Crunchy Cookies V

This KIND giveaway is the gift that keeps on giving!  Not only have the BOY and I been living on (and loving) both flavors of granola bars, this fresh granola is addicting!




Keeping granola in the house is always dangerous for me…I just love the stuff!  While I was digging into a bag by the handful, I remembered a granola cookie that my Mom and I made many years back.




I found the recipe buried away in my recipe scrapbook (it was copied from the Daily Herald, I think).




It’s a simple cookie recipe combing oats, granola, and walnuts.  I remember the first time we made this was with apple cinnamon granola.  Great idea!  I was excited to try it again with this dark chocolate cranberry granola.  As I was about to start scooping out dough, I reread the directions to discover that I needed to refrigerate it for 2 hours.




Meanwhile, I was able to get to work on making one of my favorite soups




The time flew by because I had television to keep me company, but I was more than ready to get baking after dinner.  These cookies are lacey and they will spread, so give them room on your cookie sheet.




And then let them cool for 10 minutes before transferring.




The BOY commented that he thought these cookies were ‘dry’, so I feel I should warn you that these are supposed to be a crispy and crunchy lace cookie and not as soft as your typical chocolate chips cookies.




But when I brought them to work, they disappeared REAL quick!  I guess the are a crunchy cookie bunch : )



Need Some More Crunch?

Crunchy Cookies

Crunchy Cookies Part II

Crunchy Cookies Part III

Crunchy Cookies IV




Chewy Granola Cookies

From the Daily Herald  (10/05/05)



1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup butter flavored Crisco shortening (I used 3/4 cups butter instead)

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plain rolled oats, uncooked

2 cups granola

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped



Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar on low speed for 30 seconds. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on high speed 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl well. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Scrape bowl well. Add oats, granola and walnuts. Mix on low speed 30 seconds. Scrape bowl well. Chill dough at least 2 hours.

Scoop dough into small 1-inch balls and place 2 1/2 inches apart on lined cookie sheets. Bake 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Dough will spread while baking. Finished cookies are thin, textured and lacey. Cool on pans 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks. Store tightly covered.

Makes five dozen.


Nutrition values per serving:

81 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g fiber, 11 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium.

Tex Mex Shredded Chicken

It’s a simple week of meal planning here…


Monday: Slow Cooker Shredded Tex Mex Chicken (recipe below)


Tuesday: Shrimp Stirfry


Wednesday: Chicken Sausage and Veggies


Thursday: Out to Eat


For lunch this week, I have Curried Red Lentil Soup with Kale.  Yum!



The best and easiest crockpot recipe that I know is this Two Ingredient Crockpot Chicken.  I share it with everyone who is looking to use their crockpot more often.  When I found this recipe for Shredded Tex Mex Chicken on Fearless Homemaker, it reminded me of a fancier, more complex version of my favorite.




This recipe takes just a few minutes longer to prep, but is worth the effort.




The addition of the jalapeno and lime are fantastic and give this dish robust flavor.




Instead of dicing my chicken, I got lazy and cooked them whole, which is another easy option.




When dinner was ready, the BOY made an overflowing Tex Mex sandwich with cheese and sour cream.




I opted for lettuce wraps (although I probably should have bought bigger lettuce leaves).




We were both big fans of Mexican flavor (in case you couldn’t tell by all the Fiesta posts this summer) and this dinner got thumbs up all around.  We also got a good laugh out of my mini lettuce wraps.




I ate my lettuce wraps with a side of broccoli, not because it actually goes with the meal, but because we had broccoli that needed to be cooked and topped with avocado.




One of my favorite things about this recipe is how versatile it is!  I have plenty of leftovers to eat during the week on a salad or wrapped up as a taco.  Meal planning this week is weather dependent.  We have a big storm blowing in and there is a chance that I will be staying at my parents.  Not to worry, I have left the BOY with plenty of healthy options to fend for himself!




Slow Cooker Shredded Tex Mex Chicken

From Fearless Homemaker



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 jalapeno, seeded + minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2″ pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup (packed) cilantro leaves, chopped (I did not use these)
the juice of 2 limes



-Heat the oil in a medium-sized sauté pan. add the onion, sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika, jalapeño, and garlic.  Sauté two more minutes. Transfer this mixture to the slow-cooker sprayed with cooking spray.

-Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt + pepper.  Add it to the pan where you cooked the onion and spices. Sear chicken on all sides.  Then transfer to the slow cooker.  Add I lime juice and cilantro and stir.

-Cook on low for 3-4 hours or if you have the time cook on high for 6-8 hours until chicken is cooked through.  The chicken pieces will be fall-apart tender at this point .  You can either leave them as is or shred them with two forks before returning them to the crockpot for another 30-60 minutes.

-Serve as tacos, in a sandwich, with lettuce wraps, or with rice.

Run Down

Man, I am feeling run down this weekend. ( Note: my definition of weekend includes Monday since I don’t work today! )

And this is not just because I stayed up late to watch the fairly predictable Oscar’s last night.  It all started Saturday morning when I had a slow start to the day, followed by a nap, before actually putting in my contacts at 1pm. 




I did hit the neighborhood for a 30 minute run.  It was pretty slow and I felt like I was running with weights strapped to my ankles.  I have no idea why I felt so tired.  It’s possible that it had to due with a stressful week that lacked my usual hours of sleep or maybe I’m just coming down with something.




For whatever reason, I was running on empty, literally!  Sunday morning was Hot Yoga!  This is always a challenging class, but this week my legs were shaking like crazy 30 seconds into chair pose.  Although my balance poses were on, I was more than ready for child’s pose, stretching, and shavasana by the end.  The rest of the day was laid back and productive.  I had a lot to do around the house (yes, my pantry needed to be reorganized AGAIN) and a run down weekend is the prefect time for these types of activities.




It’s no surprise that I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off this morning after more than 9 hours of sleep.  I set it for 30 more minutes waking up a few minutes before I needed to get ready for CrossFit.  I was a little nervous to go to this morning’s workout, especially when I found out that it involved burpees.  I knew that I didn’t have 100% of my energy but I figured I would do the best that I could.  Thankfully, the people I workout with are super supportive and there is great energy in the gym.  I survived today’s WOD AMRAP 8 although at one point I thought I might fall over : )  I made it through the ~2 minute cash out (optional) workout too.




When I got done with my workout, I felt strong but tired.  I knew I needed some serious energy in the form of a refreshing smoothie.  I recently saw a carrot and orange smoothie on Herbivore Triathlete that intrigued me.  I didn’t have any fresh carrot juice, but thought that maybe my new blender could puree the carrots good enough to be a smoothie.




On a whim, I threw in some kale.




I had full intentions of adding ginger as well, but didn’t have time.




I took one quick sip before packing up my smoothie to go.




The BOY had an eye doctor appointment and I was going along to help him pick out new glasses.  Meanwhile, I found some glasses of my own to try on.


IMAG1716 IMAG1717


While I was keeping myself busy reading a magazine, I saw a similar smoothie (minus the kale) in Clean Eating Magazine.   The best part is that it is supposed to boost energy.  That’s exactly what I needed this weekend!  When I’m feeling run down, it effects more than just my workouts.  I don’t make wise decisions about snacking and my memory stinks.  Looking to the week ahead,  I am committing to catching up on sleep, eating well, and working out hard.



Do you have weekends where you feel run down?

How do you get energized again?



Carrot, Orange, and Kale Smoothie



2 carrots, peeled and chopped (or carrot juice)

1 large orange, peeled (or 1 medium orange and 1 cutie)

1 handful of kale

1 cup of almond milk

1 handful of ice cubes

Ginger (optional)



-Chop carrots finely and then use your blender to puree.

-Add oranges and blend to combine.

-Add kale (and ginger if using) and blend well.  Stream in almond milk to preferred consistency.

-Add ice cubes and process until smooth.

-Sip Up!

Breakfast Again?!

Are you tired of breakfast yet???  I hope not because it really is the most important meal of the day!




I’ve been working on perfecting this muffin bake with Take One and Take Two documented previously.  There is nothing more fun than making and tasting all of these different breakfasts!




Now, it’s time for Take Three, and I ran out of blueberries.




Not to worry because strawberries make an equally enjoyable substitution!




This time I used less flax and more oat bran which gave me a much cake-ier consistency, but still a warm gooey center.




Of note…this breakfast is wonderfully robust and filling.  However, I’m not going to pretend like this is as sweet as a muffin.




I can tell you that I don’t miss the sweetness at all!  Especially when topped with almond butter and a sprinkle of coconut.





Another fantastic, healthy, and satisfying breakfast.  The perfect way to start a sunny winter Sunday!




Don’t have time to bake your breakfast?  I just learned from FitCupcaker that you can make her recipe in the microwave!



A few of my other healthy breakfast faves…

Chia and Flax Breakfast Bowl

Pumpkin Banana Baked Oatmeal Bars

Breakfast Stirfry

Pumpkin Cream Pie Oatbran

Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie




Strawberry Muffins Bake

Adapted from Blueberry Muffin Bake



2 tbsp almond flour

2 tbsp ground flax

2 tbsp oat bran

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tbsp agave

Chopped and quartered strawberries



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together flax seed, oat bran, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add in almond milk, vanilla, and agave.

Fold in strawberries.

Bake for 22-24 minutes.

Let cool and then top with your favorite additions!

Bananas for Banana Bread

I need to take a quick break from the breakfast kick I’ve been on to properly honor bananas!




Because…Today is National Banana Bread Day, and it is no secret that I am a HUGE banana bread fan!

I mean, have you seen my Recipe Page.  It’s overflowing with banana and banana bread recipes. 





Bring on the Banana Bread…


Banana Almond Butter Bread (Gluten Free)


Classic Banana Bread




Clean Banana Bread


Dark Chocolate Covered Raisin Banana Bread




Flour’s Famous Banana Bread


One Bowl Banana Walnut Bread


Peanut Butter Banana Bread




Rum Coconut Banana Bread


Strawberry Banana Bread




Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread


Pumpkin Banana Bread



But wait, there’s more…




Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Oat Flour Maple Banana Bread from Baker By Nature

Spiced Apple Banana Bundt Cake from Averie Cooks

Double Chocolate Banana Bread from Satisfy My Sweet Tooth

Chocolate Avocado Banana Bread from Allyson Karamer’s

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes from How Sweet It Is

Reese’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread from Cookies & Cups

Cherry, Banana, Coconut Butter Bread from Oh She Glows!



I think I should rename this blog 365 Days of Banana Bread!!!



Did you eat banana bread today?

What is your favorite banana bread recipe?

Blueberry Muffin Bake {Take Two}



Happy EASY Saturday morning!

I’m sure I could replace the word easy with lazy but easy just sounds better : )  In all honesty, it’s a pretty lazy morning.  I didn’t sleep well this week, and was bummed to find myself awake before 8am this morning.  I wasn’t ready to actually start my day, so instead I moved downstairs to the couch where I had some DVRed TV to catch up on.




I know that there will be many summer and fall Saturdays that I will be up at the crack of dawn marathon training where I will miss EASY mornings like this one.




And by summer, I hope to have mastered the Blueberry Muffin Bake.  I made my first attempt earlier in the week and although this baked oatmeal was warm and filling, it wasn’t quite right.




So I gave it another try this morning with a few changes.




And boy did this one turn out better!




The blueberries were warm and gooey and although the center wasn’t quite set (perhaps I need more flour and less flax for Take Three), this breakfast hit the spot!




I covered the blueberry bake with tons of fresh berries.




And this breakfast disappeared quickly!




I hope you are having an EASY morning!

Looking for a reason to stay on your couch, go check out this hilarious video of ‘Mom Dancing’ posted on my friend Michelle’s blog!


What are your plans for the weekend?




Blueberry Flax Muffin Bake

Adapted from FitCupcaker and Running with Spoons



1/4 cup flax seed

2 tbsp almond flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tbsp agave

1/2 cup fresh blueberries



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together flax seed, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add in almond milk, vanilla, and agave.

Fold in blueberries.

Bake for 22-24 minutes.

Let cool for for a few minutes.  Then cover with berries, nuts, coconut, and all of your other favorite toppings.

Enjoy warm!

Chia and Flax Breakfast Bowl

Thursday morning used to be an easy morning to get up and out the door for a run or a gym circuit before arriving at work.  Recently, my work schedule has changed and it is totally rocking my workout schedule, which I hate!


I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time Thursday morning for a workout and didn’t want to waste time with transit.  As I was contemplating what to do (outside running was out with a windchill below zero), I remembered doing an awesome and quick home workout at the end of last year.  I looked it up the night before so when I woke up, I could get right to work, no time for excuses.  The workout was much harder than I remembered and by the 3rd round (7 reps each), I was sweaty and out of breath.  I wish I had my HRM because I was curious to see how fast my heart was beating.


After the workout, I concluded with a 2:00 minute plank before hopping in the shower and devouring my breakfast.  Best home workout EVER!  I’m still sore today!




For breakfast this week, I have been living on this Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl.  I totally could have made the double batch because I ate it again this morning.  I changed up the recipe a bit and topped it with blueberries and almond butter.




And let me tell you…




This is one incredible tasting breakfast.  The best part is that after eating this at 7am, I was able to make it all the way to lunch at noon without a snack.  That never happens!



Has anyone tried the chia bowl?  What do you think?

What is your most filling breakfast?



Banana Chia Breakfast Bowl with Flax

Adapted from Oh She Glows!



1 banana

1-2 tbsp flax

2 tbsp chia

1 tsp vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

1/2-3/4 cup almond milk




Mash your banana well.  Stir in the flax, chia, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk until well combined.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, top with berries, granola, nut butters, etc.

This Week in Meal Planning

Well, it’s only taken me to February 18th to get back into the swing of Meal Planning.  And it’s taken me until Wednesday to get this post out to you (mostly because yesterday’s post was all about marathon registration stress).  But, better late than never…right?!  The BOY has jumped on board the 2013 get healthy bandwagon.  He has always been a big help with meal planning, but we have some noticeable differences in our taste preferences.  To help me out and give me some suggestions for meals, he went through a few of my favorite cookbooks and ear marked some recipes to try.


Which is exactly where I started.  Although the BOY and I eat a variety of cuisines, I don’t always know how to cook ethnic foods at home. 

But this week, I spiced things up a bit…


Monday: Curried Veggie Burgers from Pinch of Yum


Tuesday: Veggie Rich Asian Chicken Stew (recipe below)


Wednesday: Chicken Tacos (made by the BOY)


Thursday: Sleeping at Mom and Dad’s



The Game Plan…

Make Tuesday’s dinner Monday in the crockpot. 

Then whip up the veggie burgers for Monday’s dinner hoping for leftovers for lunch this week (which I got).




Isn’t this a colorful looking stew???




The veggies, seasoning, and broth go into the crockpot first.




With a half our to go, you add the chicken (or tofu if you prefer).  Could this be any easier?!




The BOY was upset with how watery our dinner was.  Once I explained that it was a soup, he seemed a little more on board…ha ha!




Per the title, this soup is definitely veggie rich and I LOVED the flavor and texture of the cabbage.




Although it doesn’t have a super strong flavor, so you could possibly add some soy sauce to taste.  I really enjoyed the mild flavored soup with a touch of sea salt.  It is the perfect heart warming dinner for these frozen nights!



Veggie Rich Asian Chicken Stew

From The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth



1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on a diagonal

2 ribs celery, sliced on the diagonal

1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned

1 1/2 ups thinly sliced Napa cabbage

1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

1 can (8 ounces) bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained

6 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp minced fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tbsp low sodium tamari

1 tbsp mirin

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

scallions and black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)



Combine the onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, cabbage, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, broth, ginger, garlic, tamari, and mirin in the slow cooker. 

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, until all of the the vegetables are tender. 

Add the chicken (and tofu if using) for the last half hour of cooking time.  Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Not the Only One

I was so happy to learn that I was not the only one who was excited to register for the Chicago Marathon today, wasted 2 hours of my life trying to register for said race, and proceeded to stress out to no end at work for most of the day.  After numerous failed attempts, I did end up getting in (on my cell phone so who knows how accurate it is).  I was thrilled that my perseverance paid off, but shocked to find out that I was registered not once, but twice!  Yikes!  I just checked on the Chicago Marathon site, and it seems that I wasn’t the only person double charged.  I have never heard of such a registration debacle, and I was grateful to be registered (twice) before they postponed registration!


Does anyone else have Chicago Marathon registration stories?


I spared you the majority of the details about how I ran out of a meeting early, lost internet at work, stalked the St. Jude representative, and almost had a coworker register for me, but I’m sure you get the gist!




Yea, it was pretty dramatic, so let’s rewind a few hours to breakfast…


IMG_1328 IMG_1327


I tried something NEW!




This Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl is courtesy of Oh She Glows!  It is very similar to Overnight Oats without the oats!




Angela has some great suggestions on toppings, but I added ground flax seed and granola.




I was a big fan of the contrasting textures, and this breakfast was filling.  It was a great pre-run meal (this is saying a lot because I am picky about what I eat pre-run) and kept me energized throughout my 40 minute tempo run at the track.  I must admit that I thought about running outdoors today, for like a split second.  And then I saw the tornadoes of snow swirling around my neighborhood and went to the track instead.




Oatmeal and breakfast bowls are my favorite way to start the day, and I even had this Sweet Potato Dough Boy Smoothie the morning before the Chicago Marathon

I am positive that I am not the only one who will love this breakfast!  I might just have it again tomorrow : )



Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl

From Oh She Glows!



2 tbsp chia seeds

3/4 cups almond milk

1 small bananas, chopped small

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

two pinches of cinnamon



Mash bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in chia seeds.

Whisk in the almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon until combined.

Place in fridge overnight to thicken.

In the morning, serve with toppings such as oats, berries, nuts, grains, or nut butters


Note: The original recipe is written for two, but here is the half recipe for one!

Me {And} The Marathon Take II

It seems like ages ago that I signed up for my first marathon.  I was an extremely new blogger, and I remember writing this post the day I signed up for the Chicago Marathon in 2011 titled Me vs The Marathon.  During my training, I had successful long runs and moments of extreme doubt, but ultimately I ran the Chicago Marathon in just over 4 hours.  The marathon exceeded my expectations in every way.  I loved training and increasing my mileage each week.  The support I received as a St. Jude Hero was invaluable the morning of the race, and when I crossed the finish line, I was riding my strongest runner’s high to date.




Because I knew that I had some other commitments last year, I did not sign up for the marathon again, but cheering on the runner’s last October only reaffirmed my desire to train for and run the Chicago marathon AGAIN.  And this time, I plan to finish in under 4 hours.




I have signed up to be a St. Jude Hero again this year to raise money for children with catastrophic illnesses.  And, I will be officially signing up for the race at noon TODAY.




Already my second marathon feels different, and I am a little nervous about the rise in expectations.  When I ran my first marathon, my real goal was just to finish (although secretly I wanted to finish around 4 hours).  I did learn quite a few lessons along the way!  For this race, I’d like to PR which basically means beating my previous time.  As always with distance runs, there is the risk of injuries and you never know what the year ahead will hold.  Not to mention that the weather in October in Chicago is completely unpredictable!  I learned while working towards a half marathon PR last year how important training, nutrition, and rest can be. Hopefully, 2013 will be the year of PRs!




Whereas when I wrote my first marathon post in 2011, I thought of the 26.2 as Me Vs the Marathon, this year, I am hoping to work together WITH the marathon (hence the change in title) to have a fun, safe, and fast race together.  Let the training begin…



Is anyone else planning to run Chicago (or another fall marathon) this year?

Want to be my virtual training buddy?