Chewy Granola Cookies

Some might call these Oatmeal Cookies.

 

 

Yup – I’m finally posting the recipe for these lovelies I mentioned on WIAW last week.

These Granola Cookies aren’t as sweet as yer mamma’s cookie, and the goji berries makes me think of granola rather than oatmeal.  You can call them whatever you want.  At under under 100 calories, I call them awesome.

 

 

These chewy cookies have a hint of molasses-y sweetness from the brown sugar.  Walnuts add a great crunch, and I loved the punch of cinnamon.  The whole wheat flour and oatmeal make them more filling than a “typical” cookie.

If you use the flax egg and Earth balance, these make a terrific vegan treat.  Plus, you can eat the batter without fear of Salmonella (as if that’s ever stopped me before…).

 

 

Tasty crumbled atop Greek yogurt for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or dipped in milk for dessert. They also freeze really well.

Recipe at end.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Weekly Fitness Recap

My knee is still jacked, but I’m keeping up with the modified Mile-a-Day Challenge.  I went to kickboxing (like I was told NOT to) and that really didn’t help matters.  Oops.

 

 

I did a lot of P90X this week.  Then caught wind of Body Rock “Fit Test” to begin their 30 days of fitness.  I took it and am going to make an effort to do these workouts fairly regularly and see how I progress with another fit test at the end!

Workout Recap (1/9 – 1/15)

  • Monday - P90X Biceps/Back, 1 mile run
  • Tuesday – Ab Ripper X, Elliptical (intervals), 100 push-ups
  • Wednesday - P90X Tris/Chest, Stationary bike (intervals)
  • Thursday - Kickboxing, 10 mins StairMaster (intervals)
  • Friday - This BodyRock, Stationary bike (intervals), 100 push-ups
  • Saturday – P90X Core Synergistics100 jumping jacks
  • Sunday – Elliptical (intervals), 100 push-ups

__________________________________________________________________________________

granola-cookie

Chewy Granola Cookies

  • 1/4 C (1/2 stick) butter or Earth Balance, softened
  • 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 C xylitol (or other sugar-substitute)
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 3 T water), or 1 regular egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 C rolled oats
  • 1/4 C goji berries (or raisins)
  • 1/2 C walnuts, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, applesauce, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, goji berries and walnuts.

Scoop cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheet leaving ~2 inches between. Bake them for 10-12 mins, until golden. Let sit on baking sheet for ~5 mins before transferring to a rack to cool.

Makes 24 cookies.

Approximate nutrition: 74 calories, 2.6g fat, 12.2g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 3.1g sugar, 1.3g protein.

***

It’s another week of travel – very conducive to rockin’ out some Body Rock.

Do you like super-sweet desserts or something more savory?

Have you done the Body Rock Fit Test?  What did you think?

 

Starting Off 2012 Right

Notice anything new?

 

Look up… there’s gullible written on the ceiling.

I kid.  Look at the top of the screen.  I have a new HEADER!!!

 

The amazing, talented, and hilarious Holly @ The Healthy Everythingtarian designed it for me.  If you don’t already read her blog, then you should start.  She is a great writer and makes some of the most yummy-looking food on the web.

 

In addition to the new header starting my 2012 off right, I did a couple of other things to kick off the New Year:

Dinner with some of my best friends

 

 

An awesome drink

(ok, a few awesome drinks…)

Blind Eye - mezcal, raspberry syrup, cynar, lemon, and cava

 

 

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffin with Peanut Butter “Icing” for Breakfast

(click here for recipe)

 

Peanut Butter Icing

  • 1 T peanut four
  • Splash unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

 

12K run for 2012

 

Green Smoothie

 

Banana Avocado Smoothie

  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 C spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp Maca
  • 1 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4-5 drops liquid stevia
  • Ice + Water, to taste

 

_________________________________________________________________________

Remember when I said I’m not a Resolution-maker?

 

I lied a little… I set 5 goals for 2011:

  1. Run another Half Marathon – Check!
  2. Work on my fitness, focusing on nutrition and building muscle – Check-ish.  There was a little holiday indulgence and I only made it to a 2 pack.
  3. Develop more original recipes – Check!
  4. Surround myself with good people – Check!  I have the best friends. :)
  5. Advance at work – Check!  I was accepted into a leadership program and exceed my goals for 2011.

 

Writing down goals DOES work – I hit all 5 (with those small exceptions).

 

In 2012 I just want to start off with this in mind:

 

_________________________________________________________________________

Last week was a little crazy with the unexpected travel, but I managed to squeeze in 6 days of workouts.  I started 2012 with a 12K run.  Doing it in kilometers was a little cheat… but I can’t just bust out 12 miles like Matt. ;)  I was pleasantly surprised at how good it felt since I haven’t been running.  My pace was even good at a 7:37 min/mile average.

Workout Recap (12/26 – 1/1)

  • Monday - TRX suspension class, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday - This BodyRock, Elliptical – 45 mins, 100 push-ups
  • Wednesday – Rest, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday - Kickboxing, TRX
  • Friday - Tris/Chest
  • Saturday – Kickboxing, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday – 12K run (in honor of 2012), 100 push-ups

***

I’m looking forward to a kick ass 2012!

How did you start off the new year?

What are you most looking forward to this month?

 

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal + WIAW

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

 

This was the drama club’s “quote” in high school.  You know, the one that everyone had written some where.  I think there is even a video of the club reciting it in unison post-curtain call.

Yes, I was a drama dork.  Not the cool kind that was the lead in musicals.  I did make up backstage.  Secretly, I wished I could act.

 

Having given up on drama (as an art and a personality trait I avoid like the plague), on Jenn’s infamous What I Ate Wednesday I use this quote in reference to breakfast.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Breakfast:

A breakfast soooo good I didn’t want to take the last bite because that would mean it was over.

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal is by far my new favorite winter breakfast.  It was like having dessert for breakfast.  If only I’d had marshmallows on hand to top it off properly!

Recipe at the end!

Lunch:

In preparation for the Christmas party catering gig this weekend, I’m focusing on making as much room as possible in my fridge and freezer.

No grocery shopping.  Eating frozen meals and cookie muffin creations to clear freezer space.  Thai food.

Lunch today was a Chicken Enchilada Evol Bowl.  It wasn’t too bad – especially with the Tabasco I “borrowed” from the office fridge.

The bowl microwaved evenly and wasn’t as salty as many frozen meals out there (just over 500).  They used corn tortillas - far superior to flour, IMHO - making it gluten-free.

 

I remembered a pic just in time!

 

Speaking of salt, did you hear that the FDA is considering putting a limit on the amount of salt restaurants use?  Apparently the average American eats 11 CUPS of salt in a year.  Gross.

 

Dinner:

Next to my kickboxing gym there is danger a Whole Foods.  As a treat I sometimes stop in after class for a Hot Bar  Trash Can (a hodge podge of food that exemplifies my inability to choose just one or 2 thing from any menu).

 

I know it included kale-apple saladsweet potato-cashew hash, buffalo-garlic tofu, seitan in some tasty red sauce, eggplant-zucchini-asparagus-onions in another tomato sauce, bowtie pasta, ancient grains, lemon-roasted carrot slices (these were REALLY good)… and a ritual… I always reserve a little corner spot for a teensy scoop of that glorious iced chocolate brownie.

 

Snacks:

I only managed pics of 2 of today’s snacks.

Multi-Green Kombucha on the drive in to work.

 

 

Late-night chocolate chip cookie and almond milk (see earlier remark regarding the necessity of clearing out my freezer).

 

Unpictured: peanuts (I eat like I’m on a plane even when I’m not), Pure Protein bar, coffee, and a pre-workout FRS drink (which I swear does work!).

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal

  • 1/2 C oatmeal (I used Bob’s Mill gluten-free)
  • 1/2 C unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (a la So Delicious)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 T sweet potato puree 
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds (optional)

 

Cook the oats according to package instructions, adding spices and extract once boiling.  

When almost done (1-2 mins to go), add sweet potato and chia seeds.  Taste (careful not to burn your mouth like I did) and adjust flavors as needed.

Topping ideas: pecans, walnuts, marshmallows, maple syrup, brown sugar

Makes 1 serving.

***

Most of today’s pics were tricked-out thanks to my new love – Instagram.

What is your favorite photo app?  Do share!

Do you concern yourself with salt intake?

 

Will Work for Cookies

Just call me Cookie.  Monster.

 

 

 

Participating in the 1st Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen turned out to be a genius move.

I received 3 dozen of some of the most delicious cookies of the season.  All I had to do in return was mail out 3 dozen of my own.

 

The cookie recipe I used was based on my favorite Chocolate Sea salt Cookies.  More on that later.  

Here are the goods I received:

1. Neiman Marcus Cookies

 

 

Have you guys ever heard the urban legend about the women who was charged $250 by Neiman Marcus for their cookie recipe?  The story goes the she sought revenge by widely distributing the recipe.

Thank god she did, because the result was my receiving 12 of them from Erin @ Adventures in Pigging Out.  They almost didn’t get photographed before my friend and I massacred the bag.

 

 

2. Rosemary Shortbread

 

 

These herb-y rounds were made for me by Elizabeth @ Big Body, based on a recipe by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks fame.  These also included candied walnuts on top that not only looked gorgeous, but they also tasted like… errr… candy. :)

I was especially excited to try these because I make my own rosemary-lemon cookies, recipe here.  You can bet I’ll add nuts as a topping in the next version!

 

 

3. Ginger Cookies

 

 

Heidi’s recipes were popular this year!  The second 101 Cookbooks recipe dozen I received was her Ginger Cookies made by Val @ Tofu Surprise.  These are a chewier cookie due to the molasses in the recipe and not too sweet.  Per Val’s suggestion in her note, these were perfect with tea (as well as a holiday-spiced beer).

______________________________________________________________________________________

Now for my contribution.  I took my original Chocolate Sea Salt Cookie recipe and tweaked it, using cashews rather than almonds and subbing toffee for some of the chocolate chips.  I was amazed by how different the end result was.

 

 

The textures were totally different.  The original is a softer, more fudge-like cookie.  This version produced a chewier version – almost reminiscent of a brownie!  I think the toffee was responsible for the chewiness and the cashews for the fact that they spread more.

 

 

I wish I’d had more time to experiment further, but these had to SHIP.  If you like a chewy cookie, you will enjoy this version.  I prefer a cake-y cookie, so if I’m being honest… I like the originals better.

Either way, their sweet + salty combination is unbeatable in my book.  Who doesn’t love salt with their cashews?!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Before I give the recipe… let’s talk about how I worked off the bajillion cookies I have been eating last week.  First up I tried something new – Body Rock!  I had been ignoring all the “hype” but now I’m hooked.  In about 10 mins my butt was kicked.

Speaking of kicking, I have re-kindled my love for kickboxing.  I couldn’t get enough this week.  Good thing since I’ve been stead-fast in my commitment to not running.

 

Workout Recap (12/5 – 12/11)

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Chocolate-Toffee Sea Salt Cookies

  • 1.5 C semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips/chopped bits, divided
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 C crushed cashews
  • 1/2 C toffee pieces
  • Fleur de sel


Place 1 C of chocolate chunks in a large bowl and melt in microwave (or over a double boiler if you’re fancy like that).  Stir in butter.

Whisk together eggs and vanilla extract.  Add brown sugar (take care to ensure there are no clumps), egg and vanilla mixture to the chocolate mixture.  Stir until well-combined.

Sift together flour and baking powder.  Add flour to the chocolate mixture, stirring just until smooth.

Fold in remaining 1 C of chocolate and almonds.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.  Or place in freezer for 30 mins if you’re impatient like me.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With a spoon, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the dough on to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  If desired, gently flatten with the palm of your hand (I like mine better in “globs”).  Sprinkle with fleur de sel, patting lightly.

Bake for ~12-13 mins.  Allow to cool as best you can before devouring with an icy glass of milk.

***

This week is sure to involve a LOT more cookies cooking – I’m catering a party for 40 this weekend!

What is your “go to” cookie?

Have you tried Body Rock?  What’s your favorite one?

 

Pumpkin Protein Bars

Get “pumped” up.

Maybe not quiiiiite as pumped as Hans, Franz, and Arnold.

 

Weights are my winter my focus though.  When you are lifting weights, you need to take in enough protein to build muscle and achieve that toned look.  (Click here for more on Building Muscle/Protein Intake

Getting enough protein is sometimes hard to do on a diet that is plant-based.  No worries.  I baked my way to getting protein… and it even involves pumpkin!  Bonus: they are low sugar.

 

 

These pumpkin bars are easy to make – just one bowl and you’re done.  They are extremely moist (thank you, pumpkin).  If you like a more “cake-like” bar, just add more flour.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that the bars freeze really well.  Unbelievably, I think they got even better post-freeze with a quick 20 seconds in the microwave.

 

 

I cut mine up in to pretty small squares.  I did the nutritionals for one square, but I eat 2 at a time.  That’s 5g of protein for 100 calories and <3g of sugar.  Perfect for a little pre-workout fuel.

Recipe at the bottom!

______________________________________________________________________________________

My ankle has been jacked up (yep, that’s the technical term) since the Thanksgiving Half Marathon so I’ve been loyal to my commitment not to run. :)  Of course, since I can’t run I really WANT to go for a run.  *sigh*

I did try something new this week – spinning!  I did it once before in high school and my butt was so sore after I swore I’d never do it again.  10-ish years later, the pain is butt a memory (haha) and I got back in the saddle.  It was so much fun!  The hour flew by – we had sing-a-longs, did “hill” intervals, sprinted it out, and did something called jumps.  I can’t wait to do it again!

 

Workout Recap (11/28-12/4)

  • Monday – 30 mins stationary bike intervals, Biceps/Back, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – My Favorite Intervals, Ab Ripper X, 100 push-ups 
  • Wednesday – Tris/Chest/Abs with trainer, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday - 100 Workout, Kickboxing 
  • Friday - Shoulders, Bike intervals, 100 push-ups
  • Saturday – Spinning, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday – Elliptical intervals (1 hour!), Glutes, 100 push-ups

 ______________________________________________________________________________________

 

Pumpkin Protein Bars

Adapted from this Jamie Eason LiveFit Recipe.

  • 1/4 C xylitol
  • 1/4 C NuNaturals Baking Fiber Blend
  • 1 – 4 oz. jar baby food prunes
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 C pumpkin puree (or 1 can)
  • 1 C quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 C chickpea flour
  • 1/4 C coconut flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup almond milk

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare large Pyrex (9 x 13).

Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Spread evenly in pyrex and bake for 20-25 mins.

Makes 26 squares.

Note: You could use apple sauce or date paces in place of the prunes.

Approximate nutrition per square: 50 calories, 0.7g fat, 9.6g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 2.5g protein

***

I have a case of the Mondays.

Do you spin?

What is your favorite thing to eat before and after a good workout?

 

Grateful Thanksgiving

Grateful as in Grateful Dead.

 

I had a post-race “Friendsgiving” at one of my favorite local restaurants – Rosebud.  How is that related to the Dead?  Rosebud is named for one of Jerry Garcia’s guitars, the one he played in his last show in July of 1995.

A celebratory glass of sparkling with our (now empty) app plates

 

Ron Eyester, the chef and owner, put together one incredible (and HUGE) Thanksgiving feast.

We began with an appetizer consisting of Pimento Cheese, Trail Mix, Smoked Trout Pate, Housemade Pickled Vegetables, and crackers dusted with something spicy (cayenne?).  The Pimento Cheese was our favorite, with the trail mix in a close second (I love those wasabi things).  The Trout Pate was the only miss of the meal.

 

Next up was the main event.  The way the special menus worked you could choose Sage, Apple & Honey Roasted Turkey or Housemade Berkshire Ham with Mexican Coke Glaze.  Then you chose 3 sides from a list of 12.  There were 3 of us at lunch, which meant we could try all but 3 sides.  And so we did.

I chose the turkey with Brioche & Herb Stuffing (yes it was as good as it sounds), Cider & Maple Braised Brussels, and Red Wine & Balsamic Braised Mushrooms.  It was all wonderful.  The stuffing bordered on being bread pudding – a good thing in my book!  Turkey has never been my cup o’ tea, but Ron’s turkey was nearing perfection.  Not the least bit dried out and perfectly flavored.  I loved the sage!

 

Carla’s also chose the turkey and brussels, but ordered the Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes and Baby Carrots with Fennel, Citrus, and Cardamom.  The carrots were one of my favorite sides; they were left fairly crisp and the hints of fennel and citrus made for a fun flavor.

 

Corinne chose the ham.  It was good, but I’m glad I didn’t get it.  A little too sweet as a main for my taste, but if you like honey-baked ham you would love it.  Her sides included the Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Ginger & Sweet Chili, Green Beans with Fresh Garlic and Sea Salt, and Mexican Coke Braised Local Greens with Smoked Ham Bone.  I don’t even know how to choose a favorite.  Maybe the beans?!  I really appreciated how they kitchen left the veggies with some bite rather than cooking them to the point of soggy (all too often the case).

 

Since all of this clearly wasn’t enough food, Ron sent us a plate of the 3 sides we didn’t order (he really is the nicest angry chef in ATL).  Our last 3 tastes:  Mac n’ Cheese, Duck Fat & Thyme Fingerling Potatoes, and Truffled Cream Corn.  The mac and cheese was done with Tillamook Cheddar and couldn’t have been more delicious.  We all agreed the corn was also pretty amazing – and none of us are big on creamed corn!

 

Everyone had a favorite potato – I don’t know if he did it on purpose, but Ron offered the 3 major potato “types” so there was something for everyone.  I was all about the whipped sweet potatoes.

 

My favorite course is always last – dessert!  Chocolate Tart, Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries, Salted Browned Butter Cookies, and Apple Cake with Cardamom Cream.  I love chocolate… but those cookies are my favorite.  I’m convinced he puts crack in them.

 

A “Friendsgiving” lunch at Rosebud was the perfect race recovery meal.  But I had to get home to make the treat you saw in Friday’s post to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck dinner (big revel tomorrow… suspense, I know).  Because one gluttonous holiday meal is never enough. ;)

______________________________________________________________________________________

Speaking of gluttony… it’s Monday recap time.

Last week brought 2 big accomplishments – the Thanksgiving Half Marathon and I did my 100 push-ups EVERY DAY.  That’s 700 push-ups last week!!!  3 accomplishments if you count the fact that I took TWO rest days.

Looking ahead, I’m ready cut back on the running for a while.  My focus will be more on weights and kickboxing – just in time for the arrival of more winter-like weather (I can’t stand to run in the cold).

 

Workout Recap (11/21-11/27)

  • Monday – 30 mins stationary bike intervals, Biceps/Back, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – 2 mile run, 2 mile walk, 100 push-ups 
  • Wednesday – Tris/Chest, Ab Ripper X, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday - Half Marathon, 100 push-ups 
  • Friday 100 push-ups
  • Saturday – 2 mile walk, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday – Kickboxing, 100 push-ups

***

 I promise some healthier foods are coming… after tomorrow dessert post!

Have you ever eaten your Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant?

Do your workouts change in the winter months?

 

Red Wine Cake Balls

Chocolate and red wine were born to be paired together.

Like peas and carrots.

 

Last week I wrote a post with the following “mystery” picture and asked you to guess what it was.

It wasn’t cranberry sauce!

It was red wine!  The above reduction was used in the red wine icing below.

 

After making Sparkling (Wine) Cake Balls, it dawned on me that red wine would also make a tasty dessert.

Rolled out and ready to dip in chocolate

 

Red wine and dark chocolate are one of life’s little pleasures.

 

When I drink half a bottle a glass with dinner, I often save a sip or two to enjoy with a chocolate-y dessert.  The tannins and notes of dark fruit possessed by bigger reds (think Cabernet and Zinfandel) bring out the bittersweet richness of dark chocolate.

 

A few rules of thumb for pairing chocolate and wine:

  • The darker the chocolate, the bolder the wine (ex: Riesling with white chocolate Cabs with dark)
  • Never choose a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment; there are no “rules” – everyone’s palate is different
  • Branch out!  Port, sherry, and sparkling wine pair exceptionally well with chocolates

 

 

Now that the seriousness is out of the way, let’s talk balls.

Admittedly, the process of making chocolate red wine cake balls isn’t quite as “easy” as the Sparkling Cake Balls.  The extra effort is well-worth it though.

 

These balls were actually inspired by a kitchen fail.

I decided to try out Smitten Kitchen’s Red Wine Chocolate Cake.  It came out dry on the bottom with a thin top layer that was too moist – weird!  I had just been rolling Sparkling Cake Balls and had already made this red wine frosting from Sprinkle Bakes, so it was a sort of happy realization that cake balls were the only way to save the cake.

The result was a fantastically fruit-forward, fudge-like cake ball.  #winning

 

These will be making an appearance on my Thanksgiving dessert table and in heavy holiday-party rotation.

You could try to make a simpler cake with the boxed cake + booze method I used here with the Sparkling Wine Cake Balls or here with the S’mores Brownies; however, I’m not sure it will work without the carbonation.  If you try it, let me know!  Bonus points if you also use boxed wine. :)

“Recipe” after the weekly recap…

______________________________________________________________________________________

Running slowed this week in anticipation of the Thanksgiving Half, but I amped up the weights.  I’m noticing a lot of progress in my shoulders and legs.  The 100 Workout is going to be a staple in my rotation – it’s a great workout to do when you only have a few minutes in the morning!

 

Workout Recap (11/14-11/20)

  • Monday – 30 mins stationary bike intervals, Shoulders/Glutes, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – 4 mile run, Ab Ripper X, 100 push-ups 
  • Wednesday – Kickboxing100 Workout
  • Thursday - 30 min core class, Body Pump, 100 push-ups 
  • Friday - 5K run100 push-ups
  • Saturday - 45 min full-body workout with trainer, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday – 8 mile run

______________________________________________________________________________________

Red Wine Chocolate Cake Balls*

  • 1 red wine chocolate cake
  • 1/2 C red wine icing
  • 8 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • Sprinkles

 

Preheat oven to 325.

Prepare chocolate cake according to the Red Wine Chocolate Cake recipe here.  Bake ~20 mins and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare red wine icing according to instructions for this red wine frosting from Sprinkle Bakes.

Crumble the cooled cake into a large bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of frosting and stir to combine (feel free to use your hands).

Roll into balls approximately 1T in size.  Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet and allow to firm up in the fridge.  Once chilled, melt chocolate and dip cake balls until covered.  Dust/roll in sprinkles, if desired, before chocolate hardens.  Return to refrigerator on wax paper lined cookie sheet to harden.

Makes ~ 30 balls.

Note: The red wine I used was a 2008 California blend called The Sum from Seventy-Five.  

***

I tried to make the cake one more with the same result (maybe the wine is too drying?).  No sadness – when life hand you dried cake, roll with the punches ball-style.

What was your last kitchen fail?

Have you tried the 100 Workout?

 

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

6666 Miles.

 

That’s how many miles I earned last month on Delta.  Should I be concerned?!  LOL!

Also, there appears to be a tread of rocking chair in airports.  The above is in St. Louis.  I’ve also spotted them in Charlotte.  Weird – more so for St. Louis than Charlotte, I think.

 

 

No blogging for the weekend.  Saturday was a busy day – I drove up to see my stylist and get a new ‘do for Italia.

 

It’s red.  It’s shorter than I’ve ever had it (I usually keep some length in the front).  I LOVE it.  I love my stylist, Karen.

 

Karen is the owner of Lava Hair Salon.  She used me in a couple of ads than ran recently!

 

The thing about red dye is that it runs if you get your hair wet too soon after getting it done.  Today I took it upon myself to serve as a warning for those of you who are planning to go red.

 

6 mile run post-dye job.  I looked like I just killed someone.  No wonder people were staring as I ran by!  LOL!

 

 

I also spent some QT with my credit card.  While I was at the outlet mall, I HAD to buy a new Coach bag for the trip…

 

Did you celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day this weekend?

In honor of this very special day I want to profess my love for a new (to me) product:

Pirate’s Booty.  Veggie flavor.

 

How did it take me so long to try this?!

____________________________________________________________________________________

Not quite as many days on the road, but I did take a rest day.  Those late-night flights make it hard to fit a workout in! Plus my body was feeling a little road-weary.

 

Workout Recap (9/12-9/18)

  • Monday – 3 mile run, Biceps/Back, 6 min plank sequence, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – 100 push-ups
  • Wednesday - Kickboxing, Legs
  • Thursday – 5 mile run, Ab Ripper X100 push-ups
  • Friday – Tris/Chest (click link for the workout!), 6 min plank sequence100 push-ups
  • Saturday – 6 mile run, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday - 6 mile run, Ab Ripper X, 100 push-ups

***

Get ready for some “use everything before I leave” cooking this week!

What was the best part of your weekend?

What’s the craziest color you’ve ever had your hair?

 

Give Yourself the Shakes

Normally having the shakes is a bad thing.

 

Last week I got them in a good way (as opposed to the “Imma kill Mr. Cuervo” way) from a weight routine.

 

It’s no secret that arms are my love.  Biceps used to be my favorite part to work, but recently I’m really into triceps.

Particularly this workout.  The best part?  You can do it anywhere that has free weights and a bench.  Translation: I can do this in basically any hotel across America.

 

Don’t be afraid to push yourself on the amount of weight you lift.  Don’t hurt yourself, but you do need to challenge your muscles in order to gain.  No, you won’t end up looking like Hulk… people spend YEARS trying.

 

I’ve also been more vigilant about rest time between moves.  I was a skeptic, but I’ve honestly noticed a difference since taking the proper break time between sets – both in form and development.

 

As you do the bench exercises, make sure to keep your back straight and feet firmly planted on the floor.  Also be sure to keep your core tight.  This will keep it engaged, giving you added benefit.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Chest

1. Plyometric Push-Ups

 

Do a regular push-up (be sure to use proper form), but when you lower to the ground explode back up so that your hands leave the ground.  Bonus points if you can clap in between.

Don’t be afraid to do these from your knees if you need to.

  • Sets: 2
  • Reps: 5-8
  • Rest: 30 seconds

 

2. Bench Press with Dumbbells*

Be sure to bring the dumbbells down low, concentrating on the bottom portion of the movement and then come up hard.

 

 

*I did these as a rest-pause on the last set.  Meaning, I did the max reps I could, rested the weights on my chest for ~20 seconds, then did as many additional reps as I could.

  • Sets: 2
  • Reps: 8-10
  • Rest: 1 minute

 

3. Incline Bench Press with Dumbbells**

Be sure to push the dumbbells straight up until your arms are fully extended (without locking elbows).  Fully lower weights back to the start position to complete each rep.

**You will do these as supersets with the next move.  Superset means you do NOT rest between the two moves.  Yuo rest after completing 1 set of BOTH.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6-8
  • Rest: Superset

 

**Superset**

 

4. Incline Flye

Keep your elbows bent slightly to avoid stressing your shoulders.  Slowly bring the weights down to your sides to complete a rep.

These are especially good for increasing range of motion and shaping pectorals (which makes your chest look.. ahem… nicer).

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 20
  • Rest: 1 minute

 

Triceps

1. Lying Extension with Dumbbells**

When above your head, the dumbbells should be positions such that your palms facing each other. As you bend your elbows to lower the weights, your upper arms should not move.  Lower the dumbbells until they are at either side of your head, pausing for a moment.  Lift weights back to the starting position to complete a rep.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15
  • Rest: Superset

 

**Superset**

 

2. Tri Pressdown

 

These are  my favorite.  Really focus on keeping your abs contracted here for a little extra core benefit.  Keep your elbows in toward your torso and really press palms down toward your thighs as you squeeze the triceps.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 20
  • Rest: 30 seconds

 

3. One-Arm Dumbbell Overhead Extension***

 

This is one of the best ways to tone arm “flab.”  Be sure to keep your upper arm stabilized as you bend at elbow to lower weight behind head.  As you straighten your arm to bring the weight back up,  squeeze back of arm to really work the muscle.

***These were done as drop sets.  I did the 15 reps, then dropped the weight by 5 lbs and did more rep until failure.  Then dropped the weight by another 5 lbs and completed reps until muscle failure again.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15
  • Rest: 1 minute

 

Post-arms I finished up with 15 minutes of ab work.  Adding P90X Ab Ripper X and hanging leg lifts gave me a solid hour workout… and left me shaking.  In a good way.

Don’t forget your 20g of protein post-workout!

 

Check out my Fitness page for more workouts and tips. :)

_________________________________________________________________________________

This was Thursday’s workout.  Here’s rest of what I did on the road last week:

 

Workout Recap (9/5-9/11)

  • Monday – 6.5 mile run, Shoulders, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – Biceps/Back, 6 min plank sequence, 100 push-ups
  • Wednesday - 4 mile run, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday - Tris/Chest, Ab Ripper X
  • Friday – 4.5 mile run, 100 push-ups
  • Saturday – Kickboxing
  • Sunday – 4 mile run, 3 mile run/walk, 6 min plank sequence, 100 push-ups

***

 2 days after doing this workout, my kickboxing instructor complimented my arms.  It made my day.

What’s your favorite way to exercise?

Do you have a favorite body part to work?  (Keep it clean! ;) )

 

A Nocturnal Weekend

My calf muscle survived the 5K!

Thanks everyone for the well-wishes!  I still don’t know what’s wrong with it, but I managed to finished the race in  23:14.

 

Stats:

  • Distance – 3.14 miles
  • Time – 23:14
  • Average Pace – 7:24

 

Despite my annoyance with myself, the Run for the Park was a great race.  Lee ended up running it too!

I crossed the line with the 1st place female in my age group (4th overall).  That’s so frustrating to me because I know if I’d just pushed 1 second faster…  but whatever.  The course wasn’t too hilly, but I was ridiculously sore from a kickboxing-filled week.  Because it makes soooo much sense to do that instead of run when your leg is hurt.  *rolls eyes*

 

Lee and I went our separate ways to get cleaned up before coming back to the park for the Corks and Forks Festival.

On the drive back, I saw a tree wearing a leg warmer.  Doesn’t that tree know it’s 95 degrees?!  #onlyinatlanta

A tree-warmer?

 

Corks and Forks was a blast.  Maybe a few too many corks were popped…

 

They had themed chandeliers that I would put in my home!  In case you ant make it out – those are wine bottles, ribbons, and forks stabbing corks.

 

We got to witness (and taste!) a steak-grilling competition.  I took some stealth bites photos of the judge’s steaks.

Contestant #1:

 

Contestant #2:

 

Contestant #3:

 

#2 and 3 were both REALLY good, but in the end my favorite won – #2!

It was grilled up by my favorite angry chef, Ron Eyester of Rosebud.  He topped it with local cherry tomatoes, parsley, and gorgonzola.

 

Corinne and I were so excited for our turn to sample, Lee could barely get a picture! :)

 

 

Normal people might end their day here.  We are not normal.

Corinne and I ate dinner (yes, after all that we still cleaned our plates) and headed to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals play and my favorite outdoor amphitheater.

 

They put on a GREAT show.  Grace has such a big voice and the energy was radiating from the stage.  If you ever have a chance to catch them in your town, I recommend it!

 

We didn’t feel like going home… but all I will tell you there was a pink flamingo involved.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Here’s the weekly recap.  I mentioned Saturday that I didn’t run all week due to calf pain.  Sunday I actually felt better and cranked out 7 miles!  Hopefully I won’t regret that later…

 

Workout Recap (8/22-8/28)

  • Monday – Biceps/Back, 6 Minute Plank Sequence, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – Kickboxing, plank sequence
  • Wednesday - P90X Kempo, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday - P90X Tris/Chest, Ab Ripper X
  • Friday – Kickboxing100 push-ups
  • Saturday – 5K, 30 mins legs/core, plank sequence, 100 push-ups 
  • Sunday – 7 mile run, 100 push-ups

***

So. Tired.  I had to fly out for the work week last night!

What was the best part of your weekend?

 Have you seen any good concerts lately?