Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 11

It was a GOOD RUN today several days ago when I started this post.

I was a little nervous about this week's long run. Not only was I on target for eleven miles - the furthest I've ever run - I was doing it solo. But I shouldn't have worried.

I estimated that it would take me close to two hours - and I beat that time by a few minutes. I started from my house and ran down 24th Street to Locust, picked up the Schuylhill River trail, ran up behind the Art Museum to Kelly Drive, did the Kelly/West River loop, and then back down the river trail. I hit 11 miles right at the corner of 24th and Locust, which gave me a nice half mile to walk home.

I was feeling really, really good. Every time I've run the loop, I've used the East Falls bridge as my first walking break, and then picked up again on West River. On Sunday, I started feeling the distance a bit by mile 8, and I told myself it was fine to walk/run a bit. I ran half a mile, walked for a bit, and repeated as necessary until I was done...sort of.

During the last quarter mile, I ran straight into some kind of dog-walking Halloween extravaganza. I estimate about forty dogs, all in costume, and their owners. Wandering around in circles. Standing and stopping in the middle of the river path. Walking three or five deep. Talk about a freaking obstacle course!

Even so - I can't complain, AT ALL, about a time of 1:53. Moreover, this was the first long run I've done where I didn't feel completely and totally spent afterwards. Every run I've done for the past month, I scream internally for the last quarter mile, gritting my teeth and begging for it to be done. And then I finish the last mile and I'm like, WOW. No way in HELL can I imagine myself running any further!

Not today SUNDAY. This was the first run I've had where I finished and felt confident that - yes - I COULD do another 2.1 miles on top of that. I mean...holy shit. I might not be the fastest I've ever been, and I sure as hell get passed constantly while I'm running on Kelly. But regardless - I'm going to run a half in a few weeks. For real.

In the meantime, let's see what else I've been up to since I last posted, based on the pictures I uploaded nearly a week ago and intended to post on Sunday. This should be fun.

Hmm. I've eaten a lot of honeycrisp apples.

I took my first ice bath and ate homemade mac & cheese while I was in there.

I've chilled at home with a black sulfur mask on.

(The dogs did NOT like this mask. Cosmo wasn't sure it was still me, and he kept sniffing my face really close to make sure it was okay.)

I've been drinking a TON of Celestial Seasonings holiday teas, in the new ING mug PhillyGuy brought home for me. (I'm out of Candy Cane Lane and need to restock. Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride is OMGHOLYCRAPAMAZING. I am NOT a fan of the Sugar Plum one - too sweet and spicy, I like my tea a little milder. And Gingerbread Spice = delicious. But nothing will ever top Sleepytime Tea as my all-time favorite.)

My dogs have snuggled with their new non-stuffed squeaky toys.

And they've stolen my spot on the couch every time I've gotten up to get more tea.

So, yeah. This has been another crazy week at work...what else is new? I've worked late, I've dealt with frustrating clients and frustrating borrowers. I gave poor Sophie a bath last night because she walked straight into Cosmo's stream of pee when we were on our walk. That's about it.

What distance should I run this weekend? 12? 13? It'll be my last "long run" before the half - next weekend I'll scale it back to 8 or 10 miles. I'm not going to do much of an official taper because my mileage has been low overall.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thoughts on Running

This morning, Stephanie and I met out at Valley Forge to run ten miles.

Fun fact: I've only run this distance three times in my entire life, including today. One was Broad Street 2008; the other was Broad Street 2010. That means that Stephanie has done two thirds of my ten milers with me.

Valley Forge is an amazing place. When I was in high school, my brother and I would go there with our mom and the dog to walk the trails, explore the little log cabins, and generally wander aimlessly. Before today, I hadn't been there in...probably six or seven years? It's hard to remember the last time I went out there, but I'm pretty sure it was during the Summer of the Atkins Diet. AKA, when I was at my thinnest EVER, was really starting to appreciate fitness and physical activity for the first time, and doing things like ordering a cheesesteak and eating only the middle and leaving the bread.

But I digress. Anyway, I knew, vaguely, that this run was going to involve hills. What I didn't know was just how MANY hills there were going to be. And I also didn't know what it was like to be running up a hill and giving it your all, and having your legs just stop listening to you when you commanded them to keep turning over.

We did one loop, starting from the Visitor's Center, and hopping off of the 5.6 mile paved Joseph Plumb Martin trail to the Valley Creek area. We ran through the woods on gravel trails for a while, ran on the roads, and then picked up the JPM trail again. By the time we made it back to the parking lot, we'd covered almost 6.7 miles. With only 3.3-ish miles to go, we decided to double back out the way we'd just came. It meant some rough uphills on the 1.75-ish miles out, but we got to cruise the last mile or so back.

Those. Hills. Were. Awful. Splits:

You can clearly see our uphill struggles, and the flat/downhill cruises that followed. Altogether, it took us about 1:50 to cover ten miles, and I was SPENT.

I've been thinking a lot about running - this has been one of my most successful training periods yet. I'm feeling very confident about running the half next month. I'm recovering well from my weekly long runs, and my knees are feeling good.

I think I've found the "magic" combination, for now. I do my weekly long run, of course. And I run one other day during the week...that's it. My second run is usually some form of interval work, and it's short - 30 minutes or so.

Otherwise, I crosstrain - I've been spending a lot of time on the recumbent bike. It's a great combination: no impact (so, good for my knees) and it strengthens my quads (also good for my knees). I lift a few days - usually two, even though I would prefer it to be three. I do a lot of the P90X workouts...either a chest/back vs. arms/shoulders split, or a back/biceps vs. chest/shoulders/tris split.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not running my fastest times, that's for sure. Broad Street 08, I came in at 1:30.59, and ran the majority of my long training runs at a 9:00 or slightly better pace. I could knock out a 5K in under 25 minutes without too much effort. I'd run 20-mile weeks without blinking. I sure as SHIT am not there right now.

But when I was doing was inconsistent. I'd train hard and be great for a couple months and then find myself injured. I'd spend a shitload of time on the elliptical until my knee stopped hurting, and I'd be back on the treadmill again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now...I don't want to speak prematurely, because god knows it's only been a few months since I was last hobbling around like an old lady. But I'm feeling good, and strong. This is my first half marathon, so all I really care about is finishing - and I'm confident I can do that. Once I'm past that, I'll probably go back to worrying about recovering some of my old speed, because I really did LIKE running fast. Mile repeats are pretty much my favorite thing ever.

And it's funny what a little perspective can do. When I was running my 24:50-something 5Ks, I was frustrated that I couldn't break 24:30. Then, I did, and I was frustrated because I couldn't break 24:00. When I was running my 9:00-paced long runs, I thought I was pretty slow. Now that my pace has slowed by a minute or more, I'm starting to appreciate what I used to be able to accomplish.

OK - time to do a little more foam rolling and get back to the Phils. Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hi, I Need a Second

to breathe or chug a glass of wine or something.

I can't believe it's Thursday already. Sunday night seems like it was so, so long ago...but it was so great.

PhillyGuy and I had big plans of grilling fish for dinner. He picked up some fresh sea bass at Whole Foods. I was doing something when he came home - walking the dogs, or doing laundry? I don't remember. I DO remember coming out into the living room when he got there to see a bit of a spread.

"I picked us up some snacks to have while we watch the game."

Um, yes. Some snacks.

No one should ever try to reduce the fat in guacamole. This wasn't awful or anything, but it wasn't great.

THIS, however, was great. And not in any way, shape, or form reduced fat.

The chile cheese dip was surprisingly delicious on the Food Should Taste Good chocolate chips. It reminded me a little bit of mole. We stuffed ourselves so silly with the "snacks" that I barely had the room or inclination for dessert.

But don't worry, I tried the black sea salt caramel bar anyway. And shockingly, it was only OK. It was filled with a soft, gooey caramel - sort of like an upscale Caramello - which kind of swallowed the sea salt. I'd never have known there was salt in the bar at all if I hadn't read the label.

We ended up putting the fish in the freezer. Oops.

This week's been a whirlwind. Monday night I attempted to run six miles on the treadmill, but it was not meant to be. I made it 3.5 miles altogether before I gave up...and not before I had several incidents involving (1) my digestive system, (2) my clumsy ass hitting the "STOP" button accidentally with my water bottle, and (3) my IT band tightening up. I did some abs and called it a night.

Tuesday I was supposed to have dinner with a client, but it got pushed to Wednesday due to an emergency on my boss's part. When I got home around 6:30, I found my poor husband standing outside on a conference call on his cell phone, holding the dogs' leashes in his hand while they pranced around the grass.

"Don't touch Cosmo. He isn't feeling good." In polite English, "isn't feeling good" means "had explosive diarrhea in his crate and stood/sat around in it for an undetermined period of time this afternoon."

We spent the evening washing the dog (which he hates), washing his collar and bedding (which he also hates - he feels naked without his collar), and wiping up dog-poop-footprints from the hardwood floors (which I kind of hate, but have to admit beats the hell out of cleaning carpets).

Poor buddy's been on a bland rice-and-chicken diet. Instead of treats, he gets spoonfuls of pumpkin hidden inside rolled-up turkey lunch meat. He is not impressed.

Last night I made it to dinner. A couple glasses of wine later, I made it home and barely kept my eyes open for 45 minutes before I had to stumble up to bed.

Today's nuts. Tons of work to get done (apparently, the end-of-quarter rush from last month is turning into an end-of-every-month rush). Lots of training to do with my slave first year associate. And I'm kind of shell shocked for some reason - looking at my to-do list but somehow unable to actually decide what task to do next.

I hope blogging cleared my mind. Maybe I'll go downstairs and get a coffee and then come back and hope that I'm a normal person again.

Monday, October 18, 2010

More Pumpkin Obsession

I am really blowing through some Libby's pumpkin this year. This week's follow-up to this weekend's pumpkin cinnamon rolls and the pumpkin scones I pulled out of the freezer last week and the pumpkin oats I made for breakfast the week before that?

More pumpkin oats.

I'm re-using the picture from the LAST TIME I bragged about my delicious pumpkin oat breakfast because, well, let's face it. Every little tupperware container of oatmeal topped with craisins looks pretty much exactly the same.

Today's breakfast is a little different, though, because rather than assemble the raw materials at home and cook in the microwave here at work, I made a big batch of oats last night in the crockpot.

My vat-o-oatmeal contained the following:

- 3 cups steel-cut oats
- 3.5 cups skim milk
- 3.5 cups water
- 1.5-ish cups of plain canned pumpkin (I didn't really measure this, just sort of winged it)
- Generous squirt of sugar-free Log Cabin "maple" syrup
- A chunk of Splenda brown sugar blend (again, no measuring - just kind of dumped)
- Few shakes of salt
- Little pour of vanilla extract
- Plenty o' cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove

I gave it all a few stirs, tasted the "batter" and adjusted the spices a bit, and left that bad boy alone to cook 8 hours on low. When I woke up this morning, it was done and it smelled AWESOME.

It looked kind of nasty, though, to be honest. Part of it is that my crockpot has a bit of a "hot spot," so one side of the oatmeal cooked much faster than the other. It also developed a bit of a tough "skin" on top - not particularly appetizing. And the side of the crock without the hot spot left me with separated, kinda-watery oats, while the other side was much, much thicker.

But I stirred that bad boy vigorously, plopped a fat chunk of it in my tupperware, topped with craisins and booked it to work. I hoofed it today, and after my 15/20-minute walk, the oats needed just 30 or 40 seconds in the microwave to be the perfect temperature.


Delicious. Ugly, but delicious. I would strongly recommend this for people who, like me, are complete creatures of habit and don't mind eating the same thing for breakfast every day. I overserved myself today and am still working on my bowl of oats nearly an hour after getting here...this would make four-ish FAT servings like this, or about 5-6 still generously-sized servings.

I might change the ratios to add a BIT more liquid, since this is one thick-ass bowl of oats, but I'm not sure. I might just need to stir it better once it's done. The steel cut oats are key for this, too - don't try this with "regular" quick oats. I'm reasonably certain you'll end up with a mushy, disgusting mess in the morning.

Personally, I'm delighted to have come up with a way to have oats every morning without (1) taking the extra few minutes to assemble, or (2) paying through the nose to get it from DiBruno's. I've been doing that here and there, and good grief - a SMALL oatmeal (and, to be fair, the small is pretty hefty in size) is more than $4. I'd estimate that this vat of oats cost about $7 or $8 total - and that takes into account that I bought the majority of the ingredients at the overpriced grocery store down the street from me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

So when you spend the weekend hosting a party and cooking up a storm, you don't really feel much like grocery shopping. Or, well, if you're me, you don't. So I spent the week eating leftovers. Leftover Trader Joe's vegan meatballs, leftover black olives from the chili toppings, and leftover tortilla chips from the gargantuan Costco bag.

I mixed in some baby spinach and dubbed it "vegan meatball nachos." Honestly? not so bad.

This morning, Stephanie and I had a running date to do ten miles. When I woke up, though, my right foot hurt. BAD. I couldn't really put weight on it when I stepped out of bed. I walked the dogs, hoping it would start to warm up and I'd be fine. No dice - I limped the whole time. So, I called Stephanie to bail on our date.

I'm hoping that a day of rest fixes things. I'm very sore on the side of my ankle/heel, and have no idea why. I'm planning to get up and run tomorrow morning. I'm not happy about this, and I'm frustrated and will probably post about this later this week.

For now, I'd like to show you how I spent my morning.

I've been giving this lil' guy quite the workout lately.

I was inspired by Heather's post earlier this week. Pumpkin cinnamon buns? Seriously? Bring it. BRING IT. Especially this morning, when I was up and chipper, and it was 7:30 and my plans for the next few hours had been kind of blown. Since I didn't have many of the ingredients on hand (spelt and whole wheat flours, etc), I googled around for an alternative recipe, and ended up with this guy.

Rolled out, after the first rise:

Filling ingredients:

Spread over the softened butter and pumpkin dough.

All rolled up.

And ready for the second rise.

Are you doubled in size? Who can tell? It's been a good amount of time, so you're going in the oven, period.

Oh. Wow. Hello there.

Yes, I think it's important to slather you with as much cream cheese frosting as humanly possible.


Now, the only problem is that I have fifteen of these suckers left. But I guess, in the grand scheme of things, it's not a bad problem to have. Who wants to come over and finish these off?

Monday, October 11, 2010


This has to be a quick post, since I have a very exciting day. Even though I'm a fourth-year associate, I'm still the most junior person in my office...which starts to suck after a while, because there's no one for me to pass off work to. Until now. One of our nearby offices has a first-year associate who (miraculously) wants to do bankruptcy work, and BOY do I have plenty of it. So, he's coming into the city today to hang out, meet Bosslady and I, and -- most importantly -- grab some assignments from me.

I feel like dancing! But instead I need to pull stuff together to give to him. So that means a very quick weekend recap.

I started Saturday with a great nine-miler with Claudia from Sunrise & Cherries. I love meeting new running buddies, and it's a big bonus when we're running the same pace. We hit up the Schuylhill trail and knocked out nine miles on the Art Museum loop in about 1:32, chatting the entire time.

And good thing, too, because I proceeded to spend the next several hours doing this:

And preparing all kinds of appetizers. Here's the initial spread:

Please see cameos by what I've dubbed "OhSheGlows Canadian Hockey Nuts," and pumpkin pie dip inspired by Caitlin. Everyone raved - there was a lot of "Wait, did you actually MAKE this?" which I'm going to go ahead and take as a compliment.

(Please also see cameos by my husband's harmonica, which he uses to entertain the dogs, and my nacho hat, which was a wedding gift from my stepmother. My sister and I each got one. They are heirlooms.)

No pictures of the rest of the eats, though, since I was too busy, you know, eating and setting up and hosting and generally hanging out. I refilled all of the dips several times, and eventually let everyone loose on the chili and meatball sandwiches. Despite my certainty that I'd made an embarassing quantity of food, there were barely any leftovers. I made FOUR PACKAGES of Trader Joe's meatless meatballs, and threw almost four pounds of ground turkey in the chili...and somehow, almost all of it went. My excessiveness has been reinforced.

It should come as no surprise that I spent most of Sunday decked out in my finest:

It was a tossup between my Phillies sweats and my Eagles sweats. Eagles won out only because they're new, and there is NOTHING in the world quite like brand-new super-soft fleece. Apparently, I made the right choice, since the Phils swept even WITHOUT my pants' support.

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 8, 2010

College Football Party Menu

Yeah, I went there.

Salted caramel hot chocolate. It's a welcome trade for my usual post-lunch Lindt sea salt dark chocolate squares. The barista looked at me like I had four heads when I ordered it, since I almost always get plain ol' iced coffee. But I don't care - I LIVE for salty/sweet combos, and this is one of the best. I also love how they always ask if you want whipped cream - PLEASE. On a drink like this, if I'm being honest? I'd really prefer just a cup of whipped cream topped with caramel and sea salt. Forget the hot chocolate's almost too rich for me. I can only finish about half of a tall before it starts to get to be too much.

Anyway. I'm taking a quick break from blasting through stuff here at work to outline my menu for tomorrow. As I mentioned before, my SIL is coming into town for the weekend, and we're taking the opportunity to host a college football-watching party, open-house style.

Planned menu:

Appetizers/snacky stuff, to be set out around 1pm or so:

- Tortilla chips, baby carrots and assorted dips (Wegman's carmelized onion hummus, guacamole, salsa, creamy parmesan artichoke dip)
- Caitlin's Pumpkin Dip with sliced honeycrisp apples
- OhSheGlow's Canadian Beer Nuts


- Chopped tossed salad (romaine, tomatoes, cukes, red onion, maybe olives if I get really crazy)
- Meatballs, with red sauce, provolone cheese, plenty of shredded Locatelli and Amoroso's rolls
- Turkey chili (I'll start this in the crockpot around 10am and when it's done, it's done) with cornbread
- Chili fixins: Fage 0 (instead of sour cream), guac, shredded cheese, chopped onion, hot sauce, salsa, sliced olives


- Jenna's most amazing incredible chocolate chip cookies

I'll make the cookie dough in the morning and refrigerate until it seems like it's cookie time. nothing like fresh, warm delicious cookies :)

Reviewing this, I feel like I'm missing something. I'm thinking about maybe picking up a loaf of bread to add as an additional dipping alternative...not sure that I really need it, but this is how I operate. I suffer from what I believe to be a classic Italian (and, based on my experience, Jewish) affliction of "OMGWHATIFIDON'THAVEENOUGHFOOD?!"

Seriously. I would be so, SO embarassed if I ran out of food at a party. Horrified. I always over-cook, and I get made fun of for it...but seriously. Let's be clear. The chili I'm making? I have about three pounds of ground turkey and four cans of beans. I bought four packages of meatballs and 24 rolls. And I'm STILL worried my husband's friends won't get enough to eat. After all, who am I to decide how many meatball sandwiches is a reasonable amount per person?

My husband is worried about more reasonable things. Like whether we have enough seating for everyone, depending on who shows up when. Me? I'm like "WHO CARES! They can sit on the floor and have four meatball sandwiches and a pound of pumpkin dip and sixteen cookies each!"

Do you overfeed? Do you blame it on your heritage like I do? And more importantly...who's going to come over on Sunday and eat the pound and a half of chili and 27 meatballs that I'll have left over?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Greek Lady is Back!

Over the weekend, I carved orange jack o'lanterns with Sabrina, Leslie, Lisa, Lauren and Melissa. If you didn't read their recaps, you should - it was such a fun afternoon.

I have plenty of my own pictures, but haven't had a chance to get mine up because I've spent the past few days getting the house ready for my sister-in-law to come visit this weekend.

By "getting the house ready," you need to understand that what I REALLY mean is "while we have three bedrooms, we only use one of them and our 'guest room' has nothing in it at all besides a lamp and an ironing board." Buying a bedroom set for the guest room has not been particularly high on our priority list, because...well...there are just a whole lot of other things to spend your cash on, you know?

But then PhillyGuy was like "oh, she can just sleep on the couch downstairs." And I was HORRIFIED. We are quasi-grown-ups, you know? I will not have my poor SIL crashing on our couch like we're still living in a one-bedroom apartment, while the ironing board gets its very own room. It was just the kick in the butt that I needed to get that room put together.

And that's what I've been doing. Putting things together. Monday afternoon I did the world's fastest solo Ikea trip - not only did I manage to get a bed, mattress, two shelves and assorted shelf basket-drawer-things in less than an hour, I managed to load everything into the car BY MYSELF. In the RAIN.

And then Sophie helped me open the boxes so I could put the shelves together.

Wasn't that nice of her?

Before PhillyGuy and I tackled the gargantuan task of building the bed, we ordered from our absolute favorite delivery place ever.

GREEK LADY! They were closed all summer for renovations, so this is the first time I've been able to have my favorite ginormous greek salad in several months.

This thing is HUGE. I can only finish about half of it. I shared the leftover chicken (probably 6 ounces, at least) with the dogs. I also discovered that Cosmo loves anchovies on pita bread. Good boy. I'm with you.

Even though it's been hard work and more than a little time-consuming, I'm SO glad that this room is getting done. I'll have pictures once it's really together. In the meantime, I haven't been to the gym since Saturday and I'm starting to get a little stir-crazy. Definitely looking forward to a quick & dirty run tonight before I get back to cleaning the rest of the house.

Anyone around this weekend who wants to run the Art Museum loop with me? I need about 8-9 miles.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Craze

Today it's chilly out. Like, mid to high 50's. I'm actually kind of geeky-happy about that - you know, change of seasons and all that.

Today it's ALSO rainy out. Not REAL rain, for the most part, but lots of chilly mist. The kind where a hood is great, but an umbrella is sort of useless.

With the mist/rain/chill comes a sort of darkness. Or, well, not really DARK so much as "not in any way shape or form sunny." Even when it's not raining.

(Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about this - "A Certain Slant of Light." When we studied her in tenth grade English, my teacher described it as "You know what it's like when the sky is so gray, it hurts to look at it?" And that's how I always think of it now.)

So, when I'm presented with a bit of a chill, some wannabe-rain mist, and a certain slant of light, one thing sounds totally perfect.

(Okay, I lied. Lots of things sound perfect, like Sleepytime tea and my favorite sweatpants and a fleece blanket and blah blah blah.) But c'mon.

Pumpkin oats, baby.

This was amazing. Half cup of oats, a little less than a cup of vanilla almond milk (PhillyGuy may be developing a case of the lactose intolerants, so we're experimenting with non-dairy), about half a cup of pumpkin, bit of vanilla, bit of sugar-free maple syrup (chemicals FTW!) and a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice.

I mixed it all up in a tupperware and brought it to work cold, where I cooked it in the microwave. No, it's NOT as good as stovetop oats, but it beats the bejeezus out of my go-to at-work breakfasts (yogurt/berries or a bagel). I topped it with about half a pack of craisins that I picked up at the convenience store downstairs.

She may not be the prettiest bowl of oats you've ever seen, but I'm not sorry.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday Night Adventures

Adventures in baking, that is.

But first. Sometimes, there's only one thing you need at the end of a long week.

Okay...maybe two things.

After enjoying some Murphy-Goode pinot noir and a couple pieces of Lazaros - my favorite delivery pizza in the city! They do some crazy magic that makes the crust juuuuust right, the sauce is sweet but not too sweet...I love it! - I got down to business.

REAL business. The key ingredient in Friday night's baking adventures was...


Yeah, I went there. I made bacon chocolate cupcakes with homemade caramel buttercream icing. I used Scrumptious Photography's recipe - no adaptations at all. Except that I made a half batch, which should have yielded 12 cupcakes rather than 24...but it actually ended up yielding 16.

I started with the cupcakes. Melt together your chocolate and butter. I used the metal bowl of my mixer as a double boiler:

Stir in your sugar:

While the chocolate cools, whisk together your dry ingredients and chop your super-crispy bacon.

After adding your eggs, one at a time, to the chocolate, it's time to stir in the dry.

And then your secret ingredient - fold in most of the chopped bacon. I say "most" because I decided to reserve a bit to use as topping/decoration for the cupcakes...couldn't tell you how much.

Once it's all just incorporated, fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, start the icing. By, you know, MAKING YOUR OWN CARAMEL.

I MADE MY OWN CARAMEL, BITCHES! Honestly, I think you'd do just fine using store-bought caramel topping, but making your own is surprisingly easy. And then you get to say "I MADE MY OWN CARAMEL BITCHES!"

This is what FOUR STICKS of butter looks like beaten in with eggwhites and sugar.

And then it's time to switch to your paddle attachment to blend in your HOMEMADE CARAMEL!

MAN, this frosting is delicious. I mean, wow.

Now, my decorating skillz are...shall we say...amateur. But for having never made cupcakes before? Ever? Let alone making them from scratch and making the icing from scratch and using an icing tip for the first time in my life?

I can deal.

Thank goodness Stephanie and I had a running date this morning. I only ate a couple bites of cupcake, but way more than my fair share of frosting and batter while I baked :) We braved the Kelly Drive/West River Drive/Art Museum loop, despite yesterday's insane flooding, and covered 8 miles in about 1:25.

Busy day - time to go get my haircut, hang with some great bloggy friends for a fun event at Sabrina's, and then out to the 'burbs for a "Diaper BBQ." Some of my bacon cupcakes might make the trip out with me...