Happy National Running Day!

Warning – this is a blog post about running. If you prefer to read my blog when I only post about food or fun stuff like that (hi mom!), please stop reading. For those that are interested … Happy National Running Day! In honor of the holiday – you get TWO blog posts from me today! (One about Buffalo chicken dip, and one about running) Because really – this is a holiday that I can celebrate. When I heard that there was going to be a lunchtime run downtown to celebrate, I wasn’t sure if I could make it. But I still wanted to get in on the festivities – and make my own – so my coworker Cari (who just moved downtown!) and I decided to finally go for a run together – before work – to celebrate! I ran a little over a mile route to get to her house, then we did 3 together and then I ran the little over a mile home. My Nike+ (yes I’m back on that bandwagon) said I did about 5.4, which keeps me right target for my weekly goal. AND considering last year at this time I was stuck in an aircast / walking boot and couldn’t celebrate at all I’m SO GRATEFUL that I could run this morning.

We were going to run around Browns Stadium but they were filming Captain America and I guess they didn't want any extras running in the background.

We were going to run around Browns Stadium but they were filming Captain America and I guess they didn’t want any extras running in the background.

There were balloons, streamers, noisemakers, party hats, and even fireworks to celebrate. Kidding!!! But wouldn’t that be awesome just the same? Instead we saw:

  • Security guards and the Captain America filming set
  • A man sitting on the side of the road who was missing some teeth. He told us to run fast and keep running far far away from Cleveland. Which was interesting.
  • Some guy run toward a moving car, which stopped and opened the door. As he was running, he dropped his shoe. Another runner picked up the shoe and ran after the guy – who ignored him the whole time. The runner finally dropped the shoe next to the car and left. WEIRD!
This was supposed to be an image of Cari at the beginning of our run - but who wants a pre-run 630 am photo of them online?

This was supposed to be an image of Cari at the beginning of our run – but who wants a pre-run 630 am photo of them online? So instead you get a photo of my current sneakers.

To celebrate, I’m sharing with you 5 things I LOVE about running:

  1. Stress Relief! It clears my head and makes me feel a little less stressed out, etc. in this crazy world.
  2. It’s a social, yet independent, sport. You can run with friends (like I did this morning) or run by yourself. You can run with or without music. You can join a running group or just lace up alone on the treadmill. It’s really what you make of it. I’ve sorta played group sports before (crew in high school and softball when I was a wee little girl) and as much as those are fun, it’s nice to not have anyone else reallllly relying on you. Most times – you are your own team. Can you tell I’m not a super competitive person?
  3. It feels good! Yes, there are bad runs and runs where you don’t PR and don’t want to keep going – but for every bad run you have you will have 5 amazing runs. Yup – it’s math, trust me.
  4. It’s good FOR me. I know the pounding of the pavement can take its toll – and it has before (remember those stress fractures?) – but running is a form of exercise and if I weren’t addicted to running I probably wouldn’t exercise!
  5. I can run anywhere. Running doesn’t require any special equipment – really, you just need some sneakers and running clothes and you’re ready to go. Yes, a running headband, GPS watch, and so on are nice – but what other sports do you really not need any equipment or anyone else? I’ve gotten so much better about just bringing my sneakers and one set of running clothes with me when I travel – and find that even if I’m not somewhere with a gym, I can almost ALWAYS find somewhere to run.
seen on tumblr

seen on tumblr

So HAPPY NATIONAL RUNNING DAY! Hope it’s a fabulous one. Hope you get in an awesome run and eat lots of cookies to celebrate (Because what’s the point of a run without a cookie afterword?)

Some questions for you:

  • Did you run today? Plan to run? Did you join in a group run to celebrate?
  • Why do you like running?
  • What’s your favorite type of cookie? hard to decide … but i really do like white chocolate macadamia cookies!
  • Favorite post-run snack? most of the time it’s breakfast – egg whites, lentils and green beans. 

Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip (no crock pot needed!)

Every Memorial Day,  B’s family gathers at his uncle’s house for your typical summer holiday barbecue. B’s uncle prepares the main dish, and everyone else gets assigned something else – a side dish, salad, drinks, appetizer or dessert. This year, B and I were told to bring an appetizer. After much debate, we decided to bring some sort of bean dip/hummus (we decided to make this SO good 5 Ingredient Garlicky Bean Dip) and B’s famous Bacon Blue Cheese Guacamole. But when we went to the grocery store Monday (yes, we went the Monday of Memorial Day, when everyone else and their mom was there), they had no ripe avocados. So, guacamole was out. So it was going to be either pizza dip or buffalo chicken dip. I quickly googled the pizza dip recipe, realized it would take a few more ingredients and a little more time (of course we were running a little late for that day’s bbq already) so the answer was clear – Buffalo Chicken Dip.

I’d made the dip before (honestly, what girl hasn’t brought Buffalo Chicken Dip to a party in a cute little crock pot for an appetizer before?) and knew it would be a hit. Especially if I bought those awesome Fritos scoops to dip with. And celery, because celery goes GREAT with buffalo chicken dip… and peanut butter.  But not together.

If you’ve never made Buffalo Chicken Dip, here’s the recipe I use. It’s a hybrid of quite a few other recipes I’ve seen but it’s my favorite.  I think I’ve got the ratio of buffalo sauce to ranch JUST perfect! Enjoy 🙂

buffalo chicken dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip 

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 cooked boneless chicken breasts (about 10-12 oz total) OR 2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained. Yes, they make chicken in a can, not to be confused with Chicken of the Sea, which is tuna, as Jessica Simpson now understands (no idea what I mean? Check out this video. Sorry for the sidetrack but it’s very important you watch this video because you may understand what happened to Nick and Jessica’s relationship).  Anyway, I’ve made it both ways, and I hate to say it – but you can’t really tell a difference when you use real vs. canned chicken.
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Wing sauce
  • 3/4 -1 cup ranch dressing – I use full fat Hidden Valley Ranch because I can’t stand lowfat Ranch. I use 3/4 c but if you are sensitive to hot sauce (or can’t stand the heat) definitely use the full cup.
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature. I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese because I think it tastes just as good. Unlike lowfat Ranch (see note above).
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim cheddar cheese, divided in half

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat up chicken and hot sauce, until heated through.
  3. Stir in ranch dressing and cream cheese. Continue cooking and stir until well blended and cream cheese is no longer lumpy. Then add in half the cheddar cheese and continue mixing until melted.
  4. Transfer mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over top and then cook in 325 degree oven for 10ish minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve warm with celery and those awesome Fritos scoops. If you’re bringing to a potluck, you can save the cooking in the oven until you get there. OR you can just heat up in the microwave for 2-3 minutes when you get there. And sit back, relax, and watch everyone enjoy your amazing dip!

Some thoughts to ponder –

  • Do you like buffalo chicken? I love anything buffalo flavored! Buffalo chicken salad. Buffalo roasted chickpeas. Buffalo chicken wraps. Buffalo chicken soup. I once made B stop on our drive out to NY in Buffalo so we could try the original buffalo wings. 
  • What’s your go-to potluck recipe?
  • Do you like low-fat substitutions? I generally do, but I can’t stand lowfat ranch dressing. The smell makes me feel sick, too.
  • Do you celebrate Memorial Day with a cookout?
buffalo chicken dip

Heat chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese and ranch dressing in a skillet.

Add half cheddar cheese and cook through.

Add half cheddar cheese and cook through.

transfer into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

transfer into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

enjoy! If you're bringing to a potluck, feel free to set aside a little for yourself to enjoy pre-event :)

enjoy! If you’re bringing to a potluck, feel free to set aside a little for yourself to enjoy pre-event 🙂