Energy Snack Bites {x 2}

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


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.


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


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!


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


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.


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


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.


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!


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)


  • 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)


  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


  • 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)


  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.

12 Days of Recipes {Day 4}

I know I shared photos of my little kitchen helper with you this morning this afternoon (since I forgot to post this morning), but I also owe you a recipe!  Cooper was such a mess this weekend, ALL over the place in the kitchen, that I had to offer him a relaxing afternoon by himself in the comfort of the upstairs bedroom : ) 




Today’s recipe is adapted from an amazing cookie that I first made years ago before I even knew about blogging.  You know…back in the day when all of my recipes were piled together in a binder.  I still have this binder and I was reminded of this cookie while flipping through the recipes trying to figure out my cookie baking list.  These cookies were a HUGE hit the last time I made them!




Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find macadamia nuts at the one store that I went to.  I know this is common and they are expensive, so I figured I would try an alternative using the cashews hanging out in my pantry.


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And dried cherries that I picked up in Door County this fall that I subbed in for the cranberries.




I know that these cookies aren’t much for the eyes, but what they lack in visual appeal, they certainly make up for in taste.




These cookies are soft and chewy with a really unique flavor!  Although the macadamia butter cookies are still the BEST, this cashew version has a lot to offer. 




I would definitely think about adding this spin on the classic peanut butter to your holiday baking list or save it for your next cookie swap!

Note:  They freeze well!


12 Days of Recipes

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3




Cashew Butter Cookies with Cherries

Adapted form Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries



2/3 cup cashews

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup sweetened dried cherries, chopped

1 tablespoon granulated sugar



Preheat oven to 375°.

Place nuts in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. Combine nut butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add vanilla and egg; beat well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and ground nutmeg, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined (mixture will be very thick). Stir in chopped cherries.  Chill 10 minutes.

Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Lightly press each ball into sugar; place each ball, sugar side up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or Silpat.

Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork. Dip the fork in water; gently press the top of each cookie again to form a crisscross pattern. Place 15 cookies on each of 2 baking sheets.

Store in airtight container or freeze in Ziploc bag.

I Would be Good at Hibernating


I think that when the days get short, the weather gets cold, and the world gets dark that I would be a fantastic hibernator!  With thoughts like this, I swear I spend way too much time sitting in traffic with only myself to amuse me : )  But seriously, I could curl up and nap for the next few months and wake again when the sun is shining at 9pm.  Although I would miss unseasonably warm weekends like this last one, which was warm enough that the BOY even got himself outside to BBQ.


Since hibernating is out of the question, I try to find some winter days to hide out in my house making a permanent dent on my couch catching up on my ‘Want To Do’ list.


First up…Blog Research!

aka flipping through cookbooks and reading blogs looking for ideas for holiday cookies and future meal planning.  I happen to be the lucky recipient of a box full of cookbooks, which could keep me busy for months.  A close friend of mine is moving to Australia and can’t take them with her, so she knew that I would take good care of them!




Also on my list of things to get done this week is some holiday shopping and cards.  I can’t tell ya’ll what you’re getting but let’s just say that Amazon and I are GOOD friends!  Since I was online and had my credit card out, I went ahead and got myself signed up for the 2013 Shamrock Shuffle.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for Chicago races and swag!




It wouldn’t be a day checked out from the world without a little time in the kitchen.  I’m sure that you notice that I tend to be the recipe follower kind of gal.  I don’t always have time to experiment and play around with cooking and baking, so it’s safer to stick with the tried and true.  However, when I get the chance, I love an original recipe…although some turn out better than others!




I had some leftover mint dark chocolate chips and a new obsession with homemade peanut butter, so I thought it might be nice to combine the two.  Last fall, I made Mint Chocolate Chip Almond Butter, and loved every sticky and sweet bite.




The peanut butter was no different.  However, knowing that if it was left in the house, I might head back to my dent in the couch and eat the entire container with a spoon, I needed to find a way to share it.  The obvious choice…cookies!




Although my mint chocolate peanut butter was tasty, it was a little thin so I threw in a dab of sticky generic peanut butter from the jar.




I’m a huge fan of flourless peanut butter cookies, so I stuck with what worked!


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Then added in some chocolate chips (because when it comes to cookies, the more chocolate chips the better).


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It’s amazing how much prettier my cookies are now that I have a new cookie scoop!




I could go on and on and tell you how excited I am to have my cookie scoop fixed, but instead I will just show you the pictures of my beautifully rounded cookies!




I think my favorite part of these cookies would have to be the warm and gooey chocolate chips!




And the BOY totally agreed!




The other amazing about these cookies is how soft and chewy they are!




It was definitely a successful original recipe!  That could work with you favorite peanut butter (homemade or store bought).




What is your favorite original cookie recipe?

I am making my list for this weekend’s bake-a-thon, so please share your links!




Mint Chocolate Peanut Butter

Adapted from White Chocolate Peanut Butter



1 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, preferably organic

1/3 cup mint chocolate chips



Place peanuts into the bowl of a food processor. Process until peanuts break down into a paste, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the mint chocolate chips in the microwave until fully melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

With the motor of the food processor running, spoon in the melted chocolate, and process until combined.



Mint Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies



1 cup mint chocolate peanut butter (or your favorite flavored peanut butter)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup chocolate chips



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop onto cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until edges start to darken.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Store in airtight container or freeze!

It’s Still Peanut Butter Month

Which means we I am due for another peanut butter recipe!




Recipe #1: Reece’s Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Recipe #2: Peanut Butter M&M Blondies


But before we go even further, I HAVE to share with you the easiest, tastiest, purely dangerous recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter.  For my baking needs, I am fine to use a plain or generic peanut butter.  But when it comes to smearing over bread for a peanut butter and banana sandwich, I always go with the real thing.  I love the grind your own nut butters from Whole Foods, and their honey roasted peanut butter is utterly addictive.




And super easy to make at home.




You just throw some peanuts into the food processor and blend.




No oil needed.  It just takes a little patience to allow everything to smooth out.  Luckily, this leaves you plenty of time for taste testing, which in my opinion is the BEST part of homemade nut butters!


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Thankfully, I stock pile leftover jelly and jam jars, so I have the perfect place to store my peanut butter and jars to share with my friends and family.




Like with hummus, once you’ve tried homemade peanut butter, it’s hard to go back to the store bought variety!




Don’t you just want to dive into this jar with a spoon???




You should!  It’s worth it!




Quite possibly (and embarrassingly), I licked the bowl (and spatula) clean!




I have big plans for my peanut butter, so stay tuned for Peanut Butter Recipe #3 (coming tomorrow)!

But until then…you might as well keep your food processor out for dessert.  You don’t even need to clean it.




Just add some frozen banana and whip up a bowl of Banana (and Peanut Butter) Soft Serve!  If I had some chocolate chips, I would have stirred them in too.




This dessert was so awesome that even the banana hating BOY was checking it out!  I sat down to watch a movie for a quiet Saturday night in and happily dug into my bowl (almost licking it clean too).  The BOY and I are getting a little spoiled with these quiet weekends, but we are loving our unplanned Saturdays!  It’s the perfect time to refresh before all of the holiday excitement (and law school finals) ahead!


Do you ever make nut butters?

What is your favorite recipe?



One Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter



1 Canister of honey roasted peanuts



Place 3 cups of honey roasted peanuts into a food processor.  Combine until a thick peanut butter paste forms, about 5 minutes.  Stop and scrape the sides of the food processor as needed.  Store in a glass jar.


Optional: Add in honey, maple syrup, sea salt, or chocolate.

My all time favorite is this White Chocolate Peanut Butter!



Banana and Peanut Butter Soft Serve

Serves 1



1 frozen banana, sliced

2 tbsp peanut butter

1/4-1/2 cup almond milk

Optional: stir in peanuts, chocolate chips, or cover with sprinkles and whipped cream



Place banana and peanut butter in food processor and blend until smooth.  Stream in almond milk until desired consistency is reached.  Add toppings as desired.

Makeover Mess

So…a little over a year ago when I started Luv What You Do, I didn’t know much about picking a theme or background.  I picked something a little more colorful, set up my blog, and a year just flew by.  For a little while now, I have been wanting to spruce things up.  I spent this weekend looking through different WordPress options, trying some different themes, emailing strangers for help, and learning more about blogging backgrounds than I ever thought possible.


The final result…although I was shooting for a cleaner look, the themes that I liked had more narrow columns that affected the look of my pictures and some limited my options in fonts, meaning everything was printed in a tiny almost unreadable font.  Some themes were difficult to use in Windows Live Writer, which is the Microsoft program that I use to create my posts.


My ultimate decision after a few days of trial and a whole lot of error was to go back to my original theme.  Although I liked many of the other backgrounds better, I didn’t find a theme with as many options as this one, allowing me to change my fonts, sizes, and have really big pictures.  If I wanted to pay for custom designs, I would be able to have some more creative control, but for now, I think this level of blogging is where I belong.  I figure I can play around with the background color (it’s the only color I can change) a little bit and see if there is something that I like better than brown.  I figured I’d start with purple since it’s my favorite color and we can go from there.


The only bad news is that now there is a lime green background on my titles…not sure where it came from…not really sure that I like it, but after the headache of this weekend’s makeover, I’m just gonna go with it.


The good thing is that I was able to update my BEING ME page and fixed my menu so that my RECIPES are easier to find.  Luckily, it was a good snowy weekend to stay in.  There was plenty to watch on TV, and I kept the hot tea coming. 



To snack on, I made these delicious Almond Butter Cacao Balls.  I got the Paleo recipe from a patient’s mom at work and I was excited to make a stash for my freezer.



I combined all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  I used cacao powder instead of cocoa (which was what the original recipe called for) because it is a little more natural and a superfood.



However, it is not nearly as sweet.  On its own cacao is bitter, so I typically use a banana in smoothies or cookies to sweeten it up.  I used the flat side of a spoon to mash in half of a banana. 



I rolled the mixture into balls and stuck them in the freezer, but not before stealing a few tastes from my messy fingers.  The banana was the right answer for the cacao, and the balls turned out soft and delicious.



This quick to make and easy to grab snack is high in protein and was easy to munch on while I was working away at the computer this weekend.  Thanks again for all of your patience during this makeover madness!




Almond Butter Cacao Balls


3/4 cup raw almond butter

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut

14 g powdered cacao or 1-2 Tbsp coco powder

1/2 banana, smashed

1 tsp vanilla


-Stir all ingredients together in a blow until well combined.

-Roll into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

-Place in freezer for 15-20 minutes.  Store in freezer in airtight container.

Monday’s Recipes

Monday’s baking expeditions were so successful that I decided the recipes needed a page of their own.  The best part is that you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen…Happy Baking!





Mint Chocolate Chip Almond Butter


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2 cups raw almonds

1/4 teaspoon salt

1-2 teaspoons Sucanat (sold at WF) or raw sugar

3/4 cup mint and chocolate chip mix


-Roast almonds in oven at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes, rotating occasionally to prevent burning.

-Remove almonds from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

-Place almonds in food processor for 8-10 minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

-Add salt and sugar and process until combined, about 1 more minute.

-Stir in chocolate chips to warm mixture until melted.

-Allow to cool (or place in fridge) for 10 minutes.  Add more chocolate chips for texture if desired.



Taste testing is encouraged!



Trail Mix Oatmeal Cookies (aka ‘Empty Your Pantry’ Cookies)

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Follow the recipe below from How Sweet It Is

My modifications are added in Orange


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cups rolled oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mint and chocolate chips, but any chips will do)

1/2 cup rice cereal

1 cup trail mix of your choice, chopped finely in food processor for 1-2 minutes (I used raisins, peanuts, and banana chips)


Preheat oven to 375.

Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with the mixer on medium speed. Beat in oats. Mix until dough comes together. Add in 1 tablespoon milk if the dough is crumbly. If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Fold in chocolate chips, rice cereal, and trail mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove dough from fridge and roll into big 1 1/2 inch balls. Set on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on dough to flatten it. Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes. I baked mine for 8 minutes.

Get creative with your additions.  Clean out your pantry and throw in whatever delicious treats you find!




Feels Like Fall

Well actually it doesn’t feel exactly like fall…yesterday was 85 degrees!!! I think my arm got a sunburn just driving around in my car.  I was so busy yesterday that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you all of the things that I got done.  After a lazy Sunday (minus the 18 mile run), I had a lot of catching up to do around the house.  After a full day, I was way too tired to even think about blogging…hence the day late post.  When planning for the marathon, I expected the training runs to impact my social life (“Why no I can’t go out for dinner and drinks Saturday night, I’m running 15 miles Sunday morning”).  I figured with BOY diving head first into his first semester of law school, our social life would be a little quieter anyways.  What I wasn’t prepared for was how exhausted I would be and how much extra sleep I would need.  I typically sleep 8 hours a night and this past week I’ve been getting 9-10 hours a night AND only waking up because my alarm clock made me.  After another long and wonderful night of sleep, I woke up Monday morning with time to enjoy some tea and make some pumpkin pancakes.  Fall is around the corner and I am digging the pumpkin (plus I didn’t have any fresh bananas in the house but as you will soon see found a plethora of pumpkin).



I based my pancakes off of Evan’s gluten-free recipe because it seemed simple and quick.  Instead I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup pumpkin (no banana), 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 cup of milk along with the 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.  My pancakes don’t look nearly as fancy, but they were hearty and tasted delicious topped with no sugar applesauce and a drizzle of sugar-free syrup.




I headed off to hot yoga with the intention of strengthening my core, relaxing my mind, and lengthening my legs.  The teacher was not one that I have gone to before.  She had a beautifully calm voice as she led us through challenging poses and balances.  I was surprised by how sore my ankles were from Sunday’s run and how strong by quads felt in my warrior poses.  She did not disappoint on the core and had us doing some crazy variations of boat that worked every muscle in my trunk.  I left exhausted and sweaty, but also calm and ready to start my week.  I headed off to the bank for some reformatting of my accounts and then to Runners High ‘N Tri for some marathon gear.



I am ready for a new pair of running shoes (these have definitely packed on the miles between triathlons and races), and I needed to stock up on blocks. I also walked out with some body glide, a new pair of socks, and a hydration drink called NUUN.  It looked interesting and I have been trying some different less processed options (mostly coconut water).  I’ll let you know what I think!



Then headed to Costco for fruits and veggies and home for lunch. I was starving by this point to so I scarfed down the rest of my CSA soup and some WF leftovers.  Then I got busy in the kitchen…



I happened to have everything for the Root Vegetable Tagine in the house (thank you CSA), so I dusted off my crockpot that has been hibernating all summer and threw in my ingredients to make an easy lunch or dinner for this week.  I am in a bit of a fall cleaning mode and it was time to clean on the pantry. Things were getting slightly out of control and I wasn’t able to fit some of my new Costco purchases into the pantry. This picture is truly embarrassing…



PS Look who is stockpiling pumpkin???  Talk about embarrassing! I know there was a shortage but this is nuts! (BTW, this isn’t even all of it…but I don’t want t you to judge me any more than you already are!)



In between cleaning, I got started making a Mint Chocolate Almond Butter. I had these wonderful mint and chocolate chips and knew they would pair fabulously with a home made almond butter.



I started by roasting my almonds for ~15 minutes.  Let them cool 5 minutes before putting them into your food processor.  Usually this is the time where I say pour yourself a glass of wine and let the processor do the work, but wine does not mix with antibiotics and so instead, I went back to work on the pantry.  I am posting some pictures of what the almonds will look like as they transform into almond butter.  It takes about 8-10 minutes and you really just need to scape the sides periodically.  Then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of raw sugar.  Process for 1 more minute.



Smooth and all set.  Take the warm almond butter and pour it into a bowl.  Stir in 3/4 cup of mint and chocolate chips until smooth and melted. 



Then stick the bowl in the refrigerator.  This step is not technically necessary but it will prevent you from sticking your finger into the bowl for yet another ‘taste’ over and over again!  After about 10 minutes, you may have forgotten about the AB and it can be removed from the fridge.



I truly do not know how to get this stuff nicely into a container.  What a delicious mess!!!

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I had planned on making the BOY some oatmeal cookies today as well. I found this recipe on How Sweet It Is in the morning and figured I could use my mint and chocolate chips.  As I worked my way through the panty, I also found the remnants of a fruit and nut trail mix that only had raisons, peanuts, and banana chips left.  Does this ever happen to you?  All the good stuff gets eaten first?



I hate to throw away food and figured I could find something to do with the trail mix.  I also had some random rice cereal left that was somehow still crunchy. I decided to turn the oatmeal cookies into trail mix cookies that could also be titled ‘Empty Your Pantry’ cookies.  The BOY doesn’t like bananas (hence all the leftovers in the trail mix bag), so I made a few just mint chocolate chip cookies first.  I ran the trail mix through the food processor for about 1 minute and added that and the rice cereal to the dough.




In between cookie batches (I must have ended up with close to 4 dozen cookies), I went back to work on the a pantry.  I love the bulk section at the Whole Foods, but bags of grains do not lend themselves to an organized pantry.  It would be great to have some matching canisters, but recently I have been saving my glass mason jars for nut butters and gifts and my wheatberries and other grains fit perfectly.  I got most of the pantry done (just the top shelf to go) and since it looked better, I was feeling better!  Of course the BOY didn’t even notice.



My cookies turned out good and the BOY said that he would take some to school for his study group tomorrow.  IMG_5215IMG_5216


The last baking task was making the start of a Whoopie Pie for next weekend.  Please excuse the law books in the background!  I got this new pan at Sur La Table for $2 on clearance.  I wanted to get started on the cake part because I will be running my 20 miler next Saturday and didn’t know how I would feel afterwards.  Now that I wet your pumpkin appetite…More Whoopie Pie details to come next weekend!


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After all of this time in the kitchen, I hadn’t even made dinner. I whipped up some balsamic chicken and a salad and boiled the last of the crop share corn.  I was too exhausted to take any pictures, but let’s just say dinner was light and tasty.  I even made my own salad dressing using strawberry balsamic, olive oil, honey, and Dijon mustard which paired perfectly with the strawberries and feta on our salad.  The BOY approved and was happy to chew on a cookie as he finished up his homework after dinner.


Is it possible that I used every single dish, utensil, mixing bowl in my kitchen?  I finished up the laundry and headed upstairs and fell into bed.  I’m sure you are exhausted just from reading this post!

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So even though the weather hasn’t caught up to the changing seasons, between my crockpot, pumpkin stash, fall cleaning, and Monday in the kitchen I am all set for FALL!



PS I forgot to add this to Sunday’s post

Marathon Countdown: 4 weeks

Weekly Miles: 33.5

All in a Day’s Work (Without going to work)

I have gotten so much done today…it feels amazing!  The upstairs is looking so much better and the second bedroom will be ready for company tomorrow night.  Look who even helped out with the dishes.


I am waiting for the BOY to come home from work to eat dinner.  I made a hodgepodge dinner with my remaining spinach, Chard, and bok choy…along with whole grain couscous and grilled chicken. Quite the combination!


Meanwhile, I have spent my post-cleaning time in the kitchen.  Remember the yellow cake with chocolate chips the BOY requested for this weekend.  Well, I frosted the cake AND added sprinkles…because really, what is a cake without sprinkles???

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Initially, I had trouble finding the frosting in the pantry, which is where I KNOW that I put it.  I found it hiding out behind my canned pumpkin in the fridge with a few scoops missing.  This is what happens…when I am away for one night…the BOY eats frosting for dinner?!

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My cake turned out cute…beautiful frosting has never really been my strength, but I am sure it will taste great!  It was tempting to try some frosting, but because of the HFCS I decided against it.  See my June Eat Clean Pledge HERE.  I didn’t even lick off my very frosted fingers.

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I also made my first ever batch of homemade almond butter.  I found Ashley’s recipe for Maple Roasted Cinnamon Almond Butter on her blog Edible Perspectives months ago.  Apparently she has updated it since then because my version was slightly different.  I love grinding my own almonds at the WF and knew I had to try it at home.


My mom supplied the almonds.  I doubled the recipe and began with 2 cups.  I added 3 T maple syrup and baked for 15 minutes, stirring often as recommended.

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I let the almonds cool for 10 minutes before adding them to the food processor.  I can not tell you how loud the noise was initially.  I see now that Ashley recommends only cooling for 5 minutes.


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I poured myself a glass of wine and waited patiently!  Check out my new wine glass.  I stole borrowed it from the Flying Saucer in Memphis to help me with portion control.

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I stirred occasionally and watched the butter become smoother. After 10 minutes, I added a dash of kosher salt, cinnamon and  more syrup.  5 more minutes in the food processor and then I streamed in Safflower oil (that’s what I had in the kitchen) to make a smooth butter.

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All I can say is OMG!!!  This almond butter (which is still warm from the food processor) is absolutely positively UNBELIEVEABLE!  You have to try this!  I have been licking the spatula, bowl, and blade all evening.

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After a busy and productive day, the BOY surprised me with flowers.  They’re from Honduras!  He has a client who brings them to the office and then I benefit when he brings them home.

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Although we don’t often keep flowers around for this reason…

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Luckily, they are hiding safely now!  Well, it’s been a busy day and I am heading off to bed!  Good Night!

Clean Monday Continued: Clean Cookies

As you can see by the fact that the second edition post of Clean Eating Monday is coming to you on Wednesday, it has been a busy and stressful week.  My initial thought with this blog was to focus on balance. I have many people who tell me how amazed they are that I have time to cook and bake each week.  The truth is that I MAKE the time to do it because I enjoy it.  This has not always come easy to me and I continue to work on giving myself time dedicated to ME, my interests, and my needs.  When life gets hectic, I find that this time shrinks and that is when I need it the most.

Today was a long and stressful day.  (I’m telling you that if there is one more traffic light out on Palatine/Willow Road significantly increasing my daily commute, I might lose it.)  But I set my goal to get to my FAVORITE yoga class this evening.  Running out the door 20 minutes after my work day was supposed to be over proved challenging and as any of you who have driven in the Chicago suburbs at rush hour know, it was not my quickest trip to the gym.  I walked in the door of the yoga studio full of tension and harboring a small case of road rage.  Luckily, the atmosphere and familiar faces calmed my nerves and I decided to set my intention for tonight’s practice to being present…letting today’s stresses and tomorrow’s to do list slip away and focusing on my breath and my mental health.  I walked out of the studio a different person…mentally ready and prepared for the day ahead.  On my ride home, I felt thankful that I had given myself this 90 minute yoga practice and remembered why it is so important for me to make time for yoga and meditation each week.

What better way to end the day than with a fabulous cookie "hidden" in my freezer.  I baked these cookies from The Best of Clean Eating cookbook on Monday.  This recipe has only a few ingredients and was super easy to make.  Everyone loves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter and this unique gluten-free recipe uses fresh almond butter.  It is a nice treat for your mind and because there are only a few CLEAN ingredients, your body too.  Enjoy!

I found fresh almond butter at the Whole Foods. It is very fun because you grind it yourself. I also recommend the peanut butter and the honey roasted peanut butter if your WF’s has them!

I totally forgot to buy the dark chocolate on my trip to WF so instead I used the mini chocolate chips that I had in the pantry.  The dough is a little oily looking (which is probably from the fresh almond butter), so I had to use my hands to help mix in the chocolate chips.

I was a little nervous that the cookies would be crumbly, but they turned out beautiful!


Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes: 24 cookies  Gluten Free


1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well

3/4 cup Sucanat

1 large egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients until well blended.  Stir in chocolate.

Drop dough by tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.


Nutrition (per cookie)

Calories: 110, Fat: 8 g, Carbs: 10 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 2 g, Sodium 55 mg