Hi all. Boston has been a very somber place since Monday. One pretty amazing thing that I have noticed however, is how runners from all over the world are uniting as a support system for those affected. While the bombings were an example of how scary our world can be, it is important to remember to look for signs of strength and resilience, which can always be found during times of tragedy. Throughout Boston, and likely in your home town as well, you see people wearing shades of blue or old running shirts to demonstrate their support. The local hospitals are teeming with volunteers wishing to donate blood/platelets and throughout our communities, inter-faith ceremonies are being held in honor of those who lost their lives this past Monday.
I thought a lot about the runners who participated this year. I wondered how they were feeling…scared, confused and likely disappointed if they weren’t allowed to finish. Such a range of emotions to process, which will likely stick with them for some time, potentially marring what was suppose to be such a momentous occasion in their lives.
But runners are tough.
They have to be or else they wouldn’t get their butts out of bed on a Sat morning to run for two hours in the rain. During my recent training, I’ve realized that long distance running is not only a great source of cardio but also a great exercise in life. It is an event that requires great preparation, goal-setting, dedication and endurance. Each of these characteristics are required to stick with this type of training but are also likely to be essential for any type of success whether it be career-related, parenthood, etc.
I have also learned that fundraising for such an event can be a pretty large task in itself (but such an important task!). And to help in this department, I have been hosting a bake sale at work to fundraise for the Mario Lemieux Foundation. My co-workers have been so encouraging and willing to help out. Since many of the treats were met with smiles (and even second or thirds!) I wanted to share with you all some of the recipes I’ve tried.
This was long winded, but like running, baking and blogging is also something I turn to when I need some time to process things I don’t understand or think through big problems. I hope you will try out some of these recipes and keep your thoughts and prayers with those that are in need, whether based in Boston or beyond.
Want to help? Check out this site for several ways to volunteer for the Boston Marathon relief effort.
This is a light and fluffy dessert that pairs exceptionally well with the maple glaze that she links to. While this recipe may be a classically “fall” type dish due to it’s spice profile, I think the light springy texture makes it a beautiful dessert to serve in the spring or summer as well, especially if paired with a coconut/almond ice cream. I highly recommend you check these out.
Sometimes, a lightly sweetened cookie makes the very best snack, especially if you are planning to indulge on more than one in a sitting. :) I made this recipe with the following substitutions: 1) decided to go with Granny Smith Apples, 2) used purchased almond flour vs making my own, 3) added a bit of ginger and cloves to the spice mixture and 4) since Granny Smith’s can be a little on the tart side I finished off these cookies with a fine drizzle of coconut manna. The coconut manna hardens into a kind of icing/glaze and provides a nice extra hint of sweetness. If you are a raisin or cranberry person, I think the addition of these dried fruits would also be a nice accompaniment.
These both were met with large amounts of success! I think people always are surprised by how much they enjoy the light fluffy texture of these cookies and how by reducing the overall sweetness in the recipe you really allow the dark chocolate chips to become the true star. The brownies were also a big hit and I’ve made them several times now to share. Some substitutions were: I haven’t been making butternut squash as much in the recent months and therefore, didn’t have any purre. INSTEAD, I use the same recipe but substitute in 1 whole ripe avocado in place of the oil and butternut squash and what you end up with is a nice fudgey brownie. These were taken to the next level by adding a simple dark chocolate ganache topping. For an 8X8 pan of brownies you can halve that ganache recipe and still get a nice thick layer of fudgey icing.