Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend Report: Blogger Picnic and Caramel Apple Cupcakes

With all my recent vacations, I feel like a negligent blogger. But never fear! I’m back in full force, packed with ideas, pictures, and posting possibilities!

I just returned to DC, so this weekend was relatively low-key. (What is it about needing to recover after vacation? Actually, it was more about needing to rest after the red-eye-straight-to-a-10-hour-work-day combo.)

On Saturday, the lovely Liz from Liz Runs DC organized a blogger meet-up picnic in Rock Creek Park. (This is the same girl who did the Workout Party back in May.) We spent a lovely afternoon lounging on blankets, eating delicious salads, and chatting about running and yoga and biking and blogging. Check out her post here.

I say “salads” but let’s be real here…I brought cupcakes. I guess I can kinda sorta squeeze myself into the “Healthy Living” blogger category, but not really. I mean, I blog about running and that’s a healthy lifestyle choice...but I also blog about breakfast cookies and eating butterscotch straight out of the Tupperware, which may or may not be construed as “unhealthy.” And reading? Well it’s healthy for your mind, right?

Hmm, it’s a bit of an EatRunRead identity crisis up in here…

Anywho, the picnic was great, and I rounded out a wild Saturday night with some yoga and an AMAZING new book (get excited – post to come!).

While I ran a 5-miler pre-Saturday picnic, 6x6 ran 10! This is the girl for whom I wrote a running plan last summer. Her first running plan involved days that were only 1 mile! And now she can do 10! (Share in this proud parent moment with me, will you?)

In light of her accomplishment, I felt obligated not to whimp out of my own long run on Sunday. (Not in a competitive way, just in an other-people-do-it-and-it’s-no-big-deal-so-I-should-just-woman-up-and-run sort of way.) So I did 11ish early Sunday morning. The first 5 were rough but 6x6 joined me for the last 6, and that made it much better!

The rest of the day was spent being tired from running and enjoying the gray and cool day (sooo nice after the blistering summer we’ve had). I met up with some friends for a Baked and Wired experience (the best cupcakes/coffee combo in DC!). The Chai Cupcake = awesomeness. And the Texas Chocolate Cookie = divine!

Then we walked up to Adam’s Morgan Day. The city closed down two streets of AdMo for food and clothes and jewelry vendors, and live music and dancing. It was an Eastern Market-ish experience, but much closer to my house!

By 3 o’clock I was tired (to quote LLC: Why is it that whenever I hang out with you we’re both tired and almost cranky but actually just lazy??? Me: I guess I just have that effect on people. You’re welcome. You can come over and lie on my couch it you want.)

So we did that. Or she did, while I baked up something even better than the cupcakes!!! (Ooh, more foreshadowing…again, check back later this week!)

I’m pretty pleased with my weekend.  As I said, I made cupcakes for the blogger meet-up. They’re kind of healthy! I mean, there’s apples and whole wheat flour…so I think they’re more like an airy muffin with frosting than a cupcake. Either way, they’re delicious!!!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting (from Something Sweet)

Caramel Apple Cupcakes (adapted from Crazy About Cupcakes)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs (room temperature)

1 1/2 all-purpose flour

1/2 cup wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 medium Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, chopped)


Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter (softened)

8 oz Neufchatel cheese (you can use regular cream cheese too)

1 box powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup caramel syrup (found near the ice cream in your supermarket)


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a stand mixer, beat together the brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, and extracts on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, then beat until well-blended. Stir in the apples.

Fill the cupcake liners ~1/2 full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix together all the frosting ingredients, then frost the cupcakes as desired. For added caramel flavor, pour some caramel syrup over the frosted cupcake. Enjoy!