Tuesday, 30 April 2013


**Author Note: This is a re-post from my first blog "I Feel a Blog Coming On". I've since switched over to "Running to Bake" exclusively but I'm in need of a kick in the ass to get back into running after my half marathon, so I thought I'd re-post this for me, but also for anyone who needs a good arse kicking right now!**

How many times in your life have you seen the Nike slogan "Just Do It"? I know for me, it's more times than I can even imagine. Since their campaign started (which was actually 1988, the year after I was born) those words flash across the TV screen, appear in magazines, T-Shirts & billboards. The interesting thing is, those 3 words never really meant anything to me. They were just catchy words meant to sell a product like "I'm Lovin' It" or "Got Milk?" and "Where's the Beef?"

Now, recently, I've started training for a half marathon (I know, you're all like "No sh*t Sherlock, you only post about it every 20 minutes) and something I've had trouble with is, getting up in the morning and going for a run. It's dark & cold and not REALLY early (7am is early, ok guys?). So last Wednesday, was one of those mornings I was supposed to get up and go out. I made excuse after excuse as to why I didn't have to. After getting up I beat myself up and felt like a schmuck. So, later in the day I relayed this to my Running Buddy and she said "You're psyching yourself out, when you wake up, just get out of bed and just do it"


I've been thinking about these words a lot since then. The next morning I got up and hmm'd and haa'd a bit about going for a run and then I said "Just frigging do it" and I did. Then again the next morning and the morning after that and the morning after that.

It's not just for running either. There are so many things in life that are easy to put off that you should just get up and DO IT. Grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming, taking the dog out, making amends with someone, clearing up a misunderstanding, anything that you're putting off...just DO it.

As cheesy as it is, this is my new mantra. It is so applicable and versatile and I feel almost certain that no matter what it is, and no matter what the outcome, I will be happy that I just DID it.

So thank you Nike, after 25 years of bombarding me with your slogan, I FINALLY get it and I am truly grateful to have it!

Monday, 29 April 2013

"Better for You" Peanut Butter Cookies

Soooo, for those of you who know me (and particularly those who knew me in second year university), I REALLY love peanut butter. For example, in second year I went through one of the HUMUNGO tubs of PB in TWO MONTHS...yes, you're thinking of the right one...they usually last a family of 4 about 6 months. In my defense, I was vegetarian for those 2 months and that was my major source of protein...*cough* yes, we'll go with that.

Anywho, I love PB, but I've never really loved peanut butter cookies. I felt like they took away from the essence that is Peanut Butter. However, last night, as I was pulling out all my ingredients to make my No-Bake Choco-PB clusters, I happened to see a so called "Better for you" Peanut Butter cookie recipe on the back of the PB jar that looked kind of awesome. 3 ingredients, 20 min total prep time "better for you" (not sure how, but sounds convincing to me!)...deal!

Holy. Amazeball. These are the ultimate PB cookie. PLUS the are Gluten Free and Lactose Free (not that I care, but I have friends who do!)

"Better for You" Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Reduced Fat Peanut Butter (I actually prefer this type of PB, but you can use whatever you want!)
1/2 cup Sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the above ingredients (seriously, just the 3 of them), until well combined. 

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Use a fork to make that crisscross pattern that is on ALL peanut butter cookies (and oddly, only on PB cookies...must find out why that is).

Put in the oven for 15 mins (at the most). You can tell they are done when the start to turn a dark-ish brown. Let cool on pan for about 5 mins then transfer to cooling rack.

NOTE: I only say the "5 min on pan" out of obligation. My hubby and I usually dig in around 2 minutes, cool or not. We also usually burn ourselves, but it's SO worth it. 

We went crazy and added little extra icing to ours (since these are "better for you", I'm sure the extra tablespoon of icing is cancelled out...right?) 

Thank you Kraft for providing me with these yummy, yummy cookies! This will deffo be a new staple in our house!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Why I did a Half Marathon...

For the last 4 months, my amazing friends & family (and especially my hubby) have been putting up with my relentless posts, tweets, conversations & training for this half marathon. I feel a little silly because there are MILLIONS of people out there that run half marathons & marathons and even ULTRA Marathons (50-60KM) and don't go on and on and on about it like I did.

I just wanted to take a minute to explain why it was such a big deal for me to run this baby:

  1. For my whole life, I've had anxiety issues with exercise (see here for full post) so part of me did it to show myself that I COULD. 
  2. I did this race 100% for myself. I didn't do it to impress anyone, I didn't do it to make someone proud of me, I did it for ME. I think I can honestly say for the 1st time in my life, this was the case.
  3. I needed to clear my head and rid myself of anxiety. The past 6 months have been pretty crazy and I needed an outlet. Zumba is a great workout, but doesn't allow me to "escape". I knew running would help me with that.
  4. I wanted a challenge. I knew I was capable of already running 5K and 10K (I've done so in the past) so I thought I'd go to the next level.
All this aside, it was really all to prove to me that I am capable of anything I set my mind to. I've been told that I could my whole life, but never believed it.

So, from December 28 to April 20, we trained. We trained in snow, sleet, rain, wind, extreme cold, you name it, we ran in it (in retrospect, training in winter might have been a BIT ambitious, but it didn't matter because we did it anyway). Thanks to my amazing run buddies, we did it all with a smile on our face.

Run Buddies!
Then: RACE DAY. It was almost like the morning of my wedding. Something you've been waiting for, for what seems like an eternity, and it's finally here. I was all nerves and energy. When we started the race, it took everything I had not to sprint ahead with the rest of the runners (who finished with a time of 1:40 or something silly like that).

 I'll spare you the minute to minute details of the whole run, but to give you an idea, I can sum it up in one word: HILLS. Goddam HILLS. Just as you were catching your breath from one hill, you were on to the next one.

At 10K we said "eff it" and walked UP the hills. We were probably going to same speed we would be going if we tried to run up them anyway. At least, when you go up, you usually got to run down.

At about 15K, it didn't matter if I was going up or going down, my body was protesting.

At 16K Mom and Jon were there cheering us on and taking pictures. Same at 18K.That added a really nice boost (and also accounts for the money shots, like below)

That look right there, that's delirium.

At 20K, we were almost there. The end was in sight...At the top...of another hill. Luckily for us, Angie's boyfriend came galloping down the hill and yelled "GO ANGELA, GO LISA" and helped push us to the bottom of the hill. Angela turns to me and says "We can't stop, we have to just run up the hill" then, we heard a loud "WHOOOOOP" and saw our Dad clamoring down the hill and yelling "You're so amazing, you're almost there" and looked so redonkulously happy that I couldn't help but laugh and trudge up the hill.

Then...it was there. Less than 200 meters away. The Finish Line. I grabbed Angies hand and we ran like "hell" (I use this term loosely because we were most likely moving at a fast shuffle, but nevertheless, it felt like we were moving at top speed).

 When we crossed that finish line, I have never experienced the feeling that I had in that moment. Tears of joy filled my eyes when they presented us with our medals. I was happy, sad, proud, tired, entergized, amazed, confused...I was like a teenage girl all over again.

Then...our amazing team of friends and family piled on us. I was presented with TWO bags of ketchup chips (TWO!!!) and hugged until my arms were sore. My fave little munchkins gave us this amazing picture:

This brought on another whole wave of emotion as I realize how lucky & blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life to be there and support me. My running guru (AT) had finished the run with a CRAZY amazing time and was waiting for me and we hugged and cried together and went "Holy sh*t, that was hard"

All in all...this was an experience I will never, EVER forget. If you have a fear...go out there an conquer it. I promise you, it will change your life as this did mine.

Finally, I want to thank each and every one of my amazing friends on FB & twitter for never telling me to "Shut the Eff Up Already" about my posts every week. Thank you for supporting me and telling me I could do it. I truly cannot thank you enough.

I promise I will now shut the eff up already about it :)

Soooooo...what's next?

Monday, 22 April 2013

Cake Batter Truffles *NOM*

Okay...I have a confession. I LOVE to dip everything and anything in chocolate. It started a couple of years ago when my friend K came over and suggested we dip Rice Krispie treats into chocolate for a fun, inexpensive Christmas gift. While we failed MISERABLY at it, they were still delish! I thought, hmmm...maybe I can trick people into THINKING I can bake by dipping things into chocolate.

First Attempt: Oreos
Result: Orgasmreos

Second Attempt: Cheesecake Oreo Truffles (mashed up cream cheese and Oreos dipped in Chocolate)
Result: Holy TrEFFles

Anyway, you get the idea. Everything dipped in chocolate is delicious.

This is what sparked my love of treat making. Once I got cocky and realized I could make other, much scarier things (like Salted Caramel Bark and No-Bake Cookies) I forgot about my original love!  So, when I saw the Cake Batter Truffle recipe on Pinterest, I figured I'd go back to my "roots" and try it out!

HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF CAKE BATTER these are good! A must try!

Cake Batter Truffles

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used salted, melted butter, still amazing)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cake mix (I used white, still amazing)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of milk
2 bags of white chocolate chips

Beat the butter and the sugar together with an electric mixer until combined. Next, add the flour, cake mix, vanilla and salt and beat until everything is blended (it will look dry and unappetizing at this point). Slowly add the milk. The original recipe calls for only 3-4 tbsp of milk, but I needed a lot more than that, so add the 1/4 cup a little at a time until it becomes a dough.

Next (the fun part!) mix in the sprinkles by hand! Add as many as you would like! I didn't have very much on hand, but believe me, I would have gone CRAZY with the sprinkles if I could! Roll into 1" balls (they may looks small, but once you get them dunked in chocolate, any bigger is too much) and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment (or foil). Put in the fridge/freezer for 15mins. 

About 5 mins before your dough is ready, put the white chocolate chips into a double boiler (or in my case, just a regular pot) and SLOWLY start to melt. SLOWLY.

Once dough is firm & chocolate is melty, dip away! I just use tongs to dip the balls into the choclate, but if you have a better method, definitely use that (and then tell me what you do, because using tongs is VERY messy). Every so often (after 6 truffles or so) add more sprinkles to the top!

When you are done, but in the freezer to set. They should be ready in about 10 mins or so! You can store them in there OR in the fridge!


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Clusters

Back when I was a kid, my Grandma made us these AMAZING chocolate covered cookie things with pretzle, rice krispie (I think) and other such goodies in them. Unfortunately, I have NO idea how she made them, and haven't been able to nail down the recipie. SO, when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I was really excited because it looked very close to my fave cookie!

When I made it using the original recipe (can be found here) they were quite good, but were missing the crunch factor I loved about my Grandmother's recipe. Luckily for me, the next time I went to make them I just happened to have a box of cornflakes that I never opened from a different baking adventure so I thought "why the heck not!"

They are DELISHHHH! Also, they are more of a cluster than a cookie, which sounds more exotic IMO.

2 Cups Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup of Butter
3 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Crunchy Peanut Butter (MUST be Crunchy, not smooth)
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Oatmeal (you know, for healthy reasons)
2 Cups Corn Flakes

Mix the sugar, butter, cocoa powder in milk in a pot (saucepan?) and bring to a boil. DO THIS SLOWLY. I'm no master baker, but trust me when I tell you anything to do with heating sugar/chocolate needs to be done slowly. Boil for 1 min.

Mmmm, Chocolatey

Stir in PB and Vanilla (I'm usually generous with the vanilla, mm mm good) then transfer to a large bowl (much easier to mix in the other stuff in a new bowl)

Quickly, stir in the oatmeal and the cornflakes. You'll have something that looks like this:
Mmmmm, Clustery
Spoon this "batter" onto parchment (or foil) lined cookie sheet(s). You can make them as big or as small as you like! I like to make them small for a bite-sized snack (so made about 30 clusters). Stick in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up!

Although I like the texture of these better when they are not frozen, I suggest you store them IN the freezer.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, 12 April 2013

Salted Chocolate Caramel Bark


As soon as I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to give it a try. I love Salted Caramel, I love chocolate and my dog barks! A match made in heaven ;) PLUS, I'm a huge fan of treats that don't take a lot of commitment. I can have a piece (or two) to get my sweet fix over the span of the day (instead of a cupcake that I have to eat in one sitting...although I LOVE cupcakes).

**Disclaimer: I love to bake (as I mentioned in my first blog post) but I'm not a "Baker" by any means so I don't know the size of my pans, the right names for them (what is the difference between pot & saucepan?) and my methods can be a little half-hazard, but I promise, the result is HEAVENLY. **

Here is how I made it. It's actually a mash-up of two recipes. The one on Pinterest (which uses caramel chips) and the caramel part of THIS recipes from The Happy Baker (LOVE her PS). I felt adventurous and wanted to make my own caramel.

Caramel Ingredients:

1/2 cup Salted Butter
1/2 cup Brown Sugar Packed
1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 tbsp. Honey

Bark Ingredients:
1 Package of Milk Chocolate Chips
1 Package of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Coarse Sea Salt


Line a baking sheet (a regular sized one?) with wax paper (or in my case aluminum foil, but I say wax paper here because it sounds MUCH more professional).

In a heavy bottom pot (clearly I don't know ANY terminology at all), combine all of the Caramel ingredients. Over medium-low heat, bring caramel to a boil STIRRING CONSTANTLY. Seriously, DO NOT STOP STIRRING. Otherwise, the caramel will burn. Boil for 5 minutes and KEEP STIRRING.

Near the end of the 5 mins, put both packages chocolate chips into another heavy bottom pot (or a double boiler if you happened to be blessed with such a thing, which I'm not) on LOW heat.

Once the 5 mins are up, remove caramel from heat and beat for 2 mins (and take a quick break to stir chocolate as well). This was a little big of a juggling act of stir caramel, stir chocolate & repeat.

Once chocolate is melted, pour onto your baking sheet (you have to be quite quick about this) and evenly spread over the "wax paper." Next, using a spatula, put globs of the caramel on top of the chocolate and use a spoon to swirl the caramel and chocolate together.

Next, take your sea salt and sprinkle on top of the concoction. Don't be shy either. It may look like a lot, but it's not.

Next, place in the freezer for about 20 mins or so. When it has hardened, take it out and smash/break/tear into pieces. Store them in the freezer.

**UPDATE** If you want, you can make this into a 2 layer bark. Simply pour the caramel on a pan lined with aluminum foil, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Then, put in the oven @ 350 degrees for 1-2 mins to melt the chocolate. Take out and use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly. Freeze for 2-3 hours and break into pieces afterwards.


Thursday, 11 April 2013


What a weekend.

Started off on Friday with Restorative Yoga. My poor body AND mind needed this SOO badly. With all the running I've been doing and with all the shiz going on in regular life, this was the perfect opportunity to check out for 90mins. During the class, while sitting in childs pose, the instructor read a very beautiful passage about miracles.While I can't remember the exact quote, the idea was, while we don't often feel like miracles happen around us, the mere fact that we somehow manage to stand still while the earth spins on it's axis at a gajillion miles an hour while hurling itself through space...that's a miracle. The fact that the sun rises and sets every day...that's a miracle. Our existence on this planet is pretty spectacular. 

I know, I know. You're all "Like totally dude. Far out, man" I sound like a bit of a Yogi, Granola Type, but when she read that passage, it really resonated with me. Our whole presence here on Earth is actually a pretty amazing thing. The human body is an incredible thing.

Exhibit A:

6am, Sunday Morning. A dense fog rolls in.The clouds hang heavy with the promise of rain. (Dramatic, right??)

AT and I head out at 7am to conquer 20km. 10K out, 10K back. Tired, sore and undermotivated, we dragged ourselves UP the first 10km ("It'll be a flat run, don't worry" AT says. HA!). At the 10K mark (in the middle of nowhere I might add) I lean on a sign to stretch my aching knee while AT strips a layer off. We look at each other and have an unspoken agreement: "Let's kick the next 10K's butt"

Que RAIN! Pouring, wet, cold...rain.

No matter, we plug along, my knee yelling "Waddya mean you aren't done yet?" At about 15K in, out of no where swoops this amazing bird of prey (Falcon?) as if to say "You can do this, just keep going" so we marvel in that moment and we come up a hill to see a paddock of adorable baby horses frolicking and jumping on each other. We giggle about that and quite honestly, before we know it...we're less than 2KM from home!

Miracle? Maybe not traditionally, but as we were looking around us, my knee stopped hurting, and my body took over and pushed me forward. I was firing on all cylinders and not even thinking about it. My heart was pumping, my lungs expanding and contracting, my muscles carrying me. It was a feeling I will never, EVER forget.

Take a moment now and sit back and just feel your body working away. It does that every day on autopilot. Pretty cool, I know.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Thursday Inspiration...

Saw this on Pinterest today and it really spoke to me. Bad stuff is ALWAYS going to happen, that is life. Focus on the good, enjoy the moment and keep moving forward.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Running to Bake

So here is the thing. My whole life I have LOVED eating. I really could eat all day, every day if someone just gave me the chance (and got rid of those pesky calories everyone seems so concerned about). Eat is/was my favourite form of therapy. Accomplished something at school? Celebrate with food! Bad break up? Drowned my sorrows in food. Bored? You know, FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!

Not only do I love to EAT IT, I love to MAKE IT!  There is just something SO soothing about whipping together a batch of cupcakes, put together that PERFECT fudge, to beat a batter the way you wish you could beat whoever, to make those mouth watering treats you see ALL OVER PINTEREST! It truly is a form of therapy that you just can't get anywhere else.

Here is the problem.

Up until recently, I HATED exercise. Really, I despised everything and anything about it. If I DID choose to exercise it was because I was either forced to OR I was attempting to loose weight (which, since I love eating, was A LOT of the time). It always made me cranky, resentful and here's the kicker - gave me an excuse to EAT more food. You know, the whole "Well, I just burned a bunch of calories, that means I can eat anything I want."

Yea, no.

Recently, I have actually come to terms with my hate for exercise and now, dare I say it, I actually enjoy it *hides face* I KNOW. I can't believe it either!

Wanna know something else? All that blah blah blah that Doctors and fitness types spout about it helping you sleep, making you feel better, giving you more energy and all that shit? It's TRUE! They aren't saying that just to get you to join their creepy fitness cult. Exercise ACTUALLY helps make you feel better!

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), it isn't easy. This is why Fitness Haters  (or FH for short) like, try to do it for a little while (we're talking like MAYBE a month) see some results and think "Yea, I've put in my time. MA, where's the ice cream?"

Where is all this going? Hang on, I'm getting there.

Here is my next problem. Food is and will always be, one of my TOP loves in life (aside from my Hubby, my Pup and my friends and family of course) and we need to eat to survive.

What is a food loving, exercise hating girl like me to do?

Well, I started with Zumba. I knew I had to find an exercise program that I liked in order to stick to it. It worked! I'm now a Zumba instructor! Zumba was great, it was the PERFECT exercise gateway drug into fitness. I dropped 10lbs, loved going to classes, it was the bomb. HOWEVER, I was not getting the Therapy Rush that I did with baking/eating. Something was still missing.

Now, I've run on and off my whole life. I hated it. It was so much work, my legs always hurt, hills suck, people look at you, it was just blech. I only did it because I had to or I felt I should. Turns out, that's not actually running. I mean, the act itself is, but I was not getting the actually running experience.

In December 2012, I decided to join my crazy friend and my crazy sister and train for a Half Marathon. "What the BLEEP am I doing" I remember thinking to myself. "This is the dumbest thing I've ever signed up for, I HATE running"


It started with my poor ass dragged on a 10KM run (**DISCLAIMER, do not try this at home, it was only because of my fitness level due to Zumba that my friend thought this was a good idea**) and you know what? I did it. Then I did 13K, then 14, then 15, now I'm up to 17KM. And now? I crave it. There is truly NOTHING like getting out there (first accomplishment, I might add) and being alone with your thoughts (or venting to a friend). It is truly amazing. I got the same rush from running that I did from baking & eating (sometime, even BETTER because there is no food hangover after).

So here is where everything comes together (10 years later, I know).

I am going to do 2 things with this blog:

1. Post delish recipes that I find and have made and enjoyed.

2. Post running tips, tricks, triumphs and sorrows in hopes that someone out there can relate to me and find the encouragement to get out there.

Through this blog, I am going to mash together my 2 great therapy loves and make sense of it all!