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I seriously cannot say “chocolate milk has muscle,” without wanting to strike a bodybuilder pose.

Go ahead, laugh. I am.

I meant to add this to my 10k training update post, but … I forgot. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. In fact, I went to the grocery store this week to get chocolate milk – it was one of only TWO thins on my list – and I forgot it. And then almost forgot it on the second trip.

Yeah, I need help.

So, anyway, why the post on chocolate milk?

Cause the kind PR people for The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board offered up some free T-shirts for three of my fabulous readers. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

So, in honor of chocolate milk, I made a super yummy smoothie after my run. It’s high in protein – which I’ve heard is helpful for recovering after a workout.

chocolate strawberry smoothie

1 cup chocolate milk
1/2 cup Oiko’s vanilla greek yogurt
handful of frozen strawberries
1/2 banana

Optional ingredients:
protein powder (I like Amazing Meal from Amazing Grass)
ice or chia seeds (if you want it thicker)

Blend and enjoy! Just be sure to enjoy it before it gets knocked over by a mischievous cat.

 

How to enter the giveaway:

Leave me a comment telling me why you love chocolate milk. Be sure to include your e-mail (which won’t be published, but how I’ll notify winners). I’ll pick a winners on Nov. 18!

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Hawaii-style plate lunch


If you know me, you know that I love Hawaii. It was, by far, my favorite place I ever lived. If I could, I’d move back in a heartbeat. But, it’s a little too expensive, and too far from my family. So, I’ll have to settle for re-creating my favorite dishes. I’ve mastered chicken katsu, and now I think I’ve got char siu pork and mac salad down. And just in time for my dad’s retirement ceremony – which will have a Hawaii theme. (I don’t think I’m the only one who misses it!)

Char siu pork with rice & mac salad

Crockpot char siu pork
Adapted from myrecipes.com

  • 1/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4  cup  hoisin sauce
  • 3  tablespoons  ketchup
  • 3  tablespoons  honey
  • 2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
  • 2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil
  • 2  pounds  boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm. Shred with two forks and add back to the sauce. You can thicken sauce by adding some broth and cooking on low for about 30 minutes, but I found my sauce was thick enough.

 

Macaroni salad

2 red potatoes
2 Cups uncooked pasta (elbow or rings)
1 T diced celery
1 tsp diced onion
Mayo to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook potatoes and pasta together until done. Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces. Toss with some pickle juice, then add back to pasta.
Add celery and onion and mayo to taste. Season with salt & pepper. Sprinkle with paprika for color.
Now, if only I can find a good mai tai mocktail, life will fabulous.

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Brownie + pumpkin pie = heaven.

The fact that it’s vegan is just an added bonus.

I’ve been meaning to make these ever since I saw them on Oh She Glows.

In a word, they are magical. The brownies are probably some of the best I’ve ever had. They are so moist and cake-like, but so very dense. They are so good.

And topped with pumpkin-pie like filling. Ooooh yes.

Angela is a genius.


Pupmkin Pie Brownie Cupcakes
From Oh She Glows

Pumpkin Brownie Layer:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pumpkin Pie Layer:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. For brownies: In a stand mixer or by hand, mix together the coconut oil, pumpkin, vanilla, and sugar until blended well. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking, soda, sea salt and mix until incorporated. Take about 2 tbsp of the mixture and place in muffin tin. Wet fingers and spread around evenly so it is smooth.

3. For pumpkin layer: In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, vanilla, and milk. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well until all clumps are gone. Now add approx 1.5-2 tbsp of the pumpkin pie mixture on top of each brownie in the pan.

4. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes and then move to the fridge to chill for 1.5 hours.

 

I cut the recipe in half and got 6 muffins out of it. Also, Angela suggests greasing the muffin tins, but I didn’t and had no troubles with them sticking.

I am, however, having trouble keeping away from them. They are SO, SO good.

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The wonderful thing about soup is that it’s hardly ever bad. You can throw just about any vegetable into a pot with some stock and come out with something pretty darn wonderful.

Which is exactly what I did this week. I had some CSA veggies wilting away in my fridge that I knew would be perfect in a soup. So, I got to chopping and ended up with some tasty vegetable soup.

vegetable soup with baked delicata squash

The sad looking veggies in my fridge included:

carrots
celery
leeks
potatoes
green peppers
garlic
green beans

Add to some vegetable or chicken stock (I used 3 32 oz. containers) and heat until vegetables are cooked through.

I was going to add the squash I had in the fridge, but realized that probably wasn’t going to work well. So I roasted it with a bit of olive oil andsome seasonings instead. And although I read you can eat the skin of a delicata squash, that was SO not happening. The skin was rock hard. Instead, I topped with butter and scooped the squash out.

Totally delicious and simple meal.

What are your favorite vegetables in soup?

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Blogger care package swap


A while ago I signed up for a blogger care package swap at Cook. Vegan. Lover. I love these kinds of things. Food bloggers are the best at putting together care packages. This is what I got from Fawn at Milano Running Mom.

 

It included veggie soup mix; ginger snap cookies (which I LOVE!), gluten-free brownie mix;

Smoked salmon; a chocolate bar; two Alternative Baking Company cookies (LOVE them as well!) and two Tasty Bite chickpea dishes. I was so very excited about the Tasty Bite packages. I’ve been wanting to try these forever, but haven’t been brave enough to buy them. I’ve already tried the channa masala one and it was really good. But I do want to find a recipe to make it on my own.

Have you ever done a care package swap? What’s the best thing you got from a swap?

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Eggplant parmesan


Eggplant has never really been one of my favorite vegetable (or is it a fruit?), so when I got a large eggplant in my CSA box, I had no idea what to do with it. Thankfully, my aunt recently made this dish and let me try some while I was visiting last weekend. I’m convinced it is the only way to eat eggplant now.

The tomato sauce is amazing. It makes quite a bit, but I’m sure it will freeze well and be a great topping for pasta.

 

 

eggplant parmesan

 

Eggplant parmesan w/ roasted red pepper tomato sauce
Adapted from Bobby Flay

Tomato sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the red peppers and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and spices, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. (You could leave it chunky if you like it that way.)

You will only use about half of this sauce. Freeze it for later!

Eggplant:

  • dried seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Butter, for greasing the dish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 medium eggplant,  cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
  • 1 package shredded Italian cheese blend

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of rimmed baking sheet.

Place the bread crumbs into a large shallow bowl. In another medium shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and 2 tablespoons of water together. Put flour into separate bowl for dredging.

Season each eggplant slice on both sides with salt and pepper.Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour, tapping off excess, then dip it in the egg, and finally dredge it in the bread crumb mixture. Shake off any excess breading and transfer the egg plant to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.

Working in small batches, pan fry a few of the eggplant slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.

Cover the bottom of the prepared baking sheet with some of the tomato sauce and arrange eggplant  in single layer over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with some of the sauce and then grated cheese. Bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

 

eggplant parmesan

 

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… or those watching calories.

My aunt has made this cake the last two times I’ve visited. It’s definitely one of those dishes you take to a party so you’re not tempted to just sit down with the pan and a fork.

I’m pretty sure this is a variation of the “better than sex” cake. Not sure it’s quite that, but it is damn good. And ridiculously easy.

1 chocolate cake mix, prepared
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 tub cool whip (or whipped cream)
toffee bits for topping

Bake cake according to box directions. When it comes out of oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then poke with holes & pour sweetened condensed milk over top. Then pour over caramel. Refrigerate for a few hours to overnight. When ready to serve, cover with whipped topping & sprinkle with toffee bits.

 

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