Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Peanut, peanut butter!

My late Grandfather had a very dominant strand of the Peanut Butter Lover gene and I inherited it so you can imagine my excitement when I came across a homemade peanut butter cups recipe in Alicia Silverstone's book "The Kind Diet." I was also intrigued by the concept of a vegan version of a favorite guilty pleasure. If you find yourself equally intrigued then give it a try...the results will not disappoint!

Some see empty paper cups...I see the promise of what's to come! Any who, here's what you need to fill these with peanut buttery goodness.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12
1/2 cup soy butter
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (preferably unsweetened and unsalted)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 10 squares)
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 cup grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate chips
1/4 cup soy, rice, or nut milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and maple sugar and mix well. (You will also want to inhale deeply at this point as the peanut butter mixture smells amazing!)
Remove the mixture from the heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among the muffin cups.

Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted. (One thing I noticed is the texture of the grain-sweetened chocolate was not as smooth when melted as regular chocolate.)

Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Top with chopped nuts. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.

Here is what my finished peanut butter cups looked like. I kept mine stored in the refrigerator and also stuck some in the freezer for a later date (they held up just fine). One thing I recommend is to take the peanut butter cups out of the refrigerator for about half an hour or so before eating them. I think you taste the flavors better if they are more room temperature then straight from the frig cold. No matter how you serve them though...enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mantras for Our Dreams

I believe that a personal mantra can help you through many, many challenges in life, athletic or otherwise, which is why I want to share mine with you today. First, here's the back story behind it. I am definitely a person that lives with their head in the clouds at times. Often when I daydream I think of myself going for a run at some fantastic location. Vermont country roads at the peak of autumn, along the rim of the Grand Canyon, along the wine trail in Napa...

...but my absolute favorite dream run would have to be through the Pyramids of Egypt. I just think they are so amazingly beautiful that just thinking of running there gives me a freeing feeling. Two years ago I began training for my first half-marathon and needed some help getting through those longer runs. So I would picture myself in Egypt in my mind and say to myself, "Won't stop until I touch the Sphinx." Viola...my mantra was born. Repeating my mantra whenever I feel tired or my mind toys with the idea of stopping always helps to bring me back in my run and keep chugging along to the finish. Using a mantra has helped me to realize that my body is not made of glass and that when I push myself, I can achieve great things. That realization is a powerful thing itself! How have mantras helped you achieve great things?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On your mark…get set…GO!

After reading blogs for many years and with some gentle encouragement from my sister, Sugar Bear, I have decided it is time to start a blog all my own. I'd like my blog to focus on my two biggest hobbies of running and cooking. I've met some interesting people and made some great friends through my running experiences through the years. These people have taught me that every runner has a unique bag of tricks that powers them through their "I've never felt so amazing" runs and their "My legs are burning and my lungs are full of lead" runs. I'm excited to share some of my tricks with you and hear some of yours as well. I'm also a self proclaimed health nut and I'd love to blog about some of the healthy and nutritious recipes I've come across and the occasional not so healthy recipe (cause life is all about having fun, after all). Thanks for reading and please drop by again sometime!