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!!!
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I’ve Missed You Blog World!

Well   Hello   There   Everyone!!!

I am back and settled(ish)!  Cooper…is another story, but we will get to that! 

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Let’s see…since last we chatted, life has been BUSY…

We packed up our entire house.  And by we, I mean myself and my parents.  The BOY did pack one full box but before you think he did nothing, he was in charge or organizing our last minute move on a holiday weekend. Not an easy job!

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July 1st was a gorgeous day and our movers were amazing and efficient. Before we knew it, were standing in an empty home.  Full of emotion, of course, as the excitement of our next adventure begins with the nostalgia of having 10 years of memories in this house (including our first kiss!).

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I was super grateful for the assistance of my P’s but even more thankful that they took us in to their home when we had none without question.  The three of us traded in our 3 bedroom home for a bedroom.  The first few nights were rough as we couldn’t find a thing and had Cooper crammed in with us.

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But Saturday night we had a BBQ with my bestie and her family and it really did feel so good to be home!

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The rest of the weekend was catching up on life, unpacking, getting organized, laundry, and grocery shopping.  The 4 us had a meeting to meal plan out the week, which has been very successful.  My dad found a white board to keep track of everything and has also added a countdown until our move out date : )

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Which brings me to the excitement of the week. We signed a lease for a Chicago apartment (and there was much rejoicing!) but it’s not available until September 2nd…

So we are living it up with my parents, appreciating the home cooked family meals (including my dad’s famous stir fry) and laundry service and hoping that Cooper can adjust to living with 4 adults as opposed to his usual 2. There has been a bit more hissing lately!

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#trainselfie

The BOY and I are also commuting together which might be an even bigger challenge than moving in or planning a wedding : )

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On the yoga front, I am LOVING my training.  We had some time off but are probably about half way done and I am already feeling sad for when it will be over.  I am reading a ton and learning a lot.

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I am doing way more yoga than running and feeling really good about it.  Comfortable with myself as I am growing each day of this journey that I know (hope) is just beginning.  This past weekend we taught each other which was exciting and nerve wrecking!

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And if that’s not enough excitement…the Tour de France started this week (more rejoicing!!).  I’ve got the entire family watching and cheering on my favorite riders.  Between that and the Olympic trials, our blooming social life, and trying to capture a few minutes of down time, life has been plugging along!

But I’ve miss you guys!  Tell me what’s going on with you…

Past, Present, and Future

This non-blogging thing is becoming quite the bad habit, but after you read this post, I am pretty sure you will forgive me!

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I’ll start by filling you in on the PAST week (or so)…

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After maintaining some nice balance of work and play, water and wine, sleep and fun, our house went up on the market for rent last Friday.  The BOY and I got some instant attention and spent all of last Saturday out and about while people came by to check out the place.

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By Saturday night, we were happy to just be home enjoying a cheese plate and wine out back.  Even this guy liked chilling in the back yard…

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And by Sunday, I realized that wine and warrior III don’t mix so well after a 75 minute hot class and a few hours of pose clinics during yoga teacher training : )  Sunday night, we had rental applications and a lot of good feedback on our house!  And by Monday night, we had renters…who needed to move in July 1st!

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OMG!!!

This week was a mix of work, yoga, and apartment searching in hopes of finding a quick place to move in to!

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We spent Wednesday night and Thursday in the city, desperately searching for apartments and drinking and dining with my brother and sister in law (who were kind enough to house us!).  By this morning, it was pretty obvious that we did not have a place to live, despite one last attempt of walking through the 606 pleading my eyes to find a ‘For Rent’ sign.

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All while enjoying the most amazing Bucktown coffee…

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Which brings us to the PRESENT

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This picture is the EXACT present…

My Friday off was not nearly as bad as the one in which I scrubbed my grout, but was pretty busy.

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With 1 week until our move, it was time to start packing!  I called in reinforcements to help make the most of the day…

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My parents arrived with lunch around noon and because they were dog sitting, they brought Dancer along as well.  We packed what seemed like a million boxes and I was feeing accomplished until I realized all that was left to pack. 

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Around 4pm (with physical and mental exhaustion), we went in different directions as I headed off to yoga training and my parents took a bunch of boxes home.  Which brings us to your next question, I am sure…

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What’s Next?  For now, the FUTURE looks like this…

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Meet our new roommates!!!  We are moving in with my parents…Cooper and all for a month while we continue our apartment search in Chicago.  The pros…we have a place to live and the location allows me easy access to work and yoga training.  The BOY and I may be commuting together on the train into the city.  The crazy…we are moving in with my  parents…Cooper and all!  In 1 week!!!

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Which means tomorrow is day 2 of packing and because of yoga training Sunday, it needs to be SUPER productive.  After that, I fear you may not hear from me for a bit.  It will just be short break, I promise, but with all of these changes and responsibilities, I may not be able to prioritize the blog until things have settled.  Like I said, I knew you would understand : )

 

Tell me about your past, present, and future!

Anyone have a 2 bedroom apartment they want to rent me in Chicago?!

FriYay!!!

Who’s doing the Friday happy dance?!

I started doing it on like, Wednesday, when I  got home around 7:30 in gorgeous sunshine and convinced the BOY to sit out back with me enjoying dinner and some bubbles.

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So updates on the week…

I started my new job on Tuesday!  I am commuting, via train, into the city.  The first day was sunny and delightful.  My job went well and I managed to find some delicious kombucha during m lunch break.

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Day 2 was raining and gross and indicated that I need to buy some better rain gear.  I was able to find the local coffee shop, which proved very handy : )

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But by Wednesday night, the sun was shining…hence our impromptu outdoor dinner.  Thursday was another beautiful day and this spring weather got me feeing like…

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I just want to sit outside and drink wine and eat cheese : )

Which I can (and did!)…because the BOY had to work late and I don’t work Fridays.  Can’t remember if I mentioned but I am only working 3 days at my new job while I do my yoga training. 

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And speaking of yoga training.  I gave myself some slack this week with my yoga goals.  We are supposed to attend 5 classes per week and I wasn’t sure how to make that work with my new commute.  I am still learning about parking and train passes, etc.  We are also supposed to do daily meditation, which I just sort of sucked at. I did get in one day but was interrupted by this guy!

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To accompany my new yoga vibe, I decided I needed a short, shaggy, summer hair do.  My hair is still in a bit of hair shock (as is the BOY), but I love that change is in the air!

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Although I have no idea how I’m going to put it up for yoga training tonight!

Happy Friday Folks!

 

May Goals

Get organized for Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) – just getting started but diving right in!

Eat REAL clean – hit or miss! I feel like overall my diet has been clean but you know I dove right into the cake from Sweet Mandy B’s at work yesterday : )

Keep up the workouts (mix up cardio and strength) – Done!

Try not to freak out with all the big changes in our lives! – Let’s just say…it’s a work in progress!

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June Goals

So…with the start of teacher training, we are supposed to try to meditate daily (aps allowed) and do 5 practices a week.  We also set a few personal goals.  My thought is that if I want to get the most out of training, I have to commit, so I am making my June goals my YTT goals!

-5 classes per week

-Daily meditation

-Add shoulder openers to each practice

-Eat for energy!

 

What changes are you making this spring?

What are your summer goals?

Return of the Grill {And the Bike}

Spring has sprung!!!

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We have an entire week of warmth and sunshine which concluded with an absolutely spectacular 70 degree weekend!  It definitely feels like June, and I am loving it!

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Started Saturday morning with a strength sesh followed by a protein smoothie.  Then headed into Chicago for my sister in law’s bachelorette party, which was a ton of fun!

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I arrived back home around noon today, after dropping off my SIL and of course taking some time to play with her tiny little kitties.  The BOY had plans to get his grill cleaned off.  I told him stories of the evening while laying in the sun as he drank a beer and scrubbed off his grill.  When all was done, I took a quick nap on the couch while the BOY grilled the first meal of the year for lunch.  After lunch, we did our grocery store run (along with everyone else) and watched the sad end to the Hawks game.

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I am working tomorrow, so it was a productive Sunday.  Dinner went into the crockpot, laundry was washed and folded, and bags of veggies were prepped for the week ahead.  In an attempt to bribe the BOY to take his lunch to work, I also portioned out fruit and snacks for him for the entire week so all he has to do is make his sandwich.  With most of my ‘chores’ complete, I decided it was time to get out a bit and exercise.

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I dusted off my bike and filled the tires and then literally rode into the sunset.  Our path is a bit flooded, but I was able to ride about 12 miles out and back.

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My bike was a bit neglected last summer, and I am planning to do a lot more riding this year!  I’m even hoping to do some bike commuting around town if I can.

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My first time out was fantastic!  When I got back home, the BOY was already working on the meat for tonight’s dinner.  I love grill season!  And bike season!

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For desert we are attempting to make S’mores ice cream.  I’ll keep you posted how it goes : )  An hour of riding wore me out (or it was last night’s 5 hours of sleep…ha ha)!  Either way, I’m calling it an early one!

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How are you celebrating the start of spring?

Meal Planning 4/17/16

Monday: Serf and Turf

Tuesday: Crockpot 2 Ingredient Pulled Pork

Wednesday: Shrimp Surprise (I forgot to buy the Stirfry veggies so not sure what I will do with my shrimp)

Thursday: TBD

Friday: Happy Passover!

D N T R

I woke up early this morning, before my alarm, brushed my teeth, made some tea, and got dressed in layers.  Around 7am, the BOY and I walked outside into the freezing streets of Chicago to clean off my car.

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We drove north towards Montrose Harbor, looking for a place to park as we got close.  When we found a random parking lot, I felt lucky, until I changed out of my boots and into my running shoes and lost feeling in a few of my fingers.

It was so brutal cold that even the pay box didn’t want to operate quickly.  As I skidded along the icy parking lot to figure out my license plate number, it occurred to me that running in this weather over this ice was going to be brutal.  And when it was my turn to pay for parking ($16 for less than 2 hours), it hit me.  Why???  Why run this 10k?

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I could tell you that I was worried about the weather, slipping on the ice, or feeling sick and crappy for the rest of the day.  But the truth…life is just to short to spend your Saturday morning walking along the lake by yourself in freezing cold weather wondering why?!

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So instead…I got back in my car, changed back into my Uggs, and the BOY and I drove straight to breakfast at Bakin&Eggs.  I Decided Not To Run (D N T R).  Sitting together chatting over steaming hot bevvies, I felt strongly that I was exactly where I should be.  Together with my husband, warm and cozy, and appreciating the morning!

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Our food was AMAZING and because we were there so early, we got a discount.  Note: the only other people awake and eating with us were families with young kids.

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We started with a bacon flight and then devoured everything in sight…as if I had spent my morning burning calories on a run and not just dressed like it…ha ha!

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After brekkie, we went back to my brother’s for a much needed nap!  The rest of our day was spent meeting friends at our favorite pizza place for lunch (Spacca Napoli), and then we swung by the BOY’s sister’s on our way home to meet Cooper’s newest cousins.

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These 6 week old kittens are absolutely adorable and so much fun!

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The BOY and I are spending Saturday night at home having date night with wine, Blacklist, and hopefully some games, which makes me super happy!  Am I sad I didn’t race today?  For sure!  I was looking forward to a running along Lake Michigan and testing my speed a bit.  Did I make the right decision?  Yes!  Sometimes, its just not worth it!

Have you ever D N T R?  Why?

No French Fry Bars

The bad news is when you play all weekend, there is a lot of work to do on Monday.  And I don’t mean work, work because it is still the weekend (for me), but house work!  I would have loved to have spent Monday on my couch, cuddled with Cooper, and catching up on Scandal.  Instead, I woke up and immediately started creating laundry piles. 

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I woke up to snow.  Not a lot of it, but more than anyone wants to see in April!

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The BOY and I went to the gym for our training sessions and then quickly packed up before driving downtown.  My sister in law has been wanting to try Soul Cycle and I was more than  happy to accompany here to the Old Rihanna vs. New Rihanna class.

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We had a lot of fun working up a sweat.  Then the guys met us for lunch and beer at Corridor.  The weather was odd, alternating between hail and sunshine, but we managed to walk around and shop before making our way back to their house.  We had a little bit of down time before getting ready for our family friend’s wedding.  My mom, SIL, and I drank bubbles while we got our hair done at the dry bar, and then everyone got all dressed up for the wedding.

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We danced the night away and had a great time together!  Sunday was another fun family day, but this time the weather was gorgeous!

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We walked all over the city, racking up close to 7 miles.  Along the way, we discovered an amazing little bakery and fueled up with cupcakes (and a not pictured cookie sandwich that was consumed during the walk)!

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The BOY and I didn’t get home until late Sunday night, and we stopped and picked up Thai for dinner on our way home.  I was feeling exhilarated with the excitement of the weekend and crashed for a good 10 hours Sunday night.  Which brings me back to this morning.  After getting a few loads of laundry going, I grabbed leftovers for breakfast and debated if I wanted to go to the 9:30am yoga class.  A run would have been ideal, but after yesterday’s 60 degree weather, this morning was chilly.

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So off to yoga I went!  And then came back home to get myself organized for the day while sipping on a Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie.  I made my grocery list and our meal plan. 

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With the cold weather, chili was top on my list…Mmm!

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So I had the opportunity to bump into an old coworker of the BOY’s last week.  She mentioned that she saw him eating one of the protein balls I had made.  When she asked him what was with the healthy fare, he said that I made them so that he doesn’t eat French Fries (LOL!).  I actually make them so that we have healthy snack options throughout the day, but the French Fry comment had me cracking up.

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On that note, I made another batch of bars this week and we can just call them ‘No French Fry’ bars!

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These are actually a Luna bar knock off and absolutely delicious!

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You’ll have to make a batch and let me know if they keep you away from the drive through : )

 

What is your favorite mid afternoon snack?

 

Meal Planning 4/04/16

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Sesame Honey Chicken

Wednesday: Burgers and Veggies

Thursday: TBD

 

(Homemade) Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip Luna Bars

From Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 24 oz. pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Place peanuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop into fine pieces without turning into a paste. Add in dates, chocolate chips and salt. Continue pulsing until one large mass comes together in the bowl. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap and press date mixture evenly into the dish. Dip your fingers into water to prevent sticking. Place into freezer or fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove completely from pan using excess plastic wrap as help and cut into 10 even pieces. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.