Vanilla Rhubarb Jam (Foodie Friday #2)

I love food, pretty much all kinds.  I also love to make food, all kinds.  Today I want to share with you guys a recipe I found and tweaked to make an AWESOME jam.  Jam is actually pretty easy to make and is way better than what you can buy in stores.

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Vanilla Rhubarb Jam

Servings: 4pints      Prep Time: 5min       Cook Time: 15min        Difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients

  • 10 cups of chopped rhubarb (approximately 2 1/2 pounds of stalks)
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/8c lemon juice (more or less depending on your flavor preference)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 packet liquid pectin or 2 tbsp of powdered pectin (I used the powder)

Instructions

Sterilize your jars in a large pot of boiling water. If you’re making refrigerator jam (it will keep nicely unprocessed in the fridge for 2-3 months), skip this step.

In a 4-quart, non-reactive pot, bring the rhubarb, sugar and water to a boil. Add the vanilla bean, lemon and salt to the pot and let it bubble gently for about ten minutes. After ten minutes have elapsed, add the pectin, stir to combine and let cook for a few more minutes.

At this point, dip a spoon in the jam and see how it coats the back of the spoon. If you get a nice, even sheet, the jam is done.  Its important to note that your jam will NOT be the consistency of jam but more like a very runny caramel so dont be alarmed if your jam isnt thick, this will happen as the jars cool.

You can also taste at this point, to see if you like the balance of flavors. Add a little more lemon juice if you feel it needs additional brightening or additional vanilla to match your preference.

If you are making freezer jam pour the jam straight into containers but if you are going to store jam in the pantry or give as gifts follow the next steps.

Pour into hot jars, wipe down the jar to remove any spillage then apply lids/rings. Place jars in a boiling pot of water with the water covering the tops of the jars for at 10 minutes.  Remove jars with tongs or special jar tongs (you can find them here) and let cool.  I like to place my jars on wire racks to help with the cooling process (like when you cool cookies).  As the jars cool you will hear popping noises, this is good it means your jars have sealed properly.  You can check your jars to make sure they sealed by pressing the tops if they are popped out in the middle they are sealed, if not then you can reprocess them in the hot water bath.

When its all cooled ENJOY!  I love this on biscuits and english muffins but Im sure you savvy people out there can find some really great uses or it as well.  For sure will make a fancy edition to brunch 🙂  I love brunch!

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CHIME IN!!  If you have a really great idea share it!  I would love to hear what you would do with it!!

Dogs will be Dogs

Another day visiting hotel partners means I got to “sleep in” again for this run.  Sleep in means 6:30am but thats way better than 5am.  I was really tired today for some reason and once I started running I realized why…super tired muscles from this week’s workouts.  My legs arent really sore, just tired and need to rest.  Because of that I didnt push hard at all today.  I need these ol’ legs of mine to rest up for this weekend.  Scheduled for 13 miles this weekend, was only able to do 10.25 last long run so we’ll see what Im able to bust out.  Honestly my distance capacity really depends on how humid it is outside.  Once humidity reaches a certain point its really hard to breathe.  There really is only so long I can go without property oxygen lol!

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Its probably a good thing I took today easy though because these dogs were being brats today and I was having NONE of it.  Oh they look like sweet angles now…only because they got yelled at on the run.  Oreo wouldnt come when called, Whisp kept trying to dart out in the middle of the road.  Man these two, when they are bad they are bad together.

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Dogs will be dogs am I right 😉

CHIME IN!!!!  Do you run with you pet?  There are pros and cons, today was totally a con.

So That Happened

I have been running with a GPS run tracker water for about 2 years now.  Today was the day it happened.  I forgot to re-start my watch after I stopped for the dogs to go potty.  Half of my run was missed 😦  I was super pissed, but luckily I also use the Charity Miles app so at least I got my mileage tracked that way.  Grrr technology.  Cant you just automatically start again when you can tell Im actually moving!!

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The dogs were so ready to go for a run this morning.  Oreo patiently waiting to get the leash on.  We did about 2.8 miles today to continue to test out the Hoka’s.  I got new insoles over the weekend to see if that will help the weird blister on the left side of my foot.  I think its too soon to tell but after today’s run Im optimistic we found the solution.  3 weeks with these shoes, they should be well broken in by now.  I want to take them on my long run this weekend, but waiting to see how my feet feel Thursday.

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Whisp is also ready on her side of the door 🙂  Silly dogs and their routines.  It was really humid again this morning but my legs felt much better.  I started wearing my compression socks again with the new shoes and I think it really does help.  Ill have to give a full review on what compression socks I use, but today is not that day!

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Run done, now time to shower off, because, seriously, sweating like a crazy person.  Super jealous of people who live in places with zero humidity and great weather year round.  Its almost enough to make me move…almost.

CHIME IN!! Do you sweat like a crazy person or no sweat at all?!

Cross-Training

I thought I would take a second today and let you know what I do when Im not running to stay in shape.  I am really lucky to have my gym (Health Club at Travis Place) 3 blocks from the office so I can workout on my lunch breaks.

Monday is a tabata class.  Tabata is a high intensity work out typically 20 minutes (the class is 45 minutes) 8 rounds.  Each round is 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest for a total of 4 minutes.  There is a lot of science and research behind why this method is so effective, but this is not a research paper so ha!  Tabata is challenging and works a ton of muscle groups which is why I like it so much.

Wednesday is a hybrid class (45 minutes), really its whatever Amy wants to do that day and most of the time its pretty dang challenging.  If I had to describe it, in my head, its close to Cross-Fit but not as crazy.  Amy is out on maternity leave though so we shall see what the new instructor has in store.  This class is great for me too because it works all the muscle groups too.

Friday is yoga class (45 minutes).  Im not even going to lie, I LOVE yoga class.  After a week’s worth of challenging my body, this yoga class is perfect.  I have only been to this class but I think there are many different types of yoga class.  The one on Friday is mostly stretching with a little strength.  The reason I like it so much is this class helps with the sore muscles and gets me ready for my weekend run.

If you have never worked out in a group fitness class, you should.  I love the energy and slightly competitive nature from the class.  I push myself harder when Im with other people than by myself.  It also keeps me accountable because I see the same faces week after week, and lets be real, we all notice when someone is missing.

I used to only run and that was fine but I never really saw any definition in my muscles or felt strong.  Adding in the strength classes on Monday and Wednesday and adding in what I was missing and Im slowly starting to see muscle definition.  While there are plenty of days I dont feel strong at all, I know I have come a long way from when I started 2 years ago.  I believe there is a lot of value in cross-training and not just running.  While running is awesome and a great challenge, there is something altogether great about being able to do 100 push-ups.  Strong is Sexy 🙂

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CHIME IN!! Do you cross train, run, sit on the couch and laugh at me running in the heat?!

Up Before the Sun

Another Saturday another pre 6am wake-up call.  After the last track session I decided to get out a little earlier and get in as many laps as i could before the sun came up above the trees.  Today was 10 sets of 800’s at a little faster than race pace.  My goal today was to run 9 laps at 9:45 and 1 lap as cool down.

20150725_062554Joe had to work today so I had to do my own time.  I brought a towel, a visor (if the sun came out and was blinding me) and two bottles of water.  The bigger bottle is ice water for drinking the smaller clear bottle is for cooling down my body/face, you know the drill.

20150725_062613I was able to get 8 rounds in before the sun came up over the trees and was lashing me with its heat waves.  The 9th lap was a little slower than pace but for the other 8 laps I hovered between 4:41 and 4:46 per set.  Not bad since last time I did the track I could only get 4 laps at that pace.

20150725_073511My last 2 sets sucked though, partially because it was hot the other because my new shoes insoles were giving me a blister only on my left foot.  I thought maybe it was part of the breaking in process but every time I run more than 2 miles my left food gets irritated.  Im going back to the store today to ask them about the insoles to see if there is anything they can do to make it better.  I really like the shoes but no shoe is worth a blister after only 3 miles.

20150725_073456I finished at the perfect time because on my last lap about 6 more people came to the track with NO TRACK MANNERS.  Hello, if you are walking dont be in lane 1 where I am actually running, and if i say “on your left” dont move TO THE LEFT.  Ugh #runnerproblems

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Luckily today was scheduled massage day.  My lady is booked way in advance so i book like 3 months in advance, its like a nice surprise when they happen 🙂  Now I feel much better and ready for the weekend.  Stay safe out there friends, its a hot one today!

CHIME IN!  Do you work out on Saturdays?  How hard is it to get out of bed on the weekends?

Butterbeer and Butterbeer Cookies (Foodie Friday)

We interrupt these running posts to bring you FOOD!  Or more specifically butterbeer cookies and butterbeer!!!!!  Its Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family so it seemed only fitting.  These recipes are in no way healthy, gluten free, sugar free or anything like they.  Just good old-fashioned delicious food that makes me happy.

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Rather than copying and pasting the recipes here and being a terrible blogger, Im giving you links to there 2 amazing blogs that I have been following for years.  Bake at 350 is my go to sugar cookie recipe, I have both of her books and *bonus* she lives really close to me.  One day we will be best friends and make cookies together 🙂 Bakingdom is all things geek inspired.  I love her writing style, tutorials, and her style.  Everything I have made of hers has turned out fabulous, and she has by far the best how to make brown butter tutorial.  If she didnt live in Amsterdam I think we would be best friends too.

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Enough sharing of the love, here are the recipes.  Butterbeer is here and Butterbeer cookies are here.  They should be eaten together for a truly epic sugar rush.  Or not, its your call I dont run your life.  I will say I do make the butterbeer cookies way more than the butterbeer just because I really dont drink soda so I only bust this out on special occasions.

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Now go accio some ingredients and get to cooking.  Oh and invite me over because I love butterbeer anything and will gladly help you finish off all you make 🙂

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On the Road Again

Another Thursday another run day.  I am around Houston taking photos today so I didnt have to get up before the sun!  Its the little things people 🙂

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I hate to say this but I am really struggling getting used to these Hokas.  I have worn them on 4 runs now and am not loving them.  I am going to give them one more week and try using my compression socks next time to see if that makes a difference.  So many people swear by them, maybe Im doing it wrong lol.  I cant tell if my maintain runs have been lack-luster because of that or because I just am in a funk.  My long run last weekend wasnt too bad but I was wearing my mizunos.  The struggle is REAL!!!

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Of course on a run day that means I dont feel so bad about getting a few macarons.  Spoiler alert…these sucked 😦  I usually go to Tout Suite or Sweet (they share a bakery) and those are phenomenal.  These macarons were closer to where I was at the time today and I thought I would try them out.  Flavorless, hard, bleh.  On a positive note it saved me extra calories!!!  Lol, priorities 🙂

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CHIME IN!  Is your workout day an excuse to eat something you shouldn’t?  I know I have done that a time or two 🙂  TREAT YO’ SELF!

What I Wore Wednesday

Its a twofer Wednesday!!  Since my training recap didnt get done until today its double the posts!!

My life isnt all running, sometimes I do things like go to work 🙂  Today I have a meeting with the Houston CVB and wanted to look a little nicer.  The great thing about my job is if I dont feel like wearing business casual clothes, I dont have to!  Wednesdays are usually the “I dont want to get out of bed” days.  I tend to wear jeans and a t-shirt but look at me being all fancy 🙂

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Top – Express

Skirt – ModCloth

Shoes -DSW

Earrings – Kendra Scott

CHIME IN!  What did you wear today?!

Slow and Stead

Tuesday felt like a tortoise run to me.  My legs are still super tired from the 11 mile run and running in new shoes 😦  Its ok though, the first step is getting up and getting out and I did that!  I would have run longer but remember the post about listen to your dog…yeah Oreo was not feeling too hot so we cut the run a little short.  In the interest of TMI…when my dogs go #2 if its in any way not solid that tells me they are too hot.  Instead of making it worse we head back instead of going the normal route.  All in all we did 2.5 miles with an average pace of 12/mile.  I am slower when I run with the dogs because I am a good neighbor and pick up my dogs #2.  You hear that neighbors!!  Its not me leaving dog crap in your yard!

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I love a sleeping puppy on my leg.  Everything is right with the world.

CHIME IN!!!  Any struggles for you this week?  Its ok we all have them 🙂