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.

pre-mix

pre-mix

post-mix

post-mix

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 🙂

 

Hot cocoa, snow and baking

If you’ve never made your way to Upstate New York, then I’m afraid you are unaware of the true definition of snow. I hate to say it, but when it gets “snowy” here in Virginia, Brett and I long for Syracuse.

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even our car gets it…

We did, however, have a cold and snowy weekend. It began with a bundled up night walk accompanied by “I can’t wait to stick my snout in yellow snow” Fred. Brett surprised me when we got back inside with his homemade hot cocoa. There’s something about having a warm cup of hot cocoa on a cold night. Winter is coming! Anyway, Brett’s recipe is simple and great for a night of Christmas movies and dog snuggles. You too, Brett, you too.

Brett’s Homemade Hot Cocoa (Serves 2)

 2 Tbs Cocoa powder

 1 tsp Cinnamon (try Vietnamese variety, perfectly sweet for this)

1/8 tsp salt

A pinch of cayenne (if you want an extra kick!)

2 C. unsweetened vanilla almond milk or other plain/vanilla non-dairy milk

4 tsp honey

Warm the milk on medium high heat while stirring until it steams.

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don’t forget your ingredients

Once the milk is steaming, add the cocoa powder/dry ingredients and honey.  Whisk until fully mixed.  NO LUMPS 😉 Pour gently into two mugs and enjoy!

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Since we were snowed in most of yesterday, baking therapy was in session. Every year, I make Brett a special batch of pumpkin bread. It doesn’t hold a candle to my Mom’s banana bread recipe, but he indulges me and tells me it’s his “favorite.”

Now, here’s the important tip of the day: If you do not own The Joy of Cooking, get out of the kitchen. This is the cooking BIBLE (yes, all caps). This recipe comes from there. Brett has the page bookmarked for me…of course 🙂

Joy of Cooking’s Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (I eliminate this, we’re not huge clove fans)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (we use almond milk instead of milk or water)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 Tbs (3/4 stick) butter, softened, or 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar or 1 cup sugar plus 1/ 3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (go, walnuts!)
  • 1/3 cup raisins or chopped dates (go for dates)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with coconut oil, which will prevent the bread from sticking. Whisk together: all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, grated or ground nutmeg, & ground cloves. Combine in a small bowl: milk, vanilla. Set aside.

Beat in a large bowl until fluffy: butter, sugar & brown sugar. Then beat in eggs one at a time.

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weeeeee

Add pumpkin and beat on low speed just until blended. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in walnuts and chopped dates. Pour into baking dish and even out with a spatula.

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Cook for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserts fully, coming out clean…so, an hour 😉

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my work here is done.

Chickpeas and Sorbet

Despite the beautiful weather today, I’ve been in quite a funk. Brett left early this morning to go on a 22 mile run with our new friends and as much as I wanted to go with him, my body was screaming bloody murder. Sometimes, as much as it stinks, it’s better to be smart. I’m listening to my inner sore self.

I decided to do a light workout at the gym, happily garbed in my new compression sleeves.

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I haven’t removed them yet

For those that haven’t tried them, I would highly recommend getting a pair. I was the biggest skeptic, muffling my laughter when Brett would wear his compression tights to bed. After one night in my sleeves, I’m a believer. The compression stimulates blood flow and helps legs recover faster from a long run. We both use the CEP brand.

Working up a sweat usually helps get me out of being a crank, but my mind simply wasn’t having it. That meant there was only one thing that could be my saving grace from crankdom. Music on, spatula out and flirting with new recipes in the kitchen.

Thanks to Simply Gluten Free magazine, I found this beauty of a recipe and tweaked it to my liking. Chia seeds are one of our favorites in the house as they contain healthy omega-3’s, carbs, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium. Combine those with chickpeas and lots of herbs and spices? Devine. Warning: Don’t go overboard on these babies. They are good in small doses as a snack, salad topper or in a stir fry.

Roasted Chia Chickpeas

1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1 tbs EVOO

1 tbs chia seeds

1/2 tsp salt and pepper, each

a healthy dash of chili powder

a bunch of fresh rosemary (or dried if you don’t have fresh)

zest of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat.

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Spread out on a baking sheet.

0-1Roast in oven for 25 minutes – be sure to shake the pan at least 3 times throughout. Set aside to cool. Store in an air tight container for up to 10 days (though I’m sure they won’t last that long).

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#sogood

Brett and I are both lactose intolerant. So, ice cream and I have a love-hate relationship. Brett’s not a huge fan, but he’ll eat a sorbet or sherbet on occasion. We used to go to JP Lick’s in Boston all the time and he would get off the wall flavors: avocado, Sam Adams, etc. In honor of JP Lick’s and for his 22 mile feat today, I’m making him a special treat.

Strawberry, Black Pepper and Basil Sorbet

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

3 cups strawberries, roughly 1lb

1 tbs coarsely crushed black peppercorns

1 tbs lemon juice

1 big bunch of basil, roughly chopped

Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the peppercorns.

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Make sure to coarsely grind the pepper. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use the back of a large spoon to break up the peppercorn.

Set aside for 20 minutes or so so the mixture can absorb a peppery flavor. Drain sugar syrup through a sieve, removing the solid peppercorns. Pour the sugar syrup, strawberries, lemon juice and basil into a blender. Blend until smooth.

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Pour into an air tight container and freeze for 4 hours.

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Happy Saturday!

Blank Check, Black Coffee, and Baked Goods… and a Burrito Baby

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I have been staring at a signed, blank check all day.  The frozen raspberries in Dana’s morning smoothie must have fermented, because she left that check knowing I might do something crazy…  You see, the Mountain Masochist trail run 50 miler online registration has closed, but on September 1st a drawing to fill any available slots takes place.  I have been staring at this check all day.  I’m at a crossroads; will I take action or tuck my tail?  If I fill out the check there is no turning back and my training must commence immediately, even without knowing if I’ll gain entry.  If I don’t send in the check, all I have is talk.  I can tell people I want to run an ultra, but…

Let the training begin!

Let the training begin!

Entering the MMTR race lotto has me excited enough that I really didn’t need more coffee.  But, I just couldn’t resist.  Second cup of coffee, green tea, third cup of coffee and a glorious chocolate energy bar = Dana’s gonna go crazy.  That energetic 5 yr. old Dana wrote about yesterday is awake and ready to play!  On a serious note, I usually limit myself to two cups of coffee a day.  There is nothing wrong with caffeine, in moderation.  It has even been proven to boost endurance.  More to come in a later blog.

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The baked goods that accompanied my cup-o-Joe are from some baking I did the other night.  Dana runs the baking department in our kitchen, but I wanted to give it a go.  Thanks to Eat & Run, by Scott Jurek, I blended, stirred, and baked my way to chocolate energy bar bliss.

The whole of the ingredients taste phenomenally better than the parts would suggest.  While these bars are vegan and made with nutritious ingredients, please take note:  Healthy is NOT synonymous with low-calorie.

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Perfect Energy Bar. Easy to make, inexpensive, and tastes better than any store bought bars.

I have been calling the bars “Jurek Bars.”  In Eat & Run they go by “Chocolate Adzuki Bars.”  Paraphrasing Scott Jurek, the bars are made with the easiest digestible bean, are mildly sweet, moist, and have a great combination of carbs and protein.

Quick Update:  Dana and I just returned from The Running Store’s Wednesday Night Workout Series.  This is a free, all-levels, interval track workout.  Over 80 people show up each week to get sweaty!  The workout is coached by THE infamous Ian Connor, an All-American runner from THE Ohio State, and THE owner of THE Running Store.

After our workout, Dana and I stopped at Chipotle to refuel for tomorrow’s celebratory July 4th Runabout with the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club.  Dana had a reasonable portion of a vegetarian burrito bowl.  I, on the other hand, had a burrito the size of a small child.  AND IT WAS SO GOOD!!!  Must. Finish. Blog. Before. Food. Coma. Overtakezzzzzzzzzz.

Chocolate Adzuki Bars

1 15oz. can adzuki beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium, overripe banana

½ cup almond or rice milk

½ cup light coconut milk

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon miso or ½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup barley flour

¼ cup rice flower

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/3 cup dried raisins, currants, or goji berries (optional)

½ cup vegan chocolate chips (vegan is optional, but at least use dark chocolate)

½ teaspoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease pan 9” cake pan with coconut oil.  In a blender or food processor, puree first 7 ingredients until smooth and creamy.  In a large bowl, stir together the flours and cocoa powder.  Add the pureed mixture and stir until lump free.  Fold in the dried berries.  Pour mixture into greased cake pan.  Top with the chocolate chips.  Bake for 35-45 min, until firm.  Let cool, then cut into blocks. You can individually wrap in plastic or store in a covered container.  Refrigerate, and enjoy!  Purchase Scott Jurek’s book, EAT & RUN for an awesome collection of recipes.  As an added bonus, you will be motivated by his journey to being the ultimate ultrarunner and vegan athlete.

Cravings and addictions

Chocolate is a bad habit. Ice cream is an addiction. For so long, I’ve associated bad foods with bad moods. Had a bad day at work? Have some ice cream. Not get enough sleep + cranky day = pizza. I’ve read a lot of studies that say if you have a certain food craving, you may have a different kind of bacteria in your stomach that makes you crave that food.

Chocolate/ice cream microbe monsters in my stomach? I don’t think so. I went on a hunt for a healthy alternative that would satisfy my really annoying cravings for junk food. Thanks to Pinterest, I scored gold with Banana/Almond Butter Bites:
Simply slice up some banana and put a dollop of PB or AB in between two slices. Stick these babies in the freezer for a few hours. I often find that I have sweet cravings right after work and late at night. I’ll have one or two (or more heh) and it definitely satisfies my sweet tooth. 
Question: What types of healthy alternatives do you make for your cravings?