Category Archives: Cooking

Trails and donuts

Saturday morning started as all Saturdays should, with a great trail run. I met up with my friends Lori and Sandee for 15 miles.

It was great to have the company, and the weather was gorgeous.

It’s amazing how fast the miles flew by with good conversation.

When I got home, Steve and I worked on some things around the house. Very exciting stuff like finishing flooring, painting moldings, etc, etc. I love it when I feel productive.

I also wanted to bake something for my mom. On Friday afternoon I received the following email from her:

Hi Laura,

I delivered your bananas and rakes, and raked up a bag of leaves. Since it’s supposed to rain, I cut your grass.



Yep, she is pretty much the best ever. I whipped up some coconut carrot cake donuts based on this recipe. Instead of the coconut milk, I used Coconut Cream Concentrate from Tropical Traditions, which worked great.

For the glaze, I mixed about a cup of powdered sugar, 1TB coconut cream concentrate, and 2TB almond coconut milk. So good.

This morning’s 18 miler with Team in Training brought me to 68 miles for the week, 44 of which were on trails. I will continue to ramp into this week, which will culminate in a 35 mile trail run on Saturday. Then it’s vacation time!


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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Food, Friends, The run

Spring has sprung

Happy Spring! Admittedly, I am not usually the biggest fan of springtime. It is windy, rainy, cold, and I just want it to be summer already. This year I will take spring all year long if it stays like this. We have had near record high temperatures for the last week in southeastern Wisconsin. It is March 20th and I wore shorts to work. Life is good.

I am amazed at how my energy levels correspond to the weather. In the winter when it is cold and dark, I get home from work and all I want to do is lay on the couch, watch TV, and eat ice cream. The thought of doing anything productive is pretty much out of the question, and I have trouble keeping my eyes open past 9pm. Oh wait…that part is still true.

When it is warm and sunny, I can’t help but go, go, go. Take this past weekend for example. I started off St. Patty’s Day with a 25 mile trail run at my favorite running spot, Lapham Peak. I broke the run into 4 sections to make it more manageable mentally, and it went great. I experimented with eating more than usual and it paid off. Throughout the run I had 4 gels and a chocolate coconut chew Larabar. Even with the nearly 2500 ft of elevation gain throughout the run, I never felt bonky. It was around 60F when I started and 78F when I finished.

After the run I immediately refueled with a green smoothie for St. Patty’s Day.

Then it was off to my aunt and uncle’s house for a family birthday party. I love when we have family parties on the same day as my long run, because I get to eat good food all day long. My aunt prepared a traditional Irish feast of corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and even a vegetarian shepherd’s pie for me! It was all capped off with a DQ ice cream cake. The best way to celebrate a birthday if you ask me.

Hi Collin!

I hit the hay around 11pm on Saturday, and then was up at 4:40 am on Sunday to coach my TNT group. I covered 12 more miles (half running and half walking), and then went to a cookout that one of the teammates was having.

When I got home Sunday afternoon, my mom came over and helped me clear out our garden beds for a couple of hours. I also did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and made a new tofu recipe for dinner. Who am I? I don’t even recognize this productive person. My point is this: my mood and energy level are very much affected by the weather. During the winter, I normally do my long run on the weekend and then need to take a nap and lay around for the rest of the day. I have exactly zero motivation to do much of anything. When the sun is shining, it is warm out, and it is light when I get home from work, I find myself getting stuff done like crazy.

To celebrate the first day of spring, I got a pedicure.

I wanted to apologize to the poor guy for the disgusting factor of my feet. Let’s just say with all of the running I’ve been doing it wasn’t pretty.

I also made myself a tropical smoothie bowl for breakfast this morning in honor of the warm weather.

The smoothie contained greek yogurt, coconut milk, a mango, a banana, chia seeds, maca powder, vanilla and cinnamon. I poured it into a bowl and topped it with Kashi GoLean cereal, tropical trail mix, and shredded coconut. It tasted like the Caribbean in a bowl. Yum!

How are you celebrating the first day of Spring?

Is your mood affected by the weather?


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Filed under Cooking, The run, weather

Five things Friday

Since I missed Three Things Thursday this week out of sheer laziness, I preset you with Five Things Friday. I hope the two things bonus will make up for my motivational failure. Without further ado:

1. I am racing an 8k tomorrow, and not looking forward to it for several reasons. I feel like I have completely lost all sense of speed in my legs over the past few weeks. Also, it is going to be cold, like really cold. And windy. Wind chills approaching -20. And it’s been snowing all day. Crap.

However, I am going to suck it up and not think about any of that, because tomorrow’s race will be about something much more important than myself and my incessant complaining about the weather. I will be dedicating the race to Sherry Arnold, a 43 year old wife, mother, and teacher from Montana who went out for a run on January 7th and never returned. There is a virtual run planned in her honor, and more information can be found here. Consider printing out your own bib and dedicating your workout tomorrow to Sherry. It doesn’t have to be running, it can be anything. Just move your body and think of Sherry. Simple.

2. I managed to try several new recipes this week worth mentioning:

Easy Nutella Brownie Cups – I brought these to my running group’s “holiday party” and they were devoured. Only three ingredients. Make them.

Quinoa Burgers – One of the best “burgers” I have made at home!

Curried Greek Yogurt Egg Salad – I have been craving hard-boiled eggs. Craving = satisfied.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread – Yes, just yes. I found a wonderful use for my pb cups. Check out this pb to chocolate ratio:

I don’t know if I can ever buy Reese’s again.

The last one is not so much a recipe as an amazing snack combo that I have enjoyed every day this week:

3. As I mentioned, my Tuesday night running group had a “holiday” party this week. There was so much delicious food it was ridiculous. Pretty sure I ate at least eight homemade cookies, along with chips, guacamole, salad, bread and beer. Wednesday night I ran with the local trail running group. I brought the aforementioned Peanut Butter Banana bread to share after the run. This was the treat table:

You may notice my bread at the bottom right. The huge container in the back contains an entire tier of red velvet wedding cake. There were also about seven different varieties of cookies, macaroons, and baked goods. But don’t worry, there were some grapes to balance everything out. I don’t understand why I never lose any weight from running so much. Weird.

 4. I think I am going to stop at Target today for a couple of items. Necessities like paper towels, Chobani, shampoo, and perhaps a little Kleenex or TP. Does this happen to anyone else at Target?

How do they do that??

5. To the person that found my blog by Googling “ate too many pretzel m and m’s,” welcome. I feel your pain.

Tell me something totally random. And…go.


Filed under Baking, Cooking, Dessert, Food, Miscellany, The run, weather

How did those get in my cart?

I had plenty of energy after fueling up on French Toast Sunday morning to tackle a huge shopping trip to Costco. I got all of my staples, including massive amounts of produce, salsa, eggs, cheese, etc. When I went to check out, imagine my surprise to find that a 3.75 lb bag of peanut butter cups had somehow accidentally fallen into my cart.

Not sure how that happened. So weird.

Oh well. Guess I will have to find a use for 150 nuggets of deliciousness now.

I used them as a comfy pillow last night, don’t judge.

Since I did my Saturday long run on the roads, I knew I needed to hit up the trails on Sunday. I waited until the afternoon when it was 40 and sunny, and headed out to the Ice Age Trail, the same trail that Steve and I ran on a few weeks ago. I made some sweet custom shoes to deal with the ice that I knew would be covering much of the trail.

Old trail shoes + sheet metal screws = cheap ice shoes!

I was so glad I did this, I don’t think I would have made it on the trail today without them. It was a mix of snow, mud, mud soup, and sheer ice. I took it slow and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. Afterwards I was caked in mud.

Pretty sure I still have some stuck underneath my toenails. That rounded out a great week of running: 52 miles total, with 14 on the trails.

The remainder of my Sunday was spent in serious food prep mode. I made a huge batch of granola, roasted 3 full trays of veggies, cooked a big pot of quinoa, and baked up some brownie bites for a little treat. I love having all of this stuff on hand during the week, it makes throwing together dinner so much easier.

Around 6pm I realized I was missing the Super Bowl commercials. When I asked Steve to turn it on, he informed me that we do not even get regular TV because we are not hooked up to an antenna. Oh. Bummer. So we spent the night watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Have you seen that show? We discovered it just recently and I am in love. It is very similar to The Office, and Amy Poehler just cracks me up.

Do you usually prep food on the weekends?

Important – tell me how to use up my peanut butter cups. (Besides the obvious straight-to-belly method) Thanks!


Filed under Cooking, Dessert, Food, The run

Perfect day for a trail run

I can’t get over the fact that today is January 8th, it was 40 degrees and sunny, and we have had next to no snow so far this year. I love it. With the beautiful weather, I asked Steve last night if he wanted to go trail running today. He was game. We were going to go in the morning, but it looked quite frosty and slick, so we decided to wait until the afternoon to give the sun a chance to warm everything up.

First things first, I fueled up with some delicious buckwheat pumpkin pancakes. I used this recipe, subbing coconut milk with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for the buttermilk. I also added some chocolate chips, because no pancake is complete without them.

I topped my cakes with the usual suspects. Peanut butter, banana, blackberries and maple syrup. These were not only tasty, but incredibly filling because of the buckwheat. Did you know that buckwheat is not actually a grain? It is in fact a fruit seed related to rhubarb. The protein in buckwheat contains the eight essential amino acids, and it is high in fiber and contains a rich supply of flavonoids. Buckwheat has also been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. Healthy, delicious, and satisfying!

Ok, back to running.

We set out from Lapham Peak on the Ice Age Trail, planning on a 7 mile out and back run. About one mile in, we reached the Lapham Peak Tower and decided to climb to the top.

It’s quite the view from up there.

Then I saw the cutest thing that made my heart melt.

Say it with me….. “Awwwwwwwwwww.”

After taking in the view for a minute, we continued on our way. The trail conditions were not ideal. It was pretty much either super-muddy or icy the whole way. Despite the conditions, there were a lot of people out on the trail enjoying the day.

We reached the turnaround and headed back after snapping a quick pic.

We finished up just over 7 miles in 1:17, and I only fell once.

This capped off another great week of running for me, with over 50 miles in the bank. Here’s how it went down:

Monday – Treadmill intervals, 8×800 – 10 miles total

Tuesday – 6.7 mile group run, easy

Wednesday – 7 mile group night-time trail run on the same trail I ran today

Thursday – 6 mile group run, easy

Friday – rest day

Saturday – 15 miles, 8:10 average pace

Sunday – 7 mile trail run

Total – 51.71 miles

I just realized that only 2 out of 6 runs this week were by myself, the intervals on Monday and my long run on Saturday. I am loving running with other people, especially in the winter. It makes the time go by fast and is just plain fun.

Do you prefer to run/work out alone or with a group?

I would usually say alone, but with the right company group training is a blast.


Filed under Cooking, Food, The run

Cake Mix Cookies

This morning I made the easiest cookies ever to bring to a Packer Party today (GO PACK!!)

Take one box of cake mix (I used Devil’s Food)

Mix in two eggs and 1/3 cup oil

Add mix in’s (I threw in a handful each of walnuts, craisins, white chocolate & dark chocolate chips)

Side note: I got this bag of the best chocolate chips on the planet at Costco for $9.99. The banana is there for size comparison.

Three and a half pounds of heaven in a bag right there.

Ok, back to the cookies. Mix everything together (I had to use my hands).

Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

Go for a twelve mile run while the cookies are cooling, fantasizing the whole time about devouring several upon your return. (Optional)

Try not to eat too many so you have some left to bring to your party (also optional).

I sampled one just to see if it was good. It was. I sampled one more just to be sure. I am sure. Go make them.

Our first Christmas tree in the new house is all decorated. It’s getting mighty festive around here. If only all of the presents were already wrapped and under the tree, I would be all set.

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Filed under Baking, House, The run

Settling in


{emerges from piles of moving boxes, paint rollers, flooring, miscellaneous tools, and general chaos}

Good news! I am in fact alive and Steve and I are all moved in to the new house. We are slowly getting settled, and it feels good to be done with the major deconstruction phase and on to the organizing stage. There is still lots of work to be done, but the really messy stuff is over. Thank goodness. I am excited to start showing you what we all did, complete with before, during and after pics.

Through all of the chaos, running has been my constant, as usual. I have been consistently logging 35-45 miles per week. I have also been figuring out new running routes and exploring the neighborhoods. Nothing will ever be able to replace running at the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee every day, but we do live close to a nice rec trail now that will be good for long runs. We are also much closer to my favorite trail running spot, which I am really excited about. I ran there a few weeks ago with my friend Cara and ended up biting it big time in the mud.


I was pretty much caked from head to toe.

But it was still a blast!

And since it is the holiday season, I will leave you with the only thing I have baked so far: Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon M&M’s.

I followed this recipe exactly for the cookies, then pressed the Cinnamon M&M’s in before baking. They were deliciously chocolaty and spicy!

Question: What is your favorite holiday cookie? Bonus points if you link to the recipe!

There are so many good ones, but I think my favorite of all time have to be the Chocolate Wheeties cookies that my mom makes. Maybe I can get her to share the recipe she uses. Hint hint mom!


Filed under Baking, House, The run