Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No Bake Energy Cookies

I've made a couple batches of these over the past week and I really like how they've turned out.  It's similar to eating cookie dough, but with a little less refined sugar. I've been enjoying them as mid-morning snacks
and they have been super filling.  Kept refrigerated, the cookies should be good up to a week.

No Bake Energy Cookies
A healthier and energy filled sweet treat

Makes about 24 cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Set Time: 1 hour

1 cup old fashion or steel cut oats
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup white chocolate chunks (finely chopped)
1/4 cup protein powder
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

  1. Line a couple of large cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. Grind the flax seed.  A coffee grinder would be ideal for this, but I used a food processor/blender.  It took a little more patience and stirring but still worked well. 
  3. Combine the oats, peanut butter, honey, flax seed, white chocolate, and protein powder. You could also add dried fruit or nuts. 
  4. in a separate bowl, mix together the chopped almonds and chocolate chips
  5. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a cookie shape. Dip into chocolate-almond mixture and place on parchment paper. 
  6. refrigerate 1 hour and enjoy!
If the oat concoction isn't sticking together very well, try adding more peanut butter.

Friday, August 22, 2014

High Five for Friday

1.       I kicked off the week by cleaning every bit of coconut out of my house and I have felt so much better!  No more allergic reactions and I ended up getting rid of a lot of products.  The thing is, most of those products haven’t been used in at least a month. Getting rid of so much stuff inspired me to clean out my bathroom which then led me to start cleaning out my closet and my kitchen… I love feeling a little more minimalistic.  Listening to this week’s TED talk on NPR, specifically this TED Talk by Graham Hill definitely helped with motivation.
2.       Since I have this abundance of stuff to get rid of I decided to try ThredUp.  A friend told me about this a  month or two ago.  I signed up this week and a rather large prepaid bag arrived in about 3-5 days. I love the thought of cleaning stuff out and shipping it off for someone else to figure out the consignment aspect.  The best part is ThredUp will send items they do not accept to charitable partners or textile recycling.  You can also shop the finds; check out how it works here.
3.       I did yoga.  This is a weekly thing for me, but it is always one of the high points of my week.  I’ve been going to the local YMCA, but also started taking another class.  Both of the teachers are just awesome.  I’m a little sad to say, it’s easier for me to go to a class and push myself when people are around.  When it’s just me, it’s harder to slow down and spend more time in the postures I don’t like as much.  In addition to the classes, I’ve been using the Yogify app by EA Sports. The app is free and it comes with a few courses, but you have the option to purchase additional courses specific to your level and you can also buy some really good classes which are based on ability and focus on balance, strength and flexibility.
4.       I made some pretty delicious no bake energy bites.  Recipe coming soon!
5.       I found a recipe on the Everyday Occasions blog for Lobster Mac and Cheese and Seth and I fixed it for dinner together. Delicious!   

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

Over the past few months I have developed some type of aversion to coconut, which is really unfortunate considering how much I love coconut. I typically break out on my face after eating actual coconut or drinking coconut milk (which is delicious by the way). Until this week I hadn't really had much of any issues with coconut oil unless I used mass amounts of it, but using my EOS lip balm one too many times led to another annoying reaction.  Most allergies can progressively get worse with each exposure, and while I have had no other allergy related symptoms, I think its probably best to quit while I'm ahead.  This weekend I've started cleaning coconut out of my house.  I had almost exactly 3/4 cup of coconut oil in the kitchen cabinet, and being the good decision-maker that I am, I decided to use it to make some blueberry oatmeal cookies to take to work. I have made these a few times before and really love them. Not to sound like a chubster, but eating a warm one almost feels like a hug, and it was also really hard to avoid eating this cookie dough. I’m sure this won't be my last time making these, but I may be reverting to butter in future cookie making.

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

A summer twist on the classic oatmeal raisin cookie

Makes 24 cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes

¾ cup coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups old fashion oats
1½ cup blueberries fresh or frozen

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper. The paper isn’t completely necessary, but it is easier to get the cookies off the pan and to the cooling rack.  If you don’t use parchment paper, just be sure not to butter or grease the pan.
  2.  Cream together the coconut oil and sugars on medium speed. I left the mixer going about 4 minutes. It isn’t going to look very creamy, as butter would, just make sure it is well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla; the concoction will look something like brown sugar soup at this point.
  3.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, then slowly mix the dry mixture with the sugar mixture. 
  4. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to fold in the oats and blueberries. I used frozen blueberries; making It a little easier to fold the berries in without breaking but also a little harder to mix and scoop as your dough will start to freeze if you don't work quickly enough. Don’t worry if you do break blueberries, it’s inevitable, the cookies will still be delicious. 
  5. Bake for 16-20 minutes. I made some pretty large cookies, a little smaller than a golf ball when all rolled up. Because of the size and the fact that I used frozen berries, it took a little longer to bake, closer to 20 minutes. Leave the cookies on the pan for a minute or two before moving to cooling racks.  Enjoy!

*disclaimer… coconut oil melts at 76ºF. As it is summer in Alabama and I live in a very old house, it was about 77ºF-80ºF in my kitchen at the time I was baking these; do not try to combine coconut oil with any type of cold ingredients (ie. cold butter or milk). It doesn't go well.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Things to look forward to

  • To actually churn out some blog posts.  I have happily spent more time outside and with friends and family over the past month and not much time on the computer.  Don't get me wrong, I'm completely okay with giving up a little computer time, but finding recipes and DIY projects to share keeps my diet and my free time moving in a positive direction.  Over the past month, I've been eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat. For the most part, I have stuck to a vegetarian diet throughout the week, and given in on the weekend when I’m generally eating with friends and family.  I feel so much better when I reduce the amount of meat and processed food I consume.  I'll be sharing a few recipes for smoothies and hopefully a few vegetarian friendly meals.   
  • To get a little more organized.  I’m slightly concerned I am turning into a work-hoarder.  My desk is constantly covered in papers and I have way too many post-it notes scattered about to serve any type of productive purpose.  I’ve also been using a desk calendar this year, and while it is a beautiful Sugar Paper calendar, I hate that I can’t slip it into my purse and that everyone who comes into my office can see everything I have planned (granted it is only visible if I have moved around some of the mass amounts of paper).  In addition to finding a planner (I’m leaning toward this Kate Spade) and thinking about organizing my office, I will be looking for a few new ways to get organized around my house. 
  • To going kayaking.  Seth got me a kayak for my birthday, which I love.  We've already gone down the Coosa River (Coosa River Adventures was fun and so easy to work with) and are working on plans for more adventures around both of our towns.