Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pumpkin Power Thursday!

So if you've been around for awhile, you might remember a challenge I did in December. I baked a different Christmas cookie every day for 25 days. (See days 1-25 here.) It was awesome.

I think it's about time for another challenge. But not so crazy as the last. If you have been around me at any point during the season of autumn, you must know my love for pumpkin. I shared with you the joy of my favorite pumpkin yogurt earlier this week. I also have a deep love for pumpkin spice lattes. Oh man, pumpkin spice lattes. 

Would you believe that my Business Man got his first pumpkin spice latte this week without me? Here's how it went down - Business Man starts to leave the house at 7:30am for an 8:00am meeting. I thought it was kinda early, and said something to the effect of, "Aren't you leaving kind of early?" He told me that it takes a long time to get all the way across town. Okay, that makes sense. And he likes to get places early. Whereas I'm fine being right on time.

And then, later that night, he fesses up and admits it; he left so early because he stopped for a PSL! I could hardly believe it. And then he proceeds to post this hilarious video on my facebook wall.

Here's the link to the real video; I don't know how to embed videos. That kind of stuff is for computer geniuses. (Aka not me. That one semester of C# programming in college just about did me in.)

PSL Celebration. You better go watch it; you will crack up. Or else I'm just weird.

Okay, so back to the challenge. I love pumpkin. And foods that have pumpkin in them. So I am going to post a new pumpkin recipe every Thursday from now until Thanksgiving! Wheeee!

To kick it off, I've got some Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Bars. I know, everyone probably already has a pumpkin bar recipe. While I certainly enjoy regular pumpkin bars, I've always been on the hunt for a pumpkin bar that is more bar-like than cake-like. Do ya catch my drift? Most pumpkin bars are really just thin pumpkin cake. I want something fudgy. Well, fudgy-like without having chocolate.

These bars aren't quite as dense as cookie bars or brownies, but are much more chewy and  fudge-like than the standard pumpkin bars. Win!

I took these to school today and unfortunately forgot to snap some pics before I left the house. I realized this about 2:30pm and rushed down to the staff room when the final bell rang at 3pm to get my pictures. And this was all that was left.

I'll let that tell you how good these are.

And you bet I scraped up every bit of those crumbs stuck to the bottom of the pan. Perfect after school snack.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan.

Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda in small bowl. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract until well-blended; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 1/2 cups white chips. Spread dough into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 33 to 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Place remaining 1/2 cup white chocolate chips in a heavy-duty zipper bag. Microwave on medium power at 30 second intervals, kneading in between intervals, until smooth. Cut tiny corner from bag; squeeze to drizzle over bars. Cut into bars to serve.

Source: Very Best Baking

And now let's talk about running. I've been building up my tempo runs for quite some time, with the ultimate goal of reaching 6 miles at my tempo pace, 6:50-7:00 per mile. I've done several 3-mile and 4-mile tempos, and two 5-mile tempos. It was time to bump it up to 6-miles.

I'm scurred. And no that pic was not from today. It's not that cold yet.
I'm not gonna lie, I didn't want to tempo today. I didn't run before school, so that meant running after school. And Thursdays are just long days. Probably because they come right before Friday.

But I trudged myself to the gym (because we are on day #3 of cold rain), telling myself I could just settle with a 4-mile tempo if I wasn't feeling it. 

But I was totally feeling it! I got sucked into a movie on Lifetime - Teacher's Crime. It was all about this boy & his crazy uncle who were trying to blackmail this teacher whose dad is crazy rich. The boy wanted nothing to do with it, but the uncle kept making him try to get scanty pictures with the teacher. So they could blackmail that he and the teacher were 'romancing.' It really made me mad, because the teacher was completely innocent and so passionate about her students.

Anyways, the movie sucked me in, and before I knew it I was at the 4-mile mark. So I told myself I could go for 7 more minutes to get to 5-miles. And then the same trick worked again to get me to 6! "Just 7 more minutes." Heh. Wonder if I can do that 7 more times during my half-marathon to get myself to run 13.1 miles at that pace.

Here's the break-down:
  • Mile 1 - 7:04
  • Mile 2 - 6:51
  • Mile 3 - 6:52
  • Mile 4 - 6:51
  • Mile 5 - 6:50
  • Mile 6 - 6:49
  • Total time - 41:17, 6:52 avg
Oh yeah! I beat that tempo's booty. So excited. If I would have run another 0.2 miles I would have had my 10km PR. Although I've never really full-out raced a 10km.

I also ran about a mile warm-up and mile cool-down, so 8 miles for the day. I hope to get in at least one more 6 mile tempo before the race on October 16.

And here's one last thing:

That was my delicious re-fueling dinner. Extra credit to whoever guesses what is inside that grilled cheese.



Have Your Way said...

Eggs? So guessing about what is in your grilled cheese! I wish we lived closer so we could run together and I could taste your delicious looking desserts!! So i found this recipe and totally thought of you enjoy :)

Jessica @ rerunrunning said...

#1... AWESOME butt-kicking tempo, girl! Basically your 10k pr on a treadmill? Super impressive. You should sign up for a 10k race so you can really blow that baby out of the water!
#2 Hilarious PSL video. The orange hair.. the cinnamon stick twirling... the mayor talking about his dinosaur wife.. HAHAHA!
#3 Those bars look incredible. It doesn't feel like fall at all here yet, so normally I would not be craving pumpkin stuff for another month at least, but ohmygosh I need it... NOW! :)
Happy weekend!!
Awesome post!

Cecily said...

That Pumpkin Spice Latte video was so funny! I love the cinnamon stick twirling girl, when she turns back and yells at the donkey?!?! Hilarious!!! Your pumpkin bars do look so yummy, especially since they are a combo of two of my fav things: pumpkin and white chocolate! I love to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Your tempo freaking rocked! I use this mind trick all the time for workouts and races. It's super effective. :)

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