Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Brownies

2nd Barbell Strength class back from maternity leave under ma’  belt! i used class as my warm up and went downstairs to get a solid back workout in afterwards.  i’m taking my time, trusting the process, and sticking to my 6 Pack USA plan these days.  i want to maintain balance and not go crazy with the exercise this time around. no need!  well, as long as i’m sticking to the nutrition part of the plan too.

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 baking has been on my brain this week.  why?

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most likely cause Sonny surprised Chiso and i with this really, really, magically, delicious lemon bundt cake tuesday from Nothing Bundt Cakes, ugh.  he says they were randomly giving out free mini bundt cakes to the companies in his office building. is that not the best marketing strategy ever?? um, it worked cause now i want one and will most likely use them for a future event. that reminded me of HEB’s and Whole Food’s sample stations throughout the store. if you feed me while i shop, well hey, i’m coming back there again and again to spend my money. and eat. and buy things that were never on my shopping list. and blow my grocery budget. genius. ok anyway, soon as i eat white sugar i just want more, more, MORE. sugar addiction is real. real annoying.   Chiso was super happy but yall know how i am around large amounts of my trigger foods!!! womp, womp.  i couldn’t let all my work from the past few weeks go to crap so i did have a small piece, cut Chiso some, and threw it out.  my very preggo sis-in-law was the first person i thought to give the leftovers to, but that’s just evil lol! i would have taken a bite every single time i entered the kitchen until it was all gone, SMH. we are all for minimizing waste when possible, but this was a game time decision that had to be done. so, that’s how these brownies came about. i was so excited about whipping them up regardless cause i haven’t baked anything sweet since i was waiting around trying to get Dego outta this tummy. these are naturally sweetened for the most part; the chocolate PB2 does contain sugar but not a mind-blowing amount like Mr. Bundt cake up there. i used agave nectar but you can use honey as well. it’s up to you!  heck you can also use full fat peanut butter if ya want.  just melt it in the microwave a little first for better mixability.

IMG_20140828_173837 Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Brownies

the stuff: (source)

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup chocolate PB2
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • *optional* 1/4 cup rolled, uncooked oats (either leave them as-is or grind them into a fine flour)
  • 1/2 cup light agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup water + 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla

do this:

  1. combine eggs, vanilla, agave nectar and water in a small mixing bowl.
  2. combine PB2, cocoa powder, oatmeal, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl.
  3. add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
  4. pour mixture into an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan coated with no stick cooking spray.
  5. bake for 30 minutes on 325 degrees or until an inserted coupon comes out clean.

recipe makes 12 brownies.  nutritional stats can be found on my Instagram post at the moment until i add them here!

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before i go, thank you to Rosa from Enlightened Ice Cream for the coupons!! i cannot WAIT to pick up my samples at Sprouts Farmers Market soon.  these bars are low in calories (70), high in protein (8g) and fiber (5g), 20% of the RDA for calcium, and contains only 2g of fat and 3g of sugar.  It’s made from rBST-free milk, is gluten free, and contains no added sugars or artificial sweeteners!  i like. review coming soon.

nite!

le

 

 

boy: a noise with dirt on it

a mommy-friend of mine invited the boys and i to toddler story time at a local library recently.  actually, she invited us weeks ago but i finally got it together enough on my end so that we could attend. it was a morning event so i got up super-duper early just to ensure we’d make it. a lil late, but we made it.  i feel like i have to start getting everybody ready like 3 hours before we have to be somewhere, seriously.  and when we are rarely making good time, Chiso suddenly has to go go to the restroom as i am loading up the car or Dego throws up on us.  never fails!  but hey, we made it AND we even got a nice breakfast in!

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i had egg whites with black pepper, mozzarella almond cheese, a little homemade guacamole, low-fat turkey sausage, and french toast with strawberries!  big breakfast to support my activity levels these days which includes hitting the weights again, nursing around the clock, and keeping up with my 3 yr old. among other things.

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Chiso has requested pancakes for like 2 weeks straight now. maybe even longer than that.  so made him some sprinkled with mini chocolate chips, sugar-free syrup, and a little fat-free Redi Whip.

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our boys warmed right on up to each other and enjoyed the crafting, songs, and puppet show.

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 Maranda is a mom of 3 boys herself so i know she feels my pain can relate to life with these little knuckleheads!

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 our first official outing together.  we did it!! we’re pros now. i actually avoided leaving the house with both boys for the longest…but the saying is true. ‘ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.’ after that? piece of cake! for the most part. thinking, i.e. worrying, about every single thing that could go wrong is no way to live. i’ve learned to be prepared, prayerful, and cautious, not crazy.  Chiso’s independence could not have come at a better time though. for him to be able to get in and out of the car himself, clean up his toys and messes, retrieve and/or throw away Dego’s diapers, and turn on the bathroom light so i don’t have to get up lol helps out big time. sigh…no more baby Chiso!

just another one of those bittersweet mommy moments.

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well all that fun didn’t result in a nap at our house, but Chiso enjoyed himself and has asked to go back countless times now. Maranda is a pro at finding free & fun stuff to do around our city, and i recently came across Houston on the Cheap with even more ideas galore.  check it!
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i got to bed way too late so my early gym date was definitely out this morning. i hit the streets for some sprints once Sonny got home instead. i haven’t run full speed in almost a year and i’m sure i’ll pay for it tomorrow and the next day!  i did ladders:

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i started slow and only went ‘down’ the ladder from 5 to 1.  that was all i had, woof.  also, here are two foodie items being adding back into my diet that i’ve posted about before: almond cheese (gotta cut down on the dairy cause of bloating) and calorie-free Grey Poupon mild & creamy mustard. i got great feedback via Instagram about Daiya vegan cheese so i’m gonna step out and try that brand next.

Q: what have you tripped over that wasn’t even worth tripping over once you did it?

le

H-town’s very first 24 hour donut cafe

 a former colleague of mine and fellow UH Cougar, Ose Ohen, opened up Glazed last week!  we headed to stuff our faces immediately after church as planned.

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transparency is a wonderful thing.  i appreciate and enjoy being able to watch my food being prepared and just the entire process in general.  maybe that’s why i’m such a big fan of Unwrapped on Food Network.  seeing how things i’ve been eating for YEARS are made is just really interesting and cool.  anyway, kitchen windows build trust.  it can also change the way an employee works if you know what i mean, lol.

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 they had 3 flavors ready to go for the soft opening: lemon poppy, glazed, and maple bacon (with a turkey bacon version as well).

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more glass windows, awesome.

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we all sat down and got comfy while Sonny went to order our sweets.  i didn’t even have to tell him what to get either.

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*just before pulling the deliciousness out of the bag*

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i know. and it tasted as incredible as it looked.  perfect balance of sweet/salty/doughy/chewy/fluffy. WHAT a donut. i am crazy excited about this gigantic list of flavors they’ll be selling in the near future and i’m not even a donut person!

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Chiso eats his donuts just like his pizza, plain.  i’d say he enjoyed it.

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 well you knew this was happening later.  sweaty stair master intervals and some core work completed my sunday.  5 weeks postpartum and i still work my kegal muscles (when i think about it randomly at home) to strengthen my pelvic floor again.  it’s a process, ladies!  be patient, work them daily if you can, and make sure you do them on an empty bladder.

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 as i got meal prep going for the next few days, i channeled my inner Fish City Grill with these tacos for dinner.  if you’ve been there and ordered them they should look pretty familiar to ya ;) .  i used La Tortilla Factory 70 calorie tortillas as usual (which i saw at HEB recently!!!!) and filled them with baked swai fish, bagged cabbage and Annie’s all natural Lite Goddess dressing.  this is super similar to the Crunchy Ginger Rotisserie Chicken Wrap from a few days ago.  then i grilled them up on our griddle for a few minutes until they browned.   heating the tortilla first makes a huge difference vs a cold, flimsy tortilla.  try it!  someone from Instagram suggested i taste that flavor of Annie’s next and i’m glad i did.

Q: kolaches or donuts?

i’m a cheese lover so that’s an easy one. 

le

crunchy ginger rotisseri chicken wrap + stay fuller longer

having the same thing i had for breakfast yesterday while there are a few La Tortilla Factory Tortillas left in this house. they go so fast cause we all like them! Chiso eats them as pb & j rollups, Sonny makes tacos, and quesadillas are my fave. the exact kind i get are only at the Sprouts Farmers Market closest to where i live.

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 since i always make them for lunch or dinner,  i tried a breakfast quesadilla this time with egg whites, red bell pepper, green onion, low fat turkey sausage, and 2% pepper jack cheese.  i cooked it on the griddle for 4-5 min on each side and threw in some tomatoes, bluebs, and homemade guacamole. excellent!

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 my day gets going after some good fuel, and this thing makes it so much easier to get stuff done around the house when baby boy is fussy or i just don’t want to put him down.  i received this Baby Bjorn as a gift while preggo with Chiso and i love it for home use and outings.  Dego is a thumb sucker and puts his whole hand over his face while he does it! so funny.

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so with breastfeeding and getting back to my random, sweaty workouts as of this week, i am double HOONGRY. this is ridiculous.  i just want to eat the entire fridge and pantry when i get home.  coincidently i got an email from Spark People titled ‘Tips to Stay Full Longer’ and i could not click the link fast enough.  these are some awesome tips to follow and i’ve already been doing some of them such as:

  • eat protein and fiber rich foods every 3-4 hours with healthy snacks in between (like fresh fruit and mixed nuts)
  • fill up on the non-starchy veggies and fibrous foods (leafy greens, cucumbers, red bell peppers, spinach, zucchini, sugar snap peas) with every meal
  • reach for natural fruit first to lessen/knock out those sugar cravings. remember, white sugar only makes you crave it MORE! it’s a dangerous cycle.
  • drink a full glass or bottle of water before every meal
  • take your time and eat!!! when i’m super hungry i rush and stuff myself (which is why eating every couple of hours is still the best option for me). it takes about 20 minutes for your tummy to tell your brain you are even full, but by that time it’s too late and you’re on your way to a food coma. take your time to chew and swallow every bite.

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today was my first day back on the stair master since i was like 6 or 7 months preggo!  my heart rate always shot up and being up so high with my belly made Sonny uncomfy so i just stopped using it. i didn’t miss it. lol. hurts so good though!  i did some intervals for about 30 minutes for my cardio and headed to a core class.  how about i modified everythang. my postpartum core is way stronger now than in my first pregnancy, but i still have a crap ton of work to do. but first….. :D

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afterwards, i picked up some of nature’s candy from Sprouts.  i love their 3 for 5 bucks sale! i got 2 strawberries and one pint of bluebs. and those sweet, crunchy nectaries of course.

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i also picked up another one of Annie’s all natural dressings– Gingerly.  winner!

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i wanted to use it right away, so for dinner, i threw some shredded rotisserie chicken, raw red bell pepper, bagged cabbage mix, cilantro, green onion, and crushed almonds into a bowl, poured in the dressing, and coated the chicken mixture in it.

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i grabbed a La Tortilla Factory tortilla, rolled the chicken mixture up really tight and made a Crunchy Ginger Rotisserie Chicken Wrap that had so much flavor!  please try this, guys!

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 for dessert i skipped the fruit and had some Arctic Zero with mini chocolate chips, fat-free Redi Whip, and sprinkles lol. have a fun friday night and a great weekend!

le

Q: what are your thoughts on Artic Zero? yay? nay? 

 i add a tbsp of Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup to mine, stir until creamy, and add a few toppings first. hits the sweet spot.

zucchini pepperoni pizza poppers

Bey and J are performing in Houston tonight and guess who’s going!??!?! all of Houston!!!  except us. we’re at home eating zucchini pizzas and staring at each other.

IMG_20140718_174525these healthy, light snacks are bursting with Italian, cheesy goodness and make THE perfect party appetizers by the way! you just need to serve them immediately while they are hot and bubbling. else, the cheese hardens up. but i can eat cheese at any temperature. especially burnt cheese. yummy.

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Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza Poppers

the stuff:

  • 2 raw zucchini, coined 1/2 in thick
  • 1/3 cup homemade marinara
  • 1/4 cup turkey pepperoni rounds, chopped
  • no stick cooking spray
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (vegan, dairy-free, cheddar, monterey  jack, pepperjack, mozzarella, etc.)

do this:

  1. wrap a large flat baking plan with foil and coat with no-stick cooking spray and set your oven broiler to high
  2. heat a large griddle to med-high heat  (i made pancakes for breakfast and the griddle was already out but you can use a very large skillet too) and coat it with no-stick cooking spray
  3. place as many zucchini coins flat on the griddle as possible and cook for 1 minute (you may have to work in batches)
  4. flip the coins over and cook for an additional minute
  5. transfer the cooked coins to the baking sheet lined with foil
  6. dab some marinara sauce on the top of each coin and using the back of a small spoon, spread mixture out
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  8.  sprinkle a few shreds of cheese on top of the sauce
  9.  sprinkle some chopped turkey pepperoni on top of the cheese
  10. place entire pan in your oven as close to the broiler flames as you can get and cook for approx. 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and bubbly
  11. sprinkle with Italian seasoning. done.

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s/n: if you have more zucchini to use up, see if you can stretch your ingredients even further as you might have sauce/cheese, etc. left over.

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 i upgraded my fry cutter!  this is the Deluxe Fry Cutter from Bed Bath & Beyond and i got it for 13 bucks after using the 5 bucks off coupon that comes in the snail mail flyer.  great, affordable investment.  the only thing i did have to do first is peel the potato, then slice it in half.  the device only opens so wide, so you might have to cut the ends off to make it fit.  other than that, no microwaving needed before cutting!  sign up for their ads directly on their website to get their coupons.

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what a big helper! not just in the kitchen with me but with his little brother as well which is a huge answered prayer. many have asked how the transition with the boys has been and i can honestly say smooth.  putting Dego’s dirty diapers in the diaper genie for me is exciting to him. yeah, i’m milking that for as long as he lets me.

also, these are the delish, Spicy Smoky Sweet Potato Fries from my ebook!

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WHY didn’t i think of this sooner… Quest Bars help out big time with my sweet toof.  i really i only get them when i go to my gym, so now that i’m going almost regularly the bars are making appearances again. THIS time though, i’m going to GNC and buying an entire box. can’t keep buying them for 3 bucks at a time, pretty stupid and not cost-effective.  20g protein, 17g fiber, 170-180 cals. coconut cashew is one of my fave flavors! .

didn’t get to have my early gym rendezvous this morning so i went power walking this evening.

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 i strapped down the girls with two sports bras and hit the bricks.  let me tell you how much i appreciate working my back 2 or more times a week when i was preggo! the weight of these boobs right now….. whew.

le

wienervention – the cleanest hot dog i’ve ever eaten

another early gym date accomplished this morning and officially 1 month postpartum! i expect to get a lot done today. 
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i had my usual preworkout snack, some hot, magical coffee, and headed out for an hour of treadmill intervals. i alternated btw:

5 incline @ 4 mph – 5 minutes

15 incline @ 3 mph – 5 minutes 

walking IS boring but there are ways you can rev it up.  i always swing my arms vigorously, walk heel-to-toe with a wide stride, and i never hold the side rails either. that’s cheatiiiiing ;)

can i do a blog #throwbackthursday? i’m doin’ it anyway!

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while we were headed home from the hospital last month with our brand new baby boy, something beat us there- my Wienervention Kit from Applegate!!!

that nostalgic red and white pattern always reminds you of what? a summer picnic, yep.

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however, the Houston heat was too much and i just wanted to lay down somewhere and stuff my face in the AC.  i’d like to give a gigantic high-five and thank you to one of my favorite natural and organic brands, Applegate, for the goods. i knew the kit was on the way, but it slipped my mind after giving birth and all.  my mom and aunt were at our house tidying up and waiting to help out with our new family member, so unbeknownst to Sonny & i, they went ahead and cracked the kit open and prepared a welcome home lunch for us! perfect timing, right?

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i actually used to avoid hot dog wieners for this very reason…  i’ve always thought of them as the wack parts of meat that didn’t make the cut all blended up together with fat and other UFOs.  i would only have them every blue moon, like july 4th or memorial day at somebody’s BBQ. at home? not so much.  also, reading ‘mechanically separated turkey, chicken, or beef’ in the ingredients list is not very appetizing. thank God we have many healthier options to choose from these days; these Applegate wieners are in a league of their own! a wienerventioW was overdue.

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rest assured these top-notch dogs are:

  • all natural
  • contain no antibiotics
  • humanely raised beef fed vegetarian/grain diet
  • gluten-free
  • casein-free
  • contain no fillers
  • contain recognizable ingredients! every single one.
  • really, really tasty.

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nailed that presentation.

they also sent along condiments, cause you can’t build a stellar dog without them.

20140619_185515_1 for the buns, we had a choice of Rudi’s Organic Bakery Multigrain or White hot dog buns!  i loved them both and you can snag a coupon for a bag of your choice right on their website. 20140620_144055_1from the bun, to the condiments, to the wiener, this is THE cleanest hot dog i’ve ever eaten.

time to change the meat you eat and give Applegate a try.

in newborn news, CYMERA_20140717_114845

i think he’ll be tall.

more tummy time, aka, push up practice!

le

4 weeks pp + Dego’s 1 month mark

last night i said i was going to get up at the crack of dawn this morning and not just get my treadmill interval workout in, but to pop up on my 5:30am class to say hi while i was at it! i made me some hot coffee and headed out, Beats and ipod in tow.

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i kinda forgot to factor in feeding my newborn before leaving though so i arrived way after class started.  it was SO good to see old and new faces all across the studio when i peeked my head in the door!  i caught up with some of my regulars after class finished and they only made me more anxious to put that mic on again.

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cardio killaaaaa. i was hoping to be cleared to lift this week, but my OB’s schedule is jam packed!!! huge bummer. still crossing my fingers to be worked in somehow. else i’ll just wait ’til next week.

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Chiso woke up and requested pancakes, so he got’em.  i made him a stack of my WW Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Birthday Cakes complete with dolphin sprinkles and he almost finished the stack by himself!  i gladly killed the rest. remember, you can also sub blueberries for the chocolate chips.

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who’s 1 month today? that guy! i asked Sonny does 4 weeks make it one month, or will July 17th make it one month… idk and too lazy to Google. close enough.  also up until today, smiles from Dego were only reserved for Chiso. i finally got mine :)

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our God is an awesome God.  i make an effort to praise Him for all things, both great and especially small.  after receiving and reviewing Dego’s newborn screening results in the mail a few days ago i began to thank Him repeatedly.  i was instantly reminded of the time in my life when my thoughts consumed me and convinced me that i was unable to bear any children, ever.  God has blessed us with healthy baby boy #2, and for that we give Him all the glory.

they willl find you

this is so funny because i actually remember doing this to my mom.  putting my face on the floor to see her feet while calling her name over and over again and everything.  well it’s payback time!  who am i kidding… once Chiso doesn’t give a flying hoot about my whereabouts i’m gonna have a mommy moment…

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grilled sirloin steak and taters for dinner tonight.  we’ve been outta sweet taters and they are exactly what i need to keep me feeling fuller longer between meals.  the steak was marinated in some Annie’s balsamic vinaigrette, pinch of sea salt and black pepper before i tossed it in my grill pan.  that delicious sauce is just Grey Poupon mild and creamy mustard (which is calorie free, sugar free, and fat free) sauteed with white mushrooms. it’s bananas!

Q: how do you like your steak cooked?  

blood = no bueno. can’t do it. well done, please.

le