Special K Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

Saturday night B went out to a beer/whiskey/cigar bar with some dudes and I decided to stay home and catch up on my DVR (how else would I know what happened to Kourtney and Kim in NY?), paint my nails and bake some cookies.

What did I bake? Special K cookies! I first had these cookies at B’s parents house and they have become a Carney family tradition and now make an appearance at quite a few family gatherings. I even sent some to my brother in a care package his freshman year. All in all, Special K cookies were a perfect end to a great day!

Special K Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs vanilla sugar (1 package of purchased)
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 c. uncooked old fashioned oats
  • 2 c Special K cereal
  • 3/4 c sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix special K, oats, coconut flakes and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugars until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg is added.
  5. Stir in flour mixture slowly, mixing well.
  6. Stir in oat mixture and mix with wooden spoon until well blended.
  7. Make tablespoon sized scoops on greased baking sheets.
  8. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Marathon Training: Week Two Recap

Well, week two of training for the Cleveland marathon is over and so far so good! As you may know, I didn’t really have an official Week One training week (iron v. toe incident), so was a little rusty this week. This week called for Tuesday: 3. Wednesday: 3. Thursday: 3. Saturday: 7. So how did it go?

Monday: Rest/xc day/my birthday! – Did 55 minutes on the elliptical in my building. Toe felt fine and I was excited to get back running.

Tuesday: 4.3 mi, AM outdoors. Slightly chilly, but dry outdoor run. I wasn’t keeping track of how far I was going, just ran for a little outside and hoped it was more than 3 miles. And it was! I felt great to be outside and running again! Maybe it had something to do with the awesome pasta dinner I had enjoyed for my birthday the night before?

Wednesday: 3.5 mi, AM on treadmill. I was in Toledo for business and knew I wouldn’t get home until 7-8 p.m., so I decided to wake up early and check out the hotel gym. Blech. Barely could keep a 6.0 pace while watching the news. Tired/sluggish after a late night Tuesday and late Chinese dinner on the road.

Thursday: 3 mi, PM on treadmill (followed by .5 mi cool down). Back in Cleveland, but pretty windy and rain/snow pellets were coming down. B and I headed to our gym and put in a few miles together next to each other (cue: awwwww) on the treadmills while watching some Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Finished strong and stayed at a 6.0-6.5 mph pace the whole time. Ended the workout with some abs and lifted some arms.

Friday: Nothing! Slept in before work and then went to the Cavs game – and sat in a sweet suite – after enjoying Noodlecat afterwork. While the group enjoyed the free beers, I didn’t want to go overboard, knowing I had to get up early Saturday and run. Is this what it’s going to be like all year?

Saturday: 7 mi, AM outdoors. BRR! Windy, snowy and relatively chilly (still not below 20 though!) but felt pretty good the whole way. Kept a steady pace with B and his sister, so much that we could talk the entire time. The main issues I had were some hip tightness and stinging eyes from the snow pelts.

When we got back from our run, we checked our mail and had a surprise from the Cleveland marathon – our “freebie” for signing up early, a Cleveland Marathon Drawstring Bag. THEN I checked my blogroll and while reading another Cleveland runner’s blog, Poise in Parma, I found out I won her awesome elllesport workout shirt giveaway! Can’t wait for my prize to come and test it out this winter and spring!

Birthday [Weekend] Wrap Up

Monday was my birthday! I know, Happy Birthday to me : ) Missed it? It’s okay, I’m still accepting belated gifts, flowers, fruit arrangements, etc. And it’s easy to remember next year – 1-23!

Naturally, I decided to celebrate the birthday (it was a big one – I’m no longer in my mid-twenties… I’m in my mid-late twenties!) the whole weekend throughout Cleveland. It was a great time and involved a lot of food, surprises and more food.

Friday

Friday began the celebration! Our building had an event so B and I spent the evening enjoying Happy Hour drinks and free bowling at the Corner Alley. I didn’t take any photos because I really didn’t need any evidence of my poor bowling skills (I scored a 48 first round) or sexy bowling shoes (I got them a size up just so I could wear them comfortably with the swollen toe). Friday for dinner B let me choose what I wanted, so we enjoyed a simple feast of cheese (goat, brie and chipotle cheddar), meat (two types of salami) and bread!

Friday also brought the first of my gifts, cards from my parents and Uncle Mike and packages from Jane and my brother arrived. Jane’s gift ended up being a belated wedding gift and one of my favorites thus far – a homemade wedding photo scrapbook. Seriously, this thing is legit and includes our wedding photos, some bachelorette party and shower photos, our invitations, and more. Jane is amazing. My brother also got me an incredible package of a book, a homemade CD with specially-picked tunes (already loaded on my iTunes!) and TWO packages of my favorite ginger candies which I can’t seem to get here.

Saturday

Saturday morning and afternoon involved two of my favorite activities – shopping and a manicure! I woke up early and got my nails done a fun navy blue color and then dragged B along shopping so I could find a perfect outfit for our dinner date that evening, which ended up being a fun plum colored sparkly dress!

After shopping, B went for his 6 mile run outside while I moped that I couldn’t run did the elliptical and got ready. When B got home from his run he excited me with #1 of the 2 surprises of that night – a new necklace, one I’d been eyeing for some time! Then we headed to Blue Point and enjoyed an amazing dinner dinner. I got the My Blue [Pointe] Heaven, a plate full of scallops (yum), shrimp (double yum), lobster tail (yum yum yum!) and lobster mashed potatoes. Jealous?

For dessert, I decided I wanted Ben & Jerry’s. So we walked to Constantino’s to pick up some ice cream to enjoy on our couch at home … or so I thought!

We walked back toward our apartment and decided to take a shorter, warmer route through Tower City. The next thing I knew, we were in the Ritz and heading up to our own room that B had secretly booked, checked in AND stocked with an overnight bag (including workout clothes!) for me AND champagne (all done while he was on his run). That was Surprise #2 in case you didn’t figure that out.

Sunday

Sunday included a short workout (elliptical, still no running) in the Ritz’s pretty nice hotel gym/spa area, followed by brunch at the Diner on Clifton. I enjoyed a pretty awesome ahi tuna club sandwich and sweet potato fries (not the only fries of the day). After lunch involved relaxing and watching some Luther episodes (a new favorite show of mine!), afternoon mass (we got chosen to bring up the gifts … they must have known it was my birthday) and then the Greenhouse Tavern for the Chef Sawyer Iron Chef America episode watch/tweetup!

The Tweetup was great. While Chef Sawyer didn’t win :(, B and I enjoyed a night out, fun people and of course, great food. Being neighbors to the restaurant, it was really cool to see the Chef in person and even shake his hand. The chefs had specially prepared some of the food from the show and handed them out as the show aired. The secret ingredient was mint and we enjoyed a mint salad with lamb (I love lamb!) some zucchini – mint fritters and an amazing dessert, the Stoner Sandwich – a mint ice cream sandwich made with a waffle. We may have also splurged on some of the famous gravy frites before the event.

Monday

Monday was my real birthday! Finally, right? Monday involved work and then a homemade requested dinner by B. We tried out our pasta attachment for our KitchenAid (B made the dough, I just had fun putting it through the attachment) and B made sauce and turkey meatballs, one of my favorite meals by him.

Thanks so much to everyone who helped make my birthday a great one. I got so many calls, texts, cards, emails, Facebook messages, and so on, and felt so loved. Last year was pretty awesome (moved downtown, got a promotion, got married, went on a honeymoon to Tortola, BVI) and I’m excited about what’s to come. Here’s to another great year!

The 2012 Toe v. Iron Incident (hint: the iron won)

I ran 4 miles this morning! I ran 4 miles this morning! I’m so excited, I ran FOUR MILES.

Now if you know me, you probably know that I really shouldn’t be excited about that. After all, I typically average anywhere from 15-30 miles a week and run 3-5 mi most mornings during the weeks and even longer on the weekend. So why am I so excited?

Let me start from the beginning.Last week was the first official week of marathon training. What’s that? I forgot to tell you I was training for a marathon? Woops! So yeah – I signed up for my first full marathon (I did a half in Columbus a few years ago), Cleveland, May 2012. Anyway, long story short, B signed up too and jotted down Hal Higdon’s training schedule for beginners and determined that Day One of training would start January 17.

So January 17 starts out like any other day. I wake up, groggily, and head to the laundry area to get my running clothes, which I had put in the dryer the night before. As opened the dryer (which is on top of my washer) the iron that I had put on top of the dryer the night before also happened to fall – from about 6-7 feet- right onto my big toe. Before you close your eyes or shudder, let me answer a few of the frequently asked questions:

  • When was the incident? The incident occurred approximately 6:55 a.m. on Tuesday, 1/17/12. Coincidentally Day One of marathon training.
  • What exactly happened? The iron fell from the top of my dryer and landed on my foot. I don’t know how it landed – it hit my foot and bounced off and then I screamed in pain.
  • Was anyone else around? Yes, B was sleeping but the sound of the iron hitting the ground, combined with my screaming obscenities, woke him up.
  • Did it hurt? Yes. A lot. Thus the obscenity-screaming.
  • Was the iron on? No. It was not plugged in and was not hot.
  • What did your toe look like? It was swollen and bloody. The toe nail was purple. Because I had painted my nails the night before.
  • Can I see a picture? No. I did, of course, take photos, but I will not post them on the blog. Gross. The last thing I want is my blog coming up in weird toe fetish searches!
  • Was it broken? No, it wasn’t broken. I went and had XRays taken on Wednesday, 1/18/12. The dr also burnt a hole in the toenail to relieve some of the pressure from the blood that was pooling under the skin and nail. This was after they took the nail polish off my toe nail that I had just painted purple, the night before.
  • Did you run that morning? NO! I had my toe iced and bandaged and elevated until about 3:30 p.m. when it finally stopped bleeding.
  • Did you run at all that week? No. Sadly, marathon training was put off a week, while B continued to run. Oh, the irony (typically he is the non-runner).

So marathon training was put on hold for one more week, as was wearing heels, wearing my new Hunter boots (they were too hard on my aching toe), and walking to work (B drove me). But that didn’t stop me from having an awesome birthday week and hopping on the elliptical when I could finally, comfortably fit my foot back in my sneakers on the 22nd. And running 4 miles this morning!

Italian Crock Pot Chicken (a.k.a Slow Cooker Chicken, Tomatoes and Olives)

One of my favorite blogs for browsing healthy slow cooker recipes is Skinnytaste.com. I’ve already pinned a bunch of recipes and even tried a few. So when I saw the photo of her Crock Pot Chicken a la Criolla, I was excited! Cilantro, chicken, tomatoes and olives? Yum! So when B went to the store, I sent him off with the grocery list, and was excited to enjoy what was sure to be a delish dish.

BUT of course B forgot a few things. Like tomato sauce. And cilantro. Though the cilantro was probably on purpose because he hates it. Determined to still have a crock pot meal, I adapted the recipe somewhat and turned it into an Italian dish – served on top of orzo, instead of rice! It was yummy and I’ll definitely be making it again, especially since B and I finished it the first night. What can I say – he’s training for a marathon and was hungry!

Italian Crock Pot Chicken (a.k.a Slow Cooker Chicken, Tomatoes and Olives)

(Adapted from Skinnytastes.com’s Crock Pot Chicken a la Criolla)

Here’s what you need:

  • 4-5 skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 1 lb)
  • 1 medium sized white onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, either finely diced or crushed with garlic press
  • 1bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped into cubes
  • 6 – 8 small pitted Spanish olives + 2 tbs olive juice
  • 1 c tomato sauce (I used homemade sauce that we had on hand … B or I make it at least once a month for pasta, etc. but you probably could use a can)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful of fresh basil (if on hand)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Put chicken, onion, garlic, pepper and tomatoes in the crock pot.
  2. Add salt, cumin, basil, oregano. Stir it all up so everything is well-seasoned.
  3. Add tomato sauce, olives, 2 tbsp of the olive juice, 1/2 cup water, and bay leaves. Mix well.
  4. Set crock pot on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
  5. When done, add fresh basil and adjust spices as needed.

Serve over orzo or with a big chunk of Italian bread for dunking in the broth. Or both!

Everything in the crock pot, ready to go!

Italian Crock Pot Chicken (I need to work on my food photography skills)

Banana Crumb Muffins

New year, new recipes? Ha! I wish. But it’s finally time to share one of my favorite recipes – banana crumb muffins! It’s a recipe that I seem to make quite often – and not just because B seems to let his bananas go bad often, but because they are SO easy and SO yummy! The next time you find yourself with 3 or 4 overripe banana, I suggest you try these out.

banana crumb muffins

Banana Crumb Muffins

Adapted from this recipe, makes 12 muffins

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the muffins:

  • 4 ripe bananas, smooshed, either by hand or food processor
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (I used 1/4c eggbeaters)
  • 3/4 stick butter (3/4 stick is 6 tbs … you can use the 2 tbs in the stick remaining for the topping!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

For the crumb topping:

  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs butter (the rest of the stick of butter from above)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Use a food processor to mash 4 bananas until smooshy (yes, smooshy, not soupy). Add melted butter, sugar, vanilla and egg to food processor. You could probably put the banana in a bowl and then add the other wet aforementioned ingredients, but why make another bowl dirty that you’ll just have to wash?
  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Add banana-butter-sugar-vanilla-egg mixture to dry ingredients. Mix well until dry and wet ingredients are combined thoroughly.
  • Spoon batter into greased muffin tin, or tin prepared with muffin liners.
  • Make the topping! In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 3 tbs flour and cinnamon. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle crumb topping over muffins.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes – mine tend to be finished at exactly 19 minutes.

Enjoy! Try to keep yourself from eating before they get cool – I tell B this every time, but I still find him trying one before it’s fully cool and then the muffin sticks to the wrapper. It may be hard, but it’s worth the wait!