White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

I’m sure by now it’s no surprise that I LOVE all things pumpkin, so prepare yourself for a few more recipes :-)

When my friend Hannah visited last week she brought me a tupperware full of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that I promptly devoured. Once they were gone, I knew I had to re-create them.

Even though I love to bake, I’m not the biggest fan of measuring/following directions (um, yes – I realize this is usually essential for baking). I went with my instincts last night and the result was healthy and delicious (tooting my own horn, just a bit)!! I based the recipe loosely on these pumpkin cookies, but my final version was modified quite a bit.

white chocolate pumpkin cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1.5 cups light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs (preferably organic)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3.5 oz Lindt white chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease a large baking sheet
  • Whisk together flour, spices, and baking soda in a medium bowl
  • Beat together the sugar and butter until creamy
  • Mix in applesauce, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla
  • Slowly incorporate flour mixture just until combined
  • Stir in the pecans and white chocolate and dark chocolate chips
  • Drop heaping Tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top

These cookies have a very light, fluffy textures (almost like little pumpkin breads!) and the white chocolate is a surprisingly good compliment to the pumpkin. To assist in her post-marathon recovery, Alma sampled 6 cookies and declared them “delicious!”.

And now….for my next trick, homemade pumpkin puree! Inspired by Christine, I set out to make good use of a small pumpkin that had been serving as a living room decoration. I bought this lil’ guy over a month ago and it was still perfectly edible. Yay, winter gourds!

Instructions:

1) Wash the pumpkin, cut a hole in the top, and scoop out the seeds/innards. Then cut the pumpkin in half and then into medium sized chunks (leave the skin on).

Sugar pumpkin

2) Put the pumpkin chunks in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the bowl from the microwave (be careful! bowl will be hot), stir, cover with new plastic wrap, and microwave for 10 more minutes.

Cooked Pumpkin

3) After pumpkin is finished cooking, allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Then remove the pumpkin rind – I used a spoon to scoop the flesh into a separate bowl. I was doing this around 11:45pm on a Saturday night…real cool, I know.

4) Mash the pumpkin and store in a tupperware or small bowl until ready to use! I have plans to make some pumpkin risotto with my homemade puree.

Pumpkin Puree

This pumpkin was probably one of the best dollars that I ever spent. The gourd served as a decoration for over a month, yielded nearly 2 cups of pumpkin puree, and I plan to season and roast the seeds.

Hooray for pumpkin!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin? In a pie? In a latte from Starbucks? As a jack o’ lantern?

Running Machine

Phew, these last few days have been busy! Since I left the house early yesterday morning, I didn’t have time to pack lunch. Luckily I was able to find a veggie-packed meal without even leaving my office building.

  • romaine, red onions, mushrooms, shredded carrots
  • roasted cauliflower & bell pepper
  • sprinkle of feta cheese, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and croutons
  • spoonful of black bean & corn salad
  • spoonful of farro & almond salad
  • spoonful of mediterranean bulgar wheat
  • Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

salad lunch

I LOVE when my salads contain a bajillion different ingredients :-) I had a diet crack coke and some sunchips on the side.

Lunch was on the later side (nearly 3pm!), so I didn’t need a snack before I left the office. Around 6pm the rain finally started letting up and I was able to enjoy an easy 3-mile run through Central Park. Sometimes my brain feels so fried by the end of the day and I just NEED to do some physical activity to put myself in a better state of mind. I finished up with some stretching and foam rolling and then headed home in a much better mood :-)

Din-din was leftover maple syrup roasted sweet potatoes and tofu wrapped up in whole wheat lavash bread. With hot chili sauce. Is that weird? Yeah, probably, but I like my food to have a little kick!

sweet potato wrap

After catching up on some Mad Men (almost done with season 1), I headed to the kitchen for some extra special baking.

I was contacted by the cherry marketing institute the other day about the Red Recovery Routine, developed by world-renowned Sports Nutritionist Lesli Bonci M.P.H. R.D. LDN CSSD.

Check this out:

Recent studies suggest cherries may have powerful pain relief benefits for marathoners and other athletes of all levels.  This research revealed that powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give cherries their bright red color, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect muscles and joints even before an athlete laces up, thereby reducing post-exercise pain.

With the fall miles piling up and an upcoming marathon for many, improving post-run recovery seems like a win-win situation!

Using this Smitten Kitchen recipe as inspiration I baked up a batch of Tart Cherry-Dark Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Blondies.

blondies

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • dash of salt
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • big handful of each: shredded unsweetened coconut, dark chocolate chips, dried tart cherries, and raw pecans

Directions:

  • Mix together the melted butter and sugar until combined (I used a wooden spoon, but you could probably use a hand mixer)
  • Stir in the egg, salt, vanilla, and flour
  • Add in mix-ins (chocolate chips, etc)
  • Pour batter into a buttered 8″ x 8″ pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

My “blondies” turned out more like crispy cookie bars, but that’s probably because 1) I don’t like to measure and 2) the temp on my oven is a little off. But don’t worry – these treats were definitely still delicious. I sampled my fair share just to make sure ;-)

If you’re looking for more recipes that use cherries, check out the Choose Cherries recipe index!

I had plans to run with Alma after work tonight (i.e. no early a.m. gym visit), so I was able to get started on a freelance writing assignment. I had almost 2 full hours at home this morning before I had to leave for work. It was kind of weird! I (almost) felt like it was a Saturday or something…

Breakfast:

oikos

Stonyfield Oikos Greek yogurt (plain) along with a VERY ripe banana and a baked apple.

And lunch was eaten at my desk (I think this is going to be the theme for the next few weeks…busy time):

Almond butter, pumpkin butter, and banana on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread

Pictures 005

And two (yes, two) bags of popchips. I’m normally not a fan of “100 calorie packs”, but I give pop chips two thumbs up. Especially the salt & pepper flavor. Mmm.

popchips

Oh yeah, and since it’s Halloween week – a fun size snickers!

snickers

And I’m off – I have plans for a run in Central Park in a bit!

Check out this article from the NY TimesHumans Built for Distance 

So if we’re born to run, why are runners so often injured? A combination of factors is likely to play a role, experts say. Exercise early in life can affect the development of tendons and muscles, but many people don’t start running until adulthood, so their bodies may not be as well developed for distance. Running on only artificial surfaces and in high-tech shoes can change the biomechanics of running, increasing the risks of injury.

Love veggies more: If you like potatoes, you should try sunchokes.

Question: What’s your favorite vegetable? I could eat sweet potatoes and arugula every day!

Speedy Wednesday

Thank you for all the well wishes on the new True/Slant endeavor! Matt and I are both really excited :-) If you haven’t read our first piece, check it out!

So remember yesterday when I said I’d probably need a snack? Well, actually I needed 3!

Homemade trail mix (pretzel nuggets, chocolate chips, cranberries, pecans) around 2pm:

trail mix

1 cup of Heritage Heirloom whole grain flakes at 4pm:

Heritage heirloom whole grain

And a luna bar before I left the office (I just could not get full yesterday afternoon!):

luna bar

After some errands, I got busy in the kitchen. I had a package of tofu that needed to be used up ASAP, so I after pressing out some of the water (put the tofu on an inverted plate and place a heavy pot on top), I marinated the slices in a mixture of canola oil (1 tsp), soy sauce (2 Tbs), maple syrup (1 Tbs), salt and pepper. As I was waiting for the tofu to soak up all the yummy sauce, I cleaned up a sweet potato + brussel sprouts and tossed them in a mixture of 1 Tbs canola oil + 2 Tbs maple syrup. I arranged the tofu and veggies on a baking sheet and popped it into a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes (flipping everything after 10 minutes).

marinated tofu

sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts

All together (with a splash of red wine!):

Pictures 014

tofu, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts

While I was prepping dinner, I also put together some baked apples. I cored 3 Macoun apples and filled each one with: tsp butter, Tbs maple syrup, sprinkle of cranberries + pecans, and a dash of cinnamon. I baked the apples in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or so (until fork tender). I enjoyed one as a healthy dessert :-)

baked apples

Besides a delicious (veggie-packed) dinner, the best thing to happen to me yesterday was a shipment of 14 (yes, 14!) cookbooks compliments of fellow-foodie and blogger Matt (find him @ EatWithMe).  I’m super excited about all the vegetarian volumes and the Pie cookbook is just calling my name. Yay. Thanks Matt!

cookbooks

cookbooks

This morning, I woke up early, early with plans to complete a speedy workout (my first one in awhile!). I started off with a banana and half decaf coffee. The usual.

Quick breakfast

I wanted to be sure of my pace throughout the workout and the weather was pouring rain, so I opted to run on the treadmill. This might sound strange, but when I’m doing speed workouts, I kind of like the treadmill. It helps me stay super focused.

I got the inspiration for this workout from Runner’s World:

The Speed Demon Workout (appropriately named for Halloween week,  eh?)

I warmed up easily for 2 miles (9:15 pace) and dropped the pace a bit for the 3rd mile (8:30 pace). Then it was time for the intervals!

For miles 4 thought 6, I ran 4 x 3-minute repeats at 6:55 pace alternating with 3 minutes easy running (9:15 pace). I finished up with a mile cool-down (9:15 pace).

Total: 7 miles in 1 hour, 7 seconds.

After I finished I was a sweaty mess, but luckily my gym keeps a mini fridge stocked with towels soaked in lavender water. Oh my goodness, that cold towel was SO refreshing. What a wonderful idea!

After I finished up in the locker room, I braved the rain + wind and headed to the Jamba Juice near my office. I had a coupon and I redeemed for some steel cut oats with blueberry topping and brown sugar. Yum, Yum. Steel cut oats are less processed than instant and old-fashioned oats, so they take longer to digest (i.e. you feel full longer!).

steelcut oats

And later on, I sipped a (NOT decaf) cappuccino and some dried fruit (energy!) because my early morning was making me quite sleepy:

Cappuccino

Dried fruit

Questions:

1) What’s your go-to gym bag snack? I’ve been really liking prunes/dried fruit lately. Antioxidants + long shelf life + instant sugar = excellent!

2) Do you have a favorite cookbook? I really enjoy the Mollie Katzen/Moosewood Cookbook series, but I’m excited to test out the newbies I just received!

Chobani Greek Yogurt

First things, first – I wrote a guest post today for Angharad’s  Eating for England blog. You know you want to see more photos of those half-pound cookies I like. Mmm. And if that isn’t enough to sway you, the recipes that our English lady friend whips up are always amazing – check out her posh mac ‘n cheese dish. Swoon.

True to my word, I decided to tie on my baking apron last night. I had a big bag of Farmer’s Market apples that were just calling my name.

Apples

Megan’s Maple-Cinnamon Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 6 large apples, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • another 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Toss the apples with maple syrup and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and place in a lightly greased 8×8″ baking dish
  • Mix together the ww flour, oats, brown sugar, and second 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Using the tines of two forks (or just use your fingers) cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly
  • Top the apples with the crumbly mixture and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 F
  • Note: My oven is super hot, so you might need to bake your apple crisp for a little longer.
  • Enjoy!

Apple Crisp

This recipe is so healthy (whole wheat flour, oats, apples!) that you could eat it for breakfast. Actually, today I did just that.

But first, I started off with some coffee to-go, a few dried plums, and a still-dark commute to the gym. I do not like waking up before the sun.

Prunes

I hit up a 7:15am spinning class (the music was only half as good as Tuesday) and then finished with a speedy 3 mile run (finished the last 400m or so around 7:00/mile pace). Pheww.

Busy morning at work, breakfast was eaten in parts.

Breakfast #1: Chobani peach greek yogurt

Chobani

Actually, yesterday I received a whole CASE of these little babies. Including the elusive pineapple flavor. Hooray! It’s (almost) better than Christmas. Do you want some of your own FREE greek yogurt? There might be a give-a-way waiting for you at the end of this post….

Chobani

Breakfast #2:

Apple crisp with (another) dollop of greek yogurt

Apple Crisp

Lunch was the LAST of the coconut cauliflower curry. This was delicious, but cooking for one person means eating leftovers for days on end. Yeesh.

Leftover curry

I’m sure I’ll need a lot of mini peanut butter cups a healthy snack between now and the fun pizza dinner that I have planned….stay tuned!

I just found this great new recipe site called FunnySpoon. Bonus: the site offers coupons on featured ingredients. Two of my fav recipes: Halloweenies and 1-2-3 cookie bars.

Live in NYC? Check out the upcoming Boho Bodega where you can purchase “green” products at wallet-friendly discounts. All proceeds from the store will benefit the non-profit New York Council on the Environment.

Pumpkin, Fennel, and Grapes – Check out this Autumn shopping list for more seasonal favorites!

And now…..a fun give-a-way!! I eat greek yogurt almost every day (love all the extra protein) and Chobani has graciously offered to send a reader some samples of their very own.

Here’s what you have to do:

1) Go to the Chobani website and take a look around.

2) Leave a comment telling me what new flavor of Chobani yogurt you’d like to see.

3) Get an extra chance at winning by linking to my give-a-way on your own blog and leaving a second comment telling me that you did so.

You have until noon on Friday, October 16th to enter. I’ll choose the most creative/yummy flavor then! Note: Must be a U.S. resident to win.

Ok. Ready? Set? Go!!

Pumpkin Swirl and Butternut Squash

Highlights of my Saturday so far:

1) Having a conversation about track & field with the homeless guy who hangs out on my block.

2) Finally killing the mosquito who’s been feasting on me all week.

I started the morning with a quick trip to DD for a latte lite (ahhh, newest obsession!) and some breakfast: TJ’s honey greek yogurt, grapes, and Kashi warm cinnamon Heart-2-Heart. I had quite a few handfuls of cereal straight out of the box after I finished my initial bowl.

Latte Lite

After I finished my breakfast, I started to prepare the dough for some delicious Pumpkin Swirl Bread. I based this recipe on MeganNerdRun’s version, but made a few alterations.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of ginger & nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling

  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, ww flour, oats, brown sugar, spices, salt, sugar, and yeast.
  • Stir in the warm water and pumpkin until moistened. Add egg, mix until smooth.
  • Stir in the remaining 1 cup flour until the dough is firm.
  • Put dough in stand mixer and knead using dough hook for about 5 minutes. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with dishcloth, and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Spray the counter lightly with cooking spray and roll out the dough to a 18″ x 9″ rectangle.
  • Spread the melted butter on the dough and then sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
  • Roll up the dough jelly-roll style, starting with the short side. Pinch ends to seal.
  • Place seam side down in loaf pan, cover and let rise for 90 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Dough Rising

Rolling out the dough

During the 90 minute second rising, I headed out for a long run. I didn’t feel awesome, but the weather was ideal (sunny, breezy, and 60 degrees). My legs are STILL feeling the effects of last Saturday and my right knee/hamstring were a bother, but I was feeling great mentally by the end of my 10 mile run (finished in 1:30:10, about 9:01/mile). I think I’m going to take it easy for the next few weeks – lots of sleep, lots of cross-training, and lower running mileage. Hopefully that will put some pep back into my legs!

When I got home, propped my legs up against the wall while I waited for the oven to pre-heat. I’ve found that this trick really helps with circulation/muscle recovery.

And then I popped the bread in the oven. 30 minutes later…

Pumpkin Swirl Bread

I was very pleased with the consistency of this loaf – the middle was perfectly light and doughy with a nice crust on the outside.

Pumpkin Swirl Bread

Mmm….a thick slice of pumpkin swirl bread with peanut butter!

Pumpkin Swirl Bread

After finishing up the bread, I was ready for some more post-run food!

A big bowl of brown rice, pinto beans, roasted butternut squash, and a wedge of laughing cow cheese.

Butternut Squash

Rice & Beans & Squash

Now I’m watching a few Mad Men episodes and preparing for a fun dinner in Williamsburg.

Hope your Saturday is going well!

All Warmed Up

A big Thank You to everyone who stopped by our house-warming party on Saturday night – it was a success!

My legs were feeling a little sore post-run, so I decided it would be a good time to make use of my compression socks. I wore them all afternoon as I cleaned and prepped for the party. Extremely attractive, yes?

compression socks

Mid-afternoon break: apple & peanut butter

apple & peanut butter

Next on the agenda: vegan molasses pumpkin cookies inspired by the lovely Holly!

pumpkin molasses cookies

Megan’s Slightly Modified Version

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, .5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, reserving 1/4 cup
  • 2 tbsp water

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease a large cookie sheet
  • Sift together dry ingredients (flour through wheat germ), set aside
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, molasses, canola oil, and sugar
  • Mix wet mixture into dry ingredients, add 2 Tbs water near the end to help dough come together
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup sugar and a dash each of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • Roll Tbs of dough into a ball (use your hands) and then roll lightly in the sugar mixture
  • Place dough ball on cookie sheet and flatten slightly using tines of fork
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, cool for 1 minute on baking sheet, and then finish cooling on a wire rack
  • EAT! (preferably along with pumpkin ale)

Most of our party snacks were catered by my close friend, Trader Joe, but I did prepare another bit of home-made goodness: Spanish Spiced Almonds inspired by one of my favorite bloggers – Angharad, the lady behind Eating for England!

My version ended up being a little different (I increased the yield 3 fold and used chili powder instead of thyme), but I think they were still a hit! The almonds did get a bit too brown in the oven, so the following recipe is adjusted accordingly.

Megan’s Version of Spiced Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of raw almonds
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder (use more if you like it extra spicy!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees, spray large baking sheet with oil
  • Mix the brown sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl
  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg white and water until foamy
  • Add almonds to egg mixture and coat thoroughly, strain almonds through a sieve to remove  excess egg white
  • Add almonds to bowl of spices, coat evenly
  • Spread almonds evenly on cookie sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes
  • Reduce oven temp to 200 degrees, stir, and bake for another 15 minutes
  • Allow to cool and then serve! Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container for a few days.

Spicy Almonds

Party eats!

House warming party food

I started off the night with a Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale. Hooray for Autumn!

Pumpkin Ale

And a plate of party food (refilled this about 3-4 times throughout the night). Baby carrots, olives, crackers, brie, and iberico cheese.  The night involved  A LOT of brie, love that cheese so much :-)

party food

Agnes & Bill

Agnes & Bill

Megan & Alma

Megan and Alma

Darien & Megan

Darien & Megan

Alma & Alex

Alma and Alex

Megan & Diana

Megan & Diana

Kristen & Alma

Kristen & Alma

CPTC teammates!

CPTC

Mini-NESCAC reunion

NESCAC

And a few more of these were consumed throughout the evening….

wine

The night was fun -  I think I finally got to bed around 2am which is much laterrrr than this Grandma usually hits the sheets!

The next morning I was feeling umm…a little less than stellar. But it’s nothing a lot of water and some sunshine couldn’t help!

I walked to Dunkin’ Donuts and then H&H bagels and had a little impromptu pic-nic in Central Park: skim latte, OJ, and a whole wheat bagel

Breakfast in the Park

The weather was awesome yesterday – sunny and 70 degrees – so I ended up walking for quite awhile after breakfast. Before I knew it, I had to hustle home or else I wouldn’t make it to yoga on time.

I dashed back to my apartment and a had a little pre-yoga snack: banana and peanut butter

Banana & PB

And then I met Agnes & Katie for what is becoming a Sunday tradition: 2pm power yoga at Yoga to the People in the East Village. I was a little worried about doing the lunge sequences (my legs are still feelin’ tired), but I took it easy and felt like tons better after class. Relaxed and all stretched out!

As I was walking through Union Square, I happened upon the Pilates for Pink festival and scored this free bag of cocoa roasted almonds. They were the perfect mini-snack!

cocoa roasted almonds

After a shower at my gym, I headed uptown for an early dinner. I met my friends Joe and Chrissy at the Chelsea Grill (which is actually in Hell’s Kitchen). I’ve been here before and the menu has a pretty reliable vegetarian selection.

Chelsea Grill

After seeing photos of Jesse’s delicious grilled portabella burgers last week, I knew I had to have one for myself!

I ordered the grilled balsamic-marinated mushroom cap topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato, onion, and lettuce. I also ate every single one of my waffle fries – ahh, I love french fries! I saved room for the fries by skipping most of the hamburger bun. I’m not crazy about white bread products and I’d rather save room for crispy, crunchy waffle-y potatoes. Mmm…

Portobella Burger

And then when I returned home, I made myself a cup of tea and finished off what was left of this monster:

Levain Bakery

Are you still with me? Before I go, I want to give a BIG congratulations to Holly who just finished her FIRST marathon and Matt who just qualified for Boston by running a crazy-fast sub-3:10 marathon. Yahoo!

In the News:

Calling All New Yorkers: 10 FREE Ways to have healthy fun this October

Have you read about the new contraption that allows you to grow your own meat? I, for one, am really creeped out by this…

Has anyone tried the new Starbucks VIA? I’m interested in knowing whether it’s any good.

Question: What was the best part of your weekend? What are you most looking forward to this week?

Oatmeal, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, M&M Cookies

Ever since I bid on a batch of kitchen sink cookies during the Healthy Living Summit’s bake sale, I’ve been thinking about creating my own batch of oatmeal-m&m-peanut butter-chocolate goodness. I based my recipe on Michelle’s Montana Whoppers recipe (omg, don’t they look delicious?), but made a few alterations.

First I had to assemble the ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups granulate sugar
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 eggs (organic if possible), beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 natural peanut butter chips (I used Sunspire brand)
  • 6 ounces of M&Ms (mini size or any variety)

Candy!

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Once butter has melted, pour it in a very large bowl.
  • With a large wooden spoon, mix in the brown sugar, granulate sugar, and peanut butter.
  • When the temperature of the butter-sugar-pb mixture is warm and no longer super hot, add in the eggs. If you add the eggs when the butter is still hot, you will get scrambled eggs. That would be bad!
  • Next stir in the baking soda, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and M&Ms.
  • Add in the oatmeal, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  • Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 2 hours – don’t skip this step! Time is needed for the oats to absorb the butter/peanut butter.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or coat with cooking spray.
  • Drop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.
  • Bake for 6-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. These cookies have a tendancy to burn, so keep an eye on them!
  • Cook the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Mmmm….So good! And since they contain oatmeal, peanut butter, and dark chocolate, they must be a little healthy. Right? ;-)

Cookies

Montana Whoppers

Oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter chip cookies

Are you a Kombucha lover? Whole Foods Bowery now serves it on tap! With all the probiotics and antioxodant this drink has, it might just be my new obsession!

Remember my sweaty soul cycle experience? Well, they just opened up a new studio on the Upper East Side and are offering FREE classes this weekend. People, jump on this. My class cost $32!

Feel a cold coming on? Or just love all things Autumn? Check out this yummy and healthy pumpkin soup recipe. It’s nutritious enough that you can indulge in some homemade apple pie for dessert :-)

Today is the first day of Autumn!! What’s your favorite part of the season? I love going for long runs under crisp blue skies and eating all sorts of apple and pumpkin goodies :-)

Homemade Pizza and Pumpkin Bread

I was a little sore from Saturday’s 11 miles, so instead of running yesterday, I went to a morning pilates class and a then for a nice long walk.  I also kept busy with a few baking projects. The first was homemade whole wheat pizza dough! I adapted my recipe from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (Makes two 10-inch pies)

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup water lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup ww flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • additional 1  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • additional 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional – finely chopped rosemary or basil to mix into the dough

Instructions

  1. Combine the yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/4 cup ww flour and 1/4 cup white flour in a small bowl. Mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly.
  2. Combine the next 3 dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the yeast mixture, cold water, and olive oil to the dry ingredients. Using the dough hook of your stand mixer, knead on low speed for 5 minutes. (You could also knead it with your hands if you don’t have a Kitchenaid). Turn dough out into a large oiled bowl.
  3. I let my dough rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator and then took it out of the fridge about 3 hours before I wanted to bake the pizza, but you could also just let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place.
  4. If using the overnight fridge rising technique, allow dough to warm up on the counter for an hour or so. Then divide the dough into two balls and cover loosly with plastic wrap.
  5. Place dough balls back in the bowl and allow to rise for about 2 more hours (until it doubles in size again).
  6. When you’re ready to make the pizza, stretch the dough until it forms a flat 10-12″ circle. Place on a lightly oiled, inverted baking sheet. Top with sauce, cheese, veggies, etc.
  7. Bake in a pre-heated 500 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until crust is crispy.
  8. Note: You could make two 10-12″ pizzas at once or just bake one of the dough balls and store the other in the fridge for a few days.

Making homemade dough sounds complicated, but it’s really not that hard. It just takes a lot of advance planning! But the pizza you eventually enjoy will be well worth the effort :-)

I topped the pizza with marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced tomato, sliced roasted red peppers, arugula, and the secret ingredient: silken tofu! The silken tofu was a wonderful substitute for fresh buffalo mozzarella. The consistency was almost identical and once I added basil, oregano, and garlic salt the taste was also similar. Plus the tofu added some vegetarian protein. Yum!

Crispy crust and ooey-gooey toppings:

After dinner, I started on another project:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (makes 8 servings)

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 6 oz low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg and ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil  a 8″ x 8″ loaf pan.
  • Mix first 5 wet ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just until moist – do not over mix!
  • Add chocolate chips and pour batter into loaf pan
  • Bake for about an hour – your bread may take more or less time depending on oven temperature. My bread was starting to get too brown after only 55 minutes, but the original recipe suggests 1 hour, 15 minutes of baking. Keep an eye on the bread!

This pumpkin chocolate chip bread is fairly healthy (ww flour, pumpkin, dark chocolate, yogurt replaces most of the oil, etc.) and is delicious when topped with peanut butter or yogurt. Enjoy!

If you’re avoiding gluten, the girls at Skinny and the City have some delicious gluten-free cookie recipes for you. The chocolate chip and lemon ginger varieties sound amazing!

In the New York area? Enjoy good beer? Check out the events scheduled for the 2nd annual NYC craft beer week.

Real Simple just published a list of the best breakfast cereals. What is your favorite breakfast cereal??

Reviews: Simply Chocolate Chip Cookies & Kashi Frozen Meal

Congratulations to commentor #15 – Jesse from JHams runs the NYC Marathon! You are the lucky winner of the lara bar goodies :-) Email me your address!

 

Pillsbury Simply Chocolate Chip Cookies

Awhile back, I received a coupon for a free package of Pillsbury Simply… cookies. These ready-to-bake cookies are free of trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and colors so they seemed right up my alley. I chose the chocolate chip variety, but peanut butter is also available.

Simply chocolate chip cookies

The cookies were very easy to make, I placed the dough balls on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.  After removing the cookies from the oven, they looked golden brown, but a little soft to the touch.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Overall, I would give these cookies 3 out of 10 stars. I liked that they contained all natural ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla, etc. and they were easy to make, but they just didn’t taste that good. The cookies were kind of bland and the texture was too crumbly. Making cookies from scratch isn’t too difficult (and it’s kind of fun!), so I would recommend homemade over ready-to-bake varieties anyday.

Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken

In the attempt to empty out my freezer, I made this Kashi frozen meal for dinner a few nights ago. The meal was easy enough to prepare although it did take longer than the microwave directions suggested. Once heated and plated, the food actually looked very similar to the front of the box.

Kashi frozen meal

This dinner had great nutritional stats – 300 calories, 8 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber, and 18 grams of protein. I think this frozen meal would make a good small-ish lunch, but it might be a little skimpy for dinner. To fill me up, I had a sliced apple and some almond butter on the side.

Kashi lemongrass coconut chicken

The chicken and grains were very yummy, but the veggies got a little mushy in the microwave. Also, this dish has a strong lemongrass flavor, so make sure you like lemongrass before buying! I would give Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken 6.5 out of 10 stars.

News you can use:

Have your own health/food/fitness blog? Check out HealthBlogHelper for tips on how to make it better!

Like cereal? Like FREE cereal? Lucky for you, Kashi is giving away mini-boxes of Honey Sunshine, Heary-to-Heart, and Go Lean Crunch!

Mmm, a 1,200 lb cupcake that involves 800 eggs and 200 lbs each of sugar and flour. This is definitely a dessert made for sharing :-)

Did you know that today, August 31st is National Trail Mix day?

Question: What are your favorite trail mix ingredients?

Marathon Runner’s Apple Cake

It’s Thursday, thank goodness! I’m headed to the Healthy Living Blogger  Summit in Boston tomorrow – SO excited :-)

Wednesday began with a cup of coffee and another bowl of overnight oats. Mmm, I can’t believe I waited so long to try this! The heat makes me lose my appetite, so this cool and refreshing breakfast really hit the spot.

In the mix:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Oikos greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbs PB2

I combined everything the night before and then added another 1/4 cup of milk right before eating. Yum!

Frida coffee mug

overnight oats

I took a long walk on my lunch hour and ended up at Whole Foods. I didn’t find any PB&J lara bars, but I did re-stock my Adora calcium supplement supply.

Lunch was put together with ingredients I had at home:

Course #1: chopped tomato, olives, feta cheese, cracked black pepper

Greek Salad

Course #2: blueberry oikos greek yogurt, blueberries, and a baggie of Kashi Go Lean Crunch

Oikos, blueberries, Kashi

Afternoon snackie was a couple of Fig Newmans! These were very yummy – soft and sweet. Would be perfect with a glass of milk or cup of tea.

Fig Newman's

After work, I headed to the gym for a quickie workout.

  • 20 minutes elliptical
  • 3 x 10 lunges and calf raises
  • 3 x 10 push-ups and tricep dips
  • Ab routine
  • Stretching

I had a few prunes post-workout to hold me over until dinner.

Prunes

Nate and I headed to subway for a quick and easy meal. I ordered a salad with spinach, red onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, sweet peppers, turkey, swiss cheese, and some sweet onion dressing on top. Yum! The veggies at subway are suprisingly fresh and I love how they chop up the turkey and cheese before adding it to the salad :-)

Subway salad

Salad

Throughout the evening, I also enjoyed 3 (!) slices of chocolate-chip banana bread. Yum, I love how moist this is.

Chocolate chip banana bread

I was a busy-bee for the rest of the evening. By the time I finished doing laundry, baking apple cake for Caitlin’s Team in Training fundraiser, and preparing everything for work on Thursday it was after 1:30am! Eek.

My inspiration for Marathon Runner’s Apple Cake came is based on Flour Bakery’s Apple Spice Snacking Cake. However, I made enough changes that I can call the recipe my own. I’m calling it “Marathon Runner’s Apple Cake” because the whole grains, nuts, and fruit are perfect for fueling long distance running!

Making a cake

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs cornstarch + 1 scant cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • dash of cloves
  • 3 chopped granny smith apples
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins or craisins
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbs butter, softened
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 9″ x 9″ baking pan (I used a smaller sized pan, but use 9″ x 9″ for best results)
  • Chop apples and combine with raisins and nuts in medium bowl
  • Whisk together flours, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, spices
  • Cream together butter and sugar with mixer until light and fluffy
  • Add eggs one at a time, increase mixer speed to high for 1-2 mins
  • Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture
  • Stir in apples, raisins, and nuts by hand until combines – batter will be VERY thick.
  • Pour patter into prepared pan and bake for 45 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Cover pan with foil if top browns too quickly.

Marathon Runner's Apple Cake

Marathon Runner's Apple Cake

Note: This recipe tastes like a combination between apple pie and cinnamon coffee cake. The apples get soft and caramalized in the oven and help the cake remain incredibly moist and tender. The whole wheat flavor, spices, apples, raisins, and walnuts make this a healthy indulgence!

Is pizza better than a salad? Read about these often Misunderstood Foods.

Also, for any of you long-distance runners: MarathonVal is giving away a spibelt! This little pouch will hold a cell phone, keys, etc without bouncing or weighing you down while you run. A MUCH better option than the clunky belt clip I stored my cell piece in during the NYC marathon.

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