Monthly Archives: August 2016
Back-to-School Breakfast Cookies
Last year around this time, I was feeling very weird about my very first “back-to-school” season that I wouldn’t actually be going back to school. From preschool to college, I’d been in school from age 2 to 22! What was September without a new book bag and reading list?!
The first days are always so much fun. I’d put a little extra effort into picking out my outfit and my hair, show up to class a couple minutes early, scope out who to sit with. Because of my cross country and track schedules, I always had 8:00am classes. Easy breakfasts are a must; ain’t nobody got time for a perfectly-staged homemade acai bowl before class, no matter what Instagram says.
This breakfast recipe is perfect for meal prepping on the weekends because it’s basically just baking a couple batches of cookies. That never feels like a chore, and it makes your kitchen smell really good. Plus it makes plenty to share a couple if you’re trying to win over some new friends this semester. Win win. :)
I’ve seen Breakfast Cookies on Pinterest, which are basically homemade granola cookies similar to a Clif Bar or Larabar but with a few questionable ingredients. Shortening, white sugar, and canola oil aren’t exactly a nutritious way to start the day. My idea of a healthy breakfast cookie includes: little to no refined sugar, clean ingredients, some fiber and healthy fats. Also – must go well with coffee :)
So I decided to “healthify” the recipe, as I always tend to do….
These cookies are a peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cranberry nut cookie all rolled in the one. They’re sweetened with banana, natural applesauce, stevia and bit of coconut sugar. Their base is a hearty mixture of powdered peanut butter (PBFit), rolled oats, coconut flour, baking powder and cinnamon. I added in an egg and some vanilla, mixed with my trail mix toppings. One little disclaimer: they don’t rise or flatten in the oven. The shape you place them on the pan is the shape you are stuck with. They are DENSE little things!
PBFit Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Makes 18 small cookies
- 1 cup PBFit (a powdered peanut butter) mixed with 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 tbs. stevia
- 1 tbs. baking powder
- 1 tbs. cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs. vanilla
- Optional Mix-ins: almonds, dried cranberries, dried cherries, mini chocolate chips, pecan pieces, sunflower seeds, pepitas, etc.
1.) Mix together the dry ingredients: PBFit, oats, coconut flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
2.) In a separate bowl, mix together the banana, applesauce, egg, vanilla, and stevia.
3.) Stir the dry mix into the wet mix; add the mix-ins.
4.) Form the dough into 1 1/2″ balls, and press down to flatten slightly since they will not change shape in the oven.
5.) Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes, until the bottoms are a golden brown.
Peanut butter, oats, banana, chocolate, nuts….what more could you possibly need?! Using a powdered peanut butter cuts out about 85% of the fat content, but still adds that yummy nutty flavor and texture. Using a banana and applesauce is also a cleaner way to sweeten recipes without going straight to refined white sugar; they include some fiber which helps balance blood sugar and prevent spikes and drops.
These were fun little dense nutrient-packed bites, and I loved how “autumny” they turned out.
This morning, my dad needed a ride to the airport before the sun rose. We drove together listening to country music, and when I dropped him off I had an awkward amount of time to kill. Too little to go all the way back home, but too much to go straight to work. I had curled my hair, so obviously I wasn’t going to work out in the meantime. When he left, he handed me “coffee money” to go sit somewhere and have a cup of coffee in a coffee shop, which is precisely where I am blogging to you from right now. :)
Since the food menu here is limited to brownies, donuts, and a triple chocolate chunk cookie, I’m glad I brought my own little snack. We have some major fires going on up here which is making the whole town smell like a campfire. It’s not the best running conditions, but it does remind me of camping which makes me sad that summer is ending.
The traffic is getting busier as more people start heading to work and kids walk to school, so I better wrap this up :)
Let me know if you try this recipe, and what your favorite mix-ins are! Or tell me what your favorite school-morning recipe is/was. Happy Tuesday!
Post-Collegiate Racing Season: Competitive Athlete Vs. Recreational Runner
Did the Olympics spark that fire for your inner-competitor too? Obviously the highlight for me was the track events. I have so much respect for these world-class athletes, but I also know how much of a sacrifice they make to commit their life to a sport. Running is literally their job.
Now that I’m on the other side of the collegiate-athlete world, I started realizing how differently I look at running/races as a competitive athlete versus as a recreational runner.
When I signed that scholarship agreement during my senior year of high school, I was committing to represent Northern Arizona University, the Lumberjacks, and Adidas. Training was a mandatory part of every day. Being on an NCAA Division 1 Track team was something I’d worked hard for, and it will always be one of my proudest achievements.
When I graduated one year ago, the collegiate running career officially ended as well. Now I have to find the motivation to run myself. Suddenly running is a choice. Do I even want to run anymore? Of course I do. That’s a no-brainer. There’s just no training plan I “have” to follow or any races I must compete in. There’s no one else tied to my performance.
I can’t say I prefer one over the other. I LOVED being a collegiate athlete; it gave me an identity and purpose at my school. It was incredibly rewarding, but stressful at times, and I think 8 years (high school and college) is the perfect amount of time to be a serious competitive athlete.
I’m also learning to LOVE the perks of being a recreational runner. There’s less stress and pressure; there are more options for workouts beyond what’s dictated by a coach. So here’s my comparison of Competitive Athlete vs. Recreational Runner now that I’ve enjoyed my time as both:
- Collegiate running spoiled me with free race entries, plus free transportation, lodging, food, racing gear and not to mention a dozen pairs of shoes a year. That’s a tough one to say goodbye to after college. (Thankfully I was able to jump right into the Boise Elite running team when I moved to Idaho which has a couple of sponsors and free race entries.)
- A coach can give you an outside perspective on your weak areas and ways to improve.
- Your team and coaches hold you accountable for your workouts; skipping a long run is simply not an option.
- Collegiate races have competitors at or above your level who can help push you through the race to improve your time. The atmosphere, the crowd, and the “official” nature of these types of races also boost adrenaline and help performance.
After graduation, that all goes away unless you are in the seriously elite 1% who become professional sponsored runners. I’m definitely not in that group :) I said goodbye to my blue and gold uniform but my love of running is still strong and I’ve been enjoying local race events as an individual runner.
- The stress of pleasing your coach and representing your school is lifted.
- I actually find enjoyment from my sport again now that I put less pressure on myself.
- You meet so many people in your community, who are just happy to be there, and it instantly boosts your mood.
- You can find scenic courses and run through gorgeous scenery rather than a turf oval track.
- You can win money ;) NCAA rules prohibit any “extra benefits” which include race prizes.
- You can race with an iPod!!! This one is HUGE for me because I run twice as fast it feels like when a really good beat comes on.
This weekend, I’ll be racing a local 10k road race. After that, I’ll continue training for an upcoming half-marathon. Transitioning from a student-athlete to a random road race runner isn’t too difficult because both have their perks. Let me know if you have any additions to these lists!
I’ll catch ya later on this week with a new back-to-school breakfast recipe I’m working on too :)
Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Quesadillas
The new country lifestyle’s appeal has not worn off yet…last night I attended my first rodeo! People-watching is one of the best parts (the cow tie-down and roping just looked sad to me), and there were plenty of cowboys to watch. I don’t know what it is about the “western” style but something about a button-down and a good-fitting pair of jeans is so classic.
I talked to one of my best friends from Arizona on the phone while driving to the rodeo and joked how it would be just like the Nicholas Sparks story “The Longest Ride.” It totally was! Well, it was just like the movie if you take out Clint Eastwood’s son, the romance plot line, the North Carolina setting, the southern accents, and the rich guy’s inheritance. Okay basically the only thing it had in common with the movie was the amount of beer. But it was the first time I’ve seen real live bull riding and a few hundred intoxicated rednecks shouting at livestock so it was equally entertaining.
Anyways, a friend and I got together over the weekend and we made a “healthified” quesadilla recipe that I have to share! Quesadillas are always one of my guilty-pleasure cravings, but a bunch of cheese and a tortilla is hardly nutritious. It’s quite a calorie-heavy meal with out any beneficial vitamins or nutrients to offer. By filling up the quesadilla with fresh roasted veggies and lean white-meat chicken, we bring a little more balance and nutrients into the dish and make it a little less guilty :)
We diced up half of a butternut squash, a red onion, some sweet potato and bell peppers. After tossing them in some olive oil, garlic and pepper, we roasted them on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Then cut up some baked chicken into bite-sized chunks and rinsed some green chiles too.
I opted for a whole wheat tortilla. A layer of shredded cheese, some veggies, some chicken, and another layer of cheese before folding in half.
We cooked them in a skillet over medium heat, flipping once. It makes them SO crisp with the nice toast marks :)
Obviously it’s not quite as quick n’ easy as microwaving some cheese in a tortilla but the little extra prep work is way worth it.
I realize that I’m a decade late to the party, but I am currently in the middle of watching the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. One of my new friends here just finished reading the novels and wanted to re-watch the movies. I invited myself to join her because I’ve never made it past movie #4 and I wanted to finally see what all the Harry Potter hype was about! Over the weekend, after the Huckleberry Festival and my morning long run, we knocked out movies #5 and #6. They are getting dark!
Tonight we’re having a back-to-back double feature to finish up the last couple of movies in the series and I made some festive HP-themed treats because my obsession with Pinterest crafts run deep. (This is my third cutesy Pinterest recipe of the summer – 4th of July flag pretzels, watermelon rice crispie treats, and now these owl cupcakes.) I have to share a picture before I sign off for the day because they are just too cute to eat!