What To Do with Leftover Cranberry Sauce?

29 11 2013

Make pancakes, of course!! What did you think I was going to say?

IMG_0793Last Friday my girlfriends and I got together for book club and to share a  fantastic Thanksgiving dinner. I brought some a ton of homemade cranberry sauce to the gathering thanks to using a full bag and a half of cranberries (warning- it makes a LOT). Though we ate half the sauce, there was still quite a bit left over so I brought it home.

On Sunday, as I mulled over my options for pancake flavors, I remembered that I had cranberry sauce in the fridge. Definitely pancake worthy. I wasn’t quite sure what else to pair with the cranberries, so I pulled out The Flavor Bible to see what they suggested. (By the way, this is a great gift for foodies, and that’s an affiliate link). As I read through the list, cream cheese popped out at me, since I had some in the fridge that I needed to use up. Walnuts were also on the list, and a recipe started forming in my head (with the help of some additional prompting from Bill 😉 )

It was decided that we would make maple walnut pumpkin pancakes with cranberry cream cheese filling. Phew, that’s a mouthful!


Actually, the “pumpkin” part of that recipe wasn’t part of the original plan until Bill grabbed TJ’s pumpkin butter and threw a dallop into the batter. I was skeptical, but I honestly think that it MADE these pancakes.

IMG_9348Uh, we like pumpkin butter around here. (Only three of them were mine, two were for a friend.)

The pancakes turned out great! They weren’t overwhelmingly pumpkin-y; it was more of the spices from the pumpkin butter that came through in the batter. The pancakes had a nice crunch from the walnuts, and the creamy sweetness from the cranberry filling was perfection. I will definitely be making these again!


Maple Walnut Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberry Cream Cheese Filling

Note: these measurements aren’t going to be perfect, I often will just throw things into the batter without measuring, so some measurements are guesses!

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry oats
2.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts + extra for topping
2 eggs
3 TBS light brown sugar
3 TBS maple syrup
2 TBS pumpkin butter
1 cup greek yogurt
1.5 cups milk

For the Filling:
Mix together equal parts cranberry sauce and whipped cream cheese, depending on how much you want!

How to:

In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.

On a hot griddle/fry pan, pour 1/4- 1/3 cup of the batter. Allow to bubble, flip and let cook through.

Layer the cranberry filling between your pancakes. Top with more cranberry filling, maple syrup and chopped walnuts.

Dig in!


South Tampa Pilates

26 11 2013

So, it’s been a little over two weeks since my Half Ironman and I have officially worked out twice. Both workouts did not require the use of shoes. I’m not even kidding.


I think I’m a little scared to put on my running shoes since my feet were in a lot of pain after Rev3. It wasn’t my sesamoiditis that bothered me during the race; I think the pain was caused by overly tight shoe laces. I also discovered loads of blisters on my toes when I took off my shoes. Ouch! Bill is very prone to blisters, so he often makes a joke: “Even my blisters have blisters.” Uh, mine actually did. (If you really want to see pictures of my blisters, email me. GROSS).

I finally decided it was about time to get back at it (slowly), so Saturday Bill and I went to a Hot Power Flow yoga class at Flow Pilates and Yoga Center. We were in that neck of the woods for the afternoon, so we did a little Yelping. After finding a favorable review from Meghan, we decided to go for it. Man, it hurt so good! I would definitely recommend the studio, and Lana was great!

Still in the mood for something low-impact, on Monday I decided to use my PeerFit PASSPORT and check out South Tampa Pilates.

South Tampa Pilates Studio imageAfter perusing their schedule of classes, I opted to join the 7:00pm mat Pilates class. I’ve never taken a Pilates class before, so I really didn’t know what to expect.

The studio is in the SoHo neighborhood, but it is a little tucked away. You have to turn down what looks like an alley, but then you see the front doors of a few different businesses. They’re each well lit, and it didn’t feel like the back side of a building.

I showed up about 10 minutes early and was greeted by Teresa, who was helping a client in a 1 on 1 session on the Reformer. She gave me the new student paperwork, which I completed while I waited for my class to begin.

My class took place in a small room that was reminiscent of a typical dance or group fitness room- mirrors and barres lined one wall, and there were mats and equipment on another. Teresa had already grabbed me a mat, foam roller, and a Pilates ring. I just needed to grab some 2lb weights.


Thankfully, the class was small- there were only three students, including myself, so Teresa was able to really help me out and walk us through the different moves. I think with a bigger class and more experienced Pilates peeps, she would have gone a bit faster through the different moves. Teresa explained how important it was to focus on my core and my breathing. Basically, my abs should be engaged throughout the whole class. Oh boy.

After a brief warm up, we got started. Holy ab workout! I knew that Pilates would be good for my core, but I didn’t realize I’d basically be doing abs for an entire hour! We did all different kinds of moves, on our back, on our side, leg lifts (with core engaged), V-ups (which she called something else), and more. I was excited at the beginning of class to see that we’d be using a foam roller- but then when we used it as a bench to lay on and balance while we did more ab exercises, I was wishing I was rolling out my IT band.


The hour actually went by really fast, and I was surprised when she said that we were wrapping up. I breathed a sigh of relief (well, not really, I was breathing the way I was supposed to!) I had survived!

I chatted with Teresa for a bit after class, and she told me that the studio had a beginners class for $20. Basically, it’s a 1 on 1 training session that walks you through the different equipment and Pilates moves. I definitely need to come back to check it out! Those Reformers seem so interesting!

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to try out a Pilates class. It’s definitely been on my to-do list, so now I can happily check it off! I thought Teresa did a great job of instructing- she was so nice and helped me out a ton. I definitely want to go back to the studio to try another class. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that Pilates as a workout is something I’ll really get into. It definitely provided me with guided instruction through exercises I’m not patient or disciplined enough to do on my own. But, I didn’t walk out of the class thinking “I can’t wait to do that again.”  Perhaps it is a workout that you need to do multiple times to really get in to, but for now I’ll keep exploring other workout options.

Question of the day: Have you ever tried Pilates? What did you think?

Disclosure: PeerFit provided me with the Passport. All opinions are my own!


How It All Began: My Love for Triathlon

18 11 2013

My love affair with triathlon began in 2008 when I signed up to do the Philadelphia Triathlon (now a TriRock event) with Team in Training (TNT). I was a few years out of college and looking for a way to stay active. I had been a swimmer in college and tried to keep up my fitness after college by running.


Marine Corps Marathon, 2006

Running itself was fun, but something was missing. I’ve always felt most “at home”  in the water- perhaps it’s because I’m an Aquarius or that I grew up only blocks from the Atlantic Ocean- and I was itching to get back in the water, but on my terms. No more two hour practices!

steph swimming

Open water swimming is my favorite kind of swimming. This is a lifeguard race, summer 2004.

Triathlon would get me back in the pool with reasonable practices, keep me running, and introduce me to cycling.

Bike sign

I remember showing up for my first TNT bike practice. It was a Saturday, a chilly February day in Washington, DC. I had recently purchased my first ever road bike from Craigslist, a pretty blue Novara.

blue bikeThis picture was after I embraced triathlon enough to add on aero bars.

I showed up with my bike, having only been in the saddle for the 2 minute test run in the parking garage of Whole Foods, where I met the couple who was trying to sell the bike. During my test run, I nearly fell onto one of the parked cars as I tried to mount it. Totally embarrassing.

Anyhow, I showed up to our first team practice wearing my Columbia ski jacket, sneakers, a pair of those 99 cent one size fits all gloves, and my new charcoal grey flared yoga pants that I had purchased especially for this occasion. Boy, do I wish I had a picture of myself!

One of the coaches quickly pulled aside me and some of the other newbies and she duct taped my right pant leg so that it wouldn’t get caught in the gears. Oh, so flared pants weren’t appropriate attire for biking. Noted. She also let me borrow her actual riding gloves to go over my cheapo cotton gloves.

We set off as a group for a short ride in Rock Creek Park. I don’t remember much about the ride, other than feeling a little shaky and scared at first, but then the sense of freedom I felt as I flew down the open road took over and I was hooked. This was definitely something I could get in to.

475918_10101253701454082_5123990_62525251_1159408239_oCrystal River Sprint tri, 2012

The Philly tri was my only race that season, and I definitely had a good time. I remember it feeling so hard- especially that run- but being so happy to finish and so proud of what I had accomplished.

 IMG_2571EA_1318Final time: 2:47.59

Five years later, and I finally feel like I’ve come into my own as a triathlete. I laid down some pretty serious mileage on the bike, with my longest ride being about 75 miles. I PRed my 10K on the run leg of an olympic tri. I placed in my age group in three out of the fours races I did this season. I finally completed my first half ironman.


Triathlon has got a serious hold of me. I love being part of this community. I love the sense of accomplishment after a tough workout. I love pushing myself to see how far I can go. I love that my body allows me to swim, bike, and run, while most people just stick to one of the three.

Since my race last weekend, I’ve done absolutely no working out. I know my body needs this time off so I can come back and be physically and mentally rested and ready to train again. I may not be training, but my teammates and I are talking about training. We’re already making plans for what to work on in the off season and drafting a 2014 race schedule. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I can tell you that we’ve got big plans for next season.

So I say farewell to the 2013 tri season with a big smile, blessed to have had such a great year. Thank you to all my lovely readers for all your love and support. Your comments, tweets, and messages truly make blogging worth it. I love sharing my triathlon journey with you, and hope you’ll continue to follow along!