Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Big, Healthy Breakfast Cookies

You know what is the worst thing ever? Those "healthy" meal plans that tell you to eat "1 medium apple" or "1 low-fat granola bar" for your breakfast option.
 
Listen.
 
Breakfast around here occurs at 6:30 AM. Lunch? Usually by 1:00 PM if I'm lucky. So that puny apple or that 90 calorie granola bar that you're suggesting I eat for "breakfast"? I'm probably going to eat 10 of them by noon in the effort to satisfy my natural desire to NOT FEEL HUNGRY anymore.
 
Meal plans like this can unfortunately be found everywhere, and one of two things is going to happen. You're going to lose weight because you're starving yourself, not because you're feeding your body proper nutrition, OR you're going to gain weight because you will find yourself binge eating at lunch and dinner.
 
I have been lobbying for big breakfasts, medium lunches, and small dinners for a long time now because it just makes sense. So let's talk hearty breakfasts.
 
On the days that I'm home with my little girl, I always make myself 3 large eggs with two slices of either Ezekiel or TerraGrains bread, toasted and topped with butter and my chia seed jam. Other than getting to spending the day with my 4 month old bundle of joy, making this breakfast while she babbles at me in the early morning hours is quite possibly my favorite time of the day. This breakfast usually keeps me full until 1:00 PM, which is major when you don't have any downtime to stop for a snack.
 
On the days that I work, I literally have 20 different things I have to do between setting Kennedy up for the day with our caretaker and making myself look half awake for work. So I usually need an on the go breakfast that I can eat on my way to work and will keep me full until lunch.
 
 
I started experimenting today, because one can really only eat so many Clif bars and bananas, and came up with these big, healthy breakfast cookies!

 
This cookie does not contain any sugar or flour and is still hearty and delicious! They clock in right around 250 calories each, so still not a calorie bomb and super tasty with a cup of coffee. These are not your puny oatmeal cookies either. It's not too often that you hear the words big, hearty, chocolaty, delicious, healthy, and breakfast in the same sentence, but today you DO! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
 
Happy Wednesday!!
 
 
Big, Healthy Breakfast Cookies
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole rolled oats
  • 2 medium, very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the above ingredients.
  4. Using a large spoon, spoon 6 large helpings of the dough onto the cookie sheet. Form the cookie dough into 6 cookie-shaped rounds using the spoon.
  5. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, or until the centers are set and the edges are slightly golden brown.
  6. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Enjoy!
 
 

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookie Balls

 I feel like if I didn't have a glass cake stand on my kitchen countertop, I wouldn't bake as much...thus probably be a healthier person. But there is just something really sad and depressing to me about an empty glass cake stand. Once the baked goodness starts to dwindle, I immediately find myself pulling out every baking ingredient in my pantry and creating something...anything...so my cake stand is filled with a delicious (or sometimes not very delicious) baked good.
 

These cookie balls fed my strange empty cake stand problem. I really didn't have a goal or recipe in mind, I just started throwing things together. Thankfully, the result was pretty darn delicious.


Peanut butter, peanuts, white chocolate, butterscotch, and dark brown sugar for the win. And I'm calling these "cookie balls" because they don't spread at all when baked, creating a thick, hearty cookie. My tummy, my cake stand, and even my non-dessert eating husband loved these. I hope you do, too!
 
Happy Saturday & Sic 'Em Bears!
 
 
Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookie Balls
 
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • /2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix butter and sugar together until combined.
  3. Add vanilla and eggs and blend until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Stir in flour mixture until barely mixed in.
  6. Stir in peanuts, white chocolate, and butterscotch chips.
  7. Place 8 large dough balls on cookie sheets (makes 16 large cookies).
  8. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until cookies are set.
  9. Cool then enjoy!
 

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Letter To Our Little: 4 Months

To my beautiful Kennedy,
 
You are 4 months old. As of today, we have enjoyed 120 days of pure, innocent bliss with you.
 
You are our smiley girl and have added a little wiggle to your smiles every time we greet you. Even at 3 AM when I come to get you in your moonlit nursery, I can still feel your smile and hear the blankets ruffle from your wiggle. You are a gift.
 
You talk to me all day now. Even when I'm trying to nurse you, you pull away at least 3 times to smile and babble before going back to your business. This is music to my ears. Keep talking, sister.
 
A few weeks ago, we moved you and all of your things out of our room and into your room. You fall asleep in your crib around 7 PM every night and wake up at 6:30 AM every morning, with a few feedings and snuggle sessions in between. Climbing the stairs 3-5 times every night is officially my new workout. Thanks for helping me keep up my cardio.
 
You have gone from hating bath time to loving it. We can no longer bathe you by laying you on a towel on the counter since your feet hang off the edge now, and due to the fact that you have the most delicious rolls in town, scrunching you up in your Puj Tub in the sink is a no go. So now we bathe you in the big bath and you could not be happier. You are our big girl now, even though everything still looks bigger with you in it.
 
You have started to notice our furry companions and they've started to become more comfortable with you, too. Nova now loves to greet you by smelling and licking your feet, and you are mesmerized by them when they wrestle on my freshly vacuumed carpet. I can't wait to watch you become besties.
 
You still absolutely hate the bottle and refuse to take it while I'm at work. This is hard on your working momma, but coming home at lunch to feed you makes my day so much brighter. We will get there, little.
 
The older you get, the more I find myself reflecting back on my own childhood and thinking about what molded me as a person. Your Mumzy worked hard to provide for your Auntie Tutu and I while being a single mom, and even though I sometimes found myself feeling alone or different, I never questioned her love for me. I will not always be the perfect mom to you and will absolutely make mistakes, but I always want you to know how much I love you and will do everything in my power to make sure you feel my love. I want you to be a confident, kind girl and know that you can do anything you set your mind to. I want you to explore the world around you, experience new cultures, and not be stagnant in your faith. I want you to feel challenged but never discouraged. Shoot for the stars, little one. We will always be here for you, loving you.
 
 
Thank you for blessing us with 120 days. To da moon, sweet Kenny. To da moon.
 
 
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Triple Chip Pumpkin Bars

 I know. It's been almost a solid month from the last time I posted on here.
 
When Kennedy was a newborn and slept 22 hours a day, it was so easy to jump on here and type away. NO mas. Girlfriend is almost 4 months and already demanding my attention all the time.
 
Well, not really DEMANDING my attention. More like I have issues and can't be away from her if she's awake.
 
However, I have a feeling that I will be lucky to get one post a month in once she becomes mobile. My mother in law told me yesterday that pretty much from the day they start to crawl, you don't sit down for 10 years. Exciting stuff.
 
Watching your kiddo grow up is the worst, best thing.
 
Seeing Kennedy discover and change truly fulfills me to my core, but I know in my heart it just means she's getting closer and closer to being more independent, and I'm really not ok with that. The day that she stops needing me will be a hard one.
 
 
ANYWAY, enough with my mommy issues and on to these delicious Triple Chip Pumpkin Bars! Yes, it is barely fall outside, but the smell of pumpkin spice is bountiful everywhere I go and I could not be happier. I ran to the store yesterday to grab Pumpkin Pie Spice and snagged the LAST ONE. This means people out there are already either loading up for Thanksgiving or at home baking delicious pumpkin-y things or both. Equally great ideas.

 
 I was in the mood to create my first pumpkin treat yesterday, but I wanted something that was still delicious when topped with ice cream (duh), and these bars did it. I added in the holy trinity of white chocolate, dark chocolate, and butterscotch chips, making these basically the best bars on the planet.

 
 I also used twice the amount of dark brown sugar as I did granulated sugar, making these bars soft and chewy. Pumpkin usually does that on its own when you use it in baked goods, but the dark brown sugar ensures that your baked goods will stay that way for several days. Yum.


If you're looking for a pumpkin treat but are not ready to fully commit to the pumpkin pie, this is your ticket.
 
Happy Thursday!
 
 
Triple Chip Pumpkin Bars
(makes 2 dozen bars)
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar (I feel like the cane sugar gives it a richer flavor, but regular granulated sugar works great too!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking sheet with foil and grease foil with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your standing mixer), mix together melted butter and sugar until blended.
  4. Add egg, vanilla, and pumpkin to butter/sugar mixture and stir until thoroughly blended (use your paddle attachment if you are using a standing mixer).
  5. Add flour mixture to batter and blend until barely combined.
  6. Stir in dark chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch chips.
  7. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the center is set.
  8. Allow bars to cool completely in the pan before removing from pan.
  9. Cut bars into 24 squares and enjoy!

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Friday, September 12, 2014

A Letter To Our Little: 3 Months

To my beautiful Kennedy,

You turned 3 months old on Monday.

How is this possible?

Time is flying before my eyes and I don't know how I feel about it. Everything in me wants you to stay little forever, but watching you grow is truly my life's greatest blessing.

This month, you have started to laugh. The good kind that comes straight from your little belly. This is my dream come true.

You are still very attached to your Wubbanub, especially the one with the pink elephant on the end, even though you have plenty to choose from. That one is my favorite, too.

You are busting out of your 6-month footie pajamas due to the fact that you have legs for days. I think you will make the perfect ballerina, but I will joyfully cheer you on at your basketball games if that's where your sweet heart leads you.

You, your daddy, and I had a dance party in the kitchen the other night to some of Disney's greatest show tunes. Watching your daddy turn into Sebastian and perform "Under The Sea" for you was just as entertaining for me as it was for you. Great memory #875 since you've been born.

You have started to reach for things and are fantastic at grabbing your feet and my hair. I've underestimated the strength of those little fists and have never been more thankful for hair ties.

You and your daddy talk about your days the second he walks in the door almost every day and I'm convinced that you guys have a secret language. I want in.

I've started to put your month to month pictures on the side of the fridge, starting with your birth picture. Yes, we are obsessed with you.

We are still working on that whole "sleeping through the night" thing, but I guarantee you that I'll never get tired of seeing your sleepy little smile every two hours while you patiently wait for me to feed you. No rush, little. We will get there.

I know I have already told you how much I love you 1,000 times today, but for the record, I love you. I love every inch of you and will love, provide, and pursue you every day until I die.

You are the absolute best thing and we are so thankful to call you ours.

Happy 3 months, sweet sweet Kenny.



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