Road Trip, Redux

Helllo from I-80! By the time you read this I will be somewhere in the Midwest, en route to Milwaukee. This road trip was kind of a spur of the moment decision, but when my BFF said she was looking for a travel buddy, I jumped at the chance. Last year I flew to Denver (she picked me up at the airport) and we finished up her cross-country drive together, ending in San Diego. Probably one of the best weeks of my life. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois will probably a litttttle less scenic (okay, maybe a lot less), but I am still super pumped to spend some QT with my girl, Hannah.

Running has been a lot more relaxed than last week (I’m cycling between high and low mileage), but I’m already plotting out next week’s runs and workouts. Hopefully we’ll finally get some crisp, October weather. And I’m planning on a run or two along Lake Michigan this weekend – I’ve never been!

In an attempt to use up a 1/2 can of pumpkin, I baked some bread the other day. And it must be noted that for the first time in my baking history, the middle actually cooked through (without burning the edges!). Read on for my new secret.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread


  • 4 Tbs melted butter (mmm, butter is delicious! the bread will be sad if you try to replace it with applesauce or something fat-free)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup, canned pumpkin
  • 1.5 (generous) cups, whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped  pecans
  • 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (I used canola oil spray).

2) In a large bowl, use a spoon to beat together butter, yogurt, sugars, eggs, and pumpkin.

3) Slowly add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix just until combined – you don’t want to overwork it! Finally, stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.

6) Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into middle of loaf comes out clean.

**Important SECRET step** After about 45 minutes of baking, use a sheet of foil to craft a “tent” over the loaf pan. Then put it back in the oven to continue baking. The foil will deflect some of the heat off the top of the bread (preventing it from becoming over-browned) while still allowing the middle to cook through.

7) Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely. (I popped my bread out of the pan after about 10 minutes and let it finish cooling on a rack). And then serve it with a big dollop of softened butter. Mmm.


Do you have any road trip tips for us? Anywhere we should stop along route I-80? Must-dos in Milwaukee? Your comments (and playlists of bad pop music) will help us stay sane across 18 hours of driving!

  • KT

    I would at least drive by the Milwaukee Art Museum if you don’t have time to check it out.  It has an awesome design and is worth seeing!  Also, have some Sprecher beer!

  • Megan Squires

    there’s a great path that goes along the lake, past the art museum, and into the area behind the summerfest grounds in milwaukee. perfect place to run!

  • whatever you do, do NOT miss stopping at Kopp’s custard! I recommend the burgers (which are the size of your face) bc they’re fun and greasy deliciousness, but even if you skip those, you cannot skip the custard!!!!!!! I expect to hear that you went 🙂

  • “4 Tbs melted butter (mmm, butter is delicious! the bread will be sad if
    you try to replace it with applesauce or something fat-free)” Haha, truth! Rule #1 in my kitchen: real butter, all the time. I’ve never tried the applesauce trick; it’s always sounded “blech” to me– so not the same texture; HOW would that work???

    Have fun on the road trip! 🙂

  • Ahh, so excited you’ll be in my town of Milwaukee this weekend! Bring your good luck in hopes that the Brewers clinch a berth to the World Series on Sunday 🙂 Also, you’ll love running along the lakefront on Milwaukee’s East Side – one of my go-to running paths. Try to get to the Lakefront Brewery, if possible (the best in town) and just enjoy the beauty of this great city that no one seems to give enough credit to! 

  • Wooohooo! Road trip! Have fun. Yep, I drove XC when I moved to San Diego and drove XC again when I moved to NYC! So fun. Don’t go to Stucky’s.
    Bad (good) pop-music? How about “Faded” by Soul Decision (circa 2001?!) haha
    Thanks for the bread-baking tip!

  • Sun

    I’m excited that you’re coming to Milwaukee – it’s my hometown! The lakefront is a great place to run – you can take it from Summerfest grounds, past Bradford Beach and up Lake Drive as far as you feel like running.

    As for eats, Kopps is certainly a great recommendation for burgers and custard! Other fave eating locations include Cempazuchi (it was featured on Food Network awhile back), La Merenda and the Milwaukee Sail Loft. If you feel like something fancier, Lake Park Bistro, Hinterland and Carnevor all come with high recommendations. 

    If you have time, you should also check out a brewery tour – Lakefront Brewery is pretty awesome!

  • Yay Milwaukee!! I second what everyone has said so far. Running at the lakefront is a must, as is KOPPS!! Lakefront Brewery tour is a blast. The third ward area just south of downtown is a great place to walk around, look at shops, and dine! Cafe Benelux across from the Milwaukee Public Market is amazing for brunch. They have a pannenkoeken (giant pancake/crepe bigger than your head) with banana, nutella, chocolate sauce and hazelnuts. Nuff said. 

    Milwaukee group run anyone? 🙂

  • Is it bad I secretly enjoy it if the middle doesn’t cook through because then, since I can’t share it with other people due to its rawness, I eat the raw middle? Yes? Man. Have a safe trip!

  • Liz

    I promise Ohio isn’t that bad to drive through! Or at least not in October with the leaves changing. Indiana gets kinda boring, especially once you’re north of Indy … very much all cornfields. Look for the windmill-things that save the wind for electricity (no clue what the official word or phrase is for that), there are hundreds of them. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    You have no idea how much I appreciate your secret tip!! Ahhh, EVERYTHING I bake is a little mushy in the middle and I always just blame it on my wonky oven. I am so trying this, thank you! Have a great trip and we must plan a run when you get back!

  • Frances Killea

    Milwaukee! What a fun road trip. I live in Cleveland- Ohio isn’t ALL bad!

  • Angela

    Check out the Iron Horse Hotel – near the third ward in downtown, even if your not staying there its a great place to hang out or enjoy a nice dinner, drinks and apps!  Lakefront Brewery is a must!!  Enjoy your time in Wisco!  Go Brewers!!

  • Oh my goodness, I’ve recently fallen in love with your blog and to read you’re en route to Milwaukee makes me adore you all the more! I’ve lived here for 4 years now; born-and-raised native of Wisconsin. I highly recommend Comet Cafe on the east side if you want the best damn vegan wings you’ll ever have. 🙂 I’ve eaten all over this city and Comet will always be my favorite!

  • enjoy your trip, lady! love your spontaneity. and your pumpkin bread magic. i made pumpkin beer bread this week. yum.

    no road trips planned, nor have i ever been on one. i’m boring. make sure you’ve got some michael on your playlist. totally necessary, obvi.

  • Trying To Heal

    I would say that if the new kelly clarkson album was out to get that for your road trip, but it’s not for another week…so I guess it depends on when you’re coming back!

    Have fun and drive safe! I hope you have tons of fun!!!

  • I know the PA portion of 80 far too well. My parents live in western PA so I take that awful, long road across the state all the time. Sadly there isn’t a whole lot to do or see on it during that part. But I’m sure it’s the company that makes it fun! Have a great weekend!

    And thanks for the secret pumpkin bread tip. I’ve put aluminum foil on the edges of things that seemed to be cooking too fast (and by that I mean burning) but have never thought to use it as part of the normal baking process. I’m going to try it the next time I make any sort of quick bread!

  • Jeanne

    Will you guys be in Omaha post-Milwaukee?  There are lots of great places to eat, and the Omaha Running Club has an event almost every weekend!

  • Anonymous

    Just found out that my friend’s apt is 1/2 mi from Comet Cafe – thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  • Megan

    Go to the Safe House while you are in Milwaukee! You’ll need to make reservations if you want to eat, but it is amazing! And super cool!

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  • HeatherRuns26.2

    yea for bread! I dont have road trip tips but I do have bread baking tips! when you put your bread pan in the oven place it on a cookie tray. The tray helps evenly heat the bottom of the bread so you dont burn it!