Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

Mixed feelings on yoga + protein brownie

Oooohhhhhhhhhh, why hello there.

Yes, I know it’s been awhile. I’m sorry!

Forgive me?

——

I was in a bit of a rut for awhile, you see. With the increasing pain in my right knee, my runs were becoming more painful and less frequent. This was not only frustrating, but also disheartening. I was feeling my motivation starting to wane as the possibility of running slipped farther and farther away, and other things just sort of followed suit.

Bleh.

So I decided to do something about it, and took my sorry ass to the physical therapist’s office. She had me explain my symptoms (excruciating right knee pain during lunges, squats, and going up or down stairs), history of pain (patellofemoral pain diagnosed at 12, brief physical therapy followed, nothing since) and then watched as I walked, skipped, tip-toed and heel-walked (??) back and forth a few times.

The results? Apparently my right leg is functionally shorter than my left, causing me to favor it and tilt my hips to compensate for the height difference. This makes soooo much sense, as I have always had a feeling that something was a little “off” about my gait. She did some stretching, some pulling, some general moving body parts around, then had me do some exercises to strengthen both my hips and my gluteus medius muscles.

I am very, very excited to continue with this and hopefully get to a pain-free place soon!

——

I went to yoga tonight. To be honest…I’m just not sure I’m ever going to like yoga. I know it’s good for me. I know it relieves stress, improves flexibility and strengthens my body. But I can’t help but find myself thinking, during every damn downward dog, “This suuuuuuucckkkkksss.” Am I crazy? Amy I the only person whose wrists hurt after the third sun salutation? Who looks at the clock on the wall with dread after seeing that there are still 30 minutes left? Parts of the class feel good (I love Warrior 2), but other parts just make me want to curl into a ball.

Oh wait — isn’t that a yoga pose too?

source: Your Yoga Place

Anyway, I decided to go today since my knee is still hurting, but I was really craving some movement for my body. I’m glad I went. It felt great to challenge myself (my balance sucks) and even better to successfully finish the class with only a few minor adjustments from the instructor. I might go again, but for now, I still have pretty mixed feelings on yoga.

——

To combat the food rut, I hit up Trader Joe’s Monday night. Oh. My. Goodness. $111 later, let’s just say that opening up the fridge and pantry is a very exciting event right now. I’ll share some of the loot in a later post, but trust — it is good.

——

With the aforementioned loot, I decided I wanted to get creative for dinner tonight. And so I did — and then some. Y’all, I made homemade pesto. This stuff was so good that I nearly went weak in the knees. In fact, I’m getting a little tingly just thinking about it. But because I’m too lazy to upload the pictures right now I like keeping you in suspense, the recipe will have to go up in an upcoming post as well. It’s super easy, and super GREEN. Oh my goodness.

——

For now, you’re just going to have to settle with an ooey, gooey, high protein, single-serving brownie. I know — life is tough.

Start with a few simple ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin (can sub applesauce)
  • 2 T rolled oats
  • 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 scoop protein of choice (this is optional; I used chocolate sun warrior)
  • 1 egg (can sub flax egg)
  • sweetener of choice (I use 1 packet stevia)
  • 5-10 dark chocolate chips.
Whisk egg in a bowl with a fork and add cocoa powder; mix again. Next add pumpkin and stir, then add in oats, protein powder and stevia. Spray a mug or a small bowl with a little bit of Pam spray, then pour in mixture. Stick chocolate chips into the batter, making sure to push them under the surface in different spots. Microwave for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes. Top with maple syrup and devour straight out of the bowl while still hot and gooey. Smile and revel in the deliciousness.
This isn’t super low-cal, but it’s simple, wholesome and packs a great dose of protein for either a mini-meal (for those of you that do that) or a post-run/gym snack. Make this. Right now. You will be hooked — I sure was :D
—–
I’m hitting the sack, and hopefully preparing for a short trip to the beach tomorrow afternoon for a mid-workday break! Goodnight!
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August 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm 9 comments

Mini chocolate doughnuts – taste (and look) naughty, but they’re not

Oh, hey. Did ya see that I made some doughnuts the other night?

Sidenote: which spelling do you prefer — donuts or doughnuts? I switch back and forth…can’t make up my mind!

My friend Laura and I decided to stay in Friday night and watch movies/make doughnuts with the new mini doughnut pan I got last week! Don’t they look super neat??

I modified an EatingWell recipe for healthier chocolate donuts, and it went down like this:

Laura’s Inappropriate-but-Healthy Mini-Chocolate Doughnuts

Modified from EatingWell Sept/Oct 1996

If you’re wondering why they’re named as such, see my prep video.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups flour: half oat, half whole wheat, or whatever mixture of whole grain flour of your choosing
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt + squeeze of fresh lemon juice (this makes a buttermilk-like taste!)
  • 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch or two of coffee grounds — this will bring out the chocolate flavor

Glaze:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 teaspoons milk of choice — I used vanilla soy, but will use almond next time

Doughnut-makin’ time:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. If you are using regular size and not mini doughnut pans, bump this up to 400. Thoroughly coat the molds of mini-doughnut pans (I only used one, but this made ~3 batches) with cooking spray. Sprinkle molds evenly with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, shaking out excess.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk egg and egg white in another bowl until frothy. Add brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar; whisk until smooth. Add yogurt, oil and vanilla and whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula just until moistened.
  3. Scoop batter into each prepared mold, smoothing the surfaces with a small spoon — you will want it to be about 1/3 of the way filled. Bake until the tops spring back when touched lightly, about 8 minutes. If you are using regular doughnut pans, you may need to cook slightly longer. Loosen edges and turn the doughnuts out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. To make glaze: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough of the milk to make a smooth, thick glaze. When the doughnuts are completely cool, pick them up with your lovely fingers and dip them into the glaze and let stand until glaze has set. For a thicker glaze, repeat .
These were tasty and not overly sweet. I think I might experiment with the recipe a bit, but this is a great base recipe and is quite easy to modify to fit your tastes and whatever you have on hand (e.g. buttermilk can be used in place of yogurt, applesauce can be used in lieu of oil, a flax egg to make them vegan, all-purpose flour can be used in place of whole grain, etc.). I’d really like to figure out how to ma these with stevia to cut down on the sugar content, and I think next time I might add some melted baking or bittersweet chocolate to make them taste a little richer. Different flavors for the glaze, shredded coconut or sprinkled toppings would also be good too!
I brought my camera to document the process, but forgot the CF card. D’oh! So the phone was the only thing around — sorry, peeps!

whaaa? all the ingredients together now!

we ran out of counter space, so...we used a footstool. shutup.

giving Vanna White a run for her money

still stirring....yogurt makes it thick!

scooping into a well-oiled pan...that long turd-like thing is a knife covered in batter, hah

tasty batter!

success!

These guys turn out pretty little, so I had more than my fair share of them. I ended up staying over at Laura’s that night so as not to get lost in the mega-storm of the century, and had a few alongside some coffee for breakfast in the morning. Delicious! :)

Yesterday I had a pretty decent day. I slept in, spent some time lounging around and reading in bed, went for a long and schwetty run (it’s sooo humid in Chicago!), then showered and met my friend Dan at Wicker Park Fest. I showed up kind of late because I didn’t want to deal with the crowds and the heat, but I did manage to see two great performances: Joe Pug (I love his name, hehe) and Blizten Trapper. Both bands were awesome — we had such a great time singing and dancing along. (I was standing directly to the right and behind the girl at the very front in the picture on Blitzen Trapper’s website…so bummed I didn’t make it into the shot!)

It was a neat evening.

Hope you’re all having a great Monday! I’m off to get some more work done. On the agenda tonight: finishing up my laundry (blegh), cleaning, making some Greek quinoa salad for lunches this week, and stopping by my friend’s open mic night to say hello. Catch ya later!

July 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm 4 comments

Ch-ch-ch-chia!

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a great day.

If you haven’t already heard, it has been SWELTERING in Chicago these past few days. Seriously, walking outside in the morning is like walking directly into an oven. It has not been fun!

One of the things I really love about my work is that we have the option to work from home every Wednesday as long as we get our work done (obviously). I planned on sleeping in this morning since I was pretty tired from the concert last night, not to mention that it was already like, 800 degrees already by 9am (okay, more like 90 degrees, but still!).

Unfortunately, we got an email from our tech guy saying that the VPN connection was down since our company is still working out some server changes, and everyone who was working from home had to come in. What a bummer, dude. I lost some time commuting since I planned on starting a little late anyway, so I think I’ll have to be at work late tonight. Oh well, it’s too freakin’ hot to do anything outside today anyway…

Millennium Park Crown Fountain...wishing I could be cooling off here!

source: ChicagoNow

Even though it was a BAGILLION degrees when I met up with my brother to head over to the park yesterday, I was super excited for Mr. LaMontagne. After work, I changed into some sweat-wicking workout clothes and couldn’t have been happier that I did.

Of course there were all these girls looking super cute in their colorful sundresses and maxis, but I was perfectly happy in my ratty t-shirt and Nike shorts :) I could have been mistaken for someone who clearly didn’t belong there, but thankfully my brother held up his end of that whole, looking stylish thing.

what a neat venue, huh?

source: PlaybillArts

The show was a blast and I had such a good time hanging out with my big bro. I’m so glad we don’t hate each other anymore like we used to :) He TORTURED me when we were kids…Farting in my face regularly, doing the “I’m not touching you!” game, and just about anything else he knew was guaranteed to drive me insane. Ahhh, siblings…

This morning, I took my time getting ready since I thought I would be working from home, so I decided to brew a fancy cup of Joe with the French press. The AC has been on non-stop (I don’t turn it off when I leave the house on super hot days, because I worry the kitties might overheat — my electricity bill most likely thanks me for this…), so hot coffee wasn’t a dealbreaker, even in Hades Chicago today.

Unfortunately when I got the word that I had to go into the office, I needed to hustle my undressed and unkempt self, so I decided to have Julie’s famous chocolate chia pudding for breakfast. I had prepped it for a post-work snack s. Not my typical yogurt, granola + fruit or cereal + almond milk for breakfast, but at least I started off the day with some protein, fiber and omegas.

I didn’t take a picture because honestly, this stuff looks SUPER nasty, but I swear it tastes amazing and the texture is really neat! As Julie said, it’s sort of like tapioca, but a little crunchier. I love it. In my mix:

  • 3-4 tbsp chia seeds (didn’t measure)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup original almond milk (didn’t measure either)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower butter
  • packet stevia
  • pinch cacao nibs

All you do is mix everything together in a bowl the night before, and the next day, you’ll have a gooey, gelatinous mess to tantalize your taste buds. Oooh yes you will.

I just tried sunflower butter for the first time and this stuff is INCREDIBLE! I can’t believe I waited so long after seeing Tina and Kath having it to try it out. It’s savory and salty and just has this delicious flavor that is really unique. Yum :)

Off to finish some more work. Stay cool, kiddos!

June 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm 2 comments

Flip flop

I’ve been doing just that…flip-flopping…a LOT lately. But it’s all gonna stop today. Take a deep breath and prepare yourselves, ladies..

…cause the gym clothes were packed and brought to work today.

Yeah.

What’s that? You’re not really impressed? Well, hmph. I know Carrots ‘n Cake and FoodFitnessFashion are talking about signing up for marathons, but can’t we just be the tinest bit excited that I got my ass up off the couch?

Please?

In slightly more exciting news, I hit up the new Trader Joe’s on Diversey yesterday. I figured the crowds might have died down after being open for a little while, but the 15-deep line at each register proved me wrong.

source: Nibbles of Tidbits

Trader Joe’s Begins Tradin’ in Lincoln Park – Now Open – Racked Chicago.

Regardless, having my beloved purveyor of all things goat cheese in a much more convenient (and bus route-friendly) spot made me a happy girl. I walked out with just shy of $100 in loot, and can’t wait to scarf down every bite of it.

Well, except for the package of organic strawberries that had mold on them when I opened the package at home! Have you guys ever had that happen? I never know what to do, because I often throw out the receipt, or forget to bring the stuff back before it’s pointless and/or too late. But really, shouldn’t somebody be checking this stuff? I don’t think I should have to make sure the fruit I buy isn’t moldy, but maybe I’m wrong…

I also picked up some of these:

source: Girl with the Red Hair

In case it wasn’t obvious….these are. so. good. Omigod.

I have a pseudo-date tonight with my aforementioned fella. We’re still seeing each other, but have yet to reach that ever so elusive “title”… yet we talk every day, have confirmed we are seeing each other exclusively, and see each other very regularly. I don’t understand men. What the hell?

Anyway, this certain fella has several close friends that are ladies, and I will be meeting one of them tonight. She seems to be concerned that he does not spend enough time with her lately (although she has a boyfriend, as I’ve been told). I can’t help but worry that my eyes will be clawed out.

If they are, expect some really awesome typos in my next post :D

June 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Tragic

I didn’t charge my camera battery after I used it the last time, so it’s dead.

This is tragic, because I couldn’t show you my breakfast this morning.

It had these:


Some of this:

A little this, a little that:

But best of all, it had some of these guys. Yeah — I finally made Katie’s fudge babies! I honestly didn’t think I could pull it off, but they truly are as easy as she says. I added some vanilla extract, a quick grind of sea salt and a dab of cinnamon to mine (not to mention the *accidental* extra heap of cocoa) and they were SO GOOD. I rolled them up into tiny balls and snacked on quite a few before I had to convince myself to put them away in the fridge.

I promise I will take a picture, but for now, just daydream about how wonderful this breakfast was…I enjoyed every single bite. Immensely.

That is all.

May 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm 2 comments

Valentine’s sweets from my office

image

I love my job :)

February 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Boats of Oats

I have to giggle sometimes, because if you’re a regular (or even occasional) reader of heath and fitness blogs, you’ll see that us crazies are crazy about oats. Especially with those dedicated ladies who regularly photograph their meals, oats for breakfast seem to be the golden standard. They’re not fooling around either; Angela over at Oh She Glows is famous for her vegan overnight oats, while Naomi at One Fit Foodie and the Fitnessista make the most amazing combination of stove-cooked oats. I am not a morning person, so as much as I like the “real” kind, it’s gotta be instant for me.

I am seriously obsessed with Better Oats “Oat Revolution” line of instant Oatmeal. I first saw it in a blog or magazine about the best packaged foods (probably Women’s Health) and had to try it because…well, the shape of the box was neat. For reals.

This stuff is so insanely good though – I actually get sad when I run out and have to eat my Kashi backup stash instead! And I love Kashi!

My favorite is the Cinnamon & Spice flavor (my cube-mate always comments about how good it smells), but they have soooo many flavors that I’m dying to try out more of them. My grocery store usually only carries a few of the standard flavors (and they’re so incredibly cheap — usually about $2!!), but after drooling over their website for an inappropriate period of time, I need to try out their RAW Cinnamon Plum Spiced, their Blueberry Muffin and most of all — their Naturals Dark Chocolate. No idea where I can track this stuff down (Amazon has it but the shipping is nutso), so I hope I run into it somewhere.

I was wondering where this wonderful and seemingly out-of-the-blue product came from, and interestingly, it looks like it’s a Malt-O-Meal brand. Who knew!

There is also a similar-looking brand I haven’t tried yet called Three Sisters that I would also really like to find & try out. The picture of their Dark Chocolate flavor is making me a little weak in the knees. Both Better Oats and Three Sisters have this neat environmentally-friendly packaging that reduces waste, and the packets of oatmeal have a measuring line on them, eliminating the guesswork in adding the water. Genius!

be still, mine heart

January 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment


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