Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vanilla Pastry Studio - Pittsburgh, PA

Today's run was followed by a trip to Vanilla Pastry Studio which is in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh. For those who don't know the area, you don't go to this section of town at night. Luckily for us, it was daytime and the streets seemed pretty safe. The bakery was easy to find with it's large sandwich board in the front:

We walked in and it was a "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" moment. The decor was charming and the cupcake display was vast.

It was difficult choosing which cupcake to get this week. They had cookies and cream, chocolate fudge, red velvet, strawberry, and peanut butter cupcakes just to name a few. After much deliberation, I decided on a vanilla caramel cupcake. Even though it was hard to watch it go into the box instead of into my mouth, I took it home to enjoy. (Hubby got a cookies and cream cupcake and the kiddos split some chocolate gobs).

Vanilla's website describes this cupcake as "Vanilla Butter Cupcake with Caramel-Vanilla Buttercream". I am not sure of the make-up of the beads and a cursory Google search didn't help me with that. They were good, that's all I know.

You probably can't tell but I am saying "Hurry up and take this picture so I can eat this cupcake" in my head.

My review for Vanilla as well as the cupcake is A+++. Seriously. Amazing. The buttercream icing was sweet and tasty. And the cake portion was melt in your mouth delicious. It's really a shame that this location isn't closer to my house because I'd love to go back there more often. (FYI: Happened to notice a S'mores cupcake on their online menu and am a bit disappointed those weren't offered today...)

I'm not sure where I am heading next week but seeing that there is an 18 miler on my schedule, I hope to pick somewhere good...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hills on Hump Day

Today's Food:

3 scrambled egg whites with green and red peppers, 1 slice of toast, 1/2 banana, grapes
2 slices of homemade wheat pizza, salad with carrots and spritzer.
Back to Nature wheat crackers, Cheddar Babybel cheese, grapes
Whole wheat rotini with sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, sauteed veggies (red and green peppers, carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes), and applesauce
Killed my chocolate craving with half of a Hershey's Special Dark bar (forced hubby to eat the other half...LOL!)
1/2 banana with peanut butter, bowl of dry Crunchy Corn Bran cereal

Today's Workout:

My legs were totally fatigued this morning from yesterday's mileage so luckily I wasn't planning to run until evening today. I met up with Bernadette and Carolyn for 6 miles of hills. They really kept me going today - I am so lucky to have such awesome running partners:)

Splits today were 10:36, 9:32, 10:12, 10:35, 10:39, and 9:52.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday's Musings

I was on vacation all last week. I still took pics (trust me, there are some gorgeous ones of me shoving a S'mores into my mouth and also a few of some Lucky Charms cereal bars) but I don't have time to post them all. I'll just start fresh today...

Today's Food:

3 scrambled egg whites, 1 slice of provolone, organic ketchup, 1/2 banana, grapes, 1 whole wheat sandwich thin
Spring Mix salad with 3 oz grilled chicken, carrots, and fat free ranch.
1/2 bowl of Fiber One Caramel Delight cereal, 1/2 orange, grapes.
3 oz grilled chicken, rice, broccoli
Yummy homemade banana bread

Today's Workout:

Finally got some strength training in! Seriously, it felt so nice to use my muscles for something other than running. I wore my "Cupcake Chasers" shirt to the gym this morning and it made me smile. I also walked the kids back and forth from our neighborhood park. It was a great day!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Potomac Bakery

This morning's cupcake was provided by one of my running partners (Thanks Heather!). She had gotten cupcakes for her husband's birthday and knew I hadn't tried this particular bakery yet. So thoughtful!

Potomac Bakery has two locations and both aren't too far from me. I'd like to go back to check out some of their specialty cupcakes because today's choice was fairly simple: Chocolate icing on a vanilla cake.

Note that there is no Garmin next to it in the picture. That is because I was a Zen Runner today. And not on purpose either. I put my GPS on the charger last night and completely forgot it this morning. I had driven with others so I couldn't very well make them go back home for it. It was really hard to watch for the mile markers and I have no clue about my pace. Thank God for GPS technology.

But, I digress. Back to the review...

Unlike the other cupcakes I have tried, this one didn't have buttercream icing. It pretty much tasted like the Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines frosting you can buy in the grocery store. Truly, there is nothing wrong with that as I could eat one tub of that stuff in a sitting but I was expecting something a bit more decadent.

I was very happy with the moistness of the cake. Even being a day old, it was incredible. I wonder if all of their cakes are that moist? I might have to head back and find out. Anyone got a birthday coming up? Maybe I can help you celebrate....?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bethel Bakery - Bethel Park

This morning's run was done on the Bethel Branch of the Montour Trail. On the way home from there, I pass Bethel Bakery so it was an easy choice for this week's cupcake.

My in laws love this place and even got us our wedding cake from there so I am pretty familiar with it. I had never had their gourmet cupcakes though, and I was pretty excited to give them a shot.  It was busy when I entered. I took a number and walked to the display case to check out my choices.

This morning, they had Cookies and Cream, Pina Colada, and Razzle Dazzle cupcakes. I admit that the Razzle Dazzle looked so wild and crazy that I considered getting them but I wasn't sure how I felt about introducing all that glitter to my system right before leaving for a week of camping. What goes in must come out, right? ;) Instead, I opted for the Cookies and Cream and took it home to enjoy.

It's a little hard to tell in the picture but yes, that is a mini Oreo cookie on top!

First of all, I need to say that their buttercream icing was amazing. The cookies and cream flavor was also top rate. As I bit into the cake, I expected it would be dry since it was a larger cupcake but it totally wasn't. It was moist and yummy and.....

HAD ICING INSIDE OF IT!!!!!!!! What a bonus!

It was tough for me to let my hubby have a bite but I needed someone else to say that this cupcake was as amazing as I was thinking it was. He wholeheartedly agreed with me. YUM! YUM! YUM!

Of everywhere I have been so far, Sugar Cafe and Bethel Bakery are at the top of my list. I am thinking maybe I will have a "playoff" week before I leave for my trip with my top few bakeries and the best cupcake in Pittsburgh will be going with me to be consumed after the marathon. What do you think of that idea? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hills on Hump Day = Ironic?

Today's Food:

Small bowl of Special K with Protein cereal, 1 hard boiled egg, grapes.
Deli turkey and reduced fat provolone on deli flat, mixed veggies, and a small portion of wheat noodles with parmesan cheese.
Couldn't resist having some Reese Puffs cereal!
Call it a carb load if you want but these Stacy's Pita chips with salsa and grapes looked mighty tempting.
Dinner was Kashi margherita pizza with a small portion of rice, some mixed veggies, and applesauce.
After run/bedtime snack = mixed greens salad with a small amount of deli chicken on it plus a babybel light cheese and some fat free ranch dressing.

Today's Workout:

I met up with the Running Mamas for a run this evening. I had 7 hilly miles on the schedule and they were planning on 5-6 so I figured I could work that out. It's nice that my Wednesday hill runs don't have a pace goal, so that's one less thing to worry about. I It was a lovely run with a nice cool breeze on our faces for most of it. My legs were sluggish for the first mile or so but luckily, they loosened up once we hit the bigger hills.

A little before the 5 mile mark, I split off from the group and ran 2 hilly miles solo. My splits were  10:59, 10:59, 11:09, 10:38, 9:56, 8:58, and 8:59.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First strides of training

Today's Food:

Yummy! 1 egg, slice of wheat toast, sauteed potatoes with peppers.

Lunch at the food court. 6" Roasted Chicken on wheat with provolone, lettuce, and green peppers.

Crunchy Corn Bran cereal, 1/2 apple, and some grapes.

Barilla whole wheat linguini, sauce, applesauce, spring mix salad with carrots and spritzer.

Grape Nuts, raisins, and pretzel sticks.

Today's Workout: 

Tuesday's plan was 4 miles easy (9:58) with 4 strides. I set off in the dark again and tried to keep my pace slower than I did last time. It's hard to control when you can't see your GPS so I did turn on the backlight a few times to be sure.  My splits were 10:01, 9:22, 9:22, and 9:41 so I'll call it a success.

In the evening, I did my knee PT and stretching routine. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

A cupcake on a non-running day?!?! What?!?!?!?!?

Today's Food:

No idea what happened to my breakfast picture but I had 3 scrambled egg whites with red and green peppers, a sprinkle of reduced fat Mexican cheese in a whole wheat tortilla with a little salsa on the side. 1/2 banana and some grapes.

Lunch was a salad with carrots, a hard boiled egg white, and spritzer. Whole wheat crackers and a cheddar Babybel cheese.

Snack was a small bowl of Crunchy Corn Bran cereal and some grapes.
I went back to Sugar Cafe today and brought home a mint chocolate chip cupcake. It looked too good not to eat...
Dinner was 3 oz chicken, sauteed green/red peppers, carrots, diced tomatoes, celery and broccoli, and mini pierogies. Side of applesauce.

Today's Workout:

Today was cross training day for me. I did 2 On Demand workouts called "Hot Body Boxing" and "6 Pack Ab Burn".

Dairy Queen - Indiana, PA

This weekend was kind of a bust for me in the cupcake department. We were heading to my hometown, so on Monday, I started researching bakeries in that area. I came across only one, Six Hand Bakery. I was thrilled when I saw Blueberry Cheesecake cupcake as one of their many recipes though and was looking forward to trying them out. I "liked" their Facebook page and then was immediately shot down by this update:

Our plans had been to go straight to my Dad's company picnic and then to my hometown, arriving later than 3pm on Saturday. I knew I would have to rely on someone else to procure my treat. I immediately called my mom and explained the situation to her. She said it would be no problem. She lives about half a mile from the bakery and works in that general area too. Over the next several days, I reminded her while we were chatting on the phone. And, on Friday, I called at 11am to see if she had gotten the cupcake yet. She said she would be heading there at noon.

Fast forward to Saturday at the company picnic. We were on a bus tour of the facility when I turned around to ask my mom what flavor of cupcake she had picked for me. She replied, "Oh whoops. Bad news. I forgot." Are you kidding me?!?!? Did I not call numerous times to remind you?!?! Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Thoroughly disappointed, I started checking out other bakeries in the area, calling them to see if they had single cupcakes for sale. The only one that did was the grocery store bakery. Ummmmm, no. Not interested.

I made call after call after call. Finally, I decided I would either have to resign myself to a grocery store cupcake or send hubby back to Pittsburgh. Sanity won out and after the picnic, we headed to my hometown's Bi-Lo. On the way there, I spotted a Dairy Queen and wondered if maybe, just maybe, they offered cupcakes. I turned in to their parking lot and sent hubby in to check it out. Sure enough, they had them! I knew it wouldn't be the same decadent cupcakes I was used to but it would do in a pinch.

This "cupcake" was, not surprisingly, very different than the others I have eaten so far during this training. It was stacked up layers of crushed cookies, ice cream, whipped topping, and sprinkles. As I predicted, it tasted just like their ice cream cake. Hubby had to help me finish it because it was just too much sugar for me to handle, especially since I was eating it right after lunch (French toast...).

Please be sure to note the jealousy displayed on my sister's face here. Guess that next time, I should buy more than one....


Weekend at my Parents house

Weekend Food: 

I am infamous for being lax about food at my parents house. Since I am a little pressed for time, I am just posting pics with very little other info...

Please keep in mind - this was 2 days worth of food. Also, I took home about half of that rice from the Mad Mex plate. LOL!

Weekend Workouts:

On Saturday, I opted for some walking miles with hubby. We walked to church and back, adding on by going through the town some for a total of 4 miles.

I ran on Sunday morning. It was drizzling when I was leaving the house, to meet up with my aunt and her running partner, Mike, but it soon stopped and the humidity set in. I ran a little over a mile to our meet up location at Mack Park and then we did a few laps there while we made sure our stomachs were okay enough to leave the close proximity of the bathroom.

We headed out on Hospital Road and to Wayne Avenue. We ran through a bunch of parking lots and hit the trail at Hosses. Mike and Aileen knew that I had 13 miles on my schedule and they said that if we got to Floodway Park and turned around there, I should get 13 or maybe just a little bit over. I was feeling slightly sluggish at mile 6 so I took a Gu. I had only brought one of those plus a handheld water bottle and I was hoping it would be enough to keep me going. I kept pace with the two of them (both Boston Marathoners, by the way) and felt great.

At Floodway Park, we stopped for a potty break but the Woman's room was far too disgusting to even think about it so I skipped it. On the way back, we ran into John. He is the head of the Indiana Road Runners Club and is also a good friend. He has been having some knee pain so he was on his bike. He biked beside me as I picked up the pace a bit and chatted with him, pulling away from Mike and Aileen. I love a faster finish and it felt amazing. We hit the location of my aunt's car at mile 13.5 so I decided to go ahead and even it out with 14 miles. I finished strong and had some time to stretch before the others arrived back at the vehicles.

My splits were  9:34, 10:26, 10:20, 10:03, 9:27, 9:31, 9:38, 9:39, 9:56, 9:59, 10:27, 10:17, 9:42, and 9:23.

I am feeling good about my training so far:)

Friday, August 5, 2011

A New Beginning

Today's Food:
3 scrambled egg whites with green & red peppers and a splash of reduced fat milk, ketchup, Arnold whole wheat Sandwich thin, grapes, 1/2 banana
Spring Mix salad with hard boiled egg white, deli chicken, carrots, and fat free ranch dressing.
Back to Nature wheat crackers with a cheddar Babybel cheese and a handful of grapes.
Gia Russa mini gnocchi with Nature's Basket vodka sauce, Green Giant garden vegetable medley, and applesauce.
Bowl of Crunchy Corn Bran cereal, 1/2 banana, Nature's Basket organic peanut butter. 

Today's Workout:

Today's schedule called for 4 miles easy (which is a 10:04 pace). I was running my miles in the dark and to see my GPS screen, I have to hit a button. Instead of constantly hitting the backlight and staring down at my Garmin for the duration of the run, I decided to just run how I felt and not push too hard. My splits for the 4 miles were 9:16, 9:15, 9:05, and 8:52. Since I was running in my area, I hit some pretty steep hills in there too. I am hoping all this hill training will adequately prepare me for the beginning and very end of the marathon:

I felt good afterward and managed to spend some time stretching and foam rolling. Love that!