Monday Weekend Wrap Up

Happy Labor Day!

I hope that everyone had a great weekend appreciating the last joys of summer and the ability to wear white : )

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We had a little bit of everything going on this weekend.  Starting with wedding planning Friday night, a Saturday AM hot yoga class and venue visits Saturday afternoon.  Followed by an early morning run with a buddy Sunday morning.  And then birthday celebrations in the city and shenanigans the rest of the weekend. 

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Now it’s Monday and I scheduled in some much needed downtime for us.  I feel like we have been running non stop with little time to catch our breaths.  Perhaps that is common of everybody trying to hold on to the last few moments of summer before it fades into fall.  And speaking of running, I have been preparing for the half marathon I am scheduled to do in 2 weeks.  I don’t know if it is this first taste of thick humid air, the fact that I am now 33, or all of the things going on in our lives right now, but I have not found my running groove.  Whereas I usually LOVE the 13.1 distance, I am not looking forward to this upcoming race.  Based on my recent runs (and lack of mileage), I’m sure that I will struggle a bit to finish…even without worrying about my time.

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It seems that there are many changes with age (which occurred to me as I was the oldest person at yesterday’s birthday party).  But I have to brag that I still got it when it comes to flip cup and can hang with the 20 somethings.  After sleeping in until 10am and spending the majority of the morning with my sister in law looking for a Thai place that was open to deliver us delicious fried rice (with no success), the only option I wanted for dinner was Thai!  We also did some wedding searching and pinning in between complaining about our lack of spicy peanut chicken.

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My favorite peanut butter in homemade Thai is homemade peanut butter!  We went to the grocery store on our way home from the city and picked up ingredients and I had fresh PB before the crockpot was heated up.

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I had dinner in the crockpot, laundry in the machine, and a few things picked up and was seated comfortably on my couch for an afternoon of quiet time.  Sad news…I may need to fire my wedding planner for sleeping on the job!

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Our Thai dinner turned out incredible (not that I am surprised as Erin has some mouth watering recipes) and totally hit the spot!

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What else hit the spot?  This weekend!  Spending time with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, a much needed yoga class, and getting back to cooking and meal planning.  What more do you need?

 

MealPlanning 9/01/14

Monday: Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Tuesday: BBQ Pork/Lamb and Green Beans

Wednesday: Turkey Taco Casserole

Thursday: Grilled Chicken and Veggies

How did you spend your weekend?

 

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Slightly Adapted From The Law Student’s Wife

Ingredients

2, 14-ounce cans light coconut milk

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

1/4 cup peanut butter (homemade!)

3 tablespoons red curry paste

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash pieces (about 1 pound) I didn’t use squash because the BOY doesn’t like it but I’m sure it would be awesome!

2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced

2 green bell peppers, cored and sliced

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)

Directions

In a 5-quart or larger slow cooker, stir together the coconut milk, chicken stock, peanut butter, curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Place the chicken breast, squash, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion in the slow cooker and stir gently to coat with sauce. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

Thirty minutes before you are ready to serve, add the peas. Immediately before serving, stir in lime juice. Serve garnished with cilantro, atop brown rice.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookies {with Chocolate Chips}

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I am spending my Saturday in Peoria, visiting a friend (plus her new baby) and touring my old college campus.  I am willing to guess that much has changed in the 10 plus years since I graduated and I can’t wait to check it out!

 

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Even though I’m gone, I am rounding out the week with another awesome recipe…this time for dessert!

 

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I was still in the mood for cookies, and so cookies I baked!  With my lovely kitchen assistant of course : )

 

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Actually, he wasn’t much help at all, but my cookies still turned out super soft and delicious!

 

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This recipe is a Pinterest find and I added in some chocolate chips for taste and texture (which I highly recommend!).

 

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These cookies were a huge hit with my coworkers who loved the mild cheesecake addition to your typical peanut butter cookie!

 

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Happy Saturday!!!!

 

This week in recipe awesomeness…

Grilled Romaine

Steel Cut Overnight Oats

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Kale Juice

Crockpot Green Chicken Curry

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookies

From Pixie Dust Kitchen

 

Ingredients

8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature

¾ C Creamy Peanut butter

¾ C Brown sugar

¼ C granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 C all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 generous cup of chocolate chips (optional but recommended)

 

Directions

Cream cream cheese peanut butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing until combined.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and soda. Mix into wet ingredients until just combined.

Let chill in fridge for 1 hour or up to two days.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Scoop 2 tbs size balls onto cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. (Even if the middles look overdone, they will continue to cook and set up as they cool.) Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling wrack.

Cookies will keep for 2 weeks. Store in an airtight container.

You HAVE to Make a Decision

After weeks of thinking, pinning, and planning, I seriously waited until the very last minute to decide what cookies I wanted to bake.  I’m not typically an indecisive person, but I think after my second week back at full time work, my brain was a bit fried.  When I finally made a list, it was way too long to be accomplished in one day, but it’s good to dream big…right?  The good news is that I kept it simple.

 

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Saturday morning was a white out!  The perfect kind of day to not change out of your pajamas and begin baking cookies immediately.  However, I didn’t have all of my ingredients.   At first, I considered ditching the cookie baking entirely and squeezing some fresh oranges for mimosas!  Followed by a movie marathon (I’m thinking Love Actually).

 

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But I knew I had a long list of cookies to attack.  A quick peak out the front door revealed that the roads were not yet plowed.  I decided it wasn’t worth it to slip and slide along the roads, so I checked my cookie list to see if there was anything I could make this morning.  Luckily, I keep the basics stocked.  I pulled out butter for later and found a recipe that used melted butter to begin.

 

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I found an easy and healthy one.  This cookie recipe was in my binder and I think it came from a magazine (a google search revealed that it is indeed from Cooking Light).  It’s super simple and includes mostly ingredients from your pantry.  I will share it with you this morning in case you are snowed in and looking to warm up your home with some baking.

 

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Baking was slightly challenging with this adorable face popping up near my bowl, in the sink, and next to the butter.

 

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But these cookies came out perfectly!  And I love that they are shaped differently than your typical round cookies.

 

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Since these cookies were super quick and since I still didn’t have soft butter, I decided I would turn my bananas into banana bread.

 

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By the time my bread was ready, the BOY was awake and the streets better plowed.  I convinced him to help me brush off his car, so that I could venture out into the world.  I needed to go to the grocery store and figured since I was heading out, I might as well throw in a yoga class.

 

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The BOY was nice enough to pull my bread out of the oven for me and when I returned home after yoga and the store, I sliced it right up.

 

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This peanut butter bread is one of the best I’ve EVER had!  The flavor is incredible with crunchy ends, and the inside moist and delicious!

Even though I’m not officially snowed it, I’m planning on pretending like it and baking up a storm today!

And in case you’re planning on doing the same, here are two awesome recipes to start with.  Decisions…Decisions…

 

 

How do you like to spend a Snowy Saturday?

 

 

Granola Cookie Wedges

From Cooking Light April 2013

 

Ingredients

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 large egg white

2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir until well combined. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour, oats, nuts, and chocolate chips to sugar mixture; stir until just combined.

Scrape the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate coated with cooking spray, and spread to edges using a spatula. Bake at 350° for 13 minutes or until set. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into 8 wedges.

 

 

Peanut Butter and Banana

Whole Wheat Quick Bread

From Cookin’ Canuck

 

Ingredients

4 medium ripe bananas, well mashed

1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter

3 tbsp canola oil

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (packed) brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3 tbsp ground flax seed (flax meal)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, with a hand mixer), combine the mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, peanut butter and canola oil. Mix on medium speed until combined.

Add the granulated and brown sugars, and mix again until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Beat until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 1 hour. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve.

 

Note: I was going through the motions adding in my ingredients and was about to stir in my flour mixture when I realized I used the white flour that was out and not whole wheat flour.  Oops!

Breakfast from the Blogs

We had nothing for breakfast this morning!  Always so sad! 

However, there is a Law and Order Marathon on TNT.  Always so happy!

This is where blog reading really comes in handy.  When you think you have no food or ideas for breakfast, you stumble upon an easy recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal over at Cookie Dough Katzen.

 

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A few minutes later and some homemade peanut butter plus this unique flavored jam…

 

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And Breakfast is served!

 

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I will definitely keep this recipe handy for future breakfasts! There are always oats in the house!

 

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I also stumbled upon this mouth watering recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Baked Oatmeal that when I have more time, I can’t wait to make!!!

 

 

What’s the best breakfast you’ve found on a blog?

 

Here are a few other tasty ways to start your day….

Apple Eggie Cups

Overnight Oats in a Jar

Caramel Apple Granola

Tina’s OMG! Pancakes

Strawberry Banana Muffins

Baked Eggs in Avocado with Bacon & Toast

 

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Oats

From Cookie Dough Katzen

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup oats

3/4 cup water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1-2 Tbsp peanut butter

1 Tbsp jelly

 

Directions

-Combine oats and water in a microwave safe bowl.  Stir in vanilla and cinnamon.

-Microwave for 2 minutes.

-Stir in peanut butter and jelly and enjoy warm!

Nutella Puppy Chow

Hello Friends!  I’m back from the woods and had the best weekend relaxing and soaking up some nature!

 

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Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin 6/08/13

 

Although I know that ya’ll are excited to hear about my camping trip, I’m sure you have also been looking forward to this recipe after I’ve been teasing you with it all week!

 

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I made two attempts at Nutella Puppy Chow last weekend.  Both turned out addictingly good, but this recipe had a little bit of a stronger Nutella flavor.  Bonus!

 

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Puppy Chow is always a crowd favorite, and this recipe won’t disappoint!

 

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I recommend my favorite freezer storage method to keep things fresh and because I love that first chilled bite!

 

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But be warned…no matter where you store it, this Puppy Chow won’t last long!

 

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Do you like Puppy Chow?

What is your favorite variation?

 

 

Nutella Puppy Chow

 

Ingredients

6 cups Chex cereal

1/2 cup PB

1/2 cup Nutella

4 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 cups powdered sugar

 

Directions

Pour Chex cereal into large bowl.

In a separate microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, Nutella, and butter.  Microwave for ~2 minutes in 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.  Do not overheat.  Stir in vanilla.

Pour Nutella mixture over Chex using a spatula to spread evenly over cereal.  Stir in powered sugar 1 cup at a time until well coated.

Store in airtight container.

Five For Friday V

1. I am so excited for this weekend’s camping trip!  After a raiding my parent’s house and a trip to Costco, I needed help unloading my car with all of our supplies.

 

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2. My new summer schedule officially begins on Monday.  This week was a busy but easy transition.  One day I even got to eat my lunch outside at Starbucks, which was such a huge treat for the girl who never gets to leave the office during the day!

 

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3. I have been having a tough time sleeping this week.  This seems to happen around life changes (ie when I was moving back from Memphis).  However, last night I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow and although up earlier than I would have liked this morning, I finally felt well rested. 

 

 

4.  I am in charge of breakfast for the camping trip.  I am bringing eggs and spinach and made Paleo Banana-Walnut Bread that I can’t wait to dig into and Date Bars.

 

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5.  After two trials last weekend, I created an awesome Nutella Puppy Chow.  It’s doesn’t have the strongest Nutella flavor, but the combo of peanut butter and Nutella is addicting. However, I need to go finish packing, so the recipe will just have to wait!

 

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Hope you have a great weekend! I will be enjoying my first

Friday off camping in Wisconsin with these girls!

Back on the Bike and Blondies

On national running day, I should probably be sharing stories of a fantastic morning run, but Wednesdays is typically my day off.  If you’re looking for a running post, this one about my running history is one of my faves!  Instead…I am going with biking and a blondie recipe.  A fair second choice, I promise : )

 

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Yesterday morning, I was up and back on my road bike for the second time this year.  Typically I swim on Tuesdays, but I have been getting into the pool a lot (for me anyways), and I am fairly certain that the lake will be freezing and I will panic and no amount of practice can help at this point.

 

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I know…not my usual positive attitude, but considering yesterday morning’s bike wear, it’s fairly realistic to think that this is going to be my coldest triathlon yet!

 

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My ride on the other hand gave me the pre race confidence boost that I needed.  I rode 15 miles around the path in an hour.  I felt much more confident on my bike and had less wrist discomfort.  Plus, I felt super speedy on my road bike even with a head wind.  The only bad news is that my bike computer is broken (or needs a new battery), so I need to fix that stat!

 

After my bike ride, it was off to work for Treat Day…

 

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Like I mentioned with these brownies, I decided on recipes based on what I had in the house.  In the pantry, I found a bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips just waiting to be used!  Or eaten by the BOY…

 

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Peanut butter blondies with peanut butter chips sounded perfect!

 

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This recipe make a thick peanut butter dough enhanced by the creamy chips.

 

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I baked the blondies as recommended.  Then pulled them out, sprinkled them with chocolate chips, and returned them to the oven for 3 minutes. 

 

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When they came back out, I used a spatula to spread out the chocolate chips for a gooey chocolate frosted layer.

 

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Yea…I said it…the only thing better than peanut butter blondies is peanut butter blondies covered in chocolate!

 

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Yum!  The perfect dessert for after your daily bike ride or run!

Or to take to the office where they disappeared within minutes!

 

 

Ya’ll gave me some awesome brownie recipes, so I have to ask…

What is your favorite blondie recipe?  Did you run today???

 

 

Peanut Butter Blondies

From About.com

 

Ingredients

6 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup peanut butter morsels

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

 

Directions

Grease and flour an 8- or9- inch square baking pan. Heat oven to 350°.

In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat melted butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly beat in flour, soda, and baking powder. Stir in peanut butter chips.

Spread/pat evenly in the baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until set.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and return to the oven for 3 more minutes.

Using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the blondies until covered.

Let cool or eat warm and gooey!

Store in an airtight container or freeze.