Whopper Cookies

Whopper Cookies

One time I went on vacation with my dad, and he tried to take a box of whoppers through the line at security. It had already been opened, and they wanted to check inside the box. He then had a legit argument with the TSA about how if they wanted to dig inside his candy box, they were going to need to buy him a new one.

Whopper Cookies

Well, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know, they bought him no new box of candy. I mean, you just don’t argue with the TSA. Listen, I don’t like it any more than you do when they put me in that machine that basically shows them my naked body (does anyone else feel like this is the most awful part of traveling????) butI like to actually be able to get on the plane, so I would rather keep my mouth shut.

Whopper Cookies

Steve likes to make things difficult, and refuse to get him, so they make him get a pat down. I feel like that would be, umm, way worse, but he is stubborn. Anyway, enough about airport security. Cookies are, like, 5 zillion times cooler!

Whopper Cookies

I feel malt is sooooo under rated. I really don’t know why I haven’t put it into every baked good I’ve ever made. The sweet, strong taste pairs perfectly with milk, chocolate, beer, you name it!

Whopper Cookies

These cookies give you a double dose with malted milk powder in the cookie base, and then the dough is stuffed with chocolatey malty Whoppers candy, and of course chocolate chips for an extra dose of chocolate–extra chocolate is always necessary. The Whoppers get a little soft as the cookies bake, but as they cool, they quickly return to their crunchy texture bringing a nice texture to these ultra-soft cookies.

Whopper Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are usually my favorite,. but these babies give my normal peanut butter love a run for it’s money. They stay soft for days too–if you can keep ‘em around that long. ;)

 

Whopper Cookies

yield 3 dozen

  • 2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup fat free (or reduced at) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 5 oz box of Whoppers

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, malt powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixture, beat softened cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in sugars until well combined. Add vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  3. Slowly, stir in dry ingredients until combined, scraping down sides of the bowl when necessary. Gently, fold in chocolate chips and Whoppers.
  4. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Line two large baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.
  5. Roll chilled dough into 1″ balls and transfer to baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden and cookies are just set, about 10-12 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a not quite airtight container (if they don’t breathe, they lose their texture, but I wouldn’t leave them next to a vent either) for 5-7 days.

ITBS Recovery Weeks 1-5

I never intended to write posts recapping my injury recovered, but then again, I never thought I’d be out for 5 weeks going on what feels like forever. These posts will mostly be for me–to see my progress on paper, so that I don’t feel like “OMG the world is over! I’m making ZERO improvements. Woe is meeee.”, but hopefully they will also help someone who might be dealing with the same thing. But remember, I’m not a doctor, so if I say _____ works for me, you should not take that as me giving you medical advice. I mean, I love to give advice and tell people what to do, but I’m not even close to being qualified to do so, unless you count being bossy as a qualification.

The backstory (abbrev version): I developed ITBS (probably) in mid December, and it got like a billion times worse after my durring/after my marathon.

ITBS.jpg

 

What is ITBS? It looks like IBS, but it’s not. I’m not sure which one is less fun, but I’m glad I don’t have both, because that would be confusing. Essentially, my IT band is inflamed, and when I bend/straighten my leg, it rubs up against my knee cap causing a a feeling I would compare to someone stabbing me in the knee, but that’s only a speculation. Here is an article with more info if you’re interested.

 

What’s been happening: I got an xray and an MRI, and everything came back clean. I’ve been taking prescription anti-inflammatories, doing pt, seeing a chiropractor who also does acupuncture and ART (active release therapy), sports massage, yoga, lots of stretching/foam rolling/strengthening.

Progress so far: After the marathon, my pain level was off the charts. Walking, and bending/straightening my leg at all seemed impossible. The limp is now 95% gone, although on bad days, walking is still painful. Things like squats feel fine now,  but lunges don’t. Elliptical and bike still hurt–especially later in the day. If I walk too much, or do too much of anything, after I sit down for a bit, everything kind of tightens up, and bending/straightening becomes really painful again.

This past week:

Monday: Physical therapy. Exercises/stretching/astym/electrical stim.

Tuesday: Dr D. (the chiro/acupuncture/art guy) & yoga. Dr. D did all of those things he does. He also found a really tight spot in my calf that he thinks might be contributing to the problem. He dug fingers and needles into my body, and I grunted. It was cute. Yoga and most strength training are pretty much the only work outs that don’t effect my injury. I’m trying to learn to love yoga. It’s a process. I enjoy the poses, and the part where my muscles get tired and I sweat, but I am not a huge fan of the mental part. Shocking, right? I’m also not a fan of savasanah. All I can do is think of the million other more productive things I could be doing opposed to lying on the floor trying to “relax”. It’s not my style.

Wednesday: Massage. Not the fun relaxing kind. She did some heat/icey thing on my calf where Dr. D had pointed out that things were messed up. I may have yelled out some 4 letter words in the process.

Thursday: PT &  yoga. New harder exercises/stretching/astym at PT. Yoga was yoga.

Friday: Dr. D + 15 min on the elliptical. Dr D did his thing, and I was actually feeling pretty good. I’d had a couple really good days in a row where WALKING DIDN’T HURT. I was so excited. I tested out the elliptical. I had done it as a warm up in PT on Thurs for 10 minutes, and for the first 2 it hadn’t hurt, then it only hurt a little. I was hopeful. This day it hurt the entire time, but in a dull way, not a stabbing way. I was happy.

Saturday: 25 min elliptical + 30 min strength training. My knee didn’t hurt for the first 10 minutes of the elliptical, then was again just a dull pain. I went straight into some strength training, felt great, got super sweaty for the first time in a long time, and was on top of the moon. Then, that afternoon the pain was back, and hurt like it did 2 weeks ago. Total bummer.

Sunday: Rest. I wanted to test out spin class, but my knee still hurt when I woke up, so I took a rest day, and moped about how my progress earlier in the week had only led me to taking 1o steps back.

This week I plan to do less. Dr. D suggested that I may be over treating, and that I keep pushing the irritated area, but never give it time to actually heal. I am also going to try out a more running-specific physical therapist. It’s tough because I’ve been going to the same place for a long time, and had a lot of luck treating my achilles tendons, but I feel like I need a second opinion from someone who actually runs.  I’ll let ya know how it goes!

Caprese Pasta

Caprese Pasta .jpg

 

I find that people have strong opinions on tomatoes. Either you’re ordering them on all your salads and sandwiches, or you absolutely hate them.

Caprese Pasta

 

I used to be a total hater. I always loved salsa, and I liked tomato sauce as long as it wasn’t chunky, and I liked ketchup, although I’ve never been one of those people who goes crazy over ketchup. There are so many awesome condiments out there with so much more flavor! I’ve never understood the people that put ketchup on everything.

Caprese Pasta

 

Like my husband. He puts ketchup on macaroni and cheese. WHAT IS THAT??? I will season the crap out of some meat, and we will sit down to dinner, and he grabs the ketchup bottle. What a jerk.

Caprese Pasta

 

Anyway, I never used to be a tomato fan. My dad would order a caprese salad, and I would just eat the cheese. Not that this was abnormal behavior for me with any dish. All my friends still make fun of me about the way I used to eat. I would order food, eat until I started to get full, then proceed to pick all the cheese out. What can I say? I’ve always loved my cheese. ;)

 

Caprese Pasta

 

Somewhere along my healthy living journey, I turned the page on tomatoes. Now, I eat the whole caprese salad (or pasta), but the best part is still the mozzarella cheese. ;)

Caprese Pasta

 

In this pasta, the cheese gets just warm enough to get a little soft, melty, and gooey. I could have picked it out all night long, and lived on the cheese alone, but it was even better paired with the fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes.

 

Caprese Pasta

 

This pasta takes everything I love about a caprese salad, and translates it to a full, protein packed, delicious dinner. It was so easy–ready in about 20 minutes, and my whole family loved it!

 

Caprese Pasta

yield 8 servings

  • 13 oz box whole grain penne (brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, whatever you like)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
  • 8 oz part skim mozzarella, cubes
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach, stems removed
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil until fragrant. Add cooked and drained pasta, and toss with remaining oil, vinegar and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add chicken, cheese and spinach, and gently toss until spinach slightly wilts, and cheese softens. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Weekend Ramblings

1. IT’S HERE!! IT’S HERE!! IT’S HEREEEEE!!!!! Academy Awards weekend!! I’m a total movie nerd, and award season is like a 3 month long holiday for me, and this has been such a great year for movies in my opinion. Lincoln is still my favorite film of the year, but Argo was probably second. I loved almost everything I saw this year, and the only film left that I really want to see is Beasts of the Souther Wild. How cute is that little girl???

2. I’m trying out this new thing called Not Eating Chipotle for Dinner Every Night. You see, I easily get out of the habit of the whole meal planning thing, then I get really hungry, insist there is absolutely nothing to eat for dinner in my entire house (if you’ve seen my pantry, you know this is a dirty lie), then convince Steve that we should go to Chipotle. While I love Chipotle, it’s not great on the wallet, and I LIKE cooking. So this week, we planned ahead, and I made 4 new recipes that were all healthy and delicious. This is a double bonus because now I have lots to blog about. As much as I love cookies, all cookies all week long was starting to get a little old…

3. This weekend Ragnar del Sol happened. I moped a little, but I’m mostly just tried to be excited for my girls running. I also avoided social media at all costs because it certainly was not helping my “positive attitude” to read an entire news feed full of people running. Also, on Thursday the fro yo guy told me he was running the Phoenix marathon, and I walked away from him refusing to continue the conversation. I swear, I can be an adult sometimes…!

4.This week, my chai spiced snickerdoodles were featured on THE HUFFINGTON POST??? What??? You guys, I’m still in shock every time I get a comment that someone made my recipe, or an email from someone saying they want to feature me. There is so much amazing work out there, I just feel so honored that people are interested in my creations! This whole blogging journey just keeps getting more amazing! chaispicesnickerdoodle-1

5. Last night we all went out to celebrate Nacho’s Birthday. I started the evening in a totally grumpy mood between my knee being a little jerk, my scones not turning out the way I wanted, and just general grumpiness, but by the end of the night, I was happier than I’ve been in a long time. There’s something to be said about an evening with your husband and best friends. Oh, and beer.

6. I have a super embarrassing confession. I’ve started Tivoing and rewatching the entire series of Gilmore Girls. I don’t know what sparked this interest, and I’m not proud of it, but I can’t stop, won’t stop.

7. Speaking of TV, we’ve started watching Breaking Bad. From the beginning, obviously. It’s actually good, not Gilmore Girls good. I never find out about the good TV shows until it’s too late, and they are super far in, or off the air entirely. Whenever people start talking about current TV shows, I just kinda sit there pretending I’m at all caught up on pop culture. Sorry, I didn’t watch the latest episodes of Girls or Dexter, I was busy watching the Gilmore Girls and Paula Deen. Oh, and can’t forget about the Seinfeld reruns I could watch all day ever day.

8. I’m really excited for Friday night. Nicole and I have devised a genius plan for our Drink & Dish filmings. Instead of starting early in the morning, we’re spending our Friday night recording, because then at the end there are DRINKS and DISHES. Meaning dinner and liquor. Editing is going to be so much more fun.

9. I am currently letting my bananas die so that I can make these. Also, I am pretty obsessed with these brownies.  And I tried to make this on Friday, but I didn’t follow any of the instructions really. It still tasted fantastic.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

I want to tell you about one of my favorite nights ever in life.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake.jpg

I was training for my first half marathon, Steve and I invited Kara, Charlie and Hermano over for dinner to celebrate Long Run Day. It’s a real holiday when you’re training. Trust me.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake.jpg

We went to Whole Foods and each picked out our meat of choice, and I made a sweet potato hash on the side. We ate a delicious dinner paired with lots of dark, sweet beer (my favorite), and then we watched the Muppets Christmas Carol. It was December, and that is pretty much my favorite holiday movie.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

Around the middle of the movie, we all started to want dessert. I was maybe, kind of, a little…tipsy. I usually at least follow a base recipe for an idea of liquid/flour/leavening agent ratio, but I didn’t measure a single thing. I flew by the seat of my pants, and hoped for the best.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

Well, Hermano has been obsessed ever since. He calls it his favorite dessert I’ve ever made. Although, like my husband, I feel like he says that a lot. ;) Anyway, he’s been asking me to recreate for the last year, and I kept telling him I didn’t know how.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

Last weekend, he performed in the southwest regionals concert. He got second chair as a sophomore! He was also asked to play with the choir. I was feeling like a super proud sister, so Steve and I surprised him with a steak from Whole Foods, and I told him I could make him whatever he wanted for dessert. He, again, requested “that one thing….with the banana…” He has a way with words.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

So again, I decided to wing it. This time I measured, but I just made it up as I went, and hoped for the best. I had no intentions of photographing it, or blogging about it, but after one bite, I knew it was too good not to share. Hermano immediately confirmed that this was the dessert he wanted. I know I changed it up a little, but the idea was similar, and the cream cheese frosting just took it to the next level.

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

Sweet, tender, soft and gooey banana cake filled with white chocolate and cinnamon chips, and topped with rich cream cheese frosting. I don’t know how I ever doubted the success of this dessert! Whenever I make things up as I go, I almost always have a moment where I decide I’ve “ruined it”, or it’s a total flop, but usually it’s just my silly anxieties. Now I know I had absolutely nothing to worry about here!

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

 

White Chocolate & Cinnamon Chip Banana Cake

yield 16 servings

  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 2 very ripe large medium bananas
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp light whipped butter
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and extracts. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in white chocolate and cinnamon chips.
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Slowly, 1/4 cup at a time, beat in powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Beat in vanilla.
  5. Remove completely cooled cake from baking dish and top with cream cheese frosting. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.