Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Blog Spotlight - Running to the Kitchen

Hiya crew.  We're doing the July blog spotlight a little early so that you have time to try out this muffin recipe that Gina included along with her post.

On that note, say "hi" to Gina from Running to the Kitchen.  I met Gina about 6.5 years ago when she, along with another employee, interviewed me and Jon.  We've all worked together ever since.

She is one of the most energetic, straight-forward (read: blunt), fun people I know.  When Gina sent me an e-mail at work saying that she was thinking about starting a blog, I was ecstatic!  I couldn't wait to read about her workouts (she is an exercise fiend!), steal her delicious recipes (Gina should really be a professional cook), get updated pictures of her adorable puppy (Ginger is a Weimaraner with a personality and a half), and just keep up with her day-to-day (what? this isn't how you keep up with your friends?).  Needless to say, her blog is now one of my all-time favorites and when I only have 5-10 minutes to catch up on blog readings, it is among the first ones I pull up.

I have no doubt you'll love her too!

Who are you?
I’m Gina. I’m 29 and as much as I’d like to ignore the fact that I’m only 10 months from 30, the multiplying gray hairs keep reminding me. I work full time in the business world by day and moonlight as a food and running blogger. I’m a total food fanatic. I like to eat it. I like to cook it. And, I like to bake it. So, I kind of need a way to balance that out so I run.

Why did you start blogging?
I like to talk. Period. No, honestly? I spent waaaay too much time reading other people’s blogs and figured maybe I should channel some of that time and energy into my own! Food and running are my passions. Blogging is a way to share them with people and makes me hate life a little less too since I can’t really figure out how to make eating and running a career that pays well. It’s the perfect outlet.

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, what would it be?
Wow, the million dollar question. I hate questions like this. I’m too indecisive to answer these. I mean, who can really answer this question and feel confident they picked the absolute best option? I’d probably go with pizza. Veggie pizza with sausage. Pizza is a good bang for your buck. You get bread, cheese, and in my case, veggies and meat all in one!

4th of July Muffins

What do you think of when you hear 4th of July? For me, it’s Mrs. Miller’s 1st grade class.

We had a classroom with a divider wall that opened to the 4th grade class next door which had a piano. Every morning after the pledge of allegiance we combined classes and a student of the day got to pick between My Country, ‘Tis of Thee or The Star Spangled Banner. The 4th grade teacher would play it on the piano and the “special” student would sing whichever song he or she picked. Out loud. Alone. We sang the song twice and on the second turn the rest of the class would join in. It was like a mix between American Idol and chorus gone elementary school. Also known as hell for those of us less vocally inclined (I was first chair clarinet later in school, I didn’t even make 2nd grade chorus that’s how bad my voice was. I didn’t even know they cut 2nd graders!)

It was bound to happen even though I tried to avoid it, eventually it was my turn to pick and therefore, sing. My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, for those of you who aren’t so lucky to have those lyrics ingrained in your head, is a simple, basic song. I should’ve stuck with simple. Simple is good. But no, I wanted to be different because 95% of the students picked My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.

I wanted to stand out.

4th grade teacher: “Gina, which song would you like for your special day?”

Me: “The Star Spangled Banner please.”

And so, the music starts. I actually got 3 lines in to “perilous fight” (not even knowing what perilous meant I’m sure) and then went all Christina Aguilera on everyone and skipped to “And the rockets’ red glare..” Ramparts? What ramparts? What the heck are ramparts? Instead of moving on and pretending nothing happened 4th grade teacher stopped the music and called me out! That b$%&^! And, then forced me to start all over again “until I got it right”. “This is our nation’s anthem, you know”. Really? Gee, I wasn’t aware of that. Thank you kind teacher.

This would’ve been bad enough in front of my own class, but can you imagine how uncool I now was in front of the 4th graders? I mean they were like so old and so cool.

I stood out alright.

And so now every time I hear The Star Spangled Banner or think of the 4th of July, that is what I think about. My pathetic 6 year old self trying to stand out. I’ve never once missed the rampart section since.

But, after The Star Spangled Banner, the thing I most associate the 4th of July with is BBQ’ing and I’d place a bet that’s what 90% of you would say too. That’s why I’m not going to talk about BBQ, it’s played out.

Muffins though, I bet that’s not even on your top 25 list.

They will be now, and you’ll be the hero for bringing something sweet to the BBQ besides the ubiquitous watermelon.

These are about as festive as they come with the red (raspberries), white (coconut & macadamia nuts), and blue (blueberries). If you like creamy coconut, you will love these. The addition of coconut milk makes them sweet, creamy and smooth, while the fruit gives them a little tangy kick. Topped with shredded coconut and macadamia nuts that give it a crunchy textured top.


Make them now, thank me later.  

4th of July Muffins 
  (Blueberry, Raspberry, Coconut, Macadamia Nut Muffins) Makes 15 muffins
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached AP flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup whole macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • chopped macadamia nuts
  • shredded unsweetened coconut
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin wrappers or grease well. Mix dry ingredients (first 9) together in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients (next 6) together in a medium bowl. Pour wet into dry and mix only until combined. Gently fold in blueberries and raspberries so as not to break the fruit. Once combined, spoon mixture into muffin tins. Top with shredded coconut and chopped macadamia nuts and bake for approximately 20 minutes.


  1. Yay! Love Gina and her blog :) And those muffins look amazing...thanks for sharing!!

  2. Yum! Those look pretty AND delicious!

  3. Those look awesome!!! Perfect for the 4th! I'm heading over to Gina's blog to check it out now!

  4. Heading over there to check out her blog!!! PS I love to eat too, but don't like to run! ;)

  5. Have been falling in love w/ Running to the Kitchen. She's a great blogger, envy-inspiring workout machine and "come live with us and cook," cook!


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