Archive for September, 2011

Sometimes, peanut butter cookies just need to step up their game. I mean, I like them and all, but they are rather plain. Good, but plain.

My grandmother liked raw peanut butter cookie dough- she didn’t too much care for the baked cookie. On the other hand, peanut butter cookies were one of my grandfather’s favorites (not sure if he liked the dough though).

Sorry- I kinda got off track there.

So, I was starting to make peanut butter cookie dough, and opened my pantry for some inspiration. There, in front of me, was an unopened jar of chunky peanut butter. And next to that- chocolate chips! (ok, not really- they are in 2 separate cupboards, but it made the story sound good-right?!) Chocolate and peanut butter- I think most of us would agree that they are a good combination. I know I would! So, my plain peanut butter cookie dough got jazzed up a bit. I think you’ll like it!

Makes 36
Prep time: 10 minutes     Bake time: 10-13 minutes

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup crunchy/chunky peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large mixing bowl combine butter, sugars, and peanut butter. Mix until well combined. Add in eggs and stir. Add salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix well. Stir in flour till just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and set. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling racks to cool completely. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!

Made with love, not calories!

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This is my 1st race recap for the blog. And to tell you the truth, there will only be one more to follow. At least for this year.

See, I am a fair-weather runner. And I live in Ohio. I’m sure you understand. The weather is starting to turn (though it is 73 degrees today- Mother Nature is laughing at me), and I tend to bitch a lot when I run in colder weather.

Case in point…last year, in October, I ran a 1/2 marathon in Columbus, Ohio. It was in the mid 50’s that morning and I complained the WHOLE time we were waiting for the race to start. So, my goal for this race was to not bitch about the weather. I know- most runners have a finishing time goal. I had a goal for that too, and I’ll get to that in a minute. So, I am proud to say I did not complain about the cold. I sucked it up, and it ended up being beautiful running weather. I wore my skirt sport running skirt, and a long-sleeve shirt I received from running a half marathon in Disney.

Now, about my finishing time goal for the Akron half marathon. Those of you that have been following along with the step competition posts, know that my motivation hasn’t been the greatest recently. That has translated into not a whole lot of running time. I knew I could do this (I have already completed 3 half marathons this year), but I also knew it was not going to be my fastest race. I wanted to just enjoy myself, the run, the atmosphere, and to just finish.

The 1st mile went along smoothly. There wasn’t a great deal of dodging people that I normally have to do at the start of a race. I overheard a runner say that her little group were doing 3:1 intervals (3 minute run, 1 minute walk). I thought that sounded really doable for me. It would let me save my energy to get through the whole race comfortably. So that was what I did…3 minute run, 1 minute walk.

All was going well. The 1st text I sent Nick: “Just passed 6″. I had a twinge in my right knee, but nothing bad.
Next text: “I’ll be a while. My right IT band is bad. Passing 9 now.” At this point, I had dropped to a 2 minute run, 1 minute walk. Just wanted to keep moving.
Last text:  “11. I hurt. Boo”.   Mile 11 to 12 was all uphill- which was killing me. I walked quite a bit of this uphill section. Once it leveled a little, I went to a 1 minute run, 1 minute walk. And to be honest, it was all I could do to get through that 1 minute run. I did stop at the last medical tent, which was right after the mile 12 marker. Looking back now, I don’t know why I stopped. The lady stretched the IT band, but after this many miles, it was past the point of getting better after a 2 minute stretch. So, I wasted at least 2 minutes, that really didn’t make a difference to my knee. Anyways, I just wanted to be done. The last mile had wonderful crowd support, and I do have to say that I love having my name on my bib. Struggling through that last mile, to hear strangers call my name, and tell me to keep pushing. Reminding me that I am almost done and that I’m doing a good job.
I needed those encouraging words.

Rounding the corner, into the stadium, I was so happy to see that finish line! Limping, I crossed the finish line, with only a quick glance at the time. Nick was in the stands, right by the finish, so I was able to see him and give him a kiss. Then I needed to keep walking. I really liked the  finishing area set up. The finish line was at 1st base, then we walked to home plate, where we were given water. 2nd base, we were given our finishers medals, food, and Powerade. 3rd base, you could get your picture taken…then the runners could exit into the stands, where family and friends were seated. I circled back and met Nick, and we quickly left. I’m not one to stick around after I finish running (usually because I have a hotel to check out of!), and this was the fastest we have been able to find each other and get out of the crowd.

Overall, I am happy with my time. It wasn’t my fastest, but it wasn’t my slowest time. I am running the Columbus half marathon, in 3 weeks…I will definitely be wearing my knee braces for that!

And we're off!

One of the bands along the route

Along the Towpath

At the finish line! Photo courtesy of Nick.

Finishers medal

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4 Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

Ok- I lied.

Well, maybe not technically. See, you can make the cookies with only 4 ingredients. However, I add chocolate to my cookies and I don’t really count chocolate as an ingredient. To me, chocolate is kinda like salt, pepper, and water. You know, it’s one of those “freebie” ingredients. Well, at least it is for me. If you feel differently, go ahead and call them 5 ingredient pumpkin cookies. It won’t hurt my feelings. So there :-P

Anyways, these cookies are super easy to throw together. The recipe only makes a few cookies, so don’t feel bad when you eat them all! These have been my breakfast the last few days…I nibble on them all morning long. The cookies stay soft, so it’s almost like eating the edge of a pumpkin pie (without the crust).

4 (or 5) Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies
Makes 4 cookies
Prep time: 3 minutes     Bake time: 10 minutes

1 tablespoon nut butter (I use almond butter)
1 egg (remove the white chalaza– it gets rubbery when baked)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In small mixing bowl, combine nut butter, egg, pumpkin, and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Drop by  spoonful onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until set (you shouldn’t see any wetness). Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove cookies to cooling rack and cool completely.

Note: By omitting the chocolate chips, you have a gluten/grain free cookie (also works if you follow Paleo).

Cookie dough- so easy to mix together

Ready to be baked

All done- ready to be eaten!

Made with love, not calories!


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Week four…10,000 steps

Another week has flown by! We are nearing the end of our competition at work. We have 1 1/2 weeks left (we end on the 28th).

Danny won again! 258,548 steps…he’s like the Energizer Bunny!

While my numbers haven’t been as impressive as Danny’s (155,995 steps this week), I have been in second place every week (except for the 1st week, when I had the most steps). So, I guess I haven’t done all that badly.

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Photo Friday

Wake and Bacon, at Melt

Admiring the Saleen

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet, chewy coconut and smooth dark chocolate. Two flavors that taste good together.

Have you ever had a moment in which a food thought pops into your head (“Hmm, _____ sure would taste good right now”)? I had one of those moments yesterday. Driving in the car- I started thinking about a cookie that has coconut and chocolate in it. But I didn’t just want to throw the 2 ingredients into any dough. I wanted something different. Softer. Chewier. Not too sweet.

I think I figured it out.

These cookies are made with sweetened condensed milk in place of sugar, and that helps keep the cookie soft. The lightly toasted coconut on the top of the cookie adds a nice contrast in textures also.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 32 large cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes     Bake time: 10-12 minutes

1 cup butter, softened
1/ 2 cup brown sugar
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups + 1/2 cup shredded coconut, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk till combined. Stir in 2 cups coconut. Add in eggs and vanilla, mix well. Stir in salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add in flour and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a large ice cream scoop, place dough on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake 5 minutes and remove from oven. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of remaining coconut onto the tops of each cookie. Press down very lightly on the coconut (you are not trying to flatten the cookie, only making sure the coconut sticks). Return cookies to the oven and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until cookies are golden and set. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling racks and let cool completely.

5 minutes into baking-just added the coconut on top

Made with love, not calories!

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Week three…10,000 steps

Another week has come and gone in our company walking competition. While I did better during week 3, I am still lagging behind the number one guy. Yup, Dan won again. 270, 402 steps. That man is moving, ladies and gentlemen!

I had 212,234 steps. Not too shabby, but there is room for improvement. If I want a shot at the final prize, I need to make a serious effort for the next 2 weeks.

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