Friday, January 24, 2014

Foodie Friday – Oreo Cupcakes

I know that after Brandi finished her second marathon that I wanted to do something special for her – one of those included baking some cupcakes!  I wanted to make them a surprise for her so after asking a few questions about her likes and dislikes, I settled on Oreo cupcakes from Annie Eats.  I also knew I wanted to decorate them a little differently (you’ll see the final product at the end of the post…unless you can’t wait and scroll down now)

Yield 24 cupcakes


24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo cookie halves


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (with my oven I usually have to preheat to 325 to prevent overcooking).  Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 liners.  Place an Oreo half in the bottom of each liner, cream side up (I used Mini Oreos for this particular recipe and did not do this part)FF12.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.


3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat until just combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to overmix.FF34.  Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
5.  To make the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium high speed until smooth, about one minute.  Blend vanilla extract into mix.  Beat in the confectioner’s sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl. 

Frost the cupcakes as desired.  Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.

So I mentioned that I wanted to decorate them in a special way for Brandi.  Knowing that the Disney character associated with the full marathon was Mickey, I knew what I wanted to do -FF6Can you see the “Mickey”?  They more Mickey inspired but hey, I thought they were cute!  I used Mini Oreos for the ears instead of the larger Oreos.  My sources say they tasted pretty good! (I very rarely eat one of my own cupcakes…weird, I know)

I hope everyone has a good weekend!  I have a 4-H meeting to go to Saturday and Sunday I’m going to brave the cold and get a 6 mile run in…less than a month until my next half marathon!

Until next time,

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Volunteering and Spectating At My First Race!

Back in October, I found out about a half marathon that would run right past my neighborhood and knew that I wanted to go out and support the runners.  But then I thought to take it one step further and volunteer.  I contacted the race director and helped out with packet pick up at Big Peach Running.

Ramona had a few friends who were also running the race, so she and her boyfriend decided to join me in spectating.  I decided to make us a couple of signs to hold up as they ran by -

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Saturday morning I got up pretty early and headed out to set our chairs up.  The half marathon was starting first, followed by the 5k.  We saw lots of great costumes!

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While we waited for the half marathons to pass us again on their way to the finish line, we chatted and goofed off. 

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I loved the first couple of half marathoners costumes – a guy from Reno 911 and none other than Forrest Gump -

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We had some Skittles and Twizzlers for any runner that wanted them for an extra little sugar rush.  Once we saw the last runner pass, we jumped in my car and headed down to the finish line.

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I had a great time volunteering and spectating and am looking forward to doing it again.  Next year, I’m hoping to get more people in my neighborhood involved to give the runners more support.

Have you volunteered and/or spectated a race before?  Which do you prefer?

Until next time,

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Allstate 13.1 Atlanta recap

Now it’s time to do some catching up on race recaps!

The Allstate 13.1 was my last half marathon of 2013, and I had my eyes set on a PR.  Ramona, Jill, and myself all shared a hotel room near the start/finish line for easy access to and from the race…it was nice to sleep in a bit on race morning and be able to take a shower after it was over!

allstate 1 Flat Jen is ready to run!

We headed to the race and got lucky with a parking place right near the finish!  We met up with Brandi and her parents and did some pre-race stretching and hanging out. Soon it was time to head to the starting line.

allstate 3Brandi was shooting for a PR this race so we didn’t run together.  I started out and felt pretty good.  At the beginning of the race we wound through a few super nice neighborhoods in Brookhaven.  We passed a DJ who was keeping our spirits up.

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Some of the houses we ran by were absolutely gorgeous.  It was nice to see the residents standing outside with their morning cup of coffee to cheer us on.

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Soon I came up to mile 3 and still feeling pretty decent -allstate 6

We circled back up to the main street where there were quite a few spectators.  This race was during the government shutdown and this was one of my favorite signs -

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I also saw this sign.  I knew it wasn’t for me, but since it IS my name I liked to think I was included :P

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I continued along and finally hit mile 6…i was halfway done!

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I plugged along through more neighborhoods, and at around mile 8 a Boy Scout troop was manning a water station.  They were giving out candy along with water which was a welcome treat!

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It was here that I refilled my water bottle and went to take one of my Huma Gels.  It didn’t quite rip off enough at the top, and the hole was about as big as a pin top.  I guess I squeezed too hard and the Huma Gel busted out the bottom all over the top of my shirt.  It definitely made me laugh and I just hoped that no one would think I threw up on myself!

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Shortly after I hit mile 10…just a 5k to go! -

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At this point we were on a trail, which was nice and shaded.   We ended up in an apartment complex that was partially under construction, and this is the point where i started to hit my wall.  I walked a majority through the complex.  I was just ready to be done!

Finally, I made it back onto the main road and knew the finish line wasn’t too far.  I walked a bit to save some energy so I could run across the finish line.  I saw Ramona, her boyfriend and her friend, Kat, cheering, and I saw that I was going to PR!  I kicked it up, passed at least one person and crossed the finish line.

My official time was 3:10:53!  An 8 minute PR!

allstate 19I met up with Brandi and her parents at the finish line, and Ramona joined us.  Since Brandi and I had each completed the Publix half marathon in March, we were eligible to receive a 2nd medal, so we went to pick up our additional medal and shirt.

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After the race, Ramona and I headed back to the hotel to shower and pack up to meet the rest of the group for brunch at the Hudson Grill.  I had some loaded tator tots…so good!

Would I do this race again?  Still debating on it.  The race has new sponsorship this year (Michelob) but seems to be in the same place and hopefully the same route.  I’ll think about it and decide when I go to the Publix half marathon expo in March…maybe I’ll sign up there.

Until next time,

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekly Workouts : Jan 12-19

Today I signed up for my first half marathon of 2014 – the 26.2 with Donna in Jacksonville, FL with a few of my favorite runDisney friends!  i’ve known I was doing this half for awhile but just signed up for it today :)

Sunday, January 12
My BRF Brandi ran the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon last Sunday!  I wish I could have been there to cheer her on, but I was here for her every step on the way.  I knew I had to get a run in, so I decided to run her last 3 miles with her virtually. :)

Monday, January 13
I was going to go to the gym after having dinner with a friend, but dinner didn’t agree with me and I was in bed by 9 that night.

Tuesday, January 14
Today I went out for a quick one mile run (forgot to take a picture once I was done)

Wednesday, January 15
After work I came home, spent some time with Guinness, and headed to the gym.  I did about 20 minutes of upper body weights and then 5 miles on the stationary bike.  I think I was the only one on the bike for a workout.  As I looked down the line of bikes, all I saw were people leisurely peddling and playing on their cell phones.  To each their own!

Thursday, January 16
Knocked out a 2 mile run, then took Guinness for a mile long walk.

Friday, January 17
Rest Day

Saturday, January 18
No run but walked around an outlet mall with the hubby for awhile

Sunday, January 19
Last Monday, a fellow running in Virginia was tragically killed by a drunk driver during her morning run.  She was a wife, mother, and runner.  She was training for the Boston marathon.  Saturday was the official day to run for Meg, but I did mine today.  I was proud of this run, keeping my average pace under 13 minutes.  Unfortunately I didn’t fuel my body properly and had a rough recovery after I was done. 

Total for the week – 11 miles run, 5 miles bike

I’m off of work today for MLK day – starting the day off at the gym with a leg workout and then off to lunch and a day of shopping with my friend Katie!

How did you do for your weekly workout?  What’s your favorite form of cardio aside from running?

Until next time,

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Foodie Friday is BACK!

I hate how quiet I’ve let my blog become, so I’m determined to wake it up in 2014, and what better way to start if off with a Foodie Friday!

We were invited to a New Year’s eve party, and I didn’t know what to take.  Hubby suggested cupcakes, so I went to my Big Book of Cupcakes by Betty Crocker to see if I could find a fun and festive cupcake to take.

Behold – the Pink Champagne Cupcake!
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening or butter (I used unsalted butter)
1 2/3 cups sugar
5 egg whites
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup pink champagne
4-5 drops red food color

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. For my oven, I heated to 325 degrees.  Place paper baking cups in each of the muffin tins.

2.  In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

FF1 3.  In a large bowl, beat shortening/butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
FF2Gradually add the sugar 1/3 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally.  Beat 2 minutes longer.  Add egg whites, one at a time (I separate the whites one at a time into a small ramekin and save the yolks to cook for Guinness)
FF3Beat in vanilla.  On low speed, alternately add flour mixture (about 1/3 cup at a time) and champagne, and 1/2 at a time, beating just until blended.  Add 4-5 drops of red food coloring to make the cupcakes pink.
FF4Since you’re using this champagne to cook with, buy a relatively inexpensive one.  I bought this yellow tail pink champagne for $8.99 at Publix…and I must say, I’m loving the new “corks”!  You simply twist it and it pops, and it’s resealable so you don’t have to worry about drinking it all in one sitting.
FF64.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.

5.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 5 minutes.

FF5I made mini cupcakes this time, so if that’s the way you decide to go, you will need to alter your cooking time.  The recipes says 12-16 minutes, but I found that 11 minutes were perfect for mine.  Not all ovens are created equal, so find what works best for you!  And make sure you fill up the liners with enough batter or else your cupcake liners will peel away from the cake.

To make the frosting -

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (I used unsalted butter)
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup champagne
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 6 drops of red food color

Beat butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Slowly add champagne and red food color.

You can use your preferred method to frost them.  I’m all about presentation so I love piping the frosting onto the cupcakes.  For these, I added some edible pearls and silver sugar sprinkles.

FF9 I hope everyone had a safe and Happy New Year, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

Until next time,

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

My 2013 In Review

Wow…I can’t believe this year has come to an end!  It brought many ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

When I started this year out, I had 2 running friends in real life….now that the year is over I can’t even count them all on my fingers and toes!  I have met some amazing people through social media and have had the privilege to meet many of them in real life.  I’m hoping to meet even more of you in 2014!  Check out my video to see how my 2013 turned out :)  (P.S I was so diligent in putting the pics to music so make sure you’re volume is up!)

Here’s to an even better 2014…hope to see you around!

Until next time,

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