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.

62930BC1-D63D-47D3-8399-95CBDE24A171

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.

3645338C-D645-4DA0-9818-4E89CE83DEEF

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.

4C349ADA-CADE-4CF2-8DD1-773C854D6CD8

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

Sometimes, You Smell and Have To Buy New Things

Needed to edit this post to include a happy birthday shout out to my favorite, Amy Poehler! Woot!

In case you hadn’t realized, fall is coming. I wouldn’t keep harping on this except 1. I’m so excited and 2. Halloween is out in full force. We all know that if you buy the Halloween candy at this point, it’s not meant for Halloween. Otherwise you’d be offering stale candy to trick or treaters and that’s just rude. I’m all for eating chocolate, especially specially designed to mimic pumpkins or ghosts though.

We’ll get to how I discovered that Halloween costumes are all over in a second. First, let’s recap some meals.

If you read yesterday morning, you’ll know I had this delicious pumpkin French toast for breakfast.

IMG_3909

Lunch included leftover stuffed peppers with sauteed spinach and jalapeños for a kick. It was just what I needed after a heavy strength training session. I was quite proud of my gains yesterday and left with a sense of accomplishment. I must have been hungry when I got home though because there’s no picture of lunch. Whoops.

Between lunch and dinner, I also got to a kickboxing class. I am loving kickboxing! I think it has to do with the punching and kicking, but it’s a lot of fun and I feel like I’m getting in a real workout. I’m not usually a huge fan of group classes, but this is one I will try to get to on the regular!

Dinner was so good! Grilled swordfish is the new favorite fish in this house. We paired it with fresh broccoli and oh, hmm, what’s that cheesy thing? Mac and cheese? NOPE! Cauliflower au gratin. It has all the cheesy, warm, melt in your mouth goodness of macaroni and cheese but with vegetable instead of noodle. Don’t get me wrong, macaroni and cheese still holds a high up place in my heart, but this cauliflower dish is up there too! I just felt less guilty indulging in seconds.

IMG_3910

Okay so, last week we discovered I should never be let loose in Whole Foods, but yesterday we learned this is true of Target. Maybe I just shouldn’t shop. But I love it! I stopped at Target for trip numero uno after my strength workout because I wanted to pick up Mindy Kaling’s new book Why Not Me? which will soon be reviewed once I make my way through it- hopefully not too fast because I loved her first book and read it in a day and then I was sad it was over.

I was also on a quest for Peanut Butter and Co’s specialty PUMPKIN SPICE peanut butter. So far, I’ve struck out at Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, and now Target. Bummer, I’ll have to order it online unless Christmas Tree Shoppe can represent. As you well know, Peanut Butter and Co is my favorite company thanks to their Dark and White Chocolate Peanut Butter goodness (that is nutritionally sound too!). Though there was no pumpkin spice to be found, I did walk away with a dark chocolate bottle and two pumpkin spice yogurts.

Also in the cart were dog treats because Mac needs his favorite things too. I needed new strength training gloves because mine STINK to high heaven and can no longer be cleansed through washing. I know, I’m disgusting, but I’m not even sorry. It’s a mark of a job well done. However, they needed to go because I couldn’t stand getting a whiff every rep.

Then I happened to cart by the electronics section, which in my defense, is near the book section! I’ve been contemplating getting a running watch because I no longer track with my phone as it is too rough! My brother’s girlfriend, Cait, recommended the Garmin Forerunner 15 to me because it also works in water- though I’m not sure if it tracks swims yet (TBD tomorrow!). That’s the one I asked for when I checked out and I realized it wasn’t the right one when I got home. They gave me the 10 by accident, which is cheaper, but also does nothing. I wanted a running GPS and step tracker so that I didn’t have to also use a Fitbit. Rude!

After kickboxing and dinner, I set out for Target trip numero dos and this time I was accompanied by my friend Rachel. After I made my exchange, it was time to browse. I got two new workout shirts, one of which is this super cool Star Wars tee with the only characters who matter best characters: the originals!

IMG_3915

I also got another one I’ll debut a little later on this week. Also in my basket was a pair of super comfy pajamas that got me even more excited for fall.

That’s when we discovered the Halloween costumes. Had I not already had one in mind, I might have gotten lost. I can’t reveal my Halloween costume to you yet, but here are a few of the options we perused last night.

Rachel wearing a terrifying Teddy Bear mask. I hate masks!

IMG_3913

This weird, but far less frightening “Captain Cool” mask.

IMG_3914

Me as a piece of pizza, which we know is one of my favorite things!

IMG_3919

Also as a hot dog.

IMG_3918

And this flamingo hat that I’m fairly certain is taller than I am. It was heavy on my head, but if I bought it, it would have required I bend through a doorway for the first time in my life! I didn’t buy it for the record.

IMG_3917

Much silliness ensued, but it was all fun!

This morning, I woke up raring to try my new watch! First, I had a quick breakfast. An egg, cheese, and chicken sausage sandwich on an english muffin. It also had jalapeños. I had a berry bowl as well.

IMG_3916

Even though it was still warm and the sun was out in full force, the air is no longer dripping with humidity. I had an excellent 3.1 mile run and another .5 walk before I hopped in the shower and ran some errands. Now I’ve got in two loads of laundry (one for gross workout clothes and the other for sheets) and an afternoon of studying in which to look forward.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Sometimes the Basics are the Best

This week has been difficult to wake up. I’m fine once I’m standing, but the feat of yet ting myself out of the bed has been proving difficult. Fortunately, I’ve been able to move quickly once I’m awake and I haven’t missed any gym time because of it. Maintaining a routine definitely makes it easier to get up in the mornings, but that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy.

My workout was a sweaty one. I did my alternating strength/run routine and by the end, I was beat. This time, I decided to stick to performing all sets at eight reps, increasing my weight slightly as I went. It was just as effective, and just as many, but I’m hoping to keep my body guessing. My strength circuit was shoulder presses, bicep curls, overhead tricep extensions, rows, front raises, lunging arrow twists, shoulder raises, goblet squats, and bench presses. I performed the circuit two times before hopping on the treadmill for a mile run. My first run went smoothly and I was feeling strong, but by the final one, I was tired. My knee is a little sore now, so it’s something I’ll have to keep an eye on.

Breakfast was the simple, but perfect, peanut butter on toast with a side of berries. The chocolate peanut butter, while healthy and full of good fat and protein, tastes like an indulgence and makes my body and mind happy.

 

I guess I was so excited for lunch today that I forgot to snap a picture! I enjoyed another fresh salad with a piece of salmon on top.  The fish wasn’t tasting as fresh as the day before, so I ate the vegetables around it and settled on the serving of almonds I had packed for my dose of protein. With a Baggie of popcorn on the side, I had myself a great meal!

For dinner, a stir fry came together simply. The veggies got a little burned, but tasted just fine. So long as they aren’t soggy, I can handle it. The veggie medley included peppers, mushrooms, carrots, bok choy, and zucchini. I paired a Thai peanut sauce with teriyaki ginger chicken meatballs and some whole wheat bow tie pasta. I was very pleased with the outcome.

 

What’s your go-to quick meal? 

Quick Recap

Anticipating that the next few weekends are going to be very busy- updates to come!- I knew I needed to workout every week day morning this coming week. In that case, I took this Friday off to get some extra sleep and take my rest day. After two extra glorious hours of sleep, I heated up two of these whole wheat Van waffles and smeared them with peanut butter. Since it was Friday, I decided to be fancy and toast up some coconut. Blueberries and a banana completed my meal.

photo 1It was an extra special peanut buttery day that continued onto lunch with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on sour dough. For veggies, I chopped up carrots, peppers, celery, and sugar snap peas and dipped them in some hummus. An apple was a great accompaniment to the meal.

photo 2

I had high hopes for my dinner when I met my friend Lauren at a restaurant after work. Starting with some chips and salsa, I sipped on a margarita and went back and forth trying to decide what to eat. I ended up asking the waitress her opinion and from the description on the menu, I was excited. It was supposed to be a corn tortilla filled with corn, zucchini, summer squash, peppers, and portabella mushrooms covered in a spinach cream sauce. The spinach cream sauce was delicious, but when I cut into it, it was full of onion and corn. I hate onions. Thus, I had a disappointing dinner, which is worse when you have to pay for it.

photo 3

Now that I look back at it, it doesn’t look very appetizing. It was a still a fun night and a great time catching up with a friend.

New York, New York and Food- My Favorite Things

Mondays come fast and furious. It was a whirlwind weekend with a day trip to New York City on Saturday. Even though it was busy and crowded and overwhelming, and we stuck to the areas around Times Square, I loved every minute. That city is something special. Whenever I leave, a piece of my heart gets left behind with it.

IMG_0867.JPG

Here’s what I ate to the days leading up to the big trip:

Before workout breakfast included an egg and a cheesestick. It was just enough fuel to get me going.

IMG_0831.JPG

After workout breakfast included this delectable baked oatmeal full of peanut butter, banana, and blueberries. Topped with more peanut butter!

IMG_0832.JPG

Here we find a peanut buttered English muffin with a smear of jelly. After the gym, I also had some berries and a hardboiled egg, but I finished that off in the car, so I couldn’t get a picture.

IMG_0836.JPG

A combo of almonds and raisins revved me up enough to fit in my workout.

IMG_0839.JPG

This egg, cheese, bacon, English muffin sandwich hit the spot afterwards. Every single bite was Melty and delicious, leaving me sad when I finished.

IMG_0840.JPG

Due to what was supposed to be slippery conditions, I had planned my Thursday morning workout for home. I had this peanut butter toast with berries. It is a great, quick option in the morning because it contains a ton of nutrients and energy without leaving you feeling overly full during a workout. I also had a small batch of raisin cinnamon overnight oats.

IMG_0844.JPG

This beautiful wrap contained peanut butter, chopped banana, and raspberries. It was so easy to make the night before and consume the next morning. And delicious!

IMG_0846.JPG

I followed up my workout with another one of those egg sandwiches. They are seriously so good and it barely takes a minute to cook an egg any way that you like!

IMG_0852.JPG

After an early morning wake-up call on Saturday, I toasted up some whole wheat sour dough bread and topped it with peanut butter jelly. In the excitement and rush of the day, I forgot to eat my fruit! This hit me pretty early on in the bus ride and I was hungry when we finally pulled up to our stop!

IMG_0871.JPG

With a lack of bananas at the end of the week, I couldn’t make my favorite peanut butter pancakes, so I settled on some pumpkin French toast. Not a bad substitute, at all!

IMG_0868.JPG

Soup and salad was on the menu for the first lunch of the week. This hamburger soup is stuffed with veggies, whole grains, and protein. It was an excellent accompaniment to a fresh salad, leaving me full, warm, and satisfied.

IMG_0833.JPG

I was craving a nice stir fry the next day. I didn’t have any chicken on hand to grill, so I went with the premade honey barbecue pieces. These always smell better than they taste. I think I can do better job! The veggies and rice were unseasoned and a little bland, but at least I felt full!

IMG_0841.JPG

This salad came topped with some grilled tilapia, which might be my favorite fish! It switches every so often with salmon. I enjoyed a piece of whole wheat cranberry walnut bread on the side.

IMG_0837.JPG

I went with another stir fry, this time with chickpeas for my protein. Legumes have been a consistent part of my diet for a long time, but lately I’ve forgotten about them. It’s time I brought them back because they are so versatile! A little feta and Italian dressing helped to liven up the flavor.

IMG_0845.JPG

I’ve been pretty good about incorporating fish into my diet lately. This salmon came with my favorite brown spinach rice and a mixture of veggies. I swirled in a tablespoon or so of some Thai peanut sauce for a nice splash of flavor. Colorful goodness!

IMG_0853.JPG

I hope this inspires you to realize that work lunches do not need to be boring!

To be honest, this sandwich at the deli we ate at in New York sounded a lot better than it tasted. With pepperjack cheese, lettuce, and tomato stuffed between a roll with fried chicken, I expected spectacular flavor. I expect spectacular flavor always, but especially when I’m splurging. It was okay, but at least the fries were tasty! I still managed to finish it off, so I can’t protest too much.

IMG_0864.JPG

Pizza is always on my mind. After a long day of shopping- almost done for the holiday!- I was craving this cheesy goodness. I held off long enough to eat it in order to make a big salad to go along with it. I don’t think you could eat enough veggies!

IMG_0876.JPG

My first dinner of the week was fresh grilled tilapia, seasoned with lemon pepper, and leftover homemade fusilli pasta. A veggie on the side of course.

IMG_0835.JPG

Short ribs are one of my favorite meats and barbecue sauce is one of my favorite marinades, so when they come together, I find perfection in one dish. Paired with mashed potatoes, corn, and broccoli, and this meal is complete!

IMG_0838.JPG

Wednesday evening, I enjoyed a sister’s night out at a Mexican restaurant halfway between where we live. To go along with the chips and salsa and a margarita, I enjoyed these chipotle steak fajitas with peppers, black beans, and spinach. It was sizzling good! It’s great to spend time with my sister.

IMG_0843.JPG

This yummy piece of salmon was blackened with red fish seasoning and served with brown spinach rice and a medley of veggies, including broccoli, squash, peppers, and mushrooms. Divine!

IMG_0847.JPG

Friday night, I had a host of options running through my mind, but I settled on this homemade curry dish because I knew I would be splurging quite a bit on Saturday. To be fair, I did start my meal with a few tostitos with cheese. This curry included peppers, snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, and zucchini and leftover brown spinach rice. It was hot and spicy and oh so good! It’s also easy to assemble, helped by the fact that the sauce is store bought- but has all natural ingredients!- and you just throw everything into a pot together.

IMG_0854.JPG

When we got home from New York on Saturday night, it was late. I had finished off my day there with a scoop of Haagen Daz, but by the time I got home, I needed a little something before bed. I went with another piece of toast with peanut butter and it was satisfying as it always is!

Since the late lunch on Sunday, I wasn’t all that hungry for dinner. It was another great week of eating! Now just a week and some change away from Christmas!

IMG_0870.JPG

IMG_0869.JPG

Long Days Go Best Served with Food

When I first wake up in the morning, I have to eat something or I won’t function. I start with a big glass or two of water, brew a cup of coffee, and eat something small. This provides me with enough nourishment to get myself going to the gym. After I get home and ready for work, I have the second half of my breakfast. It’s much different than it was in the summer when I had all the time in the world to make extravagant breakfasts, but I’m making it work for myself. The key is to stay organized. Fortunately, organization is my thing.

I baked up a pumpkin and apple oatmeal for myself on Sunday night and found it to be warm and comforting with my early wake up call. I didn’t feel too full as I went through my workout, but just enough to be energized. I paired the oats with an egg and berries after my workout, but forgot to snap a picture.

IMG_0812.JPG

One piece of peanut butter toast and fruit before the workout, another after.

IMG_0802.JPG

IMG_0801.JPG

Oatmeal and eggs are so easy in the morning because they are versatile. There are so many different meals you can create from them, some quicker than others. In this case, I started my morning with a bowl of overnight oatmeal raisin and finished it off with an egg and berries. So much pre- and post-workout energy to be had.

IMG_0804.JPG

IMG_0799.JPG

I choose to have my off day during the work week because I have more time for exercise on the weekends and that way I can sneak in a little bit more sleep on one day. I made myself two eggs over easy with buttered toast and fruit and paired it with an episode of Bob’s Burgers. An excellent start!

IMG_0798.JPG

It was back to the peanut butter and toast favorite go-to on Friday morning. It was a bit more difficult to get myself up for the gym, but I went and fit in a great workout! Half the battle is getting there!

IMG_0803.JPG

IMG_0809.JPG

My favorite pancakes are growing more beloved the less frequently I get to eat them. They were even more delicious on a rainy day, a hot cup of coffee, and a book.

IMG_0814.JPG

Before starting my productive Sunday, I enjoyed a couple poached eggs over buttered toasting and half of a banana.

IMG_0821.JPG

To start off my lunch review, I need to emphasize the wonder that is this tilapia. It was grilled with a lemon-pepper seasoning and it was so good! I threw it on top of a salad and worked to contain my yummy noises.

IMG_0811.JPG

The next day, I threw the leftover tilapia with some brown spinach rice, stir fried vegetables, a little feta, hot sauce, and Italian dressing. A great combination!

IMG_0792.JPG

I was in a sandwich mood one day and I really should have taken the picture before topping it. This masterpiece included roasted chicken, pepperjack cheese, baby spinach, tomato, mustard, and a layer of hummus. I added some more chopped veggies to the side with some pistachios.

IMG_0808.JPG

This lunch combination did not exactly go together, but it was great nonetheless. I threw on some leftover steak onto a salad and for extra protein and carbs, I rolled up a whole wheat tortilla with a tablespoon of peanut butter, half a banana, and some raspberries. This will be happening again soon!

IMG_0797.JPG

For my next salad, I included both leftover chicken and steak to keep my taste buds guessing. I also had a bag of popcorn for my grains and some almonds and raisins- I love that combination!

IMG_0793.JPG

My parents, Grandma, and I went out for lunch on the rainy Saturday for some Italian. I went with the homemade fusilli and meatballs and started with a salad for some veggies. Homemade cannot be beat!

IMG_0818.JPG

My last lunch of the week included leftover pizza, salad, cheezits, and two cuties. I don’t know if they’re tangerines or what, but they are tiny and delicious and I didn’t include them in the picture, sorry!

IMG_0823.JPG

For the first dinner of the week, I enjoyed a seafood medley over pasta. Scallops are so good, but very pricey. We splurged a little and included them with some shrimp. Asparagus, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, and artichokes rounded out the dish swirled in marinara sauce. Not a bad way to end a Monday. I would argue better than restaurant quality.

IMG_0810.JPG

This spinach chicken salad is a favorite of our household. The chicken is marinated in Italian dressing, grilled, then topped onto a bed of spinach greens dressed in poppyseed dressing with walnuts and craisins. I added some extra veggies to mine to make it really pop!

IMG_0807.JPG

I happen to be a very big fan of salads because there is so much you can do with them. For this dinner, I had honey barbecue glazed steak tips over a Greek salad. On the side, are some roasted cauliflower and zucchini. A piece of whole wheat toast is lying somewhere just out of sight.

IMG_0795.JPG

Teriyaki chicken went well with some brown rice, corn, sautéed mushrooms and peppers, and corn on the cob. I also had two crab rangoons on the side.

IMG_0796.JPG

Friday night, I curled up on the couch with some Gilmore Girls and pizza. I went for my favorite topping of roasted red pepper and absolutely demolished it!

IMG_0786.JPG

I met up with some friends Saturday night for a shopping trip, but forgot that stores close around ten and spent most of the time on dinner. At PF Changs, we started with some lettuce wraps. For my entree, I went with sesame chicken that came with peppers, broccoli, and brown rice. I we as ecstatic to learn that I could choose my chicken to be steamed rather than fried. It was still delicious and flavorful and hopefully healthier.

IMG_0819.JPG

Sunday night’s dinner was another favorite, chicken cacciatore. Chicken on top of whole wheat spaghetti, mixed with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach- cannot go wrong!

IMG_0827.JPG

Until next week, friends! Happy and healthy eating to you!

Caitlin Gets Baking

I am so proud of myself, I couldn’t wait until Monday to share. I came up with a pancake recipe all on my own! There are probably other versions similar to this one because honestly there always are, but I came up with this idea without following a recipe. It’s all about my intuition.

This morning, I woke up craving apples and cinnamon. Good news! I can eat apples again without worrying about allergy symptoms, so I’ve been inhaling them like crazy. Apples in the fall are like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, or Caitlin and chocolate. They just work and taste incredible.

At first, I thought I would heat up the waffle iron I kind of forgot about in my excitement over the new kitchen. Once it was all mixed together in the bowl, I realized it may have been too much liquid for the iron to contain, so I made pancakes instead. Huge sacrifice, I know.

It’s interesting with cooking because you have a little more lee-way with creativity to toss things together and see what you make. I’m not saying that cooking is easy, but I have better instincts when it comes to these kinds of meals. Baking proves to be more complicated for me and it’s rare that I can come up with any quality dish without following a recipe. The more practice and experience I’ve gotten, the better I’ve become at learning how things work, especially when it comes to healthy baking.

Without further ado, here are my apple cinnamon pancakes! My recipe serves one, but I assume you could double or triple or work any magic you have up your sleeve.

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg white or egg
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Extra:
1 tbsp chopped walnuts or however much you want!

photo 1

I learned that I don’t have to heat my stove very far in advance or otherwise my cakes will burn. After throwing them on the griddle, I was happy that they looked edible and was even more surprised when they were delicious!

After taking a bite, the only thing that sprung to mind was that it needed some maple. As I discussed yesterday, I’m not a huge fan of maple syrup on pancakes, however I had my maple PEANUT BUTTER and the combination was divine. Served with an assortment of fruit and I had myself a delightful breakfast on a rainy day.

photo 2

Hope you try it out and enjoy!