cinnamon coconut granola

 

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We woke up today ready to run 21 miles…but after looking outside, we decided against it. It was cold and really rainy.  Sure, we could have toughed it out.  But we thought: why risky getting sick and soggy, when tomorrow looks so much better?

An unexpected rest day felt super awesome.

I decided to try and make granola.  It’s one of Jon’s favorite snacks, we buy it in bulk.  The stuff that I buy is fine, but I knew I could make it fresher.

I bought coconut oil from Trader Joe’s a while back, and I am still getting comfortable with using it.  I used it one night to cook fish, and it turned out AWESOME!  I decided to incorporate it into my granola as a binding agent.

The granola we ended up with is so delicious!  The coconut flavor is subtle, and it’s not too sweet.  It’s perfect for fueling before long run.  It would be amazing mixed with fruit and yogurt for breakfast or dessert.  It’s also just great by itself…it’s really hard to stop eating!

cinnamon coconut granola

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 unsweetened shredded cocnut
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Parchment paper

1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the syrup (or honey), coconut oil, and vanilla in a microwave-safe bowl.  Warm the mixture on high for one minute.

3. Combine the oats, sugar, shredded coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl.

4. Pour the warmed coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture.  Mix or toss to coat the oat mixture.

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5. Spread the coated oat mixture over a baking sheet that has been lined in parchment paper.

6. Bake for 5-6 minutes, then stir the mixture and bake for another 7 minutes.

7. Remove the mixture from the over and transfer the mixture (still on the parchment paper) to a wire rack to cool.

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8. Let the granola stand and, once it’s cool, break it into small pieces.

9. Store the granola in an air-tight container.

Enjoy, and happy rainy Saturday!

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smoothie thursday

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We got home late from the Red Sox game the night before, and by the time we finally got to bed, I knew today would be a tough run this morning.  I got to the gym around 6 am and started an extended version of my favorite treadmill workout.  By the time an hour had passed, I was exhausted…and I still had a full day ahead of me.  So I needed a delicious recovery smoothie, including lots of protein and some carbs.

I decided to incorporate chocolate milk.  Chocolate milk is the recovery drink of many runners that I aspire to be like, and because I love chocolate, I don’t need much of an excuse to drink it.  I incorporated my favorite fruit with some added protein, and here is what I came up with:

 

chocolate raspberry recovery smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 medium sized banana
  • 1 cup low fat chocolate milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds

1. Add the ingredients to the blender, ensuring that the banana and milk will be blended first.

2. Blend until smooth, then enjoy!

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My Chocolate Raspberry Recovery Smoothie has 452 calories, 7.8g of fat, 62g of carbs, 15g of fiber, and 26g of protein.

 

After I made my smoothie, Jon still needed some breakfast!  He runs in the evenings, so he needed a lot of calories, carbs, and protein.  No matter what he has in the morning, he is usually still starving by lunch time.  Ah, the life of a distance runner.

I decided to make him something tropical.  The game last night was pretty cold, and we are both craving some summer right now.

 

tropical sunrise smoothie

  • 1 medium sized banana
  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 1/4 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup orange juice

1. Add the ingredients to the blender, ensuring that the banana and juice will be blended first.

2. Blend until smooth, then enjoy!

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Jon’s Tropical Sunrise Smoothie has 734 calories, 11g of fat, 125g of carbs, 10g of fiber, and 24g of protein.  You can make it lighter by leaving out the granola.

 

Happy Friday-eve!  

cake batter oatmeal.

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Last weekend, I posted my recipe for Cookie Butter Oatmeal.  This post got me craving my old stand-by.  I used to make this for breakfast literally every day: Cake Batter Oatmeal.  I’m not really sure why I stopped.   I’m pretty sure kids would love this.

It sounds rich and heavy, but it’s very light.  Made similar to Cookie Butter Oatmeal, my cake batter creation is not as sweet as it sounds.  If you looked at the picture, the answer is: yes, I did add sprinkles.  It’s Saturday, and that should be celebrated.

In my pantry, there is always an open box of cake mix.  I used cake mix in a lot of unconvential ways: cake batter oatmeal, cookies, bark…it can sometimes substituted for things like brown sugar and cinnamon in desserts.  I wouldn’t put in my coffee, but then again, I’ve never tried.

I am blogging this while digesting my latest bowl of oatmeal.  Today is long-run Saturday.  I tend to procrastinate a lot.

cake batter oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cake mix (any flavor will work)
  • 2 Tbsp half & half (or skim milk)
  • Optional: sprinkles!

1. Combine the water, oats, some sprinkles, and the oatmeal in a microwave safe bowl.

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2. Heat the mixture for 1-1.5 minutes, depending on your microwave.

3. Stir, and add the half & half, and add more sprinkles.

Have a great day!

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A bowl of Cake Batter Oatmeal contains 282 calories, 7g of fat, 40g of carbs, and 6.5g of protein.

cookie butter oatmeal

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Last night before going to bed, my husband asked me: “Do we have any oatmeal?”  As part of our marathon training plan, Saturday is our “long run” day.  Saturday mornings, we need something hearty to help get us ready.  I checked, and we had some quick oats.  However, we were totally out of the traditional oatmeal mix-ins: bananas, strawberries, blueberries…I’m ashamed to admit that we literally have no fruit.

This morning I was rooting through the pantry, trying to come up with something creative.  It is the day before grocery day, so this was no small task.  I stumbled across some Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.  It was a recent “I’m hungry and grocery shopping” impulse buy, and I am still searching for the best ways to use it.  While it is super delicious, it doesn’t have much protein.  However, oatmeal has 5 grams already, and oatmeal always needs something sweet.

Perfect!  Cookie Butter Oatmeal!

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The recipe is super easy, only 3 ingredients (4 if you count water).

cookie butter oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter
  • 2 Tbsp half & half (skim milk will also work)

1. Combine the water, oats, and cookie butter in a microwave-safe bowl.

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2. Heat the mixture for 1-1.5 minutes, depending on your microwave.

3. Stir, and add the half & half.

Enjoy!

And for all the Trader Joe’s faithful, tell me: what are the best ways to use Cookie Butter?

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A bowl of Cookie Butter Oatmeal contains 279 calories, 12g of fat, 36g of carbs, and 6.9g of protein.