Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: In Running

Well, 2012 has come and gone. I haven't been able to blog as much as I would have liked (hello, life!), but thought it would be fun to look back at my year 'in running'.

The Numbers
  • miles logged: 2561 - not including tomorrow's run... planning on 6 or 7 more to finish the year!
  • races run: 14
  • highest mileage week: 62 - training for the IL Marathon
  • pairs of shoes gone through: 4 or so
  • money spent on running shoes: don't even want to think about it
  • Clif bars consumed: probably 250 or so, love those things! 
  • number of miles run with my Business Man: oh, about 2. :) I'll turn him into a runner someday... though he did run his first 5k! (with no training)

Overall, it was an awesome year for running. I was really blessed to see a PR in every distance from the 5km to the marathon.

I started the year by pretending to be in college again with an indoor 5km... luckily I was able to hold my own and broke 19 minutes for the first time! (Debating whether I should run this race again in 2013...)

18:50 PR

In March, my Business Man & I traveled to Chicago and I 'got lucky' with the Get Lucky Half the day after St. Patrick's Day on the Chicago lakefront. The 80*F+ temps weren't so lucky though.

1:30:14, paced by two awesome pacers!

The IL Marathon in April was exciting and fun... I hung out with the 3:15 pace group until about mile 21 when they were all-of-a-sudden 50 meters ahead of me. I still don't know how that happened. 

That time I convinced Talen to run a marathon, too. Oh wait, I did it again this year for Boston. Ran a 3:22 PR.

I ran my favorite hilliest & hottest race in June - the Steamboat Classic. For as long as I can run, I will go back to Peoria the third weekend in June and run Steamboat.

63:55, but not the fastest 15km of the year.

The tastiest race was by far the Pumpkin Classic 10km... I surprised myself quite a bit here with my performance. Guess those pumpkin donuts served as good motivation.

38:58 PR

And I finished up the fall racing season with a trifecta of races three weekends in a row. Half-marathon, 15km, half-marathon. Though I wouldn't suggest setting up your races that way, I was a bit fatigued at the end.

Post-Columbus Half - 1:27:09 PR

I'm a little exhausted looking back at this year of running. Just gotta gear up to do it all over again! I've started training for Boston in April, I will definitely be back to give weekly updates. (If only to keep myself organized. :-P) I am very excited to see what 2013 will bring!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 2: Chocolate Pixies + Tuesday Tangents

Tuesday Tangents:

  • A few weekends ago I traveled to the grand ole' state of Illinois to celebrate one of my BFF's bachelorette party. She gets married in less than 2 weeks! We had lots of fun. We'll leave it at that.

  • On the drive there, I stopped in our college town to run my favorite 3-mile route from back in the day. Yes I'm one of those people who packs running clothes in their car for instances such as this. Totally fun though.

  • While driving back to the Bean Town, I passed a truck on the highway. Carrying a treadmill. And then spent the next 20 miles wondering if it would be possible to run on the treadmill while driving down the interstate. Physics friends, help me out??

  • My friend Kristi came to visit us here in the Bean Town this weekend with her two wee ones. We had loads of fun... though we didn't quite bake as much as we did last year. Something about entertaining a 5 month old + 3 year old makes regular activities take three times as long. Massive kudos to Kristi, I don't know how she does it.
Girly time on the couch.

We went downtown to Modo Media and Pears Avenue and had some fun with at their Christmas photo session, haha. Cora was a bit of a grump and didn't want to wear a Charlie Brown headpiece, wonder why??!

  • The countdown to Christmas break has begun. Though we are now down to just 8 days... that picture is from last week.

  • And I am finally sharing Day 2 of the Christmas Cookie Challenge a week after I posted Day 1. I will get them all posted by Christmas, I swear! (Says the girl who barely has time to think. Though this little cold I developed fortunately? unfortunately has me confined to the couch today.)

Chocolate Pixies are a Christmas classic that my mom has been making ever since I can remember. They're rich and fudgy and go great with a little bowl of ice cream. They're also so perfect for Christmas because they look like they're covered in snow!

They do require a bit of planning, as the dough has to chill in the refrigerator overnight. And just a warning, your hands will get messy when you roll them into balls. There's no escaping it.

Chocolate Pixies

Servings/Yield: 4 dozen cookies

  • 4-oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • powdered sugar

In large bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, melted chocolate; mix well. Add flour, salt, and baking powder; mix until thoroughly combined. Chill dough in refrigerator overnight.

Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar, and place on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350*F about 10 minutes until cookies are set.

Source: family favorite

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 1: Rocky Ledge Bars

It's been a busy couple weeks. We've had LOTS of time spent with family & friends, which is always awesome. I can't believe it's already December... time to whip out the mixers and baking sheets and get cookie-baking!

I debated whether to do the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies here on the blog this year, considering it's been 85 years since I last posted a recipe. But I figured, "why not?!" It gives me a good excuse to try out 12 new recipes. 

For day numero uno, we've got Rocky Ledge Bars. One of my fabulous teacher-baker friends introduced me to these bars and they're absolutely delicious. [Side note: She is also a cupcake queen and our students always tell us we should have a makeshift 'Cupcake Wars' at school... haha. As long as the students provide the $10K prize, I'm in.]

These bars are a twist on a basic blondie, with a buttery brown sugar base.. They're loaded with all sorts of goodies - semisweet chocolate, butterscotch chips, white chocolate, caramel, and marshmallows.

They're the perfect type of dessert that you just need one little sliver. And then one more little sliver. And then just a bit more. Until you've eaten an entire row. Whoops.

Happy baking, and stay tuned for days #2-12 in the days leading up to Christmas!


Rocky Ledge Bars

Servings/Yield: 48 triangles
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • cups flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 18 soft caramels, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla extract; mix until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder, and salt; mix until just combined. Fold in half of each of the chips, marshmallows, and caramel pieces.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan; top with remaining chips, marshmallows, and caramel pieces.

Bake until top is golden brown and bars are set, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack; refrigerate until set.

Remove bars from pan and cut into triangles. Store in airtight container.

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