Thursday, March 27, 2014

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Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

I have had the worst craving for chocolate. I'm thinking it might have something to do with me eating healthier and trying to reduce my sugar intake. Whatever it is, it has left me with this insatiable desire to eat something very chocolaty. I had this particular recipe saved for a very long time because I love what sour cream does in cakes. This cake was good and everyone else in the family liked it, but it wasn't chocolaty enough for me. I will take the blame for that because I didn't add the frosting that Two Peas and Their Pod did in the original recipe. I thought I could get away with some chocolate sauce and was very wrong. Don't make the same mistake!

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod
Half the recipe yields an 8x8 cake.

1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup cocoa powder (we use Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a cake pan and set aside. 
In a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, just until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until completely blended. The mixture will be thick. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until completely blended. Whisk in the sour cream and the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes depending on your pan size. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a rack.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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Down 2 Earth Trail Run Recap

Congratulations to MASH Up Conditioning winner Kalynn Carter! 

I tried trail running and I loved it! This race was runner's serendipity. I was supposed to run six miles March 8th and didn't manage to wake up Saturday morning to run (running alone is hard!). Sunday night, before dinner, I logged onto Facebook and saw that Run South Florida had posted a listing of the weekend's races. One of the races was for Down 2 Earth Trail Run. The distances were 5K, 10K, and half marathon. I sent my friend a text message asking if she would run the 10K with me and she responded with "yes!" I signed up that night while Alex was bathing the girls and went to sleep very nervous about the trails. I had run trails before during the obstacle course races, but for some reason, just running the trails scared me.

I don't know why I was scared because I had the best time on the run. It was disorienting and exhilarating at the same time. I was so focused on the path directly in front of me and keeping an eye out for markers that the miles flew by. Nature took care of the intervals and I found myself running most of the 6.2 miles. This race challenged me and pushed my limits. I wondered out loud at least ten times whether we were lost, slipped twice, and fell twice. The best part of the run really was sharing it with my friend and having her love it so much that she said she couldn't wait to run the trails again. Coming from someone who used to always say she didn't like the outdoors, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this race. I guess this just shows me that I love running so much I can do it anywhere and still love it.

What I liked:

  • Even though we did two loops, it didn't feel that way because nothing on the trails was recognizable the second time around. 
  • Sufficient signage. 
  • We unleashed our inner Katniss Everdeen. 
  • Trails felt great on my knees. 
  • Race director was hilarious and personable. You can tell he loves organizing these races. 
  • Small race. 
  • Oleta National Park: beautiful trails. 
  • The company. 
  • Sufficient water on the course. 
  • No need for an interval timer. 

What I didn't like:

  • I love race medals and this race gave us beads instead. 
Next Race Recap is March 16th's Shamrock Run 4-miler. My next two races are in Chicago and I'm praying it's not snowing or too cold!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Recap

It's test week! I can't wait for Saturday to be here so I can be done with this test. I feel like there is always something I am waiting for to pass so that I can back to "normal." I'm not sure what normal is because as soon as this test passes, I need to start focusing on getting the house organized and packed up so we can hopefully sell it quickly. I can't believe Chicago is less than four months away.

Before that, however, there is running to talk about. Running has officially become a part of my life; it is probably the only thing that I have consistently kept up with over the past few weeks of studying. I have half marathon #9 on March 2nd and this marathon also happens to be my favorite half marathon. I first participated in this race last year and loved everything about it: the company, the course, and the weather. The race did not disappoint this year.
 I ran this year's half with my running friend and it was 13.1 miles of talking, laughing, and enjoying the run. I've had a mantra the past few races of "my race, my pace" because my goal hasn't been to get a personal best, it's been to really enjoy the act of running and the sense of freedom running gives me. The course was beautiful as usual and you really can't beat the backdrop of cruise ships.

The only thing I didn't like about this race was the emotions it brought up for me about leaving Miami and all the amazing running friends I have made in Miami. This is my last half marathon in Miami, unless I fly down for one next year or we move back to the area so finishing this race was bittersweet. My goal is to run with all those great people as much as I can over the next four months.

What I liked:

  • The course: it takes you down Ocean Drive and two of the most beautiful and scenic bridges in Miami. 
  • Plenty of water and entertainment on the course. 
  • The company. 
  • Smaller race. 
  • Meeting other runners like Dr. Dribble and Instagram friends. 
  • Location of race (Miami Beach). 
  • Energy gummies passed out at mile 8. 

What I didn't like:

  • My last big Miami race. 
  • The medal was OK. I liked last year's medal with the rotating detail better. At least this one has a bottle opener, right?
Next Race Recap is March 9th's trail run (so much fun!). I think I need to find a race for March 22 and March 30th just so that I can say I raced every weekend in March. 

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

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Recipe Revisited: Beer Cheese Dip

I am in the middle of studying for my graduate school comprehensive exam. I started this journey of going back to school to become a marriage and family therapist back in 2010 and it's hard to believe that I am two months shy of graduation. The only thing standing in my way is taking and passing this exam. I'm working on cases, timing myself, and studying intensely with one of school friends (future colleague!). I am ready for this test to be done with so that I can give my brain a rest for a little bit. I am already thinking of going to Disney to celebrate passing this exam (I will pass it. I will pass it. I will pass it.).

Because it has been too quiet on here, I am sharing a recipe that also dates back to 2010. I remember when I first made this Beer Cheese Dip and how much I loved the recipe. This has become my go-to appetizer recipe and I make it whenever we have people over. I love the simplicity of ingredients and how quickly it comes together. The last time I made it, I made half of the recipe and that was enough for eight people to snack on before the real meal.

Beer Cheese Dip
Source: Jodi Zyvith on 

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup beer
1 (1 pound) loaf round bread

Place cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, garlic powder and beer in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend until smooth.

Remove and reserve top of round bread. Hollow out the loaf, reserving removed bread pieces.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into the hollowed loaf. Replace bread top between servings. Use the reserved removed bread pieces for dipping.

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @thecookierunner! Stephanie