Category Archives: Baking

Lemon rosemary olive oil cookies

Well hello, new readers! Who knew ass grass would be such a popular topic?! Ginger is a little embarrassed but I explained to her how much you all enjoyed hearing about it and she was a good sport. Also, bacon strips helped.

Now, what can I do to bribe some of you to stick around?

Cookies perhaps?

Yes?

Ok, good because these are some damn good ones. Smile

There’s something about a rainy day that just makes me want to crawl into sweatpants and bake. We’ll ignore the fact that it was 78 degrees yesterday and pretend sweats were still a realistic option because it just adds an element of coziness, no?

This was the scene outside of my office at 9:30am.

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I apologize for the crappy through the window screen iPhone shot but I wasn’t expecting anything worth photographing at work.

Check out the downspout on the building across the little courtyard. It was like a river coming out of that thing. The crazy rain and thunderstorms eventually subsided but it continued to be a rainy, drizzly day which meant one thing when I got home. Baking.

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Olive oil, lemon and rosemary. No, not your typical cookie ingredients.

Oh, but these are not your typical cookie.

They are crisp on the outside yet cakelike on the inside.

They are sophisticated.

They smell like Christmas.

They would be amazing with a lemon glaze on them, yet perfect without.

They might be my best creation yet.

Are those reason enough to make them? I hope so, because you are seriously missing out if you don’t.

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Eat 3 and then decide it’s as good a time as any to go do your strength training workout for the day.

 

Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cookies

Inspired by Joy the Baker

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup AP unbleached flour
  • 1/4 turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugars, rosemary and lemon zest in a small bowl and mash together until fully incorporated. In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder and salt together. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs, almond milk, evoo, lemon juice and extracts together. Pour wet ingredients and sugar mixture into large bowl with the flour and mix until just combined. Spoon batter onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes until edges are just browned. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 

Rosemary fan? I love it, but I know others think it tastes like a Christmas tree.

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Filed under Baking, Recipes

Whole wheat sunflower bread

I’m 29. We have no kids. And yet my Friday night was spent roasting sunflower seeds and baking.

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You see, I’ve had a container of sunflower seeds for about 6 months now. Raw, unsalted sunflower seeds. And, they were just not doing it for me. At 5:15pm on a Friday night I found myself face to face with said seeds in the pantry and had an epiphany. Roast them! Salt them, cover them in olive oil and roast them! And, that’s exactly what I did.

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They tasted amazing as I ate them one by one off the sheet pan and I probably should’ve stopped there, got showered and convinced Ulysses we should go out like oh, you know, the rest of the young, childless population on a Friday night but, no. Somehow I found myself searching for something to do with my now roasted, salted sunflower seeds.

And that something turned out to be this.

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Whole wheat sunflower seed bread.

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I don’t think I can adequately put words to how amazing this is straight out of the oven with some butter and agave on top. Pure bliss.

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If staying in on a Friday night to bake this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

We may be lame, but at least we eat well.

 

What did you do on your Friday night?

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Filed under Around the house, Baking

A run for sanity

Summer wrote back:

“Step off woman. I have 6 days before I need to get my act together. Between now and then I can mess with you as much as I like. Hope you enjoyed yesterday.”

I was like, “You’re a sarcastic one huh? Fair enough. I’m eventually moving back to Florida anyway, where your customer service is much better.”

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Ever have those days where it’s just one thing after another at work? You get something done only to have 3 more things get added to the list and they get increasingly harder? Yeah, that was yesterday for me. And if you’re sitting there thinking “I have no idea what she’s talking about” please leave a comment letting me know who to send my resume to. Ok? Thanks.

I used to just get wrapped up in it all and sit at my desk plowing through the work until it was all done. No breaks for lunch, bathrooms only if absolutely necessary. And then I realized that’s probably not the healthiest/sanest way of dealing with the stress. So, yesterday I pulled myself from the desk at noon and decided to go for a lunch time run. Since summer was all MIA again yesterday it was actually perfect running weather, low 60’s and cloudy.

Quick fuel:

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I honestly never thought we’d finish this ridiculously huge bag of dates from Sam’s Club but somehow we’re down to the last few. It only took 5 months. I can’t wait for that bag to be out of my fridge!

Signs you’re on a “frustration run”:

1. Your playlist consists of Linkin Park and Florence and the Machine on repeat. Bieber just isn’t cutting it this time.

2. You look down at your pace about 3/4 of a mile in and realize you’re running a 7:54. Effortlessly.

3. Simultaneously, the skies open up with a downpour & a gust of wind so strong it could keep you running in place kicks up and your reaction is to look up at the sky and say “Bring it bitches!” –> Seriously, I did this. After I looked around to see if anyone was nearby.

4 miles and 34 minutes on the dot later I was a soaked, sweaty mess. And it felt oh so good.

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Hi, awkward self portrait!

Quick shower and back to work. Smile

It doesn’t make the to-do list any shorter but it sure helps my mental state for the rest of the afternoon.

Jillian and I had a date after work to just chill out some.

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I probably should’ve done a yoga download instead because that lady’s voice is much more soothing than Jillian’s annoying voice screaming “I want heart rate up people! And, that’s why we rep it out!”

And then, I did what every person with a bad day should do.

Baked cookies.

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Emily’s recipe for coconut oil almond butter chocolate chip cookies immediately caught my eye when she posted it yesterday. Coconut and almond butter in chocolate chip cookies? What’s not to love about that? I followed the recipe exactly except I used a real egg instead of a flax egg. I still licked the batter, oops!

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I think most people have a go-to chocolate chip recipe. I, however, like to try a new one each time. There are thousands of variations out there, why not try a few new ones? I don’t mind healthy substitutions for most things, but when it comes to chocolate chip cookies I want it to still taste like a chocolate chip cookie. No oats, no applesauce. Butter, sugar and chocolate chips please. Subbing the butter for almond butter and coconut oil worked though in this case.

3 of these with some vanilla ice cream. Now that’s how you end a bad day. Smile

Today should be better though because even if work still bites, I’m meeting a friend in NYC for dinner at Tao!

How do you relieve work stress? Do you have a go-to chocolate chip recipe? Link up if you want to share it!

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Filed under Baking, Running, Work

Berry almond walnut protein cake bars

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Apparently the whole veggie craving was short lived. Not even a week after being back from vacation and I’m baking cake bars. Notice the first 2 words of these bars though. That’s my excuse.

In the spirit of amping up my protein intake a little as I embark on the NROLFW plan, I decided to bake. I wanted something snack like, high in protein and of course tasty. I remembered a recipe Mama Pea had done awhile back for high protein cherry berry cake and used that as inspiration but made quite a few modifications/additions based on what I had in the house and what I wanted in these. At approximately 10 grams of protein and 250 calories a bar, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

Best part about this recipe is that it took a total of 20 minutes of prep work before it went in the oven and that includes pictures. Normal people don’t take pictures of their food. Winking smile

The least stressful way to bake in my opinion is to get everything out before you start mixing and measuring things. Messy hands + cabinet handles = dirty kitchen. I didn’t always do this and would run back and forth between the fridge, pantry and spice cabinet like a lunatic.

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No rocket science going on in this recipe. Mix together all wet ingredients in one bowl, mix all dry in another, combine. If Ginger had opposable thumbs I’m pretty sure she could do it.

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Are you talking about me woman?

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Doesn’t that look appetizing? I promise it tastes good in the end.

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Here’s a do as I say, not as I do warning. If your frozen berries have a bunch of ice on them try and actually have the foresight to thaw them out unlike what I obviously did. I’m pretty sure this made the batter a little more watery than it should’ve been. My solution was walnuts. I needed more of something dry and since I had already put the flours away at this point I went for the nuts (TWSS).

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And into the oven it goes…

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Am I the only one that still flips the oven light on and stares at their baked goods as they bake? Please say no. When I see that baby rising, I get this feeling of pride that it actually worked! (again TWSS…couldn’t resist, sorry)

In seriousness though, the house will smell amazing while this bakes. The almond extract and almond butter in this recipe make for some delicious aromas. Almond extract is hands down my favorite. Vanilla pales in comparison to the flavor of almond. Don’t skip it if you have it.

About 30 minutes and a toothpick shellfish fork check later they’re done.

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I bought flat toothpicks by accident last time and they are completely useless. I’ve been using these guys for bake checks ever since. They work just fine!

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I hate that my kitchen doesn’t get good sunlight in the late afternoon/early evening. So yes, that is my dining room rug. I run around the house chasing natural, diffused sunlight. Our deck is actually the best place for photos because it’s almost never in the direct sun but is still bright enough for good pictures. The only problem is, the way our property is situated we have 5 neighbors. Yes, 5. I didn’t even know that was geometrically possible before we bought this house. Our lot is like the shape of Nebraska but turned on it’s side. I’ll wait until you have that visual…

That’s at least 5 sets of eyes on me taking pictures of my food. It’s awkward. I’ve already caught one of the kids staring through the fence of his pool at me while I snapped away at the coconut carrot salad. Right now I still only have a point and shoot. I’m eyeing up a DSLR so I can only imagine the awkwardness then when it’s REALLY obvious that yes, that is a camera in my hand and yes, that is food I’m photographing.

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Want to see the whole scene?

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Somebody’s no dummy. Sunshine and proximity to cake. She’s tempting me to leave the room with those eyes. “Go ahead, get another prop, see if those are still there when you come back”.

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Berry Almond Walnut Protein Cake Bars

Adapted from Mama Pea’s High Protein Very Berry Cherry Snack Cake

Makes 9 bars (depends how big or small you cut them Smile)

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup regular milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I can never find WW pastry and always use regular WW, if you have pastry go for it. It comes out fine with regular)
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (I used whey)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup frozen berries (I used blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, whisk until mixed thoroughly. Combine next 8 ingredients in large bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. Carefully fold in berries and walnuts. Grease a cake pan (I used 9X9) and pour batter in. Bake for about 30 minutes. let cool before cutting.

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Cranberry orange walnut bread

While we’re off exploring the Emerald Isle, this girl will be heading to her favorite place on earth.

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My parent’s house.

3 other dogs, a fenced in 1 acre yard, extra treats, wet food added to her dry food, and a plethora of comfy dog beds to choose from. What’s not to love?

I don’t think my parents however are nearly as excited for Ginger’s arrival as she is. She can be a little special. At home she’s an angel. Sleeps all day, plays with us when prompted, and aside from her occasional moments of remembering she’s a bird dog and needing to “cover her scent” with any and all decaying matter outside, she’s really well-behaved. At my parents house though, I think she goes into total freak-out, over stimulated mode. If she could talk I’m pretty sure it would go something like this:

“Omg, omg, omg. Dogs. Other dogs. 3 of them! Must play. Now! Come on guys, let’s play. If I bite your neck and paw at you this means I’m PLAYING! Come on!!!”

She goes a little nuts. So for the first hour she’s usually quarantined outside to let some of this energy out. Then there’s the whole night-time issue of not sleeping. Again, at home she sleeps through the night no problem. 8 or 9 hours and wakes up when we do. At my parents house surrounded by 3 other dogs, it’s a different story. If they so much as stretch in the middle of the night she’s up, at their bed, and poised to play in about 1 second flat. As you can imagine that gets old real quick at 2am. And lastly, there’s the whole part about her needing to be let outside alone. Ginger tore one of her ACL’s when she was 1. We’re pretty sure she did it by chasing my parent’s greyhounds around the yard. Suffice it to say they’re a little faster than her. You know, with that whole racing thing and all. Since that lovely vet bill we don’t take our chances anymore. There will be 4 dogs in their house this next week and none of them can be let outside together. That turns “going outside” into almost a 45 minute ordeal.

So instead of dealing with the fact that my suitcase was still empty and nothing on my “to-do” list was crossed off, yesterday I decided to bake. A peace-offering of sorts. You can call it Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread, I will be calling it “Thank you for watching my insane dog and I hope you’ll do it again next time bread.”

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This came out so good. I wish you could all taste it through the screen kind of good. Just sweet enough from the turbinado sugar but also, a nice tartness from the cranberries. And the orange. Is there a better combination than cranberries and orange? Well pb and chocolate maybe, but for today I’m sticking with cranberries and orange. I’m actually quite proud of this because while I have no problem winging it in the world of cooking, baking has kind of always scared me. I’ve followed enough recipes to know the basic ratios though so I finally threw caution to the wind yesterday and just went for it. You should too. It’s delicious.

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Had to taste one slice. To make sure it was good enough for mom & dad of course. Winking smile

Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup AP unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar + 1 tbsp separated
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • zest of 1 orange (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 cup whole fresh cranberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first set of ingredients in large bowl. Combine second set of ingredients in small bowl and mix to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until incorporated. Grease a loaf pan and pour mixture in. Sprinkle with about 1 tbsp of turbinado sugar on top if desired (highly recommended for a sweet crunch). Bake for 50-55 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before taking out of pan.

See you from Ireland!

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Workout woes & muffins!

I have to say, it’s quite ironic that the same week I start a blog on running (and food of course!) I have one of the worst running weeks. Funny how that happens huh?

I’m not quite sure what was going this week but running just felt hard. It started last Sunday with that 5 miler on Mother’s Day. Then this week:

Monday: 4M (8:29 pace)

Thursday: 3M (8:35 pace)/2.3M later in the day (a random, untimed run with the husband including a hill of death)

The thing is, my times aren’t bad at all in fact, they’re pretty good for me. But my legs just felt like Jell-O each time. Each step was torturous. I know it’s normal to have “off” days and I’ve definitely had my fair share. These were different. Pretty discouraging actually.

So, yesterday I decided to take it indoors. It was gloomy out anyway, which I guess is my internal justification for choosing the treadmill in May. I was curious to see if a run inside would feel just as hard.

Meet my home gym. In the basement. P1012542

And Ginger. She’s my workout buddy. Anytime I even open the basement door she’s up, off her bed, and by my side in about 2.5 seconds. She will stand next to the treadmill for the entire time I’m on it with her head just enough over the side so that her wet nose hits my leg with each stride. Not.annoying.at.all.

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Yes, that would be the electrical panel and central vacuum canister next to my treadmill.  It’s glamorous, I know. You can be jealous.

Let’s talk about the treadmill.

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This baby is actually my in-laws that we inherited. It’s a Nordic Track but, about 10 years old. We have a love/hate relationship and not for reasons you’d suspect (treadmills are so boring, etc.) No, it’s more because this thing is possessed. Last year my husband replaced the computer/mother board thingy inside (the tread wouldn’t actually move) and it hasn’t been the same since. Imagine this, you’re cruising along at a speed interval of somewhere between 7-8 mph and then BAM! the treadmill comes to a complete stop. No warning. Now, if you’re like me you’ve got your headphones on and are trying to look anywhere but the screen to avoid the monotonous ticking of the clock or better yet, the “dots” on your 1/4 mile track display. Yeah, well that makes it interesting when you’re mid stride at 7-8 mph and the treadmill just stops. And by interesting I mean it sends you flying into the display not knowing what the hell happened with a freaked out dog by your side.  The icing on the cake is now that you’ve face planted into the treadmill screen you realize it’s lost all your data and is blank. When you’re trying not to look at the screen out of boredom it’s hard to remember how far you’ve gone to this point and that pisses me off even more than the damn thing just stopping for no reason. And that’s our love/hate relationship.

A-n-y-w-a-y. Back to the actual run.

I decided to do a sort of HIIT workout since all my runs this past week were pretty much just steady state stuff.

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Love Adele Smile 

The workout goes down further than you can see for 20 minutes. It’s pretty simple actually, not sure why I thought I couldn’t remember the details and found it necessary to write it down because after a quick 2 min walk warm-up it just alternates between 5 and 8 every other minute. For the first 10 minutes I set the incline to 4 when I’m at 5 mph. After that it just gets too hard so I keep everything at a 1 on the incline.

Ends up being about 2 miles of running by the end. And it leaves you sweaty.

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Self portraits in a mirror = not so easy.

The verdict? It felt good! Well, as good as a HIIT workout ever feels. My legs felt normal though and that made me feel better about the last 3 crappy runs outside. Maybe it was just an off few days. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the fact that all 3 of those runs were basically on an empty stomach (stupid, I know). Whatever it was, I hope it’s done with because tomorrow is the HOHA 5 mile race! My only goal is to beat last year’s time of 42:46. I hope my legs cooperate. Smile

Since I was pretty pumped about my workout after that. These happened.

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Thank you Mama Pea. D-e-l-c-i-0-u-s.

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