8 Weekend Things To Tell You


1. I made it a full week without stepping inside a Trader Joe’s store but of course they didn’t have everything I needed which means I have to go back.


2. If you are looking to order my salad from the Cheesecake Factory, it’s called the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad.

bbq ranch salad

But, I order it without the chicken and I skip the dressing too. I used to order the dressing on the side. Then, over the years, I gravitated away from the ranch dressing to the Skinnylicious vinaigrette but most recently, I stopped the dressing altogether because it was messing with the awesome flavors of the salad ingredients.

The onion strings combined with the black beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado need nothing else. Trust me.

3. As you learned about me last week, it’s more about the ice cream toppings and chocolate-dipped cones than the actual ice cream for me.

I think there is some frozen yogurt under all those crunchies.

ice cream cone

4. We went out to eat after kickboxing on Saturday and I was treated to an oatmeal party for one. I now feel the need to set up an oatmeal breakfast bar in my house because lots of toppings in cute little cups are really fun.


5. Not totally sure I love this shade of OPI polish for my toes (the bottle on the left) but I couldn’t figure out what color to get so this is what I ended up with.

opi nail polish

6. Yesterday’s Long Run:

A new pair of Energy Boosts = My feet feel home again.

adidas pro compression

In my head I was planning for 13.1 miles with an easy-paced start, a fast-paced finish and a cool down at the end which is exactly what transpired.

Quite often we need to tell ourselves to ease up on the pace so that we don’t run faster than planned but then there are days like yesterday where I had no choice but to run easy-paced in the beginning because I really couldn’t move much faster!

My legs were feeling a little tired which left me wondering how the heck I was going to speed up towards the end.

Based on my splits, can you tell at which point I took a gel?


7. I am trying out some new fueling strategies for next month’s half (more on this in later posts) and yesterday’s Hammer Gel in raspberry definitely served it’s purpose!

hammer gel

I started taking in little bits at the hour mark which was after mile 6 but right before mile 7 and it was an almost instant effect. I couldn’t be happier with how this gel worked for me.

8. My weekend ended the best way possible…

hershey bar cheesecake

Sometimes you just NEED a serious slice of chocolate cake so you find yourself back at your favorite restaurant for the second time in three days.

Totally hit the long run insatiable hunger spot 🙂

[bctt tweet=”8 weekend things to tell you #weekend #longrun #hammergel #cheesecakefactory #OPI #oatmeal #traderjoes #chocolate #cake”]


Is your Trader Joe’s always out of something?!

Favorite oatmeal toppings?

What’s on the workout agenda for today?



Thinking Out Loud – August 20, 2015



I don’t really know about this flavor combination.

popcorn in a pickle

I was always a pickle fan, the more sour the better, but I never cared for the dill. Pickles mixed with popcorn? I just don’t know about this.

They were giving out samples in Trader Joe’s earlier this week. My son was all about trying it and said it was terrific but I didn’t taste it because I honestly didn’t want to and I don’t do things I don’t want to do.

The runner in me needs a new pair of Adidas Energy Boosts and I was supposed to seek out a good internet deal to order them after last week’s long run but the girl in me felt new sandals were more important right now.


I ordered two new pairs of cute flip flops even with fall on the horizon and an October 3rd half marathon on the calendar which requires new running shoes NOW.

kate spade sandals

The Kate Spade flip flops complete with glitter bring out the child in me. In fact, this outfit made me think that perhaps I dress like I am some sort of tween but I don’t really care.

Glitter and rhinestones make me smile <– I feel like this statement needs to include sprinkles. Sprinkles, glitter and rhinestones for life!

I had to be in the city in the late afternoon on Tuesday for a quick meeting followed by a company dinner. I stopped in for a manicure before the meeting because my nails needed attention and it’s a quick and easy thing to do since there is a nail salon on every corner in Manhattan.


Dinner was at Red Rooster in Harlem which was super hip, cool and fun.

red rooster

My son texted me to see where I ended up for dinner (it was a limo ride restaurant surprise from the meeting to dinner <– love the people I work for!) and when I told him, he texted me back to say he looked up the menu (I have raised a real foodie) and didn’t see much that I would want to eat.

red rooster food

I found plenty to order but really, I could have been easily satisfied with multiple plates of the warm and fresh cornbread.

I love cornbread. Like, really love. How did you let me forget this? I have cornmeal. Share your cornbreadish recipes with me, okay?

In case you forgot, I handle event industry writing stuff and social media for AllSeated and actually started using the product myself as I start to plan my son’s Bar Mitzvah which is a year from this October.

I don’t even understand how my baby is close to old enough for a Bar Mitzvah or how it is possible that I am planning a Bar Mitzvah which is basically equal to planning a wedding or something out of MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 minus the car as a gift at the end of the party.

We discussed some of his Bar Mitzvah planning details over lunch yesterday since there’s no camp this week and school doesn’t begin until after Labor Day.

bbq ranch salad

There are some new menu items at The Cheesecake Factory but they don’t really matter to me since I cannot order something different from my usual.

I made that mistake once in 1999 and I will never do it again. Call me crazy but I like what I eat and don’t want to mess with a good thing.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today 🙂


Do you like pickles? What kind is your favorite?

Do you have a cornbread type recipe for me?

Anyone planning a wedding, Bar Mitzvah or Sweet 16 at the moment?



memorial day weekend & recipe links


I picked my son up from school the other day instead of having him take the bus and once again, just like last week, he talked me into going to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

cheesecake factory bbq ranch salad

Did I ever tell you his lunch period this year has him eating the midday meal at 9:45 am?!

I am all for eating according to when you are hungry and not going by the clock to determine your mealtime but, um, lunch before 10:00 am?

Now you understand why he is ready for dinner as soon as the last bell of the school day rings!

As for me, I am always up for my favorite salad so if you are looking for someone to dine with you randomly in the late afternoon, I am your girl.

It’s finally Friday (this week went sort of fast yet sort of slow for me) which means the long weekend is here!

I have yet to decide if I am running the Long Beach 10-miler Sunday morning. Nothing like the last minute, right?

I am going to finalize my plan this morning but part of me is now leaning towards NO and here’s why:

I want to enjoy my weekend. I don’t want a 10 mile race on my mind tomorrow when I am out for lunch and dinner because I would have to be overly mindful of what I am eating in fear of stomach issues while running Sunday morning in the beach heat.

Not to mention, I have plans Sunday (assuming the weather is nice enough which I think it should be) to spend the day at the beach which is not exactly ideal for me after running 10 miles in the beachy morning sun.


More than ready for this view again!

I am all for running races but sometimes my social life is just more important. I don’t want to run a race just to run it, I want to give it all I have and I am not feeling it (I don’t think) for this weekend.

I will certainly keep you posted!

While none of my weekend plans require me to cook, I did put together a bunch of recipe links just in case you are looking for something to bring to a Memorial Day barbeque….


Links I am Loving!


Paleo And Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Kettle Corn Grilled Sweet Potatoes

20 Delicious Things To Eat On Memorial Day

59 Vegetarian Recipes That Are Perfect For Picnics

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Quinoa Salad

Apple Peanut Butter Pie Hummus <- so good!

Peach Salsa Guacamole <- super easy!

Blueberry Breakfast Cookies <- really want to make these, they look delicious

Peanut Butter & Berry Quinoa <- red, white, and blue festive for the holiday!

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut Layer Bars

Super Easy Blueberry Crisp


Have a great weekend!

[bctt tweet=”Memorial Day weekend & recipe links #recipes #memorialday #holidayweekend”]


What time do you normally eat lunch?

Three things on your agenda for the weekend?


How To Roast Frozen Vegetables


You had to figure, after reading yesterday’s post, that at some point this week I was going to take my son to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

The Cheesecake Factory BBQ Ranch Salad

It was a last minute decision yesterday, as in, I picked him up from school with the intention of turning left to go home but at the traffic light, he quickly convinced me to turn right to go to The Cheesecake Factory instead.

I didn’t mind of course since I rarely turn down the opportunity for my favorite salad and I hadn’t really prepared dinner for us anyway.

I did plan on cooking us something for dinner but I don’t need much advanced prep because I am real good at throwing together home cooked meals in a flash. Lately, the last-minute, maybe we are eating home but maybe we aren’t thing has been working even better for me since I stopped buying as many fresh vegetables in favor of frozen.

how to roast frozen vegetables

How to roast frozen vegetables. This might be the easiest, quickest and most importantly, delicious vegetable “recipe” ever.

I don’t even know if we can call roasting frozen vegetables a recipe since it involves doing so very little so instead, let’s refer to it as a technique.


Why roast frozen vegetables instead of fresh?

Frozen vegetables tend to be easier on the stomach. Fresh veggies are awesome but will often tie my stomach up in knots (and bloat me beyond belief) while my body goes through the breaking down and digesting process. Frozen vegetables when steamed, sautéed or roasted on the other hand do not cause me any discomfort.

Frozen = longer shelf life. You can have frozen vegetables on hand and use them when you feel like it/at the last minute without worrying about spoilage as you might when you have fresh produce waiting to be used in your fridge.

Cheaper. For the most part, you can grab bags of frozen veggies any time of the year for a really good price. Fresh produce is a bit more finicky. You gotta go with what’s in the season to get the best deal or at the very least, monitor your store circulars for the sale.

Nutrients. They say that frozen vegetables may contain higher concentrations of the ever important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because they are frozen at peak ripeness which locks in the nutritional value. True or not, let’s just go with it.

I absolutely love the texture and flavor of roasted frozen vegetables, especially broccoli.

The broccoli gets all crisp, just like fresh roasted broccoli with a tender bite minus any form of frozen mush texture which you may equate with frozen vegetables.

how to roast frozen vegetables

Besides broccoli, try roasting the following frozen vegetables:

  • String beans
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts

The How To Roast Frozen Vegetables Technique:

Simply place your frozen vegetables on a lightly greased oven-safe pan, spritz with coconut oil cooking spray (add seasonings if you desire but I honestly add nothing!) and roast in a 450-degree oven for twenty minutes.

You can switch it over to broil for a few minutes to add some extra crispness and voila, roasted vegetables.

I find it so interesting that I add nothing but the coconut oil cooking spray but I truly love the flavor and do not feel the need for extra spices and seasonings.

how to roast frozen vegetables

Let me know if you try this roasted frozen vegetable technique and which frozen veggies you find you like the best when roasted, okay?

[bctt tweet=”How to roast your frozen vegetables! #veggies #frozenfoods #recipe”]


Do you need to limit the number of fresh vegetables you eat too?

What did you have for dinner last night?

How many miles are you planning to run this weekend for your long run or are you running in a race?

how to roast frozen vegetables



Links To Read While Your Are Bored At Work


I don’t have a full day of food to show you today but yes, I have been busy filling up my free cup of coffee a day at Panera and on Monday, I even walked a few doors down after my cup to have lunch at my favorite place.

Cheesecake Factory BBQ Ranch Salad

The Cheesecake Factory BBQ Ranch Salad without the chicken.

So instead of a What I Ate Wednesday post, how about some midweek links to read while you are bored at work?

Links I am Loving!

If your boss catches you reading instead of doing your job, feel free to blame me.

This Is What Happens When You Put Cut Up Onions In Your Socks While You Sleep  – I have not tried this yet because I am waiting for you to try it first.

It’s Okay To Serve Divorce Papers Via Facebook – I can’t help but laugh at this one.

I would just claim I didn’t receive the papers since there is a chance that they were sent to that “other” facebook message inbox.

Did you know about the “other” inbox? Neither did I. Until recently. When I finally figured out that it existed, I had 23 messages sitting since 2009!

You Might Be A Healthy Living Blogger If… – Ha beyond haha beyond HA! A must read.

And please, just like I told Meghan in the comments, should I EVER refer to any sort of protein powder concoction as frosting, schedule me for an immediate dessert intervention.

Tina recently shared a terrific (and informative) post about why running easy is so hard.

Her post is great because she offers us valuable elite runner perspective and includes links to other posts on recovery runs and why they are so important.

Lately, contrary to my usual attitude, running “easy” has in fact been harder!

I have been loving my speedier runs these days so much that the next day’s easy run is harder for me to mentally and even physically maintain! But it must be done if we wish to recover and grow as runners.

Hungry Girl Newsletter – All About Powdered Peanut Butter – All you ever wanted to know about powdered peanut butter, the varieties available, the nutritional breakdown plus recipes too!

Favorite food pins:


Have you seen Fit Foodie Finds 8 Ways To Eat Overnight Oats? She shared a different overnight oats recipe each day last week and even I, who usually uses cooked oats to make my “overnight oats” am excited to try one or two or all of them. They are so pretty!

Arman’s Single Serve Peanut Butter Cup Breakfast Cookie is definitely calling my name, especially for dessert. Why not eat breakfast for dessert and dessert for breakfast?

I can’t stop thinking about How Sweet Eats Chocolate Peanut Butter Peeps Skillet S’mores. The colors alone make me happy, not to mention the chocolate and peanut butter part.

Fun fact: Did you know the Peeps factory is in Bethelem, PA which is where the Runner’s World Festival was held back in the fall?

A Month Of Meatless Meals – Great ideas and recipes if you are looking to incorporate Meatless Monday more often into your diet.

[bctt tweet=”Lots of links for you to read when you should probably be working #links #recipes @tinamuir @cleaneatsfast”]


Did you know about the “other” facebook inbox next to your regular inbox?

Are you going to put the onions in your socks?

Do you often surf the web instead of doing your job at work? Do you ever get caught?


Things That Make Me Happy




Happy Monday! Or, shall I say for myself, Happy Back To School After A Week Of Winter Break!

We had a terrific week, don’t get me wrong.

ferris wheel

We did A TON of fun stuff (including a little road trip to the Palisades Mall where they have a giant ferris wheel) without having to deal with homework and routines but it’s time to get back at it.

It’s possible that you aren’t as happy as I am that it’s Monday so let’s distract from that topic for a minute and look at some of the other things making me happy right now…

As much as I love Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter, I really do enjoy Trader Joe’s peanut butter with flax and chia seeds.

trader joe's peanut butter

I am pretty sure that I could stand at the kitchen counter slicing apples and spreading on the peanut butter all day long which reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw’s love for eating stacks of saltine crackers with jelly while reading magazines in her kitchen.

We all have our thing, don’t we?

We went to The Cheesecake Factory the other night and I don’t think I ever told you how much we enjoy dipping the bread in the Skinnylicious dressing which I order on the side for my salad.

cheesecake factory bread

Their sourdough bread is better than it used to be —so crispy on the top and that’s the part I like! I always leave the doughy parts over on my plate.

Oh and my salad. I just love this salad and could eat it every day for the rest of my life and be happy.

bbq ranch salad

The main reason I will never become vegan….

hershey bar cheesecake

My diet is 95% plant-based but I refuse to live a life without my favorite fudgy delicacies.

Dessert makes me smile every single time and no one should ever give up what makes them smile.

My son and I have this deal that when he is all grown up with a family, he will take his old mother every Sunday night for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory so “grandma” can have her salad and slice of cake. I am really looking forward to this! It makes old age not seem so bad, don’t you think?

I get really excited over supermarket sales.

food shopping

Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers AND steam fresh vegetables were both on sale big time. I didn’t even bother to count how many bags of frozen vegetables I grabbed. It may seem like a lot but they will be gone in flash.

Getting comfy cozy after my long runs, even if only for a few minutes, makes me really happy.

my bed

I love my long run routine, knowing when I am done that I will shower, put my pajamas back on, eat my favorite breakfast and then get back into bed to relax. I don’t like to lay down for too long because then the stiff sets in but it feels great to get under the blanket for the few minutes and even better when I fall asleep for a quick nap.

I was really happy yesterday when the owner of Red Mango was impressed by my parfait making skills.

red mango parfait

Yesterday afternoon I had a little time in between getting this parfait and going to the Islanders game last night.

I didn’t want to look at a computer screen, or my phone, or the television. I didn’t want to fold laundry, clean up, prepare dinner, empty the dishwasher or clean my closet.

I wanted to relax.

lisa frank coloring book

I may be 36 years old with a son who wants nothing to do with coloring books anymore but sitting down with a box of crayons and my cup of coffee was just the greatest feeling and exactly what I needed.

To be honest, I am glad my son didn’t want to color with me because I didn’t have to share the red crayon. Everyone always wanted the red, right?!

Have a great week!

[bctt tweet=”The things that make me happy #redmango #peanutbutter #cheesecakefactory @drpraegers”]

You still have time to enter the #NYTough P&G Giveaway (including Amex Gift Card!). Click here if you missed the post!

Do you have a specific post-run routine that you follow?

Favorite snack to eat while standing in your kitchen?

Favorite way to relax which doesn’t involve technology?





Playing Hooky, a TJ Stop & Apple Recipe Roundup


I really don’t like to fully write my posts in advance and never set them to publish ahead of time.

Of course there are certain topics which need development and I do spend time editing photos, working with PicMonkey images and sorting out my ideas into words that make sense but no matter what, I always edit, tweak and add something each morning before hitting publish.


Here I am right now sipping my first cup of french toast coffee as I talk to you.

I do often type out what I am thinking in lots of drafts just to get the thoughts and ideas out of my head and use my planner to list various topics that come to mind at random times so I don’t forget them.

This provides me with great topic outlines and I can either come back to further develop the posts, combine some ideas or just let them sit in my draft folder for months until the mood strikes again to fully discuss.

I don’t always use the posts I have loosely planned for the week but my brain feels better knowing that there is some sort of blog-plan should I want to follow it.

It feels so good to release the thoughts from inside which is something I devote an entire section to in my divorce and co-parenting ebook. (I feel the need to keep saying it’s almost done!)

Writing things down helps me to make sense of what I am thinking and makes me feel super organized as if I just cleaned out a closet.

And while blogging is something I like to keep a bit in-the-moment, I really do prefer to have things completed as far in advance as possible.

I never waited to study for an exam at the last-minute. In fact, the night before an exam was more like a short review for me.

If I didn’t know it by then, I wasn’t going to know it.

School projects and freelance work now —always done as soon as possible.

I don’t enjoy the feeling of  an assignment weighing on my mind and I live in fear of something interfering that would prevent me from fully dedicating myself to complete it on schedule.

The word interfere sounds like a bad thing but sometimes, good things can interfere.

Like a spontaneous opportunity to play hooky in the middle of the week at my favorite restaurant.


They made some sort of sculpture with the onion strings this time, can you tell?

In a moment’s notice, I was able to go out and play because I was already ahead of my own schedule.

I finished the work I needed to do in advance so I wasn’t operating with a deadline which meant freedom to enjoy a long lunch and share Linda’s Fudge Cake.

lindas fudge cake

I can only share if I have main access to the fudgy parts and chocolate chips.

I also stopped at Trader Joe’s since I was out of apples (I don’t even understand how this happened), berries, eggs, chicken cutlets (for my son), frozen vegetables, potatoes and most importantly, jelly beans for my long run tomorrow.

jelly beans

I picked up a box of these wannabe Good & Plenty licorice candies because I love black licorice and will totally look forward to them at the 6-mile mark tomorrow.

Or today. The weather forecast for tomorrow is looking snowy so I am currently on the fence over moving my long run to this morning instead. I needed to decide like five minutes ago about this.

I was really happy to see that Trader Joe’s had these big bags of organic granny smith apples for $5.49.

organic apples

It’s a great deal since it’s lots of apples, they are even organic and they are actually large in size rather than dinky small.

My good friend asked me yesterday for some of my apple and peanut butter snack recipes so just in case you missed them too, here they are:

Baked Oatmeal Apple Sticks

Apple Peanut Butter Pie Hummus

Peanut Butter Cup Apple Bowls

Apple Skins

And if you only have bananas, I just remembered my grain-free banana bread bites.

Have a terrific weekend!


Is it supposed to snow by you this weekend? How will you handle your long run? Outside, treadmill or move it to another day?

Do you wait until the last-minute to do things or like to get things done in advance?

Am I the only one who likes the taste of black licorice?

Weekend Thoughts Per Picture



I really don’t like cheese and could honestly take it or leave it but the spinach artichoke cheese fondue at The Melting Pot gets me every time.

cheese fondue

And I really hate to share my food, especially dessert, but sometimes there are exceptions to the rule.

chocolate fondue

Weekends mean a break from the kitchen so there was Fondue Friday and my favorite salad for dinner Saturday.

bbq ranch salad

I did go food shopping though and my groceries called shot-gun. Do the cool kids still call riding in the front seat of the car shot-gun?


I was able to resist the Whole Foods Food Bar this week but did decide to buy new-to-me English Muffins.

rudis organic spelt english muffins

My idea of Sunday food prep.


Last week’s hashtag was #leggingsforlife, this week would be #oatmealforlife.

I created a new baked oatmeal apple snack for us.

baked oatmeal apple sticks

It was actually warm enough yesterday (around freezing) for my son to play outside which was a complete turn around from Saturday where my phone developed hypothermia and refused to work during my frigid morning run.

playing hockey

I made myself a present at the Pottery Studio.

paint a piece pottery

I didn’t know what to do to celebrate the birth of this little blog which is now two years old.

I know right?! Time flies!

I thought about baking a cake in honor of the occasion but I honestly didn’t feel like it.

So I treated myself to painting this cupcake cup and when I use it (I have to wait until next week to pick it up!), I will think about grateful I am for all of the friendships, opportunities, fun and adventures this little blog has brought into my life, but really, I brought them to myself.

We often sit and wait for the good things to happen failing to realize that we are so in control of making the good things happen on our own.

Have a great start to the week!


Do you always put your groceries in the trunk or do they ride in the car with you?

Will your run today be inside or outside?

Last time you went to a fondue restaurant?





Chocolate Bar Blondies


The night before an early morning flight leaves me either wanting a home-cooked meal because we won’t be home for a few days OR leaves me wanting nothing to do with the kitchen since I like to clean the house and leave things perfect for when we arrive home.

salad from The Cheesecake Factory

My favorite salad from The Cheesecake Factory in take-out fashion.

The onion strings, otherwise known as the best part, are happily mixed in but were almost not there because, as always, they forgot to include them which is why I inspect the bag each and every time before leaving the restaurant.

Somehow I finished packing (and even found a few new shirts yesterday!) so I am just sitting here real quick chatting with you and trying to find some ripe bananas in my pile to throw together with the rest of the ever-important travel foods.

travel food

Learned my lesson the last time in the Orlando airport <—they DO NOT SELL GUM. ANYWHERE.

I feel like I was just in Florida but wow, that was a little over three months ago already.

Time is flying lately, isn’t it?


At the age of 19, I was busy flying down to South Florida every three months to have my hair highlighted by a guy named Eddie who worked at Wild Hare in Boca Raton.

Eddie loved that I flew into town just for him and he always called me Blondie.

Now, to be completely honest here, my best friend Heather lived down there so we would get our hair done together and my hair needs were almost an excuse to go see her really often.

heather and me

Heather and me back in September. I am still blondie but she has gone darker in recent years. 

I have always taken my hair real seriously, just as I do my desserts.

You can trust me when I say the recipe I am about to share with you for these Chocolate Bar Chocolate Chip Blondies is worth every bite.

chocolate bar chocolate chip blondies

Blondies are basically the same as chocolate chip cookies only you bake them in a square pan and cut them like brownies.

Today’s recipe is super special because you can add a layer of chocolate bars in the center for an extra hidden dose of chocolate with each bite!

So here’s the situation. You can use any type of chocolate bar you wish as your hidden middle layer AND you can make these bars with either coconut oil or butter.

Totally up to you.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Truffle

I used Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Truffle Chocolate Bars (from my chocolate bar stash) for the purposes of this post.

chocolate bar chocolate chip blondies

Once you make your dough, you spread half of it in your pan, top with chocolate bars and then cover up with the rest of the dough.

chocolate bar chocolate chip blondies

Since I have made this recipe numerous times, I can tell you that using different kinds of chocolate bars will produce a different (but always tasty!) result in appearance and texture.

chocolate bar chocolate chip blondies

The dark chocolate didn’t get all melty inside like when I make this same recipe using Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars (seen in the below photo).

Chocolate Bar Chocolate Chip Blondies

It’s safe for me to say that no matter which chocolate bar you choose as your filling, these chocolate bar blondies are guaranteed to please.

A couple of other things worth noting:

If you can’t decide between coconut oil or butter for this recipe and want my taste bud’s  honest opinion, I think I prefer the texture of the blondies when made with butter.

Both ways are really good –they really are— I personally preferred, if forced to choose, the buttery texture difference.

You do not need to add granulated sugar. Blondies are superb when made with only brown sugar but a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar won’t hurt if you want to use it.

I used Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chunks but I love baking with mini chocolate chips the best.

Mini chips just give such a nice evenly spread bite of chocolate throughout your blondies or whatever other goodie you are baking.

Chocolate Bar Blondies
Cuisine: dessert
Author: Meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 organic egg plus 1 organic egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup organic butter or 1/2 cup coconut oil (both at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (mini, regular or chunks – can also use dairy-free chips)
  • 2 large chocolate bars of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Blend sugars with butter (or coconut oil).
  3. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until combined well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.
  5. Add flour mixture to wet mixture until combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips.
  7. Spread half of the dough into a lightly greased 8 x 8 pan.
  8. Place chocolate bars evenly spread on top of the dough.
  9. Cover with the rest of the dough.
  10. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes (keep checking it – every oven different) until lightly golden brown on the sides and slightly undercooked in appearance.
  11. Cool completely before cutting.


My plan to pop in the rest of the week from Disney assuming the WIFI connection is working.

In the meantime, feel free to join me on my trip by following along on instagram and twitter!


If you had to choose – Blondies or brownies?

Are you nutty about cleaning right before a trip so you come home to a clean hour?

Favorite travel snacks?


What I Ate In Florida…

My quick weekend away was just a little more than 48 hours of time yet in those hours were lots of good foods.


Let’s start with the flight down to Florida on Friday.

I brought my own salad from home to eat on the plane.


sweet potatoe wedges with salad

Roasted sweet potato wedges on top of a simple salad with plum tomatoes, asparagus and a scoop of chickpea/avocado mash.

I also sliced an apple with peanut butter on the plane using a plastic knife but didn’t get a picture because I was too busy making sure pieces of the apple didn’t go flying like one of the tomatoes from my salad did. Don’t even ask.

I brought a few packets of Justin’s Peanut Butter just in case of emergency.

peanut butter

Yes, I know they make almond butter but no, I haven’t tried it because I am allergic to almonds.

I already told you that I had my favorite salad from The Cheesecake Factory in Palm Beach Gardens but let’s look at the salad again because the onion strings were piled up nice and high just how I like it.

cheesecake factory

We didn’t have dessert at The Cheesecake Factory because we opted for Menchie’s yogurt instead. I didn’t get a picture but since it wasn’t a Red Mango parfait, you aren’t missing anything.

Each morning I made myself oatmeal using my homemade oatmeal packets which I brought from home. I added in fresh blueberries, banana and of course, peanut butter.


Saturday morning Bar Mitzvah services can be fairly long but totally worth sitting through in order to get to the Kiddush Luncheon afterwards.

You can always count on us Jews in the food department. You will never go hungry.

kiddush luncheon

You had to figure that the picture I snapped of the luncheon would be from the dessert side instead of the bagels and lox end of the table.

kiddush luncheon

I ate way more than what is on this plate. In fact, I think I reached my fruit quota for both you and me for the year.

My friend took home whatever was leftover from the Kiddush and since I was staying with her, I had access to all of the remaining fruit. I polished it off within 24 hours.

Big slices of fresh fruit is just irresistible to me, especially the pineapple. I don’t think I drank as much water as I normally do but I barely noticed because fruit can be super hydrating.

I am realizing that I missed a photo from Saturday night’s dinner (Chinese food) now that I am putting this post together but I more than make up for it with the photos from the Bar Mitzvah party on Sunday…

Let’s start with the cocktail hour:


There were tons of hors d’oeuvres being passed around but I hung by the incredible roasted vegetables display.

roasted vegetables

Like really. These roasted vegetables might be the best I have ever had.

roasted vegetables display

The roasted sweet potatoes were so good that everyone, including the carnivores, were raving about them and going back for more.

roasted vegetables

I had several servings of this plate. Several. Trust me. And, if you want to know the truth, after several plates I just started going up to the table and taking vegetable by vegetable with my fingers. No shame I tell you, none.

I was still full on fruit from the day before but I couldn’t resist picking a piece or two from this display.

fruit display

The one thing I always say I miss as a vegetarian are the little hot dogs that are passed around at events so instead of eating one I stopped the server to take a picture for us.

little hot dogs

After the cocktail hour and we were seated, the salad was served.


My friend Danielle, the hostess of the affair, was just way too thoughtful and made sure that a vegetarian plate was made for me as my meal.

quinoa with vegetables

A beautiful quinoa with roasted vegetables.


I am so not fussy at events and certainly would have ordered the salmon option if I had to, or at the very least, eaten the side dishes available on any of the main dish plates but it was really nice (and delicious) of her to respect my palate.

As for me, I had no respect for the kids in attendance because I totally snagged the onion rings from their section of the party.

onion rings

And, as usual, I was one of the first on line when the Viennese Table (fancy term for dessert buffet) was ready for attacking.


I skipped the line by the ice cream bar and went straight for the cakes. And cookies.

chocolate cake

This chocolate fudge cake completes me.


This cake was nice too. Like pie with oreo qualities.

So I started with this plate.

dessert plate

I may not have taken the ice cream but I totally added a scoop of whipped cream to my plate.

The chocolate fudge cake was seriously incredible. The right ratio of fudge to cake and then back to fudge.

dessert plate

Yes, those are both of my plates and yes, they count as dessert round two.

bar mitzvah cake

I had some of the Bar Mitzvah cake because it was chocolate-filled but the chocolate fudge cake won my heart and I honestly couldn’t help myself from having another slice.

I didn’t even debate it. It’s not often that one encounters the perfect fudge cake.

chocolate fudge cake

Okay so I might have had trouble polishing this slice off and I might have felt a little bit sick after a few bites and it might not have been such a great idea to overload the stomach before getting on an airplane but you know what? It was so worth it.

party without cake quote

Overall I think we can say I did my usual balancing of the healthy stuff with my sweet tooth.

I truly believe that a healthy lifestyle is all about a strong focus on the nutrient dense stuff without losing sight of the foods you love.

My muscles crave the sweet potatoes, plant-based proteins and complex carbs but my soul will forever run on chocolate fudge cake.

I still have slightly over two years before my son’s Bar Mitzvah (November 12, 2016!) but you can be sure that I am already reviewing the menu and have added this specific chocolate fudge cake which may need to be flown in from Florida, to the list.

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


Favorite hors devours? I don’t have one now that I don’t eat the little hot dogs!

Are you currently planning your event? Wedding, Sweet 16, Bar Mitzvah?

Which do you gravitate towards on a dessert table – the chocolate cakes or the fruity pies?









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