Thursday, December 29, 2016

Meet Charlie!

After losing Eddie a few months ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever have another kitty. Eddie was so special - I knew I could never replace him and I still miss him so much every day.

But these past few weeks I started thinking I might be ready to open my heart to another kitty. This kitty turned out to be Charlie. 

I adopted him from the Wisconsin Humane Society last Friday. I got there just in time - literally seconds after I said he was the one I wanted someone else tried to get him!

WHS had Charlie classified as a Hidden Treasure, which meant staff observed him to be very shy and undersocialized. When I met him, my adoption counselor explained he might never be interested in interacting with humans and may always be the type who hides and shies away from attention. But as I looked at his sweet little face, I had a good feeling he would come out of his shell once safe and comfortable in his new home.

These past few days have been so rewarding. Charlie quickly became comfortable in his new home and has already become attached to me. He wants constant attention and loves being held - so much so that he has taken to climbing up my leg and/or jumping into my arms if he feels I'm not giving him enough attention! He has the sweetest personality and I love watching him play with all of his toys - yes, he's already spoiled rotten! 

Being a kitten (3 months old, 4 pounds), he's full of mischief. But even when he does naughty tricks, I can't help but laugh. He's the most playful, adventurous kitty who loves sprinting, jumping and pouncing but after playtime he gets so sleepy and curls up into a tiny ball of cuteness.

He is such a pretty kitten with beautiful grey stripes on most of his body and the softest, fluffiest belly that is covered with dark grey spots. He has longer legs so I believe he may grow into a largest kitty - although I always thought Eddie would become plump and that never happened. 

Charlie will never take Eddie's place in my heart, but he is quickly filling a different spot with lightness, joy and hope. I already love this little guy so much look forward to seeing where the next several years take us. 

- ST

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Gift Picks for Runners

While visions of sugar plums dance in the heads of some, runners are a different bunch. Our dreams are more likely to include visions of shoes, spandex, GU and PRs.

In case you need a last-minute gift for a runner on your list, here are a few ideas for items that are sure to make the holiday even brighter.

Saucony Endorphin Racer - These shoes are built for speed. Super lightweight, they easily go from the track to the roads. Plus, the color is fantastic. When it comes to racing, I truly believe the brighter the shoes, the faster you run ;) 

Rock 'n' Roll TourPass - Know a runner who likes to run all the races and earn all the bling? A Rock 'n' Roll TourPass is the perfect gift! There are two types: TourPass 3-Pack is good for three Rock 'n' Roll races in 2017. TourPass Global is good for an unlimited number of Rock 'n' Roll race in 2017. Both offer participant perks beyond what is normally offered at the races. 

Lululemon Rest Less 1/4 Zip - I absolutely love the subtle print on this 1/4 zip - it looks like one you'd find on a cute winter sweater. It's a perfect piece for layering - add a tank or long sleeve top underneath and/or a jacket on top - and you're ready for pretty much any type of weather winter throws your way. 

Legend Compression Sleeves - These sleeves are so versatile - you can wear them during workouts and races or slip them on after to help your legs recover faster. They're also great to wear when traveling. I especially love compression sleeves because you can wear them with whatever type of running socks you prefer. So there's never a concern about them getting in the way of wearing your favorite racing flats!

Roll Recovery R8 - I bought one of these a few years ago at a race expo and it works magic - truly wonderful for getting rid of all the kinks and tight spots. Plus, it's super portable and easy to take with you to the office, gym or to a race!  

Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap - I have several of these wraps and they are the best for providing a little reminder to keep at it even when the going gets tough. There are many motivating phrases to choose from or you can create a wrap with your recipient's favorite race mantra!  

I hope you're all enjoying the holiday season and everything it has to offer!

My question for you: What's on your wish list? 

- ST

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mocha Brownies

When it comes to brownies, I'm a bit picky. I like them dense, fudgy and rich - no cakey brownies and don't even get me started on ones made from a box mix. The only way to go is homemade. 

Like with many classics, finding just the right recipe takes some trial and error. These brownies are close to perfect. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe, which are included in the recipe below - baking the brownies in two smaller pans for a denser texture, adding more cocoa powder to the icing, etc. 

I recommend trying these brownies this holiday season. They make a great gift but you may have a hard time not keeping them for yourself! ;)

Mocha Brownies
Recipe from Food Network
Makes 32 brownies

For the Brownies
4oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 sticks butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Icing
1 stick butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Penzey's Dutch Process High Fat Cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 -1/3 cups brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two 8x8 pans with parchment paper (leave a slight overhang of paper so the brownies are easy to remove) and lightly butter.

Add the 4oz chopped chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 25-second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, followed by the chocolate, vanilla and flour. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the two prepared pans and bake 35-40 minutes, or until the center is no longer soft. Allow the brownies to cool completely before icing.

To prepare the frosting, combine the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined, then add the 1/4 cup of coffee. Whip until the frosting is light and fluffy. If your frosting is too thick, add a bit more coffee until the desired consistency is reached.

Divide the frosting between the two cooled pans of brownies and spread it evenly over the top of each pan. Refrigerate until the frosting is firm, then remove the brownies from the pan and cut into small squares.


Tell me: What's your all-time favorite brownie recipe?

- ST