Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chocolate and Peanut Butter...oh my!

I'm a major sweet tooth, I have to have something sweet after each meal- no matter what I eat it just doesn't feel right without something to top it off!  Well Monday night, the usual  chocolate and yogurt options we had in the house just weren't cutting it...I wanted more, I wanted bigger!  I went to bed that night craving a Reese's, oh how happy that peanut butter and chocolate combination would have made me.

I began to think about the Nestle's dark chocolate morsels I had in the fridge and the peanut butter hanging out in the cabinet and I decided I was going to make my own peanut butter cups- why not...couldn't be too hard, right?!  I spent some time (too much time!) Tuesday morning searching Pinterest for peanut butter cup recipes (never a good idea on a Tuesday morning when you have to get to work!).  I found several, ok- tons, but none of them seemed right, none of them seemed easy enough!  I flipped through a number of recipes, some calling for butter, some calling for you to mix the peanut butter in with the chocolate, some calling for sugar, or a combination of the above ingredients.  Nothing I wanted to get into on a Tuesday so I decided to go it alone!

I figured one thing I needed to keep was the extra powdered sugar mixed into the peanut butter- that would make it just a bit sweeter and when you're making candy- what's a little extra sweetness, right?!   I also knew that would cut some of the creaminess that jarred peanut butter normally has and make it more of the spongy/ crumbly texture you find in a Reese's!

I ended up making two different batches- one using a Skippy peanut butter and powdered sugar combination and one using PB2 and nothing else added!   I have taken a real liking to PB2 lately, I have found it's a great substitute for peanut butter and since it's a powder- it's great for mixing into yogurt which that creamy, gooey peanut butter doesn't do so well.  Since I had some lying around I figured I'd try it out!

I lined  a muffin tin with some cupcake liners (I used the full size cupcake liners- no small peanut butter cups here!) then melted some of the dark chocolate morsels I had in the fridge.  Chocolate burns easily when melting so stop it every 30 seconds and stir.  Once the chocolate begins to melt, it will continue to melt while you stir it so you can take it out of the microwave early!  I poured some of the melted chocolate into the cupcake liners- filling them up about 1/4 of an inch each.  Be sure you place them in the freezer for 5 or more minutes to harden before taking them out for the peanut butter layer!  While they are hardening, mix the peanut butter/ confectioner's sugar layer together.  I used equal parts peanut butter and sugar- it will be pretty sweet but I definitely reached that spongy/ crumbly texture I was looking for and hey, it's candy!  Once that is done, take the hardened chocolate from the freezer and gently layer the peanut butter on top.  I may have put a little too much (like 1/2 an inch of peanut butter!) but one can never have too much peanut butter!  Put the tin back in the freezer for another 5 minutes to set up before taking it out to pour on the remaining chocolate.  Place them back in the freezer and voilĂ - yummy peanut butter cups!

Question of the day: What is your favorite candy?
Link of the day: Fun Peanut Facts!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Long Run Rewards

Yes, I'll admit- sometimes I definitely am running for wine; this week however I was running for pancakes...and frozen yogurt!!  This week my long run was on Sunday morning because my husband and I needed to work on marketing his new business Saturday morning so I planned ahead and suggested we have pancakes Sunday morning after my run!  My planned run for this week according to my training schedule (I'll talk more about that in another post within the next week) was 9 miles- I ended up running 9.5 miles and was more than ready for pancakes!  I used Peanut Butter Fingers' Greek Yogurt Pancakes recipe as inspiration and added in dark chocolate chips and banana slices!  I used half vanilla Greek yogurt and half plain 0% Greek yogurt to give the pancakes just a bit of flavor!  I also halved the sugar since some of the yogurt was already sweetened and I had planned on adding syrup!  They were dee-licious!  The baking soda in the recipe gave them a great rise in the pan and half of the recipe was enough for a post workout meal!

We had also talked the day before (gotta make the most out of these long runs, right?!) about getting Yobe frozen yogurt as an afternoon treat!  I wasn't feeling very well when it came time to heading our for fro-yo but I'm not one to pass up Yobe with candy pieces on top so I was a trooper and went along for the ride :)  Well it definitely didn't help my stomach ache at all but man was it good!  The perfect cap to a long run day treat!

Question of the day: What is your favorite treat after a long run or tough workout?

Link of the day: 8 Ways Red Wine Keeps you Healthy - had to touch upon the other best long run reward :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lift, Tone, Burn!

About a week ago I attended my first Barre class and to say I loved it only scratches the surface!  My younger sister has been attending classes up North for several months now and raves about the workout and I have to say, I can see the results!  She looks great!  I found out a few months ago that a Pure Barre studio was opening and I figured I had to try it!  

I'll admit, I was skeptical going into the class, I'm not a yoga person and I'm not into Pilates- I have real trouble getting into "slower" exercises but I decided that after seeing her transformation I had to stick it out!   I arrived and was given 2 pound weights- like any other runner I questioned how 2 pounds was going to make a difference but I took the weights, the band, and the ball and took my spot in the room.  Well, was I surprised!  Not more than 5 minutes into the class I was hurting already and from then on, I don't think a minute went by during that 55 minute class that I was not feeling the burn!  My legs were shaking and several times I had to stop, shake it out, and refocus before beginning the workout again!

Since the Barre studio was new and it happened to be opening day we had several teachers in the room.  There was of course the one who was teaching the class up at the front but then there were two more ladies going through the class with us to model the exercises as we were doing them.  For someone who had never taken a Barre class before this was great as I was able to begin working on my form from the first minute of class!  Having correct form definitely helped the workout burn even more... I attended my second Barre class today and it was just as good as the first!  I can't wait to go back!


Question of the day: What new workouts have you tried lately?

Link of the day: New to Pure Barre?

To marathon or not to marathon...

Hi All!  Yes, I know it's been two months (how did that time go so quickly?!) since I'v posted my thoughts but I am going to try and make this a more regular occurrence...yes I said try ;)

Currently I'm in the process of deciding whether to run another marathon or not.  I ran one back in February of this year and if I'm trying to decide whether to do another marathon or not.  Shortly after the race I read a quote that has stayed with me through the year and is currently playing a big role in my thought process lately.

You are ready to run your next marathon when you have forgotten the previous marathon.

I can't remember where I saw this quote but I found it to be the most truth I'd heard to that, 8.5 months later, when a new racing season is about to begin and yes, I have forgotten the pain and trouble of running my previous marathon- I'm thinking about attempting the impossible once more!   I've forgotten the feeling of mile 16 of a 20 mile training run when you're headed home and almost there- but still have 4 LONG miles to go.  I've forgotten the joy of waking up at 7 am on a random Saturday to be sure I've hydrated and fueled up for that 20 mile training run and I've forgotten the fun (can you sense the sarcasm) of mile 24 during the marathon when all your body wants to do is stop but you know you not only need to keep going, but to speed up to be sure you hit the finish line strong.  

Yes, I've forgotten all of the "joy" that comes along with training for an running a marathon- could it be time to do it all again?

Question of the day: What does your next few months of racing look like?