Popchip Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Now I mentioned yesterday how a couple of KitchenSurfing chefs got together with Popchips to host a dinner party/competition a few weeks ago, but there was something missing.No it’s not the booze, we had plenty of that. DESSERT. Maybe it’s my childhood, but to me a meal is not complete without a little sweat something. So I decided to remedy the situation with some cookies.

PopChipshortbreadcookies

Pop Chip Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients – Creates about 32 cookies

2 sticks of butter (softened)
¾ cup Granulated Sugar
1  3.5oz bag of Original Potato Pop Chips, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Extra Sugar (for dusting)
1 cup Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In food processor blend ½ the bag of Pop Chips into a fine powder. Measure out ¾ cup of ground Pop Chips and set aside. Hand crush the remaining Pop Chips and add ½ teaspoon of salt to mixture and stir until combined, set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the ¾ cup of fine ground Pop Chips and mix until incorporated, and then add the vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the flour and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and mix until just combined — do not over mix the dough! Dough will be not come together completely but will look sandy.

PopChips Recipe 3

4. Use a spoon (or I use a small ice cream scoop) to scoop dough. Using your hands to compact the dough, form small 1-inch balls and place onto a lightly greased sheet pan, spacing them at least two inches apart. Lightly wet the flat bottom of a glass and press into extra sugar. Using the glass flatten the dough balls to about a ¼ inch. Continue to apply sugar to glass and until all of dough is flattened.

5. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown, and allow to cool.

6. While cooling, melt chocolate in microwave in glass bowl in 15 second increments until melted, stirring frequently. Or melt chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Dip each of the cookies in melted chocolate. While the chocolate is still soft, roll the cookies in crushed Pop Chip and Salt mixture. Set the dipped cookies on wax paper over a wire rack until chocolate sets.

Cookie FInale

7. Try not to eat 10 of them at once like I did

Now this would complete a meal =). A perfect blend of sweet and savory to keep me satisfied.

If you like the recipe, please visit BlogandTweetBoston starting Wednesday and vote for me! If you can’t tell by the shameless begging, I really want to win =).

PopChips Recipe

A Workbar party with Popchips & KitchenSurfing

Last week I had an great opportunity to check out another Boston Blog and Tweet event. This time I crossed the bridge (with a very beautiful sunset I might add) into Cambridge for a friendly cooking competition with KitchenSurfing, Popchips at Workbar.

KitchenSurfing needs no great introduction on my blog since I did a review with them a few months ago, but in case you missed that here’s the deal. Its an online service where you pick a chef who will come to your home and cook, or teach you to cook a meal. Aside from the amazing food I’ve experienced, my second favorite part is that they do all the cleaning. Think of it as another option to those $$$$ restaurants, or a great way to cater an event. Every cuisine you can think of is available at various price options.

Popchips are a chip that’s “popped” versus the standard fried options. I think the process is similar to rice cakes (but don’t quote me on it). Regardless of how it’s made, it has lower calories then your standard chip and is so amazing. Little tip, Costco has great pricing on the family size bag!

Workbar offers communal workspaces where freelancers, start-ups, and remote employees of larger enterprises can enjoy high quality office amenities at an affordable price.  The provide an extraordinary workplace for their members; meeting rooms to meet with clients and give presentations; event space; and a wide variety of social and educational programming including happy hours, lunch seminars, workshops, and networking events.

Now that you know all the key players, let’s get to the competition, because you know at the end of the day, I’m there for some food, and maybe some chatting, One of my talents is talking and eating at the same time (even if my mother disapproved).

KitchenSurfingComp

First up are the boys of Aprons off Catering,  Mark O’Leary and Justin Hackett serving up loads of delicious Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwich with Popchips cured pork, salt & vinegar Popchip mayo, Katy Perry’s Popchip pate, and a Vietnamese style baguette made with pulverized Popchips! I have to say that my favorite part of it all were their bread rolls! I even shamelessly came back for seconds! Check them out on KitchenSurfing and order up some tasty meals!

KitchenSurfingComp2

Next up for my stomach was Jitti Chaithiraphant of Food Is Love! He prepared a corn and cheddar Popchips soup. I have the recipe and it was so good, that I might have to try it out myself with it’s rich cheddar flavor with Popchips as a base and a crunchy Popchips garnish. Maybe not the most healthiest soup, but absolutely satisfying!

KitchenSurfingComp3And finally last but not least, chef Jen Rogers of Perfect Bite who is absolutely hilarious, was serving up a party! She created a Popchips Chicken and Waffle app using Katy’s Kettle Corn Popchips for the “waffle” and Popchips breaded chicken, with a delicious Honey-Hot BBQ sauce. But wait, to make this chicken and waffle combo complete, she added in a Bloody Mary shooter!

As you can see from the description of the chefs, we were absolutely spoiled rotten! Add in a wonderful bartender mixing up some cranberry infused vodka with seltzer drinks and I got nothing to complain about.

KitchenSurfingComp4

We were asked to pick a favorite and it’s a tough choice but I guess we can’t always all be winners besides my stomach. I would have to pick Jitti Chaithiraphant of Food Is Love and his cheddar Popchips soup. The ingredients just went so naturally together. Now if I could grab one of Mark and Justin’s rolls to have with it, I think it would have been a killer combo!

After the awesome event we all got to walk away with some Popchips for a chance to compete in a Popchips competition of our own to win a KitchenSurfing giftcard. So you bet that I’ll be entering and I’ll post the recipe later tomorrow! Stay tuned, because you’ll love it! (I hope so you can vote for me!)

In the mean time if you want to learn more about all the parties involved in organizing this awesome event, here are some links.

Popchips – Facebook – @Popchips
Workbar – Facebook – @WorkBar
KitchenSurfing – Facebook – @Kitchensurfing & @KS_Boston
BlogAndTweetBoston – Facebook– @BlogAndTweetBos

QOTD

Have you ever tried Popchips? As I mentioned before, I go through Costco sized bags!

Have you ever cooked anything with chips? No, but it was fun playing around!

Friday Five or Six…

My updates will probably be shorter and further in between until everyone files or extends their taxes (woo! day job that pays the race fees!) but if you’re finding that you’re missing me a little too much, feel free to follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Anyways some favorite things I’ve acquired over the past week or two:

1. Trader Joes chocolate has a new member

photo 1 (9)

2. I finally found a use for the Little Rock Marathon medal

photo 5 (4)

3. Thanks to a Boloco 17th birthday promotion, I found my new lunch favorite.. a New England Harvest bowl that has everything I love in life, beets, squash, quinoa, mushrooms, goat cheese!

photo 4 (4)

4. Thanks to Tina’s blog Fuel Your Future, I won these awesome Rise Bars and I can’t wait to try more!

photo 1 (10)

5. I found my new favorite chili recipe on pinterest, it involves sweet potatoes and pulled chicken!

photo 2 (8)

6. Sometimes, all you need to do is rub your face into some soft fur and feel better

photo 3 (6)

How’s your week going? Any fun weekend plans? I’m debating between running a 6 hour ultra or attending a food expo. Tough life I lead.

Weekly Recap – Little Rock Faper and a Forced Slow Down

I’ve been on a roll lately, race or not, I’ve been keeping my mileage high and feeling great. Of course eventually all good things come to an end. I generally try to schedule in down weeks and rest days but sometimes I get over excited with the endorphins and run on. I guess something like that must have happened because now I’m tenderly taking a few days off due to what I think is a strain. Basically the part where my foot meets my leg in the front is very cranky. It got cranky enough that I had to call my favorite driving half to come pick me up mid run! Anyways I spent the day icing and elevating and it’s feeling better to I’m only in semi panic mood.

Anyways, I’m behind on two weeks of recaps so let’s get this in the books.

The week of Little Rock marathon was a slow week but only because I needed a rest day from my 35 mile weekend and I spent 2 days in a car for the drive to Little Rock.

Monday 6.5 Miles
I was going for an easy 4 miler or so but I got really into my episode of Doctor Who and before I knew it I was past 10K at average pace of 7:50

Tuesday Rest
Because I really should have taken my rest day on Monday

Wednesday 11.15 Miles
2 part run with 8 miles 7:34 pace on incline 2 and a short 5K in the evening at 7:26 pace.

Thursday 8 Miles
Progressive run on incline 3 while rocking out to the new Glee episode with Adam Lambert. Average pace ended up being 8:01!

Friday, Saturday – Road Trip Fun

Sunday – 26.2 Epic Little Rock Marathon

Total Mileage – 52 Miles

Total Feelings – Running on Happy

 

My week after Little Rock was anything but recovery. Although it didn’t feel like a mistake, it probably was.

Monday – Rest/drive back to Boston

Tuesday – 6.5 Miles
I was going to run only a few miles, but I was so happy to be back running and not traveling that I kept running a little further than I should.

Wednesday – 14.3 
After Little Rock I was feeling great and wanted to keep upping my mileage. 8 miles at even 7:36 pace on incline 2 and 6.3 miles later in the evening at 7:37 while watching Nashville.

Thursday – 8 Miles
8:10 on incline 3

Friday – 8 Miles
7:47 Pace on incline 2

Saturday – 6.25 Miles
8:33 Pace. I was going to do a long run but my effort was all off. My path that I usual run 7:30s on were turning into 9 min miles and so I cut my run short. Nothing hurt at this point but I sensed an overall fatigue.

Sunday – 11.13 Miles
This run actually started of fabulous. Cutting my run short on Saturday seemed to add an extra kick to my run! And then around mile 10 I started to feel a pain in my lower shin or top of foot and within a mile I could barely walk. I didn’t fall or trip or anything weird, so the only thing I could think that caused the strain might be the hoping over puddles and mud craps from all the snow in my area. Either way, I stopped my Garmin around 11 mile mark when my average pace was still 7:57 and tried to walk my way home. About a mile away I got picked up where I iced and rested my foot and thus my little drama fest began.

Total Miles – 54 Miles

Total Feelings – Injured =(

What would the world be #IfEverybodyRan

Disclaimer – I am not part of the sponsored campaign, I just loved this study so much that I wanted to share it

Mizuno USA commissioned an in-depth statistical analysis from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, exploring the question, “What if everybody ran?”  It was an effort to understand the positive, cumulative impact that running could have on America, in terms of both mental, economic and physical health! Now while I am a loyal Mizuno wearer when it comes to marathons, I know everyone has their own personal favorite shoe. I even have mine sorted by distance and terrain! However, regardless of what you wear on your feet, or don’t wear for that matter, I thought this was an interesting set of statistics to share!

Everyone Ran

Methodology

Calculations were based on the initial mathematical assumption, stemming from the United States Census Bureau’s estimated overall population of 320 million, that 270 million Americans could realistically be converted to regular runners (eliminating an estimated 20 million Americans below the age of five, for whom good exercise habits would have yet been able to take root).

Study Highlights

Mental/Emotional Impact

  • 37 percent more smiles
  • 163,607 (or 18.7 percent) fewer divorces annually
  • 29.3 million happier marriages

Economic/Commercial

  • National productivity lost from sick days could be reduced by 50 percent from 2.3 percent to just 1.15 percent
  • A 1.15 percent improvement in productivity could generate $25.3 billion in new exports or a $25.3 billion increase in GDP

Health/Medical

  • $143 billion savings in health care costs
  • 200 million inches lost from American waistlines
  • 48.1 million fewer cigarettes smoked daily
  • 116,000 fewer hip replacements annually
  • Increased average life expectancy of 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women

Miscellaneous

  • 63 million happier dogs (based on increased walks/runs)
  • 135 million fewer hours spent watching TV
  • 14 billion fewer hours spent online

Everyone Ran2

There 11 page report is available on PDF or you can check out the website and videos Mizuno posted.

I don’t have many regrets in life, but I do wish I discovered running earlier in life. I know it would have helped with a lot of the teen angst/depression/self-esteem issues many of us suffered in our youth to say the least!

Are you a runner? When did you start? What kept you from starting earlier?

Honestly, I didn’t really know running was/is a thing until I moved to Boston for college and everyone was doing it. And even then it seemed something only fit people do! I didn’t start running until 2008 when I started my first professional job and some of my coworkers told me they ran. I don’t even remember how I got my first pair of running shoes? Maybe Citysports? I do remember switching between elliptical and treadmill every 5 minutes when I first started!

2014 Little Rock Marathon Race Report

As far as I can tell, Little Rock Marathon is known for two things, a running theme and a big A$$ medal.

The theme for this race was EPIC…

Epic

There was promises of everyone dressing up as Superheroes and just busting out 26.2 miles in costume for a medal as big as a pie.

So of course when my friends signed up and said they’re driving the 22+ hours to Little Rock, I jumped right into their trip. Tony declined due to lack of vacation days and of course left me to be the third wheel. The journey to Little Rock was just as Epic as the race, but I’ll save the details for another post.

Expo – I don’t have a write up of the expo because we never made it. I heard they had massage tables and blah blah usual expo stuff. Little Rock marathon does not allow race day pick up which is a little annoying, but luckily, we were allowed to fill out a waiver selling our souls to have a friend pick up our numbers.

We stayed at La Quinta, about a mile from the race start. I’ve never stayed at a La Quinta before and I plan on never ever again. First of all, I didn’t know they still had smoking rooms in hotels anymore in the US. And if they did, the hotel of course always disclosed that those were the only ones available. So yea, we were on a smoking floor with 100+ pissed off runners that will probably never stay in a La Quinta again as well. No apologies, no options, nothing but a smelly room on a smelly floor. At 10PM an employee comes to our room offering to shuttle us to another location 30 minute drive away for a smoke free room. Lady! we booked this hotel because it’s a mile from the starting line, we have an 8AM marathon and getting ready to pass out, no a shuttle to a remote place miles away in the middle of the night will not remedy this mess. We declined and attempted to sleep.

Night before race meal – I actually believe that what you eat the night before is way more important than race morning. However, we got into the hotel pretty late and our nearby options were pretty limited by 9PM. We went to a place called Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, a chain, but our other option was Taco Bell. I got an Italian sub which is probably something I should never do outside the east coast. I’m pretty sure my bread had freezer burn. Subway would have been 5 star dining in comparison.

Race Morning – I woke up feeling like crap. We had the AC blasting to make the room less stuffy from the smell; unfortunately, that also meant we were freezing the whole night. I had phlegm upon layer of phlegm in my throat with my head stuffed up to another planet.

I had two pieces of toast with peanut butter and a cup of tea. My usual long run routine. It always works and no matter how appealing the waffle maker looked at the breakfast buffet, I decided to really not risk it, particularly with last night’s “dinner” still floating in my belly.

I know this seems like a pretty negative trip, but the drive up was a blast! Stay tune for that post for some positivity!

Anyways back to the race! We said goodbye to some of our friends in the hotel and went up to finish getting dressed. I originally planned to run in a skirt, tshirt, arm sleeves and calf sleeves, but upon seeing the temperature be 10 degrees colder than I thought it would be the night before, I flipped my plans.

Little Rock Driving Team

I ended up wearing capris, shirt, long sleeve, cap, and wright socks. The only thing that I would have switched would be a windbreaking/rain shelter instead of a long sleeve. I don’t think it was that cold for running (my body is used to 15 degree runs by now), but the long sleeve soaked up a lot more water than a windbreaking/ rain shelter would. However, I stupidly decided to not pack my Boston jacket moments before leaving my house for the trip. Stupid Liana, stupid Liana.

The weather was miserable. The forecast got worse and worse with every hour. It was about 52 at the race start and probably 36 degrees by the end of the race. I’ve never ran in dropping temps before so trying to plan for that was a challenge. It almost seemed like a cruel joke when as soon as the race started at 8AM it began to pour.

Although I was grateful that on my walk over it wasn’t raining. All I asked from the rain gods was to let me make it to the starting line dry, and they held off just long enough.

The corrals went from A-M with about 15,000 runners between the 10K, Half marathon, Full Marathon. It actually took a lot of effort to make it up the crowd to the start of our corrals. I was in B, while my friends were in A, C & D.

Luckily, Heather was also in corral B so I got to meet her IRL (in real life)! She and her friend were running the half marathon and my plan was to stick with them for as long as I can. They were running a 1:40 which was a bit fast for me, but the weather was so miserable that I wanted some company for the first leg of the run. I did stick with them for the first 10K, but by mile 7 I decided I should slow down with the hills if I planned on making it through the marathon without feeling like death afterwards.

Little Rock Meeting Heather

As I mentioned in my goals and expectation post, I decided to treat this marathon as a long training run for Boston. That meant holding myself back to 80% effort instead of race pace. It meant letting people pass me (although that happens all the time) and still holding myself back even if I felt like I could push more.

To slow myself down, I took some photos along the course when the rain would calm down in bits. After losing my phone, I wasn’t really wanting to break my new one.

Little Rock Scenes 2

The first few miles are flat, if not on a decline, but after mile 6 the hills start rolling, rolling!

Overall, I think the marathon would have been a blast. Sadly because of the weather none of the bands came out and the crowd support was almost non-existent. The volunteers however, were amazing. They were so supportive and great even though I could tell they were freezing and shaking from the cold. When I ran Hyannis in similar conditions last year in Massachusetts all the volunteers ditched the course after the half marathon, so I was so impressed with these cold shaking souls out there cheering and helping us runners out there!

Is Little Rock Scenic?

To be honest, I don’t think there’s much to look at along the course of Little Rock, although I rarely see scenic road marathons. I felt like we ran through either industrial roads, and something that looked like a bike path of some sort.

Little Rock Course

This was the one scenic part of the course and one of the rare flat spots. We also ran by a few blocks of some nice houses.

Is the course hilly?

Hilliness is in the eye of the shoe-wearer, but I’d say yes, compared to most road marathons, this is a hilly monster. Although never quite steep, it has several slowly inclined rollers with a massive hill climb for about Mile 15-17. But what goes up, must go down and I love blazing down the hill.

Little Rock Elevation

My Personal Performance 

I kinda had a few numbers in mind, but the main one was 3:35. It’s the BQ for my age group and I feel like if I’m going to pay for a race, I should at least race for a BQ since that’s currently within my capabilities.

I finished in 3:34:18 so maybe a little predetermined destiny right there? I know I took it way easier than ever before after mile 20. Part of it was trying not to injury myself, the second part might have been that mentally I was wearing down. It seemed that after the 20 miler mark, each mile was further and further! Particularly mile 22 that my watch clocked in at 1.20!

My legs felt sluggish and I think sitting in a car for 22 hours played a role on it. I’m not a tapered runner since I perform better on high mileage so the two-day sitting break made me feel sluggish. Or maybe my body was still recovering from the long runs I did back to 7 days ago. Or maybe it was the weather? Nah, the weather been perfect, I doubt I would have ran faster. If anything miserable weather made me run faster to get it over with!

Splits

I also shared my splits from NOLA on my Facebook page. I guess for me, no matter what pace I start at, I am a big positive splitter. It’s a mental weakness I have that I’m trying to train through. The best race approach for me is to just run as hard and fast as I can for as long as I can since the exponential slow down is inevitable.

My Results

Time 3:34:18
Overall  165/1,750
Gender 29/778
Division 10/87

My Race Fuel 

I ran with salt tabs, a hammer gel and my phone but I ended up using none of it. I saw lots of bananas, oranges, GUs along the course, but I was too cold for any snack breaks. I don’t think I stopped for water until mile 24. I was just too cold to feel thirsty or hungry for most of the race. If you’re a runner who uses fuel on a course, there’s definitely lots and lots of it provided for you.

The Finish Line 

The finish line was a blur. I saw the poor shaking volunteers trying to get the blankets of the rollers with difficulty. I stood on a line for a while shaking since they seem to be having difficulties. By the time I got a marathon blanket I couldn’t understand where I was and what direction to go to get back to the hotel. As I contemplated crawling under a fence, I bumped into my friend Dave who pointed me in the right direction and took this gem of a photo!

Little Rock LIana

The volunteers didn’t give me anything to fasten my blanket so it kept flying around me! At one point my head was lost in it!

The food past the finish line was bananas, lots of little debbie unhealthy treats, I think I even saw a twinkies haha. I grabbed a banana, pretzels and a brownie and tried to make my way towards the hotel. I really wish they had a bag there so I could have been more thoughtful in what I grabbed.

I wasn’t making it very far in my goal to reach the hotel. I kept going inside anywhere I could for warmth after every block. I silently thanked every business that didn’t try to kick me out since I was soaked and not buying anything. I made it a half mile before I found an expo looking building and I went inside to try to get warm. I washed my face with warm water and tried to stop shaking.

I’m never in pain running a marathon, but those moments after the finish line when my body temperatures starts to plummet are the worse for me.

Luckily as I contemplated hitchhiking a ride back to the hotel room (it was .7 miles away and I had no money) my friend called me up and asked if I needed anything from our hotel room. YES!!! So instead of hitchhiking a ride from some stranger that could kill me and dump my body by whatever park I ran by, I ate some more of my brownie. I ended up giving away the banana and pretzels because I had no will to carry them. I wanted to use my hands to hold my blanket as tight around me as possible.

Once I got my change of clothes from my friend, the world seemed like a less cruel cold of a place again.

Little Rock Marathon Overall Thoughts; Would I Ever Run This Again?

Aside from the crazy medal and the amazing volunteer support, there’s nothing in this race that would make me do it again. It’s a bucket list race for the medal. I think I paid $100 in race fees which makes it a relatively high race fee since that’s what I paid months in advance.

As far as I know, this race has been happening for over a decade. Frankly I think the race organizers should have had this shit together instead of making excuses. Honestly, I think if they just apologized, people would get less pissed but I’ll get to that later.

First the corral system while great in theory is a little wacky. There were 13 corrals with a few minutes before each corral would start. I heard it took some people 40 minutes to start. I was lucky, I was in corral B, so I got to start 3-4 minutes after the gun, which I’ve never done before. Usually I’m about 15 seconds behind gun time. I get that they are trying to do crowd control but I think maybe having different start times for the 10K and maybe even the half marathon than the marathon would be more effective than having runners wait 40 minutes in their corrals to start. Had I been one of those runners, I would have been a much crankier Liana.

6AM walkers… now first let me start by saying that I love LOVE an event that’s welcoming and encouraging to anyone to do a marathon. I think its amazing when an event will support anyone, any pace to try to complete a marathon. I have more respect for the 8 hour marathons than I do for a lot of the middle of the pack. You guys are amazing. However, the merge between the runners and the walkers is clumsy at best. For the most part, I didn’t have much of an issue until after mile 21 when the cross got more narrow and the walkers would be walking in a line with giant tutus. Merging and running around people is not something my tired legs wanted to be doing at mile 24. Maybe this is a race etiquette issue.

Now to the biggest issue of them all – rerouting, cancellation and whatever you want to call it. I want to preface with that I was lucky enough to finish without any issues but 2 out of the 5 runners in our little Massachusetts group were faced with this issue. Had I been in their position, I hope I would have been strong enough to say no and kept running like they did.

The race directors claimed the race was never canceled and that the runners were just given a rerouting option due to the storm getting stronger. However, Volunteers held up signs that read, “Event Alert System: Extreme. Event Cancelled.” This started occurring around the 23 mile mark for four-hour marathoners! Race participants were told by KARK police that the course had been closed. They were all pushed off the roads and told to stop running. Many runners at mile 18 were rerouted to a Walmart location on Cantrell where a bus that never came was supposed to pick them up.

Some were rerouted towards the finish line cutting the course short with a faster time. Basically the overall results of the race are a wreck! I’m not sure what the BAA will have to say about anyone whose relying on their BQ from this race but I wish them the best of luck.

That being said, I did have an EPIC time! The volunteers and my fellow runners made it epic even if the race directors could use a course in organization and communication. The race was even more EPIC because of these cool kids.

Little Rock MA Gangsta