July Cookbook Challenge: Feed Your Athlete

Here’s the link to see the Feed Your Athlete Cookbook on Amazon!

Keep reading to see what recipes I made, and the “review” for the July post of my Cookbook Challenge series.

The Recipes

  1. Bran Raisin Cookies (pg 68): I really liked these! I added an extra cup of Raisin Bran. I also used parchment paper instead of greasing the cookie sheets. These cookies spread a LOT, I think the dough needed to be chilled. Either that or my butter was too soft. At any rate I liked these so much that I adapted them into THESE Raisin Bran Oatmeal Cookies!
  2. Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes (pg 86): The.mr and I both liked these pancakes. They’re waaaaaay better than box mix! I followed the directions, right until step 5. Instead of pouring out ¼ cup, I used a 2 inch cookie scoop to get the batter onto the hot skillet. I also left out the nutmeg, but that’s because I forgot it!
  3. Cranberry Limeade (pg 104): this was just OK. I wasn’t super impressed. It was REALLY tart. It’s supposed to be a pre-competition drink, but I don’t think I’d drink it before a long run or anything… mostly because I was actually thirstier after I finished drinking it! Hmph.
  4. Snack Mix Cereal Bars (pg 119): the.mr and I liked these so much I made them 2x. Actually, I made them 2x because I forgot the chocolate the first time! Tragedy! The second time I made them I played around with the recipe a little bit, so I’ll probably share that (eventually). No matter what, I suggest you make these. They kind of reminded me of Rice Krispie Treats, only better. What’s not to love about peanut butter, marshmallows, Chex, salty pretzels, and a liberal amount of chocolate sprinkled in?
  5. Quick Tortellini Salad (pg 136): This recipe was devoured! I made it twice in one week. The first time I used tortellini filled with chicken, and the 2nd time I used the cheese filled kind. The.mr liked the chicken the best, I preferred the cheese filled ones! It tasted as good cold as it did when the pasta was fresh out of the pot.
  6. Hamburger Casserole (pg 143): this recipe was just like Hamburger Helper!! It was awesome! I didn’t change a single thing! Wait, I used ground turkey instead of hamburger. So I guess I did change something. 😉 Don’t let the photos dissuade you from making this recipe… it’s not very photogenic, but it sure is yummy.
  7. Raspberry Lemonade (pg 151): This drink was soo good! It was kind of important to use the sweetest raspberries you can find or it’ll be too sour.

 

The Good

  • The first part of this cookbook is awesome. It’s broken down into sections like Nutrition Basics, and advice on how to feed GF or vegan athletes. Basically… I learned A TON from reading this part.
  • The recipes are broken down into Training, Competition, and Recovery sections, and then divided again by “type” (ex. portables, drinks, entrees). I love it!
  • Every recipe I tried was easy to read and had easy to find ingredients.
  • There are 5 icons that might appear next to each recipe indicating Low Fat, High Protein, High Carb, High Fiber, or Low Fiber.
  • Nothing felt or tasted like it was “healthy” and I liked it. I hate when I’m trying to be healthy and the food isn’t satisfying!

 

The Less Good

  • I liked (almost) EVERYTHING about this cookbook!
  • The portion sizes felt a little small… but that might be because the.mr and I really like to eat. 😉
  • I consider myself a “runner”, but I don’t fit the endurance category. I’m also not strength training… So it might’ve been cool to see it add blurbs or specific info for runners or other sports.

 

Other Recipes 2 Try

  • Blackberry Cooler (pg 54)
  • Sweet & Salty Peanut Bars (pg 62)
  • Greek Pasta Salad (pg 78)
  • Three Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Shells (pg 92)
  • Quickie Breakfast Burrito (124)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (pg 166)
  • Super Simple Couscous Salad (pg 177)
  • Zucchini Pizza Casserole (pg 186)

Overall
Worth it! Esp if you’re new to healthy eating, want to improve your eating habits, or are attempting to fuel better for your workouts!

 

Happy Making!
-Holly

(Slightly Healthy) Raisin Bran Oatmeal Cookies!!

I adapted this recipe from Feed Your Athlete. The first time I made it was for my Cookbook Challenge, and I thought it could use a little tweeking. That’s how this version of Raisin Bran Oatmeal Cookies was born!

I kept most of the original recipe together. Normally when I make oatmeal cookies I use regular oats. I used the quick outs this time because I wanted the cookies to be more mingled? Combined? What I mean is… with the Raisin Bran adding extra texture, I didn’t want the cookies to be too chewy/crunchy/gritty. I don’t even know how to explain it. 😉 I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a writer.

The original version of these cookies didn’t have enough raisins so I added an extra cup. I think some cranberries would’ve been good too. Maybe next time.

Adding Raisin Bran makes these cookies healthy. Right? Riiiiiiiight?! Also, I used the Raisin Bran that had Flax seeds… so it’s even healthier! Right?

I chilled the dough, because the original cookies flattened out a ton. I figured chilling the dough would help, and it did! #FTW!

I pretty much devoured these. Every time I walked by, I grabbed one. The.mr liked them as much as he liked any other oatmeal cookie. Meaning, he didn’t hate them, but he didn’t *need* to eat them.

These Raisin Bran Oatmeal Cookies are awesome. Go make them. Here’s the recipe!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Holy Moly! It’s July.

I realize I haven’t posted anything in a while…

That’s because May & June have been kind of busy around here. Not crazy busy… just busy enough that I haven’t made an effort to bake anything new and exciting.

I ran some races. *Shout Out to all my fellow Back-Of-The-Pack runners!*

I spent a week in MD visiting my mom. We didn’t do much. And by that I mean… we spent most of our time together in antique malls looking at all the cool things we couldn’t afford. Also, this awesome string art Starship Enterprise that I didn’t buy (because the.mr would’ve killed me if I spent $150 on it). There was tons of time spent eating and drinking wine… I had a great time visiting my mom.

After I spent a week w/ Mom, her and my stepdad came down to help the.mr and I out with some yard work. I have to confess i don’t particularly enjoy weeding… or getting dirty for that matter. Lucky for me my mom is a wiz in the garden and my stepdad is excellent w/ power tools! They whipped our yard into shape in no time.

The.mr did a lot of traveling, so I didn’t do a lot of baking for 2. I did, however, do a lot of baking for one. My favorite single serve recipe that I tried over the past 2 months was THIS ONE from Picky Palate. It’s awesome. For real. It’s the best GIANT single serving chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever eaten. When I said giant, I really meant giant. Just look at the pictures! I had half of it for lunch and the other half after dinner. And then I made it (again) the next time he went out of town.

We rounded out a busy 2 months by going to VA for a wedding! My sorority Big Sister got married! It also happens that she’s known the.mr for a very long time too. It was amazing to get back to town and see all our friends. The bride and ceremony where beautiful! The.mr spent most of our time in town golfing, while I spent it mostly laid up on the couch nursing an injured foot. There was catching up with some of my favorite people. Also… more food and wine. LOTS.

We had a great May & June, and the beautiful summer weather got here before I had time to blink! I can’t even…

-Holly

PS. I have a bunch of pictures but for some reason they’re not uploading to WordPress. I guess I’ll have to try again later. 😦

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

The recipe for these cookies is slightly adapted from Sweet Treats & More. This is the first time I’ve used coconut oil in my baking, and I’m thrilled w/ the results! My version does make a ton of “normal” cookies OR it can make 18 HUGE cookies. I’ve tried it both ways. The Huge version is my favorite.
Just use a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the cookie dough on to a lined cookie sheet, flatten slightly and bake! It makes really big bakery style chocolate chip cookies that are slightly crunchy but still a little chewy in the middle.

The original recipe called for whole wheat flour. I used whole what PASTRY flour instead. I went w/ the pastry flour because it’s supposed to make cookies more tender. It has something to do with higher starch and lower gluten than in regular whole wheat flour… but it’s a little too sciencey for me. 😉 I also like that it’s finer textured than regular flour.

Overall these Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies are a winner. They’re going to be in my Go-To Cookies list. The only problem I had was that I thought they got stale pretty quick, but I think that’ll just be my excuse to eat more of them! 😉 And because we all need excuses to eat more cookies, the coconut oil & whole wheat flour make these healthy… riiiight?

Click here for my Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Cream Cheese Cookies!!

Here’s the deal with these cookies. I like them… but I don’t… and it’s confusing.

I adapted the recipe from one on AllRecipes because I needed to use some cream cheese I had leftover in the fridge. I used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. I was hoping it would make the cookies puffier, thicker, less crumby, and more tender. I think it worked, but I don’t have anything to compare it to. I’m just guessing.

But let’s get back to why I like/don’t like them. I like the texture and the base flavor. I think the problem with these cookies is the Peanut Butter M&M’s and Plain M&M’s. *GASP* I knooooooow. Who doesn’t want peanut butter and chocolate!? In these cookies? Me. I think they’d taste better plain. .. or citrus. After the first bite, I knew I wanted to try them again with lemon or orange. Imagine some zest sprinkled through them and a light citrus flavor coming through that first bite…

I had to watch them really close while they were baking because the tops stayed really pale, and the bottoms browned. Not too much though, they didn’t burn. 😉

The.mr and I ate all of these, so it’s not like they tasted baaaad, but I’m def going to leave out the PB & Plain M&M’s and add some citrusy flavor next time. HERE’S the recipe!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Guilty Feels Like… I Haven’t Baked Anything New In A While.

I’m feeling horribly guilty about not having posted anything new in (what feels like) forever. I’ve been kind of unmotivated…

well, that’s not true…

I’ve done a lot of baking. But it’s been all repeat stuff and some experimenting.

So here’s a little rundown of what’s been happening in my kitchen!

1. I made my favorite Chocolate Banana Bread into “2 bite muffins”. Then I froze them so I wouldn’t eat every single one. I just took one or 2 out of the freezer and microwaved them for 15 seconds.

2. I made my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. I used Kahlua in them, and substituted the sugars with artificial sweetener blends. Then I scooped them with a large cookie scoop and flash froze them. After they chilled in the freezer, I bagged them in a Ziploc freezer bag. I baked them at the same temperature as the original recipe, but for a minute or 2 longer. These cookies are kind of problematic… the bottoms got pretty dark and crispy while the tops/ middles stayed underdone. I think this is because I used a big cookie scoop, they were frozen when I baked them, and the artificial sweetener. They’re still pretty delish.

3. I also made my favorite Sugar Cookies. I wanted to lighten them up a little bit so I used the artificial sweetener blend and Egg Beaters. Overall the cookies are OK. They taste a little bit too much like artificial sweetener and they got stale pretty quick. If you eat them the same day it should be a big deal… 3 days later, and you’ll be eating stale sugar cookies. 😦 I’ve noticed that when I use artificial sweeteners I end up baking the cookies for a few minutes less then I would when I use regular sugars.

4. I made Royal Icing with meringue powder (instead of egg whites). I had a little trouble getting it to the right thickness… I had to keep adding water (a teaspoon at a time), until eventually I gave up and left it a little too thick. I’m planning on trying again, and then posting a recipe. I liked it because it dried waaaaaay faster than the icing I usually use for my sugar cookies!

5.  I had some leftover heavy cream in the fridge and I didn’t want it to go to waste. So I made THESE scones… except I used Kahlua. And then I made another batch of those scones (with Kahlua) but I used Egg Beaters, artificial sweetener blend, and substituted half of the AP flour with whole wheat flour. Overall… the “healthier” scones tasted ALMOST as good as the regular ones!

6. I started my New 2 Me Cooking Challenge for 2015! But I’m doing it different this year. I’m pretty excited about it, but I haven’t worked out all the kinks, so we’ll see what happens!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Snowball Cookies!!

Snowball Cookies. AKA Mexican Wedding Cookies. AKA Russian Tea Cookies.

This is another super easy cookie for Christmas time. There’s only a few ingredients, and the finished cookies are a perfect addition to your dessert table.

The recipe I used is a basic recipe that is all over the internet. I first saw it on AllRecipes, I also saw it on one of my favorite food blogs, Crazy For Crust. I used mini M&M’s instead of the nuts or mini chocolate chips in those recipes. I also used a 1 inch cookie scoop, instead of measuring and rolling the dough into “tablespoon sized” balls. I got about 2.5 dozen cookies doing it this way. I also baked my cookies for about 12 minutes instead of 15. Maybe my oven runs hot?

Overall… my cookie testers (and the.mr) didn’t complain, and I liked them too!

So, for a quick and yummy cookie recipe CLICK HERE!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Hot Chocolate Cookies!!

Tis the season for cookies. Tis also the season for hot chocolate. Tis the season to combine the two and make the most glorious cookies I’ve eaten all year!

I (slightly) adapted these cookies from The Girl Who Ate Everything. You can’t beat this combo. Hot cocoa mix added to cookie dough with some chocolate chips and white chocolate chips topped off with some mini marshmallows… yum.

I didn’t change much from the original recipe.

I added an extra ¼ cup of hot cocoa mix, because I used a mix that had mini marshmallows in it. My rationalization was that the dehydrated mini marshmallows took up a little more room than just plain hot cocoa mix would. The mini marshmallows from the mix didn’t melt when I baked these so there was a sprinkling of them throughout the baked cookies.

I added the white chocolate chips in after the post on The Girl Who Ate Everything said that there were some in the original recipe (but she didn’t have any on hand). It was a good call.

As for the extra mini marshmallows… even when I froze them, they still melted when I added them to the cookie dough. L So what I left them out. Then I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes, then lightly pressed some (frozen) mini marshmallows on top, and finished baking the cookies for another 2 minutes.

In my oven I only needed to bake these cookies for about 10 minutes. I left the dough in the fridge between batches, and left it in the ball shape from the scoop. Speaking of the scoop…I think it’s a 2inch scoop… or we can just call it “large”.

If you only make one cookie this season (and let’s be honest… time is almost up) it should be this recipe! I sent half of these to work with the.mr and kept the rest at home. He said his coworkers ate all of them in a few hours, and the ones I kept at home  didn’t even make it 2 days!

Here’s my version of these Hot Chocolate Cookies!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Shortbread Bites!!

Shortbread has been on my Christmas baking to do list for a loooong time! I always put it off, and I have no idea why.It’s so easy! And there are only a few ingredients! There are a few different variations, though. I saw some that use granulated sugar, one that used eggs, some with vanilla… you get the idea.

I finally settled on adapting THIS one from Cookies & Cups. Cookies and cups is one of my favorite food blogs!

The first thing I did different was combine it all in a food processor instead of pulling out the stand mixer. This probably made the texture more crumbly then in the original recipe.

I also forgot to add the vanilla… oops.

The only other thing I did different was baking it in 2 smaller pans. It took a little bit of effort to press the crumbs into the pans, but not enough that I broke a sweat. 😉 I just wanted to make sure it wouldn’t fall apart when I tried to cut into it!

My shortbread came out a smidge dry. Maybe because I forgot the vanilla? Or… maybe I slightly over-baked? Or could it be because I combined it in the food processor instead of following the original recipe!? I don’t know…

It still tastes pretty darn good, especially with a cup of coffee or a mug of hot tea! Want to make my Shortbread Bites, just click on the link!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Peanut Butter Cookie Cake!!

Halloween was last Friday. Naturally I went to the grocery store on Saturday to see what kind of discount candy was leftover… I came home with a few bags of snack sized Reese’s cups (WIN), a bag of fall colored M&M’s, and a bag of Candy Corn M&M’s.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the candy corn flavor M&M’s. They don’t taste like candy corn, but they don’t taste like white chocolate either… I won’t buy them again. They’re awkwardly sweet.

I adapted this PB Cookie Cake recipe from Baker by Nature to add some of the candy I bought into it.

Next time I’m def leaving the Candy Corn M&M’s out. I’ll just switch those to more plain M&M’s or Reese’s Cups.

I cheated and used canned frosting on this and it was a mistake. I shouldn’t have used the.entire.can. originally I frosted 2 lines around the edge, but then  I realized it was uneven so I covered the top instead. That wasn’t a good idea… I forgot how overly sweet it canned frosting can be.

Also… I won’t go over 25 minutes for the bake time. I thought mine wasn’t done, so I let it go for another 5(ish) and the edges are too done. They’re a little crispier than I like.

Overall, I like the texture of the cookie cake and the slight PB flavor. BUT… between the frosting, the overly sweet/ odd CC M&M’s, and too crispy edges this cookie cake is just a “meh”. The.mr and I are both eating it, but I’ll def make those changes the next time.

Here’s the link to my version of this PB Cookie Cake.

Happy(ish) Baking!
-Holly