Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My New Hot Wheels! Speed Concept 7.0 WSD

It has been a long time coming, I was due for new bike. As much as I love “Big Red” and all of the great times we have had together, my body needed a break from the cruelties of an aluminum frame. I’m hoping for a big season this year, filled with some longer rides than last, and for that I just really wanted a faster and more efficient racing mate to do it with! So let us just take a moment to remember the good times with Big Red, then I’ll give the spot light over to my new beau! (yes the season’s race schedule is at the bottom… be patient you’ll get there soon!)

Big Red:




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Those were good times Red, good times…


Now to show off the new racing machine…My Speed Concept 7.0wsd (size XS!) I haven’t had my official fitting yet, so there are a few adjustments to be made, but until then here you are:



You may have noticed that I’ve switched out the crank for the Quark Cinqo power meter! Pretty stoked to be riding with Power! There are days that heart rate and perceived effort just do not line up, and this way I add a third dimension to (hopefully) assist in making the right training decisions!

Another really cool aspect is the cadence sensor is actually built into the bike frame! Along with all the cables being internally routed and the rear breaks are “invisible” as they are hidden away behind the crank and actually built into the frame!

I could not be any happier with this bike so far! It rides so smooth! More importantly I’m sure that you also noticed just how hot cool slick pretty my bike is :) I think one of the first things that came out of my mouth when I brought her home to show off to the Boss was that “if I’m going to be racing on a pink bike… I better be throwing down some damn fast bike splits!” He replied of course with a quick chuckle, hands on hips, and a “yup”.

Speaking of racing around, if you’ll allow me to take your attention off the bike, and we’ll talk race schedules! Let me know if you’re going to be racing/ participating/ or cheering at any of these events, I’d love to say hi!

March 26th: National Half Marathon- I was originally hoping to go sub 1:25:00 buuuut did I mention that I caught the Whooping Cough back in December/January? Yeah, it can take up to 3 months to fully recover from whooping cough, I was about 5 weeks! Training took a dive, and I’m still kind of feeling it. The goal now is more to “see what you can do”, with no exact time in mind.

April 16th: Rumpass in Bumpass International Distance- I’ve raced this course twice now, the second time being the 3rd race in 3 weeks. I was “told” if I had raced that second time having actually recovered from the last two grueling weekends I would have shaved at least 8-10 minutes from my time…Sheeet, just three minutes off my time would have put me in the overall winner circle. So I’m hoping for around a 2:15ish time. But to be very very honest, I’d be really happy if I just managed to NOT swim an extra 500yds than everyone else :)

May 22nd: Escape from Fort Delaware- This is a new race course for me, and I’m really just using it as a last warm-up to the “A” Race in June!

May 28th: Good God, I know my Coach is going to make me do it so I might as well put it on here… The Jim McDonald 2mile swim. This annual race reminds me each year why it is that an Ironman competition is not in the near future… why do I dread 2 miles open water so badly?

June 11th: This is IT! Boise Ironman 70.3… I’d really like to take this race by storm! I’m looking to go 4:45-4:50, and looking to be in the tops of my age group/ overall. Those are big fighting words, I know, but sometimes you just have to say your goals out loud to achieve them!

July 2nd: Well I think this dash only lasts about 15yds or so, and my big poofy dress isn’t as aerodynamic as I’m used to!

September 11th: If all goes well at Boise 70.3 I’m hoping to qualify for this one and just enjoy the experience in Vegas!

October- November… who knows. I have a lot riding on June, and I guess I’ll have to make changes if necessary!


I hope everyone’s training hard and rewarding themselves with cupcakes!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

One word to describe these muffins… “NOM”!

It was Valentine’s morning and I was in the mood to do something nice, and I figured breakfast in bed would be a nice change! So I quietly scurried from the room, down to the kitchen to clang around. I really had a hankering for Blueberry muffins! The bummer is, as we get into the winter months fresh blueberries aren’t always close at hand! If you remember my Blueberry Upside-Down cake from back in the summer you’d remember that The Boss and I did some berry picking and may or may not have “over picked”, leaving us with about 2 gallons of frozen blueberries! Thus, I will crack into the stash!

First step is to cook down about a cup and a half of frozen blueberries. Basically we are making a blueberry filling for the muffins; this gives them a really great flavor boost and helps keep them from drying out while hanging out on the counter (though mine rarely ever last that long!).


There was about 1Tbsp added to the frozen berries, and that was it, let the heat do the rest as they boil down and thicken.

While all that is happening on the stove top, I get the rest of the goods together. First set the oven to heat up to 350. Because I wasn’t thinking the night before to take out a stick of butter I had to soften the butter in the microwave. Careful, this is an important set that can be a game changer for the recipe! If the butter is either too melty or too hard it’s going to affect the way the ingredients adhere to the fats and changes the consistency of the batter which ultimately effects the fluffiness of the muffin! So for your microwaving needs, in order to gauge if your butter is in fact “softened” or at room temperature, you should be able to gently push you finger into the butter and the butter be able to hold the impression!

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Go ahead and add 1cup & 2Tbsp sugar and 2 large eggs to the mixing bowl, using paddle attachment work together until light and fluffy. Then drop in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, and the 4tbsp of softened butter; stir until combined.

The next step calls for Buttermilk. Well, if I didn’t think to take out a stick of butter the night before, I certainly didn’t swing by the grocery to grab a carton of butter milk! A really easy substitute for buttermilk is Milk and white vinegar. 1 cup of milk plus 1Tbsp white vinegar (or lemon juice) will do the job, and for the most part, everyone has milk and either of the acids hanging out in the house. So lets get 1 cup of buttermilk mixed up with 1.5 tsp of vanilla and combine with batter.



Next step, in a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and then add to batter. Do not over work the batter; batter should look lumpy with clumps of dry flour. Dry ingredients include: 2.5cups of all purpose flour, 2.5tsp baking powder,& 1tsp salt. ** I also opted to add 1tsp of cinnamon and 1/2tsp of cloves. Nutmeg would also be great option- it’s just what you like**


Try not to eat all the batter, I promise the baked goods are worth the wait! Go ahead and measure out 1 heaping cup of blueberries and fold them into the batter. Then scoop out the batter into the muffin pan, this batch should yield about 1.5 dozen muffins.


We are almost done! Remember the blueberry jam we made earlier? It’s time to deploy the goodness! Using a butter knife create little wells in the muffin batter, and then with a teaspoon measure scoop out the blueberry sauce and fill up the wells. Last but not least, and this is optional yet highly recommended, I sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little white sugar! Now Bake! 15-17 minutes.


Then EAT!IMG_7441

And eat we did! I used a little creativity to make a serving platter, and managed to get the goods up to the bedroom to where the Boss was still sleeping soundly!



Have you done something nice lately? Go ahead… give these muffins a whirl, you will not be disappointed!

The Recipe:

Berry Filling:
1 heaping cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp sugar

1 cup & 2Tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
4 tbsp of softened butter
** 1 cup of buttermilk
1.5 tsp of vanilla
2.5 cups of all purpose flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp Cloves (optional)
1 cup Blueberries (Fresh or frozen, and Heaping is always good!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting



Well this Valentine’s Dessert Extravaganza has really done nothing for my waist line… however it has done wonders for my taste buds! (Don’t worry wedding dress… we can let the seams out! Yikes!)

The Cream Cheese frosting for these cupcakes were RIDICULOUS! So much so that I may be guilty of scraping extra bits of frosting off of other cupcakes to eat. Hey, what can I say? When the frosting outshines the cupcake… why eat the cake?

So I’m going to post the pretty pictures I took of making the cake portion, but honestly, I wouldn’t use that recipe again so I’m not going to bother wasting your time. I’m going to spend more time creating a really good Red Velvet cake and I’ll get back to you then! In the meantime what I would point you attention towards is the Cream Cheese frosting recipe that is below… it’s the best I’ve had to date!

The Cake:



The Cream Cheese Frosting:



The Recipe:

Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz softened 1/3 fat Philly Cream Cheese

3Tbsp Softened butter

3/4tsp Vanilla (Clear is preferred for a super white icing)

1cup icing sugar

**1Tbsp Meringue Powder (optional)


Using electric mixer (I used the flat paddle) beat cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium high until light and fluffy.

Add in 3 portions the icing sugar, scraping down the sides before each new addition.

Add Meringue powder if you have it. This creates a little bit of a “crisp” to the icing after they has set… other wise the icing stays kinda gooey!



Please feel free to copy this recipe a hundred times over… it is delicious!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine’s Macaroons & Cake Pops!

Happy Valentines Day everyone. As promised on Friday I had a busy weekend in the kitchen baking up a hodge-podge of goodies. The first up to bat was Valentine Macaroons!


Oh Martha! How your “Holiday Cookie” magazine suckered me in! Back in December I was super excited to purchase Martha’s 2010 Holiday cookie edition magazine as it is filled with all kinds of goodies! Goodies such as the above Macaroons!

holiday cookies

As always I slightly tweaked the recipe to make it my own, but the overall ratios are within the same guidelines as I didn’t want to screw up the consistency. My rendition of the recipe is at the bottom! Martha’s is in her magazine!

It all starts off with eggs whites, food coloring, fine ground sugar, and a dash of Cream of Tartar!

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Starting with the egg whites alone whisk on high until soft peaks form and the add your fine sugar. Work them up into stiff peaks (8-10 minutes).

Then go ahead and fold in your flour and confectioner’s sugar (and the cocoa powder if you’re making the chocolate ones!)

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Now for the fun part! Piping out the batter!… Now listen closely, I have several tips that Martha forgot to mention!

  1. When squeezing the batter out, keep the tip of the piping bag still & at the same height (do not pull up while squeezing) the height (believe me) will take care of itself in the oven!
  2. Do not try to circle around with the tip, instead keep a continuous pressure on the bag while allowing the circle grow to the desired width.
  3. Let off on the pressure/squeeze once at desired size and then swipe tip gently across and down the side of the macaroon.

The Right Way


The Wrong Way


The Swipe…
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Then we bake!

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…“Holy CRAP they’re huge!”
Yeah, these puppies are going to more than double their size in height! They do not seem to spread however, and this is a good thing, otherwise we would have been looking at a giant pink mess!
Round 2! The Chocolate Macaroons!


Much better! I made this batch about the same size as a quarter; same height and width! Now I fill, decorate, and plate!

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The Chocolate Macaroons:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
4tbsp Milk Chocolate coco powder
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
3 to 4 drops gel-paste food coloring, in Teddy Bear Brown
1/2 Homemade simple white icing (You can easily use canned icing)


The Pink Macaroons:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
3 to 4 drops gel-paste food coloring, in Rose Pink


The Macaroon Madness all happened on Saturday, Sunday was a day for Cake Pops! I’m not sure if you’ve been following this current craze, but “Cake Pops” have really become the “New Cupcake”! (Yes, this does make me a little sad. But I’ve been making cupcakes since my 1st birthday and that’s not gonna change.)

However, I am well aware that these little bites of goodness are indeed very charming and catchy, and therefore it would be in my best interest to “get familiar” with them! So, I bought the book, “Cake Pops”.

cake pops


After many frustrating moments, I finally had some success! As much as I LOVE this book, I truly love the book for the ideas and guidelines, not so much the user friendliness of it all. I understand there are only so many hints and tips a writer can include, and I also understand that it really takes practice to get “good” at these little pops, but reeeeeally? If I wasn’t so determined to make these and make many of them efficiently, I would have quit hours beforehand!

So what I’m going to do is post the pictures of along my weekend’s Cake Pop journey, and then in maybe a month or so after I have re-visited them and experimented with different products, I’m going to do a more in depth post on the “how to”. I would like to think a mom or babysitter should be able to set up a sort “station” and have a blast making these with kids, or spend the afternoon creating an army of Cake Pops as a “take home treat” for their child’s upcoming birthday party, etc. But that sure ain’t happening right now. So for now, I’m just posting pictures.

Here goes:



And there you have it. Sorry to leave you hanging on my thoughts on how to make these in a much easier process, but I’m still ironing out some kinks!

Other than that, I made Blueberry Muffins for breakfast in bed for the Boss.  That post is for another day as it is so good it needs a post of it’s own!  Also, I had to train.. you know the thing that allows me to keep sampling these bakery treats on a daily basis? Big news coming on that front as well!

Happy Valentines Day, I hope you got what you came for… a little sweetness!

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