Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Almond Meal Cookies

Please excuse my absence! Josh’s parents have been in town since Saturday and we have been busy spending good quality time with them. How has your week been treating you? Mine has been very nice- a little bit of work, a lotta bit of play and the usual teaching. I also was able to bake up a new to me treat this week. I saw Pam post about these Chocolate Cherry Cookies and knew I must try making them (since Josh’s Mom had just brought me my first bag of Almond Meal from Trader Joe’s):

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I assembled my ingredients and got to work:

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  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Desired quantity chocolate chips


  • Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place everything in a bowl and mix well (it will look like there is not enough moisture at first).
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop mix out onto a cookie sheet. Bake for ~16 minutes (if larger cookies) until bottom is slightly brown.
  • Enjoy!

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I have a tendency to go overboard with chocolate chips….

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Last night, we enjoyed our last meal out with Josh’s parents. We went to one of our favorite Italian spots in Charleston, Mercato.  Josh’s parents:

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Me & the Man:

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And we hit up Fresh Berry afterwards :). I got Vanilla with double cherries and kiwi, fantastic:

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And since I missed Workout Wednesday:

  • Monday: Taught Body Pump & Step
  • Tuesday:  Taught Body Attack
  • Wednesday:  Off
  • Thursday:  Run outside
  • Friday:  Teach Body Pump
  • Saturday:  10K road race
  • Sunday:  Off

Have you baked up anything new lately? Please share links :) Have a good rest of the work week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Peanut Butter (Flour) Breakfast Biscuits

And it starts all over! How was the weekend? Ours was good. Lots of teaching & family time. We had our special facebook Body Pump launch at the gym on Saturday afternoon, which great! The music in the new release is really fun. There were four of us that taught (I’m in the upper right, not sure why this picture is so fuzzy…)


Josh’s parents also arrived Saturday night and we have been enjoying their company ever since. Josh’s Mom brought me a HUGE new supply of Trader Joe’s goodies (based on many of your suggestions).  On Sunday morning, I continued my love affair with Trader Joe’s Peanut Flour and made up Peanut Butter Flour Breakfast Biscuits. I started with Alton Brown’s scone recipe & adjusted as needed:


  • 1 1/4 cups peanut flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons butter (smart balance, earth balance, etc)
  • 3/4 cup milk (cows, almond, soy, etc)
  • 1 egg (or 1 tablespoon flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water)

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Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder and sugar. Mix well. Cut in butter. In a separate bowl, combine milk with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients.  Drop by heaping tablespoon full on a baking sheet.

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Bake for ~17-18 minutes.biscuits 006

These are light and delicious!

And now- for the winner of the peanut butter flour chocolate chip cookie giveaway:

LEA from Healthy Coconut! Send me an email (itzyskitchen at gmail dot com) with your address and I will get your prize out to you!

Have a good Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vegan Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

TGIF for sure! Work was a little crazy this week and I am READY for the weekend. How about you? One thing that did make my week a little better? I met my friend Mandi for a working breakfast at my favorite place (Charleston’s Cafe!!) on Thursday. We both enjoyed their fantastic parfaits. I got the blueberry & banana (I know, I’m such a creature of habit):


And Mandi got the apple & craisin parfait:


If you’re ever in the Charleston area and need a brunch friend…I’m always available ;)

The second thing that made my week better? A vegan creamy butternut squash soup! I saw Krista make this soup this week and knew I must have it! Luckily, I had a small butternut squash in the fridge just screaming to be used up. I made a few minor, minor adjustments to her recipe, so feel free to prepare it as below or use Krista’s original version:

Vegan (or not) Creamy Butternut Squash Soup


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper (optional, I like a little heat with my sweets)
  • 14 oz cooked butternut squash ( cut in half, remove seeds, bake at 400 until VERY soft~1.5 hours) or you can use a 15-oz can of butternut squash puree






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  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup milk, cream or half and half (I used original almond breeze)


  • Heat olive oil in a medium size pot. Add onion & garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
  • Add spices, butternut squash and broth. Bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat to medium low, add milk and let simmer 10-15 minutes.
  • Puree with immersion or regular blender.
  • Serves 2


Fantastic! Thank you Krista! If you don’t read Krista’s blog, you should totally check it out. She is the ultimate super mama!

Weekend plans?? I’m teaching (Step Friday AM, Step & Pump launch Saturday) and Josh’s parents are coming to visit! I cannot wait!!

If you haven’t done so yet, enter my cookie giveaway!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cookie Giveaway & Workout Wednesday

Hi guys! Happy Wednesday. Week going well so far? Mine has been busy, but good. A lot of you had questions about the Trader Joe’s peanut flour I used in my cookies. YES! It does taste like nut butter in a recipe! Its kind of like PB2 for baking. I am really enjoying the product and can’t wait to try it out in more recipes.

Since I haven’t made any new or unique recipes this week, I decided this would be a great time for a giveaway! One winner will receive their own batch of Peanut Butter (flour) Chocolate Chip cookies!!

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There are two ways to enter (note: you DO NOT have to have a blog to enter):

  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite Trader Joe’s product
  • Lave a comment telling me your favorite fall recipe (with a link)

Each entry requires a separate comment to count. The winner will be picked with a random number generator! You have until noon on Saturday, September 25 to enter. Good luck!

And since its workout Wednesday, here is the plan for the week:

  • Monday: Ran to warm up, taught Body Pump
  • Tuesday: Taught Body Attack
  • Wednesday:  Off or short run (I have a race coming up and very little time to run- yikes!!)
  • Thursday:  Teach 45 minute Step & Pump
  • Friday:  Teach Body Step
  • Saturday:  Teach Body Step and Body Pump launch
  • Sunday: Off

Packed week! The Body Pump launch on Saturday is going to be really fun because its two weeks before the real full up launch for all the programs. Its a launch that is only being announced on the gyms facebook page. I am eager to see how it goes! What is your plan for the week?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peanut Butter (Flour) Chocolate Chip Cookies

First things first- Happy Birthday Cookie(Josh’s Mom)!!!! Hope you are having a spectacular day.

How was your weekend? Hopefully the weather was just as beautiful where you are as it was here.  My weekend involved tasty eats, time with friends, Josh & Frank, great workouts and lots of house/yard work. A few pictures from the weekend. Veggie Quesadilla from Poe’s:

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This morning, Lindsay and I walked the bridge and then had brunch at my favorite place:

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Lindsay came with treats!! She knows how much Josh loves key lime pie, so she snagged him a pack of this key lime pie gum:  

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She also shared some of her Artisana samples with me (thank you thank you!):

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When I got home, I got to work on a new recipe, peanut butter flour chocolate chip cookies. I used the trader joe’s flour to create these beauties. This was my second attempt and they turned out really well (unlike my first batch ;)).

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Vegan (or not) Peanut Butter Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies:


Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil or earth balance (1 stick) (or regular butter)
  • 2 tablespoons flax mixed with 6 tablespoons water (or 2 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate chips (vegan, carob or milk)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another.
  • Combine wet & dry ingredients and add chocolate chips
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  • Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Let cookies cool for 1 minute on baking sheet then remove to cooling rack. Makes ~ 2 dozen cookies

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The rest of my afternoon will be spent doing some work, changing up my group fitness choreography & watching football with Josh & this sleepy guy:

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Favorite part of the weekend? I really enjoyed my walk this morning with Lindsay :) Who needs a therapist when you have fabulous friends?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Easy Dinner Ideas & Vegetarian Brinner Bowl Part II

Thank you all for the feedback on your favorite easy & delicious meals.  Some of your brilliant ideas:

Last time, I posted about one of my favorite quick & easy vegetarian bowls and here is another:


  • Chopped veggies (tonight I used parsnips, onions and green peppers)
  • Eggs (any combination of eggs, egg whites or egg beaters)
  • Chili powder
  • Shredded cheese (I usually use a part skim Mexican blend)
  • Salsa


  • Spray frying pan with non-stick spray (or alternatively spread with a little butter or oil)
  • Add chopped veggies and chili powder and cook until veggies are starting to brown or are almost cooked through
  • Add eggs, cook through
  • Top with shredded cheese & salsa ( I like to add avocado too but I had none on hand)

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Easy breakfast for dinner! I always serve this with a side of fruit and toasted bread, pita or tortilla.

What are your plans for the weekend?  I am teaching Body Step Saturday morning, going to dinner with friends & walking the bridge/going to brunch with Lindsay.  Josh and I also have plans for yard & house work. Enjoy every minute of your weekend!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quick & Easy Vegetarian Bowl

Last nights dinner was a tasty and easy one! I saw Jessie post about her go to Vegan Protein Bowl and it made me crave my own favorite quick & easy vegetarian (or vegan) bowl. I usually make this dish by roasting my vegetables, but I went a slightly different route last night so I could use my new steamer insert that my friend Mandi gave me for my birthday.

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I chopped up a parsnip and sweet potato…

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and steamed them up…

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I mixed the steamed veggies with Bush’s reduced sodium pinto beans…

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and Success Brown rice. The mixture was topped with salsa. For a little extra yum factor, I usually place shredded cheese on top.

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Delicious & healthy.

And for workout Wednesday, here is my plan for the week:

  • Monday: Ran to warm up, Taught Body Pump
  • Tuesday:  Taught Body Attack
  • Wednesday:  Ran outside
  • Thursday:  Teach 45 minute Step, 45 minute Pump
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday:  Teach Body Step
  • Sunday:  Walk with Lindsay

What is your favorite healthy meal? Any workout plans for the week?

Happy Birthday to my sister, Kim!!!! (Her birthday was yesterday but I didn’t post!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Big Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for YOU!

Hope your week is off to a good start. Mine started a LITTLE rocky and I was feeling stressed. For me, one of the best stress relievers is cooking/baking. Luckily, I had agreed to bake one of my fellow group fitness instructors some of my big oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (as he requested) for subbing one of my classes.

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Want some of these cookies and don’t feel like baking? Tomorrow, September 14, Tina at Carrots N’ Cake is hosting a blogger bake sale to raise money for her & Mal’s Team in Training. A batch of my Big Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies will be up on the block, so please please bid on them and all of the other amazing treats. I can customize these cookies based on allergies & can make them vegan! I will also ship to anywhere in the US or Canada.

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What is your favorite stress reliever?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Weekend

It has been a very relaxing and wonderful weekend :)

Pool time:


Frank time:



Mellow Mushroom for the Penn State vs. Alabama game (Penn State did NOT do well but we still had fun):



Piece of a soft pretzel with marinara:


Massive Greek salad:


Julie’s peanut butter pancakes using Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Flour:



I saw Janetha eating this hummus and knew I must have it. Deliciousness (thanks Janetha!):


And now its Patriots time ;)


Are you having/did you have a nice weekend?