I Don’t Know the Last Time…

I spent time in my kitchen cooking, baking, and then cooking some more.

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Bet you thought I was going to say blogging…

I guess you were right too!

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So, where have I been? Well…it’s a pretty long list!

 

Champaign for Christmas

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Yoga Six

Working

Mariano’s

Wisconsin for New Years

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Attempting Barre

Reading

Drinking Bubbles

Doing yoga on the Sky Deck

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Meeting Friends at Begyle Brewery

Baking Banana Bread

Teaching Kids Yoga

Taking Pics with the World Series Trophy

Rockclimbing

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Cuddling with Cooper

Meal Planning

Traveling to DC

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Told you it was a long list : )  Did I mention that it was also a fun one!

So here I am back at the blogging with Cooper on my lap and I’ve got some recipes for you. 

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Last Friday, after a busy morning, I decided to spend a bit of time in my kitchen.  Isn’t the whole point of having this awesome kitchen actually using it?

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The more challenging problem has been coming up with some down time to sit, type, and share all the amazing recipes with you.  With some help from impromptu house guests (my mom and dad), I made meatballs, jalapeno mac n cheese, Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip, and the most incredible Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars.

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I was a bit worried about the looks of these bars, but looks can be deceiving!

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These bars are absolutely delicious!

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And were met with rave reviews from everyone who tried them!

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Of course, I went dessert first, but I should also share with you the recipe I found in the Whole Foods Market Cookbook for Jalapeno Mac N Cheese.  And I will…just not tonight because I have to run.  We’ve got Saturday night dinner plans with friends (and I am bringing these oldie but goodie salad…Mmm!)

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What are you cooking and baking this winter???

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

From Mom Endeavors

Ingredients

  • ½ C butter
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • ⅓ C peanut butter
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 C oatmeal
  • ¼ tsp salt

Frosting

  • 1 C chocolate chips
  • ½ C powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tbsp milk
  • ½ C peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix sugars, egg, and butters.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and oatmeal.
  4. Spread mixture into a 9×13 pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. While that bakes, prepare the frosting (mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and peanut butter).
  6. Remove pan from oven and while hot, sprinkle with chocolate chips. When melted, swirl with the frosting.
  7. Enjoy!
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I’ve Got a Good One For You…

But don’t’ be mad at me!

Although I am sharing a recipe, it is neither hearty nor healthy but instead a sinfully delicious dessert!  I probably should have stared with a confession…I LOVE cake batter and could binge on it all day long!  Okay, maybe not super surprising based on the amount of cake mix recipes this blog has on it, but still not easy to say type out loud.

Life for the BOY, Cooper, and I continues to be super busy and super amazing!!!

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Cooper love all the city has to offer, especially the food.

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Here he is attempting to hone in on our biscuits from Bang Bang!

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The BOY is also adjusting well to city life.  Last weekend, we celebrating his birthday with dinner at Bavette’s followed by cocktails at Band of Bohemia.

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This past week, the weather was incredible and I took full advantage by biking to work on Thursday.

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It takes a lot of planning, but is totally worth it!  I am thankful to have a job where you can show up and work in your ‘active ware’ straight off your bike.  This Thursday, we did a work potluck.  Although I signed up for an ap, I was craving something sweet and happy.

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Wednesday night, I walked over to Mariano’s and came back with the ingredients to make one of the many Cake Batter Dips on my Pinterest board.

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First I threw a batch of 2 Ingredient Muffins (with chocolate cake mix) into the oven and then pulled out my handheld mixer for work on the dip.

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If I told you this dip was good, you probably wouldn’t be surprised but downright bingeable, you might accuse me of exaggerations…

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But trust me, the BOY, and my coworkers when I tell you that this recipe is nothing shy of divine!

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I served it with graham sticks which were the perfect vehicle and compliment to this sweet dip!

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This dip is great to make the night before and travels well (even in a backpack on a bike).

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After work on Thursday, I met up with the BOY and my SIL for date night at Big Star.  We had the BEST night eating dinner outside appreciating the 70 degree evening (and the pitcher of margaritas)!

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Overall, it was a day of delcioiusness!

Enjoy!

Cake Batter Dip

From Fresh April Flours

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • Half of a box of Funfetti Cake Mix (approximately 1 ½ cups dry)
  • 6 Tablespoons milk (any milk is fine…I happened to have whole in the house)
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup sprinkles plus more for decorating

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and no lumps remain.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the Funfetti mix. Add half of the milk and and mix until combined. Add remaining Funfetti mix and milk and increase mixer to medium speed to blend.
  3. Again, reduce mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Increase mixer to medium speed and blend until completely combined.
  4. Stir in sprinkles with a spatula. Serve with pretzels, graham crackers, cookies, or your favorite crunchy treat. Cake batter dip will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

A Chocolate Problem…

What’s worse than a sunshine problem…clearly a chocolate problem!  Ha ha!

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I mean…it’s much better than focusing on any real life problems.  Right?!

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I am a huge fan of mouse and have made a few different recipes.  You may remember that I tried once to do it with coconut milk and it was a major fail.  I put that behind me and decided to try again last weekend when we hosted friends for Sunday night dinner.

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This recipe was simple enough but I bought some amazing store-made fudge as a back up.

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The fudge was appreciated and enjoyed but certainly not necessary sine this mousse/pudding turned out delicious!

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The BOY and our guests enjoyed it, even with the missing dairy.

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And I LOVED every chocolately bite!

 

Other Life Updates…

-To combat my chocolate problem and in appreciation of the sunshine problem, I have exploring new routes in my running shoes lately, which feels amazing!

-We celebrated the BOY’s birthday this past weekend starting Friday night with dinner at home and the Indiana game.  I made Chrissy Teigen’s meatloaf and I highly recommend it!

-Last night we went to Bavette’s for dinner, and I highly recommend that as well!

-I have been trying a bunch of yoga studios and classes trying to find the right fit…I’ll keep you posted!

-My crockpot has been super busy as always.  This week I went to the archives to make Crockpot Chicken Caccitore.

-We are super excited to host Thanksgiving again this year…can’t believe it’s less than 2 weeks away!

 

Dark Chocolate Coconut Pudding

From Stupid Easy Paleo

Ingredients

  • 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 100 g of 85% to 90% dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I used Godiva)
  • 1 tbsp high-quality gelatin
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Heat the coconut milk on medium-low in a heavy-bottomed pot. You want to warm it enough to dissolve the gelatin but not boil. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until it melts.
  2. Once the chocolate has melted, whisk in the gelatin by slowly pouring as you whisk. If you just dump the whole tablespoon in, it’ll get clumpy.
  3. Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour into your desired glasses or cups and chill for at least 2 hours or until set.

Burgers, Brownies, and BS

The BOY and I got invited to a Burgers, Brownies, and BS party for Monday night’s debate, and because we live in the city, we were able to go…on a school night.  Not surprisingly, I only supplied the brownies.  And maybe a bit of BS!

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Also because we live in the city, we have been SO BUSY that I haven’t been able to sit down and share this recipe or do  much of anything except work and play.  So for that reason, the BOY and I are spending Saturday night in chilaxing, watching TV, and doing a bit of laundry.  Sometimes, life is just too exciting  : )

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So the real reason for this post is not political or to tell you how much fun I’ve been having lately although that might come up…It’s brownies!!!

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I went outside the norm and whipped up my first batch of black bean brownies!

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They were surprisingly easy and even more surprisingly tasty!

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Our game plan was to make a batch of homemade ice cream to serve with them.  However, we didn’t freeze our ice cream bowl overnight and sadly the ice cream stayed in liquid form.

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So instead, we concocted Brownie Cookie Dough Surprise (which really doesn’t have a surprise) and just consists of the brownies (warmed up is best!) topped with the cookie dough that didn’t go into our ice cream, whip cream, and a raspberry on top.  They were a HUGE hit and I don’t think anybody minded one bit.  The debate on the other hand…that is a whole another story…

Do you ever hide sub beans or healthy foods into your desserts?

 

Black Bean Brownies

From Chocolate Covered Katie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (10g)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave (75g)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (or omit and increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil (40g)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (115-140g) (Not optional. Omit at your own risk.)
  • optional: more chips, for presentation (I used white chocolate because that’s what I had)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.)

Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up!

Makes 9-12 brownies.

OMG! Worst Blogger Ever Award!

Friends…old and new! How are you???  Where has the time gone???

I swear it was like yesterday that I was blogging up a storm and then I took a quick break to move in with my P’s, start a new job, get my yoga certificate, enjoy summer, then move again (this time to Chicago), start another new job, unpack…and…Yeah…I’m still not unpacked…and yeah, I seem to still be on a break.  But anyways, the point is it is mid September and I haven’t blogged in a month.  Which earns me the Worst Blogger Ever Award!

So just a quick update…the BOY, Cooper, and I moved into the city Labor Day Weekend and we haven’t slowed down since.

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With help, we have been unpacking a million boxes (with many more to go)…

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I started another new job, cut off all of my hair again, and haven’t cooked a thing.

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Which might be why you haven’t heard from me.  I am working two part time jobs, learning the ropes, teaching a ton of yoga classes (last week, I taught 4 kids classes), exploring the city by bike, drinking wine, buying new furniture, and eating all of the Thai food my tummy can handle,

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Check me out…I’m a bike commuter!

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I bought a bubbie cart so I can walk to the HUGE Mariano’s down the block.

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Which is what I did this afternoon.  Have I mentioned that I live across the street from a yoga studio?!  It is right in between a coffee shop and wine bar and it makes me happy every time I look out the window.

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So this morning, I went to the most amazing yoga class, then came home to organize our bathroom.  Cooper had an afternoon vet appointment, which was very traumatic for both of us.  He wouldn’t go into his crate so we were super late.  When we got home, he ran and hid under the bed, so I took my bubbie cart to the grocery store.

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I’m sure you guys missed me but I am guessing that you missed Cooper more so I threw in a few of his pics.  After a busy week, I was happy to make dinner and decided on this Island Pork Tenderloin.  I came back from the grocery store and got started on dessert first.  As I was pulling out all of the ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have sugar.  Luckily, the BOY passes the store on his walk home from the train so he swung by and picked up sugar.

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Just some Friday night baking essentials.  My dessert came together easily except I couldn’t find sprinkles anywhere in our house. I tried all of my many kitchen cabinets and drawers (my new kitchen also makes me happy!) but there were no sprinkles.  I gave up and subbed in white chocolate chips for the sprinkles and threw some in the middle and on top.

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Apparently I am also the worst baker ever…ha ha!  Although I thought I had everything timed out, it appears our oven is not so strong so everything took WAY TOO LONG!  That being said, the bars still turned out phenomenal and were devoured by the BOY and I after dinner. 

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I just couldn’t decide if I like the crunchy sugary ends or the ooey gooey middle better!

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I kept the recipe as written below but know that this is a very forgiving dessert so you can probably whip it together with whatever you have in your pantry!  Even if you haven’t even unpacked all your pantry boxes : )

I have no idea what my blogging future holds but hoping to check in with ya’ll more often!

What’d I miss with you guys???

 

Cake Batter Sugar Cookie Bars

From Today’s Creative Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup of gluten free flour or regular flour
  • ¼ cup of Nonpareil or sprinkles to mix in
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Nonpareil or sprinkles for the top of the batter before baking

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8" x 8" baking pan and set aside.
  3. Carefully melt white chocolate chips at 50% power in microwave, stirring often to make sure they don’t burn. Once they are just about melted, stir in softened butter and remaining ingredients (except sprinkles) which you will want to fold in gently at the very end. Spread dough into pan and cover the top of the dough with the remaining sprinkles.
  4. Bake for about 22 minutes or until the bars begin to turn golden around the edges of the pan.
  5. The bars will be a bit gooey when you remove them from the oven, they will continue to set as they cool for 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. Enjoy!!!

So Much Sunday to Share!

Hey ya’ll! How ya been?

Coming to you from the comfort of my couch after a gorgeous (and windy) bike ride, followed by an indulgently warm shower.

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I know it’s been awhile…we had a super busy week!  I started off a little slow recovering from our weekend away.  But still sporting my party nails : )

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But by Thursday, I was up early for a run and Friday, I made it to a 6am yoga class.

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We made it through the week and celebrated Friday night with wine!  Saturday morning, I was at the gym alone since the BOY had a bachelor party.  My trainer worked me HARD using heavy weights and lots of reps.  I ran a few errands after the gym and then headed back home.

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Although I would have much rather been playing with my friends, I had a long list of things that needed to get done on Saturday. I spent the day doing laundry, decluttering our house, finishing some computer based learning, and making progress on my anatomy power points.  At 4pm, the BOY returned home and we took an hour long nap before heading back out.  He was off to finish up the bachelor party (of his sister’s fiancé) and I was going to hang out with my sister in law while the guys were out being guys.

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We ended up at a bar watching a Boy Band cover band which was pretty hilarious and brought back a lot of college memories!  Then went back to her house to have some more wine and cuddle with the kitties!  They are seriously so much fun!

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The BOY returned back around 2am and back home we went where we immediately crashed!  We didn’t sleep as late as we wanted this morning and I woke up with a sore throat, fearing that I had caught the BOY’s cold from last week.  Since we were up, we did our weekly grocery store run.  As you saw on Instagram, there are many benefits of Sunday morning shopping including TONS of cheese samples.

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I sipped a green smoothie as we shopped hoping to take in some immunity boosting nutrients.  After the store, we came home and made bacon and eggs for brekkie.  Since I wasn’t feeling well, we didn’t make any plans for the day. I took a Musinex and finished up my last computer learning module.  I know that I haven’t been sharing recipes recently, but it’s not because we haven’t been cooking and baking.  We’ve just been sticking with some basics and old favorites.  I made brownies and knew that they needed some home made ice cream to go with them.  Typically, the BOY makes the ice cream so I don’t get many pictures.

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But this time, I did the work, including chopping up all the birthday cake Oreos.

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Which, FYI are amazing!!!  I stirred them into the ice cream which was soft and smooth and tasted like a fresh made blizzard.

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It took a lot of restraint not to dive head first into the bowl of ice cream, so I settled with a few bites before hiding it in the freezer.  During this time, Cooper was no where to be found.  Weird right?! Considering he is usually ALL over the ice cream maker!  I searched everywhere high and low but couldn’t lure him out of hiding.  We had to run out, so we left and I was thinking that he was probably napping after our late night out.  I grabbed some Whole Foods deliciousness for lunch and the BOY came home and heard a noise in the garage.  Turns out…Cooper was stuck with his paw caught under a bucket in our garage all morning.  The BOY said that he ran upstairs immediately to the litter box and that his paw seemed just fine.  I was relieved to hear it, but we still can’t figure out how and when he made his way into the garage?!

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After lunch, the BOY  (and Cooper) took a nap…it had been an emotional day for him…and I decided to break a sweat outside with a bike ride.

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It was way windier than I realized and sadly our path was flooded so I did more of a back and forth ride than my typical loop.  It felt wonderful to be out in the sunshine, even though it was not nearly as warm as I thought it would be.

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You’ll note my amazing new sunglasses.  They say ‘I heart Boy Bands’ on the side and were a freebie from last night’s concert.  We are spending Sunday night in BBQing for dinner and watching a movie (while I continue to pack and work on slides).  I definitely need an early bed time if I want to turn this cold around!  So much to share this Sunday!!!

 

What are you sharing this Sunday?

 

Meal Planning 5/15/16

Monday: Crockpot Chili

Tuesday: Hotdogs and Chicken Burgers

Wednesday: Steak + Salmon

Thursday: Pasta Night

Using the Weather as an Excuse…

Sunday was a lazy day!

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It’s such a double edged sword…last weekend, we ran around and had a blast in the city, but I was missing some down time.  This Sunday, was all about the down time and of course I felt guilty about using the cold wet weather as a reason not to leave my house.  My day included… Me, the BOY, Cooper, and Netflicks…oh and few rounds of baking and laundry.  All while in the comfort of my jammies.  It was THAT kind of day!  And it was wonderful!

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Monday, I woke up recharged and ready to burn off some energy.  With the sun out, I knew I wanted to get out and run!

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Now this is my kind of running weather! I ran 6 miles along the path, along with my thoughts, and soaking up some sunshine.

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The rest of my day was typical Monday…grocery store, meal prep, and paperwork.

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I figured instead of starting of the week with what’s in my crockpot, I’d rather share these amazing cookies with you that I made yesterday.  I had all the ingredients on hand, and so in between episodes of Scandal, I ran back and forth to the kitchen to whip up the BOY’s favorite cookies!

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They are super sweet and will start  your Monday off right!

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Meal Planning and more recipes coming to you soon!  Today, I’m using the sunny weather as an excuse to not want to blog any more : )

 

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From Recipe Diaries

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups oatmeal (quick cooking oats, but I used half and half)

Directions

  1. First, you put the raisins in a small pan of water uncovered and cook till puffy. Put in strainer to drain and cool.
  2. Cream and beat together (using electric mixer) the butter, brown sugar, and eggs.
  3. Mix together the flour (unsifted), soda, baking powder, cinnamon, oatmeal and add to the creamed mixture, using beater to mix.
  4. Last, add the raisins.
  5. With a spoon, mix them in ever so lightly.
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls on lightly greased cookie sheets or Silpats.
  7. Bake them at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Take them out before they get brown!
  8. Cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to waxed paper to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!