This Week’s Eats {and a recipe}

OMG! I found the most amazing cashew butter at the store on Monday. I was actually looking for almond butter (my jar was almost empty) but there weren’t many options and they were CRAZY expensive.  I decided this would do…

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I, of course, tried it immediately when I got home.  Just to check that it was worth the money.  Now, I don’t even have to tell you how delish this is alone on a spoon but even better smothered over a dark chocolate square…Mmm! 

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Wednesday morning, I went to another incredible yoga class.  It’s been a good week for those!  I will have an entire phone of post yoga glow selfies before this week is over.  On a whim, the BOY and I ditched meal planning and ate Wednesday night dinner cuddled in a booth at Coopers Hawk.

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We had an incredible dinner and a macadamia nut truffle for dessert…

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Thursday mornings breakfast looked a lot like this…espresso + whipped cream + cinnamon = a new FAVORITE!!!

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And of course, I devoured a Pancake a la Jen.  This one includes 1 banana, 1 egg, egg whites, 2 tbsp flax, and cinnamon.

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Needless to say, I made it to Friday with another delicious espresso bevvie this morning : )  I brought an oldie back for breakfast.  The occasion…an almost empty jar of almond butter, of course!

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And although it’s a bit late, here is this week’s latest recipe.  I discover recipes in all different places, but this one came via Instagram.  Kind of random, but I am adding to my following of friends and yoga gurus some foodies.  Hence this Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken recipe from The Cookie Rookie.

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I added in a big bag of frozen broccoli because it’s one of my fave veggies in stir fry and I thought it needed some greens.  This recipe was easy and tasty and reheated perfectly for lunch this week.

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What were your favorite eats this week?

Who do you follow on Instagram?

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

From The Cookie Rookie

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. bonesless skinless chicken tenders, sliced into small strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup cashews

Directions

  1. Heat oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook each side for 2 minutes until browned.
  2. Place chicken in the slow cooker and top with soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Stir to combine and add in broccoli.
  4. Cook for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
  5. 30 minutes before done, stir in cashews.
  6. Enjoy topped over rice or quinoa!
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BINGE

This past week…

I BINGE watched Scandal

I BINGE drank lattes

I BINGE read The Boston Girl

I BINGE watched March Madness

And…

I BINGE listened to Serial (finally crawled out from under the podcast rock!)

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What are you BINGING on?

With all of this talk about binging, it’s only fair to share a recipe.  I had a brunch potluck date with a few of my friends this morning.  As we divided up food, I volunteered to make a baked oatmeal.  One of my friends doesn’t like eggs, so I went in search of an egg free baked oatmeal recipe, and actually found quite a few.

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This one full of apples, walnuts, and cinnamon looked so good that I had to make it!

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I made a few changes to the recipe (what…brown sugar expires?!  I’m out of cloves?!) and crossed my fingers that it was going to turn out.  I’m always so nervous bringing a new recipe to a friend’s house, so I also made a HUGE fruit salad.

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Needless to say, Cooper was no help at all!

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I had a fantastic day catching up with old friends over mimosas!  And the baked oatmeal was delicious…like super duper make again good!  After brunch, I headed downtown for some wedding stuff.

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I caught the most gorgeous sunset on my drive home and after a super busy weekend, I was thrilled to be back home to BINGE on more Scandal.

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And maybe BINGE on sleep : )

 

Baked Apple Spice Oatmeal

Adapted from The Curvy Carrot

Ingredients

4 cups milk (I used almond coconut milk)

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

2 teaspoons butter

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups old-fashioned oats

2 cups chopped apples (variety of your choice)

1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup golden raisins

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, sugar, butter, and cinnamon.  Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is well combined.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until mixed.

Lightly spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  Pour the oatmeal into the casserole dish, cover, and bake, about 45 minutes or so.

Top with fresh apple slices and raisins (if desired).

Strength followed by Steel Cut Oats

I am committed to strength training and just starting to remember what I used to like about strength training back when I used to be committed to it.  I guess this makes me RE committed to strength training then : )

 

Anyways, I know that I am committed because even though I had to be at work early one morning last week, I still got up, went to the gym, and did my own strength routine.  It was shorter than my usual AM workout, but I made it work and using the jump rope in between sets, made the most of my time.  I still haven’t mastered the strength training selfie, so I don’t have a good photo to accompany this post.  Mostly, I haven’t mastered it because I typically leave my phone in the car or in the locker room because I’m always embarrassed to get caught taking photos of myself.  Unless I’m upside down in an aerial yoga class that is…there I did just fine.

 

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So after my workout, I had a quick turn around time to get myself ready for work and on the road.  And had to fit in breakfast.  I didn’t have any bread for almond butter toast and only had steel cut oats. I also happened to have yogurt from a previous recipe.  Although I don’t typically eat a lot of dairy, I wanted to use the yogurt before it spoiled.  I knew there was a way to do overnight oats with steel cut oats and thought just maybe the yogurt could work too.

 

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I was able to find a recipe for inspiration and came up with my own concoction.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out and was thrilled with my breakfast when I sat down to eat it before drying my hair.

 

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So excited that I even took a few pictures to share the recipe with ya’ll!

 

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I ate my oats with an apple and was truly satisfied with the thick mousse like texture.

I liked this breakfast so much, that I made it again this morning after spin class!

 

 

What do you eat at the gym?

 

 

Here are a few of my other favorite On-The-Go breakfasts…

Baked Oatmeal

Banana Chia Breakfast Bowl with Flax

Banana Quinoa Baked Breakfast Oats

Crockpot Breakfast Porridge

Eat Clean Oatmeal Pancakes

Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Overnight Oats in a Jar

 

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I know last week was kind of a bust with my messed up meatballs, so I’m excited to have lots of recipes for you guys this week!

Starting with these incredible cookies

 

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Steel Cut Overnight Oats (in Yogurt)

Adapted from The Lemon Bowl

 

Ingredients

20 g steel cut oats

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional depending on desired consistency)

10 tsp ground flax

10 tsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a tupperware or glass jar.

Place in refrigerator over night until set.

In the morning, cover oats with your favorite toppings, like nut butter and fruit, and enjoy!

 

Note: this is not a sweet breakfast.  If you are looking for something sweeter, add in some agave or honey the night before or drizzle with your favorite sweetener before eating.

Steel Cut Banana Oatmeal {Crockpot Recipe}

It seems like I haven’t posted as many recipes these last few weeks, but that’s not because I haven’t been cooking.  I took a lot of your advise and have been working to keep my meal plans simple and easy.  That combined with early morning workouts and less social media has kept my stress levels a little lower these last few weeks.  And I like it!

 

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But I also really like trying new recipes and so this week is full of them.  Which basically means, I spent Monday cooking and baking up a storm and will spread the recipe love throughout the week.

 

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Starting with breakfast!  I’ve got an entire bunch of brown bananas and have been wanting to make oats in my crockpot.  Since I also had steel cut oatmeal and almond milk in the house, this recipe was a great place to begin.

 

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Instead of overnight, I made my oats this morning, while I was grocery shopping and working out.

 

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When I got home, the house smelled fantastic.  I love all of the spices (I added a few more).  My pictures aren’t so pretty as I just packaged up my oats in 4 pyrex’s for the weak ahead.  I plan on covering them fruit, nuts, and other clean toppings.  As for this week’s meal plan, I’m sure you’re noticing a trend.  Monday is crockpot day.  Tuesday is the BOY’s day.  Wednesday is the BOY’s late night, so I’ve been making salmon, and Thursday is perfect for leftovers : )  Nice and Simple!

 

When my oats were done, I quickly washed out my crockpot and got ready for tonight’s dinner.

More Recipes to Come…

 

 

Meal Plan 2/24/14

Monday: Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken from Rachel Schultz

 

Tuesday: Pork Chops

 

Wednesday: Salmon and Veggies

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Breakfast: Slow Cooker Banana Oatmeal

 

 

Slow Cooker Banana Oatmeal

Adapted Slightly From The Lemon Bowl

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

1 cup steel cut oats

1 ripe banana – mashed

2 cups almond milk

2 cups water

4 tablespoons flax seed meal

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cloves

Optional Toppings: banana slices, walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips or brown sugar

 

Directions

Place all ingredients in slow cooker* and stir until well combined.

Cook overnight or all day on Low for 8-10 hours.  (It only took me 4-5 hours while cooking on low.)

Stir oatmeal with a fork to loosen the steel cut oats and make sure everything is fully incorporated.

Serve warm with toppings.

Store in fridge in airtight containers or freeze.

 

NOTE: I probably should have used a crockpot liner for easy clean up with this recipe!

Making the Most of a COLD Situation

Yesterday as I was going stir crazy, I decided that I needed to get in some exercise.  It was way too cold for me to go exploring my neighborhood and I wasn’t about to drive anywhere.  That left me one option…home exercising.  Our house really isn’t a great place to push out some strength moves and I never really push myself as hard in the living room.  But, I decided it was better than nothing.  I first got started with a 30 minute Barre 3 video.  Then while Cooper and the BOY watched on, I flipped through Amazon Prime on the TV to stream a Jillian Michaels Yoga Burn video.  Typically, my yoga practice has a stronger breath and mental focus, but this was fun!

 

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Although I’m not loving the indoor workout, it seems to be the only option.  This morning, I tried to escape.  My car almost didn’t start (a first) and when it did, I had trouble reversing.   I thought this was from snow build up, so I got behind my car and moved away some snow.  I reversed into the street and when I attempted to drive away, my car made the most hideous noise!  The BOY called me from inside to say that he could hear my car roaring down the street.  It was obvious that I needed to abort my mission, so I drove through the first neighborhood intersection and then attempted a 3 point turn, but I got STUCK!  Perpendicular to the road we live on about 30  yards down the street.  My car just wouldn’t reverse and the noise got significantly worse when I tried.  Thankfully, I had enough space in front of me to drive forward, turn sharply, and proceed down the street.  My next turn around option was a ways down and my car actually sounded better with time.  I couldn’t take my chances on the big roads or getting trapped in a parking lot, so I returned home and switched out our cars, moving mine into the garage. I had a big fear that tomorrow morning, we would both be stranded if my car was acting like it did today.  Hopefully, some time in the garage, plus starting every 2-3 hours, will have my car in good enough shape for work tomorrow.

 

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I came back inside and made a tea latte.  It looks like today, I am REALLY stranded inside!   At least I had a fantastic breakfast to start my day.  Last night, I whipped up some Gingerbread Oats, and they were tasty.

 

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I made a few adaptations to the original recipe and came up with a flavorful oatmeal that I ate cold but would be perfect heated up for these –40 degree days.  Instead of adding the sweetener to the oats, I sprinkled a dash of agave over the top and then a few strawberries.  The only thing I messed up on was that I should have also thrown in a few pecans.

 

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One of the things on my grocery list was a brownie mix for an event next weekend.  No brownie mix, no problem!

 

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Confession: I’m not a huge brownie person.  I know there are many who disagree with me (including the BOY), but I just don’t love brownies.  Now, throw some caramel in the mix and that’s a different story.

 

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So that’s why it was surprising when a coworker brought brownies in for work and I ate two!  I told her that I needed the recipe, so she was happy to share it.  It’s an old recipe off the back of the BAKER”s chocolate box.  The first step involves mixing your eggs and sugar for 10 minutes.  I set a timer and it was a long 10 minutes, so I played on my new phone and found all of the fun the photo options.

 

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So the purpose of these brownies was to make brownie bites.  However, it wasn’t until I was just adding in some extra mint and chocolate chips that I remembered what I liked about these brownies. 

 

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They are super fudgey!  Probably not the best for mini muffins.  Oops!  I loaded up 3 mini muffin tins and then placed the rest of the dough in a large pan.

 

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I baked the mini muffins around 18 minutes.  Some of them were WAY too big…

 

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And didn’t want to come out of the tin.  But others looked nice and tasty! However, those too, didn’t want to come out of their tin.  Note to the Baker: if making brownie muffins, don’t overfill your tins!   As for the brownie sheet…

 

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Those turned out much better!!!

 

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The moral of the story…this is one incredible brownie recipe!  Just don’t try to use it for brownie bites!

 

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Whatever I can keep out of the BOY’s hands (his appetite has returned) can be served this weekend.  And the crunchy muffins tops have been turned into a minty brownie brittle!

 

 

What do you do to make the most of a cold day or a messed up recipe?

 

 

Gingerbread Overnight Oats

Adapted from My Whole Food Life

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp ground flax meal

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

Sweetener of your choice

 

Directions

Place all of the ingredients in a jar or container and stir until combined.  Place in the refrigerator over night.

Enjoy warm or cold!

 

 

Scrumptious Brownies (with Mint Chocolate Chips)

Recipe from a Friend

 

Ingredients

1 package 8 squares of BAKER’s Chocolate (or 8 oz of chocolate chips)

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter

5 eggs

3 cups sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1-1/2-2 cups of mint and chocolate chips

 

Directions

Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat.  Or in the microwave, which is what I did and took about 90 seconds.

Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla for 10 minutes.  Beat in chocolate mixture on low speed.  Add flour, beating just until blended.  Stir in mint chocolate chips. 

Spread across a 9×13 inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out over clean.  Do not overbake.  Cool in the pan.

Gym Rat

It’s been a long time since I’ve called myself a gym rat.  Even though I have a park district membership, I use it mostly for the indoor track in the winter and the pool in the summer and haven’t taken many classes there.  Yet this week, I was at the yoga studio twice and at the gym twice.  I’m starting to feel like a gym rat again!

 

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This morning, I was excited to get back to a spin class.  I had a wonderful breakfast of Justin’s Overnight Oats in a Jar!  So yummy!!!

 

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I was hungry when I woke up and devoured my breakfast quickly.  Then drove the 3 minutes over to the park district.  In order to get a bike in the 9am class, you need to get there early.  I arrived around 8:30am and got the second to last bike.  While I waited, I caught a 15 minute ab class.  It’s been fun getting back into the gym, and I hope that I am able to fit more classes and strength training into my new schedule.

 

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After the class, I went downstairs to the park district office to sign the BOY and I up for an indoor Beginner Tennis class.  Yes…after like 2 years of claiming that I was going to learn a new skill, I have finally taken the leap.  The BOY and I both have Monday evenings open, so I took this chance to sign us up for tennis lessons.  We are hoping to then find a second day each week to practice.

 

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Remember these days?

It’s been a long time since we’ve attempted a tennis match (I say attempt because I’m pretty awful!).  The beginner class starts in January and I’m making it my goal to move up to the advanced beginner class after this session.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.  Tomorrow will be a gym free day since my Mom and I are volunteering all day at the St. Jude Fashion Show.

Sweet Potato and Banana Baked Oatmeal

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So even though the blog world is alive with Pumpkin Love, I have sweet potatoes on the brain.

 

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And of course breakfast!  Plus also, some brown bananas!  One banana went into this recipe while the other two turned into these incredible muffins!

 

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I used one of my favorite baked oatmeal recipes for inspiration.  However, I didn’t have any flax seeds in the house.  Instead, I decided to try baking in some chia seeds.  I always love chia seeds before a run, and I’ve never tried baking them into my oatmeal before.

 

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I accidently got involved in the Bear’s game and missed the timer’s beep, so my oatmeal was almost overdone.

 

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But ended up JUST RIGHT!

 

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Although pumpkin is all of the rage, don’t forget that left over sweet potatoes make an incredible addition to breakfast bakes AND eggs!

 

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And an awesome pre run breakfast!

My September goal was to focus on my nutrition…specifically to enhance and support my running.  I created a few tasty and filling breakfasts, which have been fantastic and as always my crockpot has provided some healthy week night dinners.  I completed two 20 mile runs…woo hoo!  And overall had a fantastic fall month.

 

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Moving forward…my October goals are such:

 

1. Stay Healthy

2. Sleep Often

3. Run Smart

4. PR!

 

I received my official packet pick up ticket in the mail and it is finally starting to look and feel like fall.  Chicago marathon…here I come!  I am trying to use these next two weeks to get my body and mind ready for the race, without over thinking things.  It’s not an easy balance!  I am also trying to calm my nerves.  And, for those who asked…my shoes are totally ready for the race : )

 

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Did you set goals for October?

 

 

Sweet Potato and Banana Baked Oatmeal

Adapted from Pumpkin Banana Baked Oatmeal Bars

 

Ingredients

2 cups old fashioned oats

4 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

Dash of cloves

3/4-1 cup mashed sweet potato (1 medium sweet potato)

1 cup almond milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 banana, mashed

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine oats, chia seeds, baking powder, and spices in a small bowl.

Whisk egg, sweet potato, almond milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl.  Stir in dry ingredients until well combined.

Pour oatmeal into your baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown.

Let cool and cut into 4 bars.

Store in airtight container in fridge or freeze for later.  Thaw and reheat in microwave.

 

 

A few more of my favorite sweet potato breakfasts…

Sweet Potato Dough Boy Smoothie

Sweet Potato French Toast

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Chia Bowl