Recent Eats


I don’t have a traditional What I Ate Wednesday post today but I do have a collection of recent eats from lunch, dinner and dessert to share!

Peanut Butter Toast

All I want for the last several days is peanut butter toast! I love it really simple, just toasted cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with peanut butter and banana.

Sometimes I toast one slice at a time and have each slice an hour or two apart during the day while working.

I like eating this way when I am not overly hungry.

peanut butter toast


When I am not ordering a slice of whole wheat vegetable pizza, my second favorite pizza to order is definitely grandma pizza. The corner slices are mine!

grandma pizza


Lots of salads lately!

I made this big salad the other night for dinner.

big salad

In the mix:

  • Chopped romaine
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Chick peas
  • Roasted pearl tomatoes
  • Avocado

I had this greek salad one night too. Too much feta cheese for my liking especially in ratio to the lettuce but it was still good.

greek salad

How many times can I share a picture of my favorite salad from The Cheesecake Factory?! I almost didn’t take the picture the other night but the onion strings looked so nice.

cheesecake factory salad


It’s worth mentioning my slice of Linda’s Fudge Cake again from the weekend because pouring hot fudge on top of the cake was just beyond genius. And delicious too.

linda's fudge cake

Stew Leonard’s makes these chocolate drizzled rice cakes fresh in their bakery. They are pretty good considering I don’t even like to eat rice cakes as I typically find them tasteless and boring.

chocolate drizzled rice cakes

Chocolates at night will always be a favorite snack of mine. I am still not interested in eating apples (I know, can you believe it?) but handfuls of chocolate chips will never lose their appeal.

chocolate chips

[bctt tweet=”Recent Eats! #salad #peanutbutter @foodforlifebaking #cheesecakefactory #chocolate ” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

What have you been loving to eat lately?

Which foods have lost their appeal to you?

Who else is excited that today is March 1?!

Giant Chocolate, Gilmore Girls Thoughts & Nespresso (TOL)

thinking out loud

I was in the city Monday night and definitely felt the FA LA LA feeling as soon as I walked out of Penn Station.


It takes a lot to get me out the door and into the city (by train no less) on a Monday night following a holiday weekend but I wanted to go which made it fun and worth it. Isn’t that always the case? When we want to do something, we find a way, when we don’t, we find an excuse.

I was in Trader Joe’s yesterday and look what I spotted! They have GIANT CHOCOLATE BARS. And when I say giant, I mean giant. These chocolate bars, which come in both milk and dark chocolate, are over four pounds of chocolate!

Trader Joe's giant chocolate bars

Yesterday’s workout was a great one. I remembered to bring my jump rope with me to the gym so I broke up my treadmill run with jump roping segments combined with lower body strength stuff and loved every second of it.

jump rope

I always leave the gym so energized after these types of workouts which is exactly why they will continue to make an appearance in my routine each week.

Remember a few weeks ago when I was all about finding coffee mugs that matched?

While I still want to get this All That Glitters coffee mug from Henri Bendel, I am glad that I didn’t part with my cute little cup and saucer set that matches my dishes because they are the perfect size for coffee from my Nespresso machine.

Nespresso coffee

I was lucky to have received a Nespresso machine to test out and I have really loved sampling the Gourmesso line of coffee. I think that what I love most actually is how fast the machine brews the cups of coffee! I literally turn the thing on and it’s ready to brew me a cup which is great for the impatient must have coffee now side of my personality.

So I finished watching Gilmore Girls last night on Netflix.

Gilmore Girls

Three major thoughts/questions for you:

 1. I loved the episodes and so much of it was touching/deep/funny but did anyone else find long stretches of it boring?

2. How do we feel about Rory’s relationships? There was a time in my life when the whole Logan thing would have shocked/appalled/disgusted me but the older I seem to get, the more I understand. Things like that can happen and they happen more than we think.

3. Is it believable that Rory didn’t have an amazing job at the age of 32? My mother is stuck on that one.

On This Day:

I always enjoy looking back at posts but this week’s On This Day round-up really features some great posts that I have written in the past!

12/1/15: Winter Weather Workout Favorites – This list, mostly of lululemon workout apparel, still holds true for this year as a complete list of my winter weather workout favorites! I haven’t bought one new thing yet for this winter and there’s a good chance that I won’t purchase another thing until Spring.

12/1/14: Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies (with dairy free version) – I made my famous oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies just last week for Thanksgiving! So delicious and always a hit.

12/1/13: A Life Without The Scale – One of my most popular posts ever about why I gave up the scale. I have no idea what I currently weigh and I am totally fine with it.

[bctt tweet=”NYC, Giant Chocolate & Nespresso #thinkingoutloud #NYC #Nespresso #chocolate #traderjoes” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

Talk Gilmore Girls to me!

Favorite coffee flavor/variety these days?

Do you own a scale?


Halloween Candy & Season’s 52 (WIAW)

Before we discuss what I ate yesterday, let’s take a quick look at the amount of candy that arrived home via my son’s trick or treat bag Monday night.

Every Halloween I think he comes home with more Halloween candy than the year before but that’s probably because I forget just how much candy he can collect! This was a serious amount of candy this year, a serious amount.

Halloween candy

I was asked on Instagram which my favorite candy is to have from the pile but my response isn’t a short, one candy answer so let me explain my reply:

When I was a kid, I loved the peanut butter cups and 3 Musketeers.

As I got a little older, I was ALL about the m&m’s.

This year I randomly put myself on the hunt for Hershey’s Kisses (found none) and box of Dots. I don’t love the sugary/chewy candy but found myself in the mood for little box of Dots randomly but we got none!

So, from this year’s Halloween candy, I had:

Every Hershey’s chocolate bar I could find in the pile (not the Hershey’s miniatures but not the giant bars, there’s a tiny size in between).

A few fun size bags of m&m’s

A bag of Reeses Pieces

Note: Mixing m&m’s with other types of chocolate really doesn’t taste good. I have always known this and should have remembered it when I chose to have the m&m’s after the Hershey’s bars.

Moving on to what I ate yesterday….


Did you think I would eat something other than oatmeal? I had my usual pre-run oatmeal with banana and then had my post-run oatmeal and blueberries with Skoop B-Strong in an almost empty peanut butter jar.

oatmeal in a jar


Just a simple egg sandwich with sauerkraut on toasted cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread. I got the eggs and sauerkraut combination idea from Jen at Peanut Butter Runner. I really like it!

By the way, I salt the eggs real good with sea salt while they are cooking which is an essential component to completing this sandwich for me.

egg sandwich on ezekiel bread


My son was going with his dad to the Islanders game so in between his fun, I went out for dinner at Season’s 52. I am not really sure what I ate but I ordered the vegetarian tasting and it was delicious. We also had a tuna tartare thing and brussels sprouts.

vegetarian tasting

Season’s 52 is known for their small desserts. Of course I had the chocolate one. Actually, I had two of the chocolate ones, who could eat only one of these and call it dessert? Way too small!

Season's 52 chocolate dessert

It’s What I Ate Wednesday – Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today!

[bctt tweet=”What I ate yesterday & dinner at Season’s 52! #wiaw #seasons52 #halloweencandy #chocolate” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

What kind of candy did you eat on Halloween?

What’s for lunch today? Did you plan it already to bring to work or will you wing it around lunch time?

Do you like Season’s 52?


Our Trip To Hershey Park


I am super glad that it’s already Tuesday. It’s a bit tough getting back to the usual routine after being away last week at Hershey Park followed by the long Holiday weekend. I want to quickly recap our trip today and then tomorrow we can chat about yesterday’s 4 mile race!

Our trip last week to Hershey Park was such a good time! We were there for three days/two nights which gave us plenty of time to enjoy lots of chocolate and a ton of activities.

We stayed at the Hershey Lodge which I would definitely recommend if you are planning a trip to Hershey. It’s worth staying on property for so many reasons! The Hershey Lodge offers a ton resort activities, a nice fitness center, shuttle buses to the attractions, free parking at hotel, discounted park tickets and plenty of free chocolate!

Hershey Lodge

Housekeeping left us Hershey’s Kisses when they made up our room but we ate those before I could take this picture.

A super cool new feature for this season located inside the Hershey Lodge (just opened Memorial Day Weekend!) is their indoor water park, Hershey Waterworks.

Hershey waterworks

Waterworks has fun options for all ages. There were many water park activities for the little kids plus Twizzler water slides that start and end inside the building but twist outside!

Twizzler slides

My son spent a lot of time playing basketball in the pool. It was nice to relax at Waterworks each day of our stay rather than be on the go exploring attractions the entire time.

We have been to Hershey several times before so we didn’t need to see and do every single thing although, I am not one to stress about seeing every attraction on any trip I take. That’s way too stressful and vacation shouldn’t be stressful.

Hershey's Waterworks

There’s also a food area (Cocoa Cabana) in Waterworks where my son bought a frozen chocolate bar for us as an afternoon snack break from the pool.

hershey bar

The Hershey Lodge is super big. Although we were far from the lobby, our room was nicely located near the Waterworks part of the lodge which put us also super close to the outdoor activities (tennis, outdoor pool, basketball and mini golf) plus the fitness center.

I hadn’t played tennis in a few years so this was really fun. We really took serious advantage of all of the activities at the Lodge to make it feel like a real vacation rather than just a trip to an amusement park.


We made s’mores by the fire pit at the Lodge one night which was delicious and as my son said, a good experience.


We had breakfast both mornings at Lebbie Lebichers which is one of the four restaurants located inside the Hershey Lodge. We went with the breakfast buffet option which is always our favorite type of hotel breakfast.

Of course I had steel-cut oatmeal plus a ton of fruit with yogurt and chocolate chips. Chocolate at every meal on this trip!

hotel breakfast

With every check came either Hershey Kisses or baggies of chocolate.

Hersheys chocolate

The Bears Den, which is a hockey-themed restaurant, is also located inside the Hershey Lodge. We dined there twice because we really liked both the food and atmosphere.

Bears Den

I ordered the veggie burger both times. It was topped with a Portobello mushroom plus lettuce and tomato but I also added sautéed onions mushrooms from the toppings list. I chose the side salad and we split a side order of onion rings.

veggie burger

One night after dinner we had the Puck sundae. The brownie which was the “puck” part of the sundae, was really dense and fudgy just how I like it.

puck sundae

Every time we go to Hershey we do the free Chocolate Tour at Chocolate World. The tour is similar to a ride experience at Disney World. It takes you through the process of making chocolate and then at the end, you receive a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

Hershey's Chocolate Tour

It was tough deciding which chocolate dessert to have at Chocolate World since there are SO MANY OPTIONS but I went with the Hershey’s Kisses brownie.

Hershey's Brownie

What I love about Hershey is that the actual amusement park is almost like an added bonus! Between the Hershey Lodge activities and Chocolate World, going to the park becomes an extra in some ways.

I bought a one day park pass through the Hershey Lodge concierge which offers you the best discounted pricing. The ticket also allows you to enter the park the evening before your day pass which is a super cool feature. We spent time at Hershey Park Tuesday evening and then went back Wednesday morning.

My son likes the games. This one was like a plinko, you know, from Price is Right?

hershey park

I am absolutely not as young as I used to be because the same rollercoasters that I loved as a kid now make me want to throw up, faint or pray for my life.

As you can see from this photo while riding the Super Dooper Looper, my eyes are squeezed shut as I try to survive what used to thrill me as a kid.

super dooper looper

I won’t stop going on rollercoasters though. I loved them so much when I was younger that I refuse to give in to how they make me feel now!

We had lunch at Hersheypark Place after walking through ZooAmerica (which is the zoo inside Hershey Park). Those crayons in the cup to the side of my salad were for me because I wanted to color while I waited for my lunch.

hersheypark place salad

Seriously after every meal we were receiving chocolate.

hershey miniatures

I could have done without the major traffic on our way home from our trip. We cruised our way through Pennsylvania, even did okay getting through New Jersey but once we hit the George Washington Bridge heading back to New York, forget it.

Have I mentioned that I now wear my Pro Compression socks for long road trips? They make a huge difference in how my legs feel when cramped up in the car!

I went with my calf sleeves for this road trip and may have looked funny when we stopped at the rest stops but who cares. I was comfortable.

pro compression

You can be sure that even before I went to the bathroom once we arrive home that I started up the laundry. Worst part about a trip to coming home to do the laundry! I am all caught up now and it’s a great feeling.

I will be back tomorrow to recap yesterday’s race!

Linking up with Meg’s week in review. 🙂

[bctt tweet=”recapping our trip to Hershey Park! #hersheyparkhappy #Hershey #chocolate #vacation #weekinreview ” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

How do you feel about rollercoasters?

Best thing you ate over the weekend?

What’s on the workout agenda for today?


Hi From Hershey & Running Round Up


Hi from Hershey Park! We have been having the best time this week and the chocolate isn’t half bad either…

hershey bar

I have lost count of how many chocolate bars and Hershey Kisses I have eaten but hey, it’s Hershey Park. If you are here, you eat chocolate with every meal. 🙂

Anyway, I will be back soon to recap our fun but in the meantime, I have been wanting to share a round-up of my favorite running-related and running workout posts from the last six months or so. I find it extremely helpful not only for me to see what I have been writing about in the last few months but for new readers who may have missed a great running-related post and workout idea!

running round up

Let’s start with the workouts:

Tempo Interval Workout < – This workout is challenging in a really good way, I swear! Work on your speed, ability and endurance.

Easy Run on the Treadmill Workout < – I ran this one yesterday for a few miles in the hotel gym!

Treadmill Workout < – A fun speed interval workout for the treadmill is always necessary.

13 Mile Long Run Workout < – A great way to run 13 miles and watch the time fly by fast.


Running Topics:

5 Benefits of Treadmill Running For Outdoor Runners < – Even if you prefer to run outside, there are benefits to running on the treadmill.

Treadmill Running: The Pros & Cons List < – Some of the positives are also negatives but hey, the treadmill is our friend and available to us when we can’t run outside!

5 Things I Do Everyday To Make Myself a Better Runner <- Really, it’s what I do when I am not running to make myself a better runner.

Surviving Summer as a Runner < – A few things I do both when running and not running to get through the warmer weather as a runner

Running Realizations < – So many things about ourselves as runners realized while running.

The Benefits of Tune Up Races < – Terrific guest post from Laura about how and why we should run a tune up race during our training.


Running & Health:

Laura and I worked together on this finding balance series. I really enjoyed writing it, learning and sharing the information. These posts are pretty popular which means I should probably put more posts like these together soon.

Finding Balance Between our DIets & Workouts

Finding Balance Between Our Diets & Workouts – How many calories do you really need?

Finding Balance Between Our Diets & Workouts Part II –  Good discussion about fueling for our workouts.

NEDA Week/Amenorrhea – The Female Athlete Triad is a serious topic and one female runners need to be aware of during their training.


Girl Talk: Body Image Chat – I can be nuts when it comes to the clothes in my closet!

The Dangers of Running on Anti-Inflammatory Medications – I didn’t know there were side effects of running after taking ant-inflammatory medications until seeing it as a warning in a race info packet!

Race Recaps:

I ran two races this Spring. I am still planning my fall race calendar but remain super happy with my current half PR. 🙂

Aspire 10k Race Recap – The tune up race during my half marathon training!

Long Island Half Marathon – My current PR half marathon!

Long Island Half Marathon Over The Years – Running the same half marathon a few years in a row is a pretty cool experience since you are able to look back at where you were in your life at the time of the race.

Other Running Round Ups:

Running Round Up June 2015 – This round-up of running posts was written a year ago already, wow.

Turkey Trot Running Round Up – Good round-up of running workouts.

Running Helps Me Think – So many great post ideas are thought of while running. This round-up includes all topics including divorce.

Running Round Up 2014 – I shared this post while we were away in Disney World! Feels like yesterday.

[bctt tweet=”running round up including workouts, running topics and finding balance series #running #workouts #roundup #NEDA #bodyimage #fitfluential #races @thisrunrecipes” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

[bctt tweet=”Hi from Hershey Park plus running round up! #hersheypark #chocolate #hersheyparkhappy #running #roundup #workouts #fitfluential” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

What did you have for dessert last night (I have desserts on my mind since I am eating a lot of chocolate)?

What types of running/running-related posts are you interested in seeing more of?

What’s on the workout agenda for today?

My First Half Marathon: Hershey Half (2012)


It really bothers me that I didn’t start my blog until a few months AFTER running my first half marathon at Hershey Park in October of 2012.

Hershey Park Half medal

I miss having the recap to reflect on and remember fondly. The Hershey half marathon was a seriously magical race partly because it was my first half marathon and partly because it was at Hershey Park.

Running and chocolate? My two favorite things.

Since we are going to Hershey Park today (!!!), I decided that I needed to finally recap my first half marathon, even though it’s almost four years later.

I remember the details fairly well so this should be easy 🙂

Hershey Park Half

My first ever half marathon took place on Sunday, October 21, 2012.

I registered for the Hershey half marathon in June 2012. I had yet to run 13 miles but knew that I could do it by October.

I purposely chose the Hershey half as my first half marathon because I wanted to run a race somewhere cool. At the time, I really had no interest in running local half marathons. If I was going to pay to run a half, it was going to be somewhere we could go that would involve some extra fun (and chocolate!).

I did not follow a training plan.

My running ability and desire for endurance had picked up as of January 2012 when I randomly changed to a meatless diet (click here to read more about My Meatless Diet).

Over the months, I gradually increased my mileage and kept plugging away throughout the summer to prepare for the half marathon.

My weekday runs were 3 or 4 miles in length and my long runs on Saturday slowly moved up from 5 miles to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 etc. I recall reaching the 8 mile long run and then holding at 8 for a few weeks before increasing again.

I only ran one 13 mile long run prior to this race. I remember it being really slow too.

Pure Barre was not in the picture yet. I think I did free weights in the gym sometimes, chose the elliptical at least once a week and took at least one, sometimes two rest days each week.

Race Logistics:

The Hershey half marathon was a destination race! My parents tagged along for the one night stay in Hershey, PA so that I would have someone to watch my son while I ran the race.

We arrived early Saturday morning, picked up my packet, spent some time at the race expo and then headed over to Hershey’s theme park for the day. Included in the race registration were two free passes to Hershey Park.

I remember having a chocolate-covered banana while walking around the park and then we had dinner at the Hersheypark Place restaurant inside the park. I had a personal pizza for dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert. It’s a great restaurant if you are ever in Hershey!

benji and me

Getting him to hold still for this picture and to make a pleasant smiling face was not easy from what I remember.

I did not sleep very well but was up early and ready to begin my usual pre-race routine. I brought oatmeal from home, warmed it in the hotel breakfast area and had several cups of coffee. I remember being so excited yet nervous but so happy!

hershey half marathon

My dad drove me to the start line early in the morning where I waited with other runners and the Hershey’s characters. This photo, which I use all over the place still for my blog, was taking prior to the race start.

hershey half marathon

I had bought a new lululemon outfit for my first half marathon. My first pair of Run Inspire Crops (still wear them every few days), tank top with built-in bra (they don’t make these tops anymore) and my sneakers were Asics.

The Race:

I remember the first few miles feeling difficult. There were a few hills that I didn’t know about and my breathing felt weird.

I left on the black gloves that I wore prior to the start figuring if I got hot I would throw them to the side but never did. I think I ran with one glove on and held the other glove!

I must have been cold because I see in the pictures I had my headband pulled down to cover my ears.

We ran through Hershey Park and the beautiful grounds within Hershey. In my head I can recall the scenery but I cannot recall what I was thinking about or what my pace was per mile.

Did I stop for water? Probably but I don’t remember!

Midrun fuel: Jelly Beans.

Mile 12 was the chocolate aid station! The volunteers threw mini candy bars to us runners. I recall catching a candy bar and then seeing my parents and my son at which point I threw him the candy bar and he caught it.

Finish Time: 1:53:37.

first hershey half marathon

I know that I slowed significantly in the last few miles which shocked me when I saw my splits because I truly didn’t feel as though I slowed as much as I did. Overall I was super happy and crazy proud of myself with my first half marathon.

I did not have a finish time goal. Maybe I wanted to finish under 2 hours but I honestly don’t think I gave it much thought back then. I just wanted to finish!

Post Race:

The goodie bag they gave at the finish line is still my favorite. A Hershey Park cooler bag (which I still use all of the time) filled with snacks and giant fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

I remember being STARVING after the race. I ate an apple as we walked over to Chocolate World where I had baked oatmeal topped with yogurt, fruit and chocolate chips along with cinnamon bun coffee with whipped cream.

I wish I had pictures of this meal, I wasn’t a blogger then but I LOVED IT, still think about it and hope to get it this week when we are at Hershey.

After eating, my mom and I had gone back to the hotel so I could shower and then my son and I made our own Hershey Bars in Chocolate World, had another meal (a salad) before hitting to road to come home.

I know I had an apple with peanut butter on the drive home and then stopped at Red Mango for a big parfait as my dinner.

I also remember my lungs hurting a bit a few hours later which definitely had to do with the higher altitude of the race.

Overall Thoughts:

I did not want to take my medal off for days. Looking back, I can’t get over how proud I was for completing a half marathon but as you probably know, that first half marathon is pretty special.

I really want to run this half marathon again. This year the Hershey half marathon is the weekend of my son’s Bar Mitzvah so maybe we can make it for next year!

It’s amazing to me that I have run 8 half marathons and a handful of other race distances since my first half back in 2012. I do have recaps for all of these races here on the blog so if you are interested, click here for my race recap page.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter this week to stay up to date on our Hershey Park fun! I can’t wait for the chocolate. 🙂

[bctt tweet=”Recapping my first ever half marathon in Hershey Park! #hersheypark #hersheyparkhalf #running #halfmarathon #flashback #fitfluential” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

When/where was your first race?

What’s your pre-race fuel these days?

Favorite type of Hershey’s chocolate?

In A Food Mood (WIAW)


I didn’t mean to miss a post yesterday but it just sort of happened. The weekend was crazy which made Monday even crazier for me in terms of catching up that I just didn’t have time to finish up the running post I was working on for yesterday.

Here I am now though! And it’s already Wednesday!

But I am in a mood. A food mood.

Lately I am just so tired of my usual meals. I don’t know for sure what it is that I want to eat, I just know that what I am cooking and eating, most of the time, just isn’t IT.

Maybe it’s the season. I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to plan, prepare or prep. I don’t even want to food shop. I don’t want to think about my next meal or what I am going to cook for my son (there’s nothing I can make right now that meets his expectations anyway, except the chicken parm I told you about recently).

I can’t even look at apples with peanut butter right now. I tried the other night, really I did, but it wasn’t what I wanted!

I have decided to go with the flow of my food mood feelings right now, even if it means eating out a bit more during the week, giving up peanut butter or stopping to pick up random bags of M&M’s three days in a row. If I don’t try to remedy my food mood, I know I will be unhappy and unsatisfied which is just not a nice combination, especially as I am entering my PMS days.

Steer clear. Just saying.


The usual pre-run oatmeal with coffee.

pre run oatmeal

After my run, I worked on finishing the fruit that was left from my Edible Arrangement along with some more oatmeal because oatmeal is one of the few foods not annoying me at the moment.


The birthday card from my parents came with lots of gift cards including one for Dunkin Donuts which is perfect because I am liking iced coffee at the moment.

dunkin donuts iced coffee


I thought about going to Red Mango but had too much work to do so I settled for making some sort of stir fry which involved a steam bag of frozen vegetables.

Are you familiar with my favorite steam bag frozen vegetable mix – the one with the broccoli, carrots, snap peas and water chestnuts? I cooked it in my cast iron skillet instead of the microwave and cracked some eggs and egg whites into the pan too thinking the protein would maybe help my cranky food mood.

On top of brown rice (one of those Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice pouches) with spinach and avocado plus Island Soyaki for flavor.

stir fry


I thought my son had a little league game but then the email reminder arrived saying in big bold letters, “WEDNESDAY’S GAME” so there went my theory.

I am not complaining though because no game meant time to go out for dinner courtesy of another gift card.

I was so happy not to cook!

Thankfully my favorite salad from The Cheesecake Factory is still my favorite salad. It’s been 16 years since I have ordered something different at The Cheesecake Factory!

cheesecake factory salad


We didn’t have dessert at The Cheesecake Factory because I still had some leftovers of the chocolate covered fruits from my birthday Edible Arrangement.

Here we have a chocolate covered apple slice, chocolate covered strawberries and the chocolate covered pineapple disguised as a cupcake.

I plated it up but obviously I had WAY more than this. Who would stop at only these three pieces when you have a container filled with chocolate covered fruit goodies? My only issue, the pineapple burns the roof of my mouth.

chocolate covered fruit

Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today!

Do you ever get in a food mood?

Which foods are always your favorites?

What do you order at The Cheesecake Factory?

best long run ever & workout recap

Oh hi. Happy Valentine’s Day!


So many chocolate truffles to choose from at Godiva!

Before you go eat your Valentine’s chocolate, let’s take a look at my workouts from the week.

workout recap

Monday – 3 Miles treadmill & 20 Minutes Elliptical

I was not feeling up to a major sweaty workout. Even with Sunday off, I think last week’s miles and Saturday’s fast paced finish to my long run left my muscles tired. I skipped Pure Barre and went with an easy 3 miles on the treadmill which felt nice and comfortable BUT BORING so I switched to the elliptical to finish up my time in the gym.

This was my hungry day which I wrote about on Wednesday. Click here if you missed it.

Tuesday – 7.50 Miles

I felt much more normal and ready for a good treadmill run this morning.

Miles 1 – 3 easy @ 6.3 – 7.0

Miles 4 – 7  harder effort @ 6.8 – 7.7 plus cool down


I always gravitate to the treadmill closest to the mirror. Do you have a favorite treadmill in your gym?

Wednesday – Pure Barre Mile High DVD & 5 Miles

I was more than ready for Pure Barre today and thrilled to get outside for a run!


Thursday – 8 Miles

I woke up thinking I would brave the cold and run outdoors until I looked outside and saw a coating of snow on the ground. There went that idea – way too slippery. I don’t remember much about this run other than I finished the last 3 miles around an 8:00 min/mile pace.

Later in the morning – Yoga For Runners: Pre-Run

Friday – Pure Barre Studio Series DVD & 30 Minutes Running

It was around 16 degrees but no wind or ice on the ground so for sure I was running outside! I wasn’t cold at all, although I wasn’t outside for that long. Beyond 30 minutes, I may have started to feel it.


Saturday – 14 Miles

It was very cold (16 degrees? 18 degrees?) but I wanted to run outside before it got even colder – temps were dropping and it was going to get real windy.

I am so glad that I did!  I had my best run maybe ever?

If MapMyRun was correct, I finished 13.1 miles around 1:43:30 which is almost 2 minutes faster than my PR.


I think running in such cold weather kept me going fast without realizing it. I didn’t even feel cold while I was out there thanks to several layers, a hat, scarf and the best running mittens ever created.

I don’t think lululemon still sells these fluff over mittens but if you can find them, they are worth every penny.

fluff over mittens

Sunday – No running, maybe yoga

In case you missed it:

I shared Part Two of Finding Balance Between Our Diets & Workouts on Tuesday and a fun New Treadmill Workout on Friday!  Suzy tried the workout  and really liked it. Let me know if you try it 🙂

And since it’s so cold at the moment, it’s worth revisiting my most recent winter weather workout favorites post!  I definitely needed these essentials yesterday.

[bctt tweet=”Best long run ever & workout recap #running #workouts #purebarre #longrun #fitfluential #treadmill”]


Is it beyond frigid by you this weekend? Did you run outside or indoors?

Is today a rest day or workout day?

What kind of chocolate do you plan on eating today?


Trader Joe’s Pantry Favorites


Would you believe I made it another whole week without going food shopping?! I’m all excited about this ridiculously minor feat in my life but I remain convinced that getting myself down to one good food shop a week will save me some money and free up my errand-running time for other things.

I am also learning how much I need to buy so that we can get through the week. Like, make sure to overbuy the frozen vegetables (I eat more than I think), overstock the apples (I eat more than I think), never assume you have enough sweet potatoes and always make sure to fill the pantry.

While I normally share our dinner plan on Friday for next week, I am skipping it today because next week is looking a little hectic. We won’t be home Sunday night (Islanders game!), Monday is a day off (we may be out?) and I will be in the city for an event one day as well. Along with all of that, it’s a taper week for me which means routine meals with lots of potatoes.

So instead of selecting recipes that I know I won’t make, let’s talk about my Trader Joe’s Pantry Favorites!

Since my Trader Joe’s Frozen Favorites post was so widely appreciated, I put together my Trader Joe’s Pantry Favorites which includes a good chunk of the food in our house.

Trader Joe's Pantry Favorites

I tried to keep this post to what I typically purchase; there’s so much good stuff at Trader Joe’s that it can be hard to narrow down to a list!

Sauces, Soups & Oil:

  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
  • Island Soyaki
  • Organic Ketchup
  • Tomato sauce < – I play around with which I buy
  • Organic Tomato Paste
  • Low Sodium Diced Tomatoes
  • Low Sodium Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
  • Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Oil Cooking Spray
  • Olive Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Peanut Butter & Jelly:

  • Apple Cranberry Butter
  • Organic Raspberry Preserves
  • Chia & Flax Crunchy Peanut Butter


  • Organic beans (kidney, black beans, chick peas, white beans)
  • Green Lentils
  • Tri-Color quinoa
  • Pasta (whole wheat & regular)
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins
  • Mini Whole Wheat Pita Breads

Chocolate, Candy & Cookies:

Dark Chocolate Pound Plus Chocolate Bar From Trader Joe's

So many chocolates to choose from!

  • 100 Calorie Dark Chocolate Bars
  • Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Semi – Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Semi – Sweet Chocolate Chunks
  • Cocoa Powder
  • European Sipping Chocolate
  • Midnight Moo < – Chocolate Syrup
  • Organic Jelly Beans
  • Chocolate Cat Cookies
  • 100 Calorie Pack Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies < – Haven’t seen recently?
  • Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Coconut Flour
  • Organic Whipping Cream

Dried Fruit & Nuts:

They have a great nut section but I don’t really buy the nuts. I buy the dried cranberries and raisins.


  • Organic Popcorn kernels
  • Kettlecorn popcorn (small bags)
  • Honey wheat pretzel sticks
  • Peach Salsa

Oatmeal/Cereal Section:

  • Organic Steel Cut Oats
  • Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • Oat Bran
  • Chia Seeds



  • All the Spices
  • Coffee K-Cups
  • Almond Milk
  • Quest Bars

Other Trader Joe’s posts of interest:

Trader Joe’s Frozen Favorites

Trader Joe’s Favorites For Runners

Trader Joe’s Grocery List


[bctt tweet=”Trader Joe’s Pantry Favorites #traderjoes #favorites #groceries #foodshop”]


What are some of your Trader Joe’s pantry favorites?

3 things you are doing this weekend?



Unbaked Baked Oatmeal



So I think I had at least one reader paying attention to yesterday’s post….


Flowers (pink flowers!!) delivered to my doorstep. WITH CHOCOLATE.


Do you know how long I contemplated which truffle to eat first?

It’s finally Friday which means it’s time to talk about that oatmeal recipe I promised you!

I sort of explained to you on Wednesday why I am calling the new love of my oatmeal life unbaked baked oatmeal  — the texture and flavor reminds me so much of the baked oatmeal I order at the diner —but it isn’t baked!

unbaked baked oatmeal

It all came together by accident. I wasn’t even trying to replicate the baked oatmeal from the diner because as my son likes to tell me, sometimes dishes in restaurants are so good that we should leave well enough alone and not try to recreate them at home.

But then I added a mandarin orange to my ordinary bowl of oatmeal, mixed in Skoop B-Strong Viva-Nilla along with my other usual ingredients, heated it all up and suddenly, within a matter of one bite, an alarm went off in my taste buds which screamed BAKED OATMEAL FROM THE DINER! BAKED OATMEAL FROM THE DINER!

While I think the baked oatmealish texture is derived from the combination of the cooked oats and Skoop, I am pretty sure that I owe most of the flavor to the mandarin orange which was probably the last fruit I would expect to LOVE in my oatmeal.

I love it. Like really. What this little tiny orange has done to my bowl is beyond words.

I am not the first to insert the orange, I know this. Fancy people use orange zest or whatever you call it to give off the orange flavor which I know for a fact is involved in the diner’s baked oatmeal recipe.

But I am not that fancy when it comes to preparing my food nor do I have the patience to think about zesting things.

I peel an orange and throw it in the bowl.

As for the rest of your fruits in your unbaked baked oatmeal, go with what you like.

fruit in oatmeal

I combined blueberries and diced up granny smith apple for this bowl but I am pretty sure you can add pears, peaches and/or other berries to create a perfect bowl of unbaked baked oatmeal too.

Each time I enjoy baked oatmeal at the diner actually, I notice they vary the fruits in the recipe but it always tastes amazing.

I do not think for one second that the diner uses protein powder in their oatmeal, however, I think for this version, the Skoop B-Strong in Viva-Nilla helps to create the thick texture while adding a subtle flavor that is not to be believed.

unbaked baked oatmeal

Since this recipe is for unbaked baked oatmeal, you don’t actually need to bake anything. I used the microwave.

Which oats should you use? Up to you. I have made it with steel-cut oats only, a mix of steel-cut and old-fashioned as well as a quick version made with only old-fashioned rolled oats.

Steel-cut will make it chewier but either type will do the trick!


This oatmeal is great served immediately, but I think I adore it most once it cools for two minutes which allows time for all of the flavors and ingredients to fall into place.

Make it in advance and reheat it the next day or go ahead and eat it cold. I did that too.

Feel free to add milk and oh, if you have walnuts or pecans to throw in? Go for it. Just go for it!

Unbaked Baked Oatmeal For One
Recipe Type: oatmeal
Cuisine: breakfast
Author: meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
Serves: 1
  • 1 serving cooked oatmeal, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 scoop of Skoop B Strong Viva-Nilla Protein Powder
  • 1 Mandarin Orange, peeled
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 medium sized diced granny smith apple
  • 1 tbp. nut butter of choice (I used Crunch Time)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • Handful of walnuts or pecans (optional but recommended!)
  1. Prepare your oatmeal serving the way you like it and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Add fruit, cinnamon, salt and Skoop to the oatmeal and mix well.
  3. Stir in peanut butter.
  4. Place in microwave and heat in 45 second increments, at least 3 times, stirring in between.
  5. Every microwave is different so if your oatmeal isn’t thick and warm after 3 rounds of heating, try another 45 seconds.
  6. Allow oatmeal to cool and set for about two minutes.
  7. Add more peanut butter and a drop of milk if you desire!
Serving size: 1
Feel free to use any of your favorite fruits but the mandarin orange is definitely an integral part to the flavor of this yummy oatmeal recipe!


[bctt tweet=”You have to make this recipe for unbaked baked oatmeal! #oatmeal #breakfast @healthyskoop”]


Have you ever added orange to your oatmeal?

Do you prefer steel-cut oatmeal or old-fashioned or a mix of both?

Who is running a race this weekend?! Fill me in!


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