Cold S’mores {No Bake & Super Easy!}


I first learned about cold s’mores during the summer of 2006 when my son was enrolled in the sweetest little cooking class for preschoolers (it was actually the summer before he started preschool, he wasn’t even three years old!).

Cold Smores

It was a mommy and me style cooking class where we made simple and easy recipes with our children. This recipe for cold s’mores was one of the first snacks we made and it immediately became a snack staple in our house, repeated over and over ever since.

It also became my go-to easy snack recipe to make with the kids when I started teaching cooking classes for the preschool and elementary school children a few years later.

Oh, you didn’t know that I used to teach cooking classes for kids? I did! I did! I also taught a cute preschool art program at my son’s preschool back in the day.

Art and cooking. My all-time favorites.

I loved being a stay at home mom but I also loved popping into the schools and bringing my favorite past times to the children. I had something to offer and I just loved being involved in my son’s schools (getting to know all of the kids, seeing what went on etc.).

Back to the recipe.

cold smores

These cold s’mores are really easy to make and perfect for eating year round.  Tradition has it that s’mores require some sort of oven (or campfire) to melt the chocolate and marshmallows, but these cold s’mores are a no bake snack because they are created by mixing together your marshmallows and chocolate chips with whipped topping!

That’s right, there’s no melting or cooking involved. All you have to do is mix up s’mores ingredients, spoon onto your graham crackers, close them up to make sandwiches and then freeze until you are ready to eat.

You can make a bunch in advance and keep them in the freezer for the moment when a snack attack strikes.

I wrap up the cold s’mores in aluminum foil, either one or two per pack.

Over the years I have revised the cold s’mores recipe only to include healthier versions of the ingredients. It’s not about the calorie content (this snack is fairly light if you ask me), it’s about finding the ingredients which are made without the artificial stuff and preservatives.

Cold Smores Ingredients

I get my graham crackers at Trader Joe’s and discovered this truwhip at Whole Foods. And yes, the taste and texture is just as good as Cool Whip! I haven’t had an issue and my son hasn’t complained so that means it’s good.

As for the chocolate chips, I usually use Trader Joe’s semi sweet or get Ghiradelli mini semi sweet chocolate chips. You can totally use whichever kind of chocolate you prefer, even chopping up a giant dark chocolate bar <- the pound plus from TJ is my favorite! I can’t always find the “healthier” marshmallows but they do exist.

Feel free to double or triple this recipe in order to stock your freezer to the brim with these Cold s’mores.

Oh and if you are thinking about adding a spread of peanut butter to the graham cracker before closing up your Cold s’mores sandwich, go for it! I have done it and its fabulous.

cold smores


Cold S’mores {No Bake & Super Easy!}
Author: Meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
Serves: 10
  • 2 cups of marshmallows
  • 2 cups of whipped topping (thawed)
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips (any kind, your choice)
  • 1 sleeve of graham crackers (broken in half)
  • aluminum foil
  1. Thaw your whipped topping and then measure out 2 cups.
  2. In a bowl, mix together whipped topping, marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  3. Line counter with aluminum foil sheets (large enough to wrap up the cold s’mores)
  4. Place 2 halves of graham crackers on each foil sheet (or 4 halves if you want to wrap up 2 cold s’mores at a time).
  5. Using a spoon, place a good dollop of your s’mores mixture on 1 graham cracker and then close it up like a sandwich using the other graham cracker.
  6. Wrap up your cold s’mores in the foil to create a foil pack and place in freezer.
  7. Freeze the cold s’mores for 40 minutes to 1 hour before eating.
  8. Eat immediately upon removing from freezer.
  9. Cold S’mores can be stored in the freezer indefinitely (so long as you wrapped them up real good!)


[bctt tweet=”Try this easy no bake recipe for Cold S’mores! #smores #snacks #dessert #easyrecipe “]


Have you ever taken a cooking class?

Are you a s’mores fan? Do you make them at home?

What’s on the workout agenda for today?


PB & Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins


Is it just me or is walking a 5k so much harder than running a 5k?

heart walk

I can’t tell you how many times I asked Kelly if we were at the finish yet.

It was great to come together in memory Adam and to catch up with the entire family especially since most of the reminiscing revolved around the baking experiences from our childhood.

Kelly and I were always making a mess in our parent’s kitchens creating recipes that no one, not even us, were able to eat.

The one time our brownies exploded in the oven? Well that was because we subbed a cup of baking powder for regular flour because we ran out of flour and figured they were both white so it would work.

After the walk, we headed to Bagel Boss which just so happens to be next to a Red Mango but once again, Red Mango let me down because not only did they not have their standard Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola but they didn’t even have their standard original yogurt (or pomegranate or any of the greek flavors).

Like what the heck Red Mango, get your act together before you lose me!

No problem really because I was actually craving a giant cinnamon raisin bagel anyway.


Kettle cooked bagels are the best bagels and if you are going to bother to eat a bagel it should be right.

The best thing I ate all weekend though happened two nights in a row and I don’t see the trend stopping any time soon.

pb and pumpkin muffin with ice cream

I baked the most delicious PB & Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins and the dessert genius that I am decided to toast one, crumble it up and add it to a bowl of Trader Joe’s Light Vanilla Ice Cream with extra dark chocolate chips and a spoonful of peanut butter.

Like oh my goodness.

Let’s start at the beginning with how I ended up with a batch of the muffins.

I had a pile of slightly overripe bananas staring at me as I typed up Friday morning’s post so once I hit publish, I set my oven to 350 degrees and got started.

Totally normal to bake before the sun rises, I know.

When I feel like baking, I often start with one ingredient and go from there. Sorta like Kelly and I did as kids only I finally got the hang of it.

pb & pumpkin oat bran muffins

Along with the bananas went pumpkin and Mighty Maple peanut butter which give the muffins a fall feeling.

pb and pumpkin oat bran muffins

I am in love with the texture. One bite reminded me of the moist yet crumbly yet completely held together mushy yet firm feeling of an Entenmann’s Corn Muffin.

pb and pumpkin oat bran muffins

Please tell me you grew up on Entenmann’s Corn Muffins? Straight from the box or toasted and sliced up with peanut butter?

pb and pumpkin oat bran muffins

Okay, so even if you have no idea what I am talking about, even if my sheltered New Yorker mind believes Entenmann’s is sold throughout the world and even though these muffins have absolutely nothing to do with corn, you need to make them anyway.

There’s no egg or butter or oil involved here and the sweetness comes from the bananas, pumpkin and peanut butter. These muffins can be made vegan if you use almond milk in place of the organic skim and nondairy chocolate chips in place of the dark.

PB & Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins
Recipe Type: muffins
Author: meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 9 muffins
  • •1 cup oat bran
  • •1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • •1/3 cup Mighty Maple peanut butter plus extra spoonful*
  • •2 overripe bananas
  • •1/2 cup milk of choice (I used Horizon Organic Skim Milk)
  • •1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • •1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • •Pinch of Sea Salt (optional)
  • •1 tsp (or more) cinnamon
  • •1/4 cup to 1/2 mini dark chocolate chips (you can never have too many)
  • *You can sub with maple almond butter. If you do not have a maple nut butter on hand, use any nut butter of choice and add two or three tablespoons of pure maple syrup to the batter. You can add more or less depending upon how sweet you wish to make your muffins.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash bananas in a bowl.
  3. Once mashed, add the pumpkin, milk and 1/3 cup of peanut butter and mix together.
  4. Add in the whole wheat flour, oat bran, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon and mix.
  5. Sprinkle in the dark chocolate chips along with the extra spoonful of peanut butter and give one final mix.
  6. Spoon into lightly greased muffin tin and bake for twenty minutes or until the tops of the muffins are springy to the touch or slightly golden brown.

pb & Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins




Do you find it easier to run miles or walk miles?

Did you run a race over the weekend? How did it go?

If you had to select one muffin from a bakery case, which would you choose? Totally a chocolate chip.


Grain-Free Banana Bread Bites (Or Crumble)


I keep meaning to update my Vegetarian Meal Ideas post to show you how I don’t need to meal plan, I just need to have specific ingredients always on hand in order to whip up good food fast.

One of my must-have pantry items is Organic Chick Peas. Chick Peas and Garbanzo Beans are the same thing.

chick peas

I go through a few cans a week but since Chick Peas are super cheap (like a dollar a can!), we are talking one heck of a reasonably priced plant-based protein source packed with fiber and versatility.

Besides mashing them up with avocado, adding to salads, entrees and eating straight from the bowl, chick peas are a fun and tasty baking ingredient.

Most of us know how to use Chick Peas in baking recipes including cookie dough dip but I decided the other day that it was time to experiment with a chick pea and banana combination which is something I can’t recall seeing or pinning.


These little grain-free banana bread bites may taste like banana bread but do not contain your usual “bread” ingredients. There’s no flour, not even an oat involved.

They do not contain added sugars (not even honey unless you want to add it) and really could be considered a Vegan recipe should you leave out the chocolate chips and/or opt for dairy-free chocolate instead.

They do of course contain peanut butter as well as the powdered peanut butter- PB2.

Here are my thoughts on PB2 in case you are curious:

It’s a terrific complement to your nut butter supply but it is by no means a replacement.

The fat in peanut butter is what satisfies. PB2 is missing the fat. So, as yummy as it can taste, seldom will it completely satisfy.

I love it in my first breakfast bowl of oatmeal before I run since it sits light in my stomach.

I love it blended into banana soft serve.

I love it mixed with regular peanut butter for texture and for adding volume to a peanut butter serving.

And, I love it mixed up in a bowl with chocolate chips just to be eaten with a spoon.

Anyway, an interesting thing happened after I baked up these cute little banana bread bites in my mini muffin pan.

mini muffin pan

I realized that I forgot to grease the pan therefore lots of crumbs were left behind.


Even though the banana bread bites remained in tact, I had an idea.

grain free banaan bread crumble

I gathered up all of the crumbs and then mashed up some of the bites in a bowl and, excuse my childish talk for a moment,


Words cannot even express what the heck I created.

It’s like a grain-free bowl of baked oatmeal. It’s like a delicious crumbly bread pudding without the bread and without the pudding.

The texture is so fab, you feel like you are spooning banana bread in your mouth with the chewiness-factor from the raisins and chocolate chips.

I stored the crumble in the refrigerator and just keep opening the container to have a bite.

I added some to greek yogurt, to banana soft serve.

I have warmed it up and added milk.

The possibilities are endless here, people. I am still playing and creating with it but needed to share the recipe with you today because I couldn’t contain my excitement.

Grain-Free Banana Bread Bites (Or Crumble):

  • One Can Of Organic Chick Peas
  • Two Medium/Large Mashed Overripe Bananas
  • One Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • One Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • One Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup PB2
  • 1/4 Cup (or alittle more) nut butter
  • 1/3 cup raisins*
  • 1/3 chocolate chips*

*Please note that I did not add sugar or honey. You can if you want (maybe a 1/4 cup), I just feel like the bananas and addition of raisins and chocolate offer enough natural sweetness.

*Get creative – add more/less of the raisins, throw in cranberries or other dried fruits and even include nuts for the texture.

*To make this recipe Vegan, replace chocolate chips with dairy-free chocolate chips.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mashed chick peas with bananas in a bowl (you can use food processor but I didn’t find it necessary).

Add in peanut butter, chia seeds, PB2, cinnamon, baking powder, raisins and chocolate chips.

Mix well.

Bake in mini muffin pan (or regular muffin pan if that’s all you have) for a good 25 minutes, checking to determine if the tops have crisped up a bit. All ovens vary but I found 25 minutes to be good or even a few minutes longer.

Allow bites to cool before removing.

Crumble option:

Once baked, mash up the bites in a bowl and refrigerate. Serve cold or warm.

Like, yum.


Which do you prefer- chick peas or black beans?

Favorite baking recipe using chick peas?

Do you like PB2?



DASH Store And Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


I interrupt the initial post I had planned in my head for this morning to bring you scenes from yesterday’s random excursion.

dash southhampton

My son didn’t go to camp yesterday because the trip scheduled for his group (his camp program this summer involves three days playing in camp and two days where they go on day trips) involved an activity he couldn’t participate in due to his broken thumb.

I wasn’t really sure what we would do but I always come up with something because I don’t know how to sit home unless I am trapped by a snowstorm or a stomach virus.


I never liked the the zoo. I don’t care for museums. Although I always enjoyed taking him to the Children’s Museum since it was hands-on and not boring.

Regardless, I leave the educational and sometimes-smelly animal fun to the grandparents.

I prefer to culture with out-of-the-box places like flagship department stores, sporting events, specialty food establishments and Kardashian nonsense.


Call me crazy but I have been determined all summer to check out in person the DASH store that popped up in Southampton which will appear on the new season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians this fall.

I needed a weekday for the occasion since weekends are way too busy out east not to mention I heard that on Saturdays there is known to be a forty minute wait just to get into the DASH store.

My son is always up for a random excursion with me, especially since he knows I will plan it around somewhere good to eat.

We had no celebrity sightings, no paparazzi, but it was still fun.


It’s a tiny little store but super cute. Blends in with the rest of the town.

I didn’t buy anything. I wanted a Dash long sleeve top but I wasn’t paying sixty dollars for it.


We walked around town and stopped for lunch at The Golden Pear Café.

loaded veggie sandwich

I ordered The Water Mill sandwich which involved a serious stack of roasted vegetables on a large whole wheat roll and a side salad.

The long roasted carrots inside the sandwich were superb.

roasted carrots

My son went with a bagel, lox and vegetable cream cheese.

bagel lox

He clearly knows his roots.

I may not be as entertaining as a day camp or too keen on walking through museum exhibits or animal farms but I think I provide a cultural experience and, without a doubt, always offer dessert.

the fudge co

It was hot outside so I encouraged him to go with ice cream.


Vanilla Fudge Swirl. Not what I would have selected but he let me have some and it was good.

Somehow on the way home he convinced me to let him bake cookies by himself.

By himself as in he cracks the eggs, measures the ingredients and mixes while I handle the oven and cleaning up.

whole wheat peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

He rattled off a recipe he pulled from a website  but we had to make lots of substitutions based upon what I had on hand which created a completely different yet actually really tasty cookie worth quickly sharing with you today.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

*1 cup brown sugar

*1/2 cup granulated sugar

*1/2 cup Earth Balance (or other butter you have on hand)

*1/2 cup nut butter of choice (we used Crunch Time Peanut Butter)

*Two organic eggs

*1 tsp vanilla

*2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

*1 tsp baking soda

*Pinch of salt

*1 cup (or more) semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter, peanut butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time plus the vanilla and mix. Combine flour, baking soda and salt and then mix until combined with your wet ingredients. Add in chocolate chips.

Drop on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about nine minutes.

whole wheat peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

I was actually really surprised at how soft, chewy, buttery and delicious these cookies came out.

Sometimes I don’t like baking cookies with whole wheat flour but this recipe really worked well. And I think I really like baking with Earth Balance in place of actual butter.

I may play around with this recipe to see if I can make the cookie totally vegan by replacing the egg and using non-dairy chips.

Better yet, I will let my son attempt it when camp ends in less than two weeks.

We will need what to do in addition to our new end-of-summer-quest to hit every ice cream parlor on the East End of Long Island.


Do you have a favorite museum?

Favorite reality television show? Do you want to admit you watch Kardashian?

What’s on your end-of-summer bucket list?





Progression Running and Mother’s Day Recipes


I really enjoyed my work out yesterday morning. So much so that I put together a fun little graphic for you in case you want to give it a shot the next time you are in the gym unsure of what you feel like doing with yourself while you are there.

mix it up workout

You may be wondering what a progression mile is so let’s discuss it.

A progression run is one where you begin slowly and gradually increase your pace to finish faster.

I chose to run each mile of yesterday’s workout progression style by increasing my speed every tenth of a mile.

I started at a comfortable pace  and then hit the button up every tenth of a mile so it looked something like this:

 0  –  .10 –  6.8

.10 – .20  -6.9

.20 – .30-  7.0

.30 – .40 –  7.1

.40 – .50-  7.2

.50 – .60-  7.3

.60 – .70-  7.4

.70 – .80-  7.5

.80. – 90-  7.6

.90 – 1.00 –  7.7

Each time I got back on the treadmill, I started at a faster speed. This is a great little workout and since you are only running a mile at a time, the increase in speed is totally doable mentally and physically.

Pick a comfortable pace for you; what I find comfortable may be too fast or too slow for you.

In fact, interval workouts such as this make me sweat more than just plain old running yet give you the runner’s high quickly. It’s super good for you to change up your normal workout routine to get the heart rate up there and make use of different muscles by varying intensities and moves.

Running Links of Interest:

Progression Runs

How To Achieve A Runners High


I think we are officially starting to feel the spring weather and with that comes that blasted ice cream truck jingling his way around my neighborhood.

If you recall from last year around this time, my silent battle with the ice cream man was just beginning.

I don’t remember who won last year but I have been hearing his music over the last several days so it is time once again for war.

Edy's Slow Churned

I picked up this Edy’s Neapolitan and my son is all sorts of happy and obsessed with a nice bowl in the evening topping off with whipped cream.

$2.50 for the entire carton gives us several happy servings –> Take that Ice Cream Man!

Mother’s Day on Sunday. Wow. Time is flying, isn’t it?

In case you didn’t know, my son and I started an annual Mother’s Day tradition a bunch of years ago where we go out super early for breakfast.

We go to our favorite diner (the one with the baked oatmeal!) and actually try not to go there all year for breakfast just to make our Mother’s Day tradition extra special.

Here’s the thing though – we are considering switching up our breakfast location. We have two other places in mind and once we decide I will let you know.

This is a big deal around these parts and a constant conversation for the last few weeks.

I may have a ton of recipes and enjoy whipping goodies up but when it comes to a holiday such as Mother’s Day or my birthday (yes, I consider my birthday a holiday), I don’t want to cook, I want it all done for me.

That being said, I will be picking up dessert on the way to my parent’s house Sunday for dinner. I haven’t decided what that dessert is just yet but make no mistake, it will be fabulous.

If you are not like me and actually feel like cooking, here are some recipes worth checking out:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes If a picture could define me, it would be these cookie cupcakes.

Flourless Banana Bread MuffinsI do have a few overripe bananas staring at me on my counter….

If only I had enough blueberries to go around:

Banana Blueberry Baked Pancake   – Love the concept of baking the pancakes rather than dealing with the flipping. My immediate thoughts are to sub out some ingredients and even use Kodiak Cakes for the pancake batter. Hmm

Whole Wheat Blueberry Crumb MuffinsNeed these in my life.

Rosemary Brussels Sprouts with Blueberries I have shared this one before and I am sharing again since it is still on my mind. I must make them already and you should too.

Have a very Happy Mother’s Day and a wonderful weekend!


Are you willing to share your blueberries yet?

Is there ice cream/frozen yogurt in your freezer? What kind?

What are you doing this weekend? Baking or cooking for Mother’s Day?




Rainy Running And Fruity Cereal Squares


I am trying to understand how I enjoyed running 13.1 miles in the pouring rain early Saturday morning but dreaded walking three steps from my car to the restaurant Saturday night.


If you follow me on instagram, you already saw that I was high on soaking wet endorphins after my long run. It was raining the entire time but not windy at all so I didn’t mind. In fact, in some sick way I want to say I enjoyed it.

I kept to an easy pace that hovered right around 9:00 min/mile (a little under and a little over at times) and felt great despite the weather situation.

By Saturday night though, asking me to walk three steps from the car into Nisen through the flooding rain was pushing it.

Had fabulous sushi not been waiting for me (not to mention the fact that I was ravenous), I don’t know that I would have gotten out of the car.


The more I think about it, I will run multiple miles in any weather condition,  but if you ask me to walk a large shopping center even in warm weather with glowing sunshine, I will circle for the closest parking spot and complain that my feet hurt as we shop.

Anyway, throughout my rainy run and really most of the time lately when I am not even running, my mind is busy focusing on a multitude of things I can’t explain. Important things, not important things and the stuff in between.

And while I try to make sense of the unexplainable, I have been finding myself circling the what-if’s in life along with the would’ves, could’ves and should’ves.

Do you get caught up in playing the what-if game with yourself? Are you like me in that once you start questioning some of your decisions as well as certain things that have happened in your life, you attempt to immediately discontinue the thought process because there’s no point of going down that road?

Or is there a point? Is it beneficial for us to look back on decisions and times in our lives that even though we may not be able to change how we handled things, even though we can’t change what has happened to us and around us, that perhaps just in reflection we may learn something that benefits our future decision-making processes?


And once again, I don’t have a clear-cut answer. And when I don’t have the answer but need an answer I do the only thing I know how to do.

I bake.

Baking won’t solve anything but if you focus on combining your ingredients just so, you mentally distract yourself and hopefully end up with something tasty.

You had to know I was going to play around with the Fruity-O’s.

fruity treats 2

First of all, the Fruity-O’s cereal straight from the box is quite delectable.  Just like a Fruity Pebble in flavor with amazing fruit-loopish crunch.

I really don’t crave mindless cereal munching but this cereal may have reversed that. Not sure this is a good thing but I presume there are worse things in life, such as mindless munching of foods containing Red #40 and Yellow #5.

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do but knew the end result should be some sort of fruity cereal square.

I started by crushing up the cereal into crumbs but not to the point where they were totally pulverized because I have no patience for such a task and really felt as though the crumbs should be crumbly but not too crumbly.


More like a chunky crumb.

I then added in some oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, raisins and then the best part to complete the fruitiness flavor, strawberry yogurt.


So simple. I like simple. More things in life should be this simple.

fruity cereal sqaures header

In case you are doubting my taste buds, my son adored these Fruity Cereal Squares. I am lucky he left me one to photograph.

Just picture one of those perfect family commercials where the mom bakes cookies or heats up the Tyson Anytizers (which my son will never see me do) and then the kids rush on into the kitchen and grab the treats before she can ever finish smiling and place the tray on the table.

Fruity Cereal Squares:



  • Four cups crushed Fruity-O’s
  • Two cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • Two Tablespoons Chia Seeds mixed with six tablespoons of warm water*
  • One cup (Eight Ounces) Fruit-Flavored Yogurt of choice**
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of choice
  • 1/2 cup or more Raisins
  • One teaspoon of baking powder

*If you don’t have chia seeds, sub with a combination of an egg and two egg whites or four egg whites. I didn’t try this version yet can’t imagine it would be anything but good.

**For more protein, use greek yogurt.

***This recipe can easily be halved.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix chia seeds with water and set aside. Crush cereal either in a bag or bowl. I crushed my cereal in a bowl using a potato masher.

Add in oats, yogurt, peanut butter, raisins, baking powder and chia seed mixture. Mix well to combine. Pour batter into a loaf pan, brownie pan (or muffin pan) and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to touch or even slightly crispy on top.

Let squares cool in the pan prior to cutting.

fruity treats

You can totally vary the cereals and mix-in’s to create another type of cereal square.

So I am currently monitoring the weather forecast for this Sunday’s Long Island Half Marathon. I haven’t registered yet, I think I will run it but have yet to totally decide because it may rain and I am not sure I want to run the race in the rain.

Why can I run 13.1 miles in the rain and enjoy it but now question running the same distance this Sunday in the rain for the race? Just another thing on my list that I can’t explain.


Do you like running the rain? Ever run a race in the rain?

Do you often play the what-if game?

What cereal do you like with milk and what cereal do you prefer straight from the box?









Three Tip Tuesday – Two Links + A Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


I ran six miles yesterday on the treadmill.

Simply stating this fact to you without including details really doesn’t tell you much other than the number of miles.


See. Just telling you I ran 6 miles now looks totally different, doesn’t it?

There is nothing wrong with breaking up your runs. I don’t always, but a lot of the time, especially indoors, I certainly do. Especially if I need to use the bathroom.

And really, just like a car uses up more gas in stop and go traffic, they say we burn more calories mixing things up, slowing down, speeding up, changing the routine…you get my point.

So don’t be upset if you can’t run 6 straight miles; your body appreciates the challenge of running and stopping and then running again anyway.

So the weather. I don’t even want to talk about it.

Being snowed in with a 10 -year-old doesn’t make the whole working-from-home thing simple. I wasn’t able to tackle my usual writing tasks which included a post I had planned (in my head) for today.

You are in luck though – I always have something else to say and share.


I may not have had time to develop my thoughts but I did have time to surf the web and came across two great links via Runner’s World:

Stay Injury-Free On The Treadmill – When I say terrific tips and recommendations, I mean it. Not only is it written in English (you know how some articles can be so scientific you can’t even follow what they are saying?), the advice offered totally applies to what we have been talking about.

Biomechanics Expert Debunks Treadmill-Running Myth – Don’t let the word “biomechanic” scare you  – the link is still in English. Worth reading if you ever wondered what incline to prop yourself up at on the treadmill in order to simulate an outdoor run.

In case you are wondering, I normally set the treadmill to an incline of 0.5 % and only play around with going higher than 1.0- 1.5 % when I want to practice hilly type runs – which, um, is very rare.

What did we do before the internet to stay busy on snow days? Oh right, we baked.

unnamed (39)

I took yesterday afternoon as the opportunity to play around with a chocolate chip cookie recipe listed in my new copy of the Happy Herbivore Light and Lean Cookbook.

I say play around because 1) I never follow a recipe, especially when it comes to cookies and 2) Happy Herbivore is Vegan and while some days I am dairy-free, I don’t have nondairy chocolate chips or even nondairy milk in the house.


I am really excited about this recipe. While nothing beats a fresh from the oven original chocolate chip cookie loaded with butter and sugars and egg, these lighter chocolate chip cookies are terrific.

The cookies even passed the 10 year-old taste test. Not only did he and his friend have a few yesterday afternoon, look what I discovered this morning:

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The Ziploc bag containing the cookies opened and moved from where I left them. Kid doesn’t know how to hide the evidence or keep the cookies fresh.

Sneaking cookies = Successful cookie recipe

LIGHTENED UP CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES – Adapted from Happy Herbivore Light and Lean Cookbook

  • 1/2 cup natural applesauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (or nondairy milk such as almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup oat flour (or whole wheat flour or combination of flours)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips of choice (and really, the more the merrier)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix applesauce, brown sugar, vanilla and milk in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cornstarch and salt. Add dry mixture into wet in three separate batches. Mix without overmixing. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 -10 minutes.

Since I claim to be a cookie expert, here are my thoughts on this light recipe:

Delicious chocolate chip cookie for a light recipe. Texture is terrific. Could they be sweeter? Hmm, sure but then you wouldn’t be eating a lower calorie cookie anymore.

I think mashed banana would have gone nicely for added sweetness  and of course, the addition of peanut butter could do no harm.

But, overall, I highly recommend this recipe. I can’t get over the texture and how perfect they formed and cooked. Usually a light cookie won’t come out to resemble a “regular” cookie as well as these did.

I used oat flour because I had it and wanted to – you don’t have to. Use your whole wheat, mix the two – do as you please. I am pretty sure it’s the drop of cornstarch giving us the great texture and feel if you want to know the truth.


Would you believe me if I told you that the forecast calls for more snow tonight into tomorrow? Let’s not talk about. Instead, let’s figure out what is next on my cabin fever baking list. I am feeling brownies….


Were you snowed in yesterday?

Am I the only one to still keep dairy milk in the house?

What’s your standard treadmill incline?

Three Tip Tuesday – Mind Games While Running Plus Favorite Songs


Three Tip Tuesdays can be overwhelming for me. It’s never about coming up with the ideas because I always have something to say.

My problem becomes having the time to not only develop the ideas into words for posts but choosing the topics I feel passionate about at the moment.

I know I have said this before but I rarely plan posts in advance. I like to feel and be real each morning and I just can’t pre-write real.

I can have an idea and work on developing it ahead of time but sometimes I wake up and want to talk about something totally different.

Anyway, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about today. But the whole off from school thing that went on yesterday combined with taking the boys to the Islanders game didn’t give me much time to develop today’s post to the point where I could fully finish it up now and like it enough to hit “publish” this morning.

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But at least the Islanders won, right? They are playing pretty well these days.

Instead of getting upset and instead of choosing to not post at all today, it suddenly dawned on me that I did have something else I felt like discussing with you today and my other post can wait until tomorrow.

Although I don’t want to think about tomorrow just yet – we have a snowstorm looming for later today into tomorrow meaning cabin fever (and no school) on the horizon.

I am glad I was able to squeeze in a six mile run outdoors yesterday morning because it is sounding like I won’t be seeing another outdoor run for a while.

If I want to be totally honest here, I think the switching between indoor and outdoor running is taking a toll on me. Theoretically I despise the treadmill  but running outside in the winter air, like I did yesterday, is becoming tiring and tough in a whole other way.

I felt great yesterday but found myself a bit taken by the cold air. It is hard on the lungs and tires me out much faster.

And sometimes as good as you feel, you suddenly bail out mentally or realize you are fatigued and wonder if you are going to make it.

I know that saying I squeezed in six miles makes those six seem like nothing for me to run but every run is something.

Even the “easy” runs require you to show up with some effort.

While I struggled a bit mentally yesterday, I realized there are a few things I involuntarily have come to do that help my mind and body to work together in order to not give up:



Sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Just when I want to slow down, just when it’s all starting to get to me, rather than slow down, I quickly make the decision to speed up.

I find that the slower I go, the harder it is to pick up the pace again.

Instead, a quick little burst of speed not only accomplishes the miles in a faster fashion, speed work helps your legs, muscles and mind adapt to running faster.

And, once you adapt to running a bit faster, the next time you speed up your legs tell your brain they remember the pace and can handle it without as much effort on your part.

2. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR ONE MINUTE – I have mentioned this little phrase before.

My spin instructor used to shout this phrase to get us through the speed intervals on the bike and I absolutely shout this phrase to myself whenever my mind starts taking over and/or when I am trying to keep up with my pace.


Yes, I know the time feels like it doesn’t move on the treadmill – that’s why I focus on distance on that blasted machine instead.

A minute can totally feel like eternity but when you really think about it or even convert it to only 60 seconds, it isn’t so bad.

You really can do anything for one minute, so why not try? Often times, once I pick up that pace, I am able to continue it well beyond a minute.

Maybe set your sights on a landmark, a target in the near (or far) distance and make it your goal.

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I realize I have used my running path picture twice already this week but I have a point here, trust me.

See the lamp post on the right? My path is lined with them and I use them not for light but as my markers for speeding up and slowing down.  I sometimes tell myself to speed up the length of one lamp post, sometimes two, three…you get the idea.

Just setting a goal in your head while you are running will keep you focused and distracted enough that you are tricked into being motivated to continue.

It’s all about playing head games with yourself, telling yourself whatever you have to in order to make things seem easier, quicker and not so bad.

When I am out for a long run, if I start to get tired as I realize I have let’s say three miles left, I convert those remaining three miles to minutes and say,  “Hey, you only have about 25 minutes left to run – you can do that!”

25 minutes may sound like a lot to you but when you have been running for well over an hour, hearing less than 30 minutes left to run sounds more pleasant than a number of miles. Make sense?


I love to drift off into my own thoughts but sometimes I don’t want to think. Sometimes the mental part takes a toll on my run and slows me down. Sometimes my brain doesn’t want to keep running or it starts doing a terrible thing like calculating how many miles are left and I want no part of such negativity.

I always have the volume up but I save a few decibels for those times when I need to kick it into high gear.

Turning up the volume on the music helps to drown out your own head and pump you up to get back into the running groove.

My tune of choice these days?


Gotta love Brittany.

I bet you one dozen chocolate chip cookies this song will empower you. Put it on repeat if you have to. It is a guaranteed pick-me-up and speed-inspiring tune.

And since I am feeling all Three Tip Tuesday-ish today, here are my top three favorite running songs at the moment in addition to Work B*tch:

1. Hush Hush by Pussy Cat Dolls


2. Titanium by David Guetta


3. Gives You Hell by All American Rejects

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Some times I pay attention to the words and sometimes it is about the beat. These songs right here are totally about both.

Now all I need are some mental tips and tricks for dealing with a relentless winter and the cabin fever associated with being trapped home with a 10-year-old.

I guess I can always put him to work with the shovel and pay him with the cookies I may bake.

Snowstorms mean baking, right?



How do you handle mentally tough workouts?

Favorite workout songs?

When on the treadmill, do you watch television? I never do, I need music!




All Holidayed-Out


Something interesting happened after we spoke yesterday morning.

I didn’t feel well.

It was a short-lived bout with “not feeling well” but I was nauseous enough to know that there was no way I could go for a run. Or even a walk. Or attempt any form of my 30 minutes a day.

Doesn’t happen often but I am almost glad to know that even I have some limits and can recognize when I am just not able to put the workout clothes on and force a run.

I felt better later in the day but unfortunately, between feeling sick and having the little boy off from school, my usual work/blog routine is all thrown off and I didn’t have the opportunity to think about a post for today.

I considered sharing with you some last-minute recipe ideas for tonight but in all honesty, I am all “holidayed-out” and can’t even look at another cookie, dip or crowd pleasing bite.

If you are feeling all “holidayed-out” by now like me, I do have this recipe link for you:

9 Delicious Vegan and Gluten-Free Detox Recipes  -Angela from Oh She Glows put together a great list of  her top favorite plant-based recipes to kick off the New Year.

Please don’t fear the terms “Vegan” and Gluten-Free”…I follow neither a vegan or gluten-free diet but often enjoy foods that fall under those categories.

Browse through the recipes; you don’t need to adhere to all of the ingredients and cooking instructions – use them for inspiration, make some changes to apply to your tastes and create your own tasty dish.

I just realized I haven’t one photo in this post. I haven’t taken many pictures over the last few days but based upon the weather forecast, I think I can safely promise you snow-covered photos in the next few days. If you are lucky, maybe even one of me attempting to shovel.

Rumor has it that a big snow storm is due to arrive on Thursday followed by crazy frigid temps.

Thankfully I feel better so that I can go for a run outdoors- it is looking like one of the last mornings I can do so for a while.

Have I mentioned I hate winter?

Have a very Happy New Year!


Are you “holidayed-out” like me?

How is the weather by you?

Will you be running today?

Plans for New Years?





Chocolate Cake On The Mind But Let’s Talk About Dinner


You are in luck this morning; I have to get the little boy up and out early for a routine doctor’s appointment therefore I do not have a lot of time to rehash my love for the chocolate fudge cookie dough layer cake or discuss with you how I am still thinking about it, talking about it and conjuring up variations for when I bake it next.


Allow me just one more picture so we can look at the fudginess. Why doesn’t spellcheck know what fudginess is? How sad is that?

Really, all of this cake discussion is completely unfair to the meal which preceded dessert on Friday- I really can cook something besides cakes and cookies you know.

The little boy and I toyed with various dinner recipes and ideas until it occurred to me that all of that added thought and work just wasn’t necessary.

I think stressing recipes and feeling the need to get creative is what scares people away from cooking altogether.

To keep life simple we went with some staples and through in a touch of variety that I knew my dad would love. IMG_1501


  • Skirt Steak with sautéed onions
  • Roasted vegetables – rainbow carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and sweet potatoes
  • Loaded Potato “Chunks”
  • Meatless Meatloaf Bites

Skirt steak is always a crowd pleaser. That is unless you have a room full of vegetarians.

All you have to do is marinate the meat in your favorite marinade (I use Trader Joe’s Carolina BBQ sauce), throw it on a grill pan and it cooks quickly with little effort on your part. I also add a ton of chopped onion to the pan to cook in with the steak.

Since I don’t eat steak, it gave me an excuse to make another batch of the cute little meatless meatloaf bites.


I have made a few different variations since posting the original recipe. I will share the new recipes in the next week or so.


If you come to my house for a meal, you are guaranteed to consume a week’s worth of your vegetable requirement.


I roasted up the rainbow carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts- no crazy and detailed recipe involved.

Simply slice up your veggies, spread on lighted greased cookie sheet, drizzle either olive oil, coconut oil, or, like I do, spray with coconut oil cooking spray and then shake on some seasonings.

Roast in the oven at 450 degrees for a good hour (less is OK and more can be fine too – just watch them as all ovens are different).


The little boy wanted to contribute his own addition to the dinner table as well.


He wanted to make potato skins. He didn’t want to follow a recipe or listen to me (surprise, surprise) so his “skins” were more like loaded potato “chunks”.

Loaded Potato Chunks:

  • Slice up a potato into chunks or wedges.
  • Roast in a 450 degree oven until potato chunks are soft and tops are starting to brown and crisp.
  • Top with shredded cheese and bacon (we used crumbled turkey bacon).
  • Broil until cheese is bubbly.


Truth is, appearance doesn’t always matter – his recipe came out terrific and he did it basically all by himself.

Speaking of appearance not mattering, my attempt at Averie’s recipe for Macaroni And Cheese Baked Cheese Balls didn’t quite work the way I envisioned.


Doesn’t look quite like balls, does it? I followed the recipe but my mac and cheese did not stick together as planned.


You know how day-old mac and cheese clumps together? That’s the key to making this recipe work but mine was still “fresh” 24 hours after being stored in the refrigerator.

While it lacked in the appearance department, the taste was spot-on therefore I do advise that you attempt this recipe – just make sure you have sticky mac and cheese to work with.

I have to say – as 2013 comes to a close, I am feeling all cooked out. I love to cook and bake, don’t get me wrong, but I just decided I fulfilled my cooking quota for the year and need a break for the next few days.

What I don’t need a break from is running though. I am going to go try to squeeze in a short run somewhere between everything we have going on today.

I swear by my 30 minutes a day.

Have a great Monday!



What was the last thing you cooked or baked?

Ever try making mac and cheese balls?

Last recipe that didn’t come out looking right but tasted good?

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