Treat Yo’ #strangebutgood Self [Holiday Cookie Recipes]

Happy Month of Indulgence!

You know it’s true.

A lot of people try to fight it… but this is the one month of the year when you have to indulge a bit.  I’m not saying go overboard with a bean feast, but don’t be trying to deprive yourself.  It will only drive you crazy.  Treat ‘yo self!

In the spirit of treats, today’s #strangebutgood is dedicated to some of my favorite holiday cookie recipes.  Some strange, some just indulgent, and one that’s even healthy.

Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies… 

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Cryofreeze: My Real-Life Frozen + WIAW

Who’s singing the Frozen song?

I refuse to see that movie.

you’d think I’d rather see a movie than actually be frozen.  But no.  I got frozen.  My friend, Tori, heard me complaining about all my injuries (shit falls apart when you get older, y’all!), and offered to hook me up with a trial for Icebox Cryotherapy.  Basically, they freeze you with gasified liquid nitrogen.  It looked like I was standing in a cylinder of dry ice – but it’s not as dangerous.

In Tori’s words: “You know how when you bang your thumb, blood rushes to it and it gets really hot because your body is trying to fix it? Basically same body response when you do cryo. Your body thinks you’re freezing to death, so it sends signals all over and sees what’s ‘broken’ or hurt and focuses on it.”  Sounds great, right?! It really is great for recovery; in fact, many professional athletes have been using if for years!

Cryptherapy

Recovery aside, Cryotherapy has multiple other benefits:

  • Increased circulation
  • Reduction in pain & inflammation
  • Assists in a quicker surgical recovery
  • Aids in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Boost immune system
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Tighter skin (cellulite, say what?!)
  • Increased libido (woot!)
  • Weight loss assistance

So was it that bad?  It was 3 minutes at negative 130 degrees Celsius (-266 Fahrenheit). It wasn’t a cake walk… but honestly, I didn’t ever think I’d never make it out alive.  I had gloves and booties on (I have Raynaud’s, which the owner made sure she looked out for).  The parts that hurt the worst were my legs (which are sore and injured) and my nipples (apparently common), but I recovered right after.  Your core temp doesn’t actually change, so you don’t freeze to death.

After wards, my body felt SO relaxed, I slept like a little baby that night, and hit a couple PRs in the gym the next day.  I’d like to do it a few more times for my injuries, but it definitely helped with the general soreness and recovery!  If you’re in Atlanta or have a facility in your city, I definitely recommend it!

… 

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PB&J Yogurt Bowl Recipe + WIAW

Staple foods.  We all have them.

Some of us have them literally.

Amy's burrito staple

When my boss referred to Amy’s burritos as a staple food… he meant literally.  He opened this little gem and found something shiny in it.  Normally I like shiny things, but a staple in my burrito?  I’ll pass.

He emailed Amy’s and got a scripted response from customer service about an hour later.  The person didn’t seem too concerned,but said they send the pics to someone else int he company.  Well see… in the mean time, I’m especially grateful I go my food prep!

… 

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Oatmeal Protein Cookie Balls

My inner fat kid loves baked goods.

 

So does my outer fat kid.

I really could eat baked goods all day long.  Keep your Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids, I’ll take the homemade oatmeal cookies.

Sadly, cookies aren’t exactly on my training plan.  Until now.  I strange’d it up in a storm of “use everything in my pantry.”

Oatmeal Protein Cookie Balls

 

I balled up a version of one of my favorite cookies because everything’s better as balls.  I also altered the ingredient list a bit so it can be eaten guilt-free.  Not that I feel guilty about eating dessert… but sometimes my abs do.

These chocolate chip-laced treats are just as good as the real thing.  Really!  My boss ate one and said “oh my god… these are good!” with a only slightly suppressed tone of  surprise.

Oatmeal Protein Cookie Balls

 

You could probably use any flour here – try coconut flour to make it gluten free.  They can easily be made vegan with a flax egg.  And, if you’re not ready to bring back pumpkin yet, try mashed sweet potato or banana!

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Oatmeal Protein Cookie Balls

Oatmeal Protein Cookie Balls

  • 1 C almond meal
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1/2 C spelt flour
  • 2 scoops (62 g) vanilla protein powder (I used Growing Naturals rice protein)
  • 2 T  brown sugar, packed
  • 2 T Stevia (or more brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 C water
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 3 T egg white (or flax egg)
  • 2 tsp NuNaturals simple syrup (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp maple pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C sugar-free chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.

In a small bowl mix coconut oil (softened in micro if necessary), syrup, egg white, water, and extract.  Pour wet mixture into the dry.  Stir until well-combined (you can use your CLEAN hands).

Fold in the chocolate chips.  Make balls of ~2 T of dough, place on cookie sheet and and flatten with your palm.

Bake for 10-12 mins at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Makes about 30 cookies.

*See notes in post above for gluten-free, vegan, and other options!

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

 

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



***

I’m thinking I need to finally try a clean(er) cheesecake of my own next!

Baked goods or candy?

What childhood favorite would you like to health-ify?

 

Top 13 in 2013

You guys like dessert.

 

I guess that’s why we get along?

Happy New Year!!!

As I looked back at the top posts of 2013, I knew there would be a lot of sweeter dishes.  But whoa.  Of the top 13 2013 posts, 6 were sweet recipes.  What I didn’t realize was that the Work It Out posts are popular too!  I’ll do a better job to writing more of those in 2014 – I’ve been pushing it at the gym, but slacking on the writing.

Thank you to everyone for all of the visits, comments, and many, many laughs in 2013.  I’ve loved getting to know so many awesome people this year, and look forward to continuing these relationships for years to come.

Enough much!  Here’s the lucky (top) 13 to start out ’14…

Top 13 in 2013… 

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3 Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

This is for those that think my recipes have too many ingredients.

 

Not really, but it should make you happy.

These coconut macaroons are the most requested Christmas cookie I make.  Ironic, since I don’t love coconut.  But if you DO like coconut, you’ll love these.  If you don’t, you’ll still eat a couple because they really are good.  Especially after I had the brilliant idea to dip them in chocolate.

Coconut Macaroons

They technically have 4 ingredients, but I refuse to count vanilla.

When you form balls, you’ll feel like they aren’t sticking together enough.  Don’t be scared.  Just roll them together as best you can.  The sugar will melt and bind with the egg as it bakes – just be sure to let the cookies cool before you touch them.

Coconut Macaroons

I’ve made these for a couple of years sans chocolate.  I have no idea why.  This year I melted chocolate, added some bourbon extract (yes, I put booze in everything), and painted the bottoms.

If you do this, place them in the fridge to harden before you serve them.  It’s good with the gooey chocolate, but extremely messy. ;)

Coconut Macaroons with chocolate

Linking these up to Katie’s MIMM… because cookies are marvelous.

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Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

  • 3 C sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Melting chocolate (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with (clean) hands until the ingredients are completely combined.

Place tablespoon sized dollops of batter onto a baking sheet making sure cookies are at least an inch apart.  They will feel loose, but don’t worry.  They will bind as the sugar melt during cooking.

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10-15 minutes or until edges are browned.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

Dip in melting chocolate, if using.  Store up to 1 week in fridge.

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I may not blog again until after Christmas… resting and enjoying the season is a glorious thing.  Happy Holidays!

What are your favorite Christmas Cookies?

Do you like coconut or chocolate better?  Both?

 

Touring Atlanta + Sizzlefish Holiday Giveaway

Staying in town can feel like a vacation.

 

Not quiiiiite like going to Tahiti… but you know.

This weekend Sarah graced me with her presence.  She drove in Monday night from Birmingham and we spent the next 2.5 days touring rainy Atlanta.  It’s fun to entertain out-of-towners because you get to see your city in a whole new way!

Sarah arrived Friday afternoon with cookies in hand.  She shared the Vegan Carob Peach Fudge Cookies from her #strangebutgood post Friday.  They were the perfect appetizer before we headed to dinner.  We did so much I have to break it up into 2 posts.  Today is the “doing,” and the Atlanta food tour will happen Wednesday.

Sarah cookies

 

Saturday morning we hit my gym for a glute workout.  Check out this IG video for a taste of what we did.  Sarah hung like a champ!  She’s a natural.

After a solid hour of hard work, I told Sarah she was ready to compete… so we practiced a pose (this is why I don’t do bikini):

Sarah, Toisha, me posing

 

Naturally this had to be followed with a trip to Buford Highway to shop the massive international farmer’s market, where we met up with Sarena.  We were there for 2 hours… only a food-friend can understand how grocery shopping is an entertaining sightseeing activity.

I had told Sarah how cheap it is, but she was still shocked at how little her market finds were!  The new-to-me treats this time were a Ponkan orange and some sort of Korean puffed rice crackers.  I also found a giant bag of my favorite Chimes peanut butter ginger chews!

Buford Farmer's Market

 

That market is massive – it’s like the size of Wal-Mart.  You can browse an entire aisle of Mexican hot sauces, or sample baklava at the Easter European bakery or peruse greens you’ve never heard of before. Watching my friend wander around filled with wonder at all the international delights was the best part of my weekend.

Sarah left yesterday.  After trying to convince her to stay, I sent her on her way in true blogger fashion – with a to-go container of protein oatmeal. More to come later in the week… I need to leave room to tell you about an amazing giveaway!

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I have been obsessed with Sizzlefish ever since I had the opportunity to try a box via Fitfluential.  The fish is delicious – it surprised me how fresh it tastes despite being frozen.

Last week I pulled out a piece of the salmon to cook when I was short on groceries.  It thawed while I was at work, so all I had to do when I got home was squeeze some lemon juice, dill, and pepper on top before broiling it for 7 mins.  Easy dinner!

Sizzlefish Salmon

So what’s in it for you?

The awesome people at Sizzlefish agreed to do a special holiday giveaway!  Not only will you win a box of this Holiday Sampler (worth $59!), but they will also send a box as a gift to a person of your choosing!  Feel free to pick me. ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I’m a little sad it rained all weekend – I wanted to take Sarah on a walking tour!  From the looks of it, everyone else had rain or snow too.  Bring on the sunshine!

What is your favorite fish?

Do you consider grocery shopping a form of entertainment/tourism?

 

Sriracha. The New Pumpkin.

I’m ahead of the “trendy” curve.

 

This is a first.

According to this article, sriracha may be the new pumpkin.  Many of you saw the chips.  They have now gone so far as to turn it into a vodka flavor.

sriracha vodka

 

Why does EVERYTHING good need to be turned into vodka?  I like a good drink, and I admit that a sriracha Bloody Mary sounds good… but PB&J?  Really?

The point was going to be that I like sriracha before it was cool.  Before the pumpkin obsession.  Before even the bacon obsession.  So there.  Pass me a pumpkin-bacon-sriracha martini.  

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This WIAW felt like it was going to be “meh” after a rushed food prep.  Looking back it didn’t turn out too badly.  I’m pressed for time, but having quick proteins has helped – on busy weeks I rely on no-salt deli turkey and rotisserie chicken.  With a few simple flavor adds, semi-homemade tastes pretty good!   WIAWbuttonRead on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else delicious creations!… 

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Strange But Good: My Favorite Things

3 years is a long time.

3rd Birthday

This blog is my longest commitment.  Kidding… sort of.

In 3 years, I have learned a LOT!  I didn’t have a clear vision outside of “food” when I began.  I was playing roller derby, drinking a lot of beer with the occasional side of Waffle House, and trying to be a runner.  3 years later, I no longer play derby, I don’t run half as much as I did, and I’ve competed in 2 figure competitions (with 2 more just a month away – eep!).  I also drink less beer, and am about 15 pounds lighter.  Waffle House still happens after every figure competition though. ;)

#strangebutgood #yolkporn

 

In the beginning, no one read my blog except my mom.  Now more people read and my mom doesn’t.  I remember my first comment from a stranger.  It was from Tina – I was so excited!!!  3 years late, I’m honored today to call her a friend.  I’m honored to call a LOT of my favorite bloggers friends.  This is an inspiring, motivated community full of diversity, humor, and FUN.

End mush.  Begin giveaway.

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On the last day of my Blogiversay Favorite Things week of giveaways, I wanted to share ALL the things!  Rather than giving you a #strangebutgood recipe, I’m giving you things to make your own strangeness!

Sprint 2 the Table Favorite Things

 

I am sooooo excited about this.  Trying new things is a sport to me, so hopefully I’ll be able to share something new with one of you!

Some things aren’t so much strange as they are staples, or representative of things I love.  Other items are in the pile because people are always asking where I get ingredients (I’ll be your dealer!).

 

Favorite Things

  1. House of Payne tank top – This is from my gym!  The shirt is this style (it’s a small, but I can check if you need M or L).  I love Steve Payne and his crew.  Check them out here.
  2. Peanut Flour – You all know I am having an intense love affair with this stuff.  I like it better than PB2 (and others) because it’s less processed.  The only ingredient is peanuts (no preservatives, sodium, sugar, etc).  If you don’t win it, you can order your own from iHerb.  Use discount code USO924 for $5-10 off your order!
  3. Flavors - There are SO many ways you can flavor your food without salt, sugar, and other unhealthy things!  These are a few of my favorites:

 

Favorite Things 2

  1. Treats - These aren’t exactly the picture of healthy, but when I’m feeling snacky they sure hit the spot!  And they aren’t the worst things in the world.  Everyone knows and loves Quest bars.  The Brownie is my favorite (cut in squares and baked for 10 min on 350).  Vega’s Savi Seeds are a crunchy-salty satisfier.  Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cup… I don’t  think I need to explain this deliciousness.  Lastly, my favorite gum.  I cannot workout without it!  Extra seems to be the longest lasting.
  2. Burdock Root Crisps – I have no idea what this is.  I got them to represent my love of the international farmer’s market and trying new things.  Let me know how they are! ;)
  3. Cherry-Flavored Dried Cranberries – I cannot stand dried fruit.  Except for these funky-flavored things. Specifically, I love them in my…

 

granola-cookie

Granola Cookies!  Old picture because I haven’t made them yet… I will ship you a fresh batch.  They can be made vegan and/or gluten-free upon request.

 

Thanks for helping me celebrate this week! Don’t forget the giveaway for my favorite protein powder, Growing Naturals, is still open through the weekend too
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


***

I'll take a break from giveaways and get back to recipes next week.  In the mean time, check out the Strange But Good link ups!

What would you try first out of this bag of my favorite schwag? Hee hee. I rhymed.

If you were going to send a box to someone that represents you, what would you include?

 

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies [Recipe]

Let me apologize in advance.

#sorryimnotsorry

If you make these cookies, you won’t be able to stop at one.  They don’t hide any veggies.  They aren’t healthy… unless you count the partial sugar substitute.  They are addictingly good.  You will brave salmonella to eat the batter.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

So what makes these cookies strange?  Booze.  It doesn’t have to just be for drinking; it also makes a tasty cookie!  Who knew?!

The bourbon isn’t strong here; it merely adds a hint of caramel and enhances the vanilla in the cookie.  I used Four Roses, which is a lighter, almost fruity bourbon.  

No bourbon? You could use Frangelico or another liqueur.  Or you could leave it out… if you’re crazy.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bourbon aside, this is a classic chocolate chip cookie.  They are a teensy bit under-baked, resulting in a decadent, doughy center.  Get your cold glass of (almond) milk ready.

There are some specific instructions.  Don’t skip them.  Browned butter will elevate any dessert recipe you make to a whole new level.  Be patient and let the dough chill in the fridge.  It helps with spreading and allows the flavors to come together making an even more irresistible cookie.

Tall cookie dough scoops

Tall cookie dough scoops

If you want a healthy dessert, check out these Granola Cookies or these Chocolate Avocado cookies.  If you have one of those weeks where you need to get down and dirty to treat yourself, do it with boozy cookies.

Why the treats this week?  I quit my job and started a new one.  It’s a good thing.  I will miss my old team, but this job is more in-line with what I want to be when I grow up (in the world of marketing/product management).  Changing jobs is scary and exciting all at once…. but it’s already clear to me that I made the right choice!

I deserve a cookie.

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Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2.25 C (280 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 C (1.5 sticks or 170 grams) salted butter, browned
  • 3/4 C (150 grams) dark brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 C (100 grams) xylitol (or sugar)
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 T bourbon (I used Four Roses)
  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chunks)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat browned butter and sugars together.  Beat in the egg, followed by the egg yolk.  Add the vanilla and bourbon.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together.  The dough will be very soft.  Don’t worry.

Fold in the chocolate chips.  Cover the dough and chill for at least an hour, or overnight.  *Do not skip this step*

When ready to bake, heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper .

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll the dough into balls (~1 heaping tablespoon each).  Shape them into tall balls to help them bake up to be thick.  Place them on the lined cookies sheets with ~1 inch of space between (they will spread).

Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes.  Don’t bake them any longer!!!  They should look soft and under-baked.  Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.  They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet.

*Note: Room temperature egg/egg yolks are best for even disbursement.

Inspired by Sally’s Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)

***

“The difference between a success and a failure is that a failure runs away from his fears while successful people run towards their fears.”

Have you ever quit a job?  It’s the most nerve-wracking thing to do!

What is your favorite decadent cookie?