Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuff ‘Cakes

I saw a recipe online that included chocolate stuffed pancakes and I was very much for it. My usual go-to pancake recipe is one I’ve shared before on the blog. In the past, I’ve mixed my favorite chocolate peanut butter into the batter and while tasty, it never quite tasted as chocolatey and peanut buttery as I’d hoped. Cue the internet!

Frozen chocolate peanut butter discs. The original post I found this from used Nutella, but I’m not a huge hazelnut girl, so I stuck with what I knew.

I used my own pancake recipe, minus the peanut butter in the batter.

Don’t mind the creepy hand shadow. These discs were spread onto plastic wrap (the only thing I had for it) the night before in anticipation of making this recipe. Once I’m up, I want to eat, so there would be no waiting for a pre-freeze in the morning.

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Once everything was prepared, I dropped a dollop of batter onto the hot pan, delicately plopped the peanut butter disc on top, and covered it with more batter.

UM.

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Served with eggs of choice (scrambled), preferred hot beverage (coffee), favorite fruit (all the berries), and topped with syrup or nothing at all because the chocolate peanut butter upped the ante. The perfect weekend breakfast.

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Yes, please and thank you to the blogger who inspired this meal!

Confessions of a Chocaholic

I have a problem, two actually, and neither include that supposed apocalypse that was hyped. Well, so far, we’re safe.

First problem, my sweet tooth is out of control. Sugar is addictive and I am not strong against it. We’ve discussed my want for ice cream at length. I don’t just mean during the warm summer months. The need is hard even during the frigid winter. A day without ice cream is a wasted day, not worth living something in which I have to grow accustomed.

When it comes to sweets, I’m not big on the fruity candy or fancy desserts. I love ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate. On occasion, I’ll enjoy some cake so long as there’s ice cream on the side (don’t even think about putting it on top!).

Here’s what I have become.

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Yes, that is a candy wrapper (one of the Hershey miniatures) stuck in my STEERING WHEEL. In my defense, except there is no defense, the wind picked it up from one of my cup dispensers when I was driving with my windows down and it must have lodged into the wheel. I had to snap a pic and share in the embarrassment. If we can’t laugh, then I’m just a little bit pathetic.

I think we’ve all learned to pick up after ourselves and maybe to better combat cravings.

That second problem I mentioned: flies! I am being hunted down by what I’m pretty sure is the same pack of flies, whether I’m at work, running, sitting in my backyard, and even in my bedroom! Okay, that last one was an exaggeration as they were not in my bedroom, but the others were true. Usually it’s mosquitoes that are all up in my business, but they’ve been blessedly absent this summer. Back off, bugs!

Maybe if I stopped eating so much sugar, I wouldn’t seem as sweet…

Let’s move onto food. Last night’s dinner was veggie heavy. I enjoyed a piece of grilled swordfish with brown spinach rice, squash, broccoli, zucchini, and red pepper. Yum!

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This morning’s breakfast included an egg, chicken sausage, and pepper jack cheese sandwich with a banana and scoop of chocolate peanut butter.

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The goodness fueled me through my morning run before work. I ran two miles and ended with a couple of sprints that left me breathless in the best way! I need to be better about including intervals into my training, but they knock you out! I have some Yoga on the menu for later to top things off.

After work, I had lunch with a friend at Whole Foods. I was good and stacked my plate with lots of yummy vegetables, like fresh bell peppers, grilled artichokes and zucchini, and marinated mushrooms. I then added a scoop of macaroni and cheese and a chicken finger, but we all need our indulgences once in awhile.

Now’s the time for studying in my backyard with the beautiful breeze and warm sun shining down. God, do I love fall!

Julie Andrews Is A Goddess Angel Baby

Last night, I drifted off to sleep listening to the Oscars. At some point, I woke up and it was still playing. When they announced Lady Gaga was performing next, I declared it time for bed. Little did I know that JULIE FREAKING ANDREWS would be making an appearance at the end of her performance. Julie Andrews is a goddess angel baby and I would have liked to see the beautiful moment when the entire audience gave her the standing ovation she deserves. I mean, I got to see it on Youtube, and for the record, Gaga rocked it, but it would have been a real life moment. This is why the Oscars don’t need to be 5.78 hours long. And on a Sunday night!

When I was younger, I used to watch The Sound of Music over and over again- bless my Nana who watched it with me- but I was an active participant, pretending to be Liesel or Maria, putting on a pretty dress and leaping across my living room while singing as loud as I could. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I feel it is a pertinent moment in my life. Julie Andrews is the essence of talent and class.

My love of celebrities battled my love of sleep and sleep won out. Granted, not until after I saw Chris Evans present. It doesn’t help that many of my favorites didn’t even attend. In that case, my curiosity would have gotten the best of sleep.

Despite keeping me up later than usual, waking up this morning for my workout didn’t prove too difficult. It was more of the prospect of stepping outside into the freezing cold world that made things difficult. After a large glass of water, I brewed myself a small cup of coffee and ate a tortilla stuffed with almond butter, banana, and strawberries. I made a few of these, along with a couple of eggs, to be prepared for the week ahead. I did try to mix things up a bit, so you’ll see more throughout the week.

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My workout today included a kettlebell circuit that got the blood flowing. I ran through 4 sets of 10 reps of swings, deadlifts, high lifts, arrow lunges, and kickback rows. After, I did a few planks- 1.5 minutes for a front plank, 1 minute on each side for side planks. More strength training was on the menu and I did 4 sets of 10 reps of dumbbells- alternating shoulder to knee presses, hammer curls, then shoulder raises, overhead tricep extensions, and bench presses on the stability ball. Nouha joined me, which helped me forget how early it was!

I wanted to take a break from running due to my left foot falling asleep the day before, so I rode the elliptical for a mediocre cardio workout for 20 minutes, followed by 4 minutes on the bike doing a Tabata Interval workout. It was a great workout and an amazing way to start the day!

After coming home and getting ready for the rest of my day, I made an egg and cheese sandwich. One egg, a few pieces of pepper jack cheese, on top of an English muffin, and a side of blueberries and sweet pineapple, made an excellent morning pick-me-up.

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It’s hard to believe that four of these meatballs are one serving because they are so filling and tasty! On Sunday, I stir fried a bunch of vegetables and brown rice, enough to make two lunches, and took half of it for yesterday’s lunch. To go along with these ginger teriyaki chicken meatballs, I sautéed everything in a teriyaki marinade, which was an excellent combination. To complete my meal, I polished off a pear- a recent obsession- and two hershey nuggets. Perfecto!

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Dinner provided a medley of flavors and colors. Steak fajitas are one of our favorite meals, which we complemented with peppers, mushrooms, and a salad made of lettuce, carrots, and tomato. For mine, I folded my tortilla in half like a quesadilla and filled it with cheese. I had a couple of spoonfuls of rice to go along with it.

Trick or Treat But Anything Than…That!

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I am a big fan of Halloween for three major reasons: it’s an excuse to gorge yourself on chocolate (in moderation!), you dress up as whatever you want (Elsa!), and it’s my sister’s birthday so I can always tease her that she’s a full-fledged witch (and also that I love her, okay?)

If you really think about it, Halloween is nice to people trying to make good choices because it keeps portion sizes small and controlled, of course that depends on if you can maintain your control. The fun-sized bars are just more fun anyways because you can then choose 2-3 different types of candy to have and feel more satisfied. That’s the way I like to play it anyways because keeping a positive attitude is a major part of the challenge of staying healthy and happy! There’s absolutely no reason to stop celebrating Halloween once you grow up and that includes both candy consumption and costume dressing.

In very exciting news, I am happy to report that not only did my Elsa costume come in plenty of time for Halloween festivities, but it’s actually quite nice. Paired with my ready to go tiara and I will be an exceptional ice queen. The only problem everyone keeps pointing out to me is that I don’t have anywhere near Elsa hair- not blonde, not long or thick enough for a decent braid. I’m still on the search for that one, but I might have to resort to spraying it. Yeep! I also have some very exciting little detailed plans to incorporate to my costume. This is the first year in a while that I’ve actually planned a costume ahead of time so I’m quite pleased with myself.

Obviously the fact that Halloween is my sister’s birthday is very exciting as well. Since I was born nine days (and three years) later, I always say that I was the best gift she ever could have received. It’s also cool to have a big bash for her birthday with everyone dressed up.

This all leads me to the point of my post that I haven’t mentioned. I’m all for Halloween decorations and any kind of holiday decorations because it’s festive and fun. I love all the little ghosts and gravestones, black cats and haunting music, and cute owls and pumpkins smiling or howling. It all sets the scene. One thing I do not love are all the freaking S-P-I-D-E-R-S. Overload people, relax! I was on a great run yesterday plugging along when I noticed one of the houses on my route had a gigantic freaking S-P-I-D-E-R blow up doll on top of their house. It was so realistic, I jumped and nearly fell over onto a nearby lawn. It did give me more incentive to run faster, but I was not pleased.

This Halloween, enjoy the candy, the trick or treating, parties, and random festivities, but please LAY OFF THE YOU KNOW WHATS! It’s bad for my health.photo

Halloween Excitement!

If you follow me on Twitter, which you SHOULD at https://twitter.com/Lady_Brightly because I find myself hilarious and I don’t hold back or censure myself as I do on Facebook, then you would know that last night I teased this year’s Halloween costume.

Obviously, I’ve always loved Halloween because chocolate is the fruit of the Gods and all that is right and sweet with the world (PUN!). One may argue that I also am a bit of a dramatist and diva, which I take great pride in, so dressing up as someone else is thrilling. As a child, I dressed up a lot as a princess, which from my blog name should not surprise you in the slightest.

Over the years, there was the brief tomboy stage of my life where I decided to be a karate kid, which has unfortunately been immortalized in an unfortunate picture my mom has now framed and on display in the living room. Then there was the practical choice, a cheerleader, for a number of years because I was a cheerleader and I happened to have the costume on hand. Of course, the rebellious stage kicked in and I went for the scary part of Halloween and upped my ante as a vampire or just plain dead-cheerleader. Creative, I know.

Recent years has proved to be more difficult when it comes to costumes. I can only be a vampire or witch so many times in a row to be socially accepted, just because I had the materials on hand. Sometimes, I just throw on whatever pink I have in my closet and finish it off with a crown. I’ve also had a lot of experience and success dressing as Harry Potter characters, such as Hedwig- my award-winning costume in a costume contest, Luna, and last year’s Sassy Harry Potter.

This year, I wanted to return to my roots and tweeted my excitement last night. I said, “A little teaser: you’ll have to read my blog tomorrow to learn what I decided to be for #Halloween. I’m shivering with excitement!”

Without further ado, I’m going to be Elsa from Frozen and the costume is on its way!

When I first came up with the idea, I knew I needed an Anna, which my friend Katie has since accepted. Though I want my costume to be fabulous, I’m also not willing to spend a ton of money on it. My first inclination was to get a light blue, long-sleeved leotard and pair it with a blue tutu and one of my tiaras. A little research took me to Ebay where I found the entire Elsa costume for a decent price, so I took the gamble and went for it. Hopefully it will pay off because I am so darn excited!

Once I get my hands on that costume, I’ll never wear anything else. In fact, I think my sister should just have all of us bridesmaids wear Elsa costumes for dresses.

Also, knowing my costume as you now do, you probably spotted a bit of a very clever pun in my tweet. I was SHIVERING with excitement. You shiver because you’re cold and Elsa is FROZEN. I know, I can’t stand it either.

I’m excited to celebrate Halloween the day after with my sister because it’s her birthday. There’s only so many times I can joke that Halloween is the perfect birthday for her because she’s a witch, ha ha, because she’s totally not. All she had to do to get her revenge was wait for the candy to be dropped in each of our pillow cases before she’d pull the whole, “it’s my birthday,” and get all the extra candy. On the actual day of Halloween, I am excited to dress up as Elsa and hand out candy/ eat half of the bowl. Saying that now though, I think there’s a post on how to handle Holiday eating coming in the future!

How excited are you for Halloween?

Introducing Meals on Mondays

I’ve been thinking a lot, and we all know that’s dangerous. With the blog, I want to update more frequently but I often have difficulty coming up with interesting post ideas. There are a lot of facets I want to talk about and sometimes they kind of blur together and I’m not sure it’s effective. While there will obviously be random inspired posts, I want to try and stay on a more organized schedule.

Therefore, I am introducing Meals on Mondays. This means that on Mondays, I will post some good recipes I’ve tried over the past week that might be of some interest. Especially now that I have more time to experiment in the kitchen.

This morning I had my peanut butter pancakes with a new twist, toasted coconut. My recipe for my healthy but filling pancakes serves 1:

Dry-
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon

Wet-
1/2 mashed banana
1 egg or egg white
1/4 cup almond milk or regular milk
1 tbsp peanut butter

Swirl them all together, throw them on the preheated griddle and watch as they turn into miniature cakes. I like to top mine with another tbsp of peanut butter, jelly, lots of fruit, and some coconut. To make them toasty, I threw a tbsp into a pan. They were delicious and full of natural ingredients!

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My favorite breakfast!!

This weekend, I also made a caprese pasta salad dish. Boil your pasta of choice and once cooked, marinate in some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and let it chill. Once cooled enough, add in chopped tomato, pepper, baby spinach, and mozzarella.

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Delicious! Cheese might be my favorite food, behind chocolate.

Today I also made lunch for my sister and me, which was just a colorful salad. I tossed together some baby spinach and baby kale, carrots, peppers, cucumber, half a sweet potato, toasted pecans, chickpeas, feta, and balsamic vinegairette.

Considering I’ve been on vacation for the past couple of weeks, I don’t have many recipes accumulated, but hopefully in time they will add up and I’ll share!

Attack of the Snake-Worm

As I was wandering around campus today in search of iced coffee because for some awful twist of fate, it’s HOT HOT HOT in October. Everyone knows that October is not supposed to be hot or cold. It’s supposed to be cool, so that you can survive wearing a cozy sweater and high boots during the day and at night pull on the sweatshirt and yoga pants, get yourself a warm cup of tea, and curl up with a good book  homework. But since it does happen to be warm and despite my princess-like narcissism, I cannot in fact control the weather, I was in hot pursuit of an iced coffee. And there’s a Dunkin Donuts on campus, so really it was almost as though I had to do it.

As I was speed-walking over before class, I almost stepped on what could only be described as either a gigantic worm or a very tiny snake. Don’t be fooled. Even a small snake, is a vicious snake. Perhaps even more so because it’s so small you can’t even see it coming. 

Good thing my natural instinct is to always look down when I’m walking, so as to avoid any awkward eye contact or hesitant wave, and I caught the snake-worm in my sight before I stepped down on it, wearing a flip flop. Snake-worm juice could have sprayed on top of my toes…

Since I was in a sort of rush, I was walking at a fast clip, and in a difficult feat of natural athleticism, I was able to twist myself out of the way, almost fall over into the grass, but still run away from the snake-worm pretty quickly. I only screamed once as I didn’t want the snake-worm to hear my fear.

Fear that would have been justified because when I was about to step down on it, the snake-worm flounced its body up in the air and made a hissing noise at me. I’ll admit the hissing noise might now be a product of my imagination, however, looking back I do remember some sort of squealing coming from the snake-worm, so I will stand by it. 

For future reference, if you find yourself about to step down on a snake-worm, just let it win the sidewalk and continue walking on the grass. You have to respect an animal that small who can physically lift itself up towards you without the use of arms, legs, or even a head really. I mean a worm (probably a snake) is literally just a tube of goo. Props, snake-worm.

Then, I was across the street from the Dunkins and kind of running because I was afraid the snake-worm was chasing me when a butterfly flew into my face. I actually can’t be sure that it was a butterfly and not for instance, a small bird, (it was probably a bird) because it hit me in the cheek and I only had a side view of it. So hard, I might add, that I think it left a small wing-mark on my face and blinded me from seeing its true identity of a bird. I can’t be sure though because I wasn’t about to stop anyone to one, admit that a small bird flew into my face and two, ask if said face was red.

By the time I got to Dunkins, I was so traumatized that I ordered two munchkins to go along with my iced coffee because I pretty much deserved it after getting attacked by a snake-worm and bird. Pumpkin and chocolate.