Cocoa Cookie Bars with Peanut Butter Drizzle

Let me tell you, if there is something I do not enjoy, it is packing. When it comes time to pack, I do everything in my power to not do it. I distract myself with snacks, internet, exercise, cleaning, dancing, and anything else I can possibly think of to keep me from the daunting task.

I think when it comes down to it, the reason I don’t enjoy packing is because it takes me so darn long to figure out what I want to wear on any given day, so having to plan for an entire weekend or a week full of outfits becomes so grueling. Inevitably I end up packing too much of everything, but it’s because I just don’t know what I will want to wear at any given moment.

(FYI this was a photo taken during packing struggles before Colombia)

I also have to take into consideration how I might be feeling… bloated, normal, tight jeans, loose jeans? Am I going to be walking all day or can I wear heels? What’s the weather like? All of these things a woman must consider as she is packing. My husband will never understand as hard as he tries.

Needless to say, last night as I was finishing up packing for my trip to Atlanta, I first ate dinner (that’s usually a priority), it looked something like this but different since this is a recycled photo…

I then cleaned, tried packing, gave up after 2 minutes, worked out on the treadmill, distracted myself on the computer, tried packing again…you see the pattern. Poor Moose was probably so confused as I tore around the house. He may have offered me a chill pill at one point, but I wouldn’t know. I was too busy distracting myself.

Does he not look GINORMOUS kangaroo in this photo? No offense to him or anything. 

The good news is, I am all packed. I am SO ready to take on Georgia. Bring on the southern accents, peaches, and Coca Cola.

Cocoa Cookie Bars (Gluten-Free)

A couple of days ago I flashed a photo of a dessert I made. Remember this?

The original plan was to make cocoa cookies (gluten-free style), but as I mixed away, the dough was actually more of a batter, so I rolled with it and came up with what I like to call Cocoa Cookie Bars (since they were supposed to be cookies after all).

They are gluten-free, made with almond flour, low in sugar, and super simple. I used Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams to drizzle on top, but you could use any creamy peanut butter you would like!

Cocoa Cookie Bars with Peanut Butter Drizzle

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. almond milk
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Truvia
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Peanut butter drizzle (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat 9×9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, beat together remaining ingredients except peanut butter.
  4. Add dry ingredients gradually into wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean.
  6. Drizzle with creamy peanut butter (place in microwave for 30 seconds and give it a stir to help with drizzling).

I hope you all have a fantastic day! I may or may not be checking in this weekend. If I don’t get a chance, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to filling you in on my latest adventure to Georgia when I return.

Fallen in Love with Fall: My Comforts

The crisp weather is here. The leaves have fallen, the furnace is on, and the home turned from summery and breezy, to cozy and warm. I love fall.

I am realizing that I am falling more in love with this season as I get older. It brings so many comforts. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of some of my favorite fall comforts…

1. Fires in the fireplace

2. Sweatshirts and sweaters

3. Soup cooking on the stove or in the crock pot

4. Baking and eating warm homemade cookies and treats

5. Coffee

 

6. Warm over-sized bathrobes

7. Walks

8. Dinners in with the hubby

9. Rainy or snowy days where you don’t have to go anywhere

10. A clean warm home

11. My mom and dad’s house

12. Slippers

13. A big soft blanket

14. Reading the Sunday paper

15. Reading a good book

That’s the short list. I’ve said this before but if I had one day this fall where I could do whatever I want with no plans whatsoever to go anywhere, I would get a fire going in the fireplace, bake cookies in my sweats, drinking a big cup of coffee, watch my fair share of Food Network, read my book snuggled in a blanket, do some yoga, and have soup for dinner. That sounds dreamy.

What are your biggest fall comforts??

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies Paleo Style

Good day to you all! I hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start. I’m pretty sure I have deemed Friday as my favorite day of the week. At the end of the work day it’s so nice knowing that I have the whole weekend ahead of me to do as I please.

My Friday

I started my day with a banana pancake topped with honey and PB2. I made it the night before so that all I had to do in the morning was pop it in the microwave and add some toppings. I’m all about anything that make early mornings easier for me.

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I am attempting to wean back on the nut butter a bit because I was seriously getting out of hand and eating it by the spoonfuls. I think it was a combination of factors: I may have felt slightly deprived from the diet, I don’t love meat, and I felt like it was something that actually satisfied my belly. Now that I am starting to incorporate more of my favorite proteins again, quinoa, beans, and eggs, I am able to cut back on the nut butter. I will not be cutting it out however!

For lunch I ate the same awesome Greek-inspired salad as yesterday.

After work, I headed straight to the gym yet again. I hit the elliptical for 20 minutes, then moved to the treadmill for a mile run all while watching the Olympic women’s 10,000 meter race. Holy cow those ladies are speedy! It was great motivation to keep me moving. After cardio, I moved to the free weights to pound out a chest and tricep workout. I finished with some core work. Strength training two days in a row! It has been a while since that has happened.

For dinner I made a taco salad.

In the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • cilantro
  • black beans
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • and ranch dressing

I debated whether or not to top the salad with salsa, but have found in the past that I am usually disappointed if I use salsa as my dressing, so I opted for one I knew I would like.

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After dinner I wanted dessert. I found a Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe from Delighted Momma and decided to give it a whirl.

I made a few changes though of course as I always do. Instead of the coconut oil, I used organic applesauce and instead of using 4 whole eggs, I used 3 eggs plus 1 egg white. For the chocolate chip part, I bought carob chips from the natural food store in town. I have never used them before but know they can be substituted for chocolate chips and are a healthier option. The ones I bought were dairy free. 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Paleo Style

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup carob chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In mixing bowl beat together applesauce, honey, eggs, egg white, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
  3. Next, stir in coconut flour, coconut, and carob chips.
  4. Roll into balls and flatten slightly*; place on parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.

*The cookies do not change their shape from pre-cooked to post-cooking so flattening them makes them more cookie like.

Thank you Delighted Mama for the inspiration! I loved these cookies. They have a coconutty chocolatey flavor, a soft texture, and are slightly addicting.

I hope you all enjoy! I am off to soak up the weekend. Hope you are too.

Banana Cookies & Feeling The Love

Could we please slow this weekend down a bit? It is FLYING by and I’m not okay with that!

We had a great day yesterday…

I set my alarm for 7:00 am with the hopes that I would be motivated to get out of bed and get a run in to begin the day. Well, the alarm went off at 7, but I just wasn’t having it. Although I think I only slept for another 15 minutes after that, I was happy with my decision to skip the workout yesterday. I officially declared it a rest day.

After I rolled out of bed and showered up, I made myself a tasty comfy belly breakfast: banana with homemade almond butter and a touch of honey.

Then it was time to finish getting all prettied up before hitting the road for our friend’s Kari and Tony’s wedding. I’ve been friends with Kari since 1st grade. She is one of the most genuine, kind-hearted, and thoughtful people I know. I was very excited to help them celebrate their special day.

The Ceremony

As I mentioned yesterday, the morning started off very rainy, and it was still sprinkling when we were walking into the ceremony at 10:00 am, but after the ceremony, it started clearing out. The ceremony was beautiful. Kari was glowing with happiness and Tony was cool, calm, and beaming as they exchanged vows. They chose a song called “I Will Be Here” to be sung during the unity sand part of the ceremony, and this was a song that Dana and I had also chose to be sung at our wedding ceremony. I couldn’t help but be brought back to my own wedding. I teared up several times because 1. You could see and feel the love between Kari and Tony and it was so real, and 2. I was able to reminisce about my own wedding and remember the joyful moments. I am such a sap, wow. I love weddings.

Reception

We had about an hour in between the ceremony and needing to be to the reception, so we headed home and hung out with Moose. On our way to the reception, we dropped him off at the groomers’ to get a full on doggy shampoo and brush out. OMG he was stanky…and I mean so bad that I couldn’t even touch him. Poor dog. I think it was from all the swimming the weekend before. He’s just not used to it, and his skin and body oils couldn’t keep up. I don’t know. That’s just my guess. But he was rank.

At 12:30, we made it to the loading dock on Harriet Island in St. Paul. Their wedding reception was on a boat on the Mississippi! How cool right?

But first, we had to get a photo in front of the building behind us because this is where our dear friends Adam and Stacy had their wedding reception. I boogied the night away right inside that building. A lot of great memories there.

Next, it was time to board.

We boarded at 12:30 and took our seats.

For lunch, a “brunch” style buffet was served. There was french toast, muffins, potatoes, eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit. Another first wedding experience for me was having a brunch. Very cool! I was even able to stick to SCD by eating scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit. Bring on the protein!

However, I will not tell a lie…I ate a piece of wedding cake. That is not SCD legal, but I decided I wanted to live a little and went for it. I didn’t have any repercussions but this isn’t to say I will eat cake every day. I will admit though, that cake was TASTY! Num.

After lunch and the speeches, Dana and I made our way to the top of the boat where there was open air and a nice cool breeze. At this point, the sun was completely out and it was just perfect outside. We cruised the Mississippi for three hours.

Then it was time for the first dance. We made our way back down to watch. Isn’t she stunning?

Then back outside we went to cool off again. I had the chance to catch up with my long time friend, Malia who I have known since I was 3 years old. We met at dance class and ironically, my dad and her mom went to grade school together. After we met in dance, we went to school together through 6th grade and have been friends since. We still keep in touch and I love her to pieces. It’s always great to see that gorgeous girl.

We deboarded the boat at about 4:00, and wished the newlyweds well once more before heading home. We picked up Moose on the way home. He looks like a stud, and no longer smells at all. We have our boy back. Now I can hug him and kanoodle him again. :smile:

Dinner?

I wasn’t really in the mood for anything in particular for dinner, so I made it a snacky kind of night. I ate watermelon, cooked carrots, almond butter, and then I made these…

This was definitely a cookie experiment as I wasn’t using a recipe. I threw some ingredients into a bowl, baked them up, and crossed my fingers for a decent outcome.

Banana Cookies (Grain-free, SCD)

Ingredients

  • 2 very ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick cooking mat.
  2. In small bowl mix to combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In medium bowl beat together bananas, egg, vanilla, and honey.
  4. Add flour to banana mixture; mix until combined.
  5. Drop cookies onto baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 19-21 minutes. Cookies will be lightly golden on the bottom and tops are firm but soft.

I immediately said that these would be 100 times better if they had chocolate chips in them, but since that’s a no-no with the SCD, I opted out. But even without the chocolate, they were pretty good! They taste like a softer, lighter version of banana bread. Dana and I ate half the batch last night if that tells you anything. If you are looking for a gluten-free, SCD-friendly cookie recipe, I would give this one a shot! It was super easy too.

Alright, it’s Sunday Funday which means we have some grocery shopping to do. Catch up with you all soon! Happy Day!

Na Cho Average Nachos

Well, hello there! How is everyone’s Tuesday rollin’ out so far? I’m going to give you a quick run-down of my day yesterday and then I have a super amazing recipe I want to share with you from Sunday evening.

Monday Morning

I started off my morning lacing up the sneaks for a 3.5 mile run around the neighborhood. It was a hot and sweaty run, but there was a nice breeze which helped keep me comfortable. Post-run, I attempted to model my new strawberry cup I bought at Target the other day. It matches my strawberry plate! I also bought a lemon cup to match my lemon plate. The summer dishware was 70% off and I just couldn’t pass it up.

For breakfast, I whipped up a smoothie, made my to-do list, and hit the road. My most recent smoothie obsession is a smoothie made with a frozen banana, a splash of pineapple juice, 1/4-1/2 cup SCD yogurt, and a dab of honey. It is so creamy and tropical tasting. I am loving it.

See-Food Lunch

I got home from running my errands around 11:00 and I was starvin’ marvin. I pulled out the watermelon from the fridge and snacked on some of that while I pondered my lunch options. I really couldn’t decide on anything substantial so I chose to start with a bowl of seedless english cucumber slices. I peeled the cucumber, sliced some of it up, splashed it with vinegar, a pinch of fresh dill, and salt and  pepper. This was my experimental food for the day. I am hoping I can tolerate it okay. The salad was very refreshing and I would love to make a big batch of it.

And so began my see-food diet day. I saw food, I ate it.

I ate some peanut butter and honey.

And some SCD crackers. I made one batch of crackers and then split it into two batches: one cinnamon and sugar (saccharin) batch, and one salt and pepper batch.

I also snacked on a handful of cherries. I am making sure to chew the cherries very thoroughly to help aid in the digestion process. I realize that cherries may be slightly “advanced” at my stage in the SCD, but I have decided I will not go all summer long without eating cherries. They are in season right now and the season is so short-lived and I have been eating a few here and there. They don’t seem to bother me at all. I am enjoying every perfect bite.

I had a sliver of SCD bread too.

I was wanting something dessert-like yesterday, so I searched around and found a SCD gummies recipe on Comfy Tummy’s site. The only ingredients are 1/2 cup grape juice (or whatever juice you have on hand), 3 unflavored gelatin packets, and 1 Tablespoon of honey. I just followed the directions right from Comfy Tummy’s recipe, and this is what I got.

These weren’t too shabby for a sweet treat, but they don’t compare to my grocery store bulk gummies that I like so much.

Afternoon Walk and Dinner

In the afternoon I met up with my girly Kate for a walk around the neighborhood. It was going to be a walk around the lake but when I found out we would have to pay $6.25 for parking, we made other plans. We headed to a nearby neighborhood and hit some beautiful trails around there. We walked for an hour which, in the 100° heat, turned us into hot sweaty messes.  As always, it was SO good to spend time with her and catch up on life. I love her, love her, love her.

By the time I got home at 6:30, I still wasn’t hungry for dinner. I think it was a combination of snacking all day and over-heating from the walk. I actually felt nauseous for a little while. Eventually I came around and ended up eating a bowl of cooked carrots, a couple of cinnamon cookies, a bite of muenster cheese, and a few more cherries.

Okay, I have got to move on to the long awaited recipe I have been so excited to share with you (drum roll)…

Butternut Squash Nachos!

Butternut squash SCD legal nachos. I kid you not. These are na cho average nachos. To begin, I peeled a large butternut squash.

I used the long neck of the squash to make “chips” on the mandolin. I sliced these very thin so they were chip-like. I steamed the other portion of the squash in the microwave and pureed it in the food processor. I bagged up the puree and placed it in the freezer for another day. You know I wouldn’t waste food. Haste makes waste.

Okay, so once the chips were sliced, I placed them into a pot of boiling water and boiled for two minutes. After two minutes, I placed them into a colander in the sink and rinsed with cold water until the chips were cool enough to handle.

Then came the tedious part. I used a paper towel to dry each individual chip and placed them onto my baking mat (I used two baking sheets). This took me a while but considering the end result, it was so totally worth it. Once all of the chips are placed onto a baking mat or parchment paper, spray with olive oil or canola oil, sprinkle with salt, and place in a preheated 375° oven.

I wasn’t sure how long they would take to bake, but it ended up taking about 30-35 minutes, turning the pans and switching shelves half way. I ended up flipping the oven to high broil at the end so that I could try to crisp up the top a bit.

While the chips were baking, I prepared the toppings. I took one avocado, diced it, added a splash of lime, cilantro, cumin, and salt and pepper. I gave it a stir and had guacamole in a flash. I grated cheddar cheese to melt over the chips. I seasoned some leftover pulled chicken with chili spices.

When it was time to assemble, I placed a layer of chips on the bottom of the plate, topped them with cheddar cheese and chicken and popped them in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Then I topped the nachos with organic salsa and a heaping spoonful of guacamole.

Holy moly you guys will not believe how insanely delicious this was! I didn’t want it to end. Can you believe this is SCD friendly? I am very proud of this dish. It was worth every bit of effort and Dana agrees. These nachos are the bomb.

I am going to leave you with that to drool ponder over. I hope you all have a great Tuesday. I will catch up with you soon!

 

Na Cho Average Nachos

Butternut Squash Nachos (for two)
Ingredients
  • Chips:
  • 1 butternut squash neck, peeled
  • Cooking spray or canola oil
  • Salt
  • Toppings*:
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salsa
  • Guacamole (mix all ingredients)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Dash of Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • *Use whatever nacho toppings you enjoy: lettuce, tomatoes, onion, black olives, would be great additions to this dish.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats.
  2. Use mandolin or sharp knife to slice squash into thin round chips.
  3. In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add chips; cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove chips from stove and pour into a colander in the sink; run cold water over chips until cool.
  5. Use towel or paper towel to pat each chip dry and place on baking pans.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the chips begin to crisp.
  7. Turn oven to high broil and broil for 2 minutes, watching carefully so that chips don’t burn. Once they are crisped up to your liking, remove from oven.
  8. Plate the chips and add cheese and chicken. Cook in microwave for 45 seconds.
  9. Top with the rest of your toppings and devour.

Chocolate Banana PB2 Cookies

Good morning/afternoon/evening/night….depending on what time you read this post and what time zone you’re in. :smile:

Yesterday was another good restful day for me. I was feeling extremely sore, particularly in my back, but still managed to get some things done around the house and ran a couple of errands.

For lunch, I continued with my experimental diet, and made a big salad full of mixed greens, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, avocado, almonds, and strawberry basil balsamic vinegar with a spot of olive oil.

The salad was pretty darn good, but how about my stomach? Not too bad, but not too peachy either. I am getting to the point where I don’t even know what I “should or should not eat” anymore with this current flare. When I was following the low-fiber diet, I felt okay, but felt nutritionally deprived. My body craved my usual salads, fresh fruits, beans, etc. So, I slowly began incorporating some salads back into my diet to experiment with and to note how my body reacted.  As of now I am concluding that I can have salads in the evening, but am not ready for them during the day based on how I felt yesterday after eating a salad at lunch time.

Later in the afternoon my beautiful cousin/bestie/maid of honor, Betsy, stopped by to visit. I do not see that girl nearly as much as I wish I could and cherish every second I get with her.

Prior to Betsy coming over, I had begun a cookie experiment. I had a large urge to bake, but really struggled with deciding what to make. I know it’s weird that I hard time making a decision (sense the sarcasm). That never happens. I knew that whatever I was going to make was going to have to come from ingredients we had already on hand, because I wasn’t going to go make a special trip just for this particular urge.

So, I began the cupboard raid. I found PB2, cocoa powder, oatmeal, and other baking necessities. I pulled out my bowls and my hand mixer and started mixing and measuring. I still wasn’t 100% sure what I was making as I was starting the process, but I knew I would pull something together. Here is what I came up with folks.

Chocolate Banana PB2 Cookies

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup PB2
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate (I used Dove Dark Chocolate)
Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugars, egg whites, vanilla, honey, water, PB2, and cocoa powder.
  2. Add banana.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and oats. Mix into wet ingredients.
  4. Stir in chocolate pieces.
  5. Place dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so that dough is easier to work with.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from fridge and roll into 1 inch balls (or larger if you wish). Place on baking pan sprayed with cooking spray and press down on cookie to flatten slightly keeping about an inch in between each.
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

And there you have it. A healthy version of such an amazingly awesome cookie!

These cookies are so gooey, chocolatey and nummy, and they’re low-fat too! You wouldn’t even know it because there is no sacrifice in flavor. That equals a success. I LOVE creating healthier version of sweet treats. It’s such a passion of mine. Someday, this may be my job. A girl can dream, right?

However, I would need to learn to have better constraint when it comes to the “taste-testing” part of recipe creation. I ate a few too many bites of dough, and a one too many of the cookies, and managed to completely ruin my appetite for dinner. Whoops. I should say I know this skill, I just chose not to use this skill yesterday. I truly enjoyed every bite of these chocolate goodies.

I had planned on making a spinach and mushroom fritatta for dinner last night, but it was going to have to wait for another night. Maybe tonight? I ended up having some snacks a couple of hours later: sugar snap peas and carrots with hummus, a small salad (really craving the greens today), and a rice cake with a light swiss Laughing Cow wedge.

I hope you all have a happy Tuesday. Catch you later!

Monster Cookie Makeover

Happy May Day everyone!

How about I start your month off right with a recipe for COOKIES! I am a cookie monster, and I happen to LOVE monster cookies.

I decided to put my own spin on a recipe for monster cookies to lighten them up a bit. Here is what I came up with!

Monster Cookie Makeover

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. In small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and oats. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, cream together peanut butter, yogurt, and sugars.
  4. Beat in vanilla and egg.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients by hand.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Drop cookies about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet lightly coated with cooking spray.
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Um, yum. How do you like that? I cut out a whole stick of butter. You’re welcome. I had made my dough over the weekend and shaped it into a log in plastic wrap, placed in the freezer, and that way I could bake the cookies whenever I wanted them. When I was ready to make the cookies, I removed the dough log from the freezer and sliced it into 2 inch wide cookies, about 3/4 inch depth.

Note: I did not let the cookies thaw before cooking them in oven so the cooking time took me more like 12-15 minutes. If I were to do this again, I would let the dough thaw before baking.

I placed them on my cookie sheet, popped them in the oven…

and came out with delicious gems.

A little non-conventional looking, but hey I like to be different and the most important part is that they taste good (and they are healthier compared to the standard monster cookie). MMmmmm…nom nom nom.

ENJOY.

More Corn Please

Breakfast

Tuesday morning began with a spin on one of my current breakfast favorites. Overnight chia seed yogurt but instead of blueberries I substituted 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin, and added cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, stevia, and a bit of brown sugar right before I was about to dig in (because I love brown sugar).

It was like a bowl of pumpkin pie, sort of. I definitely prefer my original blueberry yogurt mix more than the pumpkin, but I would make this one again. It’s fun to try something different anyway.

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Workout

After work I headed to the gym. I completed 32 minutes on the elliptical while reading Runner’s World. The last 5 minutes I back-peddled to work different muscles which I found to be super awkward until I got the hang of it.

After the elliptical I headed to the weights to work out the triceps, chest, and core.

The gym was pretty quiet when I was there, so I decided to try some new things on the big ball near the mats. Is it called a fitness ball? An exercise ball?

This was a golden opportunity to experiment with new moves since 1. there weren’t very many people around for me to make a fool out of myself in front of, and 2. not a lot of people in the area for me to nail with a runaway ball.

Here is what I did.

I was shakin’ and sweatin’ and feeling good at the end of the ball workout. :smile: I felt a little silly when trying to get balanced on the ball but tried to act confident like I really knew what I was doing and had total control. I will do it again. I wish I had one at home. They’re so much fun!

I finished off my workout with a quick 1-mile run that I clocked at 8:10 pace, which is way faster than my norm. I am usually a 9:15 to 9:30 minute mile gal. I felt the need for speed apparently.

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Dinner

Dana cut up a fresh pineapple to snack on while we worked on preparing the rest of dinner. The pineapple was perfectly sweet and so juicy and was a great appetizer.

For dinner we had grilled corn on the cob which was INCREDIBLE. I couldn’t believe how fresh and sweet it was being we are not in corn season around here. I am not sure where it came from? I may need to do my research.I can’t wait for more! I love corn on the cob.

We have been making good use of our grill lately. Tis the season. When I say we, I mean Dana, because I usually let him take charge over the grill.

Alongside the corn, I prepared an Italian/Greek, inspired broccoli slaw. I started with a packet of Good Sense Italian Seasoning which I mixed with balsamic vinegar, just a touch of olive oil, and water. I whisked these ingredients together in the bottom of the bowl creating the dressing, then added a whole bag of broccoli slaw. I added a can of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), and topped the salad with feta cheese and tomatoes.

The salad was full of flavor and a fun healthy side dish. Actually come to think of it, that was the gusto of our meal. That was our main dish and the corn was the side? It doesn’t matter who takes the main stage because either way, it was a party on my plate.

For dessert, a cookie dough ball from Sunday’s cookie making episode that I rolled and froze. Pretty tasty!

Fun fact: I usually prefer dough to actual baked cookies.

I finished off the night with some more laundry (seriously does it ever end?) and a new episode of Glee. We also began sorting through a potential bedroom in our basement which is full of wedding stuff: tulle, cards, decorations, invitations, etc. It is an extremely overwhelming room so I am sorting through it little by little to help get me through it.

Off to a work. Have a great day!

Question of the day: Anyone have any embarrassing gym moments? I would love to hear from you./strong>

Double Chocolate Oat Cookies

Yesterday was a good day. I started the day off right by heading to the gym to hit the treadmill for some fartlek training.

Fartlek is interval training where you adjust speeds throughout your run, which challenges your internal functions to keep up as they are in charge of making major adjustments when varying from slow, to fast, to moderate paces.

I varied my run from a moderate paced run, to a slightly uncomfortable pace, to a sprint, then recovered for 1 to 1.5 minutes before starting it all over again. This constant change in pace means a constant change in heart rate. Research shows that this type of workout can also speed up the metabolic process post-workout, which means more calories burned throughout the rest of your day post-workout.

I don’t feel comfortable going further into the science behind “fartlek” runs, because I am certainly  not an expert, but I do know these types of runs can be very helpful when training for longer runs. They tend to keep me very entertained during runs as well and make the time fly by.

After the run, I hit up a few arm weights and core strengthening, then headed out to run a bunch of errands. I think I found a bath mat for the new bathroom downstairs that I’ m going to keep. The bathroom is 95% done!

I also tackled more laundry, stopped at the library to check out two books for my upcoming trip (!!), cleaned up the house, put photos in frames, and cooked a big batch of 32-bean soup for dinner.

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Cookies, cookies num num num

The other day, I had a hankering to bake and a chocolate craving. What’s a girl to do? Why, head to the kitchen of course and get busy. I took this cocoa cookie recipe, and revamped it. These are cookies that you don’t need to feel guilty about. They are low fat, are made with whole wheat flour, and are fairly low in sugar (c0mpared to other chocolate chip cookies). Check out the recipe.

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons egg whites, or egg white from 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In medium bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, use electric mixer to cream together oil, yogurt, sugars, and cocoa powder.
  4. Beat in egg whites and vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture, until combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Use a tablespoon to drop dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until almost set. Remove, let cool. ENJOY.

These cookies are not super sweet but they do a great job satisfying any chocolate craving you may be having. I decided to freeze the majority of the dough and then I will just be able to bake up one or two cookies if I get the urge. I adore warm right out of the oven cookies when the chocolate chips are melty and gooey.

Have a great day!