Super Bowl Recipes & Dinner Plan

I apologize if you tried to log in yesterday afternoon only to encounter a blank screen. I don’t know what the heck they were doing with my server during that time but thankfully, we are back and running. Click here for yesterday’s post (Thinking Out Loud about tampons and TimeHop) if you missed it.

Instead of frantically checking my site every second to see if it was back up, I ran my errands which included Trader Joe’s for the weekly food shop. You know how we say they are always out of something?! Well, this time, not only were they out of MY peanut butter, they were completely out of the plastic produce bags in the produce section.

Trader Joe's shop

See the grocery bags in the back? Those are my apples, potatoes and lemons. It was just so weird, too. Usually the Trader Joe’s staff is so incredibly helpful but not yesterday. Until I found someone to help me and find some sort of bag (was I supposed to dump 10 apples, 5 potatoes and random lemons into my red cart?), you can’t imagine.

So I finally decided to try Trader Joe’s organic peanut butter (crunchy, no salt) since my peanut butter was absent and really like it. I often wonder what would happen if I were to try Reduced Fat Skippy Peanut Butter again. It used to be my absolute favorite peanut butter years ago yet I am sure if I tasted it now, I would gag from the added sugar!

Dinner next week is looking easy, quick and typical. Before getting to next week’s dinner plan though, I picked a bunch of Super Bowl recipes for Sunday should you be looking for something to make for the big game…

Super Bowl Recipes:

Sriracha Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Crunchy Cauliflower

Cauliflower Wings

40 Vegan Super Bowl Recipes

Game Day Appetizers Recipe Round Up

Baked Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken

Baked Sweet Potato Skins

Sweet Potato Bacon Burger Bites With Maple Chipotle (Paleo)

Fudgy Avocado Brownies with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Brownies (Paleo)

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies < – My most requested dessert. Been making these cookies for years!

weekly dinner planning

Sunday – Super Bowl (not cooking)

Monday – Light Tomato Basil Meatball Soup < – My son is a soup eater, not me. I will probably have a Meatless Monday Stir-Fry Bowl, replacing the shrimp with either chick peas or egg.

Tuesday – Pizza night (this quichzza looks cool!)

Wednesday – Greek Salads with roasted potato wedges (my current favorite easy meal)

Thursday – From the Freezer Night (veggie burgers, chicken nuggets or meatless meatballs with roasted vegetables & baked potatoes)

Friday – out for dinner

Saturday – out for dinner

[bctt tweet=”Super Bowl Recipes & Dinner Plan #superbowl #traderjoes #recipes #mealprep #dinnerplan #fitfluential #peanutbutter”]


What’s on the running agenda for this weekend?

Are you cooking or baking for Super Bowl?

Favorite peanut butter?


Home Pace and Reinventing the Apple With Peanut Butter Dessert


When my son was little, we were rarely home during the day. I always had us somewhere; playgroups, meals out, rides in the car so that he would nap and I could drive through a Dunkin Donuts as well as just about anywhere a stroller was welcome.

Being out with a baby/toddler though isn’t all that simple.

I can recall so many moments where all I wanted was to return to what I referred to as my Home Base.

Home Base = My house, my safe haven fully stocked with diapers and wipes, extra clothes for when he made a mess, a changing table within reach, a playpen to stick him in and a coffee machine waiting to brew.

You know, your comfort zone.

Even if you don’t have kids, don’t you sometimes just want to go home and hide under the covers, where you feel safe?

I thought about this yesterday as I battled the treadmill. That’s right – all my preaching about my love for the machine has come to a screeching halt.


Some days I do feel like a track star on that machine. Endorphins will do that to you, you know.

I didn’t want to run on the treadmill yesterday though. Not at all. My treadmill runs are always speedy runs and what I really needed was an easy run.

To be honest, I really struggle on the treadmill when it comes to just running at my easy pace, safe pace or, as I sometimes refer to it, that sweet spot where I just run to run, running where I am comfortable – at my Home Pace.

Speaking of sweet spots, does anyone else remember the package of four shortbread cookies with the chocolate drop in the center from when we were kids? I tried to find an image of them but I can’t yet I did find these:


These little boxes of cookies where my favorite when I was little! I always got a box when I was in the city visiting my grandparents on the weekends…I wish they still sold them…

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh right, home pace.

Do you know your home pace? I have come to realize it is an important thing to figure out. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have decided that home pace for me is around 6.8 (8:49 min/mile).

Just under 9:00 min/mile is comfortable yet keeps me working just a bit.

It is much easier for me to go for an easy run when I am outside but yesterday I tried very hard to achieve this type of run indoors.

Not every run can be a challenging, speed work, interval or tempo run. And if you think it can be, your body will notify you otherwise, either in the form of burnout, injury or if you are like me this week, FEROCIOUS HUNGER.

You should know that for several days now, I am just hungry. The kind of hungry where you finish your plate and wonder who stole your dinner because you clearly didn’t eat it – if you did you would feel slightly full and you don’t.

While I have no photos of the multiple meals I have consumed (who can think about taking pictures when they are starving?), I did promise you my new twist on an apple and peanut butter.

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You may decide to stay in for dessert this weekend instead of  hitting up your local frozen yogurt store.

Seriously. This combo is so good that I skipped going out for dessert a few nights ago in favor of staying in and making this.

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It may not photograph pretty but at least my sprinkle bowl is appealing.

Warmed apples topped with peanut butter and vanilla greek frozen yogurt covered in mini chocolate chips.

The ingredients are so simple, so basic and we can even consider them healthy.


  • Large apple of choice (I went with granny smith)
  • Chocolate chips (mini are fun but you can use any type of chocolate)
  • Peanut butter (or almond butter if that’s your thing)
  • Vanilla frozen greek yogurt

Dice apples and microwave for about 90 seconds. Top with peanut butter followed by yogurt. Add chocolate chips on top. Then mix it all up.


The warm apples mesh with the cold yogurt and the peanut butter gets involved and creates major flavor. The chocolate chips get melty but not too melty because you put them on top leaving you with the right amount of chippy crunch.


You can really use any frozen yogurt you have on hand but I think the greek frozen yogurt adds a tartness and combines flavors really well with the warmed apple.

If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s to get this specific yogurt, I know Stonyfield makes a frozen greek which is available in most grocery stores.

I bet the grocery stores will be packed between now and Sunday though for the Super Bowl snack and ingredient haul.

If you are wondering what I will be making, the answer is nothing. Sometimes one deserves a break from the kitchen. Although if anyone wants an apple bowl, I am pretty sure I can provide that.

Have a great weekend!


Are you hosting a Super Bowl party?

Favorite cookie from when you were little?

Do you know your Home Pace for an easy, comfortable run?




Whole Foods Haul, Oatmeal Tips And Sesame Street


I have been wanting to tell you something since I had lunch at Whole Foods on Saturday.

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Worth every penny by the way. Don’t ask me what was in the box – I get all scoop-happy when I see my favorite roasted anything and just pile it all on into the brown box.

OK so back to what I wanted to tell you. More like admit to.

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When I stopped to get the utensils and napkins at Whole Foods in order to eat my Food Bar fun, I saw the packets of ketchup and mustard and couldn’t resist a handful. To take home.

I have reached “old” status haven’t I. This is what old people do.

But come on, how do you not take some packets home with you when they are of the “Simply Heinz” kind? It would be against healthy living blogger code to resist a natural and healthy freebie.

Now that it’s off my chest, let’s discuss my Whole Foods haul.

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I really don’t buy groceries at Whole Foods on a regular basis. For the most part, as we all know, they are a bit pricey.

But, you can achieve a decent deal on a few items if you look hard enough and/or seek out their 365 brand.

From the Whole Foods 365:

  • Organic Tomato Pastesame price as Trader Joe’s
  • Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce – have never tried it but it was super cheap.
  • Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Baked Potato Chips – Sour Cream and Onion to please the little boy
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Skin Cleanser – 365 Skincare is terrific

I was super lucky to get the Bell and Evan’s Chicken Nuggets on sale. I have been buying them FOR YEARS. All natural, antibiotic free and the best tasting chicken nugget out there – more chicken than breading with awesome flavor and texture.

Not that I eat I them anymore or anything but when I used to eat chicken, you can bet I would make enough for me when I made them for my son.

As you can also see, I restocked my steel-cut oat supply from the bulk-ins. You can’t beat the bulk-bin prices.

I received a few emails last week actually asking me several questions regarding oatmeal, including what the differences between steel-cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats are so I put together some information for you:


I go through phases with which oats I prefer but if I had to pick – Steel-Cut all the way. I love the chewy, dense texture and how well they hold up in the refrigerator – they reheat days later as if you just made a fresh pot.

I always cook 3-4 servings at a time so that I have a few bowls on hand for the week.

Quick tip: The more servings you make, the more oatmeal you end up with per serving.

Lately I combine servings of both steel-cut and old-fashioned oats together for a mix of textures.

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Yesterday morning’s pot.

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Yesterday’s bowl.

If you spot orange peeking out of the bowl, it isn’t sweet potato this time. Fooled you. It is actually diced cantaloupe.

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It isn’t exactly melon season right now but the little boy and I were in Trader Joe’s the other day and he requested melon.

Cantaloupe plus a Galia melon which is a cross between a honey-dew and cantaloupe.

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I love that my child requested a melon, let alone a funky named melon. He may not eat his vegetables too often but the fact that he asks and likes fruit says something.


Did you hear about the new Dr. Ruster muppet coming to Sesame Street?

The new muppet and episodes are part of Sesame Street’s “healthy” makeover looking to expand our children’s’ horizons when it comes to a healthy, balanced diet. They are focusing on more fruits and vegetables versus Cookie Monster’s cookies.

I read this article the other day which discusses the new Sesame Street project although really, I remember watching several healthy food segments and videos (do they still sell “videos”?) when my son was a baby.

Ernie, Bert, Prairie Dawn and the gang would sing “b-r-o-c-c-o-l-i broccoli broccoli” so often that I would have it trapped in my head for days.

I guess that’s the point, right? Not only for our kids to sing about broccoli but inevitably for us adults as well.

While it’s great to make our kids aware of fruits and vegetables and the importance of a balanced diet, the message really needs to reach us parents since we are the purchasers and the people in charge of bringing the foods into the house.

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Like life-size avocados. Every child should be exposed to such produce on their kitchen counters. Can you believe the size of this thing?

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I wonder if this Dr. Ruster muppet would approve of my most favorite snack. Is there anything more balanced than an apple slice covered with Mighty Maple peanut butter and a sprinkle of chocolate chips?

I think not.

Anyway, good morning to Monday and the start of Super Bowl hoopla around the country, especially here in New York.


The media is all wrapped up in the Polar Vortex forecast for Sunday when really, they can just ask me my opinion -if I am running inside on a treadmill, it is too cold for football – regardless of precipitation.


Quick – Steel-Cut or Old-Fashioned oats?

Ever try a Galia melon?

Which fruits are currently in your kitchen?

Favorite Whole Foods products?


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