Hodge Podge: Rough Tuesday, Yummy Cookies, Remembering 9/11

It’s Wednesday…Hump Day. Here’s hoping this day treats me better than Tuesday did.

Tuesday morning dawned way too fast, as it always tends to when I ref the night before. After about 4.5 hours of sleep, I headed to Man O’War CrossFit for my daily torture. The WOD was rough:

20 AMRAP
10 Push Presses
10 Kettlebell Swings
10 Box Jumps

I did push presses at 55 pounds (Rx was 85), used a 35 pound kettlebell (Rx) and did 20-inch box jumps (Rx). I got through 8 rounds, plus five push presses. Needless to say, it was a killer workout, as most of our Tuesday WODs are. I felt so gassed after just a couple of rounds.

The rest of the day seemed to be like any other, until I discovered an article I worked so hard on and finished yesterday was gone. Yep. Two-thousands words gone. All that was left was 1.5 paragraphs. I was devastated. I had a complete meltdown–I’ve never been so upset over an article in my entire career. I’ve had such a rough time focusing on tasks at hand, and working through even the simplest things. It’s an affect of the depression I’ve been suffering from this year. That’s also partly why I feel so tired during my workouts. It’s affected a lot of different things in my life, and I’ve been working on a blog post to address it sometime soon.

So, to combat the sudden meltdown, I took to the kitchen. In the CrockPot I started dinner, which was a delicious vegetarian meal from Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean BlogCrockPot Enchilada Casserole. I chopped up green, red, and orange bell peppers; a sweet potato; used some fresh spinach; and frozen corn for the veggies, and used leftover frozen lentils instead of black beans. The hubby and I topped our servings with Greek yogurt and a little more chunky salsa. It’s such an easy meal that’s so healthy.

Later last night I was inspired to bake–another coping mechanism (eating is a big one, so of course I have to bake something to eat it). Again, Lindsay to the rescue! Earlier she tweeted that she had a recipe in a contest for using avocados, and it sounded perfect. I whipped up a batch of her Peanut Butter Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies for me and M and fell in love. They are so good! I urge you to whip up a batch, then vote for her recipe!

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I’m hoping for a better day today. Of course I haven’t forgotten that this is the 12 year anniversary of 9/11. Everyone remembers where they were when the Towers were struck–I was in Freshman Orientation and Mass Communications, in maybe only my fourth week at Murray State University. My husband (whom I hadn’t met yet) was serving just outside Washington, D.C. doing basic for the Air Force. My heart will always be a little heavy on this day. May we never forget.

Let’s talk: Have you ever overreacted at something that maybe usually wouldn’t bother you?

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

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Running Goodies–StrideBox Review

Last month I won a contest with #Runchat that earned me a free two-month membership to StrideBox. If you haven’t heard about StrideBox, it’s a monthly subscription program where for less than $15 a month you get a decent-sized box in the mail every month jam-packed with all sorts of new treats and gear for runners. It’s a great way to try new things without the commitment.

A couple of weeks ago I got my first box and I immediately opened it up. (Can I just say how much I love how the box says “Just Keep Running”–that’s my mantra towards the end of my long runs.)

A box full of running goodies? Yes, please!

A box full of running goodies? Yes, please!

Every box comes with “The Stride Guide” which describes the contents:

Given Brand – Original FLIP Pocket Wrist Wallet 
Perfect to hold cash, an ID, house/hotel key, or an energy gel. One size fits most. Wear on wrist, forearm, or upper arm. (Retail $10.95)

PowerICE – Frozen, Hydrating Ice Bar with Electrolytes
Freeze and consume 15-30 minutes before exercise. (Retail $8.99/6 ice bars)

Picky Bar – Gluten Free, Dairy Free Energy Bar
A great tasting, allergy sensitive energy bar designed by athletes. Consume one hour before or 30 minutes after training for best results (Retail $22.99/10 bars)

Click Espresso Protein Drink – Mocha
Add to 12-14 ounces of water and mix. Enjoy hot or cold. (Retail $2.95/packet)

Kind Bar – Nuts & Spices – Dark Chocolate, Nuts, and Sea Salt
Healthy snack bar with 7g of fiber, 6g of protein, and only 5 g of sugar. Consume as a healthy, nutritious snack between runs, or any time. (Retail $1.99/bar)

Gu Energy Gel – Peanut Butter
100 calorie, easily digestible, long lasting energy gel. Consume 15 minutes before activity and every 45 minutes during. (Retail $11.60/8 gels)

Run Guard – Original Anti-Chafe Stick
Prevent chafing with high quality, natural ingredients. Apply before run where chafing occurs: Underarms, groin, toes, etc. (Retail $3.95/travel size)

Win High Performance Sport Detergent
Detergent formulated for synthetic, technical athletic gear. Add to load of synthetic apparel on warm, tumble low, or hang dry. (Retail $1.00/trial size)

So, as you can see, you get a lot for a little bit of money!

Not only was this Picky Bar delicious, I loved reading every inch of the wrapper!

Not only was this Picky Bar delicious, I loved reading every inch of the wrapper!

I have to admit that I haven’t been able to try everything yet. I’ve had the Picky Bar, and that was delicious! I definitely want to find those somewhere. I’m looking forward to trying the Kind Bar, but I have to wait until Easter, since I gave up chocolate for Lent…same with the Click protein shake (I’m thinking of saving that for after my half marathon next weekend).

The PowerICE bars are being saved for those warm days that I’ll want to consume something extremely cold before my runs (somehow running in 20* weather doesn’t make me want to consume ice). And I’m excited for the Run Guard because I’ve been needing to buy something to help for when I can start running in shorts again.

I am already looking forward to my April StrideBox. I’ll be able to do a better review, hopefully. And as I try the products in my boxes, I’ll be sure to share my review!

What would you like to see come in a box for runners?

Making My Own Granola

Lately I’ve been really into trying new recipes, but more recently I’ve been trying to find some healthier snack foods I can make myself for M and I to enjoy without extra additives and to make them our own.

Enter Nicole and her granola recipes. I’m always a fan of granola, and after the big, late lunch M and I had Sunday, I knew we weren’t going to have a very big dinner. All I wanted was a bowl of Greek yogurt and granola. So I looked up Nicole’s granola recipes and was inspired by her Peanut Butter Coconut Cherry Granola, but made a few changes (due to some missing ingredients):

Peanutty Granola

1 cup old fashioned oats
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
Honey (to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Dash of cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Prepare a baking sheet with foil sprayed with canola oil.
  2. Combine peanut butter and maple syrup in a small, microwave safe dish, and warm in the microwave until the peanut butter is softened and easier to combine.
  3. Once warmed, combine the peanut butter mixture with the oats, peanuts, honey, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Add a dash of cinnamon to taste.
  4. Spread out the mixture on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for about 15-18 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir the mixture and add your cranberries, bake for 5 more minutes.
  5. Enjoy and store in air-tight container.
Toasted goodness!

Toasted goodness!

I enjoyed my homemade granola in a bowl of banana cream Oikos Greek Yogurt and a sliced banana for my dinner. It might not sound like much of a dinner, but it was exactly what I needed and was perfect.

Banana Yogurt Bowl with banana cream Oikos Greek Yogurt, sliced banana, and Peanutty Granola

Banana Yogurt Bowl with banana cream Oikos Greek Yogurt, sliced banana, and Peanutty Granola

I’m looking to try some different variations of this recipe–especially with coconut like Nicole likes to use!

What’s your favorite granola recipe?

Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Vallentine’s Day!! I’ve never been a big celebrator of the holiday, but it can be a fun day. I’m excited about making dinner tonight and M and I, so I’ll tell you about it later.

Also, LaMesa would like to wish everyone a Happy Vall-entine’s Day from the Vallhund (get it?)

Happy Vall-entine's Day!

Happy Vall-entine’s Day!

Looking for a healthy treat to make your sweetheart? Well, if they’re like me, they made the decision to give up chocolate for Lent (bad timing…Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be during Lent, because some of us give up sweets or chocolate), but this recipe doesn’t call for chocolate (though you could maybe add dark chocolate chips…) or any added sugar.

Earlier I told you about my Oatmeal Raisin Banana Cookies I made over the weekend. I also made a peanut butter cookie from a Dr. Oz recipe that was just as delicious.

I got my food processor for a bridal shower gift & it's taken me this long to use it! No bueno!

I got my food processor for a bridal shower gift & it’s taken me this long to use it! No bueno!

But first, I’d like to boast that I used my food processor for the first time making these cookies! (Yes, I’m a dork–I’ve been trying to find recipes that required me to use my FP.) I know I could have just used elbow grease, but in my experience with making a banana puree and then adding ingredients to it, some times the batter isn’t very smooth. So I wanted to use my FP to (a) try it out/play with it and (b) to see how smooth the batter could come out. It was a success! (Though with the oatmeal raisin cookies, I added the raisins and mixed those in by hand, for fear the blade would chop up the raisins!)

So now onto the Dr. Oz cookies:

PBOCookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter would work, I’d think)
2 tbsp milk (I used skim)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp agave nectar (I used honey because I didn’t have any agave)
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking or rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
Dash of cinnamon

  1. Preheat your oven to 350* F. Make your banana puree (either by smashing with a fork or by using a food processor like I did). 
  2. Next add the peanut butter, milk, vanilla, agave/honey, and egg. Add the oats, whole wheat flour, and cinnamon and mix until combined.
  3. Drop cookie dough by the spoonfuls onto a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing from the sheet.

I felt like there needed to be some more flavor–maybe a touch more cinnamon, or more peanut butter? Maybe dark chocolate chips? But everyone else really liked them. I’ll let you be the judge.

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while, so finally, here it is:

One night we invited friends over for an impromptu dinner. Usually these dinners involve each party bringing something for the dinner/desert. No one said anything about desert, and I had a bit of a sweet craving, so I was trying to find something that I could make quickly and not a lot. I grabbed my bag of dark chocolate M&M’s and found a recipe for dark chocolate brownies on the back. I decided to switch it up some and make my own, and they were a big hit.

Combine the gooey-ness of the warm peanut butter with the melted dark chocolate chips & you've got heaven in a bite!

Combine the gooey-ness of the warm peanut butter with the melted dark chocolate chips & you’ve got heaven in a bite!

(I halved the original recipe because I didn’t want to make a whole batch, plus I was doing brownie bites, not brownie bars. You can double this to make more if you’d like.)

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/6 of a cup of butter, cut into pieces
1 tbsp water
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/8 cup whole wheat flour
Nut butter (I used peanut butter)
Extra dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease muffin tin with baking butter spray.
  2. Heat the dark chocolate chips, sugar, butter, and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring consistently, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Pour into medium bowl.
  3. Stir in the egg with a wire whisk until blended, then add vanilla. Add flour and salt and stir well. Add in a couple more dark chocolate chips (and nuts, if you’d like).
  4. Fill the muffin cups with 1 spoonful of the mixture first. Then add a dollop of nut butter in the middle and cover with more brownie mix.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The mixture of the melty chips and gooey peanut butter is amazing!

Recipe: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mug Cake!

Today’s Elf4Health Challenge was to create a mug cake (either in the microwave or oven) and treat yourself and someone special to something sweet. I’d never made a mug cake, but had seen some recipes, so I did some digging and tried to find something on the healthier side. (And a recipe that included the ingredients I had–it was hard to find some without eggs, since I used the last for my breakfast this morning.)

I stumbled upon this recipe on the Elf4Health Facebook page and changed it up a little bit to suit my perimeters.

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So here it goes: Megan’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

1 tbsp, + 2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp flour (I used 2 tbsp of whole wheat and 1 tbsp all purpose)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 packet of Splenda (or any stevia/sweetener)
2 tsp sugar or other sweetener (I used honey for my first attempt)
2-3 tsp of unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp milk (original recipe says “milk of choice”, I used non-fat)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Handful of dark chocolate chips (however many you’d like)
1 spoonful of nut butter (I used JIF creamy peanut butter)

1.) Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Once combined, add the wet ingredients and mix well.
2.) Scoop half the mixture in your mug, then place spoonful of nut butter in the middle. Scoop the rest of the mixture into the mug.
3.) Place mug in microwave and heat for approximately 50 seconds

It doesn't look pretty, but it's pretty tasty!

It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s pretty tasty!

The combination of the gooey melted peanut butter and melted dark chocolate chips is fantastic! I’m going to work with this recipe more because I feel like it needed a little work, but feel free to give it a try and tell me what you think!

Here are a few recipes I’m going to try later: