MarathonMaiden's Blog

October 25, 2010

The Post You All Have Been Waiting For

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 13:47

Or at least I hope you’ve been waiting for.  And if you weren’t, well, get excited.

MM baked cookies on Sunday. Therefore this is my very first cookie post.  And first *real* recipe post.  And my first time baking cookies on my own.  From scratch. Eeeek.

But first a bit of a wrap up on the running front, in bullet style because I know you want cookies.

  • I woke up Sunday morning feeling not as sore as I was expecting.  And trust me I was expecting to be VERY sore.  There was some fatigue in my quads but no real signs that I had run TEN 800m repeats the day before.
  • A few of you suggested (as you did before on my mile repeats workout) that I should decrease the recovery jog component of the workout and in the future I might.  But I like round numbers and the last time I did 800m repeats it was on the TM and I used 2 minutes recovery which was ~.2 miles so I extended that to .25 miles for the track.
  • I don’t know how often I’m going to be doing speed work pre-marathon training so who knows what type of intervals I’ll do next.  But shorter recovery seems to be the theme of where to go from here.
  • It seems like lots of you have 800m repeats as your least favorite workout.  I’m not sure if I could pinpoint my least favorite track workout (maybe 100m sprints like I did back in the day for T&F) but I was kind of digging those 800s.  Sure I’d LOVE to go longer (and mile repeats are likely my absolute fav) but there’s something hardcore about essentially sprinting for 2 laps.

But then again I might be a tad bit loca.  As evidenced by the fact that I made cookies.

I have no idea where this recipe originally came from.  In fact, I really have no idea where I got it from at all as when I called my mom to see if she had one, she thought my idea was “interesting”.

Because I wanted to make Peanut Butter Chip Oatmeal Cookies (note my mom said it was “interesting” because my family is a very unadventurous bunch of eaters.  The only cookies we have are in our lexicon are: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar.  No variations on them either). If you try and google PB Chip Oat Cookies, the large majority of the recipes are for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Not exactly what I wanted.

So I mixed and matched some Oatmeal Raisin recipes (which are my absolute FAVORITE cookie EVER) and some Chocolate Chip recipes.  I mean, if you really don’ t know what you’re doing in the kitchen regarding baking then why the hell not mix a ton of stuff together and pray for a Hail Mary, right?

Recipe

  • Margarine, 2 sticks
  • Granulated sugar, 3/4 cup
  • Brown Sugar, 3/4 cup
  • Flour 1.5 cups
  • Baking Soda, 1 tsp.
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Oats (rolled), 2.5 cups dry
  • Eggs, 2 large
  • Vanilla, 1 tsp
  • Peanut Butter Chips, 11 oz bag

Note on the ingredients and other stuff related to it.

Oh and yes my landlord (well ex-landlord I guess since someone just bought the building) loves us that much and never put a deadbolt on the backdoor. Hence the thing-y proped under the doorknob

I halved this recipe.  As written above it makes 32 cookies.  And I did get 16 out of my half.  And they were pretty big cookies too.

Most of the recipes I looked at used butter.  I used margarine because it’s WAY cheaper.  Sheepishly I had to call my mom when I was at the store to ask if I could use margarine instead of butter.  As well as to ask her the different between light and dark brown sugar (she didn’t know and I highly suspect there is not one.  I ended up buying the light brown sugar because it was cheaper).

ALSO, I used baking POWDER instead of SODA for the recipe.  I actually didn’t realize this until I started (because I knew we had baking *something* in the cabinet at home) but after doing some googling it’s okay to substitute powder for soda but not the other way around, due to acidity.  Even though I halved the recipe I kept the powder amount the same because I know that to make the substitution I needed more powder than the written soda amount. Plus the cookies tasted fine so there 😛

And I used a bag of half peanut butter / half chocolate chips as they were the least expensive bag that had the pb chips I wanted in it. That wasn’t cut in half, though, because the more chips the better, right?

How To Make

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium (okay so the only bowl I had was LARGE so I used that hahaha) bowl, whisk together the margarine and sugars.  This can get messy, especially since our microwave isn’t working at the moment so I couldn’t soften the margarine before adding it.  I ended up using my hands (don’t worry I washed them!) and mixing that way.  Just as a side note: margarine and sugar make a lovely exfoliant / moisturizer.

Goop before I dug in with my hands! See how big the bowl is though? Granted those are only 3 ingredients but still, a huge freaking bowl.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture beat until just combined. Then add oats, peanut butter and chocolate chips; beat until just combined.

Or I suppose you could use an electric beater.  I don’t have one so I used a fork / spatula thing-a-ma-bob.  If I’m going to make this a habit (baking) then I’m going to have to start to do some upper arm work to do all the whisking!

Yummy

Place batter on cookies sheet and place in the oven for ~12 minutes.  Apparently something else I didn’t realize was that we didn’t have cookies sheets.  So I used pizza trays (you know the round ones).  It worked.  And I had to keep an eye on the oven because gas =/= electric and I was worried that I was going to burn them because there’s literally a fire under them!

I ended up keeping them in the oven for the full 12 minutes, which burnt the very outside edges of them but kept the middles goopy (how I like them).

Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Then EAT

Nom Nom Nom

RESULT

Despite me saying that I’m NOT A BAKER (hello box baked goods! Or, even better, pre-packaged!) I’m very pleased with this effort.  They tasted really good warm out of the oven (I didn’t wait the 5 minutes for them to cool before taste-testing) and I went to a Pats game party (Which, by the way, I’m likely to have a coronary if they play the rest of their season the way they’ve played so far!) and brought the remaining ones and, even though there weren’t a lot of us there, the cookies were gone FAST (like my running on Saturday hahah).  Granted I think boys will eat anything, but it feels good to have all the cookies devoured AND to have people like them. I believe the exact quote was “These are TO-DIE for” hahahah.  And “Why on Earth did you only make half”.  Not going to lie: that feels AWESOME 🙂

Which is good because I still have a LOT of baking supplies leftover.  And, weirdly enough, cooking baking on Sunday made me feel strangely adult.  Even when I was up to my elbo wrists in dough and licking the bowl. Very odd indeed.

August 21, 2010

Guest Post: Mary and Christina’s Portabella Burgers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 11:07

Hey all! Currently I’m trying to work on some applications and stuff (I’m going to be a brat and keep the schools I’m applying hush-hush.  It’s awesome you guys are interested but it’s a bit too personal for me to share here!).  But it’s sooooo nice in New England that I’m really just sitting out on my deck pretending to work.  Hence the blogging 🙂

But I’m not going to try and bore you with my run from Friday.  It was, duh, the standard 8.2 that I’ve been doing all week.  And it was slooooooooooooooow.  I’m totally still using the whole “I’m getting used to a new routine so my running sucks” excuse.  For real.  One of the little children (like legit 5 or 6 year old because I do have an annoying tendency to call anyone younger than me a child.  Oops.) I passed though told his mom “Wow she’s running fast”.  It was a cute kid and he won over my heart.  Too bad he’s probably in kindergarten age. If only those shirtless boys would say something similar 😉

My weekend really started on Thursday.  YAY.  I think my work schedule will let me take 3 day weekends a lot so I’m happy about that.  Even so I’m getting to taste my first real weekend on my own and in a city.  Despite going to cities to party before I’ve never lived in one.  So this is exciting.  My roomies and I didn’t go crazy last night but it was fun to walk about and explore some nightlife being “real adults”.  Or maybe I’m just the only real adult as they’re still pursuing graduate studies haha. As much as I thought I’d miss being a student (and thus be jealous of them) I think I like my arrangement right now!

Today I let myself SLEEP IN.  Aka 0821.  For most of my peers that’s waking up early but I know you guys get it.  I slept like a rock too.  For the most part.  I woke up at 0441 (isn’t it weird how we remember that stuff?) because of a really terrible dream.  But the next few hours I think I had a good dream because I woke up with another smile.  Twice in one week?! Que suerte indeed.

I’m actually about to head out for my “long run” of the week.  It’ll likely only be 10 miles (maybe 10.8 depending on how I choose to run it) but it’ll be nice to actually run some of the routes I’ve been eyeing during my weekly runs.  I guess because it’s the weekend and NOT 0500 I feel safer running through less familiar paths.  Although sending some suerte my way that I don’t get lost would be nice.  There are so many side streets that I probably won’t end up following the route I have mapped out because I will get lost.  But it’s okay because, with so many side streets, everything will lead me back.  Well that’s the theory.

Hopefully I’ll be back safe and sound so that tomorrow I can put up a post about my exploratory run 😉

But because my word count is ridiculously low for me right now (heh) here’s another guest post from Mary and Christina from Sisters Running the Kitchen.  They did a guest post on some awesome pizza while I was away in TX earlier this month and sent me another recipe to try! They’re pretty awesome so check them out.  I don’t do enough cooking on my own to feel like I can post recipes I use (because my idea of cooking is opening a bag or can!) so I’m sooooo glad they have some great ones to share 🙂

Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far and is hopefully having some nice weather to boot!

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Mary’s boyfriend works at a Mushroom company called ToJo mushrooms out in Avondale, Pa. We both have been wanting to make Portabella burgers for quite some time now and Todd was SUPPOSED to bring them to us this weekend but Mary forgot to remind him and thus Todd forgot them! No big deal, though…we just went to the store and picked up some nice portabella caps ourselves!

We found this recipe from Rachael Ray. It received five stars and sounded delicious so we decided to give it a try for ourselves. This recipe lived up to everything we were hoping for. The portabellas really made such a wonderful and succulent juice and the roasted pepper paste and smoked mozzarella (smoked really makes a difference by the way) gave these burgers even more of a rich and delicious taste to them. We also bought good quality brioche buns from a local bakery, which we both agree made a HUGE difference. The only change we would make to this recipe for next time would be to slice the smoked mozzarella a little thinner to give the cheese a chance to melt more. And if you are a little nervous to eat a burger with a mushroom as its base or if you think you do not like mushrooms…have no fear…this recipe will not let you down!

Along with the roasted pepper paste and smoked mozzarella, we served these burgers with red onions and tomatoes. You can also try baby spinach leaves. We thought that caramelizing the onions would make this burger even better…we’ll have to give it a shot the next time we make these portabella burgers.

IMG_0242-1.jpg picture by mtponzio

Ingredients for the Portabella Burgers:

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns of the bottle in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup (3 splashes) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (preferred brand: McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning) or 1 teaspoon combined coarse salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound fresh smoked mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 large crusty rolls, split
  • roasted red pepper paste (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in the bottom of a large food storage bag.
  2. Add mushroom caps, seal bag and shake bag to coat caps, then let the mushrooms marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Grill mushrooms on indoor or outdoor grill, starting with caps down, turning to caps up, 6 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you may pan-fry the mushrooms in large nonstick skillet for same amount of time.
  4. Season caps while they cook on each side with grill seasoning or a little salt and pepper. Melt the smoked cheese over mushroom caps in the last minute of grill time.
  5. To serve, place the grilled mushroom caps topped with melted cheese on the bun bottoms. Top with spinach and onion. Spread bun tops with roasted pepper paste (recipe below).

Roasted Red Pepper Paste

Ingredients for the Roasted Pepper Paste

  • 1 (14-ounce) jar roasted peppers, drained
  • A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
  • A handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic, cracked away from skin
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the roasted red peppers, oil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor and pulse into thick sauce.

IMG_0203.jpg picture by mtponzio

We served the portobello burgers with Bobby Flay’s Grilled Lime and Cilantro Sweet Potatoes! This is by far our favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes…everything about this recipe is amazing…from the sweet flavor added from the lime, to the saltiness from the Kosher salt, to the fresh taste from the cilantro, to the thickness of the potatoes to the beautiful grill marks- this recipe is always a hit at the dinner table!

cimg1838-1.jpg picture by mtponzio

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes, unpeeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • canola oil- not much just enough to brush
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions Parcook the potatoes: Place in a pot of water and boil until fork-tender; let cool. Make sure you do not cook the potatoes too much because then they will fall apart when you slice & grill them. Slice each potato lengthwise into eighths. Preheat a grill to medium or place a cast-iron grill pan over medium heat. Mix ~ 1/2 tablespoon salt, the lime zest and cayenne in a small bowl. Brush the potato wedges with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on all sides (including the skin) and just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter; immediately season with the salt mixture and sprinkle with cilantro. **Helpful tip: keep the sweet potato slices on the thicker side…this way they wont break apart on the grill!

August 6, 2010

Guest Post: Mary and Christina’s Pizza

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:00

(First check out the giveaways from Shelby and Marcia)

Hello again from afar! As I’m writing this before I go I can’t really say 100% that I’m having fun but I’m going to anyway because I know I will be:  I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN. Vacation is something I need to do more often. Yay

Anyway I have another guest post for you.  From the lovely ladies at Sisters Running the Kitchen: Mary and Christina.  They’re such awesome cooks, chefs, runners, bloggers and just good people 🙂 So check them out.  And I’m so glad they agreed to do a post for me because, as the title of their blog suggests, they do a lot of cooking.  I keep saying I’m going to but I never do.  It’s very exciting that I get to feature them!

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Pizza night at our house is always a big hit. Instead of ordering pizza, our family likes to make our own. Ever since we can remember our parents have always enjoyed making pizza at home. More recently, we have made a few changes to the way we prepare our pizza and we are coming very close to perfecting it. When we make it at home, we make a variety of kinds to satisfy everyones taste buds. They typically include Plain, Veggie (Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms), Sausage, and Pepperoni. Our most recent experimentation included something a bit different this time. We created a pizza with Fig, Caramelized Onion, Ricotta and Gorgonzola with a Balsamic Reduction. This combination turned out so delicious. We found that the various layers of flavors complemented each other very well. This recipe will definitely be in the rotation for our next pizza night.

Ingredients

  • Red Onion, caramelized
  • Dried or Fresh Figs, sliced
  • Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Balsamic Reduction (directions below)
  • Pizza Dough

Directions

  • Prepare the pizza dough and shape and roll out to desired thickness.
  • Spread the Ricotta Cheese on the top of the dough.
  • Add the sliced Figs and Caramelized Onions. Click here for directions on how to caramelize onions.
  • Add a hefty drizzle of the Balsamic Reduction on top of the pizza.
  • Place pizza on preheated pizza stone on the highest temperature possible on grill or in oven.
  • About half way to three quarters of the way through cooking, add the crumbled gorgonzola cheese to top of pizza.
  • Cook until crust is browned on top and bottom of pizza.

**To make Balsamic Reduction, simply place about a 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a pot. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer on medium heat until liquid is significantly reduced and becoming thicker. Add a pinch of brown sugar. Liquid will thicken up after taken off heat and allowed to cool.

Prior to going on grill.

Do you make any unique pizza combinations or do you have any good ideas for pizza toppings?

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