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Sometimes you just get a craving for something rich, decadent, and slightly bad-for-you. This is an amped-up healthier version of brownies that packs all the flavor and decadence you could want in a brownie. Plus there’s a peanut butter swirl!!

Obviously, my sweetie and I dug in before I got pictures – so good and very satisfying!

Peanut Butter Mocha Brownies (adapted from Healthy Food for Living)

Ingredients:

cooking spray (like canola oil)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened, good quality cocoa
dash of salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 packet Starbuck Via/Nescafe instant coffee (or 1 teaspoon instant coffee)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 plus 1/8 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 plus 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or any flavored chips of your choice)
heaping tablespoon of organic peanut butter

Directions:

1. Take an 8×8 glass pan and spray with canola oil and then dust with whole wheat flour (this will allow the brownies to release from the pan super easily). Set aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk very briskly by hand together applesauce, oil, and sugar until light and slightly airy.
3. Add following ingredients one-by-one and whisk each in thoroughly: cocoa, salt, baking powder, coffee, extract, eggs.
4. Next fold in flour until just combined. Then fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into baking pan.
5. Melt heaping tablespoon of peanut butter in microwave until runny. Pour artfully over the batter, then take a knife and drag through the batter to create swirl between brownies and peanut butter.
6. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 9 medium sized brownies.

Let cool and cut into 9 squares. ENJOY! So tasty!

Holy YUM! If you’re like me, and think chocolate and nuts belong together, this is a recipe for you. Chocolate-peanut nut butter (sort of like it’s chocolate-hazelnut counterpart – but for much cheaper – and so tasty).

So I realize that this is not the best thing for you in the world but it’s delicious (and, like everything, ok in moderation)! 😀

Peanutella

1 cup shelled salted peanuts
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

Roast the peanuts on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes – until they are slightly browned and very fragant (I roasted mine a touch too long, so just keep your eyes on them!).

Then get the peanuts in the food processor with a quick drizzle of oil, this will get the peanuts grinding. From there, they should turn into a peanut buttery paste (esentially you are making peanut butter with some pizazz!). It will evenutally turn in a creamy PB consistency (you can process it less for a crunchier peanutella).

Once the peanuts are ground, throw in the cocoa and powdered sugar, with a little bit of oil at a time until it is at the desired consistency. Put in a jar and store in the fridge! Then put it on everything. 😉

I think you could probably use about any type of nut you’d like. Almonds would be heavenly, and cashew would be to die for! It’s be great in smoothies, on toast, in overnight oats, on any breakfast food, and perfect on desserts.

I hit the gym today and did 5.5 miles on the elliptical, which told me I burnt 750 calories. I was feeling weaker today and did not end up doing my small strength training portion of my workout. So to avoid injury and making myself run down – I called it quits after the 5.5 mile workout. I then stopped at the food store to get some really cheap marinade (special on Lawry’s marinades – only $1.00 a piece at Albertson’s!!). I also picked up some of the Sugar Free Flavor for my coffee – it’s not coconut, but it’s Sugar Free Hazelnut Flavor – and I think it was a great buy! It sweetens my coffee with just a bit, and after a 1/4 cup of Vanilla Almond Milk, it brings my morning cup of joe down from 100 calories to 30-40 calories a cup. Much more manageable!! So obviously, I made a cup after I got back from the gym.

I ate a very unique dinner tonight (for me). I took some extra firm tofu and crumbled it up, marinated it in some Lawry’s Hawaiian dressing with frozen peas and the leftover remains of the asparagus stir fry I had in the freezer. Super healthy and the tofu was actually great! It was filling, and tasty. I polished off a oatmeal chocolate chip soft cookie I made the other night. But I was craving some PEANUT BUTTER!

Oh yum yum! I am ALL about food that is better for you but tastes oh so decadent! I love peanut butter and cookies, especially oatmeal cookies. So here is my recipe for tasty (and better for you peanut butter cookies!)

Ingredients:


1 and 1/4 cup rolled oats
Less that 1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of peanut butter
2 tablespoons of all natural apple sauce
5 teaspoons of whole wheat flour
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a few chocolate chips

For this recipes I combine all the ingredients (EXCEPT the chocolate chips) and mixed them until they form a dough. I then measure a tablespoon scoop of the dough and place on a cookie sheet. Put one chocolate chips on each piece of dough. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes. Enjoy!

How could you not eat this!??! Make some right now 🙂 And averaging about 80 calories a cookie – that’s a pretty sweet cookie.

Last night was full of delicious food and lots of little noshes. I finished off work with a giant pear and an Oatmeal Raisin Quaker Chewy Bar. I then met my sweetie at the food store for the 12 hour produce sale! We got lots of goodies – bananas, onions, potatoes, apples, cantaloupe, peppers, butter, tofu, yogurts, frozen tater tots, frozen peppers, plus other munchies for under $20!! It was fabulous and now my fridge and counter are stocked with fresh veggies and fruits, and lots of healthy ingredients here and there. Love that feeling! Money Saving Tip: go online once a week and read the circulars from your local food stores, you can get some STELLAR deals for healthy items that normal might be a little pricey!

Last night I made Mac and Cheese, which I had with a huge side salad drizzled with balsamic! Mmm! I forgot to snap pictures, which I really need to be more diligent about, it’s good to see what I am putting into my body. We then went on a short, but speedy walk. I then made some homemade Salt & Vinegar Chick Peas – holy yummy! I think I will top my salad with these tonight. I felt rushed last night because we had to make it to a concert last night, so my exercise wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. And then I found myself noshing when I got home, with a big cup of camomille tea. I am heading to the gym today for a nice, long workout! And boy, am I looking forward to it. Tonight’s dinner will be a big salad, with some cheese, basalmic, chick peas, grated carrot, and who knows what other goodies I will throw in there! 🙂

This morning started out with Overnight Oats (HUGE scoop of PB, I LOVE that stuff)  like yesterday, except I got a picture before I dug in! I am so happy it’s Friday and I am enjoying my coconut coffee as well. My goal is trying to drink 2 nalgenes of water before 3:30 today (That would be 64 oz of water). I need to get more water in my system! I am working on incorporating more healthy habits into my life. I’ve read that it takes 30 days to form a habit. Here are some habits I would love to form:
1) Drink more water.
2) Eat more whole grains, less refined products.
3) Keep active (do something active every day).
4) Continue to cook more homemade.
5) Keep workouts fun!

Slowly but surely, my body has felt so much better eating the way I have and exercise. I think it’s been worth it so far! 😉

So I know I took a break from blogging. But I am back, and living my life a whole different way. For lent I had to decided workout every day, or be active in some way. And I have started to incorporate more veggies, and fruit in my life. I realized that I am a HUGE emotional eater. I use it for comfort, celebration, and about every other mood I might be feeling.

Growing up, I had sweets around all the time. We, as a family, overate. And it’s a nasty habit I have taken with my into the beginning part of adulthood. I have realized this and am taking the steps to make sure I do not continue this bothersome habit. I have never “struggled” with weight, I just carry around a few extra pounds that I know my body doesn’t need to survive.

So something I was giving to Jesus for lent has helped me start the life change that I always wanted. I am eating healthier foods, counting most of my calories to see where I am at, and exercising (and pushing myself! Instead of just going through the motions). I’ve realized how unhealthy our lifestyles can be here in America. We eat, and don’t move – everyday. I want to break the mold and be healthy. I want to feel energized and strong. Feed my body with good stuff, but allow myself to indulge as well.

After much research, I’ve discovered it’s a pretty simple equation. Exercise and portion control to maintain a healthy lifestyle. My upcoming nuptials are less than 4 months away and I want to be toned and feeling good about how much clothes fit and how I look.

I found I am constantly surrounded by women who are on “diets”, complaining that they are fat, and yet they don’t do anything about it. I am trying to change that frame of mind where if you are unhappy about something – change it! And we all have the tools to be healthy…and happy.

Enough of my rambling! Started my day off right with some Overnight Oats with PB (my daily addiction). No day is complete for me without peanut butter.

Overnight Oats with Flaxseed
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup vanilla Almond milk
1/8 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp milled flaxseed
1.5 tbsp peanut butter

Put first 4 ingredients in tuperware overnight. In the morning, scoop a big scoop o’ peanut butter right on top and enjoy! I dug into mine because I was craving it so bad this morning! I had it with an Almond Joy Almond Milk french roast coffee. Usually the Overnight Oats look like this (this one complete with chocolate chips – optional):

SO Holy YUM! This weekend I got the motivation to try to make a chocolate-peanut nut butter (sort of like it’s chocolate-hazelnut counterpart – but for much cheaper).

So I realize that this is not the best thing for you and obviously, proceed with caution – I could eat spoonful after spoonful of this! It’s delicious! 😀

1 cup shelled salted peanuts
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

Roast the peanuts on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes – until the a slightly browned and very fragant (I roasted mine a touch too long, so just keep your eyes on them!).

Then place the peanuts in the food processor with a quick drizzle of oil to get the peanuts grinding. From there, they should turn into a peanut buttery paste (esentially you are making peanut butter with some pizazz!) that will in a sense become like that creamy PB consistency.

Once the peanuts are like this, throw in the cocoa and powdered sugar, with a little bit of oil until it is at the desired consistency – to pull everything together. Put in a jar and store in the fridge! YUM!

I had it in my overnights oats this morning. And on Saturday, my fiancee made delicious waffles which I was more than happy to spread some on to. It was a delicious Saturday…and Sunday…and Monday! 😛

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