Remember my ridiculous mishaps with hiking “Mt. Humphreys” a year ago…?
Well life update: we found the real thing!
It’s been difficult to find enough time to put together blog posts this past week, with such a busy start to senior year. I swear my to-do list grows faster than I can cross things off!
One MAJOR life event I was able to “cross off” was hiking up Mt. Humphreys this weekend. My university is nestled in the forest in a mountain town, which gives us gorgeous views of the tallest peaks in the state. My cross country teammates and I have been talking about a group hike to the tallest peak in Arizona since freshman year.I absolutely could NOT let graduation come and go before making it to the top of that damn mountain. I look at the thing every single day!
Weather here is completely unpredictable with monsoons, blizzards, wind storms. Labor Day weekend and September weather = prime opportunity.
If we rewind 10 hours earlier….
My friends and I had a bit of a *rocky* start to senior year. Not that we aren’t LOVING our new schedules with classes, work, internships and athletics…but I think we were all ready for Country Night at our favorite local bar. We had a blast at the line dancing lessons, but a little liquid courage was helpful. ;) A night with a couple drinks + a 10-mile hike on the agenda the next morning = hydration!!!
The next morning began with coffee, water, and a trip to Sprout’s for hiking sustenance:
- Clif Mojo Mountain Mix Bar
- Raw Almonds
- Dried Apricots
- Honey Whole Wheat Pretzels
- Justin’s Almond Butter Packet
- Water Bottle x 3
The base of the mountain starts between 8,000-9,000 ft. elevation. The hike climbs to 12,633 ft. and the steep mountain trail is really challenging in the thin air, even for altitude-adjusted cross country runners.
Kerri’s boyfriend Jeff had me anxious from the beginning when he casually mentioned another hiker being bitten by a brown recluse earlier this year. ?!?! If I had known this information prior to driving to the base, I may have reconsidered.
I will say…
Making it to the top was worth it.
Not going to lie, the last hour of the hike up was a STRUGGLE. The trail practically disappeared and we were climbing massive rocks and navigating through slippery gravel. Our calves and butts were burning. The altitude made it noticeably more difficult to breathe. But like anything in life, the experience is more about the people you are with. We were all in such a great mood to be tackling such a big goal, and I’m so happy to have had these three crazies to climb with :)
We occupied ourselves on the 5 mile journey back down with impromptu performances of everything from Michael Jackson to Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Drake, and everything in between. Our fellow hikers were thoroughly annoyed entertained ;)
No animal sightings either, unless birds count. Fortunately, Brenna served as the”bird expert” for our little group ;) Not sure if her observations were as accurate as they were funny, but I love being among curious people.
If this past 24 hours is any indication of how the rest of senior year will play out…I think it’s gonna be a good one. <3
Before I go on about my long run energy experiment let’s rewind a little bit…. we passed a major holiday here!
Our Thanksgiving meal was typical for this family: all brand-new recipes that were a hit!
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cranberry Jam from Caroline @ Chocolate & Carrots
Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
(of course) Turkey
& a not-at-all-healthy Pumpkin Caramel Pecan Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust for dessert
YUM. I’m still full. (That’s a lie. I’m always hungry. ha.)
Now onto Christmas…Happy Holidays!
While the crazies were out Black Friday shopping, I opted for a morning run with my best guy friend from high school!
Cardio > Sales (blasphemy coming from a 20 year old girl, I know.)
We had a KILLER run we call “Kingdom Loop.” The first 4 miles are a gradual incline, until you get to Kingdom Dr. Then its a steep steep climb to the top, about 3/4 mile. You know the hill gets serious when the conversation stops ;) After that it’s a downhill coast to home, a decent start at working off this monster of Thanksgiving (and the next day, and the next day’s….) dessert:
My marathon training plan is roughly following this plan from Boston Athletic Association: Beginner 16 week program. (I fast-forwarded to week 9).
This morning I cranked out my 15-miler first thing before it got too hot (yes “too hot” in December….SoCal probs.) With my dad by my side, of course!
I started a little bit of an experiment. On the actualy Marathon Day (50 days and counting!) I will be needing some edible energy on the run to keep my glucose levels up and active. My mom hooked it up on her last trip to Sports Authority and bought me just about every type of energy product on the shelf.
- Jelly Belly Sport Beans (4 different flaves)
- Clif Shot Bloks
- GU energy gels (regular and Roctane) *Bonus for this one, there’s Peanut Butter & Espresso!!!!
- Power Gel energy gels
- GU Chomps energy chews
- Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
I’m starting my experimenting now so I know what works best by January 19th! Today I took along Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews in Pomegranate Passion (I promise I’m not affiliated with any of the companies and this is not some cheesy sales pitch!)
- Tasted delicious and fruity
- “Organic” (if you’re into that sort of thing)
- No stomach ache
- You have to eat 10 for one serving…..considering I’ll be needing 4-5 servings, I don’t want to be eating 50 chews!)
- Non-resealable package
- Says “contains protein & fiber” on package…… 1 stinkin’ gram! That barely counts.
I liked the flavor of the Stinger chews and they didn’t have any horrible side effects but the fact that I would be eating dozens of them for energy doesn’t sound appealing. Next week I’ll try out a Gu or PowerGel. One gulp and DONE. To be continued…
Yesterday my family resumed our 5:00am gym workouts – Christmas vacation must be over.
The tree is still up but it looks naked without presents underneath. I’m not ready to pack away all of the holiday decorations just yet! Like this cute centerpiece my mom made, just a vase with candy canes lining the rim and filled with mini shiny ornaments.
Since we had been so busy all December with traveling and medical stuff, Christmas kind of crept up on us. We didn’t even do our annual baking for friends and neighbors! So I knew I wanted to make something special for Christmas dessert. I found a perfect recipe on Pinterest from Sprinklebakes.com. A homemade Gingerbread Coffee Bundt Cake with Espresso Icing. Sometimes we make exceptions from our healthy diet; Christmas dessert was one of them ;)
Cake from scratch is a million times better than from a box; I added lots of extra ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg because I don’t think you can have too much flavor for a spice cake. And the fact that there is coffee in the cake and icing is perfect…my family certifiably is addicted to coffee. Lately the three of us finish off a full pot of coffee within an hour of being awake. We have turned into two-pots-a-day people. Yikes! Honestly I just love the flavor.
The cake turned out perfect! Dark brown with tons of cinnamon and spice flavors. Next comes the “glaze.” It is just espresso or STRONG coffee (that sounds familiar…) and powdered sugar.
Confession: I struggle with glazing a cake. I have made approximately three cakes (all from Joy the Baker) that involve making a glaze from powdered sugar and some form of liquid and they never turn out like the picture. Instead of resting thick and glossy atop the cake, my glaze gets absorbed into the cake or just runs down the side. If anyone knows the trick to making a real glaze, help me out!
I ended up just about doubling the powdered sugar to make it thick enough to stay on the cake. I also recommend making your espresso/coffee as strong as possible so that you can still taste it over the sugar.
Gingerbread Coffee Bundt Cake with Espresso Icing:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 heaping tsp ginger
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup STRONGLY brewed coffee
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, plus
2 egg yolks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and Flour a bundt pan (I recommend this instead of spraying with non-stick spray); set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- In a separate bowl, stir together molasses and coffee.
- In another large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixture. Add in the brown sugar and beat for another couple of minutes. Next, beat in the 3 eggs and 2 egg yolk one at a time.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and molasses mixture to the egg mixture; begin and end with the flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth over the top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the bundt pan for 20 minutes; then remove from pan and turn it over on a wire rack to cool completely.
3 Tablespoons Espresso (or strong coffee)
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
- Whisk together the coffee and sugar until completely smooth. Pour over the cake, let it set for at least an hour before serving.
Despite the not-so-glazey glaze, this cake turned out to be delicious, and got two thumbs up from the family! It’s very much like a more dense spice cake with a sweet topping and should absolutely be enjoyed with a fresh mug of coffee.
Missy enjoyed her Christmas too and even found of couple presents for her under the tree!