Run to your kitchen right now

and make these Levain Bakery copycat cookies by A Bountiful Kitchen.

My husband absolutely loves these cookies. Like, he requests me to make them every week. And so, like the good wife that I am, I oblige (for the most part).

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Beau & me after I make these cookies. (Source.)

I’m torn because they are obviously not healthy. But they are so! chocolatey! And I loooove chocolate.

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Me. Always.

My modifications:

  1. Beau has a nut allergy, so I do not use peanut butter chips. I use dark chocolate chips. I know, I know. So! Chocolatey!
  2. I don’t use the two 10 ounce bags of chips. I just use one 10 ounce bag. I like to think that this makes them a little healthier.
  3. I also make the cookies a lot smaller–about the size of my palm. This yields about 26 total cookies.
  4. Beau likes to put these cookies in the fridge? I have not tried this, but if you do please tell me the appeal. I don’t get it. I like my cookies warm & fresh out the oven.

Let me know how you like them and if they become a staple dessert in your kitchen.

 

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I’m only spinning

It’s starting to get harder for me to exercise like I would like. I have had to stop running due to back pain, so I picked up spinning/cycling class. I go two days a week on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. I’m trying to walk two or three days a week, and doing small weights at least one day. But now, as I’m hitting 32 weeks, it’s getting a little more difficult. The spin bike is really REALLY REALLY (I cannot emphasize this enough) starting to hurt my tailbone. And my back is starting to hurt again (like it did in the first trimester). And I’m feeling much sleepier than before, although that may have something to do with Beau being on his surgical rotation and getting up at 3:40 am (!!!!!!!!) every day as I’m left to fall back asleep. Yep. It’s as fun as it sounds.

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As I keep trying to talk myself into giving up, I keep hearing Tony Horton in the back of my head. “Do your best, forget the rest.” Thanks a lot, Tony. He also always shows modifications in his videos, so that got me to thinking… What can I do to modify my workouts so I can keep going as long as possible?

Here are three items I’ve gotten off of Amazon that have helped me, either via placebo effect or otherwise keep pumping. (I’m not paid to say the below and I don’t get anything if you click the links either :))

  1. Belly band
    This belly band seems to help with my back and belly pain. Baby is squishing out my insides, and sometimes it feels like my belly is about to fall off with how much the baby is pushing out. This band kind of helps.
  2. Bike seat
    I’ve used this bike seat several times in my spin class, and while my butt still hurts after classes and the next day, it’s a whole lot better than the plain old bike seats at the gym. Also it comes in a bright pink/purple shade which is awesome.

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  3. 40 ounce water bottle
    I got the purple water bottle pictured above around Memorial Day because I felt as though I wasn’t drinking enough water. My doc recommended at least consuming 2 liters/day, and with my little Camelback, I just wasn’t cutting it. I found this water bottle with a straw, and I haven’t drank water out of anything else since. It’s awesome.

Hopefully this motivates you whether or not you’re pregnant to stay exercising and make modifications as needed. Sheer grit and determination will take you a long way.

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt?

Dannon has come out with a seasonal treat… Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt. Interesting choice, right? Not EXACTLY the first thing I would think of when craving pumpkin-flavored fall treats. But the intrigue got to me and I bought one.

The result? It wasn’t awful. When I peeled back the lid, the consistency reminded me of cream cheese. It had the hint of a pumpkin pie scent, but the smell wasn’t overpowering. Honestly the first bite was the most pumpkin pie flavory (I’m sure that’s a real word) of the whole carton. I love a good slice of pumpkin pie, it’s smooth, creamy and doesn’t overwhelm you with the flavor of spices. True to it’s name, this yogurt reminded me of pumpkin pie in that way: it did not taste like pumpkin spice. The yogurt was tangy, like most Greek yogurt, and almost had the essence of a pumpkin pie. That being said, I don’t see myself eating more than my trial container. If I were to get it again, I would add cinnamon in, like I usually do to my vanilla Greek yogurt. That would help bring out more of the flavor and lessen the tang.

Any other recommendations for the fall tasting season?

 

Kelsey’s Unofficial Fall Holiday

Hello friends! Today is September 1st, and while it’s not technically the beginning of fall, it’s beginning for me. Today we had perfect cooler weather so I pulled out a sweater and my bean boots. Also, pumpkin spice lattes came out today! *insert gleeful dancing here*

This weekend I’ll be putting up my fall decorations and start getting into the spirit of fall. Our baby is due on Halloween, so I’m going to try to soak up as much autumn flavor before I am busy learning how to be a mom.

I sent my husband a list of things I want to do this fall, and hopefully between his surgery rotations and my work schedule we can fit some fun things in.

Fall Bucket List – 2017

  • Go to a pumpkin patch
  • Carve pumpkins
  • Have a campfire & make s’mores
  • Game night
  • Watch Gilmore girls
  • Make pumpkin bread
  • Drink a pumpkin spice latte
  • Drink apple cider
  • Bake a pie

It’s simple, but we’re busy, y’all! What are your favorite fall traditions or what’s on your bucket list?Image result for small pumpkin illustration

 

Life update

Hello friends. It’s been awhile! So sorry for the extended hiatus. As I’m sure you have been busy, so have I!

I know you are all hanging on the edges of your seats to hear about me & my life. NOT. Haha. Sorry for being so self-absorbed. But I’m going to tell you anyway. I’m expecting a baby with my husband. So that’s the real reason for my long break. I’ve got about 10 weeks to go. The first trimester completely zapped me of my energy and desire to do ANYTHING. It’s crazy how a little teeny tiny baby can wreak havoc on you body.

It was about the middle of the second trimester when I started to feel like my old self again, but tempered with a little extra concern. The great news is that I really started feeling like I could work out regularly was right before my third trimester. I had been running sporadically, but it just a) was too painful for my back after my run and b) I kept having to stop to use the restroom. So, I started my weekly spin class again which has been great. I can feel it in my back afterwards, but it’s nothing like my runs were.

As far as eating has gone, during the first trimester I actually lost a few pounds because I felt so nauseated and had an aversion to most foods. Don’t worry, my appetite is back! LOL. In my second trimester, I gained about 10 pounds from one month visit to another. Since then, I’ve tried to reign it in and really make healthy choices instead of eating everything in sight (since I felt as though I would never eat again from the first trimester–not dramatic or anything, I know).

Currently, I’m at the doctor’s office for my 3 hours glucose testing. I took the one hour test and it came back at 134 rather than 130. So I’ll be patiently awaiting those results. For those who have to take it, here’s how my doctor’s office did it: I fasted for twelve hours (12 am–8 am). The nurse took my fasting blood sample, which came back fine at 91. This meant that it was okay for them to administer the dreaded glucose solution (the like 8-10 ounce bottle of straight up sugar). I drank this within 5 minutes, which was trying, but baby and I made it through. Then I had to wait an hour, then they tested my blood again (this time leaving a bruise, WHOMP). Then, waited another hour and tested it again. Then, waited another hour and tested it again. This brings me to a total of FOUR blood draws.

Hopefully I don’t have gestational diabetes, but my doctor reassured me that typically with people like me, it’s easily managed by checking sugars. All the prayers appreciated for this, and for a safe and healthy delivery.

Hope you all are doing well, I’ll try to keep you updated more frequently.

Apple Betty FAIL

You all know by now that I’m really good ruining recipe execution. I’m really learning how bad I am at following instructions. I’m not a good enough of a chef/baker to improvise. So, let me share with you my lovely story of this fail, just because it’s fun.

So, I have a cast iron skillet I received for our wedding and I have never used it. I put the thought in my pretty little mind that I would season it and make an apple betty. I followed the instructions on the Kitchn’s website to season my skillet. When I pulled it out of the oven, it was completely gross and sticky. I had never seen a skillet like this. I couldn’t figure out what happened, but a Google search led me to this article. Well, it turns out I used way too much vegetable oil and rendered my skillet sticky and basically disgusting to handle. To be fair, the article did not emphasize the importance of LIGHTLY seasoning the pan. As the stubborn girl I am, I decided to keep calm and carry on without fixing the issue.

When making the betty, I decided to follow a few recipes, first one from Allrecipes, and Betty Crocker, figuring she would know about it since she shares a name. The reason I chose two is because I wanted to use some oatmeal for the topping. See below for a step by step failure graphic:

So here’s what I would change about my rendering of this recipe:

  • Re-seasoning the skillet before starting the recipe.
  • Peeling the skin of the apples before adding them to the skillet. The texture when biting into them was less than ideal.
  • Make more topping to fully cover the apples in the skillet.
  • I would also add some caramel drizzle, that sounds like a delicious addition.

Also it made a ton, which I could never eat so much. I ended up tossing the whole thing because I am not about to waste my calories on something that isn’t deletable. Hope you enjoyed this failure and decided to try something new to make. The best part of failure is learning from your mistakes.

Treadmill Blues

Going to the gym to run on the treadmill is not my ideal form of running. I like running outside and listening to my preferred playlist. However, running outside is not always feasible for me. I live in an apartment, and there are not great trails in my neighborhood. So, in the winter, I will go to the gym.

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The single best thing I’ve found to do for myself when running inside on a treadmill (not a track, there’s not one at my gym) is to watch a really high intensity show like 24. This not only keeps my heart rate up, but also keeps my attention. It also helps to not have seen the show a lot. If I watch The Office when I run it feels like the run will never be over since I know everything that’s going to happen & my mind starts to wander.

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Another way to mix up the gym in the winter is by using the elliptical sometimes too. It’s definitely not ideal, but if you cannot stomach the idea of running another single step on the stupid treadmill, it’s definitely worth it to switch up the machine to prevent burnout.

Also, create your own vengeance running scenarios like Mindy Kaling should also work if you don’t have access to a TV.

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