Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie

What’s a girl to do on a rainy Sunday?

Watch the Super Bowl? Pshhh, what’s that? The correct answer would be: bake cookies!!!

I really wanted chocolate chip cookies, but alas, there is no chocolate to be found in this household. And I’m no fool. I wasn’t about to venture out to the store the morning of game day. I worked with what I had, which just happened to be butterscotch chips, peanut butter, and oats.

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup oatmeal

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together both sugars, butter, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth. Beat in maple syrup, peanut butter, and the egg. Slowly add in the flour mixture and continue to mix. By hand, stir in oats and butterscotch chips. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake each batch for 8-10 minutes. Makes approximately two and a half dozen cookies.

Yum! This is just what the doctor ordered for a dreary day.

And don’t worry to all you football fans out there… the Super Bowl was on in the background throughout this entire cookie baking process. Go Pack!

Worth Reading

It’s that time of the week again! Here’s my weekly recap of some of my favorite posts and articles from around the web.

Remember, just click on the title to read the full post and click on the pictures for photo sources (all photos are not my own).

First up, we have…

DIY Camera [Purse] Bag

Allie walks us through, step-by-step, on how she turned a purse that was a thrifty find at Marshalls into a beautiful camera bag that also holds all of her normal purse items. The grand total of this DIY project? Less than $40! I love the idea of spending so little but being able to customize the bag to your own liking. Who wants to carry around a purse plus a separate camera bag? Allie, I love your creativity and especially the print that you picked out for your lining! This will definitely be a project that I plan on tackling sometime in the near future.

Healthier Super Bowl Sunday Seven Layer Dip!

Get ready to rumble with Anne’s fANNEtastic seven layer dip. They healthy part? Substitute plain, nonfat Greek yogurt for your sour cream or mayonnaise. I’ve been making this swap lately with my chili and baked potato, and it’s true! You can’t taste the difference! I wonder though, can you still count this dip as healthy if you eat the whole thing? ;-)

Graduation Fears

I’ve always found Angela’s story of leaving her stressful office job to follow her passion of starting her own bakery to be inspiring. I’m sure many people dream of doing something similar to follow their own dreams and passions. In this post, Angela talks about the self-doubt and uncertainty that she experienced during school and the pressure she felt to choose a career. Truthfully, I experienced the same uncertainty throughout all four years in college while earning my engineering degree. It was scary to not be positive that I was doing what I truly enjoyed. The more time that passed by though, the more pressure I felt to stick with it. I had already taken out a fortune in student loans and needed to make sure I secured a well-paying job after graduation. I wasn’t crazy about my first job after college, which only fueled the fire of self-doubt in me. Thankfully, after a little over a year, a new position came up at work that I was able to transition into that I really enjoy. Even though I can say now that I like my job, there are still times that I wonder how things could have been different had I chosen a different major and career path. Angela’s post is definitely worth reading for any high school or college student or any adult who may be considering a major career switch.

Sweet Potato Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Cranberries

If the name of these cookies didn’t make you fall out of your seat, then I don’t know what will! You guys know that I like my sweet potato in any form, (remember the pasta, chili, and blondies?) so I’m pretty sure that these cookies will be right up my alley! And I’m pretty sure that these count as healthy since they include a vegetable. Score!

Five Months

So let’s keep this one just between you and me *aka don’t share this with Mister E* but I secretly read a lot of new mommy blogs. It’s a bit of an obsession. I just love reading about all the joys and trials of parenthood and can’t get enough of the cute baby photos. I’m pretty sure that Ashley has the cutest little boy in the history of all little baby boys. I melt at every single one of his pictures and I think I can actually hear my uterus crying out of longing. I love hearing about motherhood from Ashley’s perspective and I can only hope to have a baby someday as sweet as her little man. Just don’t tell Mister E that I said any of this, mkay?

Catch up with previous weeks’ Worth Reading lists here and here.

Not Too Shabby

This evening was not too shabby if you ask me!

Tonight, I used the treadmill for perhaps the fourth time in my entire life. I’m not sure why I’ve never been a fan of it, but it really isn’t that terrible if you find a comfortable pace and have a TV in front of you to distract you!

Tonight’s treadmill activity consisted of:

  • .25 miles at a 15:00 pace
  • .10 mi @ 12:00
  • 3 mi at @ 10:00
  • .15 mi @ 13:30

All for the grand total of 3.5 miles in 37 minutes.

So let’s talk numbers for a minute because this stuff really confused me when I first started reading about it. As a society, we’re kind of used to talking about speed in terms of miles per hour. This speed is what is usually reflected on the treadmill. However, runners tend to talk about their speed in terms of pace, or minutes per mile. So I could say that I ran three miles today at a speed of 6 mph. Or I could say that I ran three miles at a 10:00 minute pace. Either way you break it down, I ran three miles in 30 minutes. I hope that wasn’t too confusing!

Unless you’re Michael Scott and can run really fast, you most likely want to stick to measuring your pace in minutes per mile.

After my stint on the treadmill, I came home and snacked on a handful of Wheat Thins and hummus while preparing this beauty.

That would be a slice of turkey meatloaf slathered in a little BBQ sauce and topped with cheddar cheese and some leafy greens. You may turn your nose up at a meatloaf sandwich, but this was gooood!

Question:

I’m curious to hear your opinions of running on the treadmill. Do you love it or hate it? How do you think it compares to running outdoors?

I don’t want to say that running outdoors is harder than the treadmill, because, believe me, my face was turning red and my heart was pounding when I finally stepped off. However, I feel pretty confident that I wouldn’t be able to run the distance or pace that I ran tonight if I were outdoors.

Pear Muffins

You can never count on creativity to come when you need it. Take last week for example. I had beautiful, sweet, juicy pears that I wanted to turn into muffins. But for the life of me, I couldn’t come up with any ideas on how to go about it. So, I cheated. I basically used my carrot muffin recipe and just played around with the proportions a bit. A little bit more of this, a little less bit of that, and voila! Pear muffins.

Tasty, but not unique.

Pear and Walnut Muffins

  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, divided
  • 2 pears
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup 0% Greek yogurt

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and spices and set it aside. In another bowl, whisk together both sugars, honey, vanilla extract, eggs, applesauce, and yogurt. Peel your pears. If you desire muffins with pear chunks, dice the pears. If you want a smoother texture, grate the pears. Stir pears into your wet ingredients. Pour pear mixture into the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in a cup of the chopped walnuts. Pour batter into a greased muffin pan. Top each muffin off with a few of the remaining chopped walnuts. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Now, almost a week after making these, creativity finally struck. I wish I had forgone the spices and turned these into cranberry pear muffins. That sounds way better.

Oh well. I’ll just have to wait for the next time I have two wonderful pears sitting in my fruit basket. For some reason, I think that I’ll be just fine with what I have for now!

Snack Time

Let me introduce you to my favorite snack.

Readers, meet the pistachio nut.

Pistachio nut, meet my readers.

My grocery store has had pistachio nuts on sale, buy-one-get-one free, the past few weeks. I finally couldn’t resist any longer and bought them. I know I’ve had pistachio nuts before in nut blends, but truthfully, I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten straight up pistachio nuts (still in their shells, nonetheless!).

Let me just say that they’re incredibly tasty, especially when mixed in with chocolate chips and blueberry craisins. And if you haven’t tasted a blueberry craisin yet, get on it because you don’t know what you’re missing! They’re better than gummy bears, which probably doesn’t say much for their nutritional value, but they have at least got to be better than actual gummy bears, right? But I digress. Back to the pistachios.

Perhaps my favorite feature of the pistachio nut is its shell. If I were to have a bowl of any other kind of nuts sitting in front of me, it would be gone within two handfuls. The pistachio nut shell actually makes me work for my food! Taking the time to shell the nuts helps me slow down so I don’t over eat. Plus, I reason that I must be burning calories while opening the shells, therefore allowing me to eat more craisins and chocolate. Never a bad thing.

What’s your favorite nut to snack on?