Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birthday Brownies

Zach's birthday was on Thursday. His new work schedule has him working late, so he doesn't get home until well after midnight and is asleep when I leave for work, so while I didn't "see" him on his actual birthday I knew I wanted to stay up and do something special for him that night.

He has a soft spot in his heart for all things peanut butter and chocolate. Especially peanut butter brownies. So I spent a good part of my day finding the perfect recipe.

I've never made brownies from scratch before, so I had no idea what to expect. I stumbled across this recipe from Ina Garten. While I find her personality to be really annoying, she does tend to make really good food, so I checked it out.. All 60 some-odd reviews were really good, so I printed the recipe and headed to the grocery store.

It was there that I really took a good look at what all went into these bad boys. If you can't really visualize what 1 pound 12 oz of chocolate and 1 pound of butter looks like, here's a visual:
Holy fat grams! This is by far, the most unhealthy thing I'd ever made!!! I knew right then that I wouldn't be making these but only for special occasions! So away I went!

Peanut Swirl Browni
from Ina Garten - Food Network
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules (I cut this down to 2, but could have even gone less than that, the flavor was strong)
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds to be smooth enough to swirl)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the prepared sheet pan. Spoon the peanut butter over the top of the chocolate mixture and using a knife, swirl it through the chocolate mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into large squares.

I have to say these are the most dense and rich brownies I have ever had. I think that next time I'll nix the peanut butter swirl and substitute peanut butter chips for the 12 oz chocolate chips. The extra chocolate is definitely good, but super, super rich. Zach, of course, loved them!

They made an absolute ton. My guess is that the finished pan weighed at least seven pounds! I cut up all the brownies the next day and wrapped them individually. Froze half, gave some to my parents and the rest are sitting in my fridge, begging for a tall glass of milk!


Happy Birthday, Zach!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Triathlon on the Brain

I'm having a hard time deciding what I want to do as far as races/working out this summer. I really can't decide what to do. Originally my plan was to run the Trolley Run 4 miles, Hospital Hill 10K and then the KC Marathon Half.

Well... I don't know that I like running THAT much. I honestly only run because it's the only way I can keep my weight down. I also really love how I feel after I run and the 'race day' experience. But, I generally hate every second that I'm actually 'running'. I know. It's weird.

Well, recently doing a triathlon has popped into my mind. I have no idea where it came from, but I'm guessing boredom. The thought of simply running all spring and summer seems a bit monotonous. Adding in some swimming and biking would spice things up! Plus, as a kid/teen I loved to swim and bike, so it make sense I suppose.


Swimming: I haven't swam (swum?) athletically since...ohhhh... ummm.... I don't even remember. High school perhaps? Maybe? I also do not own an proper swimsuit for a triathlon or training for a triathlon. I can go get one though, so that's not a huge deal. (It's putting it on that is the bigger issue....) I also have a lap pool at the gym, so training wouldn't be a problem either. What would be a problem is the actual swim during the race. I don't do lakes. Period. When I mentioned this to Zach the first thing he reminded me was that I would have to swim. In. A. Lake. EWWWWW! I almost gave up the thought right there. But, I figure with all those people flailing around the snakes and fish will likely stay away....right??? Then there's the swimming with the people thing. I'm not exactly a fan of getting kicked in the face. I'm even less a fan of being kicked in my 'bad leg' (I have some issues with my right shin, there's a hurts, yada yada.. it's a story for another day). I'm not sure what would happen if I were to get nailed in the middle of the race.... So yeah, I'm nervous about the swim.

Biking: Um, well, I don't have a bike. I've done a tiny bit of research and bikes are really, really expensive. I also really have no desire to buy a racing bike (I don't even know what they are technically called...) I asked a friend that did a sprint triathlon last summer and she said a lot of people had mountian bikes, so I thought about getting one of those. I can't really forsee myself doing anything more than a 'sprint' triathlon, so I really can't justify buying a fancy bike. I'd get much more mileage (heh!) out of a mountian bike. I don't want to look stupid though. They are pretty heavy, I'm not sure how much that would impact the 11.75 mile ride... I'm also not sure about the distance. At first it didn't sound so far. Then I google mapped the distance from my house to my parents house and that's only 9 miles and it seems REALLY far away.

Running: I'm not too worried about this part. It's only 3 miles. The only part that worries me about the run is that it's the last thing. I'm not sure how tired I'm going to be.

Despite all of this, I've started lightly training. I'm still working on the running because I fully plan to do all the races I listed, but I'm adding in some biking. I really enjoy that part (albeit on the bike at the gym). It's just the swimming that I have left. I just can't bring myself to get in that pool yet. Which brings me to why I think I want to do this thing...

Weight. I got married and gained some lbs. Everyone told me that once you get married, you gain weight. I tried not to believe them, but it happend. Right after my wedding I actually lost some weight, but then we moved out to the boonies, got a dog and life quickly got in the way of my 2 hour gym marathons. I just feel like if I have something "big" to train for, I'll be more focused and finally shed those 10 pounds that haunt me. I need to do it for me. I need to prove it to myself.

I think I'm gonna do it.

Weekly Fitness Log - Week 7, 2009

Monday, February 16
Elliptical: 30 min hill climbs
Weights: 20 min

Tuesday, February 17

Wednesday, February 18
Run: 1.0, .50, .25 + walking
Bike: 20 min

Thursday, February 19

Friday, February 20
Walk Missy: 1 mile
Run: 3 miles straight through! + walking

Saturday, February 21
Off :(

Sunday, February 22
Run: 1.0 mile + walking
Stair Climber: 10 minutes (that thing was invented by the devil!)
Weights: 15 min

Weight Loss/Overall Notes
I'm still having a standoff with my scale. Not getting on it! However a few pairs of pants felt a little bit looser this weekend, so I'm taking that as a good sign. I'm a little upset that my 3 mile run was sort-of difficult, but at least I did it. I WILL do 4 miles straight by the weekend. Big things are hopefully yet to come!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fitness Log - Week 6, 2009

Monday, February 9

Tuesday, February 10
Run: Outside - 2.0 mi + cool down
Walk Missy: 1.5 mi

Wednesday, February 11

Thursday, February 12
Elliptical: 30 min (hill climbs)
Bike: 10 min

Friday, February 13
Recover from mild concussion (I hit my head on the corner of my car door after the gym Thursday. There was a lot of blood and a massive headache... it's only just now starting to feel better...rough times)

Saturday, February 14
Treadmill: Run 2.0 mi straight through + cool down. Walk 1.0 mi at a steep incline
Walk Missy: 1.5 mi

Sunday, February 15
Treadmill: Run 2.0 straight through + cool down.
Bike: 20 min

Weight Loss/Overall Notes:
I didn't weigh myself this week. I'm at an impasse and until I can FEEL myself getting thinner, I'm staying off the scale. I'm very, very frustrated. I simply like sweets WAY too much. I need to make a better effort to lay off. I think once my Valentine's Day treats are gone, I'm going to go on a baking hiatus. It's going to be tough, but if I don't have stuff in the house, I can't eat it! *sigh*
But on the work out front- things are good. My runs are getting much easier and now that I've made it past the 2.0 miles straight through, things will get much better. For some reason getting to that two miles kills me, but once I've done it, it's easier. So I hope to hit 3 miles a few times this week and maybe go for 4 on Sunday, but that might be a bit ambitious. We shall see!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

It's been a good day so far. Went for a nice run at the gym. Got home and took Missy for a walk with Zach and then gave myself a pedicure! Tonight we are going to our most favorite Italian place, Accurso's and then Zach is actually going to take me to see "He's Just Not That Into You"! He's the bestest!

Here are some Valentine's Day sugar cookies that I made earlier in the week. It's a "secret family recipe" so I can't share that, but I thought they turned out too cute not to show off.

Happy Heart Day!

All together now.... AWWWH!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Super Easy Breakfast Sandwiches!

I've been making these since I've lived on my own. They are super easy, the ingredients are super cheap and they are totally delicious!

I even wooed my husband with these bad boys! Whenever he'd come visit back when we were dating, I'd fix these up for breakfast one of the mornings he was here. He loved them!

There's really nothing to it so I don't have a recipe per-say. Here's what I do:

Easy Breakfast Sandwiches
English Muffin
Egg Beaters or Eggs (1-2 per person)
Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits
Cheddar Cheese (I use 2%)
Spray Butter or regular

Toast english muffin.
Cook eggs scrambled style. I add some salt and pepper.
Right as the eggs start to set up, I throw in about 1 tbs of the bacon bits.
Once they are cooked, spray the english muffin with butter.
Gather eggs in the pan in a pile or circle about the size of the english muffin - sprinkle with cheese and let it melt a bit.
Slide eggs and cheese out of the pan onto the english muffin. Press down.

Those were probably the most complicated directions for the most simple of dishes. Really - just look at the picture. You can do it ;)

And just because it's been a while... here's my favorite lady.Did someone say "Walk"?!

Fitness Log - Week 5 2009

Monday, February 2

Tuesday, February 3
Treadmill: walk .25, run 1.0, walk .25, run .50, walk .10, run .50, walk .40 (Ok, I'm getting sick of this. I will from here on out only put what I run. You can assume I'm walking .25 inbetween...)
Bike: 15 min

Wednesday, February 4
Treadmill: Run 1.5 + walking
Bike: 15 min

Thursday, February 5
Walk Missy: 25 min (I found out the mileage on our walk is 1.5 miles, not too bad!)
Weights: various, 20 min
Zumba: 45 min (I'm making this an every other week thing starting now, it's just not 'hard' enough)

Friday, February 6
Walk Missy - 20 min

Saturday, February 7
Bike: 60 min spin class

Sunday, February 8
Treadmill: Run 1.0 + Walking
Elliptical: 17 min
Was not feeling well

Weight Loss/Overall Notes
Very proud of myself for only taking 2 days off! Walking Missy doesn't count as "working out" but I include it because it's "something". Upset about not losing any weight. It's looking like I'm not going to meet my 10 lb weight loss goal for February. Maybe it wasn't realistic? I don't know. I'm frustrated. I'm going to focus more on diet next week.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fitness Log - Week 4, 2009

Monday, January 26

Tuesday, January 27
Off - dang it

Wednesday, January 28
Elliptical: 20 minutes - Hill climb, high resistance
Run: .25 walk, 1.0 Run, .25 Walk, .50 Run, .25 Walk, .50 Run, .25 Walk

Thursday, January 29
Walk Missy - 25 minutes (we walked really fast)
Bike - 15 min (2.3 miles)
Zumba - 45 min

Friday, January 30

Saturday, January 31
Run: .25 walk, 1.0 Run, .25 Walk
SET: 60 Minutes (weights and cardio)

Sunday, February 1
Run: .25 walk, 1.0 Run, .25 Walk, .50 Run, .25 Walk, .50 Sprint, .25 Walk
Bike: 15 min (5 miles)

Weight Loss/Overall Notes
I lost the two pounds I gained last week. I also can notice that my clothes fit better. When I lose weight I tend to lose it inwards from my head and toes, meaning that my center is the last part to lose and I can tell that is happening right now. I just have to keep the momentum and hopefully the rest will follow suit. I also need to stop taking that extra day off at the gym!

About Me

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Greenwood, Missouri, United States