bake.sweat.create.

Adventures in the kitchen, in fitness and with glitter!


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Bake: Doubletree Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s a reason I have not yet published my 2015 resolutions, I am still working to find my rhythm in this new year. But that said, I did find myself back in the kitchen this evening, baking! I was intent to make some comfort treats for a friend of ours and set out to Pinterest for some inspiration this afternoon. The Doubletree Hotel Copycat Cookies immediately stood out. I subbed in gluten-free flour and omitted the nuts for allergy reasons, but also used the mini chocolate chips recommended in the notes. Perfect result!

My frozen cookie balls ready to be popped in the oven!

My frozen cookie balls ready to be popped in the oven!

The treat in this recipe is also the oats, which I blended in the food processor. It gives the cookie some consistency but leaves it still light and sweet. A quick two hours in the freezer, 14 minutes in the oven, and these are ready to be plated and delivered in the morning!

Fresh out of the oven, and delicious - I tested them myself.

Fresh out of the oven, and delicious – I tested them myself! 

Happy cooking all, have a great week!


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Big Things in 2015!

What a holiday season it was for me! I spent over a week at home in MT for Christmas. There was a total of ten people staying at my parents’ home and it was a fun, full house. We ate, drank and celebrated, but more on that later.

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

We enjoyed our traditional fondue dinner on Christmas Eve and I found an awesome fondue recipe that wasn’t too “swiss-y”, my family isn’t a huge fan of the overly strong cheese. Well Plated had a delicious recipe!

Winter delivered with a beautiful white Christmas and we spent much of the day in our PJs, opening presents, of course eating and drinking mimosas!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

The best part of the week was spending quality time with my family, siblings and their significant others and it was very special to celebrate with my future in-laws. That’s right – the BF is now my fiancé! Christmas Eve will forever be my favorite day of the year (until my wedding I suppose). We are ecstatic and so excited to start this wonderful new part of our relationship. Having our families there was so special and made for quite a memorable week!

We rounded out our holiday season celebrating with close friends at a lake house we rented at a near by lake back in Virginia. A two-night stay celebrating the new year and our new engagement was a perfect close to 2015!

Closing out 2014!

Closing out 2014!

I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings! Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season! Best wishes in 2015, I’m back in action now with lots of DIY projects on the horizon!

MtChristmas_InstaCollage

The most memorable Christmas celebration yet!


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BLT+Pancakes

Yep, you read that right, it’s a pancake BLT. I pinned this Rachel Ray recipe about a month ago and was just waiting for a nice lazy Sunday to test it out. Last weekend revealed itself to be the perfect opportunity to create this epic sandwich. We didn’t even need to go to the store before hand, everything we needed was on hand. Full disclosure, we did substitute the described waffles for pancakes due to the lack of a waffle maker. But, it did not detract from the deliciousness! Here goes:

First, the batter – whole wheat flour, heaps of herbs and a handful of delicious sharp cheddar. This alone would be savory and delicious!

Starts with a simple pancake/waffle batter.

Starts with a simple pancake/waffle batter.

Second, we grilled them on our stove top cast iron griddle.

A strong test of will not to just eat these off the griddle.

A strong test of will not to just eat these off the griddle.

Third, we pulled together the inside ingredients of the sandwich. We had some Farmer’s Market cherry tomatoes to use up, decided on spinach over traditional lettuce and the BF cooked up some bacon in the oven. We mixed up some fresh maple syrup and dijon mustard on the side as well.

The inside of this epic sandwich.

The inside of this legendary sandwich.

Once the bacon was fully cooked we were ready to assemble our creation. We spread the syrup/mustard mixture on the bottom pancake, piled on bacon, tomatoes and spinach, added more of the syrup mixture to the inside of the second pancake and stacked it on top.

My masterpiece!

My masterpiece!

It was every bit as good as expected! Admittedly, I am not a huge bacon eater, so I only had half a slice of bacon on mine, just to experience the combination of all flavors. The side of the sandwich without bacon was still really yummy, but bacon does add another level of great taste. These sandwiches were heavenly and the perfect Sunday morning treat. Just wanted to give you all another reason to look forward to the weekend! Happy Hump Day!


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It’s December!

It’s December and that means a free for all in the cinnamon-cloves-cranberry department! Oh, and the holidays too! My favorite smells/flavors are warm cinnamon/cloves and cranberries. I count down the days in late fall every year, until a time that is appropriate to put on a pot of my favorite stove-top potpourri. Usually a good freeze or snow fall is the turning point. It is my absolute favorite and love to keep it simmering all day on my stove, while lounging indoors on a cold winter day. It came a little later this year with all the traveling and activities we have been doing, but it was worth the wait! All it takes in an orange, a handful of cranberries, a few cinnamon sticks, a sprinkle of whole cloves and a dash of nutmeg in a small pot. Fill the pot with water to just cover your ingredients and make sure the water doesn’t boil off completely, or else it will scorch your pot (experienced that!).

So easy to throw together!

So easy to throw together!

We had an awesome, casual weekend, part of which included friends coming over to watch the U.Va. men’s basketball game. I could’t resist making some mulled wine in the crockpot. I had a nostalgic bottle of red wine from my hometown, MisSOULa Red and was encouraged to make a spiced wine with it. I had a great recipe for a quick and easy Cranberry Orange Mulled Wine in the crockpot, made with cranberries, cinnamon sticks and brandy, which I happily poured from a bottle purchased for a summer sangria.

Seeing a similarity in my holiday ingredients...

Seeing a similarity in my holiday ingredients…

It was a hit! We had to throw in an extra bottle of red and crank up the crockpot again to simmer a second batch! My house smelled amazing all weekend! I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season, more sharing and festive recipes to come!


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Race Recap!

Well I suppose it’s time to check in after my big race in Richmond. It has been nearly two weeks and I my blogging seems to have gone into hibernation like my running has post-race.

I finished! I loved finishing the last .4 miles on a downhill. I loved being done. All in all it was not my best race, but I am proud to have committed to a race so soon after I moved half-way across the country and put myself through a rigorous training plan. I am going to take a few months off from training for a specific race and try to get back to enjoying my morning run, concentrating on scenery and not training plans. My first run post-race I took a spill (bloody palms and elbow) which only cemented this decision for me. I did get a boss medal for finishing!

Sweet fall motif.

Sweet fall motif.

I will race again and so have been replaying it in my head, the training, the race itself and my preparation and have come to a few realizations. First, my mid-week, mid-distance runs need to be faster. During my training for the 2013 IMG NYC Marathon I was training with someone who challenged me on each and every run. We ran at or around an 8-minute mile pace. At first I could only go 4 miles, but as the weeks went by I extended that distance to nearly 8 miles in the meat of my training. These days I am not reaching that pace. Granted Charlottesville’s elevation and elevation-change by run is much different, but I need to challenge myself more on my weekly runs. The weekly interval training was awesome for my base though – highly recommended. Two, I need to take care of my body. I had been feeling rundown in the last several weeks. I passed it off for hard training. Instead, I had blood drawn last week I found out I had dangerously low iron levels and a vitamin-D deficiency. I’m on supplements now and trying to regain some strength and energy. And third, I once did these races for fun and I think my competitive college days are creeping in and instead of enjoyment it has migrated towards obligation. Time to get back to having fun on the pavement.

Since the race I have taken a few casual runs while on Thanksgiving vacation – around the BF’s parents house in No. Va. and across the Brooklyn Bridge while in NYC after Thanksgiving. That’s what I’m talking about, good, scenic running! I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks for your support leading into this race!

Now I’ve been cooking and started up with the crafts as the holidays are approaching! Can’t wait to share some of my other activities with y’all soon!


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Carbo-Loading

And so it begins! I conquered my last set of intervals yesterday and am now in full rest mode. I had a nice swim this morning and this evening took it easy, doing some stretching and icing. I also had lasagna! The BF and I met at home over lunch and whipped up a couple pans of his homemade lasagna. He has a great recipe that he loves from him mom. We were conveniently making a to-go meal for his co-worker who’s wife recently had a baby and then also a pan for my own enjoyment.

If you know his mother at all, this recipe is fairly healthy. Lean meat, cottage cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese and I whipped up some homemade sauce to replace store-bought sauce. It came together pretty quickly, we stored the pans in the fridge, and we were back from lunch just a few minutes late.

On the way home I made a special stop at the Market Street Market in downtown Charlottesville. They have the best baguettes in town! They are baked fresh daily and the BF swears they ship the dough down special from NYC. I thought it would be a nice treat for the two of us.

After I got home, I added the last layer of the lasagna and topped it with some cheese – a nice layer of mozzarella and fresh grated parmesan. I popped it in the oven for about 45 minutes, until it was bubbling and the cheese was just browned. I sealed up the second pan, without baking it, and the BF will deliver it to his co-worker tomorrow.

The finished product was awesome and we made some nice garlic bread and salad on the side, our normal staples. We have tons of leftovers, so this may also now be my pre-race meal.

I love racing when it allows me to indulge like this!

I love racing when it allows me to indulge like this!

I’m off to Richmond tomorrow after work to pick-up my race packet and check out the course. A cold front is moving in so my clothing strategy will begin tomorrow as well. Saturday will be here before I know it. Finish out the week strong, y’all!


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Race Week!

We are less than five days away from the American Family Fitness Half-Marathon in Richmond. The countdown is real and so are my nerves! I know I have trained well and am prepared, so I am focusing on my food in-take for the next four days as my final preparation.

I really needed to use some beets that have been in my kitchen for over two weeks, and a ripe spaghetti squash. I found an easy Roasted Beet and Garlic Pasta recipe and decided to adapted it to what I had at home. I made the beet pesto by boiling the beets on the stove for about 45 minutes. Then ground them in the food processor with the walnuts, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and EVOO. I was skeptical of the taste but it turned out really nice. I would add more than the recommended 2 tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes for a bit more balance of flavor.

Then instead of serving it over pasta, I roasted the spaghetti squash, scooped it out of the shell and mixed in the pesto. Spaghetti squash was a great substitute. We sprinkled some freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top too, it was delicious! We rounded out the meal with a fresh baguette we got a Trader Joe’s. I warmed up in the oven with a bit of butter and minced garlic. I love a good, fresh baguette!

I have my last set of intervals in the morning, 3x800m at 3:33 pace. The BF has been sick for the last several days so I may be on my own in the morning. Wish me luck!

More recipes to come this week – we are cooking lasagna for our friends with a new baby and I will be carbo-loading a couple days this week for the race too. Have a great week!