Layered peanut butter chocolate brownie bars

I know, I know – I’ve been on a peanut butter chocolate kick lately. It started with the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars, then with the cookies, and now these. But THESE I assure you are worth it. If you’re a fan of fudgey brownies and creamy peanut butter – all combined – then you MUST MUST MUST make these. I made them a few times, experimenting with a few different things, but I think this is the perfect combination. They are addicting, rich and sinful – so make sure you have some friends to share these with!

Layered peanut butter chocolate brownie bars

Layered peanut butter chocolate brownie bars

Inspired by this recipe.

Here’s what you need:

for the peanut butter layer 

  • 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 10ish mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

for the brownie layer

  • 3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped Reese’s peanut butter cup (or other peanut butter candy – feel free to use festive peanut butter M&Ms – I used spring ones in one version of this)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish – I lined with foil and sprayed with my Pam non-stick cooking spray.
  2. First, make the peanut butter layer: Mix together the peanut butter, sugars and egg until smooth. Press into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Make sure to press well – do not leave it loose or it could crumble after baking. Lightly press Reese’s cups (not chopped) on top of layer, evenly throughout.
  3. Then, make the brownie layer: Melt the baking chocolate and butter together in a saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl – if you microwave,  nuke for about 45 seconds, checking and stirring often until completely melted and smooth). Once melted, gradually add in sugar, then vanilla, then eggs. Then, carefully mix in the flour. Once combined, pour the batter into the pan over the peanut butter and Reese’s layer spread layer evenly to the edge of the pan. Sprinkle chopped Reese’s on top.
  4. Bake about 35-38 minutes until the top is slightly cracked around. Cool completely before cutting.

Layered peanut butter chocolate brownie bars

WIAW: Cookies and Zoodles – it’s all about balance!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Here is a typical day … why is it typical? Because I had zoodles for lunch and cookies for a midnight snack. It’s all about a balance right?

The morning I started my day with my usual. I’m so predictable. Egg whites and veggies all the way! If you like something, why mess with it, right? OH and we had a new bag of pistachios at the office so I had a few of those with my eggs.

20150416_083628

Lunch was leftovers! I had made some zoodles in an avocado pesto sauce for dinner the night before, so I enjoyed that with plenty of snap peas. AND kombucha! My first time trying this flavor. It was okay, made the kombucha even earthier than usual.

20150416_130014 20150416_131210

Snacks during the day included:

Carrots and unsalted mixed nuts

carrots

carrots

Some homemade granola (I get on granola-making binges sometimes and can’t stop. Which is good because I love eating it and sharing it!

20150416_193251

I had to work somewhat late so B made dinner! And what a dinner it was. Steak (cooked just the way I like it – medium rare), avocado, asparagus and broccoli. I am back to eating meat and this was the first steak I’d had in at least 3 months.

20150416_190759

After dinner, I got down to baking business. Which is what I like to do — except for some reason these cookies took me 2 hours to make. Whoops! It meant a late night – and late night of cookie tasting as well. I finished off my evening with a few of these peanut butter oatmeal cookie bars:

I didn't eat the whole plate ...

I didn’t eat the whole plate …

So so good!

Today’s linkup is with another Cleveland-dweller, Clean Eats, Fast Feets!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every day? What is it?
  • Do you like kombucha? Any flavor or brand recommendations?
  • How do you like your steak? Medium? Rare? Overcooked? Not at all?

Training Tuesday: Still Somewhat Sick

Before I get into this update – did you watch/catch any of the Boston Marathon yesterday?! I had to work and didn’t get to experience Marathon Monday sadly, but I was definitely checking in and paying attention to those I knew running as well as all the elites on my computer. It’s been 7 years since I lived in Boston but I still can feel the excitement of Marathon Monday and watching the runners explore the great city. Anyway – congrats to all that ran and I hope your experience was as great as you hoped!

Confession – while I lived in Boston I never ran the race (or attempted to). Instead, like most BC students I took the day off as a chance to err… drink outside… AND cheer on the runners!

 

And now back to our regularly scheduled post … my week 8 update!

Blahh. I wish this were a GREAT running update. After all, we’re LESS THAN ONE MONTH away from race day! But I was sick going into this week and not yet feeling 100% better as I got into my long run this week. But as a Cleveland marathon ambassador (running the half on race day), my job is to share with you the good AND the bad –  so here we go!

My runs for this week:

(image from my dailymile training - follow me @missaruns!)

(image from my dailymile training – follow me @missaruns!)

Monday: On the schedule – 4.5 miles.

Actual run: 4.85 miles outodors. The theme of today? Slooooooow. Running with a cold and cough is not fun. Definitely out of breath faster than usual.  BUT it was nice to be outdoors! And yes, I had to stop and snap a photo because it’s finally getting lighter during my early morning runs!

Cleveland waking up!

Cleveland waking up!

Tuesday: On the schedule – 40 minute tempo run.

Actual run: a semi 40 minute tempo run. What does that mean? I did it-but slower than I like – I usually like to get up to at least 7.6mph for a few minutes but that was not happening. I had to get up at 4:55 if I wanted to get in a run before a day out of the office and I was still not feeling 100% better and felt it on the run. The positive? I finished!

Waking up at 4:55 is not fun ... but it was done!

Waking up at 4:55 is not fun … but it was done!

Wednesday: On the schedule –  3 miles.

Actual run: 3.64 miles with Nicole. Another slow, should-be-easy run but still felt somewhat more difficult than usual. And yes, Nicole let me stop and take photos during our run.

Thank you Nicole for letting me stop and take this photo :) One of my favorite random spots downtown.

Thank you Nicole for letting me stop and take this photo :) One of my favorite random spots downtown.

Thursday: Rest.

Actual run: None! I did about 55 minutes on the elliptical, some abs and arm exercises too.

Friday: 5 miles, pace.

Actual run: 6.16 miles – not-so-pace. Again, the theme is slower than I should be for the week, huh? It was actually warm and humid and somewhat muggy out which was somewhat enjoyable – I wore capris and it was great! Another run with Nicole and we got in an extra mile thanks to my Nike+ not working again. No photo during this run.

Saturday: 10 miles.

Actual run: 10.46 miles with B. While I still didn’t feel as good as I should, it was so nice outside and I felt a LOT better than our 9-miler-turned-7-miler last weekend! My heart rate was a lot higher than usual still – I typically can do easy long runs at 140-150s but I was in the 160s for nearly half the time (45 minutes), which is what I run races at. Still – yay! We did it. 10 miles on a gorgeous sunny day. So good to be back in the double digits!

I don't know what my face is doing in this photo .. I think I'm trying not to smile or laugh while B takes a photo

I don’t know what my face is doing in this photo .. I think I’m trying not to smile or laugh while B takes a photo

from my fitbit- my heart rate

from my fitbit- my heart rate

Sunday: Off day.

Actual run: None! Got in 50 minutes on the elliptical and some free weights. And then worked my arms even more with some dusting of our apartment, which apparently was pretty dusty. Oh, and B and I took a nice walk down to the lake because it was a pretty day out – but no running!

Some questions for you:

  • How long does it take you to recover from being sick to running at 100% again?
  • Those of you with HR monitors, what’s your “happy” heart rate? How does it compare to when you race?

It’s SPRING!

First – happy Marathon Monday! Good luck to all the runners competing today and I’m so jealous of all you Bostonians enjoying the day off and cheering on the competitors. It’s been 7 years since I lived in Boston and I still miss Marathon Monday!

Now, onto the weekend. We had the most beautiful warm, sunny, springlike weekend in Cleveland. It was sunny, 60s and just absolutely positively a great weekend to be outside! So of course we tried to get in as much outside time as we could.

Friday night B and I strayed from our usual Flaming Ice Cube (they no longer have my favorite, kalebouli :() and opted to try out some new pre-long run eats – Phuel. I’ve eaten there before, but not before a long run. I had the ratatouille with polenta and a kale salad. Not bad!

20150417_183525

Saturday morning B and I headed out for a 10 mile run. After last week’s failed 9 miler I was not feeling so confident – and I was still somewhat sick – but we got it done! Was it a good run? Notsomuch. But did I complete 10 miles? Yes!

Near the end of my run

Near the end of my run

After the run, it was time to get to the West Side Market to pick up some items for our afternoon plans – making dinner for the women and children at the Moriah House of the West Side Catholic Center. B and I are in charge of the Cleveland Chapter of the Boston College Alumni Association and each year we plan at least one service event and this year was making dinner at the shelter. We had a great turnout and made some delicious chicken, potato salad, bean salad and salad for the families.

preparing dinner (I'm not doing much in the background)

preparing dinner (I’m not doing much in the background)

the whole group

the whole group

Then we headed off to one of my favorite local bars, Platform Brewery, to celebrate. I also got to meet up with Nicole and Reanna – I missed my monthly Ladies Craft Beer Event because of our service event, but we were able to catch up over a few local brews.

20150418_210809

Just a photo of Platform

And then time to celebrate Ali’s birthday at Nano Brew. I’ve known Ali for 7 years and still haven’t met many of her friends, so it was nice to put some faces to names.

IMG_20150419_005329

Sunday morning started off slow – I haven’t been out past midnight in a while (#gettingold #turning30) – but still managed to get in an EASY workout –  a little bit of ellipticalizing to shake out my legs after Saturday’s 10 miler.

During the day Sunday, B and I cleaned house. Well, B pretty much did most of the cleaning (he is a cleaning machine!) and I helped out by dusting. Guess spring cleaning was needed – our apartment looks great now! It was also 70 degrees out, so we decided to take a walk down to the lake and enjoy the great temps and get in some steps. Then it was game time! We watched and listened to the Cavs playoff game – they beat the Celtics! Woohoo.

I love water ...

I love water …

great day out!

great day out!

Oh and our evening ended with Sunday family dinner at B’s parents house and Sunday sundaes. All Sundays should end that way, right?

20150419_191755

Some questions for you:

  • Are you watching the Boston Marathon today? Do you know anyone running?
  • What’s your go-to sundae topping? whipped cream and candy :) This week I tried gummy bears – but ate them separate from the ice cream.

 

 

WIAW: I <3 Cannoli!

I can’t believe I missed last week’s WIAW linkup. In all fairness, I just got back from San Francisco and totally meant to do a WIAW San Fran-style, but I never ended up taking photos. Whoops.

So, for this week’s What I At Wednesday, I bring you LAST Wednesday!

Per usual, my day started with egg whites and veggies, made by B. I decided to also add some turkey jerky to my plate. Weird? Who cares – I gave up meat for lent and have been eating it since :) And it’s almost like turkey bacon, right?

20150408_083853

We had just gotten back from San Fran the day before and hadn’t gone to the grocery store yet, so B and I grabbed lunch together – my favorite salad at Stone Oven! Janea’s Salad- chicken, tabbouleh, couscous, feta, croutons, roasted red pepper and sun dried tomato. YUM.

20150408_130741

And a beautiful pink lady apple for a snack.

20150408_170115

And then, dinner! My friend Andy from high school was in town and he and his girlfriend spent some time at the West Side Market and decided to pick up some groceries and cook us dinner! They made us an awesome meal – Ohio City Pasta with a homemade bacon tomato sauce, broccoli and mushrooms. SO GOOD. What’s better than coming home to friends cooking you dinner – and wine? Not much!

20150408_195255

Oh and because they are awesome, they also picked up some desserts for us from Little Italy!

I had half a cannoli and a 1/4 of the napoleon.

20150408_213650

What a great meal and great day of eats for a Wednesday!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have a favorite salad near you? What’s in it?
  • What are your thoughts on jerky? Like? Hate?
  • Do you have a favorite Italian pastry? I love Italian pastries but cannoli are my favorite. Yumyumyum I could eat them all day long!

Training Tuesday: Not-so-planned week and a sick run

Welp, it was another week of training and not that great of a week. It was the first week I didn’t get in my long run as planned. On the plus side, I DID get to meet some of the CLE marathon ambassadors this week and came home with some fun swag! Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 6.51.31 PM This week: Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 6.17.19 PM Monday: On the schedule – 4 miles. Actual run: 5-ish miles outdoors. B and I were still in San Francisco, so it was great to have a vacation run. We ran through the Golden Gate Park, which is only about 1/2 mile from my brother’s place – how lucky! The park is beautiful and it was a gorgeous day out, there were so many people out and about running, walking, etc.

Loving running in Golden Gate

Loving running in Golden Gate

Tuesday: On the schedule – 40 minute tempo run. Actual run: On about 3 hours of sleep on a redeye flight, I somehow managed to get on the treadmill for a tempo run. It wasn’t a great one, but I did it! 20150407_104824 Wednesday: On the schedule –  3 miles. Actual run: 4.8 miles with my running buddies! It was the first time the three of us ladies were back running together and it was a foggy but fun morning run.

So much fog!

So much fog!

Thursday: Rest. Actual run: none! I did about 55 minutes on the elliptical and that was it. I did happen to notice that my shoes were in my issue of Runners World – how cool is that? They’re famous!

20150409_071130

famous shoes

20150409_071135

my sneakers!

Friday: 4 miles, pace. Actual run: 4 NOT pace miles. Normally I would’ve done 1/2-1 mile warm up and cool down but today wasn’t great. I knew that today pace would not happen. I kept it up, but still went a lot slower than I thought I would/could – by the end I was just trying to keep up at a somewhat not-so-slow pace (not fast pace). I started to wonder if I was getting sick… Saturday: 9 miles. Actual run: 7 barely moving miles with B. Yup. I was sick. I had to stop and cough about every mile, and was having trouble keeping my breathing up. The good news is I made it about 7 miles, thanks to B pushing me – which is better than I thought I would make it – I thought I’d stop after one! From my instagram (follow me at @koskim!) Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 7.02.42 PM

Sunday: Off day. Actual run: None! I woke up feeling sick and had a slight fever so I stayed in bed most of the day. I ended up catching the Indians game and returning to the couch. So yeah, not much action. Didn’t even break 6,000 steps!

how i feel

A questions for you:

  • Do you run when you’re sick? I try to get in some activity – I’m glad I got in some running on Saturday and trying not to be disappointed it wasn’t the 9 I had hoped for/planned. Though, I did have a fever Saturday night so I’m guessing my body was telling me something and it’s okay I didn’t run.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Bean Chili

I don’t know about you, but where I am is JUST starting to feel like spring! This past weekend was gorgeous, it’s supposed to be 60 today … but the past few weeks have been pretty chilly for April! We still have had a few chilly days, a few cold nights, and even some frosty mornings. That being said, I am trying to embrace it. So yes, we’re still eating soups, chilis and other wintry foods. Truth be told? I love chili and hot soup all year round so at least food-wise, I can’t complain.

Looking for a meat free chili that you can set and forget about? Here you go! I made this chili in the crockpot one night when I knew we’d only have 30 min to prepare and eat dinner … and since I like to sit and enjoy a meal, I knew I wanted to spend the 30 minutes eating (and not cooking/cleaning). This was the perfect solution, and even B enjoyed his meatless bowl! Just in time for Meatless Monday, here’s a slow cooker vegetarian chili you can enjoy.

slow cooker butternut squash %0Abean chili (3)

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Bean Chili

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup cauliflower, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (or even better, homemade!)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1-2 Tablespoons ground cumin (to taste)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or more (or to taste)
  • hot sauce (I like cholula) to taste
  • Optional toppings: Greek yogurt, cheese, avocado, cilantro, more hot sauce

Here’s what you do

  1. Place all the diced and chopped veggies in the crockpot (squash, onion, garlic, peppers, cauliflower).
  2. Cover veggies with canned tomatoes, sauce, beans and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper).
  3. Set crock pot on low for 7-8 hours. Add in hot sauce before serving and when plated (or bowled)? add your additional toppings! I love topping mine with cheese and avocado (vegetarian) or just avocado (vegan).

slow cooker butternut squash bean chili in the crockpot

Some questions for you:

  • How do you like your chili? Meaty? Beany? Tons of veggies?
  •  Do you have any good vegetarian crockpot recipes?

Joining this Meatless Monday linkup again!