Energy Bites for Energy

Saturday morning, the BOY and I started our day with a workout.  I was feeling back in my groove, but he faded a bit.  The most likely cause…nutrition!

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Although the BOY has made a lot of changes to his diet, he still isn’t a good breakfast eater and needs some more protein.  After our workout, my trainer gave us some dinner and snack ideas, including these awesome Energy Balls from Wildtree.  I happened to have all the ingredients in our house except walnuts, which we picked up at Target.  Also at Target…

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Tell me…have you tried them yet?  I resisted the urge to buy them and came home to make a green protein shake and begin mixing up our snack balls.

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I was a little nervous that the ‘dough’ was dry (most likely because I used natural almond butter), so I added a bit more honey.  I also added in chia seeds because I had about 2 tbsp in a bag that I needed to kill.

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Saturday was a sunny and gorgeous day!  Perfect to crack open the windows and enjoy some energy balls and a latte : )

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And then stash the rest in the fridge where the BOY and I have been snacking on them all week.

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I spent the afternoon teaching the most wonderful group of swimmers at a yoga workshop!  It was so nice to open the door and spend 90 minutes doing yoga in the fresh air again!

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What is your favorite snack or energy food?

Energy Bites

Adapted form Wildtree

Ingredients

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup flaxseed, ground

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons shredded coconut

1/2 cup almond butter

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon Coconut Oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini dark chocolate morsels

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a food processor, grind walnuts to medium/fine grind. Add flaxseed (and chia if you want) and process for 30 seconds. Add cinnamon, coconut, almond butter, oats, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Process for 20 seconds. Place mixture into a covered storage container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When ready to roll, remove refrigerated mix and add mini dark chocolate morsels and salt; mix gently to incorporate all ingredients. Hand roll into 1-inch balls and store in air tight container.

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Surviving the Mondays (in a Polar Vortex)

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So one of the things that the BOY and I have been figuring out is adjusting to a new schedule.  We adapted when I started my new full time job in December, but then shortly after he began winter break.  Now, it’s a new semester with a new schedule and that changes meal planning.  Especially since the BOY had 2 night classes this semester, which means 2 nights that I am on my own.  The other thing going on this week is we are back in extreme temperatures with cancellations, cold cars, and frost bite warnings.  Even the BOY’s law school classes got canceled today and tomorrow.

 

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The good thing about today is that after a busy, rather sleepless but super duper fun, weekend, I had a quiet Monday.  I was so tired that my eyes were closed and I was passed out with Cooper on my face (no joke!) last night at 9pm.  I slept blissfully until after 8am this morning, at which time Cooper returned to pouncing on me.  The BOY got dressed and headed off to work. I made some breakfast and threw the first of 2 recipes into the crockpot, trying to avoid hitting a curious Cooper with my knife.

 

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This recipe for Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry is really easy and was in the crockpot before 9am.

 

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So I had some time to warm up before having to leave the house.  I had an 11am workout scheduled with my new trainer.  As I was getting out of the car, I realized that I totally forgot my shoes.  After 2 days of yoga, I didn’t even think about bringing along gym shoes.  My trainer is creative and it worked out just fine.  My arms were tired after this weekend and we worked my back hard.  I’m hoping for improved posture!

 

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I had to make a return at the mall, so I decided to try Protein Bar for lunch.  I’ve heard wonderful things about this place from everyone who gets to go there in the city.  I was excited that we finally got one in the suburbs and extremely impressed with my Spinach and Pesto Quinoa bowl for lunch!

 

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I braved the mall (filled with kids since there is no school today) to make my return and in the mean time picked up a few pieces of Gap Fit workout wear on sale (including running capris for only 15$).  When I got home my lentils were soft and fragrant.

 

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I made this for lunch for the week ahead, and it was a quick turn around as packaged away the lentils and threw tonight’s dinner into a cleaned crockpot.

 

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Meanwhile, Cooper kept himself busy and out of trouble (yea…right?!)

 

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Cooper and I then curled up for an hour and a half nap before having just enough time to get ready and head out the door for tonight’s tennis lesson.  It was hard to determine if it was still on, but I was excited to find out that we were.  I think I’ve learned a thing or 2 and am getting maybe a wee bit better…maybe!  Tonight was cold but fun and I learned how to serve, which is exciting!

 

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We came home and had dinner (recipe coming tomorrow) before relaxing back on the couch with some tea and a new TV show called Black Sails.  Has anyone seen it?  The BOY is off tomorrow and I am crossing my fingers once again that my car starts.  The brutal cold has already rolled in and we can hear the wind howling through the trees.  We have plenty of warm food for the week ahead…perfect to beat any case of the Mondays!

 

How do you survive Mondays?

 

Cooper’s Answer: With warm, cozy naps!

 

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Meal Plan 1/27/14

Sunday: Turkey Tacos

 

Monday: Crockpot Cashew Chicken

 

Tuesday: Burgers (premade from Mariano’s) with mushrooms and asparagus

 

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: TBD

 

Lunch: Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

From Hello Little House

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp curry paste

2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie (to keep vegetarian) stock

1 tsp minced ginger

3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Spray your crockpot with cookie spray.

Add in potatoes, onions, and lentils to crockpot.

Stir together stock, ginger, and curry paste until well combined.  Pour over sweet potato mixture and stir.

Set crockpot to high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

Muffin Monday: Banana and Blueberry

Shh!  Don’t tell the BOY that there is banana in these muffins!

 

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He has been eating the ‘blueberry muffins’ all weekend, telling me how good they are with NO IDEA that they are banana and blueberry muffins : )

 

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The motivation for these muffins came from some soft bananas and a huge container of fresh blueberries.

 

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I found the recipe on a blog while I was searching online and didn’t realize that they were vegan until I pulled them out of the oven.

 

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I was really just looking for a muffin recipe that didn’t use yogurt (because I don’t have any in the house), and the crumble topping was a huge selling point for me.

 

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You might have guessed that I didn’t mention that these were vegan to the BOY either…he he!

 

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Of course I took my first bite of the muffins warm because, really, who can resist?

 

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I know the hot temps outside aren’t going to encourage you to turn on your oven, but if you find yourself stuck inside in the air conditioning hiding from the heat, whip up a batch of these outstanding muffins!

 

 

Blueberry Banana Streusel Muffins

From Cake Dutchess

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

3 very ripe bananas, mashed well

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup almond milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries

 

for the topping:

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon margarine

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a separate bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Spoon batter into the muffin tin. For topping, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; with your fingers, incorporate the margarine to the flour mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over the muffins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

They’re Back

Overnight oats are back!

 

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Woo Hoo!  It’s been a little while since I’ve had this breakfast, so I whipped up a batch in prep for tomorrow morning’s track workout.  I am meeting a coworker at the indoor track near work, so it was an early morning…perfect for breakfast in the car.  I convinced my coworker to try one of my new favorite interval workouts, so we’ll see how it goes.  With breakfast and a friend waiting, it will be hard to sleep in…even if it is another grey day!

 

Not yet back…the sun!

 

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It’s been way too long since we’ve seen you!

 

Also back in the picture…

 

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Banana Soft Serve (with almond butter)!

 

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This stuff is amazing!  But even better with a tiny cookie dough ball.

 

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It’s about as close to a homemade DQ blizzard as you can get!

 

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Although my workouts are going well (I ran 9.5 miles this weekend), my eating has been a bit overboard.  It’s really time to get that BACK on track!

 

 

What’s back in your world???

 

 

Banana Almond Butter Soft Serve

 

Ingredients

1 frozen banana

2-3 tbsp almond milk

1-2 tbsp almond butter

Chocolate chips (optional)

 

Directions

Place frozen banana and almond milk in food processor.  Blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed.  Add almond butter and chocolate chips (if using) and blend until well combined.  Eat immediately!

Optional: Stir in more chocolate chips, peanuts, or Vegan Cookie Dough Balls!

Comfort Stew

After a rainy week and a mostly gray weekend, I felt like some soup was in order.

 

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Monday was a busy day in the kitchen…possibly more so since I was gone the week before and was looking forward to planning meals this week.  For week day lunches, I decided on Curried Lentil, Squash, and Apple Stew from Chloe’s Kitchen.

 

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It was quite an arm workout to cut the squash.

 

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I wasn’t much in the mood to take photos along the way, but I had to share the finished product!

 

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Almost on cue as I added the curry, the BOY appeared.  I had to laugh at his predictability!  I poured a bowl to take to work and saved the rest for later in the week.

 

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Dinners this week are going to be simple.  We have plenty of leftovers to get us though the week!

 

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This morning I am still trying to wrap my brain around yesterday’s tragedy.  What is there to say when I have so many questions?  Although I am building my skills as a ‘writer’, I can’t think of the words that will convey my grief and disbelief while capturing the significance of what happened.  In my opinion, runners (and triathletes) are the friendliest and most welcoming group of people.  They are supportive and empathetic…I can’t imagine anyone choosing to target such a group.  And maybe it’s because I know the elated feeling that you are supposed to have when you cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles that I feel even more sad for the runners, volunteers and spectators who will never look at the sport the same.

 

I know that this stew won’t bring with it real comfort, but there is no doubt in my mind that the blogging community (many of whom are runners) will ban together like it always does to offer support, encouragement, and love to those in Boston and beyond…and that is comforting to know!

 

 

 

Curried Lentil, Squash and Apple Stew

From Chloe’s Kitchen

Makes 6 Servigs

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup dried lentils
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups peeled butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)
1 large unpeeled apple, diced
5 ounces baby spinach

 

Directions

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat, and sauté onion and carrot until almost soft. Add garlic, ginger, curry and salt, and let cook a few more minutes until fragrant.

Stir in lentils, broth and tomato paste. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add squash and apple, cover and simmer for another 25 minutes (because my squash cubes were so big, this was 50 minutes for me), or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Remove lid and stir in spinach until wilted. Add salt to taste and serve.

Meatless Monday for All

Hooray for Meatless Monday!

Even more exciting…the BOY participated this week : )

 

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For dinner, I decided on Curried Veggie Burgers from Pinch of Yum.  And to my surprise, I got no protests from my roommate.  Although we both eat meat, I love exploring vegetarian recipes that focus on quality ingredients and fragrant spices.  I picked up all of my ingredients at the grocery store today.  I was impressed with all of the nutrient-packed ingredients in these burgers, and couldn’t wait to see how it all came together.

 

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My one hiccup came when I couldn’t find canned lentils at the grocery store.  Does anyone know where they are?  Instead, I boiled up a batch of my own lentils, which was a bit of a disaster.  I always use lentils in recipes, but have never made them plain.  What I got was a huge mushy mess.  I didn’t worry about that too much though because I knew they were heading into burgers.

 

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I was surprised to see cashews in these burgers and excited to toast them up, take a taste, and then create the paste.

 

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Also into the mix…chickpeas, onions, carrots, spices, and brown rice.  Somehow, I didn’t have any TJ’s brown rice in the freezer, but this mix made the perfect substitute.

 

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NOTE:  This is important!  If you have a smaller food processor (like mine which is 7 cups), you might want to cut this recipe in half!  I had to do 2 batches in my food processor which made it difficult to evenly mix the spices.

 

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Ok, so once you have your doughy mixture, there is a decision to make.  To bake or to fry? 

Since I had an abundance of burger mix, I knew that I could try both.  So I threw one batch of burgers in the oven and pan fried the rest.  In the end, I think I finished with, like 20 burgers.  The fried ones were warm and soft (I liked the olive oil coating).

 

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But the baked ones were toasted and crunchy.  Both tasted great, but I think next time I would add some extra curry powder!  BTW, Lindsay suggests baking then frying the burgers!

 

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The BOY made his burger into a wrap with a variety of toppings.

 

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We both had roasted broccoli on the side, and I spread a layer of hummus over my flavorful burger.

 

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I have plenty of leftovers, so it looks like I am all set for lunch this week.  Topped with hummus and avocado, I know this will make a filling midday meal!

Lindsay’s website has the full recipe and all of the tasty details, so definitely head her way before next Monday!

 

 

Did you go Meatless today?

What are your favorite meat free meals?  Links Welcome!

 

 

More Meatless Monday Ideas

Baked Barley Casserole with Mushrooms and Squash

Chickpea Tagine

Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

Spiced Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Vegetable Quinoa Burgers

PB&J Finale Take 2

So this recipe almost didn’t happen.  Which would have been so sad because how can I end Peanut Butter Month without a peanut butter recipe?!

 

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To Start…

I found the perfect 4th recipe for a Vegetarian Peanut Soup.  But after looking through our meal plans for the week, I just didn’t think we needed another meal.  Not that I won’t be making this recipe soon, it just will have to wait until next month.  I knew that I didn’t want to make another super sweet dessert.  Since Thanksgiving, we’ve had more than enough sweets in the house, and I knew we didn’t need another one.  In the spirit of healthy holiday eating, I was inspired by this recipe on Nutrionella to make a peanut butter themed energy bar (with homemade peanut butter of course).

 

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Take One…

I threw the ingredients into the food processor, pressed start, and an eruption occurred.  The mixture was way to thick and my food processor started dancing like it was standing on coals.  Checking back in with the recipe, it appeared that I used 2x as many nuts as I was supposed to. 

 

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I made a few attempts to make things work, but my processor started to sound like ‘the little engine that could…so sad.  Then, I discovered that I had used dates with pits.  Yikes! Note to self (and fellow bloggers)…never put dates with pits in your food processor.  Nothing good will come of it!

 

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I pulled everything out and started looking through the mush…there were definitely pits.  What to do???  The answer seemed obvious.  Start over!

 

Take Two…

When you don’t have enough dates left to remake bars you already messed up once, prunes sub in just fine!  I de-pitted my dates, threw in some prunes and ran the food processor.

 

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Once they formed into a big ball, I added the correct amount of nuts.  Much better!  Everything looked fantastic, so I added in a few more peanuts and dried cranberries to drive home that Peanut Butter and Jelly taste.

 

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The last step was easy as I pushed the bars into the pan and sprinkled in a few more cherries.

 

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And of course had a taste test…it was pure PB&J love!  They bars taste just like everyone’s favorite sandwich!

 

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Funny end to Take One…

I de-pitted the original dough, threw it back into the food processor with some extra dried fruit, gave the processor a break by drizzling in some agave and then threw the ball of dough into the bottom of a round tuperware and put it in the fridge before starting dinner.

 

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When the BOY came home, he devoured dinner and went in search of dessert.  He asked what the bars were and when I said Peanut Butter and Jelly bars, he dug right in!  Surprisingly, he liked them!  Why is this a surprise, because there is just healthy ingredients like dried fruits and nuts which is not is usually snacking MO.  ‘But there’s Jelly’ he said to me after his first bite.  Not quite BOY, but I won’t tell him if you don’t!

 

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Other Peanut Butter Month Recipes…

Reece’s Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Double Chip Peanut Butter Cookies with Pretzels

 

 

What is the best PB recipe you made/ate this month?

 

The End…

Why the foggy brain and messy kitchen? I blame my relaxing massage earlier in the day.  BTW, if you live in my area, I highly recommend this place.  I had one of the best massages of my life!  My ITband has never gotten such TLC and I felt so amazing that I slept for nearly 11 hours last night.  I am so refreshed and ready to head into the fun holiday season.

 

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The Recipe…

 

PB&J Energy Bars

Inspired by Ella Bars on Nutrionella

 

Ingredients

8 ounces of PITTED dates

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used homemade)

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup walnuts or cashews

1/2 + 1/4 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup peanuts

 

Directions

Place dates in food processor and blend until combined.  A big ball will start to form.

Add in the peanut butter, nuts, and oats.  Blend well.

Add in 1/2 cup cherries and peanuts and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Place dough into a baking pan covered with parchment paper and press evenly into the bottom of the pan using your hands.

Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cherries and place in fridge for about 2 hours.

 

Note: You can also shape the dough into balls or cut them with a cookie cutter.  These freeze well!