The Ragnar!!

Wow!! This weekend was crazy! Finally fell asleep Thursday night at 11pm. I laid down at 9, but couldn’t relax. Finally after forcing myself to lay still and not think of the race, sleep came to me. My alarm went off at 2 am to give me some time to get showered, and fit in a hit to the snooze button once or two. But at 3:30 we finally were all loaded up and on our way.

We arrived at 5:30 in time to check in and make the safety briefing before Nikki, our team captain and runner #1, started. At 6:30 she took off and the race was on!! She rocked out her 8.5 mile leg and then Brianne was up.

We had to wear these lovely head lamps from 5pm to 9am. Yes, even though the sun was up. (trying to make a cute face through my nerves and disgust for having to put this thing on even though the sun had been up for an hour. Didn’t really work. LoL!!)

I was 3rd for my first 7.1 mile leg. It went relatively fast. I felt great and the run went pretty smooth. I finish in about 55 minutes, which I was pumped about. Emily, Lisa, and Matt finished off their runs for a collective total of 38 miles, and then at about 12 pm van two took over.

While van 2 was popping out their 36 miles we drove to get some food and change. After getting as cleaned up as we could in the Target bathroom sinks, and pissing off a few people waiting for us to be done, we headed to the next exchange. It was busy. But we scrounged up the last bit of shade left and tried to get a few “Z’s” before it was our turn to run again.
I probably only got about an hour of very broken up sleep, but it wasn’t long before it was Nikki’s turn to take off again.
As always I followed after Bri, and she pasted me the baton at about 9pm for my second leg. I was stinkin nerves about this one, and for good reason. It was 6.3 miles, which wasn’t that bad, but the catch was, it was going to be all uphill. The only way I was able to run through the whole thing was my husband came to run that leg with me.
It started out pretty easy. The first mile and a half was just a slight incline. Miles 2 to 2 1/2 was down in a wash, which sucked running on sand, but was really distracting. By the time I was out though, my calves were pretty worked. But my hubby was there and I felt really uplifted and motivated. We were making about 9:30 minute miles coming out of the wash as the incline came back. After about another 1/2 mile, my calves were filling it, and in a moment of weakness I told my husband, “You know, I think I would rather have one big hill and get it over with then this slow steady incline.” We both laughed as we got to the top of the hill, and started to head down for the first time.
It was only probably 150 yards until we turned the corner and I saw it. I felt my spirits just crumble and cursed myself for the earlier comment I had made. There it was!! The mother of anything that could be considered a “hill”. I moaned and looked at my husband. Pour guy. What had I drug him into. He was such a good sport though. He just smiled at me and said, “You think you can keep our pace.” No, it wasn’t a question. He was taunting me. He knows how competitive I am and he was trying to keep me going.
Not wanting to back down, I gritted my teeth and pushed up the “hill”, which I nicknamed Burtha. Half way up I was whimpering, and it was another 1/3 mile before we reached the top. The rest of the run was slow and steady up, but I was tired. I didn’t finish in under an hour like I wanted, but at that point I was just proud I ran the whole thing.
Our van finished the rest of our legs at 12:30 am and we went on to the next exchange as van 2 started up again. We finally got all settled in at 1:30 and slept till 4:30 before it was, yet again, our turn to run.
Bri took over, after Nikki, for her run at 5:15, which gave me enough time to start to get nervous about my 9 miler coming up right after she was done. My calves and hamstrings were really tight and sore and 9 miles just sounded so long after just running 13.4 miles and only 3 hours of light sleep. I worked the whole next hour on trying to stay calm.
I stretched and decided to put on my relaxing music instead of the normal heavy metal to keep myself relaxed through my run. This is how it went:
Miles 1 and 2: Uphill. Hamstrings warmed up and immediately start to cramp.
Mile 2 1/2: At the top starting to head down and hamstrings loosen. Feeling good. 
Miles 3 and 4: Feeling great!! 
Mile 5: Back up hill we go. NO!! Instant hamstring cramp.
Mile 5 1/2: At the top. Muscles don’t relax again when I start back down. Trying to distract myself.
Mile 6: Laugh at the guy that just past me that looks like Forest Gump. Still in pain.
Mile 7: Legs starting to go numb. Left calf starting to cramp. Just keep telling myself, “I can do this. I can do this.”
Mile 8: 1 mile left marker. Had to fight back the feeling to burst out into tears. Sudden boost of adrenaline and push faster. “Almost there!! Almost done!!”
Mile 9: Pass off the paton. Smack Emily on the butt as she takes off and hug my team. So happy to be done and feel so proud of what I accomplished.
Our Decorated Van!!
In the end, I loved almost every minute of this experience. I say almost, cause I would never want to run back up “Burtha”, but there is another Ragnar going out of Las Vegas in November that I’m eyeballing. I know, I’m crazy. But as per right now, I’m recovering. Mostly just tired, but a little sore. Back to my baking addiction tomorrow 😉 And I’m gonna take at least Monday’s run off to let my legs recover. Will be posting some new recipes agains soon, but until then, Have a great week everyone!!
Here is some more amazing photos. I’m aloud to say amazing cause most of these aren’t mine. Matt Blonde, the 6th runner in our van, is an awesome photographer and took these. Here is a link to his sight. Seriously!! If you need a photographer, and you live in Phoenix, check him out.
“Don’t you dare pass me!!”
“the leaner”
This guy was hilarious!! He seriously ran at almost a 45 degree angle to the right. Pour guys was probably just trying to keep it together, but his run gave us a laugh.
Cheering Emily on!!
These girls are warriors!! Grew to love them through this.
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Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken

Since I’m gonna be MIA tomorrow and Saturday for my race, I wanted to quickly add this post. This recipe is super yummy and I love the fact that it’s low calorie. I feel like it’s always so hard to find good alternatives to just plane baked chicken.

And to top it off, it’s also a total comfort food with the crunchy breading and delicious sauce! Enjoy!!

Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken
     Cooking spray
     2/3 cup lite honey mustard dressing
     1/8 teaspoon table salt
     1/8 teaspoon black pepper
     2 teaspoons dill, freshly chopped
     1 medium uncooked scallion, finely sliced
     1 cup cornflake crumbs
     1 pound uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast, four 4 oz pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a shallow pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine honey mustard dressing, salt, pepper, dill and scallions; remove 1/3 cup and set aside.

Place cornflake crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken into dressing mixture and then cornflake crumbs; place in prepared pan.

Bake until chicken is golden and no longer pink in center, about 15 minutes.

Drizzle remaining dressing mixture (the 1/3 cup that was set aside) over chicken breasts and serve. Yields: 1 piece of chicken and about 1 1/3 tablespoons of dressing per serving.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from weightwatchers.com.

Chocolate-Raspberry Tart with a Gingersnap Crust

I have been meaning to cook more this week, but there has been two problems. 1) Sunday was me and my hubbies 9th wedding anniversary. So I’ve been a little spoiled this last week. Sunday night my amazing mother-in-law took my kiddos, so Sunday night/Monday during the day me and Luke got to spend some much needed uninterrupted time together. Well, not really uninterrupted I guess. We went to breakfast at the amazing Cracker Barrel, and then we spent all day at The Renaissance Festival. It was so nice, but didn’t give me a chance to do all I wanted to Monday.

And reason 2) It’s Race Week!! Come Friday and Saturday I will be kicking my own butt running my race legs. I’m a little nerves :/ but I’ve prepared the best I can. I’m not nerves about my last 9 mile leg, it’s my 2nd 6.3 mile leg that’s got me questioning my sanity. It’s all up hill! And being that I live in Phoenix, AZ, where everything is pretty flat, I haven’t done much hill training. I know!! Pray for me!

No, it will be good though. My hubby has said he is going to come run that leg with me, being as it’s gonna be around 10 o’clock at night that I will be running. My husband is a big safety buff. He doesn’t apply this to himself being that he’s a Lineman and is always working with high voltage. Or the fact that he is fighting other guys that are as big as he is, just for fun, but “I” must always be safe!! No, I’m not venting… Ok, maybe a little… But I am grateful that he is going to come run it with me. At least that will keep me a little bit distracted.

So, like I was saying before getting extremely off track, I haven’t had much time to cook, so I decided to use my raspberries I got from Costco and make this beautiful tart (I had been craving something raspberry/chocolate since I had a little sample at The Renaissance Festival :). A couple of things to look out for before starting this recipe though. First, don’t use bittersweet chocolate! Use semisweet. In my opinion the whole tart come out tasting so much more balanced with the semisweet chocolate, and the bittersweet chocolate just didn’t give enough sweetness to accommodate the gingersnap crust.

Two, I used frozen raspberries for the puree and it worked out so well. Really, there is no need pay the extra cash to buy additional fresh raspberries when you’re just gonna mangle them anyways. So I would say use a cup of frozen raspberries here instead of using your fresh ones.

And lastly, don’t go far when letting this chill before adding the raspberries. I would check on it every 10 minutes. You want your ganache just a little firm, but it needs to still have some give to it. Trust me, I learned this the hard way. After my ADD took me to doing other things for an hour and a half, I had to let the ganache come back to room temperature before being able to get the raspberries to penetrate the ganache without severely deforming my poor little raspberries. But in the end it turned out delish! Gotta love raspberries and chocolate together!! Enjoy!

Chocolate-Raspberry Tart with a Gingersnap Crust
     Cooking spray for the pan
     About 40 gingersnap wafers (to yield 1 1/2 cups finely ground)
     1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
     3 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
     1/2 lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
     1 1/4 cups heavy cream
     Small pinch table salt

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Oil the sides and bottom of a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

In a food processor, grind the gingersnaps until they’re the texture of sand.

Like so. Make sure to hold onto your food processor while running though. Gingersnap cookies are a little bit firmer then your regular cookie, and it’s gonna take your processor a little muscle to get it to this stage.

Transfer to a bowl, add the melted butter, and work it in by squishing the mixture together with your hands.

Press into the sides and bottom of the oiled tart pan (this is easiest done with the bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup). Set the pan on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm. Bake the tart crust on a baking sheet until fragrant, about 15 minutes, checking and rotating if needed to make sure the crust doesn’t get too dark. Set on a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, pass 1 cup of the berries through a food mill fitted with a fine disk or force them through a fine sieve, mashing with a wooden spoon, into a medium bowl.

You’ll have about 1/2 cup puree; set aside and discard the contents of the sieve.

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream just until boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate; whisk to blend.

Stir in the raspberry puree and the salt.

Pour the mixture (called a ganache) into the cooled tart shell. Refrigerate until ganache is fairly firm, about 1 hour.

Arrange the remaining raspberries on top of the ganache; they should completely cover the surface. Chill until the ganache is completely firm, about 30 minutes, and serve.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from The Best of Fine Cooking: Chocolate Magazine.

Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper Cupcakes



Hey Everyone!! So recently, I posted and asked everyone what they thought about me changing my blog name. I wasn’t in love with the new name I had come up with, Savory Sweetness, but I did want to change it to a name that made people not think of boogers when reading it. First, I just want to say, I loved everyones comments. I feel so blessed to be able to get to know you all and have you following my meek little blog. But I have super exciting news!! I’ve decided to change my name, but it’s not to Savory Sweetness, cause to be honest, I hated how plain it was. I’m gonna be changing my blog name to… Drum roll please… Recipe Snobs!!

I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before! I think I was just so disappointed that Food Snobs was taken and not being used to think of alternative “snob” titles. But I still wanted to stay with a name that reflected my personality and left an impression. So finally as I was at my in-laws checking my stats, it just popped into my head!! I rushed over to GoDaddy.com as fast as I could to check if it was available and it was. I bought it and have already started setting things up. It will probably take me a week or two to get everything set up, but just be aware that everything will be moving over in the near future 🙂 So please be patient with all of the upcoming changes.

But enough about that, and onto this recipe. These cupcakes were super delish!! The only thing I would say to change is to increase the cake to frosting ratio. Really it would be much better if you layered, cake – frosting- cake – frosting – cake – frosting. So put 1 and 1/2 cupcakes per jar, and add a layer of cake between the vanilla/white frosting layer and the cherry/pink frosting layer. This way your not totally overwhelmed by the amount of frosting. Other then that, super yummy and I love the “in a jar” idea. Made them so much easier to transport and gorgeous with the colored layers. Enjoy!


Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper Cupcakes
Cupcakes
     1 box chocolate cake mix
     1/2 cup buttermilk
     1 stick melted butter
     2 eggs
     1 cup cherry Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line muffin tin with liners.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine all ingredients.

Beat on low for about a minute. Increase speed to high and beat for another minute.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.

Place pan on a cooling rack until cupcakes are completely cool.

Frostings
Vanilla:
     2 sticks butter, softened
     4 tablespoons Vanilla flavored syrup (the kind you use for soda/coffee)
     3 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and syrup on medium speed until combined. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating on low until just mixed. Increase speed to high and beat for about two minutes.

Cherry:
     2 sticks butter, softened
     1 jar maraschino cherries
     3 cups powdered sugar
     red food coloring, optional

In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter and 4 tablespoons cherry juice. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating on low until just combined. Increase speed to high and beat for about two minutes. I added red food coloring to deepen the frosting color, but it’s not necessary.

Assembly
     12 8 ounce wide mouth jars
     12 maraschino cherries

Unwrap cupcakes and cut in half horizontally. Place bottom half of cupcake in your jar first, then pipe or spoon in a bit of vanilla frosting.

Then a bit of cherry frosting. Top with the other half of the cupcake, and pipe/swirl more frosting on top. Top with a cherry.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from confessionsofacookbookqueen.com

Food Snots Or Savory Sweetness??

Food Snots
or
Savory Sweetness

I keep going back and forth whether I even want to put this out there, but I need everyones help. It’s been a year since I started my blog and I’ve loved every moment of it!! But over the past year I’ve had a couple people express distaste for my blog name. Usually I would just dismiss this and completely ignore it, but it has got me thinking. Should I change my blog name??

On the one hand, I love my blog name. It’s unique, and corky, and good or bad it leaves an impression. Which is kind of how I view myself, so in a lot of ways it fits me. But at the same time I’m afraid that a bunch of people might not get the American slang behind my use of the word “Snots” and think booger instead of someone with high expectations.

I keep trying to make a decision, but I’m completely indecisive regarding the matter. I see both pros and cons in both names. So, since the opinion of my followers means so much to me, I’ve decided to leave it up to a vote. Should I stick with the name Food Snots or do I change my blog to Savory Sweetness? So, if you have a second please leave a comment letting me know what you think. Even if it’s to say, “I really don’t think it matters.” I just want to know what you all think.

Thanks!!!

(I have not yet secured the new domain name, so if you are looking to create a blog please don’t steal it)

Filet Mignon with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce, Mash Potatoes, and Onion Strings

If you missed my post about My Valentines Day Scheme, let me quickly get you up to speed. I have always loved Valentines Day!! But my wedding anniversary is Feb. 19th, so we never celebrate V-day cause my anniversary is right around the corner. As a solution, I developed this scheme to surprise my hubby with a sitter and make this amazing dinner so we would start celebrating Valentines again. Caught up?? Ok good!! So, yesterday was “D” Day!!

Got up early! Ran to the grocery store, cause I didn’t want my hubby to find any of the meal supplies and be like, “What’s this for?” Got napkins, place mats, these amazing hydrangeas, gorgeous goblet/wine glasses (Even though we don’t drink. It was more to set the stage and for the feel then anything. But I had to have them), and whatever other ingredients I had on my list.

Started setting up about 12:00pm. I even got on YouTube and found out how to do napkin origami. Oh come on, don’t laugh!! Don’t it make it feel so fancy though!? I really wanted my hubby to be blown away. I mean, there’s no point if in the back of his mind he’s thinking, “We should have just gone to a restaurant.” And by now, you probably all know I can’t do anything half way. Go big or go home, right!?

After hours of cooking it was time for dinner. The kids got swept away to the babysitters, which conveniently lives down the street so she could just come pick them up. My hubby is munching on the Spinach Artichoke Dip, that I did not get pictures of cause I didn’t want to disturb our dinner to much by staging and photographing everything I made. So I will have to make again and post the recipe later. Then we sat down over candles and ate this amazing dish!!

It was amazing! Flat out Amazingness with a capital “A”!! Did I happen to mention is was amazing?? (Not to toot my own horn) But this recipe is comparable, or even exceeds that of any restaurant!! I was so happy with it 🙂 And then for dessert we had Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with raspberries and vanilla ice cream (recipe will be posted soon). It was all so perfect!! And I think my whole plot worked. My hubby said he felt so spoiled that he is going to have to attempt to show me up next year. Yeah, good luck with that baby, but, Yay!! Finally celebrating the holiday of love again! (*Celebration!!*)

Anyways, back to this dinner. Yes, it is a little bit of work, but so worth all the effort. Most amazing dinner I’ve made to date. And super impressive if I do say so myself 😉 Enjoy!!

Filet Mignon with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce, Mash Potatoes, and Onion Strings
     4 8 ounce filet mignon
     1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
     Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce recipe (below)
     Onion Strings recipe (below)
     3 to 4 large potatoes, skinned and diced
     3 tablespoons butter
     About 1 to 2 cups milk
     Garlic salt and pepper
     Fresh or dried parsley flakes

First, prepare cream sauce and onion strings. Set aside for assembly.

Warm up your grill and place rack on it’s lowest setting (charcoal is recommended). In a large pot, start boiling water and add your potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, season you filets with all the steak seasoning making sure to season both sides of your filets and place on the hot grill. After a couple of minutes turn over. Continue flipping and cooking until steak has reached desired doneness. For medium, your steaks will take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their thickness. Rap in tin foil to keep warm while you complete final assembly of plates.

Drain cooked potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add butter and 1/2 cup milk. Using a mixer, mix until potato mixture is smooth. Add more milk, 1/2 cup at a time. You want you potatoes to be a little thinner then traditional mashed potatoes, but not runny. Once to desired consistency add garlic salt and pepper to taste.

Reheat Red Pepper cream sauce and spoon onto plates. Your gonna want about 3 to 4 tablespoons down. Spread out in a circle using the back of a spoon. Top sauce with mash potatoes. Sprinkle parsley over potatoes and sauce to make it pretty. Top with your filets and then pile onions on top of steak so that they balance without falling into the sauce. Serve immediately.

Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
     2 large red bell peppers
     2 tablespoons minced garlic
     1/4 cup fresh basil
     3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
     2 cups half-and-half
     2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
     1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
     4 tablespoons butter
     salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Slice peppers in half and deseed. Place on foil cut side down. Lightly coat the tops of the red peppers with olive oil. Grill peppers under the broiler until the skin is blackened, and the flesh has softened slightly. Set aside for a couple of minutes to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the peppers (the skin should come off the peppers relatively easily). Cut peppers into small pieces.

In a skillet, cook and stir the garlic, basil, and red peppers in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, so that the flavors mix.

Place mixture in blender with half-and-half, and puree to smooth consistency. Return puree to skillet and whisk in flour. Heat to a boil and add in Romano cheese and butter; cook and stir until both are melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Onion Strings
     1 whole large onion
     2 cups buttermilk
     2 cups all-purpose flour
     1 tablespoon (scant) salt
     1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
     1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
     1 quart (to 2 quarts) canola oil
     Black pepper to taste

Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk and soak for at least an hour.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil to 375 degrees.

Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tap to shake of excess, and plunge into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown.

Repeat until onions are gone. Let onion strings cool for a couple of minutes and then assemble atop the assembled steak.

Printable Recipe


Onion String recipe altered from thepioneerwoman.com. Red Pepper Sauce altered slightly from allrecipes.com.

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