Tampa Friends

10 09 2012

Howdy! Is it really Monday already? I’ve had a whirlwind of a weekend, but I got to spend it with my wonderful Tampa friends!

On Friday night, Courtney invited the Team XPers over for a Mexican dinner party! Despite showing up a lil’ late to the party, I  didn’t miss out on any of the spectacular food that Courtney had prepared!

(I was too hungry to snap photos, so I grabbed these from Meghann 🙂 )

She went all out, preparing chicken enchiladas, beef fajitas with all the fixins, homemade salsa, a yummy salad, fried plantains, and rice and beans. Court covered all the mains, Jess brought some sangria, I brought some margarita mix + tequila, and Meghann brought some churro cupcakes. YUM. It was quite the feast, and I left feeling very full!

Love this group so much!

I was a little worried on Friday night that someone was going to spill the beans about a little surprise that Mary had been planning for Meghann, but thankfully no one did! What’s the surprise you ask? Well, Mary had planned a super secret surprise bridal shower for Meghann!

I’d say we got her good!

Mary orchestrated the whole shabang (with Meghann’s fiancee Derek’s help of course), and opened up her home for the party. Check out Meghann’s post for the full recap. Man, was that fun!

I brought pumpkin cupcakes to the party, and while I was baking I was SO TEMPTED to tweet pictures. I mean, how cute is this?

I knew I couldn’t just in case Meghann saw one of my tweets. (I ended up tweeting it after the party:-) )

To make the cupcakes, I followed the Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe, and they were AWESOME. Man, I’m glad it is pumpkin season (even though it doesn’t really feel like it down here).

The cupcakes were topped with some cream cheese icing, homemade snowflakes and/or clear sugar crystals. Meghann’s wedding has a snowflake theme, hence my cupcake toppers:-)

Those snowflakes were TOUGH to make. I melted some candy melts in the double boiler a small saucepan on top of a lager saucepan, and filled a pastry bag with a small decorating tip. The melted chocolate kept solidifying in the tip, and I was constantly trying to unclog it with a paper clip. I tried dipping the metal tip in  some hot water to see if that would help, but it was a no go. So, I just had to take it one line at a time.

When it was all said and done, I was quite pleased with the final product.

Immediately following the shower, I headed home for a quick change before meeting up with my friend Jennica and heading over to St. Pete. Jennica had texted me on Friday asking if I wanted to go with she and her hubby to see the Marshall Tucker Band concert. I didn’t really know the band, but I was happy to hang out with them:-) So, on Saturday night, we headed over the bridge to a biker bar called Screwie Louie’s Porpoise Pub.

Yes, that’s a wicker Harley hanging from the ceiling.

And biker bar this was! I’m talking leather vests, guys with long pony tails and even longer beards, tight jeans, and lots of tattoos. This bar was definitely not my usual crowd, but y’know what, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. It was definitely not the pretentious crowd that you get in South Tampa. It was a “come as you are” kinda place, which I appreciated.

They also had an assortment of crane games, including this one, where you could try to nab a live lobster. $2 a try! I didn’t see anyone playing 😉

Y’know what else I enjoyed? The people watching! Hoo boy! I think the funniest thing I spotted all night was a woman wearing jeans, and one of the back pockets was COMPLETELY ripped off. I’m talking like a 6 inch by 3 inch hole on her butt. We got a clear view of her lacy white underwear! The woman was either completely oblivious or had intentionally chosen these jeans to wear out to the bar. (I think it was the latter.)

Sunday was the first day of NFL football, so I had to find a place to watch my beloved Eagles. I did a quick Google search before the game and found out that there’s a large group of Philly fans in Tampa. The Tampadelphia group meets at the DoubleTree hotel on Westshore at their sports bar, the Player’s Club. The place was packed out, and I happily sang the Eagle’s fight song along with my fellow fans, as we cheered them on to victory! I will definitely be back.

And, one more friend related thing. Last weekend, I met up with a few other bloggers and Tampa area triathletes for an open water swim. The same group that organized that training meet up has also been emailing about the Miles For Hope event, happening in Clearwater on September 22nd. Miles for Hope is putting on a ‘Moving Towards a Cure’ Brain Tumor Awareness Event. The event includes walking, running, and cycling events. Pete, our fearless leader, sent out the link a few weeks ago, asking if anyone was interested. His mother has survived and fought the side effects of a brain tumor for over 22 years, and he is organizing a team in her honor. Recently, I have learned that a family member of one of my nearest and dearest childhood friends was diagnosed with brain cancer. Lisa is a mother of two, and the cousin of my best friend Gina. I’ve been wanting to do something, because I know how special Lisa is to Gina and her mom. So, I decided to join the fight and ride 100K (~60 miles) on September 22nd.

Although the event doesn’t require fundraising to participate, it is encouraged since the money goes towards research and finding a cure. Will you help me as I ride for Lisa? If you feel so inclined, please stop by my fundraising page and donate. I thank you, and so do the thousands of individuals suffering with brain tumors.

Have a great Monday everyone!

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Turkey, Tri Tops, and Tropical Treats

11 07 2011

Hi everyone! I hope you had a fantabulous weekend! I (Steph) had a great weekend training, eating, and spending time with friends!

On Saturday, I considered driving down to Richmond (the site of my next tri) early in the morning because the event organizers were doing a pre-ride, aka an opportunity to ride the course. I don’t want any more mishaps, but I didn’t want to drive about 4 hours (round trip) to ride for less than 2. I guess I’ll just study the maps A LOT 🙂 Instead, I stayed home and did a brick.

After my workout, I dropped my bike off at the shop for a tune up. It has been TOO long since my last tune up. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my bike, but I just want to make sure everything’s in good shape before my race. I also want them to retape my bars:

I won’t  be getting it back until the 17th, so looks like this week will be a spin week for me!

Saturday evening I had plans to go to the “Three Turkeys Going Away Party.” It was a going away party put on by the same group of friends that hosted the Pig Roast I went to back in May, so I knew the food was going to be delish! It didn’t disappoint. There were lots of tasty sides, but the main event was the smoked meat:

Brisket!

Pork butt- Anyone ever wonder why its called “pork butt” when it’s actually the shoulder? I don’t get it.

And Turkey! Yummy in my tummy!

It was a great party with amazing food and friends 🙂

On Sunday, I picked up Chloe, and we went for a swim at Haines Point. We only went about 2300 since Chloe’s tapering and I feel a cold coming on. Post-swim, we went to SweetGreen for lunch:

Santorini salad for Chloe (chopped romaine with roasted shrimp, feta cheese, grapes, fresh mint, chickpeas; topped with a cucumber basil yogurt dressing & a fresh lemon squeeze.)

And I got the seasonal special: Firefly, with mesculan, goat cheese, peaches, basil, and sunflower seeds. I added shrimp for some protein. It was a great combo. The peaches were SO fresh and sweet. I love fruit in salads!

Of course, there was dessert:

Chloe and I were on the same page when it came to fro yo today, and got our sweetflow topped with peaches, strawberries, and toasted coconut.

After lunch, we walked across the street to Conte’s (which seemed to have changed its name to Freshbikes? Anyone know about this?), where we were on the lookout for a new tri top for Chloe. While there, I definitely got bike envy. They had SO MANY nice bikes. Sigh. I need to save up for a new tri bike stat. Donations welcome 🙂

We got a little silly and tried on some ridiculous sunglasses:

But eventually we found the tri tops. Between Conte’s and the attached Potomac Running Company, they had a decent selection of tri gear. Though tempted, I didn’t try anything on. I was Chloe’s fashion adviser today 😉 Not really. But I was there to capture a pic of her in the top she selected:

Looks good, right? And look, she’s wearing a skirt!

We parted ways, and I went home to bake! I had been tossing around some ideas in my head of sweet treats I could bake with the ingredients I had on hand. I’ve had these guys:

sitting in my kitchen since I got them in the Cayman Islands. I’m not a big drinker, but I bought them because

a) They were cheap. Yeah duty free!

b) I’m indecisive, and it was a variety pack. I love getting to try lots of things!

c) I was told very good things about the mango rum.

d) I figured I would use them eventually!

It’s been 4 months since I bought them and I’d only opened one bottle, and its less than half way done. Clearly I don’t use them often.

But today I decided to use them! I had a recipe mulling around in my head for a baked treat with rum in it, so while I researched, I drank a mango daiquiri (frozen mango pieces, half a banana, half a shot of mango rum, and some seltzer).

I wish I had a little drink umbrella!

I had been thinking all day about making piña colada cupcakes, I just needed to know how much flour and eggs I needed. So I peeked at some recipes, and ended up adapting this one from The Pastry Affair. I iced them with a regular buttercream icing recipe, except I swapped out the regular milk for coconut milk. I think I’ll still play around with the icing on these babies because it was a little too sweet, but the cupcakes were quite tasty!

Piña Colada Cupcakes

Ingredients:

20 ounce can crushed pineapple
1/3 cup pineapple rum
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon coconut oil (I added the oil because coconut flour absorbs moisture)
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sweetened shredded baker’s coconut

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain the can of crushed pineapple into a small bowl and reserve 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice and 1 cup of the drained pineapple.

In one bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, rum, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternatively add the milk and flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the drained pineapple and shredded coconut.

Fill cupcake tin 3/4 of the way full (these cupcakes are very dense). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops bounce back lightly when touched.

Make a buttercream icing, and stir in a shot of the pineapple rum.

Top the cupcakes with the icing and sprinkle on shredded coconut.

Now just close your eyes and dream that your toes are in the sand and the waves are crashing in the background.

Enjoy!


Question of the day: Let’s keep the “T “theme! What’s one fun thing you did/ate this weekend that begins with the letter T?