Posts made in October, 2011

this weekend, I…


Posted on Oct 31, 2011 in Lifestyle

…ate roasted veggie and ricotta pizza.

…bundled up with Babyface.

…enjoyed the Festival of Ghost Stories (it wasn’t too scary).

…drank spiked hot apple cider.

…listened to some good music in the car.

…marveled at how beautiful fall is in Southern Indiana.

…drank two pumpkin spice lattes.

…headed to the pumpkin patch with my whole family.

…rode on a wagon where I had hair issues.

…got a perfectly round pumpkin.

…took a picture of Babyface because he’s always behind the camera.

…ate a chili dog by a fire.

…packed away two pumpkin whoopie pies made by my sister.

…carved my pumpkin (and Puppyface’s, too).

…roasted pumpkin seeds.

…made candy corn cookies.

…set off one of my infamous kitchen bombs.

What’d you do this weekend?

brains and barley stew


Posted on Oct 31, 2011 in Food

Oh gosh, guys, do I have some big news for you! I’m actually a little bit afraid to tell you for fear that you’ll run away screaming and never read my blog again, but it is going to come out sooner or later, so I might as well bite the brain bullet and spill the blood beans. Here goes…

Babyface and I…well…we are zombies.

The Living Dead. Walkers. Flesh-Eating Skull Suckers. And proud of it!

I know what you are thinking, “But Cassie, zombies are mindless creatures without any reason, control or sense. And they certainly don’t write blogs!”

And to that I say, “LIES! LIES! LIES!”

The truth is, a lot of us Living Impaired (as we prefer to be called) are perfectly normal, contributing members of society. I know it can be hard to believe, especially when jerks like the CDC are telling you how terrible we are, but the truth is, we’re just like you. We cook, we watch TV, we exercise, we do the laundry. We just happen to do all of these things while craving human flesh and tending to our oozing sores. We were people too, ya know?

The propaganda out there would like you to believe we are stumbling around this Earth moaning, “BRRRAAAIIIIINNNNSSS!” when in all actuality, most of us prefer to cook a nice medium-rare frontal lobe at home in the comfort of our own kitchen. Serve it with a side of oven-roasted phalanges and a nice glass of warm O-neg and you’ve got yourself one heck of a nice evening as far as we’re concerned.

I know it is risky to come out, but I think it is high time that us Living Impaired are accepted and respected as members of this community. You should really try to get to know our kind. We probably won’t even eat you! Just as long as you remember to use your turn signal and not talk loudly on your cell phone in a public place. Annoying people taste like sweet, sweet vengeance.

To prove to you that I really want to be accepted, I’ve come bearing a gift in recipe form: brains and barley stew. I can read your mind now and you are thinking “EWWW. Barley? Gross!” But I promise barley is delicious! A little bit chewy and totally hearty, it helps make this stew a perfect candidate for eating on a cold All Hallow’s Eve while sauteing serving up trick-or-treaters.

When choosing your human flesh to use in the stew, make sure to only choose fresh, sustainably-raised human. Avoid human factory farms! Eat humans that lived a good life. Some of the best human flesh is shipped from the Upper East Side of NYC and Beverly Hills. Expensive, but worth the price for a special dinner with a special someone. It’s amazing how tender and flavorful human is when they’ve been fed a champagne and caviar diet exclusively. Devine!

The name of this stew suggests a brain-heavy dish, but you can use whatever human meat you have lying around the house. Small children thigh and calf meat is always a great choice and, I guess if you are an antipeopletarian, you could always sub in beef stew meat (just don’t tell me you did). If you want a real boost of flavor, make your own human stock by boiling a few femurs, some hands and an eyeball or two with onions, carrots, celery and water. It really turns this dish into something life death changing.

Print this recipe

Brains and Barley Stew

Makes 8 Servings

While most of this dish is made using pantry staples, finding the barley can be a bit of a challenge. Check out your local co-op or health food store’s bulk bins and look for pearl barley (not barley flakes). While you are there, pick up some coastal temporal lobe, its flavor works as a great compliment to the wine stock.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds human flesh (brains, skin and meat), cut into 1/2″ pieces OR 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 large carrots, sliced into thick rounds
  • 4 large stalks celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-14 1/2 ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups beef (or human) broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked medium pearl barley


  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.
  2. While pot is heating, toss meat with flour and shake off extra. Add to pot and sear on all sides until just brown. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to pot and heat. Add in onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until just softened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add in mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, red wine, broth, bay, thyme, salt and pepper. Scrape bottom of pot to release all the deliciousness left from searing the meat. Add back in the meat.
  5. Bring to a boil, add in barley. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, for about 45-60 minutes or until barley is cooked and meat is tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.

I hope you all will still accept me after my big revelation. I’m still the same girl. Just paler and with a few more flesh wounds. Maybe one day, I’ll even get you to try out some of my peopletarian dishes! I promise they aren’t as scary as they seem. Oh, and if you are interested in furthering the acceptance of the Living Impaired, I working on creating the flagship chapter of the Alliance for Walking Dead Acceptance. We’re going to be huge. HUGE, I tell ya!

Will you still be my friend? I promise not to eat you.

Happy Halloween!

sweats of the week


Posted on Oct 30, 2011 in Fitness

I seemed to get back on the wagon more solidly this week. Woohoo! It helped that finally, about halfway through the week, I tossed out my go-with-the-flow exercise mentality and decided to make a training schedule. What am I training for? Well….nothing. But it helps to have a plan to stick to. I’m starting to get very, very nervous about hitting my 100 miles for walking/running and my 100 miles for biking for my All About the Numbers Challenge. So next week, I need to kick it into high gear with my mileage.

Sunday (10/23)

  • 2 mile run
  • 3.5 mile walk

The weather recently has been really awesome for running. So cool and crisp! Definitely my favorite time of year to run. Unfortunately, I’m still having some issues with the arch of my right foot. About a mile into any run and it starts cramping and hurting. And the pain lasts for days afterward. Not sure what that’s about.

Thursday (10/27)

  • 20 minutes elliptical
  • 3 mile walk
  • Basic Body Routine

Welcome back to the Basic Body Routine (BBR)! BBR was a small strength training set I created a few years ago that covered all the major muscle groups in about 10 minutes. Is it going to get me ripped? No. But it’s at least enough to activate my muscles and keep them on their toes. The BBR is: two planks, 12 squats, 12 push-ups. Of note: doing planks on carpet is painful. Holy rug burned elbows.

Saturday (10/29)

  • 1 mile walk
  • Planks, push-up and chair sits
  • 10 miles stationary bike

I managed to hold a 1:45 plank yesterday and I was crazy giddy about that. I can’t believe I started off struggling to hold for 30 seconds. 10 miles on the bike flew by thanks to free wi-fi at the gym and games on my iPhone.

I have 25 days to go in my All About the Numbers challenge. Missed the challenge introduction? Go read what it’s all about. The blue numbers represent where I am currently in my quest to tackle my goals.

  1. Complete 2000 fitness minutes (560/2000)
  2. Do a 2 minute plank (1 minute 45 seconds)
  3. Do a 1 minute chair sit (45 seconds)
  4. Run or walk a total of 100 miles (18.62/100)
  5. Stationary bike a total of 100 miles (18.3/100)
  6. Drink 4000 ounces of water (1400/4000)
  7. Track my food for 30 days (13/30)
  8. Eat 200 servings of fruits and veggies (75/200)
  9. Go 40 days without stepping on a scale (15/40)
  10. Write and post 30 Operation Beautiful notes (8/30)

Click to see a larger version.

What was your best workout of the week?


caramel applesauce oatmeal cookies


Posted on Oct 29, 2011 in Food

My favorite Halloween candy is a bit of a wild card. I’m sure if I asked you to guess, most people would assume something chocolately (Reese’s! Butterfingers! Almond Joy!) and while all of those are delicious, you’d be very far off from my favorite. Hint: it has no chocolate in it. And it’s green.

Any ideas?






Caramel Apple Pops! Crazy, right? Out of all the awesome candy out there, I choose a hard, artificially colored and flavored sucker. I know! But I absolutely love them. In high school, I would buy a whole bag of them at the beginning of October and leave them in my car—a black, 1985 Crown Victoria. Everyday after school, I’d hop in, unwrap a caramel apple sucker and happily get a sugar high while singing at the top of my lungs to Britney Spears playing on my Discman with a tape adapter. I was cool as hell.

Of note, Babyface informed me last night that these are not seasonal candy and are around all-year ’round. I don’t believe him.

These cookies have nothing to do with the candy other than the fact that I tried desperately to pull the essence of my favorite Halloween treat into them. This soft, cakey oatmeal cookie is lightened up with a hefty dose of applesauce in place of oil or other fats. To make the caramel part ring true, I whipped up a quick-and-easy vegan caramel sauce to top the cookies. Mmm! Nothing bad ever came out of a batch of caramel sauce.

These cookies have a decent amount of sugar in them, but I think the general nutrition profile is pretty impressive for a sweet treat. I’ve been using these as pre-workout fuel and they have been working great. If you wanted, these could easily turn into a breakfast cookie just by backing down on the sugar and adding in some nuts and dried fruits for mix-ins. Yum!

Print this recipe

Caramel Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies

Inspired by Eating Well

Instead of making the well to hold the caramel, we also tried a batch with the caramel just drizzled on top. It ended up melting and turning into a sticky (but delicious) mess. The end result looked like tiny brains. Not so appetizing for everyday, but fun and festive if you make these for Halloween.

Makes two dozen large cookies


For the caramel sauce:
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (like Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the cookies:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  •  2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. For the caramel sauce: in a medium saucepan, whisk together the apple juice and arrowroot powder until arrowroot is dissolved.
  3. Heat the saucepan over medium heat, add in all other caramel sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil and let boil for about one minute, or until sauce is thick and frothy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. For the cookies: combine sugar, applesauce, egg white and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Set aside
  5. In a second large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, soda, cinnamon and salt.
  6. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.
  7. Drop dough by large rounded spoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
  8. Using the back of a spoon, create a large indentation in the middle of each cookie.
  9. Spoon some of the caramel sauce into each indentation.
  10. Bake for 13-15 minutes until cookies are light brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  11. Store in an airtight container in the fridge (the applesauce makes these perishable).

What is your favorite Halloween candy?

chicken spinach alfredo pizza


Posted on Oct 28, 2011 in Food

Now that our CSA is winding down (and honestly, I’ve been terrible about posting the contents of our weekly box) I thought it’d be fun to sub in a pizza recipe for my Friday afternoon post. Who doesn’t like pizza? We eat pizza every single Friday and as of late, we’ve gotten in a bit of a pizza rut. Whole wheat crust + red sauce + veggies + mozzarella. Done and done. Delicious? Yes! But variety is the spice of life and by committing to bringing you guys a new pizza recipe once a week, I can expand our pizza pie horizons, too. Two birds. Meet one stone.

First up? A classic in our house: chicken spinach alfredo pizza.

That is such a mouthful for a pizza name. So years and years ago, when we made this pizza for the first time, we chopped the name and now it is lovingly known as “Spalfrizza” in our house. We do that a lot. FuhFuh=fast forward. M+____=my ____ (mirthday, mater bottle, miPad). I tend to be the least skilled at word creation and sometimes leave full words out of the final product. Hence why the “chicken” part didn’t make it into Spalfrizza.

Please tell me we aren’t the only couple in the world that has their own language?

Feel free to call this pizza whatever you want, but just make sure you call it somethin’ because it is killer good. If you are pinched for time, you can always use store-bought sauce for the alfredo, but I really enjoy making my easy version at home. It doesn’t take long and, for some reason, I feel like it is healthier. It probably actually isn’t, but believing you are healthy is half the battle, right?

Print this recipe

Chicken Spinach Alfredo Pizza

Inspired by Cooking Light

Babyface and I have been making (and eating!) this pizza since way back when we had a tiny galley kitchen in our first apartment after we got married. The kitchen was heinous but the pizza was awesome. We still love it and it reminds of our first few months as newlyweds.

Makes one large pizza


  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1-10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 475°.
  2. In a large pizza pan, spread out dough and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter of medium-low heat.
  4. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute.
  5. Whisk in cream, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in grated cheese. Spread liberally on pizza crust.
  8. In a medium bowl, mix spinach, chicken, lemon juice and garlic until well-combined.
  9. Distribute the spinach/chicken mixture evenly over crust. Top with mozzarella and crushed red pepper flakes.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is browned and bubbly.

Do you have any recipes that remind you of a different time in your life?