I told you I would try to get another Slutty Brownie picture…




Sadly, this was all that was left.  The Slutty Brownies were a HUGE hit!!!  I am not even a big brownie person, but the addition of cookie dough and Oreo’s is pure genius!  You will love this and they are well worth every delicious calorie!  Just don’t forget the Bash ‘N Chop because these brownies are so fantastic, gooey, hard to cut, but fun to lick off your fingers.




Even though I had class today, I woke up at my parents before 6AM to get in my 8 mile run.  It definitely helped that I went to sleep at 8:30PM last night.  Perhaps that is embarrassing to write on my blog, but what’s worse is that I was in bed before 8PM, making it easy-ish to get out of bed at 5:45AM to meet a friend for a run.  It was perfect running weather and we found a quick pace that worked for this early morning run.  I got ready for work and for my second breakfast, I combined last night’s leftovers with some eggs.




I never would have thought to throw rice into my eggs, but when I read this post last night, I was inspired!  The only sad news was that I didn’t have time to thaw out some green veggies to add to the mix.






This breakfast was unbelievably good and filling. I would guess that there will be more rice and egg breakfast stirfrys in my future!  When I headed back out to my car, I noticed a nasty yellow goo on the back window of my car.  Believe it or not…at 30 years old, I was egged for the first time!  At first, I thought maybe an egg fell out of a nest in the big tree in the front yard, but upon further inspection, it was a full sized grocery store egg.  Yuck!


After class, the BOY and I had a take out sushi date.  While we were waiting for dinner to be ready, I drove us through the car wash in an attempt to rid my car of the eggy mess.  When this colorful soap came across my windshield, I pulled out my camera.  The BOY laughed at me until he realized how awesome the pictures turned out and pulled out his camera too!


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Despite my crazy expensive car wash, some egg still remained on my car.






That totally sucks, but sushi dinner called and I guess I’ll have to clean this superfood off of my car tomorrow.  Good news is because my eggs for breakfast were so amazing, I wasn’t too bummed about the yellow goo on my car all day.


Ps What’s the best way to get egg off your car???

Eazy Brownies

I have been dying to make these sinful brownies since the moment I laid eyes on them on The Londoner.  With the course this weekend, I finally had a reason.  These brownies are famously known as Slutty Brownies. I was a little worried about having such a promiscuous sounding title on the blog, so I nicknamed them Eazy Brownies.




But when I saw this recipe on the wholesome Duncan Hines website, I decided that Slutty Brownies didn’t sound so bad.  Either way, slutty, vampy, or easy, these brownies are downright dangerous, but well worth EVERY calorie!  And with a few simple steps, they are still easy!  You start by mixing up your cookie dough.  I followed the advice on the Londoner to add some extra water and oil.


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Both recipes recommend an 8×8 inch dish, but I had a slightly larger one with a lid, so I gave it a go.




Layer your cookie dough with Oreo’s, squeezing in as many as possible!






The brownies are made per package directions, and I went with the triple chunk flavor.  The more chocolate the better!




Smother your Oreos in brownie batter.




And then bake!  The recipe calls for 30 minutes, but my brownies actually needed 40 minutes.  The top was still gooey, but the edges looked done.




Even though the brownies were meant for tomorrow’s class, the BOY demanded a taste, and secretly, I really wanted one too.  Plus, this trampy dessert was meant to be eaten warm and oozing out chocolate!




Which means that their removal is a bit challenging.  I went with the bash and chop/spatula method.  Although these brownies aren’t picture perfect, you can definitely appreciate the three layer effect.




I’m not exactly sure how I will explain the missing chunk of brownie, but I’ll figure that out tomorrow, along with how I’m going to get the rest of the brownies out of the pan.  Although a couple of forks and some friends might just be the answer.






I’m sure your mouth is already watering, but I will try to get some more photos tomorrow…if you think you can handle them.  Speaking of photos, check out this incredible view of the sun setting as I drove west back home to suburbia tonight.






And, the exciting news of the day.  We are getting a Mariano’s…all the way out west just a few blocks from my house.  I passed the ‘Coming Soon’ sign this morning.  I tried to get a photo to send the BOY, but failed miserably.




You can guarantee there will be many more posts like this…without the long drive!  Hooray new grocery store!




Sweet dreams (of sinful brownies and fresh markets)!



Slutty Brownies

Courtesy of Duncan Hines and The Londoner



    1 package cookie mix (any kind, I used chocolate chip but considered peanut butter)

    1 box brownie mix (with extra chocolate)

    Eggs (as many as needed for the box mixes)

    1 Package Oreos

    Oil (as much as needed for box mixes, plus 1 teaspoon- see directions)

    Your favorite ice cream


    Baking Instructions

      -Preheat the oven to 350F, and grease your baking dish (8×8 works best).

      -Follow the instructions on the cookie mix package (you may need an extra teaspoon each water and oil, since you bake longer than suggested).  Squish the cookie dough into the baking dish, so it covers the bottom.

      -Top this layer with Oreos.

      -Mix brownie batter based on the box directions.  Pour the batter on top of the layer of Oreos.

      -Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the oven, and allow to cool.

      -While it’s still warm, scoop out a section, and top with your favorite ice cream… vanilla, mint, or cookies and cream work particularly well.

      Hot Banana Quinoa Cake with Cranberries

      Using my leftover cranberries from this weekend’s Cranberry Walnut Bread crumbs has been an easy task.  I decided to add these nutritional powerhouses to yesterday’s breakfast.  I was motivated by this Hot Breakfast Banana Quinoa to make a Banana Quinoa Cake with Cranberries.




      I combined the cooked quinoa, egg, mashed banana, flax, cinnamon, and cranberries in a microwave safe bowl.  Three and a half simple minutes later, I had a warm and hearty breakfast!




      Covered in peanut butter, this breakfast was divine.  The warm cranberries ‘pop’ in your mouth and who doesn’t love warm gooey peanut butter?!  It was loaded with protein which was perfect as I headed off to meet the trainer for a strength session.







      Hot Banana Quinoa Cake with Cranberries

      Adapted from Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

      Makes 1 serving


      1/3 cup cooked quinoa

      1 egg

      1 mashed banana

      1-2 tsp cinnamon

      1-2 tbsp ground flax

      1/3 cup cranberries


      Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Microwave for 3.5 minutes.  Cool slight,remove from bowl, and enjoy warm!

      Optional: decorate with your favorite nuts, jams, maple syrup, fruit, nut butters, etc.

      Soup Before Sunrise

      I decided that I was going to make soup this morning even before I stepped outside into the blistering cold.  Ok, let’s be honest, 38 is pretty typical for March in Chicago, but after our 80 degree heat wave it felt pretty chilly.  This weekend, I finally had a little time to flip through my new slow cooker cookbook




      I am a huge fan of this book as it is based around healthy and sound principles and carries lots of extra nutrition knowledge, slow cooker tips, and healthy cooking suggestions.  The instructions are easy to follow and who doesn’t love a one pot meal.  I didn’t even make it past the first chapter before discovering, like 10 recipes, that I had to make.  I decided on the Mighty Minestrone.  To save time, I prepped some of the veggies last night while I was making dinner.


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      This morning, it was super easy to chop up the rest of the veggies, empty the cans, add in some spices, and cover with broth.





      I had everything stirred up in the crockpot before the sun was beginning to rise.




      I set the crockpot on low and headed off to the gym with specific instructions for the BOY to add in the the last two ingredients.




      When I walked in the door after work and a haircut, dinner was ready in the crockpot.


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      And it looked unbelievable!




      And tasted even better! 

      This tomato based broth is perfectly seasoned and this chunky soup is filling enough to be a meal on its own!






      Mighty Minestrone

      From The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth



      6 baby red potatoes, scrubbed, left unpeeled and diced (per recipe, I substituted 1 peeled and chopped sweet potato)

      2 carrots, peeled and chopped

      2 ribs celery, sliced

      1 zucchini, coarsely chopped

      1/2 onion, chopped

      1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

      1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

      4 cups vegetable broth

      2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained

      1/4 cup red wine

      1 tsp dried basil

      1 bay leaf

      1/4 tsp dried oregano

      1 tsp salt

      1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

      1 tbsp red wine vinegar

      Parmesan cheese garnish (optional)


      Place the vegetables, beans, broth, tomatoes, red wine, basil, bay leaf, oregano, salt, and pepper in the slow cooker, stir gently to mix, cover, and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or until veggies are tender.  Stir in the spinach and cook for 30 minutes, or until the spinach is hot.  Add the red wine vinegar and stir.  Stir to incorporate the spinach, garnish with the Parmesan, if using.

      Makes 8 to 10 servings.


      *Chef’s tip: To save chopping time, use 4 to 5 cups fresh prepared vegetables of your choice (corn, broccoli cauliflower, peppers, sliced carrots, cut green beans, squash, etc.)

      This Could Be Dangerous!




      A broken bread in the kitchen before dinner.




      I made two successful chocolate chip banana breads (different recipes, hence the different looks). 




      But, I was a bit careless with my last bread.  I found fresh frozen cranberries at Trader Joe’s last week.  I haven’t seen fresh cranberries since December, so I was excited to grab a bag.  I am back in class next weekend, so I was planning to bake a few breads to freeze for breakfast during the course.




      I was most excited to make this Cranberry Walnut Bread.  The TRAINER made me this bread over the holidays.  It was so amazing and I was immediately addicted.  I have only made it one time as mini muffins using dried cranberries.  They turned out wonderful, so I was ready to try it with real cranberries.




      However, I made a few important errors, most of which centered around the cranberries.

      1) After rinsing the cranberries, I forgot to dry them

      2) I did not chop them in half

      3) I added the cranberries to the wet instead of the dry mixture

      4) With a little too much water

      5) I tried to remove the bread too soon!


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      Somehow, all of the cranberries floated to the top of the middle of the bread, which was the last portion to finish cooking.  When I went to remove the bread…




      Ooopps!  Half the bread stayed in tact, but the other half turned into pieces.  Delicious pieces of warm fresh bread that I just couldn’t keep my fingers away from.  So dangerous!!!


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      The BOY came by for a taste and was pleasantly surprised with how good this ugly bread tasted.  He took a few broken pieces for dessert.


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      Lessons learned (and now that I’ve shared them, you won’t make the same mistakes).  This bread is one of the BEST quick breads I’ve made, even when broken into many pieces.  Next time, I will be sure to treat my cranberries better so my bread turns out in one piece looking nice enough to serve to guests.  Until then, the BOY and I will be enjoying the dangers of broken bread at home!





      Cranberry Walnut Bread


      Mix dry ingredients together:

      2 cups flour

      1 cup sugar

      1/4 cup brown sugar

      1/2 teaspoon salt

      1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

      1/2 teaspoon baking soda

      1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

      1/2 cup nuts (I use walnuts)

      1 cup cranberries-cut in half (can used dried if fresh not available.  If using frozen, see mistakes to avoid above).


      In a separate bowl, combine:

      2 eggs

      4 tablespoons butter (melted)

      1/4 cup oil

      1/3 cup orange juice (if you don’t have, just use 1 full cup water)

      2/3 cup water


      -Combine both mixtures, stirring just until combined. Do not over stir.

      -Grease and flour a loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

      -Test with a toothpick.


      This recipe also makes wonderful muffins!

      ***Note: If making muffins, bake for ~20 minutes until muffin top springs back to touch.

      Hungry Day

      I have been talking about this day for months.  Okay, not this day exactly but the weekend that the Hunger Games movie would come out.  I have to admit I was probably pretty late on the Hunger Games bandwagon, but I joined with full force and have read all three books. I loved them!  And by the time I finished book 3, the trailer for the movie was already out. 




      A little confession, a coworker lent me the People Magazine special edition which I read cover to cover on Thursday night.  I learned that Jennifer Lawrence beat out tons of other actresses for the part by auditioning the scene at the reaping (which I have heard is very emotional) and many of the actors and actresses were fans of the book before landing their roles in the movie.  To eliminate any chance of disappointment, I made reservations at the fancy theater one town over earlier in the week (iPic Theaters). 




      They were sold out of the best seats (pictured above), but I was able to get two regular, yet still slightly fancy seats for the 8:00 show.  The BOY and I headed out early for a cocktail and dinner.


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      Between the new movies and the basketball games, the theater’s bar/lounge was packed.  It is definitely a neat place to hang out before a movie, and it was still pretty crowded when we left at 10:30pm.


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      I promise I won’t spoil anything for your, but my initial feeling towards the movie…Well Done!  I thought the scenery was beautiful (I did not picture the forest that green), the costumes were exciting, the special effects surprising, the music was moving, the acting was good, and the story true to the book.  I had a few moments where I wanted to pause the movie and shout out to the audience back story from the book that was left out, but instead I just whispered it to the BOY.  I was interested to hear his thoughts having not read the book and just come along for the ride (aka to support my excitement).  He thought the movie was good but that the some of the emotional scenes were brief and could have been better supported.  I enthusiastically filled him in on missing pieces and plot plus Katniss’s every thought during our 10 minute ride home.  The movie is definitely worth seeing, but moves quicker than the book (especially in the arena), so I would recommend reading the books first.  I always find it hard when you get to read and feel all of the main character’s thoughts in a book and that can’t be translated to the screen.  However, additional scenes sharing more of the country’s history and the character’s thoughts were done well and followed the book.  Overall, it was a great movie, and I am even more excited for the next two!


      It’s been a long day full of fun activity, so I am happily off to bed!


      Did anyone else see the movie?  What did you think?

      Getting Back To It

      About 1 week ago, I wrote a post about my month long ‘funk’.  It was not the easiest post for me to write and I thank you for your words of encouragement.  I am still really interested to learn how you bust out of a rut, so leave some comments here or there!  Because I am ME, I wrote up a little action plan and adopted a ‘Fake it Until You Make it!’ attitude towards positivity and exercise this week  One week later, I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER!


      Having some down time last weekend to watch basketball and catch up on sleep definitely helped.  The BOY and I enjoyed some healthy meals from the new grill, and I was able to plot out my workouts for the upcoming races.  Approaching quickly…a half marathon on May 6th.  This morning’s planned run was 10 miles.  I went to bed before the Indiana game was over last night much to the distress of my loyal boyfriend.  I woke up early and had my typical pre-long run breakfast of black tea, oatmeal, and an egg.




      Then packed up my hip pack with snacks and water.  I decided to try one of my new Picky Bars as a running snack instead of Cliff blocks which I typically use.  I sliced it up for easy eating during the run.




      It started to lightly drizzle outside and it was a little cooler than I expected, but since I was fueled up, dressed, and ready to go, I decided my running buddy and I should give it a try.




      It was a good thing that I brought along a jacket because it was foggy and damp although we ended up stashing them a mile or two into our run.  We met at the Starbucks in Barrington and ran a 10 mile out and back path.  It is a hilly course with some steep and challenging inclines.  There were many friendly runners out braving the elements and tackling the hills.  After 10 miles, we were both excited to arrive back at Starbucks.




      I earned every ounce of that venti soy latte!  When I got home, I had to quickly shower before heading off to a festive and exciting baby shower.  It wasn’t until I got home that I was able to cross off my latest running accomplishment.  As crazy as it sounds, it feels good to be back in training mode!



      Spectacular Spring Sun

      This past week, I have seen the most beautiful and colorful sunrises and magnificent sunsets…


      All from the comfort of my car.  It is that exciting time of year when I am driving to work as the sun is rising and driving home before it actually sets.  This is a nice contrast to the dark mornings and nights of winter. 




      The sky was so inspiring to watch the golden sun rise in the horizon that I had to get some pictures with my cell phone.  No worries…MOST pictures were taken at stoplights (hence all the wires and poles in the way). 










      That same night, the clouds were stunning on my way to yoga.  Again, I grabbed my cell phone.  Even with the wires, the pictures turned out incredible!










      It just kept getting better, so I had to take a few more pics.  You all know that I am obsessed with with sunsets!




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      What incredible sights have you seen from your car?

      Wordless Wednesday at the Wynn

      Last Saturday, we had the most amazing champagne brunch at the Wynn in Las Vegas.  There were so many pictures that they didn’t fit into one post.  As promised, here are the rest of the pictures.


      Warning: May cause your mouth to water and your stomach to grumble!









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      Class Cancelled!

      So…I am getting my workout groove back.  I even woke up at 5:15AM this morning in order to go to this awesome conditioning class at the yoga studio. I got there at 5:57 and the doors were locked.  The last few times that I went, I double checked the online schedule but go figure, I didn’t check this morning.  And now…the Tuesday morning class has been moved to Friday’s.  Total bummer standing in the parking lot in the dark with your yoga mat.  I wasn’t the only one…another guy drove by and was asking why there were so few cars here today.




      I headed back home as the sun was just starting to rise.  I was debating what I wanted to do with my morning.  I thought about going back to sleep, but since I was already awake, I made myself a hot tea and blogged a bit.  It was a beautiful morning, so I didn’t want to go to the gym, but I’ve been running the last two days so I didn’t want to run.  I debated back in forth while I enjoyed a still and quiet morning.  Then I figured out a compromise…





      Open the back door, so I got a nice breeze in the house and started doing some body weight strength exercises in the house and a few out back.




      Who wouldn’t want to do some triceps dips in the back yard with this view???




      I was a little intimidated to do start doing lunges out back in my not-so-active neighborhood, so I eventually moved myself back indoors.  I used a magazine cut out for some leg strengthening exercises (Fitness March 2012) and alternated them with my ‘favorite’ (I use that word lightly) abs and arm exercises (ie pushups, side planks, and bicycles) for a 30 minute workout.  It was not as challenging as the conditioning class, but much more fun than staring at the meatheads at the gym.




      Here are some of the best leg exercises.

      Add them in to your next workout or combine them for a total leg workout.


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      And then once you’ve worked up a sweat on this 80 degree spring day, cool off with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Smoothie!




      Into the Blender:


      1 cup almond milk

      1 tbsp peanut butter

      2 tbsp cacao powder

      1/2 banana





      It is a delish green smoothie with a hint of chocolate and peanut butter.  I promise you can’t even taste the spinach!




      It was a refreshing post workout breakfast (my pre workout breakfast was oatmeal) and a great start to a morning with a REALLY early start!