So. Last week was a down week in terms of running. I ran 15 miles total and it felt really weird. It had been almost a year since my mileage dropped that low and I definitely felt out of sorts. Rest weeks are necessary and I definitely appreciated the extra time and flexibility in my schedule, but when the body and mind are so used to a routine…it can throw you for a loop. I missed the deep sleep that comes after a long run, I missed my voracious appetite, I missed running dates with friends. But today is Monday, the return to training, and 56 days until a sub-1:30 half marathon. GULP.
I’m still running by feel this week (don’t want to jump into things too soon) – but things are gonna get serious next Monday. 70-80 mpw, are you ready for me?
One of the upsides to not running much lately, is that I’ve had more time to play around in the kitchen. I made a version of these brownies last year – they’re inspired by a Smitten Kitchen recipe. But this time I changed things up a bit. If you like chocolate and spicy things – you should probably go buy a can of pumpkin and make these tonight.
Pumpkin-Cayenne Brownies (makes 16 squares)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
- 1 glug of canola oil (1-2 Tbs ?)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 8″ baking pan.
- Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave for 30 second intervals. Stir between intervals.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in another bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until well combined. Beat in flour mixture.
- Divide batter between two medium bowls. Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl and stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the other. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat layers – pumpkin should be your final layer.
- With a small butter knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, depending on oven. Cool in pan, on a wire rack.
Notes: These definitely have a spicy kick to them – if you’re scurred, use a little less than 1/4 tsp of cayenne. And they’re sort of cakey vs. fudgey. Next time, I will reduce the eggs to 3 and maybe bump up the canola oil to create a fudgier texture.
Also, I had one of these bad boys for breakfast this morning.
Because pumpkin for breakfast (in any form) is completely acceptable September through November.
In other news, I’m glad you guys were excited about the Lollihop giveaway! I’m in the process of partnering with them for some exciting things. Later this month, they’re launching an interactive online magazine (I’m going to contribute some articles on snacking and running!) and soon there might even be a discount in the works for Runner’s Kitchen readers.
I strive to be honest with product mentions and reviews on the blog – I won’t accept samples or give-aways from a company that I don’t believe in. Sometimes I get emails from companies and they go immediately into the “trash” folder (ahem diet food companies ahem), so even though Lollihop sponsored last week’s give-away and sent me free goodies, I would definitely use my own dolla dolla bills. If you are enamored by the snack box subscription idea, use referral code Megan-runnerskitchen and hopefully they”ll be able to hook you up with a discount in the future!
Anyway, the winner of the Lollihop give-away is Anna from Blue Plate Special! Congrats Anna – email your mailing info to runnerskitchen [at] gmail [dot] com
Now, tell me – what’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin? Besides humping it, of course.