A Bite of Everything Oatmeal Cookies

Have you ever tried the “A Bite of Everything” trail mix from Archer Farms? They sell it at Target…and it is delicious. It seriously has a little taste of everything which is perfect for Pete and I because then he doesn’t notice when I pick out all of the coconut and pineapple.

These cookies were born with this trail mix in mind. They don’t have an overwhelming list of ingredients, but when you tell your guests that you have made oatmeal cookies with chocolate, coconut, cranberries, and pecans…you get oohs & aahs from all present, because even though someone may not dig those cranberries they won’t be able to pass up the combination.

A Bite Of Everything Oatmeal Cookies – makes about 3 dozen

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7 Tbsp. coconut oil, solid
1 cup sucanat
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Add the coconut oil, and sucanat to the bowl of your electric mixer, or use a hand mixer and large mixing bowl. Beat the mixture until light; a few minutes. Add the vanilla, and salt, blend well. Next add the eggs one at a time mixing until well incorporated.

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In a separate bowl combine the flours, baking soda, and spices. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixer and blend until just incorporated. Remove mixing bowl from mixer stand.

Stir in the oats, pecans, coconut, cranberries, and chocolate chips by hand until well incorporated.

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Drop the cookies by rounded tablespoons onto a lightly greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. They will spread slightly so do not place the cookies to close together on the baking sheet.

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Tips:
* Make sure your coconut oil is solid. You want it to take on the same structure as butter would. It will naturally be a little runnier, but these cookies still turn out beautifully.
* Be creative with the ingredients. Like I said above, these cookies can truly be a bite of everything. (I think almonds, apricots, white chocolate, and almond extract would be a lovely combination)

I hope you love these cookies as much as we have been enjoying them this past week with our guests.

**Also, thanks for your patience…I have been incredibly busy with traveling, family, hosting guests, and taking my language test that regular posting has not been happening. However, I’ll be back soon, and have some new fun fitness, and post ideas coming your way. Thanks for reading, you guys are awesome!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Liesl

A Healthy Breakfast to GO

Tomorrow we pile into the car as dawn breaks and head back up into the mountains on our trek home. It has been a fabulous time here on the beach, we’ve enjoyed the sunshine, sea water, and just some plain old down time to relax before we begin several busy months to end out the year 2013. Crazy right?! Time is a flyin’.

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When we travel early I get up in time to make two cups of joe…but I like to have our breakfast packed the night before and ready to take in the truck with us. However, my travel breakfast has to meet a few criteria: since the road is “bumpy” (understatement of the year) it has to be something that’s NOT messy, it has to be healthy, balanced, taste good, and keep us full.

These bars are one of my “go to” recipes for a quick, travel breakfast or snack. They meet the criteria above, but also I love this recipe because it is so adaptable. You can make it with anything you have on hand. Don’t have almonds and walnuts; use pecans and cashews. Instead of amaranth or coconut use some flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, or even hemp. You could even throw in a handful of chocolate chips to make them extra decadent or more of a treat. 🙂 Also, this recipe halves well, and you can bake them in a 8×8 pan.

Enough talk…here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it.

NUT & SEED SNACK BARS

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1 ½ c almonds
1 ½ c walnuts
½ c sunflower seeds
½ c popped amaranth (or pumpkin seeds)
½ c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 c. dried fruit (I like dried cherries, cranberries, or a mix of cranberries and blueberries)
3 Tbsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg

3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ c coconut oil, melted
½ c raw honey
½ c unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla extract (or almond is nice too)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor pulse the almond and walnuts until broken up. Don’t pulse them too much as you want the mixture to be chunky not perfectly ground like a flour.

Pour the nut mixture into a medium mixing bowl and add the sunflower seeds, amaranth, coconut, dried fruit, and spices. Stir until well combined.

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Finally add the eggs, coconut oil, honey, applesauce, and extract to the nut mixture. Stir until everything is well coated. The mixture should be thick and wet.

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Spread into a greased 9×13 baking dish, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the middle is set. Cool. Once cool cut into bars, and store in the refrigerator.

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Tips:
* I’ve cut these bars bigger to take on the road as a breakfast bar. Or you can cut them smaller and they make healthy, portable, and delicious snacks.
** Also be creative with these bars. (Almond, hazelnuts, and dried apricots are a yummy combo!)
***I haven’t tried it, but I would guess you could swap a ½ cup of protein powder for some of the seeds. Just make sure to adjust your sweetener if you use a sweetened protein powder.

If you try them, let me know what you think!

What’s your favorite travel breakfast/snack?

Happy Baking!

Liesl

Ocean View + Link-ables

We’ve been having a great time here in paradise. 🙂

Our time on the beach has been filled with good food, warm sun, cold coffee, loads of walking, and great memories. Here are some pics of the highlights so far:

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Also, if you are looking for some great stuff to read this week, here are some good reads that I’ve enjoyed recently:

REAL FOOD – What is it?  Kath has an amazing series about it here.

FALL BRUNCH – If I was going to make one, this recipe would probably be part of it.

HEALTHY HABITS – I’ve been incorporating hot water w/lemon two mornings a week in place of coffee…maybe I should do more

RECIPE RADAR – I LOVE peanut noodles, and these look like they would not disappoint.

GYM FEAR – One of the biggest reasons why people won’t start a healthy habit…but is it really a big deal?

WEIGHT LOSS – 10 good tips

PROTEIN BARS – What kind do you buy…and is it best choice? 

GOALS – How to set realistic goals and reach them…check it out here.

WORK IT – This arms + abs workout looks like a fun one.

FRESH – This salad looks so yum…I just want to make it NOW.

SALADS – Speaking of salads, I’m  making this one again this week…it’s that good.

Hope you are having a great week, and check back this weekend for a yummy travel snack recipe.

Liesl

Be Back Soon

The in-laws are visiting right now, so I’m going to make this short…as I’m a busy bee in the kitchen and showing them around our beautiful little pueblo. And Saturday it’s off to the beach!! So real quick, here’s some shots of lately…

Photo Favs:

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Birthday dinner for Pete’s big 30!

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The Radley pup.

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Sweet treats…have you made these yet?

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Radley getting in on some tissue paper action.

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Introducing all our friend here to our family = Priceless.

There won’t be a FIT FOCUS this week, but stay tuned for some fun links I’m going to share, plus some pics of what’s been going on lately! Hope you all are having a fabulous week!

Liesl

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Shortbread

I wasn’t sure what exactly to call these cookies.

They are actually more of a marriage between a shortbread and a pecan sandie, but with chocolate…which makes them just that much more delicious. 🙂

If you are looking for a sweet cookie though, these are probably not your ticket. They are slightly sweet from the dark chocolate and a bit of Sucanat, but in my opinion they are a perfect little afternoon treat dunked in a cup of coffee.

So… totally worth getting your bake on.

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PUMPKIN PECAN CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD

Ingredients:

4oz butter,melted
½ c Sucanat
¾ c pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1.7oz dark chocolate (I used a 72% TJs dark chocolate bar)
1 c oat flour
½ c almond flour
½ c all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and spread the pecans out on a cookie sheet. Toast the pecans for about 10 minutes, or until they start to turn a dark brown toasted color and give off a lovely aroma. Turn oven off and let pecans cool.

In the bowl of your food processor combine the cooled pecans, dark chocolate, and 1/4 cup of the oat flour. Pulse until finely chopped and combined.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the melted butter and sucanat and stir well. Then add the pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix again. Finally add the remaining flours, and pecan/chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined. Chill the dough in the fridge covered for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight.

Once well chilled. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Roll out the cookie dough between two pieces of waxed paper until it is about 1/8 -1/4 inch thick. Cut cookies out with the rim of a small glass. The smallest I had was about 2 inches in diameter, but I would recommend a little smaller if you have it.

Place the cut out cookies on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes. You’ll have to watch them because the cooking time depends on how thick your cookies are. Cool on a cooling rack, and enjoy with a homemade latte!

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*Tip: If you’d like crispier cookies, roll your dough thinner and bake for the same amount of time.

Happy Baking!

Liesl

Eats & Fitness – 10.6

Hey friends! How’s your weekend going?

Our’s started out with a bang when some lovely friends flew into our little pueblo on Friday morning to spend a full day and evening with us. Homemade pizza was devoured, strong coffee drank, and sweet, sweet fellowship had. It was such a refreshing day for us. The only sad part…I totally forgot to snap even one picture. 😦 Oh well.

Yesterday and today have been spent cleaning the casa from top to bottom as we have family arriving this week.

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The guest room is all ready!

Tuesday my in-laws come into town, and after a few days spent in the mountains together we will all head towards the coast for a relaxing week of sun and seafood on the beach! I CAN.NOT.WAIT.

All that to say, we will be getting groceries this week. Fresh food!! I haven’t seen a spinach leaf in 3 months, and I’ve missed them so. However, we did grow some IMPRESSIVE hybrid zucchini/butternut squashes…and just in case you doubted how mature we are…

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Goofers.

With that in mind, I hope to make some yummy food for the fam, and we hope to get some use out of our grill as it doesn’t look like there’s too much rain in the forecast.

Also, I’ve been doing some baking…which will probably be making an appearance this week on the bloggy.

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Family visit = excuse to do some seasonal baking! It’s gonna be yummy!

Okay, so here’s what’s cooking this week:

Meal Ideas:

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White Chicken Chili w/Millet bread
Veggie & Margherita Pizzas
Grilled chicken tacos w/ pico de gallo
Grilled Hamburgers w/sweet potato rounds
…and we’ll be finishing some leftovers before the fam arrives.

Tentative Fitness Schedule:

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Monday – Run (w/sprints) + Upper Body Strength Circuit
Tuesday – HEAVY Legs day w/plyo
Wednesday – Run (HIIT intervals)
Thursday – Total Body Circuit
Friday – Run (steady) + 10 Minute Plank Workout
Saturday – rest day (traveling to the BEACH!!)
Sunday – Get Out & Move Workout (on the beach!! woot!)

So…what’s going on in your home this week? Any fun plans, or recipes to share?

Also, have you tried the 20 Minute Interval Challenge workout yet? Just 20 minutes…a calorie burnin’ good time! 🙂

Have an amazing week!

Liesl

Fit Focus: 20 Minute Interval Challenge

It’s Fitness Friday! So who’s ready of a quick, sweaty, and effective workout?!

This last week I joined the 99 Day Challenge that my friend Sandi is hosting over on her blog…you should check it out. It’s basically a challenge to incorporate some healthy habits into our lives for the next 3 months to finish out the year 2013 feeling healthier from the inside out. One of the challenges Sandi presents is working out for 20 minutes, at least 3xs per week.

With that in mind I thought it would be fun to post an interval workout that you can do at home with minimal equipment in JUST 20 minutes. Well, I guess 25 if you include the warm-up. But this short, and effective workout will keep your heart pumping and your body burning calories and fat, even after you finish the 20 minutes. The strength intervals are all combo moves so you are working your entire body, including your heart with the cardio intervals. And with the constant changing of exercises at each 1min/interval your workout with fly by!

So…99 Day Challengers, this is for you! And for any of you who are looking for a quick, butt-kickin’ workout! Get at it!

20 Minute Interval Challenge

Jog in place/Speed Squats – For 1 minute jog at a quick pace in place./ For 1 minute perform basic squats as quickly as you can with good form.

Plie Squat + Bicep Curl + Overhead Press – Stand holding two weights in front of you palms facing forward, (picture shows palms facing in),  feet wider than shoulder width apart and toes slightly turned out. Keeping your chest up, squat your butt down and back, then push through your glutes to the start. As you stand perform a bicep curl, into an overhead press. Keep going for 1 min.

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Plank + knee in + knee in + pushup – In a high plank position bring one knee in towards the opposite elbow, then put it back, then repeat with the opposite knee to other elbow, and finally perform a pushup. Go for 1 min.

Twisting plank rightPush up down position

Jumping Jacks/Lateral Jumps – For 1 minute perform jumping jacks at a brisk pace. For another minute perform lateral jumps, jumping from side to side with feet together as if you were jumping over a box. Swing your arms for momentum.

Stiff Leg DB Deadlift + Wide Row – Stand with feet just wider than shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, holding two dumbbells in front of you. Hinging at the hips and keeping your back straight, bend forward until the weights come to just above your feet, and you feel a slight pull in your hamstrings. From here perform a wide row lifting your elbows wide out to the sides and the dumbbells to just below your shoulders. Lower, then squeezing your glutes extend your hips and lift back to start. Go for 1 min.

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DB Chest Fly w/ Leg Lift – Lying flat on your back, with your legs up in the air at a 90 degree angle hold two dumbbells over head with your palms facing in towards each other.With your elbows slightly bent lower the weights wide out to the sides of your body while simultaneously lowering your legs (keep them straight) until just a few inches from the floor. Once your legs and arms are fully extended, contract your muscles and bring both your legs and arms back to the start. Go for 1 min.

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Fast Jump Rope/Mountain Climbers – For 1 minute jump rope at a quick pace. For another minute perform as many mountain climbers as you can.

*As the workout says, complete one full round, rest if needed, and then complete another full round for an amazing workout!

**Disclaimer: I am not a fitness professional. Everything I share here regarding fitness and health I have learned from personal experience or study. Please check with your doctor first before beginning a new fitness routine, or if you are recovering from an injury. 

Let me know if you try the workout, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Cheers to the weekend!

Liesl