6 Month Hip Update + A Return to Veganism?!

Well hello!

It has finally been 6 months since I broke my hip! This was supposed to be the big milestone as the surgeon told me I would be able to run again at this point. To me it feels like it’s been forever and indeed a lot has changed. Where to begin…

  1. The latest medical update: The e-ray looks good and my bone has completely healed and isn’t showing any signs of deterioration which is great news! I still have quite a bit of pain though and I thought it was because of the hardware that protrudes but the surgeon said it was more likely that I also sustained other, non bone related injuries when I broke the hip. He said it is likely I could have torn some cartilage or torn something else and that is probably why I’m still experiencing pain. That makes a lot of sense and when I think about it, I have had a lot of pain on the front of my hip more in the ligaments/tendons. What to do about this? Wait and let it heal I suppose. It doesn’t feel bad enough to get an MRI. In 6 months I’ll go back and we’ll discuss whether or not I should get the hardware removed.
  2. The running update: Since I get asked about running multiple times a week I’ll just lay it down here. I will not be running any time soon. The surgeon pretty much said: Find a new hobby. Don’t run but do what you want, what do I know…I only put people back together for a living. How do I feel about this? Not surprised. I know the pain I’ve been in and running is about the last thing on my mind. It’s also been 6 months so I’ve moved on and I’ve been focused on the things I can do like yoga, walking and biking. This summer will be the summer of mountain biking and hiking! Also, I have to admit I have not really been missing running! Maybe it’s because my body hurts so it just doesn’t sound good, but I must say I feel a lot more relaxed and dare I say, happier even?! Maybe this is a bigger post for another day.
  3. The nutrition update: Confession time…I have been moving back into my vegan/plant based ways since November and I feel so good about that! Back in November a friend of mine told me I needed to read the Medical Medium books. I just so happened to have a lot of time on my hands since I was injured so I dove in head first to these books and started applying the principles. One of them being 16 ounces of celery juice every morning! I will do a whole post about this Medical Medium cleanse I’ve been doing but pretty much it’s only fruits & vegetables for 28 days but in my case it also includes daily chocolate because I know my boundaries 🙂 Gradually I found myself going back to my old vegan ways and it felt like coming home. I loved my vegan life and for me it just seems to really work.

Those are the big updates in my world. Honestly, I’m doing great and feeling very happy. For me, running was never part of my identity and I’m good at rolling with the punches so I’ve been able to just roll with this thing. I’m so lucky to have such good support around me and of course I always know that there are many, many, many people with injuries and hardships much worse than whatever I am going through.

I’ll leave you with this Rocco picture! Rocco is such a distinguished gentleman type dog.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190106140028751_COVER.jpg

Bye for now!

Laura

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Peanut Butter Bars-Updated!

These Peanut Butter bars were one of the first recipes I ever put up on my blog! I remember I started making them because my boyfriend at the time wanted to GAIN weight and I thought, a-ha, I have just the thing!peanut butter bars

So consider that a warning…this recipe is great for someone trying to gain weight. It’s great even if you aren’t trying to gain weight but weight gain could be a side effect 😉

I eat some almost every day, ha! Seriously, I have been making these just about every week and I’ve tweaked the recipe so much from the original version that I need to re-post it. I lightened it up ever so slightly but I love the lighter texture and feeling these have.

This new version is also gluten free as they no longer use graham crackers.

Peanut Butter Bars (Updated Version)

Base Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter or vegan butter
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup of crumbs made from ground crisped rice cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 10.5oz bag chocolate chips (I use enjoy life mini chips as they melt perfectly)
  • 1 teaspoon butter, coconut oil or vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice

Directions

Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and set aside. Next, make some crumbs out of crisped rice cereal. My favorite method is to use the food processor because it is so fast but you could also place the cereal in a ziploc bag and crush the cereal with a rolling pin until you get a fine crumb. You need 1 cup of CRUMB which is probably a couple-few cups of cereal.

In a medium or large pot melt the butter on low heat. Once the butter is melted add in the coconut sugar and cereal crumbs. Stir to combine. Last, add in the peanut butter and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared 9×9 pan. Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes or until firm. You don’t want the chocolate layer to bleed into the peanut butter layer so this step is important.

For the chocolate layer, heat some water in a small saucepan. Place a medium size glass bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. You could also use a double boiler pot if you have one. Add the oil and milk to the glass bowl and once the oil has melted that is your cue to add the chocolate chips. Stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate. Once a smooth sauce has formed pour the chocolate layer on to the peanut butter later and smooth with a knife. Place back in the freezer or refrigerator until the chocolate layer has firmed up.

These can easily be removed from the pan by pulling on the corners of the parchment paper to lift the whole dessert out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For cute pictures of Mr. Rocco follow him on Instagram @Rocco_the_minpin (His name is Rocco James).

OH my gosh, speaking of Rocco. A couple weeks ago he ate a good 2 oz of DARK chocolate that I accidentally left out! He has never shown any interest in chocolate so admittedly I am not good about keeping it away from him. Anyway, I came home one day and found an empty chocolate bar wrapper and I knew it had been almost a full bar. He only weighs 15-16 pounds and 2 oz would be a lethal dose to a little guy like him. He wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms of chocolate poisoning but according to my online research that is the best time to induce vomiting. So, I administered 1.5 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to him via bone broth (he loved it) and waited. I probably could have/should have given him more hydrogen peroxide because it took him a full hour to start vomiting. But when he did…it was a big frothy pile of chocolate syrup! It looked like a giant s’more minus the graham cracker. And then again…and again. But the good news is that he was totally fine and never got sick from the chocolate. Only sick from me making him throw up. So all is well. Needless to say I am keeping my chocolate FAR away from him now!

That’s all I have. Bye for now!

Laura

4 Ingredient Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookies (Vegan + GF) Plus UPDATES!!

I am going to start blogging more regularly! It’s just that people say “blogging is dead” and then I also feel like I have so many updates that I don’t know where to start.

So, I’ll start with these cookies. These are super simple and impossible to mess up. I make a no bake version of these all the time but this winter I was craving a warm cookie so I decided to bake them and they turned out awesome. I usually don’t measure anything, I just estimate but they always turn out. The recipe is below and I will just leave it by saying these are good for breakfast, snack or dessert.

Ok, then on to my healing updates! I am just about 5 months post-op now!! I can’t believe that much time has already passed but I’m stoked! I have my eye on that 6 month mark because that’s when the surgeon said I can consider running.

The #1 question I get from people (almost daily) is: So are you back to running? And the answer is a big N.O.! Like, not even close, haha! Only this week going up and down stairs has started to feel a littler easier. Anything very jumpy is still out of the question, so jumping jacks and anything of that nature still isn’t happening.

To be honest, running has “lost it’s sparkle” a bit (a lot). That’s the expression my dentist used and I loved it! I was like, YES, it has lost it’s sparkle! I think when an activity can take you down like this for so many months and in such a major way it makes you re-evaluate what is really important. And, I love running, but I love not being injured more. So, I hope that in another month I will be able to start doing some easy running and maybe do some 5K’s over the summer. But, as an active person with many hobbies, I kind of quickly moved on to something else. I changed gears. Re-prioritized. And now running long distance has about zero appeal. I am already looking forward to mountain biking and hiking more this summer and less running is life kind of thing.

Instead I have been doing a TON of yoga & walking. It’s funny, but I started doing yoga in about 2000 I think. My grandma gave me a yoga mat (her old one, LOL! She is 92 now.) and I bought a few VHS videos and would practice in my living room. So how crazy is that, I have been a yogi for almost 20 years! It’s cool that it’s the thing I always come back to over and over and it has always been there for me. I have a pretty regular home practice and then I go to a studio a couple times a week and teach a couple times a week as well. It’s been really nice to practice yoga without being sore and stiff from running and I’ve actually gotten so much more flexible. So yay. The other thing I do is a good 45 minute walk just about every day. It sounds lame I know and I can’t walk very fast still. I walk at around a 2.7 for speed. Last week I tried going up to 3.3 and I was in so much pain that night so that was a bad idea.

Healing wise, it turns out breaking a hip is a pretty painful injury. Not everyone is bothered by their hardware but I sure am. I can’t lay on my side at all and sitting is also painful because it feels like my muscles smoosh into the screw heads. So, if they still bother me in a year I can get them removed but I really don’t want to do that! But yeah, almost everything still hurts a little and sleeping is probably the worst. I think in time all will feel better.

screws

This picture is kind of hard to see but there are 3 screws in there and they have washers at the end to hold them in place. So they go in on the side of my thigh and go all the way to the end of the femur head so I think they are approximately 8 inches long. So I guess that explains why I can feel them, ha. They are stainless steel and I did not set the metal detector alarms off at the airport so I was kind of disappointed by that. But I was in the TSA pre check lane so maybe when I’m in the regular line it will be different.

Alright, on to the cookies now!

oatmeal choc chip cookies

4 Ingredient Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookes (vegan & GF)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups old fashioned oats (use GF if you need these certified gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup nut butter (I use almond or peanut)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons nut milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup mini chips (I use enjoy life)

Ok, so there are more than 4 ingredients but there are only 4 MAIN ingredients. The other 3 you could technically do without. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor and process for a few seconds until you get a cookie batter consistency. If it’s too dry add more milk. The oats will soak up the milk so if it seems runny wait a few minutes before adding more oats. But if it is too runny add more oats. Or peanut butter. Or both!

Transfer the batter to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon heaps of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. I love my dough scoop!

Bake in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen so I recommend doubling this 😉

 

Bye for now!

Laura

Week 4 Update: Still Broken

Yep, that’s my update, still broken, ha!

4 weeks down, 4 weeks to go. I don’t actually know what will happen at the end of “8 weeks”. I assume that’s just when I will be able to walk without crutches and probably be able to start doing “things”, but I really have no idea.

So this is the follow up post I promised to re-cap my follow up blood work/bone scan and talk about my feelings! Yay, I love feeling feelings!

First off, I had a “bone metabolic” blood panel done to make sure my bones were healthy and nothing weird was going on. Everything was right where it should be. The only thing I’m low in is Vitamin D, but I think almost everyone has some vitamin D deficiency unless you live in Florida maybe. And it was low but not in the low-low category.

Then I had a DEXA bone scan done and all was well there too. My doctor pointed out that I didn’t have bone cancer or any tumors and I was like…”oh good!”. I hadn’t even considered those things.

At my 2 week follow up appointment I got my staples removed (not painful at all) and they took new X-Rays! The surgeon was very pleased with how I was healing and he said it’s going to heal up great. He said, “I’ll see you back for your 6 week appointment and I think by then you are going to be asking me when you can start running again. And we’ll have to negotiate on that.” I don’t think I’ll necessarily be asking when I can run because I feel like running but more of like, in theory, when do you think I will feel good enough to consider running? But for real it’s the furthest thing on my mind. I just want to be able to sit cross-legged and go to yoga! I miss stretching the most!

Second, let’s talk about my feelings! I have to say when I went to the E.R. and that first doctor told me I broke my hip, I needed a hip replacement, I would need weeks and weeks of therapy I was FREAKING OUT. Like sheer terror. I was not at all prepared for that because I had not been in any sort of fall or crash and I had never even had pain before that day. So it’s not like when you know something is wrong and you can kind of brace for it or maybe even want to hear you need surgery as is the case when you are in a lot pain. I remember looking into my husbands eyes when we heard that news and I was in panic and he was so calm and he kept saying, “It’s ok babe, you are going to be fine. I know tons of guys who have all sorts of pins and hardware in their bodies and they still run”. And of course that was encouraging for me to hear!

So yeah, that was totally unexpected. I can’t remember when I got the news that I only needed 3 screws and not a hip replacement. I was so relieved but still so scared and not certain that was even the truth because I hadn’t talked to the surgeon yet.

That first night in the hospital I cried and cried. I remember telling my husband, I’m just going to cry for a while now. To me it feels good to just feel all the feels and feel sad and scared and all that and to get it out of my body. Otherwise it gets trapped, so you have to let everything out!

But then day of surgery and certainly after surgery not one single tear has been shed. Because once it was over then the fear was gone and everything would be better from day 1 on. And it has been!

I think a lot of people assumed I would go stir-crazy not being able to workout but I have had a surprisingly easy time with laying low. I think it helps that healing bone takes a lot of energy so I sleep and eat a lot without having all the effort of exercise. I finally found “that one crazy trick” that you see all over the internet, haha! I also have really been into jigsaw puzzles. I think puzzling saves me. You can only sit on the couch and watch TV and read for so long.

I can’t say I’ve had any drastic changes. Every day it feels the teensiest bit better so as the days add up I’ve gone down to only needing 1 crutch and slowly things are just getting easier. Except for putting socks on. Socks are still the worst.

I make a point to drink one cup of bone broth every day and drink one protein shake with collagen powder in it. I am also taking Vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium. I heard that product CALM + Calcium is a formula that’s really good for getting into the bones and making them strong so I just started taking that.

Calm + Calcium

 

Ummm, that’s about it. Not terribly exciting. In 2 weeks I go in for my 6 week checkup and I am excited about that!

I will leave you with a picture of Rocco because (obvi) he’s the cutest! This picture is from a camping trip to Sun Valley-a week before I got hurt. Rocco LOVES camping and he loves our trailer, which is a good thing because we basically got it for him. Rocco is a total watch dog in hotels and won’t sleep but he feels right at home in our “Clipper”. He loves camping because he can run around like a little wild animal and you can see in his eyes how much he enjoys the crisp mountain air 😉

Rocco J

I broke my hip-the full story

Finally, something worth blogging about, haha! I’m full of the jokes these days. But I kind of have to be, it’s how I keep my spirits up.

So, I broke my hip. No, I didn’t fall. No, I don’t have osteoporosis. I broke it running a steep, downhill half marathon on Saturday, September 8.

I want to set the back story just a bit. I ran the Big Sur Marathon last spring in April 2018. I had a fantastic train up and completed the entire training without being sidelined by any injuries! I had really been working on strength and I felt good even right after the marathon.

So naturally I set my sights on another marathon and I picked the Marine Corps Marathon and actually got into it! The MCM is at the end of October, 2018. My training had been going spectacularly. I was hitting the track for speed work, getting faster and taking really good care of myself. My body actually felt great, nothing was bothering me. Prior to the half marathon I had already done 14, 15, 17 & 18 mile training runs and this half marathon was supposed to be “just for fun”. I would tell people, “well my training plan calls for 13 miles that day so why not get a medal for it and have some aid stations along the way?!”

I’ll skip the boring details of getting up at 3:50am & getting bussed up the canyon. I will just say I felt really strong & confident going into this race. I had actually never felt better prepared for a run than on this day.

I started the race at a conservative pace but it quickly felt too easy so I picked it up a little. The course was STEEP and I didn’t want to use my legs to brake too much so I worked on leaning forward, taking small steps and turning my legs over quickly. With that, I was FLYING (for me). My heart rate was in the right zone and it all felt very easy. Easy easy! I was just thinking how I would be done in less than 2 hours and then I could go to Starbucks with my husband and still have the entire day to get the lawn mowed, wash my car and make some muffins, ha!

The miles ticked off quickly and I think it must have been around mile 10 I noticed my hip tightening up. I just thought “oh I’m going to feel that tomorrow”, meaning muscle soreness. But I only had 3 more miles to go and I just wanted to get done quick so I kept speeding along.

Fast forward to mile 11.5. I started to walk and was in a lot of pain. I knew I would not be able to run the rest of the way. I thought about calling my husband to just come get me but figured I could just suck up the misery of getting passed by everyone and walk the rest of the way.

As I walked my limp got progressively worse. I tried jogging a couple times but that was a no go. My hip started to make a clunk every time I took a step and I could feel my hip arcing awkwardly out to the side.

Probably the worst part was all the people who tried to encourage me to keep running. Runners were pulling on me, trying to drag me and cheering for me. At mile 12.6 I flagged down a police officer and he called an EMT for me. I rested and stretched in the back of the EMT cart for a few minutes and everyone was telling me to get back out there but I could bear ZERO weight. Pain level 10.

My amazing husband by this point had run up the course and found me so he rode with me to the medical tent. At the med tent there were all sorts of messed up people! I mean, I was crying in pain but there were 3 other people that actually looked near death.

The Physical Therapist at the tent assured me there was no way I broke anything. No chance he said! Most likely a pulled muscle and I would feel better in a few days. He said the clunking was totally normal. I had to be wheelchaired to the car and mostly felt sad about not getting a Starbucks or a cookie or a donut or ANYTHING except a banana 😟.

When I got home my husband had to pretty much carry me everywhere but even this was excruciating. That popping and clunking was worse than ever. I laid down for about an hour expecting the “pulled muscle” to feel better when I got up but it didn’t. The pain was a 10. Worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. Pain so intense I wanted to throw up. I told my husband it was time to go to the ER. He had to get me down the stairs while I cried and shook in pain. At this point I was thinking maybe it was dislocated because what could possibly hurt this bad?

Is this story getting long yet? It feels long to me!

This is the part where I go to the Emergency Room. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you never regret going to the Dr when injured. The ER was great and the doctor there told me there was no way I could have broken anything but said she could do an x-ray anyway. She thought it was more likely that I had torn something.

A few minutes after the x-ray the doctor walked back into the room, her eyes were wide and she just had this LOOK on her face and said, “I’m so sorry…you broke your hip.” This delivery wasn’t the best because I instantly felt terrified!!!! She launched into what a hip replacement entails…I was having surgery first thing in the morning…weeks and weeks of rehab…and I had to be admitted immediately and oh btw I can’t leave the bed or move at all because if I did I could make it much worse. The nurse came in and set up my IV and started drawing blood. My head was spinning thinking about work obligations and who I needed to talk to and of course Rocco was home alone and needed someone to take care of him too.

The good news in all of this is that my hip had not displaced (separated and lost blood supply) which meant I didn’t need a replacement, I only needed a few screws!! This was fantastic news but I was still scared it could be worse than the x-ray revealed.

The night before surgery my whole family came to visit and my dad joked about how nice it was to have the family together, LOL.

The morning of surgery was a blur and I was just excited to get it over with. The surgeon was a young guy who does nothing but hips and he made it sound like this thing would be easy peasy and even thought I might still be able to run the marathon in October, HAAA!

Took a moment before surgery to take a Snapchat because I WAS in fact having a great hair day 😉

Obviously I was out for the surgery but I’m told the whole thing took less than 30 minutes. Is that crazy?! The rest of that day was a blur because I was just sleeping and icing. I was able to get up a couple times to use the bathroom though which would have been more exciting if I hadn’t felt so sick from the anesthesia.

But, the next morning I was able to get out & about and start walking with crutches and already bear some weight and then I got to go home!

What a difference 48 hours makes! Picture on the left is Saturday morning, pic on the right is Monday morning… just 2 days later.

And that heel strike, ugh!! No wonder I broke my hip, I cringe looking at that!

Today marks two weeks post-op and I am doing really well and I am going back to work this week!

I think most people would be happy to know that I have spent the last two weeks being really lazy, sleeping a lot, watching Westworld and eating ice cream almost every day! It’s almost been fun but not worth breaking a hip over!

Rocco has been my little nurse and never ever leaves my side. He takes his job very seriously and is really protective of me.

Rocco staring at me, like usual.

I will write a follow up soon on my feelings about all this and also the results from my blood work and bone scan! Exciting!

Bye for now!

Laura

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Bread

Hello, happy February and happy 2018!

I have today a seriously amazing recipe for gluten free (vegan option) chocolate banana bread!!

We went to Kauai last month and I was full on prepared to eat a lot of banana bread while I was there because it’s all over the place in Maui. But, get this, they don’t grow bananas on Kauai and I could hardly find a banana, let alone banana bread!

So, I had this hankering for banana bread for a good month and a half and finally had to do something about it.

This was my third trip to Hawaii, first time to Kauai. I hate to have a favorite…but I think Kauai might have to be my favorite. I mean, the beaches are the best and the mountains are incredible! Good snorkeling, good hiking, good food, good times!

I know hearing out other people’s vacations can be really boring so I’m just going to share a few of my favorite photos.kauai 1

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-9-20,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-ver
From the end of the Awa Awapuhi Trail
kaurai 2
Also the Awa Awapuhi Trail
Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-9-20,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-ve
The Napali Coast via boat
banana bread
Banana Bread with bite taken out of corner 🙂

 

Gluten Free (vegan option) Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg, or substitute 1 flax egg or omit all together
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 oz almond milk or milk of choice or water
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 5×8 loaf pan.

Combine the 3oz milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla in a measuring cup or small bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork and then add the egg and stir until just combined. Do not over mix any of the ingredients.

Add the milk/vinegar mixture to the banana mixture and then add in all the dry ingredients. Add the melted coconut oil last since coconut oil has a tendency to harden up too quickly, especially in the winter months. It will seem at first like the oil will never mix in, but it will. Just be patient and gentle.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Laura

 

Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookies

Alright, it has been 3 months since I last posted to this blog and I am having a serious dilemma. I keep thinking I should stop paying for this website and take the blog down…but then I get really sad thinking about that so in turn I do NOTHING.

If I did take the blog down I would first compile all the recipes into a downloadable pdf because this website is basically my cookbook! I just renewed for another year so I know for sure this website will be here at least until January 2018.

When I started this blog I lived alone, had a 10 minute commute and quite a lot of spare time to tinker in the kitchen. Now I am married, I have a 30-45 minute commute and not too much spare time to devote to tinkering in the kitchen.

But we’ll see. I do enjoy having this site to post all the random stuff I do and try out!

They say blogs are dead but I am not too much of a social media person and a rarely post anything to Instagram. Rocco is the ‘grammer in our house.

Speaking of Rocco, he is still doing so well after his chiropractic treatments! He is basically 100% his normal self now, but I am not going to take him running EVER again because both times he’s been really sick have been following a run with me.

The house is good too, we love it! I keep thinking I need to do a house tour video too! Maybe if I get really bored over winter break I will film that 😉

Alright, so here it is, the end of December and I am so sugared up and full of treats that I honestly don’t even want to see another cookie, but here I am anyway posting a cookie recipe because THEY ARE THE BEST gluten free, chocolate chip cookies I have ever had to this date and it needs to be documented before I forget how I made them!

I got the recipe from averiecooks.com, which OMG everything on her website looks so incredible! I made the recipe gluten free though because my husband can’t have wheat and even though GF flour is supposed to be 1:1 I still had to make a couple tweaks, hence why I am posting the recipe here.

And PS I finally got a cookie dough scoop and I don’t know what took me so long to get one! It’s a game changer! I used a 1.5T scoop made by oxo that I picked up at Target.

And last, what I really love about these cookies is that they are basically half chocolate. The dough is pretty much just a matrix in which to hold the chocolate. So you want it to be fairly stiff but not so stiff the cookies come out hard or tough.

I hope you enjoy!

Gluten Free Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup real cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or regular sugar, I just don’t have any in my house)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (it’s naturally GF)
1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF 1 to 1 baking flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups chocolate chunks

Directions: Cream the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and do not over mix. Last, stir in the chocolate chips and chunks.

Use a cookie dough scoop to make perfect little cookie dough balls and place the dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.

**Important: Averie says to refrigerate the dough balls for 2 hours minimum. I popped mine in the freezer for 20 minutes and they were FINE. I can’t wait 2 hours for cookies!!

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or just until the edges have set. You do not want to overcook these or they won’t have that soft texture you want.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Laura

Gluten Free Avocado Pizza

This is a super simple, super delicious recipe that I HIGHLY recommend. It’s perfect for these busy fall evenings when you don’t have any time to cook.

The options for toppings are absolutely endless, so I’ll just tell you how I like to make mine and you can adjust from there. For me, I like a lot of vegetables on my pizza. My husband likes to put cheese and chicken on his. But that’s the nice thing about it: everyone gets exactly what they want!

avo pizza dilla

Gluten Free Avocado Pizza (makes 1 serving)

Ingredients

  • 1 brown rice tortilla (trader joes or garden of life brand found in the frozen section by the gluten free bread)
  • 1/2 -1 whole avocado
  • red onion to taste
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro to taste
  • 1 Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger, cooked and cut into small pieces (Optional. Could sub shredded chicken or meatballs instead)
  • 1 handful of micro greens, washed

Instructions
Heat a pan large enough to hold a tortilla over medium low heat. Heat the tortilla on both sides until it is thawed out and warm. The longer you cook the tortilla, the crispier your “crust” will be so I recommend letting the tortilla cook for several minutes. Side note: if you are adding cheese or other heavier toppings then do not defrost the tortilla. Pre-assemble the pizza on a plate and then place it in the pan to cook. Otherwise the tortilla could burn before the cheese melts.

While the tortilla is defrosting, mash together the avocado, salt, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl and then evenly distribute the mixture onto the tortilla. Don’t burn yourself!

Keep the tortilla in the pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped up veggie burger.

Remove from heat, slide the tortilla onto a large plate, top with micro green (or don’t) and drizzle with your favorite salad dressing if you desire. Slice your pizza into 8 mini-pieces of pizza! So good!

Alright, that’s it for now! I just wanted to get this recipe out before it got lost in my brain somewhere.

I hope you enjoy!

Laura

 

 

Kelp Noodle Salad with Tahini Dressing

Hey! It’s been 3 months since my last post but here I am!

I only feel like I’m exaggerating a tiny bit when I say this salad has been my life for the last 3 weeks. Ok, slight exaggeration. BUT, it is really super yummy and it’s such a nice change from regular green salads and the kelp noodles are a great way to incorporate some sea vegetables into your life without having to eat nori (which I think tastes like aquarium). Plus, noodles in a salad are FUN, am I right?!

Health update: I developed chondromalacia, aka “Runners Knee” just about 3 months ago now and it stopped me dead in my tracks from doing just about all activities. I’ve been able to do yoga and lift weights just in the last few weeks. But there were a couple weeks where anything that required knee bending was extremely painful.

The good news is that it’s super common and not serious at all. It’s just painful and takes a while to heal up. I think I’m just about all better though.

Rocco update: I never posted this on the blog because I was too nervous to put it out there, but over the summer Rocco had some health challenges. He started having a hard time walking and balancing and the veterinarian thought he was having a flare up of myelitis or  meningitis which is inflammation of the spinal cord. Not good! But after a round of steroids the vet thought maybe it was a back injury so Rocco started receiving chiropractic adjustments AND…it’s totally working!! I’d say he’s about 95% good as new and has all his energy back and he can balance and run around again. LIFE IS GOOD!! Most likely he threw his back out by jumping on or off something really high. We’ll never know but he is a very active dog so I can imagine him doing something crazy like that.

House/yard update: In the last 2 months we got a fence put up, sprinklers installed and landscaping complete! Here are all my baby plants and trees!

yard.jpg

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff then! This salad recipe!

salad

I’ve been taking this salad to work for lunch because it’s so simple to throw together. I just shred/chop a bunch of veggies and store them in containers in the fridge and then every morning I toss everything into a glass bowl. It takes less than 2 minutes.

salad lunch

Kelp Noodle Salad (Makes 1 serving)

  • 1/4-1/2 cup sauerkraut (I’ve been making my own!)
  • 1/2 cup Sea Tanlge Kelp Noodles (can buy at http://www.vitacost.com)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded beet
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • Chopped red onion to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach (optional-it’s nice to have a break from green salads sometimes)
  • handful of micro greeens
  • cilantro to taste

Layer salad in the order above with wet items going in the bottom of the bowl and greens going at the top so they don’t get soggy before lunch time.

Tahini Dressing (makes 4-7 servings)

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water (adjust to desired consistency)
  • 6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a magic bullet or blender and blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator. It will thicken up over time.

These are the micro greens I’ve been using and I love them so much! It’s so nice to mix up the green veggies and these are so small you don’t have to chop them up but they have a much better texture than traditional sprouts which I sometimes feel have the texture of wet hair, haha!

micro greens

Alright, that’s it for today. I have another recipe coming soon, I promise!

Bye for now!

Laura

Easy Grilled Chicken Beer Marinade

Hello, hello! Updates AND a new recipe today, woo hoo! Let’s start with the recipe!

Easy Grilled Chicken Beer Marinade

First up today I have a recipe for a super easy marinade for chicken that really ups the flavor and juiciness of grilled chicken and the ingredients are things you probably already have on hand!

I just want to say first that the beer & sugar do not add any significant amount of sugar or calories to the chicken. Only a small bit will be absorbed by the chicken and the rest gets discarded. Ditto for the salt, so please don’t panic when you see sugar and salt in the recipe. When marinading chicken, salt draws some moisture out of the meat which then allows the meat to absorb some of the flavors and liquid from the beer (or at least that is how I understand it to work).

And also, this chicken won’t taste like beer per se, but if you absolutely hate the taste/smell of beer then it’s probably not for you. You can use any beer you like (or don’t like as they case may be!). We have a pantry full of beer and there are some that we really don’t like for drinking but they have been excellent to use as a marinade! I’ve used an IPA and a gluten free pale ale. The IPA had a stronger beer flavor whereas the pale ale was more mild. I really liked both even though I’m by no means a beer drinker 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1 can/bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce of choice
  • McCormick Garlic Pepper to taste (optional)

Combine all marinade ingredients in a casserole dish large enough to hold all the chicken or in a large ziploc bag. Cut the chicken breasts up into strips/pieces. There is no proper way to do this, just use a knife or kitchen sheers and chop away. Add the chicken to the marinade and make sure the chicken is completely submerged in the marinade. Marinate for 4-24 hours.

Heat outdoor grill to about 450 degrees F and grease the grates with some coconut oil by using a silicone brush (be careful, don’t singe your arm hair off).

Cook chicken for approximately 4 minutes on each side. Cooking times and temps vary greatly depending on the time of year, wind, the grill etc so just make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Remove from the grill and enjoy!

chachachachicken.jpg

Running (injury) Updates

And now for part 2 of this super exciting post. My running, or rather NOT running update!

I had been training for a 50K (31 mile) ultra trail marathon for about 10 weeks and everything was going great. I was waking up early and hitting the trails before work and then doing long runs on the weekend. Training was going awesome and my body was feeling good. I rarely missed a run and was keeping up with my mileage and then BAM, I came down with a case of “runners knee” and it stopped me dead.in.my.tracks.

One Saturday, about 3 weeks ago now, I went out for a 15 miler. I read the trail map wrong and the trail was twice as steep as I thought it would be which meant…it was really steep. But I have a steely determination so I ran this trail even though my body started screaming in pain. The trail was also half the distance I thought it was so after finishing that trail (in pain) I still had to run 6 more miles. So I ran to a different trail, still needed more miles, and finished with yet another trail which was also steep. At this point every step was extremely painful. But I pressed on anyway. Why? Because I never seem to learn my lesson and I hate the thought of quitting anything! Arrrgh!! I “only” made it 13 miles in 3 hours, 45 minutes. Yep.

The next day walking down stairs was agonizing. It felt like my knee cap was going to pop off and fly across the room. So I rested, rested, rested and finally went to the Dr. He told me I just have a case of runners knee and it’s super common and told me I will be fine in a few weeks and it’s really not a big deal. He even thought I would still be able to run the race.

But in my head it became a huge deal. I started thinking that after taking 3+ weeks off there is no way I will be able to resume my training program and pick up with 19+ mile workouts. Especially since it’s been 3 weeks and my knee only feels marginally better!

So it was a huge drama in my head and I started thinking, well at least I can still do the half marathon distance. But now that I’ve calmed down (which can only come with a significant time away from training I think) I realized this is such a tiny, insignificant thing and who cares if I run 0, 5, 13 or 30 miles? Nobody!! Ha! I’m just thankful that’s its not my ankle, it’s nothing major and like, whoopety-doo I have tendinitis. Gold star. And now I honestly don’t even care if I do any race at all, I just want to feel better so I can get outside and enjoy running because I really, truly love the heck out of it.

One of the mistakes I made during this train up is that I wasn’t doing any sort of cross training. I was advised that with that much running it’s best to not do anything else. So no mountain biking (which I love), no strength training, no other cardio, nothing.

But putting 100% effort, time, dedication & determination into just one activity is a recipe for disaster I realize. Because if that one activity is taken away from you, what do you have? For me, I suddenly had a whole heap of free time and anxiety to match it. My knee hurt so bad that even walking, biking, lifting and swimming hurt. So I was in a bad spot mentally there for a little while.

If I had been say, mountain biking once a week and going to yoga once a week it would have been much easier for me to shift my focus to those activities and I wouldn’t have freaked out so bad.

So now it’s feeling good enough to walk and do easy mountain biking and I can do yoga. So that’s where I’m at and I’m not totally fine with it but I recognize I’m being a giant drama queen and that’s annoying, haha!

Alright, that is quite a novel and probably enough for one post. I actually have another recipe I’m excited to put up so I will be back soon!

Have a great week!

Laura