New Toy Alert!

I’ve officially signed up to run a half marathon in November in Richmond so I’ve been getting a little more serious about running lately.  I chose a half marathon because I wanted a significant challenge, but I didn’t want to limit myself to running for months. A typical half marathon training plan incorporates a significant amount of cross training, which is perfect for me.  Plus I don’t think I really have the time to commit to the three and four hour runs that happen towards the end of a marathon training plan.

Since I’m being a little more methodical about my running lately I decided it was time to  get a Garmin to help track my runs.  

I saw a post on Skinny Runner, a really hilarious running blog, about a new lesser priced Garmin that was recently released.  I figured it was the perfect option for me because a. Garmins can be pretty expensive and I don’t need that many bells and whistles, and b. it’s pink.

Now that I have it, I can go running outside and track my pace, distance, time, and calories.  It’s awesome!  I used to just guess how far I ran based on the time it took.  Plus I think it makes me run faster.  I know I usually run slower outside than on the treadmill but now that I know my pace outside, it motivates me to go faster.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to run and wants to track their progress.  Not only does it eliminate the guessing game, but it makes me excited to get a new PR in my training runs!

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Shady Maple Restaurant

On Tuesday, I went to Lancaster to shop at the outlets and to visit assorted small Amish shops that are tradition on a trip to the Dutch country.  On my way there, I always stop for breakfast at the Shady Maple Restaurant with my parents.  There you will a smorgasbord of Amish delights.  You can’t pass up the whoopie pies or the sweet potato pancake when you are there.  Also, leave room for all the Amish meats like the smoked turkey sausage or the freshly made scrapple.  I only stop twice a year because that’s enough gluttony for one year, trust me!  My next post will give you the recipe to my favorite Amish tradition for the fall, pumpkin whoopie pies.

Time for Pumpkin!

I’m sad to put aside the berries of summer, but what could be better than pumpkin in the fall!  Apples and pumpkin are definitely my two favorite fall flavor profiles.  Since my mom tends to own the apple pie concept in my family, so I’m more likely to go the pumpkin direction when I bake in the fall.

I was recently invited to a dinner party and I, of course, offered to bring dessert.  Initially I actually wanted to make a berry crumble, but I thought to myself: get over it Sadie the berry season is over this year (*tear*).  Then I reconsidered and thought I might as well get on the pumpkin train so I could start practicing potential recipes for Thanksgiving.  It was a good choice.

I decided to try out a pumpkin spice cheesecake, and I have these awesome Temptations individual ramekins, so it turned into individual pumpkin cheesecakes. Sometimes cheesecake is really dense but this one was nicely and fluffy, it’s a really good version.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

Yields one 9 inch cake (even though I made individual portions)

Cake recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats but I used Paula’s crust

Ingredients- Filling

  • 1 1/3 cups (10 1/3 oz.) sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter

Garnish

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • splash vanilla extract
  • sugar to taste
  • pecan halves

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine crust ingredients so they are well mixed.  Pat crust into bottom on 9 inch spring form pan that has been greased.  Bake crust for 15 minutes and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine dry ingredients: sugar, spices, and salt.  Set aside.  Heat some water up in a tea kettle for later.
  4. Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add in pumpkin puree and vanilla, mix.  Add in 3 eggs, mix, then 2 eggs, mix.  Finally add heavy cream and mix.  Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl between additions, so it is well mixed.
  5. Add one third of the dry ingredients add at a time, mixing between additions.
  6. Place the spring form pan with the crust in the middle of a cookie sheet.  Pour the batter into the pan and place in the oven.  Pour the hot water from the tea kettle into the cookie sheet (not in the cake).  The water bath will help the baking process.
  7. Bake at 325 for 90 minutes (adjust baking time if you use a different size pan).
  8. Allow to cool for a couple hours before refrigerating.
  9. For garnish I whipped up some heavy cream with my electric mixer, and I added in some vanilla and sugar.  Then I used the pecan halves to decorate.