Almond Anise Biscotti

These are a special little weekend treat I make maybe once every 3 months. I like to store them in the freezer and pull them out to enjoy with my post run/ride coffee. Plus, it’s a legitimate way to eat cookies for breakfast!

Did I just say that? Yes, yes I did.

Taken from Veganomicon

1/3 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons aniseeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl combine the almond milk and flax and let sit for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, oil and extracts. Sift in the flour, baking power, arrowroot, aniseeds, salt and almonds.
Stir until you have a dough.
Place the dough on the greased cookie sheet and form into a rectangle about 12 inches long and 3-4 inches wide.

My true dorkiness coming out. I actually measure my dough…

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Bake for 28-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

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Turn the oven up to 375.
Carefully transfer the biscotti loaf to a cutting board (biscotti are very fragile so handle with care throughout the baking process). Re-grease the cookie sheet. With a large, sharp knife, cut the loaf into 1/2 inch slices. Place cut slices back on the cookie sheet with the sliced side down.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.
Allow to cool for several minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

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Homemade Vegetable Crackers and CRUSH Challenge

CRUSH Challenge-Week 3

Your challenge for the week (and every week): do at least 2 cardio workouts in addition to the CRUSH workouts.

I know the CRUSH workouts are tough but ideally you should be getting at least 2 more workouts in during the week. It can be a cycling class, a jog, or whatever you enjoy doing. Just get out there and enjoy this great weather!

Now, for the crackers…

In my quest to consume as much guacamole as humanly possible I have been searching for something other than tortilla chips to deliver the guacamole to my mouth. 🙂

Making crackers from scratch is admittedly a lot more work than just opening a box of store bought crackers. So maybe try this when you have some free time and you are feeling adventurous. Wait, I feel like I just read your mind and in your mind you just thought, “that’s never happening”. Fair enough. Well, just in case you change your mind here is the recipe anyway. These crackers are very filling (as opposed to tortilla chips which I can eat about 100 of) and high in fiber. Yay fiber!
Taken from Thrive by Brenden Brazier. A book I highly recommend to any athlete.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups ground flax seeds
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300. Line a standard 11 x 15 cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process and scrape until all ingredients a chopped and well blended.

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Processed dough should look about like the picture above. Dump the dough onto the cookie sheet. Now, get your hands wet with water and start pressing it into the pan. Don’t get too carried away steamrolling the dough into the pan or it will be hard to get it out of the pan. Don’t ask me how I know that.
Use a knife to score the dough into cracker sized pieces.

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Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, allow to cool. Remove from pan and store in the fridge.

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Last, feel proud, you just made crackers!

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

I love waking up early and whipping up pancakes on weekend mornings. Especially rainy mornings like today. These are so quick and easy to make you will never use a packaged pancake mix again. You can have them all made up before your loved ones are even out of bed. 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (or regular flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other oil)
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups sweetened vanilla almond milk (or unsweetened almond milk + 2 tablespoons maple syrup)
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (optional)

Pre-heat a frying pan over medium to medium-low heat. In a large mixing bowl sift together all the dry ingredients. Add all the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.
Fold in the blueberries.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup add the batter to the heated frying pan. Use a nonstick cooking spray if your pan requires it.

Sorry I don’t have a lovely photo today, I was too excited to eat these!

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Lilly leaning against me trying to stay warm on this chilly morning…

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For the love of Pugs

Did anyone ask to see pictures of my pug? No.

Do you want to see pictures of my pug? Probably not.

But here are some pictures of my 8 -year old pug, Lilly, anyway!

She spends most of her day sleeping which makes her an easy target with the camera. Between the sleeping and all her funny noises she is a constant source of entertainment for me.

In this one I love how the skin laying beside her face actually IS PART OF her face.

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Whoa, how long have you been standing there…?

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Sleeping…

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More sleeping…

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Even more sleeping…

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The very rare awake and walking moment…

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Sunbathing…in a chair.

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Sleeping on my coat because I was washing her bed. Look at that mad face…

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Well I could keep going like this forever but I will spare you!

Veggie Burritos

I have a new love in my life – burritos! There is something so satisfying and filling about a big, hearty burrito.

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I just discovered these wheat free, gluten free tortillas and they are actually soft and they taste good! I have a feeling there are many more burrito creations on the horizon 🙂

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Food for Life tortillas.

Makes about 10 burritos (lunch for the week!)

Ingredients:
2 packages food for life tortillas (or whatever tortillas you like)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can black beans
1 15 oz can fire roasted, crushed tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 zucchini, sliced longways into quarters then sliced thin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Toppings:
Guacamole or avocado
Cheese of your choice
Red onion

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and sauté until they start to brown. Set them aside in a bowl if you want to serve them separately, otherwise proceed with them in the pan.
Next, add another tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add the zucchini, garlic and spices. Sauté over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, rice and beans and heat through. Stir in cilantro.
Heat tortillas up either on the stove top of the microwave and start filling. Top with guacamole, red onion, cheese or your topping of choice.

Workout of the Week for 5/21/12

Look! I’m finally posting a new workout video! Big thanks to my IT department (boyfriend) for editing this and making Body of Sunshine a more radiant and bright place. 🙂

This workout consists of 10 exercises and a 1/4 mile run. Do each exercise as many times as possible in 30 seconds then take 10 seconds to rest before moving on to the next move. Do 3 rounds total then finish off with some abdominal work.

Remember-during the work period go AS HARD AS POSSIBLE! Challenge yourself and MODIFY, MODIFY, MODIFY to make the workout work for YOU. Here are the details:

Set interval timer for 10 rounds of 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.
Complete entire workout 3 times

1. Sumo squat with standing twist
2. Ab chopper
3. One leg jump up Right Leg
4. One leg jump up Left Leg
5. Dive bomber pushup, bring knee to opposite elbow (alternating sides)
6. Push up & hop feet up beside the hands (side to side)
7. Plank: bring opposite knee to elbow
8. Jump squat
9. Side lying v-ups Right Side
10. Side lying v-ups Left Side
Sprint/Run/Walk 1/4 mile (not shown in video)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Balls

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Well I seem to be on quite the ball kick lately. They are just so easy to make and pack! These little guys can be made in a matter of minutes (danger!).
I love sweets as we all know but I am really trying to stay away from the baked good variety since they are full of flour and white sugar. So, while I know these are not exactly health food as they have chocolate chips and agave nectar in them, they are a very small treat which is sometimes nice to enjoy at the end of the day.
Adapted from http://www.ohsheglows.com

Makes 20 balls

Ingredients:
2 cups crisp rice cereal
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
6 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

In a large mixing bowl add the peanut butter, chocolate chips, agave nectar and vanilla. Microwave for 35-45 seconds. Immediately add the cocoa powder and stir. Add the cereal and stir.
Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Now, before you start rolling the balls get your hands slightly wet so the mixture doesn’t stick to you. With damp hands begin rolling the mixture into balls, re-wetting your hands as needed. Keep them in a covered container in the freezer until you are ready to eat. Please let them thaw for at least 10 minutes before eating. I don’t want anyone to chip a tooth!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip “Laura Balls”

Have you ever heard of Lara Bars? If so, good, you will think the name of this recipe, “Laura Balls” is funny. If you haven’t, then you will just think I’m weird!

If you haven’t heard of them, they are a vegan, gluten free energy bar made primarily from dates, cashews and other dried fruits & nuts. I was in the store the other day and saw them on sale for $1.39 each. Being the thrifty person that I am I went right home and made up my own creation…LAURA BALLS!

First of all, I made them in ball form because that is a much easier shape to create, store and package to take with you on the go.

These are definitely not a dessert ball so don’t get too excited! They are a high energy treat perfect for when you are out on the trails or when you need an afternoon snack.

I even took an action shot of them to show their intended use…

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Makes 20 balls

Ingredients
3/4 cup dates, chopped and soaked (about 9 dates)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon agave nectar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

First, remove the pits from the dates, chop them up a few times and place them in a bowl of water to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a food processor, add all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Now add the dates to the food processor as well (but not the water they were soaking in).

Pulse and scrape the sides until you get a smooth dough. Stir the chocolate chips in.

Form the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place baking sheet in the freezer to let them firm up.

Once firm, place them in a container of your choice for taking on the go.

CRUSH Challenge – Week 2

Happy week 2 CRUSHers!

How did you do on the first weeks challenge? Did you try to cut out or at least cut back on sugar? It’s tough to do, that is for sure!

Here is your challenge for week 2: Eat at least 2 servings of vegetables a day.

I know that might seem simple to some, but if you are anything like me, I used to eat exactly ZERO servings of vegetables – EVER! Unless of course you count the corn syrup that was in my Cinnamon Toast Crunch 🙂

So this week I’m not asking you to cut anything out of your diet, just try to add some vegetables.
The easiest way for me was to start eating a side salad along with my dinner every night. Over time the salad kept getting bigger and more elaborate until that was all I wanted for dinner. Another good option is to sneak some kale into your other dishes like this Avocado, Strawberry, Quinoa Salad which I absolutely adore or eat your hummus with carrots instead of chips.

Have a radiant and bright week everyone, I will be sharing some recipes for Energy Bars very soon!

Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

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Here’s a little pre-weekend treat for you. In fact, I’m hoping you will get up Saturday morning and make them. You will not regret it!

And here is a fun fact for you, even though buckwheat sounds like it would be a wheat relative, IT’S NOT! Buckwheat is actually gluten free, so get wild my friends, get wild! Buckwheat is also a pretty good source of protein and fiber.

Not all buckwheat tastes the same, I have found. I used the stuff in the bulk bins at whole foods and really liked it. I have also used Bob’s Red Mill but found the texture, color and flavor to be really overpowering. So play around with it and don’t be discouraged if your pancakes are a darker color than those in the picture.

Makes about 9 pancakes.

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe, well mashed banana
1 1/2 cups almond milk (or soy, rice, hemp milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil (or other oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (unless you are using a vanilla flavored milk, then only use 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

First, combine the milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl or measuring cup. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes while you assemble the other ingredients. The vinegar makes the milk curdle in a magical way which is why this recipe does not require an egg.

Next, combine all the dry ingredients except for the nuts in a mixing bowl.

Start pre-heating your frying pan on medium heat.

Add the mashed banana, oil and vanilla to the curdled milk and combine. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and combine. Food the pecans/walnuts in.

Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup pour the batter into the heated frying pan. Use cooking spray if your pan needs it.

You know a pancake is ready to be flipped when it starts getting bubbles around the edge. Sometimes the first pancake turns out ugly but you will get the hang of it!

Now, what to put on a pancake. These are pretty good on their own. Of course syrup is an option, unless you don’t want the added sugar. In that case, a little peanut butter or agave nectar would be a nice topping. Enjoy!