A sunbathing pooch, P90X, and Muscle Muffins

Hello! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Did you do anything special or fun? This is pretty much what went on at my place. ūüôā

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It’s Track Tuesday!

Oh wait. I’m not running. ūüė¶ I pinkie promised that darn track coach friend of mine. And, okay, it still hurts. Luckily, I have an appointment with my doctor today so I’m one step closer to knowing what I did (I’m thinking groin pull) and how long this is going to sideline me. Hopefully not too long. *fingers crossed*

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So, instead of running this morning, I did the P90X chest, shoulders, and triceps workout. Oof. Nothing like a tough upper body workout to make a girl feel weak!

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I couldn’t do the specific pushups (1 arm, etc) that required a wide leg stance so, I either did regular pushups or just planked. My arms are still a little shaky. ūüôā I will rest tomorrow and hit another upper body workout on Thursday morning. I’m skipping Crossfit tomorrow because it’s Thing 2’s birthday! Gotta party with my baby girl because she’ll soon leave the nest, too.

Have you ever pulled a muscle?

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Man, I did some serious baking over the long weekend! I made some cookies, some apple spice bread perfect for french toast, whipped up a loaf of sandwich bread and made some spectacular muffins that are perfect little snack when paired with fruit and/or yogurt. They’re also good fuel before an early morning run or workout! Light, fluffy and packed with nutritious goodness – yum!

I found the recipe in my “Abs Diet Cookbook.” They are called muscle muffins! Corny, I know. They incorporate 3 of the 12 “power foods” – the “best fat-burning, muscle-building, disease-fighting foods known to man.” *their words, not mine. All I know is they are delicious! ūüôā

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Muscle Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 banana, mashed
1 apple, shredded
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup pastry flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Mix all the ingredients. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Per serving (1 muffin):
Calories 90; Protein 3g; Carbohydrates 15g; Fat 2g (saturated 0g); Fiber 2g; Sodium 85mg

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Have you ever seen any of the “Eat This, Not That” books? ¬†I love those books. ¬†They really shed a lot of light on what’s in the food you will find on the shelves of your grocery store. ¬†Some of it is very scary. ¬†Very scary indeed. ¬†The authors, Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, have done tons of research into food additives and ingredients and really spell it all out. ¬†They also offer healthier alternatives to what you may be used to purchasing. ¬†I’m all for healthy alternatives. ¬†If it’s possible to cut out fat, sugar, and other scary things and still enjoy food, that sounds like a win-win situation to me. ¬†One other area they cover is what to get when you go out to eat in your favorite chain restaurant. ¬†You’d be surprised just how bad for you many of those dishes are! ¬†But, everyone goes out to eat every now and then and, armed with knowledge, you can make smarter choices. ¬†Your heart, waistline, and loved ones will thank you!

One of their other books is “Cook This, Not That.” ¬†LOVE this book. ¬†There are some really awesome recipes in there that are much healthier than if you were to get similar at a restaurant. ¬†And, often, they’re more delicious and they don’t leave you feeling like you need to unbutton your pants, take heartburn medicine, or be rolled out to the car. ¬†Oy. ¬†Who hasn’t felt THAT way before? ¬†Don’t get me wrong – sometimes it’s worth it!

Anyway, found this recipe in my “Cook This, Not That” cookbook and I’ve been just dying to try it. ¬†Warm Goat Cheese Salad. ¬†Oh my. ¬†Warm goat cheese croutons, crisp pear, toasted walnuts…..this is healthy?! ¬†Sign me up! ¬†I personally skipped the Balsamic Vinaigrette – not because I don’t like it but because I topped my salad with some leftover blackened chicken that I had. ¬†Didn’t think the balsamic and the spicy blackening seasoning would be friends. ¬†ūüôā Of course, you could add some slice grilled chicken or salmon or even steak and that would be a fantastic protein addition. Enjoy!

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Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1 log (4oz) fresh goat cheese
1 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1 tsp dried thyme or Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup walnuts
16 cups mixed greens or arugula (6-oz bag)
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 pear, peeled, cored, and sliced

1.  Slice the goat cheese into four 1/2-inch disks (a piece of unflavored dental floss makes this job easy). If the cheese crumbles, use your hands to form it back into disks. Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate and toss with the thyme and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

2.  Dip the goat cheese into the egg, then into the crumb mixture and turn to coat evenly.  Place the disks on a plate and into the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.

3.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the goat cheese on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese is soft and the crumbs are toasted.  Remove.  While the oven is still hot, toast the walnuts for 5 minutes.

4.  Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette and pear.  Divide among 4 cold plates.  Top with the walnuts and the goat cheese.

Calories 370; Fat 22g (6g saturated); Sodium 660mg

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

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Chips Oh Boy! Cookies

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? Well, my uncle but I think he may be the only person. Seriously, I’m not sure what his problem is but for some reason, he doesn’t like chocolate. Crazy! Anyway, I’m a Toll House girl, myself. As a person, I love the flavor of the Toll House recipe … as a baker, I love the bar cookie recipe because, honestly, making regular chocolate chip cookies can take some time. But, sometimes it’s worth it to make a traditional chocolate chip cookie – like when you’re having a bonding moment with a family member or friend, you need to do something to occupy some time while you’re impatiently waiting for something else, or you find a new recipe that promises to be both delicious and light (for a cookie)! So, as soon as I saw this cookie recipe, I knew I was going to have to make some traditional cookies. I know, I know…my poor family…they have to put up with so much! ūüėČ

The recipe comes from my new cookbook, The New Abs Diet and promises a delicious cookie with only 150 calories each! I wondered if I could make it have less calories and sugar and have it still be delicious so I opted for some substitutions in the recipe. I used Domino Light sugar and brown sugar and I substituted an egg white for one of the eggs. The result? YUM! And, 18 calories less per cookie! That’s a win in my book! This recipe calls for chopped walnuts which, in my opinion, should be optional. Normally, I don’t like any kind of nut in a cookie unless it’s peanut butter cookies made with chunky peanut butter and chopped nuts (mmmm……) but I decided to try it in these cookies just to see. It calls for dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet or milk chocolate so I thought maybe the nuts would add an interesting depth and flavor to the cookie. It really does! These cookies are spectacular – even with the walnuts! Of course, I’m pretty sure they’d still be spectacular without the walnuts but, trust me, you should try it with. Decadent dark chocolate and chopped walnuts together in a sinfully delicious cookie – YUM! I’ve already had 3! Oh wait…maybe I shouldn’t have told you that.

Chips Oh Boy! cookies

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or 6 tablespoons Domino Light blend)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Domino Brown Sugar blend)
2 eggs (I used one egg, 1 egg white)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray.

2. Mix the flours, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Beat the butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in the applesauce and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and the walnuts.

4. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 36 cookies

Per cookie (original recipe): 150 calories; 2g Protein; 22g Carbohydrates; 7g Fat (3.5g saturated); 85mg Sodium; 1g Fiber

Per cookie (altered recipe): 132 calories; 2g Protein; 16.5g Carbohydrates; 7g Fat (2.6g saturated); 85mg Sodium; 1g Fiber