Hug a Runner Day and some Peanut Butter Fudge

Today is a special day for two reasons.  Firstly, it’s Globally Organized Hug a Runner Day (G.O.H.A.R.D.)!  In 2009, a young person named Michaela McGuigan hosted a public Facebook event called “National Hug a Cross Country Runner Day.”  That event had over 42,000 people attend!!  That’s amazing!!  Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to have been repeated in 2010.  Two guys named Adam Goucher (retired distance athlete married to Kara Goucher, 10,000 meters bronze medalist in 2007 and American Olympic marathoner) and Tim Catalano (former distance runner at the University of Colorado, current writer, Teacher, Consultant at Edge-Ucation) decided in 2011 to revive Michaela’s event with a few changes.  They upped the ante from “National” to “Global” – there are runners all over the world, after all! – and they dropped the “Cross Country” to include all runners of all ages, distances, and styles.  So, I’m sure you know a runner, a jogger, a person who walks so quickly that it should qualify as jogging – today is the day to show them you appreciate them, in all their sweaty, stinky, black-toenailed, sore-kneed and tight hamstringed glory!  Give ’em a hug!  Of course, if you see a runner while she’s actually running, don’t swerve over to the side of the road, get out of your car and try to chase her down to give her a hug.  The thought is sweet but, well, that may not work out so well for you.   🙂

The second reason it’s a special day is because it’s National Peanut Butter Fudge Day!!!  Woohoo!!!  Unless you’re allergic to peanuts (and if you are, you’re definitely not celebrating this day!), this is definitely a day worth celebrating.  I personally love peanut butter.  Love.  And when I say love, I mean, LOVE.  I could eat peanut butter every day.  Okay, I pretty much do.  It’s a great source of protein, it tastes delicious, and all those monounsaturated fats are good for you!  Here are some interesting facts about peanut butter.  One of them is that Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.  I can believe it.  I’m certain that I contribute a fair amount to that $800 million.  And I’m talking REAL peanut butter – not the kind with extra additions like palm oil, partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats), sugar, etc.  Real peanut butter is just peanuts and maybe some salt.  Smucker’s Natural = Best. Peanut Butter. Ever.  

So, anyway, peanut butter fudge.  O.M.G.  It’s like a gift.  It’s like a hug for your tongue and tastebuds.  Hey, after you hug your runner friend, give them a piece of homemade peanut butter fudge.  They won’t be able to thank you enough!  Okay, probably because their mouths will be full but you get the idea. 🙂 Om nom nom…..

Peanut Butter Fudge
(adapted from Alton Brown, the Food Network)

8 ounces unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a 4-quart microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave for 2 minutes on high.  Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes.  (Use caution when removing this mixture from the microwave, it will be very hot.)  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen.  Spread into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper.  Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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