Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reason #18,458 why I love my slow cooker: Better than yo’ momma’s slow cooked banana oats

When I was a kid, my mom used to make the most amazing oatmeal. No one liked eating it but me. I remember all the kids whining .. “Oatmeal? NOOOO!!” But not me.

I’ve made countless bowls of oatmeal but never as good as hers, so today, I asked her how she made them. She said all she did was follow the recipe on the oatmeal box…but I knew there had to be more, so I had to bombard her with questions.


Me: “Mom, there’s no way you just followed the recipe. Did you use milk?”
Mom: “Oh yes I used milk. The recipe called for water so sometimes I used both water and milk, but mostly I used (whole) milk.”
Me: “Ok so what else did you do?”
Mom: “Well, I boiled my milk, and then I would put a cinnamon stick in there for flavor, and then I’d add some salt…and then when everything boiled, I slowly added the oats and stirred everything together…you know, there is a recipe on the box.”
Me: “Yes mom I know there’s a recipe on the box. I know how to make oatmeal. I wanted to know how you made YOUR oatmeal.”
Mom: “OH Oh, ok. So yeah, I’d add the cinnamon stick and the salt, and I’d boil the milk and add in the oats…”
Mom: “I’d let them cook on low for a while. Oh, and then I’d add some butter in at the very end for some extra flavor.”

Light bulb! Then I thought about it…

Me: “But we put butter on top of the oats after you served them to us too.”
Mom: “Mmm Hmmmm.”

I don’t know if it was the butter or what, but like I said, her oats were GOOD. I don’t have the patience to wait all day for my oats to cook. She would cook them for an hour or so. Wanna know how I make my oats 99% of the time? I put a half cup of oats in a microwave safe bowl and bring it to work. Once at work, I take about a cup of water and cut up a banana, and throw the whole hot mess in the microwave for 3 minutes. Stir in PB. Eat.

Until last night.

I thought, maybe – JUST maybe – I can get thick, creamy oats by using my slow cooker!

Better than yo momma’s slow cooked banana oats

  • 1/2 cup Steel cut oats (2 servings)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • Cinnamon sprinkles (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • Dash of sea salt

Throw in your slow cooker and cook on low overnight. Wake up to a banana cinnamony bliss.


Now I know you’ve made oatmeal before, so you’re probably wondering what the big deal is. It’s just a nice way to spin my childhood memory of my mom’s oatmeal into my crazy hectic and pathetic morning routine. Scoop and go? Yeah, I’ll take that.


Put your oats in a slow cooker and do it up. I promise you won’t regret it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Discounted yoga? Anyone?

I’ve been wanting to give yoga a fair shot for a very long time. About five years ago, Dennis got me a couple of yoga DVDs for Christmas and I couldn’t have been happier. However, I can’t get into on my own. I get very distracted, feel very frustrated with my lack of knowledge, and end up giving up after about 15 minutes. I TRY. It’s really difficult to get into when you’re a newbie and completely clueless.

My friend Reba took me to a hot yoga class for my 30th birthday last year and it was AWESOME. But it’s so expensive.  I can’t afford $20 per class, especially since I’d like to be able to go at least twice a week. How can I get the wonderfully amazing benefits of yoga without the stress? I mean, isn’t that the whole point?

A little background: My commute round trip is usually around 2 hours. I found a yoga studio that takes volunteer work as payment but with a full time job, 10 hours a week of driving on top of that, and my normal workout routine, I’m not sure I’d be able to find the time.

Any suggestions?

Oh and check out my negative splits from yesterday’s 6 mile run with my running group. (boy did I miss them)

  • Mile 1: 9:19
  • Mile 2: 9:09
  • Mile 3: 9:43 (hills)
  • Mile 4: 9:17
  • Mile 5: 9:39
  • Mile 6: 9:07

Total time: 56:19
I’m starting to feel better again….still have some work to do but I’m getting there.  This guy on the other hand…


What a life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My “I’m so glad we broke up before you got the Clap” chocolate chip cookies

So you remember my last post when I mentioned you might get smacked in the face with something a little out of the ordinary? Yeah, this is one of those posts. Beware, it’s a little raunchy, but it’s really not all that bad, so please bear with me.

You can thank Rachel Wilkerson for this one, as I found that I can relate to this week’s Project Tasteless challenge.


I contemplated not using this title since her example title included an STD but seriously, this is exactly how I’ve learned to perfect my baking. Let me back up here.

My boyfriend history is pretty short and boring, but they have all contributed to my love of baking. In a nutshell, it looks a little bit like this:

Puppy Love
First Love
Current Love

I started baking for fun, but after a few ridiculous breakups through four years of on-again, off-again torture with Puppy Love, I learned to turn to baking for comfort. I would bake my face off every time we’d break up, and between these cookies (which I’ve now healthified as I’ve gotten older) and the beer I drank with them, I gained about 30 pounds.

There was something about these cookies that my roommates and I could not get enough of. They were really that good.


About six months after our last and thank GOD our final breakup, (right around the time I got the “I have ‘the clap’ and I wanted to let you know” phone call – don’t worry, I was SOO in the clear) I took a much needed break from making cookies.

A year later, I met First love.

First love was the complete opposite of Puppy Love and our break up had me craving this classic cookie recipe something fierce. We dated for two years and he was the guy that ripped my heart out. Have you ever seriously dated a person your parents can’t stand? My mom HATED him and as much as I hate to say it, she was right. Not that he was a bad guy, he just wasn’t for me. Aaaand we broke up. (shortly after I got the “It’s 5 a.m., I’m wasted, and I can’t find my way home” phone call. Did I mention he was driving? And that he was calling me from 2 hours away asking me what he should do?) <sigh> More cookies please! Oh, with Toffee bits? Even better!


And just when I was “loved” out and ready to enjoy being single, I met Current Love. Current Love and I have seen and experienced some serious shit over the past 6 years. He’s a big part of the reason I started this blog, and luckily for him, he’s also the one that gets to benefit from the baking experience I gained from previous loves. He adores my chocolate chip cookies, and when he requested that I make them this weekend I thought “How perfect.” And my blog post was created.

I’m So Glad we broke up before you got the CLAP chocolate chip cookies – the healtified version
Adapted from Betty Crocker. Makes about 2 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (NOT unsalted) softened, but not melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated cane sugar (I used unbleached)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits (the star of these cookies, in my opinion)
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine sugars, vanilla and butter.
    *Butter trick-if you don’t have the time to let the butter come to room temperature, simply pop it in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% strength. This will soften it without melting it*
  3. Cream the sugar and butter for about a minute. Add egg and cream some more (maybe another 30 seconds)


4. Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits

5. Drop by the spoonfuls onto your baking sheet

6. Bake at 350* for 11 minutes.

It’s not rocket science folks, but these cookies are damn good.


Anyone else have a go-to comfort recipe or comfort food to eat? Besides the cookies, I also made a banana nut cake with cream cheese frosting that never lasted more than 2 days in my apt. I still get emails and phone calls from friends requesting this recipe.

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Changing Gears (About me)

Everyday I come across new blogs and give them a shot. Whether it be through someone that comments on my blog or someone else’s blog, I somehow get caught up reading three weeks worth of blog posts on some new site. I’ve learned a lot from reading other people’s blogs, including things NOT to do on my own.

Although I realize my blog is not perfect (hell, look at the format. It’s plain, sometimes my pictures suck, and I definitely don’t post on a daily) I do realize that I enjoy having it. And also, that my purpose has changed A LOT since day one.

When I first started blogging my reasoning was SO much different than it is now. I'm a former journalist and at the time, I had been laid off for a few months. My boyfriend had just had major surgery as a result of his Crohn’s Disease, so to say I was obsessed with food (and health) is an understatement.

I wasn’t only obsessed with food, I was obsessed with everything about it: Where it came from, how it was processed, how much sugar was in it, how it affected our bodies, etc. I was convinced (and on some level still am) that intestinal diseases are environmental and if we change the way we look at food, these scary and deadly diseases will eventually go away.

I found food blogs to be comforting; not only were they eating great, nutritious food but they were active too! Since I’ve always been an athlete, I started seeing that there are others who not only share my love for food, but my love for competition. That, coupled with my extreme boredom and lack of self worth from being laid off, is how this blog was created.

It took me a while to find my voice, and it took me a while to realize that this is NOT a competition. I won’t lie, I struggled with that. I saw people posting their run times and immediately thought I was too slow. I saw people making outrageous food and though my food was too plain…but then I grew up. Plain and simple.

I’ve also learned that even though I have my bad days, I’m comfortable with myself and my body. I FEEL good about myself, who I am and where I am in my life. That’s what matters most. And when I decide to train for my next race, I’ll continue to realize that time isn’t important…getting off my ass and DOING IT is important. (Gosh where was this wisdom a few years months ago?)

So why do I write this blog? Well, I care about health, running and staying active. I also want to continue to find fun recipes to recreate so I can share them with you. However, I don’t want it to be about JUST FOOD or JUST RUNNING. I have a story to tell – whether it be about the amazing pot of chili I made for Sunday football or about the road rage I had on my way to work – and I want to be able to share it with you. Yes my focuses are food, health and my competitive nature, but don’t be surprised to get smacked in the face with something else. It’s just how I roll.

Do I need to follow a consistent format to have a successful blog? Since I don’t have a large readership, I couldn’t answer that. But I do LOVE those of you who read and I appreciate your understanding of me.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fighting it

I don’t know what’s going on but my appetite has been null these past few days. I’ve been feeling kind of off, so I’ve been trying to take it easy. I hate this time of the year—sick time. It seems as if as soon as school starts, all these gross germs and viruses start being spread around like freaking wild fire and no amount of anti-bacterial wipes and hand-washing can help.


I’m in need of some new germ fighting tricks. Got any?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cheering on the marathoners

Only a runner would wake up early on a Sunday to go cheer on other runners. I know how much it meant to me to see people on the sides of the roads with signs and bells, and just their enthusiasm overall made me feel better. So I figured since I’m only 15 minutes away from the 23 mile marker, I’d go meet my running group to go cheer on the Marine Corps Marathoners.

Boy was this a sight to see.

I have never seen so many emotions. Blood (seriously guys, suck it up and buy a sports bra!) sweat and tears like you wouldn’t believe. There was one guy who was probably around 23-24 years old who was walking so slowly and was on the verge of tears. I felt so badly for him that I didn’t even know what to say. “Good job?” “Keep pushing?” Yeah, I just let him go, trying not to cry for him myself.

I spent most of my time chatting it up with my running buddies and going nuts on everyone as they ran by.





Yeah, all the cheesy crap, I said it all. I was trying so hard to get them excited and pumped that they were almost there. However, since I’ve never run a marathon, apparently I’m way out of the loop. There were people who obviously put their names on their shirts for a reason right? So here I am yelling people’s names…. “Go Drew!!” “Great job Sally!” and I got nothing. So my inexperience with marathons proved me as the “jackass on the side of the street yelling at me that I want to smack for being so freaking bubbly.”

I was happy to be there though, and I’m glad I experienced it. I might actually have mustered up the confidence to MAYBE start training for next year’s race. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying I WILL. Dennis works for the Marines and he has said that if I did decide to run it, he’d volunteer race day. This might have made me more excited about the idea.)

Running the Army 10 miler last week and being around the runners yesterday got me really pumped for the idea. But it’s a freaking marathon, so I don’t want to get too excited about it.

How do you feel about spectators cheering you on during long races? Do you enjoy them or do you want to punch them for being too perky?