Simple Sunday #3: Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Hello friends! I know it’s waaaaaaaay past breakfast/brunch, but I wanted to share a tasty recipe I made this morning anyway.  You won’t believe it’s vegan!! Yes, I know it’s already past five o’clock…That’s what happens when it’s Daylight’s Savings and you lose an hour… You’ll want to make it tomorrow, though. Guaranteed. Or perhaps for dinner tonight. Breakfast for dinner is NOM! Plus this recipe makes enough for leftovers later in the week! 🙂

So I found this recipe where I find many of my ideas…Pinterest. As usual, I was wasting time there a few days ago and I came across a baked oatmeal recipe that seemed easy enough. The recipe had me at chocolate and sold me at peanut butter, so of course I pinned it! 😛 We all know that you actually only make a fraction of the things you pin… BUT, then, this morning my boyfriend suggested we make something new for breakfast. I agreed, but since I was feeling lazy due to “losing” an hour of sleep, I wanted to make something easy and low maintenance.  I knew that this was the morning to try baked oatmeal. My boyfriend and I both loved it. 🙂

Here’s the link to the original recipe that I found on Pinterest : The only changes/modifications I made to the recipe was omitting the mashed banana and salt. So the above website gets all the credit for this amazing recipe, I just wanted to share anyway! : )

As long as you use non-dairy chocolate chips and milk this recipe is vegan! I used Ghirardelli, but as a note only the semi-sweet chips are vegan. The dark chocolate ones are not.

Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional analysis: See below



2 cups organic oatmeal

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cup organic maple syrup

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (can use semi-sweet or any other kind too)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a glass baking dish.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It may be easier to add the dark chocolate chips last since peanut butter can be tough to stir.

3. Put the mixture into the greased baking dish.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Let the baked oatmeal cool for a few minutes and then cut into 6 slices.


6. Enjoy the chocolatey peanut butter goodness for breakfast (or anytime of day)!! 🙂 I highly recommend pairing the oatmeal with a large, cold glass of almond milk and/or a cup o’ joe! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.


Also, here’s the nutritional analysis of the recipe for those interested. I used MyFitnessPal. It’s 321 calories/serving:


Question of the day: What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? Before today my favorite was just regular oatmeal, made in the microwave, topped with berries and/or peanut butter, but now I think I’m a baked oatmeal fan!

The biggest waves I have ever seen and a breakfast quinoa recipe

Good afternoon friends! Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days- I had class on Tuesday and yesterday was a bit crazy. We had to do some homework, grocery shop, clean up the apartment before my boyfriends roommate from college got here, and deal with the  several hour long water outage in our entire building. I did manage to get a run in yesterday, though, and it was my longest run post injury!


Yesterday, before cleaning up the apartment we made some breakfast quinoa. Lately, my boyfriend or I cannot get enough of the stuff so I’ll share the recipe with all of you below. After breakfast, we went to get some groceries. Then we both did some homework. I went for a run on the Lakeshore path while my boyfriend continued to do more homework since he had some readings due later in the day. My IT band felt a little tight during the run and after, unfortunately, but that did not stop me from enjoying the amazing views. I ran a nice loop of just over 3.5 miles, which had me running close to the beach and I have to say that have never seen such large waves before!  Lake Michigan was crazy yesterday! The waves were so large a beach hazard warning was given and people were advised not to swim. I willingly ran close to the waves and I honestly felt like a kid when I ran through them with a goofy grin on my face. I saw some other runners smile when I ran and jumped through the waves that reached the path, but I also saw others jump up on the rocks to avoid the waves altogether (those were the wimps! Jk! :P). I’m pretty sure I inspired a few runners to run through the waves/puddles, though, so I’d say it was a successful run! The pictures below don’t even do the waves justice. They were tall, powerful, and beautiful. I think my boyfriend regrets taking a day off of running yesterday (even though he needed it) because he missed out on some great views! 😛


After the run, my boyfriend and I finished cleaning up the apartment and then he went to his class. His old roommate from college arrived here while he was in class so I took him around our neighborhood to kill some time. Once my boyfriend’s class was over we had dinner and then checked out a bar in our neighborhood. It was a lot of fun to go somewhere new and catch up with my boyfriend’s old roommate. It had a nice relaxed atmosphere, some very strange, but cool artwork, and was reasonably priced (for Chicago ;)) so we will definitely be back there!


My IT band is feeling sore/tight again  today, so I’m adjusting my training plan for the week. I am sticking with one day of running, one day of rest or cross training instead of the initial plan of two days of running in a row, one day of rest or cross training. I’ am incredibly frustrated with my IT band because it hasn’t hurt for a few runs, but I am hoping another day of rest from running is all it needs and then I can run tomorrow. :/ On a brighter note, tonight we taking his roommate to the Cubs game and I’m really excited- it should be a good game and a fun night! My boyfriend and I are also going to the Cubs game on Sunday with our friend from high school who had extra tickets so we get a lot of baseball action this week! 🙂

breakfast quinoa

As promised, I am sharing the recipe for breakfast quinoa.  Not only is quinoa tasty for breakfast, it is very nutritious. It is a good source of iron, fiber. gluten-free, and actually is a complete protein. Lately I can’t get enough of it and have had this for breakfast nearly everyday this week! 😛 It is especially good for vegetarians, such as myself, due to the iron content and the fact that it is a complete protein.  I have adapted this recipe from the Spiced breakfast quinoa  recipe on pg. 23 of the Runner’s World Cookbook by Melissa Lasher and it is completely vegetarian (vegan if you don’t use honey).

yield: 2 servings


1.5 cups water

2/3 cup of quinoa

1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 chopped apple

handful of raisins

optional: seeds, nuts, and/or honey

1. Rinse the quinoa with water.

2. On the stovetop combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Turn the heat on medium.

3. Bring the quinoa to a simmer on medium heat and then cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for fifteen minutes.

4. In the meantime, chop the apple.

5. After fifteen min add the chopped apple and cinnamon and cook for an additional five minutes.

6. After five minutes, add the raisins and cook for one more minute.

7. Turn off the stovetop and serve. Top with honey and sunflower seeds, cashews, or any other nut if desired. ( I also think it tastes awesome with a little almond milk mixed in and highly recommend it!).


What is your favorite way to eat quinoa?

Thursday treats: triple vanilla french toast and double chocolate zucchini bread

Good morning friends and happy Thursday!

Wednesday recap

Yesterday was both a busy and relaxing day for me. My boyfriend and I woke up bright and early to check out another farmer’s market. Then after a light breakfast we went running on the Lakeshore path. It was another pain free three mile run for me so that was super exciting! Since I’m still being cautious, though, today I have to cross train. :/  After running and lunch I had an interview for a part time job, so hopefully that went well. Then after the interview, I baked a double chocolate zucchini bread, made more energy bites, cleaned the apartment, and cooked dinner with my boyfriend. Housewife status, am I right?! 😉 We ended the day with some Kitchen Nightmares and a documentary called Place at the Table on Netflix. Exciting stuff, right? 😛 Sometimes you just have to have chill days like that though.

Thursday treats

Now, I’m currently starting the day off right with a big ol’ cup of coffee after an awesome breakfast of homemade triple vanilla french toast. I guess I’m biased, but french toast made with almond milk is the best breakfast, with pancakes and oatmeal in a close second and third. Today, I wanted to share the french toast recipe with all of you as well as the double chocolate zucchini bread I made last night for some Thursday treats! With fun names like triple vanilla french toast and double chocolate zucchini bread who wouldn’t want to make them?! Furthermore, both recipes are vegetarian (as long as you are a vegetarian that still eats eggs and/or uses milk products).

IMG_1795IMG_1785 (2)

First, I will share the triple vanilla french toast which I made from the Runner’s World Cookbook. It is a perfect post workout recovery meal because it has a calcium, vitamin c, fiber, and protein. I made the double vanilla french toast by Liz Applegate, PhD on pg, 32, but made some modifications. I used vanilla almond milk instead of regular cow’s milk, whole wheat bread instead of whole grain sourdough bread, and topped it with just yogurt and berries not the maple vanilla mixture and berries. It’s called triple vanilla because I made it with vanilla almond milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla greek yogurt! Here’s a link to the original recipe found in the cookbook:

triple vanilla french toast

Yield: 2 servings


3 eggs

1/4 cup Silk vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 pieces of whole wheat bread

1 cup mixed fresh or frozen berries

1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt

1. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.

2.  Mix the 3 eggs, almond milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.


3. Dip each piece of bread into the mixture and allow them to soak up a lot of the mixture.

4. Place the soaked bread slices on the skillet one or two at a time and cook until browned  on one side (approx. 3-5 minutes) and then flip the bread and cook the other side until browned (approx. 2-3 minutes).


5. Serve the french toast topped with vanilla greek yogurt and berries (or maple syrup and berries like my boyfriend did)


For the second recipe, I used the zucchini I bought from the farmer’s market to make this delicious double chocolate zucchini bread. It’s called double chocolate because it uses both unsweetened cocoa powder and chocolate chips. The only modification from the original recipe I made was using dark chocolate chips instead of semisweet chocolate chips. Here’s a link to the original recipe:

double chocolate zucchini bread

yield: varies


1.5 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and 9x5x3 inch bread loaf baking dish.

2. Clean, peel, and grate the 1.5 cups of zucchini and set aside.


3. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.


4. In a small mixing bowl whisk the eggs, then mix in the oil, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Once all mixed add in the shredded zucchini.


5. Add the contents of the small mixing bowl to the large mixing bowl of dry ingredients and mix well until combined.


6.  Fold in the dark chocolate chips and then scrape the mixture into the greased baking dish.

7. Bake for approx. 55-65 minutes at 350 degrees  until the bread rises and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

8. Once removed from the oven cool for at least ten minutes before cutting and enjoying. Once completely cooled wrap in aluminum foil and can be stored at room temperature for several days.



I hope all of you have great Thursdays and enjoy these tasty treats! 🙂

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Busy Thursday, banana pancakes, and weekly workouts IT band rehabilitation style

Good evening! I don’t know about you, but today has been an unusually busy summer day. My dad had the day off of work so I woke up early to grab breakfast with him. I got banana pancakes and they were delicious. I really wish I had snapped a picture of them. I feel like a complete dork, but anytime I eat banana pancakes I think of the Jackson Johnson song  and I instantly start singing it in my head!

After that, my dad and I went to visit my grandpa and grandma. It was nice to see them both one more time before I make my big move this Saturday. We also grabbed a late lunch there. I got vegetable, black bean, and rice fajitas. They were tasty! This has definitely been a day full of eating. 😛  Once we got back home it was late afternoon and I decided to tackle some packing since I move in two days. Thankfully, I don’t have too much to pack as I never unpacked all my things when I graduated from college a little over a month ago. After an hour or so of packing I decided it was time to get a workout in. I’ll finish up my packing tomorrow. It was a beautiful day so I decided to go for a short bike ride. I really wanted to run, but I still can’t because of my IT band injury. Thankfully, no IT band pain during the 30-40 minute bike ride so that’s a good sign!


In addition to biking, I wanted to discuss what I’ve been doing during this injury to stay in shape, strengthen my body, and allow my IT band to heal. I do want to mention that after my half marathon and during the time I discovered this injury I have also taken several rest days, something I haven’t done in a while. As a previous college athlete, I used to almost fear rest days i(days where I did not run or do any cardio workouts). I think my IT band needed the rest and I am no longer training for specific seasons so I can afford to do this. I think because I took a little more than a week of no cardio workouts I was able to jump right back into biking, a workout that may aggravate or cause pain to some people with IT band syndrome. Below is a list of the workouts I have been doing, in addition to biking, for the last two weeks to try to help my IT band heal.

IT band rehabilitation routine that focuses on strengthening my hips and glutes. The routine I do is something I learned after going to a physical therapist my freshmen year of college when I got my first case of IT band syndrome. I do TheraBand exercises, balancing exercises and some core moves. Online I found a routine that is very good and quite similar to the one I do at Strength Running:

Core and pushups. I’ve been trying to do core exercises and pushups nearly everyday. I am up to around 50 pushups most days of the week so I am proud of myself! I also focus on whole body moves such as planks, bridges, and hollow holds as well as crunches and sit ups. I typically hold my planks and bridges for two minutes and do 50- 200 crunches/sit ups.

Yoga/stretching. This is my weakest area and possibly why I got injured in the first place. I probably did not dedicate enough time after my runs to stretch or do yoga. For that reason I have been focusing on improving myself, but I am definitely a work in progress. I love how yoga feels, but I hate doing it if that makes sense. I am not flexible by any means and sometimes I wonder if my hips are made of metal because of how difficult they are to stretch! I have a yoga app on my phone I really like called Yoga Studio. I like using the app on days I want to do a more structured yoga routine.

Foam rolling. So painful, but so good! I foam roll everyday sometimes multiple times per day focusing on my IT bands, but I still roll out all my muscles. All you need is a few minutes once per day and a brave face to endure the potential pain and reap the benefits.

Have you ever had a running or sports related injury? If so what kind of workouts and rehabilitation did you do in order to stay in shape and heal?

Motivational Monday & What’s for breakfast: Oatmeal edition

Good morning, everyone! This morning I woke up tired, but luckily I am enjoying a delicious cup of coffee as I write this post.


Thankfully, I have already consumed more than half my cup of coffee, so it counts! Smile with tongue out I’m tired because we had some bad weather here last night and my mom actually woke the whole house up around 2 am due to a tornado warning. We hung out in the basement for a while, but luckily everything was fine and no tornado touched down here. Unfortunately, I did not fall back asleep until after 3 am. I won’t let being a little sleepy get in the way of a good and (hopefully productive) summer day, though.  Here’s some motivation for starting your day off right:


What’s for Breakfast?! Oatmeal Edition.

Now, let’s chat about one of my favorite meals of the day- breakfast! A healthy and filling breakfast is important to help you wake up, start your day right, and fuel you through the day whether you are at work, school, or somewhere else. A good breakfast will keep you going strong until lunch. I don’t know about you, but a bowl of cold cereal never fills me up and often leaves me hungry an hour or two later. Oatmeal, on the other hand, usually does the trick! You have a lot of options with oatmeal, but please, please stop buying that instant stuff! Not only does the instant stuff have a lot of sugar and sometimes mystery ingredients, it can get expensive over time, especially if you eat two or more packets at once. To make your own, you just need a canister of old fashioned oats and some toppings/ingredients you probably already have around your home. Personally, I almost always have sunflower seeds and raisins on hand so I can add them to my oatmeal for extra iron, a nutrient many of us fall short on, especially women and vegetarians such as myself. Today, I’m here to show you that Oatmeal doesn’t have to be gross or boring. I’m going to share some of my favorite toppings for oatmeal that are yummy, mostly healthy and definitely filling! Smile

For each type of oatmeal I typically start out with 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats (makes 1 cup of oatmeal cooked), but feel free to make more or less depending on your appetite. Cook with milk, almond milk, or soy milk instead of water for added calcium!

I’ll start with the oatmeal I am enjoying this morning, apple cinnamon oatmeal! Smile


Apple cinnamon oatmeal: Halfway through cooking add one chopped apple to the oatmeal. Continue cooking. Top with cinnamon, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or other nuts. Add honey or a tablespoon of brown sugar for extra sweetness if desired.

Dark chocolate oatmeal: After cooking add one tablespoon of dark chocolate cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate chips. Top with nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, or dried fruit is desired.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Add one chopped banana. Top with cinnamon and a tablespoon of granola or grapenuts, and honey for extra sweetness if desired.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Mix in one tablespoon one dark chocolate chips. Top with raisins or dried fruit if desired.

Peanut butter and berry oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Top with a tablespoon or two of granola for added crunch if desired.

Brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of light brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the cooked oatmeal. Top with raisins, sunflower seeds, or other nuts if desired.

Nutella oatmeal: Okay, okay this is not a very healthy option…BUT it is a good occasional treat! Add one tablespoon of nutella to the cooked oatmeal. Top with dried or fresh fruit if desired.

Nutella and peanut butter oatmeal: Like the previous option this also is not a very healthy choice- high in calories, fat, and sugar, BUT it wouldn’t hurt to eat every once in a while. Everything in moderation, right? Winking smile Add one half-one whole tablespoon each of nutella and natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal.

Have a great day everyone and I hope I inspired some of you to eat oatmeal today. Smile  What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? I’d love more suggestions for oatmeal toppings, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below!