It’s Foodie Friday! (and some other stuff, too)

Hi there!

Happy Friday!

I’d love to do the Friday dance but, alas, I cannot.

I have zero energy.

Guess who woke up with a fever and a headache?


Of course that means I must be dying.


I just thought I was tired because I’ve been doing the burpee challenge


and the core challenge


but, I guess not. :/

Looks like my 17-miler isn’t likely to happen tomorrow. *sigh*

I already missed my tempo run yesterday because of the snow.

That’s okay though. It’s still early in my training and I need to feel better. I start a new job on Monday!


I’m a legal assistant (except the position I got hired for isn’t specifically called that) and I’ll be working at one of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices (Virginia is a Commonwealth, hence the name instead of “State Attorney’s Office” or “District Attorney’s Office”). I absolutely LOVE this line of work. So gratifying! It feels really good to be a part of the process of putting the bad guys behind bars and helping to keep the communities safer for our children. 🙂

So, anyway, as much as the thought of not running pains me, I know rest is the right thing (although, I’ll still be doing the core challenge and I might work in a burpee or 100) so I’m all set and ready for Monday.



Okay, so now on to the REALLY big news of today –


foodie pen pals

I’ve participated in the Foodie Pen Pals program once before and LOVED it!

Then, we moved and I had to take a break from it. 😦

But, now that we’re settled, I was able to do it again!

It’s really such an awesome program! No, you don’t have to be a blogger to participate so don’t let that stop you from clicking the Foodie Pen Pals logo up there. It’ll take you to Lindsay’s page and give you all the deets. It’s a lot of fun and I really think you should try it! Hey, everybody eats, after all! 🙂

Anyway, this month I was paired up with Monica at Cooking Up Veggies.

She sent me some Really. Awesome. Stuff.

foodie pen pals

Um, yeah. Those Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups?

Ate those immediately. Didn’t share. #sorrynotsorry

And the dark chocolate with espresso beans?

I even ate that for breakfast!

Hey, it had espresso in it. Clearly, it’s a breakfast food.

The beef candy – I’ll admit, the name IS a little strange. I mean “beef” and “candy” don’t seem like they go together – was WAY better than any beef jerky I’ve ever had. So flavorful, rich and delicious! And, it didn’t take an hour just to get one bite! It was soft but still had that jerky texture without being difficult or getting stuck in my teeth. Blech. Worst part about jerky. Beef candy, FTW!

The sour cream and onion zucchini chips were a total surprise to me. I’m not usually a sour cream and onion fan – I can eat a chip or two and then I’m over it – but these were not overwhelming in the least. They were light and crispy and perfectly seasoned. I must go on a hunt to find those around here!

The mini coco-roons also surprised me. I’m not the hugest fan of coconut but these were pretty tasty. I really like that they are small. Perfect little bit sized treats!

Now, let’s talk about that jar of fabulousness.

Monica canned her own orange marmalade.

For real.

And I got a jar!

I LOVE cooking with orange marmalade!

Best. Thing. Ever. 🙂

Talk to me: Do you can your own fruits/vegetables/jams/jellies? I’m totally impressed! What’s your favorite thing to can?

– jennifer

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Heaven…cake

Today is one of my favorite days. It’s I Love Reese’s Day! Okay, seriously, I love Reese’s EVERY day but today I get to celebrate it loud and proud. AND, calories don’t count today! Woot! (Yes, I made that up. It’s cool. Roll with it.)

So, because I’m a total nerd and I have this day marked on my calendar, I’ve been planning how I was going to celebrate. I didn’t want to just eat a Reese’s – which would have been FABULOUS! – but, seeing as this is Thing 1’s last weekend home before she heads off to boot camp (!), I really needed to go big. It’s not every day your firstborn sets off to chart her own course. (Yes, pun intended. Remember, I’m a nerd.) 🙂 I decided to make my own version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in cake form. Yeah, you read that right. It’s ON up in this joint!


I found quite a few recipes for peanut butter chocolate cakes – CLEARLY, I am not the only fan of that combination! – and I decided to mesh two together. I already had a recipe for an amazing chocolate cake – Devil’s Food Cake – thank you Food and Wine magazine! That would be the jumping point for my creation. Add peanut butter mousse and a chocolate peanut butter ganache (found the recipe on Serious Eats and it comes from Yvonne Ruperti) and you’ve got heaven on a plate.


Peanut Butter and Chocolate Heaven … Cake

Classic Devil’s Food Cake
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream, at room temperature

Peanut Butter Mousse
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream

Peanut Butter Ganache
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup minis, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the paper.

2. In a bowl, sift the cake flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluggy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients until just blended.

3. Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the one pan and 2/3 of the batter into the other prepared pan and smooth the surfaces. Bake the cakes for 20-30 minutes, respectively, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out the cakes and let them cool completely.

4. For the Peanut Butter Mousse: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese with sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until creamy and light, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Switch to whip attachment and beat cream on high speed to stiff but not dry peaks. Fold cream into peanut butter mixture. Keep chilled until ready to use.

5. Slice the larger of the two cakes into two layers. Place on serving plate and stack cake layers with peanut butter mousse. Keep chilled until ganache is ready to use.

6. For the Peanut Butter Ganache: Using the microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the chocolate and cream until melted and smooth. Gently whisk in peanut butter. Chill until just firm enough to frost, about 30 minutes. Frost cake and serve.

7. No, you have not died and gone to heaven. 🙂


– jennifer

Tapering (still CrossFitting) and the very best cookie bars in the history of the world. Ever.

** Please know that I had written this before the tragedy at the Boston Marathon finish line. A selfish individual(s) decided to take the focus off the runners and their accomplishments and achievements for whatever sick reason he thought up. I am absolutely heartbroken by what occurred. The family of runners is a strong one, though. We do not judge based on distance, pace, bib numbers, finish time, number of medals, or anything. You run, you are family. You come out to support runners and cheer their accomplishments, you are family. I am sickened by the events at Boston but I’m am still excited for Salt Lake City. I will run it for my family. I will run for Boston. **

So, 4 days and a wake-up until Salt Lake City.  Yes, I’m counting down the days. My fitness schedule in this final week of taper is pretty light, as it’s supposed to be. I did CrossFit on Monday, ran a short and easy four miles this morning and I’ll CrossFit tomorrow. (I may be slightly addicted to CrossFit.) Monday’s WOD was a 10-minute AMRAP of 3x thrusters (65#), 6 pull ups (banded), 100m row. I knocked out 6 rounds plus 3 thrusters. Woot! I’m really proud of myself for the pull-ups, too, because last Friday’s hero WOD “Pheezy” involved both pull-ups and knees to chest (one day, I WILL be able to do toes to bar!) and my hands got pretty torn up.


Ouch. Anyway, I just taped it up this morning and plowed through the pull-ups. Go me!


We’ll do a short “shake-out” run in Salt Lake (probably Thursday) but post-Wednesday’s WOD, it’s all rest until Saturday. Oh, and there will be eating. Carbs. Lots of them. If there is bread, pasta, chickpeas, and/or fruit anywhere near me, it will get eaten. Oh, cookies. Cookies have carbs. Brownies, too. And the best cookie bars ever in the history of the world. EVER. Those DEFINITELY will be eaten.


Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars (aka the best cookie bars ever in the history of the world ever. EVER.)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 heaping cup mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or diced full-sized cups; or substitute with another type of diced candy bar such as Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfinger, Heath, Rolos) (okay, seriously, choose the Reese’s.)
about 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil; spray with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don’t cook the egg. Add the egg, sugars, vanilla, and stir or whisk vigorously to combine, for about 1 minute. Add the flour, baking soda, optional salt and stir until just incorporated. Batter will be quite thick and dense.

3. Reserve 1/2 cup batter; set aside. Turn remaining batter out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Evenly sprinkle the peanut butter cups over the batter. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top. Using your fingers, lightly crumble the reserved cookie dough over the top in irregular, marble-sized chunks.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without cookie dough batter clinging; it may not be clean because you’re going through other layers and you may have to peck around to find a good testing place. Edges will be firm, raised, and golden. The sweetened condensed milk should be nearly set in all places, and possibly only a little jiggly in the very center of the pan. Bars will firm up more in the pan as they cool.

5. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 3 hours before serving and slicing. Lift out using the foil overhang. For easy (and safer) cooling, do one hour on the counter and 2 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Because I guarantee that if you dig in before it’s ready, you’ll eat the whole pan. With a spoon. Not kidding. If that’s cool by you, go ahead. Otherwise, let it set for the 3 hours and then you can slice into share-able squares. Hey, I’m not saying you MUST share. It would be nice, though. Your call. Oh, be prepared for your kids/family to ask what you put in those because they are DELICIOUS. My answer to that question? Crack. Ha!! Just kidding. Seriously. I didn’t put anything in there but the called-for ingredients and love. It’s the love that does it.

Recipe from averie cooks (Um, hello, follow her blog. You won’t be sorry.)