sugar cookie dough almond butter

I love making my own nutbutters. It always proves to be a fun kitchen experiment, and the end result is the perfect topping to many of my weekday breakfasts. I’ve made many more nutbutters in real life than I’ve blogged about, probably because the nutbutter is already halfway gone by the time I would get around to taking a picture ;).

The idea for this particular recipe actually originated around Christmas when my work was doing a white elephant gift exchange. Our rules were to gift either something you already had at home or something homemade. I ended up scrounging up a peanut butter cookbook, packed a few Peanut Blossoms in small ball jars and then included another ball jar filled with this sugar cookie dough nutbutter (using cashews that time around). I did manage to take a photo before packing up my nutbutter gift, but never got around to posting it!

The biggest novelty of this nutbutter is the sprinkles, and even though any color sprinkles will do, it just seems more special to have holiday inspired sprinkles – so Valentine’s Day it is!

Sugar Cookie Dough Almond Butter

  • 2c raw almonds or cashews
  • 1/2 Tbs agave (honey would work too)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ~1-2 Tbs grapeseed oil
  • 1T sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 170* and roast the nuts for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  2. Take out of the oven the let cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, add the roasted and slightly cooled nuts, and process for 8-12 minutes, or until the nuts break down and turn into a nutbutter consistency.
  4. Add in the agave, vanilla, almond extract and salt to the processed nuts, and process again to combine.
  5. The mixture will probably harden with the additions, so this is the place where you can add as much oil as you need to thin it back out. It really depends on the oil level of the nuts for how much you need, so start with a little and then add more to reach the desired consistency.
  6. Scoop the nutbutter into a bowl, and allow to cool.
  7. Once cooled, stir in the sprinkles and place into a jar to store.

This really does make such a cute gift, and a really delicious topping to your breakfasts. It’s also a pretty tasty dip for apples, gluten free pretzels, graham crackers, etc. Definitely be creative with what you top with this or dip in it, even eating it by the spoonful would be okay ;).

nashville 2012: week 1

Week 1 of Nashville training = done. Only eleven to go! Man, I have a feeling the next few months are going to fly :).

I stayed right on track with my training this week:

Sunday: Yoga Body Bootcamp™
Monday: 5k run + 1m walk
Tuesday: Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance
Wednesday: 5k run + 1m walk & Insanity Cardio Recovery
Thursday: Power Vinyasa
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5m run

I really enjoyed all of my workouts this week, definitely a good start to training haha. Sister and I have been sitting on $30 of iTunes money since Christmas, and we finally decided to cash in part of it for some new tunes for our runs this morning. That definitely helped my motivation this morning! I was really worried that the weather was going to be super awful as the wind forecast was 17mph… I ended up being very happy when I woke up and couldn’t hear the wind outside! It was also sunny (sure sign of coldness, but I can’t really complain with how fair the weather has been for Wisconsin this winter). Weather.com tells me it was about 7* and only 12-13mph winds. Not too bad?

Well, I bundled up with two pairs of pants, a t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt and sweatshirt, two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves and a headband. I put on my iPod with the following playlist, and headed into the cold!

It was SO cold starting out, I was chilled, but the coldness was nothing compared to the blown over snow/not shoveled show on the sidewalks – so annoying! There were some places where the snow was a few inches deep, and then the snow was sticking to the bottoms of my shoes so my feet started to feel really heavy. The coldness didn’t bother me at all. I was actually quite overdressed and ended up being sweaty within a mile and a half. I was originally going to do a normal out and back route, but ended up taking a little longer route back so I could have a cool down 1/2 mile walk at the end. Even though I was over-temping and my legs were getting tired from the snow running, I pushed through the miles and ended up surprising myself with the pace I managed! I wonder if it was the music, or the just wanting to be done running in the snow that helped? I even took a couple walking breaks at the halfway point and a little later when I was in a big snow patch.

This is definitely a good way for my training to start out since my confidence in my running abilities barely exist ;). It’s only up from here on out! Hope you all have a fabulous Saturday!

bacon waffles

The combination of savory and sweet make the absolute best breakfast combinations. I tend to always lean toward sweeter breakfasts – pancakes, french toast, pannenkoeken, oatmeal… but they’re often missing that savory component that really brings it to the next level, in my personal opinion anyways.

It’s been awhile since we’ve bought any breakfast meats, but the idea for these waffles made us be sure to put some on the list. Feel free to sub your favorite brand of bacon, turkey bacon, tofu bacon, tempeh bacon… you get the point.

This recipe is originally from Heather Eats Almond Butter, but then adapted by Ashley from Edible Perspective, and then updated a little more for this version.

Bacon Waffles

  • 1/4c coconut flour
  • 1/4c ground flax meal
  • 1t baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/2c milk
  • 1c egg whites (around 6 egg whites)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1 serving bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled

1. Start warming up your waffle maker (a pancake griddle would work too if you’d like pancakes instead of waffles).

2. Using your blender, put in the eggs and blend for 30 seconds.

3. Add in all of the other ingredients, minus the bacon, into the blender and blend for an additional 30 seconds.

4. Let the batter thicken for 5 minutes, and then stir in the bacon.

5. Once the waffle maker is heated and your batter has rested, spray the maker with oil and place large enough scoops to fill up each section.

6. Let cook until golden, checking occasionally to make sure they don’t overcook.

I topped with peanut butter + maple syrup, enhancing the savory + sweet flavor combination. Breakfast perfection.

almond flour chocolate coconut cookies

I recently bought almond flour. I had resisted for so long because it is expensive, and I didn’t really see the benefit in it over other gluten free flours on the market. Well, Sister and I recently decided to rethink all of our white gluten free baking ingredients (cough*bisquick*cough). I will never fully give it up for when I want to bake something special, but I definitely don’t need to be using it as much as I have been!

I’ve tried oat flour, coconut flour, sorghum flour and bisquick in the past to make some delicious recipes, but bisquick was by far the best for baking cookies that were almost identical to their gluten-filled counterparts. I found this recipe for Paleo-inspired chocolate chip cookies using almond flour, but wanted to make it more deluxe. Girl Scout Samoa cookies may have had something to do with the flavor combination… ;).

Almond Flour Chocolate Coconut Cookies

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4c cocoa powder
  • 1/4c ground flax
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2c grapeseed oil
  • 1/4c agave
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1/2c chocolate chips
  • 1/4-1/2c shredded coconut
  • 2T coconut flour (if your dough ends up being too moist)

1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. I did this somewhat in stages, but it doesn’t matter a whole lot.

2. Roll into balls, flatten slightly, and then press some additional coconut on the outside of the dough (optional).

3. Bake in a 350* oven for 8-10 minutes, being careful to not overbake them or burn the coconut.

4. Allow to cool slightly on the baking pan as they are fragile right out of the oven, but they set up really well!

Coconut + chocolate, a winning combination. If you’re really wanting all the flavors from Girl Scout Samoa cookies, I bet this Salty Medjool Caramal sauce would be an excellent topping.

These not only taste amazing, but are gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free (depending on the chocolate chips/chunked chocolate you use), egg free and dairy free. Not too shabby.

what i ate wednesday #16


**I must say I love the monthly theme for WIAW! I should definitely increase my veggies for next time… I had some but I could use more!

This day was a very good day. And it was also Super Bowl Sunday. While I didn’t watch a second of the game (albeit a few minutes of the half time show on YouTube after the fact…), my lunch was definitely inspired by the game ;). Before lunch however, was breakfast.

Breakfast: Grain-Free Bacon Waffles. Yup, bacon waffles. They were delightful. Recipe to come soon (and I’m sure they’re delicious without the bacon if you’re not a bacon lover). Peanut butter and a drizzling of some agave-maple syrup. Oh so good.

After breakfast I went to my first ever Yoga Body Bootcamp class. It was quite the workout and I was in a complete smoothie mood when I got home (which hasn’t happened for months because of the weather). I created a Hydrating/Energizing Orange Smoothie and it definitely did the trick! If only I had some spinach to put in the blender too! After chugging this I quickly went to the shower so I could get out of my sweaty clothes…

Lunch: I absolutely love eating snacks in lieu of a real meal on the weekends. I like the random flavor combinations and it’s the perfect thing to eat while watching a movie and just relaxing. We also technically had the excuse of it being Super Bowl Sunday… even though the game was hours away haha. We made taco dip with tortilla chips, bbq meatballs, and homemade guac with plantain chips. So good and a few veggies anyways! I definitely went back for seconds while watching Crazy, Stupid, Love (I totally laughed every time they said Mrs. or Mr. Weaver – so weird for someone in a movie to have my last name! Especially when Mr. Weaver is played by Steve Carell).

Afternoon Snacks: I was still steamed up in the afternoon from my bootcamp, and the food processor was still out from making Cocoa Coconut Butter in the morning, so we whipped up a batch of Chocolate Banana Softserve (recipe to come soon too!). Topped with sprinkles. Because everything is better with sprinkles. No veggies, but tons of fruit!

Later on I had a handful of almonds + raisins. I love this combo but never end up having it during the week. That needs to change!

Dinner: We had such a successful making/baking weekend in the kitchen, another item of which was for dinner. We made up a half batch of an Almond Flax Pizza Crust and topped it with marinara, the leftover bbq meatballs from lunch, green olives and string cheese. This was the absolute best pizza crust I have had in a very long time! Why has it taken so long to try almond flour?! On the side was a salad with cottage cheese + balsamic vinegar. An excellent combination (reminds me of a mozzarella salad!).

After dinner I definitely nibbled on a few of the cookies below… I’ve showed many cookies on my WIAW posts the past few weeks because I have been in a definite cookie mood, and this recipe once again does not disappoint. The recipe will be coming soon (I sound so taunting in this post – sorry!). So many good things coming to the blog in the next few days from my highly productive and successful weekend in the kitchen! You can keep up to date with my posts on Facebook if you want to make sure you don’t miss out ;).

Thanks once again to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting this lovely weekly event! And I need to remember to eat more veggies :/.

cocoa coconut butter

I hadn’t made, or even eaten, coconut butter in a really long time. I made a batch to give to a friend for her birthday in November… and I think that’s the last time I made some! I think I somehow forgot how amazing it is topped on pretty much everything? I fell back in love last week when I was scraping out the last bit we had saved over some acorn squash… such an incredibly tasty combo I’m not sure why I haven’t tried it before!

Anyways, back to the new recipe, because this one would probably not be too spectacular on squash… Cocoa coconut butter! I wrote about how easy + cheap making your own nutbutters at home a few months back (all the way back IN JULY?! yikes!) and the pictures are some of my favorite from my blog. I still haven’t ever bought coconut butter to compare it in creaminess, but for a fraction of the price I’ll take the taste over the texture, thank you very much.

Cocoa Coconut Butter

  • ~6-7 oz shredded coconut (unsweetened, I can find a 12oz bag for under $2!)
  • 1-2T cocoa powder

1. In a food processor, place the coconut and 1T of the cocoa powder. You can always add the additional cocoa powder later (if needed)

2. Process until creamy.  It will take between 6 and 10 minutes, just scrape down the sides of the processor if needed until smooth + creamy

Once done, place in a little mason jar and keep at room temp – in the winter your coconut butter will get pretty hard, but you can stick it in the microwave if needed to pour over something. Otherwise, just scraping off the top later is fine by me :).

This is a perfect topping for pancakes, a topping for a dessert pizza, or even as an additional ingredient in a smoothie. Definitely get creative with this one :).  We made a batch of this + a batch of the regular with one bag of coconut. Perfect topping perfection.

yoga body bootcamp + recovery

I went to my first Yoga Body Bootcamp™ class at my yoga studio yesterday and it was insane! This was the first time they’ve offered it in their regular weekly lineup and I’m glad that it’s on the schedule every week! They had one actual bootcamp class following the yoga body bootcamp “routine” the morning of my Disney 1/2 marathon and I was disappointed I couldn’t go then. At least had a good reason for not being there, but I still felt like I missed out ;).

Well I definitely didn’t miss out today, and the class did not disappoint! It was an hour long class, broken up with a 10 minute warm up, 32 minutes of 8 interval stations (listed below), a couple minute cool down, another station and then finally 10-15 minutes of stretching and shavasana. Here are the 8 interval stations (in the order I did them). Each station was done for 45 seconds, and then we had a 15 second “cool down”/move to the next station.

1. Sumo squats (jumping/squatting with wide legs)
2. Eggrolls (rocking back and forth on your back with your elbows and knees touching)
3. Monkey jumps/Walking planks (alternated every round, so two total monkey jumps and two walking planks)
4. Pushups/planking while moving on and off of yoga blocks
5. Four square jumps (clockwise + counterclockwise)
6. Oblique leg kicks (alternating left and right)
7. Back extensions
8. Tricep dips (on a bench)

And the final station was with a partner. One person was doing a minute plank on the bottom, and the person on top was doing pushups with her legs on the back of the other partner. Partners then switched and did the other exercise. I think this might have been the toughest because my arms/shoulders were already tired from the walking planks and moving pushups!

Needless to say, I was WIPED! I walked outside with just my tank top on and didn’t want to put on my sweatshirt for the drive home, but figured I should put on some sort of sweat-barrier so the seat in the car didn’t get too much on it. Probably a good choice because by the time I got home I had sweated through even that! But I guess when you’re in a 96* room, that’ll happen after this ass-kicking workout. I loved it. And I will be returning. Maybe every week. I’m so so so glad it fits perfectly in my new Nashville 1/2 marathon training plan!

I was craving something hydrating and fruity when I got home so I threw together the following ingredients in the vitamix. It ended up being delicious and almost like an Orange Julius! Will definitely be making this again!

Hydrating/Energizing Orange Smoothie

  • 3 chunks frozen banana
  • 1 pack tangerine emergen-c (or whatever flavor you like best)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ~3 ice cubes

1. Place all in the blender and blend away.

I was skeptical at first about this combo, with the fizzy emergen-c and milk, but the fizziness went away with the blender and it was very similar to an orange creamsicle. Yummm. I basically spent the rest of the day sitting on the couch watching Crazy, Stupid, Love and Dirty Dancing – a fantastic way to end the weekend!

french toast breakfast

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and French Toast is easily one of my favorite breakfasts. I’m surprised that I don’t make it more often because it is super easy, but it may be best to keep it as a weekend specialty to stay away from being too sugared up during the week :).

Some French Toast recipes look pretty time consuming, and have so much cream, sugar and eggs in the base that the dish ends up being super rich. This coating is definitely not that way, but when the bread is lightly dipped in the mixture it turns into absolute deliciousness. I’m not sure where this recipe originated, but it’s how my mom has made French Toast for years!

The below recipe is for roughly two servings (3 pieces of bread per person)

French Toast

  • 6 slices bread of your choice (if you’re gluten free, I highly recommend Udi’s Ancient Grains Millet-Chia Bread – 6g protein + 6g fiber per serving and super good!)
  • 1 egg
  • ~1/4c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • cinnamon

1. Whisk the egg, almond milk and vanilla extract together in a bowl that the bread will be able to dip into (think wide but somewhat deep – if you’re making a bigger batch a pie dish would work).

2. Dip each piece of the bread in the egg mixture to lightly coat and place immediately on a preheated griddle.

3. Top the wet top side of the bread with a sprinkling of cinnamon, and then flip once the underside is golden brown.

4. Top with anything you’d like – butter + powdered sugar are definitely my favorites, but you can become more gourmet if you’d like!

When I was younger I would top each piece of French Toast with syrup and then powdered sugar for the best sugary concoction I could make. I was definitely one sweet child ;). Nowadays I use just as much powdered sugar as necessary so I can still taste the bread and cinnamon underneath. I’m also sure to pair it with something healthier, like scrambled eggs or greek yogurt for extra protein, or a juicy ruby red grapefruit.

nashville 2012 training plan

I really can’t believe I’ll be starting to train for the Nashville Rock n’ Roll 1/2 marathon tomorrow! The past month since the Disney 1/2 flew by and I am ready to start another training plan! I took “off” the last few weeks from any structured training or workout plan. My legs hurt pretty bad after Disney so it took a week or so to get back to it with running. I continued to walk that week to shake out my legs and eventually got up to a very slow running speed haha. I kept the first few runs at just a 2 mile distance and gradually increased to alternating 5k’s and 4 mile runs to get me back to a good starting point for the next training plan.

I ended up really enjoying my training plan for the Disney 1/2, adapted from Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Program. I based the below training plan off of that for the most part, but made a few alterations and improvements from the last time around, as well as incorporated the one 10k (Shamrock Shuffle in March!) I am signed up to race. One of the biggest changes is switching from running Monday, Thursday, Saturday to Monday, Wednesday, Saturday. I ended up running and going to yoga every Thursday and it wore me out, so I figured that was an easy change – plus I never got into good cross training system for Wednesdays (aka cheaped out by not joining a gym) so I never quite knew what to do. Sunday workouts got more defined this time around – I’ll either do an Insanity DVD at home or go to a new Yoga Body Bootcamp at my yoga studio. I’m guessing I’ll love the Yoga Body Bootcamp (YBB for short on the plan), but it doesn’t start until this coming Sunday so I won’t know for sure until then haha. Any day I miss the class (or don’t feel like paying for a class), I’ll do a random Insanity at home.

 

*I am not a trained or licensed professional. This plan was created by me for my own personal use. Consult with a trained professional and/or doctor before beginning a training plan if you are unsure of your abilities.

super bowl sunday!

I’ve got to be quite honest here, I’m not a huge fan of Football. Yes, last year when the Packers were playing I did enjoy the game (when I was paying attention anyways). The marketer in me more so enjoys the commercials ;). I am definitely hoping that they’re better than last year – they were so disappointing!

Jury’s still out on whether I’ll tune in on Sunday, but either way I think I’ll be making some snacks to eat throughout the day! I put these recipes together as a Christmas/NYE treat as a guest post on another blog, but never got around to reposting them here! I thought they were quite fitting with the Super Bowl, or really any snack-filled day!

Gluten Free Taco Dip

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1T, or roughly half a packet of gluten free taco seasoning (look to avoid “wheat flour” as an ingredient)
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salsa of your choice
  1. Beat together the softened cream cheese, plain greek yogurt and the taco seasoning until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Layer on a serving plate and top with lettuce, cheese, salsa and any other ingredients you like such as olives or jalapenos – yum!
  3. Serve with gluten free tortilla chips (a majority of tortilla chips are made with 100% corn – naturally gluten free!).

Gluten Free BBQ Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • Gluten free BBQ sauce (Saz’s is delicious)
  1. Cut chicken into roughly 24 pieces (I did 6 rows of 4 cut in the container to make it simple).
  2. Roll into little balls and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer into a pot on the stove and add in as much bbq sauce as you’d like.
  5. Warm up the sauce with the meatballs and serve warm! These would keep nice and warm in a crock pot or a small fondue dish.