Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Cookies

I have to apologize, because I know that around this time of year, it’s like Jack the Pumpkin King threw up all over blog land.

If a vegetable could give you nightmares…it would be this guy. 

There are pumpkin smoothies (YUM!), pumpkin cakes, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake… pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin!!!

But you know me, I just had to get in on the action. I have been using pumpkin a lot lately, mostly in yogurt bowls, oatmeal, and in smoothies, but I’ve also been working on a little somethin’ somethin’ for ya!

I first made this recipe last week, and while it wasn’t an epic fail, they were just blah.

So I put my thinking cap on, made a few additions, one subtraction, and voila!

Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Cookies 

I began with 1 C of oat flour, but wanted them slightly more dense, so I upped it to 1.5 C. This is a personal preference! 

I have to add a little disclaimer here: I call them breakfast cookies because they are not too sweet and are excellent for a breakfast on the go. However, they are not just for breakfast! I’ve been eating them mostly as an afternoon snack; they’re nutritious, tasty, and with fiber and protein from the oats and pumpkin, they’ll get you through that afternoon snack food crave-fest.

This last time I made them, I couldn’t decide exactly how I wanted them, so I ended up splitting up the batter into thirds. One third were kept with just raisins, one third with chocolate chips and raisins, and the rest were made with raisins and chopped pecans.

My favorite? The ones with chocolate chips of course!

I must admit, they are also ridiculously good with a dollop of almond butter on top (or sandwiched in between, as I’ve been doing). What? A little almond-butter-pumpkin-cookie sandwich is a totally normal idea.

I keep mine refrigerated, although they don’t last very long in my house so I’m not sure how long they’ll keep for; 3-4 days I would imagine. Just pop one in the microwave for about 10 seconds to warm it up, but I think they’re great cold too!

I also have to add one thing: Whether you make these cookies or not, one thing I recommend buying is the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you (you poor, poor soul), I’m sure you can find  pumpkin butter elsewhere but I can’t vouch for how good it will be! It is pretty darn sweet so you never need very much, but about 3/4 Tbs mixed in to my breakfast yogurt bowls has made for breakfast-heaven lately.

And last but certainly not least, if you don’t have the pumpkin butter, you can still make the cookies. I would just add in another banana or a small amount of brown sugar to sweeten them just a touch.

Happy Weekend everyone! I’ll be spending my weekend eating pumpkin things, doing some writing, and studying for my upcoming CSCS exam.  I’m not gonna lie, I’ll probably also consume some pumpkin beers somewhere in there. Fun stuff, huh?

Do any of you have any big plans this weekend? Do you tend to fall onto the pumpkin-craze bandwagon each fall? What’s your favorite recipe to add pumpkin to? Do you use Trader Joes pumpkin butter?

Recipe: Blueberry Oat Muffins

I haven’t posted a recipe for you guys in a while, so what better day than today?

The origin of this recipe did not come from my brain (but let’s be serious, besides the peanut butter granola bars, when do they ever?) I came upon this oat-flour muffin recipe after my sister had posted a link to it on facebook. Since she’s just about a home-made food genius, I decided to trust her recommendation on them!

The original recipe is here, and comes from Happy Herbivore, which is an excellent blog/website that you should check out when you get a minute! The first time I tried these, I stuck to the recipe exactly, and fell in love with them. The second time I made them, however, I omitted the additional oats (by accident) and added in some chopped pecans, which was another great version, and I found that without the additional oats I liked the consistency even better.

The third time I made them, however, was my favorite so far. I made a few changes to the recipe, (again, the original recipe is here), and Voila! Blueberry Oat Muffins:

What You’ll Need:

2 C Oat Flour (I make my own by just throwing some oats in the blender until finely ground)

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

2 Tsp baking powder

1/4 C brown sugar

1 C almond milk

1/2 Tsp vanilla extract

1 whole banana

1 C blueberries


What You’ll Need To Do:

Preheat your oven to 375. Combine the oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar until mixed evenly. Blend almond milk with banana and vanilla extract until smooth. Mix wet ingredients into dry until fully incorporated. Gently fold in blueberries, and scoop mixture into 12 (greased) muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 10-15 min, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Mine cook for 12 minutes, but every oven will be a little bit different.  Makes 12 muffins.

You can really whip up a batch of these in about 10 min flat, and they are perfect to have on hand during the week! For the past few weeks, I’ve been making a batch at the beginning of the week and having them as mid-day snacks, or a couple of them as a quick breakfast on the go (They’re pretty small). And although they are “muffins”, they’re not sweet like traditional muffins; they’re pretty much a portable form of oatmeal. If you’re looking for something sweeter, they’d probably be great with a brown sugar/oat crumble topping. They’re also good topped with jam (and I even had one with Nutella from the first batch I made… Yum!)

Another good perk for those of you with gluten sensitivity or intolerance: they are gluten free if made with certified gluten-free oats. Win!

Enjoy 🙂

Do you ever cook with oat flour? What’s your go-to breakfast-on-the-go?

Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies

Now that I’ve enticed you with that delicious sounding title, I’m going to make you wait a little bit for it.

Such a tease.

First, lets have a little fun with numbers…because it’s Friday, and random posts are always better on Fridays.

Yesterday, I lifted 9,760 pounds with my legs. Yep, you read that right. Let me break it down for you:

Conventional Deadlifts: 1×8 @ 95 lb; 1×6 @ 110 lb; 1×5 @ 135 lb; 3×5 @145 lb

Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 x 8 @ 75 lb

Hip Thrusters: 3×8 @ 95 lb

Romanian Dead Lifts (RDL) 3×8 @ 105 lb

Add all of that poundage up, and that’s 9,760 pounds I moved with these legs. In about 40 minutes.

That’s equivalent to:

Almost 3 adult male giraffes.

I have sort of an unhealthy obsession with giraffes. But can you blame me? LOOK at them!

About 1000 lb shy of the largest male elephant ever recorded

About 48 refrigerators

1,170 Gallons of water

30 Shaq’s.

One of the biggest of the bigs

BOOM!

That was fun, wasn’t it?

Now on to the feature presentation:

Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies

Originally, I saw something similar to this on Pinterest, which came along with this picture:

This is the best and most awesome breakfast cookie ever! And the best part, no flour, no sugar, and no dairy added!  Ingredients-  1.5 cups of oats  2-3 super rippened bananas  1 cup of unsweetened applesauce  handful of craisins to taste  cinnamon    Pretty much just throw everything together, mix it up pretty well, throw it on a baking sheet at 350 for about 35 minutes and then go to town! It's great and super healthy for you!

However, the picture did not link back to a blog or webpage, and only had a brief description of the recipe with it. They look mouthwateringly good, though, so I decided to put my own spin on them with a few modifications. So, that being said, if YOU are the original creator of the above picture/recipe, I am not trying to steal your recipe and wish I could give credit where it is due!  But alas, I can not.

So here goes, with my own additions in italics.

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 C Oats

2-3 Ripened bananas (I used 3)

1 C unsweetened apple sauce

Cinnamon to taste (I used about 1 tsp)

Handful of dried cranberries (I probably used about 1/2-3/4 C)

3 Tbs Almond Flour

1/4 C chopped dates

1/2 tsp Apple Pie Spice 

What You Need To Do:

Mash up the bananas in a medium bowl, mix with applesauce. In a separate, larger bowl, mix up the remaining ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until incorporated.  Glop onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake for about 30 min at 350 degrees.  This makes about 1 dozen cookies.

*Make sure you grease the cookie sheet, or else the bottoms WILL stick. I learned this the hard way.

Easy Peasy, right?

And the best part is, they’re wheat and dairy free, with no added sugar, for those of you with sensitivities.

So there you have it, a super quick, easy, healthy “cookie” perfect for breakfast, a mid-day pick-me-up, or just any old time you want a snack! And they make your entire house smell like Apple Pie while they’re cooking. Bonus!

I also must add… Throw a little nut-butter on one of these puppies, and it’s kind of like a little piece of heaven.

Enjoy, and Happy Friday everyone!

A Confession and A Countdown

Another week in front of us, huh? Well how about that.  How was everyone’s holiday weekend? Mine was actually pretty fantastic, and ended with a day trip to NYC with Will on Sunday, which was excellent in itself! Alas, now I’m exhausted, but lack of sleep is well worth an eventful weekend in my book.  As you can see from my title, there are two pieces to today’s post: a confession and a countdown.

First, the confession.

Let’s just get it out of the way before it gets awkward in here.

So, all of you (hopefully) know that I am a huge proponent of including fats in your diet (Yes, even saturated fat), and I am generally against substituting fake low-fat and fat-free chemical-laden foods for real foods.

Yet, in spite of this, I did something I’m kind of ashamed of.

If you spend a lot of time perusing healthy living or foodie blogs, you’ve probably heard about something called Pb2.

Yes, it’s powdered peanut butter. And Yes, it has 85% less fat and calories than real peanut butter. And Yes, I ordered some.

Let’s get ONE thing clear before anyone calls me a hypocrite:

I did not ever intend to replace my nutbutter intake with this. I only ordered it because I really love the taste of peanuts, and tend to eat a lot of peanut butter if I’m not careful.  Because peanut butter is so calorie dense, this can lead to far more calories than someone my size requires.

So rather than replacing the peanut butter in my oatmeal with Pb2, I simply got this so that I could add in some peanut flavor to my yogurt without over-calorizing (yes, it’s a word. well it is now) myself, especially on days with light or no training.

And the thing is, Pb2 really is an OK product. It is not chemically formed peanut butter, nor is it created with fillers and flavors. It actually is made of peanuts. It is peanuts that are basically pressed through a sieve, removing most of the oils/fats, and leaving behind a peanut dust that is then combined with salt and a tiny bit of sugar.

3 Ingredients. That’s it. That’s much more than I can say for some other “low calorie” peanut butters out there (ahem, Better ‘n Butter).  Although one of those ingredients is unfortunately sugar, it’s only a very small amount. I do think, though, that the product and flavor would be better without it.

So, after trying it in my yogurt the other afternoon (you just mix a tablespoon of powder with a Tbs of water, and voila! “peanut butter”), here’s my verdict.

I don’t get it.

Sure, it gives a peanut-y flavor, and yes, the consistency is similar enough to the real thing (although a little bit chalky), but it’s so very clearly not peanut butter. You know what it is about peanut butter that tastes so good? It’s the fat. Fat is one of the things that makes food palatable, which is why fatty foods are just so darn good. But this just didn’t have it (or it only had about 15% of “it”). It was tolerable, sure. But would I ever go for this stuff when I’m truly craving nut butter? Probably not.

I’m not saying it’s a terrible product, and I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t buy it, but it’s really not for me. Now that I have a whole jar, I’m sure I’ll use it up in my yogurt and to add some peanut flavor into smoothies, but in the future, I may just take a more novel approach and (gasp!) just flat out not eat so much damn nut butter. But even so, mark my words. A product like this will never, ever replace real nut butter in my house.  So if you’re looking for a low calorie way to enjoy real peanuts, and not some chemically enhanced crap, than this might be the right stuff for you. But please keep in mind that the fats found in nut butters are extremely healthy, and when eaten in moderation are an excellent part of a well-rounded diet. Moderation being the key word here, one that I seem to have a lot of trouble with on some days.

And now for the (pseudo) countdown. I know you’re excited.

5: The number of days UNTIL I GET TO GO SEE THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!!! I can’t possibly begin to tell you how excited I am for this movie. It’s rather sickening, actually.

4: The number of hours I spent on a bus yesterday from NYC to Boston. All four of those hours were spent listening to the two dudes beside me laughing hysterically and LOUDLY at their comic books. Really?!?

3: The number of Deadlift reps I pulled at 145 lb on Friday, a new PR! ‘Nuff said 🙂

2:  The number of weeks I have left in my last class! Master’s degree, here I come. And on a related note…

1: The number of exams that are standing between me and my MS. So gosh darn close. Hallelujah.

Have you tried Pb2? What do you think of it? What awesome things are you counting down to?