May Foodie Penpals

The Lean Green Bean

Its time for another penpal reveal. For May, I received a wonderful box of goodies from Alissa.

I got the box towards the end of the month, and since we have been traveling so much I haven’t had the chance to try everything yet.

First, she sent me this amazing card, and the photograph is HER OWN from Kauai, HI, gorgeous.

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We first tried the Biscotti, I actually brought it to my in-laws because my mother-in-law loves biscotti. It was tasty, I usually find biscotti too dry. This was perfect, I loved the chocolate chip flavor, this is one of the many local favorites Alissa sent me.

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This is the one I cannot wait to try. Asparagus soup, simple ingredients and it is easy to make. The next gross rainy day we are home, this will be on the stove. This item is a big local item where Alissa is from!

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Next up is the fig dip. I am saving this for a summer get together because I am afraid I will eat the whole thing if I have at home. Trust me I will report back, most likely it will make an appearance at B’s birthday party. (Another local hit)

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The Toffee Waffle was the last of the local favorite items. The idea is to put the cookie over a hot beverage and melt the center. It has been pretty hot out so I haven’t had a hot beverage recently. I tried the cookie not over a hot beverage, they were chewy and a little too buttery. I will keep you updated on how they taste when they are eaten the correct way.

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Trader Joes 70% dark chocolate with caramel and black sea salt. YUM YUM YUM. 70% dark chocolate is my favorite. These three together were perfection, so good. Do yourself a favor and get one of these right now.

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Sunshine lemon chamomile bar, Alissa sent this because the taste is similar to Cliff bars. This bar was great, it seriously tasted like a cup of tea, not too sweet with the right amount of lemon, plus it did not have an artificial taste.

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Check out what I hand delivered to Elizabeth this month!

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And now its time for some details about Foodie Penpals. In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

Greek Festival in CT

This weekend is the annual Greek Festival at our church in Hartford, CT.

Check out the details here.

My husband and father-in-law will be playing in the band.

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This was at our wedding, but you get the idea

There will be tons of delicious food, drinks and dancing.

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Again at our wedding

If you need any tips on what to get let me know!

Here is a girls shot from a few years ago at thee St. George Greek Festival!

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I will be there every night, if you plan on going let me know. Cait will be there Friday as well. Hope to see you there!

Have you ever been to a Greek Festival?

Race Recap: Color Me Rad 5K: Hartford, CT

Let me preface this by saying, I love a good fun run, but I think because there are so many out there, the run has to be organized really well in order for it to be REALLY fun.

Nick, our friend Tom, one of Nick’s cousins and I were all signed up to run the Hartford Color Me Rad 5k on Saturday.

I’ll be honest the whole thing started out rough. B decided that he didn’t want to go to bed until really late, like 11 pm, on Friday night. Then he was up off and on from 3:30 until 6:30 and was up for good at 6:30. We were leaving the house at 7:30, so we were not exactly rested.

We had received pack information the week before, and packet pick up was Thursday and Friday before the race, unfortunately we couldn’t get there before late Friday evening, but the race said any team or individual that lived more than 60 miles away could pick up on Saturday morning.

Our wave started at 9 so we left the house at 7:30, Nick’s parent live about 15 minutes away, and hit a small amount of traffic as we got off the highway. We parked and got to packet pickup, here’s the first area that I think could use some improvement.

The first tent had 4 people looking up names/teams and they gave you your bib number then, then they had to put your number into the system, and wrote the shirt size you registered for on the back of your bib. It wasn’t organized by last name or anything. It was just two giant lines.

After you got your bib you went to the second tent to get your shirt & sunglasses, you were supposed to get a color packet, but we never got ours. The girls (4 of them) at the shirt booth were literally sitting around until we got there. I think it would have gone a lot faster if they prepped in advance. If they had put bibs, shirts and glasses in a bag and had you pick up by last name or by team leaders last name.

We ran our stuff to our car and waited for Nick’s cousin, by this time the line for the packet pick up was insane, and the line to get into the parking was backed up onto the highway, which is where Nick’s cousin was.

We got to the field 90 minutes before our start time and we still weren’t able to start with the 9 am wave. This is the second area of improvement. Most races have staggered starts but you are in corrals or they have signs where it says 8 min pace, 12 min pace, walkers, etc… This race had neither, everyone was in a giant clump and they let a group of people go every 15 or so minutes. We ended up going with either the second or third wave. Because of this people would walk 5 or 6 across and block the entire path. Even after being nice and saying excuse me some people refused to move. I ended up just pushing my way through.

At the first color station it was a narrow path so it ended up being bottlenecked and you had to wait to get through. There wasn’t an issue like this at any of the other color stations, but because those throwing the color were volunteers, a lot of them were younger kids, and they had the tendency to peg people in the face. There were 2 stations with liquid paint instead of powder paint, and they were worse they were aiming their jet pack at people’s faces and it had a hose. The girl holding one of these aimed at my face and got me right in the eye, and another one got our friend Tom in the mouth, at the second wet paint station I ended up covering my faces and running through saying spray me anywhere but my face. I think in the future they should make sure the kids aren’t purposefully getting people in the face, especially since this was a family race, and I saw more than one kid being pushed in a stroller.

The last general area that was really lacking was the water station. We were only the second or third wave and not terribly slow. But there was a line. We ran past it and they were pouring the waters to order it seemed. I don’t think they had any pre-set or they just didn’t have enough people manning the water station to keep up. I can only imagine what the water station looked like later in the day.

For the Hartford specific race, they said in the race packet that you could only park through one entrance, and there are multiple entrances to the football field. This caused a HUGE backup. Nick’s cousin was supposed to run with us at 9. She didn’t even get in to race until we were already mostly through the course. The second part is that race packet said it was partially on gravel and if you needed to you could run on the grass. It was all gravel, save form maybe a half mile, and not small pebbles, it was golf ball sized gravel. I tried running on the grass, but it was long and was almost harder to run through.

With that being said we had a fun time, I’ll be interested to see how the race improves over time. I think the race would be even more fun once all the kinks are worked out.

Here we are post race:

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My clothes aren’t that colorful, but I think the color had a hard time sticking to the dry tech material. My arms were purple, green and yellow. The underside of my right arm looked like a nasty bruise and the back of my neck was completely hot pink. Most of the color came out in the first shower. Just my “bruise arm” took two showers.

Have you ever run a fun run that needed some improvement?

Guest Post: SIX reasons to join Team in Training

I am starting a guest posting series all about Team in Training! If you would like to guest post email me at cupcakekelly21 AT gmail DOT com.

My first guest post come from Krissy who completed the Shamrock Marathon with Team in Training on March 18, 2012.

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When I signed up for Team in Training (TNT) last October, it was a decision that had been in the making for several months. As a relatively new runner with about one year of experience, I was nervous — was I fast enough to train with a team? Would I be able to reach my fundraising goals? It was scary!

Despite those nagging fears, once I ‘pulled the trigger’ on the idea, I never regretted a moment. Within that first week of registering on the TNT site, I was contacted by the regional campaign coordinator and supplied with a steady stream of information and encouragement. Through emails and phone calls, I was able to quickly set up my special fundraising website, connect with teammates through social media and jump right into training.

So, if you’re reading this now, and wondering, “is TNT for me?” I am here to share my TOP SIX REASONS to join one of the most well-known and successful fundraising organizations for your next endurance event:

G – Give Back.

The moment I heard about TNT, I knew the premise appealed to me: join a local (or virtual) team to train for an endurance event while simultaneously fundraising for cancer research — what’s not to love about that? Just as we were assigned a coaching staff, we too were introduced to fundraising mentors who were ready to help us achieve our goals.

O – Outreach.

The connections that we made in our local, regional and statewide teams via in-person and virtual events were worth their weight in gold! Special events such as The Silent Mile took each of us beyond our personal fundraising and united us as an organization to learn more about where the sum of our hard-earned fundraising dollars were going.

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T – Try Something New!

Whether you’re considering a half or full marathon, a century bike ride or an adventure hike, there are events to fit your ever whim. And remember how I was worried I’d be the slowest runner? Not so! There are individuals participating from many skill levels and all are equally welcomed.

Our TNT coaches were extremely receptive of feedback and always ready to dispense helpful training advice — from discussions about pacing to sports nutrition.

E – Enjoy Awesome Perks!

As a major player in the racing world, TNT’s excellent reputation and name recognition have made it possible for countless athletes to participate in hard-to-get-in events such as the Nike Women’s Marathon, runDisney events (Disneyland Half Marathon, WDW Princess Half, etc) — even if they’re sold out to the general public!

But perhaps you’re more interested in a local event — you’ll see amazing perks by being part of TNT for these, too! By meeting your fundraising minimum, you are guaranteed race registration, accommodations, course support (see more on this in Accountability) and in some occasions, even event transportation and meals.

A – Accountability!

From weekly training to race day, your TNT support staff are there for YOU – it’s only a matter of time before you begin to realize how important that means to them, too! Skipping a weekly training run is a lot harder when you think about all the people you’re working toward your TNT goal for — patients, family members, teammates…

Come the big event though, the fruits of your labor will inspire you in ways you never could imagine! From the joyous cheer of the crowd calling your name from your bright purple TNT jersey to the shouts of encouragement via an on-course coach, the only thing that’s impossible on race day is how to put your emotions into words.

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M – Make a Difference!

Crossing the finish line to your TNT event, you’ll never be the same person again. From the immense satisfaction of the physical accomplishment to the powerful knowledge that your contribution — no matter how big or small — helped another person — the feeling could not be more profound.

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My first TNT experience is one that I will treasure for the rest of my life. From the lasting friendships I made, to the impressive fundraising amount we raised and the race experience itself…just priceless. It wasn’t always easy — waking up for a run in the dark, or sending dozens of letters for family and friends — but in the end, these actions were modest sacrifices toward a cause greater than ourselves.

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Thanks Krissy! If you want to sign up, there is still time, check the events in your area! You can always sign up for the Nike Women’s Half or Full and meet me in San Francisco!

Or if you would like to donate, every dollar is one step closer to kicking cancer in the butt, you can donate here!

Three Things Thursday

The busy weekends started with this past weekend, but I am super excited for this weekend.

1. I am looking forward to my race on Saturday. I am running with some family and some friends. I am hoping to push myself to see what I am capable since my last disaster of a 5k. I don’t have terribly high hopes because I want to have fun, and also it is supposed to be HOT!

We are going to be spending the weekend with no real agenda. Spending time with friends and family we haven’t seen in awhile. My husbands grandparents from Greece are here and they will finally get to meet B.

2. Sometimes I find myself looking forward to summer because of fruit salad. Seriously, I need watermelon, asap.

someone please make me this

Source: goo.gl via Rowan on Pinterest

3. I killed an insane TRX workout yesterday morning. Somedays I get really down on myself because I am unhappy with how I look. But I am extremely happy with how I am performing. I may not be at my happy weight, but I am stronger then a lot of people who are smaller then me and I push myself to become better and stronger and healthier.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend! Anyone doing anything special?

WIAW: Cupcake Camp Boston 2012 & Guest Post

Before we get to the cupcakes, make sure to check out my guest post on Real Life Travels where I open up my diaper bag for all the parents to see!

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On Monday, I was FINALLY able to attend Cupcake Camp. I had grandiose plans last year to make it and wasn’t able to. I thought I would have time to bake for it this year and I wasn’t able to, I was glad that I was able to at least attend this event this year.

My sister and I got VIP tickets, which meant we were able to attend an hour early, and I am so glad we did. There were plenty of cupcakes and the line for the regular start time, started when we got there, a little before 6!

Our method was to try one cupcake at every station. We picked one flavor and each took a bite. We did this for two reasons, that is an awful lot of fat and sugar and two we wanted to be able to taste a bunch of different cupcakes without getting sick. I will say I felt guilty when we threw away almost an entire cupcake because we both took a tiny bite. Note to self: make minis when I finally get my act together and apply next year.

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obligatory cupcake eating photo

Instead of going through the masses of cupcakes I will hit you with our collective top 5. We disagree on the order in which they fall but we agree with what ones are in the top 5. So in no particular order:


1. Chocolate Espresso from We Made Cupcakes

This was actually the first cupcake we tried and it was amazing. Sadly, I have no pictures and couldn’t even remember the name. I had to track it down through twitter

2. Tiramisu Cupcake from Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe

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They also had a rep from the Boston Chocolate Tours, who now also has a cupcake tour, at their booth and my sister won a free tour and I get $4 off.

3. Root Beer Soda Pop Cupcake from Whole Foods River Street

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They had many flavors but we stayed true to our agreement and tried just one, root beer. It tasted just like a can of root beer, it kind of had that fizzy taste as well. Yum.

I also, finally, got to meet the face behind the twitter!

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4. Fruity Pebble Cupcake from Two Guys Baking

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What was really unique about this was the milk frosting. I highly suggest finding these guys and getting your hands on one of their cupcakes!

5. Raspberry Lime Rickey from Janna Bee’s

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I am the first to admit that I typically hate fruity cupcakes because the taste is artificial, these were not. The baker told us they actually use a reduction that has blackberries so there is no artificial flavoring at all.

We also got a shout out on their twitter page!

Full and ready to leave!

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At the end we met up with a friend for beer because we needed something bitter to cut the sweetness.

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Cupcakes, friends, family and beer, what a fabulous Monday.

What cupcake would you want to eat from this list?

SURPRISE!

This weekend we made the trip for MA to my home state of Vermont. We got in kinda late, dropped B at the hotel with my mom and Nick and I took some time to grab some time for ourselves and some dinner.

Where I grew up in VT is just across the river from NH,so I spend a good chunk of my time at restaurants in NH. This weekend was no exception. On Friday Nick and I headed to an old favorite, Lui Lui’s.

It was a surprise to me that it was NH restaurant week.
IMG 3006 It is the first ever NH restaurant week so it was nice to participate. Especially since the prices were MUCH different from Boston restaurant week.

For $15 we got an app, entree and dessert. At first you get a basket of rolls and their famous dipping oil. I was pretty disappointed because I LOVE their rolls but they were cold. FOr our meals, I started with the chicken and rice soup and Nick had a garden salad. Since I am such an awesome food blogger I forgot to take pictures.

For our entrees I originally wanted the risotto, but they were out, so I had the penne all a vodka and Nick had the wood fired Margherita pizza.

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For dessert we both had the cannolis, we each received 3 mini ones, but I was barely able to eat one. I was surprised with how good they were.

After dinner we went back to the hotel to sleep, but instead someone wanted to play until 11:30 pm. Eventually we got to sleep and spent Saturday morning hanging out, at lunch we met up with my mom and sister for another one of our favorite restaurants. I didn’t take pictures because I was trying to eat while wrangling B, but the black bean burger at Molly’s was phenomenal. If you ever find yourself in Hanover, NH go there and try it.

The reason we made the trek to VT was for my moms 60th birthday. My sister Caty and I had planned a surprise dinner for my mom at her favorite restaurant, The Canoe Club, in Hanover. I don’t go home that often so I had never been to The Canoe Club, but it is totally my type of place. They are all about using local and regional food for your meal.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Caty and I split the tuna tartare, it was all right, it had a dill sauce that I wasn’t expecting and it didn’t meld together for me. Nick had the soup of the day which was white bean and bacon, the soup was phenomenal.

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Nick & Caty

For my entree had the beef strip with asparagus and potatoes. It was amazing, I could not stop raving about it. Nick had the veal bolognese, which was a white cream sauce, and that was surprising, but it was also very good. (I still think mine was the best).

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For dessert Nick and I split the creme brûlée, it wasn’t my favorite, but Caty also made a favor for everyone that attended. Carrot cake and chocolate cake pops in a little vase.

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After dinner we grabbed some coffee and started our drive back to MA. I had my first Team in Training run on Sunday morning and I didn’t want to miss it. So after a short amount of sleep, I was up at 645, getting ready to tackle my first 3 miles, it was HOT but I made it and I made a new friend. All in all a successful and busy wonderful weekend.

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Thursday Things

I am so thankful for so many things, but today I am thankful for certain things.

1. The outpouring of support in texts, emails, facebook message and comments on yesterdays post. Really I am thankful for any support, but the amount of support I have gotten for the beginning of my journey with Team in Training, is unbelievable. I can’t wait to see what this training season holds for me.

2. I have met so many wonderful people through blogging. People who I am not sure I would have ever crossed paths with, even if they live close by. Today, instead of mailing my Foodie Penpals package, I was able to hand deliver it to Elizabeth. I love when I am able to do that!

3. I am thankful that people think of me, when they are extremely busy. I received 3 mothers day gifts in the mail from random family members. Every single one surprised me and every single one was thoughtful and amazing. I cannot thank these people enough. I only hope that I am as good to them as they are to me.

4. I am grateful for the people in my life, who have shown me who I want to be, and who I don’t want to become.

5. There are a few people in my life that share my passion for fitness and then their are those who run with me because I tell them it’s fun, but they might not agree, and they do it anyway.

6. I get to stay home with this smiling face every day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Running & FitFluential

Tonight I attended the Fall Kickoff for Team in Training. In case you missed it I am running my first half marathon with TNT in October, the Nike Women’s Half.

I was able to meet my coaches and mentors and all the wonderful new and alum TNTers. I will be the first to say that running a half scares the hell out of me. Meeting these wonderful people really put me at ease. I CAN do it and I will ROCK it.

I find that a lot of people who don’t spend a lot of time working out ask me why I run.

Simply put, I run because I can.

Lisa commented on my announcement about TNT that those days when I don’t want to get my workout in or do my run because it will be hard, to think about all of those who can’t run. To think about all of this that I am running for, so that one day they can run too.

These runs are for all of those who can’t.

As part of my fundraising for TNT I am going to be hosting a blogger bake sale, if you would love to donate a baked good or snack please email me at cupcakekelly21 AT gmail DOT com. Anything helps and I would love help from you!

Or if you would like to donate to the cause, you can do that here.

The last thing I want to address is FitFluential

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This is a great community of men and women who share a passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I have only been a part of this community for a short amount of time but already have met great new people and have received a ton of support for my new adventures.

If you want to be a part of this wonderful community there are three options: Ambassadors, Influencers and Enthusiasts. Enthusiasts do not need to have a blog, I strongly suggest you head to the site now and fill out your information or apply to become an ambassador right now.

Why do you work out?

You know you are a mom when

You know you are a mom when:

Even with a diaper bag, your purse is full of things for your child
Mine has bibs, pacifiers, puffs and toys.

You realize how much junk you have in your house
As soon as B started crawling, everything that wasn’t nailed down was his for the taking. Plus any cords or cables were things he wanted to play with.

You go days without showering
I used to be the type that had to shower to wake up everyday. Now I try to shower after working out, but some days it might not happen. Also, going to the store in sweatpants or workout clothes, fair game.

Any news stories about any harm, intended or not, is heartbreaking
I used to watch most cop dramas pretty religiously, and I still watch a lot, but the cases that involve children I have to stop watching. I just usually can’t handle it. I have a hard time with any news or media story.

I also some fellow moms what they would say makes them a mom.

Vanessa said
When you are in a store alone and a kid cries and your glad it isn’t yours

Christine said
Vomit and poop no longer bother you

Meagan said
When you think your kids poop face is cute

Callie said
You get peed on and don’t bother changing your clothes

I also had a wonderful first mothers day.

We started with breakfast in bed, snuggles with B, and he gave me all the gifts he obviously picked out.

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I received a picture frame to put in a photo I took on Sunday, a kindle case with a light, and a pandora charm that is B’s birthstone and some beautiful flowers.

My dad was also kind enough to send Nick and I a package for Mother’s and Father’s Day.

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Goodies from one of my favorite places, Boudin in San Francisco.
It had 3 loaves of bread, salami, cheese, blue cheese dijon mustard, a woven basket and a cutting board shaped like a piece of bread. So cute.

If anyone ever needs any gift ideas, the bread of the month club Boudin has amazing. Each month the bread is a different character.

How did you know when you were a mom?