Cupcake T-Shirt!

As you already know from my cupcake earrings and cupcake bracelet purchases, I’m drawn to anything with cupcakes on them, and will likely buy it.

My fiancé is a huge fan of t-shirts. I mean to the point where his side of our closet is 90% folded t-shirts. We’ve actually found ourselves with a serious closet storage issue, mostly due to his t-shirts, and well, all of my clothes. He actually posts each of his new t-shirts on his blog.

His love for a good t-shirt has rubbed off on me a bit, and I’ve purchased a few for myself. I never realized it, but there are a TON of daily t-shirt sites! One of my favorites is Woot, who also has a section for a regular daily deal, and a kid’s deal. I actually already have two foodie shirts from them, one of which is the Hot Dogs! shirt I have on in my Twitter picture. I check their site when I remember, and two weeks ago I happened to check on the way to work (fiancé was driving), and they had a cupcake shirt!! I gasped, and immediately clicked the “I WANT ONE!” button. I mean, look at this thing – how could you not want it?!

After anxiously awaiting, it arrived over the weekend, so I rocked it at work on Monday. And because I’m completely outrageous, I thought to myself, “what a better way to show it off to your blog readers than via a ‘Girls with iPhones’-esq photo,” taken in my office’s bathroom?!

And that my friends, is your reward for reading this blog. I promise to get back to what you’re here for, the nomz of course!

Race Recap – My First EVER Half Marathon!

I know this blog is mostly dedicated to food, but after picking up running this past year, I’ve noticed just how many people are into both food AND running! Maybe that’s because in order to eat everything that’s delicious out there, some type of serious exercise needs to be involved? At any rate, through good ‘ole Twitter, I’ve been able to connect with a bunch of people that share a love for eating and running! So because of that, I’m thinking about incorporating some of my running into this blog. But we’ll see.

Anyway, I finished my FIRST half marathon today!! The race was a first annual Rutgers University UNITE 1/2 marathon, sponsored by CGI Racing. We started on Busch campus by the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center, and ran through New Brunswick and Piscataway. It was so funny to start at that particular location, because from the age of 12 to 18 (and then after to cheer for my sister), I spent countless weekends at that location in the pool. Rutgers hosted all of the big swim meets during the winter season, and pretty much all of them during the summer season because they had two short course pools that converted into one long course pool. But enough about swimming, this post is for running!

Before the start of the race!

Today was actually pretty chilly. Both my fiancé and I were completely clueless as to outfit choices. I went with some cotton/spandex mix capris from Old Navy, a technical shirt I got from a 5k race last summer, and a throw-away long sleeve shirt from high school. Within two miles I had ripped off my long sleeve shirt, and was really glad I hadn’t worn any more layers. There was some wind here and there, and a mix of sun and shade, so I was pretty comfortable the entire race (temperature wise, that is!).

The first mile was a little difficult. When I had signed up for the race, I put myself down to finish between 2:16 and 2:30. I really had NO idea how I was going to do, because it was before I started training, and had never raced more than 4 miles. By the end of our training, though, I had completed 10 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes, and realized that even if I kept that comfortable pace the whole time, I’d crush my goal. So I definitely lined myself up with a slower pack – just behind the 10 minute mile pacers. My first mile wound up being just under 10, because I spent most of it dodging in and out of slower runners, and trying to make room for others passing. The race had over 3,000 entrants!

From there, I kind of hit a stride for the next 5 miles or so. I kept a just over 9 minute mile pace for the first half. I really felt great those first 6 miles. I remember thinking to myself “I can totally do this again! This is awesome!” The course had four spots where you pass runners in front/behind you, and I got to see my fiancé TWICE! The second time we high-fived. That was a really great motivator. He was flying through the course, and apparently to his standards I was too! [You can read his race re-cap over at]

My legs started to get a little tight after those 6 miles, but I didn’t really start to feel it until about mile 9. Holy moly. My hamstrings were NOT having fun. After mile 10 I had to tell myself that I only had a 5k left. But to be honest, I was a little scared, in our training we had never gone over 10 miles, so I really had no idea what to expect. I wound up slowing down a bit between mile 11 and 12. I realized that the end was near, and I didn’t want to look like one of those people coming down the finish line that you can tell is trying SO hard to move their legs, but just aren’t going. I ran down the main drag of the College Avenue campus (on College Ave.) and picked it up about half way, realizing I really had no more than a quarter mile left. I felt like I was going to puke, but I knew it was almost over.

Right at the 13 mile marker I saw my mom jump out from the crowd, and then my dad. Now these two went to almost every single swim meet of my 10 year swimming career (high school and college), and since I started running have been at most of those races too. It’s really great seeing them on the sidelines or up in the bleachers. My mom threw her hands up in the air, screaming for me, so I humored her and did the same back. It really was that final push I needed to give it what little I had left to get through that finish. The clock barely passed 2:03 when I finally made it to get my medal and a water. After looking up my time online, I officially finished at 2:02:15! I kept an average of a 9:20 pace!

Check me out finishing here [I’m in the bright blue and black]! (My fiance finished about 15 minutes before I did, so he was kind enough to video for me on his iPhone!):

I know it might sound a bit ridiculous since it was my first one, but man, if only I had known how close I was to breaking 2 hours, maybe I would have pushed it a little more somewhere between mile 10 and 13. My competitiveness is a bit much at times. I’ve been able to keep it completely internal, but it’s something that I focus and obsess over when I have goals in my head. I’m going to spend the next two weeks analyzing this race, trying to figure out what I could have done differently. But at the same time, I’m really not sure if I could have done anything else. At least I know for next time, I’m really not going to hurt until that 10-ish mile point, so I need to prepare my body for it.

After the race, my fiancé and I hobbled home to get ready to go out to lunch with my family as a celebration. We went to Red Robin, and I devoured a Santa Fe burger. After that, we came home and napped for an hour or two. The combination of being up at 6am and running 13.1 miles followed by huge hamburgers made it impossible to stay awake. Now, thanks to the Rita’s Italian Ice’s “Birthday club” we’re going to head over there to get some ice, since we have a coupon from my fiancé’s birthday!

I really think I’m going to do another one of these badboys. I don’t know when, though, since I still can’t really walk. I’m sure tomorrow will feel great! I’m totally wearing my medal to work, though. Let’s see if anyone notices 🙂

Here’s the breakdown of my race
7 miles – 1:01:41 (8:49 pace)
10 miles – 1:29:37 (8:58 pace) <– that’s over 11 minutes faster than my training pace! I did 11 miles in that time!
Last 5k – 32:39 (10:32) – YIKES! I told you I slowed down!
Final time – 2:02:15 (9:20 pace)

I just want to say a special thanks to all of the people that sent over well-wishes before my race… it really meant a lot to see such support from co-workers, former teammates, friends, family, and fellow running and/or foodie bloggers!!

There’s a first time for everything – Giant cupcakes and Korean BBQ!

This particular post is two-fold. Both topics, however, surround the celebration of the birth of my wonderful fiancé who’s birthday was this past Thursday. 🙂

On Wednesday, I headed over to my parents house to make a GIANT cupcake as his birthday cake. I had seen commercials and magazine ads for the cupcake tin, but was afraid to ever get one. I finally caved and bought one, along with a real pastry bag and some food dye. Since it was a Wilton pan, I had high hopes. Baking the cake itself was easy – I used double chocolate fudge on the bottom, and French vanilla on the top. I don’t think I waited long enough for the bottom to cool, though, before slathering it with coconut-pecan frosting. From there, I added the top, and with the help of my wonderful sister, frosted it with vanilla frosting that we had dyed a light blue. We finished it off with some green/teal dots, and white sprinkles.

Luckily, I thought to take some pictures before packing up the cupcake to bring it home. Now, I only live about 20 minutes away from my parents. But in that time, despite the amazing packing job my mom did, the cake wound up like the leaning tower of Pisa. Of course my fiancé was extremely supportive and said he loved the cake as it was. I was able to save some face because it tasted delicious! I definitely think next time will be more successful, and I’ll make sure to bake it where I plan on keeping it!

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Then on Thursday, the fiancé’s family came up from South Jersey, and we went out to dinner. One of our co-workers has been raving about Korean BBQ for quite some time. So, we decided we’d give it a shot – we’re always up to try something new! Once his family arrived, though, his mom was less than excited to try it, so we figured we’d just get Hibachi instead. The first restaurant we went to cooked it in the back, so we decided against that. The second restaurant we went to said they had just seated a large party, so hibachi was out, but we could have sushi with a 45 minute wait. After wasting about an hour, we settled on our original pick, Korean BBQ.

At that point we were all ravenous and it was getting late. So we headed over to Woo-Jeon on Route 1 in Edison since it was literally 5 blocks away from our apartment. We walked in, and were immediately seated which was awesome. Each table had a little circle in the middle with a grate on top. Once we were seated, the grate was removed and replaced with a cook-top, and the flame was turned on.

From there, we were like little lost dogs. The menu was extensive, but didn’t give much description. We had all decided we’d get the BBQ, so we just needed to decide what type of meat we wanted. Despite having watched the Earthlings trailer earlier, I went with Bulgogi, which is marinated tender beef. We actually all wound up getting that. We felt silly ordering the same thing, but we figured we’d know for next time to get a little more experimental.

Once we ordered, they almost immediately started bringing out side dishes. Honestly, I knew about four of them. There was kimchi, lettuce, seafood cakes, bean sprouts, a delicious potato salad w. apples, and rice. That’s really where my knowledge ends. I’d love to know everything that I ate, because it was so incredibly delicious. There wasn’t one thing I tried that I didn’t like. They even brought out an egg soufflé on the house!

I really loved the whole cook yourself concept. That way, you’re able to control the pace, portion, etc. The only room for error is not cooking your food enough. But it would be no different from cooking in your very own kitchen. Plus, all of the side dishes can be eaten as they are, so you really just need to focus on whatever type of meat you choose (beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, cows tongue (!!), etc.)

When the meal ended, we were all stuffed, and collectively decided it was a great experience, and something we’d all want to do again soon. I’ll definitely be a bit more adventurous in my main course selection next time. It’d be great to go with someone that really knows their stuff, too. That way, we can try new and different things – everything everyone had around us looked equally fantastic.

Unfortunately I failed you all once again, and didn’t think to take any pictures. I had contemplated saving this post until after I visited a Korean BBQ again, but I just couldn’t wait to tell you all how great it was. So I suppose the only way for you to see the deliciousness is to experience it for yourselves!

I’d recommend taking a look at to find some local Korean BBQ’s and read the reviews. If it’s good, believe me there will be A TON.

Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese!

I don’t remember exactly how I found this recipe, but on the last snow day, I wound up perusing Yum Sugar‘s site, and focused on one of their posts about macaroni and cheese. They had quite a few different types, but one really stuck out. As a spicy anything lover, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese.

Since my fiancé and I had a busy weekend, we decided to be daring and tackle the recipe during the week. Monday night was filled with a trip to the gym, dropping off our rent, stopping at the grocery store for some forgotten spices, coupled with me dying from my typical intestinal issues. That’s neither here nor there. The important fact is that I got to make it Tuesday.

I usually try to stay away from recipes that require more than minimal work during the week. So that means less than a 20 minute cook time with minimal prep. We’re big fans of the Bertolli spinach & ricotta tortellini because it’s ready in 10 minutes and absolutely delicious. But knowing we need to expand our week night horizons, I thought this would be an excellent choice. Plus, Tuesdays are always so bland. We both work for a software development company in the time & attendance / payroll industry, and everyone likes to process payroll Tuesdays. So we’re always busy, plus there isn’t any good TV (though MTV’s 16 & Pregnant is becoming increasingly interesting).

Back to the task at hand – the making and devouring of the Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese.

There were A LOT of little steps to get this guy going. First, I needed bread and cook the chicken and put it aside. I also needed to make the macaroni, pretty much at the same time, to ensure there wasn’t a lot of lag time between. Then I needed to make the onion, garlic and milk mixture. My stove top could barely handle the pressure!

Those were really the only tedious parts; mixing all of the cheese and then the final ingredients together was easy. Like always, waiting was torture because I am one of the most impatient, anxious, and ADHD people around. Thankfully my fiancé is the same way, so we manage to entertain each other. Usually ridiculously.

Now this is NOT the type of recipe to make if you’re on a diet, if you’ve already eaten a lot of calories for the day, etc. Of course no mac ‘n cheese is “good for you.” But I’m yet to meet someone that doesn’t love it, so it’s worth it! This particular recipe has a ton of butter, milk, and cheese, and all things wonderfully fatty. But after running a solid 4.5 miles, a nice mile and a half over the training that was required for the day and in a decent time, the indulgence was only appropriate.

Because the recipe has so many heavy ingredients, you really don’t need to have much. Pair it with a simple green salad, and you’ll be good to go!

You’ll find the recipe below. It makes 12 servings. I actually cut it down so it was only a third of the 12 servings, and there was definitely enough for 3-4 people.

Thanks again to my wonderful fiancé for the great pictures! You can check out more of his other pictures over at his blog; I Hate Fun.

Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese

2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
1-1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1 pound chicken cutlets
6 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
1 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
3 cups chopped onions
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated jack cheese
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup creamy and crumbly blue cheese (recommended: Maytag Blue), crumbled, plus more for garnish, if desired
2 teaspoons paprika
1 cup Frank’s RedHot Original or other hot pepper sauce
1 stalk celery, finely diced

1. In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, cumin, cayenne, and pepper. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl. Coat chicken pieces with the breadcrumbs, dip in the eggs, then coat again with the breadcrumbs; place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
2. In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1/4 cup canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add two of the chicken tenders and cook, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more oil if necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked chicken to paper towels to drain. Cut into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
3. Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until pasta is tender but not quite cooked through, about 6 minutes. Drain; transfer to very large bowl.
4. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in same large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic. Cover; sauté until onions are soft but not brown, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat and simmer sauce 2 minutes. Add all cheeses, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Whisk until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed. Mix cheese sauce into macaroni. Mix in half the chicken pieces. Mound mixture in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake macaroni uncovered until heated through, about 25 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, stir hot pepper sauce and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts.
7. Remove macaroni from oven and top with remaining chicken pieces, then spoon 4 tablespoons of hot pepper and butter sauce over macaroni. Bake for 5-7 more minutes.
8. Sprinkle top of macaroni with finely diced celery and more blue cheese crumbles; serve immediately, passing around extra hot pepper sauce.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Typically, I leave the music and movie reviews to my boyfriend, over atI Hate Fun. However, since this particular movie is about food, I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I remember falling in love with the book, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett in elementary school. I mean, how could I not? There were mountains of fluffy mashed potatoes, and it rained meatballs! That’s the kind of place I’d like to live.

Though I love the book, I haven’t read it in quite some time. I was a little nervous about the movie; would it be an on-screen replica of the book? Would it be completely different? I wasn’t sure which of the two I actually wanted. Luckily, Phil Lord went in the right direction and chose a little of column A, and a little of column B.

The movie had an all star voice cast with the likes of Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Mr. T, Neil Patrick Harris, and the list goes on! I always enjoy watching animated movies and recognizing voices; I think it adds something to the movie and makes it more entertaining.

I was laughing from the beginning, all the way to the end. I’m a comic junkie, so if you’re going to convince me you’re funny, you’ve got to start early. There really weren’t any lulls or low points in the movie; it moved the whole time, and like I said, kept me laughing.

Lord decided to go the route of an unsuccessful scientist, trying to get his big break. Through what turns out to be an accident, Flint Lockwood is able to save his town that is failing on it’s once prosperous sardine industry. It’s a real underdog tale, and as the perpetual underdog cheerleader, I really enjoyed this.

The colors were truly eye catching. The food looked delicious, even when Flint’s machine began to overload and everything became super-sized. I was mesmerized the entire time.

It’s a lot like Ratatouille, which is another one of my favorite animated (and food!) movies. It’s cute and all things an animated movie should be, but it’s also really funny; funny in a way that only an adult would get.

I would definitely recommend renting this if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s light hearted and a good laugh, and it might even transport you back to your childhood; at least for a bit.