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.
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Welcome Spring!!!

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I finally got around to making these protein balls last week, but never got around to sharing the awesome recipe. 

Note: You will want to make a double batch of this recipe because it is awesome but the servings are NOT plentiful enough!

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Saturday morning, I was up again early and at the gym.  I had another kick butt workout, making it my 5th of the week (way to go on that March goal!).  Then it was a quick change and off to my last yoga class of the session.  The kids were really energetic and fun and dove right into all of the partner work and poses.

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I stayed a little after to fill in our life size bracket hanging on the wall in the gym.  From there, it was back home where the BOY scooped me up for lunch and shopping.  Believe me when I say that I was MORE surprised when the BOY wanted to go to the mall for updated work clothes than I was last weekend when he wanted to clean : )

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We had a successful trip to Nordstrom and arrived back home minutes after the Indiana/Kentucky game started.  We watched on the edge of our seats as Indiana pulled away to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.  Saturday night, we had dinner with my bestie, her hubs, and two amazing kids!  I dove right into the play dough while the BOY initiated a pre-bed time sword fight.

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Sunday morning was a unique treat!  We set no alarm and I didn’t have anything on my schedule until 2:30pm!!  I woke up around 8:30am feeling refreshed.  I ate a bite of breakfast (with my espresso) and drove off in the sunshine to the yoga studio for a hot flow class. 

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On the way, I realized I forgot my water bottle.  Luckily, there is a Walgreens in the parking lot of the studio, so I was able to quickly grab a Smartwater.  When I arrived, the room was PACKED!  I was able to find a small piece of real estate in the front row (not my favorite).  It occurred to me as I transitioned to my mat that this was a PERFECT example of finding peace in the present moment.  The front row is tough because it is up against the wall. I find it harder to balance that close to the wall, and I am more self conscious about my movement with other bodies close by.

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But the benefit of being that close to the wall is easily transitioning from standing splits to handstand with the support and confidence boost of the wall, which is exactly what I did a few times this morning.  Slowly working off the wall as I practiced my strength and balance on two hands.  Our teacher continued to remind us to embrace the awakening of spring as we moved through tough transitions in the hot room.  The morning class was a sweaty one and no one (including me) moved quickly out of savasana, like we usually do, taking the time to cool down before arising from our mats and refilling our water bottles.

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I changed out of my wet clothes for a lunch time trip to Whole Foods.  The BOY requested a sandwich and I ended up with a Whole Foods Hodge Podge (basically what happens at the whole foods salad bar when you are starving after hot yoga!).  I had big plans to glue my side view mirror on, but realized that it was going to take an hour, which I didn’t have.  Instead, I drove my car into the city, carefully merging at all times, to hang out with a friend/old coworker of mine.  We walked throughout the city, making a special stop at the Family Matters house, which she just discovered was in her neighborhood (and I just learned was in Chicago).

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We had coffee and walked some more, swinging by Athleta to scope our the scale items.  On our walk, we caught up on life while appreciating the sunshine on this first day of spring!  I left the city a little before 6pm with plans to swing by the grocery store to pick up my dinner (which I forgot that morning at WF) since the BOY had dinner plans with a friend.  I was also hoping to be home before dark since along with a busted mirror, I also seem to have a head light out on my car.  Ugh!  I will definitely be doing some car maintenance tomorrow!

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I made salmon and brussel sprouts for dinner with a glass of crisp white wine, while watching tonight’s March Madness games.  I was feeling torn between cheering on the Big Ten (out of support for the conference) and Xavier, out of support for my ailing bracket and loved all the close games and over times!

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And that’s a wrap for my weekend (and start to spring), which means that I really should tell you more about these protein balls.  The original recipe calls for cranberries, so feel free to go that route.  I actually had cherries in the house, so decided to use those along with a scoop of protein powder for some added flavor and muscle building goodness.

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Like I mentioned way back at the start of this post, these energy balls are fantastic and well worth doubling the recipe.  They make the perfect afternoon pick me up and even the BOY has enjoyed taking these energy balls as a snack to the office.

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How did you start spring?

Any famous TV landmarks in your town?

 

Cherry Vanilla Protein Bites

Adapted From Recipe Runner (makes 9 large energy balls***)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped medjool dates, about 6-7 dates
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

***I would recommend doubling if you have the room in your food processor!

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender or food processor add the cashews and almonds and pulse until they are finely ground, careful not to turn them into nut butter.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend or pulse until everything starts to come together.
  3. Scrape down the sides several times and add up to 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. Form into balls, rolling between your hands.
  5. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Rain Rain Go Away…

Don’t come back on Saturday!

 

So the plan this morning was to take my new shoes out for a 5 mile pace run.  At 6:30am when we woke up to thunder and lightening, it didn’t look good for a run.  But by 8:00am, when the alarm sounded the rain seemed to have stopped.

 

I have a shoe dilemma…

My awesome purple shoes that I have been training in since May have too many miles.  I started feeling the effects during some recent long runs and wasn’t exactly sure what to do.  I ended up ordering some new shoes (awesome black and blue color) and an adorable long sleeved tshirt.  I paid the extra $5 on top of my free shipping to expedite the shipment.  My shoes arrived last night and as soon as I slipped my foot in this morning, I knew that the extra support was exactly what I needed.

 

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I took the shoes for a test drive with an aggressive morning pace run.  During which I began to think about my plan to get these shoes ready for the marathon in just a few weeks.  Ugghh!  So my dilemma…which shoes do I wear for Saturday’s 20 miler?  I fear that wearing my old (purple) shoes will cause unnecessary aches and pains, but I’m not sure the new (black) shoes are ready for 20 miles.  Ideally, I’d love to wear the new ones for the first 12 miles or so, and then switch, but that’s not an option.  So help me…what should I do???  Do I wear the shoes with too many miles or too few?

 

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The saddest part about this new shoe situation is that I picked out my neon green socks to go with my purple shoes (I love green and purple together) and I’m not sure how good they will look with the black and blue shoes.  Ok, back to more important things than my race day outfit…this morning’s run.  It appeared that the rain was done and that I would only be joined only by fog and humidity, but with a little over a mile left to go, the skies opened and the rain came pouring down.  I was in the perfect place to take a short cut home and after some debate, and another gust of rain as I rounded the corner on to my street, I decided to cut my run a little short.  Even with a slower last mile, I finished my 4.6 mile run below race pace averaging 8:33 min/miles.  It was tough to maintain that pace, but I’m happy I pushed through this morning.

 

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I didn’t eat breakfast before my run, which may have made that last mile tougher.  I had a fantastic plan for my post run recovery snack…Summer Sander’s Post-Run Smoothie!  I discovered this in Women’s Running magazine while reading it last night.  It’s definitely different than my usual smoothie and I LOVED every sip!

 

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I’m sure it feels like the majority of my posts have been about running lately.  This is mostly because the majority of my life has been about running lately.  With a side of work, eating, and maybe some sleeping.  If you’re not into the running stuff, then you’ll be happy to know that my last long run is this weekend and then the taper begins!  Wish me luck on Saturday’s 20 miler and cross your fingers for a rain free day!

 

One last thing…

Did you know tomorrow is Run at Work Day?

Love it!

 

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Source

 

 

Ok seriously…which shoes should I wear this weekend? 

Is three weeks enough time to get new shoes ready for 26.2 miles?

 

 

Summer Sander’s Post Run Smoothie

From Women’s Running Magazine

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

1 cup ice

1 cup almond milk

2 tbsp peanut butter (I used almond butter)

1 ripe banana

1 tbsp honey (I used 1/2 tbsp agave)

4 pitted dates

 

Directions

Add all ingredients into blender.  Mix until smooth. Enjoy!

Coconut Fudge Balls

I’ve been wanting to make another batch of energy balls using my dried coconut!

 

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I finally had some time on Monday, and was excited to combine the coconut with chocolate, kind of like the Chocolate Coconut Chew Larabars.

 

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The dried coconut is the perfect compliment to the sweet dates.

 

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Everything chopped up nicely and the flavor was exactly what I was hoping for (sometimes these ‘recipes’ end up being more like ‘experiments’).

 

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I did need to stream in some agave to help the balls come together.  To be honest, I didn’t really measure it, but you’ll know when you’ve added enough because a ball of dough will form.

 

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Then you can either press the ball into a greased pan to make bars or roll it into balls.

 

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Yummy!!!  Need I say more?  These healthy-ish balls are FULL of flavor!

 

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Store these balls in the fridge for an afternoon or mid workout snack!

 

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Does anyone else try to make homemade Larabars?

What is your favorite flavor?

 

So I had plans to share with you the Strawberry Balsamic Quinoa Salad that I have been eating for lunch this week because it is awesome, but I didn’t get any pictures of it.  I will definitely try to snap one later this week and share that recipe soon because it will be perfect for spring strawberries!

 

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I will get your mouth watering with pictures of tonight’s Grilled Garlic Pepper Shrimp form The Grilling Bible courtesy of the BOY!

 

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I still don’t know what’s with the Christmas plates : )  Looking for dessert, I highly recommend these Double Chocolate/Single Chin Brownies!

 

Coconut Fudge Balls

Adapted from German-Chocolate Fudge Bites

 

Ingredients

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup dried coconut

1 cup almonds

4 tbsp cacao powder

2 tsp vanilla

1-2 tbsp agave

 

Directions

Combine dates and coconut in a food processor and blend until combined.

Add almonds, cacao powder and vanilla.  Blend until well combined.

Stream in agave until a ball of dough starts to form.

Roll dough into balls and refrigerate for ~2 hours until set.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Coconut Balls

It seems that you guys joined the BOY as big fans of yesterday’s Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

Thanks for all of the comment love! 

Reading your comments is one AWESOME way to end the day!

 

The day started off with a run around the track.  I must admit that there was nothing speedy about today’s workout.  Sore doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel (thanks Jenna!), and I had the most painful cramps that I’ve felt in decades.  Yuck!  Getting to the track was a victory in itself. This morning’s run looked like this…

5 minute warm up

10 minute jog

10 minute faster jog

10 minute back to jog

2 minute cool down

 

I believe that workouts like this are supposed to be a run/fast run combination (in case you are looking to try it out).  I determined my pace by heart rate/feeling and adjusted for the above mentioned fatigue and cramps.  It must have been a worthwhile workout because I was sweating when I was done and 12 hours later, I am even more sore : )

 

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Although I have been really limiting my dairy, I have been wanting to try this new Chobani flavor.  It’s one small serving and topped with KIND granola makes the perfect post run snack. 

 

Speaking of snacks…I have an awesome new no bake energy bar recipe for you!

 

Confession: My first attempt at this recipe came from a cookbook and was a totally disaster!

 

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I don’t blame the cookbook, I blame the super soft apricots that tasted sweet like candy, but just didn’t stand up to the food processor in energy bars.  So I had to trash version one and start from scratch on my own version.

 

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I was inspired by this dried coconut that we picked up at Costco yesterday.  This brand makes the most amazing dried mango EVER, and so the BOY and I were excited to try this stuff too.

 

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For the nuts, I chose a blend of almonds and walnuts because I had both in the house, and because I love the flavor combination that they create with the dates.

 

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You do have to be patient because it takes a few minutes to break everything down and blend it together.

 

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If you are having trouble getting everything to stick together, you can stream in some liquid.  I chose fresh squeezed orange juice, but agave or honey would work too.  The last step is to simply roll the dough into balls and coat them in more coconut.

 

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Please excuse the poor lighting on these pictures.  It was a dark and stormy day!

 

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But don’t let that deter you from making them!  I know that when it comes to coconut, you either love it or hate it.  Well not me!  I used to hate the stuff, but slowly it is growing on me, and these Coconut Balls are soft, chewy, sweet, and delicious!

 

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Do you like coconut?

What is your favorite coconut recipe?

 

 

Coconut Balls

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups dried, pitted dates

1/2 cup dried coconut chunks

1 cup almonds

1/2 cup walnuts

1-2 tbsp fresh squeeze orange juice

1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut

 

Directions

Place dates and coconuts in your food processor and blend until combined.

Add nuts and blend for another few minutes until everything begins to get combined.  Drizzle in 1-2 tbsp of fresh orange juice (or agave and honey) as needed to help everything blend together.

For the dough into balls and roll in shredded coconut.

Store in the fridge to snack on throughout the week!

Travel Plans (I hope!)

So…we are going to Florida!

 

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Hooray! Finger’s crossed this snow storm subsides and our plane is able to take off tomorrow! 

So that we can leave this behind…

 

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Oh and this too!  Picture below is from tonight’s big storm.

 

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Somehow this trip just snuck up on me, and I haven’t even dug out my warm weather gear yet.  The BOY and I are spending the weekend in Sarasota to celebrate the wedding of a long time friend of mine.

 

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This is us on the first day of kindergarten

 

This week has been a busy one rescheduling patients and getting ready for the trip.  Obviously, meal planning has been non-existent, and I have been relying on some of my quick and easy favorites for dinner.  ie Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers, turkey sausage, frozen veggies, and baked sweet potato.  I whipped up a batch of Taco Soup for lunch and a batch of homemade energy balls to snack on throughout the week.  I even have a few leftover for the plane.

 

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I found this homemade LaraBar recipe on Snack Therapy, and it was right up my alley.

 

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Dates + Peanuts = Healthy and Delicious Snack Balls

 

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The first step is to chop up your dates until a large ball is formed.  Then add in the peanuts and process until smooth.  This might take a minute or two, so be patient.

 

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Then push the dough into bars or roll it into balls.

 

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These balls make the perfect afternoon pick me up.

 

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Their sweet and salty combo will satisfy any craving!

 

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Speaking of amazing and satisfying….I just received a huge box of KIND bars!

 

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A HUGE Thank You to Averie for this generous giveaway!  I have always wanted to try the KIND granola and even the BOY said he would eat these healthy bars.  KIND bars are one of my favorites!

 

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They came at the perfect time for me to take on our trip, and I stocked a few away in my carryon!

Needless to say, you won’t be hearing from me for a few days.  Unless of course our flight gets canceled in which case my next post won’t be so friendly.  The good news is…I will have plenty to eat : )

 

More of my favorite homemade bars and bites…

PB&J Bars

German Chocolate Fudge Bites

Fig and Date Energy Bites

Almond Butter Cacao Balls

Afternoon Energy Bars

 

 

Peanut Butter Date Bars

From Snack Therapy

 

Ingredients

1 cup pitted dates, grossly chopped

1 cup peanuts

 

Directions

Place dates in food processor and process until combined.  Scrape sides and add in peanuts.  Process 2-3 minutes until mixed completely, scraping the sides as needed.

Press into the bottom of a pan or roll into balls.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Optional: stir in extra peanuts or roll in raw coconut

 

 

What do you snack on when you travel?

Tuesday Treats

So I didn’t mention this yet, but today was my TREAT DAY!

The timing couldn’t get any better with this weekend’s Bake-a-Thon.  I had plenty of cookies, but wanted a few other snacks to round out my spread.

 

I stared with a few old favorites…

 

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Garlic Hummus

 

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 

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Spinach Dip

 

And tried a new White Bean Dip

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This recipe didn’t turn out as good as I had expected.  It was a little watery.  So I added in a few pinto beans, some garlic, and dill.  I’m not so sure about it, but we shall see. 

 

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Upon further inspection, it seems that I thought the recipe called for 2 cups not 2 cans of white beans. Oops!  The recipe looks promising, so I am sharing it as written (although these pictures don’t do it any justice).  I will definitely give it another try, and see what my coworkers think of my mish mash version.

 

 

White Bean Dip

From EveryDay Food April 2010

 

Ingredients

    2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

    1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

    1/4 cup water

    2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

    Coarse salt and ground pepper

     

    Directions

      In a food processor, combine 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) rinsed and drained, 3 tablespoons 1 to 2 tablespoons and cup water. Process until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Add 2 teaspoons finely chopped and pulse until combined. Season with and Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little oil.

       

      But Wait…There’s More!

      The BOY and I loved this Pumpkin Dip when I made it this fall, so I was excited to make it again.  Except this time, I spiced it up with the seasonal pumpkin pudding…sooo good!

       

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      I served it with graham and animal crackers.  Here is the recipe

       

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      Along with this unbelievably sweet and rich Peanut Butter Cookie Dip.  I have been wanting to make Sugar Cookie Dip from Little Bitty BakesBut, the store was sold out of sugar cookie mix…twice!

       

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      So I decided to go with peanut butter instead!

       

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      All I can say is…good decision!  This recipe takes just a few minutes, and only includes three four ingredients.

       

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      I added in some chocolate chips!

       

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      Peanut Butter Cookie Dip

      Adapted from Little Bitty Bakes

       

      Ingredients

      3 cups (1 package) peanut butter cookie mix

      2 cups plain Greek yogurt

      1 cup Cool Whip

      1 cup chocolate chips

       

      Directions

      In a large mixing bowl, stir the cookie mix, yogurt, and Cool Whip with a wire whisk until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

      Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving.

       

      Warning: Add this to your addictingly good list!

       

      Yes….There’s More

       

      For a healthier option, I made a batch of my favorite Date and Fig Bars with extra coconut.

       

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      They make the perfect 4:00pm afternoon snack, which I look forward to each day.

       

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      The full recipe is HERE, but you can add up to a cup of coconut.

       

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      And, Just When You Think You Can’t Eat Any More…

       

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      You’ll just have to be patient for the rest of these recipes!