Almond coconut “crack”aroons

“Is there a special reason you’re making those crack cookies?”

Me: “Well, I need to take more pictures for the blog, so I mean, I HAVE to…”

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The single batch of 20 small, crackaroons was gone in less than 24 hours. Danger in ever sense of the word.

1) The batter is so easy to make and/or freeze if you’re making it ahead of time.

2) If you are by yourself and contemplating this recipe for a dessert, I would highly recommend avoiding so at all costs. You may say you have restraint, but you will eat every cookie. Make these for a party or to give away like the saint that you are. Depressive binge cookie session? You’ve been warned. Secretly…I applaud you for your good taste in cookies 🙂

3) What makes these crackaroons so good? Coconut. Chocolate. Almond. A bit salty. Chewy with crispy edges. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

#crackdreams

#crackdreams

Now on to the recipe.

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Using almond meal gives these a lovely almond taste and makes them gluten free. High five.

Almond Coconut “Crack”aroons (Serves 1 cookie monster, 20-24 cookies)

1 1/4 cup almond meal

1 egg

1/3 cup raw sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2-3/4 cup coconut (live a little)

1/4 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 Tbs olive oil or melted coconut oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Pre-heat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to blend.

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pre-mix

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Store in an air-tight container to freeze or get ready to bake your buns off!

Spoon quarter-size balls of dough onto the baking sheet. If you have a small cookie scoop, you are a genius. Gently press down each ball with a spoon to flatten.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges take on a nice, toasty brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes before your face trips into crack 🙂

hello, beautiful #crackaroons

hello, beautiful #crackaroons

Welcome back foodments!

Hello there, Fall friends! It has been kinda crazy here at COTR. Lots of new and exciting changes are coming my way (hint: big move, anyone?) For now, my lips are sealed.

we're moving, mah!!

we’re moving, mah!!

In the meantime, here are a few special “foodments” (food moments) from the last two months:

1. Quinoa Rice Bars. Hello, future dinner of mine. These babies are easy to freeze and easy to devour.

perfection

perfection

Packed with protein and goodies: quinoa, rice, egg, tomato, spinach, swiss cheese, and any other veggies you’d like to add. Don’t forget to salt and pepper these biddies. Add a touch of red pepper flakes. Magical.

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1a. Quinoa Rice Patties Leftover. Holy heaven in a hand basket. Well, not really, but you catch the drift. I had a ton of leftover rice and quinoa from making delicious #1. So, I used the same ingredients, made small balls, and smushed them into patties while frying beautifully in the saute pan. Seriously. Best brunch idea ever. Healthy. Delicious. Savory. Mouth watering. Recipe to come soon.

#idie #sogood

#idie #sogood

2. Coffee…in a new Keurig. I belong to this cool review site called Influenster. The nice people there sent me a brand new Keurig on the market to test. WOW.

#HelloKeurig

#HelloKeurig

It was great and I’m not just saying that because they sent it to me. The Keurig 2.0 makes single servings, but now comes with a carafe! I wasn’t a huge fan of the plastic carafe that the Keurig 2.0 comes with, but you can buy a stainless steal version separately. The touch screen is an added plus!

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3. Almond Chocolate Chip “Crack” Cookies. Okay, so I don’t really know what crack is like, but I’d imagine that it makes you feel like these cookies do. They’re like macaroons…with chocolate chips and a slight hint of salt.

#ahhell #crackcookies

#ahhell #crackcookies

Just out of control goodness. Recipe coming soon!

4. Kombucha in training. I’ve been attempting to make kombucha from scratch over the past two months. I’ve failed…twice! Making SCOBY followed by kombucha is HARD!

SCOBY

SCOBY

hey there scoby - #youlooklikeabooger

hey there scoby – #youlooklikeabooger

 

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You have to be really careful not to contaminate the fermentation process. I may not have succeeded, but I’m not giving up. Once I find the easiest and best way to make it, I’ll share amazing kombucha here on COTR.

5. MY BROTHER GOT MARRIED. I couldn’t be prouder of my brother and his lovely new wife. I hope the man I marry someday looks at me the way Justin looked at Kelly.

Justin and Kelly <3

Justin and Kelly <3

A beautiful day for two beautiful people – congrats guys!

6. Paleo-Friendly Buffalo Chicken Chili. I hit the motherload with the one.

#healthy #chili #paleo

#healthy #chili #paleo

I can’t take credit for the beauty of this recipe – that goes to my fellow blogger at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. I removed the corn and green pepper from this recipe and used chickpeas instead of cannelini. Delicious. Add a dollop of plan greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute and/or have it on the side with some chopped celery sticks. I’m not going to lie, this recipe is HOT. If you’re not huge on taking the heat, cut back on the 1/2 cup hot sauce. I liked the heat and when you heat this up as a leftover, it becomes more of a smoky hot than having it fresh off the stove. Stick with the 1/2 cup and be a champ! 🙂

Be on the lookout for more exciting things to come from COTR very soon!

oh hai :)

oh hai 🙂

 

Here’s to the new year

The most monumental moment (alliteration, heh) of 2013 occurred yesterday. Brett Lance got a smartphone. Yes, you read right. Brett “I will always keep my 2006 flip phone/I’ll never be a smartphone zombie” Lance spent all of last night like a little boy discovering a toy store for the first time.

In the car on the way home from Best Buy:

Brett: “I’m going to learn how to use my smartphone like a BOSS!”

Me: “Oh god…”

I really didn’t mind. We spent most of our date day outside running and playing in a cute little town called Reston.

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Date day at the W&OD Trail

We reminisced on holiday time with our family while out on the trail.

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The ladies…and Cody 🙂

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The gents

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Playtime with Cody

We ate amazing “make your own” veggie burgers at The Counter.

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My vegan veggie burger with sweet potato fries

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Brett’s non-veggie burger…he was in love.

I made some world class new granola, which we’re planning on eating as our pre-marathon breakfast. Combine 1 cup of this granola with 1/2 – 1 cup almond milk, a banana and a protein shake roughly 2 hours prior to race time. For us, this will be at 3am on January 12th…yay. At least we’ll have a great meal to power the day.

Ginger Cacao Nib Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (we did almonds and pepitas)

1/2 cup mixed cacao nib and chopped crystalized ginger

1 cup raw agave nectar

1/4 cup EVOO

A handful of dried unsweetened coconut

1 Tbs vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325. Combine the agave, oil, vanilla and spices to a small pot and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix in the wet ingredients.

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Spread out on a baking sheet, making sure that you create a thin layer. Place in oven, removing and stirring every 5-10 minutes for roughly 40 minutes. Remove from oven once the granola is toasty and golden. Let cool for a few minutes, break into small pieces and seal in an airtight container…or eat…

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Get in my belly #nomnom

For us, 2013 was a mighty roller coaster. A move to Virginia from our home in Boston, races, blogging, Homes for our Troops fundraising, family visits and date days galore. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2014 filled with new adventures, starting with the Disney World Marathon.

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See you at the starting line – Happy New Year!

5 Healthy Thanksgiving Survival Tips

Food. Family. Intelligently wearing pants with a stretchy waistband. Does that sound familiar when you think of Thanksgiving? Whether you travel to a family household or host your own family gathering, I find that Thanksgiving, in particular, is the most difficult holiday to keep your clean eating in check. Brett and I host Thanksgiving every year with Yog and Kathy and do our best to mix some activity in with great food and company. We’ve developed a couple survival methods to defy tryptophan and excessive amounts of pie.

1. Sign up for a Turkey Trot. Most towns and cities offer a variety of 5ks and/or fun runs to celebrate the holiday and earn your rights to turkey. This is a great way to have fun with your family and start a new tradition.

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Concord 5k Turkey Trot 2012

2. Make sure you eat prior to the big meal. Don’t fast while waiting for the turkey to sweat it out on the oven. Talk about setting yourself up for post-Thanksgiving meal bloated regret. Go about eating as you normally would throughout the day so you won’t overdo it at turkey time.

3. Avoid the Tryptophan food coma. Regardless of how sleepy we may be post-meal, we ALWAYS go for a long walk. Bundle up (if you need to) and head outside.

4. Eat slowly and in moderation. Enjoy the company you’re with instead of being face first in your plate! The food will still be there, I promise. It takes your body roughly 20 minutes to send “fullness” signals to your body so if you’re attacking your food….there goes a ton of calories. Yikes. When serving food on your plate, keep it simple. Protein roughly the size of your fist, a large portion of veggies and a smaller portion of healthy carbs. The healthiest carbs are those full of fiber: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and beans. Hey, hey, shout out to our vegetarian/vegan friends! We’re on the right track. Just remember: eat slowly, keep the portions small and stop when you feel full.

5. Have dessert. Just do it. There is no way that you can avoid the pies. Pumpkin? Pecan? Heaven. It’s a holiday and you’re with family. Keep in mind that many Thanksgiving style desserts (like pies) are pretty high in calories. I make a mean Bourbon pecan pie every year that I found via Cooking Light. We do make our own crust that’s super easy, thanks to Brett’s mom. I’ll post about that one tomorrow when I make our house smell like pie 🙂

Most of all, enjoy the time you have with family and friends. We really value this time because most of our family is far away. Hug them and remind them how much you love them.

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Cooks on the Run family to yours 🙂

 

Running with Traditions

Traditions sneak up on you…in a good way. The past few times we’ve visited our family in Upstate New York, we’ve done the same thing every Saturday morning. We meet Brett’s Dad (“Yog” as we call him) at Onondaga Lake Park usually around 7 or 7:30 and we run. It’s our time and we love it.

I ran around 3.5 miles with them and then I peeled off to do some schweaty mess circuit training for my last 1.5 miles. “It’s time for me to turn around.” “I’m going to head back, you keep going.” I just like to give them some personal time to catch up.

If you have a nice park nearby, I would recommend using it for circuit training especially if you’d rather not spend the extra money for a gym membership. You can do a lot with a simple park bench to work out your whole body. Since the thought of 1.5 miles left to go was a little exasperating, I broke it up into .25 mile chunks. I stopped at a bench and did 10 push ups, 10 dips and 20 crunches. Then, I would run at a quicker pace to the next .25 mile stop. I felt great when I finished. It’s nice to return where we started.

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We head over to our favorite coffee shop down the street called Freedom of Espresso.

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wish we lived nearby

They have great healthy selections that don’t go overboard on sugar or sweet syrups….yuck. I got the Mocha Slush, which consisted of almond milk, coffee, a small amount of cocoa powder and ice. It was refreshing, on the healthier side and delicious. This is our time to chat and cool off. Thanks, Freedom of Espresso 🙂 We’ll be back!

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yum

The tradition doesn’t end there. We head back to Yog and Kathy’s house for this lovely feast.

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Lance feast

 We love this time with them. We chat, laugh and sip coffee in their living area after we’ve had our share of blueberry pancakes, fruit and Kathy’s Vegetable Egg Muffin Frittatas otherwise known as “heaven.” We’re always sad to see this time end, but we have other important traditions with them. The next one being Thanksgiving weekend. Love you, Yog and Kath!

Sunday of Labor Day weekend is really the telltale secret of Diamond family tradition. Yes, the clambake is our annual event, but Sunday is the treasure. It’s just our close family, the dogs, leftover clams (oh yeah) and good music.

Obviously, we goof around a lot.

gmom

Gmom – my busybody 🙂

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Always in the kitchen

mr d

what? 🙂

fred

even Fred enjoys himself

It all started with Brett, Mr.D and me 5 years ago. It’s become something that we all look forward to and miss the moment everyone departs. This will always be home to us. Brett and I are looking forward to the 6th annual adventures and more traditions to come.

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We love you, family – be back soon!

Family, food, clambake, oh my

Brett, Fred and I arrived earlier today in Liverpool, NY, a 7 hour drive from home, but we fared well in the car.

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Happy boys

Every Labor Day, we travel to our annual family clambake. This year would be a little different given our heavier focus on plant-based nutrition. Going to parties can be difficult for those with allergies and/or those living a certain healthy lifestyle (vegan, vegetarian, etc.). As the end of summer parties commence, here are a few tips for our fellow health seekers:

  • Bring alternatives. Brett and I brought LifeLite veggie dogs and asked Brett’s stepdad Greg (aka my dad aka Mr. D) if he could cook them for me. Brett took the not-so-high road and gave in to his meat cravings. P.S. This is perfectly okay to do! Just be careful – if you haven’t had something in your nutrition plan in a while, your body might not handle it well. *Ahem* Not a good idea at a party. You catch my drift.
  • Eat before. When you’re not sure what will be available on the party menu, have something healthy beforehand. You can always enjoy a snack or two while there. On our road trip, we tried out a new healthy snack that we received in our Influenster VoxBox. Pssst…Influenster is a invite-only community where you rate different products and brands. If you’re an active member, they send you products that are relevant to your interests and lifestyle to try and review. Kinda cool, right? I have 5 invitations available – comment if you’d like to join!

Anyway, we tried out Nonni’s thinaddictives. Overall, it’s a great snack idea. Simple, 100 calories and hits the sweet spot. Unfortunately, we were a little disappointed. The sample we had tasted a little stale and burnt. We’re hoping it was just the pack we had since we love almonds and cranberries! The point is, it’s okay to bring or have healthy alternatives to tide you over.

  • Stay hydrated. If you’re outside in the heat, be sure to drink a lot…of water. Drinking alcoholic beverages or not, sometimes you forget when you’re chatting with friends/family or helping the host to keep up with you H2O intake.
  • Take some time for yourself. Sometimes parties can be overwhelming. It’s perfectly okay to disappear for a few minutes to have some “quiet time.”
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Fred is an expert.

  • Enjoy in moderation. If you go a little overboard, don’t be too hard on yourself. I mean…who can resist these?
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uhhh not me

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Are you kidding? No way!

Most importantly…are you ready? Don’t forget to snap a mental picture. What do I mean, you ask? Time with family and friends is fleeting. Sit back and remember the laughs and the people you love…especially when they’re awesome.

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Happy Labor Day weekend from the Diamond clan!