Posts made in September 26th, 2011

banana no bake cookies (vegan, gluten-free and no added sugar)

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Posted on Sep 26, 2011 in Food

I feel like, as of recent, my recipes sound like something out of a sitcom punchline. The wife says, “Honey, I made some vegan, gluten-free, no sugar added cookies for dessert.” And then the husband turns to the camera with a look of disgust on his face. And then there is a laugh track.

I hate sitcoms like that. Because usually they consist of a wife that is smart, beautiful and savvy paired with a husband that is dumb, lazy and not-so-attractive. You’d never see a sitcom with the roles reversed. Thankfully, Babyface is not a sitcom husband. He loves these cookies. The only laughing you’ll hear is our giggles of joy when we bite into these cookies. No laugh track required.

Thanks to the elimination diet, Babyface and I have been struggling a bit with quick and easy dessert choices that fit in with our stipulations. Pre-elimination, we’d almost always ended dinner with a square of dark chocolate or a black bean brownie. But since both of those were out, it was time to figure out a elimination-friendly quick dessert.

The requirements:

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • No refined sugars
  • Preferably, no added sugar
  • Deeply chocolate

These suckers passed the test with flying colors.

If you want these to be truly vegan and soy-free (like we do), look for chocolate chips that are non-dairy and soy free. A lot of vegan chocolate chips have soy lecithin in them as an emulsifier. If you want to avoid soy, make sure to look out for this. There are brands out there that only have three ingredients: cane juice, chocolate liqueur and cocoa butter. Sounds good to me.

These cookies are sweetened thanks to the service of two bananas. I think bananas often get a bad wrap when it comes to cooking and baking. They are relegated to banana bread and muffins, but really, a banana is a great way to add moisture and sweetness to almost anything. When paired with a strong flavor like chocolate, the banana tends to fade away and be a background flavor.

Unlike a lot of vegan versions of cookies, these actually hold their shape at room temperature. They are a little softer than the traditional no bake, but they definitely stick together. For the ultimate staying power, keep them in the fridge or freezer for quick access. When cold, they become fudgy and somehow, even more decadent.  Pair a few of these with a nice tall glass of (almond) milk and you have one awesome dessert that doesn’t just taste good, but also packs a nice nutrition punch as well. For each large cookie, they run about 120 calories with 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

They are health cookies. I’m gonna go eat another.

Banana No Bake Cookies

Inspired by Oh She Glows

Deeply-chocolatey and sweetened with bananas, these cookies are a great way to squash a sweet craving without overdosing on refined sugars. Use dairy-free chocolate chips and gluten-free oats and you’ve got a vegan and gluten-free treat that’ll satisfy anyone. They’ll stay in tact at room temperature, but pop ‘em in the fridge or freeze for a solid, fudgy treat.

Makes 18 large cookies

Print this recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup soy-free, dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled gluten-free oats

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine banana chunks, chocolate chips, almond butter, chia seeds, cocoa power, milk and salt. Heat for 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to bubble.
  2. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the bananas in chocolate mixture until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add in vanilla.
  3. Stir in oats until well-coated.
  4. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper and let cool. Chill in fridge or freezer for a more solid cookie.

Do you eat dessert after dinner often?

 

hoosiers outrun cancer race report

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Posted on Sep 26, 2011 in Fitness

Babyface and I ran a 5K this on Saturday! We ran Hoosiers Outrun Cancer, which is one of two “standards” on our race list every year. Our first few years, we walked it, but this year, we ran those hills, baby!

Races in Bloomington are always…interesting. A lot of folks think that Indiana is flat, but that is really only true for North of Indianapolis. Southern Indiana is incredibly hilly and Bloomington is no exception. Even with the hills it was a great race for both me and Babyface. Someone PRed. And that someone wasn’t me. :D

Let’s rewind. The gun (it was actually a horn) didn’t go off until 10:20am, so we had plenty of time to sleep in and get fueled-up pre-race. We both ate a brown rice cake with peanut butter, banana and chia seeds. I made myself two, but could only down one. I don’t think I’ll ever stop getting nervous before races. Don’t worry, the second one didn’t go to waste, Babyface chomped on it post-race.

We were running this race as part of a team for work, in support of one of our fellow co-workers who is currently undergoing cancer treatment (love you, Pam!) so we all gathered to get our team pictures taken about an hour before the start time. If you couldn’t tell by my fleece headband and long sleeves, it was COLD. Right around 50° and drizzling. Great for running. Not so great for standing around.

Two Vibrams in a sea of sneakers. We did see another girl (probably 8 or 9 years old) wearing a pair of hot pink Vibrams and it made me happy. My toes were not warm at all. I have toe socks, but I just couldn’t bring myself to wear them with my Sprints. Babyface is wearing socks with his KSOs and they don’t look ridiculous. I might have to get a second pair of Vibrams that are sock/winter friendly.

The walkers were headed out after the running race had started, so at about 10:10, we split off and headed to our pacing groups. The pacing signs were the best signs I’ve ever seen. No “10:00 minute mile” or “30 minute” packs. No, no. Just fast, medium and slow. Everyone was confused because they terms are so relative. Probably not the best pacing plan ever. Just to be safe, I lined up waaaayy behind the Slow sign. So far back I wasn’t even on the parking lot anymore. I’m sure some people were offended by the giant “SLOW” sign, but I just thought it was hilarious.

I actually had music for this race, so once I got to my lonesome in the back, I cranked up the tunes and started to focus. I didn’t really mention it, but I thought I might try to beat my PR. It didn’t end up happening. My PR is on a flat city course and this one, as we’ve already talked about, is not flat at all, but it was a good thing to make me focus.

Soon, we were off and up hills we went. I really need to get better at warming up before races, especially when it is cooler outside. I felt stiff and cold. But considering the first mile and half was pretty much entirely uphill, I warmed up pretty quickly. I did walk/run intervals up the hills. I felt pretty good and was picking people off at a pretty good clip. My calves were screaming my the second mile marker because I am not at all trained to run hills barefoot. Around this time, the course turned to almost entirely downhill and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could PR, but it wasn’t meant to be. When I realized it wasn’t a PR-worthy race, I knocked down my pace and did the last 1/2 mile at a leisurely jog. Of course, I sprinted at the end. Because that’s what ya do.

Final time (from my watch, it wasn’t a chip start): 38:44
Overall: 1213/1500
Division (F 25-29): 76/ 95

I’ll take it! I always say that racing in this town is a little skewed because there are SO many young, fast people (college town) running. But hey, even so, not so shabby.

After I crossed the finish line, I immediately went looking for Babyface because he was pretty much destined to PR this race. He’s been training for a fast 5K and this is his first 5K race in almost a year. I was so excited to hear how he did. And yeah, he definitely PRed.

That’s a “2″ and a “3″ for 23:42. He shaved off almost three minutes from his 5K PR time and almost four minutes from his 5K on a similar hilly course. His previous PR was on the super flat city course, so uh, Babyface is a speedy rockstar.

He even crossed the finish line in front of the entire IU men’s basketball team. That’s some serious bragging rights.

Other than us both having awesome personal races, I think something that is so nice about this race is how much it does for cancer research in our community. Our team alone had 13 members and we raised almost $450 to help the cause in the name of Pam! Above and beyond our entry fees and the awareness of having 3,000 running around town. I’ve been doing this race for a few years, and it may be my imagination, but it seems every year there are a few less “In Memory of…” and a few more “In Celebration of…” bibs. And I like to think part of that is because of the money raised by this race. Running and philanthropy makes my heart swoon.

Post race, I desperately wanted a cheeseburger and a beer. We rarely go out to eat, but after a race is one of the times we almost always do. But not today. Instead, we came home and Babyface made us chickpea flour pancakes. And no, they don’t taste like hummus. :P They taste like gluten-free, vegan deliciousness (and a little like Finnish pancakes).

My calves are still on fire after those hills. You’d think after how long I’ve been running in my Vibrams that my calves would have adjusted, but I guess nothing can prepare my poor legs for Southern Indiana hills.


Did you run/walk/swim/bike/crawl/dance a race this weekend? How’d it go?

monday motivation + weekly goals

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Posted on Sep 26, 2011 in Motivation

Programming note: if you take a gander at the title of this post, you’ll notice that I’ve decided to combine my weekly Monday Motivation quotes with my Weekly Goals posts. I just felt like neither of them had enough “umph!” to stand alone. Plus, it opens up more spots for delicious recipes and rambling about stuff. So with our powers combined…

Monday Motivation

This one piggy-backs off of last week’s Maya Angelou quote. A lot of times, we can’t choose our situation, but we can choose how we adapt to it. Even the most toxic of environments can produce something beautiful. This week, I’m going to take all the negative situations in my life and think about how I can use them to make myself a better, stronger, more beautiful flower.

Want to take this little piece of motivation home with you? As always, you can purchase this print over at my Etsy store to hang on your wall. Want to check out all my motivational quotes for sale? Head on over to check out this print and loads of others. All are available with custom colors and sizing.

Weekly Goals

Drink 120 ounces of water a day. I think I was focused on so many of the other “rules” (I hate that word) of the elimination diet last week, that one of the most basic—drink water—fell by the wayside. I really need to up my water intake. It makes me feel better almost immediately.
Reply to comments as I get them. I read every single comment I get as soon as i get it, but I’ve gotten in the bad habit of not replying until I have some free time. Which is silly. It takes 30 seconds to reply to comment and it’d be much easier (and a better experience for you guys) if I reply on demand. Expect replies to be coming at you soon after you hit “Submit Comment” button.
Stretch daily. I’m pretty good about stretching after a workout, but I’d really like to incorporate a stretching routine into my daily activities. It doesn’t have to be much—5-10 minutes is fine—but I think my body would really benefit from a daily dose of stretching. My body (especially my legs) are “tight” pretty much all the time. Part of this might be incorporating a little bit of daily yoga, too. 

What are your goals for this week?