Can’t believe I’m running…on purpose…because I want to!

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My plan to get in shape on my dry-erase board. I can totally do this!

ย By now you know that sending Ladybug off to her first day of Kindergarten and Freckles off to begin 3rd grade was a very big deal….mostly for me. Okay okay, only for me. I’m here to tell you, it gets easier. With each day you drop them off, it’s a little less heart-wrenching.

While I was stoked that track-out came so soon, two-thirds of the way in I was looking forward to them going back. Not because they were driving me crazy (they really weren’t, I promise) but because I was ready to start running around the lake. I started doing some cardio yoga workouts when they tracked out and at first the kids would join in…then they lost interest. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Then I decided to add in going around the lake [2 miles] to that. I walked and jogged while Ladybug rode on her new bike and Freckles rode her scooter. Then after a couple days of that, Ladybug decided that arrangement did NOT work for her. Meltdowns ensued. Frustrations were high. The trip around the lake was cut short. Waaaaay short. Thus, I began looking forward to the kiddos heading back to school. So while I waited, I came up with a game plan for getting myself in shape. [My one and only aim is to get my body healthier. I am in no way trying to lose weight. I just want my body healthier so I can keep up with my kids and be ready for another if God blesses us with one.]

I found this on Pinterest and copied it down on my dry-erase board.

Starting when I get back to OH!

Then I decided to fill in the ‘Relax!’ days with the 30-minute cardio yoga workouts. I got ambitious and decided to do add in Self.com’s No-Equipment Workout. I did it for a couple days, then realized this thing was for someone a little more ahead of where I was at.DSC00289

Since today is Monday, and a good day to start new things, I started doing the 30-Day Abs Challenge. [Little side note here, I did try starting it back when it hit Facebook and was huge, but after the first rest day, Ladybug got pretty sick and I forgot to do the challenge. I thought about it later and could’ve
picked it up again, but I wasn’t feeling anything, so I just let it go.] I’m hoping that by going around the lake doing the ‘Couch to 5K Running’ that my muscles are going to be nice and warmed up so I will get more benefit from the Abs Challenge. Then I’m going to follow it with a 15-minute yoga workout. Should be awesome!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’m playing with the idea of adding in theย 30 Day Arm Challenge in there somewhere to help find the muscles I know are there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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There’s something funny about this: running on purpose. I’ve never run. Unless I was being chased, and even then I didn’t run very far. ๐Ÿ™‚ In high school, we had to run a mile. I’d chuckle at the coach, run a few feet, then walk the rest of the way. I’m pretty sure I had the longest time for “running” the mile. I just didn’t run. Period.

Fast forward 10 years or so, and I’m a woman with pressures and stresses and anxieties and I realized back in April that maybe my body isn’t as healthy as I thought. The usual workouts just don’t work, I don’t have the discipline to stick with it…or I’m just not doing it right. Instead I wanted to try yoga, and it felt great. Then, someway, somehow, I got it in my head that I wanted to start running. My goal is to be able to run all the way around the 2-mile lake without stopping. Boom. How about getting myself in shape as I get closer to the big 3-0 so I can start a new decade of my life in the best shape I’ve ever been in? Seriously, this sounds like a great plan. And I’m on week 2 and feeling good. I love that I’m able to walk 5 minutes, jog 3 minutes, walk another 5 minutes two times.

I can run for three minutes without feeling like I’m going to die! For me, that is a HUGE deal and I am so freakin’ excited! Wednesday the goal is to be up to 4 minutes jogging and then Friday the goal is to be up to 5 minutes jogging. How awesome is that going to be! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyone else trying something new?

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Oreo…cake? {Recipe time!}

Hi Everyone! I’ve been sitting here for…actually I’m not sure how long. My eyes hurt from looking at survey site after survey site trying to see if I can make a couple extra bucks while I’m already here. So I’ve closed all of those tabs (man, there really were a lot) and have finally made my way back to you. I’ve been trying to make my way back since my last post. It seems that when the kiddos are home on track-out I don’t get a lot of blogging done. And then when the kiddos track back in, well, a lot of time is spent catching up on housework, laundry, groceries, going around the lake, and so on.

But I’m here! Yay! And I realized that we’ve been hanging out for a couple months now, I have yet to post a recipe or cooking post or baking post! I can’t begin to explain how that happened. So I’ll just go ahead and correct that horrible oversight. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oreo. Cake. Got your attention? Good. ‘Cause I promise, you won’t want to miss this deliciousness!

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Messy? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely.

DSC09218For Ladybug’s birthday, I made a 2-tiered cake. The bottom tier had two layers of this delicious chocolate Oreo cake with a creme layer in the middle. [The second tier was a white cake with a fluffy chocolate frosting in the middle.]

In preparation for the cake, I hit up a local spice shop that is absolutely wonderful: Savory Spice Shop…although since I don’t live in Raleigh anymore, it is a little bit of a drive for me. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ There I bought a box of black onyx cocoa powder.DSC09221

ย But what is black onyx cocoa powder? Why is it different from Hershey’s cocoa powder found in the grocery store? The black cocoa powder has been alkalized to the extreme which produces a dark, purplish-black cocoa with a lower fat percentage. The cocoa powder you buy in the grocery store has a higher fat percentage, and since it has more fat than the black cocoa powder, both are required in your baked good.

ย Now it’s time to get to work! I do want to take a minute to say that the wonderful people at the Savory Spice Store shared a recipe with me for Almost Oh-ree-oh! cookies, and I adapted it for a cake.

Oreo Cake

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All ingredients ready to go.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder

1/2 cup black onyx cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 1/4 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour your cake pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, both cocoas, baking soda, baking powder, salt and both sugars. Set the bowl aside.DSC09233

Grab your mixer and, on low speed, cream together the butter and shortening. Once the butter/shortening mixture is shiny, add in the eggs; keep the mixer speed on low. With the mixer still going on low, slowly add in your flour mixture about one cup at a time. In between the cups of flour mixture, pour in some of the milk with the vanilla. About half way through, add in the vegetable oil. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.DSC09241

Once all the ingredients are fully mixed together, pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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For the frosting between layers, I used The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for white frostingย (that she used in between two layers of Devil’s Food Cake). It wasn’t as sweet as I was hoping, so I ended up adding more powdered sugar; it still wasn’t as sweet as I was hoping. However, since the frosting wasn’t overly sweet, it didn’t overshadow the flavor of the cakes.ย 

If you are looking for a sweeter filling, one more similar to that of the Oreo cookies, you could use this recipe (which came with the cookie recipe I got from the Savory Spice Store):

Creamy Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix the butter and the shortening on low speed in your mixer. Gradually beat in the sugar and the vanilla. When it is all combined, turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

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Have fun! And I hope you enjoy your cake as much as we enjoyed ours! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

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We survived the Frozen party! All good things, all good things. ;)

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*Whew* I made it through the weekend.
And now I’m sitting here with both of my girls home with me. They are tracked out for the next three weeks!! So excited!! There is so much we want to do while they are home, but today we relax. The kids are catching up on some Disney channel while playing with Ladybug’s new gifts and I’m enjoying some snuggles and just having my girls home. ๐Ÿ™‚

But let’s back up and talk about the big ‘Frozen’ party that happened this weekend. (Quick side note: This was the first-ever birthday party, with kids, in my own house. This will probably be the last. haha)

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The basement ready to be decorated.

As you know, I spent last week getting our large basement room ready for the party. I had also been hunting through three local Party Cities for any ‘Frozen’ decor I could get my hands on. ย Stop #3 was the goldmine…and also the furthest drive. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Everything I had planned on putting up…

I may have a gone a little overboard and now have to return a few things…but better to have too much rather than not enough. Continue reading