"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Make Your Own Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars! (& Speedwork #2)

Oh man. These are really good. I made them for bible study, because it's our group's turn to bring food this week. I am thinking I shouldn't have made them two days ahead. Yeah, that was definitely a big mistake. I may be bringing oranges or strawberries to bible study instead.........

This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation of a copycat recipe. So it's a third generation recipe. Ha ha.

Also, these bars taste MUCH more authentic, and exponentially better after they've been sitting in the fridge overnight. So use some self control and WAIT to eat them.... (I know, I know, I'm not setting a very good example....)

Here's what you'll need:

For the cake:
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup diced dried cranberries (like Craisins)
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

So, first beat the butter and the brown sugar together, then add the eggs and vanilla, and the salt and ginger, and beat until smooth. Then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stir until it's just combined. Mix in the cranberries and white chocolate by hand. (Don't actually use your hand. Nicholas thought "by hand" meant that you had to stir it with your hand and went, "eewwwwwwwwww!")

Oh, I had to take a photo of the bowl- do you let your kids lick the bowl/beaters? I do. (Please, please don't tell me we're all going to die of salmonella or shigella or diarrhea....I promise you, if that was gonna happen, it would have happened already) They still fight over them, and if Wade's home, he will overrule them and take the bowl. I always leave a little extra in there and don't scrape it clean. They think it's just an accident, but it's not. :)

Then spread the batter into a 9x13 pan that's been sprayed with Pam, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes:

While it's baking, you can get the icing ready. Here's what you'll need:
For the icing:
  • 4 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp lemon juice (I swear by Meyer lemons....they rock)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup diced dried cranberries (for the top)

Dice the cranberries up so that they go further on the top. Plus, then you don't get a huge chunk of cranberry, more of just a taste of it.

Here's what the cake should look like- see how it's lightly browned around the edges? That's what you want!

So, I'm sure there's some super terrific icing mixing method that I'm totally skipping here, but I just plopped all of the ingredients in the mixer and turned it on. At first, it looked all funky and lumpy, like this-

But after beating it for a few minutes, it looked all creamy and delicious, like this-

Spread the icing over the top of the cooled cake, and then sprinkle the cranberries on top:

Yes, it IS as good as it looks.........

So, I did speedwork session #2 yesterday afternoon!! It was HOT out!! My friend Russ gave me several workouts and has provided guidance for these workouts. I am thankful for him!!

This workout is known as "Ladders"- you do 1 minute intervals, getting progressively faster for 5 minutes, then go back to the beginning. The plan was to do 5 repeats of this. I put paces to each "rung" of the ladder, which are listed below:
  • Warm up for 1 mile (run 1/2 mile to the track, then finish with 1/2 mile on the track)
  • 1:00 @ 10:00-11:00
  • 1:00 @ 9:00-10:00
  • 1:00 @ 8:00-9:00
  • 1:00 @ 7:00-8:00
  • 1:00 @ 6:00-7:00
  • Cool Down (jog home the 1/2 mile from the track
I only did 3 repeats of the ladder. I honestly don't know that I could have done more without barfing. I think next time I will bump my last 3 "rungs" by only 1/2 minute pace intervals.  (All paces given are in minutes per mile):

  • Warm up 1 mile @9:19
  • Ladder 1-
  • 1:00 @9:10
  • 1:00 @8:22
  • 1:00 @7:29
  • 1:00 @6:57
  • 1:00 @7:17
  • Ladder 2-
  • 1:00 @8:58
  • 1:00 @8:46
  • 1:00 @8:10
  • 1:00 @7:24
  • 1:00 @6:37
  • Ladder 3-
  • 1:00 @10:07
  • 1:00 @9:05
  • 1:00 @8:29
  • 1:00 @7:26
  • 1:00 @6:40
  • Cool Down- I walked the entire half mile home. Slowly. Sweating profusely the entire way.
  • Setting up the custom workout on my Garmin was worth the extra time. If you go under "workouts" and then "custom", you can add a warm up, as many intervals as you need and the time, and set pace goals for each one. Then a cool down. Then your Garmin will alert if you go too slow or too fast. Plus it beeps when you have 10 seconds left on the interval, which was VERY helpful towards the end of the minute when you're tired.
  • Running on a track makes the speedwork a bit easier, because you're not fighting traffic lights, cars, and terrain (hills, etc). I will be visiting the track quite a bit I'm sure.
  • I was pleasantly surprised at how great I still felt about the workout even though I didn't finish all of the ladders. I feel like this is a learning process, and I feel like I am learning a lot about the mechanics of it, as well as what works for me.
  • This may seem silly, but I put chapstick on today and it made the entire workout so much more pleasant! You kind of get dry mouth, and last time my lips were all dry and gross. (silly but true)
  • Drink a bunch of water when you're done with the speed workout.
So, I have to confess something that I did on the way home. These two guys were propositioning me (sort of intimidating men, standing in front of the liquor store, smoking and drinking out of paper bags....) in a very gross way, and I had to walk past them to get home. So I tried to ignore them and act like my iPod was too loud. They just did it more. So I took my head phones out and said, "oh, I'm sorry, WHAT??! I couldn't hear you because I'm trying not to throw up!" Then I lurched a little bit toward them and made an appropriate barfy-looking face (at least I think I did) (and the urge to barf, from earlier, was TOTALLY gone at this point, by the way....)

You have never seen two men move more quickly. I mean, we're talking record agility here.  I tried not to laugh out loud. It was really funny.

I know that's probably not always the best way to deal with that kind of situation. But it seemed better than acting all scared or getting huffy with them. Maybe I'll see them again next time and I can calmly explain that they shouldn't do that. We'll see.

Have a great day!!

Chicken Salad on Whole Wheat Bread


  1. What a good momma you are for leaving a bit of batter in the bowl! I'm with you - if we were going to die of it, I think much of the population would have been long gone. And I LOVE the way you dealt with those two guys!!!

  2. I am so glad I am not the only one!! :-) I am sure I would have died years ago........ :)

  3. oh these are soooo up my alley, Shari!!!!!
    can't wait to try them!