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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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.

Energy Snack Bites {x 2}

It’s going to be a crazy week, I think!

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We are recovering from sinus infections AND post wedding fun!  Sunday was nice and calm…perhaps the calm before the storm.  This is my last week at my job, so I anticipate some emotion.  Plus, I am prepping for my new job and had to go into the city for an all day class on Monday (my usual day off).  Ugh!  So I dragged myself to the grocery store on Sunday, which was a mess because I wore my Px sunglasses and forgot my regular glasses and then spent my time alternating between being the girl indoors with sunglasses and not being able to see so good.  And then I got charged for 122 lemons : )  All ended well and I came home with some options for food this week although I am way more unorganized than usual.

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Oh I’m sorry Cooper…am I boring you?!  I guess he’s tired too…LOL!

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In between napping and folding laundry, I whipped up a few batches of energy balls on Sunday.  I went totally lazy and busted out the food processor even though that’s not how the recipes were written.

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Interestingly, this recipe used almond milk to pull everything together.  I’ve never used that before in a raw no bake recipe, but I liked it so much that I did it again with recipe number 2!

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The texture of these bites was spot on (if I do say so myself) and even the BOY was raving about their flavor.

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This recipe didn’t make as many as I thought we would both need to survive the week, so I found another recipe, similar but different, cleaned out my food processor and stated adding in the healthy stuff.

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It worked out well that I had the perfect Dutch chocolate powder to use from The Spice House!

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Like the recipe before, I blended with my food processor (instead of my hands) and because everything looked a bit dry, I even added in some almond milk.

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Another tasty treat complete and we were all set for the week.  Even if we don’t have meals planned out, we won’t starve!

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Mmm! Love having homemade snacks to eat!  I’m sure I will be living on these all summer long!

 

What is your favorite snack bite recipe?

 

Protein Peanut Butter Energy Bites

From The Healthy Maven (but modified a bit)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder (about 2 scoops)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 T natural honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 T liquid (almond milk)

Directions

  1. Add oats, protein powder, cinnamon and chia seeds to food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Add in peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract. Combine again in processor.  Mixture should be slightly sticky but still crumbly.
  3. Slowly add in liquid 1 tablespoon at a time (I did this while processing).  Combine until it comes together in a sticky ball that holds together. If mixture is too dry, add in more liquid but not so much that it won’t hold shape.
  4. Roll into balls using hands.
  5. Place in a container to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

From Chef Savvy

Ingredients

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate protein powder (I only had vanilla so that’s what I used)
  • 2 tablespoons water (or almond milk)

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in food processor. Mix to combine. If mixture looks too try add a bit more water (or almond milk).
  2. Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes so they are easier to roll.
  3. Roll into 8 bites and store in the fridge for up to a week.

I Cheated {But Only a Little!}

So…since I got that confession out of the way, I can dive right into this recipe!

A dessert recipe on Monday…what a treat!

Along with my weekly meal plan, I was in the mood to do a bit of baking today.  However, I had a super busy day of car maintenance (no my sideview mirror is still not attached) and phone calls (still finishing off that name change).  After an incredible 5 mile run along the path this morning, of course!

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I did an afternoon run to the grocery store and returned home to get ready for the week ahead.  I feel like I need a new hashtag…meal planning Monday!  And as my Insta friends saw…this week included a glass of spring inspired white wine.

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So back to the cheating part, I wanted to make these amazing brownies, but I didn’t have the time to make the brownies from scratch, so I just bought a box of rich and delicious brownies. 

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I followed the instructions on the box and with the brownie batter done (and sampled), I got to work on the peanut butter cookies.

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There was way more peanut butter dough than I expected, so I tried to use as much as possible knowing that I would devour anything left over.  Which is exactly what I did!

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Sadly, my oven seems to be a bit sluggish, so I had to bake the brownies longer than written.  I am hoping the middle is set, but if not, I do still love some gooey, under cooked, brownie dough!

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This brownie is a guilty pleasure, which I devoured while catching up on my other guilty pleasure, Scandal.

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The BOY is working late tonight, and I’m confident that he will be thrilled to return home to one of his favorite (and truly everybody’s favorite) combos…chocolate and peanut butter!

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I probably don’t even need to tell him that I cheated…right?!  Shh…you won’t tell!

 

What is your favorite box mix recipe?

 

Meal Planning 3/21/16

Monday: Island Pork Tenderloin

Tuesday: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Wednesday: Turkey Tacos

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Out to Eat

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies

From Lovely Little Kitchen

Ingredients

FOR THE BROWNIES (if you don’t want to use a box)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

FOR THE COOKIE

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9 by 9 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over the sides for easy removal later.

BROWNIE BATTER

  1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in sugar.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Stir the butter, sugar and eggs into the dry ingredients until just mixed. A few lumps are okay.
  4. Pour the brownie batter into the pan and set aside.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together vegetable oil and sugar. Then add the egg, vanilla extract, and peanut butter and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt and then add to the wet ingredients to form a dough.
  3. Drop tablespoon sized scoops of peanut butter cookie dough onto the brownie batter.
  4. Bake for 27-30 minutes, then cool completely before cutting into bars.

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!

Lovely Weekend

I just couldn’t resist the pun : )

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  I spent the weekend with the hubs.  We had a purposefully non eventful weekend and it was wonderful!  Saturday morning, we were up early for a workout.  Afterwards, we headed over to Geneva to stock up on spices from The Spice House and stopped for a sweet snack at All Chocolate Kitchen.

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I thought we were just going to swing by and grab a warm drink, but when the BOY suggested we sit and enjoy a treat, I happily agreed!

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I got an Affogato (dark chocolate sea salt gelato + espresso) and the BOY enjoyed a rich hot chocolate.  We split the most delicious cookie and pecan bar.

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After that, we swung by a fun (and fancy) grocery store out in that direction to pick up dinner.  We spent the rest of Saturday hanging out at home before cracking open some Napa wine and playing games.

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For dinner, we had crab cakes and scallops on the salt block with roasted broccoli.  We had leftovers from ACK for dessert and then played a few more rounds of yahtzee.  Cooper made himself at home on the table checking out dinner.

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Sunday morning, I woke up and decided to have a lazy day!  The BOY and Cooper were only too happy to join me.  I read on the couch and then took a nap.  The BOY made chili in the crockpot for dinner.  We went out once to pick up Mediterranean for lunch and then came back to watch the disappointing Indiana game just as the snow started to fall.  I spent the afternoon cleaning up around the house and then laid back down to finish my book.  Ever since we got back from vacation, I have been a reading machine!

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I attempted to make a dairy free chocolate mousse but accidently put the low fat coconut milk into the fridge last night so although the taste was yummy, my texture was off : (  Luckily, the BOY made some cookies and cream ice cream so we were not without sweets on Valentine’s Day!  And I plan to pick up the right coconut milk and will hopefully have a recipes to share with ya’ll soon.

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Sunday night involves chili and a movie…we are thinking The Martian.  It has been so fun to hang out with my loves on Valentine’s day.  Hope you had a sweet weekend!