Fluffer. Nutter. Brownies. Oh my!

I signed up for a 10k race on May 4th! I haven’t run a 10k race since dinosaurs walked the earth! I’m totally going to set a PR. 😉 I’m running the Fiesta 10k in Pensacola. Should be a good time and Carla and a couple other friends will be running, too. I’m excited!

Best. Snack. Ever.

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Have you ever tried any of the Barbara’s Bakery products? They make a variety of delicious and nutricious cereals and snacks. My favorite are the gluten-free Puffins (cereal) and the Snackimals crackers. Yeah, the animal crackers are probably more for kids but I don’t care. I love them. I wish the stores here carried the snickerdoodle variety. And the Puffins? I’m addicted. I love them so much. I put them in my Greek yogurt, add fruit, and eat them for breakfast, snack, dinner, whatever. Om. Nom. Nom.

And the Justin’s? O. M. G. They have peanut butter and almond butter (variety of flavors) and chocolate hazelnut. I’ve died and gone to heaven! They do sell jars of deliciousness but the little packets are perfectly portable! I find mine at the Fresh Market and I know Whole Foods carries them (well, at least the one in Salt Lake City does). 🙂

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Fluffer. Nutter. Brownies.

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Yeah, those happened. And why shouldn’t they? You know you want them to happen in your house, too. Fudge-y, peanut buttery brownies with a walnut marshmallow topping. Seems like the perfect Saturday afternoon snack, doesn’t it? I thought so, too. I prefer to make my brownies from scratch (don’t be afraid – it’s really not that difficult) but, you can certainly use a boxed mix if you have one in your pantry.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup Splenda blend)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup mini-marshmallows

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square pan. In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and the butter over low heat. Let cool slightly.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour and salt, then fold in the peanut butter chips.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan; top with chopped walnuts. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with mini-marshmallows. Return to oven and bake for 2 – 3 minutes or until marshmallows are toasty brown. Let cool completely in pan. Cut into squares and gobble them up. Don’t forget the milk or the scoop of ice cream!

Recipe adapted from Classic Fudge Brownies in Food and Wine Magazine, February 2002.

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– jennifer

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten free) and my first CrossFit WOD

My first CrossFit WOD this morning. What’s a WOD? That’s the “workout of the day.” Well, the WOD at Razor’s Edge was scheduled for CrossFit Total – 3 rounds of one maximum weight rep of a back squat, a shoulder press, and a deadlift. Well, sounds fun but I just graduated the basic Foundations class on Friday and that really isn’t a suitable workout for me. So, I got a whole different workout just for me! I was nervous going in – my personal expectations of myself are very high – so I figured I needed a boost of badassery to help me along. Opted for the skull and crossbones headband for motivation. 🙂
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Anyway, my workout. Holy kettlebell swings, Batman!! I don’t know if what I did this morning has a name (quite a few do) but I’m calling it Hard as Hell! I did two rounds of a 500m run followed by kettlebell swings and presses: 20# 30 swings and 5 presses each arm, 26# 20 swings and 5 presses each arm, 35# 10 swings and 5 presses each arm. Oof. Really had to dig down deep for the last 35# presses. So proud of myself when I finished them! Then, as a “warm” down, I followed that up with some back squats: 5 rounds, 3 reps each time. Started with 45#, 65#, 75#, 85#, 95#. If you’re keeping score, it’s Jennifer – 1, Monday – 0. 🙂

So yesterday I decided to make some cookies that I saw on Pinterest – Gluten-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies. Now, I don’t personally have gluten intolerance issues but some of my friends do. And, I’m a big – fine, HUGE – fan of things involving peanut butter and chocolate so I decided to try them. I’m testing them out for all of my gluten intolerant friends. Yeah, that’s it. Like a science project. Cuz I’m awesome like that. 🙂 Results? Om nom nom! Wonderfully peanut buttery with huge melty chunks of dark chocolate. So easy to make and oh, so worth it. If you plan on sharing, better double the recipe because one recipe only makes about 16. Those lucky people. Mmmm…..cookies. 🙂

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies (gluten free)
Recipe from Love Veggies and Yoga

1 cup peanut butter (best to not use natural – plain old Jif or Skippy or whatever you have will do the best)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces dark chocolate chunks

1. Place first 4 ingredients (peanut butter through vanilla) in bowl of large mixture fitted with paddle attachment. Blend on medium speed until well-blended and sugar is incorporated and no longer grainy. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.

2. Add baking soda and mix well. Add chocolate and mix just until incorporated. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. Drop cookies by rounded 2 tablespoons onto prepared sheets. If some of the chocolate tries to escape, roll the cookies into a ball first. Lightly press cookies but do not over-flatten.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes until fabulous but do not overbake! They may look slightly underdone but they will continue to cook while cooking on the baking sheet. I baked mine for 8 minutes with a rotation at 4 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets 5-10 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Remember, they will be hot and will burn your mouth if you don’t wait at least 15 minutes before you try one! You’ve been warned. 🙂

Here’s the nutritional breakdown per cookie according to myfitnesspal:
Calories 190; Fat 10.9g (sat 3.4g, poly 2.2g, mono 3.4g); Cholesterol 10.6mg; Sodium 157.7mg; Carbs 21.2g (fiber 1.6g, dugar 17.4g); Protein 4.5g