Business Man's favorite ice cream flavor is Cookies & Cream, I decided to whip up a batch of Cookies & Cream cupcakes. These were one of the five chosen flavors at our wedding (along with Cappuccino Chip Cupcakes which I shared a few weeks ago.) This recipe also comes from Anne Byrn's Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor. (Buy this book if you love cupcakes!)

Do you like my new zebra plate? I thought it went perfectly with the Oreo cupcakes...

Cross-sectional view.
The cupcake base is a dense white cake filled with Oreo cookie crumbs, with an Oreo at the bottom of each cupcake. (I used regular Oreos, because I like them better. Double-stuffed would work just fine, too.)

Today I just frosted with canned white frosting (the horror!), because I was running short on time. A vanilla buttercream would be lovely, as would a chocolate buttercream. (We did the chocolate buttercream for our wedding.) And of course, you must garnish with some more Oreo cookie crumbs.

Hello, Oreo!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

  • 30 Oreo cookies
  • 18.25-oz. package white cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Frosting of your choice


Preheat oven to 350*F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Count out 12 Oreos and separate the top and bottom. (Don't break them!) Place an Oreo half, icing side up, in the bottom of each cupcake cup.

Place the remaining 18 Oreos in a large zipper bag and crush them up into little pieces, using your hands or a rolling pin. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed and beat 1 1/2 minutes more. Fold 1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs into the batter.

Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup. (Fill about 3/4 full.)

Bake in preheated oven 18 to 20 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed with your finger. Remove from pans to cool.

When cool, frost as desired, and garnish with remaining Oreo crumbs.

Running related...

Yesterday I did this week's long run. 16 miles. Funny that 16 miles doesn't sound all that long anymore.

Not only was it 16 miles, but I decided to do some speed-work with it. My training plan calls for some "marathon-pace" running. (Basically, to practice the pace I will run my marathon at.)

Now, I had a little difficulty deciding what my marathon-pace should be. According to Jack Daniels (the running guru, not the whiskey guy), I can run a 3:17:xx marathon based on my previous times and training. According to RunnersWorld, I could run a 3:11:xx. And according to my online training log, I am capable of a 3:30.

What's a girl to do? Those times range from a 7:20-pace to an 8:00-pace! That's quite the gap. And, who knows how fast I can run a marathon? My easy running pace is anywhere from 8:00-8:45-pace, and I can't imagine pushing myself much faster than that for 26.2 miles. Quite the quandary.

Anyways, I decided to place my marathon-pace smack dab in the middle of the range at 7:40. That equals about a 3:20 marathon. Which I would be absolutely thrilled to run! 

I decided to break up my run into segments of easy running, then marathon-pace (MP) running. Here's how it panned out:
     2 miles E (8:28 avg)
     3 miles MP (7:38 avg)
     2 miles E (8:23 avg)
     3 miles MP(7:4o avg)
     2 miles E (8:27 avg)
     2 miles MP (7:37 avg)
     2 miles E (8:32 avg)
For a total of 16 miles in 2:08:51, 8:03 average.

Marathon-pace is weird. It's hard, but it's not hard. It's hard enough that you don't want to be running that fast, but it's not hard enough to really wear you out too much. Granted, by that last 2-mile segment of marathon-pace running, my legs were tired and ready to be done.

I liked doing this type of workout for my long run; it made it pass by super-fast. I think next time I will try to do a longer continuous effort at MP. (Maybe 8-10 miles straight?) 

Question: Anybody have any thoughts on MP running? What's a good MP workout to do?

In other running news, I might be running a 4-mile race tomorrow! (I know, just two days after a long run.) I am taking today off from running to let my legs rest a bit, and hopefully by tomorrow I will be good to go.

[Side note: I told my Business Man that I wanted to run a local race Saturday. He said, "Oh... that's fine with me. But I have appointments in the morning. I have to work, and won't be able to go." I replied with a smile, "Lucky you! The race isn't til 2pm! You still get to go!" Haha... ]

Happy running and happy cupcake baking!


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