Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Daschund

Merry Christmas 

Hope your holiday is as festive as ours!

Laura & Comet

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Stop it.  My life has changed with these cookies.

I'm going to a cookie exchange tonight and have been researching the best version of this cookie.  I think I found it.

These are not set-your-mouth-on-fire cookies, though the chipotle lingers a bit in the back of your throat and you taste its smokey pepperiness.  These really do taste like Mexican hot chocolate and might be just the best chocolate cookie ever. I'm not kidding.  They were so fast to make too, make some right now!!!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, or use non-stick pans.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chile.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 ½ cups sugar on medium speed until pale and fluff, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beat to combine.

3. In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle. Using a cookie scooper form tablespoons of dough into balls. Lightly flatten the dough then press the tops into the cinnamon sugar mixture.

4. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake until cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 5-10 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

L's Tips:
*The cookies came out perfectly in 5 mins in my oven.
(the original recipe says to keep them in 10 mins, I guess my oven was hotter or my cookies were smaller because they completely burned!)
*I used McCormick Chipotle Chile Pepper
*I was able to work continuously on the cookies using three pans: one would bake, another would cool, and I would prep the next batch of cookies on in the last.
*Next time I will use decorating sugar in the cinnamon sugar mixture for some extra sparkle!
*The original recipe said this mix yielded 3 dozen cookies.  Using the cookie scooper I made 5 1/2 dozen, one of which I burned :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Christmas Break To-Do List

Paper and bows from Target

1. Read all of the magazines I subscribe to (and those I buy on impulse)
2. Finish reading Everything is Illuminated
3. Perfect my vacation breakfast of soft boiled eggs (yesterday the yolks were semi-successful, today the shell put up a fight)
4. Find the perfect Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies recipe (this one or this one?)
5. Reintroduce myself to the gym, particularly the elliptical machine and bike
6. Become BFFs with Mari Winsor again (we met up after breakfast this morning and I remembered why I like her so much)
7. Sing carols
8. Buy white round toe pumps
9. And maybe a few new dresses
10. Drink hot chocolate and watch my favorite holiday movies

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cute Jewelry for Runners

I think I learned of Endure through a sidebar ad on Facebook.  I'm loving the tortoise and the hair necklace and earrings, as well as their girly twist on the track & field symbol.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Running Outfit | 43-46 Degrees

TJ Maxx
Avia White Hooded Front Zip Jacket, $19.99 (compared at $34.99)

Blue Jockey Seamless Racerback Tank, $10.00 (compared at $26)

Nike Tempo Track Women's Running Shorts, $24.00 (compared at $28)

Sugar Land Finish Line Sports 30K

Remember that day I ran 18.6 miles?  My knees will remember for quite a while, promise!

This was the final race in the Warm Up Series leading up to the Houston Marathon.  I have never run more than 13 miles before so I've been very nervous about this part of my training, but I'm so thankful for these races.  Would you rather run 18 miles on your own or do it with a thousand people, volunteers, and supporters? 

The weather was perfect to run in, about mid 40s and it rose to the low 50s.  There were about 1400 runners out there.  I felt great for the first 15 miles, but then my arches starting hurting, followed by my knees.  I averaged about a 10:23 pace up until that point and then I slowed to 11:00, then 11:30...I think I was at around 12 min miles the last 2.6 miles of the race.  Those last couple of miles were really painful and I was getting discouraged.  However, I kept telling myself to be proud of the fact that I was still moving, that I've never ran that far before, and that it would all be over soon!

The race started at Sugar Land Town Square (outdoor mall) and then headed toward a very fancy neighborhood.  We ran a loop three times through their hood before heading back to the mall.
Pros about this race:
  • Cute medal (snowflake) and long sleeve tech shirt
  • Tons of volunteers along the route handing out water, cheering you on and shouting pace times
  • Great way to knock out an 18 mile run
Cons about this race:
  • All racers shared 2 lanes.  It made for some congestion at the beginning, especially for the crazy fast runners
  • There could have been a bit more entertainment since headphones weren't permitted. A few people had their windows rolled down in their cars and were playing music, but I think there were only two
  • After party was not so great.  Efficient because they handed you bag of snacks, but they only had sodas and cups of water available after.  There were some bananas too.  I don't care about the food as much as I would have LOVED Muscle Milk or something after.
Still, I'm pretty happy with the race and I definitely encourage people training for the Houston Marathon to take advantage of the Warm Up Series.

Running Outfit | 50 Degrees

My race day outfit from last weeeknd's La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon.  It was about 50 degrees and windy, but once we started moving I was comfortable in this outfit.

Running Outfit | 50 Degrees

Monday, December 6, 2010

La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon - Recap

This past Sunday was the inaugural La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon here in my hometown.  I was really excited to participate because #1 There aren't too many races held in LP, and #2 we would be running over the Fred Hartman Bridge.

The race organizers were really great and we received lots of fun goodies (Adidas long-sleeved tech shirts, screen printed gloves and hats!)  It was a chilly morning here in Texas which equaled perfect race weather!
All photos taken by Carmen B.

The race started at Sylvan Beach and ran behind the high school to the newly renovated Five Points intersection of downtown.  Old LP received lots of damage from Hurricane Ike and running through the town was a great way to see how people have rebuilt.  Next, we jumped up on 255 (the freeway) and headed up the bridge and against a strong and chilly north wind.  While bridge runs kill the reward is sooo sweet when you get to fly down them! Once at the bottom we turned around, headed back up, and the race ended at Five Points.

The after party was great and had an abundance of tasty treats and cold beverages, but all I wanted wanted was a cup of red beans and rice.  Hello!  Perfect post-run treat and it was so warm!  They also had chicken soup--both homemade.  Too good!

Now, I've been running with my ear buds in my ears the past few races, but haven't been turning on my iPod.  I think it's just a security blanket.  I also forgot my watch and there was no one at the mile markers shouting out the time.  I wasn't sure how I was going to do time-wise.  A few accomplishments:

1. I ran non-stop up the bridge both times
2. I ran non-stop through the whole race (except for the quick swig of water)--a first for me!
Since I didn't have my watch I had no idea about the time or my pace, but as I got close to the finish I saw that I was going to PR by about 20 mins!  I screamed to my friends who were at the finish waiting for me and the announcer heard and gave me a shout out.  So exciting!!!!
All photos taken by Carmen B.
It was a really special race, not only because I got a PR or because it was in my hometown, but because my speed racer running buddies were there, too, and we've known each other since high school.  I love that we were able to come "home" and run this race together. 
All photos taken by Carmen B.
Amazing race, great organizers, a bridge challenge and awesome swag--I can't wait to run it again next year!