Crazy weather week + winter running

We got some wild weather last week (not that I’m complaining). It started off super cold with temperatures feeling in the sub-10 degrees range on last Sunday after the first snowfall of the year and continued into Monday. I opted to stay inside to bake cookies and muffins for the week, which kept the house quite warm!

The week warmed up each day after that and reached a fabulously beautiful 60 degrees on Thursday. Even though I had done a 6 mile tempo treadmill run on Wednesday, I couldn’t resist not running outside to enjoy the great running weather. So, I did an easy 5 mile recovery run after work and captured this beauty.

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Unfortunately the great weather ended Friday and temperatures dropped into the 20s and 30s on Saturday when my sister and I went out for a 9 mile long run to Coney Island. There wasn’t a lot of wind so with our UA ColdGear and light jacket, it wasn’t too bad. I ran an easy 11:26 pace with her since she is just taking up running. It was nice to run together and we promised to have a monthly run, just the two of us for some sister time.

Yesterday, on Sunday I went out for my own run to acclimate myself to running in the cold. I’ve actually learned to enjoy it. If you are anyone who knows me, I HATE the cold. I’m literally the worst person to be around in the cold. I’m cranky. grouchy. crabby. Basically the world’s biggest hermit. But unless I’m running in a snowstorm with Siberia-like wind gusts, I think I can handle it. Sure I’ve got to slow down my pace if there’s ice or snow, but it’s actually refreshing to get out in the cold to get the blood flowing. Summer running is nice, but really icky by the end. Winter running is refreshing and I don’t feel as disgusting, but of course getting warmed up afterwards is the main priority. I don’t want to catch a cold!

After the run, I headed to the new NYRRRun Center to pick up runnings bibs for next Sunday’s Fred LeBow Half Marathon. The new space was awesome and it was great to see race stats, running gear, and lockers available for use. I’ll definitely be using those when I want to run in Central Park.

I also stopped at Juice Press for one of their free juices from participating in their #willrunforjuice Instagram campaign. Every Sunday morning, from 9am until 12pm  you get a free juice when you go on a run, and post to Instagram with #willrunforjuice, #juicepress. Then you go to any of their local Juice Press locations, show the cashier your photo and get a free juice! It’s a great motivation for cold winter running. I chose the blueberry protein smoothie. (FYI disclaimer: I did not realize the full name of the drink before choosing. I just saw blueberry and was won over.)

Today is Martin Luther King Day so I get the day off. Taking a day off from running, so I’ll be making dinner. Cross my fingers that it’ll be a success. If it’s good enough nd presentable, I’ll be sure to share it here!

Last weeks workouts:

Sunday: REST (and baking)

Monday: Nike speed workout

Tuesday: PopSugar dumbbell workout

Wednesday: Nike 6 mile tempo workout

Thursday: 5 mile easy run

Friday: REST (and Barnes & Nobles)

Saturday: 9 mile run

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Returning from blogging hiatus

It’s been a while (actually 5 months) since I’ve posted anything. I’ll admit that I’ve been lazy and writing isn’t my passion.

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Photos and videos are my jam. But I’ve had a change of mind – and it’s all thanks to Christine from Boutiquefull. (Go check it out – it’s pretty fabulous).

We were going for a run today and she mentioned that I should take up blogging again, so that we could be blogging twins. One reason I stopped writing was because I felt it was too much work posting all the recipes I tried baking/cooking. By the time I was done baking cookies or decorating a cake, I had forgotten to take any photos at all for the blog. I always ended up just having a photo of the finished product to post on Instagram, and decided from then to just use Instagram as my social media outlet.

But I’ve since gotten a bit better at remembering to take photos during different steps of the recipe. It’s not on the same level as the food blogs I follow, but I always link and credit the sites where I get my recipes anyway. I’m not recipe developing yet so I wouldn’t have to re-write the recipe.

I decided to take on a different approach to my blog. I’ll be sharing recipes, workouts, and random happenings during my week. Hope to social with you all soon!

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow cookies. Seven-layer cookies. Venetian cookies. Whatever you call them, they are the red-yellow-green cake-like cookies you see in the Italian cookies. I’m actually not a big fan of Italian cookies. Although they make beautiful dessert centerpieces and are so pretty in the bakery display cases, I find most Italian bakery cookies on the dry and crumbly side. I prefer moist cakes or soft, chewy cookies for dessert. Maybe that’s why rainbow cookies are the exception. According to Serious Eats Guide to Italian Bakery cookies, rainbow cookies are three moist cake layers sandwiches between apricot or raspberry jam and coasted with dark chocolate. They’re moist but not too dense.

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The cookies aren’t necessarily difficult to make – just time consuming, space hogging, and expensive. It requires almond paste which costs about $6-7 for a 7-ounce tube. They also take a lot of kitchen space and time since you are making 3 9×13 in layers, stacking them, and chilling them in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

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This weekend, after a hot and sweaty long run with NRC, I set out to create these little beauties. I wish I had more time to take step-by-step photos but it’s hard when your hands are sticky and the kitchen is turning into a bit of a mess. I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe*, who provides lots of photos to reference.

While these cookies do take lots of time and pricey ingredients and would probably be easier to buy at the bakery, I enjoyed making them. One batch gives lots of pieces since you can cut them however big or small you want. I hope you can make this one of your weekend projects!

*Note:
Butter – I decreased the amount of butter to 1 cup or 2 sticks
Sugar – I decreased the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup

Spiced Pork Empanadas

I’ve realized that I’ve been going through a sugar rush recently – first with the addictively sweet Momofuku Birthday Cake, then with the buttery sugar Captain America shield cookies. I needed something savory – like these empanadas:

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I’ve had empanadas on my cooking bucket list for quite a while. I was introduced to Spanish tapas a couple years ago at El Porron for a birthday lunch with my sister. While Spanish tapas hasn’t made my top cuisine list, I really enjoyed the flavors and spices in each of the tapas dishes we ordered. The one that resonated most with me were the steak empanadas, one of the day’s special tapas. The crust was flaky and tender. The steak was juicy and flavorful. There were only two per order so I savored every bite. Sometimes I still dream about it. Continue reading

July 4th BBQ (city-style)

Happy (belated) 4th of July!

In honor of America’s Independence Day, we had a oven-prepared bbq, complete with bbq wings, ribs, potato salad, and garlic bread. What’s an oven-prepared bbq? Quite simply, all the usual bbq foods but cooked in an oven instead of on the grill.

These are the #firstworldproblems of living in a condo with no constructed backyard grill space. We have the roof, a terrace, and a backyard but none of which are set up for a grill. But my fantastic mama still managed to cook all our favorites:

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What was my contribution? These Captain America shield cookies! I know they aren’t too pretty but mama says at least I tried. There were a couple of problems I ran into. 1. I didn’t have a mini star cookie cutter so I had to make one by hand. 2. I ran out of dough 3. They take forever to chill and turn soft really quickly.

I had make the stars by hand because I didn’t have a mini star cookie cutter, so they’re a bit misshapen. (Sorry Captain America!)

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I baked my cookies for 10 minutes at 375 F because my oven seems to bake at a lower temperature. Next time I might even bake for as long as 12-13 minutes because they seemed a bit too underbaked.

The recipe is adapted from the Red, White, and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies on Just A Taste. I followed Rosie’s Dessert Spot video tutorial on how to make the Captain America Shield Cookies on how to create the shield design.

I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did.

Happy 4th of July! Set those fireworks blazing!